Friday, October 31, 2008

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

So I have been searching the perfect pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe. It needed to be soft and moist without being sticky and limp, not have an over powering pumpkin taste, and be cakey and plump, and definitely not dense and heavy.

Well I searched and tried many different recipes and finally decided I needed to combine all I have learned and come up with my own version of the cookie.

Success! They are PERFECT! Soft, cakey, plump, just enough pumpkin and the spices are just enough to enhance but not outshine the rest of the cookie and not to sweet. So here is what I came up with:

Pumpkin Chocolate chip cookies

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed firmly
3/4 cup canola oil (vegetable oil is fine)
2 tsp. vanilla (I think pure vanilla is extract is the best)
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. fresh nutmeg
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 T. baking powder
4 cups white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and very lightly grease cookie sheets (or use parchment paper).

Combine pumpkin, egg, sugars, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Beat until there are no lumps. Add the flour and stir just until it is mixed in, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets by spoonfuls (I used a cookie scoop), spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes until cooked through. Be careful not to over cook, cookies will not have browned on the bottom but will have a cake like consistency inside.

Remove from cookies sheet to cool on rack.


Makes about 3-1/2 dozen

From Goodies


As good as these are freshly baked, they are even better the next day. The flavors come together more and they become a little more moist (if stored in container or cover plate with plastic wrap or foil).

Really these are the perfect cookie for this time of year. Yes I am patting myself on the back =)

NOTE: I have found that putting these cookies in an airtight container or zip lock bag makes them become sticky. It may be best to lightly cover the cookies with foil. Good luck and enjoy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The perfect protein

So have you had those days when you have been sick for what feels like far to many days, the kids are hungry and there is nothing defrosted? Well that was Monday of this week.

I stood, in the middle of my kitchen and wondered what the heck am I going to make that won't take to much energy and will be healthy for the family. I looked in the cupboard and saw the can of kidney beans that has been there for almost a year (for last years chili cookoff). Okay, so that doesn't sound very good, but I did check the experation date and they were fine. As I stood there and stared at the can of beans I decided it was going to be a vegetarian night.....Red Beans and Rice!

So here is what I did:

Ingredients
Olive Oile
3/4 of an onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic (granulated is what I had on hand)
1-1/2 tsp. cumin
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/4 cup uncooked rice
2-1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (only had low sodium but would usually use regular)

In a large skillet pour enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, heat. Add onion and celery and cook until soft. Add salt, galic and cumin. Stir and cook another minute or two. Add kidney beans, rice and broth. Cover and cook on meium low to medium until all liquid is obsorbed and rice is tender, add water if rice is not tender when all broth is obsorbed.
From Food


Here is the funny thing, the kids really liked it. They added a little tabasco and a veggie and where perfectly happy. So I guess the lesson here is don't slave over a hot stove forever, kids like the simple stuff just as well, go figure.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pasta with chicken, tomatoes and basil

On Sunday night I felt like I could finally do something so I decided dinner would probably be appreciated. Nathan went to the garden and picked some fresh basil, we sliced some sugar plum tomatoes (you could use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes), and went to work.

I boiled a box of thin spaghetti pasta (I have been using Barilla whole wheat pasta because it is so much healthier with protein and AHA Omega 3 added) and cooked 2 chicken half breasts seasoned with salt and garlic powder. Shredded the chicken and put it to the side.

In a skillet I put enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and added the tomatoes with some salt and cooked it on medium heat for about three minutes, gently stirring a couple of times. I then added two cloves of minced garlic and cooked it two or three minutes longer being careful not to burn the garlic. I added half of the pasta and tossed it with the tomatoes. I transferred the pasta and tomatoes to a large bowl and added the rest of the cooked pasta. I then drizzled the pasta with olive oil, tossed, added most of the chicken, tossed and added the basil....and tossed. I grated a good chunk of Parmesan cheese (don't you love the way I measure), probably about a handful and a half of finely grated cheese, and added some fresh cracked pepper and once again tossed.

This is what we ended up with. The kids LOVED it and all went back for seconds (funny how no one wanted seconds of the green beans I made on the side).












The tomatoes simmering, Nathan loved eating them right out of the pan.






After dinner I was wiped out so I went back to playing dead, but it seems that the time and effort were worth it though because the kids were very happy.

Dum Dum Flower pots

Well before I got sick this weekend I was able to finish the treat for the girls in Young Women. I made 'flower pots' with a Dum Dum sucker in the base with the stick as the stem for the 'flower.'

I very happy with how they came out, I copied them from dostampin.typepad.com

From Dum Dum flower pots
From Dum Dum flower pots


To bad I was to sick to go to church and give them to the girls, I guess I will have to give it to them on Wednesday or next Sunday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prop 8

I know and love many people who are gay and when I first heard of prop 8 I didn't think I could support it. I would never support something that limited someones civil rights. But the more I read the more it makes me realize that both freedom of speech and religious beliefs are at risk.

Should Prop 8 fail, not only could many Churches lose their tax exempt status and possibly have to shut their doors but, adoption agencies, family owned businesses and many others may also be at risk should they refuse to services to gay couples. Take for instance the family owned photography business that was fined $6,600 because they refused to photgraph a gay ceremony due to religious beliefs (http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=61342 ).

