brownie bottom pumpkin cheesecake squares

I sometimes can’t help but laugh at myself. Well, “sometimes” is a bit of an understatement. Usually, though, it’s due largely to some sort of public embarrassment or Noosh publicizing my frequent foot-in-mouth slip-ups in the form of Facebook statuses for all of our mutual friends to shake their heads in dismay over.

(I’m sure many of my readers can attest.)

But other times, I put my hands on my hips, take a glance around the absurdity of the knick-knacks lining the walls and littering the floor of our apartment, and I can’t help but grin. It’s a caricature, really, of all the things Noosh and I have been obsessed with over the course of our time living together. (We’ve known each other for 12 years, and we still find ways to surprise ourselves with incredulity. The testament of a true friend.) Scrolls of Hogwarts houses sitting above the sofa; a gloriously life-sized, 6’2 cardboard cut-out of Tenth Doctor; TV shelf piled high with video game cases and movies from the ‘guy section’ of our cabinet, topped with the occasional chick-flick for good measure.

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pumpkin bars with maple cream cheese frosting

It’s a nice time of year. And not even because of the wool coats and bright scarves, coffee mugs and Louis Armstrong blaring merrily in every cafe, and time off from classes for a few days’ respite with family fast-approaching.

Those are all nice too, of course. Sensory manifestations of why I adore autumn and the holiday season. But even more than all that, it’s a nice time of year.

I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday, working on a paper after my excursion downtown, a cup of pomegranate tea in hand as uni-student-occupied-tables covered in Macs and textbooks littered the Starbucks cafe (a common sight).

And behind me I heard a mum and child walk by – a son around 5 years old, 6 at most – talking about Christmas presents for dad and going to the grocery store to buy ingredients for gingerbread cookies and “how about this nice new book for your sister?”

I hadn’t even realized that I had stopped typing, trying my damnedest not to look too overt in my eavesdropping. I caught the eye of the woman sitting next to me – alone, save for the latest copy of the Times and a plate of biscotti – and she gave me a knowing smile. I returned it, heart unexpectedly lightened.

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apple pie cheesecake bars

So, some of you may notice…this isn’t really a new post. By that I mean, I didn’t make these. I mean, I did make them, just not today. Or this month. Or this calendar year.

Yeah, I decided that my egregiously lengthy hiatuses between updates needed to be broken up somehow, but I’ve not had the time to actually sit down and bake something. So, a great big apology, dear readers, but at least you can have some pretty photos in the mean time. Why am I reposting these, specifically? Well, easy:

  1. It’s almost autumn, and
  2. They are literally one of the most delicious things on the planet, and you are not really living until you’ve had one.

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nanaimo bars

[I’d like to preface this post by dedicating it fully to a good friend of mine, O, who tells me, every time she sees me, in no uncertain terms, that I do not blog enough. So, darling, here you go!]

Today is, really, my last free day before the start of the semester. A few hours of work training and a mad rush to skim hundreds of pages of philosophy for thesis research – that I absolutely should have been doing over the past 12 weeks but blew off to, instead, sleep and read copious amounts of unrelated, though arguably more compelling, fiction literature – awaits tomorrow, with classes beginning on Tuesday. So, I figured I’d spend it baking, since it’ll probably be a while until I have some time to do it again (my deepest regret, O).

If you know me from the old blog, you’ll know that I’ve attempted these things before. They weren’t totally perfect during my last attempt, but I wanted to
a) continue riding the Canadian high I’ve been enjoying since last week, and
b) raise them to my unnecessarily high expectations for culinary aesthetic perfection.

It resulted in a pretty commendable second attempt, if I do say so myself.

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apricot-meringue bars

It’s been pretty slow-going the past few weeks. Not because there’s nothing much to do, but because I spend every hour of the day not doing any of the things I should be doing. Like thesis research, for example. But I figure, summer’s not over yet, so there’s always time to get it done before fall term starts.

Someone needs to tell me that the above excuse is not going to be acceptable the day before fall term starts.

Instead, my days have been filled with interning, work, and books. Not that any of this is problematic in the least. Plus, I figure, as long as I keep buying books having to do with my thesis topic, it’s basically like I’m doing the research, right? Never mind the totally neglected stack of textbooks waiting to be opened, but there’s all the time in the world for that.

In any case, it’s been fun. A trip to the White House here, a Death Cab for Cutie concert there, a few good meals all around, and a short little baking adventure.

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rhubarb bakewell slices

I’m not sure if you recall, but rhubarb has been the bane of my culinary existence for the past three or four years. Not because I dislike the thing, but because I’d never been able to find it. Between Whole Foods and farmer’s markets, you’d think I’d catch a glimpse of it at some point, but no. It was like the vegetable that always eluded me; either snatched up by other shoppers before I could make my trek downtown, or actually just invisible.

By early May, I was starting to think it didn’t actually exist and that the entire rhubarb market was a fabrication designed specifically to make me think I was insane.

It almost worked.

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