Wednesday, February 22

(Almost) Prize Winning Chocolate Chip Cookies they are National Prize Winners - but they are winners on my street!

I’m not stellar at the whole cooking thing (and I'm working on my DIY skillz) but one thing you can't knock are my baking skills cause I’m pretty sweet at it! (cheesy pun intended :) )

I have a standard Go-To Chocolate Chip recipe that friends, family and coworkers don’t seem to complain about – so I figure they are pretty good.

With my new addiction love of Pinterest I figured I could peruse the pins for a new variation.

I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip Pudding cookies...
I tried them..FAIL..The suckers look tasty but are very finicky to bake.. Cook 2 mins too long and they are dryer than Las Vegas in the summer! Blah!

I guess I’ll stick to my good’ol standard recipe for now. I highly recommend you give'em a whirl!!

A lil crispy, A lil chewy, A whole lot'a sweetness, Giant Chocolate Chip cookies
Serve with milk or even better, red wine
Makes about 30 (3"- 4" cookies)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt (PS don't be a bonehead like me and use Sea Salt like I did with the last batch)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar (use light or dark brown sugar - works with either)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 semisweet chocolate chip cookies

1.  Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda (strongly recommended)
2.  Preheat oven to 350°
3.  Beat butter/sugars for in mixer (on medium/high) for a minimum 5min, til light and fluffy - Trust me!
4.  Add 1 egg at a time
5.  Add vanilla (I occasionally add some almond extract or a sprinkle of pumpkin spice to mix it up)
6.  Reduce speed to low, add flour slowly, beat until combined
7.  Mix in choc.chips
8.  Drop BIG (round) dough balls (at least a heaping Tbsp sized) onto parchment - 2" apart (see pic)
9.  Bake until edges JUST start to golden (middle will still be soft) Approx. 15min
10.  A MUST - let cool on sheet for 5min before transfer to cooling rack
11.  Cookies will flatten and crisp up as they cool

Size of giant balls
Waiting patiently...
If only the screen were scratch and sniff or lick and taste! YUM
To Do’s:
* Work out harder this week due to over consuming
* Scour the web for another recipe to put up against these puppies

Do you have a chocolate chip recipe that you want to share for the next 'competition'? 
If you try out this recipe let me know how they turn out and if your family devours them!

Saturday, February 11

Do Naked Crayons Look Uptight?

With The Hubby away this past week (living it up attending a work conference in New Orleans, LA) I wanted to spend some bonding time with the lil man and make some Valentine’s Day gifts for his new friends at daycare.

What’s a good, non-banana, non-peanut, non-dairy, non-egg..non…non..non thing to make for kiddos under 5? (No freakin' idea..) I figured all the parents were going to overload the daycare center in allergen free cookies/treats, so I didn’t want to follow suit.

I decided to be that cool/different Mom and made Crayon Hearts. (Inspired by Creative Mommas)

(Initially this was supposed to be a Toddler Valentine’s craft idea, however after I did the trial run the night before.. I just didn’t see it going well with "E"…. Exacto Knife – just screams danger! Having my almost 2 year old see me rip off crayon labels and break up crayons…Not a chance!!)

I gathered all my supplies: 4 boxes (24pc) crayons (not chunky crayons), heart shaped candy/plastic muffin molds, Valentine’s Baggies, Exacto knife, labels, bottle of red wine
Yields: approx. 32 small heart heart

Use Exacto to carefully slice off the crayon labels. (I found slicing along the seam worked best. Also recommended, do this part before glass #2.)

Is it just me or do naked crayons look uptight?

Heat oven to 265
Break up each crayon into 4-5 pcs
Put 2 or 3 colors in the each mold*.
*Too many colors doesn’t turn out as nice

Put molds on a cookie sheet
Cook for 10-12 (depending on your oven & thickness of crayon/thickness of melted crayon.)
CAREFULLY/S-L-O-W-L-Y lift out the cookie sheet. (You don’t want the melted crayon to swoosh around/up the sides of the mold)
Let sit until cool/hardened
Pop out of mold

Things I figured out:

  • The brighter crayons turn out nicer.. The dark browns, grays, blues – not so much.
  • I would recommend layering the crayons approx. 2 high as in the photo for a thicker/more robust crayon.
  • Buy more than 2 molds so you can make the whole batch @ one time


Aren't they beauts!

Check out the other craft I did do with our toddler: Mail A Hug

To Do’s
* Package crayons in Valentines baggies
* Bring the little gifts to his daycare on Monday

Mail a Hug (Valentine's Toddler Craft)

Who said crafting with a toddler was FUN? Cause they totally LIED!
Sure - it may be fun for them but it’s just about as fun for us as going grocery shopping with a kid when they’re sick and hungry..(Nightmare !)

I thought I’d be a good daughter (& daughter in law) this year and make some heart-warming Valentine’s Day giffies for the grandparents, aka Nana/Pappy and Grandma/Grandpa ‘Long Hair’. (I couldn’t do anything too elaborate or The Hubby would be all over me about ‘the funds'..) (Here's what  I made for 'E's Valentine's giffies for his daycare buddies.)

Here’s what I came across after doing a little ‘research’ on Pinterest.
Inspiration from Tons of Fun Blog

Perfect! I had all the required supplies:
Red Craft paper
Toddler hand
Toddler’s patience (Ok, well I almost had all the supplies..)

Do you know how hard it is to trace a toddler's hand when they want no part of it?? I managed to somewhat trace 3 fingers and a thumb, after several attempts. I decided to freehand the last finger and part of his hand to avoid the pending melt down. It was that or I was going to have to sit on his arm to get the ‘real’ tracing of his hand.
(I was this close to downloading a kids hand online! Lol)

After I traced his hand & cut them out, I put a little Valentine’s message on them and added the ribbon (long enough to do a ‘pretend’ toddler hug.)
All in all I think "E"’s grandparents will be touched by his Valentine’s day craft and probably wouldn’t have cared if the hand only had 4 fingers! Lol

A somewhat successful toddler craft completed! 

What did your toddler’s Valentine’s day craft look like? Did it go from “FUN” to “NONE” as well?

To Do’s
* Make Cards to go with the “Hugs”
* Mail Nana/Pappy’s card/hug
* Start looking for Easter toddler crafts (If you have any suggestions, add a comment below)