Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Loot

First off, before I get to the Christmas loot, we had a lovely white Christmas. It started snowing early Christmas eve morning and continued to snow all day.

Sadly it was all gone by the following afternoon.. Oh, how I wish you would stay a little longer, the next time you decided to visit, Mr. Snow!!

This year our Christmas was just the two of us. My sister came over Christmas eve and left early Christmas day. Since the hubs isn't working we didn't really buy presents for each other. But we did manage to be able to exchange small gifts to each other. My wonderful hubs bought me some Disney movies to add to my collection, along with a gift card to Borders. He got all kinds of goodies in his stocking and a variety pack of popcorn kernels for the air popper. And of course I got the Disney movies my mom sent as well!

My wonderful sister got me the bestest gift ever! A Kitchen Aide mixer. It very pretty and shiny! And no, I did not hug it once it was out of the box...

Isn't she pretty? I got to use it the other day, post with pics soon to come!

My decorations were very sparse this year. Christmas came and went before I knew it so I wasn't able to do as much decorating as I would of liked to. As you can see I only decorated the top half of the tree. Thing one and Thing two (Ford and Rocky) wouldn't stay out of my tree...

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and got everything you wished for!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sugar Cookies

Its not Christmas without sugar cookies, right? I planned on posting this before Christmas, but it snuck up on me before I knew what was happening... I've also included the recipe for the cream cheese icing I used.

Sugar Cookies

Prep: 30 min Chill: 30 min
Bake: 7 min per batch Oven: 375 degrees
2/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 salt

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill dough about 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time until 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are barely light brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep: 20 min Makes: about 3 3/4 cup
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 1/2 to 6 cups powdered (I only used about 3 1/2 cups)

In large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

Use as much or little powdered sugar as you feel needed. I only used about 3 1/2 cups and found that to be a good amount for the consistency I was looking for.
Enjoy your cookies!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Peanut Butter Bark

I've been on a peanut butter kick lately.. Can you tell? This recipe is very quick and easy! Very yummy too!!

Peanut Butter Bark

2 4 oz packages of dark chocolate backing bars, broken into pieces
1 2/3 cups ( 10 0z package) Peanut butter chips
1 tablespoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts or toasted almonds ( I used pecans)*.

*To toast nuts, heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts in thin layer on a cookie sheet, bake 8-10 min; Cool.

Cover tray with wax paper. I used a rectangular metal cake pan lined with wax paper.

Place chocolate in medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute; stir If necessary cook for an additional 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.

Immediately place peanut butter chips and shortening in second microwave safe bowl. Heat for one minute in microwave; stir. If necessary cook an additional 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred; stir in nuts.

Alternately spoon above mixtures onto prepared tray; swirl with knife for marble effect. Cover; refrigerate until firm. Break into pieces.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Cranberry Bread

This time of year my mom always makes Cranberry bread. It is one of my favorite things that she bakes, and she has been sending me a loaf every year since I moved away from Oregon. So this year I thought, since I've been doing a lot of baking why not try and make it myself? I'm glad did! Boy that's some good bread! Yum Yum!

If you would like to try your hand at some Cranberry bread, here's the recipe:

Cranberry Bread

1 Cup fresh or frozen Cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 up orange juice
1 egg, well beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and lightly flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan.
Prepare cranberries, nuts and orange peel. Set aside. In bowl mix together flour sugar baking powder salt and baking soda. cut in shortening. Stir in orange juice, and egg mixing just until moistened.
Fold in cranberry mixture. Bake 60 min or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 15 min. remove from pan and let cool completely.

Eat and enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

I got this recipe from Sunday Baker. I am very bad about taking step by step pictures.. I was taking these cookies out of the oven when I remembered that I had not taken any pictures. If you need to see the step by step pictures, stop by Sunday Bakers page here.

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Cream together:
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
3/4-1 c. confectioners sugar

Roll the mixture into small balls. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes:
With a mixer, combine:
1/2 c. softened butter
1/4. c. peanut butter

Add to it:
1 egg white
1 t. vanilla extract
Combine in a separate bowl:
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. baking cocoa
1/2 t. baking soda

Slowly add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. As the dough gets stiffer, stop using the electric mixer and stir in the rest by hand.

Form this chocolate dough into 1 1/2" balls

remove peanut butter balls from the fridge. On lightly floured surface, flatten one of the chocolate balls with your hand. Put a peanut butter ball in the middle. Wrap the chocolate dough around the peanut butter ball, sealing all edges and making it back into a ball shape.

Place the dough balls on a lined cookie sheet, Dip the bottom of a small glass in water, then in some sugar. Push down on each ball, flattening it, but not completely.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 min.

Eat and enjoy!

(sorry for the crazy font size.. I'm not sure how to fix it.. I have it all set to the same size and it won't fix itself..)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Someone's Selling Avon!

Hi all, I just wanted to take a minute and tell you all about my new business venture.
With my husband not working, and my zoo hours getting cut severely, I have taken to selling Avon. I'm hoping to get enough business that it will bring in some much needed income! I plan on putting a button in my side bar that will link directly to my Avon page, but for now you can just click here.
If you are interested in buying or selling Avon products, please check it out. You can order online through me, and if you let me know before you place your order I can get you FREE shipping!
We have a ton of great holiday deals going on right now, so please go check it out!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Promise's, Promise's...

I promised a while back that I would post pictures from Boo at the Zoo. Unfortunately my camera decided to not work that night.. I did get one picture taken before my batteries decided they could no longer go on living.. Of course the picture is blurry and has nothing to do with the Boo at the Zoo festivities.

This is whats called an Ocelot. He is very adorable. He is a lot smaller then some of the other wild kitties out there, but he is still probably 3 times the size of your house cat! I just want to take him home with me and love him and squeeze him and call him George! But that's besides the point..

