Thursday, December 15, 2011

Test Kitchen Thursday - Candy Cane Rolls

This week my bread machines have been humming.  Sunday made some Oatmeal Bread to go with Alan's Chicken Noodle Soup.  Monday made a couple loaves of beer bread.  Tuesday made some sweet braided loaves.  Yet to make this week - Stollen (see photos and recipe from last year) and a Hefenkranz Wreath (ach du lieber - my German heritage is showing). 

These little candy cane rolls were a delightful treat.  These were made for the teacher breakfast at school (where my husband signed up and then let me know he needed to take something).

Ever since seeing them in the 2011 Taste of Home Homemade Food Gifts magazine I knew I had to try them.  They reminded me of the big candy cane coffee cakes that were a Christmas tradition growing up.  I made a number of modifications to this recipe to make it my own - so it does differ from the printed version.

Candy Cane Roll Recipe (my version):

1/4 Cup warm water
3/4 Cup warm milk
1/4 Cup sugar
1 t  bread salt (or regular salt)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 T orange peel, small zest
3 1/4 - 3 3/4 Cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 t instant yeast
3/4 Cup red candied cherries, chopped
1/4 Cup dried apricots, chopped

1 Cup powdered sugar
1 T milk

Place water and milk together in a glass measuring cup.  Microwave just until warm (not hot).
Place the ingredients (except fruit) into the bread machine.  Set machine to the dough cycle.  Add the dried fruit when your bread machine asks for add ins.

If you don't have a bread machine:  In a large bowl, dissolve yeast (use 1 pkg active yeast) in warm water.  Add warm milk, sugar, shortening, salt, egg and 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth.  Stir in cherries.  Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 - 8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Continue for both methods:
Punch dough down, let rest for 10 minutes.  Divide dough in half.  Roll each half in a 12" x 7" rectangle.  Cut twelve 1 inch strips from each rectangle. 

Pizza cutter worked great to make the cuts.
Twist each strip and place 2" apart on greased baking sheets, shaping one end like a cane.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Ignore my poor pan.
Bake at 375 degree F for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely.  Combine powdered sugar and milk; frost rolls.

These rolls turned out GREAT!  Ask Grant - he ate 3 of them in one sitting (and would have eaten more if mommy hadn't stopped him).  We all liked them!

The main thing I changed from the printed recipe was the addition of the dried apricots - this was the secret ingredient in mom's large candy cane coffee cakes.  Truly it really makes the roll delicious.  The other ingredient I added was the orange zest.  Again - gives sweet roll dough a great flavor especially when paired with other fruits.  If you remember my post from this past Tuesday - you may notice in some of the pictures that the oranges were missing their skin when we made OJ.  Yeah - I was sure to zest them prior to making these yummy rolls.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fresh Orange Juice {for the boys}

Last week the FFA fruit (fundraiser for husband's students) came in!  Made for a busy week for my husband but the students delivered it in just 2 days which we consider pretty good.

Last week Clark and Grant were watching a little Disney Channel and saw Special Agent Oso help a preschooler make fresh orange juice.  Darn TV giving my kids ideas - at least this was a good one :)  However, all week the question of can we make our own OJ was repeated over and over.  Clark even went into the kitchen, searched the cupboards and found my old juicer.
Back to the first paragraph - I did not order any oranges.  Luckily, Alan had some extra boxes.  So we bought a 1/2 box and he brought it home on Friday.  We promised the boys we'd make orange for breakfast on Saturday.

The boys LOVED squeezing juice out of the oranges. 

They enjoyed drinking it too! 

Although I was offered some of the lovely smelling concoction I politely declined.  My mom will tell you that it was her fault I can't stand pulpy orange juice because she used to strain my OJ when I was little.  Don't know if this is the reason but I really can't stand OJ with pulp.  Frankly, unless I'm sick I don't like OJ at all.  Again my mother (who does happen to be a registered dietician) will say she should have never listened to the doctor that told her to start me on OJ when I was just a baby.  Yup, some odd philosophies back in the 70's!
All I have to say is bring on the apples!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Friday Night Sew In - Take 2

Yep, another FNSI coming up this Friday.  Lots of items on my list. 
At the top:
  • PJ's for boys
  • Suspenders for boys and Addie
  • Some felt play food to finish boys' Christmas gift

If there is time:
  • Napkins and placemats
  • A few Christmas gifts I can't list since they are meant for certain readers of my blog :)

If you want to join in be sure to visit Heidi's blog and sign up!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Smiles

Sunday seems to be a good day to reflect on the little things in life that make me smile.  Today this made me smile :)

This is not hot cocoa (although hot cocoa also makes me smile) this is chocolate pudding with marshmallows and sprinkles!  So yummy!  The kids loved it - especially the fact that it was made to look like cocoa.  Grant thought it was fun to put his spoon in and "pretend to stir."  When my husband, who is not a fan of chocolate pudding, asked for seconds that was a sign this was good stuff.

But this is why it made me smile - it was not instant pudding.  It was the real cooked pudding made with milk and half & half. Yummmmm.  Plus, we ate it still warm - heavenly.  This took me back to my childhood and helping mom stir the pudding and eat the pudding.

My husband thought it was for me much like this clip from Ratatouille (the first 40-some seconds) - I agree.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December Friday Night SewIn Results {Round 1}

Here is the quilt top I worked on this weekend.  The fabrics are Flurry by Kate Spain for Moda.  The solid white and red were fabrics from my stash.  The pattern is by Konda by Moose on the Porch Quilts it was in the Nov/Dec 2011 McCalls Quilting magazine.  This is one of the most complicated designs I've done.  Triangles have given me fits in the past but all in all the top went together very quickly.

Friday night for FNSI I started out with the jelly roll pieces and everything else left to be cut.  Friday night all the pieces were cut and all of the small blocks were pieced together.

Today in between feeding Addie, baking some yummy bread (which will be this coming Thursday"s recipe) and cleaning I pieced the large blocks to make the rows and then added the borders.  Amazingly most of my points matched up perfectly :) - I love this quilt top!

While I was sewing I couldn't help thinking of my Grandma Clark and all the sewing her Bernina (which I now sew on) saw.  In retrospect I am probably a lot like her in many ways when it comes to sewing.  I remember her being so practical when it came to sewing - things like patching and mending, making clothes, a few home good items, etc.  I know she made some really pretty things but when I inherited most of her sewing room I found patterns and ideas for some fun and impractical things that she just never got around to.  Or maybe like me she just liked looking at the beautiful designs.  

I have a lot of fond memories sitting on the floor in grandma's sewing room.  I would play with her scrap pile, make clothes for my dolls and sew up little stuffed animals (mainly kitties). 

There were a lot of practical things on my list that probably should have been worked on this weekend - like sewing the boys some pjs, mending Clark's pants, finishing up the kids' suspenders, etc.  But this pattern was just one of those things I didn't want to put off. 

Now to decide whether I want to quilt it or if I should find a quilter in the area and make an appointment for this piece.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Test Kitchen Thursday - Lesson Learned; Make a list

I wanted to try my hand at some quick and easy cookies, candy, fudge but every recipe I had marked for the week I ended up missing ONE little ingredient (that would make a big difference).

Like Almond Tassies - mom used to make these but I never have and so badly want to try them.  Ha! I actually had two cans of almond paste but no heavy cream.  Also, not sure where my mini muffin tins are - grrr. 

OK - so found a great chocolate fudge recipe.  Again, have never made fudge but there is no evaporated milk in the house - there was; however, plenty of sweet and condensed milk.  I contemplated this as an alternative but in the end decided no.

Finally, wanted to try my hand at making our own gumdrops.  Seemed like a great experiment to try with the boys.  I knew I had unflavored gelatin.  Recipe called for 3 envelopes - there were 2 in my cupboard.

