July 31, 2015

July Challenge

This month was not good for my July Challenge.  I got LAZY and I mean lazy.


July:

1st-
2nd-
3rd-
4th-
5th- 1 hour- 3.1 miles
6th-
7th-
8th- 30 minutes- 1.5 mile
9th- WEAK- 9 vials of blood work
10th- 20 minutes- 1 mile/ walked around Fair
11th-
12th-
13th-
14th- yard work
15th- 1 hour- 3.1 miles
16th-
17th- ZOO
18th- IKEA
19th- 1 hour- 3.1 miles
20th-
21st- 20 minutes- 1 mile
22nd-
23rd-
24th-
25th-
26th-
27th-
28th-
29th-
30th-

I suck!  :(  I plan on getting back into my routine this weekend.  
August will be better.

Dollar Tree- Find of the week

The dollar tree can have some pretty good finds.  A few weeks ago I found a cute little monkey toy for my niece.  She loved it.

My niece loves monkey's.  Her favorite is Curious George.


This little monkey is fun because it's solar powered and will just start swinging.  Every season there are different little solar animals or flowers.  They seem to be pretty popular and for just one dollar you can put a smile on someone's face.  Win, win.  :)


Dollar Tree Finds:




July 30, 2015

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nate has a co-worker who can't have gluten.  He asked me if I could bake some of my chocolate chip cookies for her but gluten free.  
I'm off from work today and tomorrow trying to burn up vacation hours so I did some baking.

To make my award winning chocolate chip cookies gluten free, all I have to do is replace the flour.  Everything else is gluten free.

The other day at the grocery store we picked up a bag of gluten free flour.  It was the cheapest gluten free flour compared to the others at the store.  This bag was $5.49.  I read good reviews online about it so I figured this would be the one.

I cleaned my counters and pulled out everything I needed.

Here's the flour.

To my surprise, one of my eggs had twin yolks.  This has never happened to me in all my baking.  :)  Twin yolks is good luck right?

Mixing

Dough.....at this point I took a small clean spoon, scooped dough and tasted.  It was a little gritty to me and I think it's because of the flour.

I baked the cookies for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

They turned out perfect.



I decided to taste one.

I broke it in half and took a bite.  AMAZING!  So good and I decided I would enter these into the town fair that starts tomorrow.

4 cookies ready for fair.

I dropped off cookies and got a free ticket.  I'm thinking of going at some point this weekend to see if I placed.

UPDATE:

Thank you to everyone who came to my blog from Reddit.  And thank you to all the congrats.  I did place first for these cookies.  A new post on that coming soon.  :)

I have been getting several requests for the recipe so here it is.


Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies (Regular or gluten free)
1 cup brown sugar (packed) 1/2 cup white sugar 2 sticks butter (unsalted) 2 eggs (farm fresh or store bought) 2 tbsp water 1 tsp vanilla extract (I use my homemade vanilla) 2 1/2 cups flour (if making gluten free then use gluten free flour. I used pillsbury) 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 2 cups chocolate chips (or a little more)
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, mix 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar and 2 sticks of butter until combined. Then mix in 1 egg at a time. Then mix in 2 tbsp water and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a small bowl, add 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt. Mix with a fork.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet and mix. Don't dump it all at once. Do it little by little. Once it's done, add your chocolate chips. I tend to put some extra chocolate chips. smile emoticon Mix in the chocolate chips.
To a non-stick or pam sprayed cookie sheet add dollops of cookie dough. Bake on 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. (ovens can vary.....just watch them) This should make about 2 dozen depending how you scoop them on pan or if you eat any dough. haha smile emoticon
When you take them out of oven, let them rest on pan for about 3 minutes and then remove them with a spatula to a cooling rack. Once they are cooled you can add to a tupperware container or large ziploc bag.
I store the cookies with a slice of bread to keep them soft. This is a trick not many people know about. :)  
NOTE: Don't store bread with the cookies if you are making gluten free.