The husband and I have also done a few other things in the past few weeks that I have deemed blog worthy, but did not take any pictures of. We went to a Greek festival, but we did not stay for any of the festivities.. We just went for the food, which was very yummy by the way. I didn't get to see any Greek dancing or see the Greek bands play, so thus no pictures.

We also went to a model train show that same weekend. Yes, my husband is going to be one of those guy's who has their whole basement filled with model train sets, with the landscaping and everything. The only thing stopping him from doing that now is the fact that we have no basement. He keeps looking at the attic though.... So we go to this train show and walk around and see a lot of elaborate get ups. Some really nice ones that focus on the details of the landscaping, what with hikers climbing the mountains and bears just on the other side of the trees, but do I pull out my camera and take pictures? No. It stays in my purse.

The hubs and I are pretty boring people and the one weekend we actually get our butts up off the couch and go do something, I take no pictures.. Hopefully this is not a trend that plans on sticking around! I love taking pictures and usually carry the camera with me at all times..

We plan on going to some of the Museums in the Fort Worth area pretty soon. I plan on taking lots of pictures for that! ( we shall see....)

What about you guy's? Are there times when you plan on doing something and don't follow through?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Alternative Plans

Its been well over a year since my husband and I have been trying to conceive. We almost succeeded once, we didn't know it though. I thought I had posted the story, but I guess not..
So, here it is:
In June 2008 we took a trip to see my family in Oregon. The day before we left, I had some severe stomach pains. Didn't really think much about it, I was2 or 3 days off my period, so I just thought the pains were related to that. Took a hot bath and they went away.
We spent 7 wonderful days catching up with family and friends and enjoying ourselves on the coast. We even took a trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Yum Yum!
The day before we were to fly home, I started to get severe stomach pains again. I got into my mom's hot tub, thinking the warm water would help with the pain like last time. It only got worse. I finally got out of the hot tub once I was all pruny and wrinkly. After getting out I dang near passed out from standing up. My mom suggested we go to the hospital, I was in so much pain I was crying and that's when my husband decided I really needed to go to the E.R.
Once there, we discover that I am pregnant. We weren't even trying. Had not even talked about the possibility of having kids yet.. So, Yay, right? Not really. You apparently should not be in that much pain whilst pregnant..
Turns out I was trying to grow a baby on my right ovary. I had what the doctor called a right ovarian ectopic pregnancy. I am one in a million women who get this.. After surgery and a week in the hospital, I got discharged and got to go home.
Since then we decided to try and have a baby. Its been a year and 3 months. Still no baby, but everyone around me is having one!
So at this point I am thinking about adoption. Does anyone out there have any experience with adoption? Any advice? Any advice on trying to concieve a baby on our own?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Prep: 25 minutes Bake: 55 minutes

Oven: 350 Makes: 1 loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of one 9x5x3 inch pan; set aside. In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In medium bowl combine eggs, banana, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

In small bowl combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons flour. Using pastry blender, cut in 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/3 cup walnuts.

Sprinkle topping over batter

Bake in oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack.

Eat and enjoy!

The loaf of banana bread I made from this recipe didn't last over 24 hours in my house! It is that yummy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

(I did not take this picture, but its pretty, huh?)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread
Prep: 20 min Bake: 55 min
Oven: 350 Makes: 2 loaves

3 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
31/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cups water
1 15-ounce can pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottm and 1/2 inch up the sides of two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans; set aside. In an extra large mixing bowl beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium. Add eggs and beat well; set sugar mixture aside.

  1. In large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Alternately add flour mixture and th water to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. beat in pumpkin. spoon batter int prepared pans.
  2. Bake for 55-65 min or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completly on wire rack.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Wonderful Handmade Gifts

A few weeks a go the girls at SITS held an auction. I bid on a cute handmade purse and won the auction! Would you guy's like to see my cute new purse and the surprise goodies I found inside it? Of course you would!

I got my package today, and not only was there a cute purse, but a key chain thingy to match the purse, a cute belt, and a lovely necklace charm. I love it all! Thanks!!

I bet you would like to know where you could get a cute purse like mine, huh? Well, go check out the wonderful woman who made this purse and all the extra goodies. She has a blog called Loving Mom 2 Boys and you can find her Etsy shop here

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fall Decorations

I love all my new fall decorations! I got a new center piece for my table. I wasn't sure what to put in it though.. I had some mini pumpkins that I put it, but it seems like it needs something else. Any suggestins? Also I have a mantle this year that I got to decorate! So exciting.
Have you decorated for fall yet?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Crumble Top Cranberry Bars

Crumble Top Cranberry Bars

Prep: 25 min Bake time: 50 min

Oven: 350 Makes: 25 bars


1 1/2 cups uncooked quick cooking oats

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Combine oats, 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in large bowl until well mixed. Cut in butter and vanilla with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place 1 cup crust mixture into small bowl; set aside.

Press remaining crust mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until edges are just beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, combine sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolk. lemon zest and vanilla in small bowl; stir until well mixed. Stir in cranberries. Spread filling mixture over hot, partially baked crust.

Stir pecans into reserved crust mixture; sprinkle over cranberry mixture, lightly pressing down onto filling. baking for 35-40 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 30 minutes; refrigerate 2 hours. Cut into bars.


Its the time of the year for holiday baking! I'm looking forward to trying my hand at making holiday breads and cookies. My next project will be Pumpkin Bread. I can't wait. I can almost taste it! I am also going to try to make cranberry nut bread this year. Its one of my favorite Thanksgiving foods that my mom makes. Hope mine is as good as hers!

Whats your favorite holiday food?