Friday, March 20, 2009

A cause for concern

I am quite shocked about the death of actress Natasha Richardson. It is not because she is a famous actress that I am upset. I believe strongly that no one life is more precious than another, as we are all created special by God, in His image. But, as a wife and mother, I know she will be sorely missed. Sadly, it seems that her death may have been prevented.

As a mother of small children, I have seen my share of bumps on the head, and thankfully, none have been serious at all. But there is always that mother's paranoia that something may be worse than it seems. I am now even more paranoid. If an adult can assess their own health and determine they are fine, how are we as parents to be sure we are accurately assessing our child's health? Especially when they are too small themselves to describe how they are feeling?

Scott has always worn a helmet when riding his bike outside and I will definitely be getting Anna her first helmet this spring. I hope that maybe some good will come of this sad situation as we are all reminded of the need to be safer.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Favorite Cookies

The feeling of spring in the air is always so motivating to me so I've been staying pretty busy lately with housework and the kids. But, inspired by St. Patrick's day, on Monday I did dust off my recipe book and make one of my all time favorite cookies. I do not make these often, as they are a bit labor intensive, but when I bite into one of these cool, rich, and refreshing cookies, I am always reminded that every bit of the work is totally worth it, so I thought I would share the recipe with you. And, even if you don't make the full recipe, these are delicious, chewy moist cookies by themselves, and this mint icing is the best ever. So, sometimes, I forgo the sandwich/glaze part of the recipe and just frost cookies with this icing. Also, the icing is delicious atop brownies. (Can you tell that I love the combination of mint and chocolate??) So, here you go!

Ultimate Mint Cookie Sandwich

1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 c. all-purpose flour
Chocolate glaze & Creme de Menthe filling

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and b. soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs and vanilla to sugar mixture; beat until combined. Beat in flour, finishing with a wooden spoon if necessary. Cover and chill dough for 2 to 24 hours, or until easy to handle. (This dough is a pretty sticky dough, even after chilled.)

2. Roll into 1&1/2 inch balls and place 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets (or for smaller cookies, roll to 3/4 inch and place 2 inches apart). Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes (6-7 for smaller cookies), or until edges are set. Let stand 1 minute on cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Creme de Menthe filling (I have always followed the substitution directions)
In a mixing bowl, mix 1/3 c. softened butter and 3 tbsp. green creme de menthe (substitute: 3 tbsp milk mixed with 1& 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp peppermint extract and 2 or 3 drops green food coloring). Gradually add 4 cups powdered sugar, beating with electric mixer until smooth. If needed, add 1 tablespoon additional c.d.m. (or milk) to make spreadable.

Chocolate glaze
In a bowl set over boiling water, cook and stir 1/3 c. whipping cream and 6 oz. finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I prefer bitter, but not everyone would) until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from heat and cool 20 minutes, or until it slightly thickens.

Spread mint filling liberally onto a cookie and then top with a second cookie. Spoon glaze onto top and smooth. Allow to set for a bit and then store cookies in the refrigerator. Enjoy!!