Friday, December 30, 2016

Advice from My 60-Something Self to My 20-Something Self

The Clock is Ticking

There comes a time in life that you must admit to being greater than middle-aged. You recognize you have spent more years on this Earth than are left. You know it is time to start cleaning out the closets and holding garage sales so that your children are not left with a 3,000-square foot house full of stuff to dispose of after you die.

As I reflect on the advent of a New Year, I am thinking of those things today.

This is Not a Post on How to Organize Your Closets

Many magazines feature articles on how to organize the rooms in your house. Entire bookstore shelves are devoted to self-help books on removing clutter, avoiding hording, and simplifying your life.

This post is not about those things. I will not be telling you what to donate, dedicate, or dispose of.

This post is about what others might call regrets. I prefer to call them “life thoughts”.

God has allowed me to spend six decades on this planet. It wasn’t an easy journey, and considering how I started, I think He must have a master plan for me. My parents were in their 40s when they married—both had been married before, had children, and divorced. God led them to the same time and place—they met, they fell in love, and the rest is history—and me.

Honestly, my mother did not at first recognize that she was expecting a baby. She thought that menopause had begun. And, with her oldest and youngest surviving children being 26 and 16 years of age, that is an easy assumption to be made. However, at the age of 44, my mom became a new mother once again. And there was not much time to make plans for this new arrival—labor began at week 28. The standard is 40 weeks, and 28 weeks at a bit shy of that, isn’t it, especially if the first 12 or more weeks were assumed to be merely a hormonal shift?

And in the early 1950s a baby delivered so early and so small (under 3 pounds) had very little chance of survival. If that baby did survive, it would doubtless have physical and neurological challenges—deafness, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities. But, I beat the odds; all senses and body parts are pretty much operational.

So, what did God want me to do with this life that He gave to me? I have gone to college, had a successful career, married, created a lovely home and garden, and raised two beautiful human beings. I have no regrets.

But, if I had a chance to live my life over again, I believe that there are a few more things I would or should add to my inventory of accomplishments—things that when I was in my 20's were relegated to the list of “not important," "doesn’t matter," or "I’ll wait till I’m older”:


Of the fifty states that make up this vast nation, I have visited only 15. What a dismally small number is that. And of foreign countries, there are even fewer—Canada, England, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Slovenia. That’s it.

I can honestly say that every place I have traveled has had something unique and beautiful and magnificent to offer. To my twenty-something self I would say travel more—as the years pass the cost of travel will only increase. Travel not just to “see”, but to “do”. When you visit places other than home turf you meet new people, gain new perspectives, you discover, and you grow.


Read every day. Cookbooks don’t count. Tabloids don’t count.

Read outside of your comfort zone, explore beyond what you already know. Read to gain a better understanding of places (science, exploration, travel), time (history), and people (biographies). The library is a treasure chest. Stored within the Dewey decimal system is a universe of information just waiting for you to open the cover and turn the first page.

Read to learn. Read to grow.


Human beings are so simple and yet so complicated.
As infants we operate in a world that is pretty much black and white.

No, I’m not referring to color-blindness. The life of an infant is pretty simple and there are only two variables, just an on- and off-switch.

I’m hungry, I’m fed
I’m wet, I’m dry
I’m sleepy, I’m rested
I'm bored, I'm happy.
Such is the existence of an infant.

But as children age, learn a language, and begin to interact with those around them, they eventually discover that they can manipulate their world.

Seemingly overnight the beautiful happy baby becomes a terrible-two toddler--totally irrational, completely self-centered, and absolutely convinced of their own omnipotence.

And eventually, they discover that they can even say something that might not be completely, honestly true, and they will be believed! …and then they become adults.
So, who do you trust? There is an often-quoted saying:
Fool me once, shame on you; 
fool me twice, shame on me

My Thoughts on Relationships

  • Trust everyone—the first time. Trust people until they give you a reason not to.
  • Not everyone will like you. That’s OK. You must also give yourself permission to not like everyone you encounter. However, that does not give you a free pass to be rude. Treat others as you would want to be treated.
  • The people that you befriend are the best and worst thing that will happen to you. Some will lift you up. Others will pull you down to their level.
  • Most of the people that you meet are average. Some are excellent. A few will change your life forever.
  • You don’t need a lot of friends or people around you. You need amazing people who do for you as you do for them.
  • You can feel totally alone in a room full of people. Comfort and security is not measured in numbers but in value. You don’t need 500 Facebook friends. One or two or three really special people will make the difference in your world view, in your perspective, in your life. Treasure them. Quality trumps quantity.


