Friday, June 29, 2012

Patriotic Chocolate-dipped Cinnamon Bears

The posts are backing up again so hopefully I will be posting a lot over the next week or so.  I wanted to update those of you that follow on Facebook and saw my post about the fire in Colorado Springs.  My parents are still evacuated but are just fine, and for now their house is unscathed.  The firefighters have done an incredible job of controlling this beast and keeping any more structures from burning down.  Unfortunately about 350 neighbors have lost their homes entirely.  Please please keep these families and the tireless firefighters in your prayers.  If any of you are related to a firefighter please let them know they are APPRECIATED.  They don't get told as much as they should, but they are cherished by many.   It truly takes a hero to don a 70 pound suit in 100 degree weather and fight right next to a wildfire that is blazing an extra 500 plus degrees.  And to do it all through the night.  And the next day.  And the next day.  Talk about hell incarnate.   Bless their hearts!  And bless those of you who have given thoughts and prayers to my family and their city.  It is appreciated more than you know.  Wish I could give each of you a great big hug and a basket of chocolate-dipped treats!

Want to talk about cinnamon bears now?

First I have to caution you- these are infinitely easier if you don't put them on skewers.  If you skewer, it takes a LONG time.  You need to thread very slowly and apply even pressure or your chocolate will crack.  And then, your chocolate will crack anyways.  And you will be annoyed and want to throw things.  So I am totally not recommending it but I admit it can be done.  IMO these are just as cute in a bowl for a snack, so no need really.

Cinnamon bears are a great place to start if you haven't dipped much before.  They are small and easy to work with and you can do a lot fairly quickly.  You can certainly use chocolate or brown melts in place of the white melts for traditional chocolate-dipped cinnamon bears.  Be aware that regular chocolate may not harden completely.  I usually get the best results from using a bar chocolate with a good snap (Ghiradelli or something similar) rather than chocolate chips.  You can of course do jimmies or drizzles in any color you like to make these for other holidays or occasions.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Chocolate-dipped Caramel Rice Krispy Treats

Sometimes you accidentally create a beautiful thing.  (Cough.  Second Child.  Cough.)

Just kidding.  He was on purpose.

What I mean is, sometimes you make something, but you don't realize just how delicious of an idea it was until you taste it.

These Rice Krispy treats are one of those  experiments.  In Brussels, my mom used to pack a Cha Cha in my lunch pretty much every single day.  {A chocolate-covered caramelly wafer treat. } These Rice Krispy treats taste a LOT like a Cha Cha, which I can not find anywhere here, so they spoke directly to my heart.

These are really sweet so cut them small, but they are chewy and chocolatey and delicious.  A little slice of European heaven.

{Well you know.  Kinda.}

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Patriotic Pop-Rock Rimmed Blowpop Drinks {Kid-friendly}

Drinks that taste like blow-pops.  How could this not be a good idea?  These are made with Sprite, so they are kid-friendly and the extra "pop" makes them fun for the Fourth.  These would be cute for any kids party and in any variety of colors and flavors.  (Omit pop-rocks if you wish.)

For this drink I dyed my Sprite blue and then used a red Blow-pop... dummy idea because after awhile it started to turn my drink purple.  This is probably why I got a C in Art.   I'd recommend looking for blue poprocks (tropical ones can be found at Dollar Tree) and using those for the rims, and then a cherry or watermelon Blowpop to color the drink red. 

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

People tell me pretty often that they can't believe how many sweets I make based on how many I put up on this blog. The sad thing that I conveniently forget to mention during these conversations is I really only end up posting about 1 of every 2 treats I make. 

If I'm not impressed by something I won't post it.  Or I'll make it a bunch of times until I get it right.  I don't think it's fair to post recipes for others to copy that disappointed me, you know?

Anyway,  if you remember a really long time ago I posted Snickerdoodles so you could use them for an upcoming recipe.  After testing and reformulating 3 times... here is that recipe.

This ice cream has lots of huge cookie chunks so if you try to pick them out and leave the ice cream for your hubby... he's gonna notice.

Not that I know anyone who does that.

The good news is the ice cream is yummy so you really don't need to pick. 

If you omit the cookie pieces, this is a great cinnamon ice cream to pair with apple pie or peach crisp, or {my favorite} to dollop into a steaming cup of hot cocoa.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fourth of July Donut Hole Fruit Skewers

We decorate WAY in advance for holidays around here.  Partly that's because I have no idea how to decorate "normally" (as in, not by theming around a holiday.)  So our house looks really bare if there is no holiday decor up.  I usually pull out the 4th of July decor on June 1st and leave it up until September when I start decorating for Halloween.  (It's okay for you purists to be cringing right now.  Just don't come over to my house, um, ever.) 

I've thought about this a lot, and I think probably this is entirely not my fault and is due to a gaping hole in our education system. Obviously they need a major in college that's like Adulthood 101, where they teach you how to argue with cell phone companies, set up retirement accounts, make curtains out of bedsheets, put together a decent-looking flowerbed and make a PB&J that won't get soggy within two hours. (Annd decorate your house, of course.)

