First let me apologize for my absence this week, I have been taking a summer course (dread) and had my final on Wednesday. Woohoo! Done and done, though it did lead to some neglect in the kitchen and therefore the blog. Okay onto more important things. Disclaimer: I may get a bit gushy/long winded/over dramatic/flowery in this post, I apologize ahead of time.
I had the pleasure of seeing the new film Julie & Julia on Wednesday night. I have to be honest, I don’t have the temperament for seeing movies. I am way too anxiety ridden to sit in a dark theatre for two hours because the only things that go through my mind are all of the things I should be doing instead of seeing a movie. My to do list constantly runs through my mind. That being said, I repeat that I had the pleasure of seeing J&J. It was heart-warming, funny, beautiful, entertaining, and thought provoking. Okay, so I’m a little biased considering the movie is about a woman who cooks her way through Julia Child’s cookbook and writes a blog about it. But regardless, I absolutely loved the movie and it was a joy to sit in that dark theatre for two hours. I’m pretty sure I had a smile on my face the entire time. This euphoria did not end after the movie was over. J&J got me thinking–seriously thinking, in a good way. If you just came to see the Brownie Krispies and you’re wondering why this crazy person is rambling on and on about how a movie was life changing, you should probably skip to the treats now because it’s about to get heady in here y’all!
This year has been one of the more trying ones in my life. If you know me very personally, then you already know this and you probably know why; if not, then now you do! There have been lots of changes in my life over the past year and I do not do well with change. A few people I knew and loved passed away. I settled into the swing of college post-freshman year. Continued to try and find my niche with friends and in the mess that is New York City. But most importantly I struggled to answer a question I had been contemplating for the past year: is this really what I want to do? Before I started this blog I was an acting student. I was accepted into Tisch at NYU and was on track to get my BFA in drama. At the ripe age of 16 I decided I wanted to be an actress and was so determined to do it that I never looked back, until January of this year. Seriously why is our school system set up so that we are trying to decide what to do with our lives before we even turn 18? Any who, I loved acting (and still do), but I came to realize that I love it as a hobby, not as a career. As anyone in the biz can tell you, it’s vicious, only the most dedicated survive. I thought about what my life would be like if I was to continue pursuing acting and make it my career. Then it dawned on me: I wouldn’t survive. I cannot live without a schedule and the first rejection I suffered would be my last; I wouldn’t stick around for any more because I wouldn’t feel like it. I need stability and, from my point of view, acting couldn’t give me that. As I said before, I don’t like change, I am stubborn, so it took me a year and a half of college to figure all of this out. It wasn’t until my sister said to me “no one is holding a gun to your head telling you to act, no one is forcing you” that I realized it was okay for me to change my mind. Thank goodness I did. Even as I recount this story to write this blog post I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders. My sister was right, no one was forcing me to stick it out in the acting program except myself. So what did I do? Made an impulsive decision to transfer to another school at NYU about a week before second semester started–haaaa excuse my French but, stability my ass.
I thought I had it made. I used to have classes from 9 am-6 pm three days a week plus classes on the other days too. Now I would only have class 4 days a week and spend waaaay less time on work. Wrong. I suddenly felt like a college freshman with no idea what I wanted to study. Sorry for being cheesy, but I was lost. Stability? What Stability? My personal life was rapidly spiraling downward and I was getting more and more anxious by the day about what I could possibly declare as a major. It felt like things were crashing down around me. In desperate need of a pick me up, I turned to the one thing that always made me feel better: baking. It clears my head, it’s something I can check off because when it’s done it’s done. Standing over a mixing bowl and losing yourself in the smell of butter and sugar is heaven. I like to compare it to running–there is nothing to think about except what’s in front of you, and when outside thoughts do enter your mind suddenly the world is clearer. Not to mention food makes other people happy. There is nothing better than watching someone try the first bite of whatever you have slaved over in the kitchen, standing next to them, eyes wide, waiting for their reaction. Those few seconds seem to suspend time, then the clock starts again and their face lights up into a smile and they let out a “mmmmmm, this is SO good”. It’s like a drug.
