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Los Angeles’ Finest

August 19, 2010

Trader Joe’s Mixed Berry Sparkling Water.    

This random beverage has been consuming my thoughts during the long days of Ramadan.  I have no idea why I am craving sparkling water because normally I don’t drink it.  As a matter of fact, I get irritated when I ask for water at a restaurant and the waiter asks me if I’d like a bottle of sparkling or flat for the table.   

I’ll take tap,” I always say with frustration.  This usually coincides with my brother’s reply of, “I’ll have a glass of Los Angeles’ finest.”    

We are a sarcastic bunch, aren’t we?   

So as someone who scoffs when anyone ponies up the $6 for a tiny bottle of Pellegrino I realize I only have karma to blame for my TJ’s Mixed Berry Sparkling Water craving.   

I was also randomly craving cookies, and since Maya was driving me bonkers again we made this recipe not once, but twice in two days:   

As she handled the raw cookie dough Maya insisted that her hands were clean...I simply couldn't find the energy to argue with her.


Double Chocolate Chip Cookies   

1 cup of flour (I used whole wheat)
1/3 cup of baking cocoa (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter, softened (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips   

1. With an electric mixer combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy.
2. Add the egg and blend again until well mixed.
3. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and blend the dry mixture into the wet mixture in small batches.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Using a tablespoon (or the handy scooper we bought at Bed, Bath, and Beyond – see above) drop the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Makes approximately 20 cookies.   

Is it nuts that I am bothered that some of the cookies were not placed on the Silpat equidistantly?


So after nearly 10 hours of dreaming of sparkling water and double chocolate chip cookies, guess what happened when the sun set and I could finally eat again?    

I had no desire for either.  Instead I enjoyed my Brita water and a bowl of brown rice with peach salsa.  Go figure.   

PS – There is a serious humanitarian crisis in Pakistan due to terrible flooding.  My friend LawyerLovesLunch did a very good job of articulating the fact that the victims could really use our help.  Please check out her post here and consider donating to the Red Cross or Unicef if you can.

61 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2010 2:44 am

    At least the good thing about Ramadan is that you can resist the cookies. At least until sundown. My cravings for things tend to peak as I’m making them, and then a few hours later. Gone. Which means I really should just force myself to wait a bit before asking myself if I really want them. But who really has patience for such things?

    Now I’m rambling aimlessly on your blog. Yes, it’s one of those mornings.

    I’m off to check out Azmina’s site to see about the Pakistan situation!

  2. August 19, 2010 4:10 am

    Nice Silpat! They’re a lifesaver when I’m not in the mood the scrape crusty bits of whatever off what I’m baking – but like you, I prefer things to be perfectly arranged. I’m one of those people that works at getting the postage stamp perfectly in the corner. I’ve gotten really good at it!

    I remember my freshman year in college, my roommate was so hungry by the end of the first day of Ramadan, she ordered 9 cookies delivered to our door and ate 5 on her own. Then she didn’t feel so good (poor girl!). So I guess it can go the other way, although I think I’d enjoy the rice ang peach better myself 🙂

    Thanks for bringing Azmina’s blog to our attention!

  3. August 19, 2010 4:42 am

    I can’t imagine going through a fast with an active child. You poor woman. Somewhere on my blog is a great recipe for cookies that don’t need baking and she could probably do on her own if you want me to find it for you. 🙂

    I saw Azmina’s blog yesterday. It hurt my heart.

  4. August 19, 2010 4:53 am

    unfortunately it’s the other way round with me (not that i fast, though): i spend the whole day dreaming up creative experiments brown rice, peaches etc, yet the sun sets, i slump down onto my sofa, and cookies just seem to fall right into my mouth. go figure…!

    on a serious note though, thanks for the unicef and red cross links: all this fuss over food and health is pretty ironic when you consider the bigger picture, i guess… i’ll be taking a proper look at this.

  5. August 19, 2010 5:05 am

    I am so impressed that you can bake DOUBLE chocolate chip cookies during a fast, especially when you’re chasing a young one around. They look amazing, even if not evenly spaced on the silpat.

    I’m, unfortunately, also with Frankie. Despite dreaming of the healthy stuff, my evenings are often filled with cookies…

  6. August 19, 2010 5:22 am

    Is it nuts that I am bothered that some of the cookies were not placed on the Silpat equidistantly?

    No. No it isn’t.

  7. August 19, 2010 5:28 am

    How can you handle cooking without eating? That’d kill me. But go you for resisting even after a fast!

    Thanks for the links about the flood, too. I’m going to head over to her blog next.

