Wednesday, August 31, 2011

haiku wednesday

i'm so excited
about my new adventure
Tulsa Kids blogging!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mrs Fields' Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scotchies

Several weeks ago, when Marc and I were at the mall together, we experienced two most delicious cookies. One was the Chocolate Caramel Cookie with Sea Salt, and the other was the Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scotchie. The latter was Marc's pick, and he's been fantasizing over it since!

Mrs. Fields' Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scotchie
As I do with so many other cookies, I set out to recreate it. If you keep up with my blog, you know I started this batch of cookies several nights ago, and well, didn't exactly get the chance to bake them *grin*. So, the next night, I got busy!

Here's how I did it:

I pretty much always start with some kind of recipe.
For the oatmeal peanut butter part, I turned to sweet
Miss Betty Crocker.

There's her cookie dough as the recipe creates.

I simply added a bag of Nestle Butterscotch Morsels! Well,
almost a bag. A handful were used for our
 make-your-own- cookie challenge a couple weeks ago.
Insert time gap here. Now, I've been told that refrigerating your dough for a period of time before baking helps the sugar and "other elements" of the dough to come together better so that your cookies bake into more firm shapes, rather than becoming cakey. I usually don't have time to do this, or am just too eager to bake the cookie and EAT it. But since I had to save the cookies for another day, they got to sit in the fridge unbaked for a full 24 hours! And when they baked, they turned out perfect!

Perfect shape and texture!
I thought they weren't quite as peanut buttery as Mrs. Fields' cookies, but they were really delicious. Marc says they're quite definitely the best and most favorite cookie he's ever eaten! Score! In fact, last night he warmed up a couple and put ice cream on top - nice.

The ultimate way to eat Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scotchies!
A la mode!
He did say that the one way they could've been improved would have been to add chopped walnuts. When he said that, a big light bulb went off and I went back and looked at that first picture, and sure enough, there were walnuts. Darn it! So, make sure you add those, and I will too next time!

Here's my recipe:

Missy's Version of Mrs. Fields' Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scotchies

3/4c butter, softened (I actually used Crisco baking stick for this recipe)
1/2c peanut butter
1c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
2 eggs
1t vanilla
1 1/4c all-purpose flour
2c rolled oats
2/3c chopped walnuts
3/4 bag butterscotch morsels

Preheat oven to 375

Beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until combined. Add sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in as much flower as you can with the mixer and the rest by hand. Stir in rolled oats, nuts, and butterscotch morsels. 

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper). Bake in a 375 oven about 10 minutes, until edges are lightly brown. Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or two, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. 

Let me know how you like 'em!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Recipe for Family Night

Saturday was a little all over the place for our family. Marc had to work most of the day, which was a bummer, but the kids and I were able to get some errands done (much to their protests of course), Corrinne made some killer sales for her school fundraiser, and I weeded the flower bed (much bigger job than you'd ever imagine). As if that weren't enough, I was in one of those moods (ladies, I know you feel me) where everything hurt my feelings and everyone was annoying me (especially preteen attitudes), but Family Night is really important to us, so it was game on! P.S. if you need some yummy cookie dough for your freezer, I know a very special little girl eager to sell you some!

Like many of you, I'm always on the lookout for family dinner recipes that everyone at the table will eat. I'd mentioned to Marc that we should do enchiladas for family night this week. Maybe it had something to do with watching The Pioneer Woman making her enchiladas with Paula Deen that morning, or maybe because we've had all the ingredients waiting in our pantry since May. Either way, they sounded really good. Just needed some extra onions, green peppers, and tortillas from the store and we were ready to go!

While we were at the store, the kids and I discussed what we should eat with the enchiladas, and Corrinne announced she had the PERFECT queso recipe. She wanted to make it all by herself in the kitchen to surprise us and said that no one was allowed to help since we didn't know the "masteries" of the recipe. I have a feeling I know how she did it though...

Corrinne and her delicious queso salsa!
While we lapped up every last bit of that queso, Marc got his famous chicken on the grill.

Omigoodness! Comes out perfect every time!
Then he sauteed some green peppers and onions, sliced the chicken and started filling the tortillas.

Meanwhile I started working on my latest cookie attempt.

