DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Every day is Earth Day

My coffee maker is broke.  I only make a cup of coffee each day.  My niece has one of those machines that makes a cup from a little plastic cup of coffee.  It seems pretty handy, but I thought--what happens to all these little plastic cups of coffee grounds?  And then I asked the lady at Starbucks if they had coffee grounds for my compost (since I'm not making any right now).  The Starbucks by my work has the grounds packaged, but this one essentially gave me a plastic bag of grounds.  When I put them in my composter, I noticed that there were little round shapes.  And then I read that they are using K-cups.  The author, like me, is an environmentalist in the making; the comments remind me of why I'm not sure I'll ever make my blog "public."  Yes, I will still go to Starbucks sometimes!

I don't usually plan ahead of time that I'm going to Starbucks, so I probably won't have my own cup, so I am part of the 99+% who get their coffee in paper cups.  But more interesting in this article, Safeway and Target have higher ratings for sustainable seafood than Whole Foods (or most every other supplier).

I have had some itchy issues with my scalp and tried some of those natural, expensive shampoos without any benefit.  I'm not sure if this is enough to get me to try again.  Sodium laureth sulfate is a very effective foaming agent, which makes it highly effective in the removal of oily stains and residues.  It has also been reported to have other undesirable effects on skin and the environment.

I'm inclined to believe that BPA is not safe, but Coke (among many products) has said they will not change their packaging since evidence is insufficient.  Maybe there is insufficient evidence because:  Four authors of a new report that finds “no noteworthy risk” in human exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) have ties either to the chemical industry or to companies and groups involved in the manufacture or promotion of BPA.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Are we well yet?

Here are a few more links of medical and health related news:
  • I like to walk around barefoot.  I wear flip flops in the house when I'm going up and down the stairs a lot because the "lip" on the wood stairs bugs me.  Otherwise, I'm usually shoeless at home.  I've been told this is bad since we have scorpions and spiders in the desert--and I almost walked into a scorpion in the garage the other day, while I was wearing shoes.  I've never heard of "earthing" but I think I've done it anyway.  Apparently, walking barefoot allows the body to get electrons from the earth, kind of an anti-oxidant.  The author of a book about earthing says that it reduces inflammation, among other benefits.  That gets my attention.
  • At the American Association of Neurology annual meeting, in Honolulu, I assume to get better attendance, there were some interesting topics of discussion related to MS, including CCSVI research.  The Wheelchair Kamikaze has a summary of the highlights, including a mention of Campath (Alemtuzamab, the drug trial I am participating in currently).  I was shocked by the information in the section "Root Cause Department," which discusses MS clusters which have been identified several times.  No answers have come from the questions generated by these clusters of higher prevalence of MS.  The author speculates that there is "Too much money to be made figuring out new and better ways of stomping on the human immune system…"
  • On Easter, our plans were a little different than most years--we didn't go to my grandparents' house.  So I didn't make anything to take--no cookies.  And I didn't feel too bad about going empty handed since the kids at both houses we were going to were probably getting plenty of candy from EB.  (Easter Bunny)  At our second stop, I decided to have a chocolate cupcake with crazy bright pink frosting.  I knew that it was not healthy before I ate it.  It tasted good.  And my lips were bright pink for a while.  Yes, it had artificial ingredients, and most definitely artificial color.  If you think you are escaping artificial coloring in your food, reasearch says that you aren't having any fun eating.  If you want to have less fun eating, ahem, I mean eat better, just remember that several of the most common food dyes are made from coal tar or petroleum.  And the "limited use" dyes are just disgusting--enough to make me think twice about any meat in a casing or citrus from Florida.  Ewww.  I am going to check out that invisible Kool-aid when my stockpile is gone.
  • I'm sure this is shocking news to the people who don't have MS, but not to those who have MS--MS drugs are a waste of money.  I'm not sure how I feel about this source yet, but there is some interesting reading on the site.  And I certainly don't disagree with the bottom line--benefits are questionable and side effects are generally unbearable or ridiculous.  The author (once you get past the initial report) recommends skipping the drugs; instead, eliminate gluten and sugar from the diet, optimize vitamin D levels, and address the traumatic event that precipitated the onset of MS.  He also suggests eliminating cow's milk products from the diet and then goes on to discuss some lesser known options. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Who wants (to make) homemade Peeps?

