The Search for the Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I am no chocolate chip cookie connoisseur, but I know what I like and don’t like… being pregnant makes me a little extra picky, of course… The thing is when I bake a chocolate chip cookie at home, I often think, “That’s pretty good, but it’s not as good as ______.” Mind you, I’m blaming the outcome on the recipe and not my cooking ability.  😉

Last night, after a few nights of enjoying home-baked, store bought, pre-cut cookie dough, I decided to take the effort of mixing up my own.  I chose this cook book: The KING ARTHUR FLOUR Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie Cookbook.  I chose the recipe entitled “The Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie.”  I figured that in a cookbook such as this, the recipe entitled “The Essential….” would be well-researched and near have the claim “The Best Recipe for a Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER!” The recipe was fairly interesting, and I was glad I had everything I needed in the cabinet.  It called for butter instead of shortening, and it called for vinegar and corn syrup… The vinegar was supposed to help cut the sweetness and help the cookie rise more.  The cookie was less sweet, but I didn’t appreciate the cookie’s rise.  I don’t know if I want my cookie to rise.  I changed the recipe only slightly, omitting corn syrup and adding a smidge of peanut butter… Overall, they turned out fairly tastey, though slightly cake-like and too tall.  And, well, it just wasn’t IT!

100_5809

Now, I’m on the search.  Where is the GREATEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE EVER?!

Here’s what I want out of the cookie: a little crispy, but moist and gooey, chewy in the center. Fairly thin but dense. I want sweet, but not overpoweringly sugary…  Is that asking too much?

So, I’m going to try some more recipes.  Do you think you have the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie recipe, or at least one that you think I’d love?!  Email it to me, or post it in the comments here.  I’ll try it out and post the results here.

Also, do any of you baking experts know how I might achieve the results I want?  Like butter vs. shortening?

Sophia videos

We took some video of Sophia on the playground this afternoon.  For those of you that haven’t seen her in a while, you can see her playing and walking.

returning from vacation

I’ve been dreading finally giving a thorough update of our vacation… dreading, because well, it’s over… and, life is back to “normal.”  And, normal is tiring lately.  Our vacation was so wonderful and relaxing that “back to normal” is like a slap in the face.  I guess, it doesn’t help that Sophia’s been ill…  She’s much better now–back to her screaming, tantrumming, sweet, lovely 14-month-old self.  😉  I was thinking, just moments earlier, my elbows deep in dishwater, how I’m determined to learn how to do dishes while Sophia is awake. I need naptimes for things like 1)sanity, 2)my own napping, or 3)something I want to do… not dishes, right?  I digress.

The tone of this post so far seems to speak to my current mood.  It’s been a hard couple days.  The glorious naps she was taking right after vacation are dwindling back from 2 hours to the 30 minute range… Argh!  Yesterday, after a diarrhea explosion in the kitchen, I found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing the most disgusting kitchen floor.  Note: citrus juices should not be given to young toddlers. By the way, can someone give me some tips on how to fit in the EXTRA cleaning into a routine?!  How am I ever suppose to have time to clean the kitchen floor, or say the bathroom or any parts there within, when all I can seem to do during the day is pick up the disaster that was left behind by my 14-month old tornado?!

Back to my train of thought: dishes.  I was thinking about vacation and how it spoiled me.  It was a glorious 2 weeks!  I had 3 EXTRA sets of arms and legs and hands to help with EVERYTHING!  Dirty dishes is what sticks out the most in my mind.  Our friends were so lovely that I barely washed a single dish in 14 days!  They were the most wonderful guests you could imagine.  They helped with everything including nonstop baby-entertaining.  They’re the most wonderfully gracious friends.  Will was in charge of putting Sophia to bed and getting her up; so, I didn’t do that either!  I slept in some mornings until 9:30!  SAY WHAT!?  Who knew it was possible!  Thank you, husby!  You are the best.  Back to reality, though: the dishes pile up, meal after meal, and I have this new need to keep the kitchen clean all day.  (By the way we have the suckiest external dishwasher known to man!  They come out dirtier than they went in!)

So, our vacation was just that: a REAL vacation.  I think it was for each of us.  Will had a wonderful time relaxing, spending time with our friends and spending time with us, but I was also able to rest and have a break from MY norm–which is a real blessing considering “a mom’s job is never done.”

