Friday, February 26, 2010

Chocolate Friday - Double Chocolate Cookies

I ordered some bakers chocolate from a store online; The Prepared Pantry. It is called Gourmet Ramstadt-Breda rich dark cocoa.

It says on the package that it is "quality cocoa used by the best bakers and pastry chefs in Europe and America".

I don't know about that, but I do know it made my cookies oh-so yummy! Seriously, I think they were the best cookies I've ever made. And I'm not bragging - it wasn't me - it was all the cocoa.

And if you hurry you can get your own 1 lb bag at half price! Trust me, it's worth it!

I also used what I consider the best chocolate chips ever...

I didn't use a recipe per se, just threw together the ingredients. Here's a good guess as to what I did.

1 1/2 sticks butter (real butter)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (real vanilla extract, not the imitation)
1/4 cup of the cocoa powder
2 cups self-rising flour (White Lily)
1 cup Ghiradelli chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs and vanilla. Then add cocoa and flour. Last (but certainly not least) add chocolate chips. I dropped them on a baking stone and baked them for about 14 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. They didn't last long. :)

One more thing. When I got the chocolate I opened the box and cocoa was everywhere! I thought "Oh no! My chocolate!". I immediately called The Prepared Pantry and I had barely told them what had happened when the man said "Oh I'm so sorry, we'll get another one out to you right away!" Wow! I'm still not sure what caused the bag to get a hole/split and leak, but I am getting another bag for free! Talk about customer service! Just another reason I will definitely be keeping this company on my favorites list! (I got the new bag a couple of days ago. Yum)!

Now, if that wasn't enough chocolate for you, go over to Lisa's at Stop and Smell the Chocolates. She always has a great post up.

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

a picture is worth...

...sometimes it's priceless

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm looking for...

...some more of these glasses. I only have four. That's not enough if we have more than one family/couple over for dinner.

So, if anyone out there knows where I can get some, can you let me know?


Until next time...

Monday, February 22, 2010

better late than never

Yeah, just so you know...I'm terrible at posting on stuff I really want to.

See I won this giveaway and told Kathy C. that I would post about using her very cute apron on Valentine's Day. Blah...(slapping myself).

Well, sometimes, plans change. I had planned to have a Valentine's Day dinner at home (nothing really special planned except for dessert. What?).

But my mom texted me right after church and invited us to her house for lunch. Well, who wouldn't jump on that invite? I'm not that slow. :)

So instead we made the dessert Monday (and boy was it yummy!). Then I did the cookies later in the week. Cookies? Oh, yeah...Kathy was very generous.

I won the apron on her giveaway, but she went above and beyond. She sent me a cookie mix (homemade no less) in a re-usable plastic Valentine's container, a cute Valentine, some candy sprinkles, and some candy heart-shaped decorations. Wow! I was overwhelmed, awed, and impressed. And very touched. That was super-sweet of her. Don'tcha think? Thanks again, Kathy C.!

So, I guess, better late than never, huh?

Until next time...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

cloth diapers

She's happy I've decided to use cloth diapers.

In fact, she'll show off her cloth diaper.

He likes cloth diapers, too. But he's not showing you his. :)

You should cloth diaper, too!

(Well, of course, this only applies if you have a baby in diapers).

Until next time...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, S.T. III

It was my oldest son's birthday yesterday. On here I call him S.T. III, because he was named after his grandpa and great-grandpa. He's a "third".

He's a parrot-loving cowboy. :)

He's a gentleman in training.

He's a generous, thoughtful young man. (He brought me a present on his birthday...Dr Pepper and Nutty Bars).

He's a big brother and a little brother. (One he loves, one he tolerates).

He's an organizer and a hard worker.

He's a true blessing to us.

Happy Birthday, S.T. III

Until next time...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Chocolate Friday - Kid Stuff


Here's my last installment of chocolate history.

Kid Stuff

Hershey didn't think of his products as candy. In fact, he forbade his employees from referring to chocolate as candy. He claimed there was more energy in an ounce of chocolate than there was in a pound of meat. Chocolate wasn't "merely a sweet," he said, it was nutritious food. (That's what I'm talking about.)

