Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Cat and Mouse kind of post...

While thinking about, OK perhaps more like dreaming up what my next post would be about - out of the Blue I had a craving for a Chocolate Chip cookie. Might be because I've drastically cut back on sugar, but there it was a undeniable got to have one craving for mega grams of sugar in a cookie. Both John's and my favorite cookie hands down. Fact is Chocolate Chip is America's favorite cookie, 53% of us love them the most. Problem was there was none, nada, zilch in our home. Actually no prepared or packaged sweets at all. But downstairs in our pantry the large Toll house milk chocolate bag of chips was lying in wait. Instantly I knew my post would be a light hearted share of my latest clay creation in play and a show and tell in my kitchen written from my heart.

So who invented our favorite cookie and when? Well back in the 1930's circa 1938 Ruth Graves Wakefield invented the Toll House brand of Chocolate Chip cookies. She and her husband owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman Massachusetts and invented the recipe by accident. Ruth added broken chocolate bar pieces into her cookie batter thinking they would melt ... They didn't. True story and the legacy of my craving. But back then they were the size of a quarter and baked until very crisp. Our favorite cookie is beloved by so many there is even a special day set aside to celebrate, seriously.  Go ahead and mark your calendars May 4th is National Chocolate Chip cookie day. Personally I think it should be called we love Ruth Graves Wakefield day!

Ready to bake? Let's fill this cute empty Cat cookie jar from Anthropologie up with CC's! We prefer them soft from butter and packed with Pecans which is our favorite nut.

Love him! 

I simply follow the tried and true recipe on the back of the package. We prefer milk chocolate chips over the bittersweet and add chopped pecans. We do not eat white sugar so I use turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw).

I buy the best Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla I can find. This batch will be made with Nielsen Massey. The scent of vanilla is heavenly.

First batch about to be baked. Already John's hanging out close to the kitchen. My kitchen stalker today.

For the past 37 years we've been married, without fail every Christmas Eve when the cookie trays are set out after our 7 fish dinner my Mother in Law will say this to me in more or less these words ... "I didn't bake any Chocolate Chip cookies this year, never again, your Johnny used to sniff and hunt them out as a kid. Eating each and every one before Christmas, leaving only empty tins! Then the conversation continues "I can't even look at a Chocolate chip cookie anymore without thinking of him eating them all". Really? Seriously? So I guess M-I-L Annie has tried repeatedly to tell me that I am married to this guy..... 

"Me Cookie Monster. That all there is to it. ME love to eat cookie. Sometimes eat whole, sometimes me chew it".
~Cookie Monster~

Now this quote is also true of John and I'll let Cookie Monster say it in his own words.

"Sometimes Me think what is Friend?"
and then me say,
"Friend is someone to share the last cookie with".
~Cookie Monster~

My kitchen stalker John a.k.a Cookie Monster will have his taste satisfied with this plate of chocolate chip cookies and a cappuccino. Waiting patiently for me to snap a couple photos. 

So the cat has been fed and he is full and I notice John is smiling like a Cheshire Cat. 

When I was young my brother Michael and I would spend countless hours watching cartoons. Cartoons fed my overactive imagination and encouraged my love of cats and mice. My favorite cartoons in order were Tom and Jerry, Sylvester the Cat and Mickey Mouse. They permanently infused my developing creativity in a playful cat and mouse kind of way. Much was learned as a child in the humorous interaction of predatory characters. Even today I delight in memory of the imaginative cartoons of my childhood. In banter during verbal exchanges often imprinted cartoon images are recalled reflecting our life in modern day.

Meet Mr. Charlie Mouse my latest clay creation to celebrate Springtime into Summer blissfully on a swing. He hangs in our bathroom on a faux Magnolia branch. It is the perfect perch to add the unexpected touch of whimsy and help promote a smile.

The silk White Magnolia branch is from Crate and Barrel.

I shaped and carved the swing out of clay. I baked it for 90 minutes and then applied 4 shades of acrylic paints to make it appear rustic, old and as if found by Charlie mouse to make his fun swing. John suggested I snip off loose hair from the jute twine but my reply was I'm leaving it on, it adds to the rustic charm.

Large beads were added to add whimsy and jute twine completes Charlie's swing. 

I twice baked Charlie like a Biscotti cookie to insure extra drying time.

"It's a happy day when the birds fly by and I swing high enough to reach them in the sky".
~Mr. Charlie Mouse~

Diminutive in scale sitting Charlie measures a smidgen over 3 inches.

I'll leave you today with my all time favorite quote and below that is a poem titled Freedom of expression I wrote inspired by it. Disney's quote allows me Carte Blanche to engage in folly. I believe imaginations are fueled by our appreciation in the creative efforts by others. When the clock stroked midnight on New Year's Eve I promised myself 2016 would be my year to tip the scales of play over work. So far so good.

"Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and dreams are forever"
~Walt Disney~

A human's imagination remains boundless to magical possibilities occurring each and everyday
It's hindrance from peer pressure that obstructs us and creative thoughts are often lead astray

Imagination is an attribute developed and nurtured during free-spirited engagement in play
Thoughts and ideas forming in ones mind and accumulating together into a wondrous prolific ingenious bouquet

It's only because of harsh judgement from others in our creative efforts we often become afraid to portray...
I invite you to jubilation as you celebrate your talents, but first you need to banish other peoples opinions away.
© Vera

I love reading your comments so please leave one behind. Questions? Just ask and I'll answer via email.


  1. Dearest Vera, YOU HAD FUN! Chocolate chip cookies were my favorite but my mom added oats and that was the best. Easily consumed! I have to watch my intake of those sorts of treats, so I can't go near the stuff. But memories are strong of childhood, coming home to hot, soft, out-of-the-oven treats.

    I LOVE YOUR BEAMS! I think this is the first time I've actually seen them at this distance. Your color schemes are similar as ours, but we hope to paint at least the walls white, but keep the honey colored wood.

    Play is so important; I am still enjoying the afterglow of my playtime with Clara last week, and we are planning another session next Sunday! The sun is out, it's 78 degrees today, and Ruben and I played a bit. Life is good.

  2. The other day we went to Mohegan Sun for the night and hubby had a chocolate chip cookie for lunch. Yup. He. Did. But let me tell you, it was the most amazing cookie ever, with huge chunks of chocolate, and it was warmed up to boot. But it was also the most expensive cookie I ever saw at $5! I guess it was worth least for him. Lol

    I think my fav cookie is oatmeal raisin, but chocolate chip is a close second, and I have an awesome recipe, but I prefer bittersweet chocolate.

    Tom and Jerry...ahhhh...the memories! I'm very impressed that you made that swing Vera, it's adorable.


  3. Chocolate chip cookies are our absolute favorite too. It is a rare occasion that you cannot find some in our house.....
    Little Charlie is the cutest!!!!!
    Have a great week.....

  4. You have me craving chocolate chip cookies now! I always go back to the Toll House recipe. Thank you for the info on the history aspect. I have a new recipe for a CC cookie with sea salt. I love the sweet and salty combo! May try it soon.

    Charlie is precious! You have a real talent for work with clay. His ears look furry, did you do something there?

    Fabulous poem as always. Imagination redefined!


  5. Hi Vera,
    Oh the great memories for me too of watching cartoons on early Saturday mornings. Eating our cereal and watching Tom and Jerry and the like. So much fun. Your Chocolate Chippy's look delish. Now I need a cookie fix!
    Great poem and little Charlie is too cute. Have a great week end.

  6. I smiled at the MIL story. Telling and retelling the same one for 37 years without fail. Been there. It must be a universal part of being a DIL. My brother and I always watched Saturday morning cartoons together, while eating Cheerios or Wheaties. Good memories. Your cookies look wonderful. I hope John didn't eat every single one before you had a chance to have one. LOL (I couldn't resist.) Wonderful poem and Charlie is a sweetie. Glad you're keeping your 2016 promise to yourself. Hugs, Nancy

  7. Dear Vera,
    This post made me smile. I love Sylvester and Mickey as a child.
    And the Cookie Monster just makes me laugh.. Your cookies look delicious!
    Now what a sweet mouse. Charlie looks so happy swinging in the flowers. I can see you are really enjoying yourself with clay. It is such fun, and the hours just flit away when you are involved. The imagination is such a happy place to be.
    Great post Vera!
    blessings dear friend

  8. Vera, my mouth is literally watering as I read your post! Chocolate chip cookies are my very favorite! And I am with you, I love milk chocolate chips the best. I add walnuts to my cookies. When I was little, I loved helping my mom bake in the kitchen. Every Saturday I would help her create many treats. I still have her large vintage yellow ware bowl that she mixed up her cookies by hand (before she got her KitchenAid mixer). I loved eating the raw dough, and I still do!
    Charlie mouse is so cute! I am glad you are having fun with clay:)

  9. Dear Vera, I too love CC cookies. They are my favorite. Love your kitchen and seeing a part of the fun you enjoyed making a batch of these special treats. Charlie Mouse is adorable. I love him in the swing on the magnolia branch.
    Your poem is special and I am so glad you are having such great creative play with clay!!
    Wonderful post!!
    Miss you and hope to be back soon even in limited posts.
    Love and blessings. xo

  10. Dearest Vera, what a darling and "sweet" post :) Yes, now I am craving chocolate chip cookies! I can't even remember when I last had them... Today I made my precious Grandma Betty's banana cake which will be enjoyed tomorrow after lunch {{yum}}

    You always bring a smile to my face with your sweetness. Love and hugs to you!

