Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mile High (Altitude) Snickerdoodles

When my daughter and her friend were in middle school, they decided one day to make Snickerdoodles.   They had a serious discussion about the lack of Snickers in Snickerdoodles.  So they decided to cut some up and add them to their cookies.  I suppose you could too if you want to, but mine are the old fashioned variety and after I make a batch, they rarely last more than two days in the cookie jar. 

Dough is ready as soon as you make it, but I refrigerated mine so I could take my son to hockey practice. 

As with any of my cookies, you start with butter.  Mom told me when she makes cookies, if the recipe calls for two sticks, she uses one butter and one margarine.  Then she told me that our grandson doesn't like her cookies.  Hmmmm.  Could butter be the magic ingredient that makes cookies so delicious?  I would like to think so.  That and my heavy whipping cream. Yup. Heavy whipping cream.

I used to keep an old margarine tub of cinnamon sugar.  Now I just keep it in a sprinkle jar so my family can indulge in cinnamon toast whenever they want. Trouble is, they keep forgetting it's there.  Still, it comes in handy for Snickerdoodles, Sautéed Apples, and French Toast.  

Cinnamon Sugar has many uses! And doesn't go bad!

After I make my 1-1/2" balls of cookie dough, I just pour some cinnamon sugar into a little glass bowl and drop a ball in, swirl it around and coat it nicely.  I tend to make all my balls first in hopes of getting even balls but I never quite succeed with this effort, yielding different sized cookies in all my batches.  None-the-less, I like to ball all, then coat all.  Then baking is a breeze.

Patience is a virtue I am still learning.  Here are the first few balls for the sake of this picture :)

I had leftover cinnamon sugar, so I took the fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie and flipped it over in the sugar for an extra coating.  The family did not complain.

Careful! Hot cookies break easily!

My family loves homemade cookies.  I can hardly keep up with them eating them all up.  I hope you find that your family gobbles them up too.

xo ~
Rolly <3

Snickerdoodles! YUM!

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 stick salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 eggs
  • 2 T heavy whipping cream


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar; stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Blend butter and sugar until creamy. 
  • Add vanilla extract, egg and heaving whipping cream.
  • Slowly sift dry ingredients into batter, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition
  • Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls.
  • Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2T ground cinnamon in a small bowl.  Drop dough ball into bowl and swirl to coat.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place dough ball at least 2" apart.
  • Bake 9-12 minutes.
  • Cool at least one minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Strawberry White Chocolate and Chocolate Mint Cake Mix Cookies

Sometimes, you just want something a little different. Today's cookie adventure was a Strawberry with White Chocolate Chip and a Chocolate with Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies made from cake mixes.  Although the cake mixes I purchased were from different companies, both were the same weight and neither had a high altitude adjustment.  I stopped by my local market, only to find nary a mint chocolate chip in the baking aisle.  But from my previous experiment with a sheet cake mix cookie, I knew Walmart (bless their hearts) sells Andes crushed mints in their baking aisle. This turned out to be fortuitous because Walmart sold all the items I needed for a better price. 

The end result was a crunchy, almost shell-like exterior with a soft interior bursting with flavor that got rave reviews from all of my kids and even my grandson.  Each batch yielded about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.  I'm not for sure because I don't know how many disappeared between batches.  I initially set my oven to 350 degrees but I found that my usual 9 minutes left the white chocolate slightly charred and the inside still a little raw.  I adjusted to 325 degrees and a longer bake time with good results.

The strawberry batch was extremely gooey so I added a 1/4 cup of flour to the dough.  Even with the additional flour, this cookie is a very sweet cookie.  My sweet little grandson's nose caught a whiff of them cooking and he inquired if I was making cake.  When I told him I was making cookies he said, "It smells like cake."  Smart little boy.  He helped himself to two cookies and a glass of milk saying, "These are too sweet!"  I think he mean that as a compliment because he added, "I'm going to ask Mommy to make these too!" and then asked if he could take some home.

Oddly enough, the chocolate batch didn't require any additional flour, which I attribute to the cocoa powder in the cake mix.  Having made a couple of chocolate cookies, I do think that cocoa powder tends to make your baked goods dryer than flour alone does.  My oldest son told me the chocolate cookies tasted like Thin Mints and suggested I individually dip each cookie in melted chocolate.  To which I replied, "NO" and he was pretty okay with that.

