I’m moving to London later today. Officially and for real. The last week or so has been really busy and fun as I said goodbye and prepared for this move. Let me tell you about my last few days and then at the end I’ll give you a cookie recipe.
My 29th birthday was a little over a week ago! I went to New York to have a last hurrah. I actually hadn’t been to New York since my graduation, and I was excited to go back and see the city one more time. On Friday (the 20th) I went to Staten Island and stayed with my friend Inga (who also has the same birthday as me). It was so great to catch up with her. She and I were roommates years ago when we studied abroad in Rome. Visiting her, I got to see her new house, meet her beautiful daughter, and celebrate our birthdays. We had sushi and cake and it was wonderful.
I then went into Manhattan and met up with my friend Chris, from graduate school. We sat in Battery Park, talked, and looked at the Statue of Liberty. It reminded me of the times when we used to pretend to go for a run along the water, but really we’d just walk and gossip. Then, I met up with my parents and my brother and we had a blast! Seriously, we indulged in New York. We ate at a few of my favorite restaurants. Lunch at Ippudo, dinner at John’s of Bleecker, and dessert at Max Brenner’s. We also found a tiny place that only sold macaroons! We bought six and shared them all. There were amazing flavors like passion fruit and lavender-honey. We also went shopping on 5th Avenue and browsed books at the Strand. It was a great New York weekend with some touristy activity and some old favorites.
After New York I hopped on the train back to DC. I got dolled up in a fancy dress and went as my friend Anna’s date to the Ford’s Theatre Gala. I saw some great theater, had a tasty dinner in the beautiful courtyard at the Portrait Gallery, took pretty pictures with my friend, and said goodbye to some of old colleagues. Great night. I stayed out way too late, but loved it anyway.
Then Monday and Tuesday were my last two days at work. I don’t talk about my job very much on the blog but I have loved working with Live It Learn It. While at Live It Learn It, I’ve had a wonderful time. In this job I’ve been busy running all over DC, I’ve taught lessons, met great students, befriended some awesome coworkers, and led field trips throughout the city. I’ve eaten more Wendy’s than ever before, I’ve sent group texts of just emojis, and I’ve helped create hilarious and weird Mad Libs. And I’ve laughed so so much. Live it Learn It has been everything I was looking for in a job and even though I’m moving they can’t get rid of me yet. I’m hanging on even while abroad.
And today’s recipe is truly for them. In the last year, almost every dessert I’ve made has been shared with my Live It Learn It family – including this one. I decided to dabble in gluten-free baking because one of my coworkers keeps a gluten-free diet. Baking is fun for me because I like sharing the finished product with others – so it’s more fun if everyone is included. I have loved bringing in cookies and treats for them and it doesn’t hurt that they always say nice things and eat everything I bring. I will miss baking for them.
I then spent the rest of the week packing up my apartment. It was stressful and I had a hard time deciding what to ship, store, and pack. It might sound trivial but I had a hard time editing down and Ryan got more than one crazy phone call from me. My parents came down and helped me pack, trash things, and move out. Thank goodness for them because they helped me be decisive and keep from completely losing my marbles. I could not have done everything so effectively without them! During this move weekend, we also went to my friend Lisa’s wedding. I have known Lisa for over 20 years and it was wonderful to see her get married. She looked amazing – and unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of her! Her wedding was at the Center Club and it has the most beautiful view of Baltimore I have ever seen. The wedding was a blast. I danced with my friend’s 1 year-old son, I chatted with old friends, I danced some more, and then I sobbed when I said goodbye to my girls. We group hugged, and I felt loved and lucky. All in all, a great night and a wonderful farewell from Baltimore.
Now I’m sitting in my friend Charlotte’s guest room while her cat snuggles up on me. For those of you who know me, you know I’m anti-cat, but I’m actually liking this. What’s happening to me? My flight leaves later tonight – but until then my plan is to go to the pool and then out for dinner.
It’s been a busy ten days or so, but it’s been great. I said goodbye to many of my old homes – New York, Baltimore, and DC. I am deeply going to miss my wonderful network of people here, but being farther away doesn’t mean we’re really separated. To get a bit emotional, I want to say thank you for all the celebrations, activities, and fun I’ve had as I prepared for the move. I’m so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.
But now I’m ready. I’m ready to go to London. I’m ready for new adventures, new jobs, new restaurants, new friends. Mostly, I’m ready to be back with Ryan. Get ready London, here I come.
This recipe is adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, How Can It Be Gluten Free? This book is awesome with lots of really clear and helpful advice and suggestions. I’ve changed it by adding a bit more xantham gum than ATK recommended. I thought it helped hold the shape of the cookie a bit better. These cookies are great and the only difference between these and regular cookies are the thin and delicate structure and shape. The other change was that I used chips and Reese’s pieces instead of normal chips. Gotta spice things up now and then, and get a little creative with the cookie add-ins, right?
3/4 cup + 2/3 cup King Arthur All-purpose Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed, light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup mini chocolate chips
1/8 cup mini Reese’s pieces
1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, xantham gum, and salt in a bowl.
2. Whisk melted butter and sugars in a large bowl.
3. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until smooth.
4. Add in the flour mixture.
5. Add in the chips and Reese’s pieces.
6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 350°.
8. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Use two spoons to arrange 1.5 tbsp size rounds of dough onto the baking sheet. The two-spoons advice is important. The consistency of the batter is stickier and softer than a regular cookie. The spoons help make sure you can make normal looking cookies.
9. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 11 minutes. Rotate baking sheet halfway through. As they cook, cookies will spread and they can get dark quickly, so be sure to check on them!
10. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before serving. The cookies are more fragile than gluten-full cookies so let them rest!