Sunday, June 3, 2018

Cliff's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Guess what?! I have a new cookie recipe for you! I really was in a cookie slump and needed a new cookie. I finally found one we were both enjoying, and kept tinkering away with it until we were satisfied.  We just can't get enough of these cookies.

I really didn't know what to call these cookies to distinguish them from other chocolate chip cookies. So, I asked my husband what he would call them. He was really helpful, and gave me "Ooops, I Gained Ten Pounds Cookie", and "Gimme More". 

While this was not helpful at all... That is how good these are and how much we are loving them! Since he wasn't helpful, but loves these cookies the most, I am naming them after him. These are super soft, and the balance of chocolate chips to cookie is perfect. And if you follow my lead and top them with some sea salt, you will be sooo happy!

Cliff's Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea Salt, optional

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, and salt.

In large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, beat to combine. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture mixing until ingredients completely combined. Add  chocolate chips, stir by hand until evenly distributed.

Cover dough and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using large cookie dough scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets, 2 to 3 inches apart.  Sprinkle with sea salt (optional, but recommended) Bake for 11-12 minutes, just until edges are starting to turn golden. Cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack.


Adapted from: Baked by Rachel

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Growing Up!

The little ones graduated to their new "mini" outdoor coop! Maybe because we have never had these deluxe accommodations before for the little ones, but I have never seen a chick sunbathe the way the older hens do. It was quite entertaining to watch. Of course, the photo doesn't quite capture how much they were enjoying the beautiful sunshine, but they were!

This Black Jersey Giant was really enjoying the rays since her feathers are coming in slower then all the other chicks!

Here is the Jersey Giant again, she is a week older with a few more feathers, but still just a lot of fuzz.

The Golden Laced Wyandottes starting to show their beautiful colors.

 The Buff Laced Polish are getting super fluffy heads and lots of feathers.

Here we have all 6 of the new chicks together enjoying some green grass.

In the midst of taking care of the chicks and chickens, I finally made a cookie recipe worth raving about and sharing. I hope to make it again this weekend and get some pictures taken so you can all share in some cookie bliss with me. It's so good. It's been worth the wait!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mushrooms - The Wild Kind

It's almost that time of year again. That time of year where I must make the time to go strolling through the woods looking for the prime spot to find the incredible delectable morel. But, many times these walks do not lead me to any "edible" mushrooms. Last year I took pictures to share of the other types of mushrooms I found. Of course, I can't find all of these photo's now, but did find some to share.

Leading the photo show, is the top dog. The one. The only. The Morel.

This guy is not one I will sink my teeth into. 
Gyromitra Esculenta, I was shocked to learn that people do eat this.

Pheasant Back. While very edible, and enjoyed by many, I don't have the nerve. It breaks one my mushroom rule. 
1.) If Gram didn't pick it wild and eat it, I'm not going to either.

I really have no idea what these are besides pretty.

 These area a fairly common site for me. They remind me of jelly fish. 

Do you forage for any wild mushrooms? Where did you learn what's ok and what's not?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Flock Grew

One sunny April day, after much discussion we decided that we would indeed get some new chicks this year! And, we were off to the store before we could change our minds!

We are only adding six, as that is all we have room for.  Buff Laced Polish, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Americana, and Black Jersey Giants are the beauties we selected, and they are all new breeds to our flock. 

We have them set up with their heat lamp, and they are happily staying in the basement until they get bigger. Then we will move them to phase 2 until they are ready to begin mingling with the big girls and boy. I am sooo excited to watch these little ones grow up. They should all be hens, except for two that we aren't sure. So, there is a little mystery left in the mix!

Having picked up the chicks the weekend after Easter, we were feeling all nice and springy. And then this happened. 

I know it will melt quickly, but this seems to have been such a long long winter already! 

I am anxious to get to the woods picking morels, and of course to get the garden going! 
Come on Mother Nature, lets get spring in full swing!!

Are you already planning or working on your gardens?

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Browned Butter Blondies

Truckin' Man is back to work already, thankfully a very short layoff this season. But, my break from packing lunches is over. Time to get that oven cranked up, and some tasty treats packed to keep him fueled up and trucking... Lol... That turned out a little funnier than I meant it too!

I know I was supposed to be sharing some cookie recipes, but for some reason cookies and I are having a rough go of it so far this year. Bars though? We are doing fabulous! So, onward to what is working for me!

I've been making these lovely chewy blondies for years, and they never let me down. With just a few ingredients, this is a recipe I can pull off in a pinch if I need something fast. Truth be told, I've even skipped browning the butter if I really needed to move fast! But the browned butter really adds that something special, so I do recommend taking the time to do that.

Browned Butter Blondies
1/2 cup butter
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Stir often, until butter turns brown. It will turn brown after it has foamed, and it will turn a golden brown. Remove from heat immediately. Let set until butter has cooled to room temperature. Add brown sugar, stirring until blended.  Stir in eggs, mix well.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing just until combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful to not overbake.


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Monday, February 26, 2018

Berry Surprise Mini Muffins

I don't think I have introduced you to my blogging friend Jessica before, and it's time you all meet her! Jessica blogs at Barefoot by the Sea, and she is an absolute delight. I can't be sure when we met out here in blog land, but it's been several years for sure. I hope some day our paths will cross so we can meet in person. 

Besides having two delightful young girls, Jessica stays busy with lots of crafting and healthy eating. She shares my love of Trader Joes, but lives a whole lot closer to one than I do! So, drop over and check out her blog, you'll be glad you did.