  11. Vera, I love love LOVE this post! I found myself smiling and nodding in agreement at every single sentence. I think chocolate chip cookies are the best cookies ever, in the history of mankind! I had no idea that May 4 is National Chocolate Chip cookie day. It really ought to be a national holiday haha. I can't believe John waited patiently for that foamy frothy cappucino and the plate of cookies while you took the picture, what restraint! Charlie Mouse is such a cutiepie with his striped neckscarf that seems to be blowing in the wind as he swings from the magnolia branch. That little wooden swing is just adorable! If I didn't know it was clay I would honestly think it you made it out of a little piece of wood. Now you've got me thinking about trying this type of oven baked clay too. I've worked quite a bit in the past with traditional kiln fired clay making flowers in the Capodimonte style, but kiln rental space has gotten so expensive around here lately that I've stopped making them. This sounds like a much better option!

  12. Hi Vera,
    I am up early and it's you I visit before my long day's drive.
    Oh the memories of baking Chocolate chips, oatmill raisen, and coconut macaroons. Were always a home run in our home, weekends baking and Saturday cartoons were a given, Yes, it's was the same ones over at our home as yours, we also watched Gumby and Pokie, I think it was the clay animated toones that drew me into a world of molding and shaping little creatures to play with.
    Love your Charlie mouse and yes he belongs on the wire haired rope swing rustic and full of wonderment, I can see your guest who visit the powder-room charmed by their discovery in the branches.

    As for your kitchen, beams, sub-zero glass fridge, and those wonderful counters who would want to cook up or bake up yummy delights? I love your cookie jar, such a fitting container at your home perhaps you need a little mouse creamer for your coffee, it would be cute with a cat cookie jar :)

    Love the quotes, and with out your research, who would have guest the number who love a toll house CC-Cookie?
    Such a tasty post, I think I will have me a cookie today.


  13. I ate so much chocolate cookie dough when I was about 10 that I threw up a lot and to this day I do not like the dough or the cookies.. I love to make them for my family, but not eat them. I am not surprised that Tom and Jerry was your Fav. cartoon!

  14. Chocolate Chip Cookies, they are my favorite too, Vera! And Nestles Toll House are the best! I just bought some chips at the store and waiting to bake some soon. Your countertops are so pretty, and I love that Cat cookie jar, how delightful. You are an Anthropologie girl too! What an interesting story about the Toll House cookies. Thanks for sharing it, Vera. May 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, how fun! OK, we are kindred spirits for sure. Pecans are my favorite nut, and I often put them in my oatmeal. :) Mr. Charlie Mouse is cute, and it's so nice that you have sweet memories of you and your brother watching cartoons together. The Walt Disney quote is awesome, and I can see why it's your favorite. The girls love Disney, so I will pass this on to them.

    Vera, this was a lighthearted post, as you said, and sometimes those are the very best. I'm glad to have met a woman with a beautiful heart and beautiful mind.


    and thanks for reminding us with your "freedom of expression" poem to celebrate our talents without any distractions or opinions from others.

  15. Okay, now I want some CC cookies - they look sooooooooooo good.
    They are my very favorite also and I like lots of choc chips in them with black walnuts.

    I just love Charlie, he is so cute. You are a terrific artists and should open your own Mouse House with all the cute ones you make.
    I loved, loved cartoons and I would watch them when my son was little also.

    Such a wonderful poem, thanks so much for sharing it.

    Have a great week.

  16. Chocolate chip cookies definitely topped the list as the favorite in our home. I don't think we were ever allowed to run out of those homemade favorites, so I loved the day my kids wanted to make them themselves. Best right out of the oven!
    Charlie couldn't be more adorable, Vera...and the swing...he would definitely put a smile on my face first thing in the morning.
    Such a great poem to encourage us to let our imaginations flourish and banish the opinions of others.
    Another delightful post,
    Mary Alice

  17. Oh, my darling Vera...I loe this beautiful post and I can almost feel the warmth from your oven, smell the vanilla and see John lurking back there in the back, waiting for the timer to go off, signaling "THEY are READY"...and I love your little mouse...just LOVE him.
    Such a sweet are so talented, dear one. xoxo

  18. Vera, you are the sweetest of all cookies :)))! Ahhh, that swinging boy, I believe, he is soaking in a cookie-belly!!!
    Hahaha, so cute and he seems so ... what is the word for quietschvergnügt??? I see: As happy as a sandboy!
    And this line here of your wonderful poem: It's only because of harsh judgement from others in our creative efforts we often become afraid to portray... this is a line, I will think about today.
    I think I know exactly, what you mean.
    Right now I have a huge chandelier project, I´ve got a present from the provence. About 180 huge christals... !!! Like you I was searching for them, YEARS, and now so many of exactly those!!
    So let us continue find our path on the wings of art and play to find the basis of our heart, I hug you, hug you soooooo much, your friend Méa

