Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cast Iron Chocolate Chip Cookie

My sister gave me this little 5” cast iron skillet cookie package for Christmas.  I thought I would try baking it today to see how it tasted.  It tasted alright, but wasn’t the best cookie…..more like a cakey cookie.  I got the next two pictures off of the internet because I didn’t have a clue that I would blog about this and therefore…………no pictures.  Before I proceeded to bake this little cookie, I decided to dump the cookie pouch out to see just how much it contained so I could try and master a cookie recipe to fit in the pan if I ever wanted to bake another cookie.  There were exactly 22 semi-sweet chocolate chips and approximately 3/4 cup of the flour cookie mixture.  After mixing up two tablespoons of softened butter, one egg and the packaged ingredients, I patted the cookie mixture into the cast iron skillet and popped it in the oven and proceeded to wash up my dishes.  About 5 minutes into the cooking process, I realized I’d forgot to put the chocolate chips in the batter so I just threw them on the top and hoped for the best.  It turned out pretty good except it took way longer to cook than the package instructions stated.

Cast Iron Skillet Cookie  Capture.PNG22

My next step was to browse the internet to find the perfect, one-serving cookie recipe that would fit in my little 5” skillet.  Not to be found, so I found a recipe I thought sounded good and tweaked it a bit.  Looks like it needs a bit more tweaking.  It totally ran over the skillet and all over the bottom of my oven.  Good thing my oven needed to be cleaned before this little mess.  Even though the mess, I’ll have to admit that the flavor of my cookie was much better than the original.


Back to the drawing board………………Ok, this one didn’t turn out either, but it baked up better than the first one.


This one actually came out of the pan.  The first one fell all to pieces.  The dip in the middle………..well, I did that on purpose so I could put a scoop of ice cream there – Ha!


Here is a comparison between the original mix that came with the skillet and my second attempt.  My second attempt looks pretty gooey because it was still hot.  It had good flavor but sorry to say, not as tasty as my first (run all over the oven) attempt.  I will not give up!

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Here are my third and fourth attempts.  These two taste more like the original – more cakey than cookie.  Although, the fourth attempt has more flavor than the third.  It will actually make a good single serving cake recipe.  Only one problem – I WANT COOKIE, NOT CAKE!  I know……………....just keep swimming.

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Ok, this is not going so well.  Attempt #5 was another big boil over in the oven, but now I’ve wised up and put a cookie sheet under my attempted cookies.  I thought about it the first time, never did it, talked to my sister and she stated that I should put a cookie sheet underneath.  So, between her thought and my thinks, the cookie sheet gets place underneath, every time!  It looks a mess, but it sure has good flavor.  Oh, and did I mention that all this is my sisters fault for giving me the mini cast iron skillet for Christmas.  See, all her fault!

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Ok, I’m going to give this a rest, for a short time.  In the meantime, who knows, maybe the Pioneer Woman will happen upon this blog and come to my rescue on how to make a delicious, chocolate chip cookie in a 5”, cast iron skillet.  Oh, and I would like the recipe to use 1-2 tablespoons of butter, 1 egg and just enough dough to fill the mini skillet.  Keeping my fingers crossed! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Heavy Frost

Woke up this morning to a pretty heavy frost.  It was so beautiful and I’ve waited all day for the sun to come out so I could get some great pictures.  Guess what?  NO SUN…….all day long!  Well, with or without sun, I took some photos.  Who knows, where it’s as cold as it is and the frost has decided it wants to stay, maybe the sun will come out tomorrow (ha! – Little Orphan Annie) and I can get some beautiful, bright frost photos.  Oh, I almost forgot, we also had a few deer on top of the hay bales this morning.








It’s a good thing that baby birds hatch in the spring or by the looks of this nest, I’m pretty sure little birds would not have survived.IMG_7854

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thanksgiving/Christmas 2013

Thanksgiving was a little different, well, actually, a lot different for us this year.  Our oldest daughter, Amber, flew to Texas with her husband to spend time with his family.  Our youngest daughter, Brittney, couldn’t get the time off of work to make the long trip home, or so we thought.  On November 27, 2013, later in the evening, our doorbell rang.  My husband and I both looked at each other wondering who could be at our door after dark.  What a glorious surprise it was when we opened the door and our youngest daughter was standing there.  It was the most unplanned Thanksgiving for us, ever!  The only thing going for it in any type of preparedness was I had made some strawberry Jell-O earlier that day.  I wasn’t even sure what we would be having for our Thanksgiving where I thought it was only my husband and I, I didn’t even buy a turkey.  I had tried all week, looking at our local grocery store in hopes of finding a turkey roll that I could cook for the two of us but there wasn’t anything.  So, when our daughter popped in unexpectedly, my first thought was total excitement and my second thought was…..oh, no….what are we going to have for our Thanksgiving meal.  When the time came, we ended up having canned ham topped with brown sugar and pineapple, fruit filled strawberry Jell-O, potatoes and gravy, green beans and biscuits…..by Candlelight!  It was a memorable, with no pictures (can you believe it) Thanksgiving that I will never forget!

Now, Christmas was a wonderful, planned event.  This year our plans were to travel to our daughter’s home in Rigby and spend Christmas with them.  Our youngest daughter also came up from Utah.  My husband was required to work Christmas Eve day so when he got off work, we drove to Idaho Falls and met up with both our daughters and our son-in-law.  It was a little after 7pm and we met at  Sharis for Christmas Eve dinner.  It was nice and relaxing and the meal was great.
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After eating, we drove around looking at Christmas lights.  Our son-in-law knew of a home that had their light synchronized to music.  We parked at that home for approximately 20 minutes watching all the lights.  It was pretty awesome.
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The next morning we got up to open our Christmas presents.  All I have here is a picture of the tree cause no one wanted their picture taken. 
My daughter and her husband have a nice home and it was just a comforting Christmas.    After opening presents Christmas morning, we ate a breakfast of scrambled eggs and monkey bread.  Who would of thought that those two combinations would work but for us, it was great.  After breakfast we all kind of did our own thing from naps, reading, talking and watching television movies.  For a late lunch, my son-in-law fixed a fabulous meal.  He’s a great cook.  We had ham with cloves, brown sugar, and pineapple – corn – rolls – funeral potatoes – apple pie and eggnog mixed with ginger ale.  I also made a pretzel jello salad and took it over.  All-in-all, it was a very memorable Christmas!
Here are a few collages of our tree and decorations…………..
The following ornaments are my heart-felt ornaments.  They are ornaments that both my daughters made while still in their youth.  They are definitely my Christmas Treasures!
Each year, it is kind of my own personal tradition to make or purchase a new ornament for the tree.  This year I came across an ornament of a snowman made from an LED tea light.  I thought they were so cute so I went to creating.  For the nose, I purchased some orange fingernail polish and painted the light so it would look like a carrot nose.  I created the snowman by inserting shapes, drawing shapes and placing them into my Microsoft Office Word program.  I got the holly berry from Google Images.  I printed them on glossy photo paper, cut an “X” where the nose would be and slipped my snowman over the tea light.  Once I made my initial pattern, they came together pretty quickly.  I really enjoy creating things on the computer. – Fun!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Gingerbread Houses

Before Christmas this year, I purchased a Nordic Ware Gingerbread House Bundt Pan from Amazon and a huge box (100) of gold, scalloped cake boards from E-Bay.  To purchase the boards from the internet would have cost me $56 and I got them from E-Bay for $26, saving me a whopping $30. Happy Dance……….

Nordic Ware Gingerbread House Bundt Pan


On Christmas Eve day, I went to work making gingerbread houses for a few friends and the families that my husband and I visit teach/home teach.  They are a bit time consuming but well worth the effort.  I could have taken the easy route and just used the boxed bundt cake mixes but I used the recipe that came with the bundt pan.  I don’t know how a gingerbread boxed mix tastes but I’m telling you, the recipe that came with the bundt pan tastes great.  When each house came out of the oven and the bottom of the houses were a bit rounded, I cut if off and my daughter and I ate the scrap pieces.  Mmmm, good!  I put some frosting on the bottom of each house before placing it on the gold foil board to help keep it from sliding around.  You could go to all the work of decorating the houses but I just opted to dust mine with powdered sugar and I think they turned out wonderful.  I’m thinking this just might be the start of a new Christmas tradition……making gingerbread houses.


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I also made some gift tags that I attached to the houses.  I had them made in a bright red color but when my daughter was here, we played with the colors and changed it to green, which tamed it down a bit so it wasn’t quite so bright and brought out the green colors on the house.



Tree Diamonds

Oh my…………..when I got up this morning and looked out my kitchen window, it looked like diamonds were hanging all over the tree.  It was beautiful with all the sparkles hanging on the branches.  The sun was vibrant as it hung around each branch, making the moisture sparkle like diamonds.  I tried to get a picture of it……

But not from this shot…IMG_7809 

Ok, getting a little closer…IMG_7809

This really wasn’t working out how I had hoped.  For some reason, all the sparkles do not show up on my camera.  Ok, one last shot.  Zooming in way close……  You still don’t get the effect I was seeing but you can see some of the sparkles.  I circled some of the bigger ones in red.  Oh, how I wished I could have captured with my camera all the sparkles that were hanging on the tree………….!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Snow In Our Little Valley – 4”

Sometime during the night, it snowed in our little valley.  I’d almost forgotten what snow looked like.  This is the first, worth mentioning, snow we’ve gotten all winter.  We’ve had a skiff here and there, but not a noticeable amount.  It was wonderful to look out the window this morning and see 4” of snow on the ground.  I thought it would be wonderful to take some pictures of the newly fallen snow on the ground but our deer pets decided to track it all up before I could get pictures.





Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

You see homemade sweetened condensed milk recipes all over the internet…….we’re talking, like thousands of recipes.  I came across one at the “Dessert Now, Dinner Later”, blog and decided to give it a try.  From start to finished, it proved to be a winner.  Right at the beginning, after you first make it, it is really runny.  You’re first thought might be……ok, is this stuff going to work?


I placed it in the refrigerator overnight and when morning came, I got it out and it was a thick glop.  Again I thought…….Ok, is this stuff going to work?


I decided to leave it on the counter and let it come to room temperature.  Not long after setting it on the counter I came back in, gave it a stir, and let’s say “happy dance”…..no more wondering….. is this stuff going to work?  It had the exact same texture as the sweetened condensed milk you purchase in cans.


I knew right away that I wanted to make a cheesecake.  After putting all the ingredients in a bowl and starting the mixing process, once again, it mixed up just like my recipe does using the canned sweetened condensed milk.


Ok……………so far, so good.  But, how will it hold up in the crust?  For my crust, I used a prepared shortbread crust that I purchased from our local grocery store.  And from the moment of pouring it in the crust and spreading it out, it looked wonderful.

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After placing it back in the fridge for approximately 5 hours to set up, I topped it with strawberry pie filling and it was done. 

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All there was left to do now was the taste test.  Did it pass, you might ask?  YES, YES, YES!

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