December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Image from Jenna Marie Studios...more on her later:)  But I will say...AMAZING:)

I hope you all enjoy your holiday and enjoy spending time with your family!  That is my favorite part of Christmas...well, that and eating!!  I will see you next week...10 pounds heavier! This video reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas. I hope you enjoy it as well.

December 15, 2010

Cream Puffs

How is everyone doing on their Christmas shopping?  Are you having as much fun as I am with all the traffic, and rude people?  Just kidding...I guess I should say are you having fun with all the decorations, the Christmas  music and spending tons of money?  Hows THAT for Christmas Spirit??

These are just your standard Cream Puff recipe that I'm sure you ALL don't have the cream recipe...with some added ganache to the top which just makes them THAT much better:)  I could have eaten a million of these bad boys, which is why I gave them away to people.  That's what I do friends...I bake and give away.  If you live by me...just stop by, I'm sure I will have something to give you!  Make them small and then you can eat as many as you want!!

Cream Puffs

Boil well in a medium saucepan:
1/2 c. butter
1 c. water

Add quickly to above mixture:
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Stir until it forms a ball and doesn't stick to the pan.

4 eggs
Add one egg at a time and mix well with an electric beater before adding the next egg.  Place on a greased cookie sheet, whatever size and shape you want.  Pun in an oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce to 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool.

Cream:  recipe from Get Off Your Butt and Bake!

1 small box INSTANT vanilla pudding
1 1/3 c. cold water
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Mix above ingredients together with a wire wisk.  Set in fridge to set up, for 15-20 minutes.  This will set up and be quite firm.

Fold in:
2 1/2 c. Cool Whip
Keep in well sealed container in the fridge...this will keep for several days.

Cut off tops of cream puffs, scoop out the eggy stuff, spoon in the cream.  Put in fridge for several hours to set up.


1/2 c. chocolate chips
2 1/2 TBS heavy cream

Put chocolate chips in small bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate is smooth.  Add the heavy cream and stir until smooth.  Microwave again for about 10 seconds, so it is even smoother.  Put in zip lock baggie, cut the tip and drizzle all over the cream puffs.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

December 14, 2010

Reindeer Tile

 I know that school is going to be out soon and that means CLASSROOM PARTIES!  Which are always fun:)  As you know, there is always a cute craft that the little ones get to do...this is what we are doing for my Son's Kindergarten class.  I saw this at my cousin Jennie's house and flipped out over it!  Who wouldn't want this cuteness from their child??  The best part is...its pretty cheap when you have around 22 kids to work with!
 First thing you need to hunt down is this...Full Sheet Labels from Avery.  Make sure they are clear!  Very important!!  You can find these at Office Max, Staples, etc...They only thing is, is they are about $12.  HOWEVER, you can always split the cost with another class!!  You can get 60 of these out of a package.
The rest of the supplies...
White Tiles, they are shiny...Home Depot....16-.18 cents each!!  SWEET!
Brown Acrylic paint
Clear Acrylic Matte Coating Spray...Hobby Lobby...about $6 (don't forget your coupon!!)
Assorted Sharpies.  Red, brown, black and green.  A pink nose would be cute for the girls:)

Print off the wordage...
Happy Holidays from your little "dear"
School Name
Kindergarten 2010

I am trying to get it so you can just print it off from my blog...but in the meantime, just email me if you want me to send it to you so you don't have to make it up!!  You can get 6 per sheet!!

Next, cut out the labels to fit the tile.
Have some brown paint and your kids thumbs all ready!  Have them dip their thumb in the paint, not too much, and then help them put their 2 thumb prints on the tile, in the middle.

Have them get the sharpie and put the nose, antlers, legs and tail on their deer.  Then add Love, and their name.

When they are done, take the tiles outside and spray them with the Acrylic Spray.  It is SMELLY!  Don't forget the newspaper;)  When it is dried, give them to the child!  Your all done!  You could add some felt on the bottom of each one, if you have time.

December 13, 2010

Teacher Gift Ideas

Hello Friends!   I have had so many people ask me for ideas on what to give teachers for Christmas.  I thought that I would put together a few ideas for you!  I know that you may be tempted to just go run out to Wal-Mart and get a candle...but let me tell you...they will get a million candles!  So be different and do something special and meaningful for your fabulous teacher!

