Monday, January 30, 2012

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies = Heaven!

  Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies 
were a favorite of my hubby when he was a little boy. 

For years and years
  he has talked about how yummy these cookies were that his mom would always make up.  
In fact, as I was scanning photos with my mother-in-law Josie she commented several times, how these were a favorite that she would make for a treat when her kids were young.  These are definitely an "older generation" cookie, as I got this recipe from my mom and her older sister who is in her 80's used to always make these up when my mom would come to her house, when she was just a little girl.

These are still a favorite today...
SO happy that my kids can enjoy and taste, yet another recipe
that was a childhood favorite for Tracy and I.

VERY easy, decadent and a 
crowd-pleaser for sure!
The only thing I would suggest is to double the recipe  
as they will disappear quickly and you might as well utilize the frosting
(the frosting makes enough for 2 batches of cookies).
Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies
1/2 cup REAL butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1-3/4 cups unbleached flour
18 large marshmallows cut in half
Pecan Halves

Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla
Then add in egg, baking soda and salt and mix.
Then add in cocoa powder and milk mix well.
Then add in flour until it's all mixed in.
Stir in chopped nuts
Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and
Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes, remove from oven and top with marshmallows halves.
Return to oven and bake 2 more minutes. (don't overbake)
Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.
Frost with chocolate frosting and top with a pecan half

Chocolate Frosting:
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 to 2 oz cream cheese
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
Mix all together until really creamy.

Enjoy a taste of 
Chocolate Heaven today!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cinnamon rolls...perfect for the weekend!

 YAY for the weekend!  
Truly my favorite time of the week, where there are two days in a row that we get LOTS of family time together.  
While most weekends are usually busy and running here and there,  
or, Tracy and the boys are doing a scout campout,
there are those weekends that come around once in a blue moon,
where it's relaxing and we enjoy each and every bit of the morning time together...
Such was the case over the holidays!

I got up and made a batch of these 
cinnamon rolls that come together SO quickly...
the aroma of the baking yummyness awakened my family 
and we enjoyed a morning brunch of 
Cinnamon Rolls, boiled eggs, fresh fruit and milk/juice.  

It was truly a picture PERFECT morning! 
(I originally got this recipe 16 years ago 
from my sweet friend Marie that I used to work with)

The yummy thing about these Cinnamon Rolls is they taste like 
"Maple Bars" 
that you get at the bakery, because I add in Maple flavoring to the frosting.
Cinnamon Rolls      
1-1/2 cups warm water
3 Tablespoons yeast
1/3 cup oil (I use canola oil)
1/3 cup sugar
Mix these ingredients and let stand for 15 minutes

Add the following ingredients to the above mixture
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
5-1/4 cups flour
2 beaten eggs

Roll dough ½ inch thick (on floured surface) and 
spread with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. 
(You can also put raisins and nuts if you want...the raisins make them SO good!)   
Roll up like a jelly roll and cut into slices.   
Place on a greased cookie sheet and  
let rise until doubled (about 1 hour)
Bake in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. (until lightly browned)  

Frost with maple/cream cheese frosting. 
After frosting, I then pull my cinnamon rolls out of the pan and let them cool on wire racks so they aren't too "doughy"

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup REAL butter
4 (oz) cream cheese
1-2 capfuls Mapleine Extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Beat together butter, cream cheese and maple extract until light and fluffy.
Gradually add in powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  
Enjoy adding a little bit of FUN 
to weekend breakfasts with your family!

Family...good food...time spent together...
truly life's precious treasures!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bedroom turned into TV room...

WOW, it feels good to type again.
My year started off with a whirlwind of events (good things mind you) that I am having a hard time getting my thoughts together to blog about,
SO, I will blog about something that is easy and is mostly photos as I received an email this week from Tracy's aunt, asking if I would send her photos of how we turned a large-ish (12x14) bedroom into our TV/media room.