I'll get into that in another post though because as you'll see later, I did not end up baking those cookies Saturday night. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill kept us groovin' while we put the finishing touches on the enchiladas, while Corrinne and Carter watched The Pagemaster.

I was so close to catching him with his arm around his sister!

Corrinne danced her way through setting the table.
Out came our delicious dinner, and we dug in!

Covered in sauteed peppers and onions, sauce and cheese, yum!

Marc made spinach and black bean enchiladas for the kiddos.
Corrinne insisted they were brown beans because she "doesn't
like black beans," until we showed her the can!
During dinner I mentioned we should start doing family night games, and we all agreed we needed UNO, which would require a trip to the store. Once we cleaned up after dinner, and I was preparing the baking sheets for my cookies, Marc had the brilliant idea to let everyone pick out their own dessert since we were going to the store already. He totally forgot that I was baking cookies, which promptly hurt my feelings, which we discussed and worked out later. I didn't want to spoil everyone's fun; the kids were excited to go pick out something special! He realized later. He was sorry :).

After picking up a stowaway (neighbor friend), we headed
to the store. Kids got distracted by their favorite game.
Marc, Corrinne and Maggie decided on root beer floats. Carter and I chose different pints of ice cream. Everyone was happy! I had to invent my own ice cream though - why doesn't anyone have a coffee flavored ice cream with fudge brownies? I just mixed two together!

Root beer floats. Can you guess which cup was Marcs?
And on to UNO and Skip-Bo. We had so much fun!
I love it when Corrinne cracks up!

My first experience keeping points with UNO.
Everyone got a nickname, ha!
Yay for family and fun, even in the face of crankiness (and possibly hormones)! Here's our recipe, and recipes for Family Night:

  • 1 package of UNO cards
  • 1 package of Skip-Bo cards
  • 1 DVD - The Pagemaster
  • Good Music
  • Family and love
  • Marc's Enchiladas
  • Root Beer Floats
  • Your choice of Ben and Jerry's ice cream
Marc's Famous Grilled Chicken

4-5 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Grillmates Chicken Rub

Coat the chicken liberally in the rub and grill on medium-high heat until just done. Now, you'll have to ask Marc what the magic amount of time is, but I do know he's very careful not to overcook the chicken. The rub also helps protect the chicken from losing its moisture, and tastes amazing no matter what recipe you're using the chicken for!

Marc's Enchiladas

Large flour tortillas
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
Marc's famous grilled chicken, sliced
1 can black beans, drained
Fresh spinach (about 3/4c per enchilada you put it in)
1 package (2 cups) Philidelphia 4 cheese Mexican blend
3 cans enchilada sauce of your choice
1 can Rotel (or your choice diced tomatoes and green chilis)
Sliced roma tomatoes

Sautee onions and peppers in a bit of butter and olive oil. Fill each tortilla with sliced chicken, onions and peppers, fold up like a burrito and place in baking dish with the folded side down. If you choose to make the spinach and black bean enchiladas, fill each tortilla with about 3/4c fresh spinach, and about a quarter cup each of sliced roma tomatoes and blackbeans. Cover wrapped enchiladas with leftover sauteed veggies. Mix the diced tomatoes and green chilis with the enchilada sauce and pour over enchiladas. Cover with entire package of cheese, and bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and a bit crusty.

Root Beer Floats

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Root beer of your choice

Place 2-3 scoops of ice cream in each cup and pour soda over top. Enjoy with a spoon or a straw!

Missy's Chocolate-y Coffee Ice Cream with Fudge Brownie

Equal parts Haagen Daz Coffee ice cream and Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie

I hope you try some of our ideas, and share some of your own for family nights!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's-never-too-late Summer To-Do List

Why I waited until the last day of my boys' summer break to make a summer wish list, I don't know, but I decided that even though school's starting the SEASON is still Summer. Right? Right! I'm a big fan of the notion that it's never too late to, well, anything! There's always hope - and before I just dive in the deep end with inspiration here, let me tell you about our summer to-do list.