These are the real things one needs to know in life.

Due to the lack of this major at my college I have successfully kept the "For Dummies" book series in business single-handedly for the last five years. But since there's no pictures I haven't really learned much.

I've gotten way off track but the point is that my world pretty much revolves around holidays and I couldn't wait to share this 4th of July breakfast idea with you.  I saw donut hole fruit skewers on Pinterest and thought all the red and blue fruits would be perfect for the 4th of July.   I cut some stars out of strawberries to be extra patriotic.  If you have kids, these are so easy they can even make their own.


We went to the zoo this morning, so excuse me while I go shower off elephant smell.
Happy Wednesday!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake was always my favorite dessert growing up.  But we never made it with angel food cake or frozen strawberries.  In my fam it was the real deal.  My mom baked these sweet biscuit-like old-fashioned shortcakes, and topped them with sugared strawberries and fresh whipped cream.  The great part is these shortcakes are made from Bisquick and take all of two minutes to whip up and throw in the oven.  The recipe has been tinkered with quite a bit and adapted from Bisquick's original recipe.  It is not at all the same as the one on the box.  These shortcakes are thick and much heavier than angel food cake shortcake so know that before starting so you won't be disappointed.  I so prefer this version and hope you will love it as much as we do.

This is my definition of the perfect breakfast. (Pumpkin pie comes very very close.)

It has fruit and dairy in it so your dietician would probably approve.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hawaiian Lava Flows

While my husband and I were engaged I did a semester of school in Hawaii with my good friend Natalie, while he stayed on the mainland to work. We didn't have a car in Hawaii, so the bus had to get us wherever we wanted to go.

(Nothing like riding the bus to make you feel like an adult, let me tell you.)

Natalie and I used to sit on the side of the road by the bus stop and call the bus hotline to find out 'how many more minutes' until the bus would arrive. (That always made me feel pretty adult-like as well.)

Anyway, we'd hop the bus and ride it down to Turtle Bay Resort/Hotel.  And then we would head to the pool.

Errr... by taking the back gate.  And walking very stealthily.  And perhaps wearing swimsuit coverups that matched nearby shrubbery. 

But once we we'd snuck in we'd get to lay out, slap on some Maui Babe tanning lotion and drink in the Hawaii sun.

We'd always get asked for drink orders and I'd wonder which room I should charge it to.

(Just kidding.  But kind of not.)

Turns out if you're white, they assume you're a resort guest.  And they let you lay by the pool.  Every. Day.  And apparently they think you live there because how else do they not notice that you never. go. away.    ??

Probably they thought I was Paris Hilton or something and just live at hotels.

I eavesdropped on so many great conversations at that pool.

Don't pretend you don't do it.

How can you not listen to the details of a six-year-old's birthday party that totaled almost 12,000 dollars?

It's like a train-wreck, you just can't look away. Also, apparently if you're wearing earbuds people think you're not listening.

Who knew?

Anyway, since I was SO moral-minded and just couldn't bring myself to order lots of drinks to other people's rooms, I never got to taste Turtle Bay's Hawaiian Lava flow.

But I so wanted to.

So Turtle Bay resort, here's to you.

Thanks for the great tan for my wedding.  The relaxation. And some priceless gems of wisdom.

("OMGOSH... do not EVER hire her to do your balloons. She brought shiny teal instead of iridescent aqua and she used trashy ribbon! The floats were ALL wrong, I think her sister is transgender and I heard she got her dog from the pound!")

This "Real Housewives" stuff?  It's for real.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thin Mint Truffle Brownies

Truffle brownies are the brain-child of Dorothy over at Crazy for Crust.  I decided to make a Thin Mint version the other day and it was the best decision I made this week. 

(The worst decision I made was texting while on the treadmill at a 9.5 incline. Forget texting and driving, they need a PSA for that.)

My mom can't stop talking about how these are the perfect brownie, so you can take that as a good sign.  She's something of a brownie connoisseur, so you can trust her.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Pinterest is great because it introduces me to things I desperately need.


This sink faucet that changes colors according to temperature  (but you can pretend the red is fruit punch if you want.)

This rock climbing wall for my house.  (For when dinner guests get bored)

This Disney castle mural (Because $3600 is a cheap price to pay for that kind of magic.)

Also this pirate ship playground because then I could probably have the house all to myself.  All 3 of my boys would surely live on it.  Including my husband.

Something else you desperately need?

Chocolate-covered strawberry cupcakes.
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Chocolate-dipped Chips Ahoy Ice Cream Sandwiches (and a 4th of July version)

I am currently trying to think of a good scheme that would convince my husband to buy me a dog.

Like plastering this face all over the house:

Probably two hundred-ish copies or so would do.

If I had a dog I would never have to sweep my wood floors again because everyone knows dogs are human vacuum cleaners.  This means no more crumbs people. No. More. Crumbs!!

Have you seen my floor?

I swept that yesterday.  

As in, one meal ago. 

