Tag: brownies

Halloween Party Kid Food – BONE Appetit!

Are YOU having a Halloween party? Do you still need some food ideas? Boo, do I have some for you! Read below…if you dare…..mwahahahaha!

About a month ago, I received a call from a sweet friend of my boys (who also pretty much has me done in for, precious as she is!). She told me she was throwing a Halloween party and wanted me to be her “Chef”. How amazing is that!? She poured her heart into this party, planning every last detail – the decorations, the games, etc. She even had my husband, who is a DJ, provide the music. This was a party for the ages!

So, as the Chef, I pulled together some menu ideas with her wonderful Mama, and our planner approved them ( 😛 ). Each of the other invitees offered to make the items on our list.  And here they are, in all their Halloweeny glory!

 

Horrors d’oeuvres Time:

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To make this, you simply carve a pie pumpkin to look as if it’s barfed/vommied/puked…the nastier, the better! Put your dip (guacamole worked best for us because…guacamole) in front of it’s gaping barfy mouth.

 

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These are Bugles! And how cute is this sign? A lot of thought was put into that sign.

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This “Pumpkin Poo” went over well with the kids! Also, how can you go wrong with cheese balls? Every party needs cheese balls.

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This sweet and fruity Jack O’Lantern was gobbled down in no time! It’s made with orange segments and grapes. You can use blueberries in place of the grapes or do a mixture of the two.

Dinner Time:

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These Mummy Dogs are so easy to make, and leave quite a spooky impression! All you need is hot dogs and crescent rolls. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Dry hot dogs with paper towels. Cut or rip the crescent rolls into strips. Wrap the strips around the hot dogs in a random pattern. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake until the crescent rolls have become golden brown (as per the package).

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For these cutie Jack O’Lanterns, you’ll need clear plastic cups, a Sharpie, macaroni and cheese, and some celery. Draw the faces on the cups before filling with the macaroni. Once you have added the macaroni, place a small piece of celery in, as the pumpkin stalk.

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These Bat Nuggets are sure to scare! Bake your chicken nuggets, add tortilla chip wings, ketchup eyes, and make sure you eat them before they fly away! Bats fly quickly and erratically, you know.

Dessert Time:

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Nothing will gross you out and make your kids laugh more than these graham cracker bandaids!! All that you’ll need are graham crackers, icing, and red gel. **Yeesh!**

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Our ghostess with the mostess put these donut monsters together, right down to the eyes and teeth! Super scary!

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These were my contribution – Trick or Treat Brownies and Meringue “Ghosties”. For the brownies, you’ll need one box of brownie mix, a bunch of candy (I used Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and M&M’s), and candy eyeballs. Prepare the brownie mix and pour into a 13×9 prepared pan. Chop up the candy (not the M&M’s) and sprinkle randomly. Bake as directed. I found that my candy sank a bit as the brownies baked, so I chopped up some more and squished it into the freshly baked brownies. Do the same with more M&M’s and the eyeballs. Let cool and cut into squares.

For the Meringue Ghosties, I used the following recipe.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/meringue-ghosts

I used a food-safe paintbrush and hand painted the eyes and mouths, using black gel coloring.

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This party was so much fun, thanks to the wonderful party planning and effort put forth by our cutie gHost! I hope your Halloween parties are as much fun and that you can use some of these ideas!

Happy Halloween!

Kristin

Lunch Catch Up

Well, oopsie poopsie, I haven’t posted lunches in….um, a while! During Christmas break, we were so busy doing fun activities, okay, surviving, we didn’t so much do fun lunches. We ate. Square sandwiches. But, now I’m back.

So here are two fun lunches I did (amongst MANY others, I can assure you 😉 ).

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I packed pizza, chips, oranges, grapes, blueberries (for Bigs), and frosted brownies for dessert. These are all things I’d like to have at a slumber party. Wouldn’t you?

For the brownies, I used this recipe:

http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/my-favorite-brownies/

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And for Bigs’ lunch tomorrow, I went with a deli(ish) theme. I made a sunbutter & jam sandwich. I also packed Cheez-Its, pickles, a mandarin orange, a gingerbread muffin, and a chocolate coin. I’ve never actually had any of this at a deli, but whatever.

