Tuesday, December 14, 2010

candy cane kiss cookies

photo & recipe via Recipe Girl

Forget about all those "other" Christmas cookie recipes, you only need this one! I don't even like mint flavored anything, but I can NOT stop eating these. And so far they have been a big hit with everyone! My only tip would be to take them out at 10 minutes, leaving them a bit gooey in the middle. I found the smaller the balls, the cuter the cookies; so get extra Kisses if you make them small.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp peppermint extract, optional (I left it out)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/2 cup finely chopped Candy Cane flavored Hershey’s Kisses
Granulated sugar
Additional, unwrapped Candy Cane Kisses- about 60 (large bag)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Make room in either refrigerator or freezer for your cookie sheet.

2. In large mixer bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, extracts and egg. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until creamy (2-3 minutes). In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet mixture and beat, scraping bowl often until well blended (1-2 minutes). The mixture will be a bit crumbly. Stir in chopped Kisses.

3. Shape dough into ¾-inch to 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place 1-inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set. As soon as they come out of the oven, press a Candy Cane Kiss in the center of each cookie. They’ll crack a little around the edges, so just use your fingers to kind of hold the cookie together while you set the kiss inside. Put cookie sheet (with cookies) immediately into the freezer (preferred) or refrigerator so that the Kisses will set quickly. As soon as you press them into the cookie, they will begin to soften… so if you can get them into the freezer then they will keep their Kiss shape.

4. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to a week. In the freezer they should be okay for a couple of weeks.

Yield: About 2 1/2 dozen

Friday, December 3, 2010

me want cookies!!!!

"Sometimes me think what is love, and then me think love is what last cookie is for. Me give up the last cookie for you." ~Cookie Monster

The holidays!! A perfect excuse to do some MORE baking! Love it! I keep several folders online of recipes I want to try and these are just a few from my baking (my most cherished!) archives. Since so many people go to cookie exchange parties this time of year, I thought I would post some cookie ideas. I haven't tried these yet though, so don't blame me if they aren't as tasty as they look. Happy baking everyone!
Rolo Cookies
Ginger Sandwich Cookies
Peppermint Candy Cookies
Florida Christmas Cookies
Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Homemade Oreos
Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting

Friday, November 26, 2010


Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Rich would be the first word that comes to mind when eating these! Wow! But a really great dessert for a large crowd.  

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup caramel topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. 

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

In a small bowl, combine all streusel ingredients; sprinkle evenly with streusel topping. 

Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping (I did this as I served them) and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy!

photo & recipe via The Girl Who Ate Everything
recipe adapted from Paula Deen

Sunday, November 7, 2010


One year has come and gone my sweet girl. You learned to crawl, walk & dance; you are your big brother's shadow (wow does he love you, and you him); and you have become YOU...cuddly, independent, strong in body & mind, determined, beautiful & silly. 

I can't wait to watch you grow. And baby girl, the things coming your way will be magical and wonderful, and difficult and sad, but it will be your amazing life. Embrace it all and LIVE it well.

Monday, October 18, 2010


We spent the day at Thompson Farm in Bucksville, SC, and we could not believe that we had never heard of this place! Julious and Amanda Thompson (who had 15 children by the way!) began their life together here in 1845; the house pictured above was built in 1825 by SC Legislator, Cornelius Sarvis. It is still a working farm operated by the fourth generation of Thompson's.
They have a phenomenal 8-acre corn maze (pictured below) designed by the biggest corn maze designer in the U.S. Our fearless leader, Drew, led us through to the end...a journey which takes on average an hour and a half! And I am fairly confident that had I led our way, it would have taken at least two!
Just along the edge of the corn maze, was this lovely spot where we took some photos of our Sophie. Lanterns hanging from a large tree with a wagon set next to it, with vases full of beautiful flowers. Beautiful spot for an impromptu photo shoot!
The fun doesn't end at the corn maze! Pappy's Play Area was a quaint, lovely little spot filled with various activities for the kiddos: large corn bin (Sophie did not want to get out!), goat tower, hen house, duck races, and enough things for the children to play on to keep them very happy!

