Friday, December 27, 2013

Post Holiday Blues

I used to absolutely loathe the holidays.  I dreaded their arrival, denied their existence, and tried to pretend they weren't going to come back around next year.  My family consists solely of my mother and I, so the holidays were always a depressing reminder of all the loved ones we lost much too soon.  On top of that, since I hated myself I felt like I didn't deserve any gifts and would hate opening them.  After all, why is my mom buying me a lovely new coat when all I did was be an asshole the past year?

I have to say I love them now, so much so that I get sad when they're over.  I've come to realize my mom encompasses all the good things about a big family in one tiny little woman, and I appreciate her so much.  She picks out wonderful things for me and I loved spending the time thinking hard about what to get for her and my boyfriend.  We aren't list givers mainly because I can never decide on anything to put on a damn list, but it's a lot of fun that way - often things you'd never even expect receiving come your way and it's more of a surprise.

This year, I got my boyfriend Rangers tickets on the new sky bridges at MSG and a Theory overcoat (called a peacoat online but doesn't look like one, although maybe not all pea coats are double breasted)  that reminds me of the one Idris Elba as John Luther wears in his eponymous show, Luther.  For his little presents, I got him loafer socks from J. Crew (a must for those who wear boat shoes but unfortunately more expensive than socks should be and they seem to disappear much more easily than regular sucks) and made him little individual packages of (homemade, obv) cookie dough balls for him to make.  This guy went from eating a package of Chewy Chips Ahoy every night when he met me to now making himself 3-4 Pillsbury break-and-bake cookies fresh every night, so I figured it was time to Upgrade Him a little further.

 Little packages of cookie dough balls to keep in the freezer for easy thawing and baking!  

I spent hours listening to busy signals to get tickets to see a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for my mom, and made us reservations at a nice Asian Fusion restaurant for after to enjoy some good drinks and good sushi.  I think these all went over well.  For my grab bag, I got my boyfriend's brother a J. Crew sweater, a Timex Weekender (great watch for active people), and I made him some cookie dough fudge.

I spent a lot of time watching Twin Peaks and napping, and it was really a very nice holiday overall.  My boyfriend came over on Christmas Eve and he, my mother and I went to one of our favorite restaurants on Staten Island for a late lunch, Bayou.  We shared a bunch of appetizers and two pitchers of sangria and got some jambalaya and just had really a wonderful time there.  It was nice and festive - my mom cooks great meals all the time so holidays seem a little different when you go out and drink and eat too much.

On Christmas we went to my closest friend's house - she has a truly amazing family and group of close family friends and I always have so much fun there.  My mom, the antisocial lady she is, has lots of fun too but it's always a bit of a hassle getting her out and there.  I am so thankful for friends like those, ones that welcome you into their family with open arms when they don't need to, don't judge you when you bring gooey butter bars that look like something that went through a garbage disposal (oops), and make you feel like you're really a part of the family, even if you haven't seen them in a while.  Those are really the friends worth keeping (nod to my Historical Artifacts post) throughout any ups and downs or losses of contact in life.

Today I am back at work; only one other person is here in my little systems group.

Blazer: Joie Barberry B // Pants: Vince // Tank: J. Crew Vintage Cotton Tank // Boots: Vince Camuto Quilted boots w/ gold heel // Bag: Balenciaga Black RH City

The boots and blazer were both Christmas gifts from my mom.  We had seen the boots in a TJ Maxx once and I passed on them and regretted it and then everywhere else we want just never had them in my size.  I was very surprised to see that she managed to find them since TJ Maxx shopping is often such a crapshoot (or is it Craps shoot?  I think writing here has helped me realize I am not good at spelling idiomatic phrases).

A new little (big!) buddy for my desk from my momma

Love these folders my boyfriend got me.  

Knock Knock makes the cutest stationary and desk things; they're nice and colorful and make work seem a little more bright.  He got me another set of folders and sticky notes that say "SERIOUSLY?" on them and I think they're very cute.  He's a big fan of making "To Do" lists so I got him the big CRAP to do, to buy etc pad for Christmas last year and now we try to find each other new cute ones all the time.

He also got me a Ryan Gosling coloring book, which was amazing and adorable and so funny.  These were of course the small gifts but sometimes those are the cutest and most fun to open, because those are the things that you really had to think about someone's likes to buy.  Sure I mentioned needing a weekend bag in passing but a Ryan Gosling coloring book?  How did he know I needed that, too?


