Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients: 

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all- purpose flour

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. (About 2 minutes) Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
  1. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  1. Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.)
  1. Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.  Makes approximately 3 dozen.  Try not to eat them all.

Let me know if you decide to make these. The cornstarch is truly the “secret ingredient” to make these cookies absolutely PERFECT! I look forward to hearing from you. Happy Baking!

“LOVE YOU”

image22Does anyone else have a toddler who is reluctant to listen? My sweetness is definitely trying to see just how far she can push the limits these days. So many of my close friends who are also parents laugh about the “terrible twos”; perhaps this is what I am going through with Emie. It seems like over the last six weeks, every time I ask her to stop doing something she is not supposed to do or touch something she is not supposed to touch, she looks up at me and literally yells, “LOVE YOU!” Of course, I reply with the whole, “I love you too,” following with an explanation of why I asked her to stop what she is doing. She is definitely trying to pacify me with love and sweetness for sure. I was on the phone just yesterday and she knew she was doing something she was not supposed to be doing and I looked at her, just a look, and she looked at me and smiled and whispered the words, “love you.” Honestly, discipline is challenging with these little angels. They can be doing the worst thing like eating dirt and be so adorable all at the same time. I can say with certainty Emelie has yet to taste dirt, but I am sure the day will come! My mom often says with my sister and I when we were two, we were easy- it was when we turned three we got more manipulative and pushed the limits. I am hoping once Emelie turns three in November, we will be turning over a new leaf. Fingers crossed! If you have precious littles, please share some of your stories and experiences with me. I would love to read them! Make it a blessed day everyone and if you have a baby, toddler, child or pet-child, scoop them up and smooch them!

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Happy Father’s Day!

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This Father’s Day is especially challenging simply because it is the first one without my dad. As I have mentioned, he went to live with Jesus a few short months ago. There has not been a single day since he left this world I have not thought about him or missed him. Now a little bit about my dad- he was a retired police officer and former MP in the US Army during the Vietnam War. He certainly was intimidating to the boys, but there was no greater hero in the eyes of Kellie and I. I remember in middle school he was a special speaker about the Vietnam War in one of my history classes and he always was there for us with whatever we needed.

DSC00223He was not a man who was materialistic. He had a passion for people, getting them saved to serve Jesus and he helped as many fellow veterans as possible. He loved the Lord and had so many wonderful experiences with Him. As long as I can remember, each evening Dad would sit in bed every night and say his prayers and read the Word for at least an hour. He was an amazing prayer warrior and saw many works and answers to many prayers through the years. He was an on fire solider for Christ, and honestly, I see it more now than ever before. His relationship with Jesus is so inspiring to me and he always wanted to share Jesus with everyone. I want to be like him!

Although I have always been a “Mommy’s girl,” I am also a “Daddy’s girl” too. I remember being a little girl, laughing and playing in the house with Kellie and Dad, doing all the things “we shouldn’t do.” Dad could always be the “big kid” and did all the great impersonations and make us laugh. I think back to when I was getting ready to graduate high school and at my ceremony my Dad got to put my cap and gown on me for the “robing” ceremony. I have pictures from that evening and he looked so happy and proud. I went on to college and Dad took an active role in supporting me and learning what I was learning. I think as I entered adulthood Dad and I really became closer and were able to go and play and have happy memories together- it was just different somehow than when I was a little girl. On my wedding day, he cried with me before the ceremony and gave me such a loving sweet hug I will always remember.

  IMG_6466When I was expecting Emie, Dad’s whole life perspective changed. He was so concerned and caring and excited there are not enough words to adequately describe them. There were times I had OB appointments that my mom nor Craig could attend, but Dad was right there by my side, reassuring me. Watching my dad with Emie warmed my heart in ways I am overwhelmed and speechless. He would read sweet stories to her in his chair and watch TV shows like Charlie Brown and Little Nut Brown Hare, as well as many other precious shows. He became an even softer man once Emie came into our lives and there was not one day they spent where they didn’t see or speak to one another.

Brisbon-Sommer, Marissa 1223I can still very much sense his presence and I feel as though it is because he will forever live in my heart. I am so blessed to have such an amazing man who was a      wonderful example to Kellie, me and to Emie. I pray he stays alive in Emie’s heart for the rest of her life. If you are reading this post and your dad is still alive on this earth, please give him a hug and let him know how much you love him. Happy Father’s Day to our heavenly Father and all of the amazing men out there who impact our lives so greatly.

