Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Since it's finally December, I don't feel like I crazy for having my house all decorated.  And yes...  we did buy our real Christams tree on Black Friday.  The Hubster and I were out and about and thought bringing home a Christmas tree along with out Black Friday deals sounded like an amazing idea.  Since I already had all the garlands up in the middle of November, the tree was the only thing that was missing. 

Last year we lived in an apartment, so getting a 3 foot tree and proping it on an end table was perfect, but this year, our house could definitely accomodate a large tree. Soooo...  we bought an 8 foot tree.  Haha, it definitely didn't seem like that big when we were standing in the tree lot, but once we lugged that bad boy into our living room, we realized that we just purchased a beast. 

And then...  I realized I had to put lights in the whole thing...  That took me two evenings to accomplish.  Trying to get that whole thing lit in just one night was way to intense for me.  Not to mention the fact that we actually ran out of lights, since we didn't anticipate the Goliath that is our Christmas tree...  But the tree has been lit, and the ornaments hung.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cookie Revelation

Sooo.... Chocolate Toffee Oatmeal Cookies trial 2, not as successful as I had hoped.  Very positive responses for both trials, though.  But testers favored trial 1.  So as promised... here is the recipe.

1/2 cup (one stick) plus 6 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2  cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups oats (I used Quaker old fashioned oats)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup toffee chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well.
Process oats in food processor until in small pieces.  Add oats, chocolate, and toffee.  Mix well.
Drop dough in rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Remove to wire rack and let cool completely.

Lots of people liked this recipe, but it just wasn't quite what I was looking for.  So, onto the next recipe, and I'm thinkin butterscotch!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Why I cook

It is nights like last night that remind me why I love to cook, bake, and entertain.

Yesterday was Veterans' Day.  The day was emotionally tougher than I had expected, seeing as my husband came home from his most recent deployment only a short six months ago. Although it was inspiring to see all the Veterans' Day comments and thoughtful words my freinds were posting as their Facebook statuses, it takes a whole different meaning when you can picture faces when some one mentions "those who gave the ultimate sacrifice."  Appreciation is something you can never be shown enough of, and sadly most people try to show it when it is already too late.

So I invited some of my friends, family, and Marines from Hubby's unit over to our house last night for a big 'ol steak and potatoes dinner.  I can't describe the joy that I feel when I see the smiles on people's faces when they have full tummies and a warmed heart.  Having laughter from those I hold close fill my house.  Seeing the sparkle in people's eyes when they tear up from laughing so hard.  That is why I cook. If I can make one person happy just by throwing some stuff on the stove, then count me in. 

It's the littlest things that you often find the deepest sense of satisfaction. And for me, that's filling bellies and making smiles.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chocolate Toffee Oatmeal Cookies, trial 1

Christmas cards are designed, printed, and stuffed.  Just need address lables and stamps.  I. Love. Christmas.  Sending the cards, naturally, will have to wait a few weeks until after Thanksgiving.  But considering how life happens and all the extra fluff and stuff we don't normally expect usually delay plans, I usually like to get my Christmas cards done early.  But now that Halloween is out of the way, and I usually just attend Thanksgiving, I can start to focus on all my sweet treats that I give out to the fam bam as gifts.

So, creating sweet treats begins.  First on my list, perfecting my Chocolate Toffee Oatmeal cookies.

I wanted to make something different this year. Last year my new treat was the peanut butter brownines, so this year I had to come up with something good.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Let the holidays begin

So the holidays usually mean lots of family gatherings, lots of food, and hustling and bustling around.  But this is my favorite time of year.  This is the time of year where everything is an inspiration.  There is color and life in everything you see.  This time of year, I need a chaparone for when I go into a craft store otherwise I'll be there for hours just staring and planning.  Here of some of the end results of that staring, imagining, and planning.

This is what typically happens when I walk into a craft store.  I get more than I actually need.  I originally went to get stuff to make a wreath for our front door, but seeing as I had lots of left over materials, I couldn't just let them go to waste.  So I made a centerpiece for our dining room table.

The Hubster and I love to entertain, so I found it only appropriate to make sure our home looked and felt welcoming... starting with the moment you pulled into our driveway.  So naturally, a festive autumn wreath was definitely in order.  Which was the original reason for walking into the craft store on that one particular day.