In the Kitchen, My Favorite Things

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My earliest memory of baking is with my dad, teaching me to bake chocolate chip cookies.  It’s remained one of my favorites to bake, what can beat a fresh chocolate chip cookie hot from the oven?


         Airbake Natural 2 Pack Cookie Sheet Set

Baking cookies turned into my first job.  Dad would take whatever kind of cookies I made, in baggies of 4, and put them out for the guys at work for 50 cents per bag.  I would always drink Coke while I baked, and I still crave that sip of Coca Cola with every hot cookie.  I don’t know that we made much more than the cost of ingredients, but it was a great way for my parents to instill work ethic.


Possibly my favorite birthday gift EVER – Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

I broke one of my efficiency rules tonight:  I only made a single batch.  Normally, if I’m going to make the effort to bake, it gets doubled.  Unfortunately, the other bag of chips was the only chocolate in the house last night when someone was having a bit of a chocolate craving…

Here is the official Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip recipe.  I included step by step pictures for those of us who are more visual.

The recipe says the oven should be preheated to 375 degrees, but I like the texture when they are cooked at 350 degrees.  Rebel, I know!

Combine unsifted plain flour, baking soda, & salt, then set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color.

Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time.

Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. (Unless I’m making them for one of my favorite uncles, I skip the nuts.)

Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Unofficial direction, but a must – save the batter for later in your child’s favorite Black Panther bowl!

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Also unofficial, but another MUST!  Put ’em on a platter and take them outta this house so we don’t eat them ALL 🙂

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In the Kitchen

Fantasy Fudge

Nope, not my recipe. In fact, it’s straight from the marshmallow Jet-Puff jar. But, in honor of Dad’s birthday today, I’m sharing because of all the “fantastic” times he surprised us with fudge!

In the Kitchen, My Favorite Things

Heat & Eat!

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I love to cook, but it seems like we’re always on the go. If homemade meals happen, it’s usually something that’s been prepped ahead when I had time to enjoy cooking.

As a birthday gift, my favorite Aunt Nona (😘) gave me one of the most useful kitchen gadgets EVER! The Ziplock Vacuum Sealer allows me to prep ahead and grab homemade meals right out of the freezer as I need them. Individual packets for on-the-go or whole family meals, just heat & eat!

Ziplock Vacuum Sealer is also great for resealing packages, such as potato chips, so that foods stay fresh!


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In the Kitchen

Pineapple Plant Perfection

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“Check out my pineapple plant!” including an attached picture, was the quick email I sent my Uncle Hugh.  Here’s a hint of the reason why I love that man, his partial reply:

It will be beautiful for a long time.

“Have you ever seen a pineapple bloom? It is beautiful and orchid like.

If you will upsize your pot to at least 2X what you have, water regularly and feed not too much every 6 weeks or so, in a year or two it will bloom and fruit. As wonderful a thing to watch and grow as there is. I’ve had one bear fruit about the size of your fist. Dad had a couple over the years to bear fist size fruit. But the bloom is exotic. As I remember he did not put it in full sun in the heat of the summer as it will burn it up, but I’m sure it can take 2/3 of a day’s sun in the Deep South. You will see if the leaves start to scorch and burn. They should be that dark forest green all the time, but it’s hard to keep your tips from burning.  The ideal spot was the south west edge of Dad’s south facing front porch, there it would get most of the morning sun, then miss the heat of the day and get a little afternoon sun.  You may be mild enough where you are not to have to put it in the garage or inside for a few of the coldest weeks of winter.  But I’m sure anything below 45 to 50 degrees is not good for the little apple plant. A larger pot makes it much harder and more awkward to handle, and the prickly leaves will grow ever longer and require much more space, not to mention cutting you quick.”  (Hugh Hays, 2011)


So today, as I sliced my pineapple, I thought of my uncle, always willing to share his time and talents!  He taught me how to slice a pineapple “the safest way” using a knife.  BUT I pulled out the EASIEST way, a  Pineapple Corer  that was a GREAT gift from my mother!

First, Uncle Hugh’s advice to me for picking out the perfect pineapple, ready to cut.  Make sure the inside leaves of the top are still a pretty and healthy green – alive.  Also, you want the pineapple to be a good mix of green and yellow to get the perfect ripeness.

pineapple ripe

Pictured below are quick steps to using the fancy pineapple corer. Once you cut off the top, don’t hesitate to stick it in a pot of dirt to get your own pretty pineapple plant for those “exotic” blooms!

Extra tip:  keep the shell and fill it with seasonal flowers for a pretty table centerpiece!

Extra, Extra tip:  notice I put the pineapple in a bowl before I used the pineapple corer?  That’s so the juice isn’t lost, too good to waste!

The last step, placing pineapple chunks in my grandmother’s old bowl, makes it perfect!  Cover with Press n Seal and enjoy!



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