Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My cat sleeps in the strangest places.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Typical Tuesday

Today is not a typical Tuesday.  Today started with me sleeping in.  Yes that's right, I slept until almost 9:00.  My husband has today off of work and decided to go hunting.  So I didn't have to get up at 5:30 and make his breakfast and lunch.  It was so nice!

Our youngest 2 kids got up and made their own breakfast and started school without me.  What good kids I have!  I got up and decided to try my hand at baking bread since I now have a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.  I used the basic wheat bread recipe that came with my stand mixer.  Sadly, after over an hour, it didn't rise.  I decided to find a different recipe online and here are the results:

They literally just came out of the oven and smell so very good!  I can't wait to try a piece.  

Today in school #3 had an art project.  She made a mask that looks very similar to herself.  She even decided to use tan construction paper to represent her skin tone.  I'm rather proud of her for thinking of that.

#1 is out and about in town with my hubby right now.  And when I say out and about, I mean she's driving.  She's got her permit and today she is driving in town traffic.  It's wonderful to see her learn how to drive so she can be more independent.

#2 is still hanging on the couch.  He's had a bad chest cough for a week now, but it's clearing up and his earache is virtually gone.  He's missed church, scouts and Awana for 2 weeks, but he should be cleared up enough to return to a normal routine this weekend.  

Lots of different things today, but all have been good.  Now, it's time for me to go and see how my bread baking adventure went.

** Update -- The bread is delicious!  Here's the recipe I used.  **

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Man Cookies

Ok, so maybe these cookies aren't just for men. I mean, I totally love them. The official name for these cookies are Brown Butter Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Now you see why I just call them Man Cookies!

I made these last week for my husband's National Guard Troop and they loved them. The soldiers ate them up so quick that my poor husband came in looking for one and they were all gone. I told him to come in early! Needless to say, being the good wife that I am, I decided to make my husband his own batch of cookies. This time, I documented my adventure for you all to share in. 

These cookies are amazing. I got the original recipe from Mouth From the South and adapted it slightly. I couldn't find bittersweet chocolate chips anywhere so I used a baking bar and chopped it up. It fits better with the "Chocolate Chunk" title. Overall though, the recipe is the same.

Here's the ingredients list:

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
4 oz semisweet chocolate bar, diced into 1/4″ chunks
1/2 cup (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, diced into 1/4" chunks
3 tablespoons milk chocolate, grated
1 cup bacon that’s been fried until crispy and diced into roughly 1/4″ pieces

This is definitely a recipe that calls for preparing your ingredients first. I started by getting the bacon ready, then dealing with the chocolate. For my milk chocolate, I used a Hershey's bar and froze it for about 5 minutes first. This helps with the chocolate not melting in your hand while you're trying to grate it.

I also prepared my flour and baking soda mixture, then the sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla mixture. I also got my eggs ready in a bowl then I got started. This will help once it's time to start combining ingredients. Here's the official directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees with your oven rack in the middle. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl then set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons unsalted butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, swirling constantly. Cook the butter until it is dark brown and has an amazing nutty smell. Watch it carefully because it will burn. Pour the cooked butter into a heat-proof bowl and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Mix until all the butter is melted.

Add your sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla mixture to the butter. Whisk until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until combined. Let this mixture stand for a few minutes. Whisk for 30 seconds and then let the mixture stand again. Whisk again for 30 seconds until thick, smooth and shiny. This allows for the sugar to completely melt into the mixture.

Using a wooden spoon, add the flour and baking soda mixture until combined. Don't over mix, but make sure that all the flour pockets have disappeared. Add the chocolate and the bacon and mix. 

Using a teaspoon, put your cookie dough onto your lined cookie sheet. In this picture, the pan is 9x13 and I only put 11 cookies on it. Due to the small amount of flour in these cookies, they spread. Here is the same pan before and after baking.

Cook for 10-14 minutes at 375 degrees. Take them out when the edges are brown and center is slightly uncooked. Leave on the pan and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. This will allow for the centers to finish cooking.

These cookies are delicious! My family has already started scarfing them down and I am once again in favor with my husband. Last week with the soldiers, and again today with my family, I heard the phrase, "Bacon makes everything better!" I completely agree!

Grandpop's Pumpkin Pie

I'm blogging today on the Food Channel of Today's Housewife.  Come over and read about my Grandpop's special pumpkin pie recipe.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Beautiful You

I'm blogging today over at Today's Housewife about inner beauty.  Check it out!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I bake my birthday cake.
My kids decorate it.

I love my kids!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tea and Toast

Black and Green balloons for the
Philadelphia Eagles! 
This morning I woke up to a tray of tea and toast and my kids singing Happy Birthday.  It was wonderful!  As of last night I didn't have any big expectations for today.  My husband is gone with the National Guard right now and won't be back until later this month.  So birthday plans for me have been put on hold.  But my kids woke up extra early so they could make me birthday cards and breakfast.

Later this evening we are going to dinner with my mom and step-dad.  I don't know where we are going yet, but my son decided to skip cub scouts so we can all go together.

Purple tulips because they are my
favorite!  From #3.
Last month I received a really cool birthday present from my dad.  A fishing rod with LED lights in it.  It is so neat, and the best part is it's pink!  I got a pink fishing rod!  The LED lights glow when you spin the reel.  They aren't very bright, so no scaring the fish away.  Unfortunately with all the rain, I haven't had a chance to use it yet.  Hopefully I will be able to go fishing this weekend or next weekend.

So despite going to bed alone, after having the following conversation with my kids:

Me: Who made me a birthday card for tomorrow?
#2 & #3:
 Deer in headlights looks.
Me: I wonder if I'll get a birthday cake tomorrow.
#2: Sure, go bake yourself one!

it looks like I'm going to have a great birthday after all.