Saturday, January 10, 2015

Season 2 MasterChef Jr. Winner, Logan's Chocolate Chip Cookies and a MasterChef Junior Giveaway

Life.   We tend to think we have it all figured out, don't we?  Our flight plans filed, we find ourselves happily headed down nice balanced paths when all of a sudden a fork, or a rock, or even a flood appear out of no where bringing a diversion we didn't expect.  Taking us off our current path and onto another, we sometimes find this new path easy going and blossoming with flowers, however other times we find ourselves fighting to regain our footing in an attempt to get back into balance.

Early December brought a bit of a tumble off of our happy, balanced path when my usually healthy husband found himself visiting the ER twice in three days with the second visit ending up with emergency surgery.  After an emotional 5-day hospital stay he headed home two days before Christmas with even more questions and an understanding that we have no understanding of how to efficiently work the current medical system.

While he's doing much better, he's been off work for some 4 weeks and will probably see a few more before he returns to filing flight plans for real (he's an airline pilot).  Thankful his issues aren't life threatening, Liv and I have settled in to make him comfortable with he's healing and stretch of time on the couch.

Looking for pick-me-up entertainment, Liv took the remote from his hands, fired up HULU on the computer and caught him up on Season 2 of our favorite show - MasterChef Junior.  And just in time as the premier of Season 3 aired last Tuesday, January 6 at 8/7c on Fox. 

Oona from Season 2
I have to admit he scoffed at the show at first.  "Seriously...", he questioned, "How good can watching a bunch of kids compete in a cooking show be?" (I fear he vividly remembers my Girl Scout Troop's adventure in cooking in our kitchen...).

But within minutes 9-year old Oona had him wrapped around her little finger with her confident come backs, kitchen finesse and irresistible personality.  12-year old Sean left us in awe of his restaurant-quality precision and skill, and who could resist 8-year old Abby's love of all things jelly bean?

Judged by the esteemed Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich (whom I read is leaving the show sometime in 2015)MasterChef Junior doesn't go easy on the contestants aged 8-13.  With critiques that would bring adults to their knees, these kids take it and move on to the next challenge with their heads held high simply oozing skills that I can only envy.  Really... how many kids enjoy pâté let alone know how to whip one up?

Finishing up our binge watching of Season 2, we caught the premier of Season 3 last Tuesday (January 6th - 8/7c on Fox) and I love that my husband is totally hooked, even telling us that we will have to wait to watch the show all together when he goes back to work in a few weeks. 

Meeting the kids in the first episode I must admit I'm somewhat missing the kids from last season, but I also enjoyed seeing the new personalities begin to shine with the first Mystery Box Challenge.  I loved how the kids brought different ideas from the same ingredients with final dishes ranging from entrees to desserts.

Jenna's Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango Mint Compote had me itching to whip up a batch of my own, and Jack's Chard-Wrapped Salmon is tucked away in my mind for a future date.  If only I had the recipe... because unlike him it's not something I'm capable of just whipping together like he did.

Nathan... from San Diego!
And I have to pull for 12-year old Nathan, though we didn't see much of him in this episode.  Hailing from our hometown San Diego, I'm wishing him the best of luck!!  But I think he'll see some serious competition from the intelligent and talented Ryan Kate, 11-years old from Texas.  And one can't help notice little 8-year old Riley, also from Texas who showed skills I can only wish for (I love his little step to get him over the counter!).

8-year old Riley... he's adorable!  And talented.
And easing us into this new, compelling season I have a special gift for us!  Just as we arrived home from the hospital a care package arrived on our doorstep (how did they know we needed a pick-me-up?) and proved the perfect treat while watching the Season Premier.

Opening the box we found goodies the treats including a recipe from Season 2's winner, Logan!  I almost feel kind of like he and I are cooking buddies... right??  Hot Coco Milk Crumb Chocolate Chip Cookies, he's brilliant!

Rounding out our MasterChef Winter Warm Up Box we received two MasterChef Junior Mugs, 4 chunks of chocolate on spoons, and jars of marshmallows, crushed candy canes and caramel chips... all perfect to go with Logan's Chocolate Chip Cookies and warm us to our toes as we enjoy the show.

MasterChef Junior Warm Winter Giveaway
And MasterChef Junior wants you to have a care package too!  Together we are giving away the same box of goodies we received to warm you up while you watch an episode of the show too.  Here's how to enter:
  • Open to residents of the United States only.
  • Giveaway ends January 16, 2015
  • Leave a comment below with your favorite new contestant, or if you haven't watched the show something you cooked when you were little.
  • Please leave an email address so we can contact you if you win!!
  • For an extra entry leave a comment below after you Tweet the followingHave you entered Liv Life's #MasterChefJunior Giveaway? #MCJWarmWinter
  • For another extra entry pin to Pinterest from this post and leave a comment below telling me you did.
  • Giveaway includes:  Recipes, two MasterChef Junior Mugs, 4 Wooden Spoons with Chocolate, 3 jars toppings (marshmallows, crushed candy cane and caramel)
Liv Life's #MCJWarmWinter Cookie Instagram!  (Logan even liked my post... now we really are recipe buddies!!  @logan.jr.chef )

Our thanks to the kids of MasterChef Jr. for helping us heal and getting us back into the kitchen!!

