Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWD--Coconut Butter Thins

This week's recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours awesome baking book was chosen by Jayne of Barefoot Kitchen Witch.  She chose Coconut Butter Thins, found of page 145 of the book.  A great little shortbread-like, buttery (hence the name), coconut cookie with a hint of lime.   Dorie suggested using macadamia nuts in the cookie, but I decided not to pay for them and used almonds instead.


The dough was to rest in the fridge in a gallon size plastic bag, after it was rolled  to a 9x10 1/2-inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.  Turned out this method worked pretty perfectly, although I still wonder if just rolling it out between wax paper would also work just fine.  I decided to make these cookies for a baby shower that I was bringing some goodies to that evening and as I worked on some things that afternoon, I quickly made the dough and didn't realize it was supposed to be refrigerated for a few hours.  I needed them made right then.  Sigh.  So much for reading all through the recipe before starting.  Well, I set the dough in its plastic bag on a baking sheet and threw it in the freezer.  Went about my many other tasks and about 30 minutes later, I got the dough out, let it rest (it was quite frozen) for a short time, removed it from the bag, measured my 1  1/2 inch squares, cut it and set the cookies on the sheet and baked them.  I only baked them for 16 minutes and not Dorie's suggested 18-20 minutes.  The only thing I'm not sure of is what the cookies are supposed to look like as I haven't yet seen anyone else's.  Mine are not real thin, but they also aren't too thick.   I do know that however they are SUPPOSED to look, these taste great and that's really all that matters.  Right.




I actually thought as good as they tasted that they weren't that pretty on a plate for a baby shower.  So I dressed them up a bit.


A little white chocolate drizzle and some pink sprinkles (it's a girl!) never hurt anything!


These are good.  But they are the kind of cookie you have to put away or you'll find yourself just nibbling on one too many here and there and not realizing you just finished off 6-12 of them.  No--I didn't do that!  Seriously, I didn't!   But my son, Scott, did after I did this with the leftover scraps the next day.


Cute flower cookie cutter with a Hershey's Kiss on top while they were still just slightly warm.  That's not just any Hershey's Kiss though.   Have you seen these?


Coconut Creme Hershey's Kisses.  They are good.  Scott loved them on the lime induced Coconut Butter Thins.  I'm not kidding, he ate a good 98% of these. 

Thanks for the yummy cookie this week, Jayne.  You can get the recipe on her blog.  Be sure to check out the other TWDers' cookies at the Tuesday's With Dorie blog.


How cute is mah sleepin' bebe?


I go check on him at night before I go to bed.  A few nights ago he had his blanket wrapped up on his head.   It was too cute and I had to go grab the camera.  After the picture, I moved the blanket off his head.  Sam has been sick this week with a nasty cold and cough with fever.  Hope he's feeling better SOON!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes!

Yes, I said four.  I made four different kinds of cupcakes in one day and it was kind of fun, since no one (KEVIN mostly) really likes cake (frosting) here and I rarely make cake that isn't from a box.  I think I did pretty darn well, wanna see?


Up first, the chocolate cupcake!  I found this delicious recipe on one of the coolest cupcake blogs out there, from Clara at I *heart* Cuppycakes.  It was a fun one to make and HOLY COW--the Swiss Meringue Caramel Swirl Buttercream--is to die for.  Just make some of that and eat it until you're sick.  So good and so bad! ;)

I followed Cuppycakes recipe pretty much exactly.  She used Sees Candy Molasses Chips on the top of her cupcakes and I used Heath Toffee Bits.  That is the only difference.  After looking at this post, go check out Clara's cuppycakes!

Chocolate Caramel Crunch Cupcakes—by Clara, I *heart* Cuppycakes

For chocolate cupcake
2/3 cup AP flour
2-1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut in pieces
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For Swiss meringue caramel swirl buttercream
3 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, room temp
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

chocolate-toffee, crushed, garnish

To make chocolate cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In heatproof bowl, place chocolate and butter over simmering water and stir constantly until melted, about 5 minutes. Let the chocolate mixture cool to room temp before adding sugar. Stir sugar until incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine after each egg. Beat in vanilla. Gently stir in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until all combine. Do not overmix. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20-22 minutes. Let cool before frost.

To make buttercream—
In a large heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over simmering water in a saucepan and whisk constantly until sugar is completely dissolved (160F), about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. In a stand mixer using a whisk attachment, whip egg white mixture on high until it holds stiff peaks, about 5-6 minutes Switch to flat beater and add the salt. Add butter a few at a time, beating well after each addition. Don’t worry if buttercream starts to look curdled. Just keep beating on until buttercream is smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the caramel ice cream topping to the buttercream, folding only until swirled but not completely combined.


