Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Snow on the Mountain Cookies

This is by special request and not my recipe. I bought a book called the Cookie Bible a few years ago (it’s still available on Amazon, if you’re interested). I think I gained a few pounds just looking at the pictures, so I haven’t picked it up in a while. That and the fact I’ve been working like a mad woman and barely had time to do laundry, let alone fulfill my baking needs. Although, kids on break, I’m on break, looking through this again, I think I’m going to pack on a few lbs! Oh, one other thing, the frosting thing, I was pretty unsuccessful with the whole chip melting thing. What I finally ended up looked more like an avalanche than snow.

Snow on the Mountain Cookies

1-1/4 butter flavor Crisco sticks or 1-1/4C butter flavor Crisco
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 C (12oz pkg) chocolate chips
1 C chopped walnuts

GLAZE
1-2/3C (10oz pkg) vanilla milk chips
2 to 5 tbsp whipping cream or 1-3 tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Combine shortening & sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
2. Combine flour and salt. Add gradually to creamed mixture at low speed utnil well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts with spoon. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Shapt top of ball to cone shape. Place 1 inc apart on ungreased baking sheet.
3. Bake at 325F for 10-12 minutes or utnil light golden brown around the bottom. DO NOT OVERBAKe Cool on cookie sheet 2 min before removing to cooling rack to cool completely. (foil on the counter will work if you don’t have a rack)
4. For glaze (prepare while cookies are baking) Soften vanilla chips in microwave on 50% for 1 minute. Stir. repeat until smooth. Add enough whipping cream to make medium glaze. Heat and stir until smooth. Spon or drizzle 1 tsp over top of each warm cookie.

Remember, this is what I did for the glaze and was unsuccessful. If you have a different method, I say go for it. It’s basically just a dollop of white frosting on top of a cookie, in theory you could just use white cake frosting and save yourself the trouble.

So, there you go. I don’t have any pictures, but they really were delicious. Enjoy!

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An oldie but a goodie!

Once again, I find myself living in an oven, and I”m not liking it! I like to USE my oven, not LIVE in it! But since a move to a cooler climate doesn’t look like it’ll be happening any time in my future, I’ll just have to put on my big girl panties and deal with it.

One problem with living in the oven rather than using it, I am hard pressed to want to use said oven b/c of the heating of my kitchen. My home has an open floor plan and the kitchen/dining area/family room are all together, making a larger space more difficult to cool. Any one else feeling my pain right now? Yep, I thought so.

With that in mind, I broke out one of my old favorite recipes. I always loved these as a child, but now….well, I still love them! Maybe even more b/c I can have a yummy, decadent treat w/o turning on my oven.

What on earth am I going on about? No bake cookies. I know you’ve had them. I think they’re a requirement for kids. And if you haven’t tried them, you are in for a treat! These little babies are super easy to make and delicious to eat! I’m curious to see how long this batch makes it in my house! I’m also curious to find out if my daughter’s friend’s sister likes them. She announced to me that she did not like peanut butter. Not that she’s allergic, but that she didn’t like it. I probably looked at her like she sprouted an extra head when she told me this. I thought peanut butter was a food group for kids!

No Bake Cookies

2C sugar
1/2C milk
1/3C cocoa powder
2Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 heaping tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 C quick cook oatmeal

1. In a small sauce pan, combine sugar, milk, cocoa and butter. Boil 1 min stirring constantly.
2. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
3. Add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. Stir well to blend.
4. Drop by spoonful on waxed/parchment paper to cool. Store in an airtight container. if you’re in a warm climate as I am, store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy! And stay cool!

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Not your average lemonade stand!

Yes, it is summer and time for the neighborhood lemonade stands to start popping up. I love seeing the kids entrepreneurial spirits in action. And since my precious daughter is 7 going on 8, she’s beginning to realize that those toys she begs for and the candy she’s craving don’t come free. Can you imagine??

