Category Archives: Reading Adventures

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies and a Reading Adventure



How’s your week going? So far so good here by me. Maybe it’s because of cookies. Cookies make things so much better! Are you upset? Have a cookie! Are you hungry? Have a cookie! Cookies solve all sorts of issues!

These cookies were awesome!

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies


  • – 1 ½ cups of flour
  • – 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • – ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt (or regular salt)
  • – ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
  • – ½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • – ¾ cup of brown sugar
  • – ½ cup of sugar
  • – ¼ cup of powdered sugar
  • – 2 large egg yolks
  • – 1 large egg
  • – 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • – 6 oz of dark chocolate (72% cacao), roughly chopped
  • – Maldon (or other) flaky sea salt ( I used coarse sea salt)


Heat  oven to 375º.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, fine sea salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg yolks, egg and vanilla, and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until well combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle a little Maldon sea salt on top of each one. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let them cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies were really good! So make a batch of these cookies and it might just make you have a great day!

The last book I read was in September or October. Actually I had read this book about 8 years ago but it was so good I had to read it again!

In this book, the main Character is named Dolores Price. Dolores tells the story of her struggle to adulthood through obesity, marriage, mental illness and other issues that hindered her. If you have not read this book run to your local library and check it out! It is amazing!



Rccipe Source Egg me on


Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies and a Reading Adventure



Happy Friday!

So far so good with getting at least one thing done a day at home! My house has been cleaned and I am starting to clean other things like my hutch. Wow…I have tones of tablecloths and placemats and stuff. I finally got them all organized last night!

That means tonight  will be stress free and hopefully so will the weekend!

I don’t make cookies that often. I feel for some reason like it’s so much more work than baking a dessert that can be baked in a 9×13 pan or something like that…maybe I am just getting lazy…I did break down and made these cookies because they just sounded so good.

I would say these cookies were more “adult-like”. They aren’t very sweet and the spice flavors are subtle. Perfect for those who don’t like overly sweet treats.

These cookies would be perfect when reading a book such as this one…

This book was funny but had a great message! It’s about a girl who doesn’t pay attention  to her life. When her “life” comes to her in the form of a human she starts to pay attention and see things as they are and fixes her life. It is quite hilarious and is an awesome read!

Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies


  • 3 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup  sugar
  • 2 teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/4 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon  ground cloves
  • 1 cup  butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup  strong coffee, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla
  • 1/2 cup  chopped walnuts or pine nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1 recipe  Powdered Sugar Drizzle


1. If desired, line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, and cloves. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

2.In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cooled coffee, and vanilla. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir to combine. Stir in nuts. If necessary, cover and chill dough until easy to handle (1 to 2 hours).

3.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into walnut-sized balls (about 1 1/4 inches in diameter). Place balls about 2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm. (Cookies may still appear soft. Do not overbake.) Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Drizzle with icing. Let icing dry. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

I went ahead and added a chocolate kiss to the center of the cookies right after I took them out of the oven. I thought they came out quite nice!



Recipe Source BHG

Baked Stuffed Orange French Toast


EEK! It’s October already! How does every month go by so fast! The bad thing is that the older we get the faster the time goes by! I feel like just yesterday it was September 1st! UGH! Almost time to think about the holidays! I am going to enjoy the fall to the fullest first!

I love the cool morning in the fall. Fall weekends mean cozy breakfasts. If I get up too late it might end up being brunch or even lunch. This Orange Stuffed French Toast is definitely a cozy and filling meal.

I love making this kind of breakfast when all my kids are home. I love filling their bellies!

Baked Stuffed Orange French Toast


1 loaf french bread, about 15 thick cut slices
8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
8 eggs
3 cups whole milk
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled plus 1 tablespoon for greasing pan
zest of one orange
1 tablespoon vanilla


  1. Generously grease a 9 X 13 deep-dish casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of butter. Place a layer of bread slices alternating direction of bottom crusts and top crusts to outside of pan. Spread half of the cream cheese on the bread slices and then sprinkle with half of the sugar. Repeat with another layer of bread, the rest of the cream cheese and sugar and then top with a final layer of bread.
  2. In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, butter, orange zest and vanilla together. Slowly pour over bread layers making sure to coat evenly. Wrap dish tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  3. To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about a half an hour. Bake covered for 45-55 minutes then remove foil and cook for another 5 minutes or until top is golden. Remove and let set for 5 minutes and serve.