Lesson of the story - be prepared with a shopping list or in my case adding them into my normal weekly shopping list! 

So, here are some recipes I'd like to try that I found on Pinterest (if you want to follow me and see the full collection of recipes I've pinned you can click the little red pinterest button on the top right of my blog - it's lots of fun):  enjoy!

sugared pecans
Sugared Pecans found HERE. There is a version of these I've made in the past but find it's best to make when husband is at work and then hide some if I plan to share with others.

Peppermint Bark rice krispie treats

Peppermint Bark Rice Krispie Treats found HERE.  Who knew - I need to add peppermint marshmallows to my grocery list now too!

Gingerbread truffles

Gingerbread Truffles found HERE.

snowman hot cocoa

Snowman Hot Cocoa found HERE.  If you like fun food ideas for kids this is a great website!

Snowflake cupcakes (seriously how beautiful are these)

Snowflake Cupcakes found HERE.  The sight of these makes me smile - but I'm just dreamin' if I think I could make anything so beautiful.  Still that's the best part of Pinterest - looking at beautiful pictures, admiring them, pinning them (for me - knowing there is no way I could create such beauty but boy they're fun to look at!).

So, what new tasty treats are you experimenting with this holiday season?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Addison's 3 Month Photos

Addison turned 3 months on Thanksgiving Day.  Since we were up at grandma and grandpa's her 3 month photos were put on hold.  Today she smiled ever so sweetly for her photos!

She is growing so fast!  Addie started sleeping through night during Thanksgiving week - that was something for which we give thanks! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Test Kitchen Thursday - Cut Out Cookies

After last weekend I haven't much felt like baking this week!  I helped mom make close to 30 dozen (no, not a typo that's really thirty dozen) cookies for the Christmas Tree Farm Shop.  We baked, frosted and sprinkled 10 dozen each day for the long weekend.

You would think having made over 300 cookies I would have a great picture - so sorry to disappoint.  With all the baking I never had a chance to grab the camera - plus, as soon as I had a batch done they seemed to disappear out the door. So you'll have to settle for our family tree photo :)

But - it was a FANTASTIC recipe that mom found on Cook's Illustrated's website.  The dough was so soft and easy to roll out and cut nicely.

Here's the recipe:

Makes about 6 dozen 2-inch cookies (we only got about 5 dozen per batch)


  • 2 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4cup cornstarch
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch table salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3tablespoons light cream
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1cup granulated sugar
  • 12tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
  • 4tablespoons vegetable shortening


  1. 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone paper.
  2. 2. Mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix yolks, cream, and vanilla together in a measuring cup.
  3. 3. Cream sugar with butter and shortening until lightened and pasty. Beat yolk mixture into creamed butter until just combined.
  4. 4. Add dry ingredients and beat until mixture begins to clump together (about 18 to 20 seconds on lowest speed of electric mixer).
  5. 5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently to shape into a soft dough.
  6. 6. Working with 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll to about 1/8-inch thick, on a well-floured work surface. Use cookie cutter of your choice to cut out shapes. Using a spatula, transfer cut-outs to prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1 inch apart. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Happy Merry

Somehow, even in the midst of all the chaos that is our household, December 1st did not seem to smack me upside the head this year!  Amazingly when I packed up all the Christmas paraphenilia last year I actually created a box with all the Advent calendars and wreaths, the nativities and items needed at the very beginning of the season for setting trees!  LARGE SMILE!  Plus, with our new attic, the box was amazingly easy to find and pull out.

So, this morning the kiddos were surprised with all the advent and countdown to Christmas items ready and waiting.

I loved the addition of the Christmas book countdown that we did last year; however, I was not looking forward to wrapping 50 books (I actually have 75 and have included Addie).  Don't judge me.  I have been collecting Christmas books for a very long time.

Anyway - I came across a post this year where the family had sewn bags and filled the bag each day with a book.  I have to agree it saves time and paper (lots of paper).  So, this is my variation.  Boxes!

