Mission Statement

Culinary Adventures in a College Kitchen

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tip Top Shape Is Moving!

The time has come, friends.  I've been a faithful Blogger user for years, but lately I've felt a bit boxed in with the Blogger format - and I know some readers felt boxed out with comment issues - so it's time.  I finally bit the bullet and switched the blog over to Wordpress.

Recipes and the like will now be posted at The New Tip Top Shape.

I really like the new design and I hope all of you will, as well.  I'll see you guys there :D

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies

It's been cookie central here lately.  I tend to bake when I'm stressed and getting acclimated to law school has not come without its ups and downs.  I've made three cookies within the past two weeks, which is wwwayy more than I ever managed in undergrad.

Any-hoozle, these cookies are pretty magical.  I'm pretty sure they can turn moods around.  Cure cramps.  Solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I kid you not.  Well...maybe a little.  Okay, a lot.  The bottom line is that these are fantastic and need to be in your ovens, and subsequently your bellies, as soon as possible.

Make them this Labor Day, as a labor of love.  Because really, what could be better than chocolate cookies stuffed with even more chocolate?  I can't think of anything.

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies


1 cup butter, at room temp

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies


In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.  Set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar.  Mix in the eggs and then the vanilla.  Fold in the flour mixture, until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and crushed oreos.

Cover the dough and refrigerate 2-4 hours.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drop about 1 tbsp of dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Cookies will appear slightly underdone, but take them out anyway.  You do not want to over bake these.  Let cool completely before moving.

Source:  How Sweet Eats

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lemon-Pepper Kale

When I started law school, I thought it would be a bit like undergrad.  Sure, everyone told me how different it would be from all of my other school experiences, but I just sort of humored them with a, "Yeah.  Sure.  Of course it will be" and went on my merry way.  Well, four days in and I can honestly say it is nothing like undergrad.  I think I've spent more hours in the library this week than my entire four years of college combined.  Just this week I've read around 100 pages of cases and legal analysis.  Luckily I like it, otherwise I'd be looking for a bridge to jump off of.

Needless to say, with my new studying habits (complete with bonus stiff neck and sore eyes -- what a bargain!) I don't have a lot of time to cook.  Which is sort of problematic when you run a food blog.  With that said, I'm going to apologize in advance if (more like when) the posts here slow down a bit.  

Alright, with that out of the way (whew!) we can move on to more exciting things like kale.  If my brother were reading this, he'd go, "Liz, kale is not exciting."

Well, dear brother, you are WRONG.  

I had a phase last year where I went through kale like no one's business.  I ate it raw.  I sauteed it.  I always said I would make chips but never actually got around to it.  Regardless, I was sort of in love with kale.  And then I moved back home and we didn't have grocery stores that carried it.  The horror!  After having about a day where I was just inconsolable (not really, but I did miss it) I promptly forgot about kale and continued on with my summer.

Well, I found this picture on my iPhoto and have decided that I need kale in my life again.  And if that can't happen, then I need to get it in yours.  Here the kale is sauteed and garnished with a healthy dash of pepper and squeeze of lemon.  I like kale paired with acidic flavors, and the lemon does just that.  This is great as side dish or can even be used as a main if you tossed some tofu or beans with it.

Lemon-Pepper Kale


1 large handful of kale
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 lemon
1 tsp pepper


Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the oil and saute kale just until bright green, about 1 minute.  Pour in the water and let simmer until the stalks are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Add the lemon and pepper, and toss to coat.

Monday, August 27, 2012

PB & J Thumbprint Cookies

I'm really excited about these cookies.  Like, so excited that I have to randomly (or not so randomly) drop them into conversations so I can go on and on about just HOW EXCITING they are.  See, I've never made thumbprint cookies before and they're just about the greatest thing ever.

I know most of you are going, "Liz, where have you been?!"

The truth is, I always saw them as complicated.  I didn't want to play around with fillings - especially jam.  I have this deep-seated aversion to jam hands and just about anything sticky.  I have a huge canister of peanuts, though, that my dad made me buy in case the apocalypse hits or something (I kid you not) and since I don't really expect that to happen in the next year, I thought they'd be of some baking use.  

These turned out really well.  They're very buttery with a nice crunch from the crushed peanuts.  And then my favorite part -- the jam.  Who would've known?  Definitely make these, even if you're not a huge jam fan like me.  It might make you a believer!

PB & J Thumbprint Cookies


1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups crushed peanuts
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strawberry jam


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour and peanuts and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Scrape down the sides and mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually add the peanut-flour mixture until combined.  You may have to use your hands to fully form the dough.

