Archive | February, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

29 Feb

Friday is Dr. Seuss’s birthday!  Dr. Seuss has been inspiring young readers for years.  My son will be celebrating with Dr. Seuss at school on Friday and the kids are encouraged to dress in their best Seussical tees.

Although we’re all great fans of Dr. Seuss we don’t actually own a single Dr. Seuss T-Shirt.  To remedy that I purchased a quarter of some cotton Cat in the Hat fabric and some Heat and Bond.

I cut some “neck ties” out of the fabric and ironed it on a plain t-shirt.  To secure the “tie” I added a decorative stitch with some embroidery thread.

The kids looked great and totally festive!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!  Thank you for all the learning fun!

Short Stack

28 Feb

Its National Pancake Day!  I love breakfast any time of day and today you can get a free short stack from IHOP all day long!  But don’t feel guilty for having such an indulgence in the middle of the week.  Any welcomed donation goes directly to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in your area.  I think that’s the best part!  Your money isn’t going to some nameless black hole.  You know that children’s hospital in your community, where perhaps your own children have been treated?  Ya, that one.  That is where your donation is headed.  It’s a great opportunity to enjoy a delish and filling stack of pancakes and feel good about it for once!  So tell your diet you’ll call back tomorrow!

The Proof is in the Pudding

25 Feb

I don’t think I had had pudding since I was a child until I was in the hospital delivering my first son.  In the middle of the night the snacks available at the hospital were limited. Two things that were available each night were pudding and graham crackers.  Since then I’ve regularly enjoyed pudding again.  It’s really quite easy, especially when you convince yourself that as a busy mom, it’s completely acceptable to take all the short cuts you can.  So I buy the little Jell-O boxes and mix up the instant stuff.  Easy squeezy snack time!

While pudding may be a regular at home, it’s not that often that I see it out a restaurant (it’s also not that often that I make it out to a restaurant).  But there is a small local joint, Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria, in Encinitas that serves up a delicious Butterscotch Pudding.  In fact, the Butterscotch Pudding is the only dessert that they offer, and frankly its the only one they need!  Its to die for!

Tonight, we were invited to dinner at a friend’s home and, as is often the case, I offered to bring dessert.  So I whipped up (literally) my cheater version of the Blue Ribbon Pizzeria Butterscotch Pudding.

First I made a few boxes Jello-O Butterscotch Pudding and poured them into glass jam jars.   Place them in the fridge to chill.

While that is chillin’ make some whipped cream (or you can just buy some if you’re really in a hurry).

Here’s an easy go-to sweetened vanilla whipped cream:

2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
6 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla
 
Chill your bowl and whisk attachment.  Beat all ingredients until soft peaks form.  Poof!  You’re done!
 

Since I was packing these babies up to enjoy later, I put the whipped cream in a container and brought that with my 12 jam jars of pudding, store-bought caramel sauce and some sea salt to dinner.  When it was time to serve dessert, I opened the jars and poured a layer of caramel sauce, sprinkled a pinch of sea salt and topped it all with a nice dollop of whipped cream.

The only complaint about this dessert?  It was rich!  I’ll take that any day of the week!  Lets face it, I’m not eating dessert cause I’m on a diet!  The salted caramel gives this dessert that something extra and serving it in small jam jars is just plain cute!  Plus, they travel well!

Sweet Travels and Easy Dinner Parties for All!

Cheers!

24 Feb

Are you looking forward to St. Paddy’s Day?  I am!  We’ll be celebrating at a FUNdraiser complete with food, drinks, Irish dancing and a beer pong tournament!

I am on the decorating committee for this fundraiser and have been tasked with centerpieces for the tables.  Inspired by this beer mug bouquet available at 1-800-flowers, I created my own on the cheap.

The pitcher is plastic and a 99 Cents Only Store find.  The gel stuff I dyed yellow with regular old food coloring (a little goes along way with both the gel beads and the food coloring).  And carnations are one of the cheapest flowers available.  This only cost a few dollars total!

