Friday, December 30, 2011

Gingersnap Softie Cookie Sandwich


 

My sister-in-law Marci made us her mother's gingersnap cookies. They are the kind that I love. Soft, chewy and sweet. Yum! Well, the night of my daughter's 5th birthday (1 bowling trip and 5 years ago, she was born. 5 years already!) we had leftover icing from her cake. I didn't want it to go to waste and saw the gingersnaps sitting there. Hence the gingersnap softie cookie sandwich was born. Pair it with a glass of egg nog and you'll be lying on the couch for the next half hour digesting the goodness. Or, go and blog about it like I am ;) Oh, and ignore the crayon scribbles that my children artistically added to my parents' coffee table.


Here is my SIL's mother's gingersnap recipe combined with your choice of favorite icing or one of my favorites, Wilton's Buttercream. 


Gingersnap Soft Cookie
Yield: A lot. I don't really know because my sister-in-law made these

Ingredients:
2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 1/2 cup flour
3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar for rolling
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream sugar & butter until well blended and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and molasses. Combine.
  4. Mix remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Roll into 1 1/2" balls. Roll and coat in sugar.
  6. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Do not overbake. 
  7. Remove from oven and let rest on cookie sheet before replacing to cookie sheet.
  8. Once completely cooled fill with 1-2 Tbsp of icing (recipe below).


Wilton's Buttercream Icing
Makes about 3 cups icing

Ingredients: 
1/2 cups shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla (if you have clear on hand make that for a more white look)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cranberry Cilantro Relish Spread


At my book club last month one of the gals made this cranberry spread and it was amazing! She said it was a knock off of Harry and David's food products (which I'd never heard of) but you can make it yourself for a lot less and in about 10 minutes. This is an elegant yet bold dish that marries flavors beautifully. The tartness of the lime and cranberries with the tangy cilantro combines nicely with the sweetness of the sugar. It'll be a winner at any event particularly a Christmas or New Years Eve party. Everyone will want a copy of this recipe.

If you have a large food processor it'll take you about 5 minutes to make. If you're like me and have a very small one it took me about 15 minutes. I process the cranberries in 3 sets, then the remaining ingredients. I did have to cut my green onions and stem the cilantro before processing them all together.

TIP: to cut cilantro or herbs of any kind, you can easily do this by removing the leaf from the stem and place them in a mug. Using your culinary shears, cut them directly inside the mug. (If you want me to show a picture, I can show you how that works). It's quicker and cleaner than using a cutting board and knife. You can chop it as fine or course as you'd like this way.


Cranberry Cilantro Relish Spread
Ingredients:
1 12-oz bag of fresh cranberries
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed as much as possible
1 bunch green onions
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 limes, juiced
2 jalapeno peppers
2 8-oz bricks of cream cheese
up to 1/2 tsp cumin, optional

1. Combine all ingredients (except the cheese) in a food processor, chop.
2. Spread over  the two blocks of cream cheese.
3. Chill in refrigerator for best results to allow flavors to meld together.
4.  Serve with crackers, croustini's or even baguettes or tortilla chips.
5. Enjoy at your next holiday event and you'll leave very popular. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Marshmallow Snowmen (and women)

Are you looking for a simple yet festive craft that doubles as a treat to bring in the festive season? Try making marshmallow snowmen, er.....women, er......people. How about Mary Poppins?


This activity is more for you than for your child, or do it together. It involves a lot of tiny pieces of candy and a lot of sticky stuff like corn syrup and peanut butter which is hard to maneuver. If you don't mind what these look like then go ahead and assemble them together but if you are giving these away as gifts (such as teacher or neighbor gifts...I'm thinking hot chocolate stirrers? Maybe next year....) then I'd just assemble it yourself. They do take a bit of time and patience while drying. I had each girl from our preschool group just tell me which features they wanted and I assembled it for them, allowing them to stick on the buttons and eating the Oreo cream. Once they were dry I put them in a sandwich bag and tied it up so they could take it home!

 

Materials: 
You probably have most of these things on hand. Just use what you can find in your pantry or leftover Halloween candy!
--6" lollipop stick or straw
--Marshmallows--3 regular sized (mini ones for piles of snowballs or cloud effect!)
--Eyes--mini chocolate chips or mini M&M's
--Buttons--mini M&M's smarties or red hots
--Scarf--lemon heads or fruit roll-ups
--Hat--chocolate ring with large gum drop or other chocolate candy on top of half an Oreo cookie
--Arms--pretzel sticks
--Nose--mini M&M or candy corn
--Mouth--licorice rope or mini chocolate chips
--Corn syrup and/or peanut butter
--Mini cupcake liner, optional


First, you start with three regular sized marshmallows. Using either a 6" lollipop stick or straw (though paper straws are not as strong they are so cute!) slide the mallows on. Next, insert eyes. I used mini chocolate chips (but any small candy item will do). I poked a tiny hole using a toothpick in corn syrup then inserted the chip. For the nose, I used mini M&M's for some and then for others I used cut candy corn. For the mouth there are several options. You can use licorice rope (I used black because I had it leftover from marshmallow spiders) or a row of mini chocolate chips. And for the buttons I used mini M&M's but smarties or red hots would work for these too. For all of the facial and button features, I used a toothpick dipped into corn syrup to stick them on. Corn syrup does take a long time to dry. If you're in a hurry or they are not sticking, just dab on some peanut butter. The arms are just pretzel sticks stuck into a hole that I stabbed with a toothpick first.

The scarf and hats were the trickiest to make stick. With that hats I twisted Oreo's apart, scraped (or let the kids lick if it is for them) off the cream (I had some left over from Halloween) and used one half. Then I bought this Christmas mix that had jelly rings and chocolate covered jelly candies. They were nice and round. I stuck them all together with peanut butter after I realized the corn syrup was just sliding around with the weight. Corn syrup is a good option for kids with allergies or for a glossy look.

 

The scarves we used were made out of sour air heads. It looked kind of "snowy" with the sugar coating and it was striped. I just cut them down the middle, lengthwise, and got 2 scarves out of each candy. I also thought of using fruit by the foot or fruit roll-ups for a more solid color. The nice thing about fruit roll-ups would have done is stick to each other better. For mine, I tried using corn syrup and peanut butter to make the scarf stick to itself but they wouldn't stick. Finally, I decided to use a peppermint brach nougat candy (I LOVE those things). I just tore off a piece, smashed it and stuck them together. That worked like a charm!

For the Mary Poppins person I used a cookie, then jelly ring then a Hershey kiss (with the tip bit off) inserted into the ring. For fun I got out some cocktail umbrella's to finish off her look.

 

For the snowman, well, he got a sword.


 Have fun!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Rosemary Place Settings

We were going to host Thanksgiving so I started searching Pinterest for some decorating ideas. It turned out that we didn't end up hosting but I still requested to make the place settings. Nothing elaborate, just something simple. I saw this on Pinterest and made it my own.


Rosemary (still left from our frozen garden), a simple ribbon tied to a name tag. And rosemary adds such a nice scent to the table as well. I think this would be nice for Christmas too.


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Monday, November 28, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Forgive me for sharing a few more Autumn and Thanksgiving ideas. I am just not ready for December to start! I will be sharing a few more posts until this month is over.
I love the combination of cocoa and pumpkin. Two ingredients that are not blatantly sweet but with a little bit of sugar and spice makes them blend nicely. I prefer to eat these bars over the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (which are delicious, just not equal) because they are more attractive and less sticky.


From Martha Stewart
  • Prep Time 30 minutes
  • Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield Makes 24

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Ideas

Here are some last minute yet simple ideas for your Thanksgiving festivities.

Make a Mayflower boat place setting by sticking a toothpick pennant flag into a sliced apple. Soak sliced apples in lemon water right before placing to prevent browning.

 Turkey Cookies. Use any combination of cookies and candies. In this case I used striped fudge cookies for the base and back of tail. A leftover Halloween Oreo for the tail feathers. They are easy to push in candy corn feathers. Attach a malt ball head with nutella (or frosting) to the Oreo. Add a candy corn beak. The belly is a mini nutter butter and candy corn claws. Simple enough for children to assemble and keep busy while they wait for the main feast to begin. And always a fun treat to eat afterwards!


Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for my family, this blog, for food and many other lovely things in life this day. Gratitude :) Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Zucchini Waffles

Do you have any zucchini left from your summer gardens? We had some late ones hanging on for dear life so I made some zucchini waffles. They are seriously good (and healthy). In the original recipe, she shreds the zucchini, but I blended the zucchini (like I do for this bread) so my picky eater didn't even realize he was eating zucchini!! They have a nice touch of cinnamon which makes them a bit sweeter. Serve with applesauce and/or maple syrup.




Zucchini Waffles 

 adapted from Life as Mom

Serves: 6 large waffles (I have a four-square Belgian iron)

Ingredients

  • 1 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup baking powder
  • 1/4 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups buttermilk (or use 2 cups milk with 2 Tbsp vinegar until it curdles)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, cut into thick slices (about 1 medium zucchini)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk to blend.
  2. In a blender, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and zucchini. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold to combine.
  4. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and pour in about 1 cup batter. Cook.
  5. Cool baked waffles on a rack.
  6. Freezing instructions for waffles: Place the cooked waffles in a labeled freezer bag, removing as much air as possible and store the bag in the freezer.
  7. To thaw and serve: Simply reheat frozen waffles in the toaster or toaster oven for quick morning meals.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Indian Butter Chicken, Crock-Pot style

I am amazed! I am amazed at how GOOD this tasted. I am amazed that my food snob husband approved of this crock-pot dish. AND my children whole heartily approved too. It is so simple and yet so delicious, and for Indian food! Double whammy! This is one we'll make again and again.



I found this recipe on Pinterest from Meal Planning 101. 
Indian Butter Chicken, crock-pot style
Recipe by Lisa Kremer 
Serves 4-6, easily

4-6 boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces. If they are really small, add more.
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil

Stir fry chicken, onion and garlic in frying pan on medium heat until the chicken has some color and the onion is translucent. Then pour entire contents of pan into crock pot. Then add:

15 green cardamom pods OR if you don't have pods, use 1/2 tsp cardamom powder*
She suggested doing: can be strung together with needle and thread - I always do it this way, and then a friend informed me putting it in some cheesecloth would be easier...good thinking.
2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp curry paste **
1/2-1 tsp cayenne powder . I added 1/2 tsp and it was perfect. The sauce is spicy by itself but on top of rice it milds it down a bit. If you're afraid of the heat, then don't add this ingredient at all.
2 tsp tandoori masala*
1 tsp garam masala*
1 can coconut milk--I used the "Lite" version and did not notice a difference in taste...but it did make it a bit runnier.
1 cup plain yogurt
1 5.5 fl oz can of tomato paste
Salt to taste

Mix gently and cook on high heat 3-4 hours or low heat for 4-6 hours. The internal temperature of the chicken should safely be 165 degrees.

Serve with basmati rice and warm naan bread. Try this sweet basmati recipe for a great combination! It certainly tastes best with the sweetness and nuttiness of basmati but if you don't have any, try sticky, long grain or even wild or brown! It'll still taste good, just not as good.
--If you don't have a local Indian restaurant that you pick your naan up from, or don't make your own, check your local grocery store. I first asked the bakery, and they did not have any. The next store I asked the Deli, where the Greek bread is shelved, and they actually had some frozen naan in the back! $3 for 2 large pieces. You just thaw it out and heat it in the oven for 2-3 minutes. And it was really delicious!

 
* If you cannot find these spices at your local grocery store, try the Specialty or gourmet grocery stores or International food markets.

**I used Patak's, like she suggested. You can see it in the photo. I liked the mild because my children were eating with us. But if you're feeling a little more adventurous, try the hot blend. You can find curry paste in some grocery stores or specialty foreign food stores. I found mine at my local Macey's (but not at Smith's) in Utah.

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Twilight Woods Lotion Giveaway Winner!

Welcome from Kammy's Korner readers and thank you to those who participated in the giveaway! Unfortunately, I chose only one of you.

Congratulations go to 
Alycia 

You are the WINNER of the Twilight Woods Lotion set! Now you can be even more ready to attend the premiere :) I used the services of random.org and plugged in 30 entries. #4 was the winner!

