Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Recipe Review: Two Peas & Their Pod Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

I love peanut butter anything!  I'm that girl that only needs a spoon and a jar.  I'm also a snob about my peanut butter.  I prefer Jiffy Natural over any other brand...and please don't ask me about Adam's Natural peanut butter my answer will offend anyone that loves it.

Over the weekend I found myself craving cookies.  I'd been texting with a friend on Saturday and she told me about the cookies she was making, after that I couldn't get cookies off my brain, thanks, Amy!  When Sunday rolled around the cookies on my brain had turned into a full-blown craving for peanut butter cookies.  I'm sure there are dozens of recipes for peanut butter cookies in my recipe box, including the one I grew up eating, but I wanted a soft cookie.  I set out on a mission to find a recipe that would create soft cookies, but wouldn't create enough to feed a neighborhood of hungry teenagers.

In my search, on Pinterest of course, I came across a recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod for Soft Peanut Butter Cookies.  The recipe said it made two dozen.  The ingredients were simple and I had everything.  Big bonus, because I'm not leaving the house on a Sunday afternoon for anything, not even to make cookies.  Yep, this was the recipe for me.

This recipe turned out a delicious cookie and produced three dozen cookies, with a few tweaks.  They are soft but have a good chewy texture.  Hubby even likes them, so it's a win!

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
(Recipe adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Extra granulated sugar, for rolling cookies in

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet parchment paper and set aside, skip this step if using a baking stone.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a second mixing bowl, cream together butter and peanut butter together until well combined.  Add the sugars and beat until well mixed.   Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix until egg is well incorporated.  Add in the dry ingredients, a little at a time, until there are no flour streaks in the dough.

Using a 1-Tablespoon cookies scoop, cookie dough into balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2-inches apart.

Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until they have spread out and begun to crack slightly, and cookies are just set. Don’t overbake.  Cookies will be slightly puffy in the middle and will flatten as they cool.  Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet 4-5 minutes, or until they have set up. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

On Friendship

Source - Pinterest
Friendships are such a unique dynamic thing.  They come in all phases of our lives, are constantly evolving, ever growing and sometimes only last for a season.  At a certain point in your life, much like romance, age won't matter.

I have friends that are 20 plus years older than me that I just click with.  Many of these are friendships that happened in unlikely ways but have bloomed into friendships I treasure dearly.  These are the friends that have no inhibitions and are totally the people I discuss those things no one else thinks is dinner conversations.

Then there are the friends that are more than 20 years younger than me.  Several of these friendships started out almost in a mentorship way and with time grew into friendship built on common interests.  They're the friends that keep my heart young and challenge me to look at the world in new ways, the friends I push to be strong and grow their dreams.  Friends that I support and reassure, lending a mature ear they can turn to and open a door so they never feel alone.

Source - Pinterest
Let's put this on the table's okay to have more than one bestie.  The shock!  I have two best friends.  Both of them are from different points in my life.  What's even harder for some to understand is that one of my best friends is a GUY!!!  Yep, a married woman with a male bestie that isn't her hubby.  This is the friend that knows all those juicy stories about me, the stories that can embarrass me at a party, but has been there through thick and thin.  The guy who told me the tough to hear things that made me a better woman.  My other bestie and I have a creative connection that grew into an amazing friendship that I wouldn't trade for the world.  She's the one I text regularly and share photos of creative accomplishments with.  The one who shares my intense love of Mexican food.  These are the two friends that are more than friends, they're family.  They're the best friends I can put miles or years between communication lines and still pick up right where we left off when next we connect. 

Life also brings us friends that are only meant to stay in our lives for a season or two.  These are the friends that I outgrew or have outgrew me.  These are the friends that years later, I still think about when I hear a certain song that conjures up a memory that makes my breath to catch in my throat.  These are the friends that I wonder about at odd times.  The friends that have taken a different path in life and traveled through my heart, leaving footprints and memories.

I feel like all of these friendships, and all the ones in between, help shape our character.  They fill the needs and the voids as we travel through our lives, lending support and encouragement along the journey.

