It’s a well-supported notion that depression itself as well as certain antidepressants can cause more vivid and nightmarish dreams. According to an article on About.com, some of the pills I’ve been popping are associated with more intense dreams and more nightmares—for whatever reason. Nobody really knows how antidepressants work anyway. What we do know is that they make you gain weight. Fast.
|I may be a beached whale, but at least I'm a happy beached whale. source|
I’m not sure how I feel about this unusual side effect, because in my waking hours it can be somewhat interesting to contemplate the meaning of my nighttime escapades. Perhaps the comically steep hills that suddenly arose in my neighborhood are a symbol of the difficult climb that I face in life; or maybe the candy store represents all of the joys that lie ahead if I succeed at this climb; perhaps the acute sensation of having broken all of the teeth in my mouth is a hint to, well, you know. To just shut the fuck up already.
That was not a very pleasant dream.
And overall, I’d say most of my dreams have been unpleasant. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find a bright side; after all, magical realism tends to be the dominant genre both in dreams and in highbrow literary circles, so why not try to spin a few yarns out of my drug-induced nightmares? Perhaps a few Hollywood-ready elevator pitches are in order.
Pitch #1: A young, innocent girl is unjustly admitted to a dilapidated old hospital as her deranged father chases her everywhere, gone mad at his daughter’s sacrilege.
|Add a man with a cross in his hand peeking through the window and you're all set.|
This one, obviously, was about the hospital. Easy enough to see why I imagined it as this rickety old place: no internet = stone age, in my mind.
Although I don’t know where the “dad is angry because you are not religious enough” piece came in—perhaps from the novella I’m currently writing, which deals with religion in certain, um, blasphemous ways.
Don’t worry. You’ll see it on the bestsellers’ lists soon enough.
Pitch #2: In the most bizarre apocalyptic tale you’ll ever hear, the hills in this suburban neighborhood suddenly crank up to 40% grade and ordinary wildlife blooms up to sizes not seen since the age of the dinosaurs, causing ordinary families to make a climb that will change the world forever. Also, there’s a candy shop at the end.
|All aboard the FUCK THAT train on the way to the land of HELL NOPE. source|
That dream wasn’t so bizarre as much as it was an exaggerated version of reality. Haha I lied—it was bizarre. There is, however, some basis in real life: don’t ask me about the candy shop, but my neighborhood is actually quite steep (although not as steep as the above), and while jogging around lately I’ve been seeing quite the variety of animals. A tribe of geese, a couple rabbits, and a rather large snake, to name a few. Because duh, spring.
What I haven’t seen is an oversized lion. That, I think, was unique to my imagination.
Pitch #3: Our young, innocent heroine is back, and she has broken all of her teeth (through unknown means), forcing her to choose between returning to the hospital and waiting for ages at the dentist while children play soccer at the indoor facility next door.
|Fitting, considering how much makeup Hollywood starlets are forced to wear. source|
Another dream about the hospital. Great. Just great. I just love reliving the trauma of that experience. I also love breaking all of my teeth, forcing me to cover my mouth (my teeth are too precious to just let them fall out) and leaving me unable to speak or eat.
But what could explain the indoor soccer facility that was only separated from the dentist’s lobby by a picket fence? Nothing, that’s what—abso-fucking-lutely nothing.
And I don’t know what could explain the physical aspect of that dream either; the sensation of having broken all of my teeth and, later, being hit in the head with a soccer ball were unnervingly vivid. Like some gimmicky 4D movie. At least I didn’t have to pay to see it.
Pitch #4: A thriller of epic proportions that begins with a father and a daughter watching a groundbreaking new movie, complete with a language codebook and a massive screen, only for them to realize that the images on the screen are far too real and that their family is in grave danger. The young, innocent heroine also eats some banana chocolate-flavored Cheerios and the whole family of four ends up trying to run away from their pursuers in an overcrowded bus with some good-natured Chinese folks.
|This is, like, the only image on the internet that even remotely captures that dream. source|
Wow. I am still in awe of that dream. No idea where it came from, no idea what it meant, but it was a pretty awesome one. As I said, it started with my dad and I sitting in a gigantic movie theater watching a thriller. He had a codebook that listed some words and phrases the characters in the movie might say—like “love” or “ovo” (don’t ask)—and what they actually mean—“kill” and “code”.
