Thursday, June 27, 2013

{Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies}

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Growing up, Sundays were a special day. We would go to church and come home and spend time as a family. Once a month, this meant getting together with my aunts and uncles and cousins and having a fantastic dinner with a delicious dessert, but the other 3 weeks out of the month it was just my parents, my 3 brothers, and me. My mom would always  bake some sort dessert. She always made it from scratch, and usually without a recipe. Yep, my mom is gifted like that. She can just throw ingredients together, and it will come out to be a gourmet meal. No recipe needed. 

While enjoying our dessert, we would have great family discussions. We would talk about what we learned about in church, talk about our week and what we did, and one time we even discussed what makes a swear word a swear word. Yes, we had some deep discussions! Often times, we would have neighborhood kids stop by for the treats and to chat with us. It was always a lot of fun, and they are some of my most precious memories.



When I got married, my husband soon discovered our Sunday night treasures. Since he is the only in-law on my side (none of my brothers are married) she wanted to make sure he was spoiled rotten, and soon discovered what treats he liked. She would then make them to entice us over... and it worked like a charm.

For the past 2 years, we have lived far away from both of our families, and have sorely missed Sunday night dinners and treats. Yes, we Skype with both of our families, but it's just not the same. So, we have started baking our own treats each Sunday. Without fail, around 6 p.m., my husband starts to scour the internet for a delicious treat that we can bake. He does most of the baking, and enlists the help of our 2 girls while the baby and I sit on the couch and rest.

This past week, we decided to make some Peanut Butter Molasses cookies. We both love peanut butter and molasses cookies, so when we found a recipe that called for both, we knew that it was meant to be our Sunday treat! We made a couple of batches, one rolled in sugar, and one not rolled in sugar... and I'll just save you some headache and tell you to ALWAYS go with extra sugar. It just completes your cookie!




What I loved most about these cookies was how chewy they were. Mmmm how I love me a chewy cookie!
Biting into one, I didn't know what to expect, but you can taste a hint of peanut butter mixed with the spice of molasses. It was like a match made in cookie heaven.

Go ahead... make a batch and try them for yourself!

Happy Baking!
Claudia

{Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies}
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup white sugar (for rolling your cookies in... do not skip this!)

Directions
*Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
*In a large bowl, cream together the brown sugar, peanut butter, molasses, and egg.
*In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and salt. Add this to the brown sugar/peanut butter mixture.
* Shape some dough (about a tablespoonful) into a ball and roll it around in the sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. When the sheet is all full, put it in the oven and bake for about 9-10 minutes.
*Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool down!

You may enjoy a glass of cold milk with these cookies. It's not required, but highly recommended. :)


Monday, June 24, 2013

Ramekins

So.... I have a confession.... actually, I'm sure I'll eventually end up confessing a lot of things on here, but let's start with, this one. 

I bought my first pair of ramekins. (I'm pretty sure Christie is gagging right now, because she owns probably a million of them....)

This year, I am putting together a family cook book and giving it as a Christmas gifts to my in-laws. What about my family, you ask? Well, I will eventually do one for my extended family, but as for my immediate family, not anytime soon. Why? I have three brothers who are all bachelors, and they don't exactly have any recipes to give me.... Their menu consists of mainly Hooters (yes, Hooters.... don't ask) and McD's. So, I'm doing one for my husband's family. A.N.Y.W.A.Y.S...

 I plan on gathering recipes from my husband's parents and siblings and making them and taking photos of them for the cook book. Photographing food is one of my favorite things to do, and I want to get better at it, so I figure this is a good place to start!

Since I will be photographing food and trying to make it look pro-fesh-ee-uh-nal, I decided to start stocking up on some pretty plates and things...

Up until now, I've been photographing my food on plates I bought from Wal-Mart about 11 years ago when I was headed off to college...

                                      

Lovely, right? Heh, heh, heh... I've been holding onto them because I'm pretty sure that one day, they will be considered vintage. :) 



As much as I personally am in love with the delicate grapevine design, I don't think my in-laws would appreciate it as much as I do... so, I'm collecting other plates and dinnerware to photograph...

