We celebrated Travis' birthday on Saturday. He's getting so old that I won't even mention his age, but let's just say that he is and always will be older than me. Ha! We had a low-key family day where we took the kids to lunch and hit a movie in the evening. I have to confess we went and saw The Golden Compass. Controversial? I don't know. I definitely wouldn't have taken my kids, it's PG-13, and I won't be reading the book, and don't think I'll be turning atheist any time soon. But for mere entertainment sake, it was a really good movie. Nicole Kidman, and the little girl who played the main character did amazing acting jobs, I'd say Oscar worthy, and the special effects were awesome. It did seem to get a little long toward the end, but I really liked it, and that's coming from a girl who had no desire to see it, but wanted to please her husband on his birthday. This was the ninth birthday that I've celebrated with Travis, and I love him more and more each year.
We had our ward party on Friday night, pretty fun as far as ward parties go. I really wish they'd do Santa at it, but they didn't. I guess I'll have to wait in line at the Mall to make sure Santa knows what my kids want for Christmas. Maybe I can talk them into emailing him this year. Anyway I made some of my favorite cookies that seemed to have turned into my "Christmas Cookies" as I usually end up making them around Christmas. The recipe is originally from Mary Sue Knight, and growing up we called them appropriately Mary Sue Knight cookies, but then I made them so much my mom started calling them Nancy's Toffee Chip cookies (I hope that's okay Mary Sue!) and now I just call them my Christmas cookies. I put a bit of a fancy Nancy twist on them and dressed them up to make them a more special occasion cookie. Try them out, they'll be a hit at any holiday party!
White Chocolate Dipped Toffee Chip Cookies
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. almond extract
4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
5 oz. Heath (or Skor) Toffee chips
Cream butter and oil until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs and add almond extract. Add flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and toffee chips all at once and then stir. Heat oven to 350. Scoop balls of dough with a small ice cream scoop and roll in a bowl of granulated sugar, then put cookies on sprayed cookie sheet and flatten lightly with the bottom of a drinking glass. Bake for 10-12 minutes. After cookies have completely cooled (here's the fancy part) dip half the cookie into melted almond bark (I use the white kind, but would also be good with dark chocolate, and for those of you who aren't familiar with almond bark it's a kind of candy coating you can find in bars at most grocery stores, and you melt it in the microwave according to package instructions). Then to really make them sparkle I sprinkled white sparkling sugar (I found it at Michael's in the cake decorating section). These are really good, and make great neighbor or teacher gifts!
And here's a funny little tip I've been meaning to share, maybe I'm the last person to discover this; but the other day I noticed that my wedding ring was incredibly dirty and was trying to think of what I could clean it with. So I got out a bottle of regular white vinegar and used an old toothbrush to clean my ring with, and can I tell you that I never need to buy jewelry cleaner again? It worked amazingly well, and especially the diamond is very sparkly now. I certainly wouldn't use it on pearls, but for gold or diamonds, I think you're safe. (If anyone knows otherwise let me know). Just thought I'd share! So clean up your bling bling, and try some fancy Nancy cookies to sparkle for the holidays. Alright I know I'm a nerd, I'll stop now.