Sunday, July 19, 2015

If You Give a Chicken a Cookie...

she is going to want a dozen long as you make them from THIS recipe!

After years of trying Chocolate Chip cookie recipe after Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, I finally stumbled on the ultimate cookie.  The Holy Grail of Chocolate Chip Cookies, if you would.  Now, many of you are going to read through this recipe and think "Cake flour AND bread flour?  Coarse salt?  THREE different kind of chocolate?  Let the dough sit for 24 hours? I don't think so."  But believe me, it is SO worth it, and my family agrees wholeheartedly!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (modified slightly from recipe posted in the New York Times)

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cup bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of coarse salt (kosher is fine)
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into chunks (or buy the bagged chunks)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, grated
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
sea salt (if desired)

1.  Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl.  Set aside.

2.  Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add in the vanilla.  Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.  Stir all chocolate into dough using a wooden spoon.  Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.  Dough may be used in batches and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.  Set aside.

4.  Drop dough by tablespoon full (or cookie scoop) onto the prepared cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with sea salt (if desired) and bake until golden brown but still soft, about 10-12 minutes.  Transfer cookie sheet to a wire rack for 3-4 minutes then remove cookies to another rack to cool.  Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough for baking later.


Yes, it is hard to wait 24 hours for cookies if you want them NOW.  I have to say that I don't always wait that long...they are still really good after being refrigerated for a couple of hours...and they are still really good going straight into the oven after mixing.  But they really are best when allowed to chill!  (I tell you this so you don't worry about it if you go ahead and throw them in the oven...they will still be the best cookies EVER!!)

The original recipe called for using 3.5 ounces of dough per cookie and only doing about 6 per cookie sheet.  This was just too much for my taste, but feel free to do it that way if you prefer, adding a few minutes to the baking time.

This recipe also freezes well.  Using a cookie scoop, I form each "cookie" into a ball and put on a cookie sheet covered with a baking mat and freeze.  Once the balls are set, put in a freezer bag and throw in the freezer.  When you want to bake them, just preheat the oven to 350 and add about 2 minutes per cookie, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don't over cook.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Won Ton Taco Cups

My oldest son is obsessed with tacos. By that I mean that his screen name on everything he plays has something to do with tacos, every paper he did in English had something to do with tacos and his teacher started calling him TacoBoy. He even has a FB page for his alter ego, TacoMan Johnson. Because of this, I am always looking for a new way to fix a taco, and it happens to be a little healthier then all the better!

I started toying with the idea of using wonton wrappers as tiny little taco shells. After searching on Pinterest for a recipe, I decided to combine a few that I found and came up with this little gem, which the whole family loved!

Not only was it yummy, it was super easy!


  • wonton wrappers (found in the produce section at my Wal-mart)
  • 1 pound ground beef (shredded chicken would work too)
  • taco seasoning
  • spanish rice, prepared
  • shredded cheese
  • non-stick spray
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Brown your ground beef, draining the grease and preparing according to the directions on your taco seasoning package. While this is cooking, prepare your spanish rice. After both are done, mix together in the skillet with the ground beef.

In a mini muffin tin (with 24 cups), spray all cups with non-stick spray. Put a wonton wrapper in each cup, pressing it to the bottom and sides. You will have to overlap a little to make them fit and this is fine.

Spoon your beef/rice mixture into each of the little wonton cups. Sprinkle each cup with your shredded cheese. You will have extra meat/rice mixture, so either do another batch of the taco cups, heat a few tortillas or freeze for the next time you make this.

Bake for 8 minutes.

We served them with dollops of sour cream and taco sauce, which the kiddos loved, and we added chopped lettuce and tomato to ours. Not only are they yummy, but 8 wonton wrappers has 6 grams of protein, which I didn't realize until I bought them for this recipe. I have wrappers left and I am considering trying either a nutella ravioli with them or maybe lasagna cups. I'll let you know how that goes!

I need a Pintervention!

