Monday, December 17, 2012

Snickerdoodles with the Second Graders

Around this time of year everyone starts thinking about getting presents, of course, but I think I really love giving presents more. I like the challenge of figuring out what to get everyone on my list and then seeing everyone's reaction to their gifts. This year I wanted to help my second graders get in on the fun of giving. I decided we should bake some snickerdoodle cookies and then hand them out to the teachers and staff in our school building.

We made them at school, which was a little bit of a challenge, because we don't actually have an oven in the kitchen at our school. But it worked out pretty well anyway.

The day before baking day (also known as "the best day ever") we read the recipe and the kids got to sign up for the ingredients they wanted to put in. The next day, all they had to do was follow the recipe, and there was no arguing about who got to put the eggs in the bowl!

On baking day, first we gathered up all of our ingredients and called in some volunteers to help. Then we got to work. We mixed all of the ingredients together. It was hard work, because we didn't have any fancy mixers, just wooden spoons.

When we finally finished mixing, the next step was to roll the dough into little balls and then roll each one in cinnamon sugar. One of my sweet girls brought in some sprinkles, so we got to add a little color to our cookies! When we were finished, some of the balls of dough were little and some were big, but they all looked pretty and festive.

The next step was for me to take them home and bake them. It took a while, because there were 6 tables of second graders. Each table mixed up a batch, which made a lot of cookies! The next day, I brought the cookies back to school. We each sampled one, then wrote some sweet little notes to the teachers in our building, thanking them for all of their hard work. The kids went out on secret delivery missions and came back with reports of great success. They were so excited to spread some Christmas cheer throughout our school!

Now go spread some of your own Christmas cheer! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Cake Pops

 I made these festive cake pops for my grandma's bake sale. I pulled out all of my Christmas sprinkles and went a little crazy! I think my favorites are the silver and gold. Or maybe the big green sprinkles. What do you think?


Happy 1st day of December!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

French Night

Oh Paris, with your Eiffel Tower and sparkling city lights.
Really, don't we all wish we were on a plane to Paris right now?
Since that's not possible for most of us, the next best thing just might be making crepes and pretending you are there.
After my family visited Paris a few years ago, we were all obsessed with crepes. They were so delicious and the crepe guys on the street made it look so easy. We wanted to recreate the crepe experience at home, so my aunt went out and bought a pretty legit crepe maker. We made them a few times, but then kind of forgot about our obsession. Fast forward to last Christmas break, when I was lucky enough to go to Paris again with some friends from work. Of course our trip wouldn't have been complete without eating at least one crepe a day while we were there. Lately we've been wishing we were back in Paris, so we decided to have our own French night. I dug out the crepe maker and we got to work...
Our first attempts, not so great.

But after that, I think we looked a lot like these guys.
What do you think?

Tres Delicious!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More Cookies for the College Kids

Remember all those cookies we made for the college kids?
And that messy kitchen after we made all those cookies for the college kids?

Apparently someone has been giving those cookies to people who aren't college kids.
Apparently someone (who is not a college kid) has been eating those cookie.
Apparently there are 3 more college kids who need packages.
Apparently there are no cookies left.
Apparently I am the one who needed to bake more.

Good thing I did, because I found (on Pinterest, of course) the most delicious oatmeal cookie recipe.
It might be the most delicious because it has a cup of butter, a cup of brown sugar, and a cup of white sugar. Hmmm... Here's the original recipe if you want to check it out.

I made one batch of oatmeal chocolate chip and it turned out great. In my second batch, I added white chocolate chips and craisins along with a little shake of cinnamon. They turned out good, too, but if I could only pick one, I would go with the chocolate chip.

Watch out, though, because the original blogger of this recipe says that you will get fat if you make these cookies because you will want to eat them all. True story. I had to (yes, had to) eat quite a bit of the dough. Then I had to (yes, had to) taste the cookies once they came out of the over. Then I had to (yes, had to) put the rest in the freezer so I wouldn't eat the entire batch!

You have been warned: Don't make them if you don't want to get fat!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Frozen yogurt

One of my latest obsessions is frozen yogurt. I am loving those places, like Red Mango, that have the plain/tart yogurt and let you top it with whatever you want. So when I saw this picture...

