Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Fudge Cookies

Having owned a bakery (Baking Buddies in Tyngsboro, MA), I've tried many recipes over the years. This one has been in my repertoire for many years so it is tried-and-true, delicious, and so easy to make. Think chewy, fudgy brownie in a the form of a cookie. The recipe was developed by Alice Medrich.

Cocoa Fudge Cookies

1 c. flour
1/4 t. baking soda
5 T. butter
7 T. cocoa
2/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar
1/3 c. plain or vanilla yogurt
1 t. vanilla

Heat oven to 350. Need greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Combine flour and baking soda in small bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat.

Stir in cocoa and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand).

Add yogurt and vanilla.

Add flour mixture, stirring until moist.

Drop by level tablespoons, 2" apart, on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans until firm.

Makes approximately 32 cookies.

These are great as is, but they also work amazingly well for little ice cream sandwiches. If you wish, you can fancy them up a bit with some drizzled chocolate. Enjoy!
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weathering the Storm

Hurricane Irene is big news right now and as I watch the news coverage, I'm thinking of everyone who is weathering the storm. I'm thankful that all we have here, in upstate NY, are some very strong sustained winds.

The hurricane has me thinking about how we weather the storms in our own lives. The burdens we carry, the sadness that fills our heart, and the worries that may fill our days. Since my dad passed away in February, my heart has been filled with a heavy sadness. These feelings are compounded by the fact I'm now an orphan (I lost my mom six and a half years ago).

Here's one of the first pages I did after losing my mom. It makes me smile each and every time I see this photo. It captures my mother's fun and silly side so well.

This is the one, and only, page I've done so far about my dad (as seen in Scrapbooking.com magazine). I have many ideas churning in my mind, but I haven't gotten them down on paper yet. I'm not sure if I'm ready yet, but the photos, and the memories are ready to go. :)

As you can see, I use scrapbooking to help document my feelings and memories. How do you weather the storms in your own life? What is cathartic and helpful to you? I'd love to hear!
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's Her Passion

Alexa has been dancing since she was three. Here she is in her very first recital portrait. Cute, right? :) Just for comparison, here's a studio shot from 2010:

After a year off, Alexa decided to return to dance this year with classes in tap and jazz. It's a decision she has been pondering for a while. Dancing is in her blood, it really is. It's her passion and she loves to move and feel free. Lord knows she's always dancing around the house. LOL! I guess there's some dance shoe shopping in our future. I'm excited to see where this year takes her...
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Craftiness Brought to You by Me and Alexa :)

Alexa and I took some time to be crafty yesterday. She's been busy, busy, busy with Perler beads making decorations for her desk at school. She had made six different peace symbols when she told me she was making a secret project...for me! :) It's a puzzle that I had to put together to form a little girl with a ponytail and the words "I Luv U". I think this is pretty darn creative (and of course it melted my heart)!

My creative energy was of course focused on paper pursuits. :) I turned the tag I made at Avocado Arts' booth at the stamping expo into a card. I used scraps of paper from some My Little Shoebox and Jillibean Soup collections and then added a few Jillibean Soup word stickers and a bit of purple ribbon and I was done.

All in all, a good day! :) What kind of crafty things are you working on? I'd love to see!
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Pucker Up!

Today I am going to talk about lemons. Yes, those lovely, sour, yellow orbs of goodness. LOL!

My mom loved anything lemon (hence the scrapbook page above) and was always on the quest to find the "perfect" lemon bar recipe. We commemorate her birthday each year by having a lemon dessert in her honor. This year it was lemon cream bars. I think she would have declared them delicious! I miss you, Mom!

Last week, Alexa and I traveled to Pennsylvania to visit with my sister, Morreen, and her family. On Tuesday night we helped with the Alex's lemonade stand that they set up at their community concerts. They have been doing this for the past six years, prompted by my niece Sydnie's (almost 8) desire to help sick kids. This is not your ordinary, curb-side, little lemonade stand. Oh no! This is a full-blown effort, staffed by volunteers and it runs weekly throughout the summer months. Not only do they sell cups of lemonade, but they sell donated baked goods, candy, and little trinkets as well. They also roam the crowd selling tickets for a 50/50 raffle. Last week they raised close to $900 and they are one of the foundations largest fundraisers. Yay, Team Bayles!

As if we didn't get enough lemonade while in PA, Alexa just made a pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemonade. Yum!

On another sour note (please forgive the pun, LOL!), in our quest to try new fruits and vegetables, I bought a lemon drop melon last week. The outside is webbed, somewhat like a cantaloupe, but with defined wedge-like sections. The inside flesh is similar to a honeydew. The taste, however, is not like anything I've ever tried before. It definitely has a lemony flavor, but I also detected a slight chocolate flavor as well. I gave it two thumbs up, but Tom and Alexa said it wasn't their favorite. Oh well. That's what trying new things is all about, right?

Well, that's it for today. I'd love to hear how you use lemons in your home, whether it be in a beverage or recipe or something else creative.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Entering the Blogosphere

In the same vein that I resisted going from film photography to digital, I resisted starting a blog. As you can see those days are now over (and I’ve been a digital photographer for about eight years now). Welcome to my blog! I’ll be sharing tidbits about daily life in the Swift household, recipes, and mostly focusing on my scrapbooking projects and adventures. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
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