Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's the end of the month!

It's the end of the month in the Klassen house. In other words, the refrigerator is being cleaned out. It's a tradition in our house to eat what we have without going to the store except for veggies and thanks to my 5 dollar supply of artichokes, there is no need to go to the store until Friday, but yesterday I used the last of the eggs for breakfast. Today, Ethan woke up early from his nap, so we made these cookies. . . they rocked!!!! Ethan did almost all the measuring, he was able to count how many scoops we were pouring in, and he could eat the batter. . . because there are NO EGGS! I really wanted to post these ASAP, because they were so good. Ethan picked out the rest of the COSTCO bag of chocolate chips and the rest of the white chocolate chips. I threw in some dark chocolate chips to get the cup and a half. But, seriously, this was a great recipe for the end of the month.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (I may rename these as End of the Month Cookies)

1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder*
1/4 cup boiling water
2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugars. Add vanilla. Mix well. Slowly add in dry ingredients and then the boiling water. Add in whatever chocolate chips you want, raisins, nuts, whatever your heart desires! Scoop onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

The original recipe called for baking soda, I accidentally (and just now realized it) put in the baking powder. Mine came out beautiful. Some people complained that they were really flat. Mine weren't. I am not sure if it's because of the baking powder or because I use a Silpat and it cooks the cookies evenly.

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Special Order {Trae}, part 1

Recently a friend from church ordered a collection of baby gifts for her to give some clients who are expecting. I was so excited to get an order that I couldn't wait to go shopping for some fun fabrics. This sets costs $20, when bought as a complete set.
bib with minky back.

set of two burpies (for this set I went with the cloth diaper version).
(OOPS! Upside down . . . sorry!). Diaper pouch with velcro. I love Michael Miller's Groovy!
Same two burpies as earlier, but tied together with ribbon and a tag.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What's for dinner. . .

artichokes. Lots of artichokes. We just got home from a lovely trip to Monterey. It was a fantastic time of walking, exploring, and experiencing new things through the eyes of our toddler, Ethan. Ethan helped me bag these at the Giant Artichoke in Castroville. They are baby artichokes and apparently a bag full is a overflowing bag full for only $5. Let's just say that we will be eating a diet of artichokes at our house this week! It should be loads of fun. We are having Bible Study tonight and somehow we managed to make it involve dinner (thanks to one of the awesome couples in our group!) and I think this is what I am going to be making. . . I think there's plenty. ha ha!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

in the mood for chocolate

I have to confess that I haven't been in the mood for blogging this week. I have been keeping so busy that I almost forgot about our upcoming family vacation. . . kind of funny, I guess, but there are preparations that need to be made before going (i.e. laundry, packing, snacks, etc.). Tonight's post is just for my sister (but you can read it too. . . and make it. . . it's delicious! I just might make it again. . . soon!)

I have had a cast iron skillet on my wish list for quite some time and last November, Jon bought me one for my birthday. I have used it a couple of times for bacon, and browning meat, but I hadn't yet experimented with baking with it. I am so excited that tonight I got my chance. We ate all the cookies (I made these on Sunday) and Jon needed something for his lunch tomorrow, so I thought brownies would be perfect. . . dessert and lunch treats. If you don't have a skillet, you could probably make your own modifications and cook it in a 9x9in pan.

Fudgy Skillet Brownies
adapted from Martha

1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa (I used Hershey's)
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

:: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

:: Put skillet on stove and heat at medium heat. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. Whisk together to mix.

:: Melt butter and add cream to skillet. Bring to simmer. Add chocolate chips. Stir until mixed. Take off heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. Add to dry ingredients. Stir together and add eggs. Stir until combined. Pour back into skillet and bake for 40 minutes (I took mine out a little bit early).

**** Oh and before I forget, you can add any kind of add-ins you want. I added some white chocolate chips into the batter. . . it was scrumptious! Definitely keeping this one in my files!

Before I go, I have a question . . . please comment. . .

Have you ever cooked out of the magazine EVERYDAY FOOD? Is it worth it to get a subscription?

See you next week. . . I'm going on a much needed vacation with my family!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

{Baby Shower} Fruit Tarts

My friend Steph is pregnant with her second and this time it's a boy. So in order to get her ready for having a boy, her sister and mom thew her a really nice shower a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful yellow and grey themed shower, with a game involving play dough (my team won!). They asked me to make a sweet finger food treat to go with their cucumber sandwiches and strawberries. I thought some cute tarts would be fun, colorful, and quite tasty. So, I sent Stephanie some pictures of several different tart recipes and she picked these. They ended up being so incredibly delicious that there were none left after the shower was over!

Here's the recipe:

Crust: Cream together 1 cup of butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 cups flour. Grease your mini muffin tin (or tart pan). Roll dough into balls and place in each muffin compartment. Use your tart tool and press into the ball, making a nice shell. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Filling: Blend together 1 package of cream cheese and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Put into plastic ziplock bag and cut off tip, forming a quick and easy piping bag. Fill each tart cup with cream cheese filling.

Top with fruit pieces.

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A new Easter Tradition (a little late)

I know that Easter was several weeks ago, but I really wanted to get this down so I would remember it next year.

