I cracked my laptop screen a month ago while we were in Florida.  Upon our arrival back home in Canada at the end of March I packed it up and shipped it off to Acer for a screen replacement.  It just came in today and I’m so happy to be blogging again from it as I have some baking recipes to share with you.

First of all, back to Florida and the day I had the pleasure of meeting up with Merry-Jennifer for the first time.  You know how after you’ve been reading someone’s blog, following them on Twitter and Instagram you begin to know without a doubt that if you ever had the chance to meet them in person you’d not miss the opportunity to do so?  You just know that such a meeting would be a high point for you because you already love the person behind the wonderfully touching and expressive stories they’ve shared on their blog and spending some time with them would only serve to validate that your initial on-line impression of them was right on.

Such was it for me on a sunny and warm Thursday when I travelled from our rental in Brooksville to meet Merry-Jennifer for lunch at Chuy’s, just off I-75 North in Gainesville.  I arrived a little early and seated myself in the waiting area of the restaurant.  To my utter embarrassement, a young lady with dark hair and hospital scrubs walked up to the counter.  Seeing her from the side, I assumed it was Merry-Jennifer and I jumped up from the leather couch and said *Hi, it’s me!*  The lady turned to look at me with a startled and somewhat dumbfounded look which immediately told me that she was not Merry-Jennifer.  I apologized for mistaking her for someone else, returned to the couch with my cheeks flaming red while the young man working at the reservation area had a good chuckle.  In my weak defense, Merry-Jennifer was working that day and I thought however wrongly,  that she would be making a dash from the University Hospital to Chuy’s without taking the time to change out of her scrubs.  Given that she is an Assistant Professor of Medicine it never occured to me that she most likely wears a white lab coat at work and not scrubs when making her rounds.  I continued my wait and decided that I would not jump to any more conclusions until I knew for sure that it was the real Merry-Jennifer entering Chuy’s.

I didn’t have to wait long.  A few minutes later in she walked (no scrubs, no lab coat) turned to the couch, looked directly at me and asked “Paula?” to which I replied “Yes, Hi!” and after an exchange of warm hugs, we took our seats at our table and began what for me was the highlight of my two months in Florida.  Our time together was  relaxed, warm and wonderful.  Merry-Jennifer exudes warmth and she possesses a quiet grace that I quite admire.  Conversation between us was easy and I only wish that we could of had extended our time together.  I am so glad that we were able to meet, to talk, to share.  There is so much depth behind her large dark brown eyes and if you ever question the adage, “the eyese are the window to the soul” you just need to peer into Merry-Jennifer’s to understand that it is so.

Merry-Jennifer and I March 2015

Our luncheon together went by far too quickly for me but as I said earlier, Merry-Jennifer was kind enough to make time in her schedule for this get-together and though I wished we had hours more to visit, it was time to say our goodbyes.  I just hope that for anyone reading this, if there is someone you’ve met on-line that you would love to meet in person, if the opportunity ever presents itself to do so, grab it!  Life is too short not to make meaningful connections.

I made some cookies for Merry-Jennifer, Dr. Emoji cookies.

Dr. Emoji Cookies

Her patients are blessed to have her caring for them.  I am blessed for having met her.



In this house we love nuts!  Peanuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, chocolate covered, you name it. Ron is a hard core peanut lover, shelled or unshelled.  He has (O.K., we have) been on a kick lately with dry roasted peanuts with sea salt.  So good!

Open Can Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts

We also both love a soft and chewy peanut butter cookie so I guess it was only a matter of time before I wondered if anyone ever made peanut butter cookies with dry roasted peanuts.  In a Google search, a recipe from Planter’s website came up.  The original recipe called for honey roasted peanuts and I being the practical girl that I am, decided just to use what I had on hand.  God knows we had enough nuts here for snacking and baking.

Gotta tell you, these dry roasted peanuts make for a scrumptious cookie.  In fact, I believe that these are my favourite peanut butter cookies I’ve baked to date.

Dry Roasted Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

In addition to using dry roasted peanuts I made a few more minor changes to Planter’s original recipe only because I did not want to make a run to the grocery store to purchase additional ingredients (i.e. more white sugar).