And, if you think about it, could this mean that there is also a real possibility that the LDS temples in California would have to be closed should someone choose to challenge the requirement set by the Church?

It hurts me to think that the ones I love may support something that will limit MY civil rights while theirs aren't at risk to begin with.

And, why is it that some feel the need to use offensive language? Is it as they say "A feeble mind trying to express itself?" http://www.flickr.com/photos/31610199@N05/2961598988/

An article on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486191

Ok I am done rambling.....................

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A little time to play

I don't get to spend as much time as I would like making cards and working on crafts. But every once in a while I can find an excuse to do a few things. It is amazing how happy I am when I finish a project no matter how small it may be. I know it may not seem like much but it works for me.

Here is a card for one of the sisters I visit teach.

Card for a someone at work



I needed a more masculine card and I have been wanting to use the thin cork I have for a card and came up with this. I know the 'ribbon' is not what some would can masculine but I couldn't help myself.
And one more using the same leaves but with a more femine touch.


Well so much for play time.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tara is so adorable.

Okay so my mom (Laura) is amazing. You all should know that by now. No matter what happens shes there through thick and thin. She pretty much does everything for us and without her I don't know where we would be now. To make it simple if I didn't have her I wouldn't be who i am today. I may say that I don't want to be like my mom when I grow up, but when I really think about it I already am like her in so many ways. I want to be like her even though I try to convince myself that I don't, but I do. She's smart, beautiful (of course), strong, independent, and she knows how to handle! So when you think about it, who wouldn't want to be like her? Shes an amazing woman and for all that she's been through she deserves so much more than she's getting. So I just wanted to say that I love my mom. even though I may think she's "annoying" sometimes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Marinated Baked Pork Chops

These are moist and tender. The sauce would be good on chicken also.


3 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
6 tablespoons ketchup
5-6 pork chops, trimmed

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a small bowl, thoroughly blend soy sauce, vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, and ketchup. Pour Sauce over pork chops and marinade from 30 minutes to all day. Place pork chops in a medium baking dish, pour all sauce from marinade over pork chops, cover.
Bake pork chops 45-60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until internal temperature of the chops has reached 160 degrees F and juices run clear.

Great for the grill if you like.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Goodies

Yesterday I decided it was time to make goodies for the family and for one of the ladies I visit teach. Lindsey, my friend Carol's daughter made some white chocolate popcorn so of course I had to try it. The kids really like it and it was fun to make. It looks nice in a clear bag with a ribbon and makes a nice little gift for people.
White Chocolate Popcorn
2 (3 1/3 oz) bags microwave popcorn (not the butter kind)
6 oz. white melting chocolate, melted
assorted candies
First instead of microwave popcorn I made some stove top popcorn and salted it a little. I used 2/3 unpopped kernels and removed about 2 cups of the popped corn.
So, put your popped corn in a large bowl and chop up any candy bars you would like to use. I used snickers, twix, m&m's and peanut m&m's (m&m obviously don't need to be chopped). spread candy on wax paper. Drizzle melted chocolate on popcorn, stirring and making sure not to saturate the corn. Drizzle candy with chocolate. Put popcorn and candy in refrigerator to harden the white chocolate. Combine the popcorn and candy once white chocolate hardens. Enjoy!



Now if that is not decadent enought for you, how about some oreo balls?

Oreo Balls

Ingredients

· 1 package Oreo cookies
· 1- 8 oz package cream cheese (the block of cream cheese not the tubs)
· 1 pound DARK melting chocolate (Some stores now carry the microwave kind!)

Directions

Place cream cheese in a bowl to soften.
In a food processor, process a bag of Oreo cookies until all you have is Oreo cookie crumbs (no chunks!).
Add the cookie crumbs to the softened cream cheese, then mix.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
Make small bite sized balls and place on cookie sheet.
Chill for an at least 1 hour. This is a good place to stop if you want to chill the little tasty little treats overnight.
While the little balls are chilling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you were fortunate to find one of the microwavable melting chocolates, even better!
Dip chilled balls into melted chocolate, then place balls back on the wax paper and let harden.
Store covered balls in an air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Both of these came out really well and the kids enjoyed them. Guess what we might be making for Christmas =)
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Young Women's value of the month

This month in Young Women we are focusing on the "Choice and Accountability" value. I stole a few ideas from others and combined them. This is what I came up with:



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Being that it was Fast Sunday I thought gumballs would be a safe choice for a little treat. Now I need to figure out how I want to do next weeks treat.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong

MURPHY'S LAWS
1. Nothing is as easy as it looks.

2. Everything takes longer than you think.

3. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

4. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong. Corollary: If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.

5. If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.

6. If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.

7. Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

8. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

9. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

10.Mother nature is a **tch. (oooopsss, bad word alert)

11. It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

12. Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.

13. Every solution breeds new problems.

So there is Murphy's laws. All of you know I am living breathing proof that these are in full force.

I do try to keep a positive attitude as much as possible. I don't like the person I become when I allow negativity to rule my day. But, it is so darned difficult at times. It seems like just when things are going well I am blind sighted once again.

So here we go.....positive, positive, positive.