Stuff Yourself*

I suppose I’ve posted here about November Project before.  I mean, I think I have.  If I haven’t, oh, man, there just isn’t enough space.  Go to the website, read it and get back to me.  It will 100% change your life for the better.  Aside from the fitness, the best part about NP is the people and the community.  I’ve met so many amazing, wonderful people and I’m so lucky to be able to call a number of them friends.

So, an NP friend came over today to help us bake cookies.  We’ve been discussing them since we decided to try it, looking at recipes, debating pros and cons.  We landed on peanut butter cup stuffed chocolate chip cookies.  And, oh, am I glad we did.  I used this recipe from The Kitchen Magpie and it was perfect for, well, stuffing.  The Kitchen Magpie points out that these cookies do not really spread and that they are substantial enough to hold the peanut butter cups in place.  It has something to do with the butter amount being less than in traditional cookies.  She suggests using the snack size peanut butter cups but we used minis which worked just as well.  We also found that making the cookies bigger helped.

Finally, we have also decided that this is the summer to experiment with stuffed cookies.  We’re thinking rolos or buncha crunch, maybe?  What are your thoughts?  What would you use to stuff your cookie?

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup (one stick) butter (unsalted)

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 cups chocolate chips

1 bag mini peanut butter cups

Directions

Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) together in a small bowl.   In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Pour in the flour mixture and combine.  Add the chocolate chips.

FullSizeRender

Now for the fun part.  Stuffing.  Start with a walnut to golf ball size of dough.

FullSizeRender_3

Place the peanut butter cup in the middle.

FullSizeRender_4

Wrap the dough up around it, sealing it in tightly.

FullSizeRender_3

Repeat until you have a full cookie sheet.  Don’t worry too much about placement as these cookies don’t spread as much as traditional cookies.

FullSizeRender_6

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size.

FullSizeRender_7

Let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes and then move them to a rack to cool completely.

FullSizeRender_8

FullSizeRender_9

The verdict?  These are good.  Really good.

FullSizeRender_10

Sweet, crunchy and chewy and a lovely peanut butter surprise in the middle.

FullSizeRender_11

So, go ahead. Get stuffed.

*Oh yes.  So many, many innuendos and dirty jokes throughout.  What can I say?  It’s summer.

 

 

 

Summer Summer Time!

So, summer is here!  We’ve officially been on vacation for about two days and I can already feel myself relaxing.  I mean, I slept until 6am yesterday!  Can you imagine?!

Summer foodwise around here means more fruit and vegetables, more grilling and way more desserts because I finally have the time to bake.  It’s what summer has always been to me, way back to the days of camp grandma, when my two cousins and I would go to the farmer’s market with my grandmother and then bake up a storm when we got home.

We made cookies the other day to kick off our summer and I had a few leftover (again, can you imagine?  Leftover cookies?!) so I decided to make ice cream sandwiches for the kids last night.  I’ve made serious ice cream sandwiches before (see here) but these were the spur of the moment, throw them together kind.  So, no recipe, just steps.

Ingredients

Cookies (you need an even number)

Ice cream

sprinkles, nuts or mini-chocolate chips

Directions

Take your ice cream out of the freezer so it will soften and be easier to scoop.  Pair your cookies.  They should be roughly the same size.

FullSizeRender_1

Turn them over so they’re ready for ice cream.

FullSizeRender

Scoop some ice cream on top and then try to flatten it a bit with your fingers so that it’s evenly spread.  The more even it is, the easier it is to add sprinkles to the edges.  Don’t push too hard because then your cookie will crack.  Go ahead, ask me how i know.

FullSizeRender_2

Put the other cookie on top and press gently.

FullSizeRender_3

Pour your sprinkles, nuts, mini chips, whatever, into a bowl that’s wide enough to fit the entire width of the cookie sandwich.  Make an even layer.

FullSizeRender_4

Then, you’re going to sort of roll the edges of the cookie sandwich around in the sprinkles.

FullSizeRender_5

Try to coat it evenly.  I did not win in this regard.  It looks like I did but that’s just angles.

FullSizeRender_6

Wrap them up in foil and freeze them until you’re ready to eat.  When you are, it’s best to surprise unsuspecting kids.

IMG_4541IMG_4542

I need to point out that in the photo below, she was eating her second helping of broccoli before she got her dessert, per her request.  It may never happen again but it’s here, documented!

