Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you've been following my blog for long, you may think that this recipe sounds familiar. Well, that's because it is! I made this some years ago (OMG over 5 years ago! How does time fly?). I decided to give it a post update, because I can tell you that this is my favorite easy recipe for chocolate chip cookies. While the Jacques Torres ones might be better, technically, they are also more complicated. These cookies are decidedly uncomplicated. No need for refrigeration or anything!

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by freshfromthe.com

I've made these cookies a great number of times throughout the years, and it was kind of sad to me that I never actually took some nice photos of them! Seriously, the old post is pretty sad when it comes to the photos. It was before I had access to a nice camera, so I was using one of those old digital point and shoots that doesn't let you get very close or choose where you want to focus. Yeah. Not great! But the recipe itself IS great! So here we are.

Notice how in the below picture that goop of chocolate in the middle looks like a heart? That was purely coincidence! These are made with love! Ha, sorry.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by freshfromthe.com

This time around I decided to try putting in some fancy chocolate discs along with some semi-sweet chips. I did about half and half of both, and while they're good, I would suggest either chopping up the discs in half, or to make larger cookies than the typical size. I did a couple sizes, and the discs worked better in the larger cookies. That said, you absolutely don't need to use fancy chocolate, you can just as well use all regular semi-sweet chocolate chips and they'll be just as tasty. Also, if you really like your cookies chock full of chocolate, you may want to add in another 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Personally, I prefer less, so this 1 cup is the perfect amount.

All of that being said, lately at my office we sometimes get lunch from this one place, and they bring in a plate of cookies, and my god I think they are my favorite chocolate chip cookies EVER. They're huge, have lots of chocolate throughout, in small bits and large bits, soft with just a tiny bit of hardness to the edges, and almost a slightly caramel-ness to them. I would tell you to go get them, but they only are available with the catering options, not just on the dessert menu, so I really have no idea if they make them themselves or not! So frustrating, because I'd looove to buy more of these. Anyway, enough babbling about chocolate chip cookies. Go make these if you enjoy a quick and easy and very soft chocolate chip cookie.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by freshfromthe.com


Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by freshfromthe.com

Perfectly soft cookies great for a weeknight treat - no refrigeration needed.

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In your mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and blend until well mixed.
  3. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Place tablespoon-sized drops of dough on your cookie sheet (or use a cookie scooper like me, it's much easier) about an inch and a half apart and bake for 8-10 minutes until barely golden brown around the edges. These will not get brown, so don't overcook them.
  5. Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. For me this made about 2 dozen.
Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by freshfromthe.com

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Buttermilk Pancakes

I've made my share of pancakes for the blog here. Well, I say share as if I've made a ton, when really I should say I've made a few. The banana pancakes have to be one of my favorites, but this one is right up there as well. You know what I don't like in a pancake? Flatness. These pancakes have none of that! They're nice and tall and fluffy and oh so good.

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by freshfromthe.com

It's funny, though, because typically I am more of a waffles person that a pancakes person. Technically I supposed waffles are easier to make then pancakes, because you just stick them in a waffle iron and kind of leave them to do their thing, but for some reason pancakes seem easier. What is that about? I suppose it might have to do with the hassle of actually getting the waffle maker out, and then having to clean it afterward, even though it's nonstick so it's not that hard to clean. Am I the only one who thinks this way??

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by freshfromthe.com

Nevertheless, if you were to offer me these pancakes, I'd say yes please! The touch of vanilla in there gives them some oomph without being too overpowering, and I also like that this recipe doesn't make a crap ton of pancakes. That said, if you're feeding a family, you should probably double the recipe. As it stands, it's good for a couple of adults and maybe some small children, depending on the level of pancake love going on.

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by freshfromthe.com

These are a great morning weekend recipe, so if you're looking for something easy and yummy for a Sunday brunch, definitely give them a try!

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by freshfromthe.com

Buttermilk Pancakes by freshfromthe.com

Delightful tall and fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2-4 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
Instructions:
  1. Heat oven to 225F and place a large baking sheet inside.
  2. Melt your butter halfway in a large bowl, then whisk in the sugar. Make sure it's lukewarm and not hot, then add in your egg and vanilla and whisk again. Then add in your buttermilk and whisk some more. Whisk in your salt and baking soda until fully combined, then wipe down the sides of the bowl and stir in your flour until it just disappears.
  3. Heat up your griddle or frying pan over medium, plop on some more butter, then dollop your pancake batter. I used a cookie scoop and made little baby pancakes. Once bubbles form on the top, flip that baby.
  4. Reduce your heat to medium-low, and cook the other side. Once golden brown on this side, remove to the oven. If you see some uncooked bits on the sides, that's fine, they'll cook in the oven the rest of the way.
  5. Repeat for the rest of the pancakes.

