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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cookie bowls

A while back, while wandering around Michael's craft store, I mistakenly walked down the baking isle.  Never a good idea - I always walk out with something. This time it was a cookie bowl pan.  This thing looked so cool and easy to use that I just had to try it.

I got home and gave it a shot.  I used sugar cookie dough (store bought for ease and because I was impatient).    

The first thing I did was roll out the dough and cut it with a glass.  I cut it so the it was about the diameter of the middle of the bowl.  I wanted the sides to hang over slightly, but not go all the way to the bottom of the inverted bowl (the dough would "melt" and move to the bottom).

Place the cut dough on the center of the form.

I didn't experiment with just one - I loaded up all 6!

Now bake according to the directions on the cookie dough package.  I could see some thin spots, but that was ok

After making 2 batches, I thought "These are a little big.  How can I make them smaller?"

Light bulb!  Use a mini muffin tin!

I did the exact same thing as before, just with my mini muffin tin - upside down.

These are the mini's.  Aren't they cute?

Each one has personality.  None of them are perfect - I think that it is so cool!

Side by side comparison - you can see a huge difference.

The little one fits right inside the larger one

After using up all the cookie dough, and letting them cool, I filled each one (and ate any that were too full of holes to fill :)

The larger ones got fresh fruit, and the smaller ones were filled with nutella.

To fill these, I simply put Nutella into a cookie press (I use it like a frosting bag!) and squeezed it into the cups - it looks nicer than just spooning it in.

I made these for jr/high school kids. They were a huge hit, although I did notice some of the larger bowls going to waste - too much cookie is what they said.  As much as I love the idea, the smaller ones are the better choice - no waste and just enough to taste!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brownies in a jar

To go with all my other 'jar recipes'  - here is a Brownie recipe that can be partially pre-made.

Reasons to do this:
  1. Save time in a hurry - half the work is done
  2. Ingredients are already 'saved' and you are not out of cocoa powder in the middle of mixing.
  3. Makes a great gift if you use a pretty jar - great gift in a pinch too.
  4. Cheaper than boxed mix
  5. Healthier than boxed mix

How to do this:
  1. Get some clean jars with lids (plastic or glass, doesn't matter)
  2. LABEL the jars!  Not only do you want to put what this is for (Brownies), you also want to put the directions on the jar.  I use sharpie.  This washes off easily with a magic eraser or nail polish remover.
  3. Put in your ingredients.  They can be mixed, or layered.  Doesn't matter - they get all mixed up with the beaters anyhow.
  4. Seal tightly.  There are ways to seal the jars for a long period of time, but I think you have to use new canning jars.  You can also store in the fridge or freezer.  I keep these in the pantry.  There is nothing that can go bad and they get used very quickly.
  5. You're done!  Now just pull out a jar, add your wet ingredients and enjoy :)

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

When ready to make - just add:

1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

If you want to get fancy - here are the ingredients for the frosting

3 Tbsp butter - soft
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)


  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour (or use parchment paper) an 8" square pan.
  2. Pour dry ingredients into a bowl.  Melt butter and add all wet ingredients.  Mix until all the dry ingredients are just wet.  Do not over mix.  (if you want to add nuts, chocolate chips, m&m's, marshmallows, chocolate candy, this is the time to do it)
  3. Pour mix into prepared pan.
  4. Bake 25-30 min.  Do not overcook
  5. Make frosting and frost brownies while still warm.

Monday, August 25, 2014

New room pt2

Finally - all the sheet rock is up!  The room is painted a sky blue and the finishing touches are being put into place.

There used to be an a/c vent here (where the hole is), but it got moved to the new hallway.  Instead of just sheet rocking over the hole, we are putting in built in shelves for pageant trophies.

The bed is done!  The dresser fits right underneath -perfect for a short 10yo, not so perfect for mommy.  I hit my head every time I come out from putting clothes away

This looks fantastic.  Now I need to get my artist friend over to help paint a tree, branches, and leaves all over the place.  The door will be the tree trunk.  Baby Girl wants her room to be very outdoors-y.  I'm just glad I won't have to see her mess - just close the door.


Friday, August 15, 2014

New bedroom - part 1

When we bought our house I saw a lot of wasted space.  Without designing my own house and having it built, that's pretty much the norm.  I don't know who designs these houses, but they need to think more!

