Saturday, 29 August 2015

Oatmeal Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 9

This one is  a bit of a boring one.

As usual... you can click here to find the recipe

I don't have much to say about these... except that if I'm being completely honest with myself 
(and sometimes I like to think that I am)
I don't normally care for oatmeal cookies.

I decided not to add anything else to these (even though I REALLY wanted to)
If you click on the link above they do give some suggestions for things you can add... even giving out measurement amounts).

I brought them to John's and we ate them with hot chocolate.  I told him and his sister that I brought them cookies that were nothing special... his sister said that they were pretty good for being nothing special.

I've decided that this must be a pretty good basic oatmeal cookie recipe!
I'm giving it 7/10
Because oatmeal isn't my favourite (but I see the potential)
I confess... I forgot to take a picture of the cookies until I only had 5 left.  Whoops!
Last week I made some healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies 
and I think you should try them!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

What's Up Wednesday

The last Wednesday of every month Shay, Mel, and Sheaffer answer these questions
(and this week I'm joining them!)

What I'm Eating This Week...

I've already made one batch of cookies and I'm making a second today or tomorrow at some point.
Plus I still have my Mississippi Mud Cookies in the freezer.  
So many cookies!

But I can't JUST eat cookies....
I'm pretty organized person when it comes to what I eat for dinners and I make a schedule at the beginning of each month and write in a couple of dinners I'm make each week (It's just me here - although John often will come for dinner when I'm making something - I still often have enough leftovers to get me by for a while).
It looks like tomorrows dinner is teriyaki chicken and stir fry. 
I bought some quinoa a while ago in hopes that it might be a better alternative to rice.  I'll see if I like it.

Sidenote:  I bought my quinoa at the Joe's nut stand in Walmart.  It seems to have really reasonably priced food there (food as in chocolate covered pretzels, flax seed, and quinoa... because that's all I ever buy from there).
But I'm CURRENTLY eating Froot Loops.
... Because why not?
These are not in a very large bowl... they are in a cup.  I put them in there so that I don't eat too many without realizing it!

What I'm Reminiscing About...

Last School Year
It was fun
It was rough
There were smiles
There were tears
As most of my readers know I've been fortunate to have my very own classroom for the last 2 years.  It looks like this year I'm going back to substitute teaching.  On the upside that means my work will NOT come home with me!

What I'm Loving

Going for long walks. 
For whatever reason I haven't done a lot of these this summer.  I recently started them back up (because I had to go to Bulk Barn one day and to get groceries another... I just decided to go for the long walks instead of jumping in my car).

What I've Been Up To...

Honestly, not a whole lot.
I've been thinking about Interactive Social Studies Journals... or ways to improve my Social Studies Program because I just really don't like it.
I've also been cleaning this week.  I'm away the next 2 weekends and decided it would be good to come back to a nice clean condo.  

What I'm Dreading...

Now that summer is winding down it means that winter is coming!  If you've come to this province in the winter you know it can get cold (like -50 kind of cold).  
Luckily, I've heard rumors that it is supposed to be a nice fall (I haven't heard what the farmer's are saying winter is supposed to be like).

What I'm Working On...

Interactive Social Studies Journals (for grade 5 and 6)
And finding ways to use technology in the classroom 
(check out some ideas on Confessions of a Modern Day Teacher)

What I'm Excited About...

I said earlier I'm away the next couple of weekends.
This weekend I'm at the lake with the girls.
We (as in myself and extended family) always head to Clear Lake for September Long.  It's like one last hoorah before school starts.  
This year John is coming along so I'm excited to show him around
he is bringing his boat so I'm excited for boating there as well.

What I'm Watching/Reading.

I've just started watching Season 6 of Modern Family.  I love this show.  It's funny and I laugh.
I've been reading (since Spring Break) The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers.  I'm about halfway through the 3rd (and final) book.  I heard great things about this series but to be honest... I'm not enjoying it too much.  Maybe Jodi Picolt has a new book out that I can read after this.

What I'm Listening To...

