Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Big Cookie Project: Week 52

I can't believe it's finally over.  It's been a year since I started this crazy baking journey.  There have been some ups and downs, but in all I thought it was fun to do.  Here are some highlights over the year:
The Prettiest Cookie:  The stained glass cookie
The Tastiest Cookie:  Believe it or not, I'm a basic chocolate chip cookie kind of girl.  Some of the other recipes were tasty as well, but also really rich.  The chocolate chip cookie, in my opinion, is the perfect balance.
The Messiest Dessert:  Boston Cream Pie
The Most Difficult:  Recipes with A LOT of steps.  I'm impatient and hated to all those things I had to do.
The Biggest Fail:  This one is a tie between the coconut macaroon cookies and the earthquake cake.  I just couldn't bake them correctly.  I felt as though I baked them for forever and they just wouldn't set up. 
I've probably used a ton of flour and sugar, atleast two containers of baking powder, one container of baking soda, quite a few bags of chips and close to five bottles of vanilla. 

Now for my final week I went with a breakfast dessert.  Only because I was signed up to take breakfast to our Sunday School class this past week, and they might look at me like I was crazy if I brought in cookies for breakfast.  Here it is:
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) Butter, melted
  • 1 cup ( 2 sticks) Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 glass baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2.In an electric or stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined well , slowly stir in the melted butter. Pour into the prepared 9×13 baking pan.
3.For topping, In a large bowl mix the 2 sticks of butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together until well combined and creamy. Drop evenly over the batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.
4.Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean.
FOR GLAZE: In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together with a whisk. Drizzle evenly over the warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe from:

I think Paula Deen would be proud, 3 sticks of butter in this recipe! The only problem I had was that the topping really didn't stay on top.  It all sunk to the bottom to make a delcious gooey mess at the bottom of the pan.  So, it looked weird when I cut myself a slice and I'm trying to scrape all the good stuff from the bottom, but I wasn't just going to leave it there.  It was pretty much gone by the end of church, and by Monday it had vanished completely.  A big success for the last week. 

You might ask, would I ever do this again??
Give my taste buds a few months to recover and then ask me :)

Happy Baking!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Big Cookie Project: Week 51

One week left!  EEEKKK!  I don't know if I've made a cheesecake for this cookie project, but I definitely haven't made a cheesecake dyed green with sprinkles in them.  The cheesecake came out really well, it would have come out even better if I hadn't listened to Greg.  I baked it to the time mentioned, and asked Greg to take it out.  He came back and said it still looked too jiggly, so I stuck it in for another 15-20 minutes.  Greg came back and said that I shouldn't have listened to him, because the recipe said it SHOULD look jiggly and would harden up after refrigerated.  Oops, but it really didn't hurt it.

1 3/4 cups vanilla cookie crumbs (Nila Wafters or off-brand would work)
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
16 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, separated
1/2 cup yellow cake mix
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanill extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sprinkles
5 drops blue food coloring (optional)
3 drops green food coloring (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8x8 pan, then line with parchement paper.
2.  Stir together cookie crumbs, 2 Tablespoons sugar and melted butter.  Press into the bottom of prepared pan.  Bake until crust in just brown around the edges (8-10 minutes).
3.  Beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add the remaining sugar, and beat until smooth.  Add the eggs and yolk, milk, vanilla, salt and beat until completely combined and smooth.  Finally stir in food coloring, cake mix and sprinkles until smooth.
4.  Pour filling over crust.  Set the pan in a larger pan (9x13) and add enought hot water to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan (about 2 cups).  Bake until just set, about 40-45 minutes.  Remove the baking pan from the water bath, and transfer to a wire rack.  Let cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate over night.
5.  Cut in to bars and serve!
I gave a few of them away, a few of them we ate, and magically they were all gone!  The sprinkles made it fun, but I'm not quite sure why it had to be green.  Maybe for Spring or St. Patricks' Day?  Either way, it still looked pretty.

Happy Baking!

Original recipe from:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Awkward Moment #47 AND #48

Awkward Moment #47: Your 2-year old daughter crawls under the door of the OCCUPIED stall, unlocks the door and tried to open the door for me. All the while, some poor lady is using the bathroom wondering why there is a little girl in her stall.

What was my response, you might ask?? I grabbed her by the legs and dragged her out with not too much resistance from Mallory (thank heavens). The stall must have been occupied by the nicest lady ever, because she didn't yell at me or Mallory, just started laughing...

