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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Best Damn Chocolate Chip Cookies

'The Best Damn Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe ' makes about 2 dozen
These are awesome cookies. The danger is, not being able to control yourself around them and that goes for hubby and kids also. Best to portion them out, a few at a time like nuggets of gold. Enjoy them.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
6 to 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks (one generous cup; it’s fine to just use half a 12-oz bag)

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars on low speed until it is smooth and lump free, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Add the vanilla and egg and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or until fully incorporated. Do not overbeat. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
On low speed, add the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate chunks and mix until they are just incorporated. If using a hand mixer, use a wooden spoon to stir them in.
Refrigerate dough for at least an hour, and preferably 24-36 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Adjust racks to lower and upper thirds of the oven.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Spoon the dough, using a large cookie scooper or a tablespoon, 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown around the edges but still soft, almost underdone-looking, in the center.
To ensure even baking, turn the sheets front to back and switch racks halfway through.
Remove the sheets from the oven and carefully slide the parchment or silicone mats directly onto a work surface.
When cookies are set, remove them to a cooling rack. Wait at least 5 minutes before serving or 20 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Geez Louise !! these are good.

Thanx to:

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
When my husband  and I married, we said  our  vows  that included  "for  richer or poorer, in sickness  and in health, until death do us part." I am now  65  and my husband and I are both retired. We have money  but my husband does not want to give me any  for any reason, including  gas and groceries. I recieve Social Security benefits, but my monthly insurance  payments eat most of  it . My husband  also has accounts at different banks in his name only . If something  happens to him, I couldn't use these accounts  for our household bills . 
My husband is facing  major surgery  soon . Here's the real problem; He wants some distant lady  friend  to be at his surgery. I've never met her. He only contacted  her a couple of months ago  and refuses  to tell me her last name . I don't want this woman here  . She is a stranger to me  and I would be uncomfortable having her around . What should I do ? 
Very Upset Wife 
Dear Wife ,
It sounds  as if  your husband  met this  woman online  and wants a little romance . There is no reason for this woman to be present  during  your husband's surgery . But worse  than  a fling  is the fact that he is keeping income from  you, setting up different accounts  to which you have no access and denying  you money  for  groceries  and gas. Controlling  the money is a form of abuse. Please call Domestic Violence Hotline ( (800) 799-7233  for information  and resources .
Dear Maxy,
When my husband  and I recently  visited  his sister, her husband said something  very racist . He recounted  how he had interviewed  a black woman  for a job  for which she  was prefectly qualified, but had declined  to hire her because  he "didn't want to work with black people."
I was shocked  and disgusted by his racist
attitude. I didn't speak up  because I didn't want to be  confrontational, but the incident  has been on my mind  ever since . I wished I had  pointed out  that his attitude is not only racist but also illegal .
I love my sister-in-law, but I am reluctant  to bring my children  into a household  where such bigotry  is acceptable . How do I stand  up against racism without  damaging my relationship  with my sister-in-law?
Principles or Family 
Dear Principles,
You don't have  to avoid  your sieter-in-law. You only need  to stand  up for  what's right  in a way that  doesn't alienate her . Should her husband  say  anything  racist  in your  presence, reply calmly "I strongly disagree with your position  and would appreciate it if  you didn't  say such things." Then change the subject . Later  when you have a private  moment with your children, express your views  on the subject and explain why you disagree with "uncle Bob." 
You canot  protect  your  children  from every reprehensible  thing they will see or hear . The best  inoculation  is to  teach them  your values  in a way  that makes sense to them  and will stick.
Dear Maxy ,
I am a psychologist  and my husband  is a psychiatrist . You give  excellent advice, but there is one area where you could be more helpful .
When people  seek low-cost mental health services  you often print  a list of places  where they may get help . Unfortunately, that list  might not be helpful  in a smaller, more  rural  area. While we have  several  colleges, none have graduate departments  that offer counseling . The YWCA  and YMCA  closed  with the recession  and the local churches  offer pastoral counseling only to their  own congregants .
The main low-cost  mental  health  services  offered in our  community  are through  the  county . This includes individual and family counseling, psychiatry and crisis intervention . We also  have a 24-hour  phone hotline to access  emergency  services . They can  also direct  people  to an outpatient  clinic  at the local hospital .
In addition  , Mental Health America (formerly the Mental Health Association) offers  referrals, classes  and support  groups . If people  are seeking  low-cost  help, please  recommend that they connect  their  local  county  government .
K .J. Goodman , Ph.D.
Dear Dr.  Goodman ,
Consider it  done .
I appreciate  the information   and will  definitely add county services  to the  list .