In the mean time, I have to share one of Jessica's recipes with you that I have made several times. These cute little muffins are so easy, and relatively healthy. I have made them with all all-purpose flour, or as I am showing you here, with half whole wheat flour. Up until today, I have always used my own homemade preserves for the filling. I need to make another batch of jam, so in the mean time I used a jam with no added sugar in an effort to keep these on the healthy side. 

The first time I made these, they were for a road trip. They were perfect to have on hand when you need that little something to hold you over until your next meal, and you want to avoid a bag of chips or a gas station cheeseburger. Not saying I ever eat those, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to get by! 

Berry Surprise Mini Muffins

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup your favorite berry jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly spray mini muffin pan with non-stick spray. 

In medium bowl, mix melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined. Add milk, stir well. Add baking powder and flour, mixing only until combined.  

Fill each mini muffin cup about half full. Smooth each cup with back of spoon (or your finger) and make a little indent in the batter.  Top with about 1/4 teaspoon of jam. Top each muffin with just enough batter to seal the jam in. 

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until light golden.

Yield: 18 - 24 muffins
Source: Barefoot by the Sea

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

February On The Farm

You never know what winter in Wisconsin will bring. I took these photo's on January 27, a mere two weeks ago. The chickens were happily free ranging. They had their paths around the ice and the minimal snow. 

I didn't realize how much things had changed until looking at these pictures. We have received lots of snow in the last two weeks. One snow alone brought us 6 inches, so we are looking quite a bit more seasonal and snow covered now. 

 The chickens had a nice break though and have been able to stretch their legs. Hoping as the days start to get longer, we will begin to see some eggs from them again. We don't provide heat or light for them, it's all up to Mother Nature, so in the winter eggs are not plentiful!

 While we didn't have a lot of snow up until recent, we did have more than enough ice. This "field road" is so covered in ice, I won't even try walking over it!

Mr.C. is hesitant to go over the ice also :)

Mr. C enjoying the nice day we had. Queen of the farm was near by, but wasn't in the mood to pose for a photo. Maybe next time!

Be warm my friends!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Warm Chili

I love chili, in fact it's in my top ten favorite foods. It always makes me happy, I never think "oh no, not chili again...."! I've been to a couple chili cook-offs and I LOVE tasting all the chili's. It gives me so many ideas, of course I never follow through with them... but I do love them! I wish my husband shared my love of chili so we could go to more cook-offs and eat more chili!

Which brings us to this recipe. My husband. He just doesn't love my chili. I've been making my chili for YEARS! I first shared it on the blog 6 years ago! Check it out here. Well, husband has become less of a fan of spicy than he ever was, and honestly I think some of the foods have become a little spicier? Like the chipotles in adobo, anyone else think they have gotten hotter over the years? Or maybe it's just my husband rubbing off on my tastebuds and I am not as tough as I used to be. 

I needed to find a chili we could agree on. I found it! Just walking through the grocery store yesterday, I saw a can of enchilada sauce and was inspired. A couple tweaks to my old recipe, and this recipe was born. And approved.

Enough spices to warm and give amazing flavor, but nothing to set you on fire. We have finally found the compromise with this "Warm Chili". Not bland, not hot, but warm!

As a side note, I am proud to say the canned tomatoes and tomato paste used in this recipe were canned by me, from my garden! So proud!

Warm Chili
1 lb. lean ground meat (turkey, venison, or beef would all work well)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons cumin
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 can medium red enchilada sauce
2 (15 oz) cans chili beans ( I used 1 can mild, and 1 can medium)
1 (14.5 oz) can tomatoes
1 - 2 cups water

Crushed tortilla chips
Shredded cheese
Sour Cream
Green onion

In large pot over medium-high heat, cook ground meat until brown.  Drain.  Stir in onion and peppers; cook until vegetables are tender.  Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  Stir in tomato paste, beans, and enchilada sauce. 

In blender, puree tomatoes with one cup water. 

Simmer about 1 hour before serving. Add additional water if needed.

Garnish as desired!

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Hello 2018!

First of all, let me say Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy any other holiday you may celebrate!  It's been a while since I've been here and I am not happy about that.

My new job is keeping me busier than I expected, but it's a good thing as I am enjoying the new job quite a bit. Husband has been in his off season at work, so he has been around home more often, and of course leaving me with less time to be on the computer.

We are in the middle of quite a cold snap, but most of the country is. The chickens are getting along fine, although not laying many eggs for us. We have been buying eggs for a couple weeks now. I typically pick up eggs at the country store up the road, which are from a local farmer. But, there have been a couple times when I have had to pick them up in town. Wow... I didn't realize how used I have become to farm fresh eggs! I value my chickens a whole lot more right now!

Rest of the critters are all good. Dogs are the adorable cuteness they always are. Cat's are enjoying their cozy life. With this bitter cold, we have let the barn cats into the basement, so they are content and purring up a storm.

Food. I'm cutting back and cleaning up the diet. Things got a little out of control in 2017, so it's time to re-evaluate habits. I've been cutting back on the carbs, without cutting them out entirely. Cookies, oh my... there was so many cookies last month... So, husband is on rations and enjoying the cookies I put in the freezer to keep them out of my reach.

My blog goal for this year is two recipes a month. One cookie recipe, that will help keep me baking which keeps husband happy, and readers happy also! And, a special young man named Atticus who looks forward to my cookies. With the closing of the Fill the Cookie Jar group, I need to get on my own schedule. And then for the second recipe, I want to share a recipe with a healthy twist.

And pictures! I seriously need to get outside and take more photo's! When's the last time I shared an update from the farm. Better time management folks, better time management is needed in my life!

Be warm!!