Awkward Moment #48: Your 4-year old thinks he is big enough to go in the Mens Restroom by himself. Then, poops and decides he doesn't want to clean himself, so proceeds to scream, "Mommy! Is my butt clean?" so loudly you can hear it in the Women's Restroom. Then, had to go IN the Men's Restroom to assure Nolan his butt was clean. Another blessing: the Men's Restroom was empty.

I took them to the restroom quite a few times in what seemed like a short period of time. My friend, Molly, even took Mallory. I think she saw the look in my eyes, "AGAIN?" We kept on passing a mom with a 10-month old (guesstimating) and I could see that same look in her eyes, "AGAIN? How many times can they go to the bathroom?" Then, I tried to send her a signal through my eyes saying, "You just wait until this stage of life sneaks upon you and you spend half your meal in a stall waiting for your child to use the restroom." I think it came out as a scowl though.

Oh, the escapades of small children. If I had a dollar for every embarrasing or funny story that I had, I might be rich. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Big Cookie Project: Week 50

Below is what my dessert SHOULD have looked like. It did not look like this at all. I have this pet peeve of putting time and effort in trying to re-creating something, but having my result look nothing like it was supposed to.
I took an "after" shot of the dessert I made, but deemed it unworthy to put on the blog. So, I've left you wondering of what it actually turned out like. Despite its lack of appearance, it was actually pretty yummy. I think I made one HUGE error during the baking process which might have made my cake come out ugly (I'll tell you that error later). Here's the recipe:
2/3 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup pecans-chopped
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 box German chocolate cake mix
8 oz. box of cream cheese
1/4 pound of butter (1 stick)
1 pound powdered sugar
Sprinkle coconut, pecans and chocolate chips over the bottom of a 9x13 inch greased cake pan. Prepare the cake following hte package directions. Pour batter in to the pan. In a small saucepan melt the cream cheese and butter, then stir in the powdered sugar. Spread over top of cake batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes.
If you desire, I sprinkled some extra chocolate chips on top.

Ok, so here is my big error. I baked this for Easter Sunday after church, but Greg also had to cook a chicken. So, we put them in at the same time. I know...a huge no no. After 50 minutes, I checked and it seemed 95% raw. I kept it in the oven for what seemed like forever. Over 2 hours in to the baking process, I finallly gave up and took it out. The edges were done, but it was still gooey in the middle (even for me, which is saying alot). I chopped off the edges, gave them to my sister and have been eating the middle. It tastes great though. The coconut, chocolate, cream cheese and german chocolate cake really compliment each other.

I hope if you bake this, it will be the only thing in your oven. I guess in my dream house I will need to have a double oven :)


Monday, April 9, 2012

Fun Things to Do this Summer!

Here's my list of things to do this summer. Some are with kids, some are without. Some we've already done, but definitely need to do again (water balloons!).

1. Aggie Baseball Game
2. Barton Springs in Austin
3. Zilker Zephyr Train Ride at Zilker Park
4. Brenham Aquatic Center
5. Blue Bell Factory
6. Go antiquing
7. Go to some kind of street festival
8. water balloon fight
9. water gun/nerf gun fight
10. Run through the sprinklers screaming like a 5-year old (Nolan is a good example)
11. Gorge myself on Haribo Gummi Bears while in Germany
12. Go to softball games (Greg joined a team!)
13. JJ's Snowcones!
14. Play catch in the backyard with Nolan and Greg
15. Eat veggies and fruit from my garden
16. Go to a road-side fruit stand and buy local produce
17. Stop and smell the flowers
18. Camping (at a real campground or in the backyard)
19. Make s'mores around a campfire
20. Go swimming...alot
21. Have a picnic
22. Sidewalk chalk
23. Jump on a trampoline
24. Go to some kind of farm and play with animals
25. Make home-made ice cream
26. Have a lot of playdates
27. Go to a concert
28. Matinee movies with the!
29. Do a lot of BBQing
30. Have fun and go with the flow. To make it the best summer possible

I hope I can do some of this and more. I always seem to want to do a lot, but always get bogged down by the heat and the wonderful air conditioning in our house seems to keep me indoors.

