Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Something for Your Sweet Tooth

Many of us love our sweets, but don't love what they do to our figures. Here's a way to get your chocolate fix without feeling guilty, courtesy of Weight Watchers. I make these all the time and can vouch for their deliciousness. Enjoy!

Mini Chocolate-Chip Cookies

POINTS® Value: 1

Servings: 24
Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 20 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Go ahead and grab a handful of these bite-size cookies. They might be little, but they pack a big chocolate punch.

2 Tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup(s) packed brown sugar, dark-variety
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp table salt

1 large egg white(s)
3/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, about 1/2 cup

Metric Conversions:

30 ml butter, softened
10 ml canola oil
120 ml packed brown sugar, dark-variety
5 ml vanilla extract
0.25 ml table salt

1 large egg white(s)
180 ml all-purpose flour
0.50 ml baking soda
84g semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
In a medium bowl, cream together butter, oil and sugar. Add vanilla, salt and egg white; mix thoroughly to combine.
In a small bowl, mix together flour and baking soda; stir into batter. Add chocolate chips to batter; stir to distribute evenly throughout.
Drop rounded half-teaspoons (2.5ml) of dough onto one or two large nonstick baking sheets, leaving a small amount of space between each cookie. Bake cookies until golden around edges, about 4 to 6 minutes; cool on a wire rack. Yields 2 cookies per serving.

Indulge your craving for an intense chocolate experience. Buy a 3-ounce bar of fine chocolate with a percentage of 75 or higher on the label. The percentage indicates the combined amount of cocoa bean and added cocoa butter in the chocolate. The higher the percentage, the greater the chocolate taste and the less sweet the product. Chop up the bar and use it instead of the chocolate chips (could affect POINTS values).
© 2010 Weight Watchers International, Inc. © 2010, Inc. All rights reserved.WEIGHT WATCHERS and POINTS are the registered trademarks of Weight Watchers International, Inc. and are used under license by, Inc.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Honest Scrap Award

Several of my Twitter friends have given me the Honest Scrap Award which is to honor bloggers who put their hearts on display, as they write from the depths of their souls. Thanks to all of you who thought of me. I definitely put my heart on display and have written about many subjects near and dear to my heart. Some have been happy and uplifting, while others have been sad and eye-opening.
The conditions of receiving the award include listing 10 things that others may not know about me, as well as passing the award on to 10 other bloggers. Without further ado, here are 10 things you may not know about me:

1. I'm a middle child, with an older brother and a younger brother.

2. I was born on my parents' 8th wedding anniversary.

3. My mom's birthday is exactly 3 weeks after mine, making us both Libras.

4. Although in most instances I am right-hand dominant, I'm technically left-handed.

5. I have 2 tattoos and am always contemplating getting more.

6. I'm allergic to cats and dogs. (Just found this out last year.)

7. Prior to coming to Boston for college, I had never been to Massachusetts.

8. I've never broken a bone and have only had stitches once, in my mouth when I got a tooth pulled.

9. I got to shake Carly Simon's hand at my college graduation.

10. The actor Brian Dennehy's brother, Marty, was one of my college professors.

As for passing this award on to 10 other bloggers, almost all of my blogging friends that I follow have received this award. There's one that I can think of that may not have. Her name is Sue Tanida and her blog is You can follow her on Twitter as @angelicinsights. Her blog is wonderful in that it helps to guide others on the path of spirituality. She shares her beliefs and feelings regarding Christianity and invites you to explore and form your own opinions. Check her out!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This Really Hurts My Heart

It saddened me to read that a high school student in South Hadley, MA committed suicide after being bullied online and in school. You can find details here:

The article gives us scant information about what precipitated the bullying and what type of tactics were used, but it does tell us that the guilty parties are still allowed to attend school. Why is it that a student can get suspended or even expelled for bringing a gun to school, but can continue to attend school after bullying another student to the point of suicide? Not only that, but apparently these kids are "proud" of what they did!

There is a streak of cruelty that runs deep within the youth of today, not only in the US, but all over the world. These young people think that they are untouchable because they never really have to suffer the consequences of any of their actions. It's almost as if they're living in an alternate reality where the rules don't apply to them. With the advent of the online community it has become easier to say horrible things about other people without ever having to look them in the face. Not only that, but those horrible things can, theoretically, stay in cyberspace forever for all the world to see. No one wants a constant reminder of how many people hate them. The teen years are very rocky and kids are constantly having to make adjustments in order to make it through every single day.

When I think about what Phoebe Prince must've been going through, it makes me want to cry. All she wanted to do is live her life, go to school, and be with her friends. Some thoughtless kids took that away from her because they didn't feel that she had a right to it. I don't have children, and when I hear about something like this, it makes me glad that I don't. It scares me how cruel people can be. The desensitization of the world at large has produced a generation of mean-spirited individuals who don't give a fuck. This type of behavior also worries me because I have nieces. Jade is the one that I'm closest to, and she's experienced bullying. People have spread rumors about her and picked on her. Luckily she's strong enough mentally and spiritually to hold her head high and let it roll off her back. For those that aren't as strong, life can be torture.

When I was in high school I was made fun of for not being "black" enough. It only went as far as the occasional taunting, and, truth be told, I can't remember exactly what was said. If I were in high school now, I'm sure that my life would be a living hell thanks to the internet, and parents' lack of interest in what's going on in their children's lives. To all of you parents out there, please pay attention! Don't fall into the "Boys will be boys" or "That's just the way kids are" trap. There's nothing normal about that kind of behavior. For parents that suspect that their kids are being bullied, sit them down and talk them to get to the bottom of things. For parents that suspect one of their kids might be a bully, get the kid some help. Just imagine how you would feel if you found that your daughter killed herself because she was being bullied in school. Above all else, I want Phoebe Prince to rest in peace. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Birthday Shoutout

Today is my niece Jade's 12th birthday. I can't believe how quickly time has flown. She was born a few months before I graduated from college and at the time I had no idea how big a part of my life she would be. I moved back in with my parents after college and stayed for a year and a half. During that time, Jade spent a lot of time there, which means I was there for the most formative years of her life. She and I built a very strong bond, and after a year and a half I was sad to leave her.

She's a great kid who has had to deal with some very tough times. At 12 she's probably seen more than I had at 24. She's been in situations that no child should ever have to find herself in, and has come out of them as a very kind and loving child. She's very considerate of others and would never intentionally hurt anyone's feelings. She will fiercely defend those that she cares about, even if sometimes they don't seem worth defending. Her wisdom goes far beyond that of her peers and many of her elders. Having a conversation with her can sometimes really blow your mind because she already has such insight with regard to the world around her. Her faith is strong and she knows that only by the grace of God is she still here on this Earth. I feel that Jade is destined for great things and I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to witness them.

Baby J, I'm wishing you the very best birthday ever, with many more to come. You know your Aunt Shelly loves you and will always be here for you. I pray that you continue to spread your love and joy to those around you. Happy Birthday, sweetie!