Month: May 2012

Mustard Rosemary Chicken with Carrots and Potatoes

  So the other day when I said the Chicken, Mushroom & Leek Casserole was likely to be the only Martha recipe I showed you guys, I’d forgotten about this one.  Oops.  My statement still stands that I find most of her recipes too much work for too little return, but it turns out a few of them have snuck into my recipe book none the less.
  That being said…I think Martha may have decided that this recipe is no longer up to her bat-penny standards (probably because it’s easy enough for me to make) and has pulled it off her site.  I can’t for the life of me find it anywhere.
Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
12 small carrots (or a few handfuls of baby carrots)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1/4 salt (coarse is preferred)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
4 skinless chicken thighs*
4 skinless chicken drumsticks*
8 red potatoes, halved*
* These are what Martha wants you to use, I use whatever is on hand, because I’m cheap and lazy
  Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees.  Toss together your carrots, 1 tsp oil and 1/8 tsp salt in a bowl.  Spread out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until carrots begin to soften (10-15 minutes).*
*If I’m feeling really lazy I skip this and just bake everything together
  Combine mustard, garlic, chopped rosemary and 2 tsp oil in another bowl.  Rub mixture over your chicken.  Toss the remaining oil and the potatoes in a bowl.  Sprinkle with remaining salt.
  Add the chicken and potatoes to the baking sheet and bake until the chicken is slightly golden and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165 degrees (about 45 minutes).  Season with pepper and serve.
  This is a great way to cook your side dishes at the same time as your meat.  I’m awful about remembering to make anything but the main course, so this is awesome for me.  We’ve found that G loves chicken drumsticks, so those usually are what we use for this (really, what kid doesn’t love a meat Popsicle?).  I’m not sure if this would translate to the grill or not, so it’s probably not the best recipe to plan for the dog days of summer, but until it gets really hot, it’s great!

Hoarding Glass Jars

  Yes, you are in the right place, and no, I haven’t totally lost my ambition to pare our possessions down.  I still want the things that take up space in our home to be both useful and beautiful, and if they aren’t, for them to be removed.  What I’ve recognized as I’ve discarded more and more though, is that the truly desirable items are the ones that I can use in a dozen ways.  Glass jars are that type of item.

  When you start to realize that you have a surplus of ways to replace items you think you can’t part with, it suddenly becomes much easier to get rid of them, or stop buying more.
  Chances are, you already have quite a few glass jars in your house.  They may be full of applesauce, spaghetti sauce or juice at the moment, but this is an item you don’t have to spend any extra money to bring into your life and can be used in a ridiculous number of ways.
  Jars as vases are one of the most obvious uses, but here are a few of the other ways I use them:
  Pencil organizer
  My desk organizer is a utensil holder from Ikea with a glass jar nested inside of it.  Pens and pencils go in the jar and scissors go outside of it.  It keeps everything neat and organized and my pens don’t fall over in the large space.
  Corralling sewing notions
  With all the sewing I do, I have buttons, zippers, lace and velcro coming out of my ears.  I use glass jars to keep my various fasteners and trimmings organized.  Baby food jars are the perfect size for storing grommet sets.  This application also works exceptionally well in garages and workshops for nails, washers, zip-ties and screws.
  Tupperware stand-in
  Sometimes leftovers are something you know you will be keeping for a while before you use them again.  Things like olives, that you haven’t used an entire can of, will fit perfectly with their juice into an empty jam jar.  Bigger jars work as a more spill-proof way to keep liquidy foods, like leftover soup.  Sometimes you’re just already using all your tupperware and have something more to store (holidays and parties, I’m lookin at you), glass jars are a good temporary stand in.
  Motivation to drink more water
  I said the other day that to get myself to drink more water, I use a 32 ounce water bottle.  I didn’t go out and buy a big water bottle, I simply washed out an old juice bottle and refill it.
  Containing homemade beauty products
  Finding a storage container is one of the challenges of making your own beauty products.  Since it goes in the shower, I don’t suggest using glass for your homemade shampoo (soap & water + glass = slippery bottle = possible broken glass disaster) but it would be a great solution for an oil cleansing mix.
  Storing loose change
  Please don’t tell me my Mr. is the only one who comes home with 3 lbs of coins in their pockets every night.  I simply won’t believe you.  I have 4 different glass jars that the coins get sorted into and when I’m heading somewhere I know I’ll be using a parking meter, I can easily grab a stack of quarters.
  Outdoor lantern
  Simply place a candle in the bottom and the jar will protect the flame from the wind.
  When a single glass jar can do all these things, it seems a little silly to keep a bunch of things I might use for these purposes around, doesn’t it?  And because of their nature (regularly coming into your house anyways) you don’t really need to even keep many glass jars around.  …so are you sure you want to keep dusting that lantern/vase/tupperware?

