Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hot Buttered Rum

In case I haven't mentioned it two thousand times, I haaaaate to bake! Don't misread... I love eating all things baked, I'm just not a big fan of the baking process. So this time of year when my neighbors come door to door with yummy baked goods I'm both thrilled and full of dread. I couldn't possibly poison someone with my baked goods in return!

Last year in lieu of cookies, I did a dried Pasta Fagioli Soup in mason jars. I layered beans, pasta and herbs and then attached directions. It was fairly simple to make a bunch of them, and then I handed them out as teacher's gifts and to neighbors and friends. This year I did the same for teachers, but came across another recipe on Red Hot Kitchen for the neighbors that looked sooo yummy I had to try. (Hi Neighbors, don't worry I'll be by with your Hot Buttered Rums soon :) )

I whipped these up last night. I literally mean, whipped. That's all you do, dump the ingredients in a bowl and whip. I bought these cute Mason Jars at Harris Teeter (and they are on sale right now!) I know Target also sells them but they were sold out when I went yesterday. And for the record, Costco and Bloom do NOT sell them because I dragged three kids to all these places to discover this. Good times.

I'm doing a Tempo Run with Kate and Mile Posts tonight, while simultaneously checking out the neighborhood Christmas lights, and I can't think of a better drink to cozy up to when I get home!

Long Lasting Hot Buttered Rum

2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
8 oz of honey
7 oz Marshmallow fluff
2 sticks of butter
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Throw in the butter and brown sugar, then measure out the 8 oz of honey

Add it in, then add the Marshmallow fluff. This cup is the bomb for measuring out wet-dry ingredients such as these. You put in the ingredient then pop it out, nothing left inside that you're trying to scoop out.

1 tablespoon vanilla

Pumpkin Pie Spice and Vanilla

Voila. All those healthy ingredients in one bowl. Hot Buttered Rum? More like Huge Buttered Bum. HAHA

Whip it up.

Here are the small Mason jars. They came in a pack of 12

How cute. Yup, still rockin the old nailpolish!
I added 5 small scoops per jar, which is about 5 tablespoons. Was wishing I had the medium sized scoop! This recipe filled 13 mason jars.

Yup, that took 5 minutes.
Then I printed out a bunch of instructions (make sure to include that this Long-Lasting Hot Buttered Room can store in the fridge for up to 3 months).
Hole Punched the instructions and added ribbon
And tied it on. So easy and cute!
I thought these would be cute as a favor for each guest at the Christmas table as well!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


No time (read: too lazy) for pictures today, so I used a Random Number Generator (aka, my husband picked a number between 1 and 22) and the winner is number 18!

Congratulations Kelly Fuerst! :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No-Bake Cookies and a Giveway!

I've mentioned before that I'm not a baker. Most people I know will either classify themselves as more of a cook OR a baker, but usually not both. Unless you're super talented :) Well, baking blows my mind. For me, it's a horrifying thought that forgetting an 1/8 teaspoon of an ingredient, or using butter that's not exactly the right temperature, could make a baking recipe totally fail.

Christmas cookie season scares me half to death. I'm always looking for something super quick and fool-proof that I can bring to cookie exchanges or give to teachers and neighbors. These are right up my alley... quick, no-bake, and no-fail. Thanks Judy for reminding me about these 2-ingredient wonders! (She has many more amazing cookie recipes on her site if you're looking!!)

Oreo Truffles

1 Package of Oreos (I used TJ's Candy Cane ones!)

1 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)

Optional* melted chocolate for dipping or sprinkles for decorating

A food chopper and a small scoop should basically be ingredients.

Put your softened cream cheese in a bowl

Chop Oreos. I lined the cutting board with stacks of two then just moved my way down and chopped them up. If you don't have a food chopper or a food processor try putting them in a big ziplock bag and then crush them with a meat tenderizer.

Then I got smart and chopped them on a flexible cutting mat so that I could just dump them straight in the bowl without spilling.

