Archives for August 2010

Double Double Chocolate Chocolate Biscotti Biscotti

I love a biscotti. I love dunking them in my coffee or eating them solo. I love that it wipes out a cookie craving and I never get the urge to eat the whole pan in one sitting (okay, hardly ever). And because they aren’t filled with oil and butter and all that gobbledy-gook, they’re not horrendous for the waistline. BONUS.

If you’re like many people, you might think that biscotti is just a fancy Italian way of saying “overpriced crunchy cookie from Starbucks” – but what biscotti really means is twice baked cookie. And literally, that’s what it is. You shape your dough into a loaf, bake. Then slice and turn and bake again. These look complicated, and you can make them look super fancy (dunking them into melted white chocolate or adding a nice drizzle to the top of the biscotti), but you can make these for a fraction of what you pay at the coffee places. They’re not that hard and it makes you look fancy.

This recipe is from Cooking Light – and if you aren’t reading it, you should. I love seeing some of my favorites slimmed down so they aren’t as rich or destructive to my health. And these? DELICIOUS. I love this recipe as is, but wouldn’t mind jazzing things up with some toasted almonds, maybe? Walnuts. PEANUT BUTTER CHIPS. The sky is the limit.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (regular or mini)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (THE REAL STUFF, remember? None of that imitation nonsense)
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
Cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Combine dry ingredients into a medium bowl, whisking together. In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until well blended.

3. Divide dough in half. Turn dough out on cookie sheet covered in cooking spray (OR use parchment paper, like I did). With floured hands, shape each half into a 12″ long roll patting to ½” thickness.

4. Bake for 22 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to cool for ten minutes. Cut each roll into 18 slices (ish). Stand slices upright on baking sheet and bake an additional 15 minutes until firm.

Biscotti will be slightly soft upon removing from oven, but will harden as it cools.

Now pour yourself an awesome cup of coffee, grab a biscotti, and dunk. Ahhhhh.

Weekly Winners – I didn’t go to BlogHer Edition

Look, I don’t begrudge the folks in NYC the fabulous, fun time that they’re having. I see their tweets and it sounds like they’re having fun, getting to hang with friends and mosey around NYC. It just didn’t make sense for me to go this time around.

But I miss seeing all their lovely faces. And yeah. I kinda wish I was there.

It’s been a long week here.

First, there was this.

Between the injured puppy and the cranky children who want to run and play with said puppy even though said puppy is supposed to be calm and mellow and take it easy so he doesn’t further injure his leg, well… it’s been one of those weeks that drives me to curl up on the couch in my jammies before I even tuck in the kids.

My Old Navy pajama pants. I’m so fancy.

It’s been a long week.

“Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow…”
Dar Williams, “Better Things”

Find more weekly winners by visiting Lotus.

Having an attitude of gratitude

Do you remember the story of Alexander and his horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day? Well… today I am Alexander. The kids were bickering (I’m sure you read my earlier post, no?). We had a minor crisis involving the fence that we’re putting up in our backyard. And then? When I went to make dinner, I realized midway through that I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed. It’s not as bad as poor Alexander getting gum stuck in his hair, but… little things added up and I got a little cranky.


In the midst of all the wonky things that seemed to go wrong, so much is right in my life. I am grateful for so much, like:

My family

Yeah. In spite of the and those crazy-making moments, my family makes me tremendously happy. And they make for good stories. And good hugs.


I love my creative mind. I love that I get so much joy from music, from art and photography, from writing. I feel that using that part of my noggin brings me a lot of joy. It also makes up for the fact that I can’t do math in my head.

Good coffee

I am skilled in many ways. I am not skilled in the mechanics of making a perfect cup of coffee so I am so grateful that there are people who can make soothing, rich coffee that is pleasing to my brain.

That whole having a job thing

I am so aware what the job market looks like and how the economy is right now. I may not always love my job, but I’m glad to have one!


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Without carbohydrates, I would be a tremendously not nice person to be around. I know, I know, all that refined white whoosy-whatsit crap is bad for your body – But GUESS WHAT?! That’s why I work out. I make sacrifices in other areas of my diet, or spend more time with my running shoes laced up because I love bagels, cookies and Cheetos.


It’s contagious. And even when I can’t find a smile, the sound of my daughters’ laughing? Puts a smile on my face and chills me out so I’m less of a crabby-abby. The best is the unabashed, gleeful, uncontrollable laughter that leaves the laugh-er gasping for breath. Love that.

This lesson on remembering what I’m thankful for was a post written for the Real Zest peeps. Thanks y’all, for inspiring me to be a little bit more glass-half full on an Alexander day.

They’ll Be Best Friends Someday, Right?

“MOM! She pinched me!”

“She is playing with the dog, and I want to play with the dog!”

“Get your stupid blanket off of me. I’m hot! I don’t want your blanket on me!”


“That’s my elephant. I WANT MY ELEPHANT BACK.”

“I had it first. You weren’t playing with it!”


“Mooooooooooom! Mooooooooooooom! Moooooooooooom!”

“Her feet are crossing the line – she’s taking up the whole couch!”

“I want one of the pillows, you can’t have them both.”

“Why did you take my bookmark out of my book? You’ve lost my place. MOM! SHE LOST MY PLACE IN MY BOOK!”

“I want the pink straw!”

“She took the last yellow straw!”

“I want the Sponge Bob plate YOU CAN’T HAVE IT!”

“She pinched me.”

“She pulled my hair.”




And then mom promptly passes out with a pillow over her head.

Thursday Ten: Questions Edition

1. We took Sir Pups-A-Lot to the vet for his check up on Monday. The verdict? His fracture is not only NOT healing as they want it to, it looks WORSE. They kept him over night and they resplinted his leg. We’re supposed to keep him calm. Any ideas as to how to keep an active puppy calm?

