Warning! Spoiler alert!

Sometimes I like to imagine that school still works where the semester starts out easy and the load gradually picks up. Weeks like this past one (the second week of classes) remind me that in grad school, there is no slowing down ever. Hence I found myself dreadfully overbooked, and completely out of clean socks.

The workout schedule is holding up well, but that doesn't say much yet, again considering that this is only week 2. My goal is to not be a one-month wonder, as my friend Tyler puts it, and to keep this up so I can improve my circulation and just be in better shape by the end of the semester. I've also started running a little bit, as a result of peer pressure and a friend who promised she'd pace me (which means I'm looking into getting a flash MP3 player). Today was an extra (but not serious) exercise time: a bunch of us went to open skate at the UI ice arena. The nice thing about this is that admission for students is free, and skate rentals are a dollar. Now, I'm used to "cheap" skating costing $5, so I'm pretty thrilled. If I can do this a few more times and my ankles hold up ok, I might look into buying my own skates, but we'll see.

Other things... well... I realized yesterday that the reason my apartment has been so cold is the same reason that it's so ugly: vertical blinds over a sliding glass door. I currently have blankets hanging over the blinds to keep the heat in, but I've decided that it's time to take the next decorating step and get curtains. I'm thinking these would be awesome, but of course doing this will mean either taking down the vertical blinds (I need to see if I can because that would be ideal) or doing a rig to cover them, and then finding all the appropriate tools for the project. Man, having a non-undergrad apartment is serious work.

Fortunately, Saturday is my getting-other-things-done day, so I had time for a cooking experiment I've been wanting to do for a while. A few weeks ago I was trawling around the internet when I found a recipe for Crabmeat Brie Soup. Now, I realize that Brie is not the favorite cheese of the masses, but I enjoy its taste, and I've had different kinds of Brie soup or stew at restaurants before that I really liked. This recipe seemed the most accessible (and didn't have cooked carrots in it, which I absolutely require), and while it called for a few interesting ingredients, they were all things I could get at the grocery store. Pictured above is probably the most impressive ingredient, a toe of elephant garlic. Yes, that is garlic. For normal garlic, a piece like that is called a clove, but this is called a toe (and it's larger than one, too). The recipe also calls for cognac, which means that I have half a bottle of brandy sitting in my apartment, and I have to figure out what to do with the rest of it.

So I followed the recipe and finished my soup, and it is soooo delicious, but hardly healthy at all. That's okay, though. I'll just have to not make it often, which will work out because some of the ingredients are expensive and the cooking process is very time-consuming.

This week's cookies, on the other hand, were pretty quick to make, and this is where my spoiler alert comes in. These are called Surprise cookies (31), because there's a special surprise hidden inside the chocolate layers! The base cookie is flavored with unsweetened cocoa and your normal cookie materials: sugar, butter, flour, etc. After baking them for about 8 minutes, I had to take them out of the oven and smoosh half a marshmallow on top of each, then put them back in the oven for a couple minutes.

After cooling the cookies all the way, I made chocolate frosting to cover the marshmallows so you don't know they're there. Of course, I think it's a little suspicious to have frosting glooped on top of these cookies, but we'll see if it's actually a surprise when I share them at school tomorrow. Personally, I find that the frosting is so strong that it's taste kind of overwhelms everything else, including the marshmallow, and I fear that anyone who is not sensitive to texture won't notice the middle layer at all.

But worrying will do me no good. I have quizzes to grade, and wave functions to solve... it's a busy time, I'm a busy girl, and so even now I've got to run off to a friends' to watch the Superbowl and get work done (although, I'm not sure why I'm going to watch, since I don't really care about the game... um. Go Team!?).


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