IMG_4543

IMG_4544

I expect to be doing some baking on Thursday with a good friend so stay tuned!

Passover 2016/5776

So, another Passover Seder done.  A small one this year, which was lovely.  We needed the extra table but we were all at the same one, in the same room.

FullSizeRender

All the usual foods were present: matzo ball soupbrisket, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, roasted asparagus and cauliflower, charoset (which I made up, using one apple, some pecans, some walnuts, some dates, some manischewitz, honey and cinnamon),  and chocolate caramel matzo.

Many of our usual suspects were not present, sadly.  But we had a lovely cohort, nonetheless.  My dad joined us, as did a good friend and her sweet new (less than a month old!) baby.  Who I held.  For an hour.  Bliss.

The table was beautiful, place cards were made by Grace and everyone seemed to have a good time.

IMG_3305

Plague masks were worn, happily.

IMG_3303

IMG_3314

Grace had her first shot at the four questions.

IMG_3325

And, of course, we ate like kings, while leaning.

FullSizeRender_1

IMG_3349

There was even enough brisket left over to make hash for breakfast the next day.

FullSizeRender_2

Chag Semach to all of you and happy spring!

So overdue….

I was in the habit, for a bit, of writing letters to my kids here. Then life caught up with me and like so many other things, I fell out of that habit.  But?!  I have a few minutes today.  So today, I’m writing them a combined letter.  Indulge me, won’t you?

IMG_2656

Dear G. and M.,

Oh, my loves.  Do you have any idea how much I adore you?  How much joy you bring to my life?  How much I enjoy watching you grow and change?  You two really are so wonderful.  Every single day I wake up, excited to see what you’ll do that day.  Really.  As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.

IMG_5909You both have so much joy, excitement and curiosity for and about the world around you.  You’re both adventurous enough that if I say, “hey, do you guys want to…?”  you almost always say “YES” before I can even finish my thought.

IMG_6168

M., it’s so hard for me to believe that you are four now.  FOUR!  You are so joyful, so affectionate, so sweet and so loving that I feel lucky every time you smile at me.

IMG_2878

You have learned so much since you’ve started daycare and even more since G. started Kindergarten.  Because you are now at daycare without G, you’re starting to develop your own opinions and ideas and sometimes you can be very, very adamant in those.  You have your own sense of style which ranges from tutus and sparkly red party shoes to spiderman bow ties.

IMG_2369

You love to run, do puzzles, build legos and play with G.  You sing and dance at will and I’ll often find you singing or talking to yourself when you’re playing alone.  You love to help me cook and do other “jobs”.

IMG_1458

IMG_6545

IMG_2292

You 100% adore your sister and if you could be with her all the time, you would.

IMG_5469

IMG_8255

Both you and G. are so active and enjoy running, burpees and hanging out with November Project.

IMG_5847

IMG_5313

IMG_5377

G, my girl, my firstborn, my love.  How can you possibly be six?  SIX?!  You are just blowing me away every single day with your personality, joy and energy.  You are never still.  Ever.

IMG_7341

IMG_2875

Well, I guess that’s not true.  You do have your quiet, introspective times.

IMG_7448

You are so protective of M.

IMG_7140

IMG_7966

I love watching you two together.  But, sweetie, I just love watching you.  You’re smart and funny and passionate.  So passionate.  You’ve jumped into public school life with both feet and every single day you come home with new stories and ideas and things you’ve learned.

IMG_1312

And you are also affectionate and sweet.

IMG_1286

Your imagination is amazing and you love to play pretend games with M. and your friends.

IMG_0972

You love goofing around for the camera.

IMG_2603

You also love to help me cook.

IMG_7484

Sometimes you like to match me.  Sometimes I’m the last person you want to match.

IMG_0640

My mother, OGWO, used to say to me that she loves me more than anything in the world.  I used to think that wasn’t possible but… I get it now.  If I had no one else but you two, that would be enough for me.  I very much think I was born to be your mumma and you two were meant to be my kids.

IMG_2053

IMG_2421

IMG_7015And while our family is far from perfect- we yell, a lot, and your dad and I often disagree- we are still a family and you two are at the center.  All that we do is to support you and help you grow.  Both of you are doing such good jobs at that!

