Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Funday 12/8/13

Holy cow I feel like if been neglecting this little corner of the web. All apologies. I missed last weeks Sunday post and haven't gotten my Thanksgiving Apple Pie recipe up yet. Hopefully this month will go a little more smoothly. Fingers crossed, right?

1. Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope everyone ate enough food to maybe feel slightly embarrassed. Anyone do any cooking or baking? I made an amazing French Apple Cheesecake Pie that I'll be sharing hopefully soon.  It was to die for. Pie and stuffing are my favorite things about Thanksgiving. 

2. I'm in full swing for Christmas baking. On the menu: pretty sugar cookies (this time I used a Katrina's kitchen recipe), cherry almond blooms, peppermint shortbread, either hot chocolate cookies or caramel stuffed fudge crinkles, peanut butter brownie cups for a cookie exchange, and a completely from-scratch (and I mean completely because I'm a little crazy) chocolate peppermint poke cake for a treat day at school. 

3. We had a snow day on Friday. Winter Storm Dion (since when did we start naming winter storms?) trashed Cincinnati with freezing rain and 4" of snow. It's the best winter storm I've seen since moving out of the Snow Belt and all the fluffy white snow made me so happy. 

4. Christmas a only a little over 2 weeks away and I've hardly done any shopping. To be honest, I really hate going out in the crowds, fighting for parking, and never finding what I'm looking for. So maybe I'll procrastinate a little longer. 

5. Last weekend the Buckeyes beat _ichigan. We had an impromptu party and I whipped up cheddar sausage puffs and homemade salsa.  The Buckeyes had the current longest running winning streak on college football (24 straight games!).  But last night they took on Michigan State for the Big 10 title and lost.  So no National Championship game for us, but another bowl game awaits.

Delicious bookmarks:
1. Blueberry and Angel Cake Trifle by Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
This dessert looks heavenly! It's layers of fluffy angel food cake, delicate cream, and fresh blueberry sauce.  Since angel food cake is fat free and this dessert has blueberries, it's practically healthy....right?

2. French Onion Pastry Puffs by Joy the Baker.
I love caramelized onions.  For me, they are absolutely worth slaving over the stove for.  When done right, they taste sweet and basically melt in your mouth.  Joy the Baker took all that decadence and put it inside a puff pastry with a schmear of Dijon mustard and shredded Gruyere cheese.  I die.

3. Oreo Peppermint Bark by A Southern Fairy Tale.
Nothing fancy or schmancy but definitely a tasty looking addition to any cookie tray this holiday season.  It looks pretty easy, too: Melted milk chocolate is spread on a tray, topped with crushed chocolate wafer sandwich cookies, which is then schmeared with melted white chocolate and garnished with crushed candy canes.

Happy belated Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving humor

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Funday 11-24-13

So I've gone another 2 weeks skipping Sunday Funday...but I have a great excuse this time: last weekend the husband and I spent the weekend in Cleveland and didn't get in until late Sunday night because of the storms that tore through the Midwest which made driving terrible.

1.  So while in Cleveland, I got to go to one of my best friends baby shower!! She is the first one from that group of friends to get preggo and I'm so excited for her! I'm even more excited to meet her little guy next month when we go back to Cleveland for Christmas.

2.  It was a great football weekend! Not only did my home town high school team win their state quarter finals game to advance in the playoffs, but Ohio State beat Indiana.  Can I get an O-H!?!

3.  I'm pretty excited to see November come to an end.  Work-wise at least.  This month I had 6 evaluation reports (5 were for new kids) and 6 IEPs which is a lot in one month for my little district.  It's only going to get busier throughout the winter, but at least those are now out of the way.  Now just a quick 2 day week before some time off with family for Thanksgiving.

4.  This past Friday we had friends over to play Tripoly.  Tripoly is a card game that is a hybrid of poker, hearts, and rummy, with a little bit of gambling thrown in the mix.  It seems a bit confusing, but once you get playing it's not hard at all.  It's great for a group and is/was a holiday tradition for both my family and my husbands.

5.  So I've been hard at work for my Teachers Pay Teachers store working on some new products.  This week I uploaded a general Winter/Christmas activity that is completely customizable to whatever skill is being targeted.  Now I'm working on some middle school resources and a few new book companions and am excited to get them posted.

1. Salted Caramel Stuffed Fudge Crinkle Cookies by Cooking Classy.
Every Christmas, I whip together a batch of fudge crinkle cookies.  They're a bit of a cheater cookie though because they use a cake mix.  But these caramel stuffed crinkle cookies are the real deal.  A completely homemade cookie filled with caramel might be the update my holiday cookie plate is looking for.

2.  Rum-Vanilla Cream Pie by Daily Delicious.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner I'm looking for a "nontraditional" Thanksgiving pie to bring to my in-laws and this one seemed to fit the bill without going to far off the mark.  A flaky crust is filled with a rum spiked vanilla custard and topped with whipped cream.  Imagine serving that alongside a piece of creamy pumpkin pie!

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups by How Sweet It Is.
These look like a treat in The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook that I've been swooning over lately but complete with beautiful step-by-step pictures.  I'm thinking these might also make it on my Christmas baking list - it'd be nice to include something small and non-cookie-ish.

Have a great week and a Happy Thanksgiving!!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Rice Krispie Bars

What's better than eating raw cookie dough? I dare you to come up with something.  Because frankly, cookie dough is amazing.  And these bars are no exception.  Actually, they probably take cookie dough up a notch or two because it's sandwiched between two gooey layers of cookie dough flavored rice krispie treats.  Ah-mazing.  This recipe is from The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook and it's a must-read.  I was bookmarking almost every page until I realize that was a bit ridiculous and just threw it on my Christmas list (heeeyy, Mom).  But I slightly adjusted the recipe to make the krispie layer a little more gooey and adjusted the extracts to be a little more cookie-ish tasting.

Oh, and please excuse the picture, it was taken on my phone at school.  I brought these delicious treats in to our 11 hour long conference day when I thought the teachers would appreciate a sweet treat.  They didn't last past lunch :)

Cookie dough:
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips, mini preferred

Rice krispies
12-14 ounces marshmallows (12 for regular, 14 for gooey-er)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extact
1/4 teaspoon butter extract
7 cups puffed rice cereal


Prepare the cookie dough:
1.  Cream the butter and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add milk, vanilla, and salt, and mix until incorporated.  On low speed, add flour until thoroughly mixed in.  Stir in chocolate chips.

2.  Line a 13x9 inch baking pan with foil and lightly grease it.  Pat the cookie dough (it will be pretty sticky) into a smooth layer in the pan and refrigerate - at least until the krispie layer is done but overnight if you're making it ahead of time.  (Note: after I smooshed it down a little in the pan, I removed the foil and cookie dough from the pan, covered it with wax paper, and rolled it flat with a rolling pin to help it spread out better, then I put it back in the pan and smooshed the edges in).

Prepare the rice krispie layers:
3.  Melt the butter and marshmallows over medium low heat stirring constantly until smooth.  Add in the extracts (you can do all vanilla if you don't want to use or don't have the almond and butter extracts).  Gently fold in the rice cereal and stir to evenly coat.

4.  Remove the foil/cookie dough from the pan and lightly grease the pan.  Spread half the rice krispie layer on the bottom of the pan (grease your hands and work quickly but carefully since it will be hot, too).  Flip the layer of cookie dough onto the krispies, then top with the remainder of the rice krispies.

5.  Let cool and set for about a half hour (if you can really wait that long), and cut into desired sizes (I got 24 bars from mine).

Refrigerate if not serving immediately.  Best eaten within three days if they even last that long.