Do you use Pinterest?  If not, why the heck not?  I admit I looked at it several times before I decided to join.  All I saw was a jumble of pictures that made no sense to me and appeared rather complicated.  After hearing so much about it, though, I figured there must be something to it, so I went to the site and requested a membership.  It took a few days to get the email giving me an account, but when I got it, I spent 5 minutes checking it out and OMG I was totally hooked!  Seriously, where else can you find ideas for making your own fabric softener, organizing a craft room, making a chocolate souffle and pages and pages of things to do with paint chips from the hardware store?! 

Here's a section of my craft room, organization ideas from Pinterest (love the magazine holders made from old packing boxes and wrapping paper!):

I'll admit it, coming to Pinterest was like coming home.  All of the jumbles of ideas that run through my head at any given minute are all there, in one place, and it's heaven.  It's amazing to look at pictures on a website about crafts and get up from the computer feeling crafty as if I've accomplished something!  Even my family, who laughed at me at first, decide maybe, just maybe it wasn't too bad once I made them a few recipes that I found there.

I've tried several crafts, recipes and DIY's from Pinterest, and when I find some that are worth sharing, I'll share them here!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What happens now?

I love my sons.  More than anything is this world.  They bring me more joy than I ever thought possible.  But it was different when they started school.  When they started school, I was a working mom.  I went back to work when David was 11 months old and Daniel was only 6 weeks old.  I was used to being away from them during the day.  It wasn't easy leaving those sweet little faces at school the first couple of days, but I did it, and with a minimum of tears.  All they knew were days spent in the company of other kids, so while it was a bit different having actual teachers and set times to use the potty, they both slid right into school with a minimum amount of diffculty (for both the boys and for me!)

Fast forward to now.  My baby girl has started school.  She is my best friend, giver of the best hugs and kisses imaginable, the light of my life and the reason I have gotten out of the bed in the mornings for the past four and a half years (well, ok, one of the reasons...I also had to get Daddy Chickens up and off to work, brothers up, dressed, and fed, bookbags packed and take them to school, but you get the picture.)  Now, do I love Hannah more than the boys?  Not at all.  But it's different.  I don't know if it's because she's a girl, or if it's because I was blessed to be able to stay at home with her, but all I know is that she is gone to school and I am lost.  Utterly and completely lost.  I dropped her off 63 minutes ago.  Which means just 347 minutes until I get to pick her up.

Is it terrible to admit that it would be an easier adjustment for me if she had been sad at the prospect of school?  If she had shed even one teeny, tiny tear the first day when I had to leave the classroom?  If she wanted me to hold her hand and walk her into school every morning, where she would then hug me hard and say "I'm going to miss you, mommy!"?  Yes, it is terrible to admit that.  Of course I don't want her to be a sad, crying, clingly little girl.  But, yes, it would have made me feel a little better.  Instead, my daughter went right into class the first day, hung up her bookbag and sat down on the carpet.  She grabbed blocks to play with and introduced herself to the kids already playing.  After a minute or two, she noticed I was still there and I got one of those "are you still here?!" looks.  On the second day, she informed me that "you don't have to walk me in.  You can drop me off with the big kids."  I informed her that while she was a big kid, I was walking her in because I wanted to, not because she needed me to.  And on to today, the third day, where she didn't want to hold my hand as we walked through the parking lot.  I took her hand anyway and told her that it made me feel better to hold her hand.  I got a huffed out "FINE" and immediately started fast forwarding in my mind to the middle school years.  No, my daughter is definitely not sad, crying or clingy.  She is a very happy, well-adjusted, friendly little girl.  And that's a good thing.  A very good thing.  And it makes me think that I may have done something right during this four and a half years I was blessed enough to spend at home with her.

Monday, Daddy Chickens took the day off of work to spend with me.  We had breakfast, ran some errands and really did everything we could to keep my mind off of the fact that I didn't have my shadow with me.  I only broke down once on Monday, and that's when the song "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins came on the radio.  If you know the song, you know why I lost it.  And that 2 minute song sent me into tears that lasted an hour.  But then I was okay.  Sort of.