For our latest St. Paddy’s Day Party planning meeting I brought along some “food for thought” to inspire the troops.  These Celtic Knot cookies are perfect for any St. Patrick’s Day party, or just your morning coffee!  If you attempt these cookies, take heed…chilling the dough is NECESSARY!  I got antsy and tried to skip that step and it was a disaster!  Cooling the pans in between batches helps too.  You’ll have to channel your 6-year-old self and go back to the days when you were an expert with play dough.  Heather’s tutorial is makes it really easy to follow, but I found that it took some practice to get it right.  My first few were….in a word…bad!  I just buried those on the bottom of the batch.  Shhhh…don’t tell!

Be sure to check back as we get closer to the celebration for more great party ideas!

Erin Go Bragh!

Donuts for Dessert

21 Feb

Hi there, old friend! It’s been quite awhile. Its a story as old as time…

Girl meets boy. Girl marries boy. Girl gets pregnant (and then again and again). Girl vomits for months…

That’s right, baby no. 3 is now well on his way. But his unexpected appearance in my womb led to months of all day sickness, multiple trips to the urgent care for fluids and many many days spent entirely in bed. Needless to say, I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen. Why pregnancy would be accompanied by both a super sense of smell and a super sensitive gag reflex is beyond me!

Despite my nausea, my first born turned yet another year older recently and its customary to bring treats to his class at their designated snack time. Since snack time is before lunch, we thought it was appropriate to serve donuts. I didn’t want to pack these kids full of regular sized donuts and then send them back to class, so I decided to make them myself, a la the Sunbeam Donut Maker.

Having no experience making (or in this case, baking) donuts before, I had to try it out prior to the big day of course!  So I started with the standard vanilla recipe that came with the donut maker and topped them with a simple chocolate glaze.

They won’t taste like your standard donuts of course since they aren’t fried, but I love me some cake so I didn’t mind.  The only real problem with the donut maker that I could find was that it only makes five at a time.  Feeding a class of 30 kids, I decided to go with cake mix instead of the recipes that came with the maker since it yields more batter, faster.  I used a simple vanilla glaze topped with festive sprinkles.

The kids were very excited to see donuts that morning.  Wouldn’t you be?!

We celebrated his birthday again with family and had banana donuts with mini chocolate chips, powdered.

These were awesome, although they sweat and by morning the powdered sugar was no longer visible.  But that didn’t affect flavor.

So now you can feel free to eat donuts for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

Super Cheesy

20 Feb

Every year we throw a Super Bowl party, who doesn’t? We love entertaining guests and the hubby loves to BBQ. The menu is usually pretty set. Husband smokes pork for pulled pork sandwiches, makes coleslaw from scratch and leaves me in charge of everything else.

In a care package from my Grandma was this box. I have never been to a Tastefully Simple party, nor have I purchased from them so I had no idea what I was getting into. Has anyone ever made a cheese ball before?

This one was very easy. All I had to do was mix a bar of cream cheese and a stick of softened butter with a seasoning packet. Sounds healthy, right? This is also the reason I decided to make it for the Super Bowl party! I was not about to eat an entire cheese ball by myself!

I was mostly worried about balling this mixture up. I made the mixture the night before and refrigerated it over night. Right before people were going to show up, I balled it up and rolled it in the second packet! What do you think? Everyone loved it and I totally pulled it off!

As for the sweets, I decided to make some chocolate covered strawberries and made them into tiny footballs, Laces Out! They were a big hit and the berries were super sweet! Score!

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A little sweet

17 Feb

Chocolate is the best cure for the stuck-in-traffic blues. After dinner, I turned the TV off and turned Pandora on. While listening to Adele, recent Grammy sweeper, I cleaned up the kitchen and enlisted the help from the munchkins. I told them that their efforts would be greatly rewarded.. with cookies!

I love to bake in a clean kitchen. I took this opportunity to bake some yummy cookies for the kids and I. With their help, we turned out these tasty treats in 30 minutes! Like I really need more sweets when we just had Valentine’s day! Oh well! These cookies sure tasted scrumptious!

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