Thursday, May 22, 2014

4th of July Round-up

With Memorial Day just around the corner, I've started my patriotic round-up (from around the web) in anticipation of the 4th of July. It's one of my very favorite holidays. Here's what I'm loving so far.

Decor for the bike parade. 

DIY Mantel Decor
seen: eighteen25

For the potluck

The Drinks (but really this whole party is pretty darn patriotic)
seen: HWTM blog

Firecracker Sugar Cookies, your kids will love the surprise POP!
seen: momdot

Take home favor, or a fun way to end your party

And because I like my kiddos to coordinate, here's what I have my eye on for now...

For the Tween

For the girl

For the Boy

For the Toddler

Of course, we'll need cardigans, red Capris or shorts, accessories, hair ribbons and more to compete the final look, but I think this is a pretty fantastic start.

monster cookies.

I remember loving coming home to fresh baked monster cookies when I was a little girl, as we got older and my mom became increasingly busier she stopped making these little gems, and it was sort of an out of site out of mind type thing, until recently. Right before we left Denver, one of my friends started making these monster cookies. They have quickly become our all time favorite cookie. Not only are they soft, chewy and delicious, the dough freezes amazingly well. So well that we have to foodsaver package them to keep from eating the dough balls straight out of the freezer. They are THAT good.

Try cooking up a batch of your own, I promise you won't be disappointed...

Monster Cookies
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (blended into flour)
2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups plain M&M's (or chocolate chips)

Cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, peanut butter and vanilla. Add oat flour, and oats. Once combined add in M&M's. Scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

*These can be "gluten free" if you buy your oats from a specialty store that doesn't process the oats in a facility with other gluten products.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

strawberry shortcake.

In my opinion, Strawberry Shortcake sometimes misses the mark. You either have overly sweet pound cake that competes with the berries, or you have dry and somewhat bland biscuits, that do little to compliment your strawberries. Some time ago I lived near a friend who was from Ireland. One night she had some ladies over to teach us a thing or two about Irish cooking. That night she made us Irish Scones with jam and clotted cream. They were Amazing. 

My daughters favorite dessert is Strawberry Shortcake. She does not like chocolate (crazy, right?) So each year for her birthday I try a new form of pound cake or biscuit. This year for some reason, the light when on and I remembered Shelagh's Irish Scones and an idea was born.

I would make the delicate, slightly sweet, melt in your mouth Irish Scones for the base of the Strawberry Shortcake. This my friends, was a WINNER! You should really head out, right now, for some Irish Butter and get to whipping up these bad boys, you won't be sorry.

Before giving you the scone recipe, my favorite way to prepare the berries is to crush some of them with a potato masher, to break them down, but still leave them chunky, the other half I blend with sugar to make a liquid. Combine the two and allow to sit for some time. I always use real whip cream with a little powdered sugar and vanilla to top the shortcakes.

Shelagh's Irish Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup Kerry Gold Irish Butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 - 3/4 cup milk (just enough to bind)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Rub in the butter (cold not soft) until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar and enough milk to mix to a soft dough.

Turn onto floured surface, knead lightly and roll out to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch rounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with milk to glaze. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes until lightly golden (be careful not to over cook, but sides of scone should be firm) then cool on wire wrack.

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