Tuesday, I had a meeting and then went to lunch with Daddy Chickens.  Then I went to Wal-Mart.  By myself.  Wow.  I realized that I spend a whole lot less money when I don't have little hands adding things to the buggy (or cart, for those that aren't from the South.) 

And now today.  Here I sit in a big, quiet house.  Alone.  And I wonder...what now?  My mind is running a million different directions coming up with things that I must get done.  And it all seems to need to be done today.  I know that it's my mind's way of trying to fill the time so that I'm not left sitting here, wishing Hannah would come running through the room in her floppy hat and princess dress for a big hug and a quick "I love you, mommy!" 

But sitting here I really have begun to wonder what to do...what's next...what happens now.  Every minute of every day has been about Hannah and being her mommy for four and a half (oh-so-short) years.  I stopped being "Juli" and became "Hannah's mommy" (and, of course, The Chicken) so long ago.  I don't remember what I enjoyed in the Pre-Hannah days or even who I really was then.  I didn't lose myself when I had the boys, because I was an adult in an adult world for eight hours every day.  Now, though, I sit here and feel as if my purpose in my day-to-day life is gone.  And I have to figure out all over again who I am...what I enjoy...and what happens next.

Dramatic?  Perhaps to moms who work outside the house.  Had I read this when either of my boys started school I would have probably laughed at how ridiculous it sounded.  Anyone who has been a stay at home mom and had their baby start school knows what I'm talking about.  At least I hope they do and that I'm not completely out of my mind.

One day at a time, right?

So my plan for today:  do some laundry...wash some dishes...make up on the pool...make some PTO related calls...get supper ready to cook tonight.

And count down the remaining 312 minutes until I can pick my baby girl up from school.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yes, I started a new blog and then didn't post on it. Life has gotten in the way. Go figure.

I do want to write down what my daughter, dear, sweet, little Hannah did right after we moved in, though. If I don't, I'm afraid I'll forget it, and I want to hold this over her head for a loooong time!

The first week we moved in to the new house, we didn't have a stove...once they delivered the new one, Sam had a friend of his (Barry) come in to help run the gas line for it. As I was getting ready to run to Home Depot for Sam, I saw Hannah standing on a box beside the fish tank. (We have two fish, both betta's...David's is Billy Bob, who is red, and Daniel's is Jedi Master, who is blue.) I noticed that she had a little net...when I asked what she was doing, she informed me that she was fishing. This is when I noticed that there was water everywhere, including the floor, shelf and all over her. I got the net away from her, put the box up and told her why we didn't do that. (we don't want to hurt the fishies because we love the fishies, don't want to make a mess, etc...) She looked at me with her head cocked sideways, patted my hand and said "OK mommy." And off she ran. Before I left, I warned Sam that she was messing with the fish and that he couldn't take his eyes off of her. He agreed, in that "I'm not helpless, I know how to take care of my child, she won't cause any trouble, would you please go ahead and go to Home Depot and get what I need so I can finish this please" kind of voice. So off I (along with Mom) went.

Halfway through the shopping trip, I felt a little uneasy so I sent a text inquiring whether everything was ok. The reply took a little while to get and then said something along the lines of "we're ok. Hannah nearly killed Billy Bob." G-R-E-A-T. Wasn't this why I told him not to take his eyes off of her?!

We got home and got the whole story. Apparently Sam had to go under the floor to do something with the gas line. He said he was gone about 3 minutes and when he came back in, he saw Hannah come out of the den (where the fish were) with cool whip up to her elbows. He went in there and saw that she had dumped cool whip on my coffee table and fingerpainted with it. Assuming this was the worst of it, he turned to get towels and noticed the fish tanks...full of what looked like thick milk. Yes, my child filled the fish tanks with cool whip. Sam called Barry and he came running and the two of them began fishing through the murky, nasty water, hoping to save the fish. Sam managed to find Jedi, and got him in a tiny bowl full of water. Barry, however, was having trouble finding Billy Bob. He was up to his elbows in this milky water, had a net in one hand and using his other hand, and not finding this poor fish anywhere. It was about then, 4 or 5 minutes after discovering the mess, that they noticed this poor, tiny, un-moving fish body laying on the floor in front of the shelves. Nice. They grabbed him up and threw him in his own little bowl, just to say they tried to save him, even though they just knew he was dead. Luckily (for Billy Bob, anyway) betta fish breathe air, and can live for up to 10 minutes without water. So it took him a bit, but he started swimming around.

Now to the mess. One of the men (I think Barry, actually, LOL!) had to clean the fish tanks, including every single tiny rock in there, refill them, condition the water and get it up to the right temperature so we could put them back in their homes. We decided to leave them on the kitchen cabinet at this point, for obvious reasons! Well, I was working in the bedroom and Sam had to go to the laundry room for a minute...I heard him bellowing at Hannah about 2 minutes later. After trying to kill the fish, apparently she decided to take care of them, because she had dumped an entire cannister of food in one of the tanks. So here I go this time, getting him out of the tank and cleaning the entire thing once again. I'm surprised the poor fish didn't die from shock!

As if this wasn't enough, about half an hour later, once all fishies were happy and swimming (and alive!) in their freshly cleaned (twice!) tanks, I came in and asked Sam where Hannah was. (she had been "helping" them) He had no idea. This could NOT be good. When I yelled for her, I heard very faintly, "I'm here, Mommy! I'm baking just like you!" Oh no. No, no. I opened the pantry door and yep, there she was, on the floor, playing in the 5 pounds of flour that she had just dumped out in front of her.

After she was dealt with (yes, there were various punishments/spankings involved after each of these...) and the mess was cleaned up, Barry, poor Barry who thought he was coming to hook up a gas line, not bob for fishes in cream and then clean fishy houses, looked at us (who were frazzled, frustrated and exhausted) and said "well...I guess she just wanted to batter her fish!"


Sunday, March 21, 2010

I am a Chicken. Not the kind with feathers. Not the "scaredy cat" kind. The Nanty kind. Not to be confused with the Banty kind. I guess I'm actually not "a" Chicken. I am "the" Chicken...and to a couple of sweet little boys, I am Nanty Chicken.

How did I get the nickname Chicken, you might wonder? Many, many (many) years ago, my sister (DeathMetalMommy) and I were watching "The Cosby Show." (To show how long ago it was, these were Thursday night, first run episodes!) On one particular episode, Rudy was talking to her dear friend Bud (aka Kenny)...they got into a name calling dispute and Rudy called Kenny a "Chicken Baby." This made us giggle uncontrollably and DMM (sister) started calling me a Chicken Baby. This carried over to the internet age, when my very first screen name (and every one since then, has been Chixbaby27. The "27" was added because it was my favorite number. My sister has shortened it to "Chicken" for every day use, and once her oldest child was old enough to put a name with a face, I became his "Nanty Chicken" (Nanty being Aunt, of course.) Very little makes me happier than seeing the smile on his face when he sees me and squeals "CHICKEN!!!"

Of course I also answer to other names...Mom, Mommy, Juli, Baby, Hun, Juli-Woo (thank you Granny, LOL!)...and I'm sure there are plenty of others, some of which I would probably prefer not to list here.

So there is the background of the title of the blog. I have another blog that I write about my weight loss issues (, and this is where I am going to write about general life things. There will be stuff about my new house, moving in general, adventures with a 3 year old and her attempts to kill our pet fish...not to mention trials, celebrations, frustrations and everything in between as I go through my life with my sweet husband, two sons (2nd grade and 5th grade) and my fish-i-cidal 3 year old daughter.