 I'm not much of a color-er but maybe now is the time to learn.

As an aside here to qualify this Ryan Gosling thing, in my senior year of college we had to invent a product or service and then spend a semester analyzing its profitability, developing a marketing plan, determining target demographics, and figuring out what our probable income would be.  I, naturally, decided my product would be a Ryan Gosling 3D Hologram Projector, so wherever you go you would have a 3D Ryan Gosling hanging out with you.  I would market it to the many educated women who are left single because their careers take up too much damn time and there aren't enough men in Boston, NY, DC, etc.  I wish I could put on some of the assignments I submitted for it - my TA even emailed me at the end of the semester saying he thought my project was both the funniest and most well thought out invention he had ever encountered as a TA.  True story!  He didn't mention if it was his first time TA-ing though...

But the cookie dough fudge I gave his brother... man that stuff was good!  It involved making a sort of eggless cookie dough and then stirring that into a fudge base before adding chocolate chips.  I love the blog I got the recipe from and made a few minor changes (one, in fact, was an accident, but one I was happy with), and I highly suggest you check it out, Sally's Baking Addiction.

Pre-cut and ready to chill

Cookie Dough Fudge
recipe via Sally's Baking Addiction, with some very minor changes


Cookie Dough

  • 1/3  cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp half-and-half (I used milk, recipe also says you could sub cream)
  • 1/2 cup AP floud


  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half (I used cream here, recipe also says you could sub milk)
  • 4-5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • handful or two or regular semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Line an 8x8 baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  I used parchment here because the bottom and sides lay flatter - sometimes the crinkles in aluminum foil catch the fudge and make unwanted jagged sides.
  2. Make the Cookie Dough by creaming the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand or handheld mixer.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Mix in vanilla, salt, and half-and-half/milk/cream.  Add the flour and mix until it just comes together into a dough - do not mix until smooth, just until everything is combined.
  3. Make the Fudge by combining the brown sugar, butter, salt, and half-and-half/milk/cream in a medium sized saucepan over medium low heat.  Stir until the butter is melted and the brown sugar is dissolved, and remove from heat.  Slowly stir in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixture is smooth and sugar is incorporated throughout.  Stir in vanilla and add more confectioners' sugar is desired.  The recipe says that the more sugar you add, the "thicker, firmer, and sweeter the fudge will be."  She used 5 cups.  
    • Megan's input: For whatever reason, I used about 3 and 3/4 cups and the based was getting so thick it was almost difficult to stir more sugar in.  I took a tiny taste and good lawd was it sweet!  Rather than continue to hurt my forearm and stir some more in, I decided to stop here to try to ensure the cookie dough flavor was not overpowered by the powdered sugar flavor.  My fudge still firmed up just fine so I can say it's safe to use less than the 4 cup minimum here, depending on how sweet and thick you like things!
  4. Add cookie dough to the fudge base and stir to combine.  If the mixture is not yet room temperature, keep stirring until it is.  Otherwise, fold in the mini chocolate chips and spread into prepared pan.  Chill until set, about 3-4 hours, and cut into squares.
    • Megan's input: I folded about a handful of regular sizes chocolate chips into the mixture before it was fully cooled.  They started to melt and naturally I started to freak out, convinced it was ruined.  I stopped stirring to keep the melted chocolate from fully combining so the fudge had somewhat of a marbled appearance.  I liked the way it was looking a lot so I folded in some more, folding a bit just until the melted chips made streaks in the fudge, and then placing in the fridge to try to keep the chocolate from melting further.  After it was cooled, I smoothed the fudge into the prepared pan and covered the top with mini chocolate chips, pushing them down and into the fudge and then putting more on the now bare spots on top.  I was apprehensive to really fold them in because, again, I didn't want all the melted chocolate to become uniform throughout.  I really feel like the slight chocolate flavor in the fudge added to the "cookie dough" flavor of it, and the darkening effect that the chocolate had made it look a lot more like real cookie dough.  The marbled appearance was pretty and I loved the way this came out, as did everyone else who tried it.

How was everyone else's holidays?  Did you guys get anything good?  I wanna hear about them!

I made a resolution for the next year to get a better camera so I feel more encouraged to do this more often - there are always clothes and things I want to write about but that I just can't capture well enough to even make it worthwhile.  Does anyone have recommendations for a super-super beginner's camera?  Keep in mind I haven't owned an actual camera since 2006, and never even used it anyway.

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