A friend of mine LOVES Peeps.  I don't get the obsession, but I would totally make these for her if they took less time.  Or if I had anything required for the first part of step 2.  Or I knew how to make them into the correct shape, like the photo in the link.  Maybe someday....Happy Easter!

Saffron Honey Marshmallows Recipe
Published in the NYT: April 15, 2011

Time: 45 minutes, plus 4 hours to set

6 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

2/3 cup superfine sugar

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin (about 3 envelopes)

1/4 cup honey

2 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Place parchment or waxed paper on the bottom and sides of a 12 7/8-by-17 3 /4-inch baking sheet. If using the food coloring, combine it with the superfine sugar in a small bowl; stir or massage with your fingers until color is evenly distributed. Sift half of the superfine sugar, with or without color, over the bottom of the pan.

2. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, finely grind 1 teaspoon granulated sugar with the saffron threads. Place in a bowl and cover with 2 tablespoons very hot water. When cool, cover with 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water. Stir the gelatin into the water and let rest until the mixture becomes very thick.

3. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the remaining 2 cups granulated sugar, honey and 1/2 cup water, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

4. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, carefully pour the 240-degree sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl in a slow and steady drizzle. Continue whisking until the mixture has cooled slightly, about 2 minutes. Scrape in the gelatin mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken and quadruples in volume, about 10 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sift the remaining superfine sugar over the marshmallows. Allow marshmallows to set for 4 hours or overnight at room temperature.

5. Use cookie cutters or a knife to cut marshmallows into shapes or squares.

Yield: About 2 dozen marshmallows.

Pomegranate variation: Eliminate the food coloring and skip Step 2. Stir the gelatin into 1 cup pomegranate juice and let it thicken. Proceed with Step 3.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The World is Flat (book review)

This book has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while, so instead of reading it, I borrowed it on CD from the library.  I renewed it twice before returning it, with 3 CDs left that I hadn't heard.  It was too long, and it was hard to stay interested.  I'm not sure if it is Thomas Friedman's writing or the reader's delivery, or a combination, along with the fact that is about a decade old, but I found myself listening to the radio instead of the book.  I like some of the history-telling, but the stories seem too wordy, and I find some of his ideas or attitudes a little too liberal for me.

It is a book about globalization, and I certainly accept that globalization is happening and will continue to change our world.  Americans sometimes perceive globalization as either losing jobs or gaining exotic products.  The exchange of information and ideas on a global scale is both inspiring and scary--good ideas and bad ones can gain traction.  I thought Mr. Friedman spent a lot of time talking about China and India--and that's okay, but it just seemed like something was missing.  Or is it that there was just too much overall that I forgot what else he talked about?!

About 37% (at best) of Americans have a passport, and many of them do not travel internationally.  (To be fair, we have a huge land mass and many Americans travel domestically.)  There would possibly be less fear of globalization if more of us had firsthand experience of the rest of the world.  I think that Mr. Friedman  tries to show that we're more alike than we know.  Hot, Flat, and Crowded was a better read for me, but maybe because it was more about the need for a "green revolution" rather than the outsourcing side of globalization.  So, do I keep my copy of The World is Flat, or recycle it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Agility class

We had a course tonight.  It started with two jumps to the dog walk, left curve to a jump, a little out to the broad jump and then sharp left to the A-frame.  Coming off the A-frame, there was a jump slightly left, wrapping back to the tunnel starting on the left of the A-frame and going underneath to a jump.  That started a crooked serpentine, to a jump and tunnel parallel to the dog walk.  Coming out of the tunnel, there was a teeter, then "here" to send over the close side of a jump (which seemed more natural over the other side--this was the same jump before the A-frame).  Then wrap, into the chute, left turn into the weaves with me on the left, and out to a jump to end.

Cassi did very good, but her teeter was slow on the second round.  Great weaves.  I wasn't able to do that wrong-sided jump with either of them.  I pulled Teka out of the weaves on the last pole (or she just didn't finish) the second time through.  But they were both excited to play and had good runs.  Teka also got treats from other people before her second run--she was being super-cute and sitting pretty for them.

Survey says...

all is good; MS trial survey is complete.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What to eat. Or not.

