Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I've been having some fun with cookie recipes lately--Mint Ravioli cookies, Inside-Out chocolate chip cookies, and these little babies: Giant Toffee-Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Here's the recipe (you know you want it!):
makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (12 ounces) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 package (6 ounces) almond brickle chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix brown sugar, margarine, shortening, honey and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and brickle chips.

Drop dough by level 1/4 cupfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are golden brown (Centers will be soft. Cool 3-4 minutes; remove from cookie sheet.

Variation: Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. About 4 dozen cookies.

Now, here's what I did: First of all, I like toffee with MILK chocolate, not semisweet, so I went for regular size milk chocolate chips rather than semisweet minis. I went for the regular size cookies, for quantity, rather than worrying about making giant cookies. Finally, I don't know why they say ungreased cookie sheet. Toffee is like caramel--when it is warmed, it gets soft and sticky. I never would have been able to get them off the cookie sheet once they started to cool (and stick to the sheet).

Don't they look yummy? Well, they taste even better! This may well be my family's new favorite cookie.

This is my test: I love making cookies, but I don't really care to eat them once they cool down. I love warm cookies, but once I'm done baking I don't really eat any. This recipe is in great danger of changing all that. The cookies are so good, I almost made myself sick having *just a few* more. :)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Unexpected Enjoyment

I wanted to share these with you because I think they're awesome. My friend, between her chemo treatments, makes them to help keep her busy. She's a lot like me in that she has to have something to keep her mind occupied or she may go crazy. I may also ask her if she'd like to read some of my unpublished stuff and give me feedback--but only if she feels up to it.

Today, I took my youngest daughter and the two toddlers I tend out to visit some horses. My question to you: What do you get when you mix a 3 yr old, a 2 yr old, and 5 Arabian horses? The answer? A really, really cute video. The problem? It's on my husband's phone because I'm a genius and forgot my camera, and I can't share it.

The 3 yr old has been out there to visit horses before, and cried when she had to leave. Today, rather than holding her, I let her hold my hand and walk. She went right up to one of the stallions chanting, "I wanna pet the horsey" and he turned that great head and offered his nose to her and she got a really good look at how big he really is.

To her credit, she did NOT scream and run away. :) But she was much more comfy in my arms petting horses.

We got some video of my nephew's boy petting one of the mares and sent it to his dad's phone. That was pretty awesome. He's a bit more reserved than the 3 yr old, but was still just as excited to pet the horse's nose. And Miraya, the darling, just held her head still and let him.

Mind you, Miraya is my husband's girl friend. No, I do not harbor any jealousy toward her, even if she is in phenomenal shape for a girl her age and has the biggest brown eyes ever. And the longest eyelashes. She's a beautiful horse, and seems to like me as well. One time I was in her paddock area and she just followed me around like I had carrots in my back pockets or something. She's the greatest, and has a real motherly manner to her. She loves kids.

Next time we go, I'll remember my camera so I can share video because it was a great experience. It's exhausting because I'm hyper-vigilant so we don't have any problems, but it's still loads of fun.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When They're Helping...

I have an uber-helpful 7 yr old.

I mean, if it's there to be done she'll do it--whether she's physically capable or not. And it totally ruins her day if you say no. I mean, seriously. Her emotions are all or nothing. For the record, I have yet to SEE the "nothing" stage. She's seriously awesome, if a little intense. :)

Conversely, my 9 yr old daughter behaves as though helping out is a teeth pulling exercise. She'd rather be doing ANYTHING else, which is why--in large part--I want to be sure she's part of this new project I'm working on. I want her to realize the joys of having a charitable heart, so that she can grow up to be a compassionate person.

I know a lot of these stages are age related, but my older daughter has always been a touch more self-absorbed than the other kids. So I realize teaching her charity will require more effort on my part than reinforcing the behavior of her sister. It's just further proof that children, even when raised in the same environment, are individuals who will process the same bits of information differently.

Kids are cool. And they are worth the effort. I love both my girls, but there's no way I'm going to say they are the same. :)