I only got 9 cupcakes, instead of 12, but I wanted to make sure they were each well filled.  I also have NO skill on the fun, fancy way cake pros are frosting cupcakes--I tried, like the one in the picture above on the right.  Of the 9 cupcakes, that is the only one I felt looked okay.  For the others, I just piled it on.  Practice, I guess.  I've never made a Swiss meringue buttercream before and though I suppose it's detailed, it wasn't hard--the mixer does most of the work.   With the caramel ice cream topping swirled in at the end,  this was just amazing. 



Next, please.

I've wanted to try the cupcakes Lisa Roman recently won on the Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown in the dessert category.  She won $25,000 for these Babycakes.   They have baby food in them.   Creative!


I made them as regular sized cupcakes, she made cute little mini cakes.  Either way, the cupcakes are a good lightly spiced, sweet cupcake.  Lisa made these with two different kinds of baby food.  One is pumpkins with pears and the other is applesauce and apricots.  Both are easy to find at your grocery stores.   These also have some honey in them.  I like that these have ground pecans in the batter and really, the star of the show here is the frosting, made with cream cheese and vanilla, as well as almond extract.  Great flavor.   This recipe made 19 cupcakes, I filled them pretty full as I wanted good round cupcakes. 


Babycakes—Lisa Roman, Ultimate Recipe Showdown winner, Food Network

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup clover honey
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar pumpkins with pears baby food (recommended: Nature's Goodness brand)
  • 2 (4-ounce) jars applesauce and apricots baby food (recommended: Earth's Best brand)
  • 1/2 cup ground pecans
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (I added an extra cup of powdered sugar to get the consistency I wanted)
  • 1/4 cup ground pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl add the baking soda, salt, baking powder and flour. Mix thoroughly with a fork and set aside. In a large mixing bowl add the eggs, honey, both sugars and butter. Mix until smooth using a hand mixer. Add the cinnamon and baby food. Mix until smooth. Using a rubber spatula fold in the pecans. Slowly add the flour mixture using a sifter and fold in until ingredients are evenly mixed. Place 24 mini baking cups (2-inch, nonfoil) into each hole of the mini muffin pan. Place a 1-gallon resealable freezer bag into a bowl (for support) and pour the cupcake batter into the bag. Seal the bag and cut the tip off 1 of the bottom corners of the bag. Squeeze the batter into each baking cup, filling them only 3/4 of the way full. Place the mini muffin pan in the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl add the extracts, milk, cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and creamy using a hand mixer. When the cupcakes are done baking remove each cupcake from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Place the cooling rack in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 minutes Once the cupcakes are cooled remove them from the refrigerator. (I frosted mine after they cooled at room temperature.) Frost each cupcake by putting a generous dollop of frosting on the top with a spoon. Garnish top with ground pecans and they are ready to serve.

Congratulations, Lisa!


Hmmm, which cupcake next?  Let's talk about the Strawberry Cupcakes.  I wanted to make a nice variety of cupcakes, and I had recently found these on Becky's Blog, Satisfying My Sweet Tooth.  I actually didn't have one of these cupcakes, but Sam helped himself to one off the counter before I could even frost them, so I'll bet they're really good!  I did, however, taste (a lot of fingers-full) of the wonderful frosting--both the cupcakes and the frosting have strawberry puree in them and the frosting also has white chocolate.  YUM!  Great job, Becky!


Strawberry Cupcakes

1 C pureed ripe strawberries (about 10 large strawberries total)
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In small bowl, mix together cream, vanilla, and 2/3 C strawberry puree. (Don't discard the rest, you use it in the frosting!)
cream butter until light and fluffy and gradually add sugar. Mix until well combined. Add egg and egg whites one at a time and continue to beat until just combined.
Add half of the flour mixer to butter mixture, all of the strawberry mixture, and the rest of the flour mixture, mixing well in between additions.
Divide batter among cupcake cups and bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes.

Strawberry White Chocolate Frosting

3 squares white baking chocolate
2 T (or more) heavy cream
2 C (or more) of powdered sugar (I added quite a bit of extra pwd. sugar to get the consistency I wanted--like 3 cups--but that's just me and how I wanted the frosting!  I will just use less puree next time)
1/3 C strawberry puree
3 T butter, melted
Melt white chocolate squares with cream in the microwave until just melted. Be careful to just put it in for 20-30 seconds at a time and stir well in between heating sessions.
Add powdered sugar, melted butter, and strawberry puree (whatever is leftover even if it's more than 1/3 C) and mix well. Add more powdered sugar and cream to get the desired texture of frosting you want.



