Archive for December, 2011

Holidays

Off for the holidays… back in 2012!

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Healthy…Cookies?!

I found a cookie with less than 100 calories each, 3 g fat, 1g fiber & 2g protein… that’s chocolate chipped, chewy & made with real sugar! It’s from a Cooking Light magazine two years ago but I’ve made it, given the recipe to others & stand with it as a great go to cookie. It uses imperial measurements, but thankfully included american standard as well in ().

Chocolate Cherry Heart Smart Cookies
1½ oz (⅓ c) all purpose flour
1½ oz (⅓ c) whole wheat flour
(1½ c) old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
6 TBSP unsalted butter
(¾ c) packed light brown sugar
1 c dried cherries
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg lightly beaten
3 oz bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Weigh out flour or lightly spoon flour into measuring cup & level with a knife. Combine flours & oats, soda, salt in a large bowl. Whisk lightly until blended.
3. Melt butter over low, remove from heat & add brown sugar until melted smooth. Add sugar to flour & beat with a mixer on med until well incorporated.
4. Add cherries, vanilla, & egg; beat until combined. Blend chocolate by hand or on stir on the mixer for 30 sec.
5. Drop dough by the TBSP onto parchmant lined baking sheets 2″ apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 3 mins (almost firm). Cool remainder on wire racks.
Yields: 30 : 1 cookie serving size.

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A Christmasing We Will Go – Safely!

90+ million Americans will be traveling this holiday season. Holy Cow! (Or should I say Holy Spirit?) While that’s not everyone, that’s a plenty of us out there on the roads, in the boats, and in the air. During this season of madness 37% of wrecks are alcohol based and 262 died in 2009 for Christmas.

91% of Americans Travel by car during the Christmas season.

  • Lock your car and hide your valuables. Seriously, do it and protect your goods.
  • Know your route. Don’t try getting where you’re going first time GPSing as you drive down a super crowded highway. Be smart, plug in your phone in advance, and look over the route so that you can be aware of major turns.
  • Allow for extra travel time. The roads will be packed deeply.
  • Get enough fuel. You don’t know when you’ll get the chance to stop for gas if you’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.
  • Look at the weather forecast! Do you have to go out of state?  Better check the road conditions!
  • If you have a break down, call a tow truck, your insurance number for a reputable place, or local law enforcement. Wait for them, and beware stranger assistance. I hate saying that, but Stranger Danger is something adults forget once they leave Sesame Street.
  • Make a travel itinerary before you leave, and let others know when you’re leaving and your expected arrival time.

6% of Americans take to the skies.

  • Avoid traveling through known bad weather airports. Avoid New York, Chicago, Detroit, and foul-weather stopovers. You might get stranded and miss your connectors.
  • Be doing good deeds. It helps the airport not be so depressing and frantic. Help a lady, find a kid’s lost parent, or hold the door for the man with twelve bags.
  • Wrap your gifts later, don’t do them carry on if wrapped and avoid metal batteries and things when traveling.
  • Avoid Christmas day travel, nothing is to be more depressing than sharing Christmas with employees he don’t want to be there either.
  • If traveling with kids have a picture of them that day in their travel outfits in case y’all get separated.
  • Use your nifty phone apps that can help with all last minute flight based items, and sometimes hotel overnights unexpectedly. Some even share your flight information with multiple emails so that others can know your up to date details.

3% of Americans go out of the country.

Need a date to a  Prague New Years?? Please take me with you…! Oh and don’t forget your passport. 🙂

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Chocolate Chip Cookies: A Tradition

I believe almost every American has said a silent thanks to the original Tollhouse family who gave us chocolate chip cookies. Easily the most popular cookie in the states, its got possibly the most variations as well! The recipe below is courtesy of KitchenAid & as proven last Friday, extremely edible.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 4½ dozen
1 c granulated sugar
1 c firm brown sugar
2 sticks softened butter
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 TS salt
3 c all-purpose flour
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Place sugars, butter, eggs, vanilla in mixing bowl. Blend & scrape sides every 30 seconds. Beat on medium, then scrape bowl.

Add soda, salt, flour to bowl. Stir on low about 2 minutes. Scrape bowl & blend on low-medium. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop round-ish tsp on greased sheets, 2″ apart. Bake at 375° 10-12 minutes. Remove from sheets immediately & cool on wire racks.

Hint #1: use parchment paper on cookie sheets instead of grease; removes absolutely beautifully.
Hint #2: better to under cook your cookies than over to get that chewy gooey texture. Bake for 9 minutes, check & add a minute at a time. They’ll firm ass they cool.

