Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Flavor of the Month. . . .A Tribute to John Hughes

Sixteen Candles came out my freshman year in high school. The movie spoke to me. I just knew there was hope for me yet. (Although, I would draw the line at giving my panties to a geek.)

It would go like this....My sophomore year, Jake Ryan (complete with Porsche) would see through the frizzy hair, the pigeon toes, the overall geekiness and fall totally, completely in love.

Yeah, right.

We rented Sixteen Candles a few weeks ago. Remember that last scene? That was the height of romance in my eyes as a teenager...wearing a fancy dress, sitting on a glass top table, huge cake in the middle, Jake leaning in for a kiss.

Watching it this time, my thoughts were:
  1. I wonder how thick that glass is? My butt would definitely crack that table.
  2. Leaning over those candles is really dangerous! What if their clothes had caught on fire?!?
So, maybe I've grown up a little. When I became a parent, the more I saw genius in John Hughes' Mr. Mom. :)

But, still, no one captured teenagers in the 80's like John Hughes. The man had a gift for capturing our generation...the geeks, the snobs, the weirdos, the jocks, the wanna-be's...and then there's Ferris. :) Bueller, Bueller?

I couldn't resist a little Pretty in Pink!

Pretty in Pink Krispies

(these are better the day after making them!)

3 TBSP unsalted butter
1 pkg (10 oz.) marshmallows
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
AmeriColor Deep Pink food coloring
6 c Rice Krispies

Lightly grease an 11 x 7" pan.

In a large saucepan, combine the butter, marshmallows and salt over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla bean paste and food coloring.

Add the cereal, stirring until completely coated, making sure to stir up the marshmallow mixture from the bottom.

Lightly grease or butter hands and press mixture into the prepared pan. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.

Alright guys, whatcha got? Was this month too weird of a theme? Link up here! {Linky will close the evening of October 1st.}

Flavor-of-the-Month October Edition......PUMPKIN!!!
Anyone and everyone is welcome to join!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Everything's Coming Up Roses

{Update: I'm guest posting (my first ever) over at the darling Muthering Heights today! Come on over!}

When my neighbor (yep, THAT one) asked me to come over for a girls' night out, I was really excited.

Kristen also ordered cookies (yay!). She mentioned that she was going to give the girls a little something from the adorable Pleated Poppy and I thought I knew just the cookies to go with them.

I used the template that I made for the Yellow Rose sugar cookies.

To make a template for a specific shape, draw it on a file folder or something sturdy and cut it out. After rolling the dough, go around the shape with a paring knife. It takes a little more time and the edges aren't quite as clean as a cutter, but that's ok.

To make the red & pink roses:
  • Using a #2 tip, pipe the outline of the rose in a pinky-red (AmeriColor Super Red mixed with Deep Pink).
  • Using a #2 tip, pipe the outline of the leaf in green (AmeriColor Leaf Green).
  • Thin pink (AmeriColor Deep Pink) and green icing, with water until they reach the consistency of syrup, cover with a damp dishtowel and let sit several minutes.
  • Stir the pink icing gently with a rubber spatula to break any bubbles on the surface and transfer to a squeeze bottle. Fill in the rose with the thinned, flood icing.
  • Repeat with the green icing, filling in the leaf.
  • Let dry at least one hour.
  • Using the same #2 tips, pipe the details in red and green on the rose.
  • Let dry completely before packaging

In case you're wondering, it was such fun! Lots of laughs, great conversation... Did I mention the chocolate fountain? Yeah...it was a good time!

Thank you, Kristen, for inviting me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Freezing Whipped Cream. . . .Works For Me Wednesday

Maybe it's a sign that I am cheap, but it pains me to use 3 dollops of whipped cream and toss the rest down the sink.

No more! Whipped cream can be frozen!

Here's how to do it:
  • whip the cream as usual and sweeten as desired,
  • line a cookie sheet with wax paper,
  • spoon on dollops of whipped cream,
  • freeze on the sheet,
  • once frozen, transfer to a freezer baggie.
Now, I probably wouldn't top a cake with this for company, but for just us, it works. Let the cream sit out about 10 minutes or so...it will soften up just enough.

My favorite use for this is in hot drinks (and I would serve this to company). Add one of the frozen portions right on top of an Irish coffee, warm apple cider or even orange hot chocolate as pictured here.

The frozen cream cools the drink, so it's drinkable faster and it doesn't melt right in. Isn't there something fun about having a warm drink with cold whipped cream? I love that.