Garden progress- Early summer flower identification

  Hey fellow beginning gardeners!  Summer is here and so are a whole bunch of new flowers.  If you’re like me and have a house whose previous owners (at one point or another) were gardeners, you probably have at least a few things that have come up that you love, but can’t identify.
  It can be really frustrating, because if you can’t identify a flower, you can’t plant more of it, or make sure you’re taking care of it properly.  I thought a few pictures of some of the more popular flowers in my yard, both in bud and bloom, might help!
  The bud above is a peony.  Take note of the ant on it, because it’s important.  Peonies need ants.  The buds have some kind of sap on them that the ants eat away.  Without ants, the blooms don’t happen.
  Speaking of blooms, there are a few kinds.  The two below are a single (right) and a double (left) peony.
  Peonies are a little diva-ish in that without some support, the flowers tend to be too heavy for the stems to support.  An easy fix is to place a tomato cage around the plant in the spring and train it to grow up through it.  The leaves typically camouflage most of the cage and it keeps the flowers upright.
  The bud (left) and bloom (right) below are iris.  There are a ton of different types and sizes of iris, but the most common is the bearded iris.
  The bush below is a rhododendron.  The picture on the left actually shows a few stages of the bud as it opens.  The bud furthest to the right is the one closest to what they look like when closed…a little like teardrop shaped pine cones.  Mine is fairly new, so it’s still kind of shrimpy, but I’m hoping that it likes where it is well enough to get big.  We saw quite a few of them when we visited Pittsburgh that were a story and a half tall and as long as a car.  They like acidic soil, so I may just have to suspend my usual attitude of “tough it out or die” to get this one to grow.
  Finally, these are my climbing roses.  As you can see, I have a bit of an aphid problem.  Or maybe a Japanese beetle problem.  We kind of have a lot of bugs.  These have a typical “rosebud”, but bloom a lot earlier than normal roses (which bloom later in summer).  I really need to build a trellis to support them, so they don’t go entirely crazy and tangle up in themselves, but that hasn’t made its way to the top of my to-do list yet.
  Do you have any plants coming up in your yard that you wish you could identify?  Swing by the Facebook page and show me a picture.  I might know what it is!  And if not, I’ll at least commiserate with you about being new to this whole “gardening” thing.

Lime-grilled Chicken

  Happy Memorial Day everybody!  In honor of the start of summer, I just had to have a recipe for something on the grill today.

  Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
1/3 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  Combine all ingredients in a large freezer bag.  Marinade for at least one hour in the fridge.
  Discard the marinade and grill the chicken over medium high heat (350-400 degrees) for around 4 minutes on each side.
  If you don’t have access to a grill, or the weather is just too atrocious to use it, cooking the chicken under a broiler is always an option…but doesn’t this look better?
  This is yet another recipe that I can’t seem to find the original of online.  Magazine people, put your recipes online!  I feel bad not giving credit!  …again, we’ve made some modifications anyhow, but still!
  This doesn’t have a huge lime flavor, but it gives the chicken just a hint.  We both liked it and G ate his with no complaints.  …his salad he only picked the toppings off of.  Sigh.
  Hope you’re having a wonderful three day weekend!

How to prepare for warm weather parties

  Monday is Memorial Day, so it’s full steam ahead, we’re into summer!  And summer means getting together with friends and family to hang out in the beautiful weather, grill food and enjoy each other’s company.

  I’ve mentioned before that my attitude towards hosting is less is more, but warm weather does add a few extra factors to the mix.  I thought that a list of the extra things to keep in mind might be useful, and besides, it means I’ll always have an easy to find checklist for myself for our BBQs.
  Clean your outdoor furniture
  What on earth is my patio set doing when we’re not using it?!?  Even if we’ve used it a few days before, the combination of dust, pollen and, I don’t know, what’s the mud version of acid rain? seems to leave a film of crud on everything.  Use a wet paper towel and wipe everything down.  Your sister’s white pants will thank you.
  Make certain you have enough drinks
  I don’t actually mean drink drinks.  If you’re having a party, chances are a few of those are going to show up, even if you don’t buy anything.  What I mean are non-alcoholic, hydrating drinks.  If you’re going to have kids at your party, they’re obviously not going to be hitting the beer cooler, and even if there won’t be kids at your party, make sure you have some water or juice on hand for DDs, pregnant guests or guests smart enough to not want to kill themselves the next morning after too much booze in the hot, hot sun.
  Provide shade for the pasty
  Please?  I burn like paper.  Even with sunscreen.  And a hat.  A chair under a big tree or an umbrella are life savers for me.  There are more like me than you think.  The Irish are a prolific people.
  Fight the sickness
  And by “sickness” I mean malaria…or West Nile…or insanity caused by itchy, itchy bug bites.  Nobody likes being a dinner buffet for bitey little winged monsters.  Screened porches, citronella candles or spray on repellent.  Pick your poison, just make sure you have a plan.
  Beyond that, everything is more or less the same.  Good food, good friends, calm down about the little stuff and enjoy yourself!
  Happy Memorial Day weekend everybody!

The Basics of Using a Pattern-Part Two, Cutting or “What do all these marks mean?!”

  Last week I wrote a post for you detailing how to choose a pattern, determine your size and figure out which pattern pieces you needed to use.  This week I’m going to explain to you what those crazy lines and triangles all over your pieces mean.

  So if you’re following along from last time, you should have your pieces roughly cut out and ironed to get rid of the creases.  If you haven’t gotten that far, catch up before doing anything further, those creases can throw your sizing off if you don’t get rid of them.
  Once your pieces are ironed, it’s time to cut out for your size.*  Based on my bust measurement, I’m a size 12 for this dress.  On that note, please don’t freak out when you’re looking for patterns and your size is double (or more) your size in off-the-rack clothing.  Ready to wear clothing manufacturers figured out that people will pay more money to wear a smaller size and sizing went into free-fall, so what used to be a size 12 is now a size 2.  Pattern manufacturers haven’t caught up.  They’re still trapped in like, 1958.  Your number is likely to be breath-takingly high.  Don’t worry about it, one of the benefits of making your own clothing is that you don’t have to put a size tag in it.
  *For children’s clothing, unless the child is the highest size on the package, I don’t actually cut the pieces.  I trace them so I can go back and use the larger sizes when they grow again.  I store all the pieces like this.
  On most patterns, different sizes will use different styles of line for each size.  For my size, 12, on this pattern, I’ll be following the dashed line with alternating medium and short dashes.  That’s important because sometimes pieces don’t nest inside each other cleanly.  In the picture below for instance, you can see that the size 14 is the outside line on the left, but the inside line on the right.
  Once you feel confident you know which line is yours, you’re ready to cut your pattern piece down to the correct size.  When you’re done with that, it’s time to move on to the marks that tell us how to place the piece on the fabric.
  The two main indicators of how to position your pieces on your fabric will be your grain lines (the top picture) and how many copies of the piece you need to cut out (shown in the picture above. In this case, “cut 2”).
  Grain lines tell you a couple of things.  First off, the longest part of the line shows you what direction the piece should lay on the fabric.  Remember how I showed you how to create a lettuce leaf hem?  That effect is created completely by changing the orientation of a piece on the fabric.  Your grain line shows you how to align your pattern piece so the fabric will drape (hang) appropriately.  The long part of the grain line should be parallel to your selvage (finished, uncut edge).
  The second thing your grain line tells you is where to place your piece in regards to a fold in the fabric.  Because bodies are more or less symmetrical, lots of pattern pieces get cut twice or on a fold.  The grain line on the right is telling you that the piece of fabric you are cutting will be the exact same shape and size as the pattern piece.  The grain line on the left is telling you the pattern piece is only half of your final piece.  You will use the pattern a lot like kids in school folding paper in half to make a symmetrical heart.  Your grain line marked edge lines up with a fold on the fabric and so has no seam allowance.
  If you still aren’t entirely certain how to arrange your pieces, most patterns have an included cutting layout in the instructions.  This layout will only work if you have the indicated fabric width, and isn’t always the most efficient layout, but it is a good way to get a feel for how to fit your pieces onto your fabric.  (Shaded pieces mean you should flip them backwards, btw)
  Pin your pattern pieces and it’s time to talk about all those triangles.  Don’t worry about using too many pins.  I typically pin at all corners and once in between.  That’s it.  (You did wash your fabric first, right?)
  First off, both the markings in the pictures above mean the exact same thing.  These triangles are used to show you where two pieces line up.  The double triangle is used when a piece already has a single triangle marking and needs another marker.
  Triangle markings can be either cut outwards or in towards the center of your piece when you cut your fabric.  The markings on the pattern piece are within the seam allowance, so if you choose to cut inwards, it won’t automatically ruin your piece.  I personally cut outwards however, because I refuse to take the chance that I’ll accidentally hit paper with my fabric scissors.  Yes, I am that neurotic about my fabric scissors.  Also, depending on the fabric, notching into your pieces can create a weak point where the fabric could tear.  Your call.
  To create your piece without any modifications t
o your pattern, you’re ready to go.  Cut your pieces out of the fabric, creating your notches as you go.  Now hold on for a minute, you lucky duck, while I give a little more information for people like me, who have strangely long/short torsos/arms/legs.
  Not all of us are so lucky/unlucky as to be “average”.  I, for instance, have an abnormally long torso.  Like, 4-inches-longer-than-average long.  What that means is that when I try on a fitted dress in the store, my hips are typically about 4″ below where the hips on the dress are, leaving a baggy, empty pocket of fabric hanging above them.  It is not a good look.
  To fix differences between the pattern and your reality, look for these double lines marked “lengthen or shorten here”.  These markings show you where you will least effect the rest of the pattern while changing length.  To lengthen, cut between the lines and add extra tissue paper.  To shorten, fold the pattern together with the double line as the bottom of the “valley” in your fold and tape.  If there IS no “lengthen or shorten here” line, do the alteration at the bottom of the piece.
  Those are all the marks for getting your pieces cut out.  Next week we’ll cover the remaining marks that tell you how to go about sewing.

