Friday, December 28, 2012

Keurig Hot Chocolate.... aka My sister is a Genius.

This past week I was at my sister's house enjoying Christmas and two adorable twin boys.   I may have eaten a little too much ham and may have watched Polar Express a million times or so.   But, one thing I did not do was drink too much coffee and creamer.  Not me.   I definitely did not need this infusion of caffeine after a night of playing trains with twin boys. So we may have used the Keurig- a lot.  And, one night while sitting by the fireplace- I really want a fireplace BTW- my sister made me some hot cocoa.   

Now, hear me out on this.  I love hot cocoa.  But- I only love hot cocoa when it is made with milk.   That watered down stuff that others try to pass off as hot cocoa.  Blech.  And the first time I tried the Keurig hot cocoa- I found it a little too watered down for my tastes as well.   But, my sister had the secret.   She adds some coffee creamer to her hot cocoa.   And it definitely makes a difference.   So I had to pass along this secret to making a watered down cup of hot cocoa creamy and delicious.  

Now, don't be afraid to add creamer to your cocoa.  It definitely needs a generous splash.   And if you're me- a very, very generous splash.   The best part- you can create your own flavored cocoa by adding fun flavors of creamer.   My sister had sugar cookie- mmmmmmm.... I love Natural Bliss Sweet Cream, but this peppermint mocha was delicious as well.

Now, I can enjoy a hot cup of cocoa with a hint of creamy deliciousness from my Keurig.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Creme Wafers

It's not too late to bake up some more Christmas treats!!  

I have a yummy cookie to share with you.  I have been drooling over all my favorite food blogs and the amazing cookie recipes out there.   However, all of them are starting to run together in my head.   Peppermint seems to be a big theme this year.   Variations of spice and eggnog also seem to be a popular idea.    I thought that I would throw out a cookie recipe that I have not seen out there yet.  

These creme wafers take a touch more work than the usual drop and bake style, but they are festive and quite delicious.   The cookie is not very sweet (as there is not sugar in the dough).   The sweetness comes from the sugar it is rolled in and the creamy buttercream inside.  But what makes this cookie so unique is the texture.  It is flaky and rich- almost like a pie crust with a sugary coating.   

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!!


Creme Wafers:

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup whipping creme
2 cups flour.

Cream all three ingredients together and form into three disks and chill.   The dough is very crumbly.  

Heat oven to 375 degrees and roll out the dough to 1/8th thickness and cut into 1.5 inch circles.   Coat with sugar and prick with a fork if you like.   (I also sprinkled a touch more sugar on the tops right before baking because I like the way they look with the sugar coating).   
Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 7-9 minutes or until set.  Do not over bake.  

Cool cookies and prepare the buttercream filling.

Creme Filling:
1/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBS whipping creme

Cream the butter, then add the vanilla and whipping cream.  Slowly add in the confectioner's sugar.  

Makes about 20 cookies.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's all about the appetizers.....

Do you ever get so excited at appetizers that your forget that there is an actual meal coming later?  Have you ever accidentally filled up entirely on appetizers and then had your mom yell at you because you did not finish your dinner? Does anyone have a recipe file filled with more appetizer recipes than any other type?  

If you answered yes to any of the above then you and I have something in common.   Not that I have ever been yelled at by my mom for not finishing my dinner (just every time we get together for dinner.....).  Well, I hate to tell you- but I am going to feed the appetizer insanity some more.  

This appetizer is simple, delicious and requires minimal fuss and work.   It would be a great appetizer to serve on Christmas Day while you are waiting for dinner to cook.   Just don't let me eat them all.   Cause then I won't want to finish my dinner.  

I wish I was a super-duper-awesome blogger and had precise amounts and measurements to give you- but- alas-I am not a super duper blogger.  Instead, you just get me.   But, I promise- measurements or not- these tomato-mozzarella bites are delicious and easy.

First, head to the antipasta section of your local grocery.   I found sundried tomatoes and herbs in oil on the bar area.  I also have seen these sun dried tomatoes packaged by the grocery in the deli section as well.  Be sure to buy the kind in oil as the oil helps the bread toast in the oven.   The herbs in this variation also made the tomato-mozzarella bites even more tasty.  Slice some french bread and place a couple of tomato slices on the bread and spread the oil all around.  The place a chunk (or two) of fresh mozzarella on top.   Sprinkle on some salt and pepper.   Then broil in the oven till the bread is toasty and the cheese is melted.   Be sure to watch the bites as they can burn easily.

Presto- a quick, simple and delicious appetizer.
What is everyone making for Christmas dinner?  I am not sure what is on the menu since I will be with my sister, but I am going to try a new crockpot recipe for breakfast.   I will share it soon if it turns out as good as I hope it will.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Butter, trees and Disco balls

I am a little busy today... with this.... And that is why I do not have any yummy food posts for you.  But, I promise to share some of the yummy cookies I made and some of the recipes I used.  

