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Showing posts from November, 2009

Chonky Boys: The Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches that Scream Summer!

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Featuring my thick and nuggy Chonky Boy Chocolate Chip Cookies, these ice cream sandwiches are the stuff that summer dreams are made of.  If you've ever had the Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich at Disneyland , you are going to LOVE these! 

These big and bold chocolate chip cookies are based on a recipe from my culinary school studies at Auguste Escoffier, but with a few modifications to give them that Jennuine touch.  They make the perfectas book for a fat slice of real vanilla bean ice cream.  And those mini chips?  You just gotta have that extra cronch!

Thank goodness this recipe only makes 8 sandwiches, otherwise I would be eating them for breakfast lunch and dinner.  This way, my big family can help save me from my inner child diet-saboteur.  
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Chonky Boy Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream SandwichesYield: 8Author: Jenn Erickson Loaded with chocolate chips and buttery, brown-sugary vanilla flavor, these mall-sized cookies form a perfect partnership with a fat wedg…

STRESS-FREE HOLIDAY PARTY MAKEOVER (or: The Party With a Purpose)

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We try our best not to overindulge our children, yet despite our best intentions they still have toys coming out their ears! Come Christmas and birthdays it seems like our tiny house is going to burst with all the plastic pieces, excessive packaging, and generously gifted glut!

So, this past September when my daughter turned 8, we came up with a new concept ~ The Party With a Purpose. First, we chose a cause near and dear to HER heart: Animals. We arranged with our local humane society (SPCA) to have a party on their premises. Guests were asked to bring a gift of blankets, towels, toys or treats for the animals, instead of a gift for my daughter. The generosity was overwhelming. The SPCA gave a wonderful presentation and slide-show and then took everyone on a tour of their facilities. After we had a brownie sundae bar (served in doggy dishes of course) on a sunny deck outside the education center, overlooking the barn where two baby goats had been born earlier in the week. It didn'…

POM's HOT APPLE PIE CIDER ~ a WONDERFUL new twist on the traditional holiday cup of cheer

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A few weeks ago I was approached by the folks at POM Wonderful ~ the makers of that delicious (and antioxidant rich) 100% pomegranate juice ~ and was asked if I would like try to create some culinary magic using a complimentary case of their product.  I jumped at the opportunity to work with something new!  I've enjoyed POM Wonderful before ~ straight out of the bottle and mixed in cocktails ~ but being given creative license to create my own POM recipes sounded like the perfect holiday kitchen challenge! 
So, with holiday parties and open-houses in mind, I created a cozy cocktail to ward of the winter chill, and evoke the essence of what we cherish most about the holidays.  Here the gold of the apple cider and the crimson of the pomegranate juice mingle to create a jewel-toned toddy that nearly glows with holiday warmth and sentiment. 
It takes only minutes to prepare a large batch, perfect for parties and large gatherings.

Sandro Botticelli - Virgin of the Pomegranate
Why pomegran…

YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING

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"When Joseph's favorite overcoat gets old and worn, he makes a jacket out of it. When the jacket is more patches than jacket, Joseph turns it into a vest. When the vest's number is up, Joseph makes a scarf. This thrifty industry continues until there's nothing left of the original garment. But clever Joseph manages to make something out of nothing! (And that's the foreshadowed moral of the story.)" ~ Amazon Book Review
JOSEPH HAD A LITTLE OVERCOAT is at once fanciful and wise, thought-provoking and engaging, and a most wonderful book to give a young person this holiday season.   It's at the top of my list of books that every child should have in their home library. 
Here's the background on what inspired this post and the recommendation:

I've been struck several times this week by an almost overwhelming THANKFULNESS, brought on by some simple acts that so many of us take for granted: shopping for groceries for the holiday, purchasing a few Christmas…

ENOUGH ABOUT ME ALREADY

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(my maternal grandmother, Rose, is the baby pictured above)

I've never been particularly comfortable droning on and on about myself, but this week's posts seem to have been just that.  Thanks for bearing with me, for indulging me my follies, and for keeping my spirits high with your kind comments!

But enough about me already!  I want to hear about you...

With the Thanksgiving week nearly upon us, I'm thinking a lot about family.

So the question is:


Does your family (mom, dad, brothers, sisters, etc) read your blog?



If not, do you know why?  How do you feel about that?



If yes, how do they interact with your blog?  Do you write about them?  Ever write something you wish you hadn't?


