Monthly Archives: March 2013

What’s getting us through the week

We all have those work weeks that are long and unending (okay all of them) and occasionally you need a little pick me up, something that can reminds you that outside of your temperature controlled office, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the weekend is only a few days away!

Shianne and I thought we would share ours, just in case you’re looking for something else to cheer you up as we approach Friday at 5:00pm

Shianne says:

1.       Green Tea

Do you think I have enough here at the office to last??

 I’ve been fighting off the onset of a  cold for over a week now. I thought I had gotten rid of it…but it came back with a vengeance after this weekend. I’m not full-on sick (although some may disagree), but I’m determined not to be – especially with such important events coming up at work next week. So I’ve been doing my due diligence and skipping the gym in favor of yoga, getting lots of sleep, and taking NyQuil before bed…but what’s REALLY been getting me through the week is Green Tea.

Defines my life this week,, work & tea!

Seriously, this stuff is magic. I don’t know why I’ve only just discovered this greatness, but I’m so glad I did. Adding a little honey and sugar to a warm cup of tea has made every morning this week much more bearable. AND it’s the perfect amount of caffeine, since everyone knows I’m the last person on the planet who needs to be drinking coffee!

2.       The Lonely Island

Lonely Island

I don’t know how or why this happened. But I’m currently OBSESSED with The Lonely Island. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved them, but this week I’ve been listening to them as casual background music at work and to wake me up on my morning metro rides.

My old school iPod that holds a zillion songs playing one of my lonely island favorites

There’s something about the hilarity of Lonely Island that just makes any day better – and since I’ve been feeling so weird lately and super stressed personally, they’ve pretty much been keeping me sane. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta blast a little silly music to loosen you up after a long day at work!

 Elyse says:

1. Chocolate Covered Coconut Macaroons

If you say my post about making matzoh ball soup, you’d know that I’m currently participating in the tradition and eating only Passover friendly foods, which are unfortunately a little bland. Luckily, one thing exists that makes me smile every time I eat one — Dark Chocolate Covered Macaroons. The coconut, the chocolate, its just all so amazing..basically a mounds bar but kosher for Passover. Yummm

2. Smash

What is it about this show, its not the story line, the outfits, or even the cast (although they are pretty amazing) but something about it never fails to pick up my spirits.  I don’t watch Glee ever, but Smash somehow I hate to miss. Anyways, it makes NYC look fabulous, and I more or less want to be best friends with Megan Hilty. If you haven’t seen it yet, its almost always on demand and an episode or two with a glass of wine and you’ll be cheery in no time!

& We both agree on:

The Voice

no.. we want you all!

We’ve both loved this show for a while now, but with Shakira and Usher joining the team this season – we’re officially obsessed! (Seriously, top 3 men in the entertainment industry on TV all the time…)

 It’s always good to have a couple of comfort items to get you through the week – what do you use?

x S&E

Categories: Interesting, Self Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let my people go…eat Matzah Ball Soup!

My friends, the time is upon us…

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It sneaks up on my ever year but its Passover time once more! For us Jews, that means 8 days of no leavened bread. Including (as I have been asked) — crackers, cookies, brownies, tortillas, pancakes etc. Things that you might forget about when thinking “bread”. I don’t really have much of a religious connection down here but it feels good to keep with tradition so I ran up to my local jewish market (which is beyond convenient if you’re in cleveland park..) and stocked up on some necessities. Think of it as a jew enforced low carb died.

I realized that I’ve never made  my own Matzah Ball Soup before and figured, hey why not. Its a family fave! So without further adieu …

My Attempt at Matzah Ball Soup
(from a box)

You will need:

A Ball/Soup Mix. Manischewitz is a classic. Also Water, Eggs and Olive Oil.

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 Make the balls mix. This basically consists of mixing 2 eggs, the Matzah meal mix and some oil together.

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MY SECRET INGREDIENT.

You want those guys to be fluffy, not hard as a rock the way the are when they come from a jar. The secret is some seltzer water!! Just a splash is going to make a huge difference and if you’re not too concerned with formalities of Passover, throw in some baking soda. I won’t tell!

After hanging out in the fridge for 20 minutes, its time to roll them into 1 inch diameter balls.

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Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water and put in the broth mix. Get to to a sturdy boil and then bring it down to a simmer.

