Chocolate and Peanut Butter

We’re going to a New Year’s Eve party tonight, so I thought I’d make some cookies to bring.  I decided to try the peanut butter cookies that my mom made for Christmas and I also used my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

img_2906
For the chocolate chip cookies, I used a recipe I found on Marsha’s Baking Addition.  I img_2907_croppedfound this recipe about two years ago and it’s the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve used since.  I like it because it makes 15-18 cookies and therefore I can whip up a batch real quickly.  They also have a secret ingredient (corn starch) that makes the cookies soft in the middle.  Everyone who tries them asks for the recipe.

I have to keep my cookies in the oven for the full 13 minutes and I also don’t bother with refrigerating them before baking.  I find that they’re plenty thick without it.

 

 

For the peanut butter cookies, I used a recipe from Rachel Schultz.  I don’t usually make img_2908_croppedpeanut butter cookies, but I really liked the ones my mom made so I wanted to make them too.  I like that they have a bit of a grainy quality to them. I’m not sure how they get like that – I think maybe this recipe calls for a bit more peanut butter than others.  I followed the recipe as written on her website except I have to keep my cookies in the oven for 11 minutes.  For the peanut butter, I used the Bee’s Knees which is a flavor made by the Peanut Butter & Co.  It’s organic (which I’ve heard isn’t ideal for making cookies), but they still turned out great.

I hope you enjoy whatever you have planned for tonight. Happy New Year!

Save

Christmas Delights

I hope the holidays are going well for you so far.  For Christmas, I made a few items I thought I’d share with you.

The first is pillow cheesecake that was inspired by this one from Tartelette. img_2898-copyInstead of their chocolate shortbread crust, I made a traditional crust (2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 5 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of sugar, mix and press to the bottom of a 10 inch spring form and bake for 8-10 minute at 350F).  I also did not use the caramel sauce.  I have used it previously, but I just didn’t want to mess with it this time.  I followed the directions for the cheesecake batter as written on the Tartelette blog except I think I cooked it an hour and a half at 350F instead of 325F.  I added chocolate and raspberries on top of a few slices, but the cheesecake is amazing served plain as well.  In fact, I think that’s how I prefer it.  If you like cheesecake, I recommend giving this recipe a try.

img_2837_copyThe next thing I made are these ranch oyster crackers which are a holiday tradition.  They’re super easy to make and most people to enjoy them.  I used this recipe posted on All Recipes website.  I did not use the lemon pepper or garlic powder which are optional ingredients. I put the crackers in a large mason jar and  I added a Christmas tag and twine to make it look more festive.

img_2842-copyNext, I made two loaves of zucchini bread following this recipe I posted on my blog last year.  After they cooled, I wrapped each loaf in plastic wrap and tied twine and a Christmas tag around them.

My mom made peanut butter cookies for my family’s Christmas but she had to make a second batch because she and my dad ate the original before everyone came over.  My mother-in-law made some really amazing spinach dip that had bacon in it.

Which holiday recipe does your family enjoy the most?

 

 

2017 Calendar

I’ve finally decided on the pictures I want to use for my 2017 calendar.

All pictures were taken by me in 2016 and here’s a description of each:

  • January – this picture was taken outside of our house after a snowstorm last winter
  • February -this was taken in February when I was out for a walk
  • March – this was at a local garden on a warmer winter day last winter
  • April – This is a neighbors tree.  I sat down under the tree and pointed my camera upward toward the sky
  • May – This was taken at the local garden one weekend morning
  • June – Also taken at the local garden (I guess I go there a lot!)
  • July & August – Also taken at the local garden (yikes!)
  • September – At a local university
  • October – My front porch after it was decorated for fall
  • November – this is a bush we have in our yard that turns red when the leaves start to fall.
  •  December – I took this when I was out for a walk on a warmer day last winter.

I used a fixed 50mm f/1.4 lens for all of the pictures except for January.  For January, I used a 18-55mm f/5.6 lens.  My camera is a Canon Rebel T3i.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Crock Pot Beef & Vegetable Soup

Hi All!  Today I made a family recipe for beef and vegetable soup.  It turned out great and was perfect for a cold, rainy day.

img_2819

Ingredients
– 2 pounds of bottom round cut beef.  Top round and English roast also work.
– 12 oz. can of tomato sauce
– Small bag of frozen mixed vegetables (mine had peas, corn, carrots, and green beans)
– 3/4 cup of frozen lima beans (optional)
– 4 to 5 stalks of celery, cut in to small slices
– 3 to 4 red potatoes, cut in to chunks
– 1 beef bouillon cube
– 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
– 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
– 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– water

Directions
– The night before, rinse the beef and put in crock pot.  Pour cold water in to crock pot over the beef until it is just covered.  Cook on low overnight.
– In the morning, remove the beef from the crock pot.  Using two forks, shred the beef.  Discard any fat.
– Keep the water that’s left over in the crock pot because this is the start of your broth.  Add the beef bouillon cube, tomato sauce, and the spices/seasoning to the crock pot. Stir.
– Add the beef and vegetables to the crock pot and stir until ingredients are mixed.  Cook on low all day (8-10 hours) or on high 4-6 hours.

I served the soup with yummy cinnamon muffins straight from the oven.

Enjoy!

Save

Veterans Day

Today marks the 98th anniversary of the end of WWI.  It is also Veterans Day in the U.S. which is a national holiday designated to honoring and thanking those who have served in the U.S. military.  A huge “thank you” to all veterans.  I hope you had an amazing day and got to enjoy the weather as much as I did.

img_2753-copyimg_2755_copyimg_2762-copyimg_2784-copyimg_2780_copyimg_2769-copyimg_2776-copy

November Morning

I woke up early today to go to a craft show.  I didn’t stay long but I did buy a homemade soy peppermint candle and a homemade Christmas card.  It was a cold morning, but it was sunny and there wasn’t much of a breeze, so it didn’t feel too bad out.  After I got home, the sun was still low and it was casting interesting shadows.  So I grabbed my camera.

img_2735-copyimg_2739-copyimg_2740-copyimg_2744-copyimg_2748-copy

Anyone started their Christmas shopping yet?  I’ve only bought three things so far and I have A LOT more to go.  I really enjoy buying things for other people, but the problem is coming up with gifts that a.) they don’t already have and b.) they’ll like.  Wish me luck!

Decorating for Autumn

I usually don’t put up autumn decorations (because I didn’t really have any), but this year I decided to change that.  I had a hard time figuring out how to decorate my mantel without going out and buying more things, but I think it turned out cute in the end.  How do you decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or autumn in general?

 

img_2615

The pumpkin picture I took in 2012. The banner I bought at Target for a few dollars. Everything else was purchased at various places like Jo-Ann Fabrics and HomeGoods.

img_2427img_2425img_2618img_2694