Blessins’.

 

Christmas Tree Brownies

As you may (or may not) know, I’ve been a baking fool this week (in my defense, a “fool” isn’t all bad! for you non-Anglophiles out there, it’s also an English dessert made from a mixture of pureed fruit that has been folded into whipped cream.). I’ve made something each day and I’m so excited about these next two (SUPER easy!) recipes that I’m going to be sharing with you all!

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Today’s recipe is not only stupidly easy, but adorable. It might be my favorite. It’s SO cute. I also love that this recipe can be changed around, so easily, for any kind of color scheme you want, or even just to use the decorating supplies you have on hand (I happen to be a decorating hoarder).

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Christmas Tree Brownies

1 box of brownie mix (or one batch of your favorite homemade recipe)

1 packet of green cookie decorating icing

1 packet of white Wilton Candy Melts (mine had sprinkles in them, a bonus for these!)

various sprinkles (I used multi colored nonpareils and star shaped sprinkles)

1 13×9 pan

Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter

Prepare your brownie mix as directed and pour into a greased 13×9 pan. Bake as directed. I baked for a little bit less time because my pan was very shallow. Let it cool completely, once baked.

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Place waxed paper on your counter top, under your cooling rack. Use your cookie cutter to cut out the desired amount of trees. Mine made 11 trees, with lots of scraps (you know, for snacking or whatever). Place on top of the cooling rack. Use your green cookie icing to make stripes on your trees. There is no wrong way to do this! Repeat with your Candy Melts (I melted mine in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl, using 30 second increments, until fully melted). The Candy Melts look like fresh-fallen snow on these beautiful trees. Add your sprinkles in any pattern (or none at all!) that you wish. When I added the star atop the tree, I first added a small dollop of the green icing, to act as glue.

Place in the fridge and package up, if desired.

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These came out SO cute and I think my Bigs’ classmates will really enjoy them.

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I hope you give these a try! Enjoy!

Kristin

Abra-Kebab-ra

Tomorrow is my Bigs’ last day of school for the week. And what an exciting week he’s had! He’s looked for shapes on a scavenger hunt, he’s read lots of books, he’d made new friends, and he’s eaten SO many great lunches (HA! I HOPE he finds them to be great!).

For Friday’s lunch, I made kebabs. Kid kebabs.

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*I just realized I misspelled “kebab” in my picture. Ain’t nobody got time to fix that.*
I rolled up Applegate Naturals ham and cut it into pieces. I put them on a kebab stick, alternating the ham with pieces of colby jack cheese. I packed seasoned corn, cotton candy grapes, blueberries, Simply Go Gurt (I don’t typically let them have these, but every once in a while), and for dessert, peanut butter brownie balls (I had a made a pan of slightly under cooked brownies, studded with mini Reece’s cups, and rolled bite-sized pieces into balls).

PS! My Smalls had a GREAT first day and ate almost his entire little lunch!

Happy Almost Friday!

Kristin

Now therefore, our God, we thank you, and praise your glorious name.

– 1 Chronicles 29:13

Spring has Sprung!

It’s still Spring Break here and we’ve been staying quite busy! The weather has been gorgeous (save for one day where it seemed like we were in a hurricane) – clear skies, white fluffy clouds some days, picture-perfect blue backdrops everyday, chilly mornings that burn off to warm, sunny, lovely spring days.

Spring Break actually started last week, after Bigs got out of school. We had breakfast for dinner that night. I made a baked oatmeal casserole.

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I based my recipe loosely on this one:

http://www.aaronandyolanda.com/2013/07/baked-oatmeal-casserole.html

Instead of two cups of milk, I did one cup of coconut milk and a cup of pumpkin puree. I only added a few chocolate chips. I also didn’t add nuts or fruit of any kind. So it’s basically nothing like that recipe. And it of course didn’t turn out like that recipe (what did I expect!).

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It was alright. The oats didn’t get soaked with the pumpkin custard like I thought they would, so there was a separation of sorts. Next time, maybe I’ll have all the right ingredients and I can make it the right way. 🙂

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I served it with scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and sausages. It did the trick (if trick = filling our tummies).

The next day was GORGEOUS! We went to a park play date.

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Smalls was able to keep up with the big kids this time.

