Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Funday 9-29-13

1. It's still September, but in my classroom I've already changed my calendar over to October.  And I'm already thinking about what I want to dress up as for Halloween.  Being warm is a must for any costume for me....Halloween in Ohio can be anywhere between upper 50's and perfect fall weather to 30's with sleet and rain.  I found a picture on Pinterest of a girl with "Grumpy Cat" make up which would be an awesome, funny, and warm costume.  I love getting dressed up and carving pumpkins...let the countdown to Halloween begin!

2.  This was an awesome football weekend for school won their high school football game (our first - and probably only - all season), our cheerleaders brought their A game, and Ohio State defeated Wisconsin in an entertaining game of football.

3. I just place an order for Ugandan vanilla beans from Beanilla and I'm really excited to get a new batch a vanilla extract started. Ugandan beans have an aroma of earthy notes and tones of milk chocolate. I usually make vanilla extract with Madagascar bourbon beans that I get off of Amazon and recently just finished a batch with Tahitian beans. The Tahitian beans have a chocolate cherry aroma with a fragrance that is to die for.  Needless to say, I need to start experimenting with recipes to determine which bean to use in what.  Stay tuned for some soft and chewy vanilla sugar cookies with vanilla icing.

4.Cleveland Indians scored a wild card spot in the playoffs. It's their first wild card spot in the history of the team and our first playoff appearance since 2007.  Not a bad year to be a tribe fan, I'd say. However, since living in Cincinnati, I've started to root for the Reds, too, but given the option I always root for Cleveland.  What can I say...I'm a Cleveland girl at heart :)

5.  Our church had their annual Oktoberfest this weekend and my husband and I volunteered all evening.  He manned the grill cooking up tasty brats and mets while I fried up 100 pounds of homemade potato pancakes on the flat top.  I managed to sneak away from my post to snag some spaetzles for dinner and an apple turnover for dessert. It was a superfun and low-key way to spend the evening.


1. Beer and Pretzel Cookies by Cookies and Cups.
These cookies remind me of the beer marshmallows I get so many requests for.  Only they seem like they'd be a little bit easier to throw together - although they do require a decent amount of chill time to firm up the dough.  Perfect for tailgates, Super Bowl parties, or the beer-lover in your life.

2.  Soft and Gooey Loaded Smore Bars by Averie Cooks.
I can't get enough of smores.  All day, everyday.  I've even added a "smore kit" to my treasure box at schools for students to select as a prize.  These bars start out as a basic blondie, but the addition of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows take it to a gooey new level.  I can't wait to make these.

3.  Blueberry Lemon Glazed Donuts by Country Cleaver.
These donuts are baked and loaded with blueberries, so they're practically healthy, right?  And they're topped with a lemon glaze, so that's even more fruit.  I love the combo of blueberries and lemon so I know this recipe is going to be a winner.

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Sweet Your Heart Out

My nightly ritual.

Chocolate Raspberry and White Raspberry Cupcakes

 A few weeks ago my friend at school, Courtney, celebrated her birthday. A birthday that started a new decade, so kinda a big deal, right? And she's just an awesome person so we threw a small party after school to surprise her. And I made cupcakes, obvs. When I asked her what kind of flavors she wanted, she started telling me about these white cupcakes with raspberry filling and raspberry frosting she had at a shower (baby or bridal...I can't remember). So I searched for a white cake recipe.

In searching for this recipe, I chatted quite a bit with my friend Amy who also bakes crazy delicious treats. And she also just celebrated a birthday. She's the amazing kind of person who makes homemade, from scratch cupcakes for all her coworkers. She clearly needed delicious homemade cupcakes and a small party to celebrate her birthday.  She was interested in the cupcakes I made for Courtney but wanted a chocolate cake. Easy. I used The Cupcake Projects Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe which I've shared previously.

So I now bring to you: the moistest white cake filled with fresh raspberry purée and topped with the creamiest raspberry cream cheese frosting and the richest chocolate cake filled with fresh raspberry purée and the creamiest raspberry buttercream. Ta-da!

The filling and frosting will make enough for 18 cupcakes. Which is perfect for the chocolate cupcake recipe, but the white cake yields between 26-36, depending on how you fill your liners.

