Thursday, April 19, 2012

peanut butter cookie dough chocolate balls

The other day my teenager agreed to bring a treat to boy scouts.  I asked him what he was going to make and he gave me a blank stare.  I said I was not going to the store.  If he wanted to bring a treat, he'd have to make it. (Of course I ended up going to the store anyway because I had to get a soccer ball for my youngest son's practice.  But the soccer balls and the treat type stuff are on opposite ends of the store and we were in a hurry. It's a big store.  Also I wanted discourage my son from volunteering me for things without checking to see if it's okay first.)

My husband was against bringing a treat.  I think he never got treats in scouts.  In his day they had to forage for treats in the forest.  Mmmm...bark.

Anyway, my son wanted to make these peanut butter cookie dough chocolate balls.  (First I made him double check that the kid with peanut allergies wouldn't be there.  He's in an older group now so we were safe.)

My teenager took charge and with some (a lot) help from me, we made these. (The cookie dough recipe is a slightly modified version of  this.)

The scouts loved them. This recipe makes about 50 so you might want to half it if you don't have a big crowd to feed.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Chocolate Balls.  (That takes forever to type.)

1/4 cup softened butter (if your butter isn't salted then add 1/4 teaspoon of salt)
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
2 cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate but it's just a matter of taste)
2 T coconut oil (You could use Crisco if you don't have coconut oil but I like coconut oil better.)

Cream butter and peanut butter.  Add granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Beat until fluffy. Mix in milk, vanilla, and then flour. Form dough into balls.  (I used a melon ball scoop.)

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil.  Dip peanut butter balls in chocolate.  Set on waxed paper.  Keep refrigerated.

The chocolate mixture is also great with strawberries and chocolate molds.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Goblin Valley

I took a hiking class when I was in college.  My plan was to get an easy A. The main event of this class a backpacking trip where we hike out to a place unknown, camp, and hike back.  While I preferred to skip all the hiking and sleep in my own bed, I had to go to pass the class.  I borrowed my brothers Boy Scout pack, stuffed it with food and water, and tied on a sleeping bag. It weighed more than I did. 

On the way to the Cliffs of Insanity San Rafael Swell we drove past a valley full of strange rock formations.  It looked like an awesome place to visit.  My classmates told me the cool place was Goblin Valley but we weren’t going there. We were going to hike through the sandy desert and go up a cliff with ropes.  No one mentioned ropes or climbing or hiking with a pack that weighed more than me or camping in a place that didn’t even have outhouses (which is difficult for people like me who are female.) By the end of the trip I was content with being alive. (And yes, I passed the class.)

My husband goes through this thing every spring where he needs to get out of the house and DO something.  (Yes, it’s necessary to put DO in all caps.  If you know him, you’ll understand.) My idea of doing something involves a book and a comfy couch.  His idea of doing something involves a lot of walking and places without bathrooms.  As soon as he got that look in his eye I knew I had to hurry up with a suggestion before we ended up on a dirt road somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  I suggested the first place that came to mind: Goblin Valley. He’d never heard of it (probably because it has bathrooms) but he agreed to try it out anyway.

I made some reservations for the only hotel nearby that still had vacancies and we made the 4 hour drive (plus a few hours to tour a museum in Price and potty breaks along the way) to Green River, Utah.  But Green River wasn’t exactly what I pictured.  I was thinking cute little tourist town.  Instead we found this.

I didn’t take this picture.  There wasn't anything in Green River that inspired me to figure out how to use my new camera.  This is a picture I found on the Internet of one of the abandoned Green Valley businesses.  I do remember driving past this place.

The hotel we stayed at was also half abandoned.  One building was blocked off because the balcony was falling over.  The floor inside the hall felt like it was about to collapse.   My husband tried to plug in his lamp and got a shower of sparks from the plug.  That was the only shower we got there since the water in the tub oozed from the faucet like mud.  Now we know why they still had vacancies.

While the hotel left a lot to be desired (like clean water), Goblin Valley turned out to be the place of Awesomeness I’d always dreamed of.  The most popular place was the bathrooms.  You should have seen that line.  Everyone wanted to use them. 

Here are some shots of us in Goblin Valley.

Here's me with the Goblins.

Laying down counts as doing something as long as it's outside and there aren't books involved.

A lot of people were playing hide and seek among the goblins.  We played Where's Waldo.

My two youngest sporting their Jr. Ranger badges.
The Jr. Ranger booklets were handy when we were in line for the bathrooms.
The kids loved climbing on the Goblins and exploring the area.  It was like a giant playground.  There is even sand for the kids to play in.

 I would definitely recommend a trip to Goblin Valley, but read the reviews for the hotels before you stay in Green River.  There were a few hotels that looked decent - just not the one where we stayed.  There is also a campground (with bathrooms) next to Goblin Valley.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Making the most of Pinterest

I'm still pretty new at this Pinterest thing but I'm already in love.  My family likes it too - especially when I try dessert recipes.  But my food board was getting cluttered.  I had pins that I've tried, pins I might want to try, and pins I probably won't try (like the ones with vegetables) but like to pretend I will.  It was hard to sort through them all. (Plus I get hungry about half way down the board and have to get a snack.)

Anyway, I created a new board called Food pins I've tried.  I put comments on the pins in case anyone wonders how it worked, how I did it differently, or I need the recipe again.  I also did something similar with my craft and DIY pins. This way I can browse through pins I haven't tried without deleting the pins I have tried.

Happy pinning!