Any number of combinations can be made with these cake mixes, and they are incredibly cheap.   Just check out your cake aisle at your local grocery market and see what kind of yummy combinations you can come up with.  Red Velvet cookies would be quite lovely with a white chocolate chip.  Or how about a German Chocolate cookie with coconut and a chocolate drizzle?  Hope you'll let your tastebuds go on a culinary cake mix cookie adventure!

xo ~
Rolly <3

  • 1 cake box mix (based on batter, you may need to add 1/4 cup flour)
  • 1 stick salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup of some kind of chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Mix butter, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and eggs together in a mixing bowl until blended 
  • Slowly add the cake mix in about 1/4-1/2 cup batches until mixed well
  • Fold in chocolate chips
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and heap dough in roughly 1" mounds, at least 2" apart
  • Bake 9-12 minutes
  • Cool at least one minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Mile-High Pound Cake and Cupcakes ***AMENDED***

Amendment: Funny how when you make something once then make it again it can be two completely different outcomes.  King Arthur Flour posted a video the other day about the proper way to measure flour.  Check it out here  My second go at this yielded much less batter. You would think that would make the outcome that much more buttery-delicious.  Not so.  The cheaper butter I bought at the store to pinch some pennies left everyone in my household feeling somewhat cheated out of what should have been a buttery slice of heaven.  The first time, I baked it for 1 hour.  Because the second one yielded so much less batter, it needed much less baking time.  So be wary!  Spend the money on good butter! My original post follows below :) 

So the other day I made some delicious Mile-High Pound Cake because my oldest son loves Sara Lee variety. Wanting to save some pennies, I halved a recipe I found and tweaked it for Mile-Highness and for my own love of vanilla extract.  I was skeptical about the recipe because of all the added liquids yielding such a thick batter and it didn't give a temperature.  Most recipes are 350 degrees, so I increased accordingly to 375 degrees for the 5K+ Mile-High adjustment.

Still worried, I consulted with my friend and fellow baker.  She assured me that cakes in the Mile High always have a thicker than normal batter, and urged me to lower my temperature to 350 degrees. I did momentarily, but reading about the faster evaporation at higher altitudes, I thought better of it and returned it to the original 375 degrees.  The end result, quite lovely.  In retrospect, I think I would have used a regular loaf pan instead of the casserole dish, but this cake was gone the next day! 

I baked mine for 1 hour then gave it a toothpick test. 

So for Labor Day, I searched for a cupcake recipe and found that lo and behold, the cupcake recipe from another source, was indeed the same recipe as the pound cake with additional milk added to it.  I increased that even more, but I think it muted the buttery taste of the original recipe.  And who wants muted buttery taste?  Not this girl, so I'm sticking to my original recipe.

So as with any baked recipe, I start by mixing my dry ingredients in one bowl and my butter and sugar in a separate bowl.  Continue to add wet ingredients to the batter, one at a time, mixing well between each addition before sifting in dry ingredients.  Cupcake recipes always tell you to pour your batter in 3/4 of the way full.  I think this is too full and creates a large muffin top. And I always have one or more that are excessively muffin-toppy for some reason.  I opted for a 1/2 full instead to avoid the muffin top all together. 

Being a new recipe, I'm sure I opened my oven too many times to check on the progress.  In the end I overcooked my cupcakes to a golden brown because I was thinking of the delicious crust of the pound cake. They ended up with a crunchy shell, but very moist and airy on the inside.  Next time, I will decrease my time so they are not golden brown, and just do the good ol' toothpick test.  I'm thinking closer to 18 minutes versus the 24 minutes I did these for.  Add a homemade buttercream frosting and voila! C'est Magnifique! Gobbled up and not a one was left after the Labor Day BBQ.  

Sweet little cupcake, made from scratch
Why oh why do you wear such a crunchy shell?
Opened up soft, sweet little treat, this batch.
High altitude liquids, your secrets, do tell! 

Hope you'll try them. Yum! 

xo ~
Rolly <3

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 T heavy whipping cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. In a separate larger bowl, mix sugar and butter until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and mix to combine
  5. Add vanilla and whipping cream. Mix to combine.
  6. Sift dry ingredients into batter, about a 1/4-1/2 cup at a time, mixing between each addition.
  7. For pound cake, pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour - 45 minutes to an hour and 10 minutes.
  8. For cupcakes, use cupcake liners. Pour batter 1/2 full into each cup. Yields about 15 cupcakes. Bake 18-22 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Mile-High Chocolate Sugar Cookies

High altitude baking is terribly confusing to me.  Various websites will tell you that baking at high altitudes causes evaporation and leavening to occur more quickly. This apparently messes with the cellular structure of your baked goods, particularly cakes, causing them to "fall".  To coin this generation's favorite retort to anything, "Wait, what?" You could text to my kids, "We're having steak for dinner tonight." and they would each respond, "Wait, what?" Oh how many times I've asked, "How is this a 'Wait, what' moment?" to which I get no response whatsoever. 

