Sunday, November 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

This is a favorite of mine.  I got it from a magazine a few years ago and it is my go to recipe.  I love that I can make big cookies or small.  It is a soft dough, so don't panic when you scoop it out.  Enjoy!

4 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2  tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
2/3 c. sugar
2 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 large eggs, PLUS 2 yolks
2 T. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven.
Makes 40 +/- jumbo cookies

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Beat together buyer, peanut butter, sugars and oil with an electric mixer at high speed just until pale and creamy (about 2 minutes in a stand mixer; longer if using a hand mixer).  Add whole eggs, yolks and vanilla and beat until just incorporated.  Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture slowly, mixing until well incorporated.

Using a large ice cream scoop,  scoop dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Flatten the cookies with the floured tines of a fork making a cross hatch pattern.  Cookies should be about 1/2" thick.  For smaller cookies use a cookie scoop that scoops 3 T.

To determine the size of your scoop, fill with water and then empty into a measuring cup to see what size you have.

Bake cookies, switching position of the sheets half way thru the baking until they are slightly puffed and golden around the edges.  Transfer to racks to cool.    On the next batch, transfer the racks to the middle of the oven and cook until slightly puffed and golden.

Cooking times:  for jumbo cookies - 18 to 20 minutes
                          for smaller cookies 15-17 minutes

Monday, October 24, 2011

Elongated Stitch Dishcloth

My neighbor asked me to make this for her.  It was a dishcloth that her great-grandmother had for her and she hasn't been able to find anyone to make them for her.  I learned how to make an elongated stitch while learning this.  The dishcloth looks uneven in this pic, but really isn't.   I may have been trying to even it out for the pic and open up the stitches, but it really is square.

Size 7 needles
Cotton Yarn

CO 38 stitches

Knit for 8 rows (garter stitch)
Row 9:  Inset needle into stitch as to knit.  Wrap needle twice, then draw thru the stitch.  Repeat for the entire row.
Row 10:  Knit  row, dropping the extra wrap as stitch is pulled off the left needle.
Knit 7 rows (for a total of 8 knit rows - Row 10-17)

Repeat rows 9-17 to size desired, ending with a garter stitch row (don't end on the wrap row, but the row before).

Bind off

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Star Coasters
By LaDonna Maxwell
Materials needed:  
Left over cotton yarn (app. 100 yds)
Size 6 knitting needles
Darning needle
Cast on 21 stitches
Rows 1-3 knit
Row 4:  K2, P17, K2
Row 5:  K2, K17, K2
Row 6:  K2, P3, K1, P9, K1, P3, K2
Row 7:  K2, K3, P3, K5, P3, K3, K2
Row 8:  K2, P4, K3, P3, K3, P4, K2
Row 9:  K2, K4, P9, K4, K2
Row 10:  K2, P4, K9, P4, K2
Row 11:  K2, K5, P7, K5, K2
Row 12:  K2, P5, K7, P5, K2
Row 13:  K2, K4, P9, K4, K2
Row 14:  K2, P3, K11, P3, K2
Row 15:  K2, K2, P13, K2, K2
Row 16:  K2, P1, K15, P1, K2
Row 17:  K2, K6, P5, K6, K2
Row 18:  K2, P7, K3, P7, K2
Row 19:  K2, K7, P3, K7, K2
Row 20:  K2, P8, K1, P8, K2
Row 21:  K2, K8, P1, K8, K2
Row 22:  K2, P17, K2
Row 23:  K2, K17, K2
Row 24:  K2, P17, K2
Row 25-27 - Knit
Bind off.  
Hide ends with the darning needles.  Block to 4.25 x 4.25

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Week 6 - Am I there yet????

No, seriously, I am not done yet.  Just thought it'd be a good post title.  Well, last week was has been and gone.  I didn't have a bad week.  It seems to be more of a routine in my life that I watch what I eat.  I have "splurged" a little, but even then I was careful of how much I ate.  I discovered Emerald Cocoa Roasted Almonds.  They have 1 g. of sugar per serving!  They are awesome and have a crunch.  That is the part I miss about eating chips - the crunch. 