2015 Garden Update- #31

Here's my garden this morning taking in the sunshine.  Everyone just got a drink before this picture.

One of the most beautiful sunflowers ever and I grew it from seed.

This guy will be popping soon.


Husky cherry tomatoes.  You can't really tell in picture but these are bigger than cherry toms.

Here's some cherry toms.  I'm getting a handful of these just about every day.

My eggplant has turned green which means I might have waited too long to harvest it.

Here's my bounty from yesterday.

My celery and cilantro in a can.

I decided to put the celery in a bigger bowl so the roots stay under water.

Doing real nice.  It's grown from just from a base of store bought celery.  I tried this before in the past and it didn't grow as good.

I'm thinking of making some chicken salad with it next week.  :)

Garden Veggies for dinner

I picked several veggies from my garden over the last few days.  As a side for dinner I used only my veggies.  :)  It's awesome eating something you've grown.  It tastes better than store bought.  :)


Here's a mix of tomatoes (yellow jubilee from seed swap), eggplant, scalloped bonita squash, yellow squash and my bell peppers.

I sauteed in pan with some olive oil, minced garlic, parsley flakes, red pepper flakes and black pepper.  My husband even asked if he could have some veggies.

The next evening when I got home from work, I was tending to my garden and harvested some beans and a zucchini ball.

The tomato is another yellow jubilee that I've had in the window.  These tomatoes are so delicious.  I'm so glad I was able to get a few plants from that seed swap I went to back in March.

I sauteed these up just like the other veggies.  My husband again requested some.  YAY!  :)

Everything was tasty and fresh and I grew it.  :)

Early birthday fun 2015

This past weekend our group of friends got together to celebrate August birthdays.  

Here's E ready to go.  *cheese*  If you look real close you will see she has her George.
We had brunch at Paradise Diner.  Myself and the other birthday girl both got waffles, with eggs and bacon.  It was awesome and just what I wanted.  So yummy!  :)

Here's me and E, hand in hand walking to car.

Afterwards we took a little break at my house for a few hours and then all met up at S&J's house to just chill and let the little ones play.  I brought over some white sharp cheddar cheese, troyer's trail bologna, cookie dough dip, animals crackers, and graham crackers.


The girls did some paint.  A, K and I did too.  

Here's E with her masterpiece.

The girls love Nate.

For dinner we got a few pizza's.  We had a great time hanging out and I got some awesome gifts.  :)

2015 Garden Update- #30

Last weekend, after I worked (remote), I came home and did some gardening.  It was so hot out.  So, I did some and then took a break.

  Nate and I decided to have lunch at Outback.  We had a $50 gift card so win, win.  Afterwards, we picked up a few groceries at the store and came home. 

When we got back, I decided to do some more gardening.  I had some dead plants I'd already cleared but needed to put in a trash bag and then of course wash the pots.  I needed to pot some plants as well and just sweep the deck.

Here's my poor little aloe plant.  Putting it outside was a bad idea.  Ever since I repotted the guy, it just wasn't happy.  I don't know if it wanted better dirt, more water or more sun.  Or maybe it had too much?  I'm not sure.  I do know next time I go to IKEA, I will pick up a newbie.  :)

Here's all the dead plants.   Some are dollar flowers I got from lowes.  They held on a long time for only being one dollar.

I bought some petunia's and peppermint plants last time I was in lowes.  I needed to pot them so I did that after I cleaned up the dead plants and did a little rearranging in the container garden.

Here's a very happy peppermint plant.

Petunias

I have a scallop zucchini.  I love these.  It's a blend of scallop squash I grew from seeds.  :)

My broccoli is turning kinda yellow.  :(  I was so happy it was growing too.  Maybe it was only gonna be a tiny guy and needed to be harvested already?

Squash ball


I harvested some cherry toms and a green bean.

Squash and tomato

Purple bean

I have lots of bell peppers growing.

Sunflower



So pretty

More cherry toms

And finally here's the garden after the clean up.  WHEW