Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Big Cookie Project: Week 18

Before I start on the cookie, let me just say I've been stressing out to get this typed and posted. As of early last week we have not had internet or cable due to our precious new puppy (sarcasm) chewing up our cord on the outside of our house. We finally got it fixed as of yesterday (yay!) but then walked out side this morning to find that she had just started chewing on the brand-new cord....gggrrr. As of the moment, it is working, so forgive me for any misspellings as I try to post this before our internet and cable shut down again. Anyone looking for a puppy who has a love for cords??....just kidding!!

Now to the cookie: I received a brand-spankin' new cookie book for my birthday (thank you Melissa!) and was looking for one out of there. As I was about to make a triple chocolate cookie, Greg stopped me and picked a new one for me...Fortune Cookies! I was doubtful, because I have a very strong love for fortune cookies from chinese restaurants and didn't know if these cookies would stand up the perfection of what I think fortune cookies already are.

I looked at the recipe and the first ingredient was butter. Don't they know we are in a recession?? I had to use margarine because it was in my fridge, even though beside the first ingredient where it said BUTTER it also said: DO NOT USE MARGARINE. Eh, I'll try it anyways.
Fortune Cookies:

2 tablespoons butter (do not use margarine)

1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1 large egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

14 strips paper (3" by 1/2" each) with fortunes


1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. After completely melted, remove saucepan from heat, add confectioner's sugar, egg white, salt vanill extract and flour. Whisk ingredients until there are not more lumps.

2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Put a heaping teaspoon of dough on to the cookie sheet and using a small metal spatula or back of a spoon, spread the dough to make a circle with a diameter of 3 inches. Put next dollop of dough 4 inches away from first cookie and continue to spread the dough to make thin circles.

3. Bake cookies until brown around the edges, or 4 minutes. When you remove cookie sheet, use a spatula to remove the cookie, bend the cookie in half to create a semicircle, place the fortune inside the semicircle, pinch the edge and then lay it on the edge of a bowl to create the fortune cookie shape. Continue to do this with the rest of the dough.

4. Completely cool the cookies on a wire rack. Should yield about 14 cookies.

My first batch with the margarine came out okay. They were too pliable and not as crispy as fortune cookies are supposed to be. So, I decided to suck it up and buy the expensive butter (the smallest package of course) and made another batch using the butter.

It came out better, but not exactly like a fortune cookie from a chinese restaurant. But they do taste very similar.

The funnest part was coming up with the fortunes to place in the cookies. I could make up whatever I wanted! Greg got the fortune with the lucky numbers on it and he asked how I had come up with these numbers. I said randomly, but after taking a second glance at the numbers found out that I had used mostly birthdates from family members...freaky...

The best part about these cookies was that since the batch was so small, it really didn't take all that long to finish the cookies, which in my book is super. Some times the cookie-making is never-ending because there is so much dough to bake. This ended up being perfect, and most of the cookies are already gone!

Enjoy! update you, this is the second time I've had to type this blog due to internet being flaky, I might really give away our puppy soon if she keeps this up.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Big Cookie Project: Week 17

I might have hit a new low with the baked goods. I needed a babysitter for a few hours while I went to an open house at work, and Greg was still at work. With no money in hand, I texted Rebekah (we went to Germany together) and asked her to babysit for cookies. Did I just barter cookies for babysitting?? I felt very "Little House on the Prairie" for using my resources, but at the same time guilty, because I just paid a very nice person with a batch of cookies. It might have been a good deal, I guess it depends on if she liked the cookies or not. Rebekah could have gotten home, tasted one, and then said with disgust," I bartered my time for these awful cookies?" and them thrown them all in the trash. I might be over-dramatizing this just a tad. If she DID like them, I might be bartering some more in the future. "Will you mow my lawn for some snickerdoodles?" or "How about washing my car for some chocolate chip cookies?"

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by my willingness to exchange goods for food. I usually try to barter good behavior for the promise of a cookie or Hershey kiss, but I think that is called bribing...I much prefer to call it "bartering" sounds much less pathetic. "I will barter a kiss from Nolan for a cookie" sounds so much better than bribing, doesn't it?

Well, back to the cookie recipe.


1 cup crisco
1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

3 cups instant oats
1/2 cup brickle bits


1. Cream first three ingredients

2. Mix rest of ingredients. By hand stir in oats and brickle bits

3. Drop by spoonful on to cookie sheet

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes

I guess I'll find out if they were good next time I call Rebekah and ask to do a little "trading" again. JUST KIDDING!! I will pay cash next time :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Life jackets on!

