Monday, May 25, 2015

Perfect Chocolate Oreo Cookies





I have tried tons of cookie recipes- most of which were not that good. This recipe is my favorite cookie recipe of all time. It's intensely chocolatey. It's a cookie baked into a cookie. It's perfectly soft and chewy and crunchy at the same time. 

Ingredients:

3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c butter flavored shortening
1 c granulated sugar
2/3 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 c oreos (I used mint oreos)
2 c semisweet chocolate morsels

Directions:

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended. 

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in oreos and chocolate morsels. Chill dough 30 minutes.

Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 2" apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes or until barely set. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 

Happy baking!






Friday, May 22, 2015

Adventuring Clothes

I've had a pretty great month. Corde and I have been spending some time in the outdoors recently. We want to make an effort to hike more and enjoy Utah while we're still here. We have some exciting adventures planned for this summer. Next week we are heading to the Grand Canyon for a few nights and then over to St. George. I can't wait. God has created such a beautiful world for us to enjoy and I hate to say that I'm just now starting to really appreciate it. 

Long story short, I needed some adventuring clothes. 

Brands include:
White Tshirt - Brooks
Gold Tshirt - Sweet Salt Classics
Green shirt - Faded Glory
Sweatshirt - Unknown


When I found a sweatshirt that I loved (picture above) it hit me that I had a ton of sweatshirts hanging in my closet that I was bored with and never wore. They're gone now.

It sure feels good to get rid of things I don't need. 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

My First Half Marathon


I am excited to tell the world that I ran a half marathon on Saturday. I can finally check it off of my bucket list.

Thursday morning, my hubs and I drove down to Salt Lake City for a little getaway. Our first stop was to Scheels, where we spend basically our whole tax return. Not really, but we did buy a baby carrier for when we go to the grand canyon next month AND a new, bigger tent for our expanding family. It was so fun to watch Corde in Scheels. It was like watching a kid in a candy store.



From there we went a few other places, including the mall where I had to find the self-control to not buy any clothing, because THRIFT

Corde and I are lucky enough to have friends who live in Salt Lake City and let us stay at their home for a few nights. They are the sweetest couple ever. They had to work for most of our trip, but we loved the time we were able to spend with them. 

After spending Thursday out having fun, Corde and I went Friday morning to pick up the packet for my half marathon (which was also fun) and then we went around doing more fun stuff.

                  

Finally, Saturday rolled around and Corde, Russell and I got up bright and early. My race started at 7:15am and we arrived at 6:30am. In the meantime, my husband and son looked adorable snuggled up together.

                              

                             

After I started my race, Corde and Russ went back home to catch up on some Z's and came back to watch me cross the finish line. It was such a great experience for me and went a million times better than I thought it would.

What I learned running my first half marathon:

I'm glad I listened to music while I ran. Listening to music while I ran made the whole process so much more enjoyable. As soon as I started to feel the pain towards the end of my run, I was able to change my playlist to music that was upbeat and it helped me finish strong.

I wish I would've looked more closely at the weather forecast. I knew that there was a chance of rain on Saturday, but I also was expecting that some miracle would occur and the sun would shine. The day before my race, the weather forecast said rain also, but it ended up being a beautiful day. I showed up to my race at 6:30am and had capri running pants and a jacket over my shirt. I thought it was a perfect amount of clothing and it would have been if it hadn't rain. After about 2 miles into the race, the rain started pooring. I literally couldn't see ahead of me for a short time because so much rain was being dumped on me. I wish I would have brought a rain jacket because my jacket absorbed the rain and just added extra weight. by the time my race was over I was so wet and cold.

Long story short, dress accordingly.

I'm glad I didn't talk myself out of it. The truth is that I was going to switch to a 10k last minute because I kept feeling like I was unprepared or just not a good enough runner. I ignored that negative little voice and did it anyways. I finished my race with a smile on my face and it turned  out I was more prepared than I thought.

I'm glad my only goal was to finish the race. This being my first half marathon, I didn't want to push my self so hard to the point of being miserable. I wanted my run to be a fun experience. I originally told myself that after 6 miles, I'd walk a mile and then run two miles, until I finished. my only goal was to finish the race and do my best. I surprisingly ended up running the entire time. I ran at a pace that worked for me and felt very calm because of the goals I had set for myself. For my next half marathons, I'll probably set a more specific goal for myself now that I know what to expect from a half marathon.

I'm glad I had support. Before my race, I didn't think I'd care whether or not someone was waiting for me at the finish line, but seeing my husband and son waiting for me made my heart explode with joy. I also pushed myself harder knowing that my husband cared and was proud of me. If possible, recruit friends and family to come watch you cross the finish line.

I hadn't considered the after effects. The truth is that in my head I was thinking that when I finished my race, Corde and I would go get cupcakes and shop around some more. Instead, I finished my race, couldn't even stand up on my own and ended up going back to our friends house and sleeping. My body felt achy, like I was sick. My head hurt too. I'm also still very sore. Everywhere.

If you are reading this, wondering if you are capable of running a half marathon, the answer is yes. I started "training" for my half marathon about 3 months prior to the run. The farthest I ran during that 3 months was about 8 miles and that was only once. The rest of my runs were about 3 to 5 miles and I only ran on average 3 days a week. With that amount of training, I was able to run 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 25 minutes.















Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cream Cheese Frosting

Today was a perfect day to bake. It has been overcast and rainy, and is supposed to stay this way all week. I don't like rain, so a piece of cake was a perfect way to brighten my day and my mood.

      
Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I absolutely love cake. With my love for cake comes a love for baking it. One of my dreams is to eventually own a little cafe, with perfectly scrumptious baked goods and espresso. Cupcakes will definitely be on the menu. 

My mom has always made the greatest cream cheese frosting. She would add a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder and we would squish it between two graham crackers for a quick treat. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

I love cream cheese frosting not only because it's delicious, but also because it's so easy. You can throw it together and not measure the ingredients exactly, but it'll still turn out divine. It's also a very dense and creamy frosting, which is best paired with a cake that is light or fruity. For example, this yummy lemon cake I made.

At room temperature, this frosting might be too soft to do intricate designing on your cake.   If you want to do piping, you'll want to refrigerate it for a few minutes and then continue on with your piping. After that it has to stay in a cool place or else it might not hold together for more than a couple hours. I don't mind this because I normally put my cake in the refrigerator anyways. I like eating them cold.





Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients:
8 oz Cream cheese
1 c. (2 sticks) of salted butter at room temperature
4 c. (1 bag) Confectioners sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Combine cream cheese, vanilla, and softened butter in a medium bowl and mix until combined.
2. Slowly add confectioners sugar (1 cup at a time) and mix until creamy.

Makes approx. 3-4 cups worth of frosting

On a side note, if I was making this for some kind of event, I'd probably substitute 1/2 cup of butter for 1/2 cup crisco to assure the frosting wouldn't lose its shape.