One day on the playground, she and some friends decided a lemonade stand would be a great idea to make some money. Sure, why not? when she proposed this to me, I gave one tiny little suggestion: How about we use it for good, rather than just fattening our piggy banks?

One of my daughter’s friends who is in the lemonade crew has a younger brother who at the very tender age of 4 was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, just a year ago. He currently has to wear an insulin pump. His mother does an incredible job of making sure he lives as normal a life as possible, but it would be wonderful if there was a world without diabetes in it. So the girls decided to give the proceeds of their lemonade stand to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to help find a cure. How awesome is that? It went from two girls and a driveway lemonade stand, to 3 girls, matching shirts, signs, a ‘kick off’party, and posting on a website! .It’s taken on a life of its own!

It will be today and we’ll be selling leaded and unleaded lemonade and cookies to benefit JDRF. we’ve invited all of our friends and family, so here’s hoping that our efforts are successful!

My next question is, what are you doing for others this summer? How are you making a positive impact in your community?

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Sam’s Lemon Crunch Cookies

O.M.G! I have a new fave!  And I have to tell you, Sam is the innkeeper in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, not Sam as in ‘Sam’s Club’. They don’t share recipes. And I have a feeling if they did, they wouldn’t be 4 ingredients! We enjoyed a wonderful stay with Sam and Jeff last weekend. When we checked in, a plate of these were sitting on the bed waiting for us. These cookies are very lemony and have a surprising little crunch to them.  I’ve never had anything like them and I’m sure you’ll love them too if you like lemon!

Mmm! I have a new favorite!

Sam’s Lemon Crunch Cookies

1 pkg lemon cake mix

1 egg

1 C crisp rice cereal

1 stick butter melted

1. melt butter. preheat oven to 350F.

2. mix all ingredients, including butter. dough will be rather thick and stiff.

3. place in 1-1/2 tsp balls on ungreased cookie sheet. bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. 8 if you want softer cookies, longer if you like crispier cookies.

4. store in an airtight container to maintain chewiness.

Seriously, 4 ingredient cookies? Count me in! If you want them a bit more lemony, you can add some lemon zest or lemon extract.

Thanks Sam! These are wonderful!

You can find out more about Sam and their beautiful Circa 1884 Victorian B&B in Eureka Springs here www.bridgefordhouse.com

It’s a wonderful place to stay for a nice relaxing weekend.

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies TO DIE FOR!!!

Don’t you just love bakery cookies? When they’re really big and chewy and just so good you could eat a dozen by yourself? yep. Me too. Here’s a surprise that you’re so going to love! You can make cookies that look like they came from a bakery! Seriously, you can! I used to be the refrigerated/pouch mix kind of girl. Never really gave scratch baking much of a thought. What changed? You know, I don’t really know! But I do know that my family is pretty darned happy when I break out my stand mixer! If you’ve never baked cookies from scratch, don’t be afraid! it will be worth all the effort. Well, I can’t say that, what I should say is, it’s really not hard. Yes it takes a bit more than cutting a slice off of a log that is loaded with mystery ingredients and been sitting in a refrigerated case at the store for God knows how long. But the outcome, well, read on and take a look at my pics and you’ll see what I mean!

I can’t take credit for this recipe, I’m telling you that up front, but they are freaking amazing! The difference in mine vs the original is Crisco and a grinder. You can use butter for these cookies, but what I like to use are the butter flavor Crisco sticks. It mixes well and won’t scorch like butter can.  The grinder? Is for the oatmeal. If you like a finer texture, you can run the oatmeal thru the food processor or coffee grinder. I personally like the texture the whole oatmeal gives the cookies. Either way, they come out really good. The other thing you can do, is use all brown sugar instead of half and half.  It gives it a chewier texture.

Tell me those don't look like they came from your favorite bakery! 12 of these babies take up my entire cooling rack!

See if you can spot the secret ingredient and I’ll tell you what it is at the end.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!

