chocolate chip cookies.

i am continually on the quest for the best chocolate chip cookies. not the double chocolate chip cookies – i already have the absolute best recipe for those! no, i’m talking about those chocolate chip cookies that are chewy, but not fragile. crisp on just the very outer layer, but ever so soft on the inside. loaded with chocolate.


luckily, i married a man with a passion for the same type of cookie. he’s willing to let me experiment to my heart’s content. 🙂 last night, for our date night, we decided to whip up a new batch together. here’s the recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Crisco
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375°. Combine brown sugar, shortening, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat egg into creamed mixture.

Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Remove cookies to rack to cool completely.


After making these delights, we decided we’d better make them into a sundae. I heated up the hot fudge, whipped the cream and sweetened it with a touch of honey, and voila!



good things.

i’ve had three great tastes in the last 18 hours… i must share.

1.  kashi roasted vegetable pizza.  hubby & i decided that take-out would be the easiest thing for dinner last night and we decided we were more in the mood for pizza than anything.  usually we get a california pizza kitchen frozen pizza (love their white pizza & the bbq chicken pizza), althought we also really love the amy’s organics spinach frozen pizza.  we branched out last night to try the kashi pizza and it was a winner!  the whole wheat crust was almost buttery.  i added some extra cremini mushrooms, purple onion, green olives, feta, & italian seasoning to the top… but i think the roasted veggies it came with would have been good on their own.  we really enjoyed it!

2. marathon bread from h.e.b.’s bakery.  i’d recently heard that bread from grocery store bakeries is way less processed.  i decided to check out h.e.b.’s bakery last night and found this marathon bread in a 1/2 loaf.  the slices are small, but they are delicious!  some of the ingredients are: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole wheat, honey, molasses, carrot, apple, soy, etc.  try it out!

3.  mocha.  this morning i added a heaping spoonful of dark hot chocolate mix to my coffee.  then i splashed in some 1/2-and-1/2.  i expected it to be good, but when i tasted it, i was amazed at how yummy it was!!! instantly made my early friday morning wonderful.

new year.

so, it’s the new year.  i haven’t posted in a while… really took advantage of the break for the holidays!  i have to say that this was one of the best breaks i’ve ever had.  when i was younger, i didn’t really appreciate the break for all it was worth.  as i got into high school, i worked a lot through my holiday breaks, so while it was a break from school i definitely still had a lot going on.  the time off that i had this year from christmas through new year’s was the longest break that i’ve had since i was a sophomore in high school!  wow.  some highlights were:

  • being at my mom’s in the hill country for six days!
  • staying up late every night & still getting eight hours of sleep
  • going on challenging, hilly runs on the ranch that my mom lives on
  • drinking tons of really delicious coffee
  • seeing the christmas lights in Johnson City
  • going on a walk with my hubby
  • sitting at the amazing starbucks in marble falls – it overlooks the lake!
  • cooking with my mom… Cuban black bean soup, big salads with lots of winter veggies, french toast, gumbo.
  • getting home and “spring cleaning” with michael!  our house feels fresh!
  • setting goals for the new year.  i’ve really been thinking a lot about what are achievable goals for me for 2009… i’m excited!

i don’t really remember being that inspired to think through goals last new year’s, but this year i feel up for the challenge of thinking through my priorities and setting goals accordingly.  this past weekend i set aside time to think through the things that are important to me and what action will help me grow in different areas.  some of my goals are:

  • run a 1/2 marathon (physical)
  • read one book a month (mental)
  • memorize one passage of scripture a month (spiritual)
  • carve out “personal” time for myself each week (emotional)

i’m excited about seeing what all 2009 holds!  happy new year!

really great vegetarian taco soup.

whenever michael’s out of town i like to make a recipe that i don’t think that he would particularly enjoy with me.  usually it’s something with beans in it since michael hates doesn’t like beans… yet.  i’m pretty sure that he’ll become an avid bean-lover sometime during our marriage… i’m just waiting for him to really give them a chance. 😉

really great vegetarian taco soup

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black-eyed peas
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can navy beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can rotel (i used the mild)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 to 1 packet ranch dressing mix (i used 1/2, but if you love ranch, you could use a whole packet)
  • 2 cups water

drain & rinse first seven ingredients in a large colander.  pour into a large stock pot and add the rest of the ingredients, thoroughly combining.  heat over med-high heat until it boils.  reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  great served with grated cheese, sour cream, onions, avacado, tortilla chips, and/or fritos!  taco-soup

chicken marinara recipe.

over the weekend i mentioned that we went to my aunt’s house… we had a great time and while i was there i wrote down one of her favorite recipes: chicken marinara.  i made it last night and it was delish – a true italian comfort meal.  here’s the recipe:

chicken marinara

  • 6 chicken breast halves
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 can marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 6 (1-oz) slices swiss cheese
  • 3 (1-oz) slices mozzarella cheese, cut in half
  • grated Parmesan
  • noodles (i used fresh linguine noodles)

preheat oven to 350*.  dip chicken breasts in egg and then dredge in bread crumbs.  melt butter in a skillet and cook the chicken for 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

mix marinara & half-and-half together.  pour all of the mixture except for 1/2 cup into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.  set aside reserved sauce.  place the browned chicken on top of the sauce and bake for 25 minutes.  remove from oven and place 1 slice of each cheese on each chicken breast.  put 1 Tablespoon of reserved sauce over cheese.  sprinkle with Parmesan and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  serve over noodles.  enjoy!!

oh wow.

one of the blogs that i read – eating bender – is giving away a vita-mix.  wow.  can i just say how long i’ve wanted one?!  my obsession with vita-mixes began at the texas state fair back in 2001 when i first saw a demonstration… in the span of 10 minutes, the person doing the demonstration had made both ice cream & hot soup.  i’ve wanted one ever since.  i’ve tried to find a used one i could afford… searching different websites and even garage sales… all to no avail.  i would LOVE to win this vita-mix!!!  it would be a true dream come true.  if you want to enter the contest too, here’s the link to the blog post.  you can enter by leaving a comment on eating bender’s post any time between now & december 15th. 🙂  if you comment, please list my blog as your referrer… then i’ll get another entry to win!

Vita-Mix Super 5200 Giveaway! « eating bender.


wow.  december has hit!  i had such a full weekend.  here’s a recap:

friday: i had the day off… which i needed!  i did my long run for the week, since i wouldn’t have time on saturday.  let me just say, i think i went a bit far.  i had not really prepared well for the run… not eating enough before or something?  i drank tons of water all morning, so that was not my problem.  but after my run, i definitely felt a little nauseated.  i think next time i’ll try to eat something a little more substantial before a long run!  after recovering for part of the afternoon, i met some ladies from work to go to a christmas market – lots of booths selling fun christmas gifts!!!  i sampled many wonderful food items… my favorite booth was chocolate heaven… wow – those truffless… yum.  my sister came into town later that night… i love having family visit!

saturday: bekah and i got up early and drove to mckinney to see my grandmother & aunts.  it was so great to have time to connect with everyone!  especially around the holidays.  we got back from mckinney/dallas around 7:00 and spent the evening relaxing.

sunday: grocery shopping, running, catching up on things before i had to go to work at 12:45!  we skipped church today because of such a busy weekend… i needed a little down time.  the museum was hopping yesterday!  we had our free sunday of the month and had around 1,000 people come in the four hours we were open!  yikes.  after closing, i went home, made dinner, went to target, and watched the finale of amazing race!  sooo fun!

this week is a busy one too… working every day, including saturday.  grace!