Wednesday, November 30, 2011

cookie review

I recently tried Kroger's The Truly Awesome™ Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies through a Bzz Campaign I participated in. they sent me TWO free boxes of cookies and some coupons. I was so excited to try these "tastes like home made" cookies.

" Exclusively available at Kroger, Fred Meyer and Ralphs stores (the Kroger Family of Stores), a wholesome, irresistible chocolate chip cookie your entire family will love. "

when I opened the box the cookies were twice the size of normal store bought cookies, (gotta love a big cookie!) but there were only 8 to a box, and I imagine because these are marketed as "wholesome" they cost more than a normal name brand cookie. I have yet to go buy any, so I don't know that for sure yet... but I often don't frequent Kroger because they're more expensive. Anyway, these didn't taste any different than Chips Ahoy. I was expecting a home-made-type of cookie, but these were dry and crumbly - not a milk-dunking cookie at all. I was disappointed by that, but the cookie itself was good for a store-brand product. I'd eat them again (assuming the price is right) but not if I was wanting a cookie that tasted like it was baked from scratch.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas goodies

last year was Leo's first Christmas, but he didn't really know what was going on so it felt like it didn't count. we took advantage of that and didn't get him anything O:) he did get clothes and practical things, but nothing fun. this year I think he'll enjoy it, which has made me get more into the shopping and planning mode which has seemed to fade for me the last few years.

I've been wanting an advent calendar with surprises to put inside, but all the ones I like are pricey, and all the diy ones I've seen online seem too disposable. I want something hardy that we can keep for years and I like the wood kind that have doors that open up. I haven't looked around at the craft stores yet to see what sorta unfinished wood stuff they have that I can make something with, so I think I'll need to do that soon so I have time to work on it before the 1st!

while browsing through the toy section at Target Leo spotted a smart phone. his eyes lit up when I handed it to him, so I had to get it... even though he already has a play phone.
I was looking for a See & Say for his birthday, but the only one I was finding in stores annoys the crap out of me. the search continues for a different one for Christmas. an old one like what I had growing up would be fun to find. we'll see.
I've been wanting to get these non-skid rubber sole socks for Leo for a while. he's starting to toddle around, and he slips pretty bad in just his socks, but regular shoes seem to be holding him back because his feet are so big - he's already in a 5! I saw the sneaker print pair in passing the other day so I grabbed them up.
since I can't give him traditional chocolates and hard candy in his stocking I'm going the snack route and getting him some vitamins and regular gummy fruit snacks. he also loves the little Chips Ahoy mini cookies. might sneak a few of those in there, too ;)
I thought I might put them in a Boon ball or some other cute snack container, or maybe find something holiday-ish that might double as a toy or ornament.
he LOVES to swing and going out in the backyard, so I'm hoping to find (or make) a simple swing set for the backyard to put a cool swing in.
I know his grandparents will spoil him, so I'm trying to limit myself on what we get him. he seems to enjoy non-toy things still so I might just wrap up a few toys he's forgotten about just so he can rip into them Christmas morning. he's been into boxes lately - putting things in them and pulling stuff back out - so that's another option that will last for just a little while and can be thrown away and not stored! it's more about having fun than what ya get, right? :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I fried some canned biscuits and made doughnuts for breakfast. just like mom made. I remember "helping" as a kid, but none of the important details stuck with me, so I had to refresh myself by searching online.
the biscuit type doesn't seem to matter. I used the kind with butter pieces in it and without - both came out the same. I flattened out the dough and stretched a hold in the middle instead of cutting one out because I didn't want to mess with a bunch of little holes. the main key is the oil. it needs to be at 375F. if your oil is too hot or the dough is too thick it won't cook on the inside before the outside burns, but if the oil isn't hot enough it'll be too greasy. the setting on my oven between 3 and 4 gives the best results for me, but I had to test the temp with a candy thermometer before figuring that out. let it fry for a couple of minutes and then flip and fry the other side for a few more minutes - pretty easy, and not as messy as you'd think. it's nothing like frying bacon where ya get a lot of splatter. these are a low, fairly slow bubble.

I dusted mine with powdered sugar like when I was a kid. they need to be eaten fresh when this is done because the sugar turns to liquid when they sit for a while. which is fine if you like a glazed doughnut better than a powdered one - still tastes good to me!

Monday, November 7, 2011

pumpkin spice cookies

I'm in a baking mood (even though it's sticky and warm today), and when I saw this instructable for these cookies I wanted to give them a go.

the two ingredients are pumpkin puree and a spice cake mix. you can also add chocolate chips, but I did pecans and then drizzled the tops with leftover cream cheese frosting I made from Leo's birthday. yums.

most nights Matt has been disappointed if we don't have anything sweet to eat after dinner, and last night was one of them :( so he is in for a surprise tonight! :D

Thursday, November 3, 2011

nutcracker 2011

as I was starting on my mom's nutcracker for this Christmas, I realized I never posted any pics of the one I did last year... and I remember why! I forgot to take the final pics!!! so, when my mom pulls all her Christmas stuff out I'll get a picture of it.
this year I'm doing 6 nutcrackers! but they're not really nutcrackers (not that nutcracker soldiers are really nutcrackers either...) they're nesting nutcracker soldiers. I wanted to do something like these.
I got the raw wood nesting dolls from Hobby Lobby - used a 40% off coupon and got them for less than $5. ya get what ya pay for. I had to do some sanding on them so they opened smoothly, the outsides were nice and flush at the seams, and most importantly that they fit inside each other once they had layers of paint on them. what's the point if they don't nest?
I did some sketching to get an idea of how to paint them
marked and drilled holes in the body of the main one to attach the arms that I made from dowel and pegsmade a nose and crown from polymer clay
painted the details and sprayed them all with a clear coat
added the rabbit fur for the hair and beard, glued the arms on and sanded down the dowel on the inside of the body
I'm happy with how they came out :)