Friday, August 28, 2009

Cookie of the Week!!!- Soft Ginger-Apple Cookies

These were an amazing hit!!! The kids gobbled them up and so did the people in Adam's office. The thing that we found out with these, my kids LOVE crystallized ginger! Who knew!! This one comes from the September 15 Woman's Day magazine. I got this one in the mail and just had to make these. Now, I am not a fan of ginger in anyway, but even I loved these. The ginger flavor is a more subtle one, and the yummy apple buttercream frosting helps everything go down. And now for the recipe!


1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger SEE SIDE NOTE *
Apple Buttercream Frosting
Slivered Crystallized ginger

Apple Buttercream Frosting:

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-2 Tbsp apple juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350. Beat butter and sugar for the cookies in a loarge bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients, except flour and crystallized ginger, until blended (mixture will look curdled).
2. With mixer on low speed, add flour and beat just until blended; stir in crystallized ginger.
3. Drop by level tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 min. until tops look dry. Cool on Baking sheet 1 min. before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
4. Frosting: Beat frosting ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Then beat on high speed 1 min. until fluffy.
5. Spread a rounded teaspoonful of buttercream frosting on each cookie. Sprinkle with slivered ginger. Refrigerate in an airtight container with wax paper between layers.

*Side Note- You can find crystallized ginger at most Asian groceries for dirt cheap, and some grocery stores are starting to carry it. You could always make some yourself, but it would be easier to just buy it. Or become friends with someone that can get some!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thank you whoever!

Yesterday in the mail I got a very nice surprise! I received a $100 Meijer gift card from someone as a nice gift. The envelope had my address as the mailing address and the return address, and they both appear to be in different hand writing. The post mark is also from South Bend, so it had to be someone local. I have a few ideas of who it could be, but I guess I will never know for sure. I just want to say thank you whoever you are. You have helped me to buy groceries for the next month and save money to go toward very important bills.

Some day when I am able, I promise to pay it forward!

Again, Thank you!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cookie of the Week! Lemon-Zucchini Cornbread Cookies

Okay, so welcome to a new feature on my blog. I am going to do a cookie of the week every Friday (which the people who work with Adam are very happy about, they get leftovers!). I am going to try some new and different cookie recipes. I can tell you what worked and what didn't. If I enjoy myself I will keep this up, but right now my goal is just until the end of September.

For our first cookie I really needed to use up some of the zucchini laying around the house. A bunch of my friends are growing zucchini and are giving them to me, so I have a big pile. Then the newest Everyday Food magazine arrived and lo and behold there was a cookie recipe with zucchini. I wanted to try it. I had to go buy the lemon and cornmeal, but those were not expensive at all. The lemons were on sale for .69 and the cornmeal for a large box was under $3. I had everything else in the pantry. If you are thinking that the cornmeal might be much, just think, now you can make polenta too!

So here is the recipe:

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. packed finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 medium zucchini grated on small holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)

1. Preheat the oven to 325. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until mixture is crumbly. Add zucchini and stir until a thick dough forms.

2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are light golden brown at edges, 25-30 min., rotating the sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Makes 25 cookies.

Now, this cookie came out without a heavy zucchini taste. I also didn't get the amount of cookies it claims! Not sure what I did wrong to not get that, but oh well! I even got the kids to eat them, and I would consider them some what of a healthy cookie ;-)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy 1 year to me!

Well, today is my 1 year blogaversary! I gotta say that I started this thing on a whim and it has turned into something I would have never guessed. I have almost 4,000 hits and those are from almost every continent! I've also met some great new friends through my blog. I have inspired (or so I'm told), and have been inspired. I seriously thought that the only person who would read this would be Adam! Some of my posts that have gotten the most hits have been my baking ones. Awesome!!! I know that these recipes aren't mine, but it seems that I make them easier to find. It might even have been one you were wondering would work. So in honor of my 1 year I have decided to do a fun giveaway! Yes, you read that right! A giveaway. This is different because I am giving away a cookbook filled with all the recipes from my blog and some of my favorite ones that haven't made it to the blog yet. I will be working on this starting today so that way I hope to have it finished by the deadline. So here is what you need to do to enter.

1. Post a comment. It could be anything, hello, what you have liked, if you know me in real life, if you have a request that I make, whatever!!!

2. Get an extra entry if you become a follower.

3. If you post about this with a link on your blog or facebook, you can get another entry! You just need to let me know.

The deadline will be......August 31 midnight eastern time!!!

I will use a random generator to pick the winner and will be announced on Sept. 1.

Starting next week, until the last week in September, I will start a cookie of the week post. Every week I will be making a different cookie and letting you know what worked and what didn't. This was inspired by a internet friend of mine, Heather, who is doing a different cupcake each day in the month of August. Her ideas are amazing! Stop by her blog and check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Homemade English Muffins

Adam is obsessed with bread! Any kind of bread! One year he got a bread cookbook, but only recently has started to make the things in it. One day a few weeks ago he decided to make English muffins with the kids. They turned out fantastic!!! They were way better than the store bought kind, but looked just like them. Here is the recipe he uses:

4 cups white bread flour (we have been using all purpose and they turn out fine!)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2-1 2/3 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 Tsp. yeast
1 tbsp. melted butter or olive oil
rice flour or semolina for dusting (again, we have just been using flour)

1. Generously flour a non-stick baking sheet. Very lightly grease a griddle. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Blend 2/3 cup of the milk, sugar, and yeast together. Stir in the remaining milk and butter or oil.

