Sunday, November 17, 2013

Preschool Turkey Activity

Friday morning I decided that I wanted to do an activity with my daughter and the little boys I was taking care of that day. I thought it would be nice to use the homemade playdough I had sitting around and something with fall colors.

I decided that I could easily make colored pasta and then shape the playdough into the shape of a turkey's body. The kids could then use the pasta to decorate the turkeys. I also added in some long pieces of dried spaghetti so the kids would be able to make longer "feathers" by putting the penne pasta over the spaghetti pasta.

While the kids were making their turkeys we talked about the colors, what the playdough felt like, if the noodles stayed in well, what patterns they could make, how they could make the noodles look like feathers on a turkey, and how the colors of the noodles and turkey looked a lot like fall leaves.

They enjoyed this activity a lot and after finishing their turkeys moved on to making their own shapes with the playdough and decorating those. It is great for fine motor skills, sensory play, creative play, learning about patterns, and colors.
To make the pasta all you do is get dried pasta, fill a bowl half way with white vinegar and add food coloring of you choice (I used probably at least 10 drops of color per bowl) then add pasta so that it is covered by the vinegar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, maybe a little more, stirring a couple times while it sits. Then dump out the liquid and lay the pasta flat on a cookie sheet to dry. It took about two hours maybe three for ours to dry completely.

Now you are ready, just set out the materials for the kids to get to work.



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fall Fun: Pumpkins, and Apples, and Squirrels Oh My!


We take a weekly trip to the library for story time and to check out books. Usually I let the kids check a few out and I choose a couple to check out as well. I try and find books that fit into a weekly theme that I have in mind or that are seasonally appropriate. So a few weeks ago I spotted this cute book about a squirrel who is busy finding food for the winter (called The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri).
Buy it by clicking this link:


The little squirrel picks up various fall foods and takes them back to his nest. At the end of the book you see him asleep with all of his food. It is a cute book that teaches about what a squirrel does to get ready for the winter and shows some of what they eat.

I immediately started thinking of ways I could create activities surrounding this book, so I checked it out. We read it several times before ever getting to the activities, but finally I set things up and we did some writing, math, and science exploring some of the things that squirrel might have picked up to eat.


I got out a large bowl of water for a float or sink test, a measuring tape to measure each item, and some fall vegetables (a sweet dumpling squash and a bright orange squash), an apple, grapes, and dried fruit and nuts.

The plan was to read the book and then talk about why the squirrel was saving for food and if we had any of the same things. Then we put the things in order from largest to smallest.

I had written out a list of what each thing was before hand so then we measured each thing with the measuring tape and I wrote how big it was in yellow and then my daughter traced the number with a black marker.
Next, for each item, we predicted which items would sink and which would float. Then we put each on into the bowl of water to test our predictions. We then put a mark in a column for each one that sank and one in another column for each that floated.
This was my daughter's favorite part of the activity and she wanted to do it several times. We then drew a picture of one of the items as an added art activity. It would also be great fun to use the items to paint or make prints into play-dough.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Roasted Pears: Easy Fall Dessert


This is a great simple dessert that also has the added advantage of being really quite healthy. It also happens to be gluten and dairy free. A great paleo or vegan dessert as well.

I first served this dessert to a group of my family members who were visiting from out of town. We had a large dinner of my favorite ribs, with mashed potatoes, fresh tomatoes with basil, garlic, olive oil and vinegar, and other fresh vegetables from a farm box I picked up. For Dessert I wanted something just as fresh, but I also wanted it to be really easy to put together with people there. This fits the bill. 

Roasted Pears With Coconut Whipped Cream:

For the Pears:
Half a pear per person, slightly firm
A sprinkle each of cinnamon and cardamum
About 2 teaspoons real maple syrup per pear half

For the Whipped Cream:
A can of Whole coconut milk in a can (or Trader Joe's Coconut cream, in a can)
           Chilled well (I usually just keep a can in the fridge in case I want it)
A teaspoon vanilla extract
A tablespoon of maple syrup
A pinch of ground cardamom

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, put the beaters and mixing bowl into the freezer to chill

Wash the pears, cut them in half length wise and use a melon baller to scoop the seeds out. Sprinkle the pear with a bit of cinnamon and cardamom and then lightly pour maple syrup on them (about 2 teaspoons). Place in the oven for 30 minutes to bake until soft.

