Monday, June 27, 2011

The One With the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Why is a cookbook exciting? Because it has many stirring events."

That lovely little joke, as well as the following recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies came to me in the form of a little cookbook put together by my great-grandmother and her church friends in 1979. 

She called them Family's Favorite Cookies.

Here's the recipe, with a few additions of my own.

Preheat oven to 375*

  • 1 1/2 cup sifted flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbls coffee (or hot water, if you don't have a pot brewing)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 package (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips (or half a package of milk, half of semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional) 

Sift flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.  Add the hot coffee or water. Mix in sifted dry ingredients. Add vanilla and almond extract. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

My great-grandmother also included this tip: "I always double this recipe. I divide it before adding the chocolate chips, that way I have a batch of oatmeal cookies. I insert a plastic bag into coffee cans and fill them with cookies. They keep indefinitely in freezer, or in refrigerator. You can warm them for a minute or two in a hot oven to have freshly baked tasting cookies."

Glancing through the rest of the book I discovered her greatest contribution was to the dessert section. So that proves it... the fact that I am mostly interested in making desserts is genetic... I can't help it.

This recipe is really good. In my teenage years I consumed several batches of just the dough... but the cookies themselves are also great. It's the little additions like the almond extract and the coffee that make a big difference. Plus, they have oatmeal in them which, of course, means they totally count as a breakfast food.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Speechless Sunday

I'm fairly certain I need a pair of these Pink Glitter Toms. Definitely, yes. Although I suppose I wouldn't mind them in blue or silver, either. They even come in bridal white, which would be o so perfect for a wedding day when you inevitably need some comfy shoes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The One With All the Waiting for Liam (Part 2)

Tom and Emily liked the last photo shoot so much they let me do another! Here are some of my favorites from the afternoon.

Thanks, guys, for letting me take these and for being willing to try some of my ideas. I hope you like them!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The One With the Pretty Things (3)

Sometimes I find cool things I just want to share. Sometimes they're really random. Sometimes they're things I've discovered out in blogland that deserve a nod. Sometimes they're just silly things I wish I had all the money in the world so I could buy, but alas, I don't, so I put them here instead.
  1. I can't help it. I think this Baklava Beauty dress is awesome. Also, the name is pretty sweet as well.
  2. Maybe I'd add some color with these Jade Classic Diner Heels.
  3. Of course those jade heels would also be pretty fun with this dress
  4. I'm a fickle fan of gallery walls: sometimes I love them and sometimes they seem way too cluttered for me. Jon and Sherri over at Young House Love did it perfectly! I'm starting my collection now so that someday I can have a gallery wall just like theirs
  5. How sweet is this? I wish someone would paint random pictures of me. 
  6. These incredible chalk illustrations have been blogged about a lot. And I can see why. They are gorgeous.
  7. I love this artist's work on Etsy. Love the whimsy and the colors. I feel like they make it more grown-up, so I could totally get away with having these in my house. The Golden Gate Bridge one is my favorite. 
  8. I'm pretty sure I need this Alphabirds print (below) by the goddess of type Jessica Hische. It seems like a definite must for my future gallery wall.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    The One With All the Waiting for Liam (Part 1)

    My sister-in-law, Emily, and her husband, Tom, are having another baby! Their son, Liam Scott, is due next month. It seems I rarely know pregnant people who live close by, so I jumped at  the opportunity to take some maternity/family pics. Fortunately for me, they were gracious enough to be my guinea pigs. We'll be taking some more later on this week, so these are just the preliminaries.

    Tom and Emily's son, Cyril, is just about Ellie's age. And Liam and Olivia will also be close in age. It's nice have cousins so close together. And friends going through the same parenting trials together is nice, too.We're always bouncing ideas off each other and sharing parenting woes and triumphs.

    Cyril's such a cutie, although he was a little unsure about giving up playtime to be photographed.
     I just love this one. So sweet.
    And then Cyril wouldn't sit still anymore and ran off to play with Ellie. So I shot some of just the parents-to-be (again).
    This is another favorite. I love Emily's look of contentment.
    And speaking of Liam, I've got some more projects to complete before his arrival (which is rapidly approaching). I should get on that...

