Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie #14 and hello/goodbye Cookbook Wednesday



Today is Cookbook Wednesday.  The last one (for a while anyway) hosted by my friend Louise at  Months of Edible Celebrations.
I am always late to the party.
No, no that's not right --  I went to the party, I just left and came back later... as it was ending.
Never mind!
I LOVE Louise's blog!  Her trivia and attention to detail.
I just wanted to let you know that.

With that in mind -- that it is Cookbook Wednesday -- I am going to post my Chocolate Chip Cookie#14 recipe.
(remember I am making my way thru this cookbook, as well as other good Chocolate chip cookie recipes I find)


Big Batch Chip Cookies



I have to tell you the truth...
...this was a really good cookie.
The past couple of recipes from this book have included almond extract and I'm just saying --  I really like it.

I did not use the option of nuts and coconut this time.
I was caving to the wishes of the Handyman.  He doesn't like nuts in his cookies.
Weirdo.
But I love him, so I made them  'his way'.
I'll do that once in a while.




Big Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
from "the Search for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie"

4 cups flour
1  1/2 tsp baking soda
1  1/4 tsp salt
1  1/2 cups butter - softened
1  1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (optional)  (but I would leave it in)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1/2 cup coconut (optional)

Sift together flour, soda, and salt; set aside.
Cream butter, sugars, eggs and extracts. Stir in sifted ingredients. Gently stir in ch. chips, nuts and coconut.
Drop by rounded tabelspoons onto greased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.  Do not overbake; cokies will continue baking after being removed from the oven.  Allow to set a few minutes on trays before moving to racks to cool.




Have a great day!
Nothing better than a warm cookie and a good book.




Monday, January 26, 2015

Audio Book Challenge


I can't believe I did it!  I signed up for a challenge.  A few years ago, I decided not to sign up for challenges because I, not being as dedicated as most of my book blogging friends, SUCKED at finishing them!
But--this doesn't seem too hard.  After-all, I've already finished  3 audio books this month.

Let me share them with you ---

A quick, easy read.  I really enjoyed it  and loved the ending!


Some magical realism in this one.  I liked it too.


Loved this one!


Started slow but I ended up loving the characters!


and I am 1/4 of the way thru this one:


Okay, so that is more than 3.
Geez, I was going to sign up for the 10-15 book challenge  
(Stenographer --can listen while multi-tasking)
But now I feel I should really 'challenge' myself and sign up for:
15-20  Socially Awkward (Don't talk to me) level.

What do you think? 
Do I have to declare right now?
Or, rather, do I just become whatever level I end up?

I think this will be fun.
The 2015 Audio Book challenge is hosted by:
and






Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friday Friend Recipe #38 -- Spinach Dip




Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.

What is the Friday Friend cookbook:   I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county).  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
Which brings me to this... recipe #38

My mom, Bev's
Spinach Dip





There is nothing new about spinach dip.  I'm sure my mom got this right off the box of Knorr Vegetable soup....BUT,  as you know,  I'm just making my way thru the Friday Friend Cookbook, and this is one my mom liked well enough to include.  I think it's a given that we all like it.  It's pretty good.  I had not had it in years -- isn't it funny how food trends come and go?   I used to see this at every event and dinner party I went to, but now?  Rarely. 
It's too bad, because it's really good.

A few years ago I wrote a little essay to my original group of Friday Friends pondering the cracker.
As you can see the crackers below are just your average pedestrian cracker. Not fancy, not elegant.  You can find these--Tiscuits and Wheat Thins -- on one side of the cracker aisle, with the Ritz and Chicken in a Biscuits, but  the more 'upper-class', gourmet,  type of crackers, they segregate on the other side of the aisle.

I guess I'm just a hum-drum, uninspired cracker buyer.
What about you?

Actually, most of the time, you use bread chunks for this dip.  
(I think we already ate them all by the time I took these photos)
Either way, the dip is yummy and I am going to serve it the next time I have guests over.




Spinach Dip
1  10-oz pkg frozen chopped spinach  (thawed & drained)
1 pint sour cream
1 cup mayo
1 pkg Knorr dry vegetable soup mix
1 can sliced water chestnuts, chopped

Mix all together.  Hollow out round loaf of sour dough bread.  Use the bread for dipping.  
Put the dip into the hollow of the bread and serve with bread chunks or crackers.




This is the part where I usually introduce you to the Friday Friend who contributed this recipe.  You already know from above that it is my mom who sent this in.
My mom passed away on December 19th.
And that is pretty much the reason I've been absent.
It was expected, but still --- it's my mom.
We are lucky tho, as we are strong in our faith and very rich in family and friends who make the journey of life much brighter.

The  story about my mom?  
She had five grandsons and she made every single one of them feel like they were the special one.
Even as grow men and one still a teenager, they all had special relationships with her.
I hope I'm that kind of grandma

Here are a few pictures of my mom --


My mom and dad when we went on a river float with them a few years ago.



