My boys and the cousins playing with Playmobil Zoo(they have A LOT of Playmobil toys. I'm not sure if Monica likes them more--she loves putting it all together, or the kids. Either way, the kids were all playing together nicely.
I baked a lot while we were visiting my brother. I made a quick batch of Dorie Greenspan's Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies one night. Let's just say, my sister-in-law doesn't bake. Oh, she had all the ingredients. Let's see, I found baking powder in her cupboard, half used, expired in 2005. I found shortening dated 2007, let's just say you don't want to smell that! Monica has quite the extensive food storage. She had a couple more unopened containers of baking powder, expired in 2007 Lucky for me, she did have some that was labeled 2010. Her big container of flour smelled funny, but I used it anyway and everything I made tasted good. I didn't need flour for these.
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies found here at Anna's Cookie Madness blog.
I learned that flourless peanut butter cookies are really sweet. Almost too sweet. I made them because I was trying to get my brother to cave in from his silly Atkins "diet" he's on and I wanted to see if he'd eat a goody that didn't have flour. (I realize Atkins doesn't approve of sugar!) Nope. He wouldn't. He never ate one bite of anything I baked while we were there. But Monica announced these were the best cookies she'd ever had. They came out really nice, but I decided I don't like a peanut butter cookie to be quite so sweet. If you look at Anna's recipe, I did not use peanuts or Mexican vanilla.
I also whipped out some of the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I used all purpose flour instead of cake flour and bread flour. I also didn't chill the dough. Good cookies. I may have said that before! ;)
The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville, KY.
I giant baseball mitt. I can't remember how much it said this thing weighed, but it was made of steel. I do remember that this world's largest bat outside the museum was 68,000 pounds. Oh yeah, let's see you try to get the whole bat in one picture!
Parker, coming out the door here was really happy with me because I wouldn't buy him anything in the gift shop. They got a free mini bat for going on the tour for heaven's sake! Taylor took the opportunity to actually hold one of the bats used by Mickey Mantle. You had to wear gloves and were not even allowed to swing the bat. What a GREAT picture of Taylor (minus the Michael Jackson gloves. ha)
Monica being Monica. She got to be right by Ken Griffey, Jr. Lucky (said like Napoleon Dynamite). hehe
That ball was clear out of the building. ;)
My niece, Aimee, is the beautiful model in the middle.
My cute lil' slugger. Wait, that's not a bat, Sammie, it's a lint roller. Oh well, let's Play Ballllll!
I'm a little bummed that we didn't take any pictures while we were at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. We were just having too much fun to do so. So while we had a GREAT week visiting Matt and his family, we didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked. Thanks M&M for having us to your house and for your horsepitality.
I went even more crazy with baking while we were there. Another day, I made blueberry muffins. These To Die For Blueberry Muffins that have been adapted by Avanika at Yumsilicious Bakes (check out her cute blog and what a talented young gal she is!) from Allrecipes. Avanika has added a streusel topping to these that I love. Monica wanted me to make some things using whole wheat flour, so these are made with 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup all purpose flour. I also added some sour cream to make sure the whole wheat didn't dry them out too much. They turned out great!
To Die For Blueberry Muffins, adapted by Katrina from Allrecipes and Avanika at Yumsilicious Bakes
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk (I used skim)
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup fresh blueberries (tossed in about 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners (or spray with cooking spray). Mix all the dry ingredients (including the sugar) for the muffins together in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together to sift and combine. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil and sour cream. Add the wet to the dry and mix together just until moistened. Fold in the blueberries.
In a small bowl, combine the streusel ingredients and cut in the butter (using your hands works the best). Fill 12 muffin cups about 3/4 full, divide the streusel topping evenly over the top of each muffin. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
And because that just wouldn't have been enough, and really because there were some ripe bananas on the counter, I made a well adapted version of our recent TWD Banana Bundt Cake from Dorie Greenspan. Again, I used some whole wheat flour and used half butter and half oil. I also cut some of the sugar in Dorie's recipe and increased the amount of banana. I added walnuts as well. These were great.
Banana Muffins/Bundt Cake, adapted by Katrina from Dorie Greenspan's Banana Bundt Cake, Baking From My Home to Yours (I made 24 mini muffins, 12 regular muffins and 3 mini bundt cakes with this recipe!)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups banana, overripe and mashed (about 4 large)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted in the microwave for 1 minute-spread out on a plate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffins tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray, as well as any other pans you may be using. This recipe fits perfectly in a regular sized bundt pan.
Combine flours, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together, set aside. In another bowl (or bowl of electric mixer--I did this all by hand with a wooden spoon.) combine butter, oil and sugar. Mix well. Add the vanilla and eggs. Whisk together until well combined. Mash bananas in another bowl. Add to the wet ingredients. Add one third of the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Then add half the sour cream and mix well. Add another third of the dry and mix together. Combine the rest of the sour cream and end with the rest of the dry ingredients. Fill the muffins tins 3/4 full and/or bundt pans. Bake the minis for about 20 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, then remove from pans to cool on wire racks.
The three mini bundt cakes needed to be glazed. I simply put the glaze together with some powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.
Monica really liked these. Um, could you move your hand for a picture, Girl.
I finished out my baking spree with some Snickerdoodles that I just realized I never photographed (gasp! jk) Aimee requested her favorite cookie. I made a batch, but they actually didn't turn out that great. I think I just overbaked them a little (different oven than I'm used to), so they were a little too crisp. I have a feeling they all still got eaten anyway. Thanks for letting me take over your kitchen, Monica!
And finally, today Scott (6th grade) and Parker (2nd grade) started the new school year (Taylor will start kindergarten on Friday! Ahhh, school. I love it. ;) Taylor and Sam had some fun this morning playing with Play Doh. Taylor made some delicious ice cream cones and insisted I take a picture. I love it that I've trained them to think they must photograph all food. hehe
Sam needed his bowl of "spaghetti" on film as well.
And finally, I attended another cooking demo class tonight at our local health food's store--Perfect Summer Dishes with Fresh Fish. I love these classes that Paige does! When I got home, Kevin told me after picking Scott and Parker up from scouts, he took the boys to get a Frosty from Wendy's. And doggonit--THIS cutest thing showed up on my camera!
That's all--for now!