Bloggers! Cookies! Interviews!

1 Dec

As you may remember, Neil Kramer, of Citizen of the Month, relaunched the Great Interview Experiment, which asks, “”Wouldn’t it be cool, if for one day, we really did believe that everyone really did have an important story to tell online?” All of us that put our name in were given a blogger to interview and a blogger that would interview us.

I was interviewed by Carmen of Mom to the Screaming Masses, and then I interviewed Natalie of Midlife Natalie. Then, the person who was supposed to interview Carmen never followed through, which is totally their loss because learning more about her has been a highlight of my month. I offered to take over the interview and, well, here you go:

1. So, six kids! Was that always the plan?

Well, yes and no. According to my husband, I told him that I wanted a big family right after we got married. I don’t remember or believe it. I love kids, though, and so it just seemed like a good fit. I have two sisters and my mom did day care, so there were always about 8 kids around. It was a lot of fun. I wish, though, that someone had told me two VERY important facts about big families: how much time I’d spend at the doctor’s office, and how much STUFF there would be strewn around my house on a daily – make that hourly – basis. I can’t tell you how much stuff I toss away, just because I’m tired of telling them to pick it up.

2. In your “100 Things About Me” list you mention the big tattoo on your back. What is it? Did you ever get another one?

It’s on the bottom half of my back – an area that my lovely niece has so eloquently reminded everyone in my family is a tramp stamp. The middle is an Irish Trinity Knot, for my Irish heritage, and from hip to hip is Ivy (for fidelity) and four pink flowers (for 4 girls children) and two blue flowers (for 2 boys). I have another tattoo – 7 pink hearts on my neck – and I’m planning a third to cover a large scar from melanoma on my arm. I don’t know what it will be, though.

3. You also mention that you read magazines front to back. Which ones?

No, I read them back to front. Just about every magazine I get – except for Real Simple, because, thanks to the cheat sheet that they put in the back, it’d spoil the entire thing. I’m a big magazine junkie – it’s a big bone of contention between me and my husband. I really like Women’s Health, Shape, Prevention, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, and probably a bunch of others that I’ve forgotten.

4. What is the number one lesson that you have learned from weight loss?

That it never, ever, ever stops. I thought that once I lost weight, it’d be over and done and I could just move on to the next thing. But there is no next thing. Weight loss is tough, but maintenance is even more difficult. It goes on forever.

5. You are a pretty prolific blogger. Where do you gather inspiration?

I spend a lot of time online, looking at other blogs and reading Twitter and Facebook. I also talk a lot, read more than that, and have a VERY active imagination and mind that just.never.shuts.up.or.off

6. Name the first five places you visit when you log on.

Facebook, Twitter, Blogher, Gmail and a handful of blogs. There’s not one that comes out ahead of any other.

7. What is your favorite part of Love, Actually?

I love the scenes between the porn stars, where they are getting to know each other with social small talk while simulating sex acts. My favorite scene, though, would have to be at the end, when you see everyone’s story lines wrapped up in the airport. That scene is equal to Keira Knightley opening the door to find Andrew Lincoln holding a set of cards proclaiming his love for her. The entire movie amazes me and there is so much to enjoy that I never grow tired of it.

8. What does a typical day look like for you?

I wrote a little about a typical day here. But, really, no day is typical. I spend a lot of time online, cooking and doing laundry, and those are the only two constants in my days.

9. If you were trapped somewhere for a long time, would you rather have a book, television, or Twitter?

A good book. My favorite series is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I have read the entire series at least 10 times and never ever grow tired of it. If I couldn’t pick a book, it’s probably be Twitter.

10. You mention that the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe has been elusive. Any progress?

Yup. I found the best cookies ever. The recipe came from the New York Times. It’s a fussy recipe, requiring that it be chilled for 24 hours before baking – and I struggle here, because I can avoid the baked cookies easily, but the dough gets me every.single.time. I also don’t worry about using the disks that the recipe calls for, but I break up one Ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate bar into chunks and use half a bag of milk chocolate chips and then a 1/4 bag each of dark chocolate chips and 1/4 bag of semi sweet chocolate chunks. I think that the sea salt and the mix of chocolates, as well as the refrigeration, are what makes the cookies.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Jacques Torres

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
Sea salt (your best)

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

***

So there you have, it you guys. An introduction to a fun new blogger, and a chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve made them, so I can vouch for their perfectness.

Like I’ve said before, I’m a giver!

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9 Responses to “Bloggers! Cookies! Interviews!”

  1. mepsipax 12/01/2009 at 10:01 am #

    Glad to hear you participated. I am doing this too. Hopefully I will actually get interviewed. I am making my interview questions now. Good job.

    • lswan 12/03/2009 at 8:54 pm #

      Thanks! Let me know when your interview is up!

  2. lswan 12/01/2009 at 10:02 am #

    Thank you!

  3. Jack 12/01/2009 at 12:50 pm #

    I have to try that recipe out. The quest for the perfect cookie never ends.

    • lswan 12/03/2009 at 8:55 pm #

      They really are divine. Something about letting the flavors mingle overnight really makes a difference.

  4. amie 12/02/2009 at 3:41 am #

    Love love love Carmen & her blog. Mom to Screaming Masses is where I first heard of yours- 6 degrees and all that.

    • lswan 12/03/2009 at 8:56 pm #

      Me too, I am so glad I found her!

  5. Annika 12/03/2009 at 6:00 pm #

    Those cookies sound amazing! Thanks for the interview – your questions were great. I’ve been reading Carmen’s blog forever and still learned new stuff here.

    • lswan 12/03/2009 at 8:56 pm #

      Thank you, I had fun with this.

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