the trouble with ovens

What has 2 bloodshot eyes and woke up early for the second day in a row?

Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis girl!

And I didn't even sleep in my contacts last night. This must just be how my eyes generally look. Awesome.

Although I pull of the "feeble old woman in a snow storm" look quite well, if I do say so myself.

I don't want to make a big fuss about it, but I'm comically proud of myself for getting up early enough to run before work for 2 days in a row (Jamie's texts are a lifesaver!). But that's all I'm going to say about it because I don't want to jinx anything.

I forced myself to run outside this time around. Bundling up and sticking to a route near my house, I kept my mind occupied by counting how many apartment lights were on each time I made a full lap around the complex. Our neighborhood was so quiet and so, so sleepy, I almost felt like I was running at 10 o'clock at night rather than first thing in the morning. It certainly didn't feel like people should getting out of bed soon because the sun was still about an hour and a half away from rising, and the moon and stars looked beautifully stark and brilliant against the black sky.

I ran my 5 miles slightly faster than my half pace goal time which is just fine with me. To be honest, I didn't even think I could match my goal pace, let alone beat it, because my limbs seemed to be oh-so very confused about working so hard so early (They were like, "Why we up so early? Why we no sleep?"). Early morning running definitely takes some getting used to.

And it didn't help that I actually went to bed far later than I wanted to last night. We had an early softball game and within 5 minutes of returning home, I was banging around in the kitchen trying to get dinner ready. Thursday's dinner menu called for chicken marsala, and chicken marsala we had! I don't know about you, but I love mushrooms and any kind of mushroom-based sauce is always a winner in my book ... especially when you prepare it with generous amounts of sherry and white wine.

YUM! -------------->

After dinner, I briefly cleaned up the kitchen (and by "cleaned up the kitchen" I mean that Clay and I shoved all of the dirty dishes to the other side of the sink) and prepared to make pumpkin spice cookies. I have a few cans of pumpkin puree left in the pantry and I feel like my window of opportunity to bake pumpkin-y things before we're completely sick of pumpkin is shrinking as we approach Thanksgiving.

I've shared my woes about our finicky old gas oven before, but it bares repeatingthe darn thing refuses to evenly bake cookies. Cakes, cupcakes, breads and other baked goods come out of our oven perfectly fine, but my cookies are always a burnt-on-the-bottom-but-mushy-in-the-middle mess. For the longest time I thought I possessed some kind of rare cookie deficiency, but as time wore on, I realized that is fortunately not the case. After doing a little internet research, I learned that one of the biggest cons to using a gas oven is that they bake food unevenly. One way to remedy this problem is to set a large pizza stone or unglazed clay tiles on the bottom rack of the oven.

So I tried it.

And it worked!

Hands down, the best cookie dough ever!

These pumpkin cookies are my first batch of cookies that have come out well in ages. I was so excited (mostly to learn that I really wasn't the problem in this whole oven scenario after all!) that I ran a hot cookie upstairs for Clayton to try. He eagerly nodded his approval (saying they almost reminded him of persimmon cookies!) and I skipped back downstairs to begin work on the maple glaze.

Maple glaze is a cinch to make. Whisk together powdered sugar, a teeny bit of water, and a heaping spoonful of maple syrup. Let the mixture stand about five minutes to thicken, and then drizzle onto cookies. I took it one step further by pouring the glaze into a zip lock baggie and cutting a small hole in the corner to create a poor man's frosting kit. (It made piping small lines easier and much prettier.) Let the cookies sit about 20 minutes to dry before storing.

I finished the final batch of cookies right around 11:00 p.m.. I was so tired, I didn't even bother to clean the dishes. I rinsed out Mixie's stainless steel bowl (of course) and went straight to bed. I think I even still had cookie dough on my hands because it was definitely caked under a few of my fingernails this morning.

But I'm happy to report that our whole house still smells like pumpkin spice almost 12 hours later. Baking pumpkin cookies is a great alternative to a Yankee Candle (and much, much cheaper!).

I used the remaining pumpkin puree (about half a cup) by mixing it with several spoonfuls of oats. I added a pinch of cinnamon, some sugar, and a teeny bit of milk to add flavor. I let the mixture sit in the fridge overnight and when I came back from my run this morning, I had breakfast! To complete my meal, I simply added a small spoonful of butter, a little more milk and warmed the mixture in the microwave. I drizzled some maple syrup on top and ta-da! Pumpkin oatmeal!

I hope everyone has an awesome weekend and gets the opportunity to indulge in a yummy fall treat! I have a busy weekend ahead that starts with an evening of cooking and wine with my mamma and culminates with my birthday on Sunday. (Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) I took Monday off of work so I could sleep off my birthday festivites, so I will be back in blogging action on Tuesday!

Bye bye!


  1. The cookies look fantastic. Perhaps an end of the season softball treat would be a nice surprise? ;)
    Hooray for baking!

  2. <--- Would still be "surprised"... or at least pretend to be. :) Congrats on making it up again this morning!

    1. Ha! When I do ANYTHING adult, I'm surprised. Then I get mad when no one notices. It's like, "Why am I not getting high-fived for doing my laundry!?"

  3. I love chicken marsala! And yay for working out early!


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