I’ve discussed my love of self-help books in the past. Whether they’re about work, writing, happiness, what have you…if it’s about self-improvement, I will probably read it/listen to it in my car. We can get into the (weird, cynical, and completely unwarranted!)stigma around self-help books later. I know that, for me, they’ve been an enormous help. Over the past year, self-help books have helped me change my attitude towards myself and actually start accomplishing the things I’ve wanted to do my whole life. It’s kind of amazing!
Anyway, since I’m constantly listening to podcasts about creativity, reading books about achieving your goals, listening to audiobooks about writing and reading generically positive “you can do it, girl!” websites, I thought maybe I should share with you guys the things I’m learning. Hence LADY TIPS, which I like because it almost sounds dirty, but I don’t know why. Like, I’m not even going to let my brain go down that path to figure it out. If I found some nugget of wisdom through a book, website, or podcast I’ll link to it, but today’s Lady Tip just came from my own life. That will be rare, because I do not often learn from either my mistakes or my successes (end self-deprecating aside). And anyway, who do I think I am, Oprah (oh, hold on, it’s still going)? We’re just talking about the things I’m doing to make my life better/be a better friend/produce more/write more.
Lady Tip #1: Bake a Little Something For Your Guests
I don’t keep snack food in my house. I know, it sounds like a nonstop party around here…no snacks AND no TV? Who wants to visit? Since I don’t want any hungry guests to rummage through my cabinets and be like, “Umm, I guess I’ll eat this can of beans?” I always try to bake a little somethin’ somethin’ if I know a friend is coming around.
My ultimate model of hospitality is my mom. She will drop everything to make a person feel at home. Even if that means making one of her famous turkey-bacon sandwiches at 11 p.m, or even if that means buying ingredients she would never normally have in the house for someone with a dietary restriction. You will, guaranteed, always leave her house with a bag of cookies or a plate of food.
I’d like to have at least a little bit of that welcoming warmth in my place, even though I definitely can’t compete. So I always try to have something baked when people show up. Brownies, cake, cookies, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes I forget or run out of time, and I always regret it when that happens. It’s a quick thing you can do for a friend that says, “I’m glad you’re here!”
Of course, it’s important to make something your friend can ACTUALLY EAT. Very important! For example, I know Lauren doesn’t like broccoli (I KNOW!), so I would not make broccoli cookies for her. I wouldn’t make broccoli cookies anyway because those sound gross. Just kidding, I would totally make them! Please send any and all broccoli cookie recipes to welcometoladyville(at)gmail(dot)com!
My gal pal Jayne came over this weekend, and she is not a Sugar Eater. I wanted to bake something sweet she’d be able to eat, so I remembered a recipe I make often when I need a quick cookie. There are only four ingredients: peanut butter, sugar, an egg, and vanilla. I remembered seeing Paula Deen’s recipe for these cookies, which used sugar substitute. Bingo! I decided to use natural peanut butter to go with the unnatural sweetener.
Magical Peanut Butter Cookies
from Paula Deen
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar replacement, plus extra for doing those fun little fork criss-cross things (Paula recommends Splenda)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet.
In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, 1 cup sugar replacement, the egg, and vanilla, and stir well with a spoon. Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. With a fork, dipped in sugar replacement to prevent sticking, press a crisscross design on each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining sugar replacement. Cool slightly before removing from pan.
Note: I typically make these using real sugar, and I personally prefer them that way. But then again, I’m a big ol’ sugar eater. They were a little crumbly this time around, but they got the job done.