Respect the value of time. Value your time on this earth. Don’t
  • waste time on people who you don’t trust.
  • waste time with lovers who cheat on you.
  • waste time with friends who don’t treat you the way you treat them.
  • be late.
And please, value other people’s time
  • Arriving late, whether for work, a meeting, a date with friends, a family gathering, or a church service means that you don’t care.
  • Unless there was major “stuff” on the freeway that could not have been predicted, you had a flat tire, or the cat or dog deposited something nasty on your carpet just as you were leaving your house, by arriving late you are announcing that you are more important than anyone else.
  • A late arrival means that it’s all about “you.”


I have failed in so many ways—at work, in being a friend, at being a wife, mother, sister, aunt, and daughter. Why? Because I am not perfect, and I am not perfect because I am human. But failing isn’t bad. Failing is falling down, knowing that you made a mistake, and getting back up on your feet and trying again.

On the other hand, there is failure. Failure is refusing to acknowledge wrong. Failure is to not learn from mistakes. Failure is falling down and not even trying to get up again.
When you fail, look back at what went wrong and strive to make it better next time.


Just as Rome was not built in a day, so your life learning is not completed when you are twenty, or thirty, or even ninety. Never stop thinking, planning, striving, growing, being more today than you were the day before.

Be patient. Plan in decades. Think in years. Live in days.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate 
the love of God and family 
and to create memories that will last forever. 

Jesus is God's perfect, indescribable gift. 

The amazing thing is that 
not only are we able to receive this gift, 
but we are able to share it with others 
on Christmas 
and every other day of the year. 

Joel Osteen

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Day # 12 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies-- Do You Remember "Pay Days"?

Today I'm going to reveal a family secret. It's something I've never fully understood, but over the years I simply came to accept the fact sister didn't like chocolate. 

Shocking, isn't it? 

But she did love candy--molasses mint chews, Dots, Jolly Ranchers, licorice whips, and Payday candy bars. Ahead of her time, Florence loved the contrast of sweet and salty. I thought about that today as I was shopping in the bulk foods section of our grocery store, and saw salted peanuts on sale.

For the uninitiated, the Payday candy bar is a creamy log of caramel surrounded by crunchy, salty peanuts. I'm in the mood for something sweet and I'd like to make something that replicates the flavor of a Payday, but candy-making on a hot summer day in July sounds just about as wacky as, well as not liking chocolate. Betty Crocker has a great recipe for "Easy Salted Peanut Chews". I'll give you her recipe, and then my version:

Betty Crocker's "Easy Salted Peanut Chews"

One pouch (1 lb. 1.5 oz.) Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon water
1 egg
3 cups miniature marshmallows
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tsp. vanilla
1 bag (10 oz.) peanut butter chips
2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups salted peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl stir cookie mix, oil, water, and egg until soft dough forms. Press dough in pan using floured fingers.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Immediately sprinkle marshmallows over crust; bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until marshmallows begin to puff.

In a 4-quart saucepan, cook corn syrup, butter, vanilla and peanut butter chips over low heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Remove from heat; stir in cereal and peanuts. Immediately spoon cereal mixture over marshmallows. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into 9 rows by 4 rows.


Yum! My version does not rely on a package of cookie mix; I would rather make my own peanut butter cookie dough, and so that's exactly what I did:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs. 

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into dough. Press dough into pan as instructed above, and proceed with the remainder of Betty Crocker's recipe.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 

(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Day #11 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies-- Cocoa and Coffee. Both Are Beans, So This Must Be Healthy, Right?

Yesterday was a beautiful Winter day--temperature in the mid-30's, sunny, clear skies...........and I was stuck inside with work. Today my desk is clear and, guess what? It's cold, gloomy and gray. How depressing!! I guess I should work on my coping skills. I should thumb my nose at the gloom and go out for an invigorating walk. I should. But I'd rather bake cookies!

I found this recipe on the website. It was originally published by Southern Living in 2004. Chocolate, coffee, butter, sugar--hmmm, let's see, that's beans, dairy, and fruit right?  I'm sure these are good for me and will make me feel so much better. And I think you'll like them too!

Mocha-Chocolate Shortbread


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels, divided
  • Vanilla or coffee ice cream (optional)


Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; add butter and vanilla, and beat at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Stir in 1 cup chocolate morsels.

Press dough into an ungreased 9-inch square pan; prick dough with a fork.

Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup morsels over top, and spread to cover. Cut shortbread into 25 (about 1 3/4-inch) squares; cut each square into 2 triangles. Let cool 30 minutes in pan before removing. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 

(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Day # 10 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies--Famous Duos

Bacon and eggs. Milk and cookies. Spaghetti and meatballs. Sonny and Cher. My favorite duo? Peanut butter and jelly. It's a perfect marriage--salty and sweet, crunchy and creamy (I prefer chunky peanut butter), a little protein, a bit of fiber, and some carbohydrates. 

The March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit contains an article written by pastry chef Lauren Chattman--"Pantry Raid". Ms. Chattman gives us six amazing desserts you should be able to whip up without a trip to the grocery store. All of them sound amazing. But today I'm craving PB & J.

Mmmm, peanut butter!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup grape jelly or other jelly or jam
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with heavy-duty foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang around edges and pressing firmly into corners and up sides of pan. Coat foil with nonstick spray.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter, sugar, and butter in large bowl until smooth. Add egg and vanilla; beat on low speed until smooth. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend. Transfer half of dough to prepared pan (about scant 1 1/2 cups). Place remaining dough in freezer for 10 minutes. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto bottom of pan. Spread jelly over in even layer. Remove dough from freezer; using fingertips, break into grape-size pieces and scatter over jelly layer. Sprinkle chopped nuts over.
  • Bake bars until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool bars completely in pan on rack.

  • Using foil overhang as aid, lift bars from pan. Gently peel foil from edges. Cut into 16 squares. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 

(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Day #9 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies--Even Better Than Milk's Favorite Cookie

Milk's favorite cookie? Oreo's of course (or at least that's what the folks at Nabisco would like us to believe). I found today's recipe at another favorite website --

Oreo Cookie Balls
1 pkg regular size Oreo cookies, crushed
1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 pkg white almond bark
1 pkg chocolate almond bark
cake sprinkles, coarse sugar, or crushed candy for decorating (optional)

Using a mixer, blend crushed Oreos and cream cheese together. Roll into walnut-sized balls. Chill for one hour. 

Melt approximately 3/4 pkg of white almond bark. 

Stick a toothpick in one of the Oreo balls and dip it in the melted white almond bark. Allow to harden on waxed paper (this takes about 15 minutes). While waiting, melt 1/4 package of chocolate almond bark. When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate almond bark. 

You can use the remaining 3/4 pkg chocolate almond bark to coat Oreo cookie balls and the remaining 1/4 pkg of white almond bark to drizzle. 

You can also add sprinkles, decorating sugar, or crushed cookies/candy to the coated pops while the almond bark is still wet.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 

(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Once Upon a Time...

My first attempt at sketching. 
This is Lana Parrilla as Regina on "Once Upon a Time."

My older daughter is a huge (over-the-top) fan of Once Upon a Time. As a Christmas/Birthday gift we have bought her a weekend pass for the OUAT Convention in Vancouver, B.C. March 2017. Souvenirs, meet-and-greets, photo-ops, and Q&A sessions with the cast members. Hoping she can take this with her and get it autographed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Day #8 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies-- For Adults Only

Well, that got your attention, didn't it? You're probably wondering "why the R-rating" on something as innocent as chocolate covered cherries?

Before being coated with dark chocolate, these cherries are soaked in rum. I say "YUM", but if you prefer you can certainly skip that step in the process. 

However, these little gems do take a bit of time and the cherries are a bit pricey. Do you really want your little ones gobbling these up like gumdrops? I think you're entitled to have a few secrets. Hide these from the kids and enjoy them with your sweetheart.

Long-Stemmed Chocolate Covered Cherries

1 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries with stems, drained
2 tablespoons rum (optional)
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 tsp. light corn syrup
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 12-oz package dipping chocolate

Prepare the cherries:
Drain the syrup from the cherries and pour in the 2 tablespoons of rum. Let sit for two hours and then drain. Place the cherries on paper towels to drain thoroughly while you make the fondant. (NOTE: If you prefer to make these without alcohol you can skip this step).

Make the fondant:
In a medium bowl combine the sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup; blend well. Add powdered sugar gradually, stirring until the mixture forms a stiff smooth dough. If all powdered sugar cannot be stirred in, knead mixture and sugar on counter until smooth dough forms. Wrap a small amount of fondant around each cherry to cover completely. Refrigerate about 20 minutes or until fondant is firm.

Dip the cherries:
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. In the top of a double boiler melt the dipping chocolate. Holding by stem, dip chilled cherries into the melted chocolate, making sure to cover completely. Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; refrigerate unntil chocolate sets, about 10 minutes. Dip chilled cherries in the chocolate again. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet; cover loosely with waxed paper. Let stand several days in a cool place to allow fondant to liquify. DO NOT REFRIGERATE.  