Last, but not least, I made Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Vanilla Icing.  I found these on a yummy blog called Stephanie's Kitchen.  Delicious!  Banana just might be my favorite.  I actually didn't taste these either as I was making all of these for a church activity, but I WILL make these again.  Hafta since there is leftover icing!  Followed Stephanie's recipe exactly.  The only thing I might do next time is add some walnuts.  I'm a firm believer that banana and nuts belong together.  I left them off in case of nut allergies.  Oh, but again, I tasted PLENTY of the icing!  Had to make sure it was just right, you know.


Banana Cupcakes With Cinnamon-Vanilla Icing
makes 18 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 medium bananas)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using a mixer, beat the eggs, sour cream, butter and bananas; slowly add the dry ingredients and blend just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes (I only baked mine for 18 minutes). Top with Cinnamon-Vanilla Icing. Top that with chopped nuts if desired. 

Cinnamon-Vanilla Icing

2 ounces softened cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Using a mixer, mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until well combined. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar and mix until creamy. Add the milk, cinnamon and the remaining confectioners’ sugar and beat until creamy and smooth.


I don't care what Kevin thinks, cake AND frosting really are good.  Shhh.  (No, really, he knows I like this stuff!)   You gotta try one, two, three or four of these nummy cupcakes!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TWD--Blueberry Crumb Cake

Whether you call her blog Befuddlement, Fundamentally Flawed, or Walking in the Rain, Sihan chose our recipe for this week's Tuesday's With Dorie from the great book, Baking From My Home to Yours.  Go check out her blog (after reading this post! ;)  She is cute, creative and her blog is quite yummy!  Sihan chose Dorie's Blueberry Crumb Cake on pages 192-93.  What a yummy, easy, crumb-y cake.  (All of which I love!  In fact, I think the crumb topping is my favorite part.)

Dorie has us bake the cake in an 8 inch pan.  I thought the cake was very tall and next time I will use at least a 9 inch pan.  I made just a small little mistake with no consequence at all.  The recipe says to use 3/4 of a stick of butter, which is 6 tablespoons.  I knew that, but from the time it took to look in the book, see that and get out the butter and remove it from the wrapper, I totally forgot and used the whole stick.  So an extra 2 tablespoons went in to my cake.  Did it suffer?  Of course not.  We're talking about butter here.  I'm sure if Paula Deen has a version of this cake, it has at least 2 sticks of butta in it! ; )  (I love Paula.)  The only other things I did different from Dorie's recipe is I used ground nutmeg instead of freshly grated and instead of a trip to the store for buttermilk, I used the tried and true home version of 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/2 tablespoon vinegar (let set at least 5 minutes--lemon juice also works).  This cake turned out great.  No complaints here.  Kevin even had a few pieces of it--and it's cake!



Look at the height on this thing!


Perfect blueberry placement.  Just dredge them in a few teaspoons of flour before mixing them gently into the batter.  (I used frozen berries--Goodness, the price of blueberries is crazy right now!)

Hmmm, does anyone else think this needed a little something, or was it just me?   Let's see---ah ha!


Now you're talking.  I know, it pretty much goes against Baking's "religion", but I love Cool Whip, guess it comes from growing up on it, rather than the real thing.  Now, Cool Whip has joined the likes of Reddi Whip (have never cared for Reddi Whip, but I'm liking the new Cool Whip!) and comes in a convenient spray can.  ("Fill'er up", she says opening her mouth.) ;)  jk, I've never done that.

Thanks for the great pick, Sihan.  Feel free to go see how all the other bakers faired with their crumb cakes this week HERE at Tuesday's With Dorie.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fruit & Nut Granola Bars, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars and Some GREAT Peanut Butter Brownies and COOKIES!

I've been meaning to get these posted.  Sigh.  Oh if I could post as often as I'd like.

Anyway, THESE are delicious.  You'll never need to buy store bought, partially hydrogenated oily, high fructose corn syrupy granola bars again.  I keep telling myself since these are so healthy that it's okay to keep eating them.  They are full of tons of fiber and fruit, so be careful eating too many. ; )


One thing I really like about these is that you can add whatever you want.  So I did.  I added tons of dried fruit, some nuts and cinnamon chips.  By the way, I found these over at Becky's blog, Satisfying My Sweet Tooth and she adapted a recipe from Ina Garten.  She baked hers 25 minutes until they were crisp, I only baked mine 20 minutes and they are a perfect chewy granola bar.  Here's the recipe as I adapted it, but the main ingredients are the same.

