Thursday, February 25, 2010

The great chocolate chip cookie quest

J has been on the hunt lately for a recipe for The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie (assuming that there is such a thing). He thinks it would be a cookie like Paradise Bakery's chocolate chip cookie. Apparently the recipe I've been using for almost 10 years (the length of our marriage) is no longer cutting it. J's been gathering recipes from the Internet, from people in our church, from family members. Usually Sweetie and I then make the cookies, but sometimes he does. I found him a few weeks ago at 10:30 pm mixing up a batch from a new recipe he'd found on recipezaar. Here are the recipes we've tried now with our respective rankings. Do you have a recipe you think might top the charts? If so, please share!!! We have yet to find a 5-star recipe!

The 10-Year Recipe (the one I was previously making)
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 pkg milk chocolate choc chips
Bake at 375 for 8 min.

J rating: 3 stars
my rating: 4 stars

Mrs. Field's Cookies
Cream together
1 1/2 c sugar
2 c brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 1lb butter

6 c flour
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp soda
2 c. chopped nuts
3 c choc chips

Bake at 350 for 10 min

J's rating: 3 stars
mine: 3 stars

Allison's Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cream together
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 c shortening
2 eggs
Sift together
3 1/4 c flour
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
Add to creamed mixture, alternating with 1/4 c hot water. Add 1 c choc chips. Bake 350 for 10 min. Take out before they look done.

J's rating: 4 stars
mine: 4 stars

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, from
Vanilla pudding version
J's rating: 4 stars
mine: 4 stars

Chocolate pudding version
J's rating: 2
mine: 2

Lara Hansen's Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup shortening
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes

Put ALL the ingredients in your mixer and then mix them all together. Keep mixing until the batter pulls away from the bowl.

We tried these with nuts and with 1/2 c blended oatmeal instead of the nuts.
J's rating when Lara made them for us and then when we did the oatmeal: 4
mine: 4

My and J's rating when he made them w/nuts: 2 (too many nuts)

J's rating: 2
My rating: 2

Lunt Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 C + a little more flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 c oatmeal
1 c chocolate chips
Refrigerate. Bake at 350 for 10 min.

J's rating when Sis. Lunt made them: 4
J's rating when we made them: 3
My rating when we made them: 3.5

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Looking forward

Mister told me this morning that he is saving his green shirt to wear on "Green Bay Packer Day" in March. Maybe we watch a little too much football. (Can there be such a thing?!) Regardless, the kids are always looking forward to the next holiday!

And as a side note, we'll be seeing a lot more of J in his suit from now on, but we'll probably be seeing a lot less of him altogether as he was sustained as first counselor in the bishopric last Sunday.

When I told my dad about J's new calling, my dad asked me what I thought about it.

"I think it will be hard," I told him.

"That's okay," he said. "You've done hard things before and you can do hard things again. This is a great opportunity for service and sacrifice that will also bring great blessings to your family."

When he said that, I felt the truth of it--the truth of both the blessings and the difficulties to come, as well as the truth of my ability to meet those difficulties. I needed that and I thought I should write it down for future moments when I'll need to remind myself that I can indeed do hard things!

Looking back

We had a great Valentine's day. Here's the kids with their Valentine's balloons, listening to Oliver Twist on tape Sunday morning. And Sweetie with her heart hair-do:

Mister had his first grade musical last week and did a great job with his speaking part, thanks to many prayers and many practices:
And H has been busy rolling to all corners of the house, figuring out how to turn on the lamps that have the foot clicker and beginning that into-everything phase.

Friday, February 12, 2010

In full Valentine's mode

Full Valentine's mode. That's us. Sweetie has been hard at work, decorating cookies, grating crayons for shavings, cutting hearts, dying coffee filters pink and stringing them in patterns. And we've been hard at work leaving notes for each other on the little tree (my favorite Valentine's tradition), doing acts of service and passing on LB--the Love Bear, and leaving notes and treats in the pockets of the kids' Valentine's pillowcases. I love Valentine's day with kids!

Thanks to Sweetie's request, she and I hosted a mother/daughter Valentine's lunch yesterday with 5 of her friends and their moms, but the only pics I got were post-lunch playing on the swings. We sat out on the patio in the nice 70-degree day and ate heart-shaped ham and cheese sandwiches, heart-shaped macaroni and cheese, chicken won ton salad, grapes, lemonade, and sugar cookies. Sweetie requested games, but I told her food and play would be good enough this time around :)

Grrr, blogger is not letting me tile my pictures like I usually do. So here's a loooong row of Valentine's pics for you, including the kids' Valentine's for this year. We copied Alyssa's idea from last year.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A rough patch and keeping perspective

It started 4-5 weeks ago with H's first taste of rice cereal. He liked it (and he liked the bib even more!) The problem is that the rice cereal liked him too. So much so that it did not want to leave his little body, despite multiple glycerin suppositories daily, 8 baby food containers worth of prunes, pear juice, and a purchase of miralax.

Add to those problems a terrible cold, cough, and fever that made the rounds through all of us, but has hit H especially hard. Monday I took H back to the doctor because I was worried that his cough, which has only gotten worse over the past 2 weeks, had gone to his lungs. Thankfully it hadn't, but he is sporting a double ear infection. I'm glad that there's some explanation for his waking up 5-6 times a night. However, now that the antibiotics have kicked in, we're off to the store today to try a different brand of diapers. The Pampers Cruisers are not keeping the antibiotic-induced diaper contents from doing a little cruising of their own.

So I have spent my fair share of time in the rocking chair in little H's room over the past 4-5 weeks with a fussy, tired, sick baby. And I am worn out, drained, and just plain tired to my core. I have been thankful for this Alex Nabaum illustration that I have hanging in H's room:

At times it has helped me keep my perspective a bit to think about my non-sleeping baby as a little acorn, who will not need this kind of intense, physical nurturing for long. One day we'll all sleep again. Let's hope it's soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

After the carpet cleaner comes

Not only does the carpet look and feel so nice, but we have some nifty forts going on: