Pretty on the Outside

Upon reading this title, you may think this post has to do with something deep, profound, even. And I can get like that. I’m a deep thinker, that’s for sure. But this isn’t about anything like that. It’s about food. That’s pretty. On the outside. And not so much on the inside. Well, technically, the inside was pretty, too, but it didn’t taste pretty. The only way “pretty” can be used to describe this dessert was “pretty bad”, to be honest. So bad, that I am not even going to share the recipe with you. But I love how it looked, so I am going to share that. Just the looks. The pretty outside.

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Before this, I had never made a jelly-roll cake before. I had always wanted to. And it was a fun one to make. I am going to keep making them until I get one right. You know, for the sake of research. So, stayed tuned for that. “That” being future successful jelly-roll cakes (fingers crossed).

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See how pretty this came out? Such a tragedy about the taste. Despite following this particular recipe exactly, it came out very eggy. Not in a good way. There is a time and a place for eggs, and a beautiful jelly-roll cake is not one of those times, despite what you may have heard. Or not heard, in this cake (my fingers wanted to type “cake” and not “case”, and so how can I deny them that? leaving it.).

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Luckily, I had made it to take to a girls’ night in and it was eaten by friends, very polite friends, who told me it was good even if it did taste eggy. Bless. Bless them. Bless me. Bless my egg roll. And bless my kids, who thought it was great (but, also, my two year old licks floors and chair seats, so his tastes can’t really be complimented).

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So, see? Not everything that looks like a pretty little package on the outside has a matching inside. That’s as deep as I can go with this.

Not everyone is ready for this jelly.

Kristin

The Lunch Lady and her Cupcakes

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I am continuing the theme of peanut butter, if you don’t mind. I’m sure you don’t. Who would? And if you do mind, then you must not like peanut butter, and you might not also like marshmallow fluff from the jar, or even jelly. And then what kind of person would you be?

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On my last bloggy post, I talked about peanut butter by itself, and shared a PB cookie recipe. This post is about peanut butter with jelly. I love peanut butter and jelly. I love it on a sandwich. I love it when it’s made into other things (candy, cookies, cake, etc.). I love the combination. There is just something about the soft bread, nutty, almost salty spread, and sweet jelly. Did you know that the average American will have consumed 1,500 PB&J sandwiches by the time they turn 18? I believe it! That statistic might even be doubled in my house!

Yes, our love for PB&J sandwiches runs deep.

I think I also love the connection between them and cafeterias and school lunches. You may remember my love for all things cafeteria. I’m sure my love for the two are somehow tethered together. Do you remember your Lunch Lady from school? Was she scary? They are always scary in the books I read, growing up. I’m not sure why she’s made out to be the villain. Perhaps, because she’s the one slopping up that quintessentially icky cafeteria food (which I happen to find both delightful and intriguing)?

I bet if your Lunch Lady served these cupcakes, as a lunch dessert, instead of that old stale cookie, you’d love her. You would probably lose your fear for her sweaty-plastic-glove-and-hairnet-wearing self.

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You’d probably want to envelope her in a huge hug, thanking her for making these wonderfully clever and delicious cupcakes.

You’d probably ask her if she had any icy, cold milk to go with these.

This is starting to sound like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

But trust me. You’d ask for milk, and a hug, and another cupcake for the road.

Probably. Or maybe that’s just me.

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I made these cupcakes for our Friday playdate. We ate them in celebration of my Small’s 2nd birthday (which was earlier in the week).

The actual cupcake was rich, and dense, and peanut-buttery, in all the best ways. When they were baking, the most amazing smells were filling my house. One had to have been a peanut butter lover to really enjoy this cupcake.

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The frosting was a light and fluffy, creamy, peanut-buttery buttercream. It took the cupcakes to another level.

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After liberally frosting them, I put a dollop of grape jelly on some and raspberry jelly on others. It cut the peanut butter flavor and really made these taste like the upgraded version of a PB&J sandwich.

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I think everyone enjoyed them. I sure did. They were wonderful, and not difficult to make at all.

I highly recommend them!

Here is the recipe:

http://cookiesandcups.com/the-lunchtime-cupcake/

I changed it a little. I did not put a filling inside the cupcake. I doubled the cake recipe (to make 24) and halved the frosting recipe. These kids did not need sky-high frosting! These cupcakes would be delicious with crunchy PB (I always fear that if I am making them for little mouths, they could potentially choke on peanut pieces, so I stick [get it? stick, like stick to the roof of your mouth!?!!] with creamy) and also with marshmallow fluff instead of jelly…or both.

Have a blessed Saturday and may it be as fun as these cakes!

Kristin

 

“L” is for the way you look at me…

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…and also for “lunchboxes”!

Can you hear the springy sound of Cupid shooting his arrow? It’s Valentine’s week! That means lots of sweet lunches for my children! I can’t wait! You know how much I love themes. 🙂 And I LOVE Valentine’s Day themes because I love love, and pink, and hearts. Could I get any more stereotypically “girl”? In my defense, I have to maintain every ounce of girlishness that I can because I am surrounded by testosterone in my house.

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I’ll be doing a Valentine’s themed lunch each day (even if not in school). Here is Valentine’s Day Week Lunch #1 (for both Bigs and Smalls this time):

Valentine's Themed Preschool and Toddler Lunch

I made PB&Js with strawberry jam and used heart cutters and filled those holes in with pink and Valentine’s colored sprinkles. For Bigs (top lunch), I included pretzel sticks and an applesauce squeezy fruit. I sprayed red food-safe spray on the leftover bread. And for dessert, I gave him chocolate Goldfish cookies with cherry yogurt covered raisins. For Smalls, I did the same sandwich (only half the size), an applesauce squeezy fruit, some pretzel sticks, his extra bread piece, and some raisins.

I hope they’ll enjoy these (and know how much I love them!) while I’m at my church Mommy group.

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So here’s to a love-filled week…

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…that’s also filled with sweet lunches!

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Happy Valentine’s Week!

Kristin

Just call me butter, baby…

…’cause I’m on a roll!

Call Me Butter

Or a croissant…

Croissant

Doesn’t that look incredible? My Mom is a master baker. She’ll deny it, but she is. And she made these. AND the Chocolate Pear Jam (am I the only one that thinks of Pearl Jam when I see ‘pear jam’? I love 90’s grunge, what can I say!) next to it. I know. I’m wicked blessed (for many reasons other than the buttery pastry and jam).

It’s good to be back in some routine (as you might recall I’m a fan of), although now my Husband is sick. Seriously. I thought we were done with this! I just hope the cycle ends with him. Once and for all. Seriously. Go away, Sickness!

Despite that, we’ve been doing great at focusing on the Simple Things.

Game Night

We had a Game Night, where we played Disney Candyland. It is always a fun game, but was made more special with popcorn. Bigs goes ape poop for popcorn. He always has.

Game Night 2

It was pretty fun except Smalls kept sweeping his hand through all the player pieces and cards. And the popcorn. 18 month olds aren’t good at playing games.

Art Night

We had an Art Night, where we got out this huge pad and everyone drew on it. It was great. We love doing that.

Art

I cannot even handle how much I love Bigs’ happy face drawings (bottom right, middle of page). He’s just the coolest. Literally The Coolest.

Know what else is cool? Pretzels. Homemade pretzels. I made some. Sure they ended up looking like chicken wings. But chicken wings are cool too, right?

Pretzel Dough

The dough was really easy to make and came together well.

It was sticky though. And that didn’t make for very clean pretzel forming. But that’s okay. It’s not like they ever had the destiny to LOOK good. They were supposed to be like pretzel nuggets but since the dough was too sticky for me (and I had two crazy boys running amok), I just sort of cut it and some had tails and looked like sea monkeys and some were cute and others were wonky. And I didn’t score any but one (the one that made me make the decision not to score the rest). They went into their baking soda hot tub and floated to the top.

No Eggwash Then Eggwash

I piled those suckers up and added an egg wash. Okay, not an egg wash, but just a beaten egg (before EGG above, after egg below). Oops. They stunk a bit when baking.

No Butter Then Butter

They baked up beautifully though, and the eggy smell went away. I brushed melted butter on them after they were done baking (before butter above, after butter below).

They were just like “real” soft pretzels! Crunchy(ish) outside, delicious and chewy inside.

Upclose Buttery Pretzels

They look like those Snyder’s Honey Mustard pretzels here. They aren’t.

Buttery Pretzels

Some I tossed with Kosher salt.

Side View Buttery Pretzels

Don’t they look like the best ever chicken wings? Well, they’re not.

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

The other half of them I added cinnamon sugar to.

Upclose Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

That was more of a hit. But I like pretzels in any flavor.

Super Upclose Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Look at all those glistening, delicious pretzel nuggets.

I also made some delicious roasted sweet potatoes for dinner. I had both white and orange sweet potatoes (The black ones appear to be purple sweet potatoes, but they’re not. They burned. But I did that ON PURPOSE because my husband loves burned stuff. Works for me.).

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I had about a million sweet potatoes that I needed to use (they were sprouting). I made mashed sweet potatoes the night before.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I served those with sausages and fruit.

And lastly, to round out this very wonky post, today was Fireman day at Bigs’ school.

Fireman Themed Preschool Lunch

Here is his cool lunch. It’s a PB&J (duh), with “F I R E   D E P T” stamped on it and red, orange, and yellow outlining to represent fire. I made a little construction paper fire for him with directions on it, saying, “Put this fire out with your pretzel “hoses””. I also gave him a few more red tortilla chips. And lastly, he had cherry yogurt raisins, orange yogurt raisins, and some dried pineapples and bananas (all keeping with my red, orange, and yellow theme).

And naturally I had to send him in matching clothes. It’s how I [stop, drop, and] roll.

Cutie Fireman

I can’t help myself. It’s some sort of a sickness.

I hope you all have had a great Thursday. It’s one step closer to Friday – woohoo!

Remember…stop, drop, and roll!

Kristin

The Whole Tooth

I’ve had a post I’ve been meaning to get to, but…life. You know. My little one got sick again. It’s so hard. Waaaah!