Here are a few highlights of food related health links:
  • I have tried to eliminate artificial sweeteners (including those claiming to be natural--like Xylitol, which is killing dogs) and thought this flowchart was an interesting way to look at the decision.
  • I keep hearing about the need to buy organic, grass-fed and grass-finished beef, but I'm not aware of any local providers. When we get a freezer, I may consider buying online for delivery.
  • The spices of life may have health benefits.
  • Cherries have antioxidants and may reduce heart disease.  More importantly for me (and MS), cherries may decrease inflammation.
  • Oh, vegans.  There are so many things I don't understand.  I have never understood why vegans want to eat food that is meat-like.  If you don't eat meat, why eat "chick-n" or whatever fake food?  Eat real food--if that's not enough, then the lifestyle might have some deficiency to be evaluated.  A vegan magazine has been using stock photos containing meat as illustrations in their magazine.  For 12 years.  I got a cooking magazine for many years, and I know that they photograph some recipes, test almost all (maybe not reader recipes), and don't include photographs for every recipe.  Why does this vegan magazine have to use stock photos and/or use non-vegan photos?  It's unethical behavior by a group of people who claim to be more ethical than the rest of us.  I'll have to continue to disagree.
  • Archer Farms Tumeric, sold at Target, has lead in it.  While no illnesses have been reported, HOW this happened has also not been reported.
  • The latte ritual gets a green makeover: use an unbleached or, even better, a reusable hemp filter, use a reusable cup, compost the grounds, and use white vinegar and hot water to clean the coffee pot.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crazy. Or desperate. Or completely sane and overdue.

I was considering rereading the MS Recovery Diet and found the book's website.  When I read the book several yeas ago, I decided against the diet because it was so extreme for me, but the underlying thesis made some sense.  Since reading that book, I've read a LOT online about diet helping symptoms of MS and other diseases; I've also discussed it with believers in the diet.

With my ongoing pain issues, and lack of any medical professional wanting to help me reduce or eliminate my pain (with the exception of one yoga therapist who has helped me cope better), I feel I need to do something on my own.  But what?  What can I do?  And if I do nothing, how can I justify doing nothing?  How can I complain when I take little or no action?

As I was browsing the website, I remembered that one of the interesting things I found in the book was that, in leiu of an elimination diet (difficult and confusing), a blood test could be run to determine delayed onset food allergies.  This type of allergy is harder to diagnose than immediate onset since it can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several days to see symptoms.  (And by then, many other things have been consumed.)

I think the price of the test has come down since I last looked at this option--it is about $300 for a finger-stick kit that will screen for 96 items.  Knowing someone who has done a supervised elimination diet, and knowing that I've had no luck getting anyone to prescribe or refer such a service for me, I am REALLY tempted.  Is it worth it to spend $300 for potentially less pain in my life?  My insurance won't cover it.  Maybe I would get an answer to the question: why do I feel worse when I take better care of myself?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Agility class

We worked on two sequences tonight.  The first was a layering exercise.  There were two jumps starting into the three ways to run.  The closest was 2 jumps, the middle was a teeter, and the farthest was a tunnel.  All led to a jump, out from the teeter.  Cassi did the closest (jumps) and the middle (teeter) just fine, even getting the last jump.  Teka did the jumps and the teeter but had a lot of trouble with the last jump.  The tunnel was impossible for both of them unless I went most of the way with them.

Then we moved to another sequence using a dog walk with a tunnel under each end, weaves parallel, and an A-frame out at one end.  We started in one tunnel right next to the dog walk start, coming out to front cross bringing them around to the weaves.  Out of the weaves onto the A-frame.  Off the A-frame onto the dog walk, bringing into the end of the tunnel they came out of earlier.  Coming out the other end, wrapping back onto the dog walk.  Cassi had trouble starting with the tunnel--she wanted to take the dog walk right next to it.  She finally figured it out.  I added the last time through with Teka a flip into the tunnel we hadn't used, just to see if she'd do it and she did.  Teka missed her weave entry once, but I figured out how to get her out-weave entry like Cassi's; otherwise, both of them had great weaves.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kachina Kennel Club Agility Trial

It was raining during our drive to the University of Phoenix Stadium.  It drizzled on and off while we were setting up and unpacking our gear.  And then it stopped raining but stayed overcast, the skies threatening to dump rain on us.  Todays runs were "small to tall" so Cassi was the last dog to run Open FAST.  Since it was so damp out, I planned my course so that Cassi did jumps and weaves but skipped the teeter and the A-frame.  The send bonus was lined up perfectly coming out of the weaves, to go over a jump, into the far side of the tunnel, and back over the jump.  We did a couple of jumps on our way out, skipping the contact obstacles which I think everyone else had done, so the judge sounded a little surprised to say, "I guess that's it."  Cassi was listening to me and did her weaves awesome.  She hesitated at the tunnel but she did it.  That finished her Open FAST title!  She had a first place (as the only dog at her height.)

