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October 26, 2011

The New York Times #1 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


You have likely seen this recipe pinned and repinned around pinterest millions of times.  But is this chocolate chip cookie recipe really all its cracked up to be?

Fine! Twist my arm! I will test it! But only if you force me!

Recipe from I Am Baker 

Ingredients: 
-2 cups minus 2 tablespoons of cake flour
-1 2/3 cups bread flour
-1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
-1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1 1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 1/4 cup unsalted butter (2.5 sticks)
-1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
-1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
-2 eggs
-2 teaspoons vanilla
-1 1/4 pound chocolate chips

Directions
(1) Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
(2) Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  (3) Add eggs and vanilla and stir.
(4) Add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until combined.
(5) Add chocolate chips
(6) Refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours
(7) Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes

Conclusion
I was disappointed in the fact that my cookies didn't look at all like the cookies everybody pinned:

Source: None via DuolyNoted on Pinterest

{compare to above}

I have yet to be able to ever succeed in making a flat cookie.  No matter what recipe I use, all my cookies always turn out fluffy.  So once again I have fluffy cookies.

Also, why did they need to be refrigerated?  Talk about delayed gratification...

But did they taste good?

Well they had 2 1/2 sticks of butter, so they better.

I personally thought they were pretty good but that is not enough.  I decided to have Dan take them to work and see how long they lasted.  He reported back that the entire batch was gone by 2:00 in the afternoon.  So I am dubbing them a success. 

Any other good cookie recipes I should try? 

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October 23, 2011

New Favorite Thing: Vanilla Rooibos


Recently, I have become obsessed with becoming a Starbucks gold card member.  I know, it is weird, but what can I say? I like programs that make me feel special (and also make me spend more money then I normally would, apparently). To become a gold card member one must buy thirty drinks, so I have been going to Starbucks every single day.  Now, drinking my staple non fat extra hot vanilla latte every day would get kind of pricey. Instead I have been ordering Tazo tea which costs about $2 for a grande.  Apparently there is not a pricing cap per drink to become a gold car member so jokes on you Starbucks.

Last week, I meandered into my local coffee shop to order a passion Tazo tea.  Out of the corner of my eye I spied the Vanilla Rooibos.

"Is that any good?" I asked the barista.

Her eyes lit up. "It is my favorite." She replied.  "Here, let me make it for you with some cream and sugar."

She then explained to me how to make the perfect cup:  Gently pour the hot water over the tea bag.  Let it steam for about five minutes.  Add two packets of sweet 'n low and a little half 'n half.

She handed me the drink and I thanked her and walked out to my car.  I didn't take a sip until I was about halfway back to work and when I did I swear I almost turned the car around to hug her.  It tastes like a latte vanilla dreamcicle amazingness. I really don't think I have ever tasted anything like it.

I had to tell everybody.  So I told my mom, my best friend, the ladies at work, I tweeted about it, and now I am blogging about it.  Its zero calories (minus the amount of cream you put in it) and it has no caffeine (perfect bedtime tea!).

So go try a cup, or better yet, let me buy you one so I get a little closer to my gold card status...

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October 18, 2011

The Quilting Quest: Part 2

Remember when I started making that quilt? Back in JANUARY? Well, nobody can say that I do not follow through because roughly nine months later I finished it.

When I last left you, I was in the process of sewing together the squares.



First, I pinned them


Then, I sewed inside the smaller square leaving about 1/4 inch on the edge.


It is called a "ragged squares" quilt- so the ends are a little loose and will probably unravel a little bit.  Ideally you want it to look like this.



Once I got all of the squares done I sewed together the rows. 


Once I got all the rows done I sewed all of them together to make my quilt top.



I placed the batting over the quilt top and cut it out about an inch larger then the actual top.


I then cut out the quilt back out of a plain fabric.



I placed all the layers on top of each other...



...and then pinned them at the corners.


