Thursday, July 6, 2017

Little Things...


Hello July and hello to you!
I probably don't have to tell you how fast this summer is zipping' by. 
It struck me this morning how my best-laid-plans to be here, in this space over the break, haven't gone the way I first envisioned. I've learned though, to go with the flow~and I'm never far away really. Things actually started way back at the end of May when I flew up to North Dakota to visit my oldest son, Justin, who's stationed at Minot.
My big girl camera, Matilda, has been in overdrive ever since.

Justin was stationed in Korea for several years and we just needed some face time...REAL face time.
It was a hoot and quite a different experience. 

It's a different world than either of us were expecting as were out and about exploring.

Gol Stave Church-a replica of the original that was built in Gol, Hallingdal, Norway

The original was built in 1157-1216
Soon after, the Mr and I took a quick cruise to Havana, Cuba.

The view from a hilltop overlooking the bay of Havana

Cuba has been on my bucket list way before I even knew what a bucket list was...I was like 7. I remember very hush hush conversations between my parents about Cuba. I'm sure they weren't pleasant conversations. It was the 70's & we didn't have the news sources we do today.

Cristo de La Habana on top of the hill overlooking the bay of Havana
is 66 ft. tall and made of Carrara marble brought from Italy.
Their music is electric.

Years before my dad got Alzheimers, he use to tell me that when he was on his death bed, he'd tell me how close we were to a full scale nuclear war. But that's not a secret anymore.  I just never imagined that as an American I'd ever be able to visit.

So imagine my excitement when restrictions were eased and U.S. citizens could actually go.
 (Thank you President Obama!)
Cuba has been demystified and I hope to go back. Going on a cruise is great to get feet your wet, but I  wanna get soaked in the culture. 
It's totally true about the cars there 
(big puffy heart)

We no sooner got home, and 3 days later, the Mr. and I were off to Kauai.

Waimea Canyon...

...known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

3,000 feet deep with AMAZING views and great hiking

Spouting Horn in Poipu
waves are forced under a lava shelf and the forced through an opening 

Wailua Falls
This waterfall was featured on the opening credits of Fantasy Island.

Roosters are EVERYWHERE after Hurricane INIKI hit the Island in '92. It destroyed chicken coops and released domesticated hens and as well as roosters that were bread for fighting. 
Other happenings...
*This is my last year of work! YUP...I'm retiring at the end of the 2017-18 school year. I can't even say that without grinning from ear to ear & a butterfly or two in my stomach!
*The Mr. only has about 2 1/2 years until he's done, so we're planning our retirement and getting ready to look at our forever house that's NOT in CA. We just got in touch with a there local realtor who'll be showing us homes. I've been on Zillow every-single-day. Stay tuned!
*Austin leaves for Navy boot Camp Feb. 2, so this 4th of July was extra special and a little bitter sweet because it will be the last time all the cousins will be together for a long time. I'm savoring every Mom moment I can.
*If you follow me on IG, you'll know I've been participating in a summer "index card a day" art project. The host gives out weekly prompts and it's up to you to interpret them and create. It's less daunting working on a 3x5 card then a BIG OLE blank sheet of paper. It's been A LOT of fun for me carving out time to just play.

Crazy I tell ya!
I bet this is what retirement is like!

What's the summer like for you?
Please share.

Happy (vacation) shooting!

I'm sharing over at Tamar's today.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Soft, Chewy...

...Chocolate Chip Cookie

There are very few things I miss when I chose to become gluten free. Donuts being one and
Chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk is another. I mean 

I stumbled across these cookies on IG May 4th, Star Wars Day. One thing led to another and I ended up on
for the recipe. I've since made them twice. Ku'uipo was kind enough to let me repost the recipe because I think they are THAT good. You NEED these in your life, and so do the people you love. In fact, I think there could be world peace if everyone had this cookie to love and adore...just sayin!

Now, I'm known to bastardizing most recipes I use. I've been cooking long enough to know if ingredients go well together, and how my brood likes their food~(cheeky smile) When it comes to baking though, except for a few exceptions, I pretty much stick to the recipe. I guess maybe because baking is more like a science, I kinda suck at science and sometimes most times the results can be disastrous. I followed Ku'uipo's recipe to the letter the first time I baked these. Austin and his girlfriend, Amanda, loved them but they both voiced they'd liked more salt...hmmph kids. We went back and forth on the best way to do this & keep the integrity of the cookie. I won-since I was doing the baking and besides, I already knew what I wanted. It gave me the perfect excuse to go buy finishing salt. 
I splurged on Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.
  I was even able to pick them up at my local grocery store. The flakes add that extra visual, textural and flavor that I envisioned. The kids thought so too. 
I've even seen the Mr. grab a cookie and he's not big on sweets.

I do not have Celiac but eating wheat products of any kind makes me miserable so I just stopped eating it. The only gluten I do eat is a small portion of challah on Shabbat, I'll cut and eat 1/4 of a donut if someone is kind enough to bring them to work, and 1/2 of one of these cookies. Man was it good-and I needed some major self control to not eat the whole thing. Watching friends and loved ones enjoy these makes up for not being able fully enjoy these with a tall glass of ice cold milk.

Seriously, this is everything you need in a cookie. Trust me! I kept the recipe as originally posted. I just sprinkled the sea salt flakes immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven.
And thank you Ku'uipo  for letting me share your recipe. She's got lots of other delicious meals and treats if you want to go and check it out.
Share the wealth I always say~
Happy (cookie baking) snapping!

Soft, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
These soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies with a subtle caramel flavor make you want more. Warm from the oven they will melt in your mouth. 
 large cookies
  1. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, place the melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Whisk until well combined. Whisk in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Do not overmix. 
  3. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line pans with parchment paper.
  6. If the cookie dough is hard to handle, leave it on the counter for a few minutes.
  7. Drop rounded balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet, the size of 3 tablespoons each. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies just begin to brown at the edges and center is still soft. Cookies will appear undone but will continue to bake on the warm baking sheet. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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