Monday, September 24, 2012

The best chocolate chip cookies EVER (says the New York Times)!

We love cookies at our house and my daughter Lucie's favorite by far is the classic chocolate chip. We decided to give this Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from the New York Times a try to see if they're really the best EVER. And I have to say... they are pretty tasty and definitely worth the little bit of extra effort! 

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds chocolate chips

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes. Add eggs. Stir in vanilla. Reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refridgerate dough for 24-36 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. 

Do you have a favorite go to cookie recipe? Or a fun fall cookie recipe? We'd love to hear what it is. Or if you're feeling like experimenting, give these chocolate chippers a whirl and let us know how they turn out! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Fall" in love with cooking

Let's face it moms, our summer cooking vacation is soon to be over. The kids are back at school, the nights are getting darker earlier, and husbands everywhere are storing the BBQ for next year, so it looks like their cooking vacation is just beginning!  

I am not a very good cook, but I do rather enjoy it. I find that I lack a few key ingredients in being a good cook though:
1)  Time  
2)  Money  
3)  Any idea how to cook healthy meals and 
4)  Imagination  
So basically, I'm doomed before I even get started.

On a recent trip to my sister in law's (who is an amazing cook), she showed me her Clean Eating Magazine, which I hadn't heard of before. I flicked through and saw some recipes I thought I'd actually like. Not that I'm a fussy eater, but I often find cooking magazines complicated and full of recipes I don't actually even like the look of. Rather than taking her whole stock of magazines back to England with me, I checked out their website and skipped right to the "under 20 minutes" section. To my utter amazement, I found two recipes that I thought were easy, I had most of the ingredients for (so it didn't mean remortgaging to buy everything), and believe it or not, they tasted amazing! Even the kids ate it all - so no more separate meals for us!  

The Seared Chicken with Maple Glaze was just right on the sunny but chilly Fall day I cooked it:

And the One-Skillet Lamb Chops with Pears & Balsamic Pan Sauce is definitely one for a dinner party in the future!

So cheap, quick, easy, and delicious? I'm converted. What about you? Any recipes you want to share? Don't forget, for a fun party favor, why not share your secret recipe with all your friends with Love and Life recipe cards:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Do you love a list?

My name is Elizabeth, and I'm a "listaholic"...anyone else ever feel like that?  I got the impression I needed an intervention when my 2 year old asked me for a pen and paper so he could make a list.

I have one for personal stuff, one for work stuff, one for house stuff, a birthday list, and of course there is always a grocery list.  Short term, long term, and the immediate term that I wish I'd done yesterday. Now that school has started, I'm feeling even more need to write everything down before it has gone in one ear and out the other.

I like "Reminders" on the iPhone and use these a lot for things that come into my head when I'm out and about or messages I get at the school gates that I will have forgotten once I get home to my beloved pen and paper. One of the best things about these reminders is you can set a time and due date and it will ping you a reminder on your iPhone.

As for the shopping list, I really like the ShopShop - Shopping list app. You just enter the item you want to add:

This is how the list looks on your phone and you can cross them off as you walk through the aisles:

And the best feature you ask? (Beside it being free) With a push of a button, you can text the list to someone else to pick up the groceries on their way home:

I am blaming my insanity on a course I took that taught if you make a list at the end of every day, even if it takes 15 minutes to write out and prioritize, it will save you an hour the next day.

So that's me, queen of the list. Now, if I could only improve a bit on getting those things crossed off!

What about you? Any hot tips on cool apps? Can you magically turn me into a list "do-er" rather than just a really good list maker?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Weekend - a Love and Life Reunion!

Usually we would try to get away for Labor Day weekend. Maybe a little camping or visit with family, but this year we were lucky enough to host the Love and Life team from across the pond here in the Boston area. It was so nice to spend some time on the North Shore and in Boston and to catch up with good friends!  
Love and Life Executive Team

A hike at Halibut Point in Rockport was the perfect place for the company corporate retreat. 
 L&L 2012 Corporate Hike

And of course, one of the highlights of the visit was an afternoon with many friends on a our good friend's North End roof deck! 
 A little R&R after a productive weekend!

How did you spend your Labor Day weekend? Do you have a family tradition? Are you on the go or do you stay close to home for a "staycation" of sorts?