I was glad that I didn't enter Teka in Open FAST, as it was extremely unlikely she would have taken the distance tunnel, although it would have been nice to run her in the morning.  We had to wait for quite a while for the rest of my runs, and Teka's were last.  During our long break, I volunteered to be a pole setter for Novice FAST, and then we went inside the stadium to do a quick shopping trip at the Pet Club (a little cheaper at the show than buying at the store.)  We also got a few freebies from Petsmart, and got a hot dog.  (for breakfast?  It was still pretty early...)

After a long wait, we started having ring conflicts.  I walked Cassi's Open Standard Course, but before she could run, I had to walk Cassi's Excellent Jumpers course.  The Standard course started with a tire jump, which I thought could work to my advantage since she has been pausing at the tire, which in the course could be a refusal, but at the beginning, her time doesn't start until she goes through.  And she didn't pause at all!  We went on to the dog walk, taking a right turn to a jump and then curved tunnel, entering the end closest to me.  She came out the other end, over the A-frame, into the chute, out to a jump (and we got some distance there!) and a sharp left turn over another jump leading to another jump, U-turning to the next jump, and a slight left turn to a table.  Then we had a U-shaped sequence: double jump, panel jump, teeter.  She did fine on the teeter, and we moved on to the next jump, then U-turned into the weaves and she got her entry and finished them.  We ended with a tunnel.  She had no faults and was under time.  She did almost leave the ring between the double jump and the panel jump, but she came back quickly.  This finished her Open Standard title!  AND she got first place because 2 or 3 dogs got NQs and the one that did get a Q got 2nd place.  She is now in ALL Excellent level courses.  (Downside: LOTS of dogs enter in Excellent relative to Novice and Standard, but they do separate the course walk through and running into 3 groups of small, medium, tall.)

After a short break, we ran the Excellent Jumpers with Weaves course.  We started with a 2 jump lead out, with me on her right, and she did 4 jumps and then a sharp right turn into the weaves.  She got her entry but popped out at the 10th pole.  I heard later that an agility person was walking by with a stroller, but Cassi should have finished anyway.  I had her re-do the weaves and she finished them.  I later found out that she had a non-qualifying run (NQ) as soon as she popped out of the weaves--no mistakes in Excellent!  Out of the weaves, a slight right turn to a jump far away, which she did fine with the distance, then a sharp right over the next jump, leading to another that lead to a jump that she had to turn right over, then left into the curved tunnel.  Coming out of the tunnel, she went over 8 more jumps that included a couple of switches and ended with a triple jump.  She rocked the course except for the mistake on the weaves.

The sun came out for Teka's runs!  Teka's Novice Standard course was similar to Cassi's.  She did awesome, even on the distance at the chute to the next jump, which is where the similarities ended.  That led to the teeter, then the table.  Coming off the table, there were 6 weaves to a panel jump, U-turn to a jump leading to the broad jump, into the tunnel, coming out to a finish jump.  She did everything exactly as I asked, with enthusiasm, and had a clean run.  She finished her Novice Standard title!  AND she got 1st place--a great accomplishment for the size group she was running with, in my opinion.  Now she is in Open level for all of her courses.

I had to walk Teka's Jumpers course once before taking her into her Standard run, and a half time after we were done with her Standard run.  Fortunately, it was the same as Cassi's course until the third jump after the tunnel.  The rest of the jumps were a little more of a round course with a switch to the last (double) jump.  She did some slow weaves but she did all 12 of them.  Other than the weaves, she was enthusiastic and happy and she had another clean run.  This was her first qualifying score in Open.  She got 4th place--not bad with those slow weaves.

Although I had some intermittent pain throughout the day, it was worth it.  With four Q's, 3 of which finished titles, it was a very successful day.  (Cassi may have been "promised" a bird to get that goofy look; Teka was less pleased with this part of the day.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Trial update (And wait. There's more.)

I met N at Sonora for my blood draw.  They didn't have our appointment in their records!  So we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  N called someone at Hope to bring what N needed for our appointment we were going to do at Hope but now she wanted to get done while we waited.  Of course, as the person arrived, we got in for the blood draw, which went fine.  I went to the bathroom and gave N my cup.  I signed the visit log and we called it a visit.