***special supplies: a 9 X 13 deep dish lasagna or casserole dish. If you choose to use a regular depth baking dish, reduce milk by 1 cup and layer bread just 2 times rather than 3.

I chose to top the french toast with homemade blueberry jam but feel free to use your favorite syrup or topping.

This meal makes for a great start to the day…maybe even a lazy day!

Believe it or not I have kept up my summer reading well into fall! This particular book was excellent. It tells the story of several different people’s lives.

Even though those people came from different parts of the country, had different morals and different social economic lives their lives all crossed each other at some point in time. It is a very well written book and I’m glad I picked it up!



Recipe Source foodie crush

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and White Beans



We are finally at a three-day weekend. I have been looking forward to this weekend for five weeks now! That’s how long I have been back at work after a long vacation.

Who doesn’t love the slow cooker or crock pot? In Spanish  my mom and I call it the “olla huevona” or lazy pot. I guess we call it that because it makes cooking easier on us and just sits all day or night cooking delicious meals! Crock pot cooking is great! It took a while for my husband to come around to eating meals from the crock pot but then again he didn’t have a choice!

This Italian Sausage and White Beans was so tasty.

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and White Beans

  • 1 pkg. (5 links) Turkey Italian Sausage
  • 1 lb. dried white beans, soaked overnight or at least 8 hours
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into pieces
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic
  • 3 sage leaves plus 10 more for Crockpot
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel (optional, but good)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water (rinse out tomato can and deglaze frying pan)


In large soup pot, put soaked beans, celery, garlic, and three sage leaves. Add enough water to cover beans by a few inches and cook at low simmer until beans are starting to soften, about one hour and 15 minutes.  (Remember they will cook a little more in the slow cooker, so they shouldn’t be “falling apart” tender at this point.

While beans are cooking, brown the sausage well in a frying pan (or you can roast them in the oven if you prefer.)  Let cool enough to handle and cut each sausage into diagonal pieces.  (Browning the sausage adds a lot of flavor, so I usually brown the cut ends as well after they’re firm enough to cut.)

Drain beans, keeping garlic and discarding celery and sage. Chop garlic pieces. Add beans, chopped garlic, diagonally cut sausage pieces, 10 sage leaves,  canned tomatoes with juice and ground fennel (if using) to Crockpot. Rinse out tomato can with 1/2 cup water, then deglaze frying pan with that water, scraping off browned drippings, and pour into crockpot. Cook on high 2-3 hours, or until flavors are well blended. Serve hot.

I cannot tell you how tasty this was. And healthy. And inexpensive. This is a great addition to any slow cooker recipes you might already have.
I have my last summer read to share with you.
This was a good book. It was nice reading a book in which the main characters (the entire book really) had such an ethnic background. It is the story of a young girl who is engaged to be married but then starts a search for her biological father which brings her to the United States and to a world completely different from her own.
I need to push myself to continue reading throughout the year!
On another note I have tried out some new lip creams and lipsticks that I absolutely love!
I have used these for about two weeks now. The lipstick is moisturizing and not drying at all. The lip cream is even better than the lipstick. It stays on for a super long time and is not drying either. I need to stop buying makeup!
Have a great day!
Recipe source kaylnskitchen


Summer Picnic Placemat



My daughter has me addicted to watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. It’s kind of funny because the tutorials I like really don’t apply to me. I could not go to work looking like I should be going to a club…people would think I’m crazy! I am awful at doing makeup but maybe I will learn a little something.

I am still doing some reading and OMG! This last book I read was awesome! I could not put it down!

This book is so well written. The story of Nick and Amy and their marriage which takes turns and twists is amazing. Dead or Alive? Amy or not? You should read it!

When I am looking for simple sewing tutorials I always go to Crafty Gemini. She is amazing! I made these gorgeous Summer Picnic Placemats using her tutorial on YouTube.

Look how well the utensils fit in the pockets.

