Friday, May 23, 2008

Free money! And sunshine!

My grump from the past two days has pretty much lifted. I am still feeling under the weather, but I am optimistic that it's just seasonal allergies, and I just took a Claritin D to test that theory. Fingers crossed that it will work. In the meantime, we're about to have a three-day weekend and my office is closing at three o'clock today. The idea of leaving work in the middle of the afternoon when it's still sunny and so much of the day is left makes me very happy.

And speaking of work, I found out a week or two ago that I won an award for some work that I do as part of a team. I'm not the main person who does that work, so I didn't think much of it and assumed I would get some sort of commemorative plaque and forget all about it. Until I got my pay stub last night and discovered that along with the award comes a cash prize to the tune of multiple hundreds of dollars. Score! That is going straight into the down payment fund (okay, maybe I'll spend SOME of it).

Although I do feel bad for the woman who spearheads the work--she could easily have won this award on her own for the work she does, and then she would have gotten the full amount of the award to herself, instead of having to split it three ways with me and one other person. So that kind of sucks for her, and if I were in her position, I'd be annoyed. But it doesn't mean I'm about to hand over my check to her or anything. Money is money, and that much sweeter for having been gained without much effort. Besides, there is all sorts of work that I AM the lead on that I could just as easily have won an award for, so we'll consider this check a reward for that instead.

And back to what I was talking about in that first paragraph? Three days off plus gorgeous weather plus no plans at all? It's going to be absolutely blissful. There will be lots of sleep, and perhaps a walk or two, and hopefully some sushi, and a few errands, and who knows what else? DC is our oyster! Unfortunately, I suspect that a lot of out-of-towners have decided that this is the weekend to make DC their oyster as well, so the town will probably be swarmed with tourists. We'll just have to hide in our little non-touristy neighborhood to avoid them.

Also, I'm thinking perhaps this weekend would be a good time to spend some of my award money on a fancy dinner at a restaurant we haven't been to yet. Which has the doubly excellent effect of providing me with a chance to wear a fun spring dress!

In sum, weekends like the one we have planned (or not planned, as the case may be) help me suppress baby fever for just a little bit longer. When I see cute babies or adorable baby clothes, I want to have a baby RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND WHY AM I NOT ALREADY PREGNANT? But then I remind myself that once there's a baby, there won't be luxurious, lazy weekends anymore. And that helps me remember why now is not the right time for a baby. That, and also if I'm five months pregnant at the wedding, the dress won't fit.

Oh, and the other thing I want to do this weekend? Is bake something. Possibly cookies. But I'm not really the baking type, so I don't have much in the way of recipes. And that's where YOU come in. Do you ever bake? What's your favorite thing to bake? And can I have the recipe?


  1. i bake what is ever on the side of the box! haha. has great recipes though.

    and this weekend is going to be awesome, my sister is in from NY and i have a family wedding. yay!

  2. I love my mother's chocolate chip cookie recipe, which makes nice light cookies due to the oats. Or ginger snaps! Snickerdoodles! I'm getting hungry now. Apple crisp is good, too, though that's more fall than spring.

    Of course, my recipes are at home. The simplest thing I like to bake is brownies, since I love the Ghiradelli Double Chocolate brownie mix. Pick up a box of that! The only change I make is to use a bigger pan, and so cook it for a slightly shorter time. Yum, chewy brownies!

    Congrats on the money: surprise windfalls are the best kind.

  3. Mmm, oatmeal butterscotch cookies are one of my favorite things ever. Like these ones:

  4. I am an excellent baker, though, sadly, all of my recipes are stupid gluten-free. But the internets are a vast supply of recipes!

    Hope you have a wonderful and relaxing holiday weekend!

  5. I'm making raspberry cream cheese brownies this weekend! Email me if you want the recipe. Yum.

  6. Ooh it sounds like a wonderful weekend ahead of you!! Enjoy it - and don't make a baby. At least not yet. There's plenty of time yet for that nonsense ;)
    And congrats on your little monetary bonus! SCORE!

  7. Whiskeymarie posted a chocolate chip cookie recipe last week that I plan to test out this weekend. The lady knows her stuff, and she claims they are fantastic. We shall see.

    Congrats on the award (and the related cash)!

  8. I love baking cookie bars from the Nestle website. They're so easy, and people RAVE over them!!

    Use the recipe and then bake in the Pan Cookie Variation. :) So yummy!!

  9. We just found out our office is closing at 3 too! Yay - hope you have a nice weekend!

  10. Dude you have Spring Fever hardcore! You are all over the place happy today! :) Hope the mood lasts.

  11. First, way to go on the unknown extra little bonus award. Second, unknown extra little bonus awards are always for 'free spending' and never for placing in any type of savings fund. I actually believe that may be a LAW!

