Category Archives: Dessert

Sugared Cranberries and a Request

Remember the good old days when I used to blog? That was fun.

The main reason I haven’t been blogging is because the time I used to spend writing is now the time I spend running. Or sleeping. I blog either at night after the kids are in bed, or early in the morning before they wake up. But since I’ve been running a lot more, I go to bed much earlier and wake up crazy early to run. I’m not saying that running has replaced blogging for good. I’m just trying to figure out how to do both.

But I completed my first half marathon in November! (Did you notice how I said “first,” implying there will be more? Heh.)

Me with my shiny new medal and my half marathon car magnet.

Me with my shiny new medal and my half marathon car magnet.

One of my favorite websites is anothermotherrunner.com. I’ve learned a lot from Sarah and Dimity and I especially love their article: What a Mother Runner Looks Like. They recently had a contest to come up with a six-word sentence that best describes your running. The author of their favorite sentence wins a treadmill. Well, it just so happens that I am one of the finalists!

So I am here to ask you a teensy, weensy favor to head on over to anothermotherrunner.com, scroll down to “Who Should Win the NordicTrack Treadmill” and (pretty please) cast your vote for me, Samantha. My sentence is: “I am stronger than I thought.”

It is not, although it could be: “I shamelessly ask for your vote.”

 And as a token of my appreciation, I will share with you one of my favorite Christmas recipes. I cannot claim it as my own, but I can tell you that everybody who tries this, loves it. We make these cranberries every year to give as teacher gifts, and they’re always a big hit.
from Cooking Light magazine, December 2003

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar*

Preparation

  1. Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring mixture until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. (Do not boil or the cranberries may pop when added.) Stir in cranberries; pour mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving steeping liquid, if desired. Place superfine sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries, rolling to coat with sugar. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.
  3. Note: The steeping liquid clings to the berries and helps the sugar adhere. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week.
 *I’ve never used superfine sugar. Instead, I measure regular granulated sugar into the blender and pulse a bunch of times until the sugar is more powdery (but not powdered sugar. ‘Cause I’m tricky that way).
Sugared Cranberries from Cooking Light

Sugared Cranberries from Cooking Light

Please, please vote for me to win the treadmill. Just imagine how awesome it would be if I didn’t have to wake up at 4:20 to go to the gym! I might even have more time for blogging!

Just keep in mind that voting ends on Thursday, December 20 at noon MST. I sincerely thank you!!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Turkey Cookies

You should have seen my son’s face when I said I was going to make turkey cookies for his school’s Thanksgiving “feast.”

I had to assure him that the cookies were made to look like turkeys, not made out of turkeys.

Although, cookies made from turkey… hmmm…

Just kidding!

Turkey Cookies

Turkey Cookies (fromPillsbury.com)

  •  Your favorite sugar cookie recipe (I used this one)
  • candy corn
  • chocolate frosting
  • orange and black decorating frosting or gels

Directions:

  1. Prepare sugar cookies as directed. When cool, spread a little bit of frosting on each cookie in an arch at the top. Gently press candy corn on top of the frosting, as shown.
  2. Using the decorating gels, give your turkeys eyes, beaks, and feet.
  3. Let dry.

These cookies looked so cute when they were finished that my kids had a good 20-minute argument over why it is or isn’t unfair that only Curious George got to have one.

Ah, Thanksgiving…

In keeping with the turkey theme, I’d like to share a picture that my Sarah Crewe drew when she was five years old.

Turkey's Dinner

It’s a picture of a turkey at the stove, cooking dinner. And another turkey handing the chef a pair of um… well, human legs.

Don’t ask why or how a five-year-old thought of this. I don’t like to go there.

But I think it’s funny.

Gobble Gobble!

Slumber Party

My little Sarah Crewe turned nine this month, and she wanted to have a slumber party. Our first slumber party! Woohoo!!

She invited four girls, so it was small and manageable. We ordered pizza, had cake, opened presents, made flip-flop slippers (dubbed “flippers” by the girls), and that’s where the “we” ends. I went to bed.

I was woken up lots of times. “Eeeeek!!! There’s a bug” (well, they didn’t really say ‘Eeeeeek’ I just wanted to write that) around 11 p.m., “Can we have some pizza?” around 1 a.m., “Can we paint our nails” at 2, “Can we have more cake” around 3, “Can you help us with the DVD player” at 4. It didn’t really bother me; I thought it was very cute and sweet that they felt they had to ask me every little thing.

What was missing from this sleepover was one very important  slumber party component. Drama. I’ve been to lots of sleepovers. I even babysat an 8-year-old’s slumber party once when I was in college. They all have drama. But not this one. They all got along. Nobody wanted to go home. Nobody hated anybody else and then later made up but then hated a different girl. Nobody (to the best of my knowledge) pretended to be asleep while the other girls whispered about her: “I didn’t want to invite her. My mom made me.” (Not that that ever happened to me, of course. I’m just saying it could happen.) Nobody sang, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” while one girl was in the bathroom.

"Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee" -Grease

Nobody escaped to the back porch and sang “Hopelessly Devoted to You” while she floated some guy’s picture in the pond.

"Hopelessly Devoted to You" -Grease

In fact, I’m pretty sure the only singing that went on was when they started singing something from Spongebob (but I am proud to say that my daughter said in response, “That show is so stupid”).

There was one point that the girls put on a little show that looked suspicially like the slumber party scene in 13 Going on 30 (minus the Pat Benatar music… man, that would’ve been awesome):

13 Going on 30

I made my first attempt at cake balls, which I think came out quite nice:

Cake Balls

I borrowed the book Cake Pops by Bakerella but I think I’m going to have to buy it. It’s full of great ideas! I also made cupcake bites:

Cupcake Bites

I’m really happy that my daughter had such a fun sleepover. Although I am continuing to wonder why I got so lucky. Does that mean the next one will be a disaster?

