Monday, December 24, 2012

Rudolph the Red - Nosed Haystack

Rudolph, you'll go down in history

I don’t know how Santa will feel eating these Rudolph shaped cookies as even I am finding it difficult to bring myself to eat them. I don’t usually toot my own horn, but they’re just too darn cute!

These are also probably the fastest, most festive cookies I’ve ever made. Putting them together was a snap, however fighting my way through the crowd at the grocery store is certainly another post for another time…

My mom has been making these cookies (albeit undecorated) for several years now, so we usually just wing the recipe. Yes! Cookies you don’t need to be a scientist to make! I’m big into cooking, but not into baking so these cookies are just perfect for me.

Some people call these little treats Haystacks, others Bird’s Nests. Normally my vote is for Bird’s Nests because of the chow mein Asian influence. But I think Rudolph may prefer Haystacks.

I don’t have the exact recipe for these little guys, but here is a link to a pretty simple one so you can get a feel for how much you will need of each item. These cookies are only limited by your imagination, so get wild! I’m sure they can be adapted in flavor and shape for almost any occasion. Below is the list of items we used for our cookies this time.

Rudolph Haystacks
· Chow mein crispy noodles
· Butterscotch chips
· Peanut butter
· Semi – sweet Chocolate Chips
· Almond slivers
· Peanut butter m&m’s (red)
· Salt (to taste)

I listed the ingredients in order of how much we used of each item, but unfortunately we forgot to measure the amount of each! You can play around with it to get it to your liking. I find the peanut butter and semi – sweet chips help bring down the intensity of the sugar flavor from the butterscotch. The salt can be omitted as well if you have an item such as the chow mein or almonds that are already salted.

We melted down the butterscotch, peanut butter, and semi chocolate chips in a double broiler until completely smooth. You can do this in a microwave too if you like! Once everything was melted to a beautiful shiny mocha color, we pulled the top pot off the heat to let it cool for a moment. My mom and I then added handfuls of the chow mein until we achieved a consistency that would let the chow mein pieces stick together and still all be coated. We also added the almond slivers in for a special crunch.

Then came the fun part. Most instructions I see to make these say you should use two spoons to drop them onto wax paper. I say that’s fine, but it’s much easier to get the shape you want if you’re not afraid of getting your hands a little dirty. We shaped the little heads and then added the chocolate chips, almond slivers, and red m&m’s to bring these little guys to life. I tried to use the coated chow mein noodles to make little antlers, but I’m not too artistic so they didn’t come out quite right. But maybe next time when I have more time I’ll fiddle with them more because the potential for extra cuteness is there.

And they all have their own personalities!

From start to finish, I would say these took about 30 minutes to make and decorate 2 dozen cookies. Not bad considering how adorable these guys are! And because after the chocolate has been melted, nothing is too hot it’s definitely feasible to get little hands to play around with these.

I’m very proud of these little guys and I can’t wait to share them with friends, family, neighbors, and of course Santa Claus himself!

Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I have a pivotal problem.

I often find myself writing prose with the intention of someone reading it. Perhaps this stems from the life-long conditioning I have undergone spending over fourteen years in school and counting writing for teachers. Throughout school and the business world, we are told to recognize our audience in order to write more effectively.

I believe this mindset, among countless other excuses, has been holding me back from reaching my full potential as a writer. Even now I find myself picturing an intended audience. True, I am currently posting this on a public forum, but even in the comfort of my own leather-bound notebook do I find myself wondering what other people would think of my writing.

So why, when I’m writing, do I concern myself with what a fake audience might think? We all know this will never be read anyways. On this blog, I imagine stragglers of all sorts stumbling upon a blog with too much content and too little color. In my personal notebook (fine, diary), I imagine a reader hundreds of thousands of years in the future using my book as the basis to either:
  1. Rebuild society on Earth, or 
  2. Learn what life was like around 2012
 Don’t look at me like that. I told you this problem is pivotal. Besides, that outlook was sparked by a comment from the gift-giver that this book could outlast thousands of years and spurred on by my own overimagination. Anyways, the point is even simple. Even when I should be sure I am only writing for myself (my audience being people I actually know is not a concern for some reason), I still comfort myself with false approval from false readers.
Even those who know no one will read what they have written still write with an audience.
I know I am not alone. Sure, there are probably a great deal of people who can successfully write for themselves, and not just an audience with judging eyes. However, from formal letters to personal thoughts, these days almost all writing is readily published for readers internationally. Whether the audience is someone as specific as your boss, to something as vague as all the readers on tumblr looking up the tag “plumbob,” your writing has already been affected in style and content.

Within every weakness, there can be strength. Maybe I’m just looking at things the wrong way.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Era of Facebook

     In the era of Facebook, Twitter, and the like we are bombarded by a constant shelling of information that is entirely irrelevant to us. However, we accept these pieces of information as comfort and have trained ourselves to think we have had a social interaction, when in fact none has occurred. Every time you read a person’s status you are immediately updated on their life and are then less likely to go out of your way to talk to them. You feel satisfied that you know what is going on in Friend X’s life even though they may have no idea that you know. These status updates tricks our minds into believing we have had a social interaction which lets us slip further and further away from those around us. The conversations we end up holding with these people are largely superficial and can be classified as “small talk.” We have given it this name because it is an insignificant form of communication.