Super simple and I can load them with surprises other than books throughout the season so it is truly a surprise each day!  Today's surprises were the Advent LEGO calendar and Playmobil calendar.  The boys were super excited.  They get to open them each night with daddy before bed!  If you want to see a preschooler and a toddler get to work cleaning a playroom just tell them the faster they clean the faster they get to open a door on the calendar.  Lightning fast I tell you!

Grant and his Playmobil calendar.
My only question today was why did I not put the advent candles with the advent wreath? Grrr.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November FNSI Results

Well, quite frankly I didn't accomplish much sewing at grandma and grandpa's house last night.  Not because I went to bed early knowing I had to feed a baby a couple times during the night (nope that would have been smart).  Had to watch the riveting ISU vs Oklahoma State game - and scream and yell with my mom (not even caring if we woke all the kids up).  Because GO STATE! What a game - still on a Cyclone high today!

Anyway here's what I did accomplish.  I actually did this shirt early Friday AM before boys were up and before we left. 

Yes, a little geeky Thanksgiving humor - but little Addie will be sporting her new Pumpkin Pie (pi) shirt this Thanksgiving.

After the boys were in bed and during the less exciting part of the football game I did manage to get a bunch of fish cut out for my fishing game Christmas gift for Grant.  Today I nabbed some washers from dad's stash to use inside of them that will hopefully easily latch onto the magnet on the fishing pole.

I don't have a photo but I also worked on some black suspenders for all three children (Grant needs them especially bad).  They are all cut out and ironed - ready to be sewn together.

I hope to cut out a few more fish tonight.  Grant is working on colors right now so we are going to do a fish in all the major colors.  I also have some iron on felt numbers so counting can be worked in too.  Might as well have it be a dual purpose gift - fun and educational!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November Friday Night Sew In

Ahh - so desperately needed - a night of sewing.  Yep, the November Friday Night Sew In (FNSI) is tomorrow (see button on right side for link). 

OK - I realize I'm traveling back home tomorrow but I have some hand sewing planned that I can do when I get there (and get the kids settled in bed).  I plan to return home via Ames because the kids and I must stop at the Consignment Store - Clark has absolutely NO pants that fit him.  The children's consignment store just happens to be on the same block as my favorite quilt store so we may have to make another stop as well.

My sewing project is actually Grant's Christmas gift.  Grant is currently into using anything he can find to go "fishing" with.  The plan is to make some cute felt fish with little magnets in their bellies so Grant can go fishing.  Yes, I believe in imaginative play but I am also tired of searching for my good cloth tape measure every time Grant goes on a fishing trip!

Thinking something like this from this blog.

Test Kitchen Thursday - Fa La La La La - Spritz Cookies

Above is Grant this past weekend - two fisting the cookie batter.  Gotta love his enthusiasm!

This weekend we baked 8 dozen Spritz cookies and 12 dozen sugar cookies (Auntie Cookie Recipe found here).  When baking large batches (or prepping for state fair entries) I like to prep my kitchen first.  This means cleaning and organizing everything first.  Then setting out the items that will be used in each recipe (basics like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, eggs, etc).  When I do this I use the same measuring device for each item or same bowl for mixing dry ingredients, etc.  It really has helped me cut down on the use of bowls, measuring spoons and cups and keeps the process organized and efficient.

Here's the first batch of little spritz trees ready for the oven.  For some reason my cookie press only wanted to pump out trees.  The poinsetta plate gave me fits.

The recipe I used was the Fiori di sicilia Spritz Cookie recipe out of the 2011 Holiday Preview King Arthur Flour Catalogue.  This recipe does use a special ingredient that you can order from King Arthur Flour but you may be able to utilize something else instead.  I have only used the fiori di sicilia in one other recipe and really wanted to try it in something else.  So this truly is a test kitchen for future use as a state fair entry.  I am hoping this recipe sets itself apart enough to yield a ribbon.  They did yield a beautiful citrus scented and tasting cookie.