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Uncanny Look-alikes...Is time travel Possible ?

Beautiful Halls and Vestibules

Looking to transform a lacklustre hallway into a stunning corridor? Draw your inspiration from these stunning ideas..

Black hallway with table and lamps, Kimberley Seldon
A bold and daring color like charcoal is outstanding. Notice that the ceiling is also painted
A spectacular wall decoration and beautiful lighting can't fail
Hallway, tall mirror, small side table, yellow door
A very tall mirror makes the ceiling look higher and the hall look bigger
A large bright light fixture helps expand the space also
Vintage console front entryway
If your hall is very narrow, A shelf with fancy brackets can serve as a console
And baskets underneath are great storage for hats, scarves and gloves.  This is a good alternative if you are on a budget like most of us. 
book storage, home decor
If you have a wider hallway, shelves can be valuable storage on blank un-used walls
It makes a great library. I have used this idea myself. I also used the wood strips on the opposite wall
and added ornate, very old coat hooks that I found at  an antique fair
 A hall console made from an old sewing machine stand with a plank on top
Looks great in this industrial loft setting. If you like industrial, you can make a base out of any old piece of machinery or discarded furniture and put a nice finished piece of wood on top. I saw a great console made from an old tire stand and have seen one constructed from old copper plumbing pipes.
 A huge mirror appears to double the space and reflects the daylight
down a dim corridor. And guess what? Wallpaper is back. Get a bright, simple design and vinyl wallpaper resists fingerprints and scuff marks.
Stark white walls enlarge any space.  The wainscoting  softens the look and a hall runner warms it up. And this rustic console with bright blue and green accessories is a spectacular focal point in a boring space. You could stack small old suitcases below for storage of phonebooks or photos.
The coat rack was made from old industrial spools and a bench can be made from the base of an old coffee table at your local thrift shop. Just make sure it is solid and can take some weight on it. You can't have too many baskets. You will be amazed how fast they fill up.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Good Deeds... Instead of Bullying : Indiana School Bands Together to Help 510-Lb. Freshman

What started as one teacher's plan to help a student lose weight has turned into a school-wide healthy-living effort in Franklin, Indiana .

After suffering the death of his father and a long hospital stay, 14-year-old Eric Ekis entered Franklin Community High School School standing 6'4" and weighing 510 pounds. His size made him a target for bullies and isolated him, socially and mentally, from his peers.

When teacher Don Wettrick approached Ekis about exercising together, the embarrassed teen turned him down. So Wettrick asked a second time, a few days later. Eric turned him down again. At the end of September, Wettrick approached Ekis a third time, but this time, he didn't come to Ekis with a mission. Instead, he just asked the boy if anything was wrong.

The answer: His grief had turned to depression. Ever since his father's death, he'd given up. He wanted help, but didn't know how to ask.

So Wettrick went to work. With the help of popular senior Kevin Stahl, who takes his independent study Innovations class, the teacher organized an effort to help Eric get healthy. They started simple, with a light walking regimen, and then threw in more intense activities like yoga and basketball.

The project was more successful than they intended. Inspired by Eric, other students joined him in his efforts. The kid who used to sit by himself in the back of the classroom is now the leader of a gang of walkers who take laps around the school. Other students are focusing on eating better lunches in the cafeteria, and the school has plans to bring in a nutritionist to help them make healthier choices.

"This has almost been more an anti-bullying campaign," Wettrick told Today. "If more students wanted to help, as opposed to point and laugh, [it] can lead to great bonds and friendship."
Eric and Kevin now record a video blog marking their progress. While losing weight is one of the goals, they're trying to avoid a Biggest Loser situation – building healthy habits and self-esteem is just as important as slimming down.

