Archive | April, 2012

Spring Showers

26 Apr

While Spring is finally here, the rainy weather would tell you otherwise. I have some words for mother nature and they aren’t pretty.

The husband and I finally have a weekend to complete our front yard project and I don’t want to call a rain delay! Our front yard planter needs some TLC and major weed overhaul. We have neglected this area because we never could agree on what we’d like to plant. I really want lots of ground cover and some taller, flowering plants as well. I’d like a seat or bench, but that will be decided later. I do know this, no more garden gnomes! I am only allowed to have one and he’s in the back yard, maybe there is a clause for the front yard? I will have to see what I can seek in.

If we can all wish the rain away, that would be spectacular! I guess I am just so excited to share some before and after photos with you!

Sunday Night Fav: Carne Asada Pizza

22 Apr

I don’t cook (not to be confused with baking).  But I was smart enough to marry someone who does.  I might have starved by now otherwise.

Since I’m soooo pregnant (read: uncomfortable), tonight’s dinner was mama’s choice.  Carne Asada Pizza it is!  I am told this is not a cheap pizza, but it cooks up pretty quickly and tastes so fresh and yummy I just can’t resist it.

For the Cilantro Pesto:
2 cups packed of cilantro leaves
3 tblspns pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves diced garlic
Process in a food processer until smooth
Spoon in 1/2 cup of grated parmesean cheese and mix
 

In the meantime, chop and cook 1/2 – 3/4 lbs. marinated carne asada (skirt steak).  Cover a prepared pizza crust (we use Boboli) with cilantro pesto.  Top that with 1 – 1  1/4 cup of mozzerella cheese (depending on the size of the crust you’re using). Bake per crust directions, a mere 8 minutes over here.  Remove from oven, top with prepared meat and put back in oven for approximately 2 more minutes.  Dollop with your favorite salsa and enjoy!

We put the salsa on the side so the kiddo’s don’t have to add it since they aren’t accustomed to the heat of dad’s famous salsa yet.

Maybe next time we should make two…and by we I mean he.  I’m already wishing there were left overs for lunch tomorrow.

Strawberry Shortcut Cookies

17 Apr

So, as it turns out cookies don’t last very long in our house.  The cookie jar is again empty.  Since cake mix was on sale last week, I picked up a couple of Spring appropriate flavors: Lemon and Strawberry.

This morning I used the Strawberry cake mix to make what I’ll call Strawberry Shortcut Cookies.  These couldn’t be easier.

1 box Strawberry Cake Mix
1 8 oz tub of Cool Whip
1 egg
Powdered Sugar for coating
 

Mix everything together until well blended.  The dough will be super sticky.  It was also a little wet.  I had initially planned on rolling the dough with my hands and coating with powdered sugar, but found the dough was too wet and sticky to use my hands.  My scooper came to the rescue.  It also helps to keep the cookies the same size and to cook evenly as a result.

Once you scoop out a rounded portion of dough, drop it into a small bowl of powdered sugar and roll it around until coated.  I used a spoon to push it around to avoid sticky fingers.

These bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Let them set a bit before moving them to a cooling rack.  Yields approximatley 45 cookies.

The cookie jar is full again…

Rolo Cookies

14 Apr

I realized awhile ago that I didn’t actually own a cookie jar.  It seemed strange that someone who loves to bake so much wouldn’t own a staple as simple as a cookie jar.  A kind friend pointed out that perhaps its because my cookies are so good that they don’t stick around long enough to make it to a jar.  I’d love to say that was the case…

My Grandmother was generous enough to give me one recently.  Its a glass jar with “Mother’s Cookies” imprinted on it.  Classic.

So this rainy spring day, since we’re stuck inside I thought I’d do my best to fill my new jar…

These cookies are probably some of the simplest I’ve ever made…and the tastiest.

You’ll need:
1 box of devil’s food cake mix (I used Pilsbury brand because it includes pudding in the mix)
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 bag of Rolos (you’ll need approximately 36, so feel free to taste test)
 

Mix everything but the Rolos.  You’ll want to use a scooper for this one so that the cookies are the same size and cook consistently.  Scoop some of dough and press a Rolo into the center.  Gently fold the excess dough over the top and then roll it into a ball (like play dough).  They bake quickly. My oven got the job done in about 8 minutes set at 350 degrees.  Let them rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack, or they will break.

Once cooled the centers will still be very moist and the caramel chewy and delicious!

My hubby, who isn’t as fond of the sweets as I am, loved these.  Of course the kids couldn’t keep their hands off them either.  And I may have had a few myself…

$1 Chandelier

13 Apr

The weather is warming up, the flowers are in bloom and I am planning to spend a lot more time outside. I’ve dusted off the patio furniture and realized I was missing something…

On one of my many recent trips to the dollar store I found a hanging plant basket like the one I used here.  I know that other retailers charge more than a dollar for them so I snagged it, figuring that I’d find some good use for it…

Following this St. Patrick’s Day party I found that the approximately 33 beaded necklaces that I, my hubby and my dearest Carrie had acquired throughout the night could be put to good use by creating a hanging, beaded chandelier.  I cut each necklace and strung them in two stages: (1) from the top of the chain to the top of the basket, and then (2) from the top of the basket to the bottom of the basket.  I used small pieces of floral wire to attach each piece.  It was pretty simple and only cost me the $1 I spent on the hanging basket.