I don't listen to much except when I run or go for my walks.  Currently I'm listening to the traffic outside my place but that isn't what you want to hear about I'm sure.
I just made a new playlist for when I go for walks and put Olly Murs album "Right Place, Right Time" on it.  So I've also been listening to that.

What I'm Wearing...

It has been a bit of a chilly week here so it's been a pants kind of week.
I'm heading out for a haircut in a little bit and I'm sporting this
sometimes I wear these shoes without socks.... I did it all the time as a kid.  No I did not choose my shoes because of the colour of my shirt.  I choose them because these are the only ones I have like this.

What I'm Doing This Weekend...

Heading to the lake with the girls!

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month...

This means getting back into the swing of things with work (I'm hoping for at least 12 sub days in September which seems a bit ambitious to me).  I like getting up early (as in just after 6am), eating breakfast, and then crawling back into bed to read my Bible and pray.  I haven't been as great at doing that over the summer because often there isn't anywhere pressing that I need to get going (and personally, I think it is a great way to start off my day!)

What Else is New...

Well I bought 2 new pairs of pants for $12 each (on sale) that I'm pretty excited about.  They don't have a zipper or button to close them and I think that just makes them more comfortable.

I also bought the t-shirt that I'm wearing today (see above recently)

What's Your Favourite Back To School Tradition

I don't think I have one?
If I had a classroom of my own I think it would be setting it up, decorating it, and making sure it looked great for the first day of school!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies: Week 8

These were actually the simplest, easiest, and likely healthiest cookies I've ever baked.

This recipe is so easy I have it memorized already!
2 bananas
1 cup oats
1/4 cup chocolate chips
bake in oven at 350 for 12 minutes

But you can also find the recipe on Six Sisters' Stuff

I made mine relatively small.
But what else is new?

You could easily make these in so many different ways.
Add nuts
Add craisons
Add orange zest and cinnamon?
Different kinds of chocolate chips
Add peanut butter

I feel like the options are practically endless.

My verdict?
I would definitely make these again!

Seriously folks, I had the batter mixed and on the pan long before my oven was preheated!
AND... these were all ingredients that I regularly have on hand... no special trips to the grocery store this week!

Good news everyone!  This week I saved a bunch of new cookie recipes that I'm excited to try!

Last week I made Tagalong Cookies

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Ways to Stay Cool During a Heat Wave

Just stay inside!

Hopefully everyone else around these parts had some kind of air conditioning this past week... I think we were around 40 degrees with the humidex most days this week!

Needless to say I DID NOT spend much time outside this week.

What I did do was...

1) I ate popsicles
I make smoothies most mornings (smoothies that include a couple handfuls of spinach I might add).  I fill a glass with it and whatever is leftover I put in a popsicle mold.  All those popsicles came in handy this week!

2) I turned on my a/c.  I don't keep it on too often... just to keep my bills lower but this week I spoiled myself and I had it on A LOT (in comparison to what I normally would)

3) Slumber party in the living room!
I only have a window a/c unit and it is located in my living room.  So I dragged an extra mattress into the living room and camped out there for a couple nights.  Then John came over and I felt obligated to turn my living room back into a living room.

4) Go to the mall!
The mall is a cold place to hang out.  I bought some fancy new pants (for $12 each because they were on sale!) and a bathing suit top - just the top.. I didn't like the bottoms.

5)  Swimming
When one has a pool one should take full advantage of it during hot days

6) Visit Friends with central air!
I went to life group which got relocated to my cousins... because she has central air.  I brought us pizza and pasta for dinner before everyone else arrived.

7)  Free Ice Cream!
During life group the person that brought dessert refused to take the ice cream he brought home.  So I took it.  It's been yummy!  John and I also went for gelati on Monday.  I had salted caramel and blood orange.  It was delicious!  On Tuesday we for a boat ride down the river for ice cream with my family too.  So 3 days of ice cream... not too shabby.

So that's been my week of staying cool

Other than that my friends and I visited the Chile (chilly?) pavilion for Folklorama and went out for Greek food beforehand.