So instead of food, I am sharing some of my favorite ornaments.  I put up my tree last weekend.  I had some help from an adorable Doodle bug.   He is a big fan of the "clump" method.   Meaning, he likes to clump five to six ornaments together on the same branch.  Needless to say, after he left, I had some ornament rearranging to do.

Here are a few of the ornaments on my tree right now.

One cannot be a baker and not have sweets on their tree.   See that gingerbread boy on the right.  He is one of my favorite ornaments from childhood.  And see those teeth marks in his head.   Those are my teeth marks.   yep.  I tried to eat him when I was young.   He looked so yummy and he used to have a gingerbread smell.  The smell has faded.  The teeth marks have not.

See that Drummer Boy on the left.  He is a silver ornament from my great aunt.  She left me a set of four ornaments and I love them all.   I have few things from my Auntie Bell, but these are very special to me.   And the ornament on the right- homemade with love from a sweet little Griffin- boy.   Homemade ornaments are the best.  

I can't be a crazy cat lady without a few cat ornaments on the tree.   One of my favorite traditions is one my mom started.  My Mom wraps a gift each year and adds on a new ornament.  This mini snow globe is one of the many that I have received from her throughout the years.

And one cannot have a Christmas tree without a sparkly disco ball.   We had one on the tree every year growing up.  In fact, I still have that disco ball ornament.

What kind of ornaments do you have one your tree?  Any special ones?

If you do share your ornaments on your tree- be sure to share a link to your blog in the comments and I will come over and check them out!


Saturday, December 1, 2012


I have so much to be thankful for this year.  I was very thankful that I was able to spend another Thanksgiving with family.   

I made these sugar cookies for a Woodland themed Thanksgiving with my sister.  Thanksgiving morning I was sitting down to take a couple of pictures of my cookies.   I think I got one picture in before I was joined by a cutie pie.... 

And this is what happened next...

As much as I wanted a picture of my cookies- I got something so much more precious.

And these two little cuties loved my cookies.

Not only are deer cookies good to eat, but they are also fun to play with.

Sweet little boy hands holding my cookies.

Once "Pie" caught onto the fact I was taking pictures of him- this was the face that I got.   "No CiCi- No more pit-tures".

I loved seeing this one run around with a cookie in each hand.

And this is the best picture of all.   Cookies gone.  Love.

This blog post is dedicated to my dear sweet nephews whom I love dearly.  My life changed forever with each one of you.  Love you Doodles, Cake Butt and Pie.

Aunt CiCi (Marci)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chocolate Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

I made this sheet cake for my book club a couple of weeks ago.  It was amazing.   Seriously, who does not love peanut butter and chocolate together?  Okay- my mom doesn't,but she might possibly be the ONLY person I know who does not.  

My grandma made Texas Sheet Cake for me quite often when I was young.  She also used to make it for my one cousin who always refused to share it when she made it.  No- I am so not kidding.  She would eat the whole thing by herself.   

Grandma's Texas Sheet Cake was an amazing treat.   And this cake is such a fun spin on it.  The peanut butter frosting adds an amazing level to this cake.   I will make my Grandma's Texas Sheet Cake soon and share the recipe with y'all.   Okay I feel just a little silly for saying that.   Being an Ohioan and all.  

Look at the beautiful crackles on the top of this cake.   And ignore my bad photography skills.  I need camera lessons ASAP.

Let's just take one more look at this amazing cake.  Keep in mind this cake is a thin cake and bakes in a jelly roll pan.  And you pour the hot frosting on top and let it cool.

Are you drooling yet?  

If you want to try out this recipe- I made the one shared by Iowa Girl Eats.   I did add quite a bit more peanut butter to my frosting though.  I wanted it to be super duper peanut buttery.   I added close to a 1/4 cup more peanut butter.   But, this is one recipe where either way is amazing.   And because it is a sheet cake it makes a large pan of cake.   So make this cake when you plan on sharing it with a large group.   Please don't eat the whole pan like my cousin.   Well- I guess you can if you want to..... 

Can you believe it is almost December?    I can't wait to share the cutest pictures from Thanksgiving with you.   


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

I have been avoiding baking here recently.  Not sure why.  I still love it, but have found little time for it.  Actually, I am not sure where any of my time recently has gone. I am falling behind on my tv shows again.   My house needs a deep cleaning- and that one is definitely at the top of my "I want to do it now" list- NOT.

But, I do want to share a simple recipe with all of you for Baked Oatmeal.  I was introduced to Baked Oatmeal by my friend Melinda.   And I have been hooked since.  I find Baked Oatmeal to be soothing and comforting.  And lately, I think I have been needing some comforting.  So I made some Oatmeal.

Here are the ingredients:

It is super simple to throw together on the weekend.  Plus, this dish is especially comforting as the weather grows cooler.   I love curling up with a bowl of this oatmeal on a cold winter day.

I like to eat this oatmeal hot from the oven with milk poured over it.   The milk cools the oatmeal just enough that you can eat it without yelping in pain.   Plus, I like my oatmeal a touch soupy.   The best part of the oatmeal- you can eat it however you want to.  With milk, without milk, with cream, with dried fruit.  You can customize to whatever your family likes.   And I think that this would be a super filling and hot breakfast for Thanksgiving Day.   It would definitely tide you over until the big meal.   Ignore the "burnt" edges.  I might have not paid as much attention as I should have to the clock when baking this.  But- those crispy edges actually tasted great!