But to get back on track...  I love Colorado.  I can't imagine living anywhere else.  I love the lack of humidity.  I love autumn with all the glorious and beautiful colors and I love the cooler weather that accompanies it.  I love snow.  While all my transplanted friends complain after two snow storms (That's not a snow storm! That's just a light dusting!), I love the gently falling snow with the huge snowflakes or even the fast pace of a good blizzard.  Hot chocolate, anyone?  I love Colorado. I hate high altitude baking adjustments.  

My irrational fear of high altitude adjustments were justified in a failed attempt at homemade Oreo cookies. Never blogged it because they were terrible. Something akin to a very dry, flat brownie that was badly in need of more sugar.  Flavor-wise, not bad.  Rich.  But did I mention they were dry? I ended up throwing over half of them out.  Yes, I ate the other half out of guilt.  
A quarter cup of molasses should do just fine, right? Yes. It did just fine.

Tired of baking the same four recipes for cookies,  I came across a recipe for chocolate sugar cookies.  If you ask me, it looked as if it had already been high altitude adjusted (1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour plus 2T).  Am I supposed to know the altitude of geographic locations I don't live in???? She didn't give her city (which I can't say I blame her), just her location-ish.  I adjusted. And adjusted more because I don't understand the decreasing of butter if it is indeed a liquid in baking which I am supposed to increase for high altitude.  And adjusted more because I didn't have one of her key ingredients. And adjusted again because, dang that is a lot of sugar.  And again because, dang that is a lot of vanilla (yes, I said that and I love vanilla). And I adjusted again because I just add heavy whipping cream to everything I bake.  And again because I didn't want to waste two sticks of butter on a dry cookie no one but me will eat. The end result? A gooey dough. Refrigeration followed.
Okay, it wasn't that gooey. Tapped off excess confectioners sugar into my dough!

After attempting to roll them into balls, and finding that the refrigeration quickly came back to room temperature (yes, I didn't wait long enough because I'm me), I finally just spooned it. Two spoons in a sword fight over the shape of the dough.  Hers had a lovely coating of what looked like confectioners sugar even though her recipe called for granulated sugar.  I tried both.  Neither turned out like hers so in the end I just ix-nayed the sugar because ultimately, sweet enough without the added calories.
Excess confectioners sugar... meh. Just bake it!
Wait, what just happened. See what I just did there.  My version of "Wait, what?" IX-NAY the UGAR-SHAY.
The taste? YUM.  A fine meld of chocolate, sugar and butter with a soft center and crunchy exterior. I'm telling you, add 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream to everything you bake. Oh. Em. Gee.
Mmmmm. Moist, chocolatey and buttery too. Yum.

Hope you'll give it a try! 

xo ~
Rolly <3

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup unpacked light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 T heavy whipping cream

  1. Combine dry ingredients except cocoa powder in a bowl.
  2. In a separate larger bowl, mix sugar and butter until creamy.
  3. Add 1/4 cup molasses, mixing again until combined.
  4. Add vanilla, eggs, and whipping cream. Mix to combine.
  5. Add cocoa powder - very messy - be gentle.
  6. Add dry ingredients about a 1/4-1/2 cup at a time, mixing between each addition.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Drop by heaping teaspoon onto parchment lined cookie sheet with at least 2" space between each
  10. Bake 10-12 minutes. 
  11. Cool on sheet 1 minute before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mermaid Tail Cocoon Blanket

It's been a while since I shared a crochet project. Boy was this a labor of love!  This one is a Christmas present for my niece. I hope she likes it! I can see her now, sitting on the couch, reading her favorite book in her mermaid tail blanket!

Back view with tail flipped over. Seam is visible, but barely.
I’ve seen a slew of these online. Some made entirely of the crocodile stitch and some made this way. I started out with a crocodile stitch cocoon but found it was very bulky and I couldn’t imagine my grandbaby swaddled in it comfortably. Besides, she’s a hot one, and the crocodile stitch makes your project pretty well insulated. I think I started this project over about six maybe seven times. I have Obsessive Crochet Disorder. Even looking at this finished product, I think I would like to redo the tail, but NO! 

I started out with a single crochet that I did in four rows in the round, using back loop only. I love the way it ridges when you do that. I will say, I ended up closing it so her feet won’t stick out, so I think a SC row of 18, back loop only is fine also. After your fourth row, just back loop DC around one side and front loop DC until the other side until you close your circle. It works. I actually did it on one of my prior attempts. 