Now I know that one of my sons teachers reads this I'm not going to tell you what I'm making:)  It needs to be a surprise!!  I hope this will help you! cards aren't too shabby either:)

 Here is the first one...and my personal favorite.  It is from Shanty 2 Chic.  Those girls have some talent!!  So beautiful!  What teacher wouldn't want this!
 Here is an easier version if you are running out of time!  From the same fabulous girls at Shanty 2 Chic.
 I have been making these coasters for quite awhile now, and everyone always loves them!  You can personalize them for anything!  If you need to, you can even have a stamp made!  Love that!  Here is where you get the details!
 This would be fun to get this all cute and Christmas-y with some fabulous paper and a fun ornament!  Make sure to add a fun little gift card under the chocolates:)  Here are the details!
 The girls at Eighteen 25 designed this, and I love it!  When you open the box it has all sorts of fun goodies inside!  You could put some lip gloss, hand sanitizer, chocolate, lotion, etc..
This is a quick, easy one to do for you teacher...or neighbor, friend, etc...this is just a can (like pineapple), you use the clean edge can opener and open the bottom, clean it out and add some yummy candy!  Then you glue the bottom back on with some E600 glue.  Add a gift card and you will be loved for the rest of the year! Here are the details.
 Ok, I know that this isn't a teacher gift...HOWEVER, I know we all have classroom parties coming up and I HAD to share this!  I am so making this for my boys classes.  This came from Gourmet Mom On the Go.  Its a Snowman snack!  All the little things you need to make a is what is inside:
Isn't that fabulous!  I know...where do people come up with this!!  So creative!  OH!  Did I mention she gives  a free printable template!  Yeah!!

I hope that this helps you all on your way to a fabulous teacher gift!  Do something special for them...they do so much for your child!  And I am so putting my foot down on getting them anything with apples or candles (Scentsy does NOT fall under the candle category...Scentsy is the COOLEST gift EVER!), unless that is their thing:)

So what are you getting your teacher??

December 10, 2010

Raspberry Almond Thumbprints

 Good morning Everyone! is the LAST day of my cookie week!  I saved the best for last:)  I had a million to choose from, and that I still want to make, but my Behind is BEGGING me to quite eating and making cookies...for now.  I think it has grown:) 

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Wendy...I LOVE this cookie!  Once you eat one, you just can't stop eating them!  Since there are RASPBERRIES in the jam, it makes them healthy...right?  I hope you enjoy these...perfect for a cookie exchange!

Raspberry Almond Thumbprints

1 cup butter

2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon milk or more


Preheat oven to 340 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Mix in flour until dough comes together. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Make a small hole in the center of each ball (a chapstick lid works great). Fill the hole with jam. Great tip: Put some jam in a zip-lock baggie, cut a small corner off and it pipes in very easily.

Stick in the fridge for 20 min or the freezer for about 10 to help the cookies firm up and keep their shape while baking.

Bake for 13 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Let cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet.

In a medium bowl, mix together the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and milk until smooth. Drizzle lightly over warm cookies using the ziplock baggie method.

December 9, 2010

Chocolate Thin Mints

 Hello Blogging Friends!  Boy have I got a treat for you!!  This may be one of my FAVORITE minty cookie EVER!  (I know I say that this one is my favorite in every post...but hey...what can I say??)

You see that yummy white center?  That would be a York Peppermint Pattie!  Oh yes, I went there!!  Now imagine it nice and warm with an amazing buttercream frosting melting in your mouth.  SO GOOD!  Go ahead, run to the store, buy some Yorks and get baking!  Oh, and your welcome:)

Jennie...thanks again for another amazing recipe!! (My cousin gave this to me like 10 years ago!)

Chocolate Thin Mints

1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 pkg York Peppermint Patties

Combine the first four ingredients in bowl.  In separate bowl, beat sugar and butter until well blended.  Add vanilla and egg.  Slowly add dry ingredients.  Mix.  Chill dough for 30 minutes if it's too soft.  Shape dough around peppermint pattie.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Top with powdered sugar or your favorite Buttercream frosting.  They taste the best really warm.  So when you eat them, and they are cold, put in the microwave for 8 seconds...just a tip:)

December 8, 2010

White Chocolate Chip Lemon Cookies

Day #3 is here!!  I know you have been so excited to see what I put up today:) I have posted this cookie before, but it is just too good to not remind you about them.  I got this recipe at a cookie exchange one year and I can't get enough of them!  Its a good cookie to break up all the mint and chocolate that you may tend to do every year.  A little lemon is ALWAYS good!!  I hope you enjoy them!  I have already eaten like half of them!!

White Chocolate Chip Lemon Cookies

1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 TBS milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla 
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla, mix well.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture; mix well.  Stir in white chocolate chips, lemon zest and pecans.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown.  Cool 3 minutes on sheet; remove and cool completely on cooling rack.

