Chocolate Chip Cookies

Back in the old days when I worked for a living, I organized a lot of meals for meetings and classes and such.  I used several different catering companies, but I had a soft spot for one in particular.  I don’t even know if they are still in business.

So, why were they my go to?  The cookies.  They made these giant chocolate chip cookies that were to die for.  I’ve been trying to perfect them since I quit working.  I used to beg for the recipe, but sharing was not an option for them.

Each cookie came individually wrapped.  Yes, I would order some for myself.  G was totally hooked on them.  They were soft and chewy in the center and crisp around the edges.  The perfect cookie.  Each one was approximately 3 to 4 inches in diameter and an inch deep.  I’m not making them quite that big, but G would be happy if we did.  This is G’s favorite cookie, raw or cooked, and we’ve worked on perfecting it together.

  • 1 cup butter 
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4  cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup craisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set rack in middle of oven.
  2. Cream butter.  Add the sugars and beat with the butter until smooth on medium speed. We totally beat it until it is incredibly creamy
  3. Add the eggs and beat on medium just until incorporated with butter and sugars, about 30 seconds.
  4. Turn the mixer off. Add the dry ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients on low until the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.
  5. Hand mix the nuts, chips and craisins.
  6. Place large tablespoons on parchment on cookie sheets.
  7. Bake approximately 13 to 15 minutes.
  8. The cookies are done when the top is a bit golden and the bottom is also golden.
  9. Do not over bake. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.  End of joke, laugh here!

*  From the Recipe Box:

We also like them with butterscotch chips, oatmeal, almost anything.  The more filler, the better.

I usually take a tablespoon of flour from the dry ingredients and mix it with the nuts, chocolate chips and craisins.  This keeps them suspended in the dough.

I prefer a 50/50 mixture of butter and Crisco, but this is the way G likes it and it is his favorite.

Cookie cooling racks are unnecessary.  I spread out newspaper or dish towels and put parchment over it.  Viola.

and remember:  If you don’t know what your passion is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it.  Big kiss, Lynn

Chicken Pot Pie

I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love Chicken Pot Pies.  Whether it was the Swanson’s 4 for a dollar type (yes, I’m that old), Marie Callendar’s or Costco’s, I love them.  Well, as long as they have plenty of gravy.  I hate a pot pie with limited gravy.

While I grew up with the piecrust chicken pie, I’m really enjoying the puff pastry pie, because it is way easier.  G prefers the piecrust pie.  To his way of thinking, you simply can’t have too much crust.  I’m much more of a filling sort of girl.

1/2 cup sliced carrot

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup thinly sliced cabbage

1 small onion chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 cube butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups milk

3 sauted chicken breasts

This is the way that works for me.  In a fry pan, heat oil.  Cube the chicken and saute.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the carrots, celery, cabbage, onion, thyme and garlic.  Saute until tender.  Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.  Slowly stir in the milk, stirring constantly while mixture thickens.  You are making a white sauce like you would for mac and cheese or cream peas on toast.  Add chicken.  If you’re using puff pastry, pour the filling into a pie pan and top with puff pastry.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

If you are using pie crust, proceed like you were making a pie.  If you are using pre-made pie crust, follow package instructions.  If you are following a cookbook, remember you need to make a 2-crust pie recipe.  I add hot filling to the pan so it won’t take quite as long to bake.  You are going to be the best judge of this, but it will be at least 30 minutes and probably 40.  You will have to keep checking for the color of the crust.  You don’t have to worry about the filling, you know it’s done.

*  From the Recipe Box:

These triangles were just leftovers from the top crust.  You could cut any shape.

If it isn’t tasting “chickenie” enough for you, dissolve a couple of chicken bullion cubes in hot water and add to the gravy.

and remember:  Once you learn to be happy, you won’t tolerate being around people who make you feel anything less.  Big kiss, Lynn

 

Rhubarb Muffins

I love rhubarb.  I’ve also discovered Norwegians in general love rhubarb. It’s one of the first signs of spring in Moorhead, Minnesota.  People in Norway greet it with cheers and festivals.  There’s something about the sweet and tart aspect of rhubarb that totally appeals to everyone in Scandinavia.

So, why do we love rhubarb so much?  Because we’re smart, we have great taste, it’s good for you, it’s very versatile, it’s a hardy plant that comes back year after year.  My mom always canned rhubarb sauce each spring.  You never see it anymore, but that would be dessert.  It was fabulous.