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And Big Brother took the time to play with him.

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I love to see them playing nicely together. 🙂

I gave Smalls a wee little apple and he carried that thing around while playing. He dropped it and still clutched it tightly. This is what I found him holding later on.

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The next day was Pancake Saturday – not to ever be missed in our house! It should be renamed Pancake and Breakfast Meat Saturdays.

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By this time, I’d run out of eggs (running out of ingredients is a key theme in my life, apparently). I substituted applesauce for the missing eggs. The result was an incredibly creamy, custard-like inside. I also added loads of vanilla and vanilla bean paste, and some caramel extract that I found at Wally-World (Walmart). I thought they were just delicious.

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They came out fluffy and golden. So good. Seriously. I might be using the applesauce trick again. I also might HAVE to, as I never seem to have everything I need.

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Oh, pancakes.

After breaky, we went to a local Farmer’s Market/Petting Farm. It’s newly opened and we’ve been wanting to try it out.

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Bigs insisted (and I am not using that term lightly) on wearing his overalls and boots.

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Kind of adorable though.

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We saw all kinds of farm animals. Bigs went up to the chicken coop and squatted down and said to them, “Hey Chickens! Why did you cross the road?!” My husband and I were beside ourselves with laughter!

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From there, we went to the food trucks and market side. We ate an okay lunch of hot dogs.

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And followed that up with a huge cup of the most refreshing, gorgeous, delicious fruit ever. I think it tasted even more delicious after that greasy, fried lunch.

We also ran into two different families we know! It was a great day.

When we got home, there was still some time before nap, so the boys did their “yard work”.

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They earn their keep, I tell you.

On Sunday night, some of our best friends, who have moved far away, came back because of work and we got to visit. We went on a date night with several of our couple friends. It was just wonderful seeing them. It is terribly sad when one of your best friends moves away, but it makes you treasure the time you have with them, when you see them again.

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My husband ordered the best red wine I’ve ever had – Jam Jar! SO GOOD! I will have to get that one next time. I’m not much of a red wine drinker, unless it’s sweet, which Jam Jar was.

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We had a minted edamame hummus and roasted red pepper hummus with lavosh crackers, as an appetizer. We also tasted our friends’ pesto chicken flat bread.

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After we toasted to our wonderful friendships…

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…we dug into our meals. My husband ordered the scallops (did not get a good picture) and they were divine. I ordered the winter vegetarian sampling.

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This plate changes seasonally. I love it. This time, there was a stuffed mushroom, some roasted beets, broccolini, asparagus, and peppers, along with a veggie stuffed taco, and some tofu with mango chutney.

This restaurant is famous for its small desserts. I can’t ever choose one.

Oink.

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I chose the chocolate peanut butter mousse (um, SO good) and the cannoli (cannoli cream, chocolate chips, raspberry sauce, cannoli shell).

I can’t even.

I am still dreaming about that cannoli cream. Is that weird? To dream about cannoli cream?

The next day was St. Patrick’s Day! I always go big on these smaller holidays. I love a theme! I think you know that by now.

Before everyone (else) woke up, I put together the Irish Stew in the crock pot.

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I sort of changed around the recipe. I used this recipe as a base:

http://everydaymomsmeals.blogspot.com/2013/02/its-not-soup-its-stew.html

I did not add onion soup mix (due to the non gluten and dairy-free and high sodium nature), so I added real onions. I only used one can of tomato soup and added a can of no-salt stewed tomatoes. I also added more of the same vegetables. I let that sit on low all day while we were busy doing other things.

For breakfast, I made Spinach Pancakes (yep – the third time in five days that I served my family pancakes – that’s how I roll). This was a great recipe.

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They were chock full of fresh spinach (two cups!). Bigs said that they tasted like green beans, but he kept eating them, so that’s a good sign.

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When drizzled with syrup and some butter, the very obvious spinach flavor was sort of pushed to the back (a plus for most kids).

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I added more vanilla than called for. I served them with corned beef hash.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.superhealthykids.com/blog-posts/no-dye-green-pancakes.php

My best friend since kindergarten was up visiting from where she lives and brought her little girl (who is only 2 months older than Smalls). I LOVE seeing my best friend. I miss her dearly. I feel so blessed to see two of my loveliest friends, who no longer live near me, all in the same week!