    Look for more pictures later this week!

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Speechless Sunday

    Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband, Steve.
    Thank you for our beautiful baby girls. And thank you for going on this crazy adventure with me. I love you.

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    The One With the Practical Things (Cake Making Edition)

    Ok. I'll admit it. I've been sold on the Wilton products for cake baking and decorating.
    They have about a million. But I'm only going to recommend the ones that have literally revolutionized and simplified my cake-making experiences. As a mom, I'm pretty busy and although I love baking, I don't have a ton of extra time to spend doing so. So I need these products that help me out. And the great thing is that none of them are extremely expensive. Especially if you sign up for JoAnn's coupons and collect one or two a week with 40-50% off coupons... you could seriously get the whole lot for hardly anything.
    1. Turn table: Eliminates the need to reposition yourself or your cake every 20 seconds. This is so easy to use you won't even realize how much it's helping you until you're done and it hasn't taken you a whole day to pipe an edge. I have the Trim 'n Turn Plus, but I suppose the Tilt 'n Turn Ultra would be even better since you can actually tilt it as well. But so far, I haven't really desired that feature.
    2. Cake leveler: Much easier than using a knife to flatten the top of your cake. You can even cut a single layer into 2 so you can fill the middle. At less than $4, you really shouldn't go without this.
    3. In stores that offer Wilton classes, they have Decorating Basics sets that are an awesome way to collect the basic supplies you need like tips, bags, couplers, guides, spatula, etc.
    4. Clear flavorings for your frosting are wonderful - they keep your frosting actually white instead of yellowish. Good stuff. 
    5. Icing a cake couldn't be any easier than with Wilton Tip 789. It's an extra large tip used with an 18" bag that allows you to get the icing on your cake very quickly. Then you use a spatula to even it out. Combined with the turn table, this is the best discovery I made of Wilton products. You can ice a cake in about 5 minutes with this technique. So handy! Here's a little video tutorial if you're interested. 
    6. Wilton also makes some Mini Squeeze Bottles which are awesome! I use them while decorating to keep water handy for thinning icing, but apparently they also work great for melting candy melts and drizzling them on things like cake pops. At about $2 for 2, you really can't go wrong. 
    So there you have it! My favorite new cake making/decorating products. I've been having so much fun decorating cakes and ideas just keep popping into my head. Now I just need parties to take some cakes too... it would definitely not be a good idea for me to make these cakes just for the heck of it.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    The Other One With Jaci's Graduation

    My beautiful sister, Jaci, graduated this past weekend. We had a wonderful time visiting my family in Idaho and celebrating with lots of yummy food (and a chocolate fountain!) and family and friends from all over. 

    I was able to snap a few photos during her party.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    The One With Georgia's Skirt

    Meet my little sister, Georgia. She's fifteen and pretty much amazing. Not only is she super adorable and more fashionable than I could ever hope to be, she's also a soccer extraordinaire. Her team was nearly undefeated this past season. And every muscle in her body appears to be sculpted of bronze. No kidding. 

    And on top of all of that, she's crafty, too! She made the skirt she's wearing in the pictures below.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    The One With the Bouquet of Cake Pops

    I've been attempting cake pops recently. Now, I haven't gotten to the point of being able to decorate them and make them all cool. Just getting this far has been a challenge. (This far: smooth cake pops that don't fall off their sticks.)

    But I think I might be getting the hang of it. A little. Maybe after a few more batches of plain cake pops I'll be ready to try something exciting.

    I have been using the Cake Pops book by Bakerella for reference and I think she has some great tips (read: I wouldn't even be this far without them).