About 5 minutes before the pears are done get your mixing bowl out of the freezer and set it up. Open up the can of well chilled coconut milk and you should see a firm thick white layer. Scoop out just the very firm white layer into the mixing bowl, leaving behind the clear liquid for another use. Start mixing the coconut milk in the mixer on medium speed, add in the vanilla, maple syrup, and cardamom. What should happen is the coconut milk should become fluffy and look like whipped cream.

Serve the pears hot with the whipped coconut milk on top. We also served dark 80% chocolate with them and some people put small pieces in the middle of the pears so it would melt, that was great!




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Planning A Party

Every year I get to plan at least 4 birthday parties. My kids, mine, and my husbands. This year is no different and as I approach my husbands birthday I am getting into the nitty-gritty of planning his party.

Over the years I have found a process that works to keep me organized, on track, and well not to insane during the day of the party.

The first thing I do is figure out the guest list. Then I figure out a theme (mostly for invitations at the adult stage). Next I invite people making sure to try and give them a month notice so they have time to plan around it, but honestly there are times that I am not perfect at this aspect of it. 

The very next thing I do is go to Pinterest and start a board dedicated to that party. This is probably my favorite part of party planning because I can imagine I have limitless possibilities, of course this means that I usually have to bring myself back down to reality of a budget and time. It still really helps with organization, especially because I am a visual person. 

On Pinterest I look for menu ideas that might fit into the theme, cake designs, decorating ideas, and entertainment ideas. Later I can go back and make my lists using these ideas. 

About a week before the party I really figure out the menu, decorations, and any entertainment ideas that I am going to use for the party, along with the number of people who are coming. I start a list with the menu, decor, and games written down under their own sections. Then I make a grocery list and a list of other items that I will need. I try and do this all on one piece of paper in sections so I can see it all at once. 

At the beginning of the week I try and buy anything that will need time to make for decor or games. Then in the evenings when the kids are in bed I start working on those things. 

In the morning the day before the party I try and do all my shopping and cleaning. Then that evening I try and do prep work. I usually make the cake but don't decorate it, do anything that can be done ahead like washing produce. 

The day of the party is all about decorating and making food

Here are a few links to Pinterest boards I have done for parties in the past in case you want to take a look at them. The next party I am holding is for my husband's birthday on Friday and it is a BBQ theme. I hope maybe letting you in on my process will help you a bit with your next party. 

http://pinterest.com/ecarleyroe/husband-birthday/

http://pinterest.com/ecarleyroe/ak-birthday-party-ideas/ (this was a bird themed party for my little girl)

http://pinterest.com/ecarleyroe/ab-bday-party-ideas/ (This was a superhero themed party for my little boy)

Do you use Pinterest at all? Do you make a board for your parties?   


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Father's Day Photo Shoot & Gift






I did a lot of searching online for Father's Day ideas and how to include the kids in making the gift for Father's Day. I discovered many photo shoots of the kids along with prop ideas and framing ideas. You can check out many of the ideas I came upon on my Pinterest board about Father's Day. I took a few of these ideas and combined them to get what you see above.

I really liked the idea of the kids finishing the sentence I love Daddy because... and using their answer in the photo shoot. I also thought it was really cute to see kids dressed in their Father's work clothes. I think it would make a nice sequence if we did it year after year to see how much they have grown. I also really like the sign for I love you in sign language, I grew up using it with my mom and have used it with the kids so I really liked the tracing of the child's hand and having it folded to say I love you in sign language and holding a heart.

Each of the kids also answered questions about Daddy (like what is his favorite food, what does he do at work, what is is favorite thing to do, etc). I plan to do that year after year as well and see how the answers change.

I would love to hear of other ideas that you come up with so I can start coming up with things for next year or birthday which is right around the corner. :)


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ricotta Stuffed Apricots


The other day at the super market I saw these beautiful orange apricots and felt like I really needed to find a way to use them. I decided to experiment with making stuffed apricots with sour cream or ricotta and rosemary.