Head on over to We Are THAT Family to see more Works for Me Wednesday tips!

Related posts:
And, if you're playing along at home, Flavor-of-the-Month for September (John Hughes edition) is one week from to today. See you there!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins

Mornings & I don't get along well. But, at the beginning of each school year I try to start off on the right foot...pancakes, muffins, scones....

{By May, we're knee-deep in granola bars and applesauce cups.}

Let me introduce you to my new favorite breakfast...the Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffin.

Normally, I only see cinnamon chips around the holidays, but King Arthur Flour sells the mini version year-round. Woo-hoo!

Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins
(These are inspired by a Banana/chocolate/walnut muffin recipe from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.)

1/2 c salted butter (yes, salted)
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 mashed, ripe bananas
1/3 c milk
2 c flour (white-whole wheat, unbleached all-purpose, or a mix)
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
3/4 c mini cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

Line muffin tins with 12 lightly greased baking cups/liners. (I use a paper-towel coated in oil and wipe the insides of the liners.)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl. Add the egg, spices, banana and milk. Stir in the dry mixture, then the cinnamon chips (reserve a few TBSP of chips). Once all the cups are filled, sprinkle the reserved chips on top.

Spoon batter into the prepared cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle come out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then invert out of the pan to cool completely or serve warm.

Related posts:
  1. Pumpkin Cream Cheese
  2. Homemade English Muffins
  3. Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Scones

Thursday, September 17, 2009

LOTS of squealing going on in our house. . .

I hope you'll forgive this non-food related post, but this seemed like something blog worthy.

We're invited to a Halloween costume party and, of course, the first place I decided to check for ideas was Martha Stewart's website.

I started searching the section called "Your Best Halloween Costumes"...costume pictures sent in by readers.


MY SON!!! On Martha's website!!! Oh, the screaming!


deep breath. deep breath. deep breath. Is this what it feels like to win the lottery?

Thanks for letting me share. :) He's the traffic light (I think slide #12.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pumpkin season has begun!

It's official; it's pumpkin season. From the first sighting of the Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins in September to the last day of November, this is my favorite baking (and eating) season.

I am a chocolate girl, but something about pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg...ooooo, it just makes me so happy!

Let me introduce you to my new love....Pumpkin Cream Cheese. For pumpkin lovers, THIS is how to start the day!

{I promise that little ♥-shape was an accident...the cream cheese loves me back apparently.}

Pumpkin Cream Cheese
(I found this idea at Gina's WW Recipes and adapted it b/c I didn't have agave or pumpkin pie spice.)

8 oz cream cheese, softened (1/3 less fat, ok)
1/2 c canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 & 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
4 TBSP brown sugar

Beat all ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate.

The great news is that you can make this and enjoy it all week. You know....this has me thinking about Pumpkin Spice Diet Killers. Hmmm.....

{Oh, and Starbucks...in case you are listening...can we please have the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin year-round? Pretty, please?!?}

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where I Shop. . . .Works For Me Wednesday

This week for WFMW, I thought I would share some of my favorite places to shop. This list is by no means exhaustive (I spend WAY too much time searching around for baking supplies). Also, these shops are not compensating me in any way for the mention.

Cookies & Baking:

Baking Supplies:
(Of course, Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma are top hits on my GPS.)

  • Layer Cake Shop...one of the two cutest online baking shops around!
  • King Arthur Flour

  • Bake It Pretty...the other of the two cutest baking shops around. Wait until you see the mustache cookie cutter I ordered from them!
  • Sugar Craft (They basically have everything you need, although their site navigation is not my favorite. I've ordered lots of sanding sugar here.)
  • Make-a-Cake (local)
Cookie Cutters:
Boxes & Shipping Supplies:
Labels & Business Cards:
Grocery Stores:
Everything Else:


  • Lucky Horseshoe Photography (local)...I may be a little biased when I say I love this photographer and she takes amazing photos of kids; she is my sister. But take a look at these pics of our son...they are my favorites, ever!

(Cook)Books & Music:
  • the library (I'm a big believer in "test-driving" cookbooks.)
  • Amazon (Great prices, free shipping over $25. What's not to love?)
Happy shopping! Be sure to check out the other Works For Me Wednesday posts at We Are THAT Family and you can find my WFMW archives here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kick {cancer's} Butt Cookies: LiveSTRONG with a Taste of Yellow 2009

This is my second year to participate in LiveSTRONG with a Taste of Yellow event hosted by Winos and Foodies.
LiveSTRONG with a Taste of Yellow is a blog event for wine & food bloggers to raise awareness of cancer issues and share stories. It is an official LiveSTRONG DAY (October 2nd) event.