Recipe via Smitten Kitchen

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes by freshfromthe.com

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Supernatural 12x22 "Who We Are" and 12x23 "All Along the Watchtower"

Well, here we are at the end of season twelve. My goodness, can you believe it's been twelve years? That just seems nuts to me. Does anyone have any bets as to just how long this show will keep going? If they could quit recycling the same stories over and over, it wouldn't be so bad, but that seems to be what happens. A lot.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester and Elizabeth Blackmore as Toni Bevell in Supernatural 12x22 "Who We Are" But let's get on to what happened in this particular finale. It's not really a two hour finale, but rather the two final episodes smushed together on the same night, as the stories aren't really related. Honestly, it would've been more interesting to me if they had actually combined the BMOL storyline with the whole Lucifer baby thing, but...nope. Basically you get two finales, one for the BMOL, and one for the whole angel/demon of it all.

So, let's start with the BMOL, since that's how it goes chronologically anyway. As you may recall, Ketch left the boys and Toni stuck in the bunker with seemingly no way out. They work on trying to find a spell to do it, then try some blunt force, and ultimately come up with the grenade launcher that Dean's wanted to use for years now. It works a charm, though he gets a pretty gnarly leg injury. They need to find Mary, and also warn the other hunters out there, and wouldn't you know it? Mary just happens to be visiting one of our favorite hunters, Jody.

Luckily, Jody is no slouch, so she and Alex managed to capture Mary before she could kill anyone. They want Toni to reverse the brainwashing on Mama Winchester, but she claims it can't be done. Nonetheless, while Sam and the other hunters go off to raid and kill all of the BMOL at their home base, Dean has Toni hook him up to Mary with some kind of brainwave thingy, and he has a chat with her in her unconscious, which happens to be when he was a young boy and Sam a wee babe. He gets through to her just in time, because Ketch shows up and starts beating him around. Of course you know Mary is going to get the last laugh here, which she does. She finally gives Ketch what he deserves - a bullet to the noggin.

Meanwhile, Sam and the others perform their raid pretty easily, and despite Hess trying to talk her way out of them killing her, claiming they need their help since Lucifer is back, nope. Jody gives her one to the noggin as well.

So, the Winchesters are reunited once more. But will they remain so in the next hour?

Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester, Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester, and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester in Supernatural 12x23 "All Along the Watchtower"On to the actual finale, where we catch up with Castiel and Kelly, who are off at a cabin somewhere awaiting the birth of the spawn of the devil. She's annoyed with some Ikea furniture, blah blah. He sees some kind of rift in the universe, blah bl... oh wait. That's new. We're not sure what this rift is, but it's not a great world on the other side. Spoiler alert - it's a parallel world, not the future.

The Winchesters aren't sure what to do about Lucifer, particularly after they call up Rowena only to have Luci answer on the other end. However, as we all knew, Crowley didn't really die last we saw him, but stole himself into that rat. He red smokes back into his body, and gets a scene straight out of the season 4 premiere where Dean emerged from beneath the earth. So, yes, Crowley pops into the bunker and offers his help. He'll help them put Lucifer back in the cage, then he'll close up the gates of Hell, and they'll all leave each other in peace. Sounds good enough.

They still need to find Cas and Kelly, but once they notice some odd happenings in the Pacific Northwest, they're on the right track. While Mary hangs out with Kelly in the throes of labor, Cas shows the boys the rift, and what's on the other side. Basically, a world where they were never born, which means they weren't around to stop the angels and demons fighting an endless war against each other. But also means Bobby and Rufus are still alive, as well as the OG Mary Campbell. We only see Bobby, but I admit that was a surprise for me for once.

Lucifer shows up, so it's time for a new plan. Get him stuck over in the other world, and lock him in the cage there, seal the rift, and Bob's your uncle. They succeed in getting him to the other side, and Crowley works on the spell, but it needs one last ingredient - a life. Turns out, he's going to sacrifice himself this time around. And that death I believe much more. It activates the spell, but... Lucifer is still there? I don't get it. Was that just to close the rift? Whatever. It does start to shrink. The boys jump through.