I almost forgot something!  (Shocking, I know....)  While we were waiting, N told me the latest about the extension trial and it's totally different from what I've heard so far.  It's a 3 year extension (instead of 2).  MRIs continue to be brain only; I mentioned how I thought that was wrong and she said she has heard that from other MS trial patients who, like me, have had lesions on the spine.

And the kicker: the trial drug is only administered after a relapse.  Yes, that is what she said--no drugs until/unless there is a relapse.  I indicated some concern about the criteria for a relapse and told her that I've already had one that Dr. G does NOT consider a relapse.  She thinks there is specific criteria, but I'm not sure how that works or if I believe it will make a difference.

I didn't tell her specifically about wanting to get evaluated for CCSVI, but she may have an idea of what is going on (from other MS patients), because when I told her I was concerned about continuing in the trial in case I wanted to explore other treatment options, she was quick to tell me that I can withdraw at any time.  She was emphatic that I needed to know that I can withdraw at any time.  (Hmm, what am I excited about?  I can withdraw at any time!)

BTW, when we were talking about MRIs, N mentioned that Symon (the place that does the MRIs) also does the mammograms for some of the other trials and Symon has a new procedure that seems a little questionable.  (But I am already skeptical of them since it took 8 months to get my MRI results after I waited almost 2 hours to have my last MRI....)  Apparently, they have started requiring a breast ultrasound with the mammogram.  While the ultrasounds are considered necessary for some women with "denser" breasts, this sounds like a money maker to me.  I think I'm coming up to the age for my next mammogram, so I found all of this interesting.  She mentioned that most insurance doesn't cover the ultrasound.  Surprise, surprise, surprise!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Agility class

Everyone keeps telling me that we are going to get rain on Saturday, when we are running at the agility trial.  Teka does not like the rain.  At all.  But we've been working on it when we can--obviously not too often, living in Phoenix.  So tonight, as I drove to class, and it rained, I thought I could work with Teka in the rain.  If they didn't cancel class.  I got to class, and it wasn't raining!

We ran a jumpers course--just jumps, with switches and crosses and distance.  We ran a couple times.  Cassi and Teka both had fun and did great, although we made some mistakes and worked them out.  There was a weird sequence that Teka did better than Cassi, but Cassi's stride is so long.  They come over a jump, and there is a jump to the right, a sharp right turn.  But they don't go over it; they have to go behind it and come over.  It's a really tight front cross, and bring around the jump.

As we finished the second round of everyone running, it started to sprinkle.  We were told we could run in the rain, and a few of us wanted to run.  It started to rain, and Teka was whining about getting wet.  I took her to the first jump, and she did it and then stood there with her tail tucked.  I acted excited and was able to coax her into running and jumping, one or two jumps at a time.  I didn't correct any mistakes, just got her running and jumping.  She did okay, but she wasn't happy about it.  And Cassi wasn't happy about NOT getting to run in the rain.  As soon as Teka was done, the class started putting the jumps away and getting their dogs to their vehicles.  I'm glad I got to run Teka in the rain.  If it rains on her this weekend, we'll just try to have some fun in the rain, but there is no way she will get Qs.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Weave 201C

Teka was super excited to play tonight, although she was a little nervous a few times about other dogs hanging out too close to her exercise.  Our first sequence was divided into two parts.  The first part was 3 jumps (the first one 90 degrees from the second, the rest straight on) on my left, into a U-shaped tunnel--on the right side, coming out on the left end, back over the jumps and U turning over the last jump into the weaves.

The second part started with the left side of the tunnel, into the weaves, over the 3 jumps, into the weaves again.

Our second sequence was an oval, and we could stay in the middle, pretty much turning in a circle a couple times and then going the other way.  We started into the left side of the tunnel, into the 6 weaves, out over a jump, into the other 6 weaves, back into the left end of the tunnel, through the 6 weaves, out over the jump, into the 6 weaves, back into the left side of the tunnel.  Then we front crossed and went back into the weaves we just came out of, over the jump, into the other weaves, and back to the left side (not the close side for the dog) of the tunnel.  That was what I had trouble with Teka doing, somewhat because of her but more because I kept getting my arms and legs mixed up.  I needed to have my right arm and leg pointing at the tunnel entry.  R demonstrated it like a ballerina move so if I end up doing it at a trial or something, I totally blame her.