Double crochet each subsequent row, increasing every fourth row until it is the appropriate width. Each increase adds six stitches to the row. I marked the row where I stopped at 72 DCs with a different color yarn so I could count how many rows to add from there for the pattern, but truly, this depends on the height of the wearer, so I don’t think it matters. For the record, I added 40 more rows of 72 DCs. 

Yarn to show end of increases is at the seam. Barely visible from this vantage point. 

My first few attempts had a very visible seam that moved around the tail at a diagonal. I didn’t like it at all. Some people say your starting DC is a CH 3. Some say it is a CH 2. So I played around with that, but it really didn’t make much of a difference. The trick, I found, was to turn the work over at the end of each row. So when you finish off one row, turn the work around, so you are working back over what you just finished. SL into the first gap, which is the last stitch you made in the previous row. CH 2, then DC into each gap around. The seam is almost invisible. And she’ll be sitting on it anyway.

The tail is also ridged with a HDC, back loop only. Love it. Gives it a nice texture. When it was completely assembled, I added some bells - because who doesn’t like a jingle? And a few white beads to embellish. This tail is two pieces. I think in the future, I would make it one piece so that the center where you combine the two pieces isn’t such a huge gap.

At the top, I finished the row with a crocodile stitch around then added shell buttons on either side of each crocodile, alternating back (white) and front (shell). I did sew down the centers of my crocodile stitch with a yarn needle because they don’t lay very flat). Unfortunately, it's very hard to see in this picture.

So, while this pattern is, eh discretionary depending on your wearer, I hope you find it easy to follow and that you'll try to make one for someone you love!   

Rolly <3

CH = Chain     
STs = Stitches    
SL = Slip Stitch
DC = Double Crochet    
HDC = Half Double Crochet              
CRST = Crocodile Stitch 
FPDC = Front Post Double Crochet                           

I used a one pound skein of Red Heart yarn and a size K hook.
Foundation Row:  CH 36; join with SL into 1st ST
Row 1:  CH 1; SC into top loop only around, joining in last ST with SL; 36 STs around
Row 2 – 4: Repeat row 1
Row 5: SL into first gap. CH 2; DC into each gap around; SL into the top of first DC; 36 STs around
Row 6-7: Turn work around; SL into first gap (the one you just finished). CH 2; DC into each gap around; SL into the top of first DC; 36 STs around
Row 8:  Turn work around; SL into first gap. CH 2; DC into the next 4 STs; DC 2x into the next ST (increase made); *DC into the next 5 STs; DC 2x into the next ST (increase made); repeat around from *; SL into the top of first DC; 42 STs around
Row 9-10: Turn work around; SL into the first gap; CH 2; DC around; SL into the top of first DC; 42 STs around
Row 11:  Turn work around; SL into first gap; CH 2; DC into next 5 STs; DC 2x into the next ST (increase made); *DC into the next 6 STs; DC 2x into the next ST (increase made); repeat from *; SL into the top of first DC; 48 STs around
Row 12-13:  Turn work around; SL into first gap; CH 2; DC around. SL into top of first DC; 48 STs around
Row 14:  Turn work around; SL into first gap; CH 2; DC into next 6 STs; DC 2x into the next ST (increase made); *DC into the next 7 STs; DC 2x into the next ST (increase made); repeat from *; SL into top of first DC; 54 STs around
Row 15-16: Turn work around; SL into first gap;  DC around; SL into top of first DC; 54 STs around

Continue increasing every 4th row until you have the width you want. 
·      increase every 8th ST  = 60 STs around
·      increase every 9th ST  = 66 STs around
·      increase every 10th ST = 72 STs around
·      increase every 11th ST = 78 STs around etc., etc.,

Once you get to the width you want, continue turning your work, and working into each gap until you get the length you want. I stopped mine at 72 STs around, and then worked another 40 rows of DC. My niece is about 4’ 10” tall. 

Crocodile stitch row! A CRST is basically a FPDC around a one post going down, and then a FPDC going up the next post. There is a CH 1 between the two posts. If you’ve never done a crocodile stitch, please watch this fabulous tutorial by Mikey with the Crochet Crowd. He is awesome. 

      Row 40:  Once you have finished row 40 of DCs, finish off the row, by SL into the top of the first DC. Then, CH 2; FPDC down the post directly beneath your CH 2 four times (as the first CH 2 counts as your first DC); CH 1; grab the next post and FPDC up that post 5x; *SKIP 5 POSTS; grab the 6th post and FPDC down that post 5x; CH 1; FPDC up the next post 5x; repeat from * to end of row and SL into the top of the first DC in the first CRST. 

