One of my high school friends recently pointed out to me that it has been 10 years since we entered our first year of high school. It just seemed so odd to me that 10 years have already passed since we were those gawky 15 year olds stumbling our way through 9th grade. And this got me thinking…if 15 year old me could see where I am now, would she be happy with where I ended up? My immediate answer was yes. I have a very happy, full life, so of course the 15 year old version of myself would be happy to see that. But I also think she would be pretty surprised and perhaps a bit confused when learning about the career I chose. When I was fifteen I flip flopped back and forth about “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” Some days I wanted to be a chef and other days I wanted to go into musical theatre. But no matter how many times my “dream job” changed it always involved either food or music. If you’ve read this blog for a while, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that food always had a part in my future ambitions. But perhaps the music part is a bit of a surprise. Yet once upon a time, music was a huge part of my life. I started singing when I was 5 years old, and couldn’t really get enough of it.
My high school days were spent in choir practice and voice lessons and there weren’t many things I loved more than singing in front of a big crowd. A pretty odd hobby for someone as shy as I always was, but somehow it just worked. Eventually I retired from my short lived singing career, but my love of music never went away. So I’m sure the fifteen year old me would be surprised that I ended up not as a singer or a chef…but a hotel sales manager. But even though I always scoffed at the idea of working in a hotel and even worse, working in sales, I truly love where I ended up. Because as strange as it may sound, my job actually allows me to be surrounded by both food and theatre. I get to spend half of my time planning catered events and creating menus for my clients. And because my hotel is located in the heart of Detroit’s theatre district, the other half of my time is spent working with the company managers of all of the Broadway musicals and plays that come into town. I even get to attend many of the new shows that visit the city. So I’m hoping fifteen year old Colleen wouldn’t be too disappointed with her 25 year old counterpart.
And even though the “food” part of my job doesn’t exactly involve cooking, I think I make up for that on the weekends. Last weekend I whipped up this sweet blueberry bread, with a few simple ingredients I already had in my kitchen. The bread is cake-like and would be delicious drizzled with a simple lemon glaze. I kept mine simple, but feel free to add a glaze or frosting to sweeten things up a bit.
Ingredients: Makes 1 loaf, Adapted slightly from AllRecipes
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar together until smooth
Beat in milk and oil until well incorporated
In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt and baking powder together
Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture until well combined
Fold in blueberries
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf
I learned a couple of things in high school. One being that no matter what that American Eagle sales associate said, that shirt with the attached vest was not cute. (Even if you wear it with a pleated jean skirt. Also not cute.) Another lesson being that if you are a really good kid (aka incredibly boring) that one time you miss curfew may be more amusing to your parents than anger inducing. But ya gotta let your dad think you actually believe he’s mad. Believe me, it makes it more fun that way. Another lesson from highschool was that a girl needs a group of girlfriends. Because even though guy friends are equally important, they just won’t be able to stomach endless chick flicks that you all pretend to hate, guy friends won’t give you good clothing advice (or maybe they’ll ignore your ridiculous vest too) and they will never appreciate the amount of junk food girls can eat at sleepovers.
I found a great group of high school girlfriends freshman year. LT and I were already a well defined unit, but then we met Hollis and Kerri and we eventually became a group of four. Hollis often compares the four of us to similar fictional groups of four from movies and books. Sex and the City. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Desperate Housewives (really, Hol?) If there were four characters, Hollis always tried to convince us that our personalities were exactly like those of the characters. Except Hollis was always the protaganist. And even though her comparisons were ridiculous, it made it all the more funny. But rather than compare us to some fictional group of girls, I think we’re pretty unique. There’s Kerri, who is literally the sweetest person you’ll ever meet. And Hollis, who is one of the funniest people I know. LT is the wildcard of the group, because we honestly never know what crazy thing she’ll say next. And me? I’m the one who brings the cookies. So when we all got together the other day to catch up and talk about Kerri’s upcoming wedding I whipped up these batch of chocolate chip cookies. It’s funny to think that just a few years ago we were four 15 year olds crowded around the wedding magazine section in Borders discussing our imaginary weddings…and now one of us is actually engaged. When did we suddenly grow up?
These cookies are soft and cake light with a subtle hint of cinnamon. I used some healthier ingredients to make these cookies low in calories and fat, so go ahead and have two. Or three.
Ingredients: Makes 18 cookies
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light agave nectar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon), set aside
In a medium bowl, combine margarine, egg yolk & vanilla extract; mix until just combined
In a small bowl, place egg whites and beat with an electric mixer on high until white and foamy
Gradually add sugar to egg white mixture and beat until mixture becomes white and glossy and soft peaks form
Beat agave nectar into egg white mixture
Fold egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture until just combined
Fold egg mixture into dry ingredients until just combined
Stir in chocolate chips
Place dough by the tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet