Hi friends! I’m so excited to be kicking off the year 2013 with a new blog to address one of my passions in life — food — while utilizing one of my other passions, writing!

So here’s a quick bit about me — I am a certifiable gourmand, or foodie. At least I would say so. There are not many foods — except meats — that I won’t try. That’s not to say I don’t cook meat. I do, for the family – just not as often as I used to, both for financial and health reasons. Speaking of family…I am a wife and stay-at-home mom of six (yes, six!!!!) children. And that doesn’t include all the “extras” who find their way to my house whenever I am making supper or baking! I love to do redwork stitching, card making and a few other things in my “spare time” (haha! what’s that??!). My other passion is reading, and I mainly love to read cookbooks. I am especially drawn to cookbooks or magazine articles where the food has some kind of story behind it. It just makes it more interesting and intriguing to me.

So yeah, a lot of foodie things going on in my mind most of the time. I love to take a recipe and experiment if I can, or try to plate it in a way that gives it a new look. And I like to try to recreate dishes or things I enjoyed, such as chocolate covered candied orange slices (still perfecting the coating of chocolate). I also like to collect recipes from friends or other foodie blogs to try too. I made the best pitas ever that I found on a blog from my friend in Israel. Truthfully, sometimes it isn’t possible to keep up with my list of things to try in this crazy house, but I do dream of one day owning a bed and breakfast, or a quaint cafe…something like that where I can still play with my food!

The neighborhood kids always seem to end up here during the supper hour, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t flock here on a baking day. One of the things I’m known for in our little (ever-growing) circle is a special recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I inherited from my husband’s side of the family. For years we always called them “Aunt Mary Ruth’s Chocolate Chip Cookies”. But I just found out over the 2012 holidays from my father-in-law that he found out the recipe was actually bachelor Uncle Dutch’s recipe. I believe it! The stories about that man are just fascinating! One story that I find…interesting…tells of Uncle Dutch and an exploit involving fishing. This is the way my hubby told me, and he got the story from someone else, so any errors in the story are sooooo his fault! (Sorry, Les!)

Any die-hard fisherman knows that sometimes a fish will shrink just a tad after it’s pulled from the water and sits a while. Here in Pennsylvania, there is a limit to how many trout you can catch at one sitting. Not sure how long the rule has been in effect, but they actually do tend to enforce it. Well, the fish warden came upon Uncle Dutch, who was trout fishing. He had one fish that the warden thought was just a tad under legal size, so he took him to court. The judge heard the case and fined him. Well, Uncle Dutch was a bit angry…the size difference was so miniscule that he was irritated with the warden for making such a big deal over it. So he asked the judge what the fine would be for punching the warden in the face. He was told $25, so he promptly paid the fine (which was $25) plus the $25 — and proceeded to punch the warden. Yep, right in the face! (Yeah, he was a bit of a character, for lack of a better word!!!)

So here is the tried-and-true recipe for Aunt Mary Ruth’s Chocolate Chip Cookies (I really am too used to the name by now!). They are not flat and crisp like other chocolate chip cookie recipes I’ve tried. Rather, they have a cakey light quality which makes them one of my favs. I should also note: my father loves these cookies! I have to set aside 1-2 dozen for him every time I make them! The yield really depends on the size you make them. I usually end up with around 5+ dozen, but that’s just me. Also, please excuse the lack of photos…I can’t keep these cookies around long enough to take any!

* Preheat oven to 375*F.

* Mix 1 tsp baking soda with 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 4 cups of flour. Set side.

* Cream together 2 cups light brown sugar with 1 cup butter-flavored Crisco (plain is fine too). Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate.

* Add in 1/2 cup milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

* Add the dry ingredients slowly and mix well.

* Stir in 2 12-oz. bags chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional).

* Drop by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or til lightly browned.