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Sunday Sweetness: Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

13 Nov

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

You’ll notice that we’re making cookies today. You’ll also notice that the title of my blog is ‘Realist Mom’. In the interest of staying true to my “real life” of a “real mom” commitment to you, my fabulous readers, I’ll tell you that I initially made carrot cupcakes that absolutely sucked. You know what’s even better? As with my other baking tragedy, I served them to company. (Sorry, Connor and Katie!) They were so bland and wet and gross, that after taking her first disappointing bite, Beans announced “You can NOT blog about these, Mom. They’re guh-ross!” So, yeah, I was feeling good about my baking prowess.

These cookies, though, they are delicious enough to actually redeem last night’s cupcake cataclysm. So sayest the Beans. That’s particularly surprising because I sort of improvised the recipe – and you all know, I do NOT improvise when I cook for the sake of everyone involved.

You could take this recipe and swap out the chocolate chunks and peanut putter chips for nuts and white chocolate chips or whatever you were in the mood for. Then we would all be improvising.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies.

1-1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
2-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 c packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-2/3 c (10 oz pkg) peanut butter chips
1-3/4 c (11.5 oz pkg) chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the 1-1/2 cups of chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of boiling water, stirring until completely melted. Once melted, set bowl aside and allow chocolate to cool to room temperature, but not harden.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy and light. Beat in the melted chocolate and eggs until thoroughly combined. Stir in the peanut butter chips and chocolate chunks.

Scoop the dough onto ungreased cookie sheets by the level 1/4 cup, spaced 2″ to 3″ apart.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cookies will be set but still moist in the center. Let cookies sit on cookie sheet for a minute or 2 before transferring them to wire racks to cool.

Trust me, these are worthy of you – unlike those cupcakes.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

What’s the worst result you’ve ever gotten baking?

If you like this post, check out the rest of my Sunday Sweetness posts!

Isn’t There a “P” in Privacy?

7 Nov

Would you like to know when I am at my most fascinating and interesting? When I’m on the toilet. That must be true, because I’m fairly certain that every time my butt so much as grazes that seat, there is a knock – or a paw – at the door. It’s never for anything earth-shattering, no. For the record, if the house is on fire or you’re bleeding or Colin Firth is at the front door – you have my permission to knock. Any of you. Mostly, it’s “what are you doing?’ (DUH!) or “have you seen my favorite socks – no, not those the other ones?” or – my all time favorite – “I just wanted to know where you were.”

The dogs will actually come in. Nikki can open the door with her paw (damn those harp handles) and plop herself at my feet. It’s nice to be loved and all – but geez, can’t a mom pee in peace?! Have you ever tried to fit 225 pounds of dog in a 4′ square bathroom? Let’s just say it takes the “rest” right out of the restroom.

In the interest of full disclosure (I’m talking about the potty now, so we’re pretty much there, right?), I will admit that I do take my phone into the bathroom with me so I can squeeze in a few satisfying moments of Words with Friends or Yahtzee – so occasionally I’m just sitting there. Is that so wrong? Don’t tell me I’m the only who knows how hot that laptop can get when it’s sitting on your real-life lap.

Even if I am engaged in bathroom…activities, shall we say, that create a less than desirable aroma in the restroom – my kids will still let themselves in, if only to comment on the atmosphere and make helpful suggestions on what I may or may not have eaten. WHY??

I thought I was in the clear when my children were past the age when you had to have them in the bathroom with you for fear they would kill or seriously injure themselves unsupervised for 3 minutes. Evidently not. Maybe the tables have turned. Maybe they think I can’t be left unsupervised for more than a few minutes at a time.

Can I be electrocuted if I drop my phone in the toilet?

Am I the only one this happens to?

Lazy Sundays and the Mayans

31 Oct

Autumn Sky

In my world, a typical autumn day would be exactly like the ones we had this weekend – crisp, cool and sunny. It’s the ideal weather in which to get things done outside – so that’s exactly what we did. We raked, we cut down the gardens and cleared out the cuttings, pulled up the last remaining annuals and prepared the perennials for next year. We even scavenged the remaining survivors from the vegetable garden. I might be the only one, but I find something so enjoyable in working as a family to accomplish something. And get this – there was almost no complaining from the troops! What the heck is going on here?