Also, the white cake utilizes a box mix. Say what?!? I know. I'm not normally that kind of gal. But the reviews for this recipe were outstanding, and even though you are using a box mix, you're not actually making a box cake. So much more goes into it that I think we can let the semi-home made part slide, right?  Right.  But if you really want to do it all yourself, try this recipe for a white cake mix from Chickens in the Road. I haven't tried it this way, but probably just make sure you have 18.25 ounces of mix when your done.

And most importantly, I think the secret for the awesome cupcakes is sour cream. They both have it. Full fat is probably the way to go, but I already had reduced fat sour cream in the fridge and I think it worked out just fine. And, IMHO,  it never hurts to save on some calories as long as flavor isn't sacrificed.

Reminder: one batch of filling and frosting will be enough for 1 batch (around 18 cupcakes) of either (not both) recipes.

Get the chocolate cupcake recipe here.

First, make the filling. It needs to set up over night, so do it at least 1 day ahead of time.

Raspberry Filling

2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed (with 1/4 cup sugar if they are not already sweetened)
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups water/liquid*
3-4 tablespoons of corn starch (if you plan on blending the berries up, I suggest leaning towards 3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. After berries are thawed, *measure out the berry juice into a measuring cup. Add water up to the 1 1/4 cup line.

2. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the sugar and corn starch. Stir in liquid and the lemon juice and heat over medium high heat until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Immediately remove from heat.

3. Add berries to the thickened sauce and stir together well to combine. You can stop here and use this to fill your cupcakes...

4. ...or you can purée the mixture in a blender, food processor, or using an immersion blender (my blade of choice) and strain the mixture through a small to medium mesh sieve to help remove some of the seeds (straining will greatly reduce the number of seeds but some will still sneak in).

5. Store in an air tight container in the fridge at least overnight. The purée will thicken even more as it cools.

Note: the first time I made this filling, I used 3 tablespoons of corn starch but felt that it didn't set up enough to fill cupcakes. This maybe had to do with using the immersion blender, which I think may have broken up some of the thickening bonds from the pectin in the fruit. The second time I made it, I used 4 tablespoons of corn starch and blended only until just puréed and I liked the consistency a lot better.

Next, make the cupcakes. Below, I'm sharing the white cake recipe I used for Courtney's cupcakes. You can find the chocolate recipe I used here.

White Cupcakes (yields around 24-36...I got 26)

1  box white cake mix (16.25-18.25 ounces, depending on what your store carries. The original recipe calls for 18.25oz but I could only find 16.25oz so it's what I used and it turned out fine)
1 cup flour
1 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners. You'll need between 24-36 liners.

2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk to combine the cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt.

3. Add the remaining ingredients (water, oil, vanilla, sour cream, and egg whites). Start mixing on low until all the dry ingredients are wet, then increase speed to medium and mix for about 2 minutes - until everything is well combined.

4. Fill cupcake liners to about 2/3 full ( for me this was 26 cupcakes) and bake for 15 minutes (rotating after 10 if you need to). Check for done-ness with a toothpick - it should come out clean or only with a few moist crumbs stuck to it. Bake at 1 minute increments until done if needed.

5. Let cool for a minute or two in the pan, then immediately transfer to a baking rack to cool.

6. Once cool, fill the cupcakes (reserve 1/4 to 1/2 cup filling for the frosting). Core each cupcake, saving the tops. Add about 2 teaspoons of filling to each cake (don't fill to the very top, but close to it).  Slice off the bottoms of the saved tops, and re-top the cupcakes.  Either eat the cupcake middles or toss them out or turn them into cake balls with any extra frosting.

Finally make the frosting and frost the cupcakes.

 Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting


Cream cheese, 8 ounces, at room temperature
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1/4 to 1/2 cup raspberry filling from the above recipe
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, more or less


 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the block of cream cheese. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time until they are completely creamed together.

2. Add 1/4 cup of raspberry filling, cream to combine. Add vanilla extract and mix.

3. Add one cup of powdered sugar, mix to combine. Add second cup of powdered sugar and mix to combine.

4. Give it a taste test, add more raspberry purée to taste. Add more powdered sugar for a thicker consistency. Thin the frosting with milk (1 tablespoon at a time) if you want a thinner texture.

5. Mix in high until light and fluffy.

Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. You can make pretty swirls using the Wilton 1M tip or dainty ruffles using the 104 tip. Then sink your teeth into the most delectable cupcakes your taste buds have ever encountered.

 Filling recipe slightly adapted from Tidy Mom
Cake recipe from Recipe Girl

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Funday 9-22-13

Oh my gawsh I can't believe how fast this past week went.  Here's another Sunday Funday for you!