I ended up using 2 sleeves of the Oreos. One whole row left for me to munch on this week :)
Mix the Oreos and the cream cheese up well! is the GIVEAWAY part...
I love Pampered Chef's Small Scoop!! It is stainless steel so it goes straight in the dishwasher when you're done and will NOT rust. I use this to fill my mini-muffin tin, and keep my hands clean while making evenly-sized cookies or meatballs. I even use it to portion off homemade baby food before sticking in the freezer in lieu of an ice cube tray. I thought this would be the perfect Christmas giveaway since everyone is making a lot of cookies this time of year! If you already have one... well it would look super cute in someone else's stocking!
*Details on entering at end of post*

So I used the scoop to shape the mixture into evenly sized little balls
Lined them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet

1 package of cream cheese and 2 sleeves of Oreos = exactly 31 Truffles

Then I decided to put some festive sprinkles on them... my girlfriend Kelly dips these in melted chocolate and they are amazing! She used orange food coloring in melted white chocolate to make some super cute truffles for Halloween. So cute, but I was just trying to get these out the door, so I skipped that step!

Stick them in the fridge for about an hour... tell me these aren't cute

To enter the Small Scoop giveaway, simply leave a comment on THIS post (not facebook).

You must be a "Follower" to be eligible to win.

The contest will end quick this time! I (with the help of my fellow superheroes) will pick and announce a winner on Sunday, December 12th!

If you ENTER this contest, but do NOT win, you will still be eligible for 10% off this item!!!
Simply email me your interest at on Sunday!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tacky Tree

Growing up we always had a "tacky" tree. You know the kind... colored lights, homemade ornaments, popcorn strings and tinsel? I very clearly remember the year we bought two trees, just so my mom could decorate one pretty tree for herself!

I love, love, love and appreciate a beautifully decorated Christmas tree! But since I grew up with a tacky tree myself, I really can't imagine any other tree in this house! Each year my mom would make these homemade ornaments with us to hang on the tree. They were so simple, sooo tacky, and one of my favorite Christmas traditions!

These are embarrassingly easy to make. In fact, I decided on a whim we should make them yesterday while it was rainy out, and I even had all the ingredients lying around. The boys can't wait to put them on our "tacky tree" this weekend!

Clay Ornaments

2 cups of flour
1 cup room temp water
1/2 cups of cheapo grantulated salt (like Mortons)

Christmas cookie cut outs and whatever paints or markers you have laying around!

Preheat the oven to 325. Pour the salt in with the flour and mix it up

Slooooowly add the water while mixing

Mix a bit and add more water if it seems way too dry. Should look like this.

Then take it out and shape it into a ball like so

Then knead it for ten minutes. Or three, thats all we had the patience for.

Roll it out, to about a quarter inch thickness, yeah my nailpolish has gotta go

Then cut out your shapes! One very important step I forgot was to punch holes with a toothpick in the tops before baking so that you can hang them on your tree!!!

Then bake for an hour until they are golden brown!

When they are cool, decorate!

Wouldn't Grandma loooooove a few of these? :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Bad Run Beats No Run

It's the truth.

This morning my alarm sounded at what felt like the middle of the night. Not an alarm to roll out of bed and get started on the day downstairs, or an alarm to get up and hop in the shower, or even an alarm to bundle up and head outside for a nice, even-paced run with Kate. It was an alarm to get up and outside into the dark, cold rain for a track workout!

I laid there in bed gripping my phone, and quickly sorted through all the reasons why I SHOULDN'T get up, out of bed, and out into the wet, dark cold to sprint, no less. I'd only been in bed for 4 hours! I was up changing sheets 2 hours ago!! I had a lot to do today and needed to save my energy!! I was feeling a little sick!! What if I'm too slow to keep up with everyone on the track??

Even though I KNEW from many, many, experiences that I would hate my decision later in the day, I still gave into the excuses and turned off the alarm. Was that extra hour of sleep worth it? Nope. Now I'm cranky about the rain outside, the fact that I'm a few steps behind the kids and my long to-do list, and my general lack of motivation.

On mornings like this one, I should have reminded myself that even a bad run would have beat no run! Whether you run, walk, do yoga, spin, swim, go out for a hike, or take a cardio class at your gym, I'm sure most people would agree its much better to start a long day with a little sweat, than a bad attitude! Even if its at the expense of a little sleep.