Since summer has come (and is almost gone) my fear of water plus my children has been growing. I guess you could call it being over-protective, but isn't that what moms are supposed to do?

TV News and parents magazines have always informed me that kids can so easily drown in just 2 inches of water, and now I'm throwing them in pools 5 feet deep? Sounds a little unsafe to me. But what are you supposed to do in Texas during the summer when it's over 100 degrees outside?

I've never been really worried about Nolan. I did all the "first mom" things with him, like taking him to swim class when he was almost 2 years old. He was not a fan. He liked water, in general, but then really didn't see the point of just floating around. I LOVED that about him. Whenever we went swimming, he was perfectly happy just hanging out on the steps or playing in the kiddie pool which is only 1 to 2 feet deep (still more than 2 inches, but better than 5 feet). And he has always been extremely happy to wear a life vest. I guess he almost thought it was an accessory, because he would wear it around the house and even to the Splashpad where I think the drowning factor was almost zero. But still, I'm glad he likes safety.

Then, he threw me a curve ball at the pool this week. He hung out in the shallow end (yay!) but no swim vest (boo) and for some reason decided he was going to start holding his breath under water. Scary! He blows up his cheeks really big, plugs his nose and then just disappears under the water. I would thank God every time he brings his head back up. I don't know why it makes me so nervous, it just does. I don't have a tragic pool story from my childhood, but it seems the day after you have your first child you get the responsibility of worrying about every little thing that could hurt or harm them.

Mallory is a different story. She's my clingy baby....until you get to the water. She wants to do everything herself. At the same pool, she decided to hang out in the shallow end, but is still too deep for her. We do not yet have a swim vest for her, and have always held her or put her in a floaty device. Well, she starts walking around all cute in the shallow end, the water was up to her ankles...then her knees...then her waist...then her chin. She was still going towards deeper waters like it was no big deal. I sat VERY close by trying to act all calm around all the other moms, but inside I was screaming,"Are you crazy?" The mom beside me was watching Mallory try to see if she was secretly a mermaid and said,"They have a death wish at this age.hahaha!" I giggled politely but do not see anything funny of Mallory testing her boundaries of what she can or can't do. Yet again, being over-protective, I know it's a part of life.

We thankfully all left the pool still breathing, and sadly Mallory is not secretly a mermaid (she finally figured that out herself). My mom was never the type to just let us go swimming alone, even when we got older and were allowed to go by ourselves, per pool rules. She always went with us. I guess I might have inherited that tad phobia of pools from my mom, but I guess it could be worse. We DO love to go to the pool, I just feel a bit frazzled inside whenever we go. The term "Get Over It" pops in to my head, and I guess I will...eventually...when the kids are 50.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Big Cookie Project: Week 16

Thine eyes do not deceive you. I DID make cookies to look like mushrooms. A little weird, but definitely relevant to what they were going with. I was asked to make a 4th Birthday cake for Nolan's BFF and the theme was Tinkerbell. I had the cake all picked out, but then realized this was a COOKIE blog, not a cake blog and had to figure out a cookie to go with the cake theme. You would be amazed at all the cookies that came up when I googled "Tinkerbell Cookie". I found a sugar cookie in the shape of buttons (I am posting the pic, even though they are not the cookie of the week. Just thought they were nifty) but the sugar cookie dough was pre-made, so it still did not fit the bill for the Cookie of the Week. **If you are wondering why buttons have anything to do with Tinkerbell, apparently fairies use buttons frequently, especially Tinkerbell because she is a "Tinker" fairy. Just thought you would like to know.** Then, I came across the mushroom cookies and thought they were too funny. Fairies use mushrooms for tables, and what not, so they fit perfectly in to the theme.

This was a meringue recipe, and it was my first. I guess they came out okay, I've never fixed them before to compare. But they did look like mushrooms and they were edible which is two big criteria in cookie making. Here's the recipe :)

Meringue Mushrooms


3 egg whites, room temperature

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

3/4 granulated sugar

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Heat oven to 200 degrees F.

2. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until they are frothy

3. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until the whites form soft peaks

4. turn the mixer up to high and beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time. Continue beating hte whites until they become glossy and form stiff peaks.