1. I've mentioned before that I do some weight lifting at a gym my friend owns.  He is an amazing trainer and has been working with me to build strength and I must say that it is working - this past week, I dead lifted 175 pounds! I know it's no world record, but I'm pretty proud of myself.

2.  I'm happy to have discovered Wonder Years on Netflix.  Needless to say, that's been eating up a decent amount of time!  It's kinda like the pre- Boy Meets World for me.  Speaking of Boy Meets World, who else is excited for Girl Meets World?

3.  Buckeyes demolished Florida A&M this weekend, 76-0.  Not a great game to watch, but I'll take the win.  I'm excited for next weekends game against Wisconsin, which should actually prove to be a game worth watching.  This past Saturday, the marching band did an awesome Beatles Tribute - you can check it out here.

4. I made double cookie dough ice cream this weekend.  Flavor-wise, it's excellent, but the texture was not as creamy as I was hoping for.  I used cream and whole milk, so I'm not really sure where I went wrong.  Either way, I have 4 pints of it in my freezer which I'll definitely eat. 

5. Grey's Anatomy starts this Thursday with a two hour season premiere! Who else is excited about this?

1. Oreo Doodles by Gimme Some Oven.
These delicious looking chocolate cookies seem kinda like a fudge crinkle cookies, except instead of getting rolled in powdered sugar, they got rolled in Oreo dust.  Not too shabby if you as me!

2. Reese's Overload Cake at Key Ingredient.
Two layers of peanut butter cake sandwiching a chocolate cheesecake with chocolate icing and peanut butter icing.  This cake looks so rich and decadent and I'm dying for an occasion to make it.  Who has a birthday coming up?

3. Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars at Taste of Home.
It starts off as a basic brownie, then gets smothered by a layer of melted marshmallows and topped with a crunchy chocolate-peanut butter-rice crispy top.  I. Die.

Have an awesome week!


Lemon Meringue Pie Dip

A friend of ours celebrated a birthday recently, and I was looking for something easy to bring.  Something that shared well, and something that wouldn't over-shadow the cake his wife bought him.  A dip seemed like the perfect option.  This dip, lemon meringue pie with pie crust dippers:

The lemon flavor is bright and citrusy and collides perfectly with the sweet toasted meringue top.  I served this with homemade pie crust dippers, but store bought pie crusts cut to size, vanilla wafers, or graham crackers would dip perfectly, too.

Lemon layer
Zest from 3-4 lemons (about 2 tablespoon)
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolk
2/3 cup lemon juice (from 6 small lemons)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Italian Meringue
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


Lemon layer
1. Zest the lemon into a small bowl. Whisk the eggs together with the zest.

2. Heat the lemon juice in a small nonreactive saucepan until simmering but not boiling. While whisking continuously, slowly add the lemon juice to the eggs in a slow but steady stream.

3. Add the mixture back to the saucepan and heat over medium low until the mixture registered 160 degrees on a digital or candy thermometer, about 3 minutes. The spatula should leave a small trail across the bottom of the pan that fills in on itself a little quickly, but not too fast.

4. Immediately remove from heat, stir in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and a pinch salt.

5. Strain the mixture through a very fine wire mesh sieve. Place into your serving dish of choice (I used a small 7"x11" glass pyrex).  Set aside.

Italian Meringue

6.  Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Beat in salt.  While this is going, start the sugar syrup.  Don't let the eggs over mix, or the eggs will start to separate and become grainy.  If you notice soft peaks before your sugar syrup is ready, reduce speed to low, but keep stirring.

7.  In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup of water.  Heat over medium-low until the sugar dissolves.  Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring until a candy thermometer reads 238 degrees.

8.  With the mixer running on medium, slowly pour the syrup down the bowl of the stand mixer and beat until the meringue yields stiff peaks and is glossy.  Continue beating on low until cool.

9.  Layer the meringue over the lemon layer.  You can spread it evenly with an offset spatula then make swirls, or you can pipe with a piping bag and a star attachment for a more decorative look.

10. Right before serving, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Toast meringue for 4-5 minutes until the top is lightly golden.  You could also broil for a few minutes or use a kitchen torch.