While the beads were green, it was more of a Mardi Gras green than the Kelly green I wanted, so I did spend another few dollars to spray the whole thing a modern Kelly green.

If you need me, I’ll be outside!

It’s Spring Time Baby!

12 Apr

I’m very pregnant now and not feeling particularly pretty. But with the help of my gal pal Sally Hansen I don’t feel like a total mess.

I brought my manicure in season with Sally Hansen Salon Effects in “Spring Fever.”  I love these because I don’t have to wait for polish to dry.  I rarely get a few minutes to myself without having to do something for some little person with my hands, risking my polish job.

Once I had “Spring Fever” all over my nails I realized it was a little much for me.  So I cut it with “Tart Deco” by Essie.  Then I realized that my nails also happened to match my favorite shoes!

SPRING INSPIRED

FROM MY FINGERS

TO MY TOES!

Hoppy Easter

8 Apr

Whoopie Cookie wishes you all a very Happy Easter!

We hope you are spending the day with your favorite peeps… we sure are!

Easter Tablescape

6 Apr

We’ve had babies on the brain around here lately.  But in preparation for this weekend’s festivities, I put together a super easy (and cheap!) Easter tablescape.

I had the table from this party and used a tablecloth from this party.  Most everything else I found around the house or purchased from the dollar store (my new favorite craft supply store).

 

Here’s my shopping list from the dollar store:

Two small yellow buckets for ranunculus  
Peeps (the chick variety)
Four orange chargers

 

Here’s what I had lying around the house:

Four white plates
Two yellow birdcages (purchased long ago from Michael’s for only a dollar for no reason except that they are cute!) 
Four white cloth napkins
Orange streamers (from this project)
Green plastic bag (green paper would work too)
Coordinating ribbon
Plastic forks and knives
Table
Tablecloth
Floor cushions
Clear glass vase
Oranges for slicing
Two cute kids

 

Other odds and ends:

Paint chips from Home Depot
Flowers from Trader Joe’s 

 

I cut the flowers and sliced the oranges (used about 3) and put together the three flower arrangements.  I had planned on using lemons so that the yellow matched the peeps, but they went bad before I got to them…bummer.

The name cards are made of paint chips from Home Depot.  I simply folded them in half and hand wrote the names with a black marker.  I also used coordinating paint chips to cut circles for the peeps to sit on.

I folded the napkins into little bunnies using this easy tutorial found on Good Housekeeping’s website and wrapped the plasticware with orange streamers, tying them off with coordinating ribbon.  The greenery at the top of each carrot is just a plastic bag I cut up.

This look is easily thrown together and holiday appropriate with stuff you probably already have.  The few things I had to pick up were very inexpensive, so don’t be afraid to try your hand at a tablescape that even Martha would be proud of!

P is for Party Planning

5 Apr

My favorite parts of party planning are the decorations and the games! I had so much fun creating the different decorations to make this baby shower extra special.

I spent the last two weeks doing some shopping for and creating the diaper cake, centerpieces, banners and stakes. Yvette also contributed with a balloon wreath you can see here!

Yvette’s mama, Jeanette, purchased gift cards for the game prizes and I had to think of some cute way to wrap them up. I decided to conceal the goods in red envelopes and printed Dr Seuss phrases on them. I chose to create a banner using cut outs I purchased from Oriental Trading Company and added the envelopes to the string of characters. As we played the games, we invited the winners to pick an envelope and tear it off of the banner. It was very game show like.. I love surprises!

A baby shower wouldn’t be complete without having games! I’m not a huge fan of the ribbon guessing game and the safety pin game is played out. We chose the non-traditional route and created 2 games and had a scratcher! The scratcher was Yvette’s mama’s idea. While shopping for the shower, she stumbled upon a baby shower scratcher from Oriental Trading Company and added it to her shopping cart. I think it was appropriate, after all we’ve got lotto fever going on around here. For the other two games, I created a Dr Seuss trivia game and a Celebrity Baby Name game. I played the celebrity baby name game at a baby shower for my friend Amy and everyone had a great time! It was a must for this crowd and everyone seemed to enjoy it.. we also found out who spends too much time reading gossip mags and TMZ.com (cough cough.. Lori). The Dr. Seuss trivia was fun and played off of our Seuss-tastic party theme. If you want to play either game for your upcoming party: here is the trivia game and answer key, and this is the baby name game and answer key. Have fun, we sure did!

The Sandwich Spread

4 Apr

We think sweets first here at Whoopie Cookie, so this is Part 2 of our baby shower spread. Yvette’s mama, aka my Nina, bought Yvette’s hometown favorite- Guiliano’s sandwiches! Guiliano’s is the South Bay’s favorite Italian deli! The bread is baked fresh and the sandwiches are spectacular! Yvette’s favorite is thier Torpedo!

For those who like turkey, tuna, ham or roast beef- a tray of assorted sandwiches. The various combinations of meat, cheese and rolls kept everyone guessing what they wanted to try first!

Fresh fruit is always welcome! We snacked on pineapple, melon, strawberries and grapes. The fruit was also served up with raspberry yogurt!

A special Thank you to Jeanette for the delicious food! We love you!!!

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