This last week, I had every intention of spending three full days (since they were my first work free days to do so with them) gallivanting around town finding all kinds of adventure. Several errands, scheduled lunches, one meet your teacher night and a broken down car later, I realized we hadn't really gotten around to all the adventure. So, the day before school started, I wanted to check in with the boys and myself and make a list of all the things we want to do that we haven't had a chance to so I can figure out a way to make it happen.

Here's what we got:

Our Summer Wish List:
1. Aidan - Camping with our whole family.
2. Alec - Merry-go-round and Roller Coaster.
3. Mommy - Horseback riding and Children's Museum.

And now it's time for a breakdown...

Camping with our whole family - we have already borrowed a tent from a good friend and have most of the sleeping bags. So we just need to wait for this weather to cool off, collect a few more supplies and we WILL make that happen! Any suggestions on where we should go?

Merry-go-round - what he means by this is a carousel. That can happen at the mall, so that's very doable.

Roller Coaster - the best place I can think of for my littles to ride a roller coaster is Kiddie Park which we've never been to. Marc told me about it last year and ever since I've been trying to find the right time to go. It just hasn't happened. And sadly, this weekend is their last open weekend of the season and the littles are with their dad in Edmond. Boo. Their next open weekend though is near Halloween, so that is OFFICALLY on the calendar!!

Horseback Riding - There is a place in south Broken Arrow that I've driven by a hundred times that has a sign out front that says "Horseback Riding and Birthday Parties." And now for the life of me, I can't find it. I will though! And if I can't find that one, there are several other places I can call to make that happen!

Children's Museum - I've been wanting the check out Kaleidoscope Children's Museum for a while. In fact, the other day when my car literally lost power in the middle of 61st street, we were on our way there! I also found out that parents can volunteer for 2 hours on a Saturday and earn free admission for themselves and their kids. Cool! That's going to happen for sure!

It's never too late. We will make it happen, and I'll keep you posted on our fun!

What's on your "it's-never-too-late" to-do list?

Friday, August 26, 2011

{my moment}

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart.
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link in your comment so we can share yours!

Happy Weekend Lovies!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mrs. Fields' Chocolate Caramel Cookie with Sea Salt

A couple of weeks ago, Marc and I were at the mall and happened to walk by the Mrs. Fields' store. You wanna know what stopped me dead in my tracks?


And you can bet I had to have one! It was so yummy, and you can also bet I went home with a new cookie challenge! The next time I went to the store I stocked up on caramels and chocolate chips, and last night I set out on my task.

Start with your basic chocolate chip cookie recipe (on the back of
the chocolate chip package).

Unwrap some caramels and add water according to package
directions for melting.

Drop by teaspoon, and bake about 8 minutes per batch at 350.
Let set on cookie sheet for a minute or two, then transfer to cooling rack.

Good enough just as they are, but we have other plans!

While the caramel is melting on low, add chocolate to another
saucepan. I used about 3/4 c semi sweet chips and 3/4 of a
bar of dark Lindt chocolate bar. Melt on low as well.

Transfer cookies to wax paper and drizzle melted caramel on top.

Then chocolate!

Sprinkle with salt. Oh my goodness!

 And enjoy with a glass of milk! My cookies were a little different from Mrs. Fields', but I might be a little partial to mine. Hers were bigger, gooey-er and a little too sweet for my taste. Mine were a little smaller and crispier, and slightly saltier because I like to bake with part salted butter and part unsalted (even though all the "real" bakers tell you to use only unsalted). Also, if you undercook the cookies ever so slightly, and drizzle the caramel and chocolate before the cookies are cooled, I have a feeling you would keep everything on the chewy side. I think it's a matter of preference on that one - maybe my version was just a different version of yummy. Let me know how yours turn out!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Recipe for Mommy Time

One of the nice things about being a divorced parent is that when Baby Daddy or Baby Mama has the kids (if you're fortunate enough to have an ex who spends time with their kids as they should) you get a little break. Marc and I are thankful for the times when our kid-free nights coincide so we can have date nights without having pay babysitters!