This house originally had a master downstairs and an office (not really usable as a bedroom since there is NO LIGHT! and no closet).  Then upstairs there was 2 bedrooms, a loft, and a media room.  The original owner designed it (to a point) with the builder.  She only had 2 kids.  This was a great layout for her.  Well, I have 3 (plus a few).  I love the office - it will stay an office as long as I can keep it that way.  However, the media room is not a true media room.  There is a big window, no door and a big opening (interior window?) over the stairs.

The room that was intended as a playroom was situated between the 2 upstairs bedrooms.  My girls were tired of sharing and we needed another bedroom for the adoption.

We got to work.

My tiny tornado usually has a messy room - now she needs walls.

I'm not sure why this came out so fuzzy, but by the time I noticed the sheet rock was already up.  The frame was put up in just a day and Baby Girl was so very excited!

Even with the door in place, the kids went between the studs.

While there  was an opportunity, Hubby built Baby Girl a loft bed.  She has a bunk, but this bed is extra sturdy, built into the wall - and Daddy made.

Now it's time for sheetrock!

All of this took about a week - working at night after work and really long on the weekends.  Baby Girl will have her own private room in no time!

Friday, August 8, 2014

ABC's in the Kitchen

I started teaching my kids the ABC's, their name, and sight words before they could talk.  I was that crazy mom that was showing them flashcards in the highchair at 6 months old.  It worked!  All of my kids were reading before 5 years old.  I remember my son reading to me from a college text at 5 years old.  He didn't know all the words, some were really big.  But he could read.  He could read really well. They all still love to read.  My kids are not geniuses.  They just have a love for learning.

Having a 5 year old who could not read his name was uncharted territory for me.  Where do you start?  We started at the basics.  I will show you some of the other things I did later.  Today I will show you just this one.

Being 5 and constantly attached to my hip, I needed something for him to do in the kitchen.  I got a leap frog fridge phonics toy.  I had one of these for the kids when they were little.  So much fun.

Well, toys get old after a while.  How do you make it fun again?  With chalk.

I'm so glad I painted my fridge with chalkboard paint.

I wrote the alphabet - a few letters at a time - on the fridge.  When he could match the magnet with the letter on the fridge, there was a reward.  This particular time, it was adding eggs to the (cold) water in the pot.  We were making egg salad - very slowly.  This was how he helped.

This game worked for several days.  Then I had him say the letter as he was placing it.  After every game, the door was cleaned and the letter were rewritten for every game.  This way they were always in a new order.

The plan:  I had planned to start writing in lower case letter.  Just never got that far before they left.  

There is another toy - same company - that lets you spell 3 letter words.  I couldn't find it on their website, but Amazon has it if you want to spend $100.  Ouch.  If anyone has one, and wants to sell it.  I am looking to buy a working one :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Potato Skins

I love potato skins.  Who doesn't?  The best ones I've ever had were at Toby Keith's I love this Bar and Grill in OKC.  This location is in Bricktown, but cannot be found on the website - strange.  There is one opening in Houston, though!  Yea!

However, I don't want to go to a bar every time I want potato skins.  Plus, I want to know what is in them.  So I experimented and found that they are so simple.

This is not some recipe breakthrough.  I'm sure there are a million recipes online for potato skins.  I like to experiment on my own sometimes.

First - Bake your potatoes.  I wanted a dozen, so I baked 6.  Bake at 350 until soft (insert a knife, if it feels soft, they are done).

Cool and cut potatoes in half.  Carefully scoop out some of the potato. Don't go too deep, you could ruin the skins.  If you don't go deep enough you get too much potato and not enough filling.

Save the potato that you scoop out.

Mix the scooped out potato with shredded cheese, and sour cream.  How much?  How many calories do you want to add?  How yummy do you want them?!  I added enough to make the potato creamy :)

Refill the skins about halfway with your mushed potato concoction.  

Now the fun begins - add you toppings!

Bake again at 350 until your cheese is melty (maybe 5 minutes)

Potato Skins
Makes 12
                6 baked potatoes
                8 Oz sour cream
                2 cups shredded Colby jack (or other shredded cheese)

                Toppings of your choice – cooked bacon, chives, olives, crumbled sausage, rotel

After baking potatoes, allow to cool.  Slice potatoes in half (hot dog).  Scoop out some – not all potato.  Save the removed portions of potato, put in a medium bowl.  Add sour cream 2 Oz at a time until desired creaminess.  Add 1 cup shredded cheese.  Spoon potato mixture into skins.  Using desired topings, top the potato mixture.  Bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly. 

Calorie count:  don’t worry about it, just enjoy the flavor!