  8. August 19, 2010 5:35 am

    Ameena, you are so funny. I can definitely see myself having some kind of an unexplainable craving like that. I see that Maya is taking her Mom to task on the fasting…my goodness! I’m so glad that you made reference to the floods in Pakistan. My sister used to be the director for the government’s humanitarian/disaster response team and she actually spent time in disaster zones, flying out to Haiti, China, Burma, and all over the world to do assessments and provide advice on what form of aid our country should provide (money, military, helicopters, food aid, etc). We were talking about the donor fatigue, but my sister also mentioned that (some of the obvious religious/ethnic prejudice aside), aid is always harder to elicit because floods are much less spectacular than earthquakes. They slowly erode infrastructure, agriculture and actually displace more people than an earthquake. States require so much more assistance to recover from flooding than other disasters. Earthquake or flood, there is just no way to rate/quantify suffering and I’m so glad that you’ve made mention of it on your blog. There are lots of really great organizations (ICRC is the leader in this field and even with slightly higher admin fees, my sister says that absolutely no one is more effective on the ground than the Red Cross) and it’s just a matter of deciding how you want to help. Sorry – hyuuge comment.

    • August 19, 2010 10:44 am

      I had no idea that floods can be more disastrous than earthquakes can! Thank you Jaya for the great comment. You always amaze me with your wealth of knowledge on so many topics.

  9. August 19, 2010 5:51 am

    I would have made that recipe twice, too. They look divine. Seriously- the chocolate on top of chocolate combo would make my heart race… love it.

    And am I weird for not liking sparkling water? Probably.

  10. whydeprive permalink
    August 19, 2010 6:06 am

    I tried sparkling water once – I expected it to be good but I actually hated it. I don’t like the taste. Its different from regular water.

    Those cookies look fabulous!!

  11. Michelle permalink
    August 19, 2010 6:07 am

    I am definitely not a fan of sparkling water either. I just don’t get it. I also get annoyed when a waiter asks me for tap or sparkling.

  12. August 19, 2010 6:17 am

    ha. You KNOW how I feel about this seeing as I was recently denied Boston’s finest at a local lunch establishment. I do like sparkling water , but it’s not my substitute for tap. Maya looks adorable baking the cookies. (As usual, I think I say in every post how cute she looks.)

  13. August 19, 2010 6:27 am

    I’m not a huge fan of sparkling water either…it makes me feel bloated! And I hate paying ridiculous amounts of money for bottled water too. I still do it though. I also have a brita filter at home, but when I’m out, I might buy a bottle. I live in an old apartment building and my tap water is often yellow! The sight of yellow water makes me seriously paranoid about tap water everywhere…even though I know the reason why it is like that in my building. I can’t explain it…sometimes I’m just not logical.

    And I get bothered when cookies aren’t perfectly lined up on the baking sheet as well, so if you’re nuts then I’m nuts!

  14. August 19, 2010 6:43 am

    I am not a fan of sparkling water. I like simple plain ones. Regarding cookies in a well placed row. I don’t care much, because whenever I want to do something perfect, it won’t happen as I wish. I will check that site.

  15. August 19, 2010 6:45 am

    I’ve read Azmina’s post and I think she did a wonderful job of making people aware of the situation in Pakistan. I think it’s great that people are reaching out and donating in times like these. Sometimes I just can’t help but to think if only people could also donate on a regular basis rather than only in times of disaster. It shouldn’t take a disaster for people to realise there are many others less fortunate and that they live like this on a daily basis. One of the best advice I’ve heard that’s stuck with me is: you cannot change the world by trying to change others, but you can make a change by starting with yourself. I’ll end my rambles at that.

    How do you resist all that yumminess Ameena? I cannot resist the smell of baked goods. Huge kudos to you! Keep it up, and stay strong!

  16. Jessica permalink
    August 19, 2010 6:53 am

    I love cookie dough. There’s no way I could have that much will power and not eat half of the dough right there. Ugh.
    I am not sure if I have ever had sparkling water. Sounds pretty fancy though. But I think I’ll stick to my tap water.

  17. August 19, 2010 7:21 am

    I could make a meal out of those cookies, they look THAT good. I’d drink a glass of milk with it so it’d be a well balanced meal. The only difference between you and I is that I eat a double serving of what I’ve been craving all day when it’s time to eat at night 🙂

    PS: Thanks for the link back about the flood. I saw a quick headline this morning about countries committing more aid for flood relief so it’s working, slowly but surely. I have faith in the resilient people of Pakistan to withstand this tragedy.