Now its time to cook ’em up!

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Woo steamy! Gently drop them in one by one to your broth mixture

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Once they’re in there, turn the heat to medium and leave them on for 30 + minutes. If you want you can also leave it on low for a few hours to really get big.

When they’re ready, they’ll look like this!

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SO MUCH BIGGER!

Eat some now, eat some later! Add in some veggies if you’re feeling fancy… It’s really THAT easy.

Enjoy!

xE

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

California Dreamin’

“Out on bail fresh outta jail, California dreamin
Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearin hoochies screamin”

Okay so my trip to northern California was not quite like that…

Unforeseen circumstances lead to me flying out to Redding, CA last week and while in general there was a lot to do and not much time for site seeing, I did manage to get a tour of the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay. Redding is about 2.5 hours north of Sacramento and while its way out there, maaan is it beautiful.Like crazy wilderness beautiful.

Most of my pictures don’t do it justice but hopefully you’ll get the idea.

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Here is the silly thing about this sundial bridge– it actually works at a sundial. Except due to the earths rotation that only happens during the summer solstice– around June 20th. Woops! Other than that is “the largest working sundial” in the world I believe. Certainly in the U.S.

Coming from the East coast, I’m always amazed by the West coast and their crazy majestic mountains. They just spring up out of nowhere, you go from flat to 10,000 ft elevation in the blink of an eye.

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Clear blue water? We’re not at the Genesee anymore…

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That peak in the back is Lassen Mt. Its actually a volcano that has not erupted since 1915 (scary!). Near by there is Mt. Shasta, one of the tallest mountains in North America, and I somehow missed the chance to get a picture of it. Its wonderfully snow capped and beautiful from all angles though. And it can be seen for miles and miles away– like 2 hours driving distance away. Mt. Washington doesn’t hold a stone to it , falling short at only 6,200 feet tall, but my NH pride will never fully accept that.

Also I had IN N’ OUT burger for the first time– LIFE CHANGED.

xx E

P.S. notice the pictures are a little better than usual! I dug out my old camera so hopefully more non-phone pics in the future:)

Categories: Adventures, Interesting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Round 2 = Redemption! Red Velvet Truffle Brownies

So if you remember a couple weeks ago I attempted to bake these Red Velvet Truffle Brownies and it turned out to be kind of a disaster. Well, now I’ve tried again and this time it was a huge success! I tweaked the recipe a little and wah-la – a delicious treat was born! Seriously these may be my favorite things I’ve ever made (watch out, Hurricane Brownies…).

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Red Velvet Truffle Brownies

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Welp, the first batch may have been a waste, but it was all worth it in the end cause these are SO. FREAKING. GOOD. It’s amazing what a little thought and adjustment can do…the only things I changed this time around was adding cheesecake pudding mix and using 2 eggs instead of 3 to make the dough a little more like a brownie than a cake.

The best part was that these weren’t even that difficult to make! They took longer than normal cookies, but nothing out of the ordinary from my other recipes. And of course you can chill the brownies to speed up the setting process – and some people have even said they taste BETTER chilled anyway…how often do you hear that with baked goods?!

-S

Categories: DIY, Food | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekend Steals Under $30!

I made an impromptu decision to drive home to Pottstown, PA this weekend to visit my mom and best friend from high school who just got engaged and bought a house (CRAZY, right?!). While I was there I stopped by the Philadelphia Premium Outlets because I know there are always such great deals, and I’ve been needing my discount designer fix since I’ve yet to find outlets close enough to DC.

I ended up scoring pretty big and got 3 different, classic, and versatile items – each for under $30! Here’s what I found:

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First and foremost, I’m OBSESSED with J. Crew button-downs…so obviously I had to update my wardrobe with a couple from the spring collection. I love everything that J. Crew makes, but I find it hard to shell out $80 for a blouse…so I was really excited to be at the outlet, where everything was much more reasonably priced. I stared at all the colors and patterns for a while before finally deciding that nothing said ‘fun’and ‘spring’ like pink. The shirts are so comfortable and versatile that I’ll have no problem pairing it with a cute skirt for work and switching seemlessly into classic jeans and Sperrys for dinner after! After all was said and done, and I got my 50% + 15% student discount (sorry I’m not sorry that I still use that…), the shirt was only $30!