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen candies.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 

(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Day #7 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies--Pumpkin 7-Layer Magic Bars

Ask me what my favorite dessert is--that's like asking me to name my favorite child. I can't. I simply can't choose one over the other.

Pumpkin pie. Apple pie. Coconut anything.

Imagine my joy when I found this recipe for Pumpkin 7-Layer Magic Bars? Some of you might remember the original 7-Layer Cookie Bar Recipe--this kicks it up a notch, and then some. Thank you Bakers Royal for making my dreams come true.


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 11 ounces Golden Delicious apples, shredded (about 2 medium-size apples)
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconot
  • 1 cup salted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with two 14-inch long pieces of foil. The overhang will be used as a sling to help remove the cookies once they are baked.
  3. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; stir until well-blended. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
  4. Combine sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir until well combined. Pour mixture over graham cracker crust.
  5. Peel and core apples. Use the large side of a box grater to shred the apples. Layer shredded apple on the condensed milk layer.
  6. Sprinkle on chocolate chips, followed by almonds and then finish with coconut.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is browned. Let cool in pan completely and then transfer pan to refrigerator to chill before cutting.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 

(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Day #6 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies--It's a "Wonderful Slice"

OK, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Years (and years) ago, when I first met my husband (to be) he loved York Peppermint Patties. He loved them so much that, every afternoon, at breaktime, he'd run down to the cafeteria and buy a York. 

Every day!

Now, even as the reigning Carb Diva, I know that everything is best in moderation. The peppermint patties are no longer a part of his daily diet, but once in a while I'll bake a pan of these brownies for him -- for old time's sake. I think I'll surprise him with a pan of these for Christmas.

York Sensational Brownies
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Hershey's cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
24 small (1 1/2 inch) York Peppermint Patties, unwrapped

 Heat oven to 350°F.(325°F. for glass baking dish). Remove wrappers from peppermint patties. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan. 

 Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Add eggs; beat until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend well. Reserve 2 cups batter. Spread remaining batter in prepared pan. Arrange peppermint patties about 1/2 inch apart in single layer over batter. Spread reserved 2 cups batter over patties. 

 Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack; cut into squares. About 36 brownies.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 

(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Day #5 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies--What Was I THINKING?

Twelve days of cookies? Really? I must have been having a senior moment. Only five days into this challenge and I'm beginning to wonder if I can truly pull if off. First, I'm not sure I can be that creative. And secondly, I doubt my kitty will allow me to continue working in the kitchen without making something that contains cheese. (If you know my cat, you'll understand that comment).

I have not tried this cookie recipe yet. I copied it from the December 2004 issue of Bon Appetit. It sounded good then, and it still sounds good now. Maybe I'll give it a try today.

White Chocolate and Peppermint Cookie Brittle
A giant cookie is topped with coarsely crushed peppermint candies and melted white chocolate, then broken into irregular pieces.

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped into 1/3-inch pieces, divided
  • 3/4 cup coarsely crushed red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies (about 6 ounces), divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk melted butter, both sugars, and vanilla in large bowl until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just blended. Stir in 1 cup chopped white chocolate and 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy.
  2. Transfer dough to prepared sheet. Press dough into 14x8-inch rectangle, about 3/8 inch thick. Bake cookie until top is firm and dark golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on sheet 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.
  3. Stir remaining white chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Using small spoon, drizzle about half of melted chocolate in thin lines over cooled cookie. Sprinkle remaining crushed peppermint candies over chocolate. Drizzle remaining white chocolate over top. Let stand until white chocolate sets, about 1 hour. Break cookie into irregular 2- to 3-inch pieces.

(Can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 

(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Day #4 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies--Under My Thumb

I love chocolate. 

I am an unabashed chocoholic. 

If given a choice between a savory, juicy Porterhouse steak or Lindt dark chocolate with a hint of chili pepper, I’d choose the Lindt. 

If either a sweet, succulent lobster tail with drawn butter, or a Ghirardelli 70 percent cacao, there’s no need for a bib. 

If it were George Clooney on a deserted island or a Fran‘s dark chocolate/sea salt caramel, well I’m afraid I’d have to break someone’s heart.

When a want something a bit more indulgent than a chocolate bar to satisfy my craving, I often bake cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are OK in a pinch, but I prefer something a bit more intense. Brownies are comforting (I prefer the chewy kind). And then there are chocolate crackle cookies. Sinfully dark and dense, moist on the inside and covered in a crisp coating of powdered sugar. 

