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Peanut Butter Cup Cookies!

25 Feb

Today the little one had a cookies bake-off in her Girl Scout Daisy troop.  What this meant was that I she and her peers had to bake cookies for the meeting today that were judged anonymously with the winner moving on to the next round of competition within the Daisies.

Because my little one loves peanut butter cups and because we thought there would be a plethora of chocolate chip cookies (which really there were not), we decided to go a little unconventional and try this fab recipe.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

 

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Ready In: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Servings: 40

“Peanut butter cups wrapped in a peanut butter cookie for the most peanut buttery of treats.”

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

40 miniature chocolate covered peanut

butter cups, unwrapped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.
2. Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

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A few notes…freeze the peanut butter cups before you use them so they don’t melt when you put them in the balls AND cool the muffin pans in the freezer as they will start to melt.  We used mini muffin baking cups too!

My baby girl didn’t win but these cookies are most definitely winners in our house.  We will be making them again. :)

Have you ever seen anything like them?

Creative Ways To Eat Your Vegetables

18 Jan

Found my 6-year-old doing this the other night…

veggies

My children love that Pane Italiano I get at Trader Joes and I always encourage them to dip it in their soup, their gravy, etc.

I guess the little one took it to a new level…but there were no veggies left by the end of dinner! :)

Do your kids struggle to eat their vegetables?

Pumpking Picking and Wine Tasting with Friends

15 Oct

So funny I was just looking back to a couple of years ago when I posted this about going pumpkin picking with the kids and how miserable it was!
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Once again last long weekend we made the long drive out to the south fork of Long Island and it was also another freezing day. We were with the same family from a few years ago and another and the kids were excited to be racing around in a different environment with their friends. When we all get together there’s always a lot of laughs and I’m always in heaven because my friends both of have babies and I have to live vicariously through them and soak up all that babyness!

pretty impossible to get this shot!!!

pretty impossible to get this shot!!!

It was chilly but the kids are older now so it wasn’t as stressful tracking them.  Before we let them loose we sat everyone down and did a big kid pose and then some separate family poses. And then they were off to roam.  This year I also chalked up 3 bucks for each of us for the hayride.  Sad to say the kids weren’t even that thrilled which is a sure sign that they are getting older!

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these 2 were chatting like teenagers off on their own, about boys no doubt!

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who knew this guy could carry a pumpkin so well and carve one so skillfully later on?!

who knew this guy could carry a pumpkin so well and carve one so skillfully later on?!

The best part was after we got our overpriced pumpkins and headed just across the street to a winery!!!  Though it was very windy and I was still chilly (I am so a warm weather person, don’t forget!) I had so much fun sipping on some wine to taste with my friends.  When we decided on some bottles we went outside and drank while the kids ran through the rows of the vineyard.  It was so nice.

cheers to good friends! we all met when our 3rd graders were in nursery school :)

cheers to good friends! we all met when our 3rd graders were in nursery school :)

These are the days I hope the kids will remember…I sure will.

Did you do anything fun over Columbus Day weekend?

Just Enjoy Your Family, She Said

3 Oct

The other day I found myself near a restaurant I used to frequent with my husband.

When the twins were babies I had a sitter who would come 2 afternoons a week for a few hours each day. Sometimes my husband would get home and we would have an hour left with the sitter so we would race out to this local Korean restaurant to enjoy some of our favorite Korean delicacies.

So here I was on Tuesday near this restaurant when I found myself salivating right around lunchtime. My growling stomach pulled me through the door where I was greeted by the lovely owner….a delightful middle-aged Korean woman, who, though I hadn’t been there in many years, clearly remembered me and right away began an inquiry and wanted to know how my kids and husband were doing. She had always been so taken with the photos of the kids I had shown over the years and today was no different.

She told me her son and daughter were now 23 and 25 and hustled along to prepare some food.

It was obvious to me that though so much was familiar with this scene something was also glaringly different…her equally sweet and smiley husband, usually positioned behind the sushi window, was nowhere to be found. Intuitively I was instantly troubled by it.

When the owner appeared again I tentatively asked how her husband was doing.

She shook her head.

I learned he had died in July of last year from cancer. I told her how sorry I am…that I always loved his warm greetings and smiles. I recalled how he sometimes would whip something up for us to try “on the house” to get our approval.

By this time my sizzling pot of dol sot bi bim bop arrived, but I was no longer hungry and excited for it. As I mixed the egg, rice and veggies around in the clay pot, I watched the wife circling about with her tasks in the restaurant, some of them, having once belonged to her husband. When our eyes met I told her again how deeply sorry I am to which she replied, “Just enjoy your family.”

To honor my Korean friends, I plan to be more diligent at doing just that.

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Family Trip to Cancun Part 2.

28 Aug

If it were up to me I would live on the beach. And that beach in Cancun? Well it wouldn’t be too shabby! The color of the water is just amazing and it’s not loaded with seaweed and rocks like we are used to here in NY. It felt so warm and inviting and the kids seriously would have stayed in it all day!

