After breakfast I spent some time baking cookies with my dear friends the Kitchen Aid mixer, a mug of Chocolate Glazed Donut Coffee and the Food Network.

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I used to be obsessed with the FN when I first started getting into cooking – it was ALL I watched! I somehow fell out of the habit along the way but have started to tune in again, and gotten so many fantastic recipes in the past couple of weeks. Like Multi-Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Giada de Laurentiis.

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Her original recipe is actually Oatmeal, Cranberry & Chocolate Chunk Cookies, but I don’t dig squishy things in my cookies a la raisins, craisins or dried cranberries. Instead I consulted my arsenal of mix-ins to see what we could do!

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Let’s see, what do we have here… Milk Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and Butterscotch Chips? Yes please, to all of you. :)

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Now making cookies is easy enough – we’ve all done it a million times. But to make creating cookies EVEN easier, when using a stand mixer, I always keep these three key tools on hand:

Tool #1: A double sided spatula. The white side is flexible like a regular spatula, while the black side is hard like a scraper. This is nice when working with a thick cookie dough because usually a spatula isn’t strong enough to scrape through something super chunky. (This is Calphalon brand.)

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Tool #2: Bowls with lips. These kinds of bowls make it so much easier to add ingredients in between the narrow gap of your stand mixer and the bowl. An alternative solution is to use a piece of wax or parchment paper, put your dry ingredients in the middle, then hold the paper in a "U" shape to funnel the  ingredients into said bowl. (Available at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, etc.)

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Tool #3: A spatula paddle attachment. These actually eliminate the need for a spatula when mixing items in your stand mixer, because it scrapes while it mixes! (Available multi places online.)

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Unfortunately mine has seen better days, and smoother batters, and needs the assistance of previously mentioned spatula/scraper!

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I scooped those bad boys up…

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and had Multi-Chocolate Chunk Cookies in no time! :D

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Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Cookie nirvana.

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I was actually nibbling through my second cookie, when I realized these were my Ultimate Cookies, just without the Heath Toffee Chips – HA! I guess I know what I like. ;)

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Ben and I wanted to spread some Christmas cheer, so we headed out to deliver warm cookies to my parents. We opened the door to a wonderful surprise – it was snowing!

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Awwww – what a perfect little wintery Sunday!

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SPEAKING of the Food Network, I used a recipe from good ‘ol Paula Deen for dinner tonight – Jambalaya, y’all!

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Two things influenced tonight’s dinner decision:

1. I re-read my New Orleans posts yesterday which got me missing it, and the food, big time.

2. Ben and I were watching a cooking show on Iowa Public Television last night (because we’re cool like that) that featured some hard core, filthy-good Jambalaya, but we don’t have access to all the ingredients they used in their recipe (oysters, okra, etc.)

One quick search on FoodNetwork.com, sorting by ratings, natch, and it was decided. Jambalaya a la Paula Deen!

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This recipe was insanely simple and I pretty much had all the ingredients already on hand.

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The only changes I made were to double the kielbasa, swap the shrimp for chicken, and swap the beef bullion for chicken bullion.

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20 minutes was all it took for the rice to get tender and the sauce to thicken up. I took the lid off at the end and let it get even more thick before I ladled it up.

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Total winner you guys. Total. Winner! Creamy, slightly spicy and hearty – and a one pot meal to boot! I wouldn’t change a thing.

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You never thought you’d see a Paula recipe without 14 sticks butter, did ya’!? ;)

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Grocery Haul & What’s for Dinner This Week

So I told you this morning I only spent $52 on a huge load of groceries at the store. I’m still unclear as to how it all worked out but, nevertheless, here’s my loot!

Pantry Items

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  • Ranch dressing
  • Cookies Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Petite diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Peanuts
  • Flour tortillas

Fridge & Frozen Items

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  • Crispy Crowns (shoot, those were supposed to be Tator Tots for the husband. Clearly I am not well versed in frozen potato options.)
  • Tofu
  • 2 packages frozen chicken
  • Eggland’s Best eggs

Produce

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  • Sweet potato
  • Mango
  • 2 lemons
  • Carrot chips
  • Dole salad blend (x2)
  • Dole Broccoli Slaw
  • Dole Broccoli Heads
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Green Onions
  • Bell Pepper
  • Oranges

The Total

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$52.23!!! I think I’m so shocked because I even got higher priced, pantry/freezer staple items like olive oil, sesame oil and TWO packages of frozen chicken. I was totally expecting to walk away at least $70 poorer!

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All these ingredients will be put to use this week for lunches and the following dinners:

  • Monday: Buffalo Chicken Wraps (I made these last week during my blog outage – they are Un. Real.)
  • Tuesday: Sesame Noodle Salad
  • Wednesday: Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken
  • Thursday: Homemade Chicken Nuggets
  • Friday: Traditional Christmas Eve dinner over at my parent’s house. Potatoes, shrimp and bread, oh my YES!

Dear Lord that’s a lot of chicken. I actually semi hate chicken in just the plain, breast form – it’s definitely got to be jazzed up a bit for my liking. We’ll see how it goes!

Ok, off to do multi things before the start of my short week. I’ll only be in the office Monday and Tuesday – FTW!

‘night!

ps just a few more hours left to get your vote on! :D 

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What location of vacation past are you fondly thinking about right now?

Who’s working a short week this week?