I ended up trying out both and found that I really preferred the ricotta because there is already a lot of tartness from the apricots so the sour of the sour cream did not counter that flavor enough for me. I added a little bit of finely chopped rosemary and maple syrup to the cheese, scooped the mix into the apricot and broiled it until the cheese was just lightly browned.

The combination was amazing. I tart flavor of the apricots combined with the slightly sweet cheese and woodsy rosemary was amazing. I was mostly amazed at how filling this was considering the small size of an apricot and the small dollop of ricotta it takes to fill the space where the pit was.

This recipe became my breakfast for the next few days and I am sure to revisit it throughout the apricot season.

Enjoy!

2 firm but ripe apricots cut in half with the pit removed
2 tablespoons ricotta
1/8 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary (sprinkle it in starting with half the amount and then taste to see if you want to add the full amount)
2 teaspoons maple syrup plus a slight drizzle for the top

Mix the cheese, rosemary and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup together. Scoop into the place where the pit was in the apricot filling generously. Drizzle very slightly with maple syrup. Broil until lightly browned.

YUM!

My kids preferred to eat the ricotta mix on slices of apple. Another version of this uses cinnamon and vanilla in the ricotta with some maple syrup. This makes a great dip for apples. 

UPDATE: A Vegan Version I just made recently that is amazing:
 You make these the same way as the non-vegan version but I made cashew cheese to go in them instead of ricotta or mascarpone. Here is the deal with cashew cheese:

Fill a large container (that can hold at least 4-6 cups of stuff with 1 cup of raw cashews and the rest with boiled water that has cooled just for a minute or two. Allow it to sit at least 1 hour but it is even better (smoother end result) if you can let it sit all day or over night and most of the day. 

Next drain the water into a measuring cup and add to the cashews about 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1/4 cup of the reserved water. Using a very good blender (Vitamix or that sort) or an immersion blender on high speed mix these together until smooth. If it does not seem to be blending you may need to add a bit more water but be cautious about this and take it slow doing it just a tablespoon at a time. You want this to be very smooth and thick about the texture of mascarpone cheese. 

Follow the rest of the recipe as above in the non-vegan version.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Earth Day Craft: Earth and Other Planets

This month my kids and I have been doing activities and crafts that center around Earth day for the month of April. The first of these (and my favorite) was using container lids left over and saved from different things, like milk jugs, to stamp the planets of the solar system. We took several different sized lids and set them out with paints and brushes and two pieces of paper tapped together. We painted the flat side of the lids and stamped the sun and planets in order (my six year old stuck to that plan, my three year old just stamped wherever).

We used a picture of the solar system for guidance and my son labeled the planets. We also read a book called, If You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNulty, which shows a kid preparing for a trip to the moon in a rocket. He gets supplies and games and during the trip talks about being lonely. He gets out on the moon and walks around in his space suit. He discovers that the moon is lacking a lot of the lovely things that the Earth has. On his way home he realizes how special the Earth is because it is the only place with the ability to have life which creates so much beauty and so we really need to protect the Earth.
                                                               

This was a super easy project that we put together last minute but is great for science, art, motor skills, and writing (if you label planets).









Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Marbled Paper Art

I have to confess right from the start, this craft was not mine in the making, but it was so much fun that I had to share it with everyone. 

My Grandparents were visiting for a few weeks in March and my Grandma brought along some craft supplies and a project idea that she was just so excited to have everyone do. She set up by putting down a disposable table cloth a tin baking dish slightly larger than 8 by 10 and about 4 inches deep, cans of shaving cream, two boxes of food coloring, stir sticks, card stock paper cut to maybe 7 by 9 inches pieces, and a squeegee.

She had us fill the tin with a bunch of shaving cream and then flatten it out using the squeegee (or hands and by the way super flat is not that important here). 