      TAIL: I used Michelle's pattern though I changed it up a bit with the number of decreases in each row and ended up adding an additional row at each end to make it larger. Thanks Michelle!!

It’s easier than it sounds. Watch Mikey’s video!! I hope you have great success with your project!

Mom's Potato Salad Tweaked (Now it's My Potato Salad)

Growing up, Mom always made a potato salad with slivered onions and cucumbers that she would sprinkle with salt to bring the water out.  She would then wring them out as much as possible before adding it to her potato salad.  I always thought it was an odd thing to add to her salad.  People loved my mother's potato salad.  Me, not so much.  Well, I loved the flavor of her salad, just not the slivered onion and cucumbers.  To me, they were just soggy and icky.  But others enjoyed it so who was I to complain? 

I use Mom's basics for potato salad.  Mayonnaise, mustard, sweet relish.  But potato salad is already soft, so I like the added texture of finely diced celery and onions to add a crunch.  And if I do cucumbers, they are sliced on the side, crunchy, not wrung out.  

While not an staple in our household, I find that potato salad goes very nicely with just about any meat.  I especially love it with a teriyaki or BBQ'd meat that has a sweetness to it, but I find it goes nicely with just about any kind of meat as well.  Mom even put leftover potato salad in my sandwich for lunch.  I always found that odd too, but my husband said, "That sounds good!" so he may get some in his sandwich tomorrow. 

I started with four small potatoes that I cleaned with Fit and a scrub brush.  I then quartered them and covered them with cold water.  Mom would make a bunch of potatoes, but I found that these four small potatoes yielded enough to serve 5-6 people. Boil them until they are toothpick tender.  I also hard boiled two eggs.  I always bring my eggs to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes even though I've been told it should only be 15 minutes.  They never get that grey color that indicates overcooking, so it works for me because I want my yolk cooked through.  Perhaps it's the high altitude.

The key to a nice peeled egg (not that it matters here) is to dump out the hot water immediately and run your eggs under cold water.  This serves two purposes.  The first, of course is to stop the eggs from continuing to cook.  The second is that your egg will actually condense a little inside its shell.  Crack around the egg while it's still warm, let some cold water run into the cracks, and give it a swipe.  The shell will peel right off.  Wait too long and the egg cools down too much.  The shell will stick to the egg white making it a painful peeling experience. 

While you wait for your boiling pots to do their thing, in a large bowl combine 1/4 cup of mayonnaise plus 2T, a tablespoon of yellow mustard and 3 tablespoons of sweet relish.  Mix well.  Add to that, a 1/4 cup of finely diced white or yellow onion and 2-3 stalks of diced celery.  

Once your potatoes are done, drain and add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to the hot potatoes.  Doing this while they're hot allows them to soak up that flavor.  I used seasoned rice vinegar (the kind you use for sushi), since I always have some on hand in the fridge.  Let them cool down, and then peel and dice them into bite sizes. I've never known why you leave the skin on, then peel.  It's one of those things I've been meaning to ask about... Surely Alton Brown could give me a very meaningful answer, but let's just say it's they way I was taught so it's the way I do it!  A rough chop on your boiled eggs will do the trick. Toss all of that together with your mayo-mixture then season with salt and pepper to taste.  Your potato salad should have a nice salt to sweet relish ratio that compliments, not competes with one another.  I always finish with a dusting of paprika because it looks so pretty on a potato salad.  Wouldn't this salad look nice with some crunchy sliced cucumbers around the edge?

Remember, a potato is porous.  The longer it sits in all those flavors, the better it tastes.   Hope you enjoy!

xo ~
Rolly <3

Mile High Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mile High Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are the quintescential cookie, aren't they?  I've been making my hub-bubs and kiddos different cookies and after each, I ask which is their favorite: the chocolate chip cookie.  I've tweaked this recipe about three times now and I think I've finally nailed it down.

When I know I'm going to bake cookies, I always take two sticks of butter out in the morning so they have time to come to room temperature.  My friend told me that microwaving butter for recipes changes the molecular structure of the butter.  As soon as she said it, I knew she was quoting Alton Brown.  He is so scientific and as far as I'm concerned, a Genius Chef.   If you haven't tried his low-temp, slow, oven-roasted ribs, you are truly missing out on some fall off the bone, delicious ribs.  But I digress.  This recipe is inspired by an Alton Brown Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  I tip my figurative hat to you, Mr. Brown.

