Kitchen Cure Take 2

It has been several months since I participated in Apartment Therapy’s Kitchen Cure. This blog just hosted another Kitchen Cure and although I did not participate, it reminded me that it is time for another deep cleaning in this well used room. It was a busy winter and my time working away from the home basically tripled, meaning chores like kitchen cleaning fell by the wayside. Tyler has done a great job filling in for me, but as much as he does, there are certain things that escape his notice (or caring), like cleaning out the coffee maker or wiping down spice jars. So, I decided to make an abbreviated list of kitchen tasks to “cure” my kitchen and bring it back up to snuff. Thankfully the organizational systems I put in place during the fall cure have worked well so there isn’t any huge overhaul needed, just a bit of cleaning and restocking.

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Beth Tully of Cocoa Dolce Shares her Sweet Secrets to Success

I work for an organization called NetWork Kansas. Their mission is to connect entrepreneurs with resources and sometimes I get to meet some of these very entrepreneurs. I was on hand to represent NetWork Kansas at the launch of Butler Community College’s Entrepreneurial Institute on March 2 and had the opportunity to listen to Beth Tully of Cocoa Dolce.

Beth is a local (Wichita, KS) entrepreneur who shares the story of following a dream. Like many of us, she longed for a life that was truer and more satisfying than the corporate gig she had pursued (very successfully) for years and finally listened to the call to live authentically. For Beth this meant becoming a master chocolatier. Beth’s passion is creating sweet confections but when it came to running a business, she realized there was a lot to learn. Striking the right balance between passion and preparation can be one of the most difficult aspects of entrepreneurship. Beth spent a lot of time planning, although her husband actually urged her to move faster than they’d initially discussed, citing failure as the “worst that could happen”.

As Beth spoke, I was struck by the way that her words resonated with the audience. Following a dream is a powerful image in today’s society, probably because so many of us spend most of our time doing things that aren’t consistent with what’s in our heart. When we align our skills with our passions, it seems like so often a path is opened before us that seemed impossible. When you remove “getting rich” as the motive, business will be more satisfying and often more successful. Of course, you have to earn a living, but that cannot be the only reason you decide to be an entrepreneur. Continue reading

I’m An Aunt!

My precious niece, mere moments old.

Congratulations to new parents Naomi and Nick. This little angel epitomizes the phrase “bundle of joy.” I’m so glad I have a chance to be a part of her life. Lily is blessed to be surrounded by so many people who already love her; aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so many more.

… Starting Over?

I feel like I am living well beneath my intelligence. My life (specifically referencing work) requires so little of my mind and I don’t believe I’ve ever been pushed intellectually, nor have I pushed myself, excepting rare occasions. Sometimes this feeling just hits me, although it never really goes away and I feel a constant discomfort, like when you wear a sweater that’s just a pinch too small. Today I am feeling a little low and susceptible to negative ruminations so this one has come to roost. I stumbled across some different personality type/intelligence research and commentary online thanks to one of my customized google alerts (don’t you love those?) and it reminded me of my lifelong struggle and my feeling that my brain is both my biggest asset and biggest liability. I’m determined to focus on the “asset” part of the equation and that means putting ever more energy and time into writing.

Chicken Teriyaki

I promised you ages ago to share my homemade teriyaki sauce recipe. For my first attempt I combined what I felt were the best elements from several different recipes. The flavor was amazing – rich and almost smoky. It’s still not the same as the kind we get from Japan Express (an awesome little local “fast food” Japanese restaurant) but it was pretty excellent and far outshone sauce from a bottle. Continue reading

The Ultimate Big, Chewy, Husband-Approved Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This monster was as big as my hand.

Chocolate chip cookies are Tyler’s reward of choice for performing all sorts of above-and-beyond tasks for me around the house. He does a LOT for me, so I keep a few tubs of cookie dough in the freezer for quick rewards. The other night, he finished hanging new (pretty!) shelves in my office and I wanted to thank him. This is my new go-to recipe. It’s pretty awesome; chewy, rich and toffee flavored, and oh-so-buttery so it’s going to take a lot for another recipe to dethrone it. If you ever loved eating Tollhouse cookie dough straight out of the yellow tube, you are going to LOVE these – I promise.

Adapted from this recipe.

The Ultimate Big, Chewy, Husband-Approved Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or a mix of half chocolate chips, half butterscotch, to really bring out the rich, dark flavors)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (although I have also cooked these at 350)
  2. By  hand, cream together the melted butter and sugars. Beat in vanilla, eggs, and molasses until light and creamy. Mix in dry ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough onto cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes at 325 or for 8-10 minutes at 350, or until the edges are golden brown.

*I often substitute brown sugar for all the sugar. I just prefer the flavor.

I’m a Very Lucky Girl

So, I got my diamond ring anyway. It will take us a little longer to get to Europe, but I must confess, I really really really really like sparkly things. Even better? Since we bought the lifetime protection on my engagement ring, it is getting cleaned and re-plated at the same time as my new diamond wedding band is sized. That means my finger is going to be very lonely until late March, but very sparkly afterward!

Additionally, today I finally purchased the bar cabinet I had been wanting for months. I sold a bunch of old clothes, video games, and electronics on ebay in order to earn enough $$ that we could purchase this without dipping into our household $ or our savings account. I’m a little concerned about how well this piece will hold up over time, but it was the most stylish option in our price range (under $600) and will look darling in the mini-alcove in the dining room. Imagine it paired with the chandelier I am building and you will swoon at our twenty-something chicness. We obviously need to start drinking martinis STAT.

Acacia Mini Bar from CB2 $399

Edison Chandelier from Pottery Barn $399.99

Anyway, I’m excited. There is assembly required so I bet Tyler is excited, too ; ). This will be a great home for the cute little tasting glasses we bought when we toured the Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City last week. We have a ton of other beer drinking vessels(mugs, pilsner glasses, etc.) but now might be a good time to pick up some glassware appropriate for other drinks.