Next choose a few colors of food coloring and place a few drops around on the shaving cream. You want some space between the drops and you want it to span the entire pan. 
Next take the stir stick and place in in the shaving cream and move it through the drops of food coloring to make a design, any design will do. 
Next lay your paper down flat into the shaving cream and rub the back so that the front comes into complete contact with the shaving cream. Then pull it straight up and lay it on the table cloth. 
Grab the squeegee and use it to carefully wipe away the foam. 
Then set the paper out to dry and repeat as much as you want using the same shaving cream and just adding new colors or with all new shaving cream. 
And Grandma (Great Grandma to some at the house) gets to start hers finally:
Super fun, good sensory play, color theory/naming/mixing, art project that can later be a writing project, because now we have lots of pretty paper to send letters with. :)


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Amazing Vegan and Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes


 I recently found a recipe for a muffin that is really moist and incredibly healthy. I decided that there must be a way to change that recipe to make a healthy cupcake that would accommodate our recent wheat and dairy allergies. I set out to create a chocolate cupcake with a chocolate frosting. I used the recipe from the chocolate tart I made recently to make the frosting and then whipped it. 








 A recap of that recipe: 

Chocolate Frosting

1 cup Coconut Oil-melted
1 cup chocolate powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir them together and refrigerate until solid. Put into a mixer and whip until creamy leave at room temperature. 








The Cupcakes were a bit more of an adventure because when I decided to make them the first time I was missing a banana and had to use pumpkin puree instead. I decided to add a few dates and a bit of maple syrup to compensate and they were really good. They have a bit less of a banana flavor than the original muffin recipe but still do taste like banana a bit. They are very healthy and contain no grains, dairy, or eggs.


 Chocolate Cupcakes-Vegan & Paleo


6 Medjool Dates in a liquid measuring cup then fill with simmering water up to the 1/4 cup mark. 
1 Tablespoon Maple syrup added to the dates.
2 Tablespoons ground Flax seed in 6 Tablespoons hot water. 
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup chocolate baking powder
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 Bananas
1 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon cider vinegar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins (I highly recommend lining them not just greasing them)

Add the first 8 ingredients to a container to use an immersian blender or to a food processor. Blend well until completely smooth. Add in the cider vinegar and blend to completely mix. Spoon into muffin tin to fill muffin cups about 2/3 of the way. Bake in the preheated oven for 22 minutes. If you stick a toothpick in it will come out with a little damp chocolate on the bottom. 

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, and I really mean completely I tried it before they were all the way cool and it didn't work, and frost with the frosting. ENJOY!





My 6 year old son wanted to take a picture of me making the cupcakes. :)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Best Chocolate Mousse Tart


My entire life I have loved to dance. My Dad says that I used to kick my feet in time to one of the songs that his band played while I was still in the womb (my Mom was also in this band and I have never even thought to ask her about this, odd since it was her that would have noticed). I used to make up dances in my living room for hours and then subject my Mom's friends to "recitals" when they would come over. My even got my friends involved in dancing with me.

I took a few dance classes over the course of my life and have always had difficulty with them because they require that you perform movements that someone else feels go to the music and frequently I disagree. 

When I was in high school I took up going to monthly swing dancing at the Mission Mill in Salem, Oregon. This really fun Big Band would play and all these people who were in high school would take the floor next to a group of people who probably learned when flappers were a big thing. It was great. I danced with so many partners and ALWAYS had fun. 

My best friend Margaret and I used to dance together anytime the mood struck which pretty much meant whenever a swing song came on the radio. Which in the years between 1995 and 1999 was pretty often actually because the Cherry Poppin' Daddy's (Eugene based band) had gone national, as had a few other bands that made it onto mainstream radio channels like: The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers.  

We painted some houses one summer for Margaret's father and played a lot of this music and took a few breaks to dance to the songs even though it was pretty sweltering. We did some swing dancing in Hawaii after attending a hula dancing show put on for the many many bands participating in the International Music Festival and Contest of Pacific High School bands. We most likely were made fun of by many high school students from around the world who viewed us as they were dispersing. We also danced at her wedding. Her in her wedding dress and me in my maid of honor dress.
Swing dancing with Margaret at her Wedding



I have been sad to see dancing slip from my life over the years. In college I did take some dance classes, three or four semesters of African dance which was a blast and three semesters of ballet which was good in its way. Unfortunately for me, my husband is completely resistant to dancing. I mean he did dance with my once at each of most weddings we have attended, but other than that nothing. 