For an after lunch St. Patty’s Day treat, I made Leprechaun Pudding for the kids!

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I just mixed half a packet of sugar-free, fat-free white chocolate pudding mix into some vanilla yogurt and added some green coloring. I layered that with some Lucky Charms cereal. I think they liked it.

Earlier in the morning, I’d also made a birthday treat for my bestie. I asked her what she wanted and it was so simple and I love her for that. All she wanted was a boxed mix peanut butter brownie with a ganache on top. How easy!

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I sent that home with her. She let me try it and take pictures of it before she left though. THAT’S a best friend!

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It was good. I used coconut milk for the ganache.

While my boys were napping, I prepared our Irish dessert – Banoffee Pie! I totally used shortcuts. I made a quick crust from graham cracker crumbs and butter. I “baked” it in the toaster oven. I sliced a banana on top of that, melted and poured some dulce de leche that I bought from Costco, and sliced another banana on top. I then whipped a half pint of whipping cream and spread that on top.

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I let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. It was SO good.

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I loved that the dulce de leche was the only sweet part of it. I added no sugar to the graham crust or whipped cream. It was a nice contrast.

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It was a dream of a pie – crunchy, buttery and rich, sweet creamy bananas, indulgent, deep caramel, fluffy, milky topping. Seriously, the stuff (my) dreams are made of.

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Just…yum. It was even better the next day.

And the Irish Stew came out SO SO good!

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The stew beef was so tender, as were the potatoes.

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The broth was rich and tomato-y.

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We ate it for two days. It was great.

I’d call that a successful food holiday!

I got a chance to see my other friend (who we’d seen on Sunday) again before she went back up North. We met, with some other friends, at a neat farm-to-table restaurant.

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We started off with fresh, crusty bread and butter (the only way to “start” anything).

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My friend got a Blue Moon and I had some. I love that beer – so refreshing!

My other friend and I went halfsies on the burger. It wasn’t just any old burger. It had bacon jam, pimento cheese, spicy/sweet pickles, bibb lettuce, and a fried green tomato.

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One of the best burgers I’ve had!

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It was served with wedged potato fries topped with shaved white truffles. Earthy, salty goodness.

Aca-yeah!

Yet another friend and I shared the chocolate cake! We call each other “cakesters”…we just live for cake, what can I say!

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It was delicious. And a wonderful night with wonderful friends.

I got to see my kindergarten bestie again the next day! I took her to my favorite donut shop.

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She hadn’t been there before. She is now a convert.

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I got my now usuals – a sprinkle for Bigs, some holes for Smalls (one of which was shoved whole into his teeny mouth), a German chocolate, a Coconut Crunch, a strawberry and cream cheese, a chocolate and peanut butter, and a chocolate and cream cheese.

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I meannnnnn…..

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Oh, my heavens.

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Why, thank you!

We then walked off our calories at the zoo. It was such a gorgeous day!

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The boys and my bestie’s daughter, B, really loved seeing all the animals.

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The usually low-key otters were really playful and the lemurs saved their freak-out for when we were leaving.

It was a really wonderful day.

My, what a foodie Spring Break it’s been, and it isn’t even over yet!

I hope this finds you all well,

Kristin

A Beautiful Sight, Happy Tonight

Sleigh Bells Ring

Sleigh bells ring! Can you hear them? If you squint (I have to squint to see practically anything and you know what? When I’m trying to listen really hard, I squint then, too. I’m too young for such problems!!) and listen really hard, you can probably hear them! It’s so close! Christmas is so close! Can you believe it?! It is just slightly over four weeks away! That’s only four weeks to shop (and to write Santa) and to plan your baking and cooking and to celebrate Jesus and the Advent. Oh. And to get that dreadful Elf out of the back of your closet. I almost forgot. Oops. I love him, I do. He’s part of our family now. Duncan is very sweet, you know, for a pretend elf filled with cotton stuffing and wire. It’s just that I have to think of so many different things for him to do each night! And I’m just so tired at the end of the day! It’s okay though. Truly, if it makes Bigs and Smalls happy, then I am happy. I’ll rally. I can man up. Thank goodness for Pinterest – it does most of thinking for me on this one!

