A Sprinkle of Love

Today is a special day, it is my mother in law Mary’s birthday! For months I have known that I would be making something for her and featuring it on my blog but I have had such a hard time deciding what to make for her special day. A few months ago she gave me a challenge to make that I was originally going to make, but I changed my mind, I will make it before the end of the year, I promise!

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Mary is one of my biggest supporters, not only did she make my fabulous banner you see at the top of this page, as a fellow blogger it has been great to bounce ideas off her, we even have a few projects in the works to be featured on here so stay tuned! This weekend is her class reunion and it really got me thinking because, ten years ago I was invited to the family picnic part of the reunion since I was her son’s girlfriend of almost a year. We have almost eleven years of memories and I am so grateful that Mary welcomed me into her family with open arms from day one.

Well this past weekend when I was in my baking mood I texted my trusty taster (Mary) asking what cookies I should make, when she replied with frosted sugar cookies, I knew I had a winner for her birthday, especially since I had just some across and intriguing recipe on Pinterest that morning. When I posted my puppy chow post I asked what your favorite treats were as a kid Mary mentioned sugar cookies and how she would make them with her mom at Christmas, so I wanted to make them a little different than her fantastic Christmas sugar cookies, seriously they are one of my two favorite sugar cookies, the other is my co-worker Sue’s, my mouth is watering just thinking of all these cookies! Well now I have a third favorite to add to theirs!

Fluffy Sugar Cookies 3

For the cookies you will need butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

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Beat together butter and sugar on low until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

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Beat in egg and vanilla.

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Gently fold in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

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Scoop out dough with medium scoop and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (I let it sit overnight in an air tight container in the refrigerator.)

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When you are ready to bake preheat oven to 350 and put cookies from the fridge on baking sheets.

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Bake 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on baking sheets before removing.

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While the cookies are baking it is time to make the frosting! You will need butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream. Oh and don’t forget the sprinkles!

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Beat butter on low speed until light and fluffy.

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Gently mix in powdered sugar and vanilla.

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Pour a tablespoon of heavy cream at a time, beating until you reach desired consistency. (I used all three tablespoons.)

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Now the fun part! Frost the cookies as desired.

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Cover with sprinkles.

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Share! (They are also delicious unfrosted!)

Frosted Sugar Cookies

For the Cookie:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl add butter and sugar, beat on low until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla, scrape sides of the bowl with a spatula. Gently fold in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Scoop out dough using a medium scoop and refrigerate at least two hours, I recommend overnight. (Do Not skip refrigerating the dough, your cookies will not turn out the same!)

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350, place chilled dough onto baking sheets and bake 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on baking sheets before removing.

For the Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

Add butter to mixing bowl, beat on low until light and fluffy. Gently mix in powdered sugar and vanilla. Add heavy cream a tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency.

Spread about a tablespoon of frosting over each cookie and decorate with colorful sprinkles.

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Look at how yummy those look!

Happy Birthday to the best mother in law!

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Positivity

When I first started this blog I promised myself I would never write a post that wasn’t positive or a post that I wouldn’t enjoy reading if I found it on someone else’s blog. Well I will tell you this past week I was not in a very positive mood, I even typed up posts but could not bring myself to post them, they were just negative and I didn’t even enjoy reading over them, why would I expect you to enjoy reading them? They were not really me, they were just a reflection of the negativity I was feeling last week. However the good news of my hiatus from the blog means I have several recipes to share over the next posts!

Recently I started following a blog called National Day Calendar every day has multiple National events, for instance October 2 was National Name Your Car Day and October 3 was World Smile Day. Well according to this blog today is National Do Something Nice Day, when I read that I loved the idea so much, I try to do nice things for others all the time but an actual day for it…that sounds like a fabulous idea! Well I woke up a little early this morning (not before Zach though) and made Zach’s favorite blueberry muffins…no not from scratch, it was the Jiffy brand in the little box, it is Zach’s favorite. Originally I wanted to get up early and make them and wake him up with them, but somebody was up extra early this morning. He was still happy I made him muffins and he thoroughly enjoyed them!

Since I was making a conscious effort to do something nice today it made me notice other nice things, it was fun, I noticed Zach took the time when he was rearranging some things in our living room to stop and play with our kitty because she was curious about what he was doing, she very much enjoyed play time. Not only did it make Toews happy, but it made me happy watching the two of them and Zach seemed to enjoy teasing her.

