25 May 2011

Fortune cookie wisdom

This school year is nearly over.


It's been an intense couple of months, guys, and I'm still trying to decide if this experience has been worth all the sweat and tears shed over it. Of course I'm not in a position to decide just yet, because I am in the middle of
  1. packing up and mailing off (most of) my earthly possessions,
  2. studying for two exams, and
  3. searching for and reading papers, so that I can
  4. start writing my paper.
Oh, and updating the blog. For the second time this week, because I am supposed to be devoting my time to other, more important things, like the ones listed above. You know how that goes.

I guess it's the time of year when a lot of people -- at least those of us in or just finishing up school -- are packing and moving. Georgetown has been in chaos the past few weeks.

Now, I don't know if anyone out there actually likes packing for a move (very different from packing for a trip, which I find rather enjoyable). If you do... I don't know. You are either really weird, or deserve some serious respect from me.

Let it be known to the universe that I, for one, absolutely loathe packing to move.

It is so depressing to strip a room (or a house!) of all the things that made it "home" and tuck them away in boxes, for goodness knows how long. And there is always, always something that must be given up, and it tears my heart apart to see it go. Like the awesome IKEA bed that my amazing friends got for me when I moved to Boston. Or my trusty steed of a bike that's been with me for two years.

Since I have had to go through this pretty much every year since 2005 (sans 2009), I have come up with a few tricks to make the process a bit more pleasant for myself.

1. Make a good, long playlist. Everything is better with its own soundtrack! I recommend Disney songs, and maybe songs from Wicked. Sometimes when I want to feel extra badass, I put on the soundtracks from The Lord of the Rings or Pirates of the Caribbean. K-pop is great, too, if you're into that -- my brother judges me for this, but he's not the one packing, now is he?

2. Take breaks. Over the course of pulling everything out of its place for sorting and packing, you will occasionally find something that makes you smile. Take a minute to look through that stack of photos, or to glance through that bundle of letters and postcards. And read through those fortune cookie fortunes saved in a ratty old envelope.

Like these, which I found particularly apt for where my life is headed now:
A good time to start something new.
You will step on the soil of many countries.

This one makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside:
You will always possess a charm and sense of humor that attracts others.

And then some are just plain funny:
You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life. (Potential food blog title??)
Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.
Fortune not found: Abort, Retry, Ignore?

3. Upgrade to brownie breaks when you get to that nitty-gritty stage where you are unlikely to discover any more little treasures. Packing is hungry work! Now, note that the brownies must be baked before you start packing -- you wouldn't want to leave your mixing bowls and baking pans behind, would you? -- but they are worth the planning ahead. Plus this is a great way to use up those extra ingredients before you start packing.

For some reason I haven't been in the mood lately for chocolate. I'm glad I made these brownies, though, and so were my housemates!

Peanut Butter Brownies
Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion.

I got impatient and cut the first few pieces too early, can you tell? ^^

Peanut Butter Base.
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour
a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9" x 13" baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour and salt, mix thoroughly until a crumbly mixture forms.

Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.

Fudgy Brownie.
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 c. sugar
1 c. Dutch-processed cocoa (I used 1 c. unsweetened cocoa + 1/2 c. sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt

In a double boiler (or in a large bowl over a medium pot of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl), melt and mix together the butter, sugar, and cocoa. Remove from heat while lumps of butter still remain, then continue to stir until smooth. Let cool, then stir in vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time.

In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour batter evenly over peanut butter base.

Bake until a shiny top forms on brownie layer, 22-24 min. Cool completely before cutting.


  1. That looks like a nice bike. Nicer than any of mine, anyway. Take it with you!

  2. I know! Isn't she a beauty? Do you see why I want to take her home with me? But there's no way I can take her and all the other stuff that needs to go home with me, so the listing went up around midnight last night... and the bike was seen, test-ridden, paid for, and ridden away by 08:00 this morning. BAM.