Take your butter out in the morning.  Don't use margarine.  Use butter.  Most recipes call for unsalted butter but then ask you to add a teaspoon of salt.  I'm sorry, but unsalted butter is just too creamy and I can't use it in my other dishes.  So I prefer salted butter and I add 1/8 teaspoon of salt.  Balances out nicely.   And, if you decide you don't want to make it, butter can remain at room temperature for... ever.   I've done this recipe with two sticks of butter and this way, which removes two tablespoons.  Either way, the cookie is bomb but leaving those 2T in yields a flatter cookie. My eldest son told me, "I love cookies that are flat." I took that to mean he likes a buttery cookie.  

In an odd contradiction, especially for someone like me who tends to have some kooky OCD tendencies, I add two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream to ALL of my cookie recipes.  It started with my Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.  Not a cookie, I know.  Try it, you won't be disappointed!

With high altitude, you are supposed to increase your liquids, but heavy whipping cream is basically liquid unsalted butter.  So taking out 2T of butter but adding 2T of heavy whipping cream seems just stupid.  However, the result is a crunchy on the outside cookie with a chewy insides.  It may all be in my imagination but in the end, my family loves these cookies so I'm done tweaking it.

I got these milk chocolate chips from King Soopers (or Kroger to some of you... or even City Market to some others).  I prefer a milk chocolate because I can use it to coat strawberries or PB Cookies (recipe coming).  The recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of chips.  I was left with a 1/4 cup of chips so I just dumped it all in.  Who doesn't love the chocolate chip in a chocolate chip cookie???

So, I hope you'll try it.  You may even tweak it and write your own blog about your own Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  Or you might just like mine enough to put it in your repertoire of baking.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (High Altitude)


  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt                  
  • 1 stick + 6T salted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2T heavy whipping cream
  • milk chocolate chips (11.5 oz bag) or 1-3/4 to 2 cups


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl, combine butter, sugars, and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and whipping cream.  Beat to combine.
  5. Sift in dry ingredients about a 1/2 cup at a time, beating until all the dry ingredients have been combined.
  6. Using a baking spatula, fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Roll into about a 1 - 1-1/2 inch ball.  I found that this maintains the shape of the cookie.  If you prefer, you can just spoon it out, but you may get a flatter cookie.  I roll out all of my balls onto a sheet of wax paper.  If your dough is too soft, refrigerate for at least a 1/2 hour.
  8. Bake 9-12 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheet for a minute, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.   

Hope you enjoy!!!
xo ~
Rolly <3

Porcupine Meatballs

This blog is not just about sharing information of tried and true things.  It's a way to give my kids access to these things their way, digitally, via the world wide web.  Though I do hope to one day compile these things for them into their own books, particularly their favorite meals.  That way they have it, say if the power went out... or something.  This one, is my oldest son's favorite.  I think the whole family enjoys it, so here is to preserving Betty Crocker's Porcupine Meatballs.  My hubs told a friend that I was making this tonight and thinks she may have thought it was actual porcupine!   Rice adds the "quills" to make these spiky porcupines, but no porcupines were injured in the process!

This easy meal uses items most people keep as a staple.  Hamburger meat, spices, Worcestershire sauce and tomato soup.  I always double the recipe because I am feeding two teenage boys and the hubs, but I always have a little left over for lunch tomorrow.  

I love this old pan. It came with a glass lid for simmering. It is so large, it's larger than my largest burner.
So, I take two eggs, beaten and combine with 1/2 cup of tomato soup and 1/2 cup of uncooked rice.  The recipe calls for long grain rice, but I have used uncooked Japanese sticky rice and it works just as well.  To that, I add 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and a 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.  Next, add 2 lb. of lean ground beef, mixing well.  Oddly enough, the recipe does not call for salt, but I find it rather bland without it.  So I add kosher sea salt.  I never really measure my spices, I just apply as much as I think it needs. Sometimes I get it spot on.  Sometimes, not so much.  Let's say 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon of salt.  I also add garlic powder or fresh garlic because I think garlic is the perfect compliment to any meat.  Mix this well, so your ingredients combine nicely.  You can cover and fridge it for a while or just go for it right out of the bowl and make your meatballs.  These are roughly 1"...ish.  Maybe a bit larger.  I found that the key to success on these meatballs is to make sure you don't prematurely flip them or they tend to fall apart.  We're not talking just browning them here. You are almost cooking them completely, flipping all sides before adding the sauce. 