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This week had to start on the right foot so I wanted to make some cookies! I know I have mentioned it before but chocolate chip cookies always make me feel better, and baking always relaxing me so I decided to try a different recipe for chocolate chips cookies. Not to worry faithful readers, I am not abandoning my chocolate chip cookie recipe I posted back in July, I just wanted to try a different way of making my favorite cookie. Zach has given me the task of making a giant chocolate chip cookie for a future blog, with surprisingly specific requests, I will keep you guys updated!

Bisquick Cookies 1

For this recipe you will need butter, brown sugar, vanilla, egg, Bisquick and chocolate chips (I used a combination of milk chocolate and mini chocolate chips).

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In a large bowl mix softened butter, sugar, vanilla and egg.

(I was too impatient to wait for my butter to soften so I used my trick to grate the butter to speed up the softening, if you are wondering why it look a little different, but it works!)

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Stir in Bisquick and chocolate chips.

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Drop by rounded spoonful onto ungreased baking sheet, I used my cookie scoop. Flatten slightly, I just used my fingers (don’t worry when I bake I am constantly washing my hands).

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Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to cooling rack.

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Enjoy!

Bisquick Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 3/4 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir in Bisquick and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonful onto ungreased baking sheet, flatten slightly. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to cooling rack.

I definitely ate like six while they were cooling. These were so simple, who would have thought I could find an even easier recipe for chocolate chip cookies?

So now my question for you, What was something nice you did today?

It’s the Little Things

Have you ever noticed that the little things people do for you stick in your memory? A few weeks ago Zach walked in on me standing in my closet with a flashlight looking at my clothes because the light bulb burned out awhile ago and I kept forgetting to ask him to replace it, usually our bedroom is light enough in the morning that I don’t need a light. He took one look at me and turned around, I was in hurry trying to get ready so I didn’t think a whole lot about it. Minutes later he comes back with a fresh bulb and replaced it for me in about 30 seconds, and I hadn’t even asked. I keep finding myself thinking about that and loving him more just or doing something so small for me, it took all of a few minutes of his day but it made such an impact on me.

More and more I find myself saying it’s the little things that make you happy, whether it is having a file on the closest end of the shelf at work, hitting all green lights on a drive, your mother in law making your favorite lunch for you when she knows you are having a long day, or having the girl at the café you go into from time to time remember your order before you can even finish saying hi. Don’t get me wrong when people do big things for me I appreciate it so much, but I find myself continuing to think about the little things because most of them happen without a whole lot of thought, they just happen. Zach didn’t spend days deciding to replace my light bulb, he spent seconds, but it totally made my day.

Speaking of little things, I know it’s kinda strange to say that food makes me happy, but on Monday Zach wanted to go to the store and get some French bread for sandwiches, we were wandering around deciding what we each wanted on our sandwiches. Zach was all about the lunch meat, but since I have found that lunch meat can trigger my migraines I stay away from it. I have been a fan of grilled cheese sandwiches forever, I mean bread and cheese, it doesn’t get too much better than that. Thinking along those lines I remembered of something I saw on Pinterest awhile ago, cucumber grilled cheese sandwiches, hold on stay with me, I know it sounds weird. BEST SANDWICH EVER. For real, I took one bite and looked at Zach and said OMG this is amazing. I seem to know a lot of people who grew cucumbers in their gardens this year and oh they have been delicious, so the garden fresh cucumber may have helped this sandwich be so fantastic, but believe me I will be trying it again and again eventually I will run out of home grown cucumbers. If I had any urge to garden I would be trying my hand at cucumbers next year, however my thumb is definitely not green.

Surprise, guess what I am sharing tonight? You guessed it! My new favorite sandwich! I have already made it again since Monday, I just can’t get enough! The two types of cheese, the crunchy cucumbers the toasted bread, I am hooked.

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For my grilled cheese I used French bread, cream cheese, Havarti cheese, dill weed and cucumbers. (I also used butter for the outside of the bread but didn’t think to include it in my photo)

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I buttered the outside of both pieces of bread, spread cream cheese on the inside of the slices, sprinkled a little dill weed on the cream cheese, covered it with half a slice of cheese on each side and placed the cucumbers in-between. I put the sandwiches on my Panini press for a few minutes just to toast the bread a little.

Honestly these are more guidelines than anything, you could add about anything you might like and I bet it would be delicious. I don’t necessarily recommend trying this with American cheese, I don’t think it would have the same effect. Let me know what you guys try on your grilled cheese.

