Friday, January 10, 2014

Week 1 Friday (1/10/14)

Recipe Review

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From my Frontier
Pages 272 - 273     Copyright:  2012  Harper Collins
337 calories per cookie if 18 were made  
(Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

         I don’t think I have ever enjoyed making cookies like I did today.  I put on the Beach Boys and my watermelon apron, and tried my brand new Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  I have wanted this mixer for so long and it brought true joy to this new cook. I danced around and followed Ree’s recipe to a tee. When I added the malt powder, the cookies smelled so delicious.  The yummy scent filled my house until even my shelties, Willow and Sage, were pacing the kitchen. I had to taste the dough and was delighted and anxious to get that first tray in the oven. The dough had a stronger malt flavor than the actual baked cookie.  Next time, I would like to add additional malt to make the cookie more like the batter tasted. The cookies were thin and crispy with a chewy center that had a rich warm flavor. (A side note - at a later date I did double the malt..HUGE MISTAKE!  It changed the texture and they did not taste the same.  I am back to following Ree's recipe).
         I doubled the recipe because we have a family summer picnic and these cookies were my contribution to the event.  I also delivered six cookies to both the Serpico and Lehman families for a critique.
         I had my first request.  My friend and colleague, Steve, told me he would appreciate it if I recorded the calories for each recipe.  So beginning now, I will write down the calorie count for each serving.  Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.

Today’s critics:  The Serpico and Lehman Families, various Scent Cousins, and many teachers at Norton Creek Elementary School.

        Brandy Lehman shared: We all thought there were very yummy. They were super moist, probably from all that delicious butter!  Two thumbs up on those.”

        The Serpicos shared: “It tastes like a good chocolate chip cookie.  It has a lot of chocolate chips.  Nicole suggested that we add more malt powder next time.  I totally agree with her on this.  She also smiled and said, “You know a cookie is good when Nicholas shoves it all in his face.”  (which he did!).  Another positive review!  Yeah Ree!

        Various Scent Cousins:  They said they were good chocolate chip cookies.  Good and chewy and rich tasting.

        Originally I forgot to take a picture so I remade the cookies and took them into work. Today’s teacher reviews were:
         “They were to die for!”
         “They’re awesome”
         “I love that they are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside."

Why Weight?

       Whenever you talk about losing weight, the topic of exercise comes up, too.  Jenny Craig and counting calories worked well, with and without exercise, but I did notice that I was more successful WITH exercise. 
         My first exercise coach had to be Kathy Stopka, now Kathy Kirchler, when we were seven years old. As kids, she always wanted to do something active, while I preferred a sedentary activity.  Thank Heavens she was persuasive or Lord knows where I would have been then.  I had a very active childhood as all of my strongest memories took place outside in the neighborhood. Parents in the good ole’ days told their kids to go outside and play regardless of the weather. Either the weather has changed over time or we were much tougher than kids are today.  I remember riding bikes, walking to Bad Luck Forest, ice skating, playing softball in Mr. Charles’ field, and the ever, popular game of Red Rover in Kathy’s side yard. But I digress….
         In 2002,  I discovered Curves and began exercising about three days a week, which was a lot for me. I will never be one of those people who can’t wait to exercise. I do it because I must to succeed, not because it is a joy!  I do however love the employees and patrons of the Batavia Curves.  They are such great people and are very supportive of each other.  Curves circuit is about 30 minutes long, and my favorite time is when I have finished exercising. I feel so successful when I know I actually worked out for the day. 
          As I have lost weight, I upped my exercise from three to four/five days a week. This is totally due to a fabulous neighbor.  Paul Mansour is a wonderful guy who is in great shape.  One day around lunch time, I went over to talk to Melissa, his wife.  Paul was home from work and exercising to a DVD.  I asked why, and he told me that his goal for 2013 was to exercise 200 times.  He showed me how he put a new post-it note on the inside of the cabinet each day he exercised. I mulled this idea over for days and then thought, "If Paul can do this, maybe I can, too."  So I increased my exercise days in hopes of meeting Paul's goal for myself. I did not meet Paul's goal, but I am happy with the success I did accomplish.  I exercised a total of 164 times in 2013.  Now knowing this, I plan to reach that 200 mark during 2014. My worst month last year was January (only 10 pitiful times) so I need to start out much stronger in order to make up the 36 days that I fell short of my goal.                I will never become an exercise enthusiast, but I will keep at it because the rewards fall outweigh the negatives.

Fabulous “Family” Food

         The first family recipe that I want to share is one that my Mom is famous for at family gathering and parties.  We do not know where the recipe originated, but it is a staple for our family.  Mom calls them:


1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter
6 cups of rice cereal

Bring sugar and light syrup to a boil. Shut off heat.  Add peanut butter and mix well.  Add rice cereal and stir.  Pour into a 9 x 13 in. pan and pat down.  Set aside to cool completely.


6 oz. peanut butter chips
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon thick white vegetable shortening

In a double boiler, melt 6 oz. or a small bag of peanut butter chips, 6 oz. or a small bag of chocolate chips, and 1 Tablespoon of white, thick vegetable shortening.  Watch carefully and when completely melted together spread on top of cooled Scotcharoos.  Let it sit until firm. 

Serve and enjoy!  Thanks Mom!

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