But even though Cas tries to jump through and stop Lucifer from coming back over, he does, and ends up killing Cas in the process. Well well well, if this really is meant to end the whole angel/demon storyline and start things fresh, killing both Crowley and Cas would certainly do it. Lucifer turns to the boys, but Mary steps in with her angel-hurting brass knuckles and starts beating him up. Which is to get him back through the rift, which she does, but she ends up getting pulled along too, and wouldn't you know it? Right when it closes. So Lucifer and Mary are stuck in this other Mad Max dimension. For now anyway.

Meanwhile, Sam runs off to find Kelly dead, and child footprints leading to the bedroom. The kid ain't no baby, but rather is already a child with golden yellow eyes and a rather demonic smile.

Okay then.

Random Thoughts:

- There was a Bitch. Jerk. moment. Haven't had one of those in a while.

- Really? They kill Rowena offscreen? My goodness, the treatment of women this season. That's two more minor recurring female characters and one major recurring female character offed without much fanfare. I know a lot of people don't like Rowena, but if that is really the end of her... I mean. Wow. Wait! I also forgot they showed Toni dead barely for a moment as well, killed by Ketch we assume. So that's four total women killed with little fanfare. Mind you, Ketch got his comeuppance on screen. I know Toni we don't care about as much, but sheesh.

- Is this really the last we'll see of Crowley and Castiel? I'm wondering what the reaction to it all is, as I haven't looked at any of it yet. To be honest, I'm tired of the angel and demon storylines, so I would be perfectly fine with it. I know there is a huge Castiel contingent out there, but what does he really have to do anymore?

- And is it the last of Mary? That seems less likely. I feel like for sure they'll try to find a way to get back to that other world. Maybe they'll swap Mary and the kid or something.

- I mean, is the evil child storyline not similar to the Amara one we already dealt with? Grows up fast, has evil powers, yada yada. Let's hope they make it different. Otherwise, it wasn't that great the first time around.

- I almost thought they weren't going to use Carry On in the recap, but it showed up after all. Was it really necessary for two recaps, though? Just more evidence having the two of them air together was not the original plan.

Quotes:

Sam: Goggles?
Dean: Goggles.

Dean: I always thought we'd go out Butch and Sundance style.
Sam: Blaze of Glory.
Dean: Blaze of Glory.

Dean: Okay beautiful. Yippee ki yay mother--

Sam: Go to Hell.
Lucifer: Good one. Witty. I'll use that in the future.

Castiel: I've read 74 books on child rearing, and there is one thing they all agree on. Everybody poops.

Mary: Kinda always wanted to punch the devil in the face.

Previous Episode

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Supernatural 12x21 "There's Something About Mary"

Recap/review of Supernatural 12x21 "There's Something About Mary" by freshfromthe.com.Okay then. Where to begin. As you may recall, the BMOL captured Mary after she figured out what was going on and tried to escape. Now, they're doing mind whammy stuff on her to "realign" her as Toni says, drugging her up and having her kill other hunters. She's losing it, which is their goal, and even tries to get Ketch to just kill her rather than let it happen. But Ketch is apparently a total dick, and despite having the hint of tears in his eyes, does nothing.

Meanwhile, the boys have started hearing about the deaths of many hunters, including Eileen, who we saw not too long ago, and who was unceremoniously killed off in the opening bits of the show with little fanfare. Um. Okay. Sigh. Jody calls them up to tell them of some more deaths, and they're starting to put two and two together, particularly when they get a letter from Eileen saying she thought her phones were tapped by the BMOL.

They decide to search the bunker for taps as well, and lo and behold, they find the one under the table. So they set up a trap for the BMOL. Things seem to be going just fine when they capture Toni and bring her back to the bunker, only Ketch and some of the other BMOL are there waiting. Blah blah, they do a kind of cool shot 'em up scene that ends up Mary showing up in full brainwash, holding her gun on the boys and forcing them to let Toni and Ketch go.