Friday is Wettrick's last day in Franklin – he's moving to become innovations director at another high school an hour away – but Eric credits his efforts for changing his life.

"I was the one kid who was always invisible," Ekis told the Indy Star.

"Now that everyone's started helping me, I feel a whole lot better."

Witchy is giving  her views  as usual :

Who in their right mind would be stupid enough to bully anyone let alone someone who stands 6'4" and weighs 510 pounds? !!Good luck to you Eric!! You have a lot of people looking out for you

These  words are for Eric. Believe in yourself. Know that you are as good as anybody else. Remember that you have your whole life ahead of you for wonderful things to happen. I am so sorry for the pain and sadness that you have experienced at such a young age. It has and will continue to get better. Three very big words to remember - "Believe in yourself". Good job, Eric!

Damn, that brought tears to my eyes. THIS is how  all schools should be. This kid will take this sort of empowerment with him wherever he goes for the rest of his life. This teacher and all the kids helping out should be really proud of themselves for choosing to better themselves by helping this child feel better.

Lamb Chops with Frizzled Herbs

TOTAL TIME: 1 hour ....Serves 6

Frying herbs like rosemary, parsley and sage for less than 45 seconds in a half inch of oil makes them ultra-crispy; they are delicious with tender lamb chops.

1/2 .................cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 .................cup red wine vinegar
8 ....................large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 .................cup plus 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
24 ..................frenched lamb chops (about 5 1/2 pounds)
             **Vegetable oil, for frying**
16 .................sage leaves
1/4 ................cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
    **Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper**

1.           In a large glass baking dish, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the rosemary. Add the chops to the marinade and turn to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
2.           Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of rosemary leaves to the hot oil and fry for 15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rosemary to paper towels to drain. Fry the sage leaves until the bubbles in the oil subside, about 45 seconds; transfer to the paper towels. 3.              Add the parsley leaves to the hot oil and cover the pan immediately to avoid splattering; fry for 15 seconds, then add to the other herbs. Season the herbs with salt.
4.            Heat a grill pan. Scrape the marinade off the lamb chops and season the chops with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the chops over moderately high heat, turning once, just until pink in the center, about 6 minutes total. Transfer the lamb chops to plates, sprinkle with the frizzled herbs and serve.
Serve with a powerful Cabernet Sauvignon.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ain't it the Truth ?

  1. The simple truth!

  2. Evolution of love


Argue with a woman they say 


Handicapped Parking

I object to the idiots who zip into handicapped parking spaces because they are only going to be in the store a few minutes (or so they say). And my poor mother has to struggle with her walker for half the length of the parking lot because of their lack of consideration. Maybe a really stiff fine would get the message across. At least it would eliminate the cheapskates from the population of  idiots. I am sure there would still be a few who would risk it anyway.... The Genie 

Lamb Chops with Mint Aïoli

                         Yield: 6 to 8 servings
6 .................garlic cloves, minced
2 .................teaspoons dried summer savory
1 .................teaspoon salt
1 .................teaspoon pepper
16 ...............(2-inch-thick) lamb chops
1................. tablespoon olive oil
**Mint Aioli (recipe below)
       **Garnish: fresh mint sprigs**

1.               Combine first 4 ingredients, and rub evenly into both sides of lamb chops.
2.              Brown chops in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Arrange chops on a lightly greased rack in a broiler pan.
3.             Bake chops at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145° (medium rare). Serve lamb with Mint Aioli. Garnish, if desired.

             Yield: 1 1/4 cups
1.................cup mayonnaise
1/4 .............cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
4 ................garlic cloves, minced
1 ................teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 ................tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 .............teaspoon salt
1/2 .............teaspoon pepper
Process all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Rosemary-and-Black Pepper Lamb Chops

                          Makes 4  servings
Simple  season chops to get a hit  of  flavor  from a vibrant Mint Chimichurri sauce  Delicious  on  grilled meat , chimichurrie  is as popular in Argentina  as ketcup  is in America. My version includes  mint ... a classic flavor  pairing with lamb .