Now, traditionally at this point you would actually quilt the blanket by doing more stitches in between the squares.  However, much to my dismay, my sewing machine was not strong enough to make it though all three layers.  Instead, I used a great technique my friend Jeanine told me about and tied yarn at all the corners where I had placed the bobby pins.


To be honest, when it came time to do the edge I was both burnt out and and a little over my head.  I took the quilt with me when I flew home to visit my family and my mom helped me finish it.  It looked great! Thanks mom!



The final product looked something like this


It isn't very big- but it was perfect for its intended use - for my dear friend's new baby boy!  Of course, when I started the quilt he was not even born yet and by the time he got it he was practically in college.  My friend sent me this sweet picture, isn't he the cutest?


If you want to make your own ragged squares quilt go to this tutorial at Crazy Mom Quilts.

My thoughts on quilting?  It was a challenge.  Parts of it I enjoyed, mostly the cutting.  Parts of it I didn't enjoy, aka the sewing.  Its a pretty tedious and time consuming process.  Additionally, its pretty frustrating when you don't have all the tools you need to do a good job.  I would totally make another one, but probably not anytime soon.  I think I will stick to my first love, crocheting.  Speaking of I have been creating some great scarves for fall! But that is a blog post to come...

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October 15, 2011

Oh, Darlin' Don't You Ever Grow Up

Because I have the musical maturity of a thirteen year old, I spent last Saturday night battling Texas Rangers Championship traffic to get to the Taylor Swift concert at Cowboys Stadium.

And boy was I excited.


I looovvveeee Taylor. And I am not afraid to say so. I am way outside her target demographic but whatever. Tickets were pretty expensive, but I had a theory that Kelly Clarkson was going to be her surprise guest and I would never forgive myself if I missed a Kelly Clarkson/Taylor Swift duet.  Thus, tickets were purchased and my friend and I were going. End of story.


The show was fantastic. Minus the thirteen year old girl sitting next to me who knocked over all my beer while trying to hurdle the seat.  Most of it spilled on her, and I would love to hear the explanation she gave her mom when she came home smelling of alcohol.  *sweet justice*

The concert included lots of glitter...


..costume changes...


....acting...


...dancing....


...and of course singing....

 She even catered to the crowd by wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey over her ballgown...


Sadly, Kelly Clarkson was not the surprise guest...


It was B.O.B.  However, they did do a pretty great version of Airplanes for the crowd. (Note, I did not shoot these videos)


She also did a great version of Don Henley's "Boys of Summer." (I did not shoot this video either.)



And at the end of the concert, her stage literally blew up.


I couldn't believe that they were able to get those kind of pyrotechnics in the stadium.

All in all it was a great concert - my friend Melanie and I thought it was one of the most entertaining shows we had ever been to.  If she's in your town make sure you go!


Set List:
1. Sparks Fly
2. Mine
3. Story of Us
4. Our Song
5. Mean
6. Back in December/Apoligize/You're Not Sorry
7. Better than Revenge
8. Speak Now
9. Fearless
10. Last Kiss
11. Boys of Summer Don Henley Cover
12. You Belong
13. Dear John
14. Airplanes w/ B.O.B.
15. Enchanted
16. Haunted
17. Long Live

Encore
1. Fifteen
2. Ours
  3. Love Story


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October 10, 2011

Happy Monday

Hope you Monday is as good as Lily's (if you don't have a ton of time, fast forward to 1:40.)



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October 8, 2011

Fall TV Round-up

I wish this post was about all the new books I have been reading...but I haven't read any. Why? Well because its Fall, and Fall means one things: NEW TELEVISION.  Here's the part where I shamelessly admit to the world how much TV I watch by ranking all my new favorite shows and casually don't mention all the old favorites I am still watching in addition to the following:

TV Heaven:


NEW GIRL
I am starting out big, with the proud pronouncement that New Girl is hands down my favorite new show of the season.  I laugh so hard my ribs hurt.  Zooey Deschanel is perfection and I look forward to it every week.


PANAM
I often think being a stewardess would be one of the worst jobs.  All that turbulence?  Serving drinks in 30 minutes without spilling? Not to mention how angry people are when they travel.  But PanAm makes it seem super glamorous. Also, I love their hair!


