Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We recently had a family reunion with my mother’s extended family in Utah. I ended up coming home with a plate of THE most divine chocolate chip cookies I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. I literally hid the plate in the back of the fridge so I wouldn’t have to share.

After a plea on Facebook for the master baker to step forward and reveal their recipe I discovered that the cookies had been supplied by none other than my mother’s twin sister, Lynette. (Anyone else thinking of the Friends episode where Monica is frantically trying to recreate the cookie recipe passed down from Pheobe’s French family member “Nestle Toulouse”?) Fast forward two days and I am already on my second batch from the recipe she gave me and I just have to share.


  •  1 3/4 C Shortening (butter flavored Crisco)
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 2 C Brown Sugar
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 4 C Flour
  • 2 t Salt
  • 2 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar. Mix in other ingredients and bake for 8-10 minutes.


Nutella Cupcake

It is a running joke in my family that I cook like my dad. We have this inexplicable need to dirty EVERY dish we own. I have accepted the fact that the fabled “cook does not clean” rule will never be mine because I turn the kitchen into a culinary war zone. With that being said you can now fully appreciate it when I tell you that the havoc I wreaked on my quest for Nutella cupcake perfection was unlike anything I’d ever seen. my dishes had dishes. But it was worth every sudsy clean up second to experience this cupcake!

Nutella Cupcake

Nutella Cupcake:

  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 4 T Nutella
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Yolk
  • 1/2 C Vegetable Oil
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/3 C Sour Cream
  • 1 1/3 C Flour
  • 1/3 t Salt
  • 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 3/4 C Water
  • 1/2 C Unsweetened Cocoa

Preheat oven to 350. Bring water to boil turn off heat and add cocoa powder. Cream butter and sugar for a good 5 minutes. Add Nutella. Mix in eggs, oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix the dry into wet in 1/3s. Add cooled water cocoa powder mixture. Fill cupcakes ~ 2/3. Reduce oven heat to 325 and bake for 25 minutes.

Nutella Buttercream:

  • 3/4 C Butter
  • ~3 C Powdered Sugar
  • 2 t Vanilla
  • 3/4 C Nutella
  • ~3 T Heavy Cream

Cream butter and sugar for a good 5 minutes (It really does make a difference!). Slowly add other ingredients watching frosting consistency.

Andes Mint Puppy Chow

Whether you call it Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddy there is no denying how yummy this sweet treat is. There are a hundred different variations you can make your imagination is literally the limit. This Andes Mint vanilla white chocolate combo is one of my favorites.



for the mint chocolate:

5 cups Rice Chex cereal
8 oz semisweet bakers chocolate
1 pkg of Andes Mints
1 cup powdered sugar

for the vanilla white chocolate:
5 cups Rice Chex Vanilla cereal
8 oz white chocolate (I used chips)

Melt the semisweet chocolate and Andes Mints. I do this using the microwave in 30 second intervals until just barely melted and stirring until smooth. Pour over cereal and stir until cereal is evenly coated. Spoon mixture into a brown paper bag, add powdered sugar, and shake until the pieces are covered.

Repeat this process using the white chocolate and Vanilla flavored chex mix.

Moving with a Dog

I have been MIA for awhile preparing for a move from good ol’ Utah to the San Francisco Bay area. My genius husband was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Stanford-Palo Alto University consortium graduate school program. I could not be more proud of him and excited for this new chapter in our lives. So in August of 2013 we loaded up in a truck and headed to Cali.


Here are some things that I learned along the way.

Pre Move

  • If we hadn’t touched it in two years I donated
  • If I couldn’t remember the last time I wore it I donated
  • Books that just didn’t make my list of keepers…you guessed it I donated
  • Quote out different moving companies. I highly recommend Penske.
  • Create an excel spreadsheet to inventory books, movies, and music
  • Take it a room at a time packing up all but the essentials
  • Collect as many newspapers as possible from family and friends
  • If you say pretty please the local furniture store is a good source for free boxes
  • Pack an overnight bags so the things you need to make it through don’t get packed
  • Sign medical record releases.
  • Change address with the Post Office
  • Give your bank a heads up that you are moving. Most will put your new info in the system.
  • For those moving in late August I recommend setting up an appointment to have a technician install the satellite in advance. So you don’t have a grumpy husband, cough MATT cough cough, about to miss NFL season openers because it will be a week before they can fit us in.

Packing Tips

  • Put your spices in the crock pot
  • Save the boxes for your nice appliances. It was heavenly not stressing over how my precious kitchen gadgets were faring in that truck
  • We put all of our art in the car we were towing and we cushioned it with all of our clothes. 2 birds 1 stone.
  • Avoid buying expensive packing material wadded up newspaper works great
  • Puhleaze, cough MATT cough cough, label the boxes with the specific contents and room that they are destined for
  • Use towels and blankets to protect tables and couches
  • Utilize your space leave no piece of luggage or drawer unfilled. Luggage is really handy for all dem shoes!

Moving with a dog

  • Sign a medical record release form with your current veterinarian
  • If vaccinations are due ask if you can get this done before the move so it is in a familiar environment. Our vet was willing to give Titan his shots two weeks early.
  • Update tags
  • Update microchip information
  • Check state laws to see if a health certificate is required
  • Keep an overnight bag ready with leash, food, favorite toys, etc
  • You know your dog best. Moving is stressful your dog will pick up on that. If your animal is sensitive do everyone a favor and keep your pup in a back room or kennel where there is less stimulation. Titan was in his element supervising the move and would have crawled out a window if I attempted to isolate him.
  • Taking advice from our vet we restricted (NOT eliminated) Titan’s water intake 12 hours before rolling out
  • I know it is tempting to immediately unpack once you have arrived but take an hour to take your dog on a walk. For dogs unused to super long car rides pit stops at gas stations are just too stimulating to go to the bathroom on command so over the trip there can be some back up. A long walk once you arrive allows your pup to get the system moving again.

Titan Turned 1

My baby boy is growing up so fast! We took him to PetSmart on his birthday and spoiled him rotten this gigantic bone was his favorite score it has taken him a month to finish it off.



The birthday celebrations continued in Arizona where my Dad has Zander (T’s Dad), Miya (T’s Mom), and Maximus (T’s brother).

My Aunt drove in with two of my cousins and T’s other brother, Apollo. My cousins also happen to be superb navigators on long road trips!


Matt has been working so hard on continuing his flight education so we decided to have some fun and fly down.


My handsome pilot.



I was so excited to see the Grand Canyon up close. Titan on the other hand couldn’t be bothered to wake up…


We had so much fun being with family and herding a pack of ridgebacks.


Titan, Apollo, and Maximus


Barbie and Maximus




Titan had enough of the bumpy truck ride and plopped down in daddy’s lap.

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I could not believe my aunt had NEVER had a pedicure before! Barbie and I immediately fixed that.

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Zander, Maximus, Apollo, Miya, and Titan


I just can’t believe how quickly he has grown it feels like yesterday that I was flying out to AZ to pick out my lil chubba wubba.