2. Yesterday, I was downloading some apps to try on my phone. I’ve gotten a few great pitches lately for iPhone apps to review (keep an eye out, y’all – some really interesting things) – and I like to give them a fair shake when I’m trying them. One app kept crashing every time I tried to open it. I got a little freaked out thinking, “Rut roh. What’s wrong with this app?!” Turns out – it wasn’t the app. The app is actually pretty cool. The problem was my cranky phone needing to be restored. Ugh. And whew. What are your current favorite CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT apps for your iPhone (or other smart phone)?

3. I took my children to see “Ramona and Beezus” last week, despite the reservations I had about Hollywood messing with my childhood. Turns out it was pretty cute. Some awesome casting put John Corbett AND Josh Duhamel in the same movie (thanks, Hollywood!). I loved that it was a nice sweet movie for my kids – and it tied so many things from the stories I remembered into the movie. I didn’t love how expensive it is to take kids to the movies. Ugh. What’s the best movie you’ve seen this summer?

4. I went on a music downloading spree yesterday – downloading mostly those overplayed summer songs that have been polluting my brain the past few months. A recent favorite of ours is “The Only Exception” by Paramore. Oddly, I’m not really a Paramore fan – I can take or leave them. Pumpkin really loves this song though. What summer hit has been your favorite this year?

5. Yesterday as a whim, I bought a pack of Hostess Chocolate cupcakes 100 Calorie Packs. I should point out that while I realize they have no nutritional value, I do often crave sugary snacks, and limiting myself to 100 calories is generally a good rule of thumb. I also feel I should point out: THIS IS NOT ENOUGH CUPCAKE. They are tiny tiny tiny. While they are delicious lilliputian bites of cupcake goodness, they are just that: LILLIPUTIAN. Have you tried these things? Are you a sugar snack person or a salty snack person?

6. As I type this, Pumpkin is snorting at me. Like a pig. Surefire way to make me laugh. (HA HA. Made you look. No question here)

7. A great deal of my friends are in New York City today for BlogHer. I am not in New York City. Do I wish I was? Yeah, kind of. I am sad to not visit with some of my favorite people in a totally different place. I would love to be travelling right now. If you are in NYC, will you send me a souvenir (like a pretzel from a streetside vendor – I don’t care if it’s like a brick when it gets here, I just think it’d be funny)?

8. It’s Project Runway night! If you’re hooked on the show (as I am), do you have any early favorites?

9. And now, Pumpkin is filming me type this with my Flip and I’m glad the batteries are dying because my clothes don’t match, my bra strap is showing and my hair looks like a big frizzy tornado. It doesn’t matter that the kids have a playroom full of toys, they love playing with my phone, my Flip, my camera (but not my dSLR. That’s off limits). Funny how that works, right?

10. Just over a month til school starts. I may blog later about the idiocy of the Michigan law that requires public schools not start until AFTER Labor Day (BOOOO MICHIGAN!), but for now, I am seeing lots of tweets and Facebook statuses about kids starting school soon – Some even THIS WEEK?! When do your kids go back to school?

And that’s what happens when I go to book club.

The other night, I ventured out to meet the book club girls at a local restaurant. I hadn’t finished either of the books. July’s was The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan which I had previousl read and was in the midst of re-reading. June’s selection was Nicholas Sparks’s Dear John, which I purchased though I have no intention of reading it. It’d been a long few days (yes, all summer days are getting to be that way) and I wanted to go out, be silly and just take a break from life.

We talked about the books for roughly three and a half minutes before moving on to talking about regular life stuff – friendships, movies, work and the oh-so-important “which teacher did you request for your child for the fall”. Y’know, the normal stuff. Over copious amounts of oh-so-bad for you appetizers (cheese fries, anyone?), we gabbed for two hours and by the time I left to dash home (it was Project Runway night, after all!), I was refreshed.

I arrived home relieved from the time out, and so I ventured upstairs to kiss my daughters goodnight. When I peeked in at Pumpkin, I noticed something was a little different.

“Hey, Pumpkin… Who cut your hair?”

“The ‘usual person’,” she replied – implying my sister and YES, actually using air quotes.

“Um, she gave you bangs?”

She wouldn’t have done that! I thought to myself. There’s no way my sister would have given my kid bangs without calling me or texting me to see if it was okay.

PRINCESS!” I called. My older daughter came in. “What do you know about your sister’s hair?” By then, Pumpkin had huddled under a blanket, refusing to speak.

The Princess knew nothing about it. Hubby knew nothing about it. As I began to sift through her hair, I realized… This was definitely NOT a professional cut. This was definitely the handiwork of a freshly-minted five year old who stole her big sister’s scissors.


There’s never a dull moment in our house. I had always jokingly said, “If one of my daughters is going to cut her hair, it will be Pumpkin.” She is a creative, free-spirited spit fire and so I am not at all surprised by this. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t thrilled either.

I called my sister for an emergency hair summit and she was able to cut Pumpkin’s hair into a cute bob. The bangs were actually well-cut, considering they were at the hand’s of a five year old, and brushed just beyond eyebrow length. They barely needed to be touched up. There’s a small patch underneath that has been cut to about an inch in length, but… it doesn’t show, and we left it alone. As it grows, we’ll continue to even things out.

It’s easier to care for now – a happy side effect – and it’s made for interesting conversation fodder. I think all my friends at some point cut their own hair when they were children. Most did a far more brutal job than Pumpkin did.

It’s only hair. Life goes on.

But I’ve temporarily suspended her scissors privileges.

**Of COURSE those are affiliate links, silly!