The sauce is whipped up in a separate bowl. Put the rest of the tomato soup in a bowl and add 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce and some dried oregano (my favorite spice).  Again, I never measure this. I pour it into my palm and then rub my hands together over the dish. I figure that's about a 1/2 teaspoon.  For this recipe, I used two palms or 1 teaspoon.  

Once your meatballs have cooked on all sides, add the sauce over the meatballs, cover and simmer! Let it render down and thicken, about 20 minutes. Stir it frequently and baste your balls!

Then serve over a bed of hot rice with a side of greens or corn. Mmmmmmm.  It would even be good with pasta or a nice potato salad.  This will be comfort food for my kiddos for sure.   Hope you'll give it a try.  Easy to make and enjoyed by even the pickiest of kiddos!  Mine are basically grown and they still love it. 

Ingredients (not doubled)
1 beaten egg
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup uncooked rice
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder or fresh crushed garlic
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp crushed oregano

xo ~
Rolly <3

High Altitude Baking - Soft Ginger "Snaps"

High Altitude Baking

For years, I have avoided baking like the plague. It all stems from a childhood memory of my first baking experience.  Being the youngest of five children, I would return home from school to an empty nest, while the rest of my siblings and my parents work.  Mom would call me from work and tell me how to cook dinner. I remember the first thing I ever made was a pot roast and I as scared to death that I would over-season it.  I don't remember how my pot roast tasted, but I imagine it was bland.  Nobody complained. 

So one day after school, I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies. The fear of cooking is heightened by high altitude adjustments when you are just a novice cook, but I managed to follow the instructions.  I remember having to hand mix the batter and as I recall, the more flour you added, the harder it became to mix.  I remember my arm getting tired from mixing.  But in the end, I was proud of my accomplishment.  It had taken me hours to make and I eagerly waited for my family to return home.  They did.  They devoured my cookies in a matter of minutes.  While I should have been tickled pink that my family ate all my cookies, I was in fact, saddened that all that work was gone in minutes.  It made me hate baking. 

Looking back on that, I can now appreciate that my cookies were good!  So good, they were gone in minutes!  So back on a cookie making journey, today I tested a recipe by, a high altitude friendly baker.  I love ginger snap cookies so I tried out her recipe.

Once you add the molasses, the fragrance is striking, but then you add the ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves you can already taste the loveliness that is a ginger snap.  I prefer mine chewy, not snappy, but alas, these came out more like a traditional snap.
I keep an old margarine tub of cinnamon sugar so the kids can make cinnamon toast whenever they want. Rolled into about 1 inch balls and swirled in a little dish of the cinnamon sugar, they look like sparkling, blinged out yumminess!  My hands were covered in molasses after rolling, and I had to wash them several times to pull out the cookie sheet, but mmmmmmmmm.   While 11 minutes was too long for my oven, the outer edges are quite crunchy but the middle is still chewy.  Like the middle, middle.  Next time I think I'll go for 9 minutes to ensure the chewier texture that I prefer. 

Success! Family loves 'em! Even my oldest who said, "They're good for a ginger snap." Not his favorite cookie, but he said he would eat them for sure.  Later, he admitted these cookies were bomb.

Store in a covered container so they don't get hard. Mmmmmm. Can't wait until the next cookie adventure!

xo ~
Rolly <3

Friday, June 5, 2015


Spaghetti-Os anyone?

A kid-friendly meal that is fast and easy? Spaghetti-Bows! Or maybe I should call them "This Ain't Ya Daddy's Spaghetti-Os!"

My husband recently started going grocery shopping with me. He really hates to go, so I've never ask, but recently I started to suffer from dizzy spells so he now accompanies me. I always found it odd when I would see couples grocery shopping.  But now that we do it, I must say, co-grocery shopping isn't so bad. Dare I say, I actually enjoy it.

As my husband and I go aisle by aisle, we happened upon the Spaghetti-Os and it was like he was a little boy all over again. So we picked up a couple of cans. He wanted to share the Spaghetti-Os experience with our youngest son. As good as he remembered it. 

Now, being a Pinterest Fanatic, I thought, "I bet I can find a recipe for homemade Spaghetti-Os!" and sure enough, I found two. I must have mushed the two recipes together because shopping by memory, I picked up tomato soup from the first recipe but the recipe I ultimately saved called for tomato sauce.  I only had an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce. Hmmmm. Quandary.

My solution? Use both! I do wonder however, where the heck these women (both recipes) found pasta O's? I settled for Mini Farfalle because I liked the play on words.  Get some sharp cheddar and give it a good fine shred. I may have used more because I had a chunk left over and wanted to use the whole chunk. But who doesn't like cheese? In fact my oldest son, topped his with more shredded cheese. YUM.

