Thursday, December 3, 2009

Salted Peanut Chews- Cookie Exchange

The PTA meeting tomorrow includes a cookie exchange. As I prepare the budget and reimbursement checks, my mind is already thinking of an easy "bar" cookie that will cut into 36 bites. Try these Salted Peanut Chews. I think the original recipe was a Pillsbury Bake Off winner, but this version doesn't include any Pillsbury products.

Salted Peanut Chews

1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
2/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

3 cups miniature marshmallows

2/3 c corn syrup
1/4 c margarine or butter
1 package peanut butter chips (12 oz)
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups salted peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and sugar. Add in egg yolks. Add remaining dry ingredients except marshmallows and mix on low speed until crumbly. Press firmly in bottom of an ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Open oven and immediately sprinkle marshmallows over the top. Bake an additional 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows just begin to puff. Remove from oven and let cool while preparing topping.

In a large saucepan, over low heat, heat corn syrup, margarine, vanilla and peanut butter chips, just until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal and peanuts. Immediately spoon warm topping over marshmallows. Spread as needed. Note: Spooning equally is better than trying to spread so you don't mess up the marshmallows. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars. Makes 36 bars.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mama's Wish List

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?
New bedding, a clean office, cute outfit, pair of black shoes & healthy kids
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
cute, vertical-hanging calendar from a girlfriend
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
Always hoping the replica advent calendars will get finished this year (just like the one I had as a child).
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
Still remember the Millenium Falcon that my brother and I got
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?
Ability to fly (daughter) and to be Ariel, Little Mermaid (son)
6. What is your favorite holiday food?
Always love caramel popcorn
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
Homemade peppermint bark for my neighbors
8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
It's a Wonderful Life
9. Favorite holiday song?
O Holy Night, in french
10. Favorite holiday pastime?
Decorating the tree/house for Christmas

Monday, November 9, 2009

Maclaren Recall-Should I Care?

So, I guess I should be worried, but I can hardly get alarmed. Maclaren is voluntarily recalling 1 MILLION strollers, sold between 1999 and today. Apparently, the hinge has caused finger amputations in 12 kids (that's .0012% rate of disaster). Yes, ABC News says the damage is "irreversable" but really.. I should stop using the stroller immediately?!

Yes, I'm going to live life on the edge. My 2004 Techno XT is still going to carry my 2-year old son up the hill as we walk his sister to school. She was the first user of the stroller. It took us through airports, around London, to the French Open and back and no fingers were lost. It's been to Sea World and through the sand in the Outer Banks and while there are a few squeaks and wiggles, this stroller should last us through at least one more child.

Sure, by tomorrow, you'll find me calling the 1-800 number ((877) 688-2326) some time between 8 and 5 Eastern. I'll ask for my free hinge kit. But before I do that, we're going to make our own observations on the mechanics of the hinge. After all it is a hinge, a place where things are supposed to bend.

If you see us walking up the hill, wave and say 'hi'. We're the rebellious ones on the road!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Baby Shower & Tomato Soup Bar

One of my dear friends from the Wasatch Advisor Days is having her first baby! Perfect excuse to gather some "alumni" and celebrate the new boy's arrival in Jan. With the temperatures dropping, I thought a warm, cozy soup bar would be an easy meal.

Here's the menu-

Tomato Soup Bar with variety of mix-ins
Wilted Mixed Greens with Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Vegetables & Dip
Pumpkin Cake Roll
Sugar Cookies

Try this at your next gathering- an easy way to do pot luck meal too

Tomato Soup
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cups onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs flour
1 can (28 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
3 cubes Knorr's beef bullion
4 cups water
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1/2 tsp each: pepper, oregano, tarragon and cumin

Saute onion and garlic in butter and oil. Stir in flour and cook until golden brown, stirring constantly. Blend in tomato sauce and tomatoes, crumbled buillion cubes, water and seasonings. Simmer 30 minutes to blend flavors.