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J. Crew Perfect Button-down – $30

Next up was continuing my search for ‘statement jewelry.’ I’ll openly admit that I don’t quite understand this trend, nor do I believe I can pull it off. But I did want to give it a try, so I thought I’d start small with this classic piece from Ann Taylor…which may not even qualify as statement at all. But it’s adorable and will match almost anything. And it was 40% off…so I just had to have it!

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Ann Taylor Necklace – $20

Last step was finding a neutral-pink lip color. I recently fallen in love with the idea of lip stain, so I returned once again to Sephora and asked an associate to help me pick out a pink matte lip stain. After telling me I had “fair” skin (um, never heard that one before…), she directed me to the ‘Makeup Forever’ brand. It was a little more expensive than I had hoped, but I decided to splurge cause I had done so well the rest of the weekend. I couldn’t wait til the morning so I tried it on last night and it is PERFECT. The color is exactly what I had imagined and lasted the entire rest of the night – even through dinner! It’s a little more subtle than my other lip colors, so it’s nice for spring and perfect for work.

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Makeup Forever Lip Stain – $24

The best part about all of these items is that they are classic and versatile – I can already think of a hundred different ways to wear each of them, which is great for keeping things fresh all season.  And they were all under $30!  All-in-all a very successful weekend!

What are you most looking forward to wearing this spring?

xO -S

Categories: Fashion | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Reading List

This past weekend I went to Redding, CA and back. In the process.. I was traveling for around 15 hours on the way there and 12 on the way back (silly time change). But seriously, it was a real journey and one of the best things to make a plane ride or a 2 hour lay over go? A great book.

There have been a couple enjoyable reads in my cache recently, so I thought I’d share my reviews in case you’re looking to drive into a new story or just kill some time on the morning metro commute.

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I cant remember if I suggested this book earlier or not, but I love historical fiction and this book has it all — love, hate, fights, magic tricks. Its a light read that will only take you a few days but you’ll enjoy it immensely. It made me want to go back to the circus and wish that places like this really did exist.

2. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This is the semi fictional story of Ernest Hemingway first wife when he was a struggling writer living in Paris. Based off of their letters, its an interesting insight into the character of Hemingway  as well as Paris in the 1920’s. A bit darker, this story is very much about giving up everything for someone but its a story line  most can associate with in some way or another.

3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I may be behind on the curve here since this is now a movie with Tom Hanks, Hallie Barry, Hugh Grant and a few other big names… but the trailer inspired me to pick up the book first before reading the movie. Whatever I thought I understood.. I didn’t and while you’re going to be beyond confused as to whats going on in the first few chapters, it all comes around. Trust me! This book also has a little of everything (see a theme here with my choices?) and reading before a movie is always the best way to go.

Have anything you’re reading that you think we’d enjoy? Let us know!!

xxE

Categories: Interesting, Self Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CPAC 2013 at National Harbor

*First I have got to apologize for the absolutely terrible picture quality in the post…my excitement paired with my crappy iPhone camera did not serve me well this weekend…*

For you non-politicos out there – CPAC refers to the Conservative Political Action Conference, where thousands of conservatives gather each year to attend workshops, panels, and speeches by some of the best conservative lawmakers, commentators, journalists, and policy wonks.

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Gaylord National Hotel right on the water at National Harbor!

This weekend was all I needed to ensure that I am definitely in the right place. There’s nothing quite like being around thousands of people from all over the country that are so passionate about the same things you’re passionate about!

We left work early on Friday to head over to CPAC as a team, which was awesome. Unfortunately we missed some of my favorites – including Rand Paul  Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Mitt Romney…but we still arrived with plenty of time to see my #1 favorite current politician – Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana. Bobby did not hold back at all – firing shots at the Obama Administration, the Republican Party, and NJ Governor Chris Christie.

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BOBBY!!

We attended a couple other workshops Friday evening, and I almost stayed for the dinner with Jeb Bush, but ultimately decided against it because I’ve been fighting off a cold and wanted to make sure I was in perfect shape to endure an entire Saturday of CPAC madness.

