Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A-mazing Cookies!

It is my week to bring "something sweet" to small group tonight. This last week we had like 4 different kinds of brownies, I thought it would be nice to have something less-chocolaty(nothing against chocolate of course!)

I remember the oatmeal-dried cranberry cookies we had in Denali National Park on our honeymoon. We took the all day bus tour. That might sound lame, but it's the only way to get inside other than on foot. They don't allow cars because there is only one maintained dirt road in the whole national park. And Mt. McKinley is like 80 miles from the entrance, so walking was not an option. Not to mention the wild grizzlies and the fact that we didn't have any equipment. So the bus it was. Our guide was very entertaining and had the eye of an eagle to spot the wildlife in the far distance. If I remember correctly, the bus left at 6am, and it was about 45 degrees IN JULY.

Ok, ok, you're reading this post to find out about cookies.

So, by lunchtime we were starving and the bus finally arrived at the Kantishna Roadhouse, where lunch was served. It was an amazing lunch. That's probably because we were stuck on a bus for 6 hours without a "proper" break. Turkey club wraps, homemade vegetable soup, lemonade, and..........oatmeal dried cranberry cookies with macadamia nuts. A-mazing! Before this day I don't think I even liked oatmeal cookies. Or dried cranberries. OR macadamia nuts(well, to tell the truth, I could live without the macadamia nuts). I used to think a cookie had to have chocolate to be good.

The cookie made me happy(here I am still talking about it almost 2 years later). Which was good because the wraps were small and we couldn't get seconds, so that made me sad. Finally, I have a reason to search for a similar recipe. I never wanted to do it unless I had people to share them with(awwww). No really it's because I didn't want to feel rushed to eat them all in 3 days before the get stale.

Ok, without further adieu, let me present:

Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cranberries and White Chocolate:

Yes, I stole this image from the blogger where I found the recipe. I don't take pictures and cook at the same time.

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Fiori Di Sicilia (optional)
1 1/2 cups Unbleached Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Oatmeal
1 cup unsweetened Dried Cranberries
1 cup White Chocolate Chips or 8-ounce bar of white chocolate, cut into small chunks

**Note: If you are using sweetened cranberries, which most are, cut the granulated sugar in half**

Preheat oven to 350°F
Beat Butter and Sugars until creamy
Thoroughly mix in Eggs and Flavorings
In separate bowl, combine Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, and Salt
Add to Butter mixture
Mix in Oatmeal
Stir in Dried Cranberries and White Chocolate
Place rounded tablespoons of cookie dough 2 inches apart on baking sheet
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are set and edges are slightly golden
Remove from oven and leave on baking sheet for 5 minutes
Remove cookies to rack and cool completely

Yes, they are as good as the look. If you are in my small group, you lucky dog you! You get to eat them tonight. To bad, so sad for the rest of you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Craft Room and a Sneak Peek

Remember this chair?

I finally found a buyer. So, here is a sneak peek of it in my "craft room". I think there are about 4 different projects going on at once.

Sigh.....what am I going to do without this extra space? I have been super spoiled by 2 living rooms and 3 bedrooms. 1600 sq ft cut down to 800 sq ft. That's not really the direction you're supposed to go in, are you? At least it will be mine.

Stay tuned for the big reveal, coming soon.

Goodwill Side Table

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted this side table at my Goodwill. The finish was in poor condition, but I loved the pedestal center leg. That's the key when shopping for furniture that you plan on painting and updating. Look for good lines or some kind of charming detail. In this case, I liked the curves.

The best part was this(click to enlarge)...

Yeah, that's the price. It says $4.99

How could I say no?

I don't have a place to put it, and it might be too short for the rest of my furniture, but I could always sell it, like I did with this antique vanity bench, and this bedside table.

I wasn't sure what color to do, but I was getting a bit tired of painting things antique white. I've been seeing quite a bit of light blue furniture, and I found out that Lowes sells little sample cans of paint in ANY color for $2.99. That's a great deal when you only have a little project. The bummer part is that it only comes in Satin. For furniture, I always use Semi-gloss paint, but satin is just enough sheen to work. Especially if you plan on distressing it, you don't really want very shiny furniture. If I end up selling it, it's ready to go. If I end up keeping it, there's no guarantee it will stay this color, since I don't know what my colors will end up being when we move to our new place. But, I'm always looking for an excuse to paint something!!

