Category

Home

Three Easy Cookie Recipes

By | All Posts, Cooking, Home

There are few things as universal as a neighborly gesture…like the casserole delivered when someone is sick or just had a baby; the winter treat dropped off just to say “Happy Holidays;” and, for anytime at all,there’s the plate of cookies, still warm from the oven, to say, “You were on my mind.” Take an hour this weekend and make life on your block so much sweeter by doing a simple, kind act for the elderly couple down the street or the single mom next door that you know could use some quiet time. You’ll be amazed how this simple task can drastically improve your life by making your neighbors happy to be living near you and perhaps willing to return the favor on occasion just because. It’s never a bad time to do something nice, and it’s never a bad time to become the neighbor everyone loves. To make it simple for you and still yummy for your friends, we’ve compiled a list of the very best delicious and easy cookie recipes you’ll be able to whip together quickly with the classic ingredients you already have stocked in the cupboard.

 

Classic Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter (softened)

1 ¼ cup light brown sugar (packed)

½ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. While that heats, grease 2 cookie sheets with baking spray or line with parchment paper.  

 

In a medium size bowl, use a sifter to combine flour, baking soda and salt. Then in a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together brown sugar, white sugar and the softened butter. Add the eggs and vanilla, then cream together again until the mixture is light and smooth. Add in the bowl of dry ingredients and combine all together. The final step for the batter is to add chocolate chips and gently combine one more time.

 

To distribute the dough, use a small ice cream scoop or two tablespoons to create 1/4 cup portions. Place onto cookie sheets with approximately 3 inches between each portion.

 

Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the cookies are golden with lightly toasted edges. Once removed from the oven, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for an additional 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks.

 

*This cookie recipe is courtesy of Tessa Arias at Handle the Heat

 

Soft Snickerdoodles

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup unsalted butter (cold, diced into ½” pieces)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Use a mixer to blend unsalted butter for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add salt and ¾ cup sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, and cream ingredients together until just incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together baking soda, flour and cream of tartar. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and blend together until you have a combined dough that pinches together at the touch. Set the dough in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes until it is slightly more set for rolling into balls.

 

Mix together the remaining sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small bowl. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator once finished chilling. To portion the cookies, take ½ inch portions of dough and roll them lightly and quickly into balls. Take each ball of dough and lightly roll them individually in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place each ball onto greased cookie sheets allowing 2 inches between each cookie for spreading during baking.

 

Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. For even baking, turn each cookie sheet 180 degrees halfway through the allotted time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes after removing them from the oven, before transferring the cookies to wire racks for cooling entirely.

 

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

1 box yellow cake mix

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 cup peanut butter (creamy)

¼ cup shortening

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In large bowl combine brown sugar, water, peanut butter, shortening and eggs. Slowly add in the yellow cake mix while continuing to combine until mixture is completely smooth. Dough should be thick and slightly sticky.

 

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheets. Allow 2 inches of space between each cookie. With a fork, flatten each cookie in a criss-cross pattern to create a classic peanut butter cookie aesthetic, ideal for even baking with this sticky dough. Bake the cookies 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets before removing cookies and finishing cooling on wire racks. Store in airtight containers to retain freshness.

#LoveYourPerson: 10 Creative Ways to Love Your Spouse

By | All Posts, Home, Inspiration

Whether you’ve been with your significant other for a few months or a few decades, it’s easy to get into a routine. Work, school, kids, social events, family obligations…the list goes on and on of the things that can distract us from that most important person in our life. And sometimes these distractions can even make the daily peck kisses as you walk out the door, or “I love yous” and “honeys” while talking on the phone seem insignificant or lose their meaning. So to celebrate February right and enjoy our week to #LoveYourPerson, we’ve put together some ideas you can use to really reconnect with your loved one and let them know you care…without breaking the bank.  

 

Prepare a spa night

For just a dollar or two, you can pick up some great one-time use face masks at any grocery store, or make your own with ingredients at home. You can offer to give them a foot massage while they relax, or if nothing else, just warm them a fresh towel in the dryer while they take a shower.  Even this small quick act will let them know that they are on your mind.