This past week was my first week at home after my job change, and also the longest amount of time I've ever been away from my littles. They spent 10 days with their dad, which was a blessing, but I'll tell you this: you never get USED to being away from your kids. While I've grown accustomed to being away from them over the past few years, it still feels strange. Marc and I had some fun time to ourselves last week, and also got the bigs to ourselves. Then, he had to go and leave me to my lonesome. Unfortunately Marc's job requires him to travel quite a bit during the summer, so from Friday to Sunday afternoon it was all me and only me.

I often have a hard time deciding how to spend my time alone. I can't figure out if I should just lie around and relax, or if I should take advantage of the interruption-free moments and get projects done. This time, over my full two day span of time on my own, I did a little of both. Firstly, I finished up some projects around the house that have been waiting far too long for finishing.

Second coat of paint and trim done in downstairs half bath!

Second coat, trim and doors done in bathroom upstairs!
Now I just need to do the cabinets.

Downstairs hallway got two coats to cover the sad, strange pink
that was on the walls, and two of the three doors got some
beautiful white! Almost done in there...

Finally, I purchased, washed, dried, measured and cut a
bunch of fabric to get some new baby slings on the market!
Aside from all the busy bee work, there was pleeeenty of couch time. I lost count of how many episodes of Cupcake Wars and Iron Chef America I watched! I got a redbox movie and never even got around to it! I worked on cleaning out the leftovers from the fridge, and didn't cook much of anything other than a couple of omelets. And I had some good old Barefoot Riesling to keep me company too!

As thankful as I am for that down time to unwind and to feel productive, I was SUPER excited to pick up my littles yesterday. To celebrate we went to Cheesecake Factory, yum!

Aidan: "EW! It's a drink with salad in it!"
Now that life is back to normal (which, of course is always a relative term), I have three days with my little men before they start school. Aidan just came in my room where I'm working and asked, "Mom, since today is Monday, but it's a stay home day, can we go lots of places to prove that it's not a school day?" The idea of me being home with them during the week is completely foreign!

Sure, buddy. Let's go find an adventure!


Friday, August 19, 2011

{my moment}

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart.
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link in your comment so we can share with yours!

Happy Weekend Lovies!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Recipe for Family Day

This last weekend, we were without the littles (and have been all week actually) and only spent an afternoon with the bigs. Sometimes schedules are hairy, you know! Anyhoo, we didn't have any big outings or super intense cooking experiments - but we did have a great time, and we did make cookies!

As we were on our way to the store with the kiddos, Marc asked if we had the ingredients for cookies at the house. I said, "sure, what kind of cookies do you want to make?" Carter wanted something with caramel in it, and Corrinne seemed to rattle off everything she could think of. I remembered that I had several partial bags of different flavored baking chips from all the times we've made fondue and mentioned the idea of making something like an "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" cookie. I thought we could just throw in a little bit of everything - then Marc said, "why don't we just do make-your-own-cookie cookies?"

Brilliant! The kids were excited, and so were we. So after throwing together some more of our new family favorites: hushpuppies and shrimp po'boys, we got to whipping up our afternoon adventure!

Me, mixing up the cookie dough. I could do a whole dissertation
on the hilarity of this photo, but instead I'll beg you to focus on
the cookie making only!

Meanwhile, Dad and the bigs play Wii. Again, please disregard
the severely neglected half paint job.

C & C pick out what they want in their cookies.
They both wanted caramel, so I chopped up a few pieces.
I gave the kids individual bowls of dough to mix in their ingredients!
Marc finished his batch first. Butterscotch chips, pecans and walnuts!
Then he started eating Reese's chips!

Corrinne's version of thumbprint cookies, and Carter's mix
of semi-sweet chips and chopped caramel.

My mix of dark chocolate, heath bar chips and pecans.
 I had high hopes!

The kiddos with their finished plates and title cards for our
tasting challenge!

I wrote their descriptions on the inside of the place cards.

Marc: "Can I just eat mine?" Me: "Yes, honey, go ahead."

My cookies. Notice I held up my card like there was a description
in there aaaaannnnd I'd never gotten around to writing it. Go me!

Our fantastic "Make-your-own-cookie Challenge" Taste Tester, Anita!
Pretty much everyone got an award but me. Bummer.

After we dropped the kidlets off, we had a quiet house to
snuggle up and watch a movie in.

And Family Day turned into date night!

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