    I make/bake the BEST, to-die-for chocolate cookies. Recipe is pretty simple - go to market, pick up pre-made, pre-formed packet of chocolate chip cookies located in the refrigerated section by the cans of bisquits and rolls, go home, place little drops of cookie on cookie sheet, bake as instructed on package and WaLa - fabu chocolate chip cookies.

  12. I am a cupcake girl, I love to make them. My favorite are banana cupcakes with a chocolate fudge frosting. I will email you the receipe.

    One new thing that I "bake" because it is in the oven is bacon wrappe dates;

    I container of dates without the pits
    1 pound of bacon cut in half

    wrap the bacon around the date and secure with a toothpick. Bake at
    350 on a cookie sheet with parchment paper for 15-20 minutes.
    Serve hot with some green onions for garnish and a lovely Spanish red wine.


  13. Yay for winning the award, congrats! I think spending some would be perfectly acceptable. When I got my gov't stimulus check, I went to King Street and helped to stumulate the economy of Old Town!

    For restaurants- go to Fogo de Chao on Penn and 11th NW. It's a Brazilian steakhouse and SO good! Steve took me there for my birthday one year and we had so much fun.

    Cookies? I like making snickerdoodles...

  14. get married. spend a few years together. then have a baby. :)

  15. Congratulations on the award! Not once have I ever won an award where cash was involved. Plaques are just not as fun!

    I bake all the time. I make cookies and some kind of quick bread every weekend, and I often add brownies or some kind of dessert square to the mix. If you're interested in any of those, I posted a bunch of my favourite recipes here.

    If you really want to invest some time in baking, I recommend this recipe. Definitely worth the effort!

    Have a great weekend!

  16. Do I ever bake! I love answering this question!

    First off, you must try big and chewy chocolate chip cookies from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook. They are always a show stopper, but beware - it might be best to bring them to a BBQ of some sort because I doubt that 20 hamburger-sized cookies fits in with any dieting notions. :)

    How about raspberry squares? Or peanut butter brownies? Or maybe soft pretzels for Torsten?

    I plan on trying out these buttermilk lemon cookies next week, and I have a killer recipe for carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting!), so just let me know if you want that one.

  17. I want free money! Go out to dinner and spend some of that! Unfotch, I am working some this weekend. Lame. It's my own fault thought. I basically took yesterday off and now I need to make up for it!

  18. yaaaay cash! and yaaaay sunshine, and lazy weekend to enjoy it! noooo babies! :-)

  19. congrats on the cash! LOTM has gotten stuff like that in the past and it's always fun. Once he even won a trip...

    Somewhere I have the recipe for Orange No-Bake cookies. They are wonderful, and? NO BAKING! woot!


    That is all.

    Oh, and have a GREAT weekend!

  21. baby fever is barely suppressible in my experience. Another reason to get the thyroid fixed! It helps with the procreatin'.

  22. I love baking but am pretty terrible at it. These were like the easiest things I've ever made.

  23. yeah, i don't really ... bake. i'm hoping that this talent will kick in once i'm a mom but i'm not holding my breath ;)

    and claritin-d works miracles for me. seriously.

  24. Congrats on your (cash) award! WooHoo for free and unexpected windfalls!

    As for baking, I love to bake but try to avoid it because I eat it and that's not good. There are some great baking blogs out there, but one of my favorites is Cookie Baker Lynn. Whenever I make one of her recipes, I get very selfish about sharing whatever I bake... sooo yummy!

  25. I'm kind of known for my chocolate bread pudding (which isn't so much mine as it is a modified version of Emeril's). I'm a big dough/batter fan so the bread pudding keeps me from eating anything until it's baked...and then I can give most of it away. Martha's Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread cookies are a major pain in the ass, but delicious.

    This isn't actually baking, but it's a relatively guilt-free dessert. At one point I knew the WW points per serving, but I can't say I've retained that info (which is actually a good thing!).

  26. My favorite thing to bake is super easy peanut butter cookies! You will need:

    1 cup peanut butter, stirred
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 small pinch sea salt (when I'm out of sea salt I substitute a larger pinch of regular old table salt)

    you will also need a bit of olive oil or other vegetable oil for rolling the cookies

    Preheat your oven to 350. Combine the peanut butter, brown sugar and beaten egg in a mixing bowl. Add vanilla, baking soda and salt; mix well with a wooden spoon. With oiled hands, pull off bits of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on foil-lined or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Using a fork press down slightly making a criss-cross pattern on the top of each cookie.

    Bake for 9-10 minutes in the center of the oven. Be sure to cool the cookie sheet on a rack for a couple of minutes before moving the cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack, otherwise they will fall apart (they will be soft until they cool).

    So quick, so easy, so YUMMY!

    Also, I giggled each time I typed balls in this comment. Because I am such a grown up!