The first book I ever bought written by Martha Stewart was Entertaining.  It was a glorious book with a fabulous idea on every page.  One of the recipes was for rhubarb bread.  I’ve loved that recipe since I first made it a zillion years ago.  These muffins are a riff on that recipe.  I’ll hunt up the bread recipe soon and share that with you as well.  You’ll love it.

4 tablespoons room temperature butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 to 8 ounces rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch chunks, approximately 1 1/2 cups

1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  With an electric mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Beat in egg; add buttermilk and beat to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to butter mixture; beat until smooth.  Fold in rhubarb.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tin, dividing evenly among 12 paper lined cups.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

*  From the Recipe Box:

Now, I freeze containers of rhubarb.  If you put 2 cup ziplocks filled with rhubarb in the freezer, you always have rhubarb when you feel the need for a hint of spring.

and remember:  I dream of a better world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.  Big kiss, Lynn

Spinach Salad

The sis-in-law (hereafter known as S-I-L or L) made the most wonderful salad for Thanksgiving.  It was something C the MP requested.  She used to make it all the time.  Remember how I was telling you recipes fall out of the rotation, well this one did for no particular reason.   We all loved this salad, but did I get pictures or the recipe then?  Of course not, I was much too busy having a good time.  Fortunately, the S-I-L took pity on me and made it again.

I think I mentioned how we have been having a Harry Potter marathon.  I lead a very exciting life filled with a variety of fun events.  Don’t judge me.  P and L and G and I get together every couple of weeks and watch 2 more of the movies.  We take an intermission after the first movie and have lunch.  This week it was P’s birthday so I made scalloped oysters and L made spinach salad and coconut shrimp.  Since it was a special day, we all had a feast.

So, what is it about this salad that is so satisfying?  The components are simple:  fresh spinach, hard cooked eggs, crisply fried bacon, miniature corn on the cob, sliced red onion, fresh shrimp and a wonderful honey vinaigrette.  I like having plenty of dressing, so I’ve enlarged the ingredients in the parenthesis.

1/4 cup mayonnaise (1 cup)

2 tablespoon vinegar (1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons honey (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon prepared mustard (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)

Mix all ingredients.  Place in refrigerator for several hours to let ingredients blend.

The leftovers

*  From the Recipe Box:

This is a lovely salad that never feels heavy.  I could eat it every day.

I like the canned corns cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch lengths before I combine everything in the salad bowl.  They roll around if you try and cut them when it’s time to eat.

and remember:  And then I decided that being sad was just a huge waste of precious time.  Big kiss, Lynn

 

 

Lara Bar Knock-off

I read about 20 Instagrams a week and about half a dozen blogs.  However, I only follow 1.  I’m making the distinction because they do.  You literally have to sign up and give information about your blood type, your favorite color and things like that.  Yes, of course I’m exaggerating.  I’m really not good sharing my private info.  I’ve talked about Rumbly in my Tumbly before.  She lives here in western Washington fairly close to me.  Her pies are to die for.  I’m not a Keto person like she is, but I still find much to give me inspiration.

Now I personally don’t eat energy-type bars, but G does.  He especially likes a wee nibble after one of his gym runs or marathon walks.  I’ve heard of Lara bars, but I’d never purchased any.  Shannon of Rumbly made these sound so easy and good for you, we decided to give them a try.  These are the exact recipes from Shannon’s blog.

Apple Pie Bar

Ingredients:

  • 12 pitted Medjool dates
  • ¾ cup raw almonds
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dried apples
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins (unsweetened)
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Add the dates to a food processor or high-powered blender like a Vitamix and blend. Add the dried apples, raisins, almonds, walnuts, and cinnamon and pulse until combined – there should be small bits of nuts and raisins remaining, but not too big.
  2. Press the dough into a small pan (I used an 8×8) lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight) and then cut into squares.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the fridge. These also freeze well. Enjoy!
Cherry Pie Bar

Ingredients:

  • 10 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dried cherries

Directions:

  1. Add the dates to a food processor or high-powered blender like a Vitamix and blend. Add the almonds and cherries and pulse until combined – there should be small bits of nuts and cherries remaining, but not too big.
  2. Press the dough into a small pan (I used an 8×8) lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight) and then cut into squares.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the fridge. These also freeze well. Enjoy!

*  From the Recipe Box:

Give Shannon’s blog a try.  Even if you don’t fix a single recipe, the pictures are amazing.

G and I found the mixture a little dry so we added a quarter of an apple to each recipe and it made the perfect difference for us.

Yes, they taste like cherry and apple pie.  I truly don’t understand how.