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But the pool had something the ocean did not…the pool bar!  Yes, ladies and gentlemen my children were blown away by the finer things in life during this trip, namely the pina colada, the strawberry daiquiri and the Miami Vice, which if you didn’t know is a combo of the two!

me drinking a Miami Vice!

me drinking a Miami Vice!

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Not only did the kids hang out at the pool bar but they also frequented the hotel bars with us, gleefully indulging in 5000 glasses of soda daily…groan!

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Yeah did I mention that we ate and drank constantly?!

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escargot!

clearly I don't feed these plate lickers enough!

clearly I don’t feed these plate lickers enough!

hitting the wine at the adults only restaurant...yay!

hitting the wine at the adults only restaurant…yay!

It’s all-inclusive so there was food everywhere which meant we were hungry all the time! Oh my god I easily gained 10 pounds.  And then we were constantly obsessing about which restaurant to eat at that night? Do you ever find yourself doing that on vacation?  I’m not kidding when I tell you I ate tacos for every meal!

Oh and I did something life changing with my girls…we went on a skyrider parasail ride…crazy!!!!

that's us in the sky!!!

that’s us in the sky!!!

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All in all it was great hanging with family.

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Have you ever gone on vacation with a large family group? We had a blast :)

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and it was all brought to us by these lovebirds!

 

 

Cadbury™ Ice Cream Bars ‘High Tea’ Party #CadburyHighTea

28 Jul

I wrote about the heat wave we experienced here and though I was loving spending everyday at our pool, I felt it was probably a good idea to give my fair-haired sweeties a break from the sun. And what better way to do that, I thought, than by having a tea party, not just a tea party, but an ICE CREAM tea party!?!

Since my girls have been so into their American Girl Dolls, I thought it would be extra fun for them to invite their friends to bring their dolls too. So a plan was set in motion! The girls were so excited and were discussing it for days. They were completely wowed and delighted when I surprised them with the beautiful porcelain tea party set and hats that Cadbury sent us to have the party.

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It was fun that we were having our English style tea party as the world was abuzz waiting for a new prince to be born!

Instead of tea we had lemonade and milk…lots of cookies…and of course….ice cream! Who knew that Cadbury even made ice cream?!   The Cadbury Ice Cream bar features the newest indulgent flavors:

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Cadbury® Caramello™, Cadbury® English Toffee, Cadbury® Royal Dark™, and the party favorite…Cadbury® Vanilla Chocolate!

The girls had so much fun… with lots of giggles and licks!

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My parents even stole a couple of Cadbury bars and were chowing down in the kitchen while I was distracted with the girls so they must have been good!

My daughter’s sign says it all…

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And those beautiful hats? Well the party was long over, and my little one kept hers firmly planted on her head….while we went to dinner, while went to shopping, etc…but then we know she has a thing with hats!

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*Thank you Cadbury and MomSelect for sending us the promotional party kit to have this awesome party!!!*

American Girl Store Sojourn

25 Jun

So if you know me by now you know that I love summer, but I dislike more things, like crowded places that draw lots of children.  (oh there are many more on the list but I’ll save that for another day :) )It’s a struggle to be a parent who wants to make her kids happy, while also being somewhat of an antisocial introverted hermit who would prefer to lay around and read a book.

My kids may be the only ones in our town who have yet to visit Disney.  Oh the poor neglected imps!  The hubs and I loathe and dread the idea and most of our friends think we are crazy because the place is oh so fun which makes us feel like we might be crazy (how can an adult want to go that place, time and time again?!?). But I digress…

The girls, my girls, ages 7 and 6 have been BEGGING to go visit the American Girl Store since they got those darn dolls.  Seems like every little girl around here, by the time she is 5 or so, has a doll or wants a doll and most of them have some monumental visit to the store on the 5th or 6th birthday to pick out the doll or another and have a blast.

Well my neglected girls, shockingly, never did get those visits, though they did get the dolls, so I finally relented and planned the trip with a friend (whose daughter, my daughter’s BFF has been multiple times!) for right after school ended.

And for months and weeks the girls poured over the catalog and fantasized about the experience, while I dreaded it! But when the day finally got here, yesterday, I couldn’t help but feel excited for the girls who had awakened at 5:30 a.m. and dressed and were ready to trek into NYC for their experience.

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We got a lot of sweet smiles from strangers in Penn Station and it was a reminder to me to continue to relish in the sweetness of these girls!

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And truth be told I loved being with them.  My son was with his dad enjoying going to work with him.  I got to catch up with my friend while the girls buzzed about everything they AND their dolls were experiencing!

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The food was not the greatest part of the day, but when the hostess said “how many dolls in your party?”, I did crack a smile!

“Feeding” the dolls was one highlight but definitely the major highlight of this experience was getting their hair styled and ears pierced.  Yes, you heard me right.  I paid real money for hair styles and ear piercings for dolls.  x2.  !!!!!!!!!!

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The ladies styling the hair were so lovely.  They were a highlight for me in how they engaged the girls, got them talking about themselves and gave them tips for taking care of the dolls hair…really lovely ladies!  And the girls, well, they were beside themselves with the results!!!