Here is the finished product:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pet Peeves

We all have them.

This one surpasses my hatred of cheap paper towels(I will buy name brand until the day I die). I guess because this one is so easy and requires no more time or money to do it.

I am not a stickler for etiquette, generally, but some things just get on my nerves. Case in point: addressing formal letters. Anytime you send a formal letter, please please use the person's full name! Especially for wedding invitations. I made darn sure I was addressing mine the right way for the more uncommonly titled guests(like doctors or military officers). It's a sign of respect. For example, my husband's name is Matthew Kelly, but he goes by Matt. If you want to call him by his first AND last name, it's Matthew Kelly. I cannot tell you how many times we've received invites addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Matt Kelly. His momma didn't name him Matt Kelly.

(It's also poor etiquette to use "&" on formal invitations, but we'll let that one slide.)

I think this also applies to ANY time you are using someone's first and last name together, not just on a formal invitation, Take my brother, Wesley Hare. He started going by Wes in High School. But the family still calls him Wesley. My mom can't stand it when someone writes or says his name as Wes Hare.


That just sounds terrible.

Kinda like Less Hair. Not good.

It's Wes OR Wesley Hare.

No intermixing!

Wes and Matt are nicknames!

Do you think when The Rock and his wife get mail it's addressed to Mr. & Mrs. The Rock??

NO!! It's Mr. & Mrs. Dwayne Johnson.

Do you know why?

Because that's - his - name!

Wow! I think you're getting it.

Anytime you add on someone's last name, it automatically becomes formal. So use the real name. The only exception is if the nickname is very different from the real name and no one, not even their mama, calls them the real name. Not just a "chop off the end" nickname. But even for wedding invites or legal forms, stick with the full name.

If you have any further questions, direct them to Google "how to address wedding invitations".

Tell them I sent you.

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Warm weather, finally

Now that the weather has decided to warm up, we "got to" spend our whole Saturday at the land working. The temperature was very nice and the sun even went behind the clouds to cool us off a bit. The task we are working on now is filling all the cells of the cinder blocks with concrete. This just makes sure the wall is strong enough to withstand the compaction of the sand and/or gravel that fills our foundation. The greater the height of the wall, the more force gets applied to it from the fill. Thus, it needs to be very strong, especially on the back wall(more info on the what and why we are filling it in a previous post).

Because we are not made of money, and because it cost a lot of money to have a concrete truck come out and mix and pour concrete all in a matter of minutes(into said blocks), we are mixing ours by hand and pouring it by hand(this takes several, nonconsecutive days).

The system we worked out requires 3 workers. One to mix concrete constantly(Matt's dad, Mike), one to pour concrete constantly(Me and Matt's mom taking shifts), and one to work the concrete to get the air pockets out and run the wheel barrow back and forth getting refills(Matt because he's the only one who can walk around on the wall like it's nothing and also push the wheelbarrow full of concrete without spilling). Of course, you can do this with as few as 1 worker, but 3 works well.

The back wall is made of 12 inch cinder block(as apposed to 8 in standard). Those cells are twice as big as the cells on the side walls. Each one takes 1.5 batches of concrete to fill. That is a lot of mixing and a lot of scooping.

Here me on the wall. I couldn't get myself the stand. Every time I tried I would start to feel dizzy. It's not that high, but there is nothing soft to land on if I were to fall and nothing level to jump on if I had to jump. You can't tell from this photo but there is a tiny ditch next to the block and on the other side of the wall there is some low scaffolding and another ditch. I did not feel safe up there.

The back wall is 2.5 cells from completion. We would have stayed to finish, but Matt had to get home to cut the grass before dark because we were having family over for Easter.

There was a little lizard living in one of the cells. I was worried we would dump concrete on him, so I kept trying to "chase him" with my hand, further away from where we were working. Then he ran down into a cell. I sure hope he got out before the concrete came down on him.

If you've been reading my blog, I'm sure by now you are so sick of seeing a concrete wall. Let me tell you something. If YOU are sick of seeing nothing but a concrete wall, how do you think WE feel? I am so over this stage. The next construction update better be the fill and concrete slab. See you then.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...