REVENGE
I have always loved Emily VanCamp (shout out to Everwood!), but I wasn't sure how I felt about her playing a scorned temptress.  Want to know what? It works.  And even better, Madeleine Stowe plays an excellent villain.


Hart of Dixie
I was worried this show would be a bit of a cheeseball, and it is, but Rachel Bilson makes it work.  Also, this show features the return of Scott Porter, so FNL fans take note!

Television Purgatory:
I am not quite sure how I feel about these shows yet...


 2 Broke Girls
 Michael Patrick King, writer for Sex and the City, created this show so I had high hopes.  And the writing is very Sex-ish...but the acting is just really...bad.  It has its moments (like every time the horse pokes his head through the door) - but its also kind of dumb.  Jury is still out on this one. 



Up All Night
Does anybody not understand what Maya Rudolph's is doing on this show?  I know I am the minority here, but this show just does not make me laugh.  Its not mind numbingly boring, but its not good either.  It did get picked up for a full season though, so obviously some people are watching it.

Television Hell:

 Two and a Half Men
I never liked this show before, but like the rest of America I was intrigued with the addition of Kutcher and the death of Sheen.  So I watched the first episode and guess what? Still don't like this show. Delete.

Dead On Arrival: 


Playboy Club
I DVRed this and never got around to watching it. Go figure. It was the first show cancelled this season.

 New Arrivals 
I am so excited about all the fairy tale shows that are coming in October! 


GRIMM
Its set in Portland, Oregon and is about a detective that investigates supernatural crimes. Early reviews are not promising but I am saving judgment until I see it for myself.


Once Upon a Time
This show is an ABC show where people live in parallel lives between the fairy tale world and the real world.  I would be a big creeped out but Ginnifer Goodwin is in it so I am sure it will be wonderful!


Are there any that I am missing? 
Disagree with anything on my list?

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October 2, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Wow! Remember that time I was like "heeeyyyyyy I got a new job!" and then peaced out for like two weeks? That's a bit of an indication of what life has turned into.

Before I started my new job, I flew back to Idaho for a mini vacay to catch up with my family. I was there a whole week, but it wasn't nearly enough time to see everybody I wanted to see and do everything I wanted to do (and eat everything I wanted to eat!)


I brought with me one of those make-your-own Sprinkles cupcakes canisters they sell in the stores so I could share with my mom the wonder that is the Sprinkles red velvet cucake.  Note to the wise, TSA was none too pleased when they found my metal canister while inspecting my luggage, whoopsie!  Good news is that all they found inside was cupcake powder and the the package remained unscathed (although really? You couldn't put the lid back on?) Also, all can take note that the making the cupcakes yourself (a) will make you realize how terrible they are for you and (b) THEY TASTE EXACTLY LIKE THEY DO IN THE STORE albeit with less then perfect frosting job.

My mom forced me to go through all my old things and throw out what I didn't want.  This led to me crying and saying "I want to keep everythinnggggggg."  What can I say? I am very sentimental.  One of my favorite things that I found was old notebooks that my friends and I wrote to each other in Junior High.  I thought it would be great to read about all the stuff we did but I couldn't BECAUSE IT WAS IN A CODE THAT I COULDN'T REMEMBER.  Each notebook had a different "theme" for naming the boys we liked.  I apparently really liked number 14 but I don't remember who that was and have a sneaky suspicion it changed often. 



Also, I found my first ever cabbage patch doll, Annie. She's kind of creepy but there is no way I was throwing her out. (EVER, mom. EVER.)


At some point I was convinced to get up at 5 in the morning to go the Boise Balloon festival- and you want to know what?  It was aweeeessommmeeee....




I also got to watch Boise State win their first game against Georgia.  Its way more fun being a Boise State fan while being in Boise.  BSU doesn't get a lot of love in Dallas. 

I was so sad to leave but all in all it was a really lovely vacation and a much needed break before starting my new gig!


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