Showing posts from November, 2010

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

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…


There's something to be said about a handmade gift. In fact, there's quite a lot to be said. A handmade gift means that someone really took the time.  They stepped outside of the hurried pace of the world to use their skills, their creativity, and their hands to make something special.  A handmade gift isn't about convenience.  It has heart...soul.
BUT, a handmade gift doesn't need to take a lot of time or cost a small fortune.  When it comes to children's toys sometimes the simplest ones are the best -- the ones that outlast all the shiny plastic and razzle-dazzle.  (Did I just say razzle-dazzle?  Sheesh...I really am getting old).
If you have any pint-sized people on your holiday gift list this year and the inclination to go the handmade route, consider this easy and versatile Bean Bag tutorial from my friend Crafty Mummy.  Paired with a matching pouch, a list of ideas for games, or instructions for learning to juggle, you have a wonderfully special gift! 

Making the Cut: Christmas Trees -- Keeping it Sustainable, Green and Local

First, I'd like to say that however you choose to make merry this season, I wish you joy and pass no judgement on how you do it. There is no place for critics when it comes to celebrations of peace and happiness. I offer up this post about the tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree to share one of my family's favorite holiday traditions, and for those on the fence about what type of tree to have this year, to offer my perspective and encourage you to embrace a new adventure and find your inner lumberjack!

Since I was very little, the experience of walking in the crisp mountain air, the crackle and snap of small twigs underfoot, and the heady smell of pine has had a special magic and place in my heart. To me, this annual trip to the mountains to select the perfect tree officially heralded the start of the holiday season. My parents would bundle us up in our down parkas and mittens (just about the only time we would wear them, since it rarely dropped below 40 where we lived o…

A Paper Bag Turkey and a Special Thanksgiving Message from "Little Chief Rockin' Monkey"

Yesterday, adorned in construction-paper headdresses, macaroni necklaces, and playing coffee can tom-toms, my daughter's Kindergarten class entertained us with songs and poems of Thanksgiving.  Yes, yes indeed, "America's got Talent!"  It was a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season!

The Kindergarten families contributed to a potluck feast after the performance, and I was really happy that the Paper Bag Turkey (stuffed with popcorn) that I made, using the tutorial at One Charming Party, was such a big hit.  If you're looking for a fun centerpiece for the kids' table at your next holiday feast, you may want to check this out.  It was so easy (took me less than 15 minutes) and is a great way to recycle paper bags from the grocery store.
Wishing you and yours a most splendid holiday, STUFFED with all of your most favorite things, I leave you with this short message from my very own "Little Chief Rockin' Monkey":

THE MAYFLOUR -- A pie that is ship shape and ready to sail

(photo modified from the original taken by SS)
A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a blog called Diamonds for Dessert and was immediately captivated by the creativity and charm of the recipes there. The one recipe I positively couldn't get out of my mind was the incredibly original and beautifully written tutorial for making a pie that looks like a pirate ship -- A Pie-rate Ship! Brilliant!  
Not having any little buccaneers with impending birthdays in my crew, I immediately began to daydream about the other occasions I could serve a ship-shaped pie!  I first imagined a fleet of Spanish sailing ships ~ The Nina, The Pinta and The Santa Maria for Columbus Day.  Unfortunately, Columbus Day had just passed.  I had literally missed the boat!  "Not to worry," I told myself, "Thanksgiving is just around the corner."  Suffice to say, it was a little too close around the corner, and sadly I've spent the last few days nursing a head cold rather than preparing for the maid…

My Family's Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Every year I like to try a new side-dish recipe at our holiday feasts, but there are some classics that are always a tradition on our family table.  One such favorite is my cousin'sTOASTED PECAN SWEET POTATOES.  The recipe couldn't be simpler, and it's not unusual to find a relative hovering over the casserole dish with a guilty spoon in hand even after the meal is through.  Enjoy!
TOASTED PECAN SWEET POTATOES (makes one 9x9 casserole)
1 29 oz. can sliced sweet potatoes (drained and rinsed)1 cup granulated sugar1/4 cup melted butter2 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract1/3 cup evaporated milkTopping1/2 cup dark brown sugar1/4 cup all purpose flour2 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350.  Coat the inside of a 9x9 baking dish with  non-stick cooking spray.With an electric mixer, beat the first 6 ingredients until smooth.  Pour into the prepared baking dish.Prepare the topping by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl to form a crumbl…

Free Vintage Thanksgiving Clip Art -- A Fabulous Folk Art Turkey

Just a few little charming snippets from my collection to share with you today.  These three vintage images came from a 1927 book passed down from my grandmother titled "The Turtle Whose Snap Unfastened".  This delightful (and rather quirky) little book features the illustrations of Ve Elizabeth Cadie set to stories like "The Turkey Who Gargled His Gobble", "The Bee Who Broke His Buzz", and "The Horse Who Scrambled His Trot".  Enjoy!

10 Minute Appetizer -- Mozarella Fresca Red Caps -- Part II of the Hostess 911 Blog Hop

Here's another quick and delicious appetizer you can throw together in just minutes:

Mozzarella Fresca Red Caps (yields approx. 20 pieces) The balls of fresh mozzarella (purchased pre-marinated from the grocery store) are tucked inside a halved and seeded cherry tomato with a small leaf of fresh basil.  It's a one-bite take on the traditional Mozzarella Fresca.  It's perfect for parties, especially during Christmastime -- When prepared with the tomato on top, these sophisticated treats resemble little elves with their RED CAPS and green "hair".

