Gotta Love Love

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays and it is just around the corner! It’s perfect…not only do I get to create fun valentines, but I get to bake yummy treats to go with them! In this post you will find some fun little valentine printables along with our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I hope you can find time to treat your family or yourself to some of them!

 

Here are two of my favorite couples…
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My oldest got engaged over the holidays. We are soooo excited! These two have quite the love story. Stay tuned for wedding updates! Gotta love LOVE.

 

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This young girl has stolen the heart of my baby. She is quiet, sweet and a good match for his fiery personality. It is fun to watch how they interact with each other as they dive into the dating phase of their lives. Now on to the freebies!

 

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Valentines

Here are the fun little valentines that I created. One set features a coffee lovers theme, while the other is quirky little animals. There are eight different designs in each set. They come in two different sizes (each)…3 x 3 or 5 x 5. The 3 x 3 sets have four on a page and the 5 x 5 sets come with two on a page. Feel free to download as many or as few as you desire. I hope you find someone who will love them! Please post pics and tag me so I can see how you used them.

 

 

coffee 2 valentine 3x3coffee 1 valentine 3x3valentine animals 3x3 1

valentine animals 3x3 2

Here are the links to the valentines.

 

I also made a valentine bag topper that fits perfectly over a standard zip top sandwich or snack bag. I used a snack sized bag in the picture below.

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The topper is printed identically on both sides. I had red and white gumballs on hand, but multi colored gumballs work well also. If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed a similar topper from last year. This is the new improved version! I made last year’s in a BIG hurry one afternoon. Here is the link to the bag topper.

Something sweet

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Chocolate chip cookies seem to be the way to my boys hearts! This is their favorite recipe:

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  1. 3/4 cup butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
  2. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 cups all purpose flour
  7. one 3.4 ounce Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (NOT sugar free or cook and serve)
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  10. 1 bag (12 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Cream the butter, sugars, egg and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix again.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, pudding mix, baking soda and kosher salt. Mix well.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix again. Don’t over mix the dough.
  • Add the chocolate chips and just mix until distributed.
  • Using a cookie scoop, place the dough balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. I usually get about 26-27 cookies per batch.
  • For soft, chewy cookies refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight. For crispier cookies, cook immediately at 350 degrees F for 6-8 minutes.  For the soft, chewy version, cook the same way after refrigerating.
  • Let cool on the cookie sheet. The softer version will be too soft to transfer to a rack.

I hope you enjoy all the goodies that I  posted today. I sure enjoy cooking for those boys…MEN (ugh) in my life! When did they grow up?! Oh well, gotta love ’em! They are the reason why I do what I do. XOXO

boys with dad 2-1

 

6 Smart Point Breakfast

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

As a 50+ years young girl, the pounds have started to creep up on me. UGH. I signed up for Weight Watchers 15 years ago after my youngest son was born to help drop my baby weight. This was waaaaaay before IPhones, IPads and all the fun little apps that we use everyday. A bunch of The Girls of Greystone (our neighborhood) would go to meetings together. This was our only WW option at the time. Now we are so fortunate to be able to use our phones to participate in Weight Watchers. This recipe is from a cookbook I bought back when I first joined. My munchkins eat these with Maple syrup. I like to top mine with a tablespoon of sugar-free maple syrup (Mrs. Buttersworth is my go to) and fresh fruit. This gives me the much-needed maple flavor I crave with pancakes but does not add any extra points.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

img_9144Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 packet of Stevia or 1 tablespoon of Splenda sugar substitute (the kind that measures cup for cup like sugar)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

2  ripe bananas mashed

1 cup fat-free milk (I am LOVING Fairlife fat free milk)

1/4 cup egg substitute

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Sift together flour, sugar substitute, baking powder, salt and ground ginger in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk, egg substitute and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in mini chocolate chips and set aside for 15 minutes. Heat a nonstick griddle on medium high and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour scant 1/4 cups of pancake batter onto griddle and cook until bubbles form on the edges of the pancakes. Flip and continue to cook 1-2 minutes more.

Serves 6 (3 pancakes per serving) 6 Smart Points per serving