I tried on my pair of pants again on Monday - the buttonhole is a little bit closer.....I'm getting there.  Slow and steady wins the race.  My birthday was on Monday.  Sunday I had a piece of chocolate cake.  Figured I'm not going to die by eating just one piece.  One piece.  Seems like such a huge step.  Not that I would eat the whole cake, but that I actually quit eating.  I didn't even finish the piece. 

I've noticed I have a little bit more energy than I did last week.  I think I'll start exercising next week.  That's the plan.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week 5 - Still Plugging Along......

Another week gone by and a few lessons learned. 

Soooo, I had a pretty good week overall.  No big pitfalls.  It seems like I'm getting a handle on self-control - almost....

I think trying to find snacks in this new eating lifestyle has been the hardest.  I was so excited last week to find chips made out of refried beans.  I think they're called "Beanitos".  They were "ok".  They satisfied the crunch desire, but I'm still out on the taste.  It's just not tortilla chips, no matter how hard I try.  But I did get to eat some salsa and chips, so it's all good!

I've tried a variety of nuts as snacks.  I really like almonds, but not all the time.  So, I've ventured out to pecans, walnuts, and nut mixes.  However, I found some cocoa almonds that are to die for!  I think they are by Emerald Nuts and WOW!  Only 1 g. of sugar per serving.  I can definitely live with that. 

Cheese - I love cheese, but only certain ones.  I've decided I don't like the string cheese that is half cheddar and half mozarella.  It just doesn't work for me.  I like the pepper jack and the co-jack sticks tho so they are always in my fridge. 

I broke down and bought sugar free jello to make.  I love jello.  BUT, and this is a big "BUT" for me.   I'm allergic to aspertame.  It gives me migranes like you wouldn't believe.  So, diet sodas and sugar free stuff is usually out for me.  What to do, what to do???....  So, I found some Excederin Migrane and took it BEFORE I ate the jello!  End result, dull ache, but no full blown migraine.  There is hope :-)

So, what does this all mean in relation to my weight loss so far........well, I tried on a pair of pants that I haven't worn in almost 6 years (honestly, how many of you keep pants that don't fit you anymore for THAT long??? I think I have slight hoarder tendencies.) and (drumroll here) I got them on AND wore them to church!  How cool is that??!!  I honestly didn't think about trying them on until Sunday morning.  Never dreamed I could get them on, let alone wear them!  That has given me an incentive to continue.  I went and weighed on my Wii Fit on Tuesday and lost another pound.  Not a huge amount, but it's a loss and I'll take it.  I just wish I had started weighing myself before I started this lifestyle change. 

The jeans by which I measure myself every week (on Monday), are almost wearable.  I can get the buttonhole to the edge of the button and I could probably wear the pants, but I want to be able to button them up and wear them without feeling like I'm cutting myself in half.  So, I'm curious to see what this Monday will bring. 

Well, that's this weeks' update!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Things I learned This Weekend

OK, so I learned some interesting things this weekend. 

First off, I still crave sugar!  Not nearly as bad as I did, but I'm kinda disappointed that I still have that craving.

Second, we went to Dion's for pizza on Friday night and we ordered a pizza and a pitcher of Dr. Pepper.  We each got a small paper cup (12 oz?) and refilled as wanted.  Well, I filled up my cup and I couldn't drink it!  I was shocked at how sweet the soda was.  I never remembered it being that sweet.  I drank about 1/2 of the cup and threw the rest away.  I was really pleased with myself that I didn't go hog wild over having some soda.  I was also surprised that I didn't like the taste all that much anymore.  I asked for a glass of water and drank that more than the soda.

Third, never buy donuts for church (especially krispy kreme).  They just call out to you no matter what.  I tried one of them also - way too sweet as well. 

