Chocolate Chip Cookies

This chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have made is probably the best one yet. I have made many different ones; looking for that perfect recipe online and from all my recipe books – I have many of them. I have tried altering a few recipes and it just does not come out the way I wanted them. These are packed with loads of chocolate, thick, big, soft and chewy. It has all the requirements that I have been looking for. I don’t want a chocolate chip cookie too thin nor do I want it very thick that I would consider cake-like. The link for this original recipe can be found HERE.  I am going to try to make them smaller and try to freeze them individually. A tin of cookies and a tin of frozen ones would be a wonderful gift. One to enjoy now and the other one will be when the cookies run out. According to the recipe, I needed to use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure out for each cookie. I could not get this to work for me. I just used an ice cream scooper. I also did a mixture of chocolate chips I had on hand. I think it was mini chips in semi sweet and dark chocolate chips. I used my kitchen aid with this – made it much easier.

chocolate-chip-cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  •  3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 – 1/4  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 – 3/4 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. With the mixer on low-speed – add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and baking powder.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick. The paddle attachment is great for this.
  6. Measure out each cookie using a 1/4 cup measuring spoon or ice cream scooper. They should be in the shape of thick discs.
  7. Bake for 11-12 minutes. The center of the cookie will still look a little undercooked. This is what you want.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cook 1 minute on the pan, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

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Chicken Alfredo Casserole

Alfredo sauce is usually the answer I get when I ask either of my girls what kind of sauce they would want with their pasta. I will not eat the white stuff from the jar. I did use the jar sauce in the beginning and still use in emergency situations.  I have found an easy recipe for Homemade Alfredo Sauce. The link will have the original recipe. It’s really good and I usually make larger portions to freeze in small containers. I did decrease the garlic powder; it was a but too much for us. I also decreased the cream cheese a bit and increased the milk. It was a bit too thick for our taste. I will include the recipe at the end of this post.

Chicken Alfredo Casserole is something I came up with years ago. It’s one of those “What do I fix for supper” moments. I think the secret ingredient is using the fresh pasta. I have used dried pasta in the past and it comes out fine. It just taste better with the fresh pasta. One day I will take it to the next level by making my own pasta -(attachment for kitchen aid!) but for now I will stay with Buitoni Pasta. I find this in the Deli area of your grocery store.

casserole

This casserole can be made ahead. Take out and get room temperature in a preheated oven. I have put straight from fridge to oven while it is preheating. It’s so easy. I really never measure with this dish. I just eyeball it and throw it all together. Broccoli can be added to this dish or anything you would like.

Chicken Alfredo Casserole

  • 3-4 chicken breast
  • 1 pound of mozzarella cheese – reserve a little for topping
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese – reserve a little for topping
  • alfredo sauce
  • Fresh tortellini pasta
  • crushed crackers, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cube and cook the chicken to your choice. I usually saute the chicken with a little olive oil.
  3. Cook the pasta according to directions but reduce cooking time by half. It will continue cooking in the oven.
  4. Grate the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  5. Gently fold the pasta with a little of the alfredo sauce in a large mixing bowl. This will help the pasta to cool. I want it cooled a bit so the pasta will not melt the cheese quickly.
  6. Add to the cooled pasta – the remaining alfredo sauce, chicken, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  7. Top with  reserved mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  8. Sprinkle crushed crackers on top, if desired.
  9. Cook until hot and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes.
  10. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

 

alfredo-sauce

Alfredo Sauce

  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 (4 tablespoon) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, more if you want
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

*note – this makes about four adult servings, double as needed for more.

  1. Add cream cheese and butter to a sauce pan.
  2. Add the garlic powder and milk next.
  3. Then, add parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  4. Then put on the stove over medium heat. Stirring it with a whisk as the cream cheese and the butter melt.
  5. Once it begins to boil whisk constantly so it doesn’t burn and turn down the heat after about 2-3 min to med/low heat.
  6. Let it cook for about 5-7 min more while whisking, until it is a little thicker but not quite the thickness you want your sauce to be. It will thicken as it cools down. If it is too thick on the stove it will be very thick and chunky off the stove.

French Toast

Thick bread buttered and fried on a griddle. What’s not to love?  According to ChefTalk, french toast was created by medieval European cooks. They needed to use every bit of food that was available to them for their families and that meant using stale bread for a meal. The website offered interesting facts about the origin of the french toast.

french-toast

They are different ways to make french toast: baked in a casserole, sandwich or simply cooked on a griddle. This is the way we enjoy it. I do not measure my ingredients since I throw all this together in a bowl. I will only guess at the ingredient amounts. This can be adjusted to make for 1 to 2 servings. You cannot go wrong with the ingredients. The bread does not have to be stale. I have used fresh bread before but I do prefer the stale bread.

French Toast

  • 6-8 slices of french bread or any hearty thick bread – sliced about 1-2 in thick
  • 1 egg
  • about 1 cup of milk, add more if needed depending on how many slices you want
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Butter – however much you want to use
  1. Whisk the egg until mixed and slowly mix in milk.
  2. Whisk in the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  3. Melt a couple pats of butter (Not margarine) on a griddle.
  4. Whisk the milk mixture to incorporate the spices – they usually like to float on the top. I do this for each slice of bread.
  5. Dip the slice of bread on both sides into the milk mixture and cook on griddle until golden brown on each side.
  6. Sprinkle powder sugar on top (my daughter favorite), optional.
  7. Can be topped with syrup, honey, fruit or whip cream.