I have found some other ways to fill my dancing need: going to 80s Video Dance Attack a few times, dancing with my kids, and of course dancing by myself in my living room when no one is looking. My husband started telling me I should just go swing dancing by myself and he was sure I would find someone willing to dance with me. Well I have started to think I might just take him up on that and then enter some new friends Brian and Megan. 

video
 Can't you tell my little guy enjoys dancing?

Brian and Megan also really enjoy dancing. Megan also used to make up dances for hours in her living room and disliked classes as a kid because the teachers were expressing their vision for the song and her's was ignored. They have started to break Tommy (my husband) down. He actually agreed to learn with us. To a video. In our living room. So a few weeks ago Brian and Megan came over with a video and we all learned the first eight beats of foot work for the Lindy Hop. Wow, it was harder than I thought! 

Tommy was really good, he picked it up really quickly and stuck with it for about 45 minutes. When we stopped he swore up and down that this was the last time (we'll see about that). 

Now getting to the point of the story (finally) Megan had brought Tommy some sweet treats as a reward for sticking with it. She is vegan and so she thought she would introduce Tommy to some things that he can still have (now that allergy testing shows he can't have wheat, dairy, or eggs). She brought a fantastic chocolate tart thing by Hail Mary which is a great product if you don't have the desire to make this totally check them out. They make this thing that is sort of chocolate mousse like but it is vegan and grain free and raw. It also happens to be AMAZING.

I tried it and thought this is really good and I bet I can make it. Well I did. Mine are not as cute because I don't have a pan that is right for it but they taste amazing, they are creamy, rich, crunchy, and oh so chocolatey. I have lots of ideas for flavoring this thing in the future. So if you like chocolate mousse or chocolate you will LOVE this. Really I think this is the most general public friendly, vegan and paleo, recipe I have come across. 

Chocolate Mousse Tart: Vegan and Paleo

Muffin Tin (I molded tin foil to the cups so I could just pull the tarts out at the end and then pull the tin foil off, you could probably use muffin tin liners for this)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees if you want a crispy but non-raw crust. 

For the Chocolate Cookie Crust:


 1 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon  almond flour/meal
4 tablespoons cocoa powder 
4 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients well. Divide evenly, about 2 tablespoons of the mix into the bottom of each muffin cup. Press it down to flatten it and cover the bottom evenly, if it seems too thick (more than 1/4 inch) press some of it up against the edges to create a small cookie bowl. 

For a crispy crust:
Bake these for about 11 minutes and then let cool for about 10 minutes.  

For a Raw Crust but not crispy:
Set aside do not bake.

While the cookie crust is baking (or not) make the filling:


The Mousse Filling:


2 cups coconut oil melted
2 cups cocoa powder
1 cup maple syrup (works best if room temp)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (we use alcohol free)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated. This should be quite runny if you used the oil melted. 


Putting it together: 


Pour the mousse filling into the muffin tins over the cookies to fill them about another 1/2 inch. If there is mousse left feel free to add more to each tin. Refridgerate for about 10 minutes or until solid. Once they are totally solid you can remove the tinfoil from the tins and peel the foil from the mouse. Then you can serve them. I like to allow them to sit for just a few minutes so they are softer. These could be left in the tin foil and stored in the fridge for a few days before serving them. 

Also you could use a better pan like a tart pan to make this. I may try out my spring form pan next time and see if I can just make one large one to cut up.


For your listening enjoyment: 



Monday, February 18, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies: Dairy, Egg, Grain, and Sugar Free

About 3 weeks ago my husband and son got results to some allergy testing back. I was fully expecting the diary and wheat allergy but the egg allergy took me by surprise. My husband took all of the results very hard. We have taken all of these things out of our family's diet but my husband really wanted a few things to help him through the transistion. One was pizza and the other was cookies. I tried a califlower pizza crust and that failed horribly. So then I took on the cookies because I knew I had good results with some I had tried before.