December 7, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Surprise Cookies

Now for Day #2 on our Cookie Week!   I'm not going to lie to you, these Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies taste BETTER than they look. They are sooo rich and tasty and gooey and peanut buttery, the list goes on. What's not to love when you have a Reeses Peanut Butter cup, marshmallows, chocolate ganache and M&M's? Try these, you won't be disappointed! The cookie part came from my cousin, Sharlyn who got it from Dinners Ready. The marshmallows, ganache and M&M's came from none other than the Picky Palate! I didn't use Picky Palates cookie part because it only made 12...I need alot more than that for all the Christmas cookie plates I need to make:)

Peanut Butter Cup Surprise Cookies butt just got bigger cookies

1/2 cup margarine (I used butter)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
about 24 miniature peanut butter cups (mine made about 32 cookies)

36 mini marshmallows
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
2-3 TBS heavy cream
1/4 c. mini M&M's

Cream margarine and peanut butter. Add sugars and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, salt and soda. Chill one hour, shape into 1 inch balls. Spray mini-muffin pans with Pam. Put balls into pans and bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Remove and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into the middle of the cookies. Top each cookie with 3 mini marshmallows and return to oven for 2-3 more minutes or until marshmallows are puffed. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted smooth. Stir in 2-3 TBS heavy cream until silky and smooth. You can return back to microwave for 15 seconds to get a thinner consistency. Spoon chocolate over top of puffed marshmallows and sprinkle with mini M&M's.

December 6, 2010

Thin Mint Cookies

 This week I am posting a cookie recipe EVERYDAY!!!  I know...I'm excited too!  So tell all your friends to come over and introduce them to Swanky Pear!!  I need more followers:)  I figured that many of you have been invited to a Cookie Swap and you are wondering WHAT COOKIE SHOULD I BRING??  Hopefully this week will help you decide.

So this first cookie is kind of embarrassing to even post because they are so simple.  But let me tell you.  These will be a favorite to all who bite into them!  I brought these to a cookie swap one year and everyone loved them!  Even if you drop them off as a neighbor gift...make them look all pretty...its all about the packaging people!  
This is just an old formula can that I decorated with paper, put the cookies in a cute bag and tie with ribbon.  A 5 minute project!

Thin Mint Cookies

Ritz Crackers
Andes Mints (you can get them in the baking isle next to chocolate chips)
Crushed Candy Canes

Lay some parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Then melt your Andes Mints.  The amount is up to you, depending on how many you are going to make.  I use the whole bag.  Start with 30 seconds, stir, and then do 15 seconds after that until they are melted.  Start dipping your Ritz Crackers in the chocolate, scrap off extra on bottom and lay on parchment paper.  Sprinkle with candy cane BEFORE it dries.  Let them set in the fridge until set up.  Enjoy!

November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Dessert Table

 I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!  I don't know about you, but I basically just cooked and ate the WHOLE time!  It. Was. Fabulous!!  I have to say that my favorite part of the day is always the dessert.  I mean...HELLO!!  Thats kinda my thing:)  This Thanksgiving I wanted to do a little dessert table and this is what I did...Enjoy the pictures!
 We had Cream Cheese and Butterscotch Pumpkin Pies from Picky Palate...they were to die for!  Also, tons of Oreo Truffles.

 We had Pumpkin Blondies and Pumpkin Whoopie are all on my blog:)  Pumpkin Pies...of course:)

 Pumpkin Gingerbread good!!  Recipe is below.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle or Shots
Recipe from: Paula Deen

2 (14 oz) pkg gingerbread mix (only 1 if doing the shots)
1 (5.1 oz.) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30 oz.) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 tsp. cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12 oz.) Cool Whip
1/2 c. gingersnaps

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely.  Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool.  Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cinnamon into the pudding.  Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl.  Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping.  Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding and whipped topping.  Sprinkle on the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired.  Refrigerate overnight.  Trifle can be layered in shot glasses.  (I got mine at a Restaurant Supply Store)

November 22, 2010

Sesame Street Cupcakes

 I was sooo excited to show you these fun little cupcakes!  My husband needed them for  They always choose a funny character for one of their co-workers and this year was Sesame Street!  I had fun making these little guys!
 For the eyes I used the Mint Mentos, mini chocolate chips and some "glue" (which is powdered sugar and milk).  I cut the tips of the mini chocolate chips off and then glued them on the Mentos...thats it!  Eyes complete!
 For the mouth, I used Oreos.  Use a bread knife to carefully cut the Oreo...First take out the creme:)  For Cookie Monster I cut them right in half.  Elmo...cut right above the "oreo", use the big half for Elmo and the small half for Oscar.
For Elmo's nose I used an Orange Lemonhead.