Last year, I made Yellow Rose Sugar Cookies in honor of my mom, Gayle. You can read it here, and I'd love it if you would.

Thinking about this years' event, I kept coming back to the fact that cancer makes us warriors. All of us....doctors, nurses, researchers, fund raisers, families, and PATIENTS....we're all fighting.

That made me think of these cookies. They're feisty, they have a bite...they kick butt.
{They are also lemony, buttery and highly addictive. A perfect grown-up cookie!}

Here's to all of you warriors out there...go forth, kick butt...enjoy!

Kick {cancer's} Butt Cookies
(modified from King Arthur Flour's Citrus Sizzlers)

1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1/2 c sugar
2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 TBSP grated lemon zest
1 egg
2 & 1/4 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
sanding or regular sugar for dipping

Preheat oven to 400. Line cookie sheets with parchment.

Cream together the butter and the sugar. Beat in juice, zest and egg.

Combine the flour, pepper, salt and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and beat on low until the dough comes together.

Roll dough into tablespoon-size balls; place on lined sheet. Gently flatten each ball slightly, using the bottom of a glass that has been lightly moistened and dipped in sugar. (I used yellow sanding sugar.)

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on racks.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who is keeping you company?. . . .Works For Me Wednesday

Here's a question for you....who keeps you company while you are baking/sewing/crafting?

I do a lot of my baking at night, after the kiddo is in bed. At night...Jerry & Elaine, Frasier & Niles, Deborah & Ray and the Girls & the City keep me company. Reruns are great because I've seen them all and I really don't have to lift my head from decorating to see the TV.

But during the day, I have to have some music on, and I must be able to sing along...loudly and out-of-tune! :)

{And here is where I need your help because these are hopelessly out of date! Luckily I have some mix-masters in the family who keep me current with mix CD's}

My favorite belt-'em-out-baking music:

  • Domestic Science Club
    by Domestic Science Club...if this doesn't make you want to bake in pearls and heels, I don't know what will. Folksy, funny & sweet...perfect!
  • Breakaway
    by Kelly Clarkson...I am a little embarrassed because I feel too old for this CD, but, oh, it's a great one for belting! :) The UPS man actually asked what I was listening to one afternoon. Poor guy...I'm sure with the music cranked and all the singing, he was NOT expecting a mom to answer the door!
  • Julie Roberts
    by Julie Roberts...twangy, sassy, it's my kind of country.
  • The Beatles 1
    by the Beatles...all of their #1 hits. How did Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da not make it to #1 is my question.
  • Fly
    by Dixie Chicks...putting all politics aside, a great sing-along, belt 'em out CD. I cried the first time I heard it. Something about those harmonies and seeing them play in Dallas before they were famous. Cowboy Take Me Away one of my all time favorites.
  • Worrisome Heart
    by Melody Gardot...came out in 2008, so it's a little modern. :) This sounds old-fashioned to me, more mellow...it's great!

Alright readers...help me out here! What music works for you while you are busy creating ?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

I was truly, truly nervous about these Batman cookies!

A sweet lady wanted Batman cookies to give to her grandson on his birthday. Character cookies make me jittery. I was really hoping the kid was into daisies...those I can do. :)

So, here's how I went about creating Batman cookies.

  1. I searched the internet for Batman pictures...mainly of action figures.
  2. Then, I got out my superhero cookie cutter and started tracing lots of outlines in pencil.
  3. Next, using my child's crayons (or map pencils, whichever I could find), I colored in the designs.
  4. Once I had a pretty good idea, I made notes as to which color icing I needed to outline (O) and fill (F).

I'll admit, the hands look a little Fonzie-ish...maybe Batman is saying "AAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!"
{Boy, I am really dating myself in this post. 35 and older only to get the references here!}

Making these did make me want to rent all of those old Batman TV episodes. I remember watching the reruns after school. I really think my son needs to see them.

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman, Batman, Batman!
(Click above to hear!)

One more thing....yes, I am aware my Batman cookies are wearing no pants. I just couldn't get those undies to look right. He's wearing a REALLY BIG BELT. ;)

If you're looking for more cookie ideas for boys, try these: