July 30, 2012

I'm a Mom!

I'm happy to introduce you to the newest addition to the This Woman Cooks! household; our baby girl was born two weeks ago, weighing 5 lbs and 12 oz.

The process started at 3:00am with strong contractions, coming every 3 to 4 minutes. I knew she was on her way! By 6:30am we were in the car headed to the hospital. After being checked in, given a room, and an epidural, the doctor said I was just about ready to push! She was not wasting any time.

Luckily, my labor was uncomplicated and an easy ride (at least, compared to what I thought it was going to be). I couldn't have asked for a better experience. When she was placed on my chest, the hubby and I both burst into tears, amazed at the life we had created together. Two weeks later and we are even more amazed at how she has changed in such little time. We are in love, in heaven, obsessed with our little girl.


I hope to return to blogging soon, once I get the hang of prepping and cooking with this little one around. :)

July 5, 2012

S'more Chocolate Bars

Yesterday we had one last hoorah before our baby decides to make her debut. We celebrated the 4th in style grilling out back in our patio with good friends and good food.

On the menu: mustard and herb marinated chicken, grilled steak, roasted potato wedges with red ranch dressing, slices of Italian bread with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, garden salad, corn on the cob, S'more chocolate bars, and lemon blueberry muffins.   

I prepped all the food in the morning, starting with slices of Italian bread, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. I also made the S'more chocolate bars and did a little sampling. Delicioso! 

I also got a little crafty. I took out my Cricut and made some stars. I found an old blue ribbon, glued the stars on, and hung it on our door. It came out great, if I do say so myself. I was very proud.

We arranged all the food out back and grilled chicken, steak, and corn. Later on in the evening we cheered watching a "show" of fireworks, hosted by the hubby.


 Now, what can I say about these S'more bars? They were a hit! Gooey, chocolatey, with a yummy brownie layer, I knew I was going to make them for the 4th as soon as I saw them in one of my cookbooks. As our friends arrived they started to eat them, before we even had anything set out on the grill!

Source: adapted from Celebrating Cookies Book 2 
Servings: about 4 dozen bars

1 box of brownie mix
vegetable oil
14 graham cracker sheets, crumbled
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, combine the brownie mix and the oil, water, and egg (follow directions according to your mix for measurements). Stir until well combined. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Crumble the graham cracker sheets over the mix, giving it a shake before it goes into the oven to evenly spread out the crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, take out the brownies and top with the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Place back into the oven and bake for 10 more minutes or until marshmallows begin to brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

When the bars have cooled,  oil a knife and cut into bars.

July 3, 2012

Chunky Chocolate Cookies

These are the best cookies I've ever made. Ever.

They are rich without being overly rich. Sweet without being overly sweet. Chocolatey without being overly chocolatey. The perfect chocolate chip to cookie ratio. If cookies are served in heaven, these would be it.

I could gush on and on about these cookies for hours. We couldn't get enough of them. I must have scarfed four in a row after having my first one. The hubby too, proclaiming them "the best cookies I've ever had."

I don't think you should rule these out to be solely a cookie for chocolate lovers. Sure, they will definitely satisfy any chocolate lovers craving, but if there is someone out there that you know doesn't like chocolate (how is that possible?), make these for them and see if they can resist.

Source: Celebrating Cookies
Servings: about 4 1/2 dozen

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (10 ounces) dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped pecans (omitted)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture is a pale yellow color. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Stir in chocolate chunks and pecans.

Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes or until cookies are set and bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.