 

Start or end the day with an intentional hug

You know that feeling, usually when someone has passed away, or something truly difficult has happened, and people hold on to one another for a bit too long? When both parties are invested in this type of embrace, it often has a healing effect, as it exhibits true caring and concern for another person. So why do we save those hugs for only when things are really tough? Make it a point to give your spouse that kind of hug on purpose, at least once a day. You’ll be amazed at how much easier other aspects of your relationship will turn out to be or how much your communication will improve.

Do a chore that is normally their responsibility…cheerfully

Many couples come up with a system at some point that just “works” for them. “He hates laundry, I don’t mind it.” “I take out the garbage because she prefers dusting.” You have it all figured out by now! What we may not be considering in these agreements is that is disconnects us by compartmentalizing. Shake things up by doing something for them, with a smile. Take note that they may not notice this one right away if at all, so it’s important to check that your intention is to truly serve and love, with or without accolades or gratitude. You’ll feel the difference when you show true charity to your S.O., even if they don’t notice the action.

 

Serve them breakfast in bed

This tried-and-true act of service is a classic for a reason. Get crazy and try to do this on an out-of-the-blue weekday, not just Sunday morning or the day of Valentine’s, and the extra effort will be even more appreciated. Your partner will be sure of your love if you woke up a whole hour early just to make them feel special on a random Tuesday. Keep in mind their favorite french toast and omelet are great, but simple cereal and coffee count, too.

Transform a room in your house into a getaway

For all those “It’s a Wonderful Life” fans out there, you’ve probably already thought about how fun this could be for you and your spouse. Pick a room in your house, and a destination in the world.  With a little creativity you’ll be surprised how many things you already own can evoke a different time or place: you can build a blanket fort and go “camping” in Yosemite, fill the bathtub and take a “cruise” through the Caribbean with mai tais and bikinis, or make the floor in your bedroom a picnic of English tea with “crumpets” and jam or cucumber sandwiches.  Make it fun, make it cheesy, but simply doing something different together will make a memory for you both without the huge cost and commitment of an actual vacation.

 

Make TV time actual bonding time

There may be days when what you really need is time together to just “veg” out.  Make this relaxing time still intentional by creating intimacy through discussion. Pick shows that explore new interests you could try together, or be open to pausing movies which address topics that are interesting to talk through. Likewise, you could also make it a service moment by handing over the remote and giving your husband or wife free reign for a night. Stay engaged and ask them about something they love that may not be your thing.

Get “flours” as a gift for your S.O. instead of boring old flowers!

Or try a number of different punny gifts that take a romantic gesture up a notch by keeping it light! Just like this example inspired by the Will Ferrell movie, “Stranger than Fiction,” if you make them smile or laugh…you’ve done something right. Some of our favorites include a box of Krispy Kremes with a note that reads, “Donut go breaking my heart!” or paint a unique succulent pot with the transcription “Life would succ without you.”  

 

Prepare her toothbrush in the morning, or iron his clothes

We all have tiny little tasks that busy up our mornings. Pick just one to do that will help out your loved one—if you really want extra brownie points, try to do something every morning for a couple days or a full week. The little tasks like putting toothpaste on her brush, setting out his socks and shoes, or scraping off their car on a wintery day will make their world so much brighter…even if just for a few hours.

Have a love language night

Most couples have at least heard of Gary Chapman’s famous book, “The Five Love Languages.” The book is a self-guided tour for you and your spouse on determining, and supporting, one another’s key love languages, i.e. the way you communicate or express love. The types of love Chapman lists out are quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, and acts of service. If you’re unfamiliar with this ideology take an evening to do the quiz together and discuss the various topics. Or if you are old pros at the big 5, take a night to do something themed around your partner’s primary love language. The simple act of creating awareness for the others’ thought and emotional process will draw you so much closer.