And, in case you can't tell that I'm being sarcastic, these plates need to go, and I'm slowly replacing them. :)

I've been eyeing ramekins at Target for awhile. I walk by them every time I'm in the store (which is quite frequent) and I just look at them.... and trying to justify spending the $2.39 on them... yes, I'm that much of a tight wad.

Finally, I took the plunge and bought a couple! 


I know, exciting, right? I know you're all super thrilled and are probably wondering what I've baked in them.
And I just have to say that I haven't baked anything in them yet. This week has been so darn busy, that I haven't even had time to catch up on my TV shows... 

So, as of right now, I use them to hold my mints.




Ah yes, these glorious mints from Costco. They are dee-lish. And not only are they delish, but I am in love with the color! I have them in a jar sitting on my entertainment center (yes, I still have one of those) for decoration.

Do you have any ramekins? If so, what's your favorite thing to bake in them?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dinner Journals

It seems that dinnertime is a little stressful at my house.... or maybe my patience just runs out at 4:00 p.m. and anything that happens after that makes me stressed out. Is it just me? I sure hope not, cause then I would feel silly letting everything get to me.

It never fails that as soon as I  start making dinner, my kids are immediately at my feet telling me that they're hungry, and they start opening the fridge, and the pantry, and trying to get cups down for a drink.... all while I'm trying to open a package of chicken and dump it into the frying pan without a) trying to touch any of the raw meat (gag) and b) trying to make sure the empty package makes it to the garbage pan without contaminating anything.... yeah, it's quite the scene. And not always a pretty one.

So, I came up with this idea of having a dinnertime journal. This little journal serves serves a few purposes. While I'm preparing dinner, it gives my girls something to do and therefore keep their mind occupy from their said hunger pains.... and it also helps them think about their day and remember what they've done. I am a firm believer in journal writing and I want to help my girls keep a little record of what they've done.

For these little journals, I didn't do anything super fancy.... I simply went to Target and bought the cheapest notebooks I could find and slapped their names on the front.


 Then, while I'm trying to prepare a somewhat *cough cough* nutritious meal for my little brood, my girls draw pictures about their day. I love seeing what they come up with. They draw things that I would have never thought of.



These are drawings from my almost 4 year old... She mostly writes her name and her sister's name, or draws random smiley faces, like the one below.


I just love looking at all her drawings! They are so cute and funny! The other day, she drew me a random picture of a lemon and a bar. Not a lemonbar.... on one side of the paper was a lemon, and on the other side of the paper was a brown rectangle that she said was a bar. A bar of what? I don't know... just a bar!

My almost 6 year old is a little more advanced with her drawings......


I love that picture! We had gone to pick up a bucket of strawberries from a ladies house, and I was impressed that Ava had remembered that it was at the end of a circle. She drew the lady standing outside, and she drew our van.... love it!! It is pretty funny because her pictures are of the places we go.... and it seems like every day we are at a different store... Wal-Mart, Winco, Target, Bi-Mart, Goodwill.... sheesh! We go to a lot of different stores! Ha!

After dinner is fixed and we are all sitting down at the dinner table, we go over their journal entries. They each tell me what they drew and what they remember about their day, and I write a couple of sentences down for them.


As a family, we have also been trying to be a little better at reading our scriptures daily. Mornings are out because my husband leaves for work before we are even thinking about waking up, and nights are out because my husband is gone either doing church stuff or umpiring. Plus, at night time, I morph into some sort of monsterous beast.... All my patience is seriously gone at the end of the day, so all I want to do is hurry up and get my children in bed as soon as possible so I can just sit on the couch and play Candy Crush. :) 

Ok, that makes me sound like a lazy and mean parent... which I try not to be... All I'm saying is that the end of the day is not my prime time for trying to have a spiritual moment with my girls. 

So, we have started reading our scriptures at dinnertime! After our meal is finished, instead of jetting off to do whatever we do, we sit and read 5 verses and talk a little bit about those verses. Right now, our scripture time lasts all but 4 1/2 minutes, and it usually consists of me telling Halle to be quiet and listen to daddy read about 28 times. Are my kids getting anything out of it? I don't know, but at least we are trying.

I have ended up keeping their markers and our scriptures in a little basket on our table so that we all remember to write in our journals and read our scriptures.

What are some ways you keep your kids entertained while you're cooking dinner?

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