This year the week surrounding Easter seemed incredibly busy. We had so much fun, but it was hard to get in our Easter traditions. We didn't get all our resurrection eggs finished, but Ethan enjoyed the 7 we did, so maybe next week we will get through more. But, one that I really wanted to do was make Resurrection Cookies with Ethan. So, that night while we were cleaning up after dinner (we only had about 30 minutes before we needed to leave for a baseball game), Ethan and I worked quickly on our cookies. They were so very easy and came out delicious!
These are our cookies in the "tomb."

Our empty tombs.

Here's the recipe:

1 cup whole pecans (or mini chocolate chips. . . that's what we used)
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
ziplock bag
wooden spoon

Make the night before Easter.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. . . Don't forget to do this at the beginning or they won't turn out.

Put pecans (or mini chocolate chips) in a ziplock bag. Have kids beat them with a wooden spoon. Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the soldiers.

Let the kids smell the vinegar. Pour vinegar into bottom of the bowl. Explain that Jesus was thirsty when he was on the cross and the soldiers gave him vinegar to drink.

Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life so that he could give us life.

Sprinkle a little bit of salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and then put a very small pinch into the bowl. This represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers and the bitterness of or own sin.

Add the cup of sugar. The sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loved us. He wants us to know Him and belong to Him.

Beat with an electric mixer for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form. The color white represents our sins being cleansed by Jesus.

Fold in nuts (or chocolate chips). Drop by spoonful onto your baking sheet covered with parchment paper or silpat. These represent the tomb where Jesus' body was laid after he died.

Put cookies in the oven and turn the oven OFF. Seal with tape (Jesus' tomb was sealed shut). Keep cookies in the oven until Easter morning. The cookies will be cooked and hollow in the middle. . . so awesome and so delicious! They ended up being a big hit at Easter dinner. We will definitely be making these again next year!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Toddler Time: Sunflowers

Happy Mother's Day! I hope all of you had a terrific day celebrating your mom or being celebrated yourself. This year, my husband set some time just to have some family time. It meant missing church, but usually our day is so packed that they just give me my gift and we head to church and that would be the extent of my mother's day. This year, we had a nice breakfast at Panera (their souffles are amazing!!!) and then meandered around Riverpark. Time is one of my love languages and it meant so much to have some time with my family that wasn't just running errands. That was my favorite part of the day!

I feel so blessed to be the mother of 2 wonderful boys! I have so much fun with them, I just cannot explain it! Last week we finished an art project that we had started 2 weeks ago (I put it aside to dry and never got back to it. . . oops!). To go with this project we read books about sunflowers and planted a sunflower that we are currently watching grow. I cannot explain the excitement of my 2 year old as he watched it grow inches over several days. He still loves watching it as he waters it every day. It is so cute!

So, you will have to excuse the photo. I took it on my phone and when I downloaded it, my computer will let me turn it around, but when it uploads it goes back to it's original direction. So, I apologize for the neck ache, ahead of time.

My little sunflower! This art project was so easy. . . even though it took a few weeks to finish. It is also one that will NOT be going in the trash. I will have to do a post about what I do with his art projects after they have lived out their time on the fridge.

Yellow and green washable paint. (I use Crayola washable finger paints)
a picture of your child

Paint your child's hand with yellow paint and press it down on paper. Go around in a circle, repeating each time with additional paint. I made mine wreath like, so their was a big opening in the middle without paint. Wash hands and on a separate piece of paper do the same thing with green, except don't have them touch. Let paint dry and then cut out green hand prints (these will be your leaves). Find a picture of your child and cut it out in the shape of a circle. Glue picture and leaves on. Hang on fridge with pride of how cute your little sunflower is!

Have fun!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

I started this post yesterday and just could not get the words out. I think it was just one of those days. Oh well, here it is now. I hope you all are having a fantastic week! Rumor has it that it's going to get to the 90's this week here. . . Welcome to summer in California!

My husband is easy to please when it comes to making cakes. He usually picks funfetti or a white cake with white frosting or a Boston Cream Pie. Both are incredibly easy . . . although, I would pick the Boston Cream Pie over the funfetti in a heartbeat! So, when I saw this recipe, I knew at once my husband would most likely be pleased, but also the ladies at my appreciation dessert might enjoy them too (I think they did!).
Don't they look scrumptious? they were. . .I promise! They were also incredibly easy to make. I got the idea from Annie's Eats, but made a different filling, because I was going to be short on time due to all of the other things I was making for the party.

Boston Cream Whoppie Pies
adapted from Annie's Eats

For the cookies:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set out a large zip lock bag (or a pastry bag, if you wish). Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Whisk them together. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, alternating between milk and mixing well between each addition. Fill ziplock bag with cookie dough and cut off tip. Pipe dough into circles on baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. Once they are cooled, match cookies into pairs with similar sizes.

For the Filling:
1 cup cold milk
1 (4 0z) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 cups of whipped cream

Whisk milk and pudding together until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Put in ziplock bag and cut off tip. Pipe onto the flat side of the cookies. Don't put the top on until you have dipped in ganache.

For Ganache:
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Melt chocolate chips in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and let melt. Add whipping cream and stir until well blended. dip cookie tops into chocolate. Carefully place on top of matching cookie. Let set until no longer wet.

Happy Baking!


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