Frosting First

As you guys may have noticed I have been MIA from the blog this week, but I promise it was for a good reason. My mother in law Mary had a big event on Friday called Word of Art and asked if I would mind making some cupcakes, of course I said yes! So I spent all Wednesday night making two batches of cupcakes (from scratch) and two batches of frosting, then I spent Thursday night frosting all the cupcakes. I felt so good once I passed them off to Mary and knew they were done. I think they turned out pretty well considering it was my first attempt at cupcakes from scratch. I also took it as a good sign when she said there were no leftovers. When Mary asked if I would be willing to make cupcakes she said oh this would be great for a blog post! I absolutely agree!

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While I was making the cupcakes I realized I have another idea for a blog post, I want to try different recipes and find the perfect cupcake recipes, there are so many variations out there I want to see what works the best. The white cupcake recipe I used I actually found in the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, that I think everyone has, or at least someone in your family has. I thought they were light and fluffy and I learned you do not under any circumstances whip egg whites into stiff peaks by hand, mine were definitely closer to soft peaks but I was done and they still turned out delicious. I found the recipe I used for the chocolate cupcakes on the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction. They were chocolaty and I have yet to have a chocolate cupcake I haven’t liked but these were more dense and chewy than I prefer. It also didn’t help that I had to use a different cocoa powder, I always use Ghirardelli but I could not find it in any of our local stores so I had to use Hershey’s, nothing against Hershey’s, I thoroughly enjoy many of their products.

Frosting is always my favorite part of the cupcakes, there is a bakery here and the whole reason I go there is because their frosting is amazing! Zach is not a frosting fan, so really Zach and I should share cupcakes, I eat the frosting and he eats the cupcake, sounds like a plan right? Well I was going to share the recipe for the cupcakes and the frosting, but since I had my idea to find the perfect cupcake recipes I figured I would just share the frosting recipes because eventually I will share the best cupcake recipes when I try out more recipes, so stay tuned!

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Mary’s Best Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Add milk or powdered sugar to thin or thicken as desired. You can absolutely add food coloring if you want colored frosting.

(Sorry I was a bad blogger and forgot to take pictures of the finished product!)

Christina’s Creamy Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, cocoa powder, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons milk. Beat until mixed well and no longer lumpy, it will be thick. Add all remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.

(Again, sorry I was a bad blogger and didn’t take any pictures of the finished product.)

Word of Art Cupcake

That’s one of my cupcakes in this photo that was put on the Word of Art facebook page! My cupcakes are famous!

On another note football is back and hockey starts in 16 days! Yay for fall!

Appreciate the Effort

In our house, I always do the dishes. I don’t mind to be completely honest, I always thoroughly enjoy the challenge of finding the best way to fit everything. A few weeks ago Zach did the dishes and I really appreciated it, even though I enjoy doing the dishes it is still nice when he does something like that for me. When I opened the dishwasher I couldn’t help but laugh, there were hardly any dishes in it and sink full of dishes. With a big smile on my face I thanked my husband for doing some dishes then told him he was fired from doing the dishes anymore. The other day at work we were discussing our significant others doing the dishes and I told my story and one of my coworkers said that’s what he wanted, to get out of ding the dishes. Clearly he is not the only one because most of my coworkers agreed with me, they just don’t do it the same.

Well the whole point of this story is I had a mountain of dishes tonight when I got home from work, I knew I had to tackle them before I could even begin to make dinner. By the time I was done with the dishes I was tired and didn’t particularly feel like putting a whole lot of effort into dinner. When I left work today I was talking to my coworker about what to make for tonight’s post and of course pasta was on my mind. After standing in front of our pantry for a while a package of egg noodles was calling to me, the recipe on the back for Everyone’s Favorite Buttered Noodles just called to me, and it hit the spot, so I had to share this recipe with you guys. I am sure most of you don’t need the recipe but it was just so darn delicious and easy.

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For this recipe you will need, egg noodles, chicken broth and butter.

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Bring the butter and the chicken broth to a boil and add noodles. Stir to make sure noodles are covered by broth and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes until tender.

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Enjoy!

Everyone’s Favorite Buttered Noodles

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 (14oz) cans chicken broth
  • 4 cups wide egg noodles

Bring butter and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add noodles. Stir to make sure noodles are covered by broth. Cook 7 to 8 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Almost all of the broth will be absorbed.