Also, if I had a dog I could go "walking" in my neighborhood without looking like a moron, because my pace would obviously be a result of my dog's short legs and not my lack of coordination or physical fitness.  Walking a dog is the only acceptable way to walk around the neighborhood when you're 26.  If you're 50+ you can do whatever the heck you want.  But 26 year olds can't just go "walking" by themselves.  People expect you to at least jog or something.  This of course, I am not willing to do in broad daylight.

Also, most importantly, if I had a dog it would  function as a guard dog to scare away kidnappers and murderers when I'm home alone at night.  Probably a more effective deterrent than me wearing a hockey mask around and peering through the back windows at intervals.  (Kidnappers and murderers leave other kidnappers and murderers alone you see.  And they ALWAYS watch your house for at least an hour before busting in, so this is actually a great method. You really should invest in a hockey mask if you haven't already. Talking REALLY loudly next to your windows about your loaded gun also helps.)

All I see is positives here.

Plus, probably dogs clean up ice cream drips.  Which I will need for the next time I make these:

Let me know if you know of any place that does color copies in bulk.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fourth of July Firework Pushpops

I've had firework pushpops on the brain since last summer when I ran out of time to make them amidst the craziness of moving.  Unfortunately, a few months ago I saw this idea by Betty Crocker, so I had to accept the reality that I won't go down in history as the inventor of the firework push pop.


There's probably billions in that.

However, while their pops are cute, they weren't exactly what I had imagined. Fireworks need pointy cones on top and streamers coming out the bottom!

I kept their color scheme and added some extras and I am happy with how they turned out.

Unrelated- My kids are going to think it's bizarre when they start school and realize all their friends don't have holiday-themed treats packed in their lunchboxes weeks before the actual holiday.

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Double Birthday Cupcakes (Decorating technique)

Last week I made these cupcakes for my sister-in-law and dear friend Becky (and the BEST mom to twins everrr) for her birthday.

Sometimes recipes like this from Pinterest just keep nagging at me until I make them.

Also I won't ever say no to a reason to buy a whole bag of mini peanut butter cups.

These are super fast and easy and you can use any cupcakes or frosting you like.  Plus they're almost husband friendly.

(As in... there's only so many ways to screw up putting a peanut butter cup on top of a cupcake and adding sprinkles. So you can totally request these for your birthday.)

Did I mention you get to eat all the extra peanut butter cups?

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Palm Tree Sugar Cookies

Since I had some dough left over from from the dinosaur fossil sugar cookies, and since my mom left a box of malted milk balls in my fridge (darn you mom!), these seemed like a good way to greet summer. 

Also, hanging out at the park in 50 degree weather.

Nothing says summer like wearing a hoodie.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dinosaur Fossil Sugar Cookies (Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe)

Boys are weird.  I have lots of evidence to back this claim up but the most relevant is that they enjoy eating cookies with reptile footprints in them.


This is a great basic sugar cookie recipe. The cookies don't spread much so they are perfect to use with cookie cutters and they taste great with or without frosting.

Dinosaur footprints are, of course, optional. 

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

Key lime pie is kind of sacred in our house. We happen to be related to this famous author that used to drink a LOT and liked to jump around between women.  (Sorry...I don't really know how else to describe him.) He also used to spend winters in Key West drinking and writing.  We have been down there a few times and have taken pictures in front of  'Uncle Ernie's'  house and tried to steal some of the remaining 6-toed cats at his house.  (Since we're related and all I'm pretty sure they should just hand 'em over but apparently the island disagrees.) 

Anyways, Key West of course is famous for key lime pie.  So key lime pie is kind of like the symbolic family dessert.  (If I had been in charge of the Hemingway coat of arms it would, of course, have Key Lime pie in the middle.  Derr.)

Anyways, wanna know a secret? 

I actually kind of hate key lime pie.  

Key limes are bitter and WAY too tart and kinda gross.  (Don't tell anyone though because not liking the family dessert would obviously kicked out of the family.)

One thing I do like- these Key Lime pie cupcakes.  There's just enough tart filling to be yummy and powerful but it's surrounded by a sweet cake and a delicious graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream.  Everyone wins here.  These are REALLY delicious.

PS- Totally off topic, but Key West has this great place called the Key Lime Pie Factory.  They sell pieces of frozen key lime pie, dipped in chocolate, and served on a stick like a popsicle.  *swoon*.   Put it on your bucket list.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chocolate-dipped Dinosaur Rice Krispy Treat Pops

My 4 year old has been out of  "school" for 2 weeks now and so far he has:  asked for 10 million snacks, made a coral reef out of marshmallows and licorice, corrected his grandmother's grammar (further and farther are NOT the same word),  and eaten every single meal in his treehouse.

I'm thinking it's going to be a long summer.

I have some fun science/social studies "units" planned for him to keep us from rotting of boredom, so I'll have some themed foods coming all summer, but there will also be plenty of the usual.

This week we are starting a dinosaur unit.  If I had realized this would entail long conversations about carrion and how carnivores shred their meat I probably wouldn't have been so eager to start with this one.  At any rate we had a great time making these pops and I have some super cute dino-themed cookies to share with you later.

Happy Summer to all!

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