Sunday, March 23, 2014

key lime cake pops


YUM! I have been wanting to make Key Lime Cake Pops for a while. I finally found a snippet of time this weekend. The goal was to entice my eldest child to eat them. No go. So these lovely ladies will be taking a trip with me to work on Monday morning. 

The mix was from Pillsbury, found at my local Target. I dipped them in both white chocolate and dark chocolate. The white chocolate photos were prettier...

For other my other fancy cake pop varieties check out the watermelon cake pops or ice cream cone cake pops

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Old Spice : Hair that gets results




I saw this Axe commercial tonight. Yes, I am behind times. My hubby said it has been out for a while. I loved it. It's memorable, funny and surprising. My mother-in-law is visiting, she was not amused by it. I am on board any time someone shakes things up.

applause.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Target Commercial 2014 : Haim





I love that Target used the band HAIM in their recent tv spots. The music is perfect. In Minnesota, we are still suffering through one of the worst winters since 1979. Summer cannot come soon enough. I am so over my boots, scarves, gloves and layers of coats. Let's reveal our pasty lilly-white legs and frolic in some dewy grassy bits. I promise to shave my legs and paint my toenails. It will be a grand time.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Maxed Out

Too often friends will say "Do you have more hours in the day than the rest of us? How do you do everything you do?" Nope, I do not have more hours than anyone else. And I have no idea how I do what I do. Most day, I feel like I am falling with style like Buzzlight Year from Toy Story. I am over-tired, behind on my kids photo books, I rarely see good movies or have date night, my home office looks like an episode of Hoarders (sans dead animals or rotting food) and I have about eight different books that I am half way through. Fake it till you make it. Laugh off the stress. A mother in motion stays in motion.

I recently finished one book, in under a week! Maxed Out : American Moms on the Brink (thus the title of this post). Originally I had attempted to place a request at my local library but the wait list for the book was nearly 100+. HELLO, red flag pending mothers! I decided not to wait and ordered the book immediately. (Rachel if you are reading this, I am bringing you this book tomorrow).

I also recently read Lean In. Both of these books hit on the struggles that mothers and women face in the workplace and at home. The fact that I finished both of these books says something. I have had it. Something needs to change in a big way. I know I cannot keep on the pace for another 12 years (that's when my youngest will graduate). There has to be a better way.

So if you are treading in my realm, just order this book and read up.




"Katrina Alcorn was a 37-year-old mother with a happy marriage and a thriving career when one day, on the way to Target to buy diapers, she had a breakdown. Her carefully built career shuddered to a halt, and her journey through depression, anxiety, and insomnia—followed by medication, meditation, and therapy—began.

Alcorn wondered how a woman like herself, with a loving husband, a supportive boss, three healthy kids, and a good income, was unable to manage the demands of having a career and a family. Over time, she realized that she wasn’t alone. As she questioned other working moms, she realized that many women were struggling to do it all, crashing, and feeling as if they were somehow failing as a result.

Mothers are the breadwinners in two-thirds of American families, yet the American workplace is uniquely hostile to the needs of parents. Weaving in surprising research about the dysfunction between the careers and home lives of working mothers, as well as the consequences to women’s health, Alcorn tells a deeply personal story about “having it all,” failing miserably, and what comes after. Ultimately, she offers readers a vision for a healthier, happier, and more productive way to live and work."






Monday, March 10, 2014

coconut chocolate chip oatmeal cookies


I love these cookies. The coconut gives the cookie a nice chewy texture and a bit of extra flavor. Yes, they are now my new favorite. 

Wet:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Dry:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 -2 1/2 cups flour 
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1 cup chocolate chips (if you want more, than more)

Preheat the oven to 350
1. Cream the butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. set aside.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a new bowl.
3. Add dry to the wet ingredients, mix well.
4. Toss in the chocolate chips.
5. Spoon on to cookie sheet, bake 8-10 minutes

Monday, January 27, 2014

valentine heart cake


We are living in the Polar Vortex right now. My youngest used some blue painters tape to tape intervals on the floor. He prefers to race like a herd of elephants while I work in my office below. Then he falls over in a coughing spell and wonders why. This weekend, I needed to escape my home for a spell to steer away the cabin fever. Since the kids don't have school till Wednesday (fingers crossed) I was looking for things to keep them busy. I was also attempting to purchase a cake at Target bakery, but my kids have nut allergies. I wasn't in the mood to read all the food labels, so I decided to make my own instead.