I hope everyone is enjoying fall!


Baked Oatmeal

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk (I use 2%)
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups oatmeal
1 tsp salt

Mix together butter, sugar and eggs.   Add remaining ingredients.  Pour into 8x8 cake pan that has been sprayed with non stick spray.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes 

You can add nuts or dried fruit to the baked oatmeal after baking to personalize it to anyone's taste.   I do love dried fruit in mine, but sometimes plain is just what I am craving!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Halloween Dinner Party

Don't laugh.  I know it is November and I am just getting around to sharing pictures from a Halloween Dinner Party I went to.   I tend to procrastinate a little.  In college I was the gal who waited till the night before to churn out a 20 page paper.  Don't get all panicked there.  I was the queen of papers.  I can blab on about anything.... and 20 pages- CAKE!!  

But, here are pictures from a fabulous Halloween Dinner Party I attended.   We had appetizers- cheese, fruit and crackers to start with.  Oh- and olives too, but I don't count olives because I don't like them.   Isn't it funny how easy it is to forget food that you don't like.   The cheeses were amazing and I fell in love with a mango ginger Stilton that was served.  

Look how cute this platter is waiting for food.    And those serving spoons- perfect for a spooky Halloween Dinner Party.   Can I give you a hand? :)

More shots from the appetizer area.

No Dinner Party is complete without a dinner cocktail.   Our lovely hostess served Witches Brew and Vampire's Kiss.  I did not partake as I was giving my liver a "rest".  But, I did manage to eat half a jar of maraschino cherries.  Don't ask how it happened.  I am not quite sure either.   The details are hazy.

More fun treats from the party.  Pumpkin Seeds- my favorite seasonal treat.  I did not carve a pumpkin this year so I missed out on this treat!  And a shot of the table decorations.  Those eyeballs looking at you are salt and pepper shakers.  Adorable!  I want a set.   hmmmm I just used to words adorable and "I want a set" to describe eyeballs.... Let's not think on that too long.  

The table all set up and later full of food.  And the food was AmaZinG!!!I wish Beth would cook for me every night......

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween.   And I hope everyone's November is off to a fabulous start!!  I know that I have so much to be thankful for!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oreos & Baby Boys....

I was asked to make some treats for a friend's gender reveal party.   And she and her husband are Oreo fans so they asked me to make some homemade Oreos with a special hint in the middle.   

My friend even found me the perfect recipe from My Kitchen Addiction.  I followed her recipe for these homemade Oreos.

And inside each cookie was a "pop pf color".   It was amazing to be there at the party and to see everyone's faces and especially K & LA's faces when they bit into their cookies.

And I had to make some extra Oreo treats for the party as well.    Oreo cupcakes with Oreos on the bottom.   So simple and yummy.

I had a lot of fun baking up this surprise.   Although, when I received the envelope with the baby's gender it was a tad surreal.  I knew what the gender was before the parents even knew.   But, the party was very special.   Do you know anyone who had a gender reveal party?

Smiles and have a great weekend.   I have been busy "Car shopping".   I hate to admit it- but it is the one kind of shopping that I HATE.   Wish me luck!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


As the holidays are approaching one cannot help but checking out goodies online.   And of course, I manage to find things that I adore.   Here are a few of recent favorites.  

Look at these beautiful measuring cups.   They make me want to mix butter and sugar together.  forever.  I imagine that cookies made with these taste so much better than ones made with my plastic measuring cups.   They are from Anthropologie.  Of course.  Who doesn't love that place?  

Oh and these beauties.   Anthrolopologie again.   I think that they sneak into my subconscious and create things from the ideas I have there.   So, Anthropologie owes me for all of their great ideas.  Or they at last owe me some cute measuring cups.

Check out this cute cookie stamp Sophie showed me.   Adorable.   Perhaps not the most practical but very cute.  Source: The Spoon Sisters.

And now onto the measuring spoons.  I love gingerbread men.   I can almost smell them.  Okay that sounded weird.   Let's just forget I said that.
source: Pier 1

Check out these cute owl measuring spoons.  I adore owls.   They are my favorite.  
Source: Pier 1

Speaking of owls.  These owls are a set? from World Market.   The largest owl is a cookie holder and the medium sized owl is a measuring cup set and the mini's are measuring spoons.   I LOVE this set.   LoVe!!

But this is what I am asking Santa for this Christmas.   I would like the porch and this swing.   Minus the sleeping lady.   Yeah, that would be kinda creepy if Santa included the sleeping lady.   But, I have no doubt that Santa can wrap up a wrap-around porch and swing for me.   I am sure it will fit just dandy under the tree.

What items are on your list this holiday?
I am sure I will find more goodies to share as we get closer to Christmas.  So prepare yourself.   I might get a little carried away.