Garlic Artichoke Pasta

  Today’s recipe is another one of those “I found it online/in a magazine somewhere in 2005, wrote it down, and now it no longer exists” ones.  I like to give credit where credit is due, but frankly, we’ve modified this recipe so far from the original that I can’t feel that bad anyhow.
  Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
~12 oz box of bow tie, shell or elbow macaroni
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh basil or 1tsp dried
1-8 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/2 cup black olives, chopped
2-3 tsp fish sauce*
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan
*can be found at Asian markets
  Start by cooking your pasta.  Drain and set aside.
  Heat your olive oil and butter in a deep skillet over medium heat.  Add your garlic, basil, artichoke hearts, olives and fish sauce and saute for approximately 5 minutes.  Return your pasta to the pan and stir in your cream and Parmesan.  Cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring until thickened.  Serve warm.
  This is so good you guys.  I mean, it has heavy cream in it, obviously it’s good, but the artichoke and olives work so well together, and the fish sauce adds just the right touch of depth to the flavor.  Plus, it’s a vegetarian dish!  We all know how difficult those can be to find!
  G loved it, we love it, you should try it!

The Benefits of Mulch- Why Tiny Bits of Wood are One of my Favorite Things.

  As a new gardener, there is still a lot for me to learn.  One thing I have learned (the hard way, of course) is just how important mulching is.