Don’t answer that!

Tortilla Fruit Pizzas


"Keep your eye on the fruit." -Caddyshack II

I’m thinking Dan Akroyd had it right- the proper way to cut open a watermelon is to blow it up with a golf ball. I mean, it can’t be any messier than the usual way, can it? You could just have the kids stand around the watermelon with their mouths open, waiting for pieces to fly in. It could work.

But this is perhaps a neater way to eat fruit.

I wrote this recipe out for 1 tortilla, but it is very easy to make as many as you like. I made six, one for each of us, for lunch. This is a great recipe for getting the kids involved. You can put the fruit out in bowls, and let everyone “decorate” their own pizza. I didn’t do that, though. I said, “Go away, I’m making lunch.”

But next time, I promise to let them help. Cross my heart.

Tortilla Fruit Pizzas

  • 1 small flour tortilla
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • cut up pieces of fruit
  • 1/2 tsp honey

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚
  2. Place tortilla on a cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, or until crispy and starting to turn light brown.
  3. Arrange fruit pieces on top. Drizzle with honey. Cut tortillas into pieces, pizza-style, and serve.

Click here for printable

Tortilla Fruit Pizza

Use any fruit you have available. I happened to have kiwi, nectarines, plums, and cherries that I was trying to use up. This would be good loaded with summer berries, and perhaps a dollop of whipped cream. Or in the fall, with different kinds of apples and more cinnamon sprinkled on top. Use your imagination!

The Critics really liked these sweet little pizzas. I made Sarah Crewe‘s without the honey, because she doesn’t like it. Everyone else gave me lots of “Mmmmm”s and “This is so good!” and asked for seconds, even though there weren’t any.

So, even if exploding golf balls aren’t your preferred method of chopping fruit, you can still have a little fun with your fruit this summer. And make your Critics very happy 😀

 

This post is linked up at Designs by Gollum and Momtrends Friday Food.

Mixed Berry Sorbet

Yummy! Sorbet!

I love ice cream so much that I often forget how good sorbet is. It’s such a refreshing after dinner treat, and perfect for the dog days of summer.

Mixed Berry Sorbet

adapted slightly from Cookin’ Canuck

  • 6 cups fresh or frozen berries (I used a mix of frozen strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • juice of two large lemons

Directions:

 

  1. Combine berries and sugar in a large bowl and let sit for 15 minutes to release the juices.
  2. Place berries (and their juices) and lemon juice in a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Strain the mixture using a fine mesh sieve and discard solids. Refrigerate mixture 30 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions.
  5. Transfer to an air-tight container and freeze for 3-4 hours. Serve.

Click here for printable

 

Mixed Berry Sorbet

I would like to make this with fresh berries next time, but I happened to have a huge bag of frozen berries in the freezer that I wanted to use up.

I probably don’t have to tell you that the Critics loved it. They always love dessert!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Well, let me tell you, I have made many different banana breads over the years. I never get too excited about them. When I have bananas that get to that perfect banana bread ripeness, I just look at them and think, “Hmmm… I guess I could make banana bread… Nah, forget it. I’ll just freeze them and use them in a smoothie later.”

Fast forward three months to when I’m cleaning out the freezer and finding the now brown, disgusting things in the freezer that used to be bananas. Yuck.

But this time we just had too many bananas. I knew they’d go to waste and I had to try to save them. I did a search online for banana chocolate chip muffins, and I found this recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Bread and Mini Loaves over at Food For My Family.

If you head on over there, you will see the beautiful pictures that convinced me I had to make this bread (in muffin form) straight away. And let me tell you, I am so glad I did.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I finally found a banana bread recipe I like. These muffins are soooo good! Don Corleone agreed that they are the best banana muffins he’s ever had. The kids all loved them, and so did the neighbor’s kid who was playing at our house. This recipe is a keeper. In fact I’ll be making more muffins tomorrow for the freezer, since I still have two bananas to use up.

And don’t tell anyone, but I just might have another muffin right now with a glass of milk. Shhhh!

Star Wars Birthday Party

My two boys, Batman and Curious George, just celebrated their birthdays with a Star Wars party.

The kids made a Happy Birthday banner:

Star Wars Birthday Banner

and I made cookies with the Star Wars cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma:

Star Wars Cookies

We also had Obi-Wan Cannoli dip with strawberries and cinnamon sticks. (The cannoli cream dip recipe can be found here):

Obi-Wan Cannoli Dip

When one is throwing a Star Wars party, where better to turn than to justjennrecipes and her Ultimate Star Wars Party? I shamelessly copy Jenn frequently, and her Princess Leia and S’mores-trooper cupcakes were perfect for this party:

Princess Leia Cupcakes

S'mores-trooper Cupcakes

Darth Vader was kind enough to stop by:

Darth Vader

But he did cause quite a ruckus when he began fighting the little guests with pool noodle lightsabers.

His powers were no match for these young Jedi, though:

Intense battle

More battling

I know he’s evil and all, but I did feel kind of bad for him towards the end. Not unlike the ending of Return of the Jedi:

The Fall of Vader

The kids had to complete an obstacle course before they earned their “lightsabers,” and to finish the course, battle Darth Vader (who removed the mask for some of the younger padawan).

They also played a game where they had to keep balloons in the air with their lightsabers, and another game involving water balloons that didn’t go as planned but was really fun anyway. The kids kept the pool noodles as party favors.