Chocolate Chip Cookies

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/274/57625248/files/2014/12/img_0352.jpgSo, in my previous post, I shared the sugar cookie recipe I baked for Christmas.  This post is about the second batch of cookies I made for my other cousin.  Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies?!  These cookies were a lot easier to me than the sugar cookies.  This recipe requires no rolling or refrigerating.

I also found this recipe in the “Better Homes & Garden Cookbook:  Celebrating the Promise (Limited Edition).”

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12 oz or 2 cups) pkg semisweet chocolate pieces or miniature candy-coated semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  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.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in remaining flour.  Stir in chocolate pieces and, if desired, walnuts.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 or 9 minutes, or until edges are light brown.  Transfer to a wire rack; cool.  Makes about 60 cookies.
I chose to use milk chocolate chips instead of semisweet and I omitted the nuts.  These were so good!  They seem fluffier than your average chocolate chip cookie, but nobody seemed to complain.

I only gave 16 of each cookie as gifts and then I took the others to a Christmas party on a platter with both cookies and cream puffs./home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/274/57625248/files/2014/12/img_0353.jpg

Even after all of that, I still have cookies left over.  I’m not complaining though because I have been snacking on them in between meals while I am at home on Christmas break.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/274/57625248/files/2014/12/img_0345.jpg This is the first time I have attempted this sugar cookie recipe. The last time I made sugar cookies from a Betty Crocker mix, but this time I wanted to try something different. I decided to try making these cookies for my cousin for Christmas.  Her favorite cookies are sugar cookies with frosting.  I ran out of time for frosting, but I am glad these cookies turned out so great!

I found the recipe in my “Better Homes & Garden Cookbook:  Celebrating the Promise (Limited Edition).”

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high-speed for 30 seconds.  Add the 1 1/2 cups sugar, beat until combined.  Beat in eggs, cream of tartar, baking soda, vanilla, and salt until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in remaining flour.  Cover and chill for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll balls in the 1/4 cup sugar to coat.  Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 9-12 minutes or until light brown.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.  Makes about 48 cookies.

I did have a little complication with the dough of these cookies.  They were so sticky when I tried to roll them into balls, so I tried to flour my hands after each ball, but I still ended up in a sticky mess.  Other than that, the recipe was pretty simple.  I will say that baking cookies while pregnant left me exhausted.  I made these cookies and chocolate chip cookies (recipe following) all in one day and I had to take a nap in between.  At least they got done and turned out delicious.

Sautéed Mixed Veggies

I am not the type of person to throw some ingredients together and make a dish. I don’t feel like I know enough cooking techniques nor do I feel confident in throwing food and flavors together. However, my husband does not think like me. Sometimes Brandon will get hungry and decide to create a new dish to see how it tastes. He has made dishes that taste awesome and he has made other dishes that need improvements. Some of his creations, mainly meat dishes, have been featured on this blog. This recipe is another of his ideas that he threw together.

Sautéed Mixed Veggies

Olive Oil
1/2 small red onion, diced
broccoli florets
shredded carrots
Bacon Bits
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Heat olive oil in skillet. Cook onion until soft. Add seasonings. Add broccoli and carrots. Cook until done. Pour in bowl and add bacon bits.

IMG_0158.JPG

We did not measure the veggies. He used about a handful of broccoli and just estimated on the rest.

TIP: if you need assistance with cutting the onion, follow the instructions from Southern Living. I read the instructions as he chopped the onion and it was very simple and quick.

French Dip Sandwiches & Easy Slaw

If you haven’t already realized, it has been a long time since I posted a recipe. The reason is lately food and I have had a love hate relationship. U could even say food has been my frenemy. Why? Because Brandon and I have been blessed with a new addition to our family come March. So, I have been battling morning sickness, or what I called all day sickness, for the past 3 months, but now I am feeling better.

With that out of the way, I would like to share this extremely easy sandwich recipe. Brandon loves eating this sandwich when we go to McAlister’s. So, since he loves using my Pinterest account, he found a recipe he wanted to try from Melissa’s Bargains.

The recipe:
Beef roast
2 cans beef broth
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
4-6 hoagie buns
Swiss/provolone cheese

Place roast in a greased slow cooker. Pour broth over top of roast and add spices. Cook on low heat 8-10 hours or high heat 5-7 hours. Remove roast and break meat with a fork. Use excess juices for dipping with sandwiches.

