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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You tell me

Which one is worse?



You may talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Harriet's chocolate chip cookies

There are certain foods that you remember from childhood. Foods that evoke fond memories of people, places or activities. These chocolate chip cookies are one of those foods for me.

Harriet is a beloved friend of my mother's. Her daughters and the three of us kids grew up together. Chocolate chip cookies or popcorn cake/bars were standard fare at any gathering of parents and children. These cookies were such a treat for us because we grew up as children of someone who likes crisp cookies. I'm not saying it's wrong (Mom), I'm just saying I don't like crisp cookies.

Let's get started!

1 and 1/2 cups of butter...please don't use plastic, I mean margarine. The butter should be softened.
3 beautiful farm fresh eggs. Notice the dark yellow yolks even in the winter!

1 cup of brown sugar, packed into the measuring cup. Basically, you want as much sugar as the cup will hold leveled at the top.

1/2 cup of white sugar. If you're into exact measurements and dirtying dishes, get out your 1/2 cup measure. If you are a practitioner of eyeballing, use your 1 cup scoop and move on with life.

This is what it looks like at this point. You will now beat the heck out of the sugar, eggs and butter. The technical term is "cream" them.

Add the vanilla. 1 1/2 tsp please. Again, no teaspoons were dirtied in the addition of the vanilla.

Add 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda. You might think I eyeball everything, which is close. The one thing I don't eyeball is leavening agents (like baking powder, baking soda, yeast). Baked goods can go seriously wrong when leavening is eyeballed. Please use measuring instruments!
Sidenote: These are my grandma's measuring spoons. I use them daily and guard them with my life.

Now for the flour. Add 3 and 1/3 cups flour from your flour bin using your grandma's 2 cup flour sifter. Again, I eyeballed. And then I had to add some more flour to make the dough feel right.

And now, the secret ingredient....PUDDING! Three 3.4oz boxes of vanilla pudding adds a moist-ness and richness to the cookies.
Wanna hear something wild? If you want Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies, use chocolate pudding and a little cocoa!!

All the dry ingredients.

Mix thoroughly but not excessively.

Obtain chocolate chips from your secret stash. You know the one. The one you keep for emergencies. When it's just been one of those days and you need to eat them straight from the bag.

You're going to use 1 1/4 cups of chips. But (and this should come as no surprise) I don't measure them. Each 12oz bag of chips holds about 2 cups. Pinch the bag slightly below the halfway line. Dump them into the bowl. Enjoy the remaining 3/4 cup however you wish.

Mix only until the chocolate chips are fairly evenly distributed.

Get out your cookie scoop. I love my cookie scoop! (I also use it for meatballs but that's another recipe for another time.)

Nice, evenly shaped cookies comes from a cookie scoop.

Oh, there's one missing from the pan you say? Well, it just jumped into my mouth. I was helpless to stop it.

Bake them at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. And during those 8-10 minutes, watch your daughter feed chocolate chips to her rabbit.

Ahhhh, perfection!

They will be soft and chewy in the center and slightly crispy on the outside.

And you'll end up with bags of yummy cookies to share with your family, friends, or friends of your kids.

Make these cookies. Children everywhere will remember you fondly for them. Thanks Harriet!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Winter Gear

Having small children means having small winter clothes. Lots of small winter clothes. I'd like to thank my folks for sharing their coat tree with us. It has made a world of difference in keeping track of ALL the small clothes.

Kiddo1 has turned into a quite the militant coat tree supervisor. She demands that if your coat is on the floor, it should be picked up and placed on the tree.

We won't have to wear all these clothes for too much longer...July has to come sometime!

Friday, March 4, 2011

My baby

My baby is 6 weeks old today!

And, better yet, she slept for 8 hours last night!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Whatever it takes to get you through...

When outside it looks like this:

I conjure up an image like this to get me through until spring.

As someone told me recently, "July always comes!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I was there, man. I was THERE!

Back in my wild and crazy single days, I hopped on a plane and flew to "the Triangle". Better known as Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina. My brother was a grad student at Duke and had tickets to the Duke-Michigan State Big Ten Challenge Men's basketball game. What you have to understand is that the Duke Blue Devils do not play in a state of the art, gigantic pavilion. Instead, they play in a small fieldhouse. To give a perspective, more people can fit into the Bismarck Civic Center to watch the state class B boys basketball tournament. In other words, two tickets to a Duke mens' game are a pretty hot item.

When I got to NC, my brother informed me that our tickets were second row...ON THE FLOOR! This was too good to be true.

The Cameron Crazies lived up to their name and reputation. An unbelievable amount of research goes into their cheers. They cheer former girlfriends, failed classes, changed majors, ANYTHING. And it is hilarious, I tell you.

This is a picture of my bro and I after the game, decked out in our Duke finest. Yes, my shirt says "Go to Hell Carolina". I still have it, I'll never part with it. Good times, good times.