Last, R stood by a set of 4 weave poles and moved them each time we went through the exercise.  We added a double jump at the beginning, wrapping into the straight exercise--tire jump, jump, into the weaves.  Teka's entries were awesome.

While we waiting our turn throughout the night, I worked with her on "crawl" since she kept laying down with her tail going a mile-a-minute.  It was so cute.

Contact 301

Cassi got to work on her own again.  D wanted to see if we could transition her from the Reebok step to the contact board, but she only did the contact board when it was ON the step!  We did lower the step and she was able to get that far.  D reminded me to treat from above and a little behind Cassi's head.

Cassi also did the clicker board  with a tunnel and the contact box with a jump.  I was able to run her through a super low tire jump too.

An extra serving, please

I got a call from N at Hope Research a couple weeks ago.  She was letting me know that Dr. G was concerned with my last blood test results and wanted me to see my endocrinologist again.  N forwarded the results to Dr. R's office and I got a call letting me know they would send me the lab request.  I got it, but kept forgetting to NOT take my Synthroid in the morning--it's almost a habit now.

Yesterday, I decided to schedule a time at the lab near my house, but not the one I went to last time.  I thought I would go to the one my husband goes to but there were two in the area and I wasn't sure which one.  So I made the appointment at the one with the earliest availability (because it's a fasting blood draw and I like to eat sometime in the morning.)  It wasn't his location.

My appointment was at 7:45 and I was on time.  Well, I signed in at 7:48, which is on time for me!  No one was at the desk.  So I waited.  Eventually, she came out of a room with a patient.  I'm pretty sure that there was only one person working in the whole office, doing the desk work and the blood draws.  When I finally got into the room, someone else came in the office, so she helped him before coming in to take my blood.

Once she came in, she took my blood, lickety-split.  (That means quick and simple, ya'll.)  She didn't think that it was difficult to find my veins at all.  Whew.  I deserve a reward!  Ground Control for a latte and oatmeal.  Scrumptiousness.  Yes, I made that word up, all on my own, but you can use it.  You're welcome.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chocolate Stout Whoopie Pies with Kahlua Buttercream Filling

I saw this recipe that was adapted for St. Patrick's Day.  Our friends invited us for dinner and asked us to bring dessert, and I thought I would take the opportunity to make something new.  I thought I would have most of the day to work on it but family intervened, giving me very little time in the morning before going to Rawhide most of the day.  Mine do not look like the photo in the link.

Makes about 16 finished whoopie pies (If you can resist the cookies straight from the oven)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ Cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup stout (I used Wolaver’s, Guiness works too)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with stout in 2 additions, beating until blended after each addition.
Put cookie dough into the freezer for about 10 minutes, just to firm up a bit.  Drop dough by very rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are slightly puffed and spread but are still soft, a toothpick should come out clean, 8 to 10 minutes. Once cookes are removed from the oven, allow to cool for a minute and carefully transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

Kahlua Buttercream Filling
This makes enough to fill all of the whoopie pies. If you are a lot of filling/frosting person feel free to double the recipe – your sugar high awaits you!
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioner sugar – divided into 1 cup portions
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, 1 cup of the confectioner sugar and salt until creamy.  Add the remaining sugar, Kahlua and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.  If filling is too thick, add in drops of vanilla extract or milk.
Note: If you prefer not to indulge in alcohol (props to you!), replace the beer and kahlua with milk.

I used Guinness for the stout in the (cake-like) cookies; I did not use parchment paper since I have specific cookie sheets I only use for cookies.  (was this a mistake?)  I usually blend things by hand but followed the recipe directions, using my mixer with pretty nice results.  (but it wouldn't be hard to do by hand.)  I was able to make two pans of cookies, but put the last one in the fridge and baked the next day.  The cookies were huge, so I would recommend rounded teaspoonfuls rather than tablespoonfuls of batter.  The day 2 cookies came out looking like the cookies were supposed to, although they were still crumbly, just not AS crumbly as the day 1 cookies.  I did not have unsalted butter, so I used regular butter and did not use the pinch of salt in the filling.  The filling. is. so. friggin. awesome.  Even if I never make the cookies again, I will keep the filling recipe for the rest of my life.  Wow.  And yum.  It could probably be used for frosting a cake.
We ended up serving them like parfaits or something.

Note: For the leftovers, we put some filling in a bowl, softened it in the microwave, then added the cookie (crumbles) to soak up the warm filling.  It's not a bad way to  consume as much filling as my sweet tooth can handle.