  Over the weekend I finally got the garden I edged in March mulched.  Being a newbie, I made the mistake of weeding it before I bought any mulch.  I figured it couldn’t possibly get that weedy in a month or so…not with spring frosts and what not killing off plants…
  ….yeah, about that…  The only non-weed in the picture is the tall group of 3 in the middle.  And I’ve been sporadically weeding since the first time I cleared it too.  So, with no mulch, if I don’t weed every day, my entire garden is overgrown in less than a month.  Ugh.
  Lets see what the gardens that had mulch put down last fall look like.
  The only weeds I’ve pulled out of this bed were dandelions, because I wanted to get them before they grew root systems like tree trunks.  The green in the left bottom corner is the edge of the lawn.  I see 3, maybe 4 tiny weeds.  Since October.
  If cutting down weeding to a minimum were the only thing mulching did, it would be enough for me to be a fan, but it has a ton of other benefits too.
  Mulching means less watering
  Yes!!  Even less work!  Mulch is like house elves for your garden.  Garden gnomes even.  The wood sucks up moisture and it works as a barrier between the soil and the air, keeping water from evaporating as quickly.  Plus, keeping the weeds out means the plants you want aren’t competing for water with the plants you don’t want (weeds).  Note that some plants don’t like all that water and you’ll want to keep mulch away from their bases.
  Mulching improves the quality of your soil
  Mulch doesn’t last forever.  Yes, it’s sort of a bummer that you have to occasionally top it up to keep the weed killing benefits, but, when the mulch breaks down, it works as compost for your soil.  Not a terrible trade off, right?
  Mulching insulates
  Remember how I said that the mulch works as a barrier that keeps in the moisture?  It also works to regulate the ground temperature.  That means that the ground stays warmer at night and takes longer to get hot during the day.  It takes some of the stress off of your plants, so they can focus on growing.
  …and, of course, as we saw in the pictures above…
 Mulching keeps weeds from creating 3,000 little weed babies in your flower bed
  There are lots of different types of mulch you can look into.  Pine bark (the stuff from last fall) looks a little cleaner, but disintegrates faster than hard wood.  Cedar or other hard woods (the stuff I’m using this year) looks a little more like shredded BBQ meat, but will stick around for longer.
  Mulch is pretty cheap, but know that you’re going to need a lot more than you think you will.  To keep weeds from growing, your mulch should ideally be 3-4 inches deep.  That means one bag of mulch is only going to cover about the same space out of the bag as it does in the bag.  Load up.
  Don’t think that you can dump your mulch on top of existing weeds and call it a day.  While being shaded from sunlight might kill off some of the less hardy of the weeds, the majority of them will wiggle their way to the surface again quickly if you try this.  Clear the garden first, then mulch.  The mulch keeps the weeds out by not letting seeds get to the dirt, not by smothering the plants.
  Basically, mulch means less time working on your gardens and more time enjoying them.  Sounds good to me!

How I keep my 2 year old from driving me (entirely) crazy

  Everybody has heard the phrase “the terrible twos”.  There’s a reason.  Whoa boy has it been getting crazy up in here with G lately.  He’s 3 months into being 2 years old and is finally starting to get into the swing of it.

  He’s teething and tantruming and generally two-ing the penny out of his days.  Most mornings have at least one major meltdown.  A few days ago it was because he wanted to come upstairs but he had decided the baby gate had to be shut behind him and he couldn’t do it himself.  Another day we made the mistake of calling his chocolate milk “coffee” when he wanted “tea” (also just chocolate milk in a coffee mug).  I still haven’t figured out exactly what it was he was screaming at me about this morning.  It’s pretty intense.
  I do have to be fair.  He is two, so the Mr. and I are absolutely having our patience tested, but honestly, he’s not that bad.  Mostly I think it’s because I regularly trick/bribe him into behaving…
  I thought I’d share some of the tricks I use to keep him smiling and giggly instead of freaking out and screaming.  Hopefully they can help other parents, but I have an ulterior motive too.  I want to know what tricks you know that help prevent toddler meltdowns.  Pretty, pretty please?
  Here’s what works for us:
  Give them as much control as you can stand
    If you’ve got a 2 year old, I don’t have to tell you that they want to do things by themselves.  “Me do it!” is probably a phrase you hear enough that it has etched itself onto your eardrums permanently.  Obviously you can’t let your little one do everything, but I’ve found that the more I do let G do, the less he freaks out when I tell him he can’t do something.
  Every morning he picks his own pants.  The drawer they are in is one of the lowest ones so he is able to see into it and pull them out.  Once he has picked a pair, I pick a shirt to go with them.  It makes him happy because he gets to pick, but since I pick his top, it keeps him from constantly looking like a colorblind hobo.  Of course, occasionally, during the day he decides he now hates the pants he’s wearing and wants to change them.  He yanked the pair of pj pants above (recognize the fabric?) out of a basket of laundry we were folding and put them on himself.  We weren’t going anywhere that afternoon, so *shrugs* no harm no foul, right?
  I try to incorporate giving him some control into most activities during the day.  I give him 3 options for breakfast and let him pick what he wants.  He decides if he wants milk (coffee/tea), water or juice to drink.  He decides if we’ll take the wagon or the stroller with us when we go on a walk.  He decides which story we read before his nap.  The important part is to give them lots of choices that you can live with.  No letting them decide if they’re going to take a nap for instance, but let them pick out which blanket they’ll sleep with.
  With things he has to do (but doesn’t necessarily want to) I give him the option of doing it himself or my doing it for him.  If he stalls, I give him til the count of 5 to decide before “Mama does it” becomes the only option.  9 times out of 10 he’s brushing his own teeth/heading upstairs for his nap/going inside by the time I get to 3.
  Reward them with stupid behavior (yours)
  Oh it’s a good thing the Mr. and I are just big kids are heart.  This one has saved our skin more times than I can count.  G doesn’t always want to get into his carseat, but he loves being sung to.  Turns out that I can convince him to happily get in the car and in his seat if I promise (and then deliver of course!) to sing Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road Jack” once he’s strapped in.  Yup, I’m a dork, but if all it takes to keep my baby from screaming bloody murder when we get in the car is his mama belting out old Motown songs?  Well Mama’s gonna belt ’em.
  Work them like tiny ponies
  Thankfully for us, G has never been one to skip naps.  My boy loves him some sleep.  I understand I’m crazy lucky in that, but I think a big part of it is that we work really hard to let him wear himself out.  Whenever the weather is nice enough I try to make sure that G and I get out for a walk.  We always take a stroller or wagon with us (for when he gets tired), but the thing is…he pushes/pulls it.  I check with him frequently to see if he’s ready to climb in and be pulled, but until he says yes, we keep walking.  He’s a little trooper, my monkey.  He regularly makes the mile and a half walk to the library and one of his favorite evening pursuits is pulling the wagon in laps around our house.  He loves being the big boy who is in charge of the wagon or stroller and I love that we’re both getting exercise and that it helps him sleep.
  So those are the tricks I have so far…how do you keep a toddler from having a fit?