Regardless of what Hershey thought, most people considered chocolate candy, more for kids than grown-ups. That began to change during Wold War I, when the government sent candy and chocolate to soldiers in battle. Why? It was cheap, it didn't spoil, and its high sugar content provided a quick energy boost. American soldiers consumed huge quantities of chocolate during the war and when the war was over they continued to indulge their habit.

During World War II, virtually the nation's entire candy output was diverted into the war effort. American soldiers brought Hershey bars with them wherever they went; in many places they became a form of currency. The U.S. Air Force was the largest purchase of M&Ms during the war; it bought them by the ton for bomber pilots flying long missions over North Africa and the Pacific. The Army was the #2 customer; it issued M&Ms to soldiers in tropical regions where ordinary chocolate melted too easily.

During WWII, the average G.I. consumed 50 pounds of candy and chocolate a year, three times what he had eaten before the war. And he brought his appetite for chocolate home with him. It wasn't just for kids anymore; it was the food that had kept the fighting man strong. The two world wars helped to establish what Hershey had been saying for more than 40 years - that chocolate is for everyone.

~ taken from Uncle John's Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader

There you have it, folks. Chocolate is for everyone! As if we didn't know that. :)

Last week, I asked you what your favorite Hershey's product was. This week I want to know what your children's favorite Hershey's product is. So, go poll the kiddos and get back to me.

Here's a really great snack recipe for the kids. (Just follow the link).

Go see Lisa (if you haven't already) for more great recipes with chocolate.

Until next time...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

44 of 52 photos of me

Forever In Blue Jeans

In accordance with this. Here is this:

Hope you all have a good laugh at this one. The camera caught us at awkward positions, but I love it!

Head over to Carin's for more pics of moms.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

There are uncertainties of the origins of Valentine's Day, but it's fun to celebrate just the same.

What are you doing today? D0 you have a romantic dinner planned with your spouse? Are you doing something with your children?

We planned a fun day. But I'll tell you later.

You want to know something totally romantic? My husband and I actually met for the first time on Valentine's Day (at work - military). We were engaged in April and married in August. Yep, all in the same year.

Until next time...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chocolate Friday - Chocolate for the Masses!


How appropriate that I came to this part of chocolate history right before Valentine's Day. :)

Chocolate for the Masses

The Industrial Revolution helped to make chocolate more affordable than ever. Now it was possible to grind massive quantities of cacao beans with steam-powered grinders and using hydraulic pressers to separate cocoa butter from cocoa powder was much more efficient than making chocolate by hand...and the cost savings were passed on to the consumer.

The invention of chocolate that could be eaten created a huge demand for cocoa butter, which caused the price to go through the roof, and made chocolate bars expensive. Anyone could afford to drink chocolate, but if you wanted to eat it, you had to be wealthy.

Then in 1893, Milton Snavely Hershey, owner of the world's largest caramel factory, visited the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and saw a demonstration of chocolate-making machinery given by Lehmann and Company, a German chocolate maker. Hershey was so impressed by what he saw that when the exhibition closed he bought the machinery and began making chocolate-coated caramels. "Caramels are only a fad," he told anyone who would listen, "chocolate is a permanent thing." (I guess he knew what he was talking about, dontcha think?)

In 1900 he sold his caramel company so that he could focus exclusively on chocolate, and he went about manufacturing it the same way that he'd become the king of caramel - he built the largest chocolate factory on the face of the earth. (I'd love to visit!)

Hershey then applied the principles of mass production to the manufacture of chocolate - he built his factory on 1,200 acres of Pennsylvania dairyland, and then bought up thousands more acres - until he owned enough dairy farms to supply his factory with fresh milk. He built an entire town, Hershey, Pennsylivania, to give his workers someplace to live, as well as another - Hershey, Cuba - near his sugar mill in the Caribbean.

