Starting Fresh!

Last year I said I was going to write a post a week. That didn’t happen. What did happen was I discovered that I really do enjoy writing.

Before I started blogging I usually only wrote when I needed to for school, to write thank-you notes, or to write to pen pals. I had always wanted to journal, but had only written in my journals a few times over the years, because all of the times that I decided to journal regularly it would slip my mind after a few days and I wouldn’t think to do it again for quite a while.

This time writing didn’t slip my mind. In fact, while I wasn’t blogging, I missed it. And even though I didn’t get back to blogging so that I could keep writing, I did do something else. I picked up my journal. Over the last few months, I’ve written in it more regularly than I ever have before, and I’ve loved doing it!

I have still missed writing here, too, though. I’ve also missed interacting with some of the bloggers I have met here on WordPress, because while I’ve been away from my own blog, I haven’t been keeping up with other blogs as much either. So, now I’m back.

And I’m starting fresh. I’m not planning on making any “post a day” or “post a week” promises this time around. I don’t want to feel disappointed if I haven’t kept up with a posting schedule. Instead, I’m going to try to find a writing groove that works well for me. I have a few topics picked out that I’d like write about each month, but I’m not going to worry about writing about those topics if there is something else that I would rather talk about, or if I just need a short blogging break for whatever reason. I don’t want to tie myself down with too many “rules” for my blog; I want it to be more free and spontaneous.

As I was thinking about getting back to my blog, and realized that I wanted to make a few changes, I decided to freshen things up with a new theme, an updated About page, and an added Recipes and Reviews page. I’ll also be adding another page or two soon.

I’m excited about these little changes, and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts here again!

Dreams May Change, Cookies Will Always Be Delicious

Photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

When I was around 13 I was really into baking. I loved Martha Stewart, I still do, but back then I thought I wanted to be just like Martha. She is a pretty impressive woman, after all. Am I right? I thought it would be so fun to be the next “Martha Stewart.” However, even though I was always prone to romanticizing, I was never completely unrealistic, so I set my sights on one day becoming a baker. What could be a better job for me?! I loved baking, I loved bakeries, I loved eating baked goods! It was obviously the perfect career for me. Then I became aware of the cold, hard truth of the matter. Bakers have to wake up early. Really early. That was the deal breaker.

Though I no longer have the desire to be just like Martha or to be a baker, my love of baking, bakeries, eating baked goods, and Martha Stewart has stayed with me to this day. Now, I sometimes wonder if I might like to have a bakery of my own someday. Of course, I know I would still have to get up early, but I might be more willing to do that for something I really love, which may, or may not be being the owner and manager of a bakery. For now, I will continue to enjoy imagining owning my own bakery, choosing wonderful bakers and staff, and decorating a building to turn it into the lovely bakery I have pictured in my head, and of course, envisioning all of the delicious recipes that would be made in that bakery!

What is a dream that you’ve had that has changed?

I baked these cookies back in January for my New Year’s Resolution to make one new dessert recipe each month, instead of baking the same old favorites over and over again. I have wanted to try a recipe for double chocolate cookies for quite a while now. I wanted them to be soft, and chewy. Naturally I looked to Martha (MarthaStewart.com, to be exact) to be my cookie guide. This recipe fit the bill.

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

Do not bake the cookies to a crisp; they are meant to be soft and chewy. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for two to three days.Note: Don’t worry if the batter seems thin. It should look more like a brownie batter than a cookie dough.
 Everyday Food, Volume 5 September 2003  
Prep Time 20 minutes 
Total Time 45 minutes 
Yield Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate.Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes; with a thin metal spatula, transfer to racks to cool completely.

My Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

Recipe Review

These cookies were, indeed, soft and chewy, just as I hoped they would be! They are what any chocolate lover could want, rich and delicious. Perfect with a glass of milk. The only thing that I did slightly differently for these cookies was use regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, instead of the chocolate chunks the recipe called for. They definitely need to be stored well, because by the third day they started to get dry and crumbly. I was storing them in a container by themselves, next time I would add a slice of bread to help them stay more moist. I also thought I might make them when I would be sharing them with a group, so that they wouldn’t make it to the 3-day mark. All in all, I thought they were great, and I would absolutely bake them again.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 4

I’m Joining the Post a Week Challenge!

The title pretty much says it all.

But what it doesn’t say is why.