Supplies you need:

Favorite Cupcake recipe
Frosting in 5 colors: red, blue, green, dark brown, light brown
mini chocolate chips
Orange Lemonheads

Source: Etsy...Typewink

November 12, 2010

A Tip For You:)

I don't know about you, but this week has been CRAZY busy for us!  We have had lots of running around and lots of running after my 17 month old baby.  He is such a mess!  He is in that stage where he is getting into EVERYTHING and climbing on EVERYTHING and playing in the toilet and the toilet paper.  He also somehow manages to find markers and draw all over the walls and floor.  Soon I will look back on this and laugh:)  Right???  

Another reason its been so crazy is that a friend of mine introduced me to a little tip, and I have been going CRAZY and cleaning everything in sight!!  It is so fabulous, I wanted to share it with you!!

This little mixture will clean everything and make baseboards, doors, bath tubs, floors, etc clean and bright!  Its amazing!  I have been doing a bucket a day!  Its so fun... weird, right?  But you know...flu season is coming up and you might as well get rid of germs somehow!!
So here is the magic recipe:

1 Bucket
Hot Water
3 capfuls of bleach, I like the lavender smelling one:)
1 squirt of dish soap

Fill your bucket with HOT water, add the bleach and dish soap.  Clean till your hearts content!

Anyone else have any fabulous tips?  I would love to hear about them, as I'm sure many others would too!

November 8, 2010

Chocolate Pie

Yes...this is as good as it looks, and IS NOT fattening;)  So you can eat slice after slice.  Shoot, you can eat the whole pie!  I will for sure be making this for Thanksgiving...its a nice change from all the pumpkin and apple stuff.  It is incredibly rich...but you still will have a hard time not eating more!!

I was bad and used a store bought crust.  Next time I think I will make a graham cracker crust (I will give the recipe).  The chocolate was good...but a little rich.  Either way will be delicious though!  Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Pie

Graham Cracker Crust: (Betty Crocker)
 1 1/2 c. (about 20 squares) graham crackers, finely crushed
1/3 c. stick butter, melted
3 TBS sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix crumbs, margarine and sugar.  Press mixture firmly against bottom and side of pie plate.  Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown; cool.

Chocolate Pudding: (Martha Stewart)
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 c. milk
4 large egg yolks
2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp. vanilla

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside.  In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and cocoa powder.  Very gradually (a few TBS at a time) whisk in milk, taking care to dissolve cornstarch.  Whisk in egg yolks.

Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters.  Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl.  Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding.

Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (to prevent skin from forming); chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.  Before serving, whisk pudding until smooth; pour onto pie crust.

Whipped Cream:
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. sugar (may use less if you don't want as sweet)
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour cream into bowl and start to beat until it starts to get thick.  Gradually add sugar and vanilla.  Whip until it is right consistency.

November 4, 2010

Hot Chocolate

 I may be thinking why am I putting Christmas up ALREADY!  Well my friends, it IS time to start thinking about gifts.  And I got a good neighbor gift for you!  The best part???  This stuff lasts up to 3 months so you can make it now!  Isn't that FABULOUS?  I thought so!!
 As I am typing this up I am sipping on a nice HOT cup of this stuff.  It is so good!  It is also so easy to make!  I was in the kitchen for a matter of minutes and was able to whip it up in no time at all!  I haven't tested it too much, but if you would like, I'm sure you could substitute some Andes Mint Chips  or Chocolate Chips instead of the white...I think I must try the Andes sometime.  Who doesn't love a little mint in their cup?

Also, you must add some HOMEMADE whipped cream to this stuff!  It is DELISH!  I don't know why, but the real stuff is so much better...well, I do know why...its homemade:)

Hot Cocoa Mix
Source: Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake!!  (Love that blog name;)

Makes about 20 servings
3 c. nonfat dry milk
2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. white chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine ingredients in large bowl.  Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground.  Store in airtight container for up to 3 months.  To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 c. of this mix into 1 c. of hot milk.  Top with whipped cream and some Andes mints.

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 c. Heavy Cream
3-5 TBS sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Start whipping the heavy cream, when it starts to thicken up a bit, gradually start adding the sugar 1 TBS at a time.  Sometimes I add way more sugar, depending on my mood and how sweet my dessert is.  Then add vanilla.  Beat until "whipped cream" consistency.  If you over beat, it may turn into butter:)

November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Blondies

I really hope your not sick of pumpkin recipes yet!!  I HAD to share this last (maybe not last....) recipe with you since it is by FAR my favorite one yet!  My cousin has had this recipe forever and thought it looked good, but hadn't tried it...let me tell you...I will be making these a hundred times before the season is up!  I was expecting a more cookie texture, but it is more cake-like.