Drop tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheet.  Press your index finger into the center of the cookie, being careful not to press too hard.  Bake 15-18 minutes.  Let cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then remove to a wire rack.

In a small sauce pan bring the jam to a boil.  Spoon into the thumbprints.  Let cool.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, this blog hasn't seen an update in nearly a week.  I actually have a legitimate excuse this time unlike the other countless times where I just get too caught up in my Netflix account to actually give a you-know-what about anything else.  On Saturday I moved into my new place for law school and the days before were filled with packing, packing and more packing.  I'm all moved in now, though, and already cooked two full meals.  I am in love with my new kitchen.  It's so spacious and actually has useable counter space.

Today I'm going to share with you some cookies I made for a Hunger Games viewing party.  I was all excited to have baking supplies in the apartment (yay!!) so it goes without saying that baking something was of the GREATEST importance.  What's the point of having a swanky new oven if you don't use it?

I'm really happy these cookies turned out well because for starters, a new oven always has potential to mess with otherwise fool-proof baking.  Also, I may or may not have fudged a bit on the baking soda and not put in the exact amount.  They turned out well enough, though.  And that's good, because we definitely have about two dozen of them in the freezer and will be eating them for weeks.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars together.  Mix in the egg.  Pour the flour mixture into the bowl and mix until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Form 1 tbsp balls of dough and arrange on a prepared baking sheet.  Slightly flatten the dough balls and bake for 8-10 minutes.  The cookies should be browned on the edges but still soft in the center.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pet Peeve Wednesday

1) I love my family.  I really do.  But I cannot wait until I move for law school on Saturday.  I've gotten to the point where I have zero tolerance for just about everything.  It's become a real case of, It's me.  Not you.  And I need to get the hell out of here.

2)  I always forget how terrible packing is.  Seriously.  It seems all productive and sort of fun when you think about it.  You get to go through all your clothes and play with packing tape.  But then you start the actual act of packing and it's just about the worst thing ever.  I think next time I'm hiring professional packers.  I don't even know if those exist, but I'll find them.

3)  I moved back home a month ago and JUST found my pair of beige wedges that were hidden in my boxes.  I am going to wear the crap out of those for my last few days home.

4)  The expressway driving practice has continued.  I now no longer feel like upchucking into my glove compartment when I merge. Of course there is still the panic and excessive sweating that makes me want to change shirts before the next exit.  Baby steps.

5)  This is completely unrelated to my move, but there are way too many amazing shows on Netflix.  I go through my queue and there are more shows listed there than I can feasibly watch in a lifetime.  I know I shouldn't be stressed out by my Netflix queue, but I totally am.

6)  Did I mention that I move in three days??  Whaaaaa????????

What's peeving you off today?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Steak Salad with Lemon-Parmesan Vinaigrette

Did you guys watch the Olympic closing ceremonies last night??  I was out for the first half and was really worried that I missed the Spice Girls reunion.  Luckily, it came on later when I was curled up on my couch with my jammies and ice cream.  Those women are total rock stars.  They were by far the best performance and the dance moves and singing were so spot-on that I felt like I was reliving my childhood.

Other favorites were the Monty Python bit, Russel Brand (I can't believe I just typed that), and the Top 40 part with DJ Fatboy Slim.  Some of the other numbers, though, I didn't really understand.  Like, why did the ceremonies end with that random band that nobody ever heard of?  Okay...maybe my family just never heard of them, but I still think it was a weird choice.

Seeing that this is a food blog, I do have a recipe for you.  I can't think of a decent transition, though, so....

**Insert Decent Transition Here**

I've been trying to eat healthier lunches since I've been home, because I don't want to go off to law school with an extra ten pounds.  That's reserved for all the stress eating after I start law school.  The problem with eating healthy at home, though, is that we usually have so many leftovers that it's silly to cook up something separate for lunch.  Therefore, I've been trying to utilize leftovers for healthy different lunches.  Some have been less than successful, but occasionally I hit the jackpot.

Steak Salad with Lemon-Parmesan Vinaigrette


1 steak filet, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
olive oil
lemon juice
parmesan cheese
1/2 head romaine, chopped


Heat a grill pan over medium heat.  Season the filet with salt and pepper on both sides.  Place on the grill pan and cook roughly 5 minutes per side for a medium-rare steak.  Set aside and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

In a saute pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped zucchini and cook for 10-15 minutes, until tender.  Set aside. 

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice until emulsified.  Adjust the amount of each depending on how acidic you like your dressing.  More lemon if you enjoy acidity, less if you don't.  Mix in the parmesan.  Combine all of the ingredients and toss to mix.

Serves: 1