Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Killer Chocolate Chip Cookies



Killer Chocolate Chip Cookies? I know…I just couldn’t resist calling them that because of the latest book I read. :)

These cookies are packed with three, count ‘em three cups of chocolate chips! And they come out so chewy and good. These are one of the best chocolate chip cookies. They rival my own chocolate town chip cookies with my secret ingredient. ;)

I thought I would share this recipe with you. I actually got this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. And the neat thing about these are you can vary the ingredients and branch out and make other kinds of cookies with this basic recipe. Ok – here goes…

Essential Chocolate Chip Cookies –

INGREDIENTS:

¾ cup butter, (softened)
¼ cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate pieces

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in chocolate pieces.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2-inches apart onto an *ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Yields about 60 cookies.

*Whenever a recipe calls for an ungreased cookie sheet to be used, I always line the cookie sheet with parchment paper. That way the spatula always slides right under the cookies every time. It is a no fail way to do it. You will never have cookies stick to the cookie sheet again. I have wanted to invest in a silicone baking mat, but haven’t done that yet.

Here are the variations on this standard recipe.

Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Prepare as above except substitute white baking pieces for the semi-sweet chocolate pieces. Stir in one 3 – 12 ounce jar macadamia nuts (chopped) with the baking pieces.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars:
Prepare as above, except press dough into an ungreased 15 x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake @ 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yields 48 bars.

Big Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Prepare as above, except use a 14-cup measure or scoop to drop mounds of dough about 4” apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If desired, flatten dough mounds to circles about ¾” thick. Bake @ 375 degree3s for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on pans on wire rack for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Yields about 18 cookies

And there you have it.

"There is nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate!"

Hugs & Chocolate Kisses,

Anna :)


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Reflections of the Proverbs 31 Woman



I read and re-read Proverbs 31 quite often. I prefer the way it is stated in the Amplified bible. However I do occasionally read it from The Message which has a more contemporary translation. There are 31 verses in Proverbs 31, and the last 22 verses speak to a woman’s character. I wanted to touch on verses 13-15 today.

Proverbs 31:13 in the Amplified bible says “She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].”

The Message words it like this – “She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.”

To me, this means that she tries to find the best deals she can. Her husband works hard and she supports and respects him by making sure their money is spent wisely. I have always liked the irony of this verse in that I never did master sewing! :)

Proverbs 31:14 “She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household’s food from a far [country]."

Proverbs 31:15 says “She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.”

To me, this means that she doesn’t neglect spending time studying the word. And I feel her “maids” are all the modern conveniences we often take for granted such as our washing machines, dishwashers, etc.

*These are some questions I have asked myself lately:

Am I pursuing wisdom to make right choices and stay in the will of God?

Am I doing the very best I can with the blessings of money and time that God has given me?

What can I do to be a blessing to someone else?

I have loved sharing my reflections on the Proverbs 31 woman with you. I welcome any comments or thoughts you may have or would like to share.

Until next time, may God bless you in your daily walk with Him.

Anna

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer


Just Hanging Out...

This little guy has his own personality. He takes naps everyday in this tree just outside our dining room window. He is so cute. He will lay on his stomach and just snooze.

I don’t know why but animals seem to be attracted to us! We have rescued a huge turtle from the busy street just outside our house. Poor guy was missing is hind left leg! But boy is he at home in the pond. We have so many trees that the addition of a bird feeder and bird bath now makes our home look like an aviary. I have found a Gecko in the backyard, as well as rabbits. And of course frogs and fish live in our ponds too.

Oh, and this is amazing! Last summer we had hundreds of migrating butterflies in one of our trees! It was an awesome sight.

In our previous house, we were just up the street from a park. So we had stray dogs and cats come to our door. I guess once we started taking them in, the word spread among them! ;)

I came across a really neat craft where you make your own bird seed wreath. It is really easy to do and looks like fun. Tie a ribbon on the finished wreath and watch the birds. I will share with you how to make it as soon as I can get to it. We start back to school next week, and things are gearing up around here!

I’m so glad you stopped by. Take care!

Anna

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Latest Project


I have wanted to do a craft project for some time now, but I didn’t have anything specific in mind.

Recently I stumbled upon this frame which was on clearance. It was missing the back and had no glass, but I thought it was so pretty and that I could somehow make use of it. I love the color and detail of it.

I also found this print on clearance, which I cut to fit the frame. It looks so pretty displayed on my vintage wood cabinet. And I love reading this verse every time I walk by.

The total cost of this project was under $5.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Anna

Monday, August 8, 2011

Zucchini Prep & How to Make Veggie Wash



It is that time of year when we see the store shelves stocked with all different sized canning jars. That makes me smile! :) Did you know there are different ways to prepare zucchini?

And as I stated in my last post my garden is now flourishing. I just harvested another large zucchini from my garden yesterday. Yeah!

As you probably already know the addition of zucchini makes for delicious bread. But there are other ways to prepare it.
You can slice, batter, and then fry it. And take it from me; a warm piece of fried zucchini dipped in homemade ranch dressing is hard to beat. :) However the way I am preparing it today pairs well with a meal.

You will need to *wash and then shred the zucchini.
Next sprinkle it with salt, toss and let it weep for 30 minutes in the strainer.

While the zucchini weeps, melt a small amount of butter in the skillet and sauté some diced onion. Once you have done that, squeeze the excess water from the zucchini and add the zucchini to the skillet. Then sauté it in the butter and onion. Oh, it is so good.

*I will also give you another tip on making your own veggie wash. It is so simple.

Just take a spray bottle, and then add one part distilled vinegar and the other part water.

I never buy veggie wash anymore because it is so expensive. You can make it yourself for pennies on the dollar.

Till next time,

Hugs,

Anna

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gardening - Update


Pay no attention to all that grass growing in my garden! :D

Here in the Texas Panhandle we have been experiencing a severe drought and constant temperatures in the triple digits. Ugh…

My garden has finally recovered from the heat and started producing! It is so dry here I was watering it 2x a day and still the ground would dry out. So I purchased some mulch to spread on it and that seemed to do the trick. Now I only have to water once a day! Woo-hoo!

My first task is to make zucchini bread. There are different ways to prepare and serve zucchini and I will share that in a follow up post.
On a side note – the grass in my garden is taking off. But the grass in the yard is not looking well. I guess it’s all that watering! I have pulled grass out of the garden I don’t know how many times, but it keeps coming back with a vengeance. :)

Hope you all have a wonderful week-end!

Love,

Anna