Grandma’s Biscotti

It took me many years of searching and begging but I was finally able to get my Grandma’s, highly in demand, biscotti recipe. My only regret is that grandma did not get to test out this version of her recipe before her passing. It was her rule that she did not like sharing the recipe with anyone. So to respect this decision I will give a basic recipe. That way you get to enjoy figuring out what the secret ingredients are!

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I begin by adding unsalted softened butter, eggs, granulated sugar into a mixing bowl. I let this mix until there is a lose liquid batter. At times the dough mixture will look a little weird. If at any point the mixture doesn’t look or feel right try mixing for another 30 seconds.

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I then add flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until there is a soft slightly sticky dough. At this point you can add in your flavor. Grandma’s recipe calls for anise extract, but you can use any flavor extract or add in baking pieces such as chocolate chips. Really any flavor that sounds good to you will work.

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Once the dough has been mixed enough to incorporate your flavoring, it needs to be split in half. Each dough ball needs to be rolled out to approximately a 2 inch thickness sheet. Extra flour is optional for handling the dough. I find that this optional amount of flour is based on what you choose for flavoring the cookies. Place the 2 dough sheets side by side on a baking sheet and place into a pre-heated 350 degree oven until slightly golden (about 20 minutes). This will turn the cookie sheets into cookie loaves.

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Once the cookie loaves are slightly golden, cut individual cookies into desired thickness. It is important to not allow the cookie loaves to cool too much during this process. Once cut, lay the pieces on the side.

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Once the cookies are spread out on the cookie sheet, place back in the over for a few minutes to make the top of the cookies golden brown (about 5 minutes). Then pull out the baking sheet and flip the cookies to the other side and then place back into the oven to allow the other side of the cookie to become golden brown (about 3 minutes). Take out the cookies and immediately transfer to a cooling rack or open table/counter space. Do not let the cookies cool on the baking sheet otherwise the cookies will become burnt.

Once the cookies have cooled down you can enjoy them. Most of my family though prefers to let these cookies sit for a day or two in a cookie jar. This make the cookies a little stale and in their opinion better for coffee dunking.


Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour, plus a little more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Flavoring
    • 1 Tablespoon of extract or 3/4 cup of baking pieces

Directions

  1. Add butter, eggs, and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix until the ingredient are mostly integrated.Then add flour and salt and mix until a soft sticky dough has been achieved. Add in you flavoring and mix the dough to integrate your flavoring into the dough.
    • if using extract use mixer. If using baking chips use a spoon or spatula to mix
  2.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Divide dough in half and gently roll each dough section into a ball. If the dough is still a little bit to sticky to handle add a little sprinkle of flour. Roll out each dough sheet to approximately 2 inch thickness and place each sheet side by side on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes
  4. After 20 minutes pull baking sheet out of the oven and quickly cut each cookie sheet into individual cookies of desired thickness and lay each cookie on its side. Put the baking sheet back int he oven for 5 minutes then flip the cookies to the other un-toasted side and place back into the oven for 3 minutes.
  5. Once the whole cookie is golden brown remove baking sheet from the oven and immediately place cookies on a cooling rack or open table/counter space to avoid burning the cookies. When the cookies are cooled enjoy immediately or allow them to go slightly stale and enjoy with coffee.

 

Power Rangers Pillow Case

The past month has been a very hard month for me. My grandmother had passed away.

60786125_10219287628603718_6574309021262544896_nAfter a year of fighting shes finally freed from her breathing machine, which she hated. She is definitely the source of my goofiness and also my cooking and baking skills. Many of the recipe that I have previously posted about have either been taste tested by her, were a twist on her recipes, or something she requested to have.

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My family has begun to arduous task of cleaning out the house that we all grew up in. Its been difficult to find some time since then for me to wind down. I decided to just stay in on my day off from work and play around with my sewing machine.

My fiance and step son are big fans of power rangers. While we were at the local craft store, they found this power rangers fabric in the remnants bin and just had to get it. So I decided to sew a pillow case for them to fight over.

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I began by pinning up and sewing the top opening edges of the pillow case. This was actually the most difficult part because this was my first sewing project on this machine. After much trial and error and cussing out the not-so-helpful owners manual I was able to figure out my thread tension issues and finally get some real sewing done. My lines aren’t the straightest yet but a little more practice and adjusting machine should help with that.

All I had left to do was sew up the remaining sides and flip the pillow case right side out and put the pillow inside the case.

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For my first sewing project on the new machine I say it went fairly well. Now to decide what my next sewing project will be. Project suggestions are always welcome! You can leave me a comment below or email me with your suggestions.

Snow Day!

“I found winter!” That was my wake up this morning from my boyfriend as he was trying unbury my car. I knew it had snowed but I wasn’t expecting this much as well as dropping temperatures.

After a hair raising adventure to get some food we decided to just stay in and be cozy the rest of the weekend. While we were out driving in the snow in search of food, we found this cereal.

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It tastes like a weird red velvet cereal. It wasnt as crunchy as normal Cap’n Crunch but it was delicious! After a quick bowl I busted out my movie marathon collection.

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I’ve always wanted the whole Studio Ghibli collection but, it’s a little pricey as a boxed set. So I started buying them one at a time from Walmart. After Kiki’s Delivery Service we took a little break from the movie marathon.

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Nothing says “good clean fun” like tequila and juice. I dont really use measuring devices for cocktails unless it’s a very specific recipe. I just pour until it looks like enough. This particular concoction is lime juice, tequila, and ruby red grapefruit juice.