Easy to make, easy clean up, it doesn’t get much better and there are so many ways to modify this recipe, the package suggests adding 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder for cheesy garlic noodles, or 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried parsley or dill weed, or serve with beef stew, pot roast or meatballs. So many possibilities!

Before I end this post I had to share this picture because someone wanted to “help” make dinner. She seemed convinced she wanted some uncooked noodles so I gave her one, she ate the whole thing, who knew, apparently my kitty likes uncooked noodles.

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S’mores

Last night my mother in law, Mary and I went to see the production of Arsenic & Old Lace, at Stage Coach Players Theater. Arsenic & Old Lace is one of my favorite movies, but I do love pretty much anything with Cary Grant. It was thoroughly enjoyable, living up to Cary Grant is hard but the actor who played Mortimer Brewster did a fabulous job, and I was surprised to see Dr. Einstein played by my locker neighbor from high school, I hadn’t seen him since graduation!

The weather outside may not agree but summer is coming to an end, school started last week and labor day is next week. This summer just flew by, where did the time go?

During the summer it seems there are always displays in the store that supply you with all the ingredients to make s’mores. Zach and I can never seem to pass them up but after we get them home we always seem to run out of chocolate right away because someone likes to snack on it. Does anyone else have this problem?

Awhile back when I was browsing Pinterest and I saw this recipe for S’mores Bars I thought they were a perfect solution to our chocolate “problem.” They call for Mini Hersheys Kisses insead of chocolate bars and I always have lots of chocolate chips since I find baking relaxing and always have to have plenty of supplies on hand for when the mood strikes. To make summer last a little longer I felt like I had to make these bars!

Smores Bars 1

For this recipe you will need water, baking soda, butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, egg, flour, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.

(Sorry I missed the egg for this picture!)

Smores Bars 2

Mix baking soda and water then set aside.

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Cream together butter and sugars.

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Add vanilla, eggs and baking soda/water mixture.

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Crush graham crackers into crumbs. I was excited I got to use my mini food processer!

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Gradually beat in flour, graham cracker crumbs and salt.

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Mix in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

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Spread dough into greased 8 inch square pan.

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Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove and turn on broiler.

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Sprinkle mini marshmallows over the bars.

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Place under broiler for 30-60 seconds, to toast marshmallows. Turn off oven and remove bars. (Mine didn’t toast very well, guess I didn’t put the rack high enough)

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Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and return to still warm oven for a couple of minutes to soften chocolate chips.

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Enjoy!

S’mores Bars

  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 5 sheets)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix baking soda and water, set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars. Add vanilla, egg and baking soda/water mixture. Gradually beat in flour, graham cracker crumbs and salt. Mix in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Spread dough in greased 8 inch square pan.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove and turn on broiler.

Sprinkle mini marshmallows over bars. Place under broiler for 30-60 seconds, to toast marshmallows. Turn off oven and remove bars. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and return to still warm oven for a couple of minutes to soften chocolate chips.

It’s like summer in a bar!

Hope everybody has a great week!

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Don’t Knock it Till You Try it!

A few years ago Zach introduced me to a favorite snack of his dad’s, Fritos with peanut butter, I was skeptical at first too, but you have to try it, there is something about the crunchy chip with the smooth, creamy peanut butter. I have been planning this blog post for months, after I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest using peanut butter and Fritos, you see yesterday was a very special day, it was my father in law Dave’s 50th birthday!

When I saw this “cookie” made with peanut butter, Fritos and a few other ingredients I knew I had to make them for him! I will admit I was curious to see how these would turn out, I got mixed reactions when I told people I was going to make this recipe. Well they did not disappoint, I had to sample a few to make sure I wasn’t giving him something horrible, and I couldn’t stop, I told Zach under no circumstances was he to allow me back in the kitchen, for real I could not stop!

PBfritos 1

For this recipe you will need Fritos, light corn syrup, sugar and creamy peanut butter.

PBfritos 2

Spread chips on a greased or lined 15x10x1 baking sheet.

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Over medium heat bring corn syrup and sugar to boil, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Boil for about 1 minute then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth.

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Pour mixture over chips. Let cool.

Enjoy!

PB Frito No Bake Cookies

  • 1 bag Fritos chips
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter

Spread corn chips on a greased or lined 15x10x1 baking sheet.

In a saucepan over medium heat bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Boil for about one minute and remove from heat; stir in peanut butter until smooth. Pour over chips (careful it comes out faster than I expected) and let cool.

How easy is that?

Happy birthday to the best father in law!

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