Fruit & Nut Granola Bars

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened, organic fine shredded coconut)

1/2 cup wheat bran

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 dried peach halves, chopped

2 dried pineapple spears, chopped

1/2 cup cinnamon chips (sorry if you can't find them where you live!--if you want the cinnamon flavor to your bars and can't find these, just add 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)

1/2 cup almond/pecans, mixed (roasted), chopped (It's just what I had, Becky's recipe says 1 cup raw almonds toasted with the oats and coconut)

1/4 cup pepitas/sunflower seeds, mixed (roasted)

Mix oats and coconut (and any raw nuts) together on a baking sheet that has raised sides and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, stirring every three minutes.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the wheat bran.

In a small saucepan (or  microwave safe bowl--that's what I did), melt the honey, butter and brown sugar together.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.  Stir together and pour over the oat mixture.  Add dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon chips and mix well to combine.  Pour mixture into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press together evenly.  (I did not go clear out to the sides of the baking sheet--only made about a 9x13 rectangle in the middle.) 

Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes (20 minutes made perfect chewy bars, 25 makes crispy bars).  Cool slightly before cutting into bars.  (Or bread into odd sized pieces.)  Cool completely.

*Note, I think these had a little too much fruit, though I love it, it made them so that they were falling apart--that and maybe bake them just a little longer.  I will cut some of the fruit next time, maybe just dried cranberries one time and not raisins, etc.  A tropical theme with coconut, dried pineapple, mango, etc. would be good, too, even bananas.  Okay, that's all.  Try these!



I liked the Fruit & Nut Granola Bars so much that I had to try peanut butter and chocolate.  These need a little tweaking, but are still GOOD!  I left out the coconut this time and since I did, I added extra oats and think I added a bit too much, they aren't dry, but have a bit too much oats and I like them chewy and baked these for the 25 minutes and will probably stick with 20 minutes next time.  Here's what I did.  Play around with it.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

2  1/2 cups old fashioned oats (I used 3 cups and think it was a bit much)

1/2 cup wheat bran

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Smuckers All Natural Chunky Peanut Butter and will probably use Skippy Natural next time as it was also a little dry)

1/4 cup brown sugar (I didn't write it down and can't remember if I omitted this--I will probably omit it if using Skippy, but it needs the extra sweetness if using all natural peanut butter)

2/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Spread oats on baking sheet with raised sides and bake in 300 degree oven for 12 minutes, stirring every three minutes.  Transfer the oats to a large bowl and add the wheat bran.   Stir together.

In small saucepan or microwave safe dish, melt butter, peanut butter, honey and brown sugar.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.  Pour over oat mixture and stir to combine.  Let sit until cool (or refrigerate briefly) if you don't want the chocolate chips to melt.  (This is what I did.)  Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.  Spread evenly in a 9x13 parchment lined pan or a baking sheet.  Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool slightly before cutting into bars.  Cool completely.


Play around with these bars, it's fun and they are yummy--and better for you!


And  now that we've been talking healthy, get a look at these tasty brownies!!!


I found these yummy brownies at Betty Crocker, but didn't add a peanut butter frosting they suggested.  These are great without it, but if you like a frosted brownie, go check out the recipe on the Betty Crocker site.

Peanut Butter Marbled Brownies, adapted from Betty Crocker

For the peanut butter mixture:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural, smooth)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 large eggs

For the brownies:

1 box brownie mix (GASP!), 9x13 family size

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs

1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick foil, or spray lightly with cooking spray.  In mixing bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter, flour and eggs.  Mix on medium speed 2 minutes.  Set aside.

In medium sized bowl, stir together brownie mix, water, oil and eggs until well combined.  Spread evenly in baking pan.  Drop peanut butter mixture by tablespoonfuls onto brownie batter.  Sprinkle peanut butter chips around as well.  Swirl through batter with knife.

Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes, remove from baking pan using edges of foil and cool completely on wire rack.  (You can use your own favorite brownie recipe, too, but sometimes, these mixes are great and quick and they taste good, too!)



Can you imagine a peanut butter frosting on these?  Well, yep, I'm sure it would be good and knock the decadence level up a notch or two for these, but they were great just like this!  (Gave most of them away for a birthday!)  And this.  The giant cookie is made using Lisa Michele's Levain Copycat recipe that I've been recently baking up like crazy and loving.  (Thanks, Lisa Michele!)  Whether any recipe will really be AS GOOD as being in NYC and having a fresh baked Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie, I don't know, but Lisa's recipe is a great chocolate chip cookie and it made some pretty amazing giant cookies that I baked in a pizza pan for 15 minutes.  I'll tell you about the chocolate cookies in another post.