What's on your list for this summer?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mallory's "Re-Do" Dresser

When I was pregnant with Mallory I swore that she would never wear anything frilly or pink. Two years later, her small baby dresser was bursting with tutus, pink shirts and tons of shoes. I've been thinking about painting a wooden dresser we had to make it fit more in to Mallory's room. I finally got around to doing it these past couple of days.
Here's the dresser. Its main purpose was to house most of my yarn stuff. It actually had some cool history. It was Greg's great-grandmother's dresser. When I took out the drawers to paint them, on the bottom of one drawer was written: From Grandma, To Mary Kay. Mary Kay is Greg's mom, so a ton of people have used this dresser at one time or another.
As you can see, it has 6 drawers and what you probably can't tell from the picture is that it is on the smaller side, which fit perfectly in to Mallory's room.
Ta-Da! The finished product. I lightly sanded everything, and then put two coats of high-gloss paint on it. It's definitely not the best paint job, but it'll serve its purpose fairly well. The drawers are almost completely full, one drawer practically dedicated to tutus (those things take up a lot of space).
Basically everything was free on this project. The paint was in our garage from a previous project, and the dresser we already owned. The one thing that I did buy cost a lot (but totally worth it). I envisioned these handles while pulling off the old ones. After searching on the internet, they almost cost $10 and had to be shipped. I tried one last ditch effort and headed to Target. I don't know how Target got in my head, but they had these that fit perfectly with my vision. They were about $5 a piece, but I told myself it was Mallory's Easter present.
One DIY down, one million to go :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Year of the Yard: Part 2

This whole yard project is turning out to be a little bit more involved than I first anticipated. I told myself that I would be done with everything by Mallory's birthday, March 17th. I have moved that back to Nolan's birthday, June 14th. Why an extra 3 months? I could give you a million reasons, but here are a few:
1. Rain, rain and more rain...makes it hard to do yard work, but does wonders for the garden.
2. Two children. I thought I would get a lot done during nap time, but as of a few weeks ago Nolan is nap-free. But gives me less time to do outside stuff.
3. The flu. It put me down for a good week and a half.
4. Lower back injury. The rock digging didn't help, and neither did lifting 2-year olds all day

I could probably go on, but let me share with you the things that HAVE been accomplished:
Grass is filling in my bald spots!! Only one more little patch, and it is looking better by the day. The rain has been helping a lot.
Planted strawberries! Put each individual one in sections of cinderblocks that we had in the backyard. We got about 5 really early in the season, and the birds ate the rest. They were a good snack and super sweet.
Our garden! It's really taking off and has a ton of blooms on it right now. Very excited to start getting veggies and fruit. Here's a list of what we planted: yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, cucumber, tomatillo, jalapenos, green peppers, a lot of tomatoes (in pots, not in the photo), basil and cilantro (not in photo), and my favorite: a blackberry bush! We put the blackberry bush against a tressil to see if it would grow up, but hasn't gotten really huge yet. It does have about 15 blackberries on it though!
And last, but not least, my huge rock project. I could never have imagined so many rocks could fit in such a small area. I'm probably digging down between 6 to 8 inches and can't believe what a pain it is. I guess after so many years the rocks and dirt have really compressed together and it is making it very hard to actually dig up. Very tedious...but will be worth it (hopefully). I'm probably 3/4 of the way done, maybe even more. I think I've decided to go with stone. I was leaning towards wood decking, but thought that might be too hard to get everything level and exact. If I use stones, it will give me a little bit more leeway for error. If anyone would like to donate stones/bricks to my project I would greatly appreciate it :)
I will hopefully update you with the finished project soon!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Big Cookie Project: Week 49

This week my dessert is perfect for Easter. I always think food is so cute when it looks like a real object/other food and then tastes like something else. For example, one year Carrie made a cake that looked like a burger. I thought it was so funny, but I am easily amused. So, I rolled with this and made desserts that looked like birds' nests. They look fun, don't they? And it was a great recipe for Nolan to help me with: he was the egg-placement guy.

1/2 cup peanut butter
6 oz. bag of butterscotch chips
3 oz. can of chow mien noodles

1. Mix peanut butter and butterscotch chips and microwave on High for 30 second intervals until peanut butter and chips are melted and combined completely.
2. Stir in chow mien noodles
3. Drop by spoonful on wax paper. Place 2-3 robin's eggs on top. Chill in refrigerator

This recipe is one of Greg's favorites and he likes them frozen, but they don't have to be. For me, this recipe made about 12 large bird's nests. Definitely enough to feed enough people on Easter. I took them to an Easter Egg Hunt, and all got eaten up....I might have to make some more before Sunday :)

Happy Baking and