Here it is! The design is different every year and it is phenomenal. Would highly recommend this wonderful farm; I'm only sorry we didn't know about it sooner!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Well I finally broke down and bought Drew a lunchbox, not just any lunchbox for my kiddo...a Planet Lunchbox! You may think I'm crazy for spending this much ($70 including shipping!!), but I have my reasons: Planet Lunchboxes are eco-friendly (eliminates disposable containers and bags) durable, promote healthy eating, made of food-safe stainless steel, and it will last him for years. And you don't HAVE to buy the magnets or the carry bag, or the extra containers (I just did it for ease). I want my kiddos to eat as healthy as possible; I'm sick of kids being fed processed, frozen foods.

P.S. He was so excited when he got it last night that he made me serve his dinner in it!


photo via itsy bitsy foodies

Sunday, October 3, 2010


recipe via The Nerd's Wife

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 cups rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla; mix well. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice; gradually add to butter mixture. Stir in the oats until incorporated.

Drop by tablespoon onto a baking sheet about two inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown. (I left them in for 10 minutes and took them out when they were still a little gooey in the middle, they will bake a bit more on the pan.) Makes about 3 dozen. Enjoy my lil' pumpkins!


Thursday, September 23, 2010


I would move to a cooler climate just to be able to wear boots again. Don't get me wrong, you can wear them here...for like a month or two. So, since I don't have a spare $300-$500 (darn you Old Gringo's!) or have much of a need for these leather wonders, I will just pretend shop.

Oh, and if you can afford these or want more information, just click on the photo!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I am a blog addict! So many creative, funny, talented people in this world and now we all get to share in their lives via the internet. Lucky us! I have a fairly large list of blogs that I scan/read on a weekly basis (if not daily) and this is one of my favorites. Catalog Living is the creation of Los Angeles comedian Molly Erdman and it takes a very humorous look at the people (namely Elaine & Gary) living inside our catalogs.

People who need people...

Elaine blamed herself for not being more specific with Gary in her request for him to "put up some pictures of people."

Time to come clean...

Gary has no idea what exactly Elaine does in the shower every day, but he certainly knows better than to touch her wooden shower spoon or shower branch.

Be prepared...

Elaine got the feeling that Gary planned to stay in the bathroom for a long time.

The tides are turning...

Gary Jr. was getting a little tired of his parents none-too-subtle digs at his recent bed-wetting phase.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


After a year of listening to Drew complain about school lunches, and then watching Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution", I have decided to let him take his lunch to school...except on Friday's (apparently he can "tolerate" their pizza).

But making up lunches is more difficult than I expected. It can't be refrigerated and it can't be warmed up, so how many healthy food alternatives does that leave? Well apparently a lot according to Melissa from "another lunch". I can only aspire to be as creative as her; chances are good that my child will not be taking star-shaped cheese slices or sandwiches made to look like Sponge Bob, but I can certainly gain inspiration from her food selections.

Lunch Box #1 ~ baby carrots, striped Granny Smith apples, chocolate chips, organic strawberries, pretzels, granola bar & fruit leather.

Lunch Box #2 ~ fruit leather star, goldfish crackers, smiling orange, checkered apple, kiwi flower, sausage & cheddar cheese cubes, swiss cheese & peas

Lunch Box #3 ~ spinach, cucumber & cherry tomato salad, homemade ranch dressing, cheese quesadilla, veggie straws and blueberries

photos via another lunch

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Quick and easy recipe for those nights when you don't have a lot of time to cook! Obviously frozen chicken strips aren't the healthiest choice, so an alternative would be to use leftover grilled or baked chicken. But I have to say these little wraps are SO good, even with the frozen chicken strips!
1 serving

1 9-inch flour tortilla
1 cup (about 3-4) frozen breaded frozen chicken strips
Tomato, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Lettuce, spinach, or any other green leafy vegetable you have on hand
Shredded cheese (I used a blend)
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon Ranch dressing

Bake chicken strips as directed. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, then chop into bite-size pieces. Toss chicken with hot sauce to coat.