Don’t forget the bacon on the side – if you can keep others out of it while you are cooking.

 

Fingerless Gloves

This is one my favorite fingerless glove patterns to knit up. It is a free pattern on Ravelry. You do have to login to Ravelry to view this pattern. I have said this before in earlier post that this is my go-to place for patterns. I have worn these working out in the yard, out on the porch knitting, football games or any other place you would need your fingers free.  Yes, I am the one that is at a game knitting. I only went to football games to watch the marching band. I am not a sports fan but loved the band. My girls were marching band students.

fingerless gloves

This Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts pattern has 3 sizes and you could adjust the length too. These in the picture are knitted up in different lengths. I am in process of making another pair. These also make wonderful gifts.

Classic Southern Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet cake is a classic southern tradition. It becomes center stage for Christmas desserts. This cake is not always for Christmas. It has been used for Valentin’s Day and weddings. This can be made anytime and homemade is the best – not from a box!

This first time I made this – chocolate cake infused with rich red color and topped with cream cheese frosting – was about 9 years ago at Christmas. My youngest daughter was about 8 years old then. She decided then that every birthday I must make this for her. She was not a big fan of a decorated cake; she went for taste.

I have over the years played around with the ingredients. Here is a link to the original recipe I used. It was from a cookbook that I have in my recipe collections – Paula Deen The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. The pages have been written all over it by now with all my adjustments. I did make a promise to my daughter that I would not share any adjustments I made. This is “Her Cake”. She is so funny with this but I can share the original recipe. One other thing I did that is optional is that I added a buttermilk glaze after cooking. I can share this too since it is not part of the “actual” cake.

I did not use the original frosting recipe. I just could not change the fact that red velvet cake needs a Cream Cheese Frosting and I did not use the pecans. My daughter has a tree nut allergy so we just did not use them. I figured a trip to the hospital was just not worth it.

I decided to make little 3 inch cakes. The little cakes were not as easy to frost as I thought it would be but it will become easier the more I do them.

red cake1

Red Velvet Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar.
  3. Mix cocoa and food coloring.
  4. Add butter and egg mixture, mix well.
  5. Sift together flour and salt.
  6. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.
  7. Blend in vanilla.
  8. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar.
  9. Add to the mixture.
  10. Pour int o prepared 3 9-inch pans.
  11. Bake 20-25 minutes or until test is done.

I use was paper inside pan. This will help with releasing cake from pan. I have added a buttermilk glaze and I cannot remember where I found this from. I figured one day I would try it. This is not needed,  it’s just one of those extra toppings.

Last 15 minutes of cooking time start the glaze.

Buttermilk Glaze

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  •  1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Boil 4 minutes, stirring constantly until golden “caramel color”
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in vanilla and do not overcook.

Once the cake is done. Take out of oven and do not take out of pans. Poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick. Slowly drizzle the glaze over the cake layers. I will take a spoon and spread gently. Pouring too much and too quickly will cause the glaze to settle on top of cake instead of cake soaking up the glaze. Let set 10 minutes in pan. Take cakes out of pans and wrap them with plastic wrap. I usually turn the cakes out onto a piece I have on counter. Freeze  on a flat surface about an hour. If not really cold; the cake could break apart while frosting because of the glaze.

Take cake layers out of freezer and unwrap. Frost with cream cheese frosting

Freezing the cake is helpful when cutting them for mini cakes. I used a 3 inch cookie cutter. This cake makes a lot and I have several mini cake layers in the freezer now. I figured this would be a great keep and take out when we would want some. I did wrap each one in plastic wrap. Then they all went into a freezer container.

 

 

 

New Rose Blooming

DA1I decided to add a new rose to my collection but I wanted a climbing rose. I needed to come up with an idea of where would be the best place to plant since I have to consider the climbing stems. I decided a garden trellis next to my porch surrounded by the lilies. The lilies have started to die down about this time of year but next year it will be beautiful.

I searched for climbing roses. I wanted an David Austin English Rose. I was fortunate to come across one at Lowes about 5 years ago but I could not find anyone locally that carried them now. I went looking online at David Austin Roses website. There was so many to choose from. I wanted one with lots of petals and a strong fragrant. I decided to go with the Abraham Darby rose. This was shipped before spring. It was small but it finally took off but next year I imagine it will be full of blooms. I only get a few right now but it is still young.

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Update on Office

We are still working on our office. This is an update to my earlier post of Updated Office. Now we are adding the final touches to the room. We still need to install the shelves (we meaning my husband will put them where I tell him I want them) on the wall and I have finally decided what I want. I will put the shelves scattered on the wall – maybe different lengths. I know I am going to use the same stain that was used for the desktops – Rust – Oleum Stain in Kona. This is a dark stain and I like it the most because it was a chocolate-brown undertone instead of a red undertone. I only used one coat of stain. We still need to touch up the braces but I will do that when I paint the braces for shelves. The braces and trim are painted the same color – Valspar in Du Jour. desk

The paint we used on the walls is Valspar in Puppy Paws. This color was decided after many months of looking at samples on my wall. I truthfully  was at the point of mixing all the paint samples together to come up with one.

I brought in a blue color by painting the doors. I used Sherwin Williams in Tradewind for this. I really like this blue. I actually painted the inside of the front door this color. room

I need to add drapery as well. I will concentrate on this blue color for the fabric. I will keep making updates as we get things finished.