  19. Good Morning Dear Vera,
    Seems your vow to tip the scales in embracing fun is in full bloom! I certainly appreciate the whimsy, creativity, and nonchalant fun that you are sharing with us and it makes my own heart spring with youthful joy.
    It was a true treat, just as the cc cookies are to view your artistic and beautifully detailed gourmet kitchen. Those beams, and counter tops are exquisite.
    I enjoyed meeting Charlie, and his scarf looks as though he may have found it at an eclectic shop, as I am certain it is one of a kind.
    Cookies...yum...I think my favorite may be a homemade sugar cookie doused in fluffy white frosting!
    Happy Monday my friend,

  20. Your cat and mouse are both adorable. I had trouble concentrating on the cookies because your beautiful home kept drawing me away. So many great pieces and vignettes.

  21. Now I want some chocolate chip cookies!! How did I ever forget about the recipe on the back of the bag? Guess what I am baking tomorrow. Mr Charlie Mouse is so cute. I love his little feet.

  22. I really like this poem. Every line is true. Harsh judgement can stifle. It somehow has to be given with growth in mind, but those two things don't always work together in a ying and a yang. I really love your mouse and his rustic swing. The threads are perfect. I read this post before, and thought it over, and made chocolate chip cookies last night or the night before, before coming back today. xoxo Su

  23. Oh and I love your cat jar. We had admired it in Anthropologie. My daughter almost wanted it, because his head has the seam lower down. She is usually afraid of animal cookie jars. xoxo Su

  24. Charlie is just darling but Tollhouse cookies are DA BomB!!! Love them too! Many blessings, Cindy xo

  25. Charlie is adorable - so dashing with his stripy scarf.
    I haven't made chocolate chip cookies in a very long time. There was a time when I made a batch a week.
    Imagination and play - I'd like more of both. Life is cyclical and right now there seems to be little room for creation. I know that it will change again and I'll have the space for both.

  26. "Twice baked Charlie like a biscotti" - Hilarious, Vera! My son begs me to make chocolate chip cookies every other day (I only give in sometimes), but when I do, it's the back-of-the-bag recipe. There's nothing like home made!

  27. Hi Vera, I love Charlie! But he had better stay away from the darling Cat cookie jar! lol Your cookie look yummy. When I make chocolate chip cookies it is the one on the package. Maybe I should go bake some I can smell them already.
    Have a wonderful week! xx Jo

  28. Charlie is so cute!

    I made chocolate chip cookies on Sunday night. The aroma of chocolate chip cookies is wonderful and nothing tastes like homemade cookies.

  29. A true post for the soul. Swing on, little Charlie, swing on!
    Your poem speaks volumes to me, Vera. And I must go bake some CCC's right away. And then play with my mice. ;)
    xoxo, T.

  30. Vera, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to your aunt, that's tragic. I'm cautious when it comes to meeting people, and that's why I didn't even stop and have a conversation with the neighbor the first time. But, at the same time, my heart goes out to old people who don't drive any more and need a ride into town. We just have to be careful, don't we.....and have faith.

    Have a nice and restful weekend, Vera.


  31. I've been away from the computer for awhile. It was nice to come back and read your entertaining post, Vera. I LOVE chocolate chip cookies with milk chocolate chips, and pecans!! Your newest mouse is adorable, and his swing is as cute as ever! Your poem is delightful, my friend. So happy I stopped over for a visit.
    Love to you.

  32. First f all I love your kitchen. It is so pretty. And now I know what to post about on May 4th! I loved you poem, and Twice-Baked Charlie is the cutest. Appreciate your talent, my friend!

  33. Oh that little mouse!!! It reminds me of the story I use to tell my girls- "When you give a mouse a cookie"!

  34. Adorable post and your little moue is just way too cute! I want some of those cookies now, I LOVE COOKIES! I'm so happy you are playing and balancing it out with work and I hope play is tipping the scale!

    Humm... I think I can smell those cookies!


  35. How did I miss this??? I'm so sorry I'm late to the party and I bet all the cookies are gone! :) They look delish and I love cappuccinos too. Would be so nice to have these treats and sit in that lovely kitchen and visit!

    You have such talent with your creativity and writing. I probably say that each time but it's true! :)


  36. always the encourager .. you. ♥
    your kitchen is welcoming and evokes
    such a warmth. i spy angel wings. :)
    i too prefer milk chocolate over semi
    sweet .......... and i've never tried
    that sugar (in the raw) but may just
    give it a go and soon.