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Egg-cellent Layers

IMG_6477Last spring I really had the “itch” to get some chicks. I have mentioned this off and on for literally years and I have been poo-pooed by my family consistently. We live in the foothills of the city, so we aren’t exactly in the country where these animals are more common. I have just enough city in me to be completely illiterate with country life. We happened to be out on the west side of town last spring and I saw a feed store with a sign out front saying, “SPRING CHICKS ARE HERE!” How could I not be intrigued by such advertising? I was fortunately with my mom, as we tend to be together on most of these crazy adventures. My dad said for years, my mom is Lucy and I am Ethel. In the case of the chickens, I felt like Lucy! I asked my mom if she felt like popping in the feed store, just to LOOK, not to buy and she agreed. We no more get in the door and here before my very eyes were the cutest little four day old balls of fluff I had ever laid eyes on! The little peeps coming from the bins of dozens and dozens of peeps grasped my heart strings and I was totally sold. We picked five chickens: Ruby- a Rhode Island Red, Henny Penny- a White Crested Polish, Babs-a black Wyandotte and two Welsummers, Goldie and Miss Muffett.

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Not being a prepared chicken owner I had none of the supplies necessary to care for these littles and I was so excited, I literally bought them a little bit of everything. My husband was less than impressed when he came home from work that night and saw a red heat lamp with little chicks peeping about. Craig’s whole motto, was- “Why do we need these?” and “Where are they going to go?” I of course, used my best selling point of having farm-fresh eggs! No one seemed to think we were allowed to have chickens within the city limits, but little did we know, we are allowed up to 12 hens and 1 rooster within the city limits. Fortunately we do not live in an HOA, so that wasn’t an obstacle either. All systems were a go! I marked on my calendar when to start expecting eggs and was oh so excited. I have quickly become a wannabe country gal living in the city! Once the gals were old enough, Craig built us a custom coop for the backyard. Below please take a look at our custom design of the coop. We are using litterboxes for nesting, a washer tray for easy cleaning and PVC for feeders. We had to paint it a “cheery” yellow color. We refer to the coop as our home’s “West Wing” and we have tried to personalize the coop for each hen as best as possible.

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Once they were about 3.5 months old, they all started making weird noises and our Crested Polish, Henny Penny, began to crow- or so we thought. Being unsure, we just watched and Henny definitely turned out to be a Henry. It was sad to have a rooster, because he was loud and a handful of our neighbors were not enjoying the noise. I’m pretty certain if it were not for him, none of the neighbors would know we had chickens. We ultimately had to find him a new forever home, which broke our hearts. His new home was much more lush and larger than what we could ever offer him, with the ability to go inside and wear chicken diapers. Who knew such things existed? In the fall Mom wanted to look into getting two more girls so when the other four molt we will still get eggs.

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So October 1st, we bought two new girls, Buffy an Americana and Candy Corn, a Cuckoo Moran. We adore our six girls and they work so hard to provide us delicious eggs. I hear them in travail in the mornings and make an effort to thank them for their hard work when I go out to collect our colorful shelled goodness.

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I feel like there are several pictures posted today, but these are my babies and who doesn’t love good baby pictures? Do you have any city chicken stories to share with me? Thank you for stopping by again today and reading more of many stories to come. Make it an awesome day!

Homemade Cream Puffs

I definitely share a passion for fresh pastries, especially French pastries. Here is another recipe I found and made from Pinterest.

I did put my own personal twist on this and you will see my comments periodically.

http://www.chef-in-training.com/2014/01/homemade-cream-puffs/

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Ingredients

Cream Puff Shells

½ cup butter

1 cup water

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup flour

  1. egg

 

Cream Filling– I made a traditional homemade whipped cream filling, but here is the one posted with their recipe

16 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 cups cool whip, thawed

3 cups powdered sugar, more as needed to reach desired consistency

1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Frosting– again, I made my own, I bought Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate bar and melted it in a double broiler and dipped the cream puffs into the chocolate, but here is the original frosting:

½ cup butter

1/3 cup cocoa

¼ milk

3 cups powdered sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

1/8 tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

TO MAKE CREAM PUFF PASTRY:

  1. In a large pot, bring butter and water to a boil. Remove post from heat and stir in flour and salt, consistently stirring until the mixture firms up and forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. With hand or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg is added. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  2. Bake for 17 minutes at 425 degrees F. After 17 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 degrees F and continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 min. Centers should be dry. When finished cooking, let cool completely.

