Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER!

Well it's been a while. 
I've started a new job and it's taking some getting used to but I am a person who embraces change.
The leaves will hopefully start falling soon and the cool weather will soon follow.
In the meantime, I'll let you know who the winner of the Container Store gift card was:

It was number 27!
Thank you so much for entering. Your card will be in the mail shortly :)

Now, back to business.
I love me some baking.
I especially love chocolate chip cookies.
So what happened one night while I was craving them?
Well, I started to google some recipes for the best chocolate chip cookies ever!!
And boy did I score!
I tried it out immediately and they weren't kidding.
I followed this recipe:
 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Make sure you line your pans with parchment paper. I used an ice cream scoop to measure out the big cookies! My family loved them! Also, when the recipe calls for softened butter, don't use the microwave to soften. I usually just measure it out and leave it on the counter for a while to soften to room temperature. Trust me, it makes a difference.

Original recipe found here

We devoured them and I plan on using this recipe many more times.

Oh, almost forgot!

I have a great new giveaway starting this week.

Come back tomorrow to enter here.

Sharing is fun. 

Share this blog with your friends and don't forget to subscribe via email over on the right hand side.

Have a great fall!

 

Patty

 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

HDR Photography

It is now the weekend and I've been feeling kinda devoid of any creative craftiness :(
That is until I sit down in front of my computer and edit photos.
I've been editing some of my sessions for the past few days, but now I 'm all caught up :)
And this is what I've been working on:
 

This was taken last year at the State Fair of Texas.
I had so much fun taking her picture ;)
This was edited using something called HDR. My camera has something called bracketing where it lets you take 3 shots of the image in intervals called EV's. 
I won't get into the technical details but it's so much fun to edit and share with you all!
Granted, I don't do this type of editing on my family and baby sessions because it's more of a surreal look.
But isn't it fun to look at something like this in HDR?
Here are some more I took:
 
I loved this door and the entrance to this home in Laredo, Texas.
Don't those strawberries look amazing?
And doesn't this lonely bench just beckon for a picnic?
And that's all I have for today.
I have been meaning to work on my little guy's dresser for the last few weeks, but I just don't have the creative "juices" for it. Have you ever found yourself in this type of funk?
What do you do to snap out of it and be creative again?
 
xoxo
 
Patty

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tasty Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Banana Pudding

Well hello, hello! How's everyone's week going?
I've been busy home schooling, cleaning, doing laundry, and all that fun stuff a mom does. 
I've also been looking for some new recipes to share with you my sweets :)
And speaking of sweets, I have a delish recipe for you today.
Now, I love me some peanut butter and I love me some pudding.
So what did I find while scouring my latest issue of 
Southern Living Magazine?
Why, nothing else but a peanut butter and banana pudding
recipe. I made this the other night and just added a couple of tweaks of my own. 
Here's what you'll need:
3 cups of milk
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 medium bananas ripe, diced
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely crushed vanilla wafers
2-3 large Reese's PB cups :)
chopped pecans or other nuts
1/2 pint or 1 pint mason jars 
Cook first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
Remove from heat. Whisk in peanut butter until blended.
Stir in diced bananas, vanilla and crumbled pieces of the Reese's PB cups.
Crush the vanilla wafers.

 Add a few of the vanilla wafers to the bottom of your mason jars. Add some of the chopped nuts as well.
Spoon some of the pudding mixture into the jars about 1/3 full.
Add some more of the vanilla wafers to the top layer along with some more of the PB cups and some chopped nuts if you wish.
Cover and chill 2-24 hours.
Have your family scream for joy at the yummyness that awaits them :)
Wouldn't this be a fun dessert for Scouts?
You can prepare the pudding at home and just take jars and have each Scout put in the toppings they want :)
For those with peanut allergies, just omit the peanut butter portions and add in chocolate chips!
Enjoy!!

Patty 
xoxo
linking up to :

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Container Store Giveaway-Organization

Happy, happy Saturday :)
We're just rollin' along here at our house and
looking forward to a so-called cold front. 
I tell you I am dying to have it be cooler. I love fall and the colors and wonderful weather that comes along with it.
And after this horrible NATIONAL heat wave, I do declare everyone is looking forward to the FALL.
And with the holidays coming up everyone needs some organization. 
                                                                      image source: bestlaminate.net

                                                                 image source: BHG.com
 image source:Pinterest {I'm sorry I couldn't find the source}
 
 image source: apartment therapy
 
Well, my sweet friends do I have a cool giveaway for you!
A $25 gift card to the Container Store.
Have you ever been to this place?
If not, you're missing out BIG TIME!
No kidding, but you have to stop by or just go online.
The things they have to organize our lives is endless, it seems.
Here are just a few things I found:
 
