Easy no-bake cookies + a shoot with Ali V.
Last Friday our wedding photographer came to shoot some photos in what I should probably stop referring to as our new place. We had literally been planning this shoot for months (m o n t h s) but I was hesitant because our house has pretty much been a constant work in progress since the day we moved in. It's still a work in progress (the next big project is removing the texture from the walls, I think I told you that) but with all the snow that landed in Denver last week, we came to a general consensus that now would be the perfect time to cozy up and take some photos. And so we did.
I suppose I should preface the rest of this post by informing all of you that I am an inherent slob. Even worse: I'm a slob who hides messes. Everywhere. If you look in our bedroom closet, there's a mess. Guest bedroom closet, more mess. The garage? You guessed it. It's a serious problem most of the time, except when you're expecting guests and it just so happens that you have an uncanny ability to transform a house that looks like a complete and utter disaster into something that's quite the opposite, in less than 30 minutes. It's a skill I've developed over the years and one I think will really suit us if/when we have tiny monsters humans running around. But what you should know about some of the photos you're going to see in this post (following the recipe) is that although we look like somewhat presentable humans (Thom calls that oversized sweater my burlap sack, so.. maybe not) residing in a somewhat presentable housing structure, things probably couldn't be further from the truth (I'm just really good at making our messy life look.. not-so-messy). And sitting next to me there's a man who is more than a little annoyed about it all, but he smiles anyway.
So Ali showed up Friday morning to me in panic mode/still hiding things getting ready/buzzed on caffeine and sugar (and the lingering adrenaline from my early-morning run) and Thom sitting on the couch, annoyed as heck that he a) has to be in front of the camera for the next couple of hours and b) got woken up at 8AM by his overbearing fiancée shouting GET UP! GET UP! WE HAVE TO CLEAN THE HOUSE!!!! Thankfully Ali's got this funny way of diffusing our very different (but equally obnoxious) morning demeanors, and within five minutes the three of us were sitting around the living room, laughing and shooting the shit about foreign travel (she just returned from a dreamy trip to Japan) (!) and devising a plan for that big ass party we're throwing in June.
I think this is the part where I wax poetic about Ali because not only does she work some serious magic behind the camera, but both times we've shot with her it's felt so incredibly natural and damn-near effortless (which is big for us considering we don't exactly enjoy being in front of the camera). Our first shoot with her is the main reason we hired her to be our wedding photographer. We weren't even engaged yet but I remember telling Thom, if we ever decide to do that whole white-gown-ceremony-thing, I want her behind the camera. And within days of Thom putting a ring on it, we locked her down for what was originally going to be a big Colorado wedding, but has since transformed into a ceremony in the Irish countryside, followed by a celebration in Dublin's city center. Knowing she's going to be the one documenting what people keep telling me is going to be the biggest day of our lives, puts my anxious heart at ease.
June can't come soon enough.
A small handful of photos we shot with Ali follow the recipe. Oh, and did you notice this space got a bit of a facelift? Big thanks to Kebin (no, that's not a typo) for lending a helping hand on the back end and to Melissa for designing those sleek ass social media icons. As for the header, I drew that bad boy myself.
Notes: Feel free to use your favorite nut butter in place of the peanut butter. I should note that I've made these without heating the liquid ingredients but found that step to be crucial in getting the mixture nice and smooth/perfectly creamy. Any flaked grain will work here - kamut and quinoa were delicious - but thick rolled oats will always be my favorite. If desired, zap your oats in a spice grinder for 10-15 seconds for a finer oat texture (or use instant oats). For oat-packed cookies, increase the oat measurement to 1 1/2 cups. If you'd prefer an unrefined sweetener, you can use 6-8 medjool dates in place of the maple syrup, but you'll need to transfer the mixture to a high speed blender to get everything nice and smooth. If you'd rather use 1/2 cup of cacao powder, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1 cup of peanut butter, etc. have at it - the recipe can be tweaked to your liking.
PS - If you put the chocolate peanut butter mixture (before adding the oats) into the fridge for 4 hours to set, you can make some killer chocolate peanut butter truffles. Just sayin'.
EASY NO-BAKE COOKIES
1/4 cup refined coconut oil
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup thick rolled oats
Pinch of sea salt
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Add the coconut oil to a small saucepan set over medium heat and heat until melted. Once melted, whisk in the cacao powder followed by the maple syrup and peanut butter; mix until combined. Remove pan from heat and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the oats and sea salt. Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon stainless steel scoop, drop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, flatten with the back of a spoon, then sprinkle with crushed peanuts, if desired. Transfer sheet to freezer and chill for 10-15 minutes. Cookies will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week but can be stored in the freezer for up to one month. Refrigerated cookies will look like the ones picture on the white plate; frozen cookies will look like the ones in the last three shots.
Yield: 15-16 cookies