5. Spoon the meringue into the pastry bag. On the first tray, pipe 18 to 24 mushroom caps by holding the pastry bag perpendicular to the tray and using even pressure to squeeze out mounds of meringue that measure 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter and about 3/4 inch high. To avoid creating peaked tops, try twisting the pastry bag as you pull it away from the caps. You can also gently smooth small peaks with a wet fingertip.

6. Pipe mushroom stems on the second tray (make extras because some will topple over in the oven). For each one, start with a round base (about 3/4 to 1 inch wide) and continue piping meringue as you slowly draw the bag upward to give the stem a tapered top. Ideally, your stems should be 1 1/2 inches tall.

7. Bake the caps and stems for 75 minutes, turning the trays halfway through the baking time so the meringue will cook evenly.

8. Joining the stems and caps. Use the tip of a knife to hollow out a small hole on the underside of each cap. Then, heat hte chocolate chips in the microwave for 3o second intervals, stirring each time, until they are melted. For each mushroom, dip the top of a stem into the melted chocolate and insert it into the hollow of the cap

9. Once the chocolate has set, lightly dust the mushroom tops with sifted cocoa powder


I know the directions are little intense, but these cookies weren't hard to make at all. I don't know how many times in your life where you will need cookies in the shape of mushrooms, but if you do, use this one!!

I used the mushrooms to decorate the tray that the cake was on, so it sort of (or is supposed to) resemble a fairy forest, or what in my mind a fairy forest looks like.

PS. I could definitely see myself making these for an April Fool's food

Got the recipe from

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Car-Buying Experience

If you are behind on the goings-on of the Jones' (it's okay, I'll forgive you this one time) Greg sold his motorcycle and got a semi-running Jeep. Our plan is to fix the Jeep up to become a reliable car and then sell the Escape and the F-150 for one car that is a little bit bigger.
Going on this knowledge, I get this letter in the mail from the Ford dealership proclaiming they want to buy my Escape back because it is in such high demand. What the heck, we went down there just to check it out. What proceeded was quite funny, a little embarrassing and very time consuming.
We took the kids with us and got there around 4:30. Greg made it pretty clear that we wanted an even trade. "I give you the Escape, you give me a bigger car for the same worth." The car dealer was highly confused by this concept. He kept asking," So how much money do you want to spend?" Greg said, "none, just the trade-in value." The car dealer told us we needed to go through loan approval. Why, you ask?? I have no idea either.
Finally, Greg takes the car dealer out to the car to complete the checklist and see how much it was worth and the car doesn't start. It doesn't even roll over. That's pretty embarrassing. I'm sitting inside (with AC) and watching through the window Greg and the car dealer jumping the car so it would start. He checks everything out and we come to an agreement of how much they would give us.
So, we ask, do you have anything worth $7500? No, but they do have this really nice mini-van for $11,000. I know I can do math, and I know you can do math, so that does NOT work out to an even trade. We tell him no, and then he tells us he's got a really nice van on another lot. He pulls up in the $11,000 mini-van to drive us to the other lot to look at the cheaper one. After moving the carseats, we are on our way. The whole way we are told numerous things about "how great" this van is. I must admit, it was a little spiffy, but too expensive. We get to the other lot and look at the other car, and it's missing the 3rd row....hhmmpphh. This huge car only has 4 seats (3 of them missing). That's not very helpful. I could see why it was the cheaper van, because parts were missing!
We get back to the original dealership and load up the kids in the Escape, get a bid in writing for our car and we are on our way home. Something that I thought would take 1 hour took over 2 hours. But to look on the bright side:
1. the kids behaved extremely well, which was a miracle within itself
2. we got snowcones for dinner from JJ's...way better than real food
3. I got a chuckle when the car wouldn't start and Greg was trying to convince him that it really was a good car
4. mini-vans might be growing on me a little bit
The worst part that came out of the whole thing happened today. In some way, Greg broke the driver-side window and it will no longer roll down. It did it for ME earlier in the day, so now I'm blaming Greg for it not working. Anyways, I roll up to the drive-thru looking forward to a cool drink on a hot day and roll down my know where this is didn't work. I really did feel a little bit sadder inside that I can no longer use my window; a stupid convenience of life that I have gotten very used to.
In the end, I don't know if I would chalk up the whole experience as bad or good. It definitely wasn't my favorite. I just kept on feeling that the dealer was thinking, "why are you wasting my time with this?" I guess it just falls in the middle of things we have to do even though they aren't our favorite, liking getting shots or getting a physical, not necessarily horrible but not fun either.
Maybe we'll go back soon and get a car (used)...I guess you'll have to keep reading to find out!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mission Germany: Check!