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Being Thankful This Season:

Things I’m thankful for this season:

 

  • A job. While it’s not always my favorite, it’s steady, meets basic needs, provides insurance and sick/vacation time.
  • A dog who always greets me with a wag and a smile.
  • Family that still likes me. Even with all the trials.
  • Friends who’ll kick in a little here and there when things get tight.
  • A church that never shuts the doors on me, even when I don’t do the right thing.
  • A house over my head and clothes on my back.

For God has sent his son to die, wrapped in swaddling and myrrh; to experience the worst of human nature to bring out the best in human nature.

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Travelin’ Thursday: Overhead or Baggage Claim?

There are a few necessities in life, some are fragile, some are identifying, and some are cotton pajamas. Necessities of travel I mean. We all have things that should be on our persons at all times, can be stashed above our heads, or can tough it out in cargo, and here’s my Top 5 for each catergory…

5 Things you should carry in your overhead, 5 you should stick in your carry on and 5 things that can travel down below in cargo.

Carryon:

  1. Wallet. If it’s not in your pocket, it’s in your purse. Keep it close and keep it snuggly!
  2. Cell Phone. Don’t get separated, or you might be calling collect.
  3. Charger. This is great for when stuck in the airport, car, or other mode of transportation. Airports now have charging docks you can sit and play, call, text. Just don’t walk off without it or you’ll be sad.
  4. Granola bar. I mean seriously, have you seen Airport food prices? Bring a granola, chex mix, or fruit for the immediate wait in the loading areas, or if you travel Southwest and you’re allergic to peanuts, eat it on the plane.
  5. Flattened water bottle. Have you seen these nifty things? They’re flat collapsible water bottles that you can take into the airport. I hate that you have to throw away your water bottles before passing security, supposedly you’ll try to blow up the airport if your water bottle is taken in, so beware. These bottles roll up in a tight wrap and can be filled once inside security. How great!

Overhead:

  1. Cameras. If you’re like me, your camera isn’t pocket friendly and needs a little more room. This is great for your overhead. If some jerk decides his 89 lb duffle will fit in the overhead you might need to share with someone else.
  2. Book, Nook, Kindle, iPad. These will be fine overhead, store flatly and securely in an overhead. Don’t forget your charger!
  3. Make up. If you’re not traveling long, bring it on board if you can find travel safe containers. If you’re traveling long term, put in baggage but bring something (compressed powder, liner, concealer) that if your baggage is lost you’re not like the girl I saw at walgreen’s buying all new stuff. (Read that post here: Most forgotten travel items)
  4. Overnight clothes. If you’re traveling more than one plane especially, bring yourself a pair of underwear! You might need that change of clothes more than you believe. So much luggage gets misplaced for awhile, so bring something comfy! No snuggies please.
  5. Jewelry. You do not want your diamonds or pearls to ‘mysteriously’ disappear from your cargo luggage…

Checked Bags

  1. Gifts. If they’re wrapped they’re NOT coming on the  plane. I will hurt you if you make them call in a bomb scare because grandpa’s hankies refuse to be checked.
  2. Clothes. A given, especially if you’re traveling a while!
  3. Makeup. Large bottles of make up can travel in your checked bags but I’d suggest a plastic bag to contain an explosion (of makeup) just in case.
  4. Toiletries. Unless you’re um… in need store your toiletries in your checked. It can travel in larger amounts.
  5. Souvenirs. IF your souvenirs are bulky and awkward, please stick them in checked. I really don’t want to have my eye poked out by your toy Eiffel tower, I might just take it to your jugular… Just kidding… maybe.

What makes your lists of overhead, carry on, and checked baggage?

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Tasty Tuesday: Fruit Dip

Simple. Delicious. One bowl. One measuring cup.

Fruit dip
1 package 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
Vanilla
Honey

Put cream cheese in the mixer & beat rapidly until squishy & whipped.
Add a cap of vanilla, or if you’re adult enough, a splash of your liqour of choice, brandy, rum or bourbon would be nice
Add powdered sugar a ¼ c at a time, and beat lightly to incorporate each amount. Blend a tsp or so of drizzled honey into the beaten & fluffed mixture.
If mixture is too thick once completely beaten and mixed add a dash of honey or vanilla.
Refrigerate when not in use.

Also makes a great ‘sauce’ for fruit pizza or edible fruit cups.

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