Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Trees, Cookies, and Exams

Friday was a day full of getting errands done since classes are over and, after presenting my group project, I just have a 6-page double-spaced paper to write to finish my term. I was going to do speedwork, but Thursday's double workouts left me way too sore! A full hour of core work and an Uplifting class at Uplift Studios can do that to you. (Seriously, I can barely get out of bed or pick things up off the ground)

So Friday turned into a day for GSD: getting stuff done.

my view as I walked to the subway after Thursday night's Uplifting class 
While I'm basically done with my term, Sourabh is not. I've mentioned before that this year we are both law students. We were both admitted to Columbia Law our senior year of undergrad. Actually, our admittance letters came the same day -- it's the only time I've ever jumped into his arms out of excitement. We were poor college students, so we celebrated by buying a mini bottle of champagne and a mini chocolate cake. Ultimately, he decided to defer for two years and work in order to gain some real-world experience, while I went straight to law school.

Now, I'm the wizened third-year and Sourabh is the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first year! Since you interview with firms in August after your first-year (trying to get a summer associate position that typically leads to a full-time post-graduation offer) it's the first year grades that really matter, so I've been feeling really anxious for him. Sourabh had his first exam on Friday, and I barely slept Thursday night I was so nervous! (He thinks he did well -- fingers crossed until January when grades come out)

gifts for NYCares Dear Santa letters!
(Pro Tip: the post office said the best way to mail weird-shaped items like a basketball is to wrap them and put a mailing label on the wrapping paper!)
I wanted Sourabh to have something nice to come back to after taking his exam, so after doing laundry, tidying up the apartment, and buying gifts for my NYCares Dear Santa letters, I went to Whole Foods and bought a small Christmas tree! It's actually the first time we've had a Christmas tree, even though we've lived together for three years. Since our parents always have trees, we just never got one, but this year I decided that needed to change. I might be a tiny bit obsessed with it, as my Instagram feed shows.

Christmas tree + Instagram = dangerous
The tree was only $19.99, and I bought lights, a garland, mini ornaments and a Chihuahua ornament (!!!) for only $15 at CVS. That seemed like a great deal by New York standards!

I also decided to bake some cookies for Sourabh and try out the coconut oil I purchased. After he got back from his exam, we spent our Friday night munching on these amazing cookies, catching up on our Thursday night shows, and admiring our twinkly little Christmas tree.

Quasi-Vegan Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies 
(adapted from Heidi Kristoffer's delicious recipe on

I ended up using Ghirardelli chocolate chips and a regular egg instead of the vegan substitutes, but kept the cookies dairy-free by using coconut oil instead of butter. I also had no brown sugar (it hardened from disuse, apparently) or spelt flour, so I had to use white sugar and regular flour. They still turned out delicious! I'm definitely going to make them again with the proper sugars and flours.

Whatever you do, do not substitute butter for the coconut oil. I really, really loved the different taste these cookies had without the butter.

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegan white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 egg (see original recipe for egg replacement)

1 cup spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with canola oil.

2. Mix coconut oil and both sugars using a hand mixer in a mixing bowl. Blend until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and egg (or egg replacement) until light and fluffy. Add dry ingredients slowly until well blended. 

3. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

4. Drop by heaping tablespoon onto the cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart. 

5. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Place baking sheets on wire cooling rack for a few minutes, then transfer cookies onto wire racks to cool completely.

Step 6. Enjoy!
Have you baked any holiday cookies yet? Share the recipes, please!
When was the last time you were really sore?

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