IMG_7761

Happy fourth and sixth birthday, my darlings.  I love you big, no matter what and to infinity and beyond.  Forever.

xoxoxoxoxoxox

 

Healthy and Fast

Just a fast blog post to remind you

  1.  I’m still here.
  2. I’m still cooking.
  3.  It’s still hectic here.

My favorite thing to make on a Monday night, when I’m just exhausted from the weekend and the entire work week is looming, and I am dying for something green and healthy and easy is this:

FullSizeRender_3

I can’t take credit for the recipe.  It is 100% from Smitten Kitchen.  She calls them broccoli melts and they are simply divine.

You can click over there for her recipe but basically it’s broccoli mixed with cheese, lemon, red pepper, salt and garlic.

FullSizeRender

Then you toast some yummy bread.

FullSizeRender_1

Heap on the broccoli mixture….

FullSizeRender_2

…drape them in cheese and put them under the broiler and oh, it is so. good.  Really.  Even the husband, who isn’t a fan of vegetarian fare, ate his.  I encourage you to make this right now.  This second.  And then bring some over to me, because as I post this, these things occur to me:

  1.  It is Monday.
  2. The time change kicked my ass.
  3. I have nothing to make for dinner.

Come rescue me!

 

Birthdays and Stuff

February is  busy month around here.  Both my mother and father were born in February so we celebrate that.  My grandmother was born in February so we celebrate that too.  My son was born in February so we definitely celebrate that.  A lot.  So, I give you a birthday (and some other stuff) post.

My son and my daughter are almost two years apart. Which means that we usually do a joint birthday party for them sometime between their birthdays.  [Sidebar:  I can not believe what people are doing for birthday parties now that my daughter is in kindergarten.  How are people affording this?!?!  Trampoline parks, plaster fun time, etc…. it’s just so overwhelming!]  So we end up doing a family party on the day and then a bigger party for both.

They get to pick the cakes they want.  This year, my son requested a “dark vader cake”.  We watched a few youtube videos and I very seriously said to him, “Mumma can’t carve a cake buddy. Sorry.”  So I bought a cake pan.  Yes, they sell these.  Amazon has everything.  With the help of a good friend, we made the cake happen.

IMG_1502

She had some ideas as to how to decorate it and it did turn out well.

We even had enough for a second cake.

IMG_1507

We have this birthday tradition with a ribbon.  My parents did it for me.  Basically, it’s a long, long ribbon which starts at your bedroom door and goes all through the house. There are small presents and gifts all along it.  My kids love it.

We also had a birthday breakfast out.  Which included toys at the table and ice cream after breakfast (who is the best mumma ever?!).

That night we had the actual cake.

Delicious.

We did the same for my mother’s birthday which falls on Valentine’s Day.  Of course, she did not request a Dark Vader cake.  She wanted vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and vanilla ice cream.

It’s important to lick the mixing beaters:

FullSizeRender_6

I’ve also been lucky enough to be part of a rotating dinner club recently.  We had a pizza night this past weekend and oh, it was so, so, so good.

FullSizeRender_1

My contribution was a dessert pizza but that wasn’t the only dessert.

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender_2\

Those cream puffs (chocolate cream puffs!) and giant cookie were so delicious.

I promise, at some point, I’ll post recipes again.  But for now, happy birthday, happy valentine’s day and happy winter to you all!

 

Scenes from Winter

Yup. A third post.  Look, go big or go home, right?

Really, what this means is that I am 1) at work and  burnt out, 2) scrolling through photos on my phone and finding all the food ones and 3) desperate to get myself back into a posting habit.  So, bear with me as I try.IMG_0180

Winter sangria.  Always welcome.  This particular pair was with a good friend, in a local tavern near us. We bonded and laughed and had a great time.

We made our annual cookies to decorate. The kids get super into it and we even had a friend over to help us.  They came up with some…unusual…decorating techniques but in the end, they had fun and the cookies tasted good.

The kids also decorated t-shirts for Daddy.  This is another yearly tradition.

IMG_0570

I also attempted peppermint bark this year.  All the mint fell off because I forgot to press it into the white chocolate.  Oh well… (It occurs to me as I write this, that the last three posts have now discussed kitchen failures.  Oops.  Maybe my skills are regressing?!)

Before the holiday rush, we celebrated Thanksgiving. The kids made the place cards for the table and attached them to each chair.

IMG_0187

We also managed to visit the beach right around Christmas- we’ve had some warmer than usual temperatures around here.

 

There have been some beautiful sunsets, sunrises and snow here.

So, there you go.  More photos.  Hopefully I’ll post again soon, with more food focus.