Monday, March 27, 2017

Cookie Monster in My House

My grandson is a chocolate chip cookie monster and that means that Grandma needs to bake cookies. Here is my recipe for chocolate chip cookies, adapted from King Arthur flour.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 5 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies


2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, butter flavored
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1.       In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.
2.       Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
3.      Mix in the flour, then the chips.
4.      Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight in refrigerator.

5.      Next day:  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.   Remove dough from refrigerator and prepare cookies while oven preheats.
6.      Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/4" balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them on all sides; they'll spread.
7.      Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, till their edges are chestnut brown and their tops are light golden brown, almost blonde. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they've set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough. 

Places I've Traveled

I originally posted links for these maps back in 2013.  I think they are really cool.  Even though it looks like I've seen a lot, I still have lots more to see.

visited 27 states (12%)

visited 41 states (82%)

visited 5 states (38.4%)

Create your own maps 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The A to Z Challenge Starts this Week - Yikes

I flipped my calendar this morning to view the coming week and lo and behold, Saturday is the start of the A to Z Challenge.  I sure this is a big "Yikes" for some, but to be honest, I have completed all but four posts.

After my first challenge in 2013, I learned the hard way to write all my posts in advance and then edit them as I went along.  In that first year I wrote about many of the places I had traveled to in the past.  Like back into the 1960's.  Many photos had to be scanned into my computer which took a lot of time.  But, I managed to complete the A to Z trip from Acadia National Park in Maine (1974?) to Zion National Park in Utah (2010).

In 2014 I wrote all about my three-weeks in Germany and Switzerland followed by the two-week trip to Russia in 2015.  Last year I spent my challenge writing about books on my shelves and places to visit here in Michigan.  This year I am back to a travel adventure abroad in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

I admit that the travel bug bit me early in life.  One of my older memories is of my aunt and uncle leaving for Italy in 1953.  I was only six when I stood at the old Willow Run airport (now a museum) and watched their plane leave.  They had home movies when they returned and it was such a wonderful treat.  Those movies were followed two years later by their daughter's honeymoon pictures from Cuba.

We could never afford family vacations when I was growing up.  So I travelled the world by watching home movies of others and movies in the theaters.  Then when I was in college (on a full scholarship, so thank you donors) I became active in a professional sorority.  I went to the annual convention in Philadelphia and got elected to the National Board.  The travel bug had definitely bitten me.

Upon graduation I spent a week in Nassau with a friend.  We had a wonderful time and started planning a European tour for the following year.  In 1969, armed with plane tickets and a Eurail Pass, I spent ten weeks travelling in Europe before we had to abruptly end our trip due to the death of my friend's father.

And then the following year I got married.  To someone who was not interested in travel.  We went on vacations always planned by me.  One year I was so stressed out before leaving for a road trip through The Shenandoah Valley and Civil War Battlefields that I broke out in hives.  Our longest trip was a three week road trip across the northern states, down the west coast and back home on Route 66.  I have fond memories but alas, the slides I took of the trip all faded over the years.

While I have been busy writing my posts I have remembered folks I've met on my travels and stories they have shared about traveling.  Several women I met have complained of husbands and boyfriends who do not want to travel.  Or they only want to visit the same place, like Florida or Arizona year after year.  So they go alone or with friends.  At first I thought it odd but then realized I have known women doing it on their own for a very long time.

I am all set for the A to Z kick-off on Saturday.  I doubt that anyone will guess what I have chosen for the letter A, even knowing my destination.   But go ahead, give it a try.

I hope you will join me and enjoy lots of pictures, but not a lot of prose.  I mean, there are lots of blogs to read this next month.  Let's travel together.