To Serve: Add your choice of condiments
ham, chicken, shrimp, cheeses, green red or yellow peppers, green chilies, beans (garbanzo, kidney, black), celery, cucumber, green peas, chopped olives, grated carrots, croutons, raisins, cilantro, whatever you can think up!

Makes about 10 servings of basic tomato soup. We just picked 10 of the toppings above and went with a Southwestern tasting theme.

Stay tuned for the Pumpkin Cake Roll recipe

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Bread Thanks

We had a terrific Primary Program on Sunday. Some how the 90-minute practice was condensed into a perfectly-timed 50-minute presentation on My Eternal Family. The 40+ kids sang beautifully and the talks were sweet and inspiring.

None of it would have happened without great people helping along the way, the teachers, the music leaders and wonderful leadership from AK, CS and SJ. Here's a link to my favorite song, "The Family is of God"

To thank all involved, I got busy making a triple batch of my favorite pumpkin bread.A few hours and 21 loaves later, everyone received their snack. Now that the weather's colder, I could eat pumpkin anything 3 times a day!

This recipe makes 3 big loaves or 7-8 mini loaves. I buy my tin pans in bulk from a local restaurant supply store--makes for easy giving of baked goods!

Pumpkin Bread
3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
4 eggs
3 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. water
1 1-lb. can pumpkin

Beat together sugar, eggs and oil. Sift in dry ingredients.
Then, add pumpkin and water. Optional ingredients: nuts, raisins or chocolate chips.
Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Makes three large loaves or 7-8 mini loaves. Cook mini loaves for 35 minutes or until done.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Aunt Carolyn's Sugar Cookies

Ready to make some holiday sugar cookies? My kids look forward to frosting and decorating these sugar cookies every year.

Try some yourself-

Carolyn's Sugar Cookies
1 1/3 c. margarine 1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla 2 eggs
2Tbs + 2 tsp. milk 4 c. flour
1 Tbs. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt

Cream margarine and sugar. Add vanilla, eggs and milk. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder. Chill 1 hour. Roll dough to 1/4"-1/2" thick on lightly dusted board (I use powdered sugar, not flour). Cut shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen.

3/4 square margarine or butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
a dash of almond flavoring
food coloring

Monday, September 14, 2009

Contest- Win a Cricut and 4 cartridges!

This is contest entry for those crazy folks at TodaysMama and Cricut. Be sure to check out Cricut's cool new cartridges and the chance at $30,000 in travel for you and your friends at the Great Gypsy Escape site!

Great Escape Meme
1. If you could escape to anywhere in the world where would it be?
2. What song do you play when you are by yourself in the car?
Indigo Girls- for old times' sake
3. If you had a night to yourself, and money was no object, what would you do?
Head out for a lovely seafood dinner on the beach and then just lay still
4. What is your guilty pleasure?
re-runs of Ace of Cakes these days
5. What is the farthest place you have traveled away from your home?
Egypt or Beijing China
6. Last book that you couldn't put down?
"Using Drupal" by OReilly
7. When you want to escape into another time, what movie do you watch?
A Room with a View
8. What is your favorite local escape?
"secret" hiking spot up millcreek canyon
9. How do you escape on a budget?
Walk around the block
10. Best food you've ever had while on vacation?
Cantaloupe ice cream from shop just behind the Notre Dame Cathedral, Isle-de-la-Cite, Paris.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Handwriting Worksheets-Journal

My buddy Rachael recommended a fun activity to journal her daughter's kindergarten experience and help create some homework-

Check out Handwriting Worksheets!

You have your child type in a sentence about their day and then they can practice their letters!

The worksheet becomes a record of their school experience! I think we'll go letter by letter and see what ideas we have!

Have fun!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Seattle Teriyaki Salmon

We had some friends over for a BBQ around the 4th of July. I've owed them this recipe since then.

As published in the Make-A-Wish Foundation cookbook, "Favorites", From Ray's Boathouse, a favorite spot in Seattle

Seattle Salmon Teriyaki

1 quart soy sauce
1 pound brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup white wine
6 salmon fillets, about 8-ounces each
3 Tbs sesame seeds

Toast sesame seeds under broiler and set aside. Prepare marinade by combining all ingredients except salmon and sesame seeds. Place fillets in this mixture and marinate for 4 to 6 hours.