I wanted to do a chocolate chip cookie and after finding a few recipes that were close to what I was looking for ended up with this:



Grain, Egg, Dairy, and Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (Super good and nice and chewy):

1 1/2 cups ground cashews (grind very finely in a food processor, they will start to almost become cashew butter)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup ground mejoul dates (I used six large ones, pit them, put in the food processor with the coconut oil)
1 tablespoon vanilla (alcohol free is our preferance)
1 tablespoon full fat canned coconut milk
chopped dark chocolate (check for diary free/gluten free)

Mix everything, except the chocolate, in the food processor until very smooth. Stir in the chocolate.

Place the dough in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees and either line a cookie sheet with a non-stick mat or lightly grease (coconut oil works really well for this). Scoop out about a table spoon (or two for larger cookies) of the dough and place on the cookie sheet. Squish them down so they are flatened and look like a cookie, these do not melt down or expand much if at all while baking.

Bake for about 11-13 minutes.

I recently got a Nespresso machine and Aeroccino Milk frother/steamer. I have been really enjoying the quality of coffee that it makes, I am pretty picky about that. I am also amazed that with ALMOND MILK it can froth so well. The picture above is done with almond milk. Wow!
                                                                   

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Double Chocolate Cookies (Grain Free, Vegan)

The other day I was taking a walk at our local lake while my kids were in school. It had been very cold (for the Portland area) so the lake was partly frozen over and it was snowing. It was beautiful and quiet walking around the lake. My checks were cold but I was staying warm. As I wandered I took the occasional photograph. This is one thing that I have been enjoying now that I have both of my children in school at the same time once a week. 

Here are some photos: 

When I got back to the car I went home and decided to have a hot cup of tea to warm up. I started browsing Pinterest and ran across a recipe for Healthy Double Chocolate Cookies. They looked great but for some reason I didn't repin them, which was much regretted for the next few days as I tried to find them again. 

I never did find them but I found a different recipe here. I did not have all of the ingredients and I needed a vegan recipe, so I changed the recipe a bit and came up with these: 


These are really intense dark chocolate cookies and they are not too sweet which in my book is wonderful. They are chewy which I love. I am not ashamed to say I have actually had them for breakfast two days in a row. :) 

They are great with my morning cup of English Breakfast tea and even better with my evening (decaf) cappuccino which I will have to tell you about another time because I have a new and wonderful espresso maker (Nespresso). 

These cookies are a lot like Lara Bars but taste and texture are way, way better. They could be shaped into bars and used in the same way a Lara Bar is (like a snack bar or quick pick me up).

On to what you have all been waiting for the recipe:


Double Chocolate Grain-Free, Vegan Cookies:

1/2 cup Almond Meal
1 cup ground cashews (place about 1 1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews in a food processor and grind until very fine, measure to make sure you have 1 cup)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon flax seed in 1/4 cup boiled water (let sit until thick)
1 medium ripe avocado
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/4 cup chopped medjoul dates
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (we use a version with no alcohol) 

Extras: 
Handful of chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips.

In a medium bowl mix the first 5 ingredients (almond, cashew, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) with a fork or whisk. 

In a food processor add in the avocado, flax seed with the water, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and chopped dates. Process until very smooth. Add in the dry ingredients about 1/2 cup at a time and mix until just incorporated. (After two thirds of the dry ingredients my food processor was out of room due to its very small size so I switched to my mixer but I recommend sticking with the food processor) 

Add in a hand full of chocolate chips and any other extras you like. Suggestions are dried fruit like cranberries, dried coconut, or chopped nuts. 

Get a piece of parchment paper and move the dough onto the parchment paper and then roll into a log shape that is about 1 foot long. Roll the parchment paper around it and place in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

I suggest lining a cookie sheet with parchment. Take the log of cookie dough from the fridge and cut 1/4 inch pieces so they are circles. Place this on the cookie sheet. The knife with get sticky so you could wash it or just be prepared to reshape the cookies by hand into evenly flat circles. These cookies do not change shape while baking. Continue cutting cookies from the log and place on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 9 minutes and remove from the oven. Move to a cooling rack very gently. Once cool make sure to store them in an airtight container.