We were so excited to see Governor Scott Walker Saturday morning, but unfortunately missed it thanks to a marathon blocking off all the roads downtown (ugh). We did still make it in time to see Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin. Now these aren’t my favorite people in conservative politics, but it was still cool to see them all in person! We also got to see Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, and a rising star in politics. If you haven’t heard anything from him yet,  you should definitely look him up – he is really inspiring and eloquent in his speech.

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the PACKED room! Note the press/media all on their computers on the right…so cool

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Sarah Palin herself!

On top of the programming being awesome, I finally got a chance to visit National Harbor! Being that it is all the way out in Prince George’s County, I’ve had no incentive to get down there all this time, so it was awesome to finally have a reason! It’s basically a little town filled with shops and restaurants on the outskirts of the city. I wish we had more time to explore the area, but I’ll definitely be making a trip back sooner rather than later.

The highlight of National Harbor is the Awakening Statue, which surprisingly has no real story behind it other than a man struggling to break out of the ground…

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The little kids playing on it was too much to handle

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We took a short break from all the political jargon to walk around and grab lunch at Rosa Mexicano. I was a little disappointed with the lack of options, but finally settled on tortilla soup and chicken taquitos, which were delicious. Not to mention their super strong pomegranate margaritas!  On the way back to the hotel we came across one of my favorite stores, America!, and someone was clever enough to put this guy out front:

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Making my friends pose with Obama

We went back to the hotel for the last few speeches – Ann Coulter and Ted Cruz, two people I have very different feelings about. Ann Coulter is….an acquired taste, in my opinion. She’s definitely not my go-to source on conservative ideas. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, I admire a lot. He’s young, passionate, and energetic. We both have immigrant fathers and you can tell he really cares about and believes in the policies he promotes, which is important and rare in politics.

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Crazy Ann Coulter

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TED CRUZ!!!

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Standing ovation for Senator Cruz

I’m so inspired and excited from this weekend! I can’t wait to see what the future of the conservative movement holds. This all refers back to our recent post about job hunting. It’s so worth it to spend time finding your passion and applying it to your career. Trust me, life is much more enjoyable when you love your job! My apologies again for the terrible pictures, and for rambling on in this post about politics…I’ll post a cookie recipe soon to make up for it, I swear!

-S

Categories: Local Places, Politics, Work, Work Event | Leave a comment

H Street Country Club

Do you know what the perfect date is, be it friend or romantic? Its mini golf. 

You may have been thinking dinner, a movie, drinks, a play or a concert, maybe even a wizards game (ha definitely kidding there..) but I promise you, its mini golf, putt putt, whatever you want to call it. Its interactive, fun, gets your competitive nature going and in the end its pretty goofy too.

Now H Street Country Club allows you to putt putt your little heart out, with drinks and food available (Mexican food and margaritas no less!) along the way– plus its INDOORS so 12 months of the year, your mini golf dreams are attainable!

Full disclosure… I have yet to go here. Its in the top 3 on my list but some how last weekend whirled by so perhaps this weekend I’ll squeeze in some time and find a group to go with.

UPDATE: Shianne has been! Said it was great! 

Have any of you gone? It looks so fun! I really need to explore H street in general…

Well here are some pictures for now, when I go I’ll update!

Check it out! 

its even DC themed!

pool tables and shuffle board tables for your bar enjoyment

and giant jenga which is quite possibly one of the best bar games around!

 xE

p.s. They have a roof top deck coming for the spring….even better!

Categories: Local Places | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tips for Job Hunters

A few months in the real world doesn’t make either of us experts – we still struggle to balance work, fun, money, and health, but we’ve made it work so far and now we’re here to give tips to people who are in the same position we were in less than a year ago.

*Just a warning – this post will be full of cliches and cheesiness…but we wouldn’t write anything we didn’t think to be true!*

Trying to find a job after graduation can be a pretty pain-staking experience. But it can also be exciting, if you look at it the right way. You could move anywhere, meet new people, and really begin to build your life.

is this where you’re at??

Here’s a few tips on how we made it work:

1. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

Laugh all you want, but it’s so true in almost all aspects of life, including your job search. You can send the same mediocre resume to a thousand companies and hear back from only a few…or, you can really target a few companies and tailor your resume and cover letter for those positions. Use buzz words from the job posting, highlight only the most relevant experience, and mention very specifically what you like about their organization (do they have a specific program/initiative/project currently that you feel especially connected to?).

