Category Archives: Food, Restaurants

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from Williams Sonoma

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Not too long ago, I tried my first Whoopie Pie.  They were chocolate pies with a peanut butter cream in the middle and they were really good.  I’ve been wanting to try to make some ever since.  A shopping trip to Wilmington led me to Williams Sonoma.  When I walked in the store,  the smell of freshly baked pumpkin bread hit me.  It always smells so good in their store, no doubt this is how they get people in a cooking mood and a shopping mood, too.  I spied the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie mix and the pans to make them in and had to have one of each.  Any excuse to add to my collection of baking pans! 

Seeing as how all I had to do was empty a pouch into my Kitchen-Aid mixer, along with a few other ingredients, it seemed like it would be pretty simple, and for the most part, it was.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love my Kitchen-Aid mixer?  I have no idea what I did before I got one.  It is absolutely my favorite thing in my kitchen.  You know, some attachments for Christmas would be a wonderful gift.  Could you all pass that along to Santa?  Maybe I can leave him Whoopie Pies instead of cookies this year. 🙂 

Everything went in to the mixer with  no problem.  I sprayed the Whoopie Pie pan with non-stick cooking spray like the directions called for.  The box said to put 2 TBS of mix into each well.  I can tell you, either I don’t know how to measure out 2 TBS or this was way too much to put in them.  The mix was VERY thick so I may have erred when measuring this out.  Yes, I have to tell you the bad right along with the good, no matter how much I don’t want to.   After all the wells had been filled, I had no mix left.  This is the part where it would have helped if I had read the ENTIRE set of instructions before I just jumped in.  I needed the batter to fill the pan twice and here I had only filled it once!   The pie pan came with a recipe for original Whoopie Pies and that one calls for 1 1/2 TBS of mix in each well so I’m thinking maybe it wasn’t entirely my fault.  Next time, I think I’ll just try 1 TBS of mix in each well.  Gotta love trial and error.  

These were supposed to cook for 10 minutes, but seeing as how they were twice as full as what the directions called for, I let them cook about 15 minutes.  The lightbulb came on here and I figured I could just cut them in half!  Who would know?  I’d still have tops and bottoms and cream in the middle!

You probably can’t tell much by this picture, but my tops and my bottoms were going to be different sizes.  I was going to have to make lop-sided whoopie pies folks!  These were more muffin shaped than whoopie pie shaped.  Then that light bulb came on again…I could cut these in half, length wise and use two tops for half of them and two bottoms for the other half.  Am I a genius, or what?  Don’t answer that!  It was a pretty good cover up in my mind!

You can see how they turned out here.  I don’t think they look too bad and they tasted delicious!  See my new Snowman plate I got during my shopping trip?  It’s almost that time again and I can’t wait!!  Please, don’t forget to tell Santa about those attachments for my Kitchen-Aid!  As always, thanks for reading!!

 

 

 

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Baron Bars

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Baron Bars are a yummy snack when you need a chocolate fix.  They are very simple to make and require very few ingredients.  The hardest thing about making them is having the patience to wait until they have hardened long enough in the refrigerator. 😉  Trust me, at my son’s insistence last night, I tried speeding them up by placing them in the freezer.  After listening to him ask me every 10 minutes, “Are they done yet?”, I decided to take them out.  They were nice and hard on the top, but sticky on the bottom.  This lot turned out chewier than usual because I rushed them, however, they tasted as good as always.  For this recipe you will need:

1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)

1 cup light brown sugar

35-40 Saltine crackers

1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Spread butter on the entire piece of foil.  Make sure you cover the foil good so the crackers will not stick to it.  Arrange Saltine crackers, salty side up, on the buttered foil.  Put as many as will fit without overlapping them.

  

In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine butter and brown sugar and bring to a boil.  Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Pour mixture over all of the Saltine crackers.  Spread evenly with a butter knife and make sure crackers are thoroughly covered.  Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 8 minutes.

    

Remove cookie sheet from oven and pour chocolate chips over the crackers.  Spread chocolate evenly with a butter knife.  The chocolate chips will melt quickly and can be spread like frosting. 

   

Refrigerate cookie sheet for several hours until completely cool and chocolate is hard to the touch.  Break the Baron Bars into pieces as you peel it off of the foil.  I store mine in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the refrigerator so the chocolate doesn’t melt.  The saltly, chocolately, sugary mix is YUMMY! 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

The Versatile Blogger Award

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On Sunday morning, I sat down in front of my comuter with my first cup of coffee.  I checked in on my WordPress blog and then headed over to Foodbuzz.com.  I saw a new post from Shay at paperplatesandchina and clicked on it to give it a look.   The words Cocoa Chili caught my eye and I thought how yummy that sounded.  I couldn’t wait to read her recipe for it and see if it was something I thought my family would try.  Also, in her title was, “my very first award.”   I knew blogging awards existed, but being new to the blogging world I had no idea what were or what they entailed.  You could tell she was super exicted about this, I could only imagine how honored I would be to receive one myself some day. 
 
Shay explained that when you receive this award, you have to pass it along to 15 other bloggers that have sites you really like.  You must also tell your readers 7 random things about yourself.   She announced she was addicted to Diet Coke.  Not so out of the ordinary, I thought, but then I saw that she slept with one beside her bed.  Now this made me giggle.  Do NOT step between this girl and  her Diet Coke!!  As I read through her list, I thought of what a nice, little package of information those 7 facts gave about her and her family.  I wondered, if ever faced with this task,  what 7 things I would choose to tell people about myself.  Could I even think of 7 random things about myself that I felt were blogworthy?   The time came for her to pass on the award to 15 other bloggers that she felt were deserving of it.  I read down the list, wondering what each person’s blog would hold when I clicked on it.  Surely, I would find new recipes to try and maybe make a new foodie friend or two.  As I reached the bottom of the list, I saw a blog name that looked familiar.  I sipped my coffee and stared at the words.  It just couldn’t possibly be….could that last blog be MINE?  I clicked on the link and sure enough, there was my blog!  I almost fell off of my chair, folks.  I wanted to jump up and down and shout, but as I was not alone in the room and I didn’t want my family to think I was crazy, I somehow managed to contain myself.  MY blog….another blogger actually thought MY blog was worthy of an award.  I instantly left Shay a message telling her how honored I was that she would extend this to me.  It is now my turn to extend this award to 15 other bloggers.  It is now my turn to tell 7 random facts about myself.
 
Here we go:
 
1. I am a SAHM of 3, one of which has left the nest.  My husband is retired from the Marine Corps.  I didn’t have to experience deployments and the like as he had already done 19 years in the service when I met him.  I feel like I am very lucky in that aspect, as I don’t know I would have dealt with him being gone for long periods of time.  Even though his job right now is far from being 9-5, he home almost every night.
 
2. I was born and raised in North Carolina.  Although Southern girls are supposed to like sweet tea, tomatoes and turnip greens, I despise all three!  Well, I like tomatoes if they are cooked…hopefully they are in spaghetti sauce.
 
3. I am a Disney Freak.  Disney World is my favorite place to vacation and is just about the only place we have taken a vacation to in the last 4 years.  I speak of Disney every day, usually sing a Disney song every day and see a past vacation photo of Disney every day.  You see, these are hanging on  my wall, my screensaver on my computer, my wallpaper on my phone…you get the picture.  Goofy is my favorite character.  I noticed the other day that my Goofy keychain was only Goofy’s head now.  I couldn’t locate his body anywhere in my purse so somewhere out there is a headless Goofy.  If you find him, please return him to me.  Superglue works wonders ya know. 
 
4.  I was blessed with two of the most wonderful grandmother’s anyone could have asked for.  One was a Southern grandma who made the best cornbread you ever ate.  The other was an Italian grandma who made lasagna that no one could hold a candle to.  I was lucky enough to have both of them live right next door to us from the time I was 4 years old.  I don’t remember either of them ever raising their voice to me or spanking me.  They had the patience of a saint and loved their grandchildren more than anything.  I miss both of them dearly every single day and wished I had paid more attention to them when they cooked…or sewed…or quilted.  If you are blessed with a wonderful grandma people, hang on tight to her and pay attention when she does ANYTHING!
 
5. One day I would like to own my own business.  It would defninitely be something involving cakes, cupcakes and children’s parties.  I think it would be a lot of fun to have a place where you could throw themed parties for kids.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to shop for, cook for and decorate for a party.  I do love a good Luau.
 
6. I was really scared to start this blog.  It was something I had been wanting to do for quite some time, but didn’t have the confidence to do it.  I worried no one would read it and if they did, they wouldn’t like it.  I had several Disbuds (these are  friends you met through your mutual love of Disney for those of you not familiar with the term) tell me to go for it, even if it was just something for myself.  I mean, as long as I liked it and it made me feel better, who else’s opinion mattered, right?  Right now I am extrememly happy someone else did read it and liked it!!  Thank you, Shay!
 
7. Wow, my last random fact.  What to say here and reveal about myself?  I think that in the last couple of weeks, I’ve learned it’s okay to take that leap.  That everything may just turn out well in the end.  That I shouldn’t focus so much on the negative’s and what if’s.  That I have a hand in steering my fate.  After 17 days of blogging….so far, so good.
 
Now, to extend The Versatile Blogger Award to 15 other bloggers:
 
 

Peanut Butter Cookies

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I was in a baking mood today! As I was flipping through some of my favorite recipes, I came across one for Peanut Butter Cookies.  These are the most moist peanut butter cookies I have ever eaten.  I’ve had some in the past that you could use as weapons if you threw them at someone!   My family loves these so much, they never seem to last long once they’ve been made.  Since the holidays are just around the corner, I thought I’d share these with you.

For this recipe you will need:

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Cup Butter

1 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

     

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, mix flour and baking powder and set aside.  In a large bowl, ( I used my Kitchen-Aid mixer here) beat  butter until softened.  Add sugar and beat together until fluffy.

    

Add egg and vanilla, beat well.  Add peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

  

Add flour mixture a little at a time and blend until all of it has been mixed together.  At this point you know to start out using your mixer on low unless you want your kitchen (and yourself) to be covered in flour!

  

Take a tablespoon full of dough and roll into a ball.  Place ball on cookie sheet and use a fork that has been dipped in flour to flatten out the cookie.  I like to make a criss-cross design on mine.  Remember to dip your fork in the flour each time you press your cookie so it won’t stick.  Cook on the top rack until cookies are slightly brown. 

Remove cookies from the oven and let them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes so they will firm up a bit.  Then remove cookies with a spatula and place them on a cooling rack until thoroughly cooled.  Store in an air tight container.  I like to put a piece of white bread in the container when I store any kind of cookie.  The next day the slice of bread will be hard as a brick, but your cookies will be nice and soft!  You could easily add chopped nuts to this recipe or maybe a few Reese’s Pieces on top if you like.  I hope your family likes these cookies as much as mine does.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Some yummy eats at Disney World

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The yummy eats at Disney World is going to be a tough thing to blog about.  Not because there isn’t enough to choose from, but because there is way too much!!  For any of you that have ever visited that magical place, this is something you know all too well.  Today I’ll just choose a few things that are some family favorites.

  

A must have for my son and myself are the Mickey waffles.  It just isn’t the start of a Disney day for us if we don’t have these wonderfully, yummy Mickey eats before we head into the parks.  Most days we like to do a counter service meal for breakfast.  Disney World does have some fabulous restaurants where you can have a scrumptious  breakfast with your family.  My favorites are the character meals…but that is another post entirely.  My husband usually likes to get an omelet or a platter that comes with scrambled eggs, sausage, a biscuit and fried potatoes, one of his favorite things to eat.  My daughter is just not a breakfast person.  She almost always eats a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast.  Yes, a peanut butter sandwich folks.  I am forced to bring a jar of peanut butter with us on vacation and buy a loaf of bread once we get there.   With all the yummy breakfast foods at Disney I can only think of two she eats, bacon and grits, and she very particular about her grits!  I thought for sure I had more pictures of the breakfasts we ate on our last Disney trip but I can’t seem to find any. Hmm, guess we were in too much of a hurry to eat them!  Okay, moving on…..

   

One of our favorite places to eat lunch is at Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom.  There we usually get a nice turkey sandwich, crispy french fries, crunchy onion rings (oh, how I love those!) or a barbecue sandwich.  Allison’s favorite meal to eat here is the roasted chicken.  It comes with some  delicious baked beans and creamy coleslaw.   Alas, Allison eats neither of those sides, so we must order some extra french fries for her.   I know, I know…you are glad this picky eater belongs to me and not you, right? 

 Ah, a visitor.  No Disney counter service meal is complete without one.  I love all the different kinds of birds and squirrels that come up to you as you eat.  You  know they are down there thinking, “Please, lady, I’ll take anything you drop!”   There are signs posted everywhere that ask you not to feed the wildlife and we don’t.  Yes, we do drop the occasional fry or bite of something, but not intentionally.  I like the fact that Animal Kingdom doesn’t allow plastic straws in the park.  A sturdy paper straw comes with your drink when you get one there.

 

  Another reason we like to eat at Flame Tree BBQ is the view.  There is a ton of seating for this counter service restaurant, but we usually go all the way to the back so we can watch people ride Expedition Everest.  Oh, and hear them SCREAM!!!  I am a wimp and have never been on that ride.  Just listening to them yell is enough to give me butterflies in my stomach.  My nine year old son keeps telling me, “C’mon Mom, the Yeti isn’t even scary when he jumps out at you!”  Um, no thanks, I’ve seen the part where the track comes to an end on that thing and you go roaring backwards.  I’ll just sit here and enjoy my onion rings while you adventurous folks enjoy the ride.  It does make for a lovely view, though. 

                                                                                                    

I bet you thought I was going to talk next about our dinner at Disney World, didn’t you?  Nah, I’m skipping straight to dessert!  I could do several posts alone about the sweet treats you will find all over Disney property.  Everywhere you turn there is something yummy to be had.  You see my son here trying to tackle a cinnamon roll that is too big to fit in his mouth.  One of my daughter’s favorite thing to eat are chocolate chip cookies and here she has found a winner!  Who wouldn’t like to eat a cookie in the shape of Mickey Mouse?  You  know, when it’s Mickey-shaped it tastes so much better.  For those of you who like rice crispy treats, you can get the mother (or should I say Mouse?) of all rice crispy treats here.  My daughter put her hand next to this one so we could show you how big it is.  Hey…did she coordinate her nail polish with that dessert without me knowing? 

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a few of the yummy things Disney World has to offer.  If you’ve never been, you have no idea what you’re missing, and I’m not just talking about food.  It truly is a magical place.  Thanks for reading along, you have no idea how much I appreciate it.  I’m thinking somewhere in the near future you may see a blog on another “Magical” place in Florida.  I am afraid to mention it by name in the same post as I believe it will be breaking some sort of Disney law, or close to it.  So, until next time, I’ll just slip on my Invisibility Cloak and disappear. 😉

 

 

 

Mickey Mom’s Club Red Box Party/Disney Luau

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Being a member of the Mickey Mom’s Club, I was lucky enough to host one of their Red Box parties in 2010.  As soon as I knew I had been chosen to host this event, I waited every day for Fed Ex to get here with that yummy box of goodies.  I think the Fed Ex delivery man thought I was going to mug him the day it finally came!  I grabbed the box and couldn’t get in the house fast enough to open it.

    

As I dug through the box I found some red Mickey Head balloons, brightly colored confetti, Disney Parks paper plates and napkins to decorate with.  There were also some small Disney totes, magnet boards, magnets and Mickey straws to fill them with.   There were  games for the kids and a trivia game for everyone.  We added our own trivia questions and split the guests up in to teams, guys against the girls.  I had gone out in the weeks before, as I had decided to do my party in a luau theme, and bought Disney and luau themed pencils, coconut mugs, hurricane glasses and toys to give out as prizes.  The girls came out victorious!

My favorite item to give to the lucky attendees was a limited edition, signed print of the Disney Princesses welcoming Princess Tiana to the royal family.   I think that was a very special gift for Disney to put in that box and I truly appreciate mine.

Mickey Mom’s Club also sent me this great little tote as a special gift for hosting the Red Box Party