get off your phones! then you may see the joy in the ones socializing around you

     All of our communication these days is instant. We can reach almost anyone around us at almost any time of day. I know I have been guilty for being attached to my phone and my Facebook and checking them literally hundreds times a day. Yet, very rarely does it occur when I sit down and have a meaningful conversation with someone or write a well thought out letter to a friend. With texting and instant messaging, we can communicate so quickly that there is hardly ever a thought process behind what we say.
     As I type this, it has been slightly over a week since I have logged onto my Facebook. I decided to take this up as an experiment for this blog post, but also to reduce distraction leading up to finals. It has been harder than I thought to stay away from the website as I have found myself going to the home page only to realize that I am unable (and refuse) to login. However, it is refreshing to not be able to check it several times a day. And believe it or not, my life has gone on. I continued to socialize with people and stay up to date with the world around me. Facebook is just an addiction. It is not a necessary part of our lives, but we have tricked ourselves into believing it is so. For if we must use Facebook, then we do not have a problem and can continue to react to the urgency of social media.
    Give up your social media for a week or two (I plan to abstain from Facebook for another week at least) and see how your life changes. If anything it is good to know how reliant you can be on these social media. Will I be giving up Facebook completely? Not any time soon. Facebook is still a very good marketing tool. But as they say, everything in moderation.

Here is a short fact based video about the realities of Facebook. (This is not mine. Go to YouTube to check out the original creator.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone! Make sure you go out today to really enjoy the wonders our Earth has given us.

Have you pledged an act of green yet? Check out or click on the image below.

I'll post some updates in the future with tips on how to make your life more green and Earth-friendly, but for now I'm going to go out and enjoy the sunshine with Pippa!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Eat well, live well

We are constantly told what we should and should not eat, but we always manage to make excuses for ourselves. Produce and fresh meat is always too expensive or too time consuming to prepare. It is far easier to pick up a few protein bars and frozen pizzas and call it a day. Creating a dish from scratch using the produce that is almost always in abundance around us takes effort that more and more of us are less willing to put forth. Home cooking is a dying art, especially in the United States. We resort to cheap and fast alternatives with lesser nutritional value. Why our industrialized society chooses to skimp on the foods we put into our bodies is beyond me.
home cooking is an outlet for creativity. jalapeno waffle, anyone?
Gas prices are always a topic of discussion and no matter what price it’s at, it is always too much and we always complain. Very rarely do these prices become extreme enough for us to take action and fight our own battles. If we were to walk more, carpool more, and just drive less we would inevitably save money on gas. By continuously walking, our health is improved. Through carpooling we are able to make deeper connections with the people who surround us by giving them our undivided attention in a face to face setting. The money we save on using less gas can be better put to use by spending it on quality produce that will energize our bodies instead of fight it. It is a win-win-win situation.
Naysayers and those in denial of our first world ways will always come up with excuses as to why they can’t fulfill these duties. Many will say that they are unable to find someone with a similar schedule or route to carpool with. Others will say that they do not have the time to devote to walking as opposed to driving. Because why? You are busy sitting? Sitting on your commute to work, sitting at work, sitting at meals, sitting to decompress in front of a screen with flashing images meant to entertain, but often ends up numbing. Anything is possible if you have a desire to get it done. Inside you is unlimited potential begging to get out if only you were to stop making excuses.
make walking a family event
who knows where it will take you
Imagine the good that could be done in the world if everyone was to work towards a cause that he or she has a passion for. Unfortunately in this world, many people are under the impression that as an individual she is unable to change the world. But if you study history it is often one person who creates a spark to start a wildfire of change. These people soon become leaders who find those who share their passions and establish those deeper relationships so many of us today now miss…
To be continued…

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It has started.

          I don’t know where to begin. I’ve recently realized how much ethical dissonance there is living in a 1st world country. For a long time I have accepted things for the way they are because things have just always been. I have let myself be blindly shaped by society and I know I’m not alone. I know that most people in my generation accept everything presented to them without questioning. For this, I am greatly embarrassed by myself and my peers. But I am beginning to understand how repulsive many first world countries can be.
          In the consumer society I have been brought up in, it is not enough to be thankful for our health and our relationships. Instead we look for insignificant, yet tangible items to fill voids in our lives and occupy our time. It is because of this desire to need more that our health and relationships are diminishing. These days many people succumb to buying processed and premade foods because these options are often cheaper and far more convenient. Many also experience relationships with the people around them that barely skim the surface of what a true connection with another human should be. This is largely brought about through the use of social media. On both accounts, I have found myself guilty. I tell myself I do not have enough disposable income to warrant buying fresh produce every week. I have deceived myself into thinking I have a plethora of friends when the reality is that I connect with very few.

a must-read
Our first world society is stripping us from the very thing we should be-- human. It tricks us into thinking we are progressing when many of us have a simple life. We are quickly losing our individualities and are content with mirroring one another. Our goals are shallow and our morals are weak. We have lost the sense of togetherness, but always search for belonging. We are on a quick decline to science fiction novels where we are all willingly controlled by our society as in Orwell's 1984. We are a lazy culture that will do nothing for itself as long as a certain level of comfort is achieved. We look for handouts and give nothing back to our world. We are blinded by media and suffocated by an ever present “ideal” of how one should be.
When I first wanted to start this blog, I imagined an entirely different creature than what you have seen here. I was still just a sheep wanting to fit in the sea of blogs. I am obsessed with food and DIY, but came to realize this is not what the internet needs more of right now. As a 19 year old suburban product, I feel there are very few alive and relatable role models to teach people my age how to think for yourself and incite change. Those people who have a message to share are often washed over by shallow celebrities who are glorified for no profound reason.
I do not claim myself to be an authority or better than anyone who may be reading this. I am very much flawed as the rest of you and constantly make mistakes. The difference, I feel, between myself and many of those my age is that I accept and embrace that I have an unwavering desire to learn. I refuse to accept things for how they are and I constantly ask questions. I refuse to be embarrassed for who I am and refuse to continue to fall into the traps of a consumer society. My focus now is how to change the world around me. My continual quest for the truth has started.

the path for the truth