Looking back on my blog I saw my to-do list of what I wanted to accomplish while away in Germany.
1. Learn some German: check!

nien= NO!

super (pronounced ZUPA!)= super, great




guten appetit= have a good appetite!

spiel (pronounced "shpiel")=game


**My favorite of all: burgermeister= mayor. I will officially be calling our mayor burgermeister from now on.

2. Try schnitzel: check!

We DID try schnitzel and were surprised to find out that it is chicken fried pork. Chicken fried steak was basically a Germany invention, but instead of pork we put it with beef...still delicious though. We also had a lot of bratwurst, bread, nutella (I think atleast a jar each), and ice cream. I think Germany was after my heart with all of their great food.

3. Ride on the Autobahn: check!

So, based on movies I imagined the autobahn as an 8-lane wide road where you can drive as fast as you want and there is only one going straight through Germany. Well, come to find out the autobahn is the German word for "Highway". We went on the autobahn every day, numerous times and on some parts we did get to go as fast as we wanted (usually around 100 mph), but was not as glamorous as I had built up in my mind.

***Greg wanted me to add that we did get passed by a Ferrari going about 180 mph which he thought was pretty nifty.

4. Survive the International Flight: check! (a little obvious, right?)

I was worried about the lengthy flight because flying is not one of my "Top 10 Fun Things To Do", but it ended up being okay. The flight to Germany wasn't bad since it was overnight. But the flight home was a little rougher, an hour longer, and during the day which made it almost impossible for me to sleep. The added bonus: Got my own little TV and got to watch about 10 movies or shows.

Luckily, I did not get hit with a ball or bat in the face which I was very glad about. Greg did hit me in the shin with a ball, but I took it like a champ, thought "mind over matter" and didn't even bruise. lol.

I saw tons of huge Catholic Churches, took way too many pictures, stayed in a hostile for the first time, and got to play a lot of baseball.

Loved every minute of it, and would do it again in a heartbeat!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Big Cookie Project: Week 15

Oh, Cookie Blog how I have missed you!

While in Germany I was hoping to do some baking, but I looked high and low for chocolate chips and didn't find any. Now, I found a LOT of chocolate in Germany (quite a few bars made it home in our luggage and didn't melt) but didn't not find any chips. Since I missed almost 2 weeks of cookies, I was very excited to get back in to the swing of things and challenge myself a little more with this weeks recipe.

Sadly, the two words I would describe this week's cookies: A MESS

I am dubbing it the "Pinwheel Debacle" because of how sad they are. I shouldn't be too hard on the cookies, they are okay (in the loosest sense). By definition they are edible, but ugly as can be. I have taken a picture of what they SHOULD have looked like, and then what they DID look like. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to tell the difference.
I know during this year of cookie making all of them wouldn't be winners, and this is definitely one of the weeks. But that's okay, I'm not even 1/3 of the way there, so there's plenty of more time for winner and loser recipes. Here's the recipe just in case you are a good Pinwheel Cookie Maker:

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
1 3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs plus 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon coarse salt

2/3 cup whole milk

1/ tablespoon pure vanilla extract

5 cups flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


1. Make dough: Put butter and sugar in the bowl. Add whole eggs and the salt. Mix in milk and vanilla. Add flour a little bit at a time, and mix until just combined

2. Remove half of the dough from the mixer; set aside. Add cocoa powder to remaining dough. Mix on low speed until combined.

3. Form spirals: Roll out remaining chocolate dough on a lightly flowered piece of parchment to 1/4 inch thick. Roll out remaining vanilla dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper to 1/2 inch thick. Trim doughs to two 9x6 inch rectangles. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

4. Brush egg white onto top of each rectange, then place vanilla dough on top of chocolate dough. Starting at one long side, roll up dough. Gently pinch and press the edge of the roll to seal it. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

5. Bake cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut logs crosswise into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake until firm, but not browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

There you have it, I'm hoping that yours will turn out better than mine. If you happen to find a tupperware full of these mis-happen cookies on your doorstep, kindly take them in and eat them (I'm not sure if they'll get eaten at our house, they make me sad just looking at them).

PS. If you are a recent friend from Germany, please disregard this week of cookie making, some previous weeks of cookies are much better than this one :)