Pasta Salad

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Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time while my wife and I were still at college, we were invited to a large potluck event at our church ward. In the weeks prior, we committed to bringing some type of salad, and didn't remember until the day of the potluck. As you can imagine, once we realized this we were frantic to figure out what type of salad we could bring without having to go to the grocery store to get things.

Our apartment was completely devoid of any type of green for a typical lettuce-based salad, but we did have a couple half boxes of pasta. So pasta salad it was. I called my parents and asked if they had any suggestions, which they did not, other than looking online. I didn't know who else I could ask, so an online search it was.

We decided that we wanted to do something a little different, that people would not have had often. Needless to say, after an hour of searching we didn't find any one recipe we liked, so we decided to improvise with what we had at home.
The following pasta salad is deliciously fresh tasting, and tastes amazing. It has become one of our new recipe standards for barbecues and family parties.

Chocolate Chips Cookies

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Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies are, I would say, a truly American creation. They are also one of my most favorite recipes. I can remember eating chocolate chip cookies almost my entire life. Every family has their recipe, and rarely do they stray from it. My family was no different: making chocolate chip cookies meant making my mom's chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies are also, I would imagine, one of the first baking experiences many children have. If they aren't helping to crack the eggs (so many eggshells), or pour in the flour (I'm dreaming of a white kitchen), they are helping to scoop out the cookies or...um...remove the evidence. I know, I know, there is some risk involved, but come on. Eating cookie dough is one of those things that every child needs to experience.

Anyway, chocolate chip cookies are one of the few recipes that all of my siblings know how to make. A couple of my sisters have branched out and now have their own recipes, but we all started with my mom's. By the way, before I tell you more about my family's recipe, I need to point out that the following recipe isn't my mom's: this is. I love my Mom's cookies, and they will always have a special place in my heart. The only problem is that when I was younger, I could eat probably a dozen of my Mom's cookies, but now I can only manage one or two before I get sick. I think they are just too sweet for my current tastes. But hey, I've grown up. And my cookies have grown up with me.

I wish I could say that this post's recipe is one of my own devising, but that wouldn't be 100% truthful. To be honest, it is one of my own conglomerating. When I was little I used to read cookbooks for fun, and the habit never really stopped. So I have seen a lot of cookie recipes in my life. This recipe kinda combines some of my favorite things about a lot of those recipes, along with a few tips that I have learned along the way.


Andes Mint Cheesecake

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I have mentioned before that a few of the recipes on this blog were inspired by my Mom's baking. This recipe is one of those. We didn't have it that often, maybe only three or four times, but every time we did I remember loving it. It actually was one of my first experiences with cheesecake, and every cheesecake I have had since I compare to this one. After talking with my mom about it, I learned that the original recipe came from the (unfortunately) no-longer-in-print magazine McCall's, specifically from the December 2004 issue.

The texture is silky smooth, and the flavor divine. I love it because the mint flavor is just strong enough to be dominant, but subtle enough to not be dominating.

In fact, I love this cheesecake so much that I figured out how to make it in a smaller size just so I could justify making it for myself. If you are also so inclined, I will include the ingredient amounts for a 6-inch cheesecake at the end of the recipe.

As a note, the original recipe called for 1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped Andes mints. I don't know if you have ever bought Andes mints before, but to get enough for the recipe you need about 3 boxes, which will run you around six bucks. On the other hand, a 10 oz bag of Andes mint chips only costs around $2.50, and is more than enough for this recipe.

Trust me, if you make this recipe you will fall in love with it, and if you bring it anywhere don't expect to take home leftovers, because it will be completely gone.

Sugar Cookies

Pin It DLD: Banana Bread

For some reason sugar cookies just seem to evoke the feelings of childhood in adults. Maybe it's because I only can remember eating sugar cookies when I was barely tall enough to see over the table, or because stamping out sugar cookies reminds me of small hands. But for whatever reason, sugar cookies just seem to mean childhood.

A while back I worked for a bakery and learned some fun things about baking cookies, which when combined with what I learned during my food science classes in school, hopefully let me make a good recipe for you.

Feeding my Toddler

Pin It So I must admit that I have come to a realization over the past few months that Jayson has been eating solid foods by himself: kids are messy eaters.
Yes, I know that this goes without saying, but I don't think I realized how messy kids can get. Maybe it's because I always only saw kids who weren't messy eaters? I don't know. But I used to worry so much about keeping Jayson clean while he ate that we kept him from a lot of foods like soup, refried beans, and other messy foods like that. But those foods are also good for him to eat. So what is a parent to do?

Give up, that's what!