I started baking more and more frequently and soon it became apparent that I was addicted. I have an addictive personality so this is nothing new, I (along with everyone else) figured it would be a short lived phase. Sort of like after I bought my Wii and played Rock Band non-stop for three weeks and have barely touched it since. It was just a quick fix to get me through the hard times. Then I started baking more difficult things, then my friend stumbled upon Tastespotting, and then I found the world of food blogs. [Enter heavenly sound effect for an epiphany: “aaaahhhhhh”]. Four months later here I am. I found my passion at the time when I needed it the most. I guess you could say cooking and baking found me, and thank God it did.
Now, how is this related to Julie & Julia? Because sitting in that dark theatre made me FEEL how lucky I am. In my head I know I am lucky, but now I actually FEEL it. I am unbelievably thankful to have parents who have let me pursue whatever crazy thing it is at the time. They let me go to school for acting and then they let me switch it all around to…well, I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but something to do with PR and food and event planning. I am also lucky that I go to NYU where there is a school called Gallatin that lets me create my own major/concentration. And it’s a good thing I started out as an acting student or else I never would’ve come to NYU! I am also extremely lucky to have friends who have stuck by me through it all. They could have walked away from me after I pushed away their problems because mine were consuming me–and they didn’t. They could have yelled at me when I woke them up at 5 am to crawl in bed with them, and then proceeded to need a talking session. I hope you all know how much I love you and have appreciated your constant support and many many hours spent talking to me (pretty much about the same damn things every time) to make me feel better these past few months. I will never be able to express how thankful I am for y’all, really and truly you are a huge reason I stayed afloat this semester. Also, sorry for making you gain weight because of force feeding you my baked goods, but really what would we all do without S’mores Bars?
I started this blog on a whim. I loved all things to do with food and after I quit acting I needed to find SOME other way to be the center of attention. I never imagined that this would be the thing that kept me going. In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d gain anything much from this except a few pounds–which I have also done. What I’m trying to say is that I have finally found something that makes me happy, really and truly, sustainably happy. It doesn’t come from another person, it comes from me and the ingredients that I put together to make something delicious. I used to love acting because it brought joy to the people watching me and now I see that that’s why I also love cooking. Food brings us together so who cares if it’s slathered in butter! I have learned infinite amounts about myself this past year. It took me watching that movie, watching Julie go through a change, to see myself changed for the better. Now I can honestly say that the bad times did NOT outweigh the good. At some points I thought they may, but what is in the past is in the past and I have so much to be thankful for and so much more fun to have! I feel that now. I may never know what I want to be when I grow up, but at least I’ve got something I love that will always be around. I’m surrounded by a circle of good friends, family, and food and that’s how it’s gonna stay.
So if you actually read that, congrats! And if you’re looking for the Brownie Krispies, go to town–all I gotta say about them is that they were great. Possibly one of my favorite things I’ve made. Bake ’em!
Adapted from One Ordinary Day
1 box brownie mix + additional ingredients to bake brownies according to package directions (I made these homemade as a base)
4 c. mini marshmallows
1 1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. butter
2 c. crispy rice cereal
Bake brownies according to package directions in a greased 9×13″ baking pan. Two minutes before they are supposed to be baked, pull brownies from the oven and sprinkle marshmallows across top. Return to oven for 2 minutes to soften marshmallows. Remove from oven and spread marshmallows across top of brownies. Let cool completely.
Prepare crispy topping: combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a bowl. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds at a time until mixture is melted and smooth. Add cereal and stir to coat. Pour over marshmallow layer and spread evenly. Place brownies in the refrigerator for at least an hour until chilled. This helps make them easy to cut and makes them a little less messy to eat.
I hope you ALL go see Julie & Julia, BON APPETIT!
and Bon Eating,