First Week of School Cookies

Well, we have almost made it through our first week of middle school.  Eeeekkkk!  How did he get so big?  Each year, we make cookies for the first week of school.  It is a welcomed treat after the first day of school.  Nothing says welcome home like warm cookies and cold milk.  This gives me time to talk about his day and hear about all his adventures.  Also, my kid likes to bring his lunch.  He enjoys having his first week of school cookies in his lunch box.

This year we tried to cram all his favorites into one cookie.  Chocolate chips, M&Ms, peanut butter, and oatmeal made these cookies extra yummy.  Simple and tasted amazing.

Here’s to a great school year and lots of singing and dancing in the kitchen!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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First Day of School Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 t vanilla extract
1 whole egg
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ t salt
1 t baking soda
1½ cups old fashioned oats
1 cup M & M’s
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Then add in peanut butter.   Add in vanilla and egg. Mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter.  Mix for a little less than a minute. Do not over mix.  Fold in old fashioned oats, M & M’s and chocolate chips.

Make teaspoons of dough and place on prepared cookie sheets.  I prepare my cookie sheets with parchment paper.   Bake cookies for 11ish minutes or until lightly golden brown and firm on the edges.  Remove from the oven and let set for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Once completely cooked, keep cookies in an airtight container.  Cookies  (if not all eaten) will last up to a week.

 

 

Heart Shaped Cupcakes

The day of LOVE is here.  This is a super easy treat to whip up for your little sweeties.  We even cheated and used a cake mix and pre-made icing.  And guess what, it was still yummy!

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Pick your favorite cake mix- I used Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake
Pick your favorite icing- I used Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing
Cupcake Liners
Glass marbles
Sprinkles for decorations

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Make cupcakes according to recipe directions. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spoon batter into liners.  Fill cupcakes only 1/2 full.  If the liner is too full, you will not end up with heart shapes.
After filling the liners, place a marble between the liner and the pan. You will see the cupcake take the shape of a heart.
Bake cupcakes according to recipe directions. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Add your own flair with sprinkles.

You Have Everything You Need Chocolate Chip Cookies

It was a rainy Monday and Whitaker realized we were out of cookies.  In a house of boys, running out of cookies is a bad thing.  Whitaker is a problem solver and quickly declared, “Mommy, we can just make some cookies.”  I had several other ideas on my to-do list for the afternoon.  But I was quickly reminded that checking off boxes on my list could wait, I need to make cookies with Whitaker.

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He loves using the mixer.

This chocolate chip cookie recipe is so easy and you will probably have everything you need to create them right in your kitchen.  It is a great recipe to have a young chef to help you with because the measurements are easy and they love scooping the cookie dough on to the cookie sheet.

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Simple Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
3 cup quick oats
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a mixer, stir together, butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Then add flour and baking soda. Add oats and stir until well combine. Lastly, add in chocolate chips.  Mix all well.
Scoop into 1″ balls & place on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Add additional chocolate chips on top of scooped cookies.  (This makes your cookies look even better after they are baked.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges start to turn a light golden brown.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Every Where

We are right on the edge.  Pumpkins are every where.  We are carving them, decorating them, cooking them, and drinking them if you have an addiction to PSL like I do.  There are several items that scream “Fall is here and I’m wearing my favorite boots and sweaters every day.”

Wanted to share a few of my favorite pumpkin creations.  All of these goodies are perfect to surprise neighbors or coworkers.  Enjoy the cool air and the wonderful smells of fall.
-Amanda

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Just Stop It- Pumpkin Oat Filled  Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Toffee Pumpkin Cookies

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Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin Bread

Rice Krispie Treats

Happy National Cereal Day!  How do I celebrate cereal?!?  I add marshmallows and butter!  This is my simple rice krispie treat recipe.  Nothing over the top except I think you need to start with large marshmallows and then add smaller ones at the end.  Gooey and a complete guarantee that you (and family, if you share) will finish the pan in one day.  You will notice in the picture that there are little marshmallow pillows of goodness waiting on you.  The secret is adding minis after you have made you initial mixture.  Trust me!  Happiness in a little square of cereal!  Happy National Cereal Day!  Celebrate the appropriate way!  Looking Forward, Amanda

