The Peanut Butter Cookie Waffle

Peanut Butter Cookie Waffle

I’ve been wanting peanut butter cookies for a while, an odd craving, to be sure, but so it goes. I’ve also had this feeling that I should start a writer’s group, I’m not sure why, but it’s a thing writers do, and I’ve been wondering if it wouldn’t be good for me to do so as well. Last, but not least, I want to waffle things. Because I can.

I found three writers who I greatly respect and who also enjoy carbs as much as I do. It’s hard to get four adults in one place, especially when they’re so free range, but I was able to wrangle two of them and getting together seemed as good an excuse as any to waffle up some peanut butter cookie dough. I knew these writers would be game, even if the wafflookies were a bust.

Here’s the peanut butter cookie recipe I used. I chose a flour recipe because I was concerned that the softer, flourless doughs wouldn’t release properly from the waffle iron. I rolled the dough into cookie sized balls and pressed them on the waffle iron, then let them cook until they were golden brown. It’s a little tricky to know when to pull them off and I let one or two of them cook for too long. Brushing the iron with a little oil is always good at the start of any waffling session, but these things didn’t stick much as the dough is so oily.

Even with the flour, the finished wafflookie was very soft; I had to release the edges and lift it carefully with a spatula. Once they’d cooled, though, they developed a nice crunch. I ate way too many of them while my writer posse talked about pitching stories, how to write about people you know, the cost of real estate in Seattle, what to read, and about the amazing rainbows that appeared after the hail storm that hit while we were at my kitchen table. Peanut butter cookie waffles (and their accompanying topics) would be great with ice cream or Nutella or just spread with jam.

If you waffle your own, do report back, I’d like to know what you learned.

 

From the Archives: It’s “Thank the Passports with Purpose Sponsors” Day

We’re coming to the end of our first week of Passports with Purpose and we’re about 2000 dollars short of our goal. Considering this is only the fourth day we’ve been open, this is kind of amazing. Certainly, we felt confident that we’d be able to succeed, but it’s worth noting that we couldn’t have had this huge head start with out the generosity of our sponsors. You won’t be too surprised to learn that I have more than a one-off relationship with some of these folks, I’ve added some personal notes to the sponsor boilerplate that’s included here. If you’re so inclined, do click through and find out what these folks do — we couldn’t have the amazing success we’ve had so far with this year’s Passports with Purpose without their help.

Platinum Sponsor

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Virtuoso is the industry’s leading leisure travel network. This by-invitation-only organization comprises more than 6,000 elite travel advisers associated with over 300 agencies in 22 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, as well as over 1,000 of the world’s best travel providers and premier destinations.

Being a client of a Virtuoso travel adviser means your travels will be customized to your specific desires by a foremost expert, and that you’ll be recognized as one of the most prestigious guests in the world with all the privileged access, perks and service that implies.

Silver Sponsors

Got Passport: Will Travel, We’ll Serve
Living Small, Giving Large. We are a family of three, with a passion for travel, seeking out new experiences, meeting new people, and living simply.

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Austin, Texas-based HomeAway, Inc. operates the world’s leading and most-established vacation rental websites around the world, including HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com. With 425,000 global listings, the company connects homeowners and property managers with travelers who seek the space, value and amenities of vacation rental homes as an alternative to hotels. HomeAway is committed to providing the safest marketplace for vacation rentals offering the Carefree Rental Guarantee and Reviews, and has contributed significantly to the popularity of the vacation rental industry.

A personal note: I met the HomeAway crew last spring in Austin and they sponsored our Chicago stay this summer. But I’m a fan of their service, regardless, and I’ve just booked a weekend stay in Tucson using the HomeAway site. I think they’re great.

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Named one of Travel+Leisure’s Top Travel Websites of 2009, Raveable.com is the fastest way to find the perfect hotel. Raveable.com is the first and only website that creates hotel review summaries based on the common rants and raves found in millions of online hotel reviews.

A personal note: Raveable has a program that’s supposed to help drive traffic to your blog and I participate in that program. The jury is out on the traffic results, but I’ve met one of the founders and he’s a great guy, I believe that he has tried to create a system that works well for bloggers and for his business. You can check out their program here. Also, they’re doing a nice job of sharing their participant’s posts on Twitter.

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Travelfish.org produces original travel content for the independent traveller heading to Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Recommended by Rough Guides, Footprint, Lonely Planet and others.

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TravellersPoint is a vibrant travel community dedicated to seriously passionate travellers. Upload photos, create a blog or travel map, share travel tips in the forums, and contribute to the wiki travel guide.

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UpTake is a travel search and discovery site – the first step for travelers to decide where to go, where to stay or what to do. We help users make informed decisions about what best fits their travel preferences. We scoured more than 5,000 sites to collect 775,000 places to go, things to do and places to stay in the U.S. Then we analyzed and organized over 20 million travelers’ opinions to enable search based on exact travel requirements and preferences. See about UpTake for more information about our company.

A personal note: I’m on the blogger advisory board for Uptake. I joke that this means that I tell them what I think and then, they ignore it. Both Elliott Ng (since decamped for new ventures) and Pat Jenkins would argue that I’m wrong. Uptake sees the financial potential in the work that travel bloggers are doing and have created the Uptake travelblog network to support that view. I really enjoy getting to hang out with Elliott and Pat whenever I get the chance. Business stuff aside, they’re swell humans and good company.