With that in mind, let me try to be thankful as I tell you about the rest.  😉  Colorado was amazing!  The weather was perfect, highs in the low 70s.  Warm sun, cool evenings.  It even got down to near freezing temperatures late into the night!  Ah, the glorious mountains.  Camping was great.  We cooked a lot outside.  Sophia played in the dirt and grass and practiced walking–all of which she LOVED!  She slept well in the tent at night, and we tried to do naps during car rides during the day.  We went on some fun hikes while we were there.  Mom got seriously tuckered out with pregnancy fatigue and altitude sickness, but rest helped a lot.  I was sad to see how much less I could do than I thought I could…

The lowlight of our trip was probably the first day we were there.  We went on a 4.5 mile hike in which in rained and hailed on us for at least half of it… Of course, it was the second half; so we weren’t physically prepared for it.  Mountain weather–love it and hate it!

Here’s just a couple of pictures of our time there.

the saddest time of the day

Daddy just left to go back to work.  A lunch break at home–bittersweet.  It was wonderful to get to spend a half-hour with him, sharing the stories of our mornings, but it has to end.  Sophia still doesn’t understand the lunch break.  She just wailed and wailed as we watched him through the glass door walk to the car.  I usually try to sing silly songs with her like “Daddy’s going back to work, back to work, back to work… Daddy’s going back to work, but we’ll see him soon!” It works sometimes, but not today.

Today, she’s not well.  She’s had a pretty bad fever the last couple of days topping out yesterday morning at 102.4.  A fever is such a scary thing.  I feel it instantly when I hold her.  Her skin feels like it’s burning up next to my face.  This is our first real fever scare, and it’s also the longest one.  She woke up late Sunday night, so hot, and she’s been up and down since.  Things have been so busy, she’s been completely off her schedule, teething too, and now has a little bit of an ear infection.  Today, well, she’s kind of pitiful–not cranky or fussy, not screaming and irritable, but cuddly.  I’ll be laying on the couch resting, and all she wants to do is lay with me rolling around over and over in my arms putting her head as close to mine as she can–all the while sucking on that thumb.  Or, I’ll be sitting in the floor playing with her and instead of wanting to play she wants to hug me.  It’s the sweetest thing ever, but it’s also a clue that she’s not well.  Her thumb is raw and bruised, too.  At least it gives her some comfort.

I just put her down for another nap, no argument from her…

So, we are resting from a wonderful vacation.  It was a blessed two weeks full of a great time with friends, a fun and active CO expedition, and a lot of lounging around at the house afterward.  It was great to spend so much time with our friends and so much time with “Da-da.”  When, I’m more rested I’ll put up some pics and tell you more about it.  😉

Sophia is walking

Properly motivated, Sophia has just started taking her first steps alone!  As you’ll see in the video, we got her to walk by holding blueberries in front of her.

17 weeks

Photo 222

That’s me–17 weeks?  I just got back from the doctor with wonderfully healthy news.  The baby’s heartbeat was beautiful at 149 bpm, and my uterus measured 18 1/2 cm.  The doctor said that if I’m 17 weeks, then we’re as healthy as can be.  Oh, and I only gained 2 pounds last month, which is amazing for me if you remember my last pregnancy and the time I gained 15 pounds in one month!

So, our projected due date is December 9, MY birthday, but we don’t really know for sure.  We’re currently going on measurements and possible dates…  I have a sonogram scheduled for July 30th–at which time we can find out a better idea of when (s)he will come.  It’s all very exciting.  I’m already feeling sweet little movements when I’m lying still.  I’m sleeping terribly and dreaming worse… and I’m freaking hungry ALL THE TIME… My belly is protruding quite earlier than expected, but I’m VERY excited about this baby and very happy to hear healthy news.

In other news, most hilarious news, let me give you an update on funny baby-cloth diaper stories.  This morning I went in to get Sophia, and she was sitting up with the most puzzled look on her face.  I noticed something blue in her lap, and I looked down at it.  Yes, a bumGenius diaper was poking out the leg of her pajamas.  I grabbed it, and it was indeed completely off her, down and partially out her pant leg.  After I pulled it out, I was shocked to see that that pajama leg was empty.  She had a diaper in one pajama leg and two legs in the other one!  She just looked at me with utter “I don’t know how this happened!” Yes, more motivation to get started working on those diaper tabs… 😉

Our friends are flying in tonight; so, I’ll probably not be writing for a while.  God bless you.

busy times

This morning I was nursing Sophia and I thought about how old she is.  It occurred to me that 13 months have already passed, and I’ve still been saying “one year.”  The thought really surprised me.  Is this how it’s going to be?  Months tick away and I often forget her months-age?  Oh well.  We’ve been super busy lately.  My mom came for a visit this weekend which was great.  She treated me to some new clothes–yup, I’m officially in maternity pants (insert sarcastic woot).  And, Sunday we had a pitifully sad day of teething…but, Sophia now has both front teeth and is on her way to a less goofy smile.  😉

So, right now we are anxiously preparing for and awaiting the arrival of a few Czech friends of ours who are coming to visit–a married couple that we’ve become great friends with.