2. Add the yeast mixture to the center of the flour and beat for 4-5 min., until smooth and elastic. The dough will be soft but just hold its shape. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise, in a warm place, for 45-60 min. or until doubled in bulk.

3. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and knock back. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a floured 3" plain cutter, cut out 9 rounds. (We have gotten 2 dozen out of this recipe!)

4. Dust with rice flour or semolina and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and let to rise, in a warm place, for about 20-30 min.

5. Warm the griddle over medium heat. Carefully transfer the muffins in batches to the griddle. Cook slowly for about 7 min. on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Silly Faces

One day last week the kids were building towers with blocks. L was so proud of his, he asked me to take a picture. The photo happy mom that I am was very happy to oblige. So I got a shot of the kids with the towers, and then thought it would be fun to get a close face shot of both of them. L did great with his, he loves getting is photo taken. D on the other hand.....

My handsome boy!

She decided to make faces...

until at the end she was laughing so hysterically that she couldn't make anymore faces for me. And when she was done she insisted in seeing them all on the camera. Which then prompted another laughing fit from all. Good times!

Table Project

So after moving into our new cute little house, we realized that there isn't enough room for a dinning room table and chairs. What to do? We had many "discussions" about this. And finally we came up with a solution. We had an old table that I bought years ago for my apartment. It is the height of a coffeetable, and only has 3 legs. We would paint a fun design on it, and attach folding legs on the bottom. This way we can store it folded up behind the couch, and only bring it out when needed. We do have a small closed in back porch that we can stack the chairs up in for more room. Adam got to work sketching out a design. The inspiration was a peacock feather, since those are a reaccuring theme throughout our relationship. I was my turn to scope out some colors and get to work painting. I have gotten a ton done, but have slowed down these last few weeks. I am looking forward to finishing it, and putting it to good use!

Blueberry Picking

The kids and I went blueberry picking at a great local organic farm here in town with my mom's group. My mom was able to come along too! What a blast!!! My kids have never been big blueberry eaters, but give them the ability to pull them off the tree to eat, and watch out! D was just shoveling handfuls into her mouth the entire time we were there. One of the other kids gave L a bucket, then he was so into picking and putting them into his bucket. I froze tons of them, so we have fresh berries all year. But I have made a few things with them too. I made blueberry yogurt Popsicles, muffins, and pancakes. D LOVED the pancakes. The pictures will show just how much she did!

We Moved!

Our old landlords told us that they were selling the house we were living in. They would have given us 2 months rent free to find someplace once they sold it, but I was worried about them selling in the winter. I had been looking on Craigslist and driving around looking for places for 2 months, and nothing was working out. They didn't sell the place, but with 2 small kids, it is too much to worry about when and where you will be moving! On an off chance I drove past this house and the one directly across the street from it. Both were for rent, so I called. D and I went to check this one out because the other didn't allow pets (we have an 8 year old cat). I fell in love at first sight. It is an adorable cottage bungalow just 9 blocks north of our old house. So we were happy to stay in the same neighborhood. It is only 2 small bedrooms, but it has a finished basement. The backyard is perfect for the kids, and it has a garage. The street the house is on is not a very busy street, and it is very quiet here. We had to act fast, the landlord was starting to get 9 calls a day on it. So in the middle of planning a birthday party, 2 birthdays and Father's day, we got a house. We gave 2 weeks notice of our moving and starting packing like crazy. The week we moved it was the hottest so far this year. We have been here a month now, and still love it like crazy! We don't plan on moving for a few years now. And I finally have a good size kitchen to do all my baking and cooking in. All of my stuff fits in with plenty of work space! I'm in heaven!!!

The Birthday's

The first 5 photos were taken at the kids birthday party by my great friend Janine of Studio 16 portraits! She does an amazing job, and I love everything that she does. She is an wonderful friend, photographer, mom, and an all around fantastic person!

Happy 3rd Birthday my big boy!!

L and his fishing pole. He looks like he knows what he is doing already!

Happy 2nd Birthday D!!!

D's birthday cup cakes

Let me see if I can catch up here! Both kids had a fantastic party. All their friends and family were there, and they got some really fun presents. On D's actual birthday, Adam took the day off. Good thing since we had found a house and came to hand in the application for it. We had pizza for dinner and then I made Blues Clues cup cakes. I got her a Melissa and Doug Birthday cake wooden play set. She thought it was the best thing in the world. L was jealous the entire day, but we just kept explaining to him that his birthday was Saturday and then it would be his turn. I always knew it was fun to have the kids birthday's so close, but this was the first year that I realized that there will be jealousy that week!

L's birthday we headed as a family over to a art fair in a park and then headed over to an environment fair in a different park. He had a great time exploring with daddy at all the parks. We headed home that night for a special dinner and had Nemo cup cakes. We got him a Cars fishing pole. Daddy was more excited about it then he was I think!

The very next day was Father's Day! Talk about a very busy week!!! We got Daddy a fishing pole too, and I took pictures of the kids as part of a annual tradition! We went to the in-laws house for a nice little cookout.

Boy we packed a ton in that week!

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