Postcard from Traffic Court

I got a speeding ticket for going 27 mph in a 20 zone. The fine was pretty steep, so at a friend’s recommendation, I scheduled a hearing to see if I could get it reduced.

While I was waiting my turn, the guy next to me, G, a Paiute Indian (he told me so), introduced himself and gave me a fist bump. He then told me a bunch of excellent small stories, about jumping freights and how his gramma taught him not to smoke and about his work as a longshoreman loading the cruise ships and how one time, right after he’d read a story about key lime pie — “They have this huge festival. In Florida!” — he was loading a pallet of limes on the ship and the chef gave him the most gorgeous serving of key lime pie he’d ever had, with all the fancy presentation and a tiny perfect mint leaf. He grew up near Lake Tahoe. “We had some land there,” he said, “well, you know, not like it was supposed to be our land, but we had a place there…”He just shook his head a little, not angry, but as though I understood all the history in that tiny remark.

When I was called to appear, he offered me an apple for the judge. “I’ve got an extra one, if you need it!” I declined, but I could not have been more charmed.

The judge reduced my fine to the lowest allowed by the books. It took about five minutes. My new friend was still in the lobby. “I guess you didn’t need my luck!” he said. “That was fast!” But I think he was wrong, I’m pretty sure the goodwill the judge showed me came from the sunshine I brought in to the hearing with me.

I rode my bike home under a bright blue sky. I’m not saying you should go to traffic court, but if you have to, this is how it should go down.

Backyard, Saturday

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I’m shooting a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60. (That’s an affiliate link. If you buy, I get something, but the price stays the same.)

This new Lumix is an upgrade from my older Lumix which is getting sluggish and behaving badly, though I loved, loved, loved shooting it this winter; I didn’t touch my Nikon. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to use a camera that shoots this kind of quality and fits in your back pocket.

Nope, I don’t work for Lumix, nope, they don’t even know I exist. But yeah, I love this thing.

 

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I’m Going to Trinidad

My friend A. was invited on a press trip and could not go, so he recommended the organizers take me instead. “You’ll love it,” he said, “the music there is amazing. You should go.”

I filled out the paperwork and traded email with the PR gal who’s organizing the trip. “I don’t have an assignment, all my stuff is freelance and if I pitch stories before the trip, they’ll be turned down. I can’t promise you any coverage besides on my blog. But hey, here’s my  portfolio…”

She was totally okay with that, but I hesitated for a few days. Junkets are weird. You go on a trip organized by a provider you didn’t choose with people you didn’t choose to places you didn’t choose. There are massive perks, of course, you get nice hotels and nice dinners and if you’re lucky — and I have been — you meet some nice people.

But they’re not great for travel stories. I do my best work when I travel alone and social media fatigue, that’s a real thing, editors won’t take stories from overly-hyped destinations.  I recently ran into friends who were off to Hawaii with 20 other new media types and my immediate reaction upon hearing this was, “Welp, I won’t be trying to place any Hawaii stories any time soon.” Junkets are a minefield for me, but A’s enthusiasm won out. When a well traveled writer friend wants you to write about a place he loves, that’s a compelling reason to say yes. So I did, and I now have plane tickets.

(Anyone got United Airlines upgrade certificates they’d like to unload? My flights and seats are terrible.)

Once I said yes, it occurred to me that I know hardly anything at all about Trinidad. I figured out some historical basics because I know three or four things about history, and then I did some research. Right now, this is what I understand — not much — about Trinidad.

  • Like much of the Caribbean, Trinidad was once a slave worked sugar plantation economy. Once slavery was outlawed, the British imported indentured workers from India (a kinder, gentler slavery, she says, rolling her eyes). Upon learning about the Indian population, I could think of one thing only, please forgive me, but it was this: The food must be amazing.
  • The Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipul is from Trinidad. He wrote one of my earliest favorite travel reads — I read his Among the Believers side by side with Paul Theroux’s Great Railway Bazaar. I’m currently reading A House for Mr. Biswas, about an Indian family in Trinidad.
  • Modern day Trinidad’s economy is driven by oil. I don’t know why I was surprised by this. Trinidad is just off the coast of Venezuela and their oil industry is huge. I’m an electric bike riding fish-hugger, so I have a lot of questions about drilling and the environment in this part of the world.
  • The steel drum hails from Trinidad. I know nothing about playing percussion, but I tell you what, if there’s a lesson, I am going to be the first to volunteer. I’m no phenom as a musician, but I do know one thing: my timing is good. So I AM IN.
  • There’s a pitch lake. It’s a similar geologic phenomenon to the La Brea tar pits. It’s a whopping natural deposit of asphalt. Tourists find it interesting because it’s so odd, but the stuff I read by locals sure makes it sound like they are over it, can we just go get lunch, already?
  • Angostura bitters — an essential cocktail ingredient — are produced in Trinidad. There’s an Angostura rum, too, and I have no idea if that’s something I want.
  • There are either 13 or 17 species of hummingbirds in the twin islands that make up Trinidad and Tobago. The trip I’m going on is focused on food, but I can not promise I will not stalk every single species of hummer while I’m there, possibly causing a problem for my companions. “Mandel. Get in the van.” “Five more minutes, I’m trying to snap this tufted coquette, you guys, have you SEEN the tufted coquette? THIS IS A RIDICULOUS BIRD.”

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Tufted Coquette by Steve Garvie via Wikimedia, Creative Commons

So, yeah. I’m going to Trinidad. Anything you think I should know?