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After our loved-up dinner of Cioppino, I was compelled to further spoil my fella with the following super indulgent (and super Valentine’s Day appropriate) dessert! A raspberry & dark chocolate tart…

Started out by making a lil’ chocolate cookie crust. Couldn’t find these surprisingly elusive “chocolate wafer cookies”, so I resorted to using the sexiest of children’s cookies – Teddy Grahams. Crushed them up in my (stupid) mini food processor, mixed the cookie crumbs with a bit o’ melted butter and then firmly pressed the buttery crumbs into my fluted, removable-bottom tart pan. Baked it in a 350F preheated oven for about 15 minutes and then let it cool.

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Yes, yes… I’m sure you’re thinking, “Those bran flakes are all well and good and who doesn’t enjoy a hearty coconut granola, but what’s it all working toward? What’s the end result?!”

Firstly, get off my back.

Secondly… bam:

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The next few recipes go against all that is Lauriebot; they are decidedly crunchy/hippie and I just need to come to terms with the fact that there’s a soft, semi-hippie thread flowing through this modern gal.

The evidence…I have a former Phish fanatic (like the kind who travel around the country, hanging out in fields and narrowly escaping hepatitis B outbreaks) for a boyfriend. Said boyfriend is also in possession of a Grateful Dead lyric tattoo. There are crystals in my house. My favorite aunt has a serious thang for faeries. Not only do I use energy-efficient lightbulbs, but I turn them off when not in use (!). I use reuseable totes for groceries and buy in bulk to reduce packaging.

Yes, there’s definitely a case in favor of my latent hippiedom. And, unfortunately, the following will not do anything to help prove otherwise.

Homemade Bran Flakes.

For some reason, perhaps it was the beautiful photography that accompanied this recipe, or perhaps it was the health conscious culinary ways of one of my coworkers, but I was utterly inspired to embark upon a homemade cereal adventure. I’ve always considered bran flakes in and of themselves as boring and borderline tasteless. Not these little babies! Sweetened with delicious turbinado sugar and almond meal, these were enticingly flavorful! So be prepared, for part 1 of Lauriebot’s Hippie Cereal Excursion…

Preheated the oven to 350F and sifted the following into a big bowl:
1 cup oat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup almond flour
4 TBSP turbinado sugar (could also be pretty delish with palm sugar)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

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My faith in humanity (and my candy-making skillz) has been restored and I owe it all to an unassuming candy thermometer, purchased at Crate&Barrel in a last-ditch effort to reclaim my sanity. You see, I’ve been burned (literally & figuratively) in the past by shoddy candy thermometers. Burned real bad. And it’s taken me weeks to muster up the mojo to try that most tempestuous of the candy family… toffee.

Strangely enough, my first attempt at sea salt caramels (which were brutally thwarted by the aforementioned evil/defective thermometer) yielded results pretty close to toffee. It had a disgustingly burnt flavor and was just a little too hard to chew comfortably, but still… it was toffee-ish and made me think that perhaps, with the right equipment, I might just be able to pull this off!

So I gave it a shot… here’s my version of English Toffee…

It all starts with butter. 1 cup worth…

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Hadn’t made muffins in forevs, until that lovely brunch book inspired me to get on it! Muffins are notoriously easy, so I had no problem whipping up a batch of Lemon Almond Blueberry ones for our Memorial Day breakfast…

Started out by preheating the oven to 400 F and buttering my hand-me-down muffin tin… My mom gave it to me (read: I may have stolen this) when I moved to New York and finally procured my first, non-group-house kitchen. It’s not the prettiest bakeware, since it’s old as hell, but it’s imbued with the flavors of ages and makes everything super tasty!

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I’ve been going through a serious sweet phase. But I don’t just sit around gorging on candies and pies; I also gorge on savory things. Like the following…

Started out with about a pound of delicious, sustaining asparagus.

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I’ve only been cooking for a relatively short time, but I’m learning quickly that I love making sweet things. Baked things, chocolate covered things, melty things rolled in crunchy things.

Last weekend, I awoke with a craving for something new, something I hadn’t tried before. And my favorite foodie blog totally delivered… Coconut Milk Brigadeiros!

The name’s great, but what on earth is a brigadeiro, you ask? It’s a little, Brazilian, melty, coconut milk confection rolled in yummy things like toasted coconut, crushed nuts, & my dear friend, chocolate. They’re wildly simple to make and even more wildly delicious. Seriously…

Start out with a 1/2 cup of coconut milk – and not that watery Taste of Thai business if you have a choice.

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This year, we decided to have a big bash for Spencer’s birthday – replete with updated/Laurie-fied bar snacks! It was a complete success! Almost everyone we invited showed up. Despite the newfound joy I’ve experienced in being the Hostess, I have a near-debillitating history of serious party anxiety. Up until a couple years ago (I believe it was our Halloween shindig in 2008), I hadn’t thrown a party since my sweet 16! I’d get myself so worked up assuming that people were too busy to come to my party, that I’d end up waiting to the very last minute so that it was almost impossible to have anyone over!

I’ve since gotten over that and realized that I know some pretty rad people who don’t want to incite any freakouts… they just want to enjoy something delicious and have a good time. Spencer’s birthday was the perfect example of such good times!

I decided that I was going to go all out… making everything from scratch, using as few modern culinary luxuries as possible so that I had to rely on my ingenuity and upper body strength. The snack menu is as follows:

1. Spiced Pecans
2. Spicy Popcorn w/ Hungarian Paprika & Marcona Almonds
3. Orangettes (Candied Orange Peels dipped in Dark Chocolate)

I also made a very successful tart, but that’s for another post!

Started out with the pecans, because that was the easiest and least involved item on the menu!

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Hi, I’m Lauriebot!

I live in San Francisco. I used to live in NYC, Washington DC, and London.

I like to take the pictures.

I like color, excess, food, light, clothes, and going places.

I also like talking to people.

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