100_4230

They fly in on Wednesday evening and are staying about two weeks.  We’re so excited to see them and spend time with them!  We’re planning to take them camping in Colorado for 5 nights!  We leave Friday morning.  Woah!  The five of us.  Yes, we’re taking the baby.  And, we are pumped!  There’s a lot of preparation to do, though.  I’ve been precooking meals, cleaning, washing, shopping, list-making and organizing.

Two things scare me about this trip: 1) a one-year-old in the car, trapped in her carseat for an 8-hour drive… and 2) naps in the tent during the day…  We WILL SEE!  Does anyone have any travel tips for one-year-olds?  We’re thinking of hanging a sheet around her in the car somehow so that she can nap… We haven’t figured out how that’ll work, though…  My hope is that she’ll be on her best behavior with new faces around…

100_5675 We’re practicing for the new baby.  Isn’t that sweet?

a long video

Hey Sophia lovers.  Below is a super long video of Sophia doing normal baby stuff–learning to walk via a push toy, hollering when she can’t maneuver it, playing with a baby doll, and putting the rings on her toy…  You know baby stuff.  Anyway, the video isn’t wonderful quality.  It begins sideways, and I eventually turn it.. Sorry.  But, if you have an affinity for this little girl, and you haven’t seen her in a while, you may like to watch this.

projects

I feel accomplished.  I just installed a “decorative” curtain rod, the first of its kind in our house!  You know, not just the wide U-shaped metal one… the real one with balls on the end!  So, I feel accomplished–complete with drilling, screwing, mounting and the like.  Husband wasn’t home.  I figured it out.  Call me proud.  I’ve been excited to do some different projects in the house, but I haven’t been able to get to them very quickly.  I’m thinking that tackling one room at a time is the way to go.  I started with Sophia’s room, the smallest and easiest.   I just found an adorable cribskirt for $1 at a garage sale.  Yes, she’s 1 and I finally skirted her crib!  And, the new curtains just went up in her room.  Adorable, bright and cheery.  I have two ideas left.  One is a better storage solution as her changing table is only shelves and no drawers.  So, I’m on the lookout for some brightly colored, modern looking storage bins.  They’re out there but pricey.  The next thing is a creative project.  I want to paint a twin canvas to match the little girl I painted for her room, but this one as a little boy–same size, same color scheme.  The other thing I’m thinking of  is making some flower cutouts for a blank wall above her crib.  There’s so much white in her room now…  white walls, white crib, white changing table, white chest of drawers… Rather than paint, we get creative!  Sounds fun, now for the time… It’s there.  I just need to work for it.

There’s another project in the works.  This one, maybe more imperative, less fun.  It involves cloth diaper repair.  So, in case you don’t remember, we have been exclusively using cloth diapers.  We have about 15 bumGenius all-in-one diapers and about a dozen all-in-one of the homemade variety (thank you sister-in-law).  They have all been great, except that the bumGenius’ have long since begun deteriorating.  The laundry tabs (soft spots to keep your velcro in place through the wash) have worn out, and thus the velcro tabs (those tabs that keep the diaper securely in place) have curled up in a nightmarish fashion.  This has resulted in Baby’s easy escape from the diaper, with just a flick of the wrist… or Mommy’s crafty solution: always a onsie and always a pair of bloomers.  Yes, we’re running out of little bloomers and shorts.  I was going to make bloomers… but, what if I fix the diapers instead?  I’ve thought about crazy velcro solutions, but with a baby on the way, I thought I should fix them for real…  Guess what I found out!  It turns out that cottonbabies.com, from where I ordered the bumGenius diapers, will send you a “tab fix kit” free of charge if you simply ask!  They sent me 15 tab kit sets and 15 sets of laundry tabs.  Now, it’s only up to me.  It shouldn’t be too hard if I can just get started… And, I’ll feel so empowered saving $17.50 per diaper.  I’ll let you know how it goes…

per previous post