1/2C rolled oats

 2-1/4  C flour

1-1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1C butter (or crisco butter flavor sticks)

3/4 C packed brown sugar

3/4 C granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 tsp lemon juice

3 C chocolate chips

1-1/2C chopped walnuts (if desired)

1. preheat oven to 350F.  in one large bowl, mix dry ingredients and set aside.

2. cream butter/crisco and sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice.

3. add eggs to sugar mix and mix on medium until fluffy.

4. mix in the dry ingredients, pausing between each addition to give time for them to become blended with the sugar mix.

5. add in the chocolate chips and walnuts if you’re using them.

6. if you have an ice cream scooper, use that to get consistent size/shaped cookies. If not, you can use a 1/4C measuring cup. shape cookie dough into balls and place 1-1/2 to 2″ apart on a greased baking sheet.

7. bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Cook more time for crispier cookies. For chewy cookies use less time and remove from the oven when the edges are golden.

8. Allow to cool on baking sheet about a minute, then remove to racks to cool completely. ha ha! Or until they won’t scorch the roof of your mouth before eating!

I am not a little girl, and 1/8C cookie dough makes a cookie nearly as big as my palm! All I need now is a glass of milk!

To maintain the chewiness, store them in an airtight container.

Oh, the secret ingredient?  It’s lemon juice. The acidity in the lemon juice activates the baking soda making the cookies lighter. YUM! let me know if you try these! You won’t regret it, I promise!

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Cookies for Santa

Yes, my blog is titled “Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess.’ I never realized I had hidden within myself and Rachael/Martha/Betty wannabe. The past few years, she has been fighting to escape the confines of my brain and shows herself on a fairly regular basis.

Case in point: Last night my son’s best friend was here for a sleepover. Today is Christmas Eve and of course, we must have cookies for Santa. I think he would be tremendously offended if we neglected his midnight snack. So, with my son’s friend (and my extra son) here, we made gingerbread cookies. I thought I had a man cookie cutter, but couldn’t seem to locate it so we made Santa, Christmas trees, stockings and snowmen and had agreat time decorating them with frosting and loads of sprinkles. I think Santa may have a belly ache by the time  he leaves my house!

It really was so much fun doing it and watching them. My son’s friend is a really good kid and I like him a lot. I am very happy that they live two doors down. It’s very convenient, I like his parents, and he’s a good kid to boot. Jackpot!

He was so funny, he wanted to watch me roll the dough and cut out the cookies. I guess his mother doesn’t cook much, no matter how many easy recipes I give her, she just doesn’t enjoy it at all. He told me what a good cook I am, and that really made me feel good. Sweet kid.

I called his mother to ask a question and told her what we were doing and she said, ‘Oh, I”m so glad he gets to do that with you. I guess no matter how much I don’t want to do it, I really should, just so we can do it together.’  That really made me realize that not everyone has an inner Rachael/Martha/Betty dying to get out. I hope she will do things like that for him. He really seemed to enjoy it. In the meantime, I’ll continue passing on easy recipes for her to try in hopes she’ll discover her “Unintentional Domestic Goddess”!

Merry Christmas!

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I broke the frosting!

Yes, I did and I was super frustrated about it. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know what that term means.  However, if you have not worked in the food-slinging industry, to ‘break’ a sauce means you’ve over-cooked it and it is irreparably damaged.  Hollandaise is notoriously tricky, too much heat and stirring, it separates and that’s it, pretty much.  There may be a way to save it, but since i”m not a trained chef, nor have I actually worked the line in a restaurant, I don’t know how to.

I found out yesterday how to break frosting and I was really pissed! I bought a cook book, ‘The Cookie Bible’ maybe a month or so ago and have been dying to try more of the recipes. I’ve made the lemon poppy seed and they were totally fab so I was excited to try another recipe. Cold, cloudy weather really inspires me to bake.  So I cracked open my Cookie Bible to a page I’d previously marked as one I wanted to try. They are called Snow on the Mountain.  Essentially they are chocolate chip/walnut cookies that you roll into a ball, and then when you put them on the sheet, shape them to have a mountain-like peak.  After baking, you put this white frosting on top a la ‘snow’.  Great, the looked delish and I thought it would be fun to do with my kids.