INGREDIENTS 10-12 Cherry Tomatoes, halved and seeded  (I use the small side of a melon baller)
1 small container marinated fresh mozzarella balls (if unmarinated, toss in some olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar)
20-24 small fresh basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
Cocktail picks
salt & pepper (I like kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)

Step 1:  Toss the seeded cherry tomato halves with a bit of olive oil, or som…

10 Minute Appetizers for last minute entertaining -- and a Hostess 911 Blog Hop

Short on time?  These days, who isn't?  That doesn't mean, however, that we have to sacrifice quality, style and being the hostess with mostest when it comes to holiday entertaining.

By keeping a few simple ingredients in your pantry and freezer, you can go from empty-handed to party-ready in  just minutes.

My favorite all-time last-minute appetizer is the potsticker, or panfried Gyoza.  I've yet to take these to a party where they weren't the very first plate to be empty.  I always keep a bag of frozen gyoza in the freezer, and love the fact that I can have a delicious little snack ready for unexpected company in less than 10 minutes.

1 bag frozen potstickers (I like the vegetable Gyoza at Trader Joes since they're popular with vegetarians and omnivores alike)
1 TB Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
Sesame Seeds for garnish
Soy Sauce

Step 1:  Remove frozen potstickers from package.  Place in microwave-safe bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Cook in microwave for…

PUMPKIN SPICE CRUMB CAKE -- Your guests will "gobble" it up!

Hi there friends!  Can I interest you in some PUMPKIN SPICE CRUMB CAKE? It'sa delicate and tender cake topped with loads of delicious, buttery crumbs with just the right amount of pumpkin and spices.  This delightful treat can be baked days in advance, and is the perfect breakfast or brunch item for a quiet morning after the big feast.

My recipe is being featured today at Ucreate Foods.  If you love to bake, cook, or simply ogle some mouthwatering culinary creations, Ucreate Foods is a blog you won't want to miss.  Please stop by, pick up my PUMPKIN SPICE CRUMB CAKE recipe, and say hello to Tyra, the creative force behind Ucreate Foods.  Click the link below to be on your way:

-------------------------------------------------------------- I've linked-up this recipe at the "Quit Eating Out" Saturday Swap!

Pumpkin Pie Topped Cheesecake -- Two classic desserts in ONE!

Pumpkin Pie?  Cheesecake?  Pumpkin Pie?  Cheesecake?  Ohhhh... the choices!  Well, now you don't have to choose.  I've combined a delicious classic cheesecake on a chocolate cookie crust with a perfect pumpkin pie.  And I threw in a handful of mini chocolate chips too.  Why?  Why not!

For the Crust: 18 chocolate graham cracker squares (approx. 1 sleeve) 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar 6 Tablespoons salted butter
For the Cheesecake: 16 oz. cream cheese, softened 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 egg 1 egg yolk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
For the Pumpkin Pie: 1 15oz. can Pumpkin Puree 2/3 cup light brown sugar 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 4 eggs, lightly beaten 3/4 cup evaporated milk
Preheat oven to 375
Step 1:  Crush chocolate grahams to a fine meal in a food processor or in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin or kitchen mallet.  It should yield approx. 1 1/2 cups of crumbs.  In a small bowl, mix the crumbs, salted butter, an…

THE DIY LIFE ezine -- Holiday Recipes, Crafts and ideas for inspired entertaining

It was like getting an early Christmas present when I was asked by the crafty gals at the DIY Club to be a contributor to their November/December issue of THE DIY LIFE.  This double-issue is loaded with holiday recipes, tutorials for making incredible homemade gifts, entertaining and tablescape ideas -- an inspiration with every turn of the page!  I must admit, I was feeling a little grinchy yesterday (it was Monday, and I had jury duty for Pete's sake) but after reading THE DIY LIFEmy heart warmed right up, and had you been a fly on the wall, you may have even caught me whistling a few bars of "Jingle Bell Rock" while doing the dishes!

Click to launch the full edition in a new window
Publisher Software from YUDU

Inside the issue, you can take a virtual tour of this year's Country Living Fair:

Learn to make felted acorns:

Get tips for Successful Holiday Serving:

Find an easy and elegant tutorial for making homemade salt scrub:

Recipes in this issue include Eggnog Cookies, A…


It was on an impromptu jaunt to Mexico a few years ago where I had my first taste of Tamarind.  My husband, his cousins and I were in the car, air conditioning blasting, as we sat for hours in traffic that had come to a standstill just a few miles from the border.  We were thankful to the vendors, wandering the sea of stranded motorists, who, over the course of several hours kept our spirits high with a steady stream of treats including churros, flavored ices, and pan dulce.  The confection that stands out most in memory, however, is the tangy, sweet and salty tamarind lollipop that kept me occupied and rather intrigued for the duration of our captivity.
If you're not familiar with tamarind, it is a legume that grows on trees in Asia, Africa and in the tropics.  The fruit inside the pod is a fleshy, tangy pulp that becomes sweeter as the pod matures.  It is used in cuisines throughout Africa, Asia, South & Central America, India and Mexico. In Mexico, it is candied, dried and s…