Please don’t ask. I don’t know. I really don’t.
The movie went on for a while, and my father and I tried to decipher the characters’ language as described by the codebook, until there came a scene where the viewer’s point of view started being transported up an extremely steep escalator up a skyscraper. See, steep hills seem to be a theme in my nightmares—probably because I’m afraid of steep inclines more than I have a right to. So I was rather terrified with this enormous escalator, and beginning to panic, until I was transported to a small hotel room with my family.
There was no food in this room, and everyone had gone without eating for days. But being a whiny bitch, I of course complained to my dad, who pulled a box of banana chocolate Cheerios from behind the boxy TV set and poured into a bowl for me to eat with my hands. Dry. Although that actually sounds pretty good, so it couldn’t have been too much of a struggle.
What was a struggle was packing the entire family into a small van during our escape. From what we were escaping, I have no idea, but I do know that the van was packed with Chinese people and that I fell off onto the highway several times, only to climb back on in a few moments.
Very dramatic, no? I’d watch the shit out of that movie.
Pitch #5: A psychological horror film wherein a young, innocent girl’s parents turn against her, her mother calling her fat and her father berating her for not being religious enough—
|STOP! YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR! source|
Yeah. Um. About that.
Gaining weight on medication isn’t exactly the best thing that can happen to a depressed person with approximately -3 grams of self-esteem, so it’s no surprise that turned up in my dream. But there really is no sadder thing to hear than your mother telling you to “stop eating cake, June, you’re gonna be like 200 pounds!” There's no sadder thing than someone telling you to stop eating cake, period.
And my dad lecturing me about religion. Again. I mean, what?
If I learned anything from these dreams, it’s that my dad and I need to have a good talk.
On the bright side, at least I’m not experiencing these vivid hallucinations during the daytime—that’s also a possible side effect, and I imagine it would be slightly more detrimental to my psyche than having a few bad dreams in a row.
|Or not. source|
Shit. I hope none of you are experts in dream analysis, or I might have just revealed my entire life story to the internet. Whatever. The government knows everything already.
So these cookies. These are classic—peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sugar cookies are basically the epitome of good old-fashioned ‘Murican food, so of course when you put them together you get something with more class than Audrey Hepburn with a monocle and a mustache sitting in the back of a limousine. On the way to an art museum. In the 1930’s.
|U fokin wot m8? source|
I know, kind of boring, kind of non-adventurous and so not OMGfoodie, but to be honest, I can’t really make cayenne-infused dark chocolate truffle sables with curry caramel and balsamic reduction for my soccer team. When making dessert for a whole bunch of teenagers, you’ve got to cater to the least common denominator. Big, scary flavors or even remotely interesting combinations of any kind are out of the question.
So I apologize. Not my fault that this is the equivalent of a six-inch black forest ham Subway sandwich.
I mean, who wouldn’t like a peanut butter and jelly cookie? Well maybe not people with peanut allergies. Fuck. I forgot. Hope nobody’s allergic to peanuts. Or wheat. Holy shit, baking for a bunch of people is hard.
|It glows like the rings of hell!|
I also apologize for the lack of perfection in my little slices of bread. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single loaf-shaped cookie cutter in the gigantic box of shapes my family has festering in the basement, so, like some sort of peasant, I was forced to use a paring knife to make my own little pieces of bread. And of course they suck ass.
But rest assured they don’t taste that way.
Here is the recipe.