And while I'm talking about Alycia, I wanted to put a little plug in for her blog. I've actually met Alycia. Our husbands go the same Law School. We go to a dinner group once a month together. She's a great gal and super funny. You should check out her fun blog too! Congratulations Alycia!

Oh, and my play kitchen was featured on Kammy's Korner Trash 2 Treasure today. Sweet! Thanks Kammy for the feature!


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Kid's craft


Gobble! Gobble! Thanksgiving is almost here! It's one of my favorite holidays. Eating and spending time with family. What can be better than that? The last week we've been trying to teach our three young children about this holiday. Not only about the history of it but about being grateful. I think it's wonderful that Thanksgiving is right before Christmas becuase it begins to put things in perspective for us. My children are already asking about Christmas and gifts! But I am trying to teach them about being grateful too. For J's preschool group last week we made these little turkeys.


Simply grab 2 pieces of card stock. Cut out two circles from one (or use a paper sack for one of the cirlces like I did here). Gather some leaves, of all sizes and colors. Lay out the leaves like a fan tail, and then glue the circles on top. Then add two googly eyes and candy corn for a beak. Simple! It's kind of fun to it the next day because the leaves curl up a bit and look a little more feather like. 

REMEMBER: sign-up for the Twilight Woods giveaway. It ends tonight at 11pm. I'll announce the winner tomorrow! 

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Twilight Woods Lotion Giveaway!

Hi there! Welcome to my blog if you're new to Bonne Nouvelle!

I am feeling a little sappy. Have you read Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series? If so, I won't judge, haha. I have read them all too and I must admit that I liked them. There are parts of the series that I think are ridiculous but I also think that there are parts that are very clever. She and I have the same alma mater, which is kind of fun, plus I think she is a very smart person. My husband keeps asking me if I've woken up with an amazing novel-forming dream so we could make millions. I told him "in his dreams."

So with the premier of the 2nd to last of the series film, Breaking Dawn, coming in one week I thought it would be fun to host a giveaway! I LOVE the scent Twilight Woods by Bath and Body Works. It's one of my favorite. When I put it on each morning I am taken back to the woods of Washington standing between a vampire and a wolf....no, not really. I just really like the scent. I love everything about Bath and Body Works (no, they are not paying me to say that) and so I wanted to share the joy with one you. ONE lucky winner will receive the THREE items pictured below. One Twilight Woods Lotion, one shower gel and one body spray. I'll ship it out to the winner next Tuesday and maybe you'll get it in time to wear to the premier!


To enter the giveaway you can get up to six, no SEVEN possible entries. Submit any or all of them.

First Entry:
"Follow" my blog (just up and to your right) and leave a comment HERE identifying how you came upon this blog.

Second Entry:
"Like" Bonne Nouvelle on Facebook and leave a comment back HERE.

Third Entry:
"Pin" (Pinterest) your favorite recipe or project from THIS BLOG and comment back with the LINK to your pin here so we can all see it.

Fourth Entry:
Comment on this blog if you like the Twilight book series better than the Twilight Woods lotion, or not at all. Or maybe it's a tie?

Fifth Entry: 
Visit my closed Etsy shop and view "sold" items. Is there anything in the shop that you'd like to see brought back next year? If so, comment here!

BONUS ENTRY:
Facebook OR blog about this giveaway and comment back here! (Be sure to leave a link to your blog post)

BONUS BONUS ENTRY:
Follow me on Pinterest, here.

On Monday night I will generate a winner using random.org. Tuesday (November 22)  I will announce the winner!

Let the sharing and commenting begin!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pinterest Challenge and Tutorial

Did you take the Pinterest Challenge? I first read about in Bower Power's blog, a new one to me. She has a lot of great tutorial and beautiful home makeovers. But she was included in this challenge with other bloggers such as Ana White!

The challenge was to actually make something you pinned. My sister challenges herself with this all the time. She only pins things she can realistically complete in the recent future. I have a lot of pins, many for inspiration that I can use and re-purpose for other projects. But realistically, I don't have time for them all. But these following pins certainly helped with our Halloween this year. Remember, musical costumes?