My daughter really enjoyed helping me. I let her take a much more active role in making them and she loved it. She’s always begging to crack the eggs, but since I”m not fond of crunchy scrambled eggs or cookies, I’ve always declined her  offer.  Yesterday she did just fine. We all had fun making them, which was what I was going for anyway.

So the frosting recipe was actually just melted white chocolate chips w/a little heavy cream or milk. Ok, easy enough. So I followed the instructions, melted the chips in the microwave then added the cream. Well, I used half and half, but just enough to make what I thought would be a medium glaze like the recipe said. I’m stirring away when it happened: the once smooth melted chips suddenly looks like sand. WTF? Hmmm, maybe since I added the half and half, it cooled the chips off too much, so I’ll just put it back in the microwave and heat it some more.  Well guess what, that didn’t help one bit.  It was done.  It looked like sand, well very white sand, and it separated, there was oil sitting on top. So just for grins and giggles I tasted it, even though by now it smells like urine, literally, gag.  Yep, it was done, it was grainy and disgusting.  AAACK! My daughter was very upset but we went to the store and got another bag of the white chips.  You can’t have ‘Snow on the Mountain’ cookies with no snow!  This time, I simply melted the chips and stirred very carefully until they were just smooth and that was it. Although I could see at the bottom where it was beginning to break again, so I made sure not to dig too deep when I was frosting them.  Kind of like when you scorch a sauce or a pan of rice, you don’t dig too deep, otherwise the sauce or rice will all be ruined. 

So let that be a lesson, when melting white chips, if you are stirring and it suddenly turns to sand, it’s done.  You’ve broken your frosting.  Or likewise, if you’re making Hollandaise and it separates and won’t blend together, it’s broken.

And there is your cooking lesson for the day!

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And so it begins….

Today is Thanksgiving and now the holiday stuff really begins in earnest.  I’ve been doing some Christmas shopping here and there the past month or so, maybe even longer.  When I see things I know my kids will want or like, I snag it and put it back. I don’t even know that they need anything else, to be honest.  I know they have way too much already in the way of toys, so I’ll probably just hold off on anything else.  I think Santa will be bringing the good stuff this year and mom is giving the clothes, you know, the boring stuff!

I wrote an earlier post about feeling guilty for having only my in-laws over today.  I’m not feeling that any more.  they all got along just fine without us.  And to be perfectly honest, it was nice just the 6 of us here having a nice quiet meal to celebrate family and give thanks for our health and each other.

I bought a spiral cut ham, made mashed potatoes and fresh green beans and a green salad and we called it good.  And it was just enough to get us all good and full.  Which is the point, not to have so much left over that we’re eating ham and mashed potatoes for weeks on end!

One recipe I tried today was new. The name that’s on it is Topsy Turvy apple pie.  It’s basically an upside down apple pie.  You put pecans and a blended sauce of butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in the bottom of the pan, then put a crust over that, top with sliced fresh apples and the second crust and bake.  When you serve it, invert it on a serving dish so you see the pecans and caramel sauce. All I can say is O.M.G.! It was so good!  My father-in-law was raving about it and I was pretty happy about it myself.  I love apple pie and there are so many variations on that theme.  but to hit on one that is just hands-down a knock-out makes me very happy.  Served warm with vanilla bean ice cream and I’m a happy girl!  I’m so full from eating 5 hours ago, I probably won’t have dinner!