Remove salmon from marinade, put in a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and place on a grill. cover loosely and grill about 7 to 10 minutes, or until fish flakes when pressed with a fork. Do not overcook. Tope with sesame seeds and serve.

First Day of School:Kindergarten

Five years ago, I delivered my first child. The blessing of becoming a mom has had more effect on my life than any other event since. I decided working full time would prohibit me from being as involved as I wanted to be in these first & formative 5 years. I knew this day would come...

My daughter starts kindergarten tomorrow. Sure, she's excited. We found the perfect backpack. She's laid out her outfit. We've talked through what might happen on her first day, including how to invite someone to play with you. She's even had a blessing of comfort from her dad. I'm certain she's ready, but have realized that I don't think I've prepared myself. Ask me tomorrow how it went.

In the mean time, I've sufficiently stifled any sadness by creating a schultute. My daughter found a picture of one in some catalog. Not wanting to spring for the fully-loaded version, I opted to use some fabric scraps and make a cone that could last for years. Tonight, I'll fill it with school supplies and an outfit, some snacks and trinkets to put on her bag. In the morning, she'll have a surprise to open. Pictures are always my downfall on blogging, so don't hold your breath.

If you'd like directions, feel free to comment and I can spell it out for you.
The fully-physically prepared, half-way emotionally prepared Mom

Molten Lava Cakes (aka Half-Baked Cakes)

My husband once went to a Morton's Steakhouse where he discovered the Chocolate Lava Cake. Being the nice and thoughtful wife, I went right to my mom and asked her to make this cake for his birthday. This was about 5 years ago, starting a tradition of half-baked cakes and large-scale ramekin prep work to rival a restaurant kitchen.

The key to getting this cake to ooze like molten lava is knowing your oven. You can make this and chill in the dishes and cook just as many as you want to eat. You'll want to experiment with 1-2 dishes at a time until you get the right temperature and time for your climate and oven. Good luck!

Molten Chocolate Cake by Marguerite Henderson
2 T. butter
2 T. sugar

Butter 8-6 oz. ramekins with the 2 T butter and sprinkle with sugar, shaking off the excess. Set aside.

6 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup flour

In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate and the butter. Cool slightly. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar, melted chocolate and the flour. Pour into prepared ramekins, dividing equally. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. (Can be made several hours ahead.) Cover and chill until ready to bake.

Preheat overn to 450 degrees. Bake cakes 10-12 minutes, until edges are cooked but center is still soft. Remove from oven. While still warm, run a small knift around cakes to loosen. Turn out onto serving plates. Place topside up.

Serve with ice cream of choice, sliced strawberries, powdered sugar and/or mint sprigs. Serves 8.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Appropriate Title: Half-Baked Mom

Well- If I thought I could really keep up in writing a blog, you'll know that this is just the first of many of my crazy and unachievable projects that I dream up.

Maybe you know that I can be overly practical, so I temper that number-crunching, ultra-analytical side with some plain silliness. Luckily, I have two kids and a husband who tolerate and even support this part of me.

Don't expect complete photo journal descriptions of craft projects, completed recipe books or even fleshed out blog posts. This is my workspace - a place for brainstorming, not bow-tying at the end of the project. Another title "Work, In Process", because that's what life is...whether the work is for my family, my community or my's work. Just because it's work, doesn't mean it can't be fun or just half-baked.


Thesaurus from

Adj.1.half-baked - foolish; totally unsound; "a crazy scheme"; "half-baked ideas"; "a screwball proposal without a prayer of working"
colloquialism - a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
impractical - not practical; not workable or not given to practical matters; "refloating the ship proved impractical because of the expense"; "he is intelligent but too impractical for commercial work"; "an impractical solution"

2.half-bakedhalf-baked - insufficiently cooked
raw - not treated with heat to prepare it for eating