I was having the same train of thought last night. I was beat from the day and not really up to trying out the new recipe I had meal planned for dinner. Would all the work be worth it if it wasn't even good? But even a bad dinner would be better than no dinner!! Turns out it was a delicious new recipe! I would have never known, had I never tried!

Winter Mulligatawny Soup
(I grew up eating a lot of Indian food, and this didn't really taste like the Mulligatawny I've had in restaurants, but it was still REALLY tasty and I loved the use of the fall/winter produce!)

1 chicken breast (I cooked mine separately but you can brown it with veggies)
4-6 cups chicken broth (I used 4 but more is advised for more soupiness)
1 tbl butter
2 small apples
2 celery stalks
2-3 carrots
1 onion
couple cloves garlic and about an inch of chopped ginger (DOROT - huge time saver!!)
veg or chicken broth
3/4 cup lentils
2 tbl curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne (leave it out if you can't take heat!)
3/4 cup light coconut milk (not pictured)
a cranky kid

I started by chopping all the veggies small. You could throw in a food processor if you don't feel like cutting with a knife, but I used my food chopper.

At the very least, it gave something for the cranky kid to do!
Melt butter in sauce pan first and add allllll the chopped veggies (saute the chicken first here if its not precooked)
Add in the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cayenne, and a little salt
Add in the chicken broth, and let it come to a slow boil before you add in the lentils

Chicken is read to be added in!

Let the lentils simmer for about 10 minutes before you add in the chicken

Then add about 3/4 cup of the coconut milk

I put some parsley on top because it was pretty and I had some!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Normal... But Better

Thanksgiving Day embodies everything I love about a "normal" day. Well, a normal day... on steroids.

My favorite parts of a normal day include a run, eating mostly healthy, and spending a whole lot of quality time with little people.

But on Thanksgiving... I race (annual 10K in the morning!), I absolutely stuff my face with whatever is on the table, and I get to hang out with tons and tons of family! It really is my dream day.

Here's the first of the two dishes I'm bringing to the In-Laws... I saw this on Pioneer Woman and had to re-create it! It's basically scalloped potatoes... but true to the Thanksgiving theme it's scalloped potatoes on steroids. Instead of potatoes it's turnips, and instead of cheddar cheese its Gruyere, and instead of being kind of tasteless, it is really really awesome.

I made it tonight to see how much of an undertaking it would be for the big day. It is SO simple and uses minimal ingredients, always a plus! Tonight I served it with pork chops. This could definitely be a good side dish on any winter night, but I like to save these cheesy-gooey-buttery-creamy-fat recipes such as this for the holidays! ...When 12 other family members are there to share in the guilt :)

Pioneer Woman's Turnip Gratin

(I made this to serve 3 to 4, so double/triple/quadruple if you need!)

3 small turnips
Half and Half or any cream
Gruyere cheese
Chicken stock (forgot to picture)

Now go back and read those ingredients and tell me this isn't going to be awesome

Peel the turnips and cut off the tops and bottoms

Ta da... I thought they were pretty. I've never cooked turnips before! So this was very fun and exciting. Never thought I'd be 25 years old and finding turnips very exciting but it tis what it tis.
I used a mandolin to get even slices but of course you could use a knife too.

Now I decided to make this right in may pan because that's what Pioneer Woman did, but for actual TG I'm going to layer it in a casserole dish since I have to travel with it.
So melt some butter in the bottom of the pan (or layer it on the bottom of baking dish).

Layer the turnips and add some pressed garlic, a little bit of butter, a quick dash of cream and a quick dash of chicken stock. I know! So fat! So good. Its Thanksgiving!!

A layer of Gruyere (which is kind of like Swiss cheese, but better)

Keep layering turnips, garlic, cream, butter, stock, Gruyere, then put some cracked pepper on the top layer. No salt necessary, because Gruyere is pretty salty as is.

Then bake 350 for about 25 to 30 minutes of until bubbly.

Yum! A slightly healthier, sweeter, old family favorite will be posted tomorrow!