Dry Roasted Peanuts Coarsely Chopped

These are a scoop and drop peanut butter cookie.  I used my 1″ cookie scoop to make a golf ball sized drop and my yield was 68 cookies.  Plenty for sharing.

Dry Roasted Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Drops

They bake up quickly, 10-12 minutes and in my oven (here in our Florida rental) they were done to soft and chewy perfection in 10 minutes.

Soft and Chewy Dry Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

Ever gotten a little nutty with your peanut butter cookie recipe?  What are you waiting for…

Dry Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies (adapted from Planter’s Original Recipe)

1 1/2 cups of butter (3 sticks)

1 1/2 cups of smooth peanut butter

1 cup of granulated sugar

2 cups of packed brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste

3 cups of unbleached flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 cup of Planter’s Dry Roasted Peanuts with Sea Salt (coarsely chopped)

Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars together.  Add eggs and vanilla bean paste and mix until well combined and batter is creamy.  Add flour and baking powder until combined.  Add chopped dry roasted peanuts and mix well.  Drop onto prepared cookie sheets and bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  Store in air-tight container.


Toonies for Tummies

February 21, 2015

In November of 1989, the Canadian Government unanimously agreed to work together to end Childhood Poverty by the year 2000. That goal was not met then and here early into 2015, it’s not even close to being met. In fact, since 1989 though our economy has doubled, childhood poverty rates (according to Stats Canada) has […]

6 comments Continue reading and view the photos →

Baking and Blogging from Florida – Easy Appetizer & Chocolate Cake

February 17, 2015

There are now five of the seven couples we regularly golf with who all live in the same community here in Florida.   Three are from Quebec, one is from Alberta and we of course, are from Ontario.  This year before we arrived, the group decided to get together every Friday evening for T.G.I.F. Each week a different […]

6 comments Continue reading and view the photos →

Baking and Blogging From Florida – Bacon & Cheddar Biscuits

February 9, 2015

On our way to Florida there was a Ruby Tuesday’s right across from the hotel we stayed at on our second night.  We chose to eat our dinner there for convenience sake and while we were waiting for our main course to arrive, the server brought us warm cheese and garlic biscuits. They were very tasty […]

10 comments Continue reading and view the photos →

Baking and Blogging from Florida!

February 4, 2015

Many of you know that Ron and I are currently in Florida and while we are here for an extended visit I plan on keeping in touch with everyone via Twitter, Instagram and of course, your blogs and mine.  We arrived at our rental last Tuesday after a two and a half days drive which […]

12 comments Continue reading and view the photos →

Pet Lovers Valentines

January 21, 2015

The grand-girls were here this past weekend.  Friday was a PD day so I picked them up late Thursday afternoon.  We declared Friday to not only be a PD day but a PJ day as well!  Ella and Sophie were happy to not only be off from school but to not have to get dressed and […]

7 comments Continue reading and view the photos →

Good Morning! Have a Piece of Cake…

January 15, 2015

On Monday I clicked on the link from a tweet by 100% Canadian Milk *…easily portable Breakfast Sunshine Cakes are a great alternative to morning muffins.* and when I saw the recipe they were promoting I bookmarked it, knowing full well that it wouldn’t be long before I tried it. Ron is a morning person and after reading his […]

6 comments Continue reading and view the photos →

Holiday Wrap Up

January 7, 2015

It was a Christmas holiday to remember and in case we forget it over the years we do have lots of pictures!  The decorations and the tree were taken down on January 1st with help from grand-daughters Ella and Sophie and now here we are, a full week into 2015 already.  Is it just because I’m turning […]

10 comments Continue reading and view the photos →

Nature’s Path Feel Good Holiday Giveaway

December 17, 2014

“THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.  THANK YOU ALL FOR ENTERING.  CONGRATULATIONS TO JACLYN REYNOLDS, YOU ARE THE WINNER OF THE NATURE’S PATH FEEL GOOD HOLIDAY GIFT BOX!” I was contacted a few weeks ago by the folks at Nature’s Path wondering if I would be interested in a Feel Good Holiday Gift Box filled with their products, […]

25 comments Continue reading and view the photos →