Anyways, Bigs learned about Doctors (how appropriate) and Dentists this week in school. Obviously I had to come up with some themed lunches.

Here is the Doctor Themed:

Doctor Themed Preschool Lunch

That one was a little tough for me. I made a heart shaped [box…tee hee, die hard Nirvana fan!] PB&J and sprayed it red with food-safe spray and wrote “Doc” on it with my Food Writers. You know…like a heart. I think kids Bigs age think our hearts are actually heart shaped…didn’t you? Only me? 🙂 I added a chocolate chip cookie, pretzel sticks, and an applesauce squeezy fruit. And for snack…an apple. And raisins. But I wrote on the bag, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Here is the Dentist themed lunch:

Dentist Themed Preschool Lunch

That one was easier! I made another heart shaped (don’t make me sing you that song, because I will!) PB&J and drew lips and teeth on them. So it’s like a mouth, in case you can’t tell. I might have to explain this one to Bigs. Anywho. He has gold teeth (corn) and “tooth” picks. I have those. I do. Aren’t they cute? I stuck them in a bunch of 7 layer bars I made as a gift for my dentist. The irony wasn’t lost on him that I was giving him sweets. I added an applesauce squeezy fruit and for dessert, I made a mouth out of apple slices, peanut butter and a few marshmallows (for teeth).

Hope you all are having a wonderful week. It’s been…a week here. And I know some of my friends are having a tough time. So. Prayers. All around. For you, for your families and us.

In Christ,

Kristin

Cafeterianism

Confession Time

I have a confession to make. I sort of, kind of a lot, love cafeteria food. And hospital food. It’s like a small, teeny obsession. Not really one I “indulge” in everyday, but one I really quite enjoy when faced with it.

Cafeteria

I know I’m part of a rare group of people that like it. Aren’t I? Isn’t there someone else out there that is like me?? I have always had this fascination with cafeterias and their food. It’s really weird and I know that. I’m not even sure why. I don’t know if it’s the little compartmentalized trays. It certainly isn’t stellar food. But I am just oddly fascinated by it. We used to have cafeterias around my town that we’d go to. While I love buffets better (I meannn, you could taste EVERYTHING instead of having to choose), I really enjoyed going to the cafeterias, too. Same with hospitals. I KNOW. I’M WEIRD. I totally understand that you’re baffled by me right now.

Peckish

There is just something about them. My husband always teases me (and rightfully so). Am I the only one?? I am always excited when the food tray is delivered to the hospital room. I cleaned my plates every time I’ve been in the hospital. And I helped my husband clean his while he’s been in the hospital this week. It’s a running joke. I just can’t help myself.

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Why??? Just whyyyy do I like this??

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Seriously though. Look how cute! It’s a mini pecan pie. I WILL say that their desserts have been REALLY good! This one was so good that I ate it in hiding so I wouldn’t have to share with my boys. # Mom of the year

We’ve spent a lot of time at the hospital this week. It’s hard to keep the boys entertained while we are there. Bigs is not too bad, but one year old Smalls gets really bored quickly. Especially confined in his stroller or Husband’s bed since Smalls’ Mommy can’t seem to think it’s okay that he just run around and touch icky hospital germs. I am what I am!! Meal times have been a fun way to stay entertained, however. There are so many little fun packaged straws and plastic ware and bowls. The boys have had endful (I just made that up. Because “endless” would have been a lie), short-lived fun with the meal-tray-accoutrements.

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Looking out at the night sky through Husband’s window

I think we are close to having my wonderful husband back home with us, where he belongs. It’s been a long week. We are grateful this part of our journey is almost done. I am still very thankful for all our family and friends’ support, for without it, I’d most certainly be a wreck.

So. Let’s talk cookies. On a cafeteria tray. Because…how perfect. This shows my affinity to cafeterianism (I totally made this word up and I think it fits me to a “T”!) long before I started this blog. 😀

PBJ cookies

I simply made PB cookies from a boxed mix and made a little thumb-print in them, in which I filled with jellies, before baking. Yum. PB&J rules all in our house.

Something about those tray compartments really soothes my need for order. I love it. It’s so organized. And I don’t even mind mixing foods together before consuming, but this just looks so spacially (apparently this isn’t a true word?) organized.

Also! I made Bigs a lunch today. An owl themed lunch. I honestly cannot seem to make an Indian themed one, which is what he is learning about. So I chose owls. Just because. Say it with me, “I do what I want!”!! HAHAHAH! <— just me laughing.

Owl Themed Lunch

It’s an owl shaped…what else, PB&J! I used candy eyes and cheese (cheddar and Babybel) for the beak and wings. Bigs also has applesauce with brown sprinkles (in his lunchbox…tee hee), goldfish pretzels, a few pieces of dried mango and some teeny Lorna Doone shortbread cookies. I hope he gets as big of a HOOT eating this as I did making it. (HAD to throw a hoot joke in there, obvi)

Peace and Blessin’s (also one of my favorites…you’ll be seeing it again, it makes me smile),

Kristin