Recap/review of Supernatural 12x21 "There's Something About Mary" by freshfromthe.com.As Ketch and Mary leave, he tells them he's reversed the oxygen, turned off the water, etc. to the bunker, so they'll only be able to survive for a couple days after the close the door behind them. And of course the please to Mary from Sam and Dean go apparently unnoticed. Ketch also leaves Toni behind, as they are both in contention for heading up the American contingent of the BMOL, blah blah.

Meanwhile, Lucifer has been getting help from a demon to weaken the spell on him, so he can get out of Crowley's grasp and find his unborn son, etc. Somehow, the spell has suddenly decided to start reversing, so by the end of the episode, Lucifer is able to start controlling Crowley instead of the other way around. He beats him around a bit, and seemingly kills him with an angel knife, but duh, no way will they kill Crowley in such a manner, and when you don't see the light and crap when he stabs him, it only confirms that Crowley stole into the rat he looked at before being stabbed.

And then the show ends on the weirdest and stupidest green screen ever of Lucifer standing on a mountain looking over the world. It looked so fake, good GAHHG.

Random Thoughts:

- So you're just going to keep killing off and/or neutering the strong females? Granted, Eileen isn't Jody. I think the fandom would truly revolt if they killed Jody, but come on. You basically killed a strong girl last week, and now this week again? For a show liked by mostly women, they still don't seem to have much respect for them sometimes. I'm sure some people will defend the decision and blah blah blah, but I'm just saying what I personally think.

- Is this the end of the bunker as a home base?

- Will they actually kill Mary off by the end of this? Will she remember who she is and kill herself before allowing something to happen to her boys? I feel like they aren't going to allow this other strong female to live through the season.

- Does anyone care about this stupid Lucifer child storyline anymore? I honestly wouldn't have cared if they killed Crowley at this point. Move on. Seriously.

- Like, I don't know, where does the show keep going? They keep recycling the same stuff. It seems like it will never end at this point.

Quotes:

Dr. Hess: Did you notice my sigh of relief? Oh right, there wasn't one.

Toni: Trust me, the cream always rises to the top.
Ketch: Oh I agree.

Dean: You keep that up, we're gonna have to start dating.

Lucifer: Master strategist. More like Kermit the Frog.

Toni: Rule of thumb... if you think we killed someone, we probably did.

Previous Episode -- Next Episode

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Natural Peanut Butter Cookies

You know how in most baking recipes involving peanut butter, they require you to get something like Skippy or Jif? Lately I don't frequent the "regular" grocery stores so much as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, so going out of my way to pick up the, while delicious, unhealthy, unnatural peanut butter is not something that's going to happen very often.

So what about using natural peanut butter? What's so bad about it? It's just a lot more oily than the other peanut butter, and typically a bit more runny.

Recipe for Natural Peanut Butter Cookies by freshfromthe.com.

But guess what? I found a peanut butter cookie recipe that actually works well with the natural peanut butter! They're not overly sweet, just peanut butter-y enough. Well, if you want it more peanut butter-y, then you could probably add some more. Because they're certainly not blasting out of your mouth with peanut butter flavor. Still, the consistency is nice. I would make them again, so that's always a good sign!

Recipe for Natural Peanut Butter Cookies by freshfromthe.com.

Now, you can certainly do the typical peanut butter cookie thing and criss cross them with your fork, but.. meh. I don't really care about all that! They turn out just as good without going to the trouble. I didn't even smush them down or anything, just used my cookie scoop and plopped them right down on there, and they spread enough for my taste.

You can also use either crunchy or creamy peanut butter here. I only had crunchy on hand, so that's what I used. The crunch I had doesn't really have a ton of nuts in it, so that could also make a difference. I wouldn't use one with too many nuts in it, or the consistency wouldn't be as great.

So get out and make these if you'd like some yummy natural peanut butter cookies!

Natural Peanut Butter Cookies by freshfromthe.com

A classic peanut butter cookie recipe featuring natural, organic peanut butter.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Instructions:
  1. Beat butter and peanut butter together until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the sugars, baking soda, and baking powder and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and egg and beat again until combined.
  2. Stir in the flour slowly on the lowest speed until just incorporated. The dough will be quite thick. If you want, you can add chocolate chips at this time.
  3. Chill the dough for an hour or up to a few days.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place about an inch apart on a silicon or parchment-lined cookie sheet. You can make a fork design on top if you want. I didn't bother.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. Let cookies rest on the pan for a couple minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe for Natural Peanut Butter Cookies by freshfromthe.com.