A few years ago, I had a Friday Friend vacation and invited all from far and near, and we had a great time.
One night we had a traveling cocktail party ---
When my mom passed away, my friend Shelly sent me this picture. She said she didn't know them well, but this is how she'll always think of my parents --- having a great goofy time at the traveling cocktail party!
(my dad passed away in April of this year)





My mom




These are the last photos I took with my mom  this past fall.

Feel privileged that I am sharing photos of myself.
(the camera adds a million pounds,  you know)










Friday, January 23, 2015

Hi Friends!


Hi Friends!  Oops, I guess I said that already. I just wanted to let you know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.
I'll be back and give you an explanation soon ---maybe I'll do a food blog post this afternoon!

For now tho, I just wanted to share my ladies of the Literary Luncheon.
I belong to the Literary Guild ---one of the oldest clubs in town --- and we meet once a month at an old Basque Restaurant to dine and listen to someone in the club give a book report.  December was 'our' month.  (see my friends Kathy and April standing  up there by the coke machine? Plotting and Planning how to talk about our book)   We had to decorate the tables, order the lunch, do the dessert, and give the book talk.  We also had an ornament exchange and invited the SWINGIN SENIORS to sing for us ---it was the December luncheon after all .




The Swinging Seniors!
They serenaded us with song.  Christmas song!
And they are really good.


Our table-scape!
We made a little champagne punch and had some fresh greenery on the tables.




Our book was
Christmas In Nevada
a book of short essays about --Christmases in Nevada.



I always have a great time with these ladies.
It's a lovely, once a month luncheon!

I'll be back soon.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Friday Friend Recipe #37 -- Cottage Fruit Salad


Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.

What is the Friday Friend cookbook:   I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county).  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
Which brings me to this... recipe #37

Linda's 
Cottage Fruit Salad


As I said before-- jello salads are hard to photograph.
And as I said before--The Handyman is going to have to suffer thru the 'jello' section of the FF Cookbook, because he is not a jello fan.

Interesting tho.
I made this.
He tasted it. ( I have no idea why or when)
He said -- That Jello is good.
I said -- really?
He said -- it's the first jello salad I've ever tasted.
I said -- are you kidding me? You've been saying for years how you only like plain jello and HATE all other types of jello salads?
He said -- yep.

So, this peach Jello Salad has the stamp of approval from the Handyman.
That's worth a LOT!

Maybe he loved the peaches*.
Look how lovely they look in the photo below.
You can see all those peach chunks, right?




OKAY!!  I cannot tell a lie.
I could not find peach jello ANYWHERE in this town.  It's small, remember?  And there. was. no. peach. jello. to be found.
so I  used the new Mango flavored jello and mangos.   Mmmmmmm.
It was soooo good!
It does say  "fruit' salad.  So I figure one can substitute any fruit, right?
Do you have peach jello in your town?


Cottage Fruit Salad
Linda Ornelas, Walla Walla, WA

1 large carton cottage cheese
1 pkg peach jello
1 can drained peaches
1 small container of Cool Whip

Thoroughly mix cottage cheese and dry jello.  Add peaches and cool whip.
Chill at least 1 hour. 


OOPS!
Never mind.
(it says peach.  I just left the store)


Okay, so there is such a thing as peach jello.
And I'm sure it would be great.
But.... .try the mango. 
(sorry Linda)


This is Linda with her 2nd showing in the FF cookbook!
She has lots more to go, so lets see if I can think of a story to tell.

Well last time I said that I danced in a Go-Go cage in a bar on my 13th birthday--with her permission!!
Whhhattt?

???

She and her husband ran a janitorial service and my brother and I got to go with them one evening to clean.
Bars closed up at 2am, so of course no one was there.
My cousin put a dime in the juke box and let me dance while the rest of them cleaned.
Linda was living in Southern California at the time and we were on a 
2-week Southern Cal vacation.
Yes, I do remember going to  Disneyland, but I what really stands out was getting to wear my white go-go boots and dance in a cage!


This is what I thought I looked like:




Me and Linda.
Linda and I.

I hope you can forgive the peach/mango jello mix up Linda.
AND, the story is more about me, than you.
sorry.
But, I had fun!
I always had fun with you.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Soup! Soup! Spanish Style Split Pea Soup! And Cookbook Countdown #70




Cookbook Countdown -- Potage de Guisantes Barcelona
Spanish-Style split pea soup




This will be Cookbook #70!
on my slow, very slow, countdown  of  my own
personal cookbook shelf.

I will be linking up to



and



(I know it's not Wednesday---but her linky is still open---and I love her blog.  so--sue me)
(don't really sue me please)

and



As well as Souper Sundays at


Because...  IT IS SOUP after-all!!






I love split pea soup.  
I especially love the smokey flavor from the ham or ham hocks it cooks with, but this soup from the Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread, has a pea soup made with no meat.
Perfect for vegetarians OR anyone who wants a good soup!

I loved the addition of caramelized onions and tomatoes.
I have to confess here, that I pureed them also, but I wasn't supposed to (note to self:  read directions carefully).
The taste was still great, but I am anxiously awaiting until enough time has passed where I can make it again and have little chunks of onions and tomatoes in each spoonful.
I also love the addition to spinach to any soup.
I took the photos the 2nd day and the soup did thicken quite a bit so I added a dash of cream, but if you used vegetable stock this would be completely vegetarian.

Take out the smokey ham flavor, but add the caramelized onions?
It's a trade off that works for us!

I have had this cookbook on my shelf for quite some time, but have not pulled it out in---well---quite some time.  
It's a great winter time cookbook to use.  
I've not seen one bad review-- just a lot of praise for good soups and good breads.





Spanish Style Split Pea Soup

Pam Cooking Spray
2 cups dried split peas  
2 quarts any well-flavored vegetable stock
1 large onion sliced
2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 box (10 oz ) frozen spinach, thawed
salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
3 onions, chopped
6 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 T chopped fresh basil leaves or 2 t dried
2 T minced fresh parsley
freshly ground pepper to taste


1. spray a large soup pot with Pam and in it combine the stock, split peas, sliced onion, carrots, 2 cloves of garlic and the bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, 1 hour.  Add the spinach and season with salt (at least 1 tsp).  Continue to simmer another 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly and remove the bay leaves, then puree the soup in a food processor.

2. Meanwhile in a 10-inch skillet heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and saute until they start to soften.  
Turn down the heat to medium-low and continue to saute until the onions are wilted, another  6-8 minutes.  Turn down the heat further to very low and cook, stirring often, until the onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes more.  (watch so they don't burn)

3. Add the tomatoes to the onions, increase the heat to med-low and cook down until very thick, reducing the heat as the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and put in the three remaining 3 cloves of garlic thru a garlic press and add to the tomato mixture.  Stir in the fresh herbs and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

4. Stir in the tomato-onion mixture into the pea puree and heat through. Serve at once, garnished with additional parsley or let stand overnight and reheat the next day.







Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Friend Recipe #36 - Sausage Balls



This is post #1000!
I didn't do anything special to mark this occasion.
No give-aways,  no blog hop, no invites to visit.
Just wanted to say that it's been fun to meet a few of you (most on line, but a couple in person), read your blogs and be able to use this "non-category" blog as a place to  be me!
Happy 1000th to me!
Now on to the next one...




Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.

What is the Friday Friend cookbook:   I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county).  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
Which brings me to this... recipe #36

Barb's
Sausage Balls




These are not new.  I'm sure everyone has seen a version of these before.
But the thing is, THEY ARE GOOD!  And this cookbook is full of good, tried and true recipes.
I like them warm, right out of the oven.

This would be great on Christmas Eve, during our game playing, waiting for Santa to arrive marathon time!



Sausage Balls
Barbara Brown
Buckeye, AZ

3 c. Bisquick
1 lb. bulk sausage
10 oz sharp cheddar

Grate cheese into bowl.  Allow sausage to become pliable.  Mix all 3 ingredients well.  Shape into balls about the size of a quarter. 
Bake at 375F for 15 to 20 minutes.



You know Barbara.
She's the one why typed up the FF Cookbook.
I'm not sure how that came about?  But she did.

Anyway... here she is. 
Here we are.
With our husbands.
And my son Mark.

Remember in my last post I said it was going to be fun to use random photos?
Well, this is one of those times.

For some reason, during this weekend,  we wanted a group photo, but it wasn't working out.
We were having trouble getting organized.
And the flash was being reflected in the mirror.
So, my daughter-in-law must have said to scoot over.




And so we did!
As a group.
We shuffled.

And then it dawned on Barb and me that we 
were doing the same thing the gang on
Mary Tyler-Moore did on their last show --shuffled as a group.



And we thought it was hysterical!
Not so sure the guys did.
Especially Marcus, as he had never seen the Mary Tyler-Moore show!

The fun thing about Barb and Doug?  We laugh like this whenever we get together.
Usually over similar hysterical things.

Maybe you needed to be there.




When new ownership takes over WJM-TV, the entire Six O’ Clock News Crew is fired, except for Ted, the one truly expendable member of the team. To cheer up a despondent Mary, Lou arranges for Phyllis and Rhoda to visit, and in the famous final scene, the WJM news crew group hugs, moves as a unit to retrieve tissues, and exits the newsroom singing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”. It’s an ending that’s been spoofed and referred to in several shows since (notably parodied in MAD-TV, and referenced in the final episode of another MTM Enterprises show, St. Elsewhere, in which the group hug and shuffle to the tissue box is reenacted).