The following are adjustments we made. We used beef brisket and marinated it overnight in the broth and spices, fat side down. We cooked the meat fat side up to let the fat juices run down into the meat to keep it moist. For the sandwiches, we used Swiss cheese slices and mayo. We tried to use the au jus to dip the sandwiches, but there was too much fat and it seemed to greasy to eat.

I also wanted to fix a slaw to eat with these sandwiches. So, I found a recipe called Easy Cole Slaw off of Pinterest from Food.com. I love any recipe that says easy. I will warn that the slaw is more wet than I would like it. The dressing ran all over the plate, but it does have good flavor.

The recipe:

1 (16 oz) bag of cole slaw
2/3 cup of mayo
1/4 cup of sugar
3 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine dressing ingredients. Add cole slaw. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

The final product. Doesn’t that make you hungry?
IMG_0106.JPG

Chick-fil-a Carrot Salad

Pineapples are one of my favorite fruits. I love the sweetness and juiciness of each pineapple chunk. I always keep a couple of canned pineapples on hand because I like to eat the chunks straight from the can for dessert.

I also love Chick-fil-a. I love their chicken and Polynesian sauce. I also love their blueberry cheesecake. My favorite part about this restaurant is their strong belief in God and their stand to preserve Christian morals in the workplace. So, while looking for a carrot salad recipe, I was excited to find a recipe similar to this awesome restaurant from Just A Pinch.

It’s very simple to make. All you need is:
4 cups of shredded carrots
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapples
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup mayo
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

Dissolve the sugar with the pineapples. Mix in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate.

We omitted the lemon juice only because we haven’t bought any lately. I let it set about 20 minutes in the refrigerator before dinner. We did have a problem with excess juice, but we tried to drain off what we could. I served it with a simple Turkey Melt.

20140617-193649-70609911.jpg

This salad will go quickly because it is that good.

Sugared Pecans

I love the taste and smell of candied pecans. I am reminded with every scent of how much I love to shop at Christmas time because a booth will always be set up selling these wonderful pecans. And, of course, I always have to buy some in order to keep shopping. The only problem is there is never enough to satisfy my craving.

Brandon found this recipe while watching Trisha Yearwood on the Food Network. He quickly decided he needed to pin that recipe because we had pecans in the freezer that we needed to do something with. His grandmother gave everybody a large bag of pecans for Christmas this past year, so we froze ours until we could figure out how we wanted to use it.

The recipe is fairly simple:
1 stick butter
3 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
4 cups of pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pour butter on baking sheet. In large bowl, mix egg whites, sugar, and cinnamon. Add pecans and toss until coated. Pour pecans onto baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cook on baking sheet 10-15 minutes.
20140519-071404-26044478.jpg

This was Brandon’s first time working with egg whites. It took him a few tries, but he finally got it to work. His tip is to use the egg shell method. The key is to break the egg shell in half and pass the egg yolk between the two shells while the egg white falls into a bowl.

Brandon decided he would share these wonderful pecans with a friend from church for his birthday. I was happy that he decided to leave me a few pecans and not give them all away. They are so delicious that you can’t just have 5 pieces. 2 or 3 handfuls might be sufficient.

Tangy Broccoli Salad

20140428-212444.jpg

This recipe is one of my favorites because it is best to prepare the night before to allow the flavors to marry and the raisins to plump up. Who doesn’t love make-ahead dishes? I also enjoy carrying it for potluck because it offers something different to the range of traditional sides at the meal table.

The broccoli salad is a popular dish around here. A local restaurant even serves it during the summer. So, I was very excited when I discovered the recipe from Kraft. I have made it several times since I’ve found this recipe and we even had family members recommending the salad for get-togethers.

The flavors of this salad will keep you wanting more. You will taste the sweet raisins and miracle whip paired with the tangy combination of vinegar and red onion. If that doesn’t make you hungry, then imagine those flavors with the crunch of broccoli and sunflower seeds. It is such a light, colorful salad that most people will enjoy. If you haven’t eaten this dish or tried to make it, I hope you have been intrigued to add it to your weekly menu.

My kitchen confession: First of all, I hate chopping onions. I cry with every slice and the smell makes my hands stink. So, I thought I would be so smart to dice my onion in our mini chopper. That was a big mistake because the juice from the onions overpowered the salad and it was almost in edible. Needless to say, I am back to crying over every onion.