Photography ~ Cooking ~ Life

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

When I get down in the dumps I exercise, cook and/or bake. Sometimes exercise doesn't cut it, and today was one of those days. So, I baked cookies. Don't judge. lol I exercise so I can eat cookies. K?

This is a new recipe for me, and as with all recipes, I tweaked it to suit our personal tastes and to make it a tad bit healthier. People who know me know I do that.

First off, I doubled the recipe (yes, I know that's bad).

The changes I made for the recipe as it's written....I only used 1/2 cup of toasted coconut, and unsweetened. I cut the brown sugar to 1/2 cup (I may alter that down a bit more next time). I added 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (in place of 1/4 cup unbleached). I added slightly less chocolate. I know, but seriously, when a recipe calls for an entire dark chocolate bar and you can actually see how much 2 oz. is, you realize that 2 oz is A LOT of chocolate. I'm a (dark) chocoholic, but trust me, there's plenty of chocolate in these babies regardless. If you want overkill, by all means go ahead. I'll probably do it myself at some point down the road.

I'll definitely make these again. The texture is slightly crispy on the outside, and softer in the center. If you like coconut and chocolate together.....Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't...Sorry, I digress...If you like coconut and chocolate together, you should definitely give these cookies a try.

The recipe is from Cooking Light magazine.

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Arrange coconut in a single layer in a small baking pan. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in toasted coconut and chocolate.
4. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies just begin to brown. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire racks.

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Friday, April 11, 2014

Amish Cinnamon Bread

Our alterations included.

Amish Cinnamon Bread

1 cup butter, softened (used 1/2 cup)
2 cups sugar (also 1/2 cup)
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
4 cups flour (used 1 cup whole wheat - whole wheat pastry would also work)
2 teaspoons baking soda
Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan). Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until toothpick tester come clean.

Cool 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Friday, April 4, 2014

More birds.....

Several days ago a lone Canada goose landed in our front field. Within half an hour we had a total of six. They had a three day layover before heading on to their destination. I could only get two or three in a shot because they were too spread out (and no wide-angle lens).

In all the time we've lived here geese have flown over during the spring and fall, and they've landed and camped out in and around the ponds of our neighbors, but we've never had any land on our property before. If we had a pond they'd probably would have stayed a little bit longer. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Technically the 'professionals' will tell you to 'crop, crop, crop' those photos, but sometimes I have to leave a photograph alone. I like the stark contrast of the robin against the brown bark and bright green spring grass.

Spring is on its way!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Once in a while you find some fun stuff....

It's a fairly rare occurrence that I find anything at Goodwill. At least anything that I can afford. In my area prices have become so 'boutique' that I wouldn't even call GW a 'thrift store' anymore. Items that seemingly should be priced higher are rock bottom, while items that shouldn't even be in a garage sale are priced through the roof. It's pretty unbelievable.

The other day I popped into the local store because I hadn't been for a while. I happened upon this vintage jewelry box, which I nearly ignored because I expected the price to be much higher than it was. Turns out, only $3.99 - and in pretty good condition, considering. There's a minor tear on one corner, and the usual age related wear that one would expect on a vintage piece like this. 

Someone obviously dropped the ball on pricing.

When I picked it up I heard things rattle inside, so I carefully opened it, hoping that I might find some vintage jewelry inside. No such luck, but there were some odds and ends of jewelry findings. There were a few packages of glass rhinestones, and some metal pieces that I can use in my own work. Mostly it was inexpensive dime store stuff, but even that is a novelty these days. I mean really, how many people remember the five and dime? I barely remember those myself. I figured it was worth the price for the entertainment value if nothing else.

I have a similar, much smaller box that belonged to my mother. It's cream in color, well cared for, and has a wind up music box inside. I've never come across another one, although I'm sure they do exist out there somewhere.

Just a bit of what was inside....All in the top section, nothing in the bottom drawers at all.

I've sorted through, donated what I won't use to a local art supply charity shop, and will try to repair the torn corner, and replace the interior fabric. 

From the 5 and 10...The flip side....59 cents.

I've done quite a bit of research and can't even find anything similar on eBay. It's larger than any of this type that I've ever seen before, 16" across, and a light blue/aqua color. If anyone has any info. please feel free to share it. I'd love to know more about this particular jewelry box.

Happy first day of spring!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My newest 'taming/socializing' project

This little girl (?) showed up under the pine trees at the back of our property mid-summer of last year. Obviously not tame (terrified of people), but so terribly hungry that she was willing to take a chance. Me being me, I fed her (I can't stand for an animal to be starving), and also eventually put one of the dog houses (that our other cats had used) in one of the island beds. She actually used it, unless the weather was really bad, and during those times she'd stay in our neighbors barn.

She has since moved to the back porch and is much more social, but still far from tame. We can pet her now, and she is coming inside occasionally, so that's progress. She does freaks out whenever the door closes though, which of course is problematic at this time of year. lol We're working on that one slowly.

There is a jealously issue going on between her and Pantera (I'm his - period) and there have been a couple of scrapes, but hopefully that will work itself out. As for Turbo, he's still Turbo, and isn't going to allow some 'street cat' to take over his house. lol

Right now Eloise (or if need be Ernie lol) is in the kitchen chasing her tail, which I've been trying to discourage. Years ago we had another cat do that, and when she finally caught it, it was a traumatic experience for all concerned (her and us).

Hubby keeps asking me when I'm going to start using my powers for good (as opposed to???) by donating some time to a local cat rescue. lol

I probably should. I know I'd be good at it, because I've tamed all kinds of traumatized animals (including Peanut), but I also know that I'd want to bring them all home.
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