Maybe a few of you are wondering why didn't I talk about my husband being my best friend.  The simple answer is because he isn't.  Don't go off half-cocked and get offended and find this statement appalling.  My husband is so much more than a best friend.  Our relationship is so much more intimate than any friendship I've ever had, could or would have had.  Soulmate is so cliche, but it's such a better definition of the amazing relationship I have with my husband.  I understand that many couples see their spouse as their best friend and I'm not saying that's wrong, I'm only saying that it's not how I feel about my relationship with my amazing husband.

Monday, February 26, 2018

100 Days of Photos - Week 1

I started this project on Tuesday.  That's the when, but what about the why?  Well, the why is a little more complicated.  I miss taking photos, but it's way too cold and way too frozen for me to wander around and take amazing photos of foliage this time of year.  I'm a little burned out on my usual artist medium of card making and pen and ink drawing.  I feel like I need to feed my creative soul.  I also want to capture more of my everyday life.

Why 100 Days?  Because I've seen other people do 100 Day Projects.  You can see more and learn more about The 100 Day Project and what other people are making by checking out this link.  There's no commitment other than a creative medium and 100 Days.

Day 1:
What's on my desk.  There's more to my creative endeavors than card making and art.

Day 2:
Our kitchen table, we've turned into my husband's parents...I'll just leave that there.

Day 3:
Seafood Scampi, dinner out with a girlfriend.  Not pictured the bottle of wine.

Day 4:
Hedy.  She's the youngest of our four fur children and our most rambunctious.

Day 5:
Putting essential oils back into my life.  The bottom two books are new, as in got them this past weekend.

Day 6:
Soft Peanut Butter Cookies - Recipe Review coming soon!

I'm enjoying the challenge of both taking a daily photo and remembering to take a daily photo.  I also really like the fact that there are no rules beyond the daily photo.  Snippets of my life, one photo at a time.  Do you take daily photos of your life?  Have you ever done a 100 Days Project? 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

What is Sexy?

What is sexy? Does that question conjure up images of thin, well toned, barely clad women?  That's what society has influenced us to think and to believe, but what is it really?  We're lead to believe that it's about how we look. 

I asked if I was sexy and I was told yes.  I asked what made me sexy and the list he gave included things I never thought about.  Things that are who I am, not how I look.  Then he asked, "don't you understand that?"  I had to answer no. 

I'd never thought about or considered what makes someone sexy is their mind, their heart, the kind things they do.  I'd been drinking the stereotypical cool-aid of the media, thinking that sexy was about being thin, having long hair and big boobs.  Go ahead and laugh, but the next time you're standing in a grocery store checkout line look at the magazines and tell me that's what sexy is portrayed as.

I've struggled with my body image for years, and while I think I'm winning one battle at a time, this is no easy war.

I tired of being labeled.  Curvy, "Plus size", and even overweight by a few healthcare professionals.  I'm a woman, a healthy woman. Could I stand to lose weight, maybe, but according to who's scale and at what price?

I'm tired. Tired of feeling bad about my body. Tired of talking about diets. Tired of talking about losing weight. Tired of hearing about other peoples food "issues" and diets". Tired of hearing people say "I can't eat this or that". Tired of feeling bad because I don't want to workout, give up certain foods and drop a size or three. Tired of thinking everyone is judging me because of how I look.

I'm 5'8" and I weight 206 pounds. I enjoy food, love desert and look forward to a good glass of wine.  I love this line from an article I read a while back - "The diet industry lives in an ocean of body negativity, twisted science, and behavioral Russian roulette".

If you desire is to change your lifestyle and your body to get healthier I'm all for it, but can we please stop talking about it all the time. There is more to life than the latest diet craze and the latest exercise routine.  I'll be honest, it's mentally taxing on everyone when the conversation is constantly about food restrictions.  It makes everyone uncomfortable when shame looks are shot at someone for eating the dessert you wish you were "allowed" to have in your restricted lifestyle.  And don't get me started on body shaming, it hurts to know so many women would rather tear each other apart than lift each other up.

Everyone has a judgment to pass on the statement above. Some might think "she should drop some weight" and some might think "I wish I was her". Here's the thing though, life is going to happen whether or not you're living it or waiting until you get back into those smaller jeans. 

Remeber Sexy is so much more than how you look.  What's your sexy?