This weekend is sort of a lazy and relaxing weekend in the city.

Saturday I made some Tagalong Cookies and worked on some T.U.S.C most of the day (in hopes I might be able to use it at a job I'm still waiting to get for September).

I also made this delectable meal.
don't worry I cut the strings off before eating it!
Today the plan is to head over to John's to make his dessert for life group (he is going away for work but still wants to supply his dessert - yes I offered to supply it for him!) in the evening and then head to bed early because I actually have to get up early Monday!

Hope everyone managed to keep cool this past week!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Tagalong Cookies

there is salt inside that little owl... he has a purpose in this picture!

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 7

You can find the recipe I used for these cookies on Bakeaholic Mama

I used half a recipe... not that you can really tell (or maybe you can)

It ended up only making 10 cookies... I probably could have done a full recipe for these

Ok folks, I tried to roll the peanut butter and place it nicely on each cookie in ball form (well.. I didn't try THAT hard).  You see, as soon as I scooped it out of the container with a spoon I knew it was too sticky and if I attempted to roll it I would have it all over my hands instead of the cookies.  Plus, it didn't seem like a necessary step so I didn't do it!

I was going to dunk each cookie into the melted chocolate but then I figured the first 3 would get all the chocolate and I would be left having to melt more (every 3 cookies).  Plus, if there is such a thing as over chocolated... that's what those cookies would have been.  So I spooned it over top of each one and spread it out with the spoon.  I figured it would drip down the sides making it look like the entire top and sides were coated... but that didn't really happen (hardly any dripped at all - I even went to all the trouble of putting some plastic wrap under the cooling rack to catch the drips!)

The finished cookie (with a bite taken out)

My thoughts:
Too much peanut butter!
(maybe I over peanut buttered?)
I also used up the last bit of my almond butter on these and mixed it with regular Kraft peanut butter (the regular peanut butter made up the majority of that mix).  I never cared for that almond butter... maybe that's why these don't taste as good as I thought they would?

My rating?
They were good.
I'm willing to try it again.
Just with less peanut butter
(maybe a full cookie recipe and a half peanut butter recipe)

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Caramel Apple Cookie Cups

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 6

You can find the recipe for these cookies on Life Love and Sugar
Trust me... you'll want to find the recipe for these ones!

I made an executive decision that my freezer is getting too full of cookies.  
I'm making them faster than I can give them away.

So... today I only made half a recipe (which for me meant only 8 cookies)

These cookies smelled delicious as they baked!
Like mini doughnuts!

They came out of the oven a little too puffed up 

So I took my 1/8 cup measuring cup and pushed them down a little (or a lot... I applied a lot of pressure... I figured it was okay since I had left them in the muffin tin).  
For those of us wondering if they came out of the pan easy even with me smashing them all down... they did!  I used a fork to get them out.  Originally I tried turning the pan upside down but that did nothing.  Just don't forget to spray your pan!  If you don't spray your pan first I can only imagine the trouble (and mess) you'll end up with.

John and I were supposed to go for a boat ride with my family for some ice cream but it was a rainy day.  To make up for the lack of ice cream we were currently having I decided we could top off our Caramel Apple Cookies with some ice cream.

We ended up filling all the cups with caramel but not with the left over apple pieces.  I stuck those in the fridge.  I'm not sure if I'll have enough apple pieces to fill the rest of the cups but if I don't I figured these would be good cookie ice cream bowls too (well cookie ice cream bowls with caramel in the bottoms now).

My rating?

That's right, I said it... 10/10

And really easy to make.  You probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already (or at least I did)

PS.  In case you are wondering if you can save them and eat them the next day... you absolutely can!
John filled all the cups with caramel sauce and it hardened over night.  We also baked one full apple with the spices and butter (only one apple because I was doing a half recipe) and I stuck the leftovers of those in a sealed container in the fridge. The next day, when I wanted one, I just spooned some of the apples on top and stuck it in the microwave.  The caramel sauce melted and once again I topped it off with ice cream for a delicious treat!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Long Weekend in the City: Things to do

Not your typical "to do" list 
(although mine probably could have included things like laundry, cleaning, and going to the gym)
Oh wait, I did all those things too!

