Showing posts from May, 2013

A Car Conversation

My High Schooler had half days this week due to finals, which left me with even more than the usual trips to school.  I didn't complain. He'll be driving soon, and all that precious time in the car together will be gone. Forever. All those one on one conversations. All those glimpses into his day..... ME:  How were finals? HIM:  Great!  I cleaned out my locker.  Do you know what I found at the very bottom? ME:  Food? HIM:  Yes.  A Slim Jim. ME:  Was it in the wrapper? HIM:  Yes. ME:  Did you eat it? HIM:  Yes.  Do you know what it tasted like? ME:  What? HIM:  Freedom. I get it.  The last bite out of the locker tastes like the first bite of summer. I love my baby boy! Happy Summer, Everyone!

"Thanks a Latte" Gift Card Holder

Today is the last day of school for the girls.  Where has the year gone?  It seems as if we just moved into our new house, just had those First-Day-of-a-New-School jitters, just played in the snow..... Oh yeah. We did just play in the snow. Earlier this month! I always get a bit teary-eyed at the end of the school year when I realize how much our teachers have invested in our children, when I think of the strides my kids have made, or when I look at their First Day of School pictures and discover how much they have grown in such a short time! A coffee card doesn't seem like adequate thanks, but it is still a token of my appreciation for all the teachers have done. I especially like to give something to our middle school and high school teachers who don't always get the recognition that the grade school teachers do.  So I made 20 of these. That was our magic number this year. Twenty teachers in grade school,  middle school and high school that influenced the lives of my c

Chocolate Chunk Rolo Bars

Sometimes you just need to amp up a classic. Introducing:  Chocolate Chunk Rolo Bars. Did you know that Rolos now come in minis? These are the perfect size for adding to pretty much anything..... cookies, brownies, cupcakes, trail mix, salad, lasagne...... (OK, just kidding about the last two.)  For these amazing cookie bars, just whip up a batch of your basic cookie dough (see recipe below) and throw in the entire bag of mini Rolos. Top that off with a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chunks. Spread the dough out into a 1/2 sheet cake pan (or two 9 x 13's).  It's all about the math. Can you see the chocolate caramel chunks? Don't forget the milk! Chocolate Chunk Rolo Bars 1 1/3 cups butter or shortening (I like Earth Balance) 1 cup sugar 1 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 2  tsp vanilla 3 cups flour (I use white whole wheat flour) 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1 8-ounce bag mini Rolos 1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet

2-Ingredient South American Chicken

I don't know if they actually eat this delicious chicken dish in South America, but I do know that it has only two ingredients, can be made in a slow cooker and gives me just one more reason to love Costco! Here it is.  South American Salsa. If you can't find it at your local Costco, I'm sure the regular mango variety will work. But if you can find it, use the South American Salsa.  It's extra special. And I'm not just playing favorites here. I think it's the combination of the pineapple and piquillo pepper that give this salsa its distinctive flavor. Just combine 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs with one jar of South American Salsa in your slow cooker and walk away.  Come back after 6-8 hours on low, shred, and dinner is ready. What's not to love? Serve over rice.  Be a hero. For my round two recipe, I added a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and about 1/3 cup of ketchup to the remaining chicken.  It made delici

Sweet Buttermilk Cupcakes

May is Birthday Month in our family.  It's my mom's birthday, my sister-in-law Janet's birthday, my sister-in-law Pam's birthday, my Aunt Ruth's birthday, my Uncle Steve's birthday and our favorite baby-sitter Kelsey's birthday.  I love birthdays.  It gives me just one more reason to make cupcakes. This Yellow Buttermilk Cake recipe makes the perfect classic birthday cupcake. I adapted it from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book.  The combination of cake flour and all-purpose flour give them the perfect balance of lightness and heft.  The buttermilk adds flavor dimension and moisture.  You definitely won't confuse these with the cake mix variety.  Top with Cream Cheese or Vanilla Frosting and, of course, sprinkles! Sweet Buttermilk Cupcakes Makes 36 Cupcakes Ingredients: 3 cups cake flour 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoons baking soda 2  teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil

My Trip to Atlanta

I took the girls to Atlanta this past weekend.  I hadn't been back there since the overstuffed moving truck pulled out of our driveway. On that day, we left approximately 17 minutes after the moving truck. I left the house to a cleaning crew and didn't even shed a tear as we hastily drove away, trying to get some daylight driving in on our long journey north. But as it turns out, we ended up missing a lot of things about The South. Things we had taken for granted and had no idea we would be missing. Things like Chick-fil-A. Is that wrong?  This was our first stop. Aaaahhh..... after almost of year of giving up such deliciousness, here it was.....  our first Chick-fil-A sandwich. If you haven't ever eaten a Chick-fil-A sandwich, you have no idea what you're missing. Perfectly seasoned and breaded chicken pan-fried to a crispy crust, leaving the inside moist and tender. Once you eat a Chick-fil-A sandwich, you will wonder how you ever lived so long w