Monday, April 19, 2010

This and that and other stuff. :)

Man I miss my blog! I hate that I haven't posted anything since last Tuesday. And, that post I actually typed up on Monday night. I get to the computer during the week...checking emails, popping in on Facebook, reading some of my friends blogs. But, to take the time to post, write something and put up pictures? It hasn't seemed like there has been enough time to do that. And, it makes me sad. :(  Not can't get off the couch, box of tissue on my lap, still in my jammies sad, but gee I wish I had a few more minutes here and there to spend catching up with my friends sad. But, tonight? I am happy because I am going to take the time and post a few pictures and comments and at least touch base with anyone who might still be checking in to see what I am up to. I'm still here! Don't give up on me yet!!

I have been baking and cooking. And, I have been outside enjoying our wonderful spring weather. And, taking lots of pictures. In addition to working and keeping up with the house and laundry and other everyday chores. I'm not complaining mind you. I am grateful to have work. To have a home. To have clothes that need to be washed and dishes that need to be washed. I give thanks each morning for the things I have. I kept a gratitude journal several years ago. Each night I would try and write down three things that I was grateful for. Some were major, like having a home to live in. Some were simpler. Like laughing with my daughter over something silly one of us said. Or seeing a rainbow after a storm. It was good to reflect each day on the things I had to be grateful for. I don't write down things anymore (though I should) but I do try and remember to be grateful for my blessings.

I bought a new cookbook. I need another cookbook like I need a hole in my head, or like a fish needs a bicycle. :} But, I can justify this one (actually three) I am in the Literary Guild and they emailed me that my fulfillment deadline was coming up and I still needed to purchase three books. They were going to charge me the average price of three books so I figured I should at least pick out three I would want. And, I got all three for less than the "average" price was going to be. One of them is "baking unplugged" by nicole rees. It's about baking without a lot of fancy equipment. Mostly a bowl and a whisk. Kind of like grandma used to bake. :) I have baked two recipes from it...Chewy-Crisp Chocolate chip cookies and Chocolate Biscotti.

My hubby is a die-hard Toll House Cookie kind of guy. I have tried other chocolate chip cookie recipes and he always says stick to the Toll House recipe. I made the Chewy-Crisp ones from this cookbook and he LOVED them. Said they were the best cookies ever. Said they were delicious. Said hey, these aren't Toll House cookies. :) They really were delicious. Chewy and crisp as the name stated. Buttery. Nutty. Really good cookies.

I baked the other recipe, the Chocolate Biscotti tonight after dinner. I love biscotti. Dorie Greenspan's recipe for almond biscotti in her "Baking..." cookbook is my all time favorite. I make it once every other month or so and usually eat it all myself. (Over the course of several days) The hubby isn't a biscotti fan. He doesn't understand the concept behind the hard, chewy, biscuit-like cookies. Which is fine with me. I make a lot of desserts that I don't usually get more than a piece or two of because he eats the majority of them. So, occasionally, if I have something around that he doesn't eat, oh well. :) So, this chocolate biscott recipe from "baking unplugged" looked interesting and I thought I would try it. Another winner from the cookbook!  It's made with chopped almonds and ground almonds. Chocolate chips, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, oil, and both almond and vanilla extract. Oh and mini chocolate chips. It's really, really good. Chocolate-y, crunchy, nutty. Delicious! I made it to send to my Secret Baker this month. I hope she likes it. :)

I also made (but don't have pictures of) some Spiced Nuts and some Sugar Glazed nuts. I am sending those to my Secret Baker too. This month's theme was Snack Foods and I thought the nuts and the biscotti filled that bill.

Another thing I baked recently were some good ole Seven Layer Bars. I haven't made them in quite a while and had a craving for them last week. So, I dug out my butter, chocolate graham crackers, sweetened condensed milk, semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, pecans and coconut, layered them all in a baking dish and popped it into the oven. 25 minutes later I had my bars and they were exactly what I had been craving. The hubby came home and scarfed up about three of them the first night and has been eating one or two a day for the last several days. I had a couple the first two days and haven't touched them since. That's kind of how it is with me. I will really crave something and then once I have a piece, slice, whatever, I don't want anymore of it. I guess that's a good thing. :)

I have also made some "real" food. :)  We do actually eat things healthy (or somewhat healthy) each night. I just don't always blog about those things. I made a beef brisket for the first time, using a recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I also made some chicken tenders using one of her recipes. I made some delicious sweet cream biscuits that I will post more about on Tuesday as they are next week's TWD recipe. And I made my Pot Roast dinner, which the hubby gets to enjoy,  not just once, but twice. Once the night we eat it and then as cold roast beef sandwiches in his lunch box for the next day or two.

I have been playing around with a Macro lens on my camera. I love taking close-up photos of things and wandered around here the other day taking some pictures. I took a few of my dog's eye, one that you can see me taking the picture in. I also got some close ups of a dandelion and some other plant life in the field. Thought I would leave you with a few of those....


  1. I love your photos! I have been thinking lately that I want to get into more photography and get myself a better camera...and your photos make me want it even more!

    Sometimes I yearn for the days I didn't blog. Sometimes it is important to me to blog and other times it's not so important to me. Go figure....but we are always here even if you aren't (and even if you don't realize it! ha!). Your dinners look as yummy as your baked goods and I too am a big biscotti fan!

  2. Hi, Susan! I so enjoyed reading your post this morning! I've missed your posts!!

    I love biscotti, too. Also, I'd love that chocolate chip recipe, if you'd send it to me?

    Just finished putting a crumb coat on a chocolate cake for cake class tonight. LOTS of crumbs, I hope they coat :) I love the cake leveler. It's a lifesaver!

    Have a great week!

  3. Hey Susan, your pictures are lovely. Im glad your enjoying taking pictures! Im also glad you have had a chance to bake and enjoy yourslef outside of work. ALl of your goodies look great, especially the Toll house cookies. My husband is a die hard Toll house lover too..he is happy with that and a big tall glass of milk!

    Thank you for the comments on my daughter. It really has been a good thing forces one to eat well and exercise! This is the girl I have not got of the couch for years!! SHe is keeping at it everyday..the fun part is when we do it together! SHe is a sweet girl with a great attitude!

  4. I've missed you! I'm happy to hear you're enjoying yourself! I like your outside pictures as much as your food ones! So pretty!

  5. Macro pictures out of this world great. New envious...I have such a list going! Then I remind myself that I have lots of recipes in the books I already own that I want to try, but STILL that doesn't keep me from know??? Food all looks great. A very fun post to read and see...that's why I come here, you know.

  6. Those chocolate chip cookies are calling my name. It sound like a cookbook I might enjoy. great pictures.

  7. Wow, everything looks really terrific Susan! Love the photos you took with your macro lens. I really want to get one for my camera but it's just not in the budget right now. I do love taking photographs, but I'm not always good about uploading them from my camera...

    And new cookbook? I can relate. I can't drive by Borders without thinking I should stop in and get a new cookbook and there really isn't anywhere to store them all!

  8. Everything looks wonderful, especially the chocolate biscotti. I've heard so many good things about Dorie's almond biscotti, so I'll have to give that one a try. Glad you've had time to cook, bake, and take photographs.


Please let me know what you think. I love to hear from other bakers.