Here's a picture of some 4 ounce Levain's I also made with this recipe.  Mmmmm, they're good!  (Just ask my dad and nieces--I made them three times while I was home in Idaho!)



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sammie is Two!!! And Lots of Other Things, Too!

Can't believe mah baby is two now.  His birthday was on Monday, the 16th.  I got back from Idaho at 6 o'clock that night.  Some really nice friends who knew I was out of town offered to make dinner when they saw Kevin at church alone with the four boys on Sunday.  It was nice not to have to worry about dinner AND the birthday that night.  Thanks, Prices!

Bob came over Monday night (Tes was in Topeka) and we had a little "shindig" for Sam.  I only had a few presents for him that I'd gotten after Christmas on sale.  He didn't care.  But he sure understood the opening of presents this year and he really enjoyed it!

DSCF1816 DSCF1823

Whatever that Sam likes Sponge Bob at only age two, but he does and I think it's just because he likes saying it.  So I grabbed him a box of Sponge Bob Fruit Snacks. 


I think some other little boys like Sponge Bob, too, or is it the fruit snacks?!!   Hmmm.

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This Play-Doh Spaghetti Factory is actually quite fun.  Sam and all the brothers played with it today.  It cranks out the spaghetti!

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This is a cute little boom box with a microphone that plays all kinds of music and songs with numbers and letters and colors and such.  Sam likes it.  I got it on clearance after Christmas.  Mom likes that!  ; )


I will admit that hair needs cut again, but Mom, isn't it cute!!!??  I think so.  Pretty cool phone he got from Bob and Tes that records your voice and plays music.  Now, if we could just find it!  Haven't seen it for a few days already and we've even looked for it.   Hmmm?


If you could just touch it, you'd fall in love with it.  (Mom!)

And how's this for the quickest, coolest birthday "cake" ever bought last minute on the way home from the airport?


I've mentioned before we just don't really care for cake here--mostly the kids and Kevin.  I mean, I'd eat cake, but Kevin especially has a strong dislike for frosting, mostly, but cake, too.  And the boys always just seem to eat the ice cream served with cake, so we do ice cream sundaes at our house.  Now mind you, if I'd have been home, I would have found some kind of cool, cute cake to make Sam for his birthday, I mean, come on, he's two, but since I was out of town, this worked great.  It was birthday cake ice cream, with lots of add ins.  Try it sometime.  The boys love it. 


I wouldn't suggest it for your 90 year old grandfather or anything, as the ice cream would melt before you could light all the candles, but for 2, GREAT!  ; )



Make a wish and blow!


I was showing Sam these pictures earlier and he kept pointing to the fire and repeating, "hot, hot."  Train them when their young......


I think that's ketchup on his face from his pig-in-a-blanket dinner.  (Who is yo' momma kid, doesn't she wash yo' face?)



Mmmmmm, lots of goodies!  Parker was with us, too, just on the other side of the table.


Happy Birthday, Sammie!  We love you.  You are so cute and fun--and BUSY--certainly keep me on my toes!




The next day was St. Patrick's Day, so in the spirit of things, we colored the morning breakfast milk green.

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Taylor wouldn't have any.  I even colored my daily oatmeal green.  It really wasn't the most pleasing thing to see, but it tasted just fine!



On Wednesday, yesterday, we went to the Topeka Zoo.  It was actually a bit of a cool day, but I kind of liked that the animals were so much more lively than when we go in the summer and it's SO hot they are either sleeping or hiding.  My friend Mindy met us there with her kids.  It was fun.  Sam walked the whole zoo.  He came home and took a nice three hour nap.  (Let's go to the zoo everyday! hehe)

What a cute elephant.


Even cuter kids.



My little monkey staring at the gorilla.




These orangutans were so fun.  The little one kept rolling down the hill and putting on quite a show.


She even picked up the barrel with her feet and moved it.


There's a fun park across the street with all kinds of animal statues and such to climb on.






So I know this post is super long, sorry, but just a few more pictures, then my next post will be a yummy homemade treat, I promise!

Week before this spring break one, Parker was Student of the Day at school.  He got to help with the announcements by doing the pledge of allegiance and having a window in the lobby with a poster of pictures and all his favorite things.


Yeah, Parker!


Be back with something yummy--and healthy!