blond[i]es have more fun

I have been on a real baking kick lately.  Last weekend it was a (semi-disastrous) yellow layer cake with chocolate frosting, and today…  it was blondies.  With toasted pecans and white chocolate chips.  HEAVEN.

Still warm…  Mmmmmmmmmmm.

So since you obviously want to make these now (and you should because they’re SUPER easy), here’s the recipe, which I found at Joy of Baking:

White Chocolate Toasted Pecan Blondies
(makes 16 little pieces or 9 big pieces)

3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center of the oven.  Spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick spray.

Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until brown and fragrant.  Remove from oven, let cool, and chop in to pieces.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan (or in a coffee cup in the microwave, if you’re lazy like me), melt the butter.  Let cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat egg and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla extract and then the melted butter.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then on low speed, mix in the flour mixture until incorporated.  Fold in pecans and white chocolate chips.

Pour the batter in to the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for about 25-30 minutes (it was about 20 minutes for me; I have a hot oven).  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.  Let cool before cutting (or not.  I didn’t, surprise surprise.)

Eat.  And eat and eat and eat.

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come and meet those dancing feet

Please allow me to let you in on a little secret: I love to dance.

So imagine my delight and excitement to tell you that this is what I’ll be doing for the next month:

I’ll be performing in a few dance numbers in a local production of 42nd Street! We started rehearsals on Monday, and even though I couldn’t move for two days afterward and I realized that I am more than just a little bit out of shape, I had a wonderful time!

For the next four weeks, I’ll be rehearsing seven days a week leading up to two weekends of performances.  Goodbye, couch potato summer!

a new “happy place”

When I say “find your happy place,” what do you think of?

Green fields with rolling hills?

Flowers, Bambi, and other furry woodland creatures?

Well, I’m not so in to spending time outdoors, so my happy place looks a little more like this:

the Winspear Opera House in the Dallas Arts District

The Winspear Opera House in Dallas, Texas.  Beautiful.  Architectural.  RED.  I walked in the enormous glass doors and immediately fell in love.  Of course, I love most performing arts venues (the closer I am to the stage, the happier I am), but this one is especially amazing.  Definitely a new favorite.

I’m so glad that Dallas finally has a great venue like this.  I can’t wait to go back!

my dad is awesome

I’ll just come right out and say it: I’m a daddy’s girl.  My dad is my hero, and I’m so glad that the calendar has an entire day built in to honor him.

So happy father’s day to a dad who’s totally awesome (even when he forgets to fill out important financial aid forms.)

the only way to start the day

I’m 100% positive that if we all started our mornings with a pep talk like this one, the world would be a better place.

Just makes you smile, doesn’t it?

i am…

… a college student, entering my senior (eek!) year at the University of Texas

… European at heart

… obsessed with the arts

… an aspiring foodie

… a writer

… deathly afraid of anything creepy-crawly

… constantly dancing around my room, in my car, and anywhere else there’s room

… always busy (and I wouldn’t have it any other way)

… excited to welcome you to my blog!  I don’t have a plan, a theme, a rhyme, or a reason for this project, but after blogging for four months during my study abroad program in Paris last spring (http://sarahsaysbonjour.wordpress.com), I realized that I didn’t want to stop writing just because my feet were firmly planted on American soil.  So here I am, armed with an assortment of observations, experiences, occasional snide comments, and even delicious baking experiments to share with you…

But for now, I’ll just leave you with a little somethin’ beautiful:

sunset over the aegean sea.

As they say in France, à bientôt, mes amis! (See you soon, my friends!)