You may be tempted to add chocolate chips instead of the white, DON"T DO IT!  I promise, they are perfect as is!  Also, if you are like me, you tend to add more spices then what the recipe says, its not necessary for these.  They are perfectly seasoned!  These are a must for Turkey Day!  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Blondies
Source:  adapted from Martha Stewart

2 c. flour
1 TBS pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. sugar
1 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1/2 c. chopped, toasted nuts (opt.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with foil.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.  Stir together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.  Mix in the pumpkin puree.  With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Fold in the white chocolate and butterscotch chips (and nuts, if using) with a rubber spatula.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.

To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board.  Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.

October 30, 2010

Candy Corn Cupcakes

 It's almost HALLOWEEN!!  I don't know about you, but we have a million Halloween Parties this weekend!  I love them!!  I love to bake for them, decorate...but for some reason I am always LAME when it comes to the costume.  My boys ALWAYS change their mind right before the party and then it is complete CHAOS trying to put something together!  One year I will be creative and get my act together and do some AMAZING day:)

Anyway...if you are going to a Halloween Party and need a last minute treat, might I suggest these...I fell in love with them the SECOND I saw them on Our Best Bites.  I knew I had to make them:)  I'm not going to lie to you...they turned out AMAZING!  Love the effect they make!

 My little helper...Connor...16 months old could NOT resist the candy corn.  He was going crazy stuffing the ones on the plate into his mouth.  I had to act quick before he did this...
So he decided for me which one I was going to cut in half so you can see how awesome these look!

Ta-DA!!  Hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!!

Candy Corn Cupcakes
For the technique, check the tutorial out on Our Best Bites

My recipe for the cake:
1 box white cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1 small box vanilla INSTANT pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 c. water

Mix together on low for 30 seconds and then on medium-high for 2 minutes.  (Just like what the box says).  Then get 2 bowls and put half the batter in each bowl.  Tint one bowl yellow and the other bowl orange.  Then fill your cupcake liners with half the yellow batter and half the orange batter.  Bake according to box.

Frosting:  (Don't mind all the butter and shortening:)  It's good, Promise!!)
1 stick salted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c. Crisco
2 lb. powdered sugar
1 TBS vanilla
3-4 TBS milk

Cream butter and crisco together until smooth, add powdered sugar and vanilla, gradually add the milk.  Mix until smooth.

October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Granola

Happy Friday Everyone!  This morning I woke up to my boys (ages 7 and 5) completely dressed, ate breakfast, brushed their teeth, backpacks ready...all I had to do was comb their hair!  Talk about the best day EVER!  I asked why they did this and they said they were just too excited to wear their new PJ's that I made them to school! sweet:)  Hopefully this will continue!  Or I may have to make lots of PJ's as motivation!!

I hope you have enjoyed Pumpkin Week!  I sure have!  I was trying hard to find some fun, different recipes that you could try...hopefully you found a few and loved them!!  If you have, I would love to hear what you thought of them!!

Pumpkin Granola...sounds different, you may be thinking, how would you eat it?  Plain?  Well, yes or with some vanilla yogurt or with milk!  I loved it in all instances!  When you bake it, it just reaks of is Heavenly!
 The recipe calls for pepitas, but I used pecans instead, LOVED THEM!
It would also make a FABULOUS gift to whoever is hosting Thanksgiving!  I would not mind getting this as a gift!

Pumpkin Granola
Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

5 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas or pecans**
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, salt, and pecans**. Mix well.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Whisk until smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

 Ok...I'm going to just cut to the chase...Go to the store RIGHT NOW and get what you need to make these, stay up till midnight if you must, and make these.  You will thank me for it!  I can't believe how amazing these little guys were!  They truly are to die for!  
 Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Martha Stewart and Brown Eyed Baker

Whoopie Pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. all-spice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, all-spice and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
5. Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
7. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the vanilla and beat until smooth.
8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

 These are a few treats that I am giving to the boys' teachers...I thought they were so fun!!  I got the FREE printables from Catch My Party and the idea from Martha Stewart. They are just so fun and everyone loves them!  I filled mine up with candy.  You can use big lunch bags or you can use little party bags (I used the little bags, I got them at Michaels).  They are perfect for prizes at your Halloween party!!