Peanut Butter Cookies

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in cookies, desserts | Posted on 27-06-2010

Open house day today!  After a couple of months of no open houses, we had one again now that we finished our basement.  It is weird how we have our routine for open house days and the baking and cleaning usually is just getting done as we need to get out of the house.  Today I made some peanut butter cookies with little peanut butter cups.  I used a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen and omitted the chocolate and peanut butter chips and substituted the mini peanut butter cups instead.  Totally yummy!

Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen and Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

These cookies are crisp on the outside, and almost cakey on the inside. Bake a batch and then hide the results in the furthest and most forgettable reaches of your kitchen. You’ll thank me later.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (smooth is what we used, but I am pretty sure they use chunky at the bakery)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini peanut butter cups (from Trader Joe’s)

For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips.
3.  Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion.
4.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.
Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.


Sangria

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in cocktails | Posted on 27-06-2010

I will admit it that I (like many other parents of toddlers!) enjoy a little cocktail from time to time.  I either like a nice cold light “chick” beer or something nice and fruit.  I am especially a fan of Real Sangria.  So divine…  Anyways, in a visit to an awesome wine shop by my house, The Crushed Grape, I got to talking with one of workers (I think he was either a manager or the owner) and he gave me his recipe for sangria.  He swore by this recipe and said he makes it all the time for parties and get-togethers.  I finally had a summer time get-together so I thought I would give his recipe a try.  It was pretty good!  The only thing I would change is to maybe use a wine that is not as dry as a zinfandel and just a little sweeter.  Props to the man whose name I cannot remember but gave me an awesome recipe for sangria!

Sangria
4 oz. brandy (2 of the small bottles was enough)
3 oz. triple sec
6 oz. orange juice
6 oz. guava juice
1 bottle (750 ml) red table wine (I used zinfandel)
1 can Sprite (to taste)
Fruit of choice (I used fresh strawberries, pineapple and frozen peaches)

Mix all liquids together (except for the Sprite) and add the fruit.  Let the sangria sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.  Add the Sprite shortly before serving.

Puddle Jumping

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in summer | Posted on 23-06-2010

The past couple of days we have had some hot, rainy weather.  Just as we were waking up this morning, a storm was rolling in.  In my mind I was thinking, “Great, now we are going to be stuck indoors all day.  This should be interesting.”  But after about an hour-ish of rain, it let up and the sun started to peak out.  I knew things wouldn’t be dry for a while but we desperately needed to get out of the house for a little bit.  So I thought we could go outside and jump in some puddles (knowing full well I would have to undress Kaylynn outside before coming in!).  It was priceless to see the look of apprehension melt to pure joy and excitement.  I bet she can’t wait for the next storm to come through now!

Really?  You are telling me it is OK to stick my foot in that puddle?  If you say so…

Well, that was pretty cool!  I like it!

Let me try that again…
Oh, some bigger puddles?  Even better!
Sweet idea Mom!  We should do this again!  I love getting dirty!

(Mini) Chef Wood

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in family, kid activities | Posted on 21-06-2010

In a late night shopping trip, I picked up a ready-made pizza crust and the rest of the fixings to make a homemade pizza.  I figured this might be something fun that Kaylynn could help with as she is usually hanging all over me when I am making dinner anyways.  So tonight we had pizza for dinner – she had so much fun helping!

 
Helping put the pizza sauce on
 Putting the cheese, onions and pepperoni on
Yummy!

Strawberry Picking!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in family, kid activities, summer | Posted on 17-06-2010

Today Kaylynn, my mom and I went to Krupp Farms to do some strawberry picking.  I thought this might be a fun place to go because they had a petting zoo in addition to U-pick berries.  Kaylynn was cool with the barn animals until they started moving and making noises (funny how that happens when they move and make noises…).  Some of the animals we saw (click on any of the pictures to see a larger version)…

(Grandma really liked the little kitties!)

After checking out the animals, we went and did our strawberry picking.  Kaylynn was our official taste-tester (she wasn’t so interested in the “work” part of the activity, but rather the fun eating part) and I am pretty sure she gave her stamp of approval!

She was one hot mess when we were done!  We had lots of fun though and it was nice to get out of the house on a beautiful day!

Homemade Crayons

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in crayons, kid activities | Posted on 07-06-2010

As part of our gift basket for daycare, I wanted to make something for the basket.  As I didn’t have hours to spend on making something, I thought I would “make” some crayons.  Basically, I wanted to take some crayons that someone else made and wrapped, unwrap them, melt them and call them my own.  :)

So, I bought a couple of boxes of cheap crayons and took all the wrappers off (which I learned that cheap crayons = difficult wrappers to pull off – notice the nail marks on the crayons).

I broke the crayons into smaller pieces, placed them in a silicone mold (well, I didn’t really put them in the mold, my fabulous helper did), and baked them at 200 degrees for almost 20 minutes (I lost track of time after 15 minutes because I was checking them every minute or so).

It was a pretty easy craft that I could do with the wee one (I just need to teach her how to unwrap crayons now) and it made a nice addition to our gift basket.

Twix Blondies

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in desserts | Posted on 07-06-2010

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I like Twix.  A lot.  As school comes to an end this week, Kaylynn will not have to daycare for a couple of months.  Yay!  I am excited for all the fun things we will be able to do this summer now that she is a little older.

As it is her last week at daycare, I wanted to make a little thank you gift basket for them.  I had originally wanted to make some homemade chalk and bubbles, but after pricing everything out, it was just a little more than what I wanted to spend right now (and I couldn’t think of what else to do with plaster of paris).  So instead, they are getting store-bought chalk and bubbles, homemade crayons, and some baked goodies.  Which brings me to…

Twix Blondies
(as seen on Cookies and Cups)

3/4 cup melted butter
2 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
30 mini Twix bars coarsely chopped (I cut these into thirds)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:
9 mini Twix for garnish (I cut these into quarters)
1/2 cup melted chocolate chips

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9×13 baking dish.
2.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
3.  In mixing bowl, combine butter and brown sugar on low speed until smooth.
4.  Add eggs one at a time continuing on low speed.
5.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined.
6.  Add the coarsely chopped Twix and chocolate chips stirring with a wooden spoon.
7.  Spread batter into prepared pan and bake approximately 25-30 minutes until they are set.  Toothpick with come out slightly gooey.  Be careful not to overcook.
8.  When removed from oven, sprinkle remaining Twix on top and drizzle with melted chocolate.
9.  Cool in pan for 2-3 hours or overnight.  Don’t cut the bars until they are completely cooled or they will be messy.

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