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19 May 2015

Mama Young's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe ● by Jess

One of our favourite things about visiting Jon's family in Utah is his mama's baking. There are four things in particular that Jon craves: her pizza, her roast beef Sunday dinner, her chocolate cake, and most especially her chocolate chip cookies.

I smuggled a giant bag of chocolate chips back to London with me with the intention of baking my man a little bit of home.

Unfortunately, I tried halving the recipe. I realised, after it was all mixed together, that it was too runny... I added a bit more flour... and then a bit more. Suddenly it dawned on me that I hadn't halved the butter. Dang it.

I think I saved them in the end... sort of... but there were nowhere near as good as the ones Jonny's mama makes. Too much darn flour. Gonna have to keep trying!

For all those that want to give it a go... here is the magic recipe:

Mama Young's AMAZING Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1/2 c (100g) sugar
  • 1 c (200g) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ lb (250g) butter, softened
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c (288g) AP flour
  • 1 bag + 1  c chocolate chips
  • 1 c walnuts (optional)

1. Cream the butter, sugars, eggs together then add the vanilla, salt and baking soda & powder. 
2. Scrape the sides and add the flour. 
3. Mix till incorporated and add the walnuts and chocolate chips just till mixed.
4. Scoop and bake at 345 degrees. 

Hot tips: 
*ALWAYS underbake them...just bake til the edges begin to Brown.

*After removing them from the oven, whack the tray against the counter to knock the air out of the warm cookies.

This makes the chewiest, yummiest cookies you've ever eaten. Enjoy!

17 May 2015

Right Now May 16 ● by Jess

Life has been a complete buzz lately. I sometimes feel my head spinning just trying to keep up with it all.

My brother recently got engaged to his beautiful girlfriend, Sika. When I was in Utah they came down to say hello, which I was super excited about. It meant I got to give them their wedding present early-- engagement photos all around!

I've been trying to decide whether I can go back and get my Master's this autumn. I desperately want to, and I've already gotten in to my school and program of choice.... but money. MONEY. Every single year I do this. I get into a program and then when it comes down to it, I realise I can't afford it. *sigh* Holding on to hope for now, but things are looking grim.

The last week and a half of my life has been spent digitising Jon's family's massive collection of home movies. Non-stop. It has been amazing.

To start, when I came back to London, I was in a pitiable state. I missed everyone so much, my heart hurt. So, going through endless hours of footage has been a wonderful way to indulge in a productive (obsessive) nostalgia. I have to play each clip through, so I have seen every single moment. I've watched Jon grow up... seen virtually every birthday, every Christmas, I even got to see his first date. Even with the awkward boring bits, it makes me love the family I married into even more. I'm one lucky girl.

That being said, I'm pretty sure the VCR we brought back with us didn't make it (which I'll need for the big tapes). I haven't tried yet, because we realised when we unpacked it that it would require a voltage converter (which be don't have), lest it blow up, like we did to our mixer. Do I have any readers in London out there that are feeling particularly kind enough to let me borrow their VCR for 3-4 days? I'll bring it back to you in perfect condition... and even make you chocolate chip cookies. ;)

I'm serious about the cookie thing. Think about it.

13 May 2015

Matt + Lisa's Wedding Vlog ● by Jess

Jon's brother, Matt just got married to the gorgeous Lisa Dickson! We weren't planning on doing a vlog for this trip (just get some video for a family reunion project), but we ended up with so much good footage we decided to put together a vlog.

Love these two to pieces :)

08 May 2015

Lighter ● by Jess

Between Auschwitz and weddings.... life has felt pretty epic (for better or worse) lately. But, sometimes it's the little quirky moments that really make life worth living.

This mailbox totes knows my man: first-class and abroad all the way.

I love four and five year olds. It is my absolute favourite age. They understand enough about the world to carry on a conversation, but aren't yet inhibited by the structure of reality or social norms.

One five year old that I babysit (I'll call her Tilly) has been obsessed with babies. As an only child, this is understandable. But Tilly's fascination with pregnancy is unusual and it is her favourite topic of conversation.

One day, Tilly asked me if I had ever had a baby in my tummy. I explained that I did once, for a very short time, but that that baby wasn't ready to come down yet, so they went back up to heaven for a little while.

“They do that?” she said in wonder.

“Sometimes,” I said. “Some babies just take a little longer until they are ready.”

“Have you tried to have a baby again?”

“Yes, but sometimes you just have to be patient.”

“Well... have you given your husband the special kiss?”

“Excuse me?”

“The special kiss,” she said, as she lowered her voice to a whisper. “The special kiss is what mummies and daddies do to make babies.”

Whoa nelly.

“Well,” I said, not entirely sure how to proceed, “Don't you worry Tilly, I've given my husband plenty of special kisses.”

Tilly sighed, “Well, then I think the only thing you can is go and find an old oak tree.”

“An old oak tree?”

“Yes,” she said solemnly. “They are very wise. They could tell you when your baby will come.”

So, if anyone can point me to one of these trees, I'd be super grateful.

That being stated, before I go looking for said trees, I learned the other day that might need to get my eyes checked.

We are lucky to live in a pretty cosmopolitan part of central London and get to experience all kinds of different cultural experiences. However, sometimes that can throw you for a loop and challenge your paradigms.

The other day, I walked out our apartment door. There is only one other flat on our end of the hall, so there are rarely people around.

From the corner of my eye I saw two cloaked, grim-reaper figures looming in the corner. It scared me so bad I actually screamed (well, more of a hoarse squeak). I turned to look and saw two tall women in burkas. They burst out giggling and I turned and ran down the hall, thoroughly mortified.

Lesson learned: Look before you scream.

05 May 2015

Matt + Lisa ● by Jess

Look at these two beautiful humans. Right now I'm in Utah, loving spending time with my family and watching these two wonderful people get married. I'll still be out of touch for the next couple of days, but there will be lots to share when I get home!