NOW I'M REALLY BLUSHING

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It's been a week of bloggerly love and some darn good ego strokes.  The icing on the cake was today's news from Ms. Bibi at From Misery to Happiness in 365 Days that she's awarded me the "Gorgeous Blogger Award".  Not "Gorgeous Blog".  Gorgeous Blogger.  Me?  Me!  Yippee! 
By accepting this award I am supposed to tell you 6 things you might not know about me and then pass it on to another gorgeous blogger.
Six things.  Hmmm.... Let's see...
1)  People who know me would undoubtedly charactarize me as feminine ~ a girly girl ~ but I definitely harbor an inner tomboy; always have.  I was raised with three brothers, so hanging out with the guys just comes naturally.  I still ooh and ahh over Tonka trucks, fire engines, and dinosaurs.  My shoe of choice is the high heel, but if I truly had my druthers I'd go shoeless and splash in mud puddles.  I loathe chick flicks and love super heroes!  Also (just had to throw this out there), I think cephalopods ar…

THE SMITTEN KITTEN ~ SOME GRATITUDE AND GRAPHICS

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I'm a smitten kitten and am tickled pink by the generosity and kindness of many of my fellow bloggers this week.  They're simply the cat's meow, so I thought I'd send a little love back into the blogosphere by posting some free clipart/graphics:  3 vintage cat images from my personal collection.

Download, save, create, enjoy!




CONCIENCIOUS THANKSGIVING OBJECTORS ~ A RARE BIRD?

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Thanks to the courageous confession from fellow blogger Nicole at Miss Dot's Cupcake Spot (Read her post "Don't Hate Me, But...", and while you're there check out  Mustache Mondays!)  that she isn't particularly fond of Thanksgiving Food, I feel safe to say that I could contentedly live out the rest of my days without ever eating another bite of Thanksgiving Turkey (Whew!  That felt good!) 

There must be more of us out there who, because they love the tradition, the feasting, and celebration that comes with the holiday, hide our true feelings.  Somehow, not liking a slice of bird with cranberry sauce feels, well, kinda un-American.  Hmmm....I'm feeling a support group coming on ~ The First Annual Congregation of the AntiTurkarian Holidationalists?  If you thought I was weird for not liking Turkey, well, now I've really gone and done it!

Some AntiTurkarians, like my friend Nicole, turn to desserts (specifically PIE) for their Thanksgiving salvation.  No…

FELT FOLLIES: THE CATNIP MOUSE PROJECT & TUTORIAL

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Felt is Versatile.  Felt is Forgiving.  Felt is Fun.
Today, the girls and I gathered some supplies (most we had around the house) and made some adorable catnip mouse toys to donate to the preschool winter carnival, and to give to our sweet neighbors who recently adopted a pair of kittens.


This charming little projects makes the perfect gifts for your feline friends.

PUMPKIN WHOOPIE (!) PIES WITH CREAM CHEESE VANILLA BEAN FILLING

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Today the girls and I dug back to our Pennsylvania roots and baked up a batch of delicious Pumpkin Whoopie Pies!  Max mixed the batter.  Maddie made the filling.  And Bessie, our beloved family cow, kept time with her tail to the tune that Pa played on the fiddle.  I'll leave it to you to figure out where I've embellishmed my story (just a little). 
They're very simple to make and as Bessie will tell you, are "udderly" delicious.  Still with me?  Well, bless your heart! Here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Whoopie (!) Pies with Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Filling Makes 9



For the “Pies”
2 cups all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg1/4 teaspoon ground cloves2 large eggs1 cup granulated sugar1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil1 cup canned pumpkin1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.Lightly butter each sheet of parchme…

Pumpkin Butter ~ A Dippy Love Story and Recipe

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A few years ago my husband and I were in charge of making snack at my daughter's preschool.  On the top shelf of the oven, one of the teachers had an apple pie baking.  On the middle and bottom shelves we were baking grilled cheese sandwiches (Monterey Jack cheese on Milton's Original Whole Grain Bread).  As is oft to happen with fruit pies, the apple pie bubbled over, coating the corner of one of the sandwiches below with sweet, cinnamony goodness.  Mr. Rook, a big fan of trying unusual food combinations eyed the syrupy sandwich with eager anticipation.  I, however, was wary.  Perhaps it's un-American, but I'm not really a huge fan of apple pie (gasp!).  Smooth-talker that he is, Mr. Rook talked me in to trying a bite and, "WOW!"  It was fantastic!  Unfortunately, this accidental delicacy was in short supply.  So, that evening, we made up a batch of the same grilled cheese sandwiches.  Because we didn't have an apple pie on hand, and hoping to find a way…

ATTACK OF THE TWO TON TIGGER...OR, WHAT I'M THANKFUL FOR

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Dear Food,

I hate you.  No, wait, I love you!  You are tasty, cozy, cooling, warming, complex, powerful, subtle, a delicious art form, and possess the power to evoke memories and bring people together.  At the moment, however, I resent you. 
It is because of you and your irresistible deliciousness that I was not able to fit in to my cute little vintage WW II nurse costume this Halloween.  That's how I ended up in my husband's Tigger costume.  It had been in the garage for several years and had thereby accumulated more dust than the surface of Mars.  Halloween was a cold night and the Tigger costume looked warm.  After all, it's made of heavy-duty fleece and is made for a 6' 5" man.  I saw warmth and comfort and I went for it.  Nevermind the fact that I'm asthmatic and that the two greatest triggers for said affliction are dust and cold weather.  What was I thinking?  Apparently I wasn't! 
So I spent the week following Halloween with a head full of snot …