So, the lesson I'm learning this week is that yes, even tho I am craving sugar, the taste is nothing like I remember it.  I'm pleased with my progress so far.  I'm curious to see what this coming week will hold.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Well, it's been almost 3 weeks.  I haven't weighed myself and don't plan on it.  Been trying to figure out some way to check my weight loss (if any).  My clothes don't feel as tight and I'm sticking to the "diet" fairly close.  I'm not watching my carbs, but my sugars.  I try and eat only a things that have 3-4 grams of sugar per serving (or less).  I have learned doing this that I need to watch how many nuts I eat because even tho they have no sugars, they are extremely high in fat.  Now, it's "good" fat, not "bad fat", but it's still fat and I don't want to add anymore of that to my body.  I have had no bread in three weeks, no flour tortillas, only a few chips (I'm a sucker for chips and salsa), 2 pieces of chocolate cake (my daughter's birthday - but the 2 pieces were spread days apart).  Anyway, when I do eat something with lots of sugars, I'm controlling how much I eat.  This has changed a lot from what I used to do before.  I am become more aware of what I put in my mouth.  I use Splenda for my tea (which I drink almost all the time) and I've noticed I am using less of it.  I am realizing that my "sweet tooth" is shrinking.  I am not craving sugar or sweets like I used to. 

I have found a couple of recipes that really appeal to me.  Breakfast is a really hard thing for me.  I've never been a breakfast eater, but in January, I started cooking breakfast for my daughter before school.  I finally found an spinach omelette recipe that I liked.  Lunch is much easier as is dinner.  I made red chile meat this morning.  It should be really good tomrrow for breakfast. 

Lunch has been chicken salad (recipe on my blog), salads, hamburger patties and beans. 

Dinner has consisted of broccoli, salmon, shrimp, anything that doesn't have any flour products or sugar. 

It's been an interesting journey so far.  I have come to realize that I am not as tired as I was.  My body feels so much better.  I feel like I have a lot more energy.

So, what am I going to use as a way to judge my progress.  I'm thinking I'll use my wedding band to see if I can get it to fit my figure eventually. 

March on.....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A New Journey - losing weight one Sugar gm at a time

17 Years ago I gave birth to our daughter.  Since that time, I have yet to get rid of the excess weight I gained.  It's now time to try and get rid of it.  My first concern is the possibility of having diabetes.  No, I haven't been tested, but if you looked at my dad's side of the family, it's rampant.  My Mom's side, none.  I know that most things run from the Mom's side, but I just don't want to take that chance.  So, I decided 2 weeks ago to try and lose some weight. 

I think the biggest problem for me has been "hitting the wall".  You (or at least I) have to finally reach a point where enough is enough.  You are miserable in your clothes, refuse to buy a bigger size, don't want to look in the mirror and don't want anyone (especially your hubby) looking at you because you feel like you're bigger than your house.  The last one I know is not true, but at a certain time of the month, it sure can feel that way :-)

I have tried diet centers, weight loss clubs, gyms, walking, the Wii, the treadmill, my exercise machine, all to no avail.  I tried last October to lose weight.  I actually did it.  I tried eating 1500 calories a day.  I counted EVERYTHING that went into my mouth.  Do you know how tiring that is?  How frustrating it is to keep it at 1500 and not go over?  I hate living by my weight.  I want to go out and buy a size 8 pair of pants again.  I want to buy a Lg. shirt instead of an XL (which won't ever happen because I have really broad shoulders, but it's nice to dream).  I want to be able to wear my wedding bad.  I haven't worn it since I had my daughter all those years ago.  It sits in my drawer, very sad. 

In October I lost about 20 pounds, but then the holidays came and that counting calories went right out the window.  I welcomed all those lovely carbs into my life with open arms and an open mouth. 

Now, I'm not obsessed with food, but I do like it.  I love to cook and bake and share my goodies with my friends and family.  Thankfully, regretably, my husband only likes white cake with white icing, Snickers and peanut M&M's.  Oh, and cinnamon rolls, but I don't make them too often - they're a lot of work.  So, there normally isn't baked goods laying around my house.  There are however, chips and salsa and candy, lots of candy.

I don't own a scale -  I haven't in years.  I threw the thing out because I went to a diet place that had you weigh in EVERY DAY!!  Do you know how much your life ends up revovling around that darn thing?  I decided enough was enough and tossed it.  I now gauge by the size clothes I wear and in the scheme of things, I'm not doing bad.  I still wear the same size and have for the past 17 years or so.  The problem is, that is not where I want to be. 