 

Hide a love note for him/her somewhere unexpected

Last, but certainly not least on our list is a challenge to explore the power of written word. Throughout the centuries, this form of affection has been a powerful tool…from Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais to Johnny Cash and June Carter, many times one simple letter has transformed history. Transform your marriage with this same tactic and put down on paper not just that you love your partner, but also how and why and where and for how long.  This will be a keepsake for them, and another physical reminder of gratitude and charity for you. Make it extra fun by hiding it in a place they wouldn’t anticipate and let you be surprised as well when they finally find it.  Our favorite ideas include: a coat pocket, their shaving kit, or the visor in their car—get creative!

Fresh start: Four tips for getting organized

By | All Posts, Home

We’re not Mary Poppins (although being able to fit a houseplant in our purse might be kind of fun). Sometimes we need some guidance organizing. So we looked to an expert: Marla Dee is the creator of the Clear & SIMPLE Way — a company that’s helped people for 18 years make organizing SIMPLE.

We’re excited to have her share her top four tips for making organizing simple this New Year!

From Marla:

We all want to be ORGANIZED!  But just thinking about all the clutter and chaos makes it overwhelming. We don’t even know where to start. The New Year energy is a great time to start fresh and get some simple systems in place. I am excited to share my Top Organizing Tips for the New Year!

 

TIP 1: Pick one small, medium and large project for each season.

So much of our stress over organizing is thinking that we have to do it all.  This is too much and so we never start.  This tip will help you get started and keep going.

Small Project. By small I mean a project that can be completed in 2 hours or less.  Let’s tackle your purse, wallet or briefcase.  Another great one is the junk drawer or office supply drawer in your desk. These are areas we are into every day and it feels great to get them organized.

Medium Project. This project can be done in about four hours on a Saturday morning when your energy is high. Great medium size projects are the kitchen counter or your bedside night tables. These are areas we see all the time and the clutter can drive us crazy.

Your Large Project will take a day or a weekend. Choose only one weekend of the 3 months so you can prepare and enjoy this project with your partner and family. Some great ideas for the winter are the toy room (now that new toys have come in), your clothes closet, or the home office.

 

 

TIP 2: Use the STACKS© System to learn the skill & make organizing easy!

The reason most of us dread and get drained by organizing is we don’t know how. It is a skill. Only 10% of the human population is born with the organizing gene. We wouldn’t expect a child to read a book without learning the ABC’S.  My STACKS system is a step-by-step approach that makes organizing easy and teaches you how. By asking only one question at a time, you are only making one decision at a time.  You will save time, energy and money if you do it this way.

  • Sort – what is it?
  • Toss – do I keep it or let it go?
  • Assign – where does it go?
  • Contain – what does it go in?
  • Keep it up – how do I maintain this?
  • Simplify – how can I simplify?

 

Let me bring this to life for you.  Haul all the clothes out of the closet and sort them first (according to type, colors, size, etc.). Once you can see what you really have (how many of that same top) the tossing becomes easier. After you have let go, the clothes that are left now need a spot so you assign a home, then ask about containers. HINT: Get all the same color hanger to transform you closet. Next ask how are you going to keep this up? You might schedule a seasonal or annual clear out with a girlfriend. Lastly, you could simplify by getting help from a friend that loves you and will be honest with you.

 

TIP 3: Consistent containers and containers inside drawers make a big difference.

When organizing the pantry or closets, get all the same color and type of container. This gives your project that final fabulous touch. Do you want neutral or bright colors? Do you want baskets or metal bins? Getting clear or connected containers inside the drawers helps so much with the small stuff to keep it organized.

TIP 4: Start all this with my GIFT to you — The ART of Letting Go eBook.

ART stands for Acceptance, Release and Trust. This free book will help you pick your project, take you through STACKS to get it done, and then get more resources to keep going: www.clearsimple.com/art/

 

ACTION: Take 10 minutes right now to choose your three projects for this winter season.  Talk with your partner or family if wanted. Then schedule them on your calendar. Get the ART of letting go book to guide you.

If you want some extra help in organizing, feel free to check out other great resources at clearsimple.com/resources, or contact Marla at 801-463-9090

You can also share your success with Marla on FaceBook.com/clearsimple/