Logan's Hot Coco Milk Crumb Chocolate Chip Cookies
So... MasterChef Jr. Season 2 Winner Logan and I are recipe buddies!!  Well, sort of.  Our favorite recipe card in the care package was this chocolate chip cookie recipe.  We adapted it to our dairy-free life and omitted the Coco Milk Crumb part, but I have to say the cookie recipe is hands down one of our favorite ever!! 
Recipe by MasterChef Season 2 Winner Logan Guleff
Printer Friendly 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients
1 1/3 cup butter, softened (we used 1 cup Earth Balance)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 oz chocolate chips
1/2 batch Hot Coco Crumbs (we omitted)

Coco Crumb Ingredients
1/2 cup hot coco mix
1/4 cup powdered milk
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp powdered instant coffee
6 Tbs melted butter (I think I would reduce this to 2 Tbs....)
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

To make cookies only begin with step 5

  1. To make Hot Coco Milk Crumbs, preheat oven to 275º
  2. Mix together the hot coco mix, powdered milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt and powdered instant coffee  Then stir in the melted butter and mix until it turns into clumps.
  3. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then spread the mixture onto it.  Bake for about 10 minutes.
  4. When it comes out of the oven, melt chocolate chips on top (I would sprinkle chocolate chips over and allow them to melt from the heat).  Once cooled, break the clumps apart to form nice clumps.
  5. To make cookies, heat oven to 375º.
  6. Mix butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy and whipped.
  7. Add in the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until smooth.
  8. Stir in first the chocolate chips, and then the Hot Coco Milk Crumbs, gently fold them into the dough.
  9. Using a spoon, drop dough onto parchment covered cookie sheets (we used silicone mats)
  10. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. 


  1. What a wonderful and timely gift for you after such a difficult time. XO I'm so glad your hubs is feeling better and hope he gets back to full strength very soon. When I was little I would make up recipes with my cousin, we even wrote our own cookbook with classics like "Cool Candy Cinnamon-A-Mon". :-)

    1. I love that you wrote your own cookbook!! Hope you still have it!

    2. I like riley, I remember making kugeloph and bar cookies with my german oma when I got to spend time at her house.also pinned giveaway.

  2. I would love to win this! I haven't picked a favorite yet this season, but Logan was definitely my favorite last season.

    My email is

    1. I don't have a favorite yet this season either... it's fun getting to know them. Logan was a favorite of mine too!

  3. I also posted on Twitter: @IHeartMusic_23

  4. My favorite new contestant from season 3 is Riley. My favorite contestant from Season 2 is Logan


  5. What an awesome giveaway! I haven't picked a favorite this season (they're all so cute!!) but I have to say that I am impressed season after season with the talent of these young kids!

    kimberly @

    1. I'm impressed as well! These kids are amazing and will go far in the food world.

  6. I tweeted :)

  7. I pinned :)

  8. So excited for this awesome giveaway! Hope I win :). My favorite so far is Nathan from this season. But looking at Season 2 I thought Levi was the best one. He got totally robbed. I mean seriously what did he do wrong? :) Love the show!
    My email is wickyrilliams @

  9. I started baking biscuits for the family dinner at the age of five. I was promoted to cookies at six, and even as I bake today (at age 56) I still remember the joy my father expressed and his enthusiasm for my peanut butter cookies. I think it's important to have kids in the kitchen and especially if they have an interest, to encourage them to grow their skills and talents.

  10. We love that show and are in awe of those talented kids! I loved them all but Max was rooting for Levi.

  11. oh i wish i had a tv so i could watch that show as the kids sound both delightful and impressive.

    fruitcrmble AT Comcast DOT net

  12. i used to bake cookies with my granma and make them with my own shapes like they were play dough
    i pinned it and tweeted it

  13. I learned to cook pancakes when I was little. cheryl dot free at icloud dot com

    1. That was my daughter's first recipe too. Thanks Cheryl!

  14. I'm team Riley and am always amazed at the unbelievable level at which these kids can prepare food.
    pwebb75 AT gmail DOT com

  15. Those are some good looking cookies !!!!

  16. So far I like Nathan!

    1. My San Diego Local... I'm eager to see how he fares too!

  17. Tweeted:

  18. Pinned on Pinterest

  19. Oh no, didn't realize the show was on now! SEtting the DVR now!!! My kids would love watching it. So unfortunately I can't pick a fave contestant yet, but loved making choc chip cookies as well as a kid.

  20. Pinned! (

  21. Where to start...Sorry about your hubby's health concerns. Hope all is well soon and he's back in the air. I know what you mean about life derailing unexpectedly. It's just happened here as well, but nothing on par with your situation. Say it isn't so about Joe leaving the show???? The cookies really do look fantastic.

  22. wonderful cookies! I used to bake lemon cake when I was small.

  23. My favorite contestant from season 3 is Jack. My favorite from season 2 was Logan from the start :) My email address is

  24. I have not watched it yet but my favorite dish to cook as a child was cookies that I would get to decorate.
    dez3b at yahoo dot com

  25. tweeted
    dez3b at yahoo dot com

  26. I like quite a few of the kids already from the new season but I have to go with Riley for now as he is just so darned adorable and confident. My favorite thing to make when I was a kid was oatmeal raisin cookies. Still enjoy a good homemade one today!

  27. Jenna wowed us from the second we saw her rice pudding topped with the beautiful mango compote! I love master chef junior it is a new family favorite, inspiring the young kids in the house to get cooking in our own kitchen! We all love Gordon Ramsay too! These cookies sounds amazing, can't wait to modify to be eggless for my allergic brother

  28. I think Cory is adorable! I also like Kayla.

  29. Tweeted!

  30. Pinned!

  31. By coincidence I've just this week picked up on Junior Masterchef in the UK... and I was so impressed by the contestants here too: by their skill and passion and confidence. Really inspiring TV... and it's not often I get to say that!

  32. Oh my goodness I hope that your hubby gets back to 100% soon, sending many kisses and hugs and love!


Your comments make our hearts sing!