Friday, August 3, 2007

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

I claim to be on a quest for the best chocolate chip recipe. When I find it I will let you know. So far I have at least three "favorite" chocolate chip cookie recipes. One is just a plain ol' chocolate chip cookie which uses half butter, half shortening. I also like the recipe that uses the ground-up oatmeal that has falsely been accused of being a clone of the Mrs. Field's and Nieman Marcus recipes. When I'm in a really chocolate mood I opt for the Double Trouble recipe that my sister gave me. It's a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips and sometimes I add the Andes mint chips for a little surprise. I would add another recipe of my sister's, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, which are really yummy but since Kennedy has a peanut allergy I choose not to make those. They really are good though.
I tried a new one today called "Mississippi Mud Cookies" that really were good. They might be on my list depending how they taste tomorrow. It has all the right ingredients: chocolate dough, milk chocolate chips, pecans and toasted marshmallows. I was surprised at how much the recipe really takes on the flavor of the traditional Mississippi Mud cake. I found the recipe in my August issue of Southern Living, which has been my favorite magazine for some time.
Go ahead, try them and see what you think.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Travel Log

I didn't mean for this to be a travel log but I have to write about my trip to Utah. We had such a great time and each year I go I remember why I make the trek out every summer.
First I have to say that my kids did great on the flights. It was such a long day travelling it would not have surprised me if they were miserable. We held it together until the car ride from the Las Vegas airport to St. George. Kennedy was just getting over a cold and I think that combined with the ear pressure from the airplane, the long day and sitting in the back seat of the car was just too much. As we turned into the Target parking lot in St. George she threw up. Poor thing. She was much better the next day and we were able to have a healthy trip the rest of the time.
Our first major event was preparing for my niece's baby shower. Tyffanee is expecting her first baby, a girl, and we decided at the last minute to throw a shower for her. Even though she isn't from Beaver we have a lot of relatives there and we had a good turn out with a few out-of-towners, including her mom, sister and mother-in-law. Since we decided to host the shower last minute (five days notice for guests) we gave the option of going in on a group gift. This turned out to be a great thing because we were able to get her a Pack-n-Play, a Baby Bjorn and a high chair. She also got lots of cute clothes, blankets and other fun things. I'm so excited to see my cute niece be a mom.
Our next great adventure was celebrating Pioneer Day. My sister came to town and Kennedy enjoyed playing with her cousin, Megyn. My niece, Alyssa, also stayed with us along with her friend Mary. We had a houseful but the more the merrier. Beaver starts Pioneer Day off with their own tradition. At approximately 6 a.m. dynamite can be heard in intervals all around town. Wake up! Time to get ready for the day. After listening to this for about 15 minutes I am ready to get up. My sister and brother-in-law head to the high school track to do the 5K. Alison and I walk because I am usually not in shape for it. It's a fun time to have with my sister, however.
After the 5K we rush home to shower and get ready for the parade. This year Beaver was hosting a little league tournament so a lot of the floats were trucks filled with cute little baseball players from all over the country. The rest of the parade was unremarkable. I was a little disappointed this year. After the parade we head down to the city park where there are kid's foot races (which we never do because I hated them when I was a kid), snow cones, hot dogs, moon bounce and slide, and old friends. Everyone who left Beaver comes home for Pioneer Day and we hope to see each other at the park. It's our yearly reunion. I saw more friends this year than usual, which is fun.
After the festivities at the park we made ready for a family cook-out. We were going to head up the canyon but it turned out to be a rainy day so we went to a local park instead. My mom and her two sisters still live where they have always lived--within two blocks of each other. They all gather their families together and we have a potluck. My cousin, Wade, brought his pony and cart to take the kids on rides. Kennedy loved that. Meanwhile, my dad and I went to check out some antique cars parked along the block--about 7 or 8 cars all belonging to the same man. He happened to pull up in his 1922 speedster and offered to take me for a ride. I love antique cars so I took him up on it. He couldn't convince me to drive it though. That was the highlight of my day.
I told Kennedy that if she took a nap she could stay up for the fireworks. She thought that was a great idea until they actually started. She wanted to go home right now. She then told me that the next time I tell her that she can stay up for fireworks she WON'T take a nap. She made it through and I enjoyed the show too.
I was able to visit with some of my dear friends whom I don't get to see very often. I was able to visit my old high school friends Melanie, Kerrie, Debbie and Alison. I met Lucy at Thanksgiving Point and we went through the Dinosaur Museum. We had a nice visit from Chris's brother and his wife. They spoiled the kids for a whole day. My mom and I took the kids to the "This is the Place Pioneer Park" which was fun. My sister and her kids volunteer there. It was a fun place to spend the day. We also met Nana and Poppa at Thanksgiving Point for a few hours and toured the beautiful gardens there. We had such a good time and it was nice for the kids to see the Kelsey Grandparents since they haven't seen them for a year. We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family. We feel so loved when we go back to Utah.
Some other highlights of the trip were shopping at many quilt stores, reading the final book of Harry Potter, going on walks with no humidity, and just relaxing a little bit. Now it is time to get back to reality.