John was camping for the long weekend which left me free and clear to do what I wanted in the city (yes, I stayed in the city for an entire week!  Well... mostly).  So mostly I just stayed in and relaxed (because, you know, I'm not currently doing enough of that with my summer off!)

On Saturday the girls came over for some lunch, some swimming, and some nail painting.  I have a deep turquoise colour on my toes which I'm loving and on my fingers is what Shelley would call a periwinkle blue (the lady at the gas station said she really liked it).

Sunday was church and the gym.  After the gym I went to my friend Ginger's place for a bonfire.

So I loaded up my cookie sampler plater and headed out the door

We each took a turn holding the teeny, tiny baby kitten that fit in the palm of a hand

Watched the sun set

Roasted hotdogs
And s'mores

I look a little scary here but did you know that Reese spread tastes delicious on s'mores.  
I could have had at least 6 probably
But I stopped at 2

On Monday I did some cleaning. 
My kitchen looks AMAZING
... I'll see how long that lasts.
While cleaning I discovered this present from one of my students

You know the chocolate is good because it is in German

And the pieces in the bar are HUGE

(for the record I took this photo normally, it shows up on my phone normally, it shows up on my computer normally, and then I upload it here and it flips it on its side... but you get the idea)

On Monday I also went to my cousins to eat snacks and chat
Then I watch Insurgent with John

Hope you all had a lovely long weekend
(just one more left before summer is over)

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Mississippi Mud Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies - Week #5

One month down... 11 more to go.

I'm switching up the way I post these from here on out because I've been looking into ways to get this blog a little more out there and apparently I have to title my blogs what I think people will be searching for.  So let's try this shall we?

You'll find the recipe for these cookies here

A couple of things before you commit to making these cookies
1) Maybe you are some super baker and marshmallow arranger but it took me 1 hour just to make the cookies, carefully place the marshmallows and then carefully place the pecans.  SO, I'm going to assume that most of us will just ignore the recipes 45 minutes total time.
2) You can try to carefully place those marshmallows and pecans.  Be my guest and try.  Or you can be like me and be fed up with them constantly rolling off and just smash them on there.  By my 2nd batch I got a little better about placing them and would grab about 5 mini marshmallows and just carefully hold them onto the cookie for a few seconds... this worked well too.  But if you need to smash you smash!
3) The pecans will also need to be smashed on there.  I personally enjoyed poking them into the slightly melted marshmallows.  That kept them on there pretty well.
4) Maybe if I would have made these more flat and smooshed them down slightly before baking marshmallows and pecans wouldn't have been rolling around on my pans.  Try to flatten the cookies slightly before baking them and get back to me on if they were a lot flatter and easier to place things on.
4) Finally, after starting these slightly after 9pm and getting them done at 10pm (minus the icing part) I decided to leave them to cool overnight.  This worked well.  I then just scooped the icing onto each cookie (okay, I may have just run it over the entire batch getting a lot of it on my counter).

And one hour later they were ready to cool...

The next day...

I ran out of bowls to mix the icing in and there wasn't a chance I was ready to wash one by hand before my cookies were done.  
You can't tell here... but this is a margarine container.  
How Mennonite/resourceful is that?

The finished product!

My rating?
8/10 they took forever to make but I must admit the pay off was pretty delicious.
Next time I think I'll make it in brownie form (which my cousin and I agree my mom likely has a recipe for)

Good news everyone!
I had a couple of friends over today for a pool and nail painting party and decided to include a little taste testing of the cookies from this month.
... minus the birthday cookies.  Those are long gone.

The winners?
... yes I said winners.

Tied for first place are the following
Mississippi Mud Pie

Or in other words no one loved the strawberry ones.
They said they were like muffins
And when you're getting a cookie why waste it on a muffin... am I right?

Want to know something else?
My testers said I could sell my cookies.
I'm obviously a pretty good cookie baker
(and eater)