The first is the Mummy. I drew this inspiration from this pin, on babble.com by Jordan Ferney. This design is from her sister's blog, Design Mom.


I used her same techniques. Sewing and a little hot glue.


First, I started with a pair of ruined (with gum) short-water pants. They were already in the giveaway box so they were the perfect fit. And a ratty old long sleeved shirt.
Then I took some muslin and ripped, ripped and ripped into long strips. So much faster and easier than cutting because it didn't matter if it was frayed. It's perfect for a mummy.

 Then I took one strip (they were the width of the fabric, so 44" or so) and started at the bottom of the pant leg. I wrapped around and continued to sew, forcing it above the next layer, in layers, sewing it with about an inch overlap. I would have to roll the pant leg to fit it over the arm of the machine, as pictured. And worked my way up the leg.

 
I did the same with the shirt. The arms of the shirt were too skinny to place over the arm of the machine so I had to sort of sew them where I could and then hot glue the rest on. It held up great for school parades, trick-or-treating and partying. We'll see how that holds up in the washing machine.

Next, was the Dorothy inspiration. Don't you love that smirk?


I used this pin from this etsy shop for inspiration for the tutu/apron combo and then found the following three for additional inspiration. 

3. Kirra's Boutique on Etsy
  
 I used this board technique found on Pinterest, from the blog Treasures for Tots. Soooo easy and quick! You simply wrap the spool of 6" tulle over and over a 13-15" long piece of cardboard, depending on how long you want the tutu. For my tall 4 year old, I used a 13" board, and only cut on end, making a 26" piece, which doubled over to be 13" long in total. In her tutorial, she cut on both ends, which made 15" long pieces, to create an approximate 7" (after knotting) long tutu for her toddler. And then you wrap with rubber bands to hold in place, and cut the ends!


Then I found an easy way to tie the tulle onto the elastic. This pin was found via the blog Little Birdie Secrets.  After sewing (which, by the way, you cut the elastic about 1" smaller than the child's waist. Unlike other sewing projcets, like skirts or PJ bottoms, where you need to cut elastic 1" longer than measurement of waist) the elastic, stick it on your leg, like a garter, and it stays in place. So much easier to tie on ! And in both cases, they each found that double knotting the tulle instead of using a slip knot, not only kept the knot in place just as well, but it was much quicker and easier.


Once the tutu was completed it needed an apron. I received this ugly skirt as a hand-me-down and I knew almost immediately that it would be a perfect fit for Dorothy. Initially I was going to have Jocelyn wear the tutu underneath this skirt and make a separate apron....but it looked ridiculous so I just turned it into an apron instead.
I took this once ugly skirt and cut it. I folded it in half and sewed the inside seam and turned back out for the bottom half. Next I took the remaining half and flipped it up, sewing it onto the top. Added some bias tape for straps, and existing blue buttons to complete the Dorothy look. Done!




Thanks again Katie of Bower Power for the challenge! It was fun!
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Halloween 2011

I can't believe Halloween is over already! Where has the time gone? Oh yeah, to Pinterest.

Our Halloween was more like musical costumes. The theme was to be Wizard of Oz. But then there was moaning and groaning. Jocelyn didn't want to be Dorothy and Samuel didn't want to be the tin man. Cecily had no say in the matter :) She was the lion, which is what the other two had already been at her age, and so it was Wizard of Oz! That was the main inspiration but decided to go with a modern twist. So Samuel was changed from tin-man to robot.  And Jocelyn would wear a tutu and an apron. And then....I was a little tired thinking about creating the robot costume, and the logistics of him wearing it at school. With all of his whining he suggested a mummy. That's easy! Tear up some muslin that I already had on hand and sew onto some old clothes! So the theme changed from Wizard of Oz to movie themed characters. It worked for me. A lot less stress and they were happy wearing them which is what matters in the end.

So here are the characters!

The not so-Cowardly Lion


Dorothy

The Mummy

 


And for breakfast we had orange cat pancakes with sprinkles and for dinner, mummy dogs.


 And of course, we had a little party.





 Happy Halloween! Be sure to check out the costume tutorials coming up next!

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