So, where to begin.  Well, I have two dear friends who both have diabetes.  One of them lost a lot of weight by watching her sugars (not sugar, sugars).  She has been an encouragement to me and my other friend to finally jump in with both feet and get started to what I hope will be a successful endeavor.  This is a record of my journey.  It may be a short journey and total car wreck, but I'm going to give this my best shot and I'm bringing you along for the ride.  Hold on, it'll probably get bumpy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Shawl We Knit?

 I am a new knitter by most standards (going on 4 years) and I'm pretty much self taught.  I took a few classes at our LYS until it went out of business, so I got most of my basics, but the rest comes from trial and error, YouTube, friends, websites and magazines. I recently learned that I am a "thrower" when it comes to knitting.  I never knew how I knit has a name to it.  What's really funny is I learned to crochet when I was very young.  My Nona taught me "by copy".  She had a 2nd grade education (via Italy) and couldn't read or write.  So, when she taught me, she crocheted a block and then I would tear it apart and crochet it back.   I still have my many samples to refer back to.  But I digress.  When I crochet, I hold my yarn in my left hand and the hook in my right (not correctly either.  My mom used to say you hold it like a pencil.  I hold mine with almost a death grip, but not nearly as tight).  When I knit, I hold my yarn in my right hand and "throw" the yarn around the needle.  When I decided to take up kntting (right after my mom passed), I decided to do it right and take classes, thus the few that I took at our local store.  Since then, I've ventured out and tried socks (too big but I'm not giving up - they're on my "to do" list), hats and scarves (TONS of both), shrugs, dischlothes, and now..........shawls.  I am fascinated by knitted shawls.  And not just any knitted shawls, but lacy ones.  I'm not up to the "super fancy" shawls, but lacy ones, nonetheless. 

These past few months I have paired up with a friend of mine (Hi Rachael!) to knit a couple of shawls.  We are quickly realizing that there are more shawls that we want to knit than time.  I guess if I had to narrow what I like down about certain shawls, it would have to be easy to follow directions, stunning yet simple designs, the size of the needles and how quickly I can accomplish or finish them.  That being said, here is a list of what I am working on, have worked on and what I want to work on.  Maybe you might enjoy a few of them as well.  I am constantly on the lookout for patterns and I'm sure my list will continue to grow, but at least I can keep my wish list all in one spot.  Now, if I could only decide on the yarn to use for each one of them.....but that's a whole 'nother post.     (This was my very first one and I've made it at least 3 more times)  (Ok, this isn't officially a shawl, but it's still lacey and I loved making it - I've made it at least two times)  (I just got done with this one and have yet to block it - I learned a lot with this pattern - especially how to CAST ON 363, YES, 363 stitches).  I plan on doing it again very soon.  (Love this pattern so much I've made it 4 times)

My future plans:

There are more, but this is a start.  Maybe you'll enjoy a few of the ones I listed.  Now, any yarn suggestions? 

Monday, January 24, 2011

So, life has been crazy at our home lately.  Can't believe Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year has passed us by.  Tomorrow is my mom's birthday, so I think I"ll go and celebrate it in her memory.  Miss you mom!

Lately, I've been surfing the web for cowls and infinity scarves to knit.  I don't know what it is about them, but there is such an appeal to them. Then I started looking for "neckwarmers" and came across scarflettes.  I like them, however many of them or most of them require buttons.   My problem has always been buttons on anything I make.  I don't like to add buttons.  If I can find a way around them, I'll do it.  So, that being said, I just finished off the "Autumn Leaves" Scarflette ( and Candy Wrapper Scarflette.  Both turned out beautiful, but I wanted that something "special" to finish them off so I thought "Why not vintage??"  So, what do you think?

I decided to use vintage pins!  That makes the scarflettes adjustable for me or anyone I give one to.  So, if you hate to make buttonholes or don't know where to sew the buttons on, consider going vintage!  Vintage pins, that is!  Have a blessed day.
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