Spread Ranch dressing in a thin layer over tortilla. Add cheese, chicken strips and additional ingredients to tortilla. Roll up the tortilla, and enjoy!

photo & original recipe from The Curvy Carrot


It has been a while since I have posted a recipe! Been a while since I have cooked a meal! This was a good one! The original recipe called for broccoli raab...we cooked it, tasted it, and quickly changed to good ol' regular broccoli! The raab has a very strong and distinct taste, and needless to say we didn't enjoy it. Broccoli was delicious and I'm sure you could substitute other veggies, such as squash, and it would be equally as yummy.
Serves 3-4
adapted from this recipe

Broccoli (use as much as you want)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice (next time I would probably use more tomatoes)
1/2 white onion, finely diced
Pinch of chili flakes
3/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth, divided
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Black pepper
1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 pound fresh (not dried) fettuccine
Big handful of flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves, roughly chopped

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Boil the broccoli until tender, remove (leaving the water for the pasta).

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Do not burn it. Add the garlic, onion, chili flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and saute for three minutes, until softened.

Whisk the butter and onions while drizzling in the juice from the tomato can. You want to get the butter to emulsify, as in a beurre blanc (rich, hot butter sauce), or in this case a beurre rouge. If it gives you any trouble, just start whisking in a little more cold butter. Then add the tomato chunks, 1/2 cup of the wine, and the lemon juice. Bring to a slow simmer and reduce a little, until it coats the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning; it probably needs more salt and possibly lemon juice.

Preheat a serving platter or bowl in the oven (200 degrees F is good).

When you are nearly ready to serve, add the broccoli to the sauce to reheat, and boil the pasta. Fresh pasta usually takes about 3 minutes. When it is al dente, immediately strain it and toss it in the skillet with the sauce and the remaining 1/4cup of wine (I left out the additional wine). Toss half the sauce, pasta, half the cheese, and a few grinds of black pepper together until the noodles are coated.

To serve, use tongs to put the noodles on the serving platter. Pour the rest of the sauce, which won't have mixed in too well, over the top, distributing the broccoli and tomatoes. Top with the rest of the cheese, more black pepper, and the parsley or basil and eat immediately.
photo & original recipe via Herbivoracious

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Where can you enjoy carnival rides, eat foot-long corn dogs & make your own slushies, go to a 1-ring circus, pet exotic animals, attend a concert featuring nationally known acts, watch a rodeo / tractor pull / auto race / bull riding championships, AND enjoy a day with your entire family? The Missouri State Fair!

I grew up just outside the State Fair town and let me just say I visited the Fair a LOT growing up! But I haven't been in probably 18 years (ouchy to my ego), until this year that is. And I have to be honest and say that I loved it! Keep in mind I'm a farm girl, that's been away from the farm a long time, but I still miss it. The wide open spaces, the safety to let your children play outside unsupervised, the smells of grass and hay (minus the allergies), and the quietness...oh the quietness.

Back to the fair...the MO State Fair began in 1901 in Sedalia, Missouri. Set on 150 acres, it attracts around 330,000 visitors from the Show-Me State and elsewhere each year. It's very rural and highlights agriculture and livestock; it's a bit hokey and a lot country, but it represents where I grew up and honors the extremely hard-working, generous, friendliest people on Earth...Midwesterners! Said with a bit of bias, but I believe it to be true.

Goodbye State Fair, goodbye Missouri. I'll be back soon...

photos via Missouri State Fair

Monday, August 9, 2010


The "World's Most Beautiful..." according to Budget Travel Magazine. These are just a few of my favorites, but you HAVE to go look at all the amazing photos I didn't post! Wow! There is such beauty all around us...if only I could afford to see all these places firsthand!

...hotel pools. You can take small sailboats out on the saltwater pool at San Alfonso del Mar, in Algarrobo, Chile. The pool measures two thirds of a mile in length—Guinness World Records calls it the largest in the world. (Courtesy San Alfonso del Mar)

...bridges. The 16th-century "Old Bridge," or Stari Most, in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was rebuilt in 2004 from its own rubble. Do like the locals have been doing for centuries and take a 66-foot dive from its central arch into the Neretva River below. (Danilo Krstanovic/Reuters/Corbis)

...castles. Ludwig II of Bavaria, also known as Mad King Ludwig, began planning his famous Neuschwanstein Castle in the 1860s. A century later it would inspire another visionary structure: Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle is modeled extensively on it. (© Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung)

...lakes. Croatia's 16 blue-green Plitvice Lakes are connected by hundreds of waterfalls. The waters are amazingly clear. Walk on well-maintained wooden planks to get to the edge.


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