I served this with home made pie crust dippers.  I followed Smitten Kitchen's All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough recipe.  After I rolled out the dough I melted a tablespoon of butter and brushed it over the dough and sprinkled with sugar.  Then, I used a pastry cutter to make triangles, but you could use cookie cutters to make cute shapes, too.  I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and baked at 375 degrees for 17 minutes, until the edges started to slightly brown.  Cooled on a baking rack and dipped and these were extraordinary!

Inspired from Something Swanky
Adaptation ideas taken from SYHO and I Bake It, You Eat It
Meringue recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Funday 9-15-13

Time for another Sunday Funday here at SYHO!  Hope everyone had a great week and an awesome weekend!

1. You may have noticed a new design for my blog - I'm playing around with colors and design things and am not sure if I'm straight up loving the new look.  I felt I was definitely in need for a change, but haven't fully decided if this is it.  Stay tuned for future updates :)

2. Fall weather came in full force this weekend. We celebrated a wedding and a friends birthday this weekend and I'm happy for a lazy Sunday cozied up in my favorite sweats, a blanket my grandma knitted me, and a marathon of Breaking Bad. I'm sure here in Ohio well have a few more hot days, but its officially football and campfire season in my book.

3. Buckeyes beat Cal Berkley last night, 52-34. And Michigan almost lost to U. Akron. Perfect football Saturday if you ask me.

4. Even though the weather has turned chilly, I still really want to break out my ice cream maker for a new batch of ice cream...I'm thinking cookie dough flavored ice cream with cookie dough bits.

5. Has anyone heard of Stitch Fix? It's an online service where you fill out your style profile and for $20 a stylist sends you 5 items to try. If you choose to buy something, your $20 styling fee is applied to the total purchase. Anything you don't want can be sent back in a prepaid envelope. If you've tried it, do you like it? I'm thinking of giving it a shot.

1. Creamy Tomato Tortillini Soup by Key Ingredient.
This soup looks delicious, like an adult version of Spaghetti O's and way tastier.  This will definitely be on the menu in my home very soon.

2. Cookies and Cream Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting by Sally's Baking Addiction.
Moist vanilla cupcakes speckled with Oreo pieces and topped with a silky chocolate frosting...what's to love.  These remind me of Bakerellas Oreo Truffles - so tasty!!

3. Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies by Bakers Royale.
It's like a fluffer-nutter sandwich! I'm kicking myself for never thinking this up on my own.  The husband loves fluffer-nutters and I know he will go crazy when I make these.

Sweet Your Heart Out
Have a great week everyone! Don't forget to follow SYHO or subscribe to my posts through email!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Coffee Toffee Crunch Ice Cream

So after my mom came and spent four days helping me unpack my kitchen, she left behind her extra ice cream attachment for the kitchen aid. Woot woot. I can't tell you how excited I was to make ice cream with it. I've made two ingredient ice cream before and it's turned out excellent but it's not quite the same as churned ice cream.

The ice cream I made is based on a recipe by Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. If you're from Ohio you've probably heard of Jeni's. If you've ever visited Columbus where Jeni's is based, you've probably visited the shop. If your fortunate enough to call yourself a Buckeye, you've probably eaten at Jeni's more than you care to admit, but that's okay. Jeni's makes gourmet ice cream; flavors as basic (but in no way ordinary) as chocolate or vanilla, to as gourmet as sweet corn and raspberry, tres leches, and chamomile Chardonnay, just to name a few.  So a Jeni's recipe was an obvious way to start out my ice cream making expedition. I took some cues from the Ben and Jerry's cook book and concocted this amazing dessert.

The ice cream most definitely tastes of like coffee, fresh brewed and full of flavor. The Heath bar changes from its crunchy texture into something glorious and chewy and soft.  It's not a change that happens overnight though, and I honestly finished all of my ice cream before that happened. The reason it will (eventually) change in texture is because Heath bars are hygroscopic - meaning that it takes up moisture and retains it, which changes the original texture.

The recipe
Yields a little more than 1 quart.

4 1/2 ounces Heath bar, chopped into 1/2"-1" pieces (I bought minis and chopped them in half)
2 cups whole milk, divided
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 cup of freshly ground course dark roast coffee beans (I milled a small bag of beans right at the grocery store in the coffee aisle and used them same day)


1. Freeze your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. For my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker, I froze the canister overnight.

2. Chop the Heath bar, put in a small bowl, and place in freezer. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons milk with the corn starch. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the softened cream cheese and the salt, set aside. In a large bowl, make an ice bath and set aside.

