Creamy tomato basil pasta

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While many people across the country are enjoying outdoor BBQs today, I’m melting butter, sautéing garlic and onions, in preparation for our indoor Memorial Day comfort food dinner. My hair is frizzy after being caught in a rainstorm while out gathering ingredients. I’m shivering in a sweater and fuzzy socks. The furnace is blowing warm air. My dogs are content to curl up and sleep. Does this resonate with you right now? No? Then you don’t live in the great northwest!

I hope your Monday is bright!

If you’re looking for some carbolisciousness this week, make this comforting pasta dish. You won’t be sorry.

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Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta

Chop 4 cloves of garlic until they’re diced. Chop 1 whole sweet onion into small pieces. Sauté in 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter over medium-high heat for a couple minutes. Add 30 ounces of your favorite tomato sauce to the mix, sprinkle with a few shakes of salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, boil 1 lb of fettuccine, or your favorite pasta, and drain. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in 1 cup half and half, some grated parmesan cheese and chopped basil leaves. Serve warm sprinkled with additional parmesan, a green salad, and a loaf of crunchy artisan bread, and you’ve got a quick and easy weekday meal for 4-6.

cakey chocolate chip cookies

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Spring turned back to fall this week. Every afternoon my daughter comes home from school stressed out. With the end of the year approaching, teachers are cramming in loads of work. I always said I wanted to be one of those moms who would have homemade treats ready when my kid(s) came home from school. It’s how I grew up. If I came home to an empty house, it most likely meant my mom was visiting with neighbors nearby. I would hear her laugh before I saw her. When I was older, if she had to be away, she left a note on the counter letting me know where she was. It makes me sad to think of all the young kids who come home to empty houses every day. I have the privilege of being able to work at home, and the flexibility to bake cookies with my daughter. I feel very fortunate!

Let’s bake cookies!

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This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie. They’re made with bread flour, which is responsible for their soft, cakey crumb. Just out of the oven, the pockets of dark chocolate melt deliciously in your mouth.

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Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 3/4 cups Bread flour
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (2 cubes) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Teaspoons pure vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups dark chocolate pieces or chips

Directions
Sift flour, baking and sea salt together in a smallish bowl. Set aside. Place softened butter in the bowl of an electric mixer (or hand mixer). Add sugars and blend until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir by hand. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet two inches apart. Bake in a preheated 350°F. oven for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will still be a bit soft. Leave them on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

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I hope you have a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

New name, new location

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It’s official! I’ve moved. Several things led to my decision to move from Portland Peeps over on blogspot. I wanted to have my own dot com address so there’s room to evolve and grow, and I wanted to be an official food blogger. Portland Peeps started out as a place to discuss chicken keeping, but as I began to place more focus on food, the title no longer seemed like a good fit. Keeping chickens is still one of the ways I feel I have a little control over the quality of ingredients that go into my basic recipes, besides the fact that they’re very entertaining to have around. But they are only a part of a larger equation. Making decisions about what and how we eat has a large effect on our lives, and I look forward to sharing some of the delicious combinations of ingredients I discover with you.

Something else happened recently that brought me to this change. I fell head over heels in love with food photography. I’m finding it challenging and rewarding in ways I never expected. It is here at The Decisive Cook that I plan to feed this passion. I will be sharing with you all things culinary, which at times may include chicken keeping, growing some of your own food, and incorporating plenty of simple, healthy ingredients into everyday meals.

Thank you for following along on my new adventure!