Tuesday, November 30, 2010

October Catch-up

I'm behind again!!  We'll start with Carlee's birthday...

My baby girl turned a big whopping 5 this year!!  She asked for a scary cake also.  But I knew I couldn't really go evil scary with her, so I came up with a girly skull cake for her.  She loved skeletons this year!!

Of course this grandma had to give her something pink too!

We also gave her a pack of Littlest Pet Shop characters.  Carlee loves animals!

Her she is showing them to her Grandma Jensen and Collin.

 Here's Dee, Collin and Mark playing XBox.  Had a hard time getting them to stop!


Now on to Halloween.  

These pictures are from the school Fall Festival.  It was so cold out, but we had lots of fun. 

Here's Carlee and Kailey getting ready for the activities.

Kami was in charge of the ring toss game.

Carlee and Kailey in front of the maze.

The girls milking their "cows" so that they can get a chocolate milk!

This water trough had bunnies and guinea pigs in it.  Carlee couldn't stay away from them.  I had to catch some of them so that she could pet them.

My handsome gangsta boy Collin!

Carlee and Collin could have had a ride on this cute little burro, but they were too chicken!!!

What a silly!!

Inside the maze.

Carlee made the rat bit her finger every time she walked by it.

Gangsta poses.

I think Collin has this one!!

Whew!  What a day!

Here are the gangsters that were already caught and in jail!!  lol

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

These rich hazelnut shortbread cookies are great with a cup of coffee or a cup of hot cocoa!!  They would also be great if you're having a cookie exchange party.  We will be having one soon!


What you will need:

1 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted, divided*
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon double-strength vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)
1 square unsweetened chocolate for baking, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper, allowing 1 inch to extend past the sides; set aside.  Grate 3 tablespoons of the hazelnuts with a rotary grater or finely chop in a food processor.  Place butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl, beat on medium speed of electric hand mixer until creamy.  Gradually add flour and grated hazelnuts.  Mix on low speed until dry ingredients begin to blend with butter mixture.  Increase speed to  medium=high and beat just until mixture forms into a dough.

Distribute dough over the bottom of prepared pan.  Roll using a lightly floured rolling pin to create an even thickness.  Bake 43-45 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Remove pan from oven to a cooling rack.  Coll 10 minutes.  Invert pan onto a cutting board and remove parchment and immediately cut warm shortbread lenghtwise into eight rows and crosswise into sixths to make 48 small rectangles using a very long knife.  Spread rectangles apart slightly and cool completely.

Coarsely chop remaining hazelnuts using a food chopper and place in on a plate or tray.  Place hazelnut spread and chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl.  Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 60-70 seconds or until melted and smooth, stirring after 1 minute.  Dip one end of each shortbread rectangle into chocolate mixture and roll in nuts, coating all sides.  Place on parchment-lined surface to set.  If chocolate mixture begins to thicken, return to microwave 10-15 seconds or just until it thins but is not hot.

Store cooled, finished shortbread in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers for up to one week.

*To toast the hazelnuts, spread over a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees for 8-16 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant.

Monday, November 8, 2010

S'mores Cups

 Are you missing your favorite summertime camp goodies?  Well with this recipe, you can have s'mores all year round!!  No messing with any fires either!!

You will need:

7 whole graham crackers (1 cup finely crushed)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
4 bars (1.55 oz.) milk chocolate candy, divided
12 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag.  Finely crush into crumbs using a rolling pin.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and the butter in a bowl. 

Using a small scoop or a tablespoon, place a scant scoop of crumb mixture in each cup of a mini muffin/cupcake pan.  Press crumbs to form a shallow cup.  Bake 4 - 5 minutes or until edges are bubbling.  Meanwhile, break two candy bars into rectangles.  Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.

Cut marshmallows in half using scissors that have been dipped in cols water.  Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup.  return to oven for 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened.   Remove pan from oven to a cooling rack; cool for 15 minutes.  carefully remove cups from pan.  Cool completely.

Break remaining candy bars and place into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on HIGH 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.  Dip the top of each marshmallow in the melted chocolate.  turn top-side up and let stand until chocolate is set, around 40 minutes.  Or set in refrigerator for a few minutes if you have a hard time waiting!

Store at room temperature for 1 week.
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