8................... (1-inch-thick) lamb rib chops (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 ...................tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 ...................tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 ...................teaspoon ground coriander
1................... teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 ................teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2 ...................garlic cloves, minced
  ** Mint Chimichurri (recipe  below )

1 .          Preheat  oven or  grill to medium high  (350* to 400*)
2.           Place lamb chops  in a large  bowl  and drizzle  with olive oil . Sprinkle  with rosemary   and next  4 ingredients   and toss to coat . Let stand  30 minutes  .
3 .          Place  chops  on a greased  grill rack  inside the stove . Cover and  bake   for  5 minutes on each side  for medium rare  (145*) ,  8 minutes  for medium (160*)  or  10 minutes  for well done (170) . Remove  from oven  ; let stand  5 minutes  . Serve with Mint Chimichurri .

Mint Chiminhurri  :
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: Makes about 2/3 of a cup.
2 ..........cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
1 ..........cup fresh mint (spearmint) leaves, packed
1 ...........cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, packed
2 ............tablespoons  red wine vinegar
1/2 .........teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4..........teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 ............tablespoons  olive oil

1.              Place garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until chopped. Add the mint and parsley leaves and pulse until finely chopped. (Alternatively chop everything finely by hand.) Remove to a medium bowl.
2.              Add the vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes to the mint parsley mixture and stir until the salt has dissolved. Stir in the olive oil.
Will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Heart healthy

Canada's Women's Hockey Team Left An Inspirational Note For The Men's Team (PHOTO)

Gold Medalists Brianne Jenner#19 , Haley Irwin # 21 , Hayley Wickenheiser #22 and Natialie Spooner # 24 of Canada celebrate during the medal ceremony after defeating the United States 3-2 in overtime during the Ice Hockey Women's Gols Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter OLmpics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20 ,2014 in Sochi , Russia .

As the saying goes, behind every men's hockey team on the verge of success is a women's hockey team that already won a gold medal.

Before Canada's men's hockey team faced off against the U.S. squard in a semifinal matchup on Friday it found an inspirational message waiting in the locker room. Three members of Canada's triumphant women's team left a note that was spotted by CTV National News correspondent Daniele Hamamdjian.

Wickenheiser, Szabador & Jenner left this letter in the Canadian men’s hockey dressing room.

 Witchy Says :
"Played like the champions they are"...and congrats !

Loopy Scarf....So Easy

Loopy Scarf Tutorial

If you're looking for a quick (but cute) handmade gift, you'd definitely want to check out this tutorial for a loopy scarf that is sewn -- not knit or crocheted.  Hi! I'm Carol and I am thrilled to have my first-ever guest post here on Sugar Bee Crafts. I blog over at Pure Sugar, where you'll find recipes, craft ideas (mostly involving yarn), and bits and pieces of  The best part of this project is that you don't need any special skills to make it -- all you're doing is sewing straight. Here's what you'll need: Loopy Scarf Tutorial A sewing machine One skein of Homespun yarn (or a similar bulky yarn) Coordinating thread Basic sewing notions Set your sewing machine to a zig-zag stitch. Adjust so that the stitch is somewhat narrow. Loopy Scarf Tutorial Next, decide how wide you want the scarf. I like to make mine approximately six inches wide, mostly because that width makes the looping easy. There are about three inches on the left and I use a rubber band to mark three inches to the right (for a total of six inches). Loopy Scarf Tutorial Loopy Scarf Tutorial Now you're ready to start looping! Holding the end of the yarn, make "loops" from side to side. Repeat this until you have about 1.5-2 inches "looped" and then carefully move up the yarn so that it's under your needle. Slowly start sewing, being sure to backstitch at the beginning. Try to get the yarn strands really close to each other, but don't bunch them up into a pile. Loopy Scarf Tutorial Loopy Scarf Tutorial Loopy Scarf Tutorial When you finish sewing together the first few loops, make sure to leave your needle down to secure the yarn while you continue making loops. You simply repeat this process until the scarf is as long as you'd like!
Loopy Scarf Tutorial

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Royal Guard

The Duke of Edinburgh thought it was a great prank to stand outside Buckingham Palace dressed as a guard. Unfortunately, the queen broke into laughter as she passed him and gave it away.