Peanut butter and jelly sugar cookie sandwiches
Cut-out sugar cookies (from Front Range Vegan)
250 grams ● all-purpose flour ● 2 cups
150 grams ● granulated sugar ● ¾ cup
3 grams ● salt ● ½ teaspoon
61 grams ● applesauce ● ¼ cup
108 grams ● canola oil ● ½ cup
13 grams ● vanilla extract ● 1 tablespoon
1 gram ● almond extract ● 1/8 teaspoon
Peanut butter and jelly frosting (adapted from Minimalist Baker)
225 grams ● coconut cream (thickened cream that’s been scraped off the top of a refrigerated can of
coconut milk) ● 7.5 ounces
64 grams ● peanut butter ● ¼ cup
24 grams ● powdered sugar ● 3 tablespoons
213 grams ● strawberry jam or preserves, pureed until smooth ● 2/3 cup
Peanut butter chocolate drizzle (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
64 grams ● peanut butter ● ¼ cup
60 grams ● maple syrup ● 3 tablespoons
11 grams ● cocoa powder ● 2 tablespoons
20 grams ● nondairy milk ● 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
4 grams ● vanilla extract ● 1 teaspoon
Using ingredients under “cut-out sugar cookies”, combine all-purpose flour and salt in a medium bowl. In a
large bowl, whisk together sugar, applesauce, canola oil, vanilla, and almond extract until combined. Fold dry ingredients into wet just until combined.
Pat dough into a circular shape and chill in the refrigerator or freezer for about an hour or overnight. When it is sufficiently chilled, place on a lightly floured surface and roll to about 1/8 to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out little pieces of “bread” and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for another half hour. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
After a half hour, remove cookies from cooling place and bake for about 8 to 12 minutes, or until edges begin to turn brown. Let cool on baking sheet for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t frost before the cookies are thoroughly cooled.
To make peanut butter frosting, place thickened coconut cream in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and whip it like you mean it until it’s nice and fluffy and glorious. Add peanut butter and powdered sugar and whip some more until thoroughly combined.
Using a piping bag, pipe peanut butter frosting on top of cooled cookies. Spoon a little strawberry jam on top, then mush another cookie on top of that. Ta-da! Cookie sandwich. For garnish, mix together the ingredients under “peanut butter chocolate drizzle” until combined and add to another piping bag. Drizzle on top of each sandwich in cute little zig-zag patterns. Or do whatever you want. Still tastes good.
Despite all of these cookies’ imperfections, they still taste fucking delicious. The sugar cookies themselves are beautifully easy, not requiring any kind of electric mixer or strange vegan replacements, and the peanut butter frosting truly is a three-ingredient wonder.
|Wow. So hipster. Very style.|
So as pedestrian as this dessert might be, I can give you my word (and today my word is hibernaculum) that there is no one (except those allergic to peanuts and wheat, to whom I say “so, so sorry, I just can’t”) who will not chomp these down in a GIFfy.
See what I did there? GIF is pronounced “jiff”, like “jiffy”? Hmmm? Made you learn something today didn’t I?
|Taking a stand on the important issues. source|
Ah. It feels good getting in my daily dose of smug.
|Yoooooooooooo vertical photos!|
Speaking of smuggery, you wouldn’t believe how self-satisfied I felt when I set up my little photography station. In my bedroom. Next to my nerdy-ass whiteboard. As I tried not to get peanut butter frosting on the carpet. ‘Twas glorious, I tell you. I don’t think I’d ever exerted so much effort trying to get a nice picture in the entirety of my short, sad little life.
|I sense incongruities in that little background drawing.|
Since there is a nice, light-filled window in the corner of my room next to the whiteboard (yes I have a whiteboard because reasons), I decided to set up a stool with some, ahem, napkins to take pictures of these delicious little sandwiches. Of course, the stool wasn’t high enough to reach the whiteboard, so I put it on a couple of shoeboxes. Desperate times call for desperate measures, you know. And it worked, for the most part. I think.
Better than seeing that same fucking granite countertop for another half dozen pictures, no?
|Woah now getting all Dutch angle on that shit.|
Oh well. If I could give you these cookies to show you how delicious they are I would, but for now technology has restricted me to taking photos. So just trust me. They’re good enough. That’s all.