Friday, July 30, 2010

Baking with Ella: Everything but the Kitchen Sink Chocolate Chip Cookies

So everyone I have ever made these cookies for has asked for the recipe (except for my husband who just tells me that he is craving my cookies and really, really wants me to make them for him.) I must say, they are delicious and I won't tell you how many I have eaten in one setting before...
These are not the kind of cookies you can take to school for your child's class (way too many allergen risks). But these are the kind of cookies that you want to bake and then sit down and eat the entire pan with a tall glass of milk about 3 minutes after they have come out of the oven, when the chocolate is still gooey and the cookies soft and delicious (not that I have done that before!)
Anyways, now that I have your mouth watering... Here is my little chef, Ella helping me whip a batch of these together. These have a few secret ingredients and it seems that I play with the amounts each time I make it depending on what flavor I am craving the most at that moment. They are inspired from a SUPER delicious bakery close to our house called Rich's Bagels. "A bagel place known for its cookies?", you ask... FOR SURE! They are loaded with all sorts of goodness and they are gigantic! This is one of the few times where the saying, "Less is More" DOESN'T apply!!!

Madeline's Everything but the Kitchen Sink Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2T. ground flax seed
6T. water
4 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (the better quality chocolate the better tasting your cookies will be)
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup nuts
1 cup corn flakes, lightly crushed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine water and flax in a small bowl and let sit for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a large mixer bowl), cream butter with sugars. Add flax and water mixture then add vanilla. Gradually add dry mixture to the creamed mixture. With a rubber spatula add the remaining 5 ingredients one at a time mixing to combine.

Drop approx. 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie on to an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly - ENJOY!
*Side note 1: You can adapt any chocolate chip cookie recipe to fit this, I usually just use whatever the recipe is on the back of the bag of chocolate chips I am using (add about 1/4 cup extra flour, 2 tsp. extra vanilla, and then the oats, coconut, nuts, and cereal as directed above.
** Side note 2: when I make these cookies for Ella to eat I usually omit the nuts (although we have tried her on tree nuts and she does fine so now I don't omit them for her.
*** Side note 3: Most people look at me crazy when I tell them there is cereal in my cookies but it really adds something so uniquely delicious that you should really try it just once if your skeptical!
So, the secret is out. My cookies can now be mass produced by all you cookie lovers out there. Just let me know how you enjoy them! Oh and for payment, I will accpet bags of Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips... just kidding.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ella keeps on growing - and Cal is getting cuter by the day!

Here are a few shots I took of the kids the other day on our walk. Enjoy!

Bloglight: How About Orange

Jessica Jones is a fabric designer, graphic designer, and blogger extrodinare! I swear she finds everything there is to care about on the web and posts it on her blog. I find myself going to her site time after time and scouring through her "Time Wasters" and "DIY Tutorials" and bookmarking page after page!
Jessica's blog, How About Orange is mostly about her obsession with the color orange and she is constantly on the look out for how to use that fabulous color all around your house. Like this cute little orange tissue box cover - what a fun pop to something so congested.
Also, right now she is hosting a giveaway for! Free canvas print as well as free business cards! Go check it out!!!!
Here is an exceprt from her FAQ section of her blog that I really thought embodied her site well: "What's fun about blogging? Doesn't it waste hours and hours of time?
You betcha. But even though it takes some time, it's fun to post things that might be helpful to people. I used to have "Girls' Nights" at my house weekly, and I'd invite non-arty buddies over and suggest some kind of project to make. I loved seeing how proud people were when they liked what they'd made. Everybody has creativity inside somewhere, and it's gratifying to help people tap into it—especially if they don't consider themselves artistic or creative. So I try to post simple projects that anyone could do, as well as useful tips or inspiring ideas or things that are delightful. Pretty much anything that's fun."

Hopefully you enjoy your time over at How About Orange as much as I do. Also if you try any of her projects that she suggests I would love for you to leave a link in the comments so we can all see how amazing YOU are!

All pictures from Jessica's blog, How About Orange.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tight Quarters Part 2

One of my greatest achievements of this apartment. My office! This comes from quite a few sources of inspiration.

The month before the big move I was living at my in-laws while Peter was living in our new town so I went through all my old magazines (which was a TON!) and tore out pages that I had interest in and have put them into binders - Living Room/Mantel Scapes/Entry, Bedroom/Bathroom, Laundry/Garage/Organizational ideas, Gardening/Outdoor Living, Crafting/Gifting Ideas/Misc. In doing this I was able to find a TON of great ideas for my new home.

I created a notebook of the tear-outs that I had gathered, the floor plan on graph paper and any "To Buy" items so that I had everything in once place.

Here are a few pics of my inspiration:

Here is my finished product!
Don't you love the organization and functionality of this space! It is just a small corner cut out of my living room/dining area. It doesn't take up too much space and actually utilizes an area that would have otherwise remained a dead space (the area in front of the stationary part of the sliding glass door.) It gives my desk space a great view and a place where I can work and keep an eye on Ella at the same time.
I used beautiful containers for my pens and pencils because I wanted the space to still look beautiful as a part of my living room but also continue to function as a workable office space. Look around your house for things (votive holders or the large ball shaped container was a tea light candle holder I bought on after-Christmas clearance at Khols!) that are beautiful that could also function in your office, giving you a space to allow those creative juices to roll!

Here I used my paperback novels to add some texture and age to this shelf. Its all the little random-ness that really makes this space feel and look great!
I found this little baking pan at a garage sale a while ago and it works in perfectly with the feel of the office!
Please show off your beautifully organized spaces in your home by leaving a link in the comments!

Linking this post to Show and Tell Friday