We're always looking for another great chocolate chip cookie recipe. We've found one that is perfect for a great big appetite with Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. However, after a day or so these awesome chewy cookies turn a little stiff. So we set out to find another amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe and we found an awesome alternative. With a few of our own tweeks, here's what we did:
When I was little we ate the left over chocolate chip cookies for breakfast every Christmas morning. It was a wonderful family tradition that my child-self loved very much. Unfortunately, now that I'm a grown up and stuffing myself with those cookies all month long, it's nice to have a filling breakfast to wake up to on that special day. So now, creating my own traditions with my family, we spend every Christmas morning baking something delicious to fill our bellies while Pie tears through her packages.
Our Christmas morning is typically a whirlwind of wrapping paper, video chats with family far away, and toy construction,. So we like to have something prepared the night before to slip into the oven first thing. A few years ago we made cinnamon buns, a pumpkin bread, and then the coffee cake that was nothing like coffee cake but amazing still. This year we decided to try some Overnight Baked French Toast.
Over Thanksgiving, my aunt made one that was delicious and so we decided to give our own a try. Using the original recipe and tweeking it a bit for our family tastes, we came up with this recipe that was delicious and easy to prepare the night before on Christmas Eve.
It was Pops McGops birthday last week and by request we made him his favorites of the year, chicken parm cupcakes and pumpkin roll! Every year he changes his favorites around, last year it was tacos and pumpkin pie. The year before tacos and angel food cake. He likes to keep us on our toes, I think. So while he was at work, Pie and I got to work on his special dinner and decorating the house. Luckily we got an early start because he surprised us by leaving work early. Must be the part where he likes to keep us on our toes...
For our pumpkin roll, we used a variation of the Libby's classic recipe. We made our own little changes and we think it was even better than the original.
Over the years we'd been asked about our "bead earning chart" a few times by some of our fellow parents. We're not judging your techniques or suggesting you try our way because it's the ONLY way. It's just one that has worked in our situation and we have heard many times how it seems like a great idea. Today we're going to share how it came to be and why we think it's so great. When we started potty training Pie, it became obvious that she had a currency. Back then it was stickers, my goodness did she love stickers, mini marshmallows, and mini m&m's. First we created a chart. It quickly became obvious that charts were not thrilling to her. Next we went to the dollar store and bought a huge poster board. She wasn't old enough to understand charts and graphs. We skipped over the neat and tidy look of organization and opted instead for chaos. If you've ever had a two year old, I'm sure you can relate. We pinned her poster board up on the back of the bathroom door and gave it a title "Pie's Potty Success" or something to that effect. When she had a potty success, she got a sticker of her choice. She proudly filled that entire poster board with her favorites. I have it saved in her memory box for my own personal emotional torture when she grows up.
There was few times I was asked for this recipe, part of me wanted to keep it to myself. These wonderfully fresh and homemade pretzels are a delicious treat that is worth the work. And like most things wonderfully homemade, it does take a bit of work to make these treats. They work as a snack, roll, or even appetizer, but they don't stay fresh long, so use them up quick! It's never a problem here since they're SO GOOD! This recipe has been slightly altered from the original and halved, we made the entire recipe and froze half of the dough for later use. Not sure how that will turn out but I'll keep you posted. Check out the original link for some great pretzel making tips and dip recipes too.
We're in the 4th of July spirit! What better way to kick off the holiday than with some good old American S'mores! Except we don't have a functioning grill... We could use our usual route, make them over the cooktop on our stove. Or we could make them in the already-warm-from-dinner oven! This week's recipe is just as simple as the old fashioned S'mores, but is great for those days you just don't feel like turning on the grill just for dessert.
Being healthy means trying new things, like making your own homemade goldfish! However, even the best laid plans can be a failure when no one likes what you've put all of your time and love into to create. This recipe was one such fail... These goldfish had potential and maybe they'll be a success with your non-picky eating family, but mine did not like this recipe. So why share it? Well for one, I liked them. I thought they tasted like mini grilled cheeses! And perhaps if I didn't call them goldfish, the critics would not have expected something that didn't taste exactly like the store bought variety. Whatever the reason for their distaste, I'm sharing my goldfish fail anyway! But I'm changing the name and adding some parmesan next time. Did I mention the time and love?
Homemade Grilled Cheese Puffs
Growing up, my grandma had big family dinners with my entire family for holidays, birthdays, Sunday night, celebrations, and whatever other reason she came up with for us to get together. If you've ever met my family, you know that is one really big dinner. Seven people in my immediate family alone, there was a lot of people to feed. Somehow, she always seemed to have it all under control from prep to dessert to dishes. We all had our favorites of her best recipes, mine was her meatballs and she'd make them for me anytime I'd ask.
Over the years she taught me many important things about taking care of a family, not limited to feeding them, though it was in the top three. One thing she never let me forget (especially in college) was that you have to eat, no matter what your plans are, they better include dinner. Otherwise, she would have a big old plate of "I told you so" when you got sick. "That's what happens when you don't eat well!" Now my family can quote me on it too. Another good piece of advice was eat what you like but in moderation. Ice cream or cake after dinner are a wonderful treat but don't eat a ton or all day long. Check your serving sizes, you'll be surprised how much more you're eating than you think.
The most useful knowledge my grandma passed on to me was to make your family's favorite recipes, have a few dinners you can whip up quick, and plan the week before your grocery trip. Now that I'm taking care of my family, it's important to me for them to get the nutrition they need, but to also be able to feed them in the time available in my day. No one wants to spend all day in the kitchen when they could be with their family. Between work, school, and everything else, I don't have time to cook elaborate dinners. My grandma taught me that I don't have to make every special dinner elaborate for them to be special. This recipe can be made in about 30 minutes, is a family favorite, and is only bad for you when you eat the entire recipe yourself.
Quick and Easy Stuffed Shells
You win some, you lose some. This week we tried two new recipes, but only one got such high praise as "ten thumbs up!" The original cookie recipe was perfect just the way it is, so instead of trying to make it my own I made the as instructed. There aren't too many recipes that will make me deviate from my tried and true chocolate chip, but for this one I'll make an exception. Perhaps I will try some variations in the future, but these were so delicious I really don't have to. Melt in your mouth, flavorful, chocolatey goodness, they didn't last very long in my kitchen.
Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
If we let her, Pie would eat mac and cheese every day... for every meal (except sometimes for breakfast, that chick loves her pancakes). For a long time I had tried to duplicate the Panera Bread recipe without success. One problem being that two of the members of the family hate most of the required ingredients. So I tried a few recipes before settling on my own more healthy version.
A Lighter Mac and Cheese