...along with a recipe to make your own frozen yogurt, I knew I wanted to try it. (FYI, I think they are comparing the frozen yogurt to actual ice cream with the 'save 711 calories' business).

It seemed pretty easy -Step 1: freeze some vanilla greek yogurt (1 container) and banana slices (1 banana) in an ice cube tray.

Step 2: Blend the yogurt and bananas, along with a little bit of peanut butter (2 Tbsp.) and mini chocolate chips (as many as you want!), in a food processor or blender.

This is where it suddenly became not so easy. Turns out my tiny little food processor wasn't quite up to the job of breaking down solid cubes of yogurt. It was just too frozen. So I had the brilliant (?) idea of putting the top part of the blender in the oven, turned on super low. I figured this would help soften it enough to blend.

It worked pretty well, so I added in the peanut butter and chocolate chips and mixed it all together.

Then I scooped it into little bowls and ate it up! At first I didn't love it, but the more I ate, the more I liked it...Good thing it only made a little bit!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Off to College

My little brother is off to college this year. He's actually taking the year off from "real" college and spending the year at a Bible school in England. Yep, that England. As in, across the ocean, 7 hour plane ride, on the other side of the world, England.

The weekend he left, my mom made me promise to spend all weekend distracting her so she wouldn't miss him so much. So what did we decide to do? Make a MOUNTAIN of cookies to send to him and all of his friends who are off to college.

My kitchen was a disaster...

...But at the end of the day, we had a bunch of delicious cookies waiting to be mailed off to some hungry college boys!
And here are the recipes we made:
 Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies (recipe here)
Brownie Cookies (recipe here)
Snickerdoodles (recipe here)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A few of my favorite things...

Today I was at a training for our writing program at school. The presenter asked us if we considered ourselves writers. She gave the examples of keeping a journal or writing a blog. I thought to myself, I guess I am a writer. Then I came home and looked at my blog and realized that I haven't posted anything new since August! I revised my thinking to: I guess I am a delinquent writer.

[To be fair, I did recently lose all of the pictures that were on my phone, including some tasty treats that I wanted to blog about. Lucky me, my dad magically found them on my phone tonight, so I guess I have no more excuses.]

Anyway, here I go, trying to be a real writer, instead of a delinquent one...

A few weeks ago, my friends at school organized a favorite things party - you've probably seen it on Pinterest. Everyone brings 4 of their favorite things to the party. When you get there, you put your name in a bowl 4 times and then you pick out 4 names and give those people your favorite thing.

I had a really hard time deciding what to bring for my favorite thing. Then I looked in my cabinets and found out that, apparently, my favorite things are bowls and sprinkles.

See what I mean?
I literally have an entire cabinet in my kitchen full of bowls.
Plus 2 containers full of sprinkles.

To combine bowls and sprinkles, I bought 4 of my favorite bowls from anthropologie and filled them up with cake balls decorated with lots of different colored sprinkles!

Definitely two of my favorite things!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Buckeye Brownies

I love 3 day weekends! This weekend we went out to my grandparents lake house. I was looking for some treats to make, and my sister requested these buckeye brownies. She used to live in Ohio, home of the buckeye balls (delicious little balls of peanut butter dipped in chocolate), and when she saw this recipe, she put in a special request. Good thing they were so easy to make!

Start with a box of brownie mix. Bake it according to the directions.

While they're cooling, make the peanut butter topping. Mix a jar of peanut butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and a stick of butter, then spread it over the top of the brownies when they're cool.

Stick them in the fridge for about an hour. Then make the chocolate topping. Melt a package of chocolate chips with 6 tablespoons of butter. I did it on the stove, with a homemade double boiler. Just fill a sauce pan with water and place it under the pan with the chocolate chips and butter. That way the chocolate will melt slowly and won't burn. When it's all melted, spread it over the top of the brownies. Stick it back in the fridge until the chocolate topping is hardened.

Then get ready for some serious chocolate/peanut butter goodness! Be warned: they are really rich, so cut the brownies small! They are also delicious served with vanilla ice cream!