  27. I love all the recipes at Oh, especially the banana bars, which are actually fairly nutritious, esp. if you leave out the chocolate chips!
    Also, you are 100 percent right about losing the long, lazy weekends and the free time to browse through darling baby clothes and dream about darling babies once you actually HAVE a darling baby. This is the one thing that keeps me grounded when I see a teeny newborn one and start getting the baby lust YET AGAIN.

  28. I bake nothing never. Except fat free brownie mixes. I always screw everything up. I buy my baked goods at Whole Foods. because that means they are good for me.

  29. Surprise bonus money AND a long weekend? Lucky lady!

  30. Baby fever! Baking! *Swistle's circuits overloading*

  31. You should definitely bake something this weekend. What a great way to spend your three day weekend! I don't have any favorite recipes, but I love browsing I'm sure you could find something that strikes your fancy on there. :)

  32. I'm giggling because I bake all the time. I had a friend over two days ago to bake cookies. I made a lemon cake. Brownies were a late night treat on Sunday. I have a bakers rack (no pun intended) full of cook books. What do you want to make? Something lighter, more spring like? Something like a lemon puff? Or something with rich chewy goodness like brownies or a cheesecake? The one tip I can offer, if you don't have air conditioning and it's warm out, bake after the sun goes down, otherwise the whole house will be hot. So what do you feel like baking?

  33. I feel the same way about babies. Especially if they have thigh rolls. I love baby thigh rolls.

    As for baking, I LOVE to bake. If you're looking for cookies, the recipe people RAVED most about was this one

    I also read tons of baking blogs. I don't know if you see my google shared items, but I often share recipes. Let me know if you're thinking of a specific thing and I can dig up a few for you.

  34. Mmmmm....baking. I haven't baked cookies since March and I'm craving some, but we're going to a wedding tonight and so we will eat cake and I will be happy.

    And you're right - a baby = no free weekends for the next *gulp* nope, I can't say it. I don't want to think about it. But for a *long* time. Not that she isn't cute or rewarding or anything....

  35. Oh man, the baby fever - it get's ya! Mine has subsided a bit for the exact reasons you mention in this post; lazy weekends, free time, sleep, etc...

  36. What a great sounding weekend! I am doing much of the same.

    I second ccr's recommendation of Ghiradelli brownies. It's not exactly a complex baking feat, but it is DELICIOUS.

  37. I LOVE baking. My favorites to make are banana bread, muffins (hello, I love breakfast) and cookies. I really want to make this new recipe I saw- peanut butter and chocolate chip. YUM.

  38. Congrats on the award!

    Enjoy the long weekend!

  39. I don't cook- I bake.
    My favourite is a caramel choc pecan cheescake thingie.
    The thing about cheesecakes? Everyone is all gushy about them and acts like you're a baking goddess, but really - for a basic cheesecake - 3 ingredients. Stir, pour & bake.

  40. My boss, her children, and her grandchildren are headed to DC tomorrow and staying a whole week. That's seven extra people that I know of making DC their oyster! Enjoy your time off and spend some of that money pampering you! :)

  41. wow. score!!! congrats on that unforseen bonus! i lurrrve choc chip cookies. scratch that. OATMEAL choc chip

  42. Chocolate chip cookies, all the way.

    Or snickerdoodles, chewy chocolate cookies. Cookies are definitely my favourite to bake, hands down.

    Also, there are some great Kiwi cookies, like afghans and anzacs. Yum!

  43. Oh I wish I'd read this sooner, because when it comes to baking? I am totally your girl.

    I'm guessing you've already done your weekend baking, but if not: it's pretty damned hard to go wrong with chocolate chip cookies!

    Just remember that when given a butter/margarine/shortening option: if you use butter, they will be flatter. If you use shortening, they will be fluffier.

    Hope the weekend has been as lovely as expected!

  44. I realize that its monday already - but my favorite cookies to bake are white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.... ssoooo good. I'll send you the recipe if you like :)

  45. I made muffins this week. Yay!
    Hope you are enjoying your weekend and your $$$!

  46. I love to bake!
    I usually just google something and go from is usually good for yummy treats!

    Oh and congrats on the award and $$$!!! YAY!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  47. First of all: Congrats on the award!!!

    Also, am I too late on chiming in about baking? I absolutely LOVE to bake. It is one of my very favorite things. I love finding recipes, I love buying the ingredients, I love EATING the results :) I have a whole giant post on my blog about baking (search for "cookies" on my blog if you're interested). Sigh, I wish I had more time...

    Anyway, one of my very favorite recipe blogs is You really can't go wrong with any of those recipes.

    So what did you end up baking?
    And also, now I really, really want a fresh-baked cookie!

  48. YAY! For free money!!
    Too funny about wanting to be pregnant so badly. lol It's true that there won't be so many long, lazy weekends anymore. It's worth it of course...

  49. Go bonus! :)

    I love to bake and lately it's banana muffins. I'm big on breakfast.