Recipe ~ Oatmeal {& Coconut} Chocolate Chip Cookies

It has been bloody cold here the past few days. The Winter has been especially terrible this season, in general. But this week? Brrr. -43°C?

Ridiculous.

When it is this cold, I don’t even want to step out the door. Since I am now a stay-at-home Mom, I can stay inside if I so choose. I so chose! I had been craving chocolate chip cookies, but I did not like how the recipe that I used previously turned out. A friend of mine pinned the following on Pinterest & it caught my eye:

http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/moms-simple-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies-best-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies-around/#comment-36310

I knew I had all of the ingredients, although I wasn’t sure if I had enough oatmeal. I did. I had quick oats, however. The recipe called for old-fashioned. Also, I only had milk chocolate chips & extra-virgin olive oil. I tend to use what I have on hand — more cost-effective that way, for sure! I also had less than half a bag of unsweetened coconut that I wanted to use up instead of throwing it out. So, I added coconut to the recipe! I love coconut. They turned out delicious! My husband immediately ate four large cookies after Supper ^_^

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil or melted coconut oil (use a little more if dough seems too dry)
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks + more if desired

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer add the oatmeal, flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, canola oil, eggs and vanilla, beat until the dough is moist and all the ingredients are combined. The dough will be crumbly. Mix in the chocolate chips.

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The Little Human waiting patiently as the cookie dough comes together!

Using your hands clump together a tablespoon of dough. Use you hands to really squeeze the dough into a ball. If the mixture is not holding add 1 tablespoon more of oil. Place on prepared baking sheet. If your balls are a little crumbly do not worry, they will come together while baking. Repeat with remaining dough.

Those are some nice looking balls!

Those are some good-looking balls!

Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until set and golden. These are best right out of the oven, so eat up!

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Such a great mixture of chewy & crunchy!

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OMNOMNOM!

All words and images Copyright © 2014 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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Recipe ~ Homemade Chocolate Pudding!

Why, oh why, have I never made pudding before? I feel like I’ve been missing out on some secluded club full of deliciousness. Seriously. It is that good! There is so much crap in packaged pudding. I have some on hand {they were on sale the other day at Walmart, so we grabbed some for the husband’s lunches. We buy them once in a blue moon.} Let me list the ingredients.. & these are supposedly a “healthier” version!

Skim Milk from concentrate (water, concentrated skim milk), water, sugar, modified corn starch, high oleic sunflower oil, cocoa, hydrogenated palm oil, salt, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, artificial flavours & colours. Um.. that is a lot of unnecessary ingredients for something that is generally eaten as a snack or a dessert. Especially something that is so readily given to children.

I had a craving for homemade pudding. My grandmother used to make something similar that the grandchildren used to devour & she would even put it in-between layers of cake, but unfortunately she is no longer with us to ask, nor would she ever use a recipe. She kept her recipes in her memory! So what do I do? Go to my trusty allrecipes.com, that is what. Sure enough, I found a highly-rated recipe that sounded just like my Nanny’s pudding.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used what I had on hand — 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips & 1/4 chopped semi-sweet bakers chocolate)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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Directions:

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.

Slowly whisk in the milk, then more quickly once the cornstarch mixture is smoothly incorporated.

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Place over medium-low heat & whisk often, so lumps do not form. Do this for 10 minutes or so, before it begins to simmer. The mixture should begin to thicken.

Add in the chocolate & continue whisking for another 2 minutes, combining the liquid mixture with the chocolate.

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Remove from heat & stir in the vanilla.

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Pour into a large bowl, or small individual bowls.

Cover with plastic wrap, smoothing gently against the surface of the pudding.

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Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Note: I added a teaspoon of cocoa to my pudding. 

Ta-da! A more natural chocolate pudding that is super easy to make. I will never buy packaged pudding from a store again! PS. Isn’t the sprinkle dispenser that the Mister got me for Christmas the cutest thing EVER?!

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All words and images Copyright © 2014 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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Recipe ~ Cocoa Bottom Banana Pecan Bars

Since I’d rather eat dessert than a main course most days, here is a recipe I found in my KitchenAid Recipe Collection cookbook {which is a fantastic ring-bound book I recently purchased. I have gotten so many new recipes from this!} I had leftover pecans from the holidays, so I scoured the recipes & found these bad boys. I made them earlier today with the help of my toddler, who is my eternal taste tester/assistant. They are like a marble banana bread brownie. Delicious ooey gooey morsels of yum!

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

5 ripe bananas, mashed

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13×9 inch baking dish.

Beat the sugar and softened butter at medium speed until well blended and creamy. Add in your mashed bananas, egg and vanilla. Mix together until well blended.

In a medium bowl {or add it right into your stand mixer bowl, like I did} combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda and salt and add to banana mixture. Stir well.

Fold in your pecans.

Divide the batter in half and add cocoa to one half, stirring until well mixed.