This is just a box cake mix and frostings. I used a heart shaped cookie cutter directly on the cake and then spooned in some red sprinkles. Added a little washi tape banner and waaaa- la. Done. I am not about making things "perfect". I like just making things, problem solving, trying things out and seeing what happens. This idea works for a cake, fixing a car that won't start, scraping the Polar Vortex interior car frost with a credit card or dancing to stay warm while pumping gas.






Sunday, January 26, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins with Greek Yogurt frosting


Dry
¾ c. all purpose flour 
¾ c. whole wheat flour* 
½ tsp. salt 
½ tsp. baking soda 
1 tsp. baking powder
 ½ tsp. cinnamon 

Wet
1⅓ c. mashed, overripe banana (2-3 bananas)
¾ c. sugar
2 eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla
⅓ c. oil

Frosting
1 c. cream cheese, softened (regular or low fat) 
½ c. greek yogurt (I used Fage 0%) 
½ c. powdered sugar 

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

In another bowl, mash the bananas until it looks like puree. Then add the sugar, eggs and vanilla till combined. Slowly add in the oil. Finally combine the dry with the wet. Don't overmix. I also added a handful of mini chocolate chips. It's a must with my kids, but not necessary. 

This recipe made about 16 cupcakes. Fill them, about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost. 

To make the frosting, bring the cream cheese to room temperature. One box of cream cheese (8oz) equals one cup. Blend the cream cheese with the yogurt, till smooth then slowly add in the powdered sugar. I found 1/2 cup to be enough sweetness. You can always add more powdered sugar if you would like it sweeter. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Samantha French : Groveland Gallery



startribune.com/entertainment

I am a big fan of Samantha French. Sadly, I do not have enough extra funds to purchase one of her original large scale paintings. I do however, have one of her prints (from etsy) and hope to purchase a few more. Yesterday we went to her opening at the Minneapolis Groveland Annex. I took my oldest with me. Viewing original art is powerful.

samanthafrench.com
etsy.com/shop/SamanthaFrench


As you can see, winter is still here in full force. Word has it, school may be cancelled another 2 days due to windchill. Cabin fever doesn't begin to explain my household. So thank the heavens for free art shows and trips to Target. 

Spiced Beef Empanadas with Lime Sour Cream

I was lured in by the idea of lime.
My little one even helped out!

Golden Raisins might seem a bit odd, but they gave great flavor.




  • 1 TBS Olive Oil 
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (80-85% lean)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 store-bought refrigerated rolled pie crusts
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest

  • Heat oven to 375ยบ F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the raisins, ketchup, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

  • Using a 2½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the piecrusts. Divide the beef mixture among the circles, brush the edges with water, fold in half, and press with a fork to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with the egg. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

  • Put the sour cream in a small bowl and sprinkle with the lime zest. Serve with the empanadas. Makes approximately 24.

I saw this recipe on Real Simple

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tiny Heart Pies

Tiny heart Pies! We had some left over pie filling from the Cherry and Apple French Toast rollups (with cream cheese dipping sauce). I made a Blueberry French Toast Rollups a few weeks ago.  By the way, the blueberry version works the best. The cherries shot out like cannons and I had to spoon them back into the rollup. (pass-no one has time for that).

I have made tiny Apple pies before with lattice like topping.  This time to fall in line with Valentine's day, we tossed little heart cutouts on top. I was uber lazy and used some pre-made crust. Don't judge me. I have three kids. The fact that I can get anything done, is amazing somedays.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mustache Valentines


I made some Mustache Crayons a few weeks ago. This weekend, I made backer panels for the crayons. Since the kids will be taking these in their backpacks, I slipped the crayons in 2.25" x 3.5" Glassine envelopes and taped them in place with some Washi Tape (polka dots and stripes). I am debating sliding the cards into the Chevron striped bags. They look pretty sweet. 

I ensured that the copy was kosher for my Fifth Grader. She does not want to call any of the boys her Valentine or make any mention of love (her Dad is thrilled). 

Hello friend, I mustache you a question. Per chance, do you like crayons?

Valentine's Day can be a hairy situation. I made you a crayon, to smooth it over. 

I loved Valentine's Day as a kid. My Grandma Marvel would bring out an empty shoebox for us to decorate with doileys, trim and drawings. I also loved all the little cards and goodies you received from friends. I should have known in 3rd grade that I was on the designer path. It's my hope that the Valentines my kids hand out might spark the creative path for one of their friends.

done and done.