1 Cup     unsalted butter
3/4 Cup  sugar
1/2 Cup  cream cheese
3/4 t        salt
1 t           vanilla extract
1/4 t        Fiori di Sicilia flavoring
(you may be able to substitute lemon flavoring or just leave out - or go nuts and order the flavoring for some yummy cookies)
1             large egg
2 1/2 Cup  All Purpose Flour
zest of 1 whole orange or lemon, very finely grated (I used orange)
Sugar for decoration (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  If making shaped cookies through the cookie press freeze the cookie sheets while making the dough.

Beat together the butter, sugar, cream cheese, salt, vanilla, Fiori di Sicilia, and zest.  Beat in the egg yolk, then stir in the flour.

Press/pipe cookies onto the chilled baking sheets.  Top with colored sugar, if desired.

He started out doing so well - each cookie seemed to have more sugar than the last!

Bake the cookies for 8 - 10 minutes, until they are brown around the edges.  Remove from oven and wait 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to racks to cool.  Move cookies before they are totally cool, otherwise they may sitck to the baking sheet.
Yields 7 - 8 dozen cookies.

These do have a great taste.  I love my lime flavored spritz and will probably make a batch of those yet this year too.  And possibly some plain old almond flavored spritz.  They are just so easy and make easy little gifts.  So Spritz 3 ways this year (we've been watching too much Top Chef around here lately).  Funny thing is I don't even like spritz cookies that much or any butter type cookie (which is great to make because they won't end up on my waistline).  Although mom mentioned she found a chocolate/mint spritz recipe that may be worth trying - I look up that recipe when we go visit this week!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Little Turkey Dinner

This week we started "talking turkey" during our preschool time.  Monday we happened to have a turkey and cheese sandwich on the schedule.  I also happened to have my cookie cutters out (well, some of them anyway - my collection of cutters is well into the hundreds - which I don't often admit too since people would probably find me crazy but I love cookie cutters and will pick them up cheap at auctions and yard sales).  Since my husband wonders why we have all these well catorgized, labeled and boxed cutters sitting around I figured I should find new purposes ('cause who needs to make that many cookies?).

The big cutters work great for cutting out sandwich shapes!  We've done acorns, leaves and now turkeys.

Amazingly, Grant who will not eat cut up sandwiches WILL eat cookie cutter cut sandwiches.

The cutters also work well for making playdough shapes, making paper templates and shapes, sorting and organizing fun for the boys and of course for cookies - which we made about 10 dozen cut out sugar cookies this past weekend.  FUN & YUM!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Test Kitchen Thursday - Banana Muffins and 25 Day Menu Cycle

This week we started something new.  I always try to have a weekly menu plan and shopping list for weeknight suppers.  However, I have been struggling to provide wholesome nutritious snacks and lunches for the boys (and myself).  I usually eat salad for lunch but then wonder what to feed the boys.  Leftovers are often part of the plan but not always.  And just grabbing a box of crackers for snack time is not where I wanted to be.  But it was that or spend lots of time trying to figure out what would be good for snack times.

Enter the Montana Childcare Cycle Menu.  My mom actually gave me this printout a long time ago.  As I was organizing my new recipe book cupboard this fell out.  Maybe God's way of saying you can do better.
It's not just the menu plan for 25 days it also includes recipes (scroll to the bottom - 4 pdf downloads alphabetically).  After visiting their website last week they also have printouts you can download of just snack ideas (look under the menu planning header)!  Hooray!

For those of you that have been reading this blog for awhile you know I like a good challenge.  So, I am challenging myself to follow this meal plan for the entire 5 week cycle.  Obviously Thanksgiving week we will have to take off but I'm hoping this helps relieve some of the pressure to put food on the table during the entire run of the holiday season.  Plus, with an actual plan in hand for groceries maybe also save a little more money to use elsewhere this time of year.