3. In a large sauce pan, whisk together to combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and instant espresso powder. Bring to a rolling boil, and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in coffee grounds, and let steep for 5 minutes.

4. Strain the coffee from the cream by lining a wire mesh sieve with two layers of cheese cloth. Squeeze cheese cloth to extract as much cream as possible, discard grounds. Rinse out the pot so that there are no grounds left and return the cream to the saucepan.

5. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and whisk in the corn starch slurry. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute - the mixture should be thickened.  Then whisk the hot cream over the cream cheese.

6. Transfer cream to a gallon sized ziplock bag, seal, and place in the ice bath to cool, about 30 minutes. Add more ice as necessary. When the mixture is cold, assemble the ice cream maker and attach to the kitchenaid. Turn the mixer onto stir, and slowly add the cream mixture to the bowl. Let stir and churn for about 20 minutes during which time the ice cream will begin to thicken and look like soft soft-serve. Add the Heath pieces and mix for another 5-10 minutes.

7. Transfer the ice cream to an air tight container, press parchment or plastic wrap over the surface, and freeze for several hours or overnight.

After all the effort I put into making the ice cream, I began to wonder if I even saved any money doing it myself. I mean, I love that there are no weird ingredients in it with improuncable names, but I also like convenience. A quick breakdown indicated that this batch of ice cream (around 2 pints) cost about $6ish to make, which is way cheaper than a pint of Jeni's from the store ($9/pint).  Hooray for savings and for delicious ice cream!

Recipe adapted from the Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream book by Jeni Britton Bauer (page 162-163).

Input taken from Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (page 24 and 33).

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Funday 9/8/13

Happy Sunday, y'all!

Here's whats been on my mind this past week!

1. Buckeyes beat San Diego State yesterday. It's just another NBD game, but I sure do love football season.

2. On top of football, men's rugby has started. That means in addition to watching college football, I get to also spend Saturdays outside watching my husband's team play. It's a great way to be out in the sunshine and hang out with friends.

3. I tried making macarons again yesterday. I've switched from the French method to the Italian method and I'm finally starting to get better results. The bottoms are still slightly sticky but they no longer have an air bubble. Anyone have any luck getting perfect macs?

4. Have you seen this definition of "literally" on Urban Dictionary? I'm guilty of misusing the word occasionally, but this entry made me laugh.

5. And have you seen this video: British Animal Voiceovers? My school placement superviser first showed me this video 3 years ago and I still get such a kick outta watching it.

1. Lemon Meringue Pie Dip by Something Swanky.  I love homemade lemon curd and this dip recipe by Something Swanky seems like a quick way to enjoy the dessert.

2. Apple Cider Maple Spice Cupcakes by Lady Behind the Curtain.  I'm so ready for fall.  The warm but not hot weather, campfires, and fresh apple cider all make me so happy.  So obviously this recipe fits the bill.

3. Chocolate Blackout Cake by Heat Oven to 350.  Chocolate cake. Chocolate Pudding.  Crumbled cake crumbs. I mean, come. On. Now I just need an excuse to bake this amazing chocolate heaven cake.  Might even be good with a layer of crumbled chocolate wafer cookies covered in Magic Shell like I did for my birthday cake last year.

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Gecko tape measure...
Source: The Meta Picture

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

I went to a family picnic and wanted to bring a small dessert/snack.  When I asked my husband what kind of treat he wanted, he eagerly responded with "something with cheesecake!" Which brought me to one of my favorite lunchbox snacks, cheesecake stuffed strawberries.  When I toss them in my lunch, they're usually prepared without much ado.  But for this gathering, I wanted them to be a bit more presentable and special looking.

These turned out fantastic, and were eaten up almost immediately.  I made 4 dozen, but only 3 dozen made it out the door with me.  The strawberries were flavorful and juicy and were amazing with the creamy cheesecake middle which was so smooth, rich, and decadent.  The white chocolate stands added a nice sweetness and texture as did the graham cracker crumbs on top. 

These are super easy to make and seem really impressive when brought to a party.  They will continue to make an appearance in my lunchbox and at parties.

 yields 48 strawberries

48 strawberries, about 2 pounds
1/4 cup or so chocolate, I used white
1 block cream cheese, 8 ounces, room temp
6-8 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar - more or less, depending on desired sweetness
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 teaspoon almond extract, to taste
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped, optional
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs, maybe a little more

 1. Wash berries and let dry completely. Cut of stems, hull the berries, and slice off just the tip of the berry. Stand the berries on end on a paper towel to pull some moisture away from the cut surface.
2. Melt chocolate by microwaving for 20 seconds on 50% power, stirring, and repeating until smooth. Dip just the tips of the berries into the chocolate and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to help the chocolate set.