Roll the placemats up with the utensils and they are ready to be packed in your picnic basket!

Considering I am still a beginner sewer these look pretty darn good..all because of the amazing directions! So go to Crafty Gemini on YouTube and check out how to make these!

Happy Friday!



Tinga de Pollo and a Reading Adventure


Hey, Friends!

What’s up? Not much going on here other than a lot of procrastination with getting things done! I did see the entire first season of Call the Midwife. I love that miniseries-if that’s what it is. I had previously watched the whole season on tv but had missed two episodes. It is excellent. I am waiting for the library to get the second season so that I can watch that too.

I have  made my chicken for tacos the same way for the past 15 years or so. Little did I know that the chicken dish actually had a name to it. I guess I’ve been making a basic version of Tinga de Pollo without even knowing it. The only thing I never added were the herbs and the chipotle chile. I also used fresh chopped tomatoes which you can also do.

This chicken is delicious and could be used in tacos or on tostadas.

I could eat this out of the pan.

Tinga de Pollo


3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, slivered
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (or about 4 lg. chopped tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons sauce from chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 whole chipotle chile in adobo sauce, optional
5 cups cooked shredded chicken


Heat the oil in a large and deep pan over medium heat; once it is hot but not smoking, stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until the onion and garlic mixture becomes fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 minute.

Add both cans of diced tomatoes, oregano, marjoram, thyme, salt, black pepper and the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (if you want more heat add an entire chipotle chile in adobo sauce). Let it simmer, stirring now and then, until it seasons and deepens to a deep red color, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken and combine it with the sauce. Let it cook, occasionally stirring, until the chicken has absorbed almost all of the juices and the mixture is moist but not juicy.

Whether you serve this as a taco filling or on a tostada you can top with shredded lettuce and cotija or crumbled queso fresco. Add some refried beans or rice on the side and you are all set!

After you eat this delicious meal for lunch or dinner pick up a good book.I’ve kept up my reading so far no matter how slow it is!

Maya’s Notebook was an excellent read. The way it is written makes you clearly see everything that the main character sees and feel what she feels. It is the story of a young girl who goes through a very difficult life after her grandfather dies. It tells the story of how one can really hit rock bottom when they miss someone they love. The different characters are also described so well that you almost know them! I couldn’t put this book down.

Tomorrow should be a great day. I am so looking forward to spending time with family and friends!

Have a great day!



Recipe adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table



Coca Cola Cupcakes and a Reading Adventure


Happy Friday!

It’s been a suuuuper quiet week! I don’t really have a car since I let me daughter use it for her to get to her two jobs so I am kind of home bound! If I get a minute with my car I run to the store even if it’s just to pick up one thing! The sacrifices we make for our children…

Any way…I would never have thought of using Coca Cola in a recipe. Sure I’ve used 7Up and Crush in recipes, but I kind of felt like Coca Cola didn’t go with anything. Boy, was I wrong!

How beautiful are these babies!

I have pretty much given up pop-I only have it about once every 2-3 weeks now. There are so many negative things said about the sweet delicious liquid but it is so good! The best Coca Cola I have ever had has been the one made in Mexico in the glass bottle. Add some peanuts to a bottle and you have an even more delicious concoction. The babies of the supposed engine cleaning liquid and some basic baking supplies were super moist!

Coca Cola Cupcakes

2 cups Coca-cola (do not use diet!)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously spray the inside of the cupcake liners with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, heat the Coca-cola, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy–do not overbeat, as it could cause the cake to be tough.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners/tin and bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

As for frosting I used a simple buttercream frosting. Feel free to use any frosting you would like. Either way these cupcakes will get eaten.

Given the fact that I don’t really have a car right now I have been doing some reading. I just finished a book called Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. This book was really good.

It’s based in the 1930’s and  1940’s when there was still segregation. It’s a mix of the past and the present. It’s a love story between a man and a woman who according to many people were not supposed to be together because of the color of their skin. It’s also about the odd friendship between and elderly woman and a younger woman. This book brought me to tears.

I guess not having a car has actually been kind of good for me! Maybe I will read a million books this summer, OK, No I am exaggerating. I should be happy to read a few.



Recipe source