If you have read my first post you might remember that I started my blog with the intention – check that, with the desire to post something at least once a week.

I say desire instead of intention because I haven’t been very intentional lately. I want to be, and there are times that I try to be, and there are times that I am, but there are other times (and these times seem to be in the majority) that I am not intentional and don’t even try to be.

Instead, I have been stagnant.

I do not want to be stagnant anymore.

Life does not get better by doing nothing.

Life will only get better by doing hard things.

By doing the hard things my weakness will start to fade and my strength will start to grow.

What is the best part of this journey?

I do not have to do it alone.

God is with me.

He wants me to grow, He wants me to learn.

Learn how to get up when life knocks me down.

Learn how to be willing.

Willing to do the hard work.

Willing to be joyful.

And He will be there. Always.

Waiting for me to work with Him.

Waiting for me to follow Him.

There will be plenty of bumps in the road of Life.

I must persevere.

There will be times I want to give up.

I must continue to strive.

There will be times I will be afraid.

I must be bold.

I want to live my life with intention.

I think writing is helping me. It helps me reflect on my life in a more positive way, it helps me gain motivation, and I do think that it helps me to care and think more about how I spend my time, and in doing so, helps me live my life with more intention. I don’t want to lose that. Right now I need all the help that I can get, so I want to keep writing.

That is why I am joining the Post a Week challenge.

James 1: 2-4

Consider it pure joy, my bothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I love the rejuvenation that can come with a new year! I also love New Year’s Resolutions.

I think New Year’s Resolutions can be wonderful things. Of course, our resolutions are only as wonderful as we make them. Sometimes we make our resolutions a success, and sometimes we don’t. Some people forgo New Year’s Resolutions altogether. And considering my track record, you would think I would do the same. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I really stuck with my New Year’s Resolutions.

But even so, I love the tradition of compiling a list of things I want to do to make myself more of the person I want to be. However, it would be silly if I continued to go about it the same way year after year without results. So this year I am going to try something a little different. Usually I write a list of things I want to do without any real plan to accomplish them (I know, silly of me, isn’t it?), and I tend to get a little overzealous and end up choosing way too many resolutions.

This year I wrote a list of every goal I could think of and chose just 3 resolutions out of the bunch to focus on. The goals that were left over will be saved for a later date. I am going to set myself up for success by writing out a plan for each goal. And, last but not least, this year instead of “trying” to follow through, I am going to stop “trying” and start doing.

My Resolutions

1. Read at least 12 books this year. I love books, but I haven’t been doing very much reading lately, so I thought I would aim to read 1 book a month this year at the very least.

2. Cook at least 1 savory recipe a week and at least 1 new dessert a month. I want to improve my culinary skills, so I am going to choose 4 savory recipes to cook at the beginning of each month. I already have lots of baking experience, but there are still so many things I haven’t tried yet, so this year I’m going to be bold and try some of the recipes I’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t because I find them intimidating. There are also things that I haven’t mastered, like cupcakes for example, that I would like to get better at baking.

3. Exercise 2 times a week. A voice has been telling me for months now that I should be exercising. The voice keeps saying how much stronger I’ll be, how much better I’ll feel about myself, how much more confidence I’ll have, and how much slimmer I’ll look once my posture has gotten better. And you know, it’s funny, the voice sounds an awful lot like my mom.

What resolutions have you chosen this year?

How are you planning to stick with them?

Going Goalward

Sometime this spring I decided that I wanted to start a blog (as you can see, I’m a bit of a procrastinator). It was after watching the movie Julie & Julia that the idea came to me. I really related to how Julie felt in the beginning of the film; she says something about never following through on her goals, and that is a problem I have myself. I have a very hard time getting myself to be motivated and stay motivated about things. I’ve noticed that I tend to follow through more often when someone else knows about a goal I’ve made for myself. So I thought that maybe if I have a blog, that I know can be read by anyone, and I use it to talk about my goals it might help me.

Not all of my goals are going to be big, some of them will be very small, because what I really want is to get in the habit of accomplishing my goals no matter how big or small they are.

One thing I’ve tried doing before, but wasn’t diligent about sticking to, is keeping a journal. So, my first goal is to update my blog at least once a week. Right now I’m not accustomed to putting my thoughts into words/writing, so I’m not going to worry about how long or short my posts are, I just have to write something every week.

Do you have goal that you’ve been putting off?

If so, I encourage you to give it another try!

Until next week,

Dare Right