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5 T butter (extra for buttering pan)
8 cups of LARGE marshmallows, plus 2 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispie Cereal

Butter your 12×9 pan, set aside.
On very low heat, in a large pan, melt butter. Once butter in melted add  8 cups of large marshmallows, stirring constantly.
Once the marshmallows are melted, remove from heat and stir in your cereal until coated in marshmallow mixture. Now stir in 2 cups of mini marshmallows.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and press in evenly. I use wax paper to help me press down the mixture so that it does not stick to my hands or spoon.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

We are in the final days preparing for a fun and busy day in the kitchen.  I LOVE Thanksgiving!  I remember the smells of Thanksgiving waking me up as a little girl and being so excited about a day with family and yummy food.

I wanted to share a yummy pie that you might want to add to your dessert bar.  It’s gooey and full of rich favor!  Enjoy!  -Amanda

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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

1 uncooked pie crust (either store bought or make your own)
1 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup light Karo Syrup
1 T Bourbon (I used Willett)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place your prepared pie crust in your favorite pie dish.

In your mixer, beat your eggs, sugar, brown sugar, Karo Syrup and bourbon.  Stir in your pecans and chocolate chips. Pour pecan mixture into your prepared pie plate and bake 50 to 60 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and the center is pretty set.

Remove the pie from oven and allow to cool at least an hour. Slice and serve. Top with a little bourbon infused whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If serving the next day, you need to refrigerate. In my opinion, let pie come to room temp before serving.

Boys in the Kitchen- Fortune Cookies

It’s important to me that my boys know their way around the kitchen. They don’t have to be culinary experts (but a mommy can wish). I just want them to be intelligent in a kitchen and around a table. I want them to appreciate the whole experience. I never pressure our oldest in the kitchen. Instead I introduce concepts and ask for his opinions. Naturally he has taken an interest in some aspects of cooking and baking. I love to celebrate and can always find a reason to cook.

With Chinese New Year’s coming, I thought it would be fun to make fortune cookies. I wanted it to be simple. We did not create gourmet cookies. Instead we had fun creating fortunes to hide inside the cookies and spent time learning a few new tricks. This was W’s first time to drizzle chocolate. He was a natural. And he learned a very important rule: Never Waste Chocolate! We took the remaining chocolate and made chocolate covered pretzels.

Let’s be honest. These fortune cookies are made from pie crust. Nothing culinary about it. Instead it is about taking time to be with your kids in the kitchen and making a few memories. They will find pride in creating something and feel loved that you spent time with them. And you might create a love for the kitchen at the same time.
Take time to make the memories! -Amanda

Kid Friendly Fortune Cookies

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Refrigerated pie crust or homemade pie crust
Melting chocolate for drizzle

First start by preparing personalized fortunes.  Cut strips of paper (2 inches long by 1/2 inch high). We used a thin Sharpie marker to write our messages. You could print your messages using a computer. Double fold all your messages. They need to be little to fit into the cookie.

Unroll pie crust. Using a cookie cutter to cut out circles (about 2-1/4 inches in diameter). Space very closely to get all on one crust. Take the scraps of dough and reroll to make more circles. We got 15 circles out of our one pie crust. Take a pie crust circle and place a folded fortune strip in the center. Fold circle in half with fortune inside, and pinch edges (not center) to seal. Place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Repeat for remaining circles.

Bake cookies at 450 degrees for 7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Melt your selected chocolate in the microwave according to package directions. Remove and stir. Stir until chocolate is smooth. Drizzle chocolate over cookies, or dip edge of cookie into chocolate. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. Allow chocolate to harden completely before serving.