Today I was wondering if there was some way to make them even more enchanting? What about turning a chocolate crackle cookie into a thumbprint cookie, and then filling the indentation with chocolate hazelnut spread?

Here’s what is happening in my kitchen today:

Chocolate Crackle Thumbprints with Chocolate/Hazelnut Filling

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa 
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • Confectioners sugar for rolling cookies
  • About ½ cup Chocolate/hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, and salt and gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and chill for at least one hour or overnight.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Form dough into 1-inch balls (this recipe makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies). Roll in confectioners sugar to cover. Place cookies 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. 
  3. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a ½-inch indentation in the 
  4. center of each ball. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool. Fill the indentations with about ½ tsp of chocolate/hazelnut spread.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 
(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Thought for Today

First, read the phrases on the left side of the column.

Now, read the statements from left to right.

What a difference passion can make 
in our lives.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Day #3 of The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies--Do These Horizontal Stripes Make Me Look Fat?

For several years I have made these brownies at Christmas for my family and friends. The recipe is from the Hershey kitchens website ( If you love moist fudgy brownies, if you love dark chocolate, if you love chocolate and mint, these are your brownies. 

Fudgy Mint Cheesecake Bars

  • 1 package (4 oz) Hershey's unsweetened chocolate baking bar, broken into pieces
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
  • green food color (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  2. Melt chocolate with 1/2 cup butter. Combine chocolate mixture with sugar, 3 eggs, vanilla, and flour in large bowl, beating until well blended. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cornstarch in medium bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, then remaining 1 egg, peppermint extract and food color, if desired.  Pour mixture over hot brownie layer. Bake 30 minutes or until set.
  4. Spread chocolate glaze over top. Cool. Refrigerate until set. Cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator. Makes 24 to 36 bars.

Chocolate Glaze: Combine 1 cup Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips or Hershey's Semi-Sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup whipping cream in small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Makes about 2/3 cup glaze.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 

(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Day #2 of The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies--White Chocolate Raspberry Slices

Day No. 2 of cookie baking. I found this recipe in a 2002 advertisement by Challenge Butter. It has since appeared on several websites, most recently at Sunset. Several reader comments complained that the dough is dry and crumbly, but I have found that it just takes patience. This is a shortbread dough, and using your stand mixer at low speed I guarantee that the dough will come together--the resulting cookie is flavorful and beautiful.

White Chocolate Raspberry Slices
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I prefer almond extract)
  • about 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  1. In a large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and vanilla or almond extract until smooth. Stir in 1 1/4 cups flour, then beat until dough comes together.
  2. Divide dough into thirds. On a floured surface, with the palms of your hands, roll each portion into a 9-inch long rope about 1-inch thick. Place ropes 3 inches apart on a buttered 12 x 15-inch baking sheet. Press your finger into the dough to make 1/2-inch wide indentations at 1-inch intervals along each rope. Spoon 1/4 tsp. jam into each indentation.
  3. Bake ropes in a 350 degree F. preheated oven until edges are lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.
  4. Place white chocolate in a plastic sandwich bag, pushing to one corner; secure bag just above chocolate with a twist-tie or knot. Immerse corner of bag in a cup of hot water until chocolate is melted. Dry bag, then, with scissors, cut off tip of the corner. Squeeze bag to drizzle white chocolate decoratively across ropes. Chill until chocolate is firm to touch, about 1 hour, then cut each rope diagonally into 12 slices.

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 
(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The 12 Days of Christmas...Cookies

Call me crazy. 

Christmas is fast approaching. Although it comes at the same time every year, I'm feeling a bit unprepared--caught off-guard by how quickly spring, summer, and the year have gone by. There's shopping, decorating, and some sewing to do. But one thing that I always look forward to is the Christmas baking. My goal is 12 different cookies in 12 days. Can I do it?

One of my favorites is a soft, ginger cookie created by Nancy Bolton-Rawles of Eagle Point, Oregon. Her recipe was published by Sunset in their December 2006 edition. I think you will agree with me that it is worth making, over and over again. 

Frosted Ginger Cookies

  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp each salt, ground cloves, and freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream 1 cup granulated sugar with buter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and molasses.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and spices. Add to butter mixture and blend well.
  3. Fill a shallow bowl with granulated sugar. Break off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll into balls; roll balls in sugar. Arrange on greased cookie sheets and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks.
  4. Meanwhile, make glaze: Combine powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon water and stir until smooth, then stir in lemon juice. Drizzle glaze over cookies.
Makes 40 cookies

By the way, if baking is not your thing 
and you enjoy cooking
please visit my page 
(Carb Diva is my alter-ego and super hero persona)