  18. August 19, 2010 7:25 am

    i go through phases where i crave sparkling water. or club soda. i’m always like “what?! i don’t drink this” but i just want it haha

  19. August 19, 2010 7:36 am

    Those cookies look delicious! I actually tried Pellogrino a couple weeks ago-it was offered for free or else that woule have never happened! I actually thought it tasted a little weird and it’s nothing like water. Defitely not worth $6! But the berry flavored infusion might taste good.

  20. August 19, 2010 7:59 am

    Thanks (to yours and your friend’s post) for the reminder about the Pakistan flood victims. Yes – it is a humanitarian crisis beyond any political and religious lines. Let’s skip Starbucks, sparkling waters, and other extravagances, and send the money to help those in need.

  21. August 19, 2010 8:09 am

    I love sparkling water 🙂 And cookies! Those cookies look delicious. You can always freeze some and unthaw when the craving strikes (hopefully after sunset) 🙂

  22. August 19, 2010 9:12 am

    Great job on the cookies.

    How is Ramadan going?

    (I actually was thinking that the controversial post that you decided not to put up the other day might have been tied to the whole mosque-building debate in New York…cause that seems to be sparking a bit of a storm).

    • August 19, 2010 7:18 pm

      I’ve been wanting to address that mosque debate but that wasn’t actually the post! Good guess though. 🙂

  23. August 19, 2010 9:16 am

    haha! don’t you hate when that happens? The cookies look phenomenal though!!

  24. August 19, 2010 9:40 am

    Oh heavens those cookies look, well, heavenly! I want to have one right now! I have never tried that sparkling water from TJs but next time I am home maybe I should try.

  25. August 19, 2010 9:54 am

    I’m not a fan of sparkling water either, but I do like the Mixed Berry TJs stuff and actually have some in my fridge now, which is definitely not the norm.

    Hang in there!

  26. August 19, 2010 10:19 am

    Too funny.

    Is it wrong that I actually picture you sitting down and making Maya eat the cookies in front of you so you can stare at her and imagine it were you…? 🙂 LOL.

    Girl – when the sunsets – get some of that chocolate!!

  27. August 19, 2010 10:29 am

    Fasting definitely gives some strange cravings and then breaking the fast is usually anticlimactic and I end up getting full super quickly.
    The flood in Pakistan is absolutely devastating! I feel that it is not getting anywhere near as much media coverage here as it should be considering the scale of the disaster.

  28. August 19, 2010 12:07 pm

    I happen to love sparkling water. I used to hate it, but I had it one day with a few slices of orange…and oh my goodness, I couldn’t stop! I wouldn’t be able to stop with those cookies either. Yum.

  29. August 19, 2010 12:22 pm

    Sparkling or Flat? You mean people actually ask that?? That isn’t just in The Ugly Truth?!?

    Restaurants here don’t ask such things. Of course, restaurants here give coloring pages and crayons to anyone under 5′ tall.

  30. August 19, 2010 12:47 pm

    You will not believe the things I crave while fasting. And by the time the sunsets I can barely stuff two bites in and pass out.

  31. August 19, 2010 1:08 pm

    Mmmm, berry-flavored sparkling water sounds pretty good to me right about now! 😉 The cookies look pretty incredible too!

    Thanks for raising awareness about the flooding, I was reading about that today!

  32. August 19, 2010 1:28 pm

    Those cookies look great! I’m amazed how you still have energy to bake cookies while you’re fasting for the whole day, especially in this hot and humid weather recently!
    Must be tough..but hang in there 🙂

  33. August 19, 2010 2:00 pm

    I am totally craving sparking anything lately and I never drink bubbly things because it gives me the hiccups.

    and I ADORE your sarcasm. TOTALLY adore it!

  34. August 19, 2010 2:06 pm

    Oh dear, you too! It bothered me that the cookies weren’t equidistant in the picture. It’s a hard life, ain’t it?

  35. August 19, 2010 2:13 pm

    I am a big fan of sparkling water… it gets me through my most snacky moments.

    You’re the first blogger I’ve seen mention the situation in Pakistan..I really liked your friend’s post on the issue. Thank you for reminding us that this is going on!

    I was in Mumbai during the flooding on July 26th of 05… it was terrible. It was a much smaller situation than what’s happening in Pakistan, but it was eyeopening to say the least. We went without food and water for 20 hours and ended up wading back to my aunt’s house in waist deep water for 3 miles. I was fine, being young… but I was with my grandmother and another aunt who has health problems. My heart is so heavy to think of everyone who is being affected by the flooding now; I hope they get more aid- and SOON!

    • August 20, 2010 9:32 am

      Wow Sonia, I can’t believe you experienced the flooding in India a few years ago. That must have been so scary to go through. It really kills me that the people who have the least in this world are the ones who continue to suffer so much.