Hershey manufactured his chocolate bars and Hershey's kisses on such an enormous scale - as much as 100,000 pounds of chocolate a day - that he was able to realize huge cost savings, which he passed on to the consumer. He priced his Hershey bars at just a nickel a piece, and they sold at that price until 1969. And rather than settle for selling his chocolate regionally, as other American chocolate companies did at the time, he set his sights on selling his products throughout the United States. He also expanded his sales beyond the traditional outlets of candy stores and drugstores, selling his chocolate bars at newsstands, in grocery stores, at bus stations, even in restaurants. Soon, his candy bars were everywhere.

~ taken from Uncle John's Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader

I can't begin to list the numerous chocolate products that you can purchase from Hershey's. The chocolate chips, the candy kisses (and hugs), the large variety of candy bars (including M&Ms), the baking cocoa, the syrup. Whew - a person can get a chocolate fix just reading about it.

So tell me; what is your favorite Hershey product? I think mine (if I had to choose) would be this:

Or possibly this:

Yeah, dark chocolate is my favorite kind of chocolate. The Kisses, I think, would last longer than the bar. Individually wrapped and all.

I also found a yummy looking recipe on their website. I'm planning to try Valentine Message Brownies this weekend. Sounds and looks very delicious! Go check out their website for lots of chocolate recipes. This is definitely the weekend to indulge!!

Also, go visit Lisa (if you didn't come from there), to see what she has this week. I know it's something good.

Until next time...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

43 of 52 photos of me

Forever In Blue Jeans

And yet another picture of me for Carin's challenge. I encourage you, if you don't know what this is about, to click on the link and check it out. Lots of fun!

Kisses and funny faces!

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

long ago and far away...

All this cold weather is taking me back to Japan in my memories. So I thought I'd share them with you. :)

Yeah and I thought we had gotten a lot of snow here this year. *sigh* I do remember this. Brrr...shivering. For those of you who remember Japan...this is the road to Towada Lake.

Lest you think that Japan is always snowy. The Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival. I don't remember exactly how many trees there are here, but I thinks its in the hundreds. (Arlene, do you remember)?

The Cherry Blossom Festival again. Yes, I've changed a bit.

The Aomori Aquarium. Our singles group from church went there for an activity. The man in the foreground with the camera was in our group. I think his name was Earl Jefferson. He was in the Navy. My at-the-time-future husband was taking the picture; this was before we were married.

The Aomori Glass Factory. One of two in Japan. This was downstairs in the gift shop. This stuff was really expensive. I bought a small glass piece that I have since lost and it was around 500 yen which was about $5 then. (Airmen don't make much money).

Upstairs in the glass factory where all the action took place. These people were super talented. They do this the old-fashioned way: glass-blowing. This is the huge furnace and several assistants. The man in the white shirt and hat on the far left walking away was one of the master craftsmen. There were only a few.

Yes, Dairy Queen in Japan. Speaking of DQ. Have you had this month's Blizzard of the month? If you go to their website and sign up for their fan club, they'll send you coupons via email. So far we've received two "Buy One Get One Free" coupons. This month's Blizzard of the month is chocolate overload. (Not that you can overload on chocolate, but you get the idea). Yum! But, I digress...back to Japan.

And last, but certainly not least. My husband holding our oldest. (She loves the fact she was born in Japan). See that little bottle he's feeding her? It was so cold in our house that I could set those little bottles of breast milk outside our bedroom door in the little hallway and they would stay cold all night. I literally lived in our bedroom that winter (she was born in December). The house we had was off-base, built for the American military but by Japanese builders. Can you say "no insulation"? We kept the heater in our bedroom going constantly and only heated up the living room when we had company...which wasn't often. Now, I did nurse M.D., but on the few occasions I would pump to let my husband feed her I seriously never had to put the milk in the refrigerator. Very convenient for middle of the night feedings.

And have I mentioned one of the things I absolutely LOVED about Japan? Heated toilet seats. I kid you not! Unfortunately the amps (?) are different here and we can't have one sent to us. They wouldn't work.

So, that's my little stroll down memory lane. Doesn't someone have a meme about this? I think I've seen it somewhere. Oh well. :)

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

winner of Melissa and Doug Craft Kit

The winner of this craft kit is...

...comment #3 - Mimi!! Congratulations!

Sending you an email.

Until next time...