Really truly all in all it was a super cute day despite all my grumbling and it was such a great opportunity for some family and friend bonding.

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Today my daughter asked when we could go back.  I took a breath and said “not for many, many, many, weeks…”  She said “oh I’m SO GLAD you didn’t say months!” :)

Do you have any American Girl Store thoughts?  Are there any other cranky moms out there?

Hold the Mac N Cheese, My 7 Year Old Just Devoured a Plate of Pad Thai

17 Apr

Ah those days before children. I lived in Manhattan and my dining choices ranged from Korean to African to Indian to Malaysian cuisine and I could go on. And I did. I ate them all gleefully.

Fast forward to three children. I find myself eating at Chili’s. At Wendy’s. At Taco Bell.  Listen I’m really not a food snob but I enjoy wonderful, different ethnic and healthy food so this stuff gets so rough.

Most nights I cook for all. Some nights we are rushed, like tonight, so I made the kids dinner early. I always give them a protein, carb, veggies and fruit all on the plate. Usually nuggets, mac n cheese, mini pizzas, or grilled cheese, etc on nights I’m not cooking for us all. They ate well and then raced outside to enjoy this beautiful evening while the hubs texted me to order some Thai food!

Though I did say I usually eat healthily, I love to indulge in vegetarian pad thai. (Hubs loves beef pad see yu. We both love tom yam goong soup.) So later I’m eating the pad thai, and my son, Mr. I eat calamari now, starts nosing around my plate.

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And 3 seconds later, I no longer had a dinner to consume.

I mean he literally inhaled the dish…to where I had to annoyingly, in the way only mothers can, caution him to take it easy and slow it down.

As he graduates to some of the more interesting foods out there, I hope he takes his sisters with him.  Meanwhile I will continue to fantasize about eating African food once again!

Do your kids eat any fancy foods?

Fun Morning In NYC Experiencing Princess House and Muy Bueno Cooking

13 Apr

Now that my littlest is in kindergarten I have a large chunk of time to play, and on Thursday morning I did!

I threw the kids on the bus and booked it into the city with my pal Vera to attend a bunch of blog events.

As it typically goes in Manhattan, we encountered tons of traffic and delays so that when we finally arrived at our first event to hear about Princess House and experience Muy Bueno cooking we were weary, parched and starving.

Lucky for us, we were so warmly greeted and handed some hibiscus tea.  I was a bit hesitant but accepted out of politeness.  My goodness was I surprised by how much I enjoyed it (and 3 glasses later I was saying “what exactly is hibiscus and where can I get some!?!”). It is out of this world delicious and one of the many fabulous recipes in MUY BUENO Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor by: Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith and Evangelina Soza.

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Vera, Yvette, Veronica & Me

Yvette and Veronica created some succulent dishes for us to sample including Spicy Mexican Chorizo Zucchini Frittata, Chilaquiles and Coconut & Pineapple Pancakes.

I really wanted a photo BEFORE I started eating but I COULD NOT WAIT...deeelish!!!

I really wanted a photo BEFORE I started eating but I COULD NOT WAIT…deeelish!!!

And speaking of dishes, all the food was being prepared on Princess House cookware/bakeware (and served on beautiful Princess Berry Plates).  I had never heard of Princess House before but learned quickly that the company offers a large catalogue of home and entertaining products including (in addition to the cookware), food storage, meal preparation, serving and entertaining and home organization and decor.  The products are marketed directly to consumers through consultants.  We’ve all been to parties like these right?  Now I’m dying to go to a Princess House party.

My pancake was prepared using the Pancake Pen which looks like something I would definitely use. I also loved that the some of the cookware, in addition to so many great features, has flared rims for easy pouring and built-in colander in the lids which is so convenient when you have that giant boiling pot of pasta!

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And of course, the fact that there’s a line of products geared for children is very appealing and something I haven’t seen before.

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I had a nice time hanging with my buddy and meeting some new friends.  I’m really excited to try out some of the recipes in the Muy Bueno Cookbook — if you’re looking for some great Mexican recipes this is the book for you.  I also can’t wait to delve into the Princess House catalog to locate everything I need, because we always need something right!? :)

Have you ever been to a Princess House party?

Samples provided for review.

Brownies from Scratch!

10 Mar

brownie

Brownies are usually the desert I bring places because they are so easy.  I always keep a box in the cupboard and when we have somewhere to go I add some eggs and oil, cook them up, and we are done.

So I was really stumped as to how to proceed when my daughter was sent info about her Brownie Bake Off.  The rules clearly state NO MIXES ALLOWED.  No mixes!!?  What was I to do?  I mean I literally didn’t know the next step but I figured I would pick up some cocoa powder and go from there.

I ended up finding this recipe on allrecipes.com and it turned out super duper fab.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
4. To Make Frosting:  Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar.  Frost brownies while they are still warm.

My daughter and I doubled the recipe to make sure we had enough for our 9 by 13 brownie pan and we didn’t even bother with the frosting. They are so unbelievably good…SO MUCH BETTER than ANY box!

I am super amazed and may just be a scratch brownies convert…have you ever made them?

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