2. Find your passion.

If you’re only going to send your resume out to a few companies or positions, you need to know which ones. Find a way to combine your technical skills with something you’re passionate about. Companies will have a hard time turning you down when they see that not only do you have the knowledge necessary to fill the position, but also that you are passionate about their mission.

For example, Shianne has known for a while that she wanted to work in events – she’s always on the move, very detail-oriented, and likes to be in control. So when it came to graduation and applying for jobs, she thought about what she was passionate about, which was public policy, and tried to find a way to combine the two. Hence, how she came into her current role in special events at a conservative think tank, the perfect job for her!  She’s not directly involved in formulating policy, but she can use her specific skills to support initiatives she really cares about.

In contrast, Elyse is kind of entirely not too sure what she wants to commit her career path to even after graduating months ago.. was that something you were suppose to figure out in college? We’re so young! There are so many wonderful options out there! What about her dream of  flying fighter jets, is that dead?

(In all honesty, probably yes. Tell yourself that.) 

Should you find yourself in this frame of thought, a few things probably need to happen. You’re going to need to make a plan of things you want in a job and what you want out of life. If work life balance is huge to you, you should consider that in the career and company you look at. If you’re a great people person but not so great a math, consider that too. Make a list of your honest strengths and weaknesses.

and finally…

3. Don’t be afraid to network! 

networking

TALK TO PEOPLE. We’re past the place where a summer internship is going to make or break your career path decision. Talking to people who have the job you think you want is a huge help because it may not be exactly what you thought.. or it could be perfect! Plus, us real world people are surprisingly happy to help out and pass along any knowledge we have or information to connections you want to make. LinkedIn can be an amazingly powerful tool for this — just don’t abuse the power.

Also a suggestion, read some advice from Business InsiderLinkedIn Thought Leaders or this book — What color is my parachute? They can help you think through your wants and needs are and maybe even enlighten you to a career path you did not know existed.

Of course none of this is to say you should be super picky – it is a rough time out there, so if you’re lucky enough to land any job, congrats! But there’s no reason to settle for something you don’t absolutely love when you’re totally capable of doing so much more!

Good luck out there, future grads! And don’t fear, the real world is a lot better than they lead you to believe!

-S&E

Categories: Self Improvement, Work | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

It was requested of me to make my famous Hurricane/Heart Attack Brownies for work this week, however, I felt that I should branch out and try new things. So I tried to make something equally delicious and heart-attack -inducing, but also new and fun. And that is the story of my Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars!

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deadlyyyy

Just a warning – this wasn’t as quick and easy as most of my recipes. The instructions are fairly simple, but it requires some patience and a little extra work. But it’s TOTALLY worth it in the end!

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the crust:
– 1 1/2 cups crumbled graham crackers
– 6 tbsp melted butter

For the cheesecake:
– 8 oz cream cheese
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cookie dough:
– 6 tbsp butter
– 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
– 3 tbsp sugar
– 1/2 tbsp salt
– 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
– 3/4 cup flour
– 1 cup chocolate chips

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a few more ingredients than usual

Directions for the Crust:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line inside of 8×8 pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper

2. Crumble graham crackers into bits until you get 1 1/2 cups

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3. Melt 6 tbsp butter

4. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until combined

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5. Press the mixture into the bottom of your pan

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6. Bake for 6 minutes

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Directions for the cheesecake filling:

1. Cream together 8 oz cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth

2. Mix in egg and  1 1/2 tsp vanilla

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3. Pour mixture on top of graham cracker crust in pan

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Directions for cookie dough:

1. In a large bowl, beat butter, both sugars, salt, and vanilla until combined

2. Mix in flour slowly

3. Mix in chocolate chips

* note – the dough will seem VERY floury to start – I added a little more butter and took to using my hands to mix to make things easier *

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4. Flatten out the dough in your hands and begin placing over the cheesecake filling in the pan

5. The dough should cover the entire pan

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6. Bake on 325 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the dough on top is firm

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SO GOOD

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The ingredients listed are adjustments from the original recipe I used, based on my personal preferences, as well as some minor issues I ran into. These are currently sitting in my apartment just tempting me…here’s to hoping they’ll make it into the office tomorrow….

xO -S

Categories: DIY, Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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