Garden Work

The weather here was in such stark contrast to much of the northeast, where many of my friends remained without power (and therefore heat) after a crazy snowstorm. Generally, we’re the ones getting 24″ of snow, while my brother sees a mere dusting in his neck of the woods downstate. That’s just proof that something fishy is going on.

Leaves

You want more proof? Kitty and Flap played together yesterday. Without fighting. Seriously, maybe those Mayans were on to something.

In our typical “wait until the last-minute” approach to things – we set out yesterday afternoon in search of pumpkins to carve. Guess what? There aren’t too many pumpkins left out there at 4:30pm the night before Halloween. Who’d a thunk it?

The Last Pumpkins in Town

Against all odds, we managed to find 3 suitable pumpkins at a local market about 10 minutes before he was set to close. More proof. We hardly ever get lucky like that.

We headed home, prepared to carve our way to Halloween bliss. And then Flap threw up all over the stairs.

Just like that, life was back to normal.

How was your weekend?

*I’ve been noticing that the pictures I’ve taken with my Nikon DSLR lately are a little blurry – which is weird. Maybe dropping her that last time damaged something. So, no, your eyes aren’t going. I’ll be using my point and shoot until I can get to the bottom of this. Any tips?

She gets that from her father.

28 Oct

I like to think that I inherited my love of all things chocolate from my father, along with my insatiable need to figure things out. I know I inherited my height from him – and my exceptionally long toes. This may sound completely…inappropriate, but I remember during one of my last visits with him, when he was only moderately lucid and confined to bed, that I stood there and looked at his feet for a long time and realized that every time I look at my giant feet, with their super long second toes and bunions, I’ll think of my dad. And I do.

I have my father’s feet.

As a parent, I think we stake claim to a part of our kids’ special talents. “Kitty’s singing, oh, she gets that from me!” or “Flap’s great at math, just like his dad.” What I’ve noticed most often though, is that the little angels have also inherited some of our most annoying less appealing quirkier personality traits. For example, Beans, my outspoken middle child, will stage full-on Broadway musicals up in her room, complete with dance numbers and props – all by herself. I totally remember doing that as a kid – I can’t tell you how many songs I sang into a spoon or hairbrush. She has a sweet tooth that would make Milton Hershey weep with joy. My oldest daughter sleeps with the blanket wrapped right up to her ears, on her belly and always with her feet covered – presumably so the ghosts can’t see her. At least that’s why I did it. Flap has a tendency toward the overly dramatic. I have no idea where he gets that from.

My husband has what I consider an unusual aversion to certain textures and sensations. For example, he can’t eat tomatoes in a salad, but is fine with salsa. He will not eat broccoli. If I want him to give me a little space at the bathroom sink, all I need to do is get my hair gel out, squirt some into my hands and voila! Bathroom to myself! Kitty is exactly the same way. Rubbing on sunscreen gives her the heebie jeebies, as does any kind of topical ointment. (Frankly, I can’t wait until she has kids – I think I’ll be spending a lot of my time laughing my ass off.)

Recently, Kitty needed to have drops put in her ear to soften and clear out ear goobers. The stuff is basically a mix of oil and hydrogen peroxide – so it bubbles a bit. All she needed to do was stay still for about 2 minutes and then you’re supposed to use a little squirty thing to wash it all out. Easy peasy. Except she reacted like I was putting a live insect in her ear like some Survivor challenge. She whined. She grimaced. She squirmed. I think she lasted about 45 seconds. Fun was had by all.

And then today, hubby needed the same thing. Guess what? Same reaction with a slight adjustment to the whine/grimace ratio.

At least Kitty can say she comes by it honestly.

Along with her giant toes.

What do you and your kids have in common?

I’m A Banana.

26 Oct

I would love for you to be reading a totally awesome and witty blog post right now. You’re not. Would you like to know why?

In my house, silence is interpreted as a sign to talk. And bark. And even though you’re 7, edit what I’m trying to write. Or, if you’re 11, insist that I watch an inane You Tube video of a singing banana.

These are the things that have gone on in my house in the last 60 minutes, while I tried to write a brilliant post for you:

1. Flap threw himself off my bed onto the floor and then proceeded to yell at me because he was “really hurt.” This was before his miracle recovery when he discovered his missing Lego book.

2. The Beans pulled out her 3rd tooth in 2 days. I can only assume she’s doing it as some sort of financial planning endeavour.