I know the pictures don't quite do them justice, but trust me, these are some seriously good brownies! In fact, we didn't finish them all at the lake, so I had to bring some home. (Oh, rats!) And even though I'm supposed to be starting day 1 of healty eating today, I just couldn't resist eating a little bit more of these brownies! I think I'll bring the rest to work tomorrow and let someone else finish them off!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nutella Sugar Donuts

I love donuts. I really do. Whenever someone brings them for treat day at work, I get a little excited. I've never made them, because I'm kind of afraid of frying things. So when I found these little baked donuts on Pinterest, I thought they might be a good first donut to try making. Plus, as an added bonus, they are filled with Nutella (which I also love)!

I also got excited because I got to use the dough hook on my mixer for the first time.

They took a while to make. There was lots of waiting and rising and cutting out the dough. Then more waiting and rising and baking and dipping in butter and sugar. Then filling with nutella. For detailed instructions, check out the original recipe here. I didn't have the exact kind of sugar and flour she used, but even so, I think they turned out pretty good.
I may or may not have eaten 4 of them right from the oven.
Good thing they're small!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Texas Sheet Cupcakes

Hmm...Just realized I never posted these. I got all excited about them when I made them and then kinda forgot about them! Here's what I found when I clicked "edit this post"

Yep, just a bunch of pictures...but don't they look delicious.
(If you're looking for the recipe, I found it on pinterest from this blog.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Baby Shower

Cake Ball 911! Call me!

This was my text on Thursday night from a friend making cake pops as favors for her friend's baby shower. I talked her down from crises mode while she was rolling out the cake balls, then headed over after work the next day to help with the dipping. We might have had a little too much fun making these...

Here are my "students" learning all the dipping and decorating techniques...
  • Catching all of the drips with a spoon so they don't drip down the stick...
  • Melted colored chocolate in a plastic baggie to drizzle over the cake pop...
  • Tapping your wrist instead of the stick to get the drips off...
  • Holding up the cake pop to see if you've missed any drips...

And they learned so well! Look how beautiful they turned out!

Apparently they were a hit at the shower. No one could believe they were homemade, and there were none left at the end! Hmm...maybe it's time to turn this cake ball stuff into a business?!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Baby Shower Cake Pops

My cousin, who blogs over at Cherry Street Cottage, is having a baby girl later this fall. Of course, we're all getting excited to meet her and to help celebrate and get ready for her arrival, I made these cute cake pops for the baby shower.

I think they turned out so pretty, and they looked great on the adorable dessert table.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Inspiration

It's official - I am already obsessed with the Olympics. For the next few weeks I will be a huge fan of whatever sport happens to be on in prime time:

Syncronized diving? Yes, Please!

Gymnastics? Love it!

Water Polo? Bring it on!

Combine that with our family trip to Scotland earlier this summer, and I am definitely feeling inspired to bake some Brittish treats.

First up, two different kinds of scones. See that cute little tin in the picture? It's full of 4 little pastry cutters that I bought in Scotland. I was pretty excited to get a chance to use them!

Here is the (super easy) recipe.

I like it because you can add in whatever sort of filling you want. This time, I used cinnamon chips for one batch (always a classic). For the other batch, I threw in white chocolate chips and craisins. Both turned out great!

Now go grab a scone and a cup of tea, and settle in for some great Olympic watching!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Feeling Brittish...

The Olympics is bringing out the Brittish in me. My family was in Scotland visiting extended family at the beginning of the summer, and there were a lot of Olympic souvenirs already in the shops. Socks, sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, umbrellas, you name it, they had it! I've got some Brittish treats in mind to bake this week, but before I do, I decided to share a few pictures from our trip...

At the beach!  

Dunnottar Castle (Apparently our ancestors used to own/live in this one!)

The best ice cream bars!

I think I want to live here!

These are just a few random snapshots of the trip. The rest are on my brother's camera - who knows when I'll see those again!

Stay tuned for more Brittish treats (if I have time in between freaking out because school starts in 2 weeks - yikes!)

Happy Olympic Watching!