Little bit of background...
we live in a 3000 square foot home, with 1500 of it as a full UNFINISHED basement. There are 3 bedrooms on the main level, but there is no ideal space to have a TV viewing area (we don't want a TV in our kitchen/dining area competing for family time around the dinner table).
For years we have been enamored with simplifying our lives
and trying to pare our life down and really connecting with "Cozy spaces".
So, when we installed our hardwood floor in 2010, we asked the kids if they would be okay if we took the larger bedroom and turned it into our TV room and they would share the smaller bedroom so it would keep us from spending money to finish a TV watching area in the basement.
They were thrilled with the idea and we
LOVE that we have everything we need on the main level
(except food storage/camping holiday storage which is in the basement).

Our TV room is cozy,
has a full sectional, leather chair, computer desk area for Tracy's computer needs (when he's not sitting in a comfy chair with his iPad) and we took the closet and installed shelves to hold DVD's and games. We purchased a heater that fits perfect in one corner, so we can go in and close the door, turn on the heater and have a nice and toasty area to enjoy watching movies together as a family. (since we keep the thermostat set at 62 degrees for our house, it is nice to have a small room to be able to close the door and be warm, without heating up the whole house).
We also have wall sconces that Tracy installed so we have perfect "mood light"!
It is SUCH a perfect use of space...
not too big, not too small, but just right!

Here are photos of the finished TV room
AND photos of the kids room.
(we still need to get things hung on the wall, but we are enjoying it just the way it is at the moment)

TV/Media room

Kids Bedroom...
Progress is good...
It feels good to make headway on home improvement will be a glorious day when we finally get the rest of our house finished with new tiles in the laundry room/bathrooms, painted walls, freshly painted kitchen cabinets, baseboards reattached and painted and lots of trim work and built-in shelves.
Until then, I will enjoy what improvements we have done!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fridays Forgotten Moments in Time...

SO, I had a busy year in 2011
and there are several events that I never quite had the time to go through the photos and do a blog post about them and SO for the next few weeks, I am going to have Friday be my "ketchup" posts, which I am going to title:
"Friday's Forgotten Moments in Time".

Our Month of December
was a truly joyous month with of the favorite highlights...
that of getting the mail and excited to see whom we got Christmas cards from that day.

It was also full of sparkling Christmas Decor, 
 excited kids as they counted money and rolled it up so they could go and buy little gifts,   
visits from many close friends and neighbors,
singing Christmas Carols,
delivering holiday goodie boxes,
the smell of cinnamon in our house all month long
as we made Cinnamon Almonds, Gingersnaps and Gumdrop Bread.

There were
holiday parties, school Christmas programs, 
Nativity re-enactments, getting to play with cousins,
plates of yummy holiday treats,
bowls of fresh fruit, frost covered car windows,
LOTS of family time
 playing with remote control helicopters,
snuggling on our big sectional sofa watching movies,
working on projects,
AND, last but not least,
the excitement of teenagers
getting new "stitching jeans"!
(that's what Jade calls the jeans that have the thick stitches of thread around the pockets and down the sides of the jeans...He can't stop looking in the mirror when he is wearing them as he is thrilled to finally have a pair of them!  BTW...they're not the $120 ones :-))

It was a wonderful month indeed. 
Here is our month in photos!
While we had many things that made us smile this month,
if I were to think of one particular moment that brought a SMILE to all of our faces, that we kept talking about all afternoon long, it would have been the day we opened up this Chrstmas card with Halloween faces on one side and Formal dress on the other.   

Ethan had to keep turning the card over and looking at it in close detail.
He thought that was the COOLEST card he had ever seen!
(BTW, Jennifer if you can't tell, we LOVE the card and it was at the top of our favorites)
Tracy commented over and over
how AWESOME it is when people have a sense of humor.    
I made a copy of both sides of the photo so I can have them both showing in my card display in my entry when I take down last years photos and put up this years photos.

It was a HAPPY, JOYFUL month indeed...
sad that it's over, 
but looking forward to the adventures and FUN 
that 2012 has to offer!