Thursday, July 24, 2008

need more will power!

All I can think about right now are the cookies on my kitchen counter. I made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for a luncheon this week and kept a few too many at home for my husband. Naturally, I tasted the cookies when I made the dough and again when I baked the first batch (I had to make sure they were good before I fed them to other people, right?!), so I know how delicious they are. Since that first taste, I have somehow managed to find the will power to abstain for the last couple days. But that will power is just about gone. (I know what you're thinking..."just have a cookie and get it over with!"...I know, I am being ridiculous. The thing is, I can't just have one cookie...I'm an all or nothing type of dessert-eater. If I go in for one cookie, I will end up eating four.)

I went to get a diet coke this evening, which is usually just the sweetness that I need to finish the night. But, tonight it is not enough. There are six cookies left...if I can just last one more day, either Michael will finish them, or we will take them with us on our trip on Saturday morning. (That's the other thing...we are going on a trip TO THE BEACH for a week, where I will likely be in a bathing suit every day...and I STILL want to go and eat cookies!) If I can just keep typing, then I won't go into the kitchen and make it five cookies left. (more like two cookies left, if we are being honest)

Enough of my is the recipe for the cookies I can't stop thinking about. Try them--you won't be disappointed. And next time, I will be sure to give more of these delicious treats away!

Here's what you'll need:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
1 package JELL-O Brand Vanilla Flavor Instant pudding and pie filling
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cups raisins (optional)...I substituted chocolate chips, naturally

Mix flour with baking soda. Combine butter, the sugars and pudding mix in large mixing bowl; beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture; then stir in oats and raisins/chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

john mayer or bust

My family LOVES John Mayer. Lindsey and I especially love John Mayer. We have all of his CDs, we know all the words to his songs, and we never miss an opportunity to see him live. Not even the pouring rain could keep us away...literally. Lindsey and I drove to Maryland to see John Mayer in concert the other night, and it was a torrential downpour when we got to the venue! We sat in the car for a little while waiting to see if the rain would lighten up at all before we went in--oh, did I mention that the venue was outside, and our tickets were for the lawn behind the seats? As we walked in, we saw people walking back to their cars who were already drenched. At first I thought the show was canceled, but these people just weren't the superfans that we are.

We got there just in time to see the end of the opening act, which was pretty good timing because tons of people got there really early to save the best seats on the lawn...those people were all completely soaked. Lindsey and I came somewhat prepared for the rain--I brought an umbrella and a rain jacket and she brought a hoodie. The entire lawn area was a muddy mess and people were falling and getting stuck in the mud left and right, but we found a nice little spot in the front (we were a little closer than it appears from this picture). Unfortunately, a group of people came to stand behind us and one of the girls kept slipping, falling on her rear and kicking me in the back of the legs! (Luckily, she didn't ever take me down with her!) But, when John came out and started playing his set, nothing else mattered. He was fantastic! He played some of my favorite songs, he was fun and witty and made everyone feel good that we were standing in the rain to see him. (It did, in fact, rain the entire time we were there.)

Lindsey and I had so much fun! It was the perfect last hoorah before she moves to San Diego at the end of the month.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Homemade Marshmallows

It wouldn't be a trip to Montana if my mom and I didn't do some experimenting in the kitchen. My parents have a fire pit on their patio and one night we wanted to make some s'mores, but all we had were the mini marshmallows. My mom and I decided to try our hands at making homemade marshmallows. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, and they were SO much better than the stuff you get at the grocery. If you've got a candy thermometer and a stand mixer, I would definitely recommend trying them yourself!

Here's what you'll need:

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows:

Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

first taste of a sucker

This little baby has started to teeth, I think. No sign of the tooth just yet, but she is sucking and chewing on anything she can get her hands on!  And with all of her aunts and uncles in town this past week, they were all anxious to let Reese try a few treats.  We took this video at Dean's baseball game last week, as Lauren shared her blow pop with Reese.  Hilar!
(Note: Not to worry, although it may look like Reese is trying to get the sucker all the way down her throat, she was being carefully restrained by trained professionals.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

For real this time...

So, a couple posts ago, I was seeking clarity on the "sleeping through the night" issue and wondering if our little Reese had finally joined the ranks of babies who sleep through the night. I decided that since I had to go into Reese's room numerous time during the night in question, even though I didn't have to feed her until after 5am, it probably didn't count. After a few more lousy nights, Reese finally had an awesome night, one which I would definitely consider "sleeping through the night". I put her to bed around 9pm last night, and she slept until 5am (when it was starting to get light in Monty)--no fussing or binkie malfunctions or anything, I fed her and put her back in her bed and she went back to sleep until 8am! wahoo! She was all smiles this morning (which is normal for her) and so were the mommies! (My mom has been "on duty" with her during the wee hours of the nights since we've been here so that I can catch up on some sleep, that sweet lady!) I'm hoping this is a new trend for her and not just a fluke, although she did have quite the busy day running errands all morning and hanging out at the lake all afternoon. Poor little dear was all tuckered out!

And, here's a little taste of just how happy Reese was after a full night of sleep. We played a new game and Reese couldn't get enough!