Holiday Complications

This holiday season has been such a blur for me. Working in retail for the big Christmas holiday, working through the early hours of the morning to get all the clearance marked the day after Christmas, and preparing for a funeral. A few days before Christmas my Great Uncle had passed away. It has been very difficult for my Grandfather as this was his younger brother. It made for a very somber holiday family time. So in an effort to cheer myself up I bought 2 cutetitos.

Now I know you are thinking “What the heck is a cutetito?” Basically its a cute small stuffed animal that’s wrapped up in a tortilla blanket. The fun part is that you have no idea which animal you have until you open it up and remove the foil wrapper.

The first cutetito I opened up after the I got home from the funeral viewing. And it happened to be Puppito! Yes all the animals in this series have names. And their rarity is measured in spiciness. For example, Puppito has an orange chili pepper which make him a mild or common one to find.

The second one I opened when I got home from the funeral and wake. I was already pretty tired and sore for escorting my grnadparents everywhere I almost forgot to open my cutetito. I’m really glad I remembered because this one is definitely my favorite out of the two, it’s Pigito!

Pigito is a purple chili pepper which is medium or uncommon within Series 1. I’m not really sure when (or if) there is a Series 2 yet, but I’ll definitely get a few if there is some.

Together these 2 cutetitos at least made my day a little better before attempting to relax for the evening. I’m hoping to get a few more before they are totally gone because I realized that Peppito is a Chihuahua and would love to have that one!

Here’s hoping I can start the new year off on a much happier and more productive note. Happy New Year to everyone out there and I’ll see you in 2019!

Special Chocolate Chunk Cookies

It’s been a little chilly over in my neck of the woods. So I decided to warm up the house by making a batch of yummy chocolate chunk cookies. Basically I follow this recipe but with a few alterations because of food allergies. The largest change I make is that I can only use certain kinds of chocolate because of a peanut/tree nut allergy so I tend to use a bag of chunks instead of scouring for a chocolate bar I can actually eat.

Mixing the cookie dough in my new kitchenaide was really great after having done this recipe without a mixer so many times. The dough itself is also very good for pre baking tastes.

And here are the delicious, fresh out of the oven cookies. Most of which did not make it past bedtime.


Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of salted buttered, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (or 2) tablespoons Vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus a little extra just in case
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee, French Vanilla is my favorite
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chunks

Directions

  1. Take 1 of the softened sticks of butter and put into a small skillet over medium-low heat. allow it to melt and bubble. This is totally normal and will not immediately cause a fire. Swirl the butter in the skillet until it begins to turn a golden brown then remove from heat and pour all the liquid and solid butter into a heat proof bowl until needed in cookie batter. preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add the other stick of butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar  into a mixing bowl. Cream everything together until its combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. It may be necessary to stop mixing to scrape the sides of the bowl down. Pour in all contents (solid bits too) from the brown butter bowl and mix until combined
  3. Add the coffee granules, baking soda, and salt one ingredient at a time and allow to mix until well combined. Slowly add the flour into the batter and allow to mix well. Once mixed, dump in 1 bag of chocolate chunks and mix well using a spoon or spatula.
  4. Either use a greased baking sheet or a parchment lined baking sheet and drop the cookie dough onto the sheet pan. I like to use a heaping tablespoon for this. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack/surface. Bake in batches until all cookies are done and enjoy!

 

Paint by Stickers

Here is another puzzle book that I have been into for a while. Its called paint by stickers. It’s fairly simple, you start on the page you wish to fill in and locate its (usually 2) page of stickers.

After that it basically a color by number. Each sticker corresponds to a specific spot on the puzzle. The twist is that you also need to figure out the correct orientation of sticker. So as you start placing stickers

And filling in all the spaces

You eventually see your picture.

Despite the simple instructions, these puzzles are actually tedious at times. Once the piece is pressed into place it really cant be pulled up and removed so orientation and taking your time in placing each stick is very important.

And the final picture looks something like this. Most of these books have a minimum of 12 puzzles per book. If you are looking for a twist on a classic puzzle or just something new in general, Paint by Stickers is definitely something you should try!

Tomato Jam

Probably my last ripe tomato harvest for the season. I decided to go with a long term use of turning these tomatoes into a delicious tomato jam.

These guys are pretty big and at various stages or ripe. I somewhat followed a pintrest recipe because time and ingredients were an issue.

General basis of this recipe is chop up the tomatoes, throw the other ingredients into the pot and let it simmer. The original recipe said to simmer for 4-5 hours. I really dont have that kind of time to hover over a pot waiting for liquid to evaporate so I used a higher heat for a longer period of time before switching to a simmer.

This process helped evaporate a lot of the liquid quickly in under 30 minutes and without compromising texture too much. In the end I was able to get it all done in about 2.5 hours and boy is it tastey! Through some experimentation, we discovered that our favorite way to consume this jam is to replace it as the BBQ sauce on top of Meatloaf.


Tomato Jam

Ingredients

  • 4-5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 (or more) Mason Jars w/lids

Directions

  1. Rinse and chop all tomatoes. I also removed all the seeds. Place chopped tomatoes into a medium stock pot on medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir frequently until the pot begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to stir frequently for 30-40 minutes. This help to evaporate the liquid faster. Once it begins to look a little thicker, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer. Once the texture has thickened up to a jam-like consistency, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  2. Prepare and clean mason jars. Be sure to dry out all wetness from cleaning. Carefully transfer the jam into each mason jar. Allow to comletely cool before adding lids and refrigerating jars.