My suggestion to you, if you see a recipe that looks interesting to you, don’t be shy, try it out.  And if you’re afraid you’ll have too much of something, it’s a great way to make friends with your neighbors, school teachers, firefighters, etc.  I love to bake, but the problem is, I like to EAT it too!  Many times, I’ll get in that baking mood and make a batch of cookies and rather than freezing them for later addition to my thighs, I’ll share them with my neighbors.  Or, if you want to keep them for yourself, you can alway freeze them.  Be sure they’re cooled completely and put them in a freezer storage bag and press out as much air as possible.  sometimes I even double-bag it, just to prevent any freezer burn that may occur.  Also use a sharpie and write on the bag what is inside and the date, that way, you won’t have any questions.  Like I do sometimes when I get something out and think, ‘now when did I put this in there?’

Enjoy and have a very happy Holiday! Or if you’re Canadian, have a great weekend!

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YUM-O-RAMA!!!

Well, I kind of expected it, I have to say.  I have  figured out how to make really good cookies and this new book I mentioned in a post a few days ago, “The Cookie Bible” is going to be my new fave I can tell already! Anything that expands my repertoire in the cookie department is a welcome inclusion in my kitchen!

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon.  My boy is playing at a friend’s house, my husband has had to go to work, so I told my daughter to look in this book and pick out a couple to make. 

Unfortunately, time ran out before we got to make the second recipe, but the first!  Wow!  Lemon poppy seed cookies!  YUM-O-RAMA!!!  I love lemon poppy seed muffins and bread, so naturally I thought we’d like this recipe and was I ever right!  I think the one saving grace about this recipe, it makes a small batch of cookies!  They’ll be gone by tomorrow night so I won’t have to disperse them to  friends.  On the flip side of that, they would make a really nice gift in some cute paper or box.

What I don’t know that I’ll ever understand is how I came to enjoy and be good at baking.  There wasn’t much of it in my house growing up that didn’t come from a mix.  Mom wasn’t much of a cook at all, let alone to bake something that required more effort than dumping ingredients from a box into a bowl and blending in an egg and some water.  Me, I must have fallen from the sky, I think sometimes.  I really love scratch baking and from what my friends tell me, I”m pretty good at it. 

Now I have to ask a silly question that I have not been able to get an adequate answer to.  What does that really mean?  Scratch.  from scratch?  I know what it means to scratch an itch, but the baking, I don’t get.  I don’t have scratch on my list of ingredients.  Maybe it should really be baking from the start. Or fresh baking.  Or real baking.  I don’t know, you tell me.  And if you happen to know the answer to my quandary, please let me know!

If you love to bake and would like the recipe, email me and I’ll send it to you. I don’t know if I can post a copyrighted recipe.

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Betty Crocker here I come!

I have mentioned in earlier posts of my found love for cooking.  Never thought I’d be ‘that’ mom.  The one whose house kids love to visit because there’s always something yummy around.  Well, I think I’ve just found the way to become that mom.  I don’t know how my thighs will react, but I think it’s going to be fun!

I found new inspiration today in the form of a cookbook.  I”m a sucker for a good cookbook.  Especially if the recipes are good-looking and appear to be easy.  I have a weakness for baking sweet, ooey, gooey things.  My husband and neighbors love it when the weather gets cooler, it really puts me in the mood!  The new cookbook I found today is called “The Cookie Bible’ and let me tell ya, I think I gained a pound just looking at the pictures waiting to check out! I didn’t see a single one that didn’t look good.  You know how it is with most cookbooks. there are a few, hopefully more than just a few, recipes that look interesting or like something your picky family will like.  Not this book.  I don’t expect a single complaint from anyone on this one!  In fact, I think my neighbors are going to love me (or hate me, depends on how they look at it) this year.

One of my friends asked how I was going to choose which ones to make, but I don’t think there’s going to be much choosing going on.  I think I”m going to have to start at the beginning and try every single one!  No, I will not keep them all to myself! I have terrific neighbors that I like to share with and my children have school teachers that are deserving of some home-baked love! 

Wish me luck and I”ll keep you posted on the results!  I just hope it doesn’t involve a shopping trip because my butt won’t fit in my jeans!

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