    If you've made cake pops before and know what I'm talking about, or if you haven't but are using a book like the one mentioned above to get started, I'll let you in on a few of my secrets.
    • My favorite version of the cake pop is made with chocolate cake and rainbow chip frosting. Be careful not to use too much! Rainbow chip is quite moist.
    • Cake crumbles more easily if it is dry. If your cake recipe calls for 3 eggs, use only 2 and that should help. 
    • I have been using Wilton Melting Wafers and they work great.* If you want to try cake pops, collect a few bags when they're on sale and dive right in.
    • *When I say "they work great" I mean that they do work well, but you still have to practice to get them melted to the perfect consistency: not so cool that they fall before solidifying and not so hot that they create too-thin shells.
    • Make extras to use as testers! If you need 20 pops for a party, make 30 balls so that you can make a few mistakes without having to start the entire process over again.  
    • When attempting cake pops, set aside a good amount of time for working on them. You have lots of waiting time (baking, cooling, chilling in fridge, etc.) that can't be skipped out on.
    • Make sure you have your Styrofoam to set the pops in to solidify. You'll get very frustrated without this. 
    • Give yourself a break if they don't look perfect. No matter what they look like, they taste delicious.

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Speechless Sunday

    Congratulations to my beautiful sister, Jaci, who graduated from high school this weekend!

    (The idea for Speechless Sunday was started by Mallory on her blog Purplest Pecalin. The idea is that each Sunday I'll try to post a picture with limited commentary. Sometimes, like today, it will be a preview of posts to come. But mostly it will be random and hopefully it will be fun.)

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    The One With the Summer Treat

    If you are looking for an easy, crowd-pleasing summer dessert, look no further. This is my new favorite summer treat:

    Lemon bars topped with berry sherbet.
    They are simply delightful.

    For Memorial Day a few weeks ago we invited our friends Stephanie and Ryland over for my famous sub sandwiches. Steph made this for dessert and I've been a little obsessed with it ever since. It is so yummy and summery that I just can't get enough.

    To make this yourself: head on over to your local grocery store and grab a box of Krusteaz Lemon Bar Kit. And then snatch some berry sherbet while you're there. The lemon bars are easy to make (although they require a couple of hours of cooling time to be at their optimum consistency) and are an instant hit! As Ellie says, "Yummy, yummy, yum, yum, yum."

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    The One With Jaci's Graduation

    We are in my hometown this weekend celebrating my little sister's high school graduation. I can't believe she's graduating. And I can't believe she's so beautiful. It's not fair.

    This is part of the grad announcement I put together for her:

    Photograph by Peter Roise.

     And these party invitations were included with the announcement.

    (Address blurred for privacy.)

    Congratulations, Jaci! This end is really just the beginning of so many wonderful things to come. I know you'll face each new challenge with determination and you'll bring joy and laughter wherever you go.

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    The One With My First Cake

    Mallory and I had our second cake class the other day. And we made our first official decorated cake! What do you think?

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    The One With the Extreme Bubble Blowing

    These photos of Addison with her bubbles after her birthday party are too cute not to share. She cracks me up. 
    Normally, bubble-blowing is really a very simple process. First you take a big breath in:
     And then blow out:

    But Addison takes it to another extreme:

    This one gets to me every time.  Why she has to bare her teeth before blowing bubbles I'll never know. I bet that if there were some kind of Extreme Bubble-Blowing Championships, Addison would totally win. 

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    The One With Addison's Third Birthday

    On Saturday we went to Albany, Oregon, to celebrate Addie's third birthday party. It was a blast. 

    She and Ellie had some fun frolicking before the festivities began.

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    The One With the Caramel Cake

    Today has been deemed "Caramel Cake Day" for a few weeks. We had to think of a sufficient way to celebrate my dear friend Brynn passing her nursing licensure exam. What better way to do it than by making a caramel cake? None that I can think of.

    In case you wanted to make a caramel cake of your own, I thought I'd share the process.

    Before you get started, make sure you are adequately prepared. This includes going to Safeway and getting the French Salted Caramel Ice Cream they have there. This is an extremely necessary part of the process. You will need to eat this during the preparation and baking ordeal so as not to succumb to starvation.

    Also, you will need a recipe, like the one provided below.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    The One Where Olivia is 3 Months Old

    Olivia is 3 months old today! And as cute as ever. Blowing raspberries and giggling and "goo"ing up a storm. She and Ellie have these adorable little conversations. And she loves it when Ellie tickles her.
    Her newborn spindly-ness has been replaced by baby chubbiness. And she won't sit still for a moment. Even as I write this, she's wiggling her way all over the bed.
    She's eating and sleeping like a pro. I'm a lucky mama and I love her so much.
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...