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I know that for me, getting this close to Christmas means that I lots of wrapping to do, cookies to bake, four beautiful Advent church services to attend, Christmas themed kid lunches to dream up and make, Christmas parties and playdates to enjoy and lots more. Busy busy busy. I don’t know how I’ll do it. Some days (every day??), the energy just isn’t there. But the spirit of Christmas will keep me going!

What will you bake to bring to your Christmas or holiday parties? Perhaps I can share some grainy (lol) pictures and a few recipes?

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I love baking for the holidays. I love finding new recipes and trying them out. I don’t think I’ve made the same thing twice. It seems like every year, there are so many new and exciting recipes to try. I used to try to make about 5 different kinds of cookies, but as my children have grown, my time to devote to such things has lessened, and so has the variety of cookies I make. But that’s okay! The ones I DO bake, hopefully, make up for the lack in assortment. And I enjoy making cakes and bars, as well. Those are more for the parties rather than the cookie tins, but fun, nonetheless. I also like to try new recipes for those each year.

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I ADORE fresh cranberries. They are so deliciously tart. I love their shiny, red coat and their delightful pop when eaten. I prefer fresh over dried for most recipes. This Cranberry Cream Cheese Bundt Cake was divine. I served it sliced with Sugared Cranberries in the middle. I love those things. I could eat the whole lot.

http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/archives/1218/

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sugared-cranberries-10000000554659/

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Here is another presentation where I used the Sugared Cranberries. I added a few sprigs of fresh mint. I love love love fresh mint. The cookies are soft, chewy iced ginger cookies. I actually don’t have a favorite recipe for this one. I seem to lose the recipe each year, having to search out a new one. I like them chewy, not hard, and soft, but not crumbly soft. But…I’ll eat any kind you place in front of me.

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Now, these…these were simple. I made boxed brownies (before I was super “daring” and made my own) and used a Christmas tree cookie cutter. I then made a simple icing sugar glaze and added green food coloring. After spreading that on the trees, I added red sprinkles and a teeny white star sprinkle atop each tree. For the cookies, I added peppermint extract to a boxed sugar cookie mix and used the same glaze as the trees (only with red coloring) and added crushed peppermints on top. This was easy. Not gourmet. I’d like to think I’ve come a long way. But this is still cute if one is in a time crunch!

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Staying in the cookie(ish) family are these lovely Lofthouse Style Sugar Cookie Bars. You know those frosted cookies you see (frosted to match the color of whatever holiday is near) in the front of almost every grocery store bakery, that are so oddly expensive and so ridiculously delicious and soft? Well, these are those. In a bar form. Like a whole pan can just sit on your lap and you can just use a fork. I mean, if that’s the sort of thing that you do. I don’t do that. Ever.

http://cookiesandcups.com/lofthouse-sugar-cookie-bars/

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And lastly, for now of course, you can transform just about anything into a dessert worthy of the proverbial “Holiday Table” by adding festive sprinkles. They (I) don’t call me (myself) “Sprinkles in my Lunchbox” for nuffin’ (as Bigs would say)!! I found these adorable sprinkles (a mix made of Christmas trees, gingerbread boys, candy canes and snowflakes) at Ross. This is a simple Texas Sheet Cake (no favorite recipe, although, people…just you know, people, swear by The Pioneer Woman’s recipe).

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/the_best_chocol/

Christmas cupcakes

Have a blessed, sweet Monday,

Kristin

Inauguration & Brownies

brownieswatermarkHappy First Blogging Day to me! This is my first post. Like, ever. I’m sure my writing skillz and spelling will get better as time goes on, let’s hope. But lest you think this is only about grammar…brownies.

I made brownies. Twice in one week. The same recipe. Although it isn’t a one-bowl recipe, which is clearly the dishwasher’s dream, it’s still an easy recipe. It seemed to go over well at my church ladies’ group fondue party and I am hoping the friends I just made them for will enjoy them also. I enjoyed licking the bowls. Both times. Here is the recipe if you want to try it (it can also be found on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse Cocoa box). I added sprinkles, because…sprinkles.

http://www.food.com/recipe/nestle-chewy-cocoa-brownies-366301

Enjoy!

Kristin