Day 1 Breakfast:  Whole Grain Banana Muffin; Applesauce and Milk.

The recipes are all fairly simple but I have found myself making changes to the recipes.  Mainly to add a few more seasonings.  The recipes are healthy in nature which I love but sometimes just a few ingredients (not neccessarily sugar or salt) can improve a basic recipe.

That said - let's just say my first day I almost quit the program due to some recipe mishaps.

Whole Grain Banana Muffins (recipe source: Montana CACFP - originally sourced from

1 Cup    Enriched All Purpose White Flour
1 Cup    Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 Cup Wheat Germ
pinch      Salt (I used 1/8 t)
3 t          Baking Powder
1            Egg, large
1/2 Cup Banana, ripe - mashed (I used 1 whole banana)
1/4 Cup Apple Juice (concentrate, thawed)
1 Cup    Milk (skim)
3 t         Butter (melted)
1/4 Cup Dried Fruit (optional - I opted out this time around)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine flours, wheat germ, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, juice concentrate, milk, butter & banana. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in fruit, being careful not to over mix. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray. Fill each cup 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes. Can spread with peanut butter or cream cheese.

They turned out looking fabulous!  In fact, I don't think I've ever had muffins put on such nice perfect tops.

However, when putting the grocery list together I only read Apple Juice (not concentrate).  My gut instinct told me to add in some sugar along with the apple juice I had but I didn't.  The muffins were a little on the non-sweet side.  After showing the boys how to dip and spread their applesauce on the muffins they ate them right down!

At snack time I made the Taco Chex Mix.  Again, should have gone with my gut instinct.  I know that my homemade taco seasoning has more punch than the store bought variety.  I was going to reduce the amount of taco seasoning but didn't.  It was a very SPICY snack.  Grant is my guy who doesn't like things overly spicy and yet he ate the Chex Mix and loved it (and I had my tongue burning) so who knows.

The best part of the whole week has been ALL of my meals and snacks have been pre-planned and I have all the ingredients needed and on hand.  Having a plan helps me have more time to accomplish other things throughout the day.  The boys love the variety and I love knowing they are getting their dietary requirements met. 

Without the plan on Monday we probably would have resorted to PB&J sandwiches and carrot sticks since I spent 2 hours in the doctor's office that morning.  The banister attacked me on Sunday night and gave me a nasty splinter deep under the nail on my right index finger - bleah!  There was no way I was getting it out and I couldn't take the pain on Monday so off the doctor for some numbing action.  It's amazing how much you take things for granted until you lose them.  Who knew how much you use an index finger?  Meal prep with a numb index finger added a whole new challenge.  Typing was also a problem on Monday and Tuesday (finally got full feeling back Tuesday afternoon - just in time to finish decorating cake and cookies).

Even if you don't want to follow the complete menu plan if you're looking for some easy recipes and snack ideas the links above to the Montana CACFP have some really great things.  They even have guides to help you build your own menu plans.

Cake and Cookies for a Special Day

Tuesday night was the Red Oak FFA Chapter's Degree Raising Ceremony.  For those of you not familiar with FFA the freshmen go through a series of items they need to complete (like memorizing the FFA creed, giving a 5 minute speech in public, etc) to become Greenhand Members and earn their Greenhand Degree.  The older students also have items to complete - mainly dealing with their Supervised Agricultural Experience (basically their work related or science research project they have throughout high school) to earn their Chapter Degree.  Usually it is just sophomore's and newer upperclassmen that are raised to the Chapter Degree.  In this case, almost the entire Chapter had to be raised to the Chapter Degree.

I was asked by my husband to make the refreshments.  Had to call mom for her awesome Hot Apple Cider recipe - so glad I bought a couple coffee makers at an auction a while back because the cider was a big hit.  I put together an FFA Jacket cake - cake recipe blogged here (Classic Vanilla Cake from BHG).  No the emblem is not icing and it's not edible paper - although edible paper would have been cool but I could never justify the expense of an edible printer.  Since it was just regular paper for food safety I put a large slab of yellow frosting underneath and a layer of wax paper and scraped that all off before cutting.