When the shells are cool, make FILLING

  1. Beat cream cheese, cool whip, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth. When shells are cooled completely, use a pastry bag to pipe filling onto half the shells. Place remaining shell halves on top.

TO MAKE FROSTING

  1. Melt butter and milk in microwave soft bowl. Add powder sugar, cocoa, salt and vanilla. Wisk together and pour into a large zip lock bag. Cut a small corner off and drizzle chocolate over cream puffs.

To top mine off, I sifted powdered sugar on top as pictured and served with fresh berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)

Let me know if you decide to make this and how they turn out for you! Share pictures and comments! Make it a fabulously blessed day!

Baby Steps

Many people who have known me for years know that I have many of my dad’s personality traits. I’m outgoing like him and I enjoy being social and getting to know people. One of my dad’s traits that was a mastered art for him was sales, and he had a very innate entrepreneurial spirit. He knew and understood people and he had great insight that he shared with me. Today, I am going to reflect about some things I have tried down through the years and talk a bit about how excited I am that in a few short months this business will have its “Grand Opening.” Almost three years ago I really got bit by the cupcake bug. I began trying new recipes and creating amazing and delicious cupcakes for not only my family, but for coworkers and friends. I of course, made the “traditional” flavored cupcakes, but played with more gourmet flavors like lavender with honey and cherry almond vanilla or lemon drop cupcakes- these are just to name a few. I had many willing volunteers to try these creations and it was just such fun making them and icing them. My little “cupcake catering” actually did quite well, and I had received good orders and had a great clientele. Once I found out I was expecting Emelie and life literally went into overdrive, my business fizzled and so did the cupcakes. I am not sure I did all the things I probably should have done to be successful. My dream was to eventually open up my own little bakery, but having enough liquid assets on hand is not the easiest and certainly not for everyone. I do feel like it was an opened door from God, which He later closed. I have been anxious to be a business owner and finding something I am passionate about. Being a stay at home mom, it is important for me to help support the household and spend ample time raising Emelie. Obviously, I am a passionate follower of Christ and a family gal with a clear crafty spirit. Building this bow business has been one adventure that has been in thought, on paper, and is finally becoming a REAL dream that is coming true. I may not be the savviest entrepreneur, knowing every single aspect of business management, but I have all the resources at my disposal. I have completely put this entire business in God’s hands and I know He will bless this incredible venture. I have so much energy and excitement to know that in less than 15 weeks, I will be able to showcase my hard work and share it with you. Every single bow I make and the helpers I have, craft each item with love and thoughtfulness. I know this is all going to be baby steps being an at-home business owner, but I am happy, and I know I am building my network with amazing readers like you, and you can get to know me and what I am all about. Are you a business owner or have you ever thought about having your own business? What ideas and insight can you share with me? Thank you for reading today and I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts with you again soon. Make it a blessed day!

Days Go By

Coming into the weekend always makes me “dream big” to say the very least. So many possibilities to potentially fill two whole days with. I always have the highest and greatest intentions of getting many things done. Since I am now a Mom, time certainly flies much quicker than it did before. It seems like once I open my eyes, Emie is awake and ready to embark on whatever adventures come our way. It typically leads straight to the kitchen for her to eat her most favorite cereal- Frozen with Elsa and Anna on the box. Little does she realize it is just like Lucky Charms, but with blue and white snowflake marshmallows; it makes her whole world so it is all worthwhile. Once we finish, it’s time for book reading and playtime. She adores reading and books in general. I really wanted her to enjoy reading so this was something I started when she was an infant. My dad, who recently went to live with Jesus was perfect for reading to her. It allowed me to get my house cleaning and errands done and the two of them were able to share ample quality time together. It makes me feels so blessed and grateful my dad and Emie shared so much time together, because she will always have memories and pictures to cherish. Just so you know, my daughter is the only grandchild on my side of the family, so she is extra special. My sister, Kellie, and her husband, Brett, live in Colorado and they are the proud pet parents of a Dalmatian puppy, Riley, and he is wonderful! He is definitely their baby as well as their two kitties- more about my Colorado adventures another time. Back to my daily routines, it’s no more lunchtime and off to nap-land for Emie. I try to take the opportunity to rest at least 30 minutes during her naps. It rarely happens. She sleeps at least two hours each afternoon (I know I am rotten- this child loves her sleep as much as I do!) and I spend the majority of the two hours working, baking or cleaning out the chicken coop (another whole blog or more will be devoted to my egg-cellent hens). Once Emie is awake it’s time to finish up dinner, play some more and get ready for bed. Only to get up and do it all over again! I often laugh with my sister about what my days look like and she tells me she would much rather be at work than do half of the housework and child activities I do on a daily basis. Tell me about your routines, I am excited to hear from my readers. Have a great weekend, thanks for reading again today and I will be back to you early next week!