Here is my take on Spaghetti-Bows!

Ingredients:  1 lb. Mini Farfalle Pasta
                        2 cans Campbell's Tomato Soup
                        1 - 8 oz. can of Hunts Tomato Sauce
                        3-4 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
                        1 tsp. garlic powder
                        4 hotdogs, sliced 1/4" thick
                        1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
                        2-4 Tbs. milk
                        Dash of salt (maybe a 1/4 tsp.)

1.  Make your pasta according to package directions. Drain (or reserve for the water you add in the
     next step). The original recipe called for dry pasta to be cooked in the sauce. I found that this
     technique, albeit faster, absorbed too much of the sauce and it became too thick. My Spaghetti-O's
     were more saucy.

2. In a large pan, combine soup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and garlic powder. Use the empty 8
    oz. can of tomato sauce to add water - three times. If you want it a bit thicker, use the water from
    the pasta. Combine well and bring to a simmer.

3.  Add hotdogs and let that simmer enough to heat them up. Then add the pasta, coating well. Add
     2T milk and the cheese, while stirring to coat. If your sauce is too thick add more milk. 

VOILA! Spaghetti-Bows! Enjoy!

xo ~
Rolly <3

Friday, May 22, 2015

Crochet Square Pattern

After a year+ hiatus, here is a new project. I think this is a lovely gift for someone going through chemotherapy.  I hope to make more in different sizes and colors for Project Valentine.  Thanks to Julie for sharing this great pattern for her Sugar Cone Skully Hat.  Easy and quick, this lovely hat is soft and loose fitting and cool enough for summer.  Give it a try!  Here is mine!

So my search for online projects continued. I saw this picture online, and had to see if there was a free pattern for it. I thought, "That would make a lovely blanket!" Don't you agree? 

Isn't it beautiful?

So naturally, I was intrigued and went to the website to be greeted with this diagram. Diagrams look so daunting, but if you know what each symbol means, they aren't as hard as they look. Don't get me wrong, they aren't easy either, just not as hard as one would think.  I must have done this, unraveled it and restarted it about five times before I was satisfied. Knowing how to read a diagram opens up so many more free patterns to use online from all the wonderful crocheters out there who love to share.  Try as I might, I can't find the original diagram website.  

Lucky for me, I found this diagram legend. It breaks down each symbol for your ease of diagraming! Check it out and see if it opens up a world of diagrams for you too!

Mine doesn't quite look the same. It bunches up on the outer middle sections. I even modified it on about my third try, by taking all the CH 1 stitches down to 0, the CH 3 stitches down to 2, and the CH 5 stitches down to 3 (except for the corners where I left them at CH5). While it looked much less squished and bunched, I still see the bunching in the middle sections along the outer edge. I suppose once you get a bunch of blocks made and stitch them all together in a blanket, it won't matter.

My dear friend told me that my finished project doesn't look like the original author's finished project because they probably used the wet blocking technique, which looks like a lot of work to me!  She even gave me this cool link to a DIY Blocking Station for Crochet Squares which still looks like a lot of work, but in the end, would be way easier than the first method. This one, I might have to try.  Some other time.  In the future.  Not now.  Not for this project.  But in the future.  Later.  Much later.

Being somewhat OCD, I was curious how it would look if I reduced the starting circle from 16 DCs to 8 DCs thereby eliminating the middle loops. While my modified recipe is significantly smaller, it is still very pretty, and I think would make a lovely blanket. And looking at them side-by-side, I think even the larger bunchy square would also look lovely in a blanket.  So I think I may have to try both. 

In the meantime, here is my pattern for the smaller square.  I hope you will try it and make something beautiful with it.  Let me know if you have any questions!

DC 8 Magic Circle **or** CH 9, SL into the first ST
Row 1: SL into circle center.
             DC 8x into the center of the circle.
             Join into top of DC-1 with SL.
Row 2: SL into 1st gap.
             CH 3; DC 2x into same gap; CH 1.
             *DC 3x into next gap; CH 1; Repeat around from *.
             Join into top of DC-1 with SL.
Row 3: SL into the next ST; SC into next gap.
             CH 3 (counts as 1st DC); DC 4x in same gap; CH 3; DC 5x in same gap (corner made)
             Skip 3 ST; SC into next gap.
             **Skip 3 ST; DC 5x in next gap; CH 3; DC 5x in same gap
             Skip 3 ST; SC into next gap. Repeat 3x from **.
             SL into the top of the first DC at the beginning of this row, fasten off.

Stay tuned!
xo ~
Rolly <3