I also whipped up some "Greenhand" cookies.  It didn't work to frost the whole cookie (couldn't tell what it was) so decided to go with just the outline.  Then piped the names of the Greenhand Degree recipients in the middle.  It was fun to see how protective students were of their special cookies.  I decided if I do this again next year I'm going to try dying the cookie dough green. Cookie recipe blog found here.

At the ceremony a mother came up to me and told me her son came home after the first meeting back in September and told her Mrs. Spencer is an awesome baker (Chocolate Zucchini Cake).  She also told me that he now won't miss an FFA meeting for fear of missing the refreshments - no pressure there! Whatever I can do to help my husband get kids to meetings :) - he he. Yesterday after school my husband told me that there is one student who wants to buy a cake from me, another who is in LOVE with the cookies, and a request for a birthday and graduation cake from another.  Hmm - I hadn't considered a cake hobby business on the side - but the students in FFA are sooo sweet here.

In other news - last weekend I organized the toy/preschool room.  Sorry - it was such a horrible mess I did not take before pictures.  Basically you could not see the floor due to toys pulled out and boxes everywhere.  I wanted to surprise the boys so the room was off limits while I cleaned and sorted.  Sunday night we did the big "reveal!"

The boys were so excited!  They love their new room!  All we need is a small loveseat so we have a place to snuggle and read books.  Right now the floor is working OK.  Or instead of furniture a couple of big floor pillows might do the trick too.  Right now I love the Jelly Roll Floor Pillows tutorial on the Moda Bakeshop blog.

The pretend food play area is still their favorite!  On Monday they spread out a baby blanket and "invited" all their stuffed toy friends to a picnic.  It was very cute!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Superman Dresser

Finally finished the boys' dresser!  I posted about the beginning stages back in these posts: post 1 & post 2.

Here is the $1.00 dresser that I picked up at the auction.  After fixing up the drawers and doing some cleaning it came together rather nicely.

Primed the entire piece.

I used a freezer paper stencil to add the superman logo.

Outlined the logo in blue.

I added some new knobs and ta da!  A dresser my boys LOVE!

Total Cost:
$1.00 Dresser
$20.00 Primer and Paint
$15.00 Knobs
$45.00 Dollars for a custom dresser.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Test Kitchen Thursday - Applesauce Doughnuts

Decided to try my hands at doughnuts one more time.  After last year's disaster I've been a bit gun shy (see post here).  But what is one to do when a little two month old wakes you up for a feeding at 4 AM and you can't fall back to sleep - sure, make doughnuts.

This recipe comes from the 2011 Better Homes and Gardens Fall Baking magazine.  After our trip to the Apple Orchard we had plenty of apples for making applesauce (15 pints) so I had what I needed for the doughnut recipe.

Applesauce Doughnuts

4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 T ground cinnamon
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup homemade applesauce (or unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 Cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
1/4 Cup butter, melted

Vegetable Oil for frying

Cinnamon Sugar for dipping in while warm

In a large bowl combine the first 5 dry ingredients, mix well, set aside.  In another large bowl whisk together eggs and egg yolk.  Add the sugar, the applesauce, the buttermilk and the melted butter - whisk until well mixed.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture.  Use your hands to mix together until all of the flour is moistened.  Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

On a floured surface roll out dough to 1/2" thickness.  Cut dough with a floured 2 1/2 inch doughnut cutter, rerolling dough as necessary.

Fry doughnuts and doughnut holes in deep hot oil (365 degree F) for 2 - 3 minutes or until golden; turning once.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dip warm doughnuts and doughnut holes in Cinnamon Sugar.

These turned out really well.  The boys were super excited to have doughnuts for breakfast.  Although now that Grant knows that we can make our own doughnuts he is upset we don't have them more often.  Grant really liked the little doughnut holes the best.