Apr 232014

chocolate frozen yogurt

As happens a lot lately (since we’re home alone together so much of the time) my little guy requested that we make something. The specific thing he wanted to make this time was homemade ice cream. He asked me if it was true that when Papi and I were married we had gotten an ice cream maker as a gift. I assured him it was true and boy did his eyes get wide and then when we went to the closet and I showed him the machine he wanted to make up a batch of ice cream immediately. Much to his disappointment we had to chill the bowl (for at least 24 hours) first, but after that we were good to go.

I decided we would make frozen yogurt instead of ice cream (mainly because I wasn’t in the mood to deal with a custard base) and started searching for a recipe online. One of the first recipes for chocolate frozen yogurt I came across was this one from Chocolate & Zucchini and it sounded delicious so that’s the one we went for. The recipe was easy to follow and I think it turned out great, but it did use dark chocolate and no one else in my family is much of a dark chocolate fan (no big deal – more for me then!). I probably won’t use this same recipe again the next time I make chocolate frozen yogurt – I think we’ll do strawberry next time anyways – but I did have good results with it.

Apr 212014

Cook the Collection Header

Better Homes and Gardens Cookies Cookies Cookies is an older cookbook (published in 1992) which is a bit of a novelty book – half of the book is called “Any – Day Treats” with basic recipes for peanut butter cookies and snickerdoodles and when you flip the book over and turn it upside down you have “Christmastime Treats” with more elaborate shaped and decorated cookie recipes. It’s a pretty no-nonsense book generally, with spare header notes and straightforward, easy-to-follow directions.  I’ve had this book for 20 years and I don’t know that I’ve ever baked anything from it before (why do I hold on to these books? It’s crazy, I know).

My little guy wanted to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies the other day and  instead of just using the recipe off the back of the chip bag like I usually do, I pulled out this book to give it a try. The ingredient list was pretty much what I was expecting except that it called for a half cup of vegetable shortening – which I don’t usually keep on hand and didn’t want to buy just for these cookies. What I did have in the pantry was a jar of coconut oil so I substituted it with a 1:1 ratio. It ended up giving the cookies a subtle coconut flavor, but I thought it was quite a nice addition. After baking these cookies I’ll probably give another recipe from this book a try since the one I tested was easy and successful.

chocolate chip cookies

(Disclosure: The cookbook link in this post is an affiliate link and if you happen to make a purchase via the link I’ll receive a small percentage of your purchase – and of course would be so grateful!)

Apr 172014

Keep your dog off the counter in one easy step

Okay folks, if you’ve got a reasonable sized dog with longish legs who likes to, shall we say, counter surf, then this post is for you. We’ve got one of those kinds of dogs and I was starting to go a little crazy with his grazing ways. This dog couldn’t pass through the kitchen (and its basically a galley kitchen, so there’s a lot of passing through going on) without putting his front paws up onto the counters or the edge of the sink to see if there was anything to eat. Of course, there usually is because with little kids there’s always some food either being prepared, waiting to be served, or abandoned half-eaten at any given time. We tried correcting him with a gentle ‘no’, with a forceful ‘no’, with a loud noise (meant to startle him – yeah right), with a squirt of water (uh, he’s a hunting dog so he likes water) . . . nothing worked. Finally we tried this method to keep the dog off the kitchen counters. Get ready, you might want to take notes, it’s pretty detailed:

Step 1: Put double sided carpet tape around the edges of your counters and sink.

Step 2: That’s it! there is no step 2. You’re done now. Here’s a visual aid in case you need a bit more information:

counter tape labeled

The first day of Operation Counter Tape we set up an experiment – a nice big cookie right in the middle of the counter. Poor Pisco tried one side of the counter, then the other side, then the third side and each time he got right back down again his paws stuck to the tape. The tape is pretty sticky, but not enough to actually hurt when you’re stuck to it and it’s easy to pull off of. The cookie stayed right there for an hour or so, until my son ate it (Note: counter tape does not appear to deter children at all). We also put a strip of tape along the front of the sink and that kept him from jumping up to lick dirty dishes. It’s been two weeks now and he does still occasionally try the counter but gets down again before he grabs anything. I think we’ll need another week or so before we can officially say the counter surfing problem is solved.

There are a few things to keep in mind: 1)  You’ll need to pull off and redo the tape occasionally depending on how often the dog, kids, dishtowels, your own clothing etc get stuck to it so that it stays sticky; 2) We have crappy linoleum counter-tops and although the tape comes off easily without a residue, I’d be a bit wary of using it on higher end surfaces – at least test it out in a small inconspicuous area first; and 3) You’ll need to keep the tape up until the dog completely stops jumping up because if she jumps up after the tape’s gone she’ll be right back to that counter surfing habit in no time.

Good luck, and come back and let me know if this method does (or doesn’t) work for you!

Mar 052014
Cook the Collection #8: Falling Cloudberries

(Disclosure: The cookbook links below are affiliate links and if you happen to make a purchase through them I’ll receive a small commission)   Time to get back on the ball with the cookbook challenge – at this rate I’ll never get though them all – especially since I’ve acquired more since I started. Most recently I [...]

Jan 142014
French Onion Tortellini Soup Made with Only Four Ingredients

On cold, rainy dreary winter days I love to have a pot of soup on the stove. There’s something about soup simmering that feels so homey to me. Here’s a quick and easy soup my family loves – this one is so fast if you’ve got the ingredients on hand in your fridge. Its really [...]

Jan 062014
Meatloaf Cupcakes

  My daughter has been wanting to make meatloaf cupcakes for awhile now, ever since we saw a picture of them somewhere (probably on Pinterest, right?). Whenever my kids make a dinner request that isn’t complete junk food I try to accommodate them so last night we made up a batch. Now, I didn’t go [...]

Jan 012014
Beans and Rice for the New Year

I usually cook black-eyed peas and rice for luck on New Year’s Day, but I never really love it. The peas get mealy and the rice gets mushy when it’s mixed in together, so this year I decided to branch out and make a variation – hopefully it’ll bring luck as well. I used some [...]