Add the chocolate layer to the bottom of your baking dish.

Spread plain batter over the top carefully.

Swirl with knife to get the marbled effect {if desired}

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Note: It is impossible to eat only one!

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All words and images Copyright © 2014 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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Choosing to Have Children.. or not.

First, check out this article which is a view on choosing not to have children. It’s a great little read which has sparked some communication on the topic through various social media sites: http://thoughtcatalog.com/abby-rosmarin/2013/12/to-the-women-who-choose-not-to-have-kids/

I feel like I can relate on both ends of the spectrum. You do not need a child to be validated as a person. I had my ideals reversed a few years ago, it seems. I was always the one that never wanted children. I thought kids were weird. Not something that interested me. I only babysat my brother & sister when I was younger & that was enough for me. I wanted a ton of animals & that would have made me happy. I wanted to travel the world. Then everything changed & my outlook changed.. in the opposite direction. I never thought I would make a good Mother. Now? Now I realize I am a kick-ass Mother & I adore my daughter more than anything. It IS tough though. Some days I wonder if I am the biggest screw up. Other days I think I’ve got a handle on parenting.

Since the man & I were together for so long before having a baby, we heard every comment imaginable. It got extremely frustrating. People will say anything, without realizing the back-story. You never know everything that is going on. Nor should you. I had so many rude comments made when I would say I didn’t think I wanted children. Hell, even when I was pregnant with my daughter I was getting comments about when we would start on another one! Seriously. 

The people that choose to have children for the wrong reasons are the ones that mess up their kids in the end. 

There are amazing people that chose not to have children that have wonderful, fulfilled lives. Whether you want a baseball team full of kids, just one child or no children — that is okay. It is the right thing. Whichever you choose.

 

All words and images Copyright © 2013 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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Celebrating a Non-Religious Christmas.

Those who know me, know how into Christmas I get. I adore Christmas. I live Christmas. I believe in the Christmas spirit throughout the year. I am completely open to many different religions. I love learning about different religions even though I am not religious myself. If you are religious, good for you. I do not look down upon you for that. However, many times, especially during the holidays, I feel as though those of us who are not religious get a ton of flack. Why is that okay to do, but it’s not okay to do the same for Christians, for instance?

As soon as December hits, I see posts daily on social media websites about keeping Christ in Christmas. I will not get into that much, but I will say — what about my family & I who celebrate a secular holiday? Are we not allowed to enjoy everything good that Christmas has to offer? Because for me — when you take the religion out of the equation — doesn’t it just come down to love? Spending time with your family. The holiday spirit? The atmosphere? When I see my daughters face light up when she sees Ho Ho. Or the immense love I feel when we are just sitting at the counter, baking goodies. Dancing around our living room to a variety of Christmas songs.

Keep that in mind, just because we don’t all celebrate the same way you do, does not mean we are any less. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, Hindu.. celebrate love. Enlighten yourself, arm yourself with knowledge. Be happy with who you are, but try better. Try & open your mind a bit — because there are vast differences in each & every one of us. Embrace the differences.

Whether you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays — thank you for wishing my family & I a joyous occasion. Most of us are just being polite when we say that. We aren’t taking a dig at getting rid of your religion by saying Happy Holidays. To me, Happy Holidays is a broader spectrum. Because — there are so many different religions & cultures in our world.

happy-holidays

All words and images Copyright © 2013 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited. Image found on multiple websites through Google Image Search.

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Tunes Tuesday~

I knew that when I held you, I wasn’t lettin’ go..  ♥

All words and images Copyright © 2012 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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Currently. Obsessed.

Listening: 

I am in love with this band. I am so pumped about the new album release in a few days. They are extremely underrated, in my opinion. I highly recommend you check them out. Brian Fallon has a stunningly beautiful voice.. gah! ♥

 

Reading: 

The second novel in the series. I stumbled upon Across The Universe on my Kobo last year and began reading it around the time I found out I was pregnant. I am a sci-fi nerd, I love novels that are made into series and currently obsessed with anything Dystopian, so this fits all the columns. It may take me awhile though, with this gorgeous weather and a 7.5 month old who occupies most of my time!

 

Watching:

The final season of Weeds. It has definitely gone downhill the past few seasons, but it’s still a lot more decent than half the stuff on television these days! Plus, I love Andy! haha

 

Eating:

BBQ! It’s been such beautiful BBQ weather. I am the seasoning Queen and the man is the grill King, fo’ sho’!

 

Drinking:

Smoothies, especially with this warm weather – and being sick!

 

Wanting:

To feel healthy again! It has been so long, so long, since I’ve been this sick. And the little human is still sick too. I feel so terrible for her, since she doesn’t know what is going on with this damn cold!

 

Needing:

A massage. My body is riddled with aches and pains with this cold/flu. What a mess!