3. While chocolate is setting , make the cheesecake filling. In a small bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, extracts, and vanilla bean (if using).  Place into a pastry bag fitted with a narrow tip to fill the berries.

4. Put graham cracker crumbs into a small bowl.

5. Fill strawberries to the top, so that it overfills just a little bit. Dip the top into the graham cracker crumbs. Repeat.

Refrigerate until serving.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Funday 9/1/13

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!  I hope you are enjoying some nice weather and relaxing activities with the long weekend.  Here in Cincinnati, we had what I can only describe as a small hurricane come through on Saturday, and then it just rained all day.  Good for flowers, bad for cookout in the park.

On my mind:

1. College football season has officially started! The Buckeyes played Buffalo and won. I know it's just an out of conference game, but I love watching college football and there are some high expectations with Urban Meyer this season.

2. I less love my double oven. Don't get me wrong, I still love having the double, but I went to bake cookies this week and my normal baking sheet didn't fit in it - long or short ways. Luckily I had a couple older pans that were small enough to fit, so cookie crisis averted.  Now I (and my mom) are on a quest to find small but good quality baking pans.

3.  The AC was out at school all week and it was the hottest week of summer here in Cinci with temperatures in the 90s -  it felt like we were melting. I know that other schools don't have AC, but those schools are usually equipped with fans and windows that open (ours open out like an awning so you can't really get a breeze). I was finally fixed by Friday though and I know we're all happy to have it back. #Firstworldproblems, I know.

4. It's Labor Day weekend! What kinds of fun things did you do? We watched football, went to a cookout (I brought cheesecake stuffed strawberries - coming soon), relaxed, and bought a washer and a dryer for the house. I also started a new book, Reconstructing Amelia, which is about a teenage girl in a NYC prep school who dies, and her mother who's trying to figure out what happened and who her daughter really was.

5. Miley Cyrus on the VMAs. What. Was. She. Thinking?  Must've been all that Molly. My eyes can never unsee.

1. Cupcake Puppy Chow by Sally's Baking Addiction.  The unique thing about this recipe is that it doesn't use cake mix, like a lot of other cupcake puppy chow recipes.

2. Hot Chocolate Donuts by Love From the Oven. I love all things hot chocolate, and last year I even made hot chocolate cookies for a cookie exchange party.  When the weather turns cold, I will definitely whip up a batch of these.

3. Caramel Toffee Dip by I Heart Nap Time. Looks like it would be excellent to dip with apples, graham crackers, or vanilla wafers.

Things I love:
1.  Netflix and Orange is the New Black.  The Hubbo and I watched the entire first season in one week.

2.  This chocolate chip cookie recipe. I know I've posted about it on other occasions, but this time I chunked my own chocolate from a block I bought at Cincinnati Cake and Candy, used homemade Tahitian vanilla extract which has a slight cherry-chocolate aroma, topped them off with a light sprinkling of espresso brava sea salt, which has a coffee essence.

3. This pineapple peeler-corer-slicer. I meant to mention it last week when I talked about how good the fresh pineapple seems to be lately, but I forgot.  It makes slicing a pineapple a cinch - all you do is chop off the top and the bottom then use the slicer like you would if you had an apple slicer.  It peels the skin off, cores out the middle, and leaves you with two halves of core-free and skin-free pineapple.

4. The Bearded Iris. I've followed Leslie's blog for awhile after I stumbled upon a post about her son's speech impediments and a hilarious IEP meeting.  Leslie is a humorist and her blog is hilarious, vulgar, and real. Her posts are a nice break from the day and I suggest checking it out.

5. Benefit High Beam cream. Now part of my make up routine, this cream has an easy to use, nail polish-like applicator. I apply it to my cheek bones, dab a bit on the inner corners of my eyes, and use it to highlight my brow bone. It's kinda pricey for make up (but hey, I'm pretty frugal) but I can't find a generic I like as much.

Don't forget to follow SYHO or subscribe to my posts through email, or follow me on Pinterest
Cheers to the first day of a new school year and the beginning of the Thanksgiving break countdown.
from SomeECards