  36. August 19, 2010 2:43 pm

    Hey Ameena! Sorry your’e craving odd things during the day-that’s hard! Your whole grain rice with peach salsa sounds more delicious than chocolate cookies or gaseous water-to me at least;)
    Oh, and Maya is really adorable standing there doing her cookies…

  37. August 19, 2010 3:27 pm

    Those cookies look amazing! How do you get them to turn out so perfect? My cookies always turn out so flat.

    • August 20, 2010 9:48 am

      I bought this brilliant little scooper thing from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It measures the cookie dough out and you push the bottom of the spoon to get the dough onto the Silpat. It is super cheap and works great!

  38. August 19, 2010 4:09 pm

    Hey Ameena – I’m so impressed with your terrific discipline with Ramadan and still indulge in cooking, your stories of cravings that come & go must drive you nuts, I’m imagining craving all that time for something & when it comes time to indulge … not so much 🙂
    My trip to the hairdresser was as fabulous as yours – I came away doing that weird swishing of the hair business we girls do when we’ve been pampered…. got rave reviews from my guy who managed to keep looking at me adoringly which brought the ego up to all new giddy heights. big thumbs up with promises to myself I won’t leave things so long next time.

  39. August 19, 2010 4:10 pm

    Those cookies look INCREDIBLE. And happy Ramadan.

  40. August 19, 2010 4:24 pm

    I won’t call you nuts for being bothered by the fact that the cookies weren’t equidistantly placed if you won’t call me nuts for not being a big fan of double chocolate cookies. Blasphemy, I know, but that kind of thing is almost too chocolatey for me. I better stop while I’m ahead, though…

    The whole situation in Pakistan breaks my heart. We’ve been donating through our church, and I can only hope that the situation over there improves sooner rather than later 😦

  41. August 19, 2010 4:52 pm

    haha…i always ask for “tap” water so they don’t try to sell me something else. the thing is, i can drink A LOT of water, so am i really gonna buy 3 bottles of evian with dinner?? i don’t think so 🙂

    lookin forward to reading more of your blog!

  42. August 19, 2010 5:39 pm

    These look yummy 🙂 I’m about to make some chocolate chip cookies myself!!

  43. eatmovewrite permalink
    August 19, 2010 8:33 pm

    Brown rice and peach salsa actually sounds pretty good. Obviously, enough for me to type with my evil carpal tunnel hands.

    Although, I’m fairly certain, cookies would have been all I had on my mind if I were you.

  44. actorsdiet permalink
    August 19, 2010 10:28 pm

    yeah, that’s the problem with being that hungry – when you’re ready to eat you’ve got no appetite!

  45. August 20, 2010 9:02 am

    Ha, you are funny :), how could you not want those delicious looking cookies daaaahling?
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    *kisses* HH

  46. August 20, 2010 10:31 am

    Oh, I love double chocolate chip cookies! Just seeing your Silpat out makes me want to start baking, too!

    I get weird sparkling water cravings sometimes, too, and I really don’t even like the stuff! Every now and then, though, I’ll make a “sparkling limeade” using TJ’s sparkling water, fresh lime juice and stevia– it’s really refreshing!

  47. August 20, 2010 11:25 am

    If it starts with Trader Joes, I’m pretty much there. Those chocolately chocolate chip cookies don’t look have bad either. I’ll have to check it out the next time I visit there.

    Have a great weekend!

  48. August 20, 2010 1:17 pm

    What a sweet mama you are to bake with Maya!! 🙂 Those cookies look wonderful!! 🙂

  49. August 20, 2010 3:39 pm

    Sometimes, I feel like a mom. My sister certaintly acts like a 5 year old. And keeping her busy is one of the many struggles of mine while my parents are working. Ugh. But you’re so much nicer baking cookies. All I do is plop a laptop in front of her :X

  50. August 20, 2010 4:00 pm

    Such a tragedy in Pakinstan…thanks for the links.

    I love sparkling water and seltzer, but didn’t begin to enjoy it until a few years ago. It seems that I crave it the most on warm days, or after I’ve eaten very salty or sugary foods.

  51. August 21, 2010 11:07 am

    I like to drink sparkling water once in a while because of the cabonation is has. (Gets me full faster) But I’d happily drink the cheap stuff any day.

  52. Med permalink
    August 21, 2010 10:29 pm

    Yes, it is so sad how little aid is reaching the flood victims in Pakistan and how little news coverage is being given to this crisis even though the 20 million people left homeless by the worst monsoon floods to hit Pakistan in 80 years is more than the total affected by the Haiti earthquake and the Asian tsunami combined.

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