Chocolate chip cookies

  So I know that the official “Chocolate Chip Cookie Day” was last Tuesday, and that I technically missed the boat, but I needed something to take with me for the Wild Women’s weekend before Tuesday…and I’m sad now, after the official day…so obviously somebody screwed up when they were deciding what day of the year chocolate chip cookies were going to be the most needed.
  Or maybe I’m just fashionably late.  Either way.  We’re making cookies.  Hush.
  This is my family’s recipe for making chocolate chip cookies.  I got it from my mom, who I’m pretty sure got it from her mom (or one of her aunts)…and based on many of the other recipes in our family, it’s fairly probable that somebody, 60 years ago, took a recipe off a Toll-house bag and made a teenie, tiny alteration to it that changed it into the fabulous recipe that has been “ours” ever since.
Here’s what you need:
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz chocolate chips
  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Thoroughly mix your shortening, butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  After they are mixed, add the rest of the ingredients.  Do NOT try and do everything at once.  Flour will explode everywhere.  I may be saying that from experience.
  Scoop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, 2″ apart.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown.  Cool slightly before removing from the pan.
  Typically when I’m making these I use two pans in rotation.  I load one up, put it in, prep the second pan and then clean what I can while I’m waiting.  In our oven, around 9 minutes is the perfect browning time.  The first pan comes out, the second pan goes in and around 4 minutes til the second pan is done I start taking the first batch of cookies off the pan.  So long as the phone doesn’t ring and the toddler doesn’t wake up, the timing is almost always perfect for me to have all the cookies onto the cooling rack and new dough balls back on the pan by the time the other set is coming out of the oven.
  This makes a lot of cookies.  The number I get tends to be somewhere between 4 and 6 dozen, depending on how heavy handed I am with “mounding” my teaspoons.  They freeze well, so it’s not a huge deal, but be aware, you’re not going to be winding up with a modest number of sweets.
  When my mom makes these cookies, they turn out wonderfully lumpy and “tall”.  Mine wind up larger and flatter.  That’s because I’m incredibly lazy and melt my butter instead of “softening” it.  You also get flatter cookies if you use the mixer to stir in the dry ingredients instead of mixing it by hand.  (see “lazy” above)  Hers are prettier.  Mine are easier.  I’ll call it a tie.  Regardless of the shape of these cookies, they’re always delicious.  Try them out and let me know what you think!
Obviously this recipe got the “Feeding toddlers is HARD” tag of “G ate it” approval