3. All 3 dogs ran laps through the house that included running up and over my bed – except for Charlie, who requires a stool to get on my bed. Even though he’s big enough to jump on. He just chooses not to.

4. Kitty suddenly “remembered” homework she “forgot” she needed to do.

5. The puppy attempted to eat an Ugg boot, a roll of toilet paper and a hockey puck. Not at the same time.

6. There have been 2 sibling squabbles that resulted in Kitty being excused from the room.

7. I folded a load of towels.

Welcome to my world.

Oh, My Nose – Disaster Math, Chapter 2

24 Oct

This:

Plus this:

Charlie, the labrador retriever from hell

Equals a trip to the Emergency Room, a CT scan and this:

It’s always my nose that gets it. If you’re having trouble with this particular equation, allow me to solve for x. We have those windows that tip in for cleaning. That particular window is pretty low to the ground outside. Charlie was outside with his feet on the sill and I was leaning over asking him if he’d like fries with his order (drive-thru, get it? I crack myself up.) The next thing I know, he must have put his paws against the glass because the window tipped/slammed inwards onto my nose. It was awesome.

So there I am, on my knees on the floor, hands over my nose, blood trickling down my fingers – and what does my lovely middle child do? Ask if she can rent a movie. Seriously – where did I go wrong? I am SO using her toothbrush to clean the toilets later.

My nose is a disaster magnet. The perpetrators are almost always my children – and the worst injury was actually caused by aforementioned daughter when she was about three. Here’s a tip: Jumping kid’s skull vs. nose? Skull wins. That was the moment when I fully understood the expression “seeing stars” – I totally did.

So it’s not broken and I don’t have a concussion but I do have a black eye, a steri-strip and a killer headache. All of which justify a nap in my book.

The moral of our story is this: Don’t be a smart ass to your dog, he will get you back.

Sobbing in the parking lot…

17 Oct

My 12-year-old had her first school dance on Friday. According to her, it was “no big deal.” I think maybe it was a little bit more than that. Admittedly, when I first heard the word “dance”, I was picturing a cute little dress and some party shoes. As a mother, I can’t help it – I have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that my teeny tiny, chubby little baby who used to pucker her lips and make kissing faces while she slept has become a lovely, intelligent young lady. As it was, there was no dress – apparently the dress code called for something more casual: jeans and a top. I only managed to talk her out of flip-flops and into a pair of new ballet flats. (Score one small victory for mom.)

She went to a dance.

I’m not going to lie, I was almost awed by her self-assurance; she went alone, confident that she would meet up with her friends. Maybe I only think this way because it’s the perspective of a mom trying to recall the perspective of a 12-year-old, but I’m pretty certain that had that been a 12-year-old me – I would have needed my friends to meet me at the door, at the very least. As she walked up the stairs to the school, hurrying to get out of the light rain that was falling, I couldn’t help but think that perhaps we had done something right with our first-born.

Do I need to describe to any of my fellow parents the Herculean effort it took not to text her every 15 minutes? Or, even more, not chaperone? I could have, y’know – and I plan on reminding her of that. Often. Either way – I reminded myself that this is my job – to let her spread her wings and venture out into the world, albeit a little world right now.

I’m not a particularly sappy parent. I don’t usually get all emotional at their events, although there are certainly milestones that get me teary-eyed – like their graduations from pre-school, for example. I know there are moms that carry along a pack of tissues to every event, and use them all – but I just don’t.

I went back to pick up my girl, 2 hours after I had dropped her off. I was so…I don’t know…proud? relieved? excited? When she started telling me about the great time she had, about the deejay, about the dance moves, about her friends – I just lost it. I couldn’t get a word out. I couldn’t pull myself together. I just sat there and looked at my baby girl, well on her way to becoming a young lady – and was so happy for her, and in the same moment, mourning all the time that had passed. Realizing that even at 12-years-old, the time we have with her – living in our home, relying on us, sharing everything – is so short. It could never be enough. I just tried to soak it all in, to take a mental snapshot of the moment, trying to capture the look in her eyes, the little flush in her cheeks and the excitement in her voice.

On the drive home, she described all her favorite parts of the evening while I held her hand (she still lets me do that, I can only assume because I’m so cool.) We pulled into the driveway, and as she reached forward to open her door she proclaimed the dance “the best night ever”.

I took a moment to watch her practically skip to the door. And I realized that it was a pretty special night for me, too.