 
 {source: The Container Store}
Picture having these awesome little helpers under your kitchen or bathroom cabinets, you may actually be able to see what you're looking for, if you're like me.
And how about these cute stacking baskets:
They have them in so many different colors. They can be used in your kids' rooms, your crafts room, kitchen, closets, even in the garage {if you buy the "manly" black ones}
I used to use these handy baskets in my home daycare to organize all the little ones' things. They each had their own basket with their own color. Parents would simply walk in and put the diapers, wipes and other items in their kids'  basket.
I now use them in my little guy's closet to store his toys and I have them in my armoire in the game room filled with videos, DVDs and such.
And just because I love you people, I am going to give away to one lucky reader a $25 gift card to get you started on organization.
This giveaway is not sponsored by them, I am providing the card myself :)
I want to reward my readers with fun stuff to win just for coming here and reading all about my attempts at DIY and crafts :)
Here's how to enter:
 
If you are already a follower of my blogs, facebook pages, twitter, etc, make sure you leave your comment for EACH one you are following.
If you are new here, please follow along with GFC, FB, TW, Pinterest-and comment for each follow in a different comment.
You can follow my photography blog here :Family Photographer-McKinney DFW Area
and on facebook here
for extra entries.

This giveaway ends on Saturday September 22nd at 10 p.m. CDT
Open only to residents of the continental U.S.
Winner must claim their prize within 5 days of announcement or another winner will be picked.
Winner to be picked using random.org
Hasta MaƱana, peeps!


Patty 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thatsa Tasty Pizza!

Home made Pizza!





Hi, hi, everyone. Well end of the week again and boy has it
been hectic!
Between us getting back on a schedule again and my trying to grow my photography business plus home schooling my little guy, well it's a wonder we even eat at all! {wink}
One of my favorite foods, if not my favorite of all time is pizza.
Who's with me here?!
I love a good crust, cheesy goodness and lots of sauce!
I love to add on lots of veggies for my toppings but my kids love the pepperoni and the meats. I mean, what kid doesn't, right?
Well today I am here with my favorite pizza dough recipe.
It's a little bit country, a little bit rock n'roll.
Umm...never mind.
That'sa TASTY Pizza {say it with a cheesy Italian accent. Get it, cheesy}.Okey Dokey here it is:

Ingredients:
 2 cups warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
6 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Bake 20 minutes at 425 F


In a large bowl combine the warm water and the yeast.
Stir and let sit for about 5 minutes.
Then add the 6 cups of flour while kneading it with your electric mixer/kneader or by hand. Make sure you keep kneading and adding in more flour. Add 1/4 cup sugar. Using my machine I think it took about 4 minutes of kneading time.
Knead until your dough is smooth and elastic but not sticky.
Then remove the dough and spray your mixing bowl with non stick cooking spray. Put ball of dough in the bowl and turn it over once so that the non-stick cooking spray coats it all over.
Let it sit in the bowl at room temperature for about 2 hours covered with a kitchen towel.
Once it is nice and risen, take it out of the bowl and put it on a non stick cooking stone or other hard surface. You will now spread it out with your hands and/or a rolling pin. {If you divide the dough into two, you will get two thin pizzas. If you decide to just use it all into one rectangular pan you will get a nice pan pizza :)}


I love my baking stone because I often use it to roll out my different doughs and they won't stick. 
If you've prepared this dough correctly it will be beautiful and will not stick to your hands. If it does, add a pinch of flour to your hands. 
In the meantime, heat your oven to 425 F.
Put a well seasoned rectangular pan or cookie sheet and pre- heat it along with the oven.
This is to ensure a nice crispy crust.
Take your pan out of the oven after a few minutes and drizzle a bit of olive oil on it. You will hear it sizzle.



Transfer your pre-shaped pizza dough onto the  hot pan, carefully stretching it to the sides and adding a nice border around it.
Drizzle a bit more olive oil on the dough.





Top with your favorite pizza sauce, mozzarella, and toppings.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and the crust is a nice golden color.
Mangia!


Patty 
 
 linking this up to:

 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Week of Home School Recap and Autumn Ideas

Well that went by FAST!
Our first week of school met us with a new guy in high school :-o
and my little guy being home schooled.
Big learning CURVE for the both of us.
My big guy seems to be taking to the 9th grade pretty well and seems to be handling the extra time practicing in his school's band. Which is VERY demanding.
I wouldn't do it. LOL 
And to top it off, teens in our church get to attend seminary school for the four years of high school to prepare them for life and missionary work. 
Whew! It will be a l-o-n-g day for him. 
Thank goodness he is very organized and independent.
Anywho, back to my little guy and me.
The home schooling part is very challenging.
We are doing an online school curriculum and I am so glad 
we opted to do it this way.
There's no way I'd be able to figure out what to teach him when and all that jazz! 
Plus all the books come with a teacher's manual with the answers to help ME! HA! 
I haven't done 4th grade math in a long time.
So last week was a very big learning curve for both of us.
This week I think we are getting into the groove of things.
Here he is in his "classroom"

And taking pics of my older guy is not an easy task and when I do get to he urges me NOT to post them online.
And I respect his privacy so I won't.
So this week it's still super hot here in Texas and 
thinking about Fall weather just makes me so happy.
I am SO looking forward to it.
In the past, I'd jump right into it and start decorating my home.
This year it's going to take me a wee bit longer since I am now a teacher to my little guy too :)
But I'll leave you with some ideas of past years decorating.
Enjoy:














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