LiterEature 101: J.R.R. Tolkien and Lembas Bread

Lembas stackedAs I write this I have five articles to read immediately, a few more sitting beside me to be started shortly thereafter, one paper to edit, one book review to shorten, a plethora of books (both school related and not-so-school related) accumulating on my desk, and well.. the list keeps growing. And growing.  Did someone forget to mention that to-do lists are sentient, organic beings that know when you are reaching a lull of security and suddenly explode, thereby obliterating all thoughts of a simple breath out of existence? Yes, someone indeed forgot to mention that, because I only just remembered a few more things I wanted (nay, NEEDED) to complete by this Friday. And then (oh god, and then!) when I start fumbling through thoughts of the upcoming and following year, I just shrivel a little bit. Does that happen to you? How do you make it through the days? I just started thinking about my thesis (yes, the one I will be working on NEXT year but no harm deliberating now, right?) and while it excites me I’m also left with an overwhelming burden of fright. Or something of the sort. So how to recover from that?

My most trusted recourse is sugar of course. La Dulce! Give me some sweet stuff and make me sane! Ok, sugar is not known to calm anyone down—in fact it has been giving me slight headaches lately (try to stifle that groan of horror)—but in decent doses it does distract me enough to resist succumbing to an overzealous heart breaking through my ribs. So… a decent dose… in the form of something nourishing, sustaining… tasty… made by Elves… Lembas Bread!trio of lembas

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Pumpkin Ginger Cakelets

yumWinter chills have seeped into town. Bright sun bears down false sustenance, leaving barren trees to tremble in the icy air. Absent of snow though the days may be (for now), the frosty turn of foggy breath and arctic shivers leave no room for doubt that warmth is the number-one desired commodity now. Warmth and comfort. Warmth and comfort and languid bliss. In my short triple-decade stint of existence, I’ve learned that this is best achieved through that most dangerously seductive of avenues: the tummy. And nothing sings joyful choruses like a soft ‘n sweet treat, bite sized to match your tiny indulgences (we shall forget the ease with which infinite bites can be had in one sitting for now). Continue reading

Eid Treasures: the Cookie Edition

Eid Mubarak! The blessed month has come to an end, and I write this with a fulfilled feeling edged with longing for Ramadan to remain, strange as that may sound to those unexposed to the whole Ramadan experience.  Nevertheless, no one can deny that we look forward with bright happy hearts to the holiday that follows, Eid ul Fitr.  Islamic holidays are marked with community prayers early in the morning, quickly followed by plentiful opportunities to meet friends, hang out with family, eat splendid treats and take beautiful afternoon naps!

This was my first Eid ul Fitr away from the family, and admittedly it was a mite bit difficult in the morning—there’s nothing quite like walking out of the Eid prayer with hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of people and, like a scavenger, routing out all your relatives and friends!  The ultimate hunt for celebratory elation!  The husband and I were missing that but no matter, that’s what Facetime is for. 🙂  And I had planned a special surprise for my family—delicious treats sent overnight just for them!  I’ve never mailed food before, and I’m not sure if I overdid (or underdid, for that matter) it, but I individually wrapped homemade cookies for them, stuffed those into sealed bags, placed those in a randomly designed tin, and bubble-wrapped that in a USPS box for overnight delivery.  They arrived in edible order, that’s all that matters.wrapped and ready

I wanted to wait for them to call me in surprise, but thankfully I had the sense to ask my dad (repeatedly!!) to check the door once they came home from their own outings because otherwise they’d have left my poor cookies on the doorstep without a moment’s glance or realization.  Oy!  Families! Make it so hard to drop a simple surprise…

Anyhoo, thus arises this Special Cookie Edition of Coriander Dreams, with not one but two scrumptious recipes for your delight: My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies ever, and Sweet Coconut Sugar Cookies. Continue reading

Double Chocolate Maple Cookies

I haven’t baked in a while.  It feels rather wrong, but I have been trying in vain to control my insatiable sweet tooth.  I did make a quick berry puff with whipped cream for G and I once, but that doesn’t count because I used those packaged puff shells, and just simmered some berries in sugar and water to make a glaze to fill the shells.  That’s not baking. That’s EASY.

Nevertheless, I have been on a mission to get my exercise regimen back in shape (pun intended) so the sweets have to take a back seat.  Except when I mistakenly switch on the Food Network during what appears to be Comfort Food Weekend.  Except when I see the beauty that is a rich chocolately delicious cookie. Except when I can’t handle the withdrawal any longer and need to satisfy that stereotypical-for-a-reason female obsession for chocolate.

So I fiddled a bit and came up with this recipe for Double Chocolate Maple Cookies (with White Chocolate Chips), and then promptly made G take nearly all of them to work with him so I wouldn’t be unconscionably tempted by their alluring presence.  BTW the “double” comes from using both cocoa powder and melted chocolate in the recipe.  Delish! Continue reading