 

Weather:

According to the Weather Network, it is 17 degrees Celsius and partly cloudy. The high is supposed to get up to 23 degrees and we are supposed to get thunder showers tonight. It has been so humid here the past few weeks, this is welcome weather! It would be nice to get an awesome thunder storm too, since we haven’t really had one yet this season!

 

Color:

Fun, bright Summer colors!

 

Enjoying:

Watching my baby girl grow and learn new things almost daily. When we took her to the Pediatrician on Tuesday, he told us what a beautiful, smart, healthy girl we have and to continue doing what we are doing, because it’s obviously working. I never need validation from other people.. but damn did that feel good to hear! From a Pediatrician, no less!

 

Disliking:

Being sick. My immune system has been so great the past few years, after having a terrible one. Now? I feel like shite! Absolute shite. Unfortunately, as a Mother, we do not get sick days. Thankfully, the man has been extremely supportive and when he gets home from work, he takes care of Ava even more than he already did (which is saying a lot! We are very much 50/50 when he gets home. That’s the way it should be!)

 

Thinking:

Hoping that we are all feeling better by tomorrow night, because we will be going to our first drive-in movie as a family! I will be able to cross off one of my 101 in 1001.

 

Excitement(s):

The Dark Knight Rises! Cannot, cannot wait to see it! We are hopefully going to make it out next weekend to watch it. Sure, we’ll be lame and go to a matinee, but that works out best for little A (MIL is gracious enough to watch her for us for a few hours while we go and geek out!) I am a comic book / superhero nerd, for sure! Batman is my ultimate!

 

 

All words and images Copyright © 2012 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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Tunes Tuesday~

I love this song. It’s so simple, yet slowly punches you in the gut if you let it. The video eerily resembles my life before moving and the song reminds me of how miserable I was in that life and that I needed more. It’s one of those rainy, reflective days today, apparently..

 

 

 

All words and images Copyright © 2012 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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Tunes Tuesday~

Heard this originally on “Skins – UK” a few years back and fell in love. It has such an uplifting aura about it – leaving the negative energy behind, the depression, the sadness.. and looking forward to the happiness in front of you! Which makes me think of M, and how he broke down my walls and made me find that happiness all those years ago.. and to this day. I also listened to it a lot whilst pregnant. It came at a time when we thought we wouldn’t be able to have children and our struggle with that.

Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back
Struck from a great height
By someone who should know better than that

All words and images Copyright © 2012 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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What’s Cookin’?

In the midst of a million and one things to do on my plate, I wanted something quick and simple for lunch. With not much in the fridge (tonight is grocery night), I went with an egg salad sandwich. Now, I rarely eat this. But there is something so comforting about a good egg salad. It reminds me of my grandmother and being young. I used to hate eggs but I loved her egg salad! I’ve toyed with many variations on the egg salad sandwich for years. It’s easy, we generally have the ingredients on hand and it’s tasty! I am not a fancy diner.. I prefer the simpler things in life! Much like my egg salad sandwich:

  • 3 Hard-boiled Eggs (makes enough for leftovers)
  • Shallots
  • Parsley flakes
  • Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Mayo
  • Old-Style Mustard
  • Bread

Simple ingredients

It is amazing how many people cannot cook a hard-boiled egg. You’d think it would be so simple! It’s not. I swear it took me forever to perfect. Here is what I do:

 

1. Put enough water in a pot to cover the eggs. Boil the eggs in a covered pot for a minute or two.

2. Take the pot off the heat and set aside, still covered.

3. Leave the eggs for 15 minutes. The boiling water will cook the eggs.

4. Dump out the warm water and cover the eggs with cold water. You can either leave the eggs sitting in the cold water, or keep the eggs under running, cold water.

5. Crack the eggs with a spoon or fork and then peel the eggs. Voilà! Works for me every time. None of that nasty gray/green outline around the yolk of the egg.

 

Pretty hard-boiled eggs!

 

Once the eggs are peeled, I mash them up with a fork in a bowl. Chop up some shallots and parsley (fresh or dried). Add some mayo – I used two tablespoons or so, more or less depending on how creamy you want it. Sprinkle in some paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all together.. it looks tasty, right?!

 

Oh, how I love Paprika!

 

Now, this is where my grandmother would probably differ and shake her head. I’m sure she would think I’m odd for adding this.. but I put some old-style mustard onto my bread. Just a little bit! You don’t want to overpower the taste buds (old-style can be so good, so good! But yet so horrible if the quantity is not right.) It gives just the right amount of kick. Some people add pickles, I add grainy mustard! I also use thick bread and toast it. I like that extra little crunch you get from the toast.

 

Omnomnom!

 

And to top it all off, you guys? I have a glass of Ginger Ale with my sandwich. Sounds odd, but it works! Something about the flavours meshing. And again, it could very well be the nostalgia of when I was younger and clinging to these tastes from my youth!

All words and images Copyright © 2012 Holly Adams and Ninja/Wifey/Mama/Me, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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