Sweet Tooth?

image1Alright, it is midweek, and what is better than some sugar fuel? You will soon learn, I adore Pinterest and experimenting with new recipes I find on there. I am hoping that I use the appropriate way to document where I have found many of the recipes and to give the credit where credit is due. I certainly am not this creative to think of some of these confections myself, but certainly enjoy baking to the extreme. This is a recipe I found a few weeks ago and have made and ultimately adore! I have always enjoyed a good sugar cookie and the idea of not having to roll out batch after batch of dough is utterly brilliant and awesome! So, here is where I found the recipe:

http://www.foodfolksandfun.net/2013/03/darn-sugar-cookies/

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookie Bars

Ingredients

Cookie Bars

1 cup butter

2 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoon lemon zest (I did not add this when I made mine)

5 cups all-purpose flour (I always sift my dry ingredients, but I know it is a matter of preference)

1 teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

Frosting

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

5 tablespoon milk

food coloring

sprinkles

Instructions

Cookie Bars

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Grease a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet (basically a half-sheet pan) and set aside. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla and lemon zest (if using). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir together with a fork to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat on low speed just until incorporated.

Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet and press into an even layer. Bake 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla, salt, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Mix in the milk. Tint as desired with food coloring. Spread over the cookie in the pan, add some sprinkles and cut into bars.

So, because these bars are absolutely decadent, I was thinking these would be awesome for potlucks and my annual neighbor cookie plates. I know Christmas shaped sugar cookies are traditional, but I think these would be great to save on holiday time constraints and offer a delicious treat. Plus, there are always Christmas sprinkles! Let me know if you try these and how it works out for you. Looking forward to hearing from you soon- thanks for stopping by today!

Bows, Bows and MORE BOWS!

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Hello everyone! As I have mentioned in my original post, I am building my blog and a network to aid in the marketing of my blossoming business venture. I have allowed myself six months to build my inventory, and get all of my ducks in a line in hopes to build a successful home-based business. Since I am a happy crafty gal, with a beyond adorable and girlie little girl- I have opted to make a bow-tique! I must admit, buying fabric and gathering business supplies has been very fun. Obviously it took a few failure items to make a durable and cute product, but I am definitely in the full-throttle headway into building a good inventory to photograph and prepare to sell. I am using Emelie to wear my initial “trial” items to test the durability. I also have a few close friends to test out the bows too. Emelie is a great guinea pig and gets oh so excited to see what colors she gets to model for me. My amazing sister has designed an adorable logo and I feel as though this six months is going to literally fly by! Now obviously I have a few more hurdles to cross, but I am confident this is going to be a blessed and successful venture. My grand opening of my online shop will be October 1st and I am looking forward to sharing “teasers” with you along the way. Another cool thing about planning six months away, this gives me full excitement and anticipation of holiday fabrics. You will soon learn from me, I am a holiday fan-atic, specifically Christmas! I can single-handedly drive Craig, the hubs, nuts playing Christmas carols in the middle of summer and I honestly believe ALL Christmas movies can be watched year round! The season is filled with such joy, music and delicious culinary treats. So many things to look forward to! Anywho, it is just nice to share some of my excitement about this business as I continue to make more progress and I begin seeing the fruits of my labor. Thank you for reading today and I look forward to reading your comments and feedback- please let me know what you think of these! I will be posting again within the next several days. Make it a fabulously blessed day!