Check out my other Valentine Ideas:
Glow Stick Arrows
Award Ribbons and Ninjas
Cyclops Googly Eyes
Heart Gloves

Monday, January 13, 2014

Blueberry French Toast Roll ups with Cream Cheese dipping sauce

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and sent it to my daughter (super picky eater). She said she was interested in trying them. So we made them. Of course, she would not even try them. My middle son, wanted to eat a Lion's share and my youngest son, took one bite and wanted no more. Later Miss Picky did try them, and liked them! Success! The next morning the middle son was up before the sun to ensure that he would get the remaining left overs. I would do this recipe again. And maybe try a strawberry version too. 


  • 1 Loaf of white sandwich bread (about 16-20 slices)
  • 1/2 cup blueberry jam 
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries (or thawed frozen blueberries)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon


    Dipping Sauce
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stack bread into stacks of 4 slices, then trim crusts from bread. Working with one piece of bread at a time, use a rolling pin to flatten bread to about 1/2 it's original size. Evenly spread 1 tsp blueberry jam just onto one half of the bread, then align a row of blueberries over jam. Roll bread to opposite end and set aside, seem side down. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.
  • In a medium mixing bowl add eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, baking powder and nutmeg. I blended the mixture with an old school egg beater (I have one from my Grandma). Dip roll ups into egg mixture, allowing to rest several seconds to absorb liquid. Transfer baking sheet lined with Parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven 9 minutes, then remove from oven. Brush tops lightly with melted butter than rotate french toast roll ups to opposite side and brush lightly with melted butter (bottoms should now be upright). Return to oven to bake 8 - 12 minutes longer until cooked through.
  • In a small bowl whisk together granulated sugar and cinnamon. Once french toast roll ups are cool enough to handle, immediately dip and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat. Serve warm with cream cheese dipping sauce.
  • For the cream cheese dipping sauce:
  • In a mixing bowl, using and electric hand mixer, whip together cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and whip until well blended and fluffy. Store in refrigerator. (I made the dipping sauce the night before and stored it in the fridge).

tweaked from cookingclassy.com

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

DIY Moustache Crayons

DIY Moustache Crayons! At our house, we have lots of random crayons. We gathered up some of them for this project. Don't forget the ones that you get from the restaurants and the broken bits at the bottom of the craft boxes. 

Step 1: Run an Exacto knife vertically down the paper label and peel off the papers (best if an adult does this step).

Step 2: Set up a double boiler. I just use a smaller pot sitting inside of a larger pot filled with boiling water. Slowly melt the crayons. I melt all the same color, for example... all yellow (see below).

Step 3: Once the crayons are all melted, pour into your desired chocolate candy mold.

Step 4: Chill a little bit on the counter, about 5 minutes. They place in the refrigerator till they are set, about 30 minutes. Or the freezer, for 5 minutes. I found that the crayons are shinier if you place them in the fridge/freezer, rather than leave them on the counter.

Step 5: Pop them out of the molds.

Don't know where to buy chocolate molds?  Joann FabricsMichaelsACMooreMake'nMoldWiltonSugarCraftBakeItPretty If you would like to see my star Crayons Post, click here.




Monday, January 6, 2014

Raspberry Linzer Heart Cookies (no nuts)



  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
  • large egg yolk 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam 

  • Preheat oven to 325°F; line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla, then flour and salt. Shape dough into 2 disks; wrap 1 in plastic and refrigerate.
  • On a floured surface, roll out remaining disk to about a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with a 2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cutter. Use a smaller heart cutter to cut a window out of half of cookies. With a spatula, carefully transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Gather scraps and roll out again to make more cookies.
  • Bake cookies in batches until edges of cookies are just golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies onto wire racks to let cool completely.
  • Spread 3/4 tsp. jam over flat side of each cookie that doesn't have a window. Top with remaining cookies, flat side down, so that jam shows through windows. 
  • *Note, you can also dust the cookies with confectioners sugar. Before sandwiching the cookies together, lay the cookies with the windows out. Carefully sift 3 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar over cookies. Then sandwich the window cookies on top of the jam. (I skipped this part. I figured there was enough sugar in the cookies.)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

DIY Heart Gloves

Tis the season, to buy clearance gloves (well almost). Early January is a great time to buy some knit gloves to doctor up for Valentine's Day. My kids are not allowed to bring candy for Valentine's Day. Last year we stitched up little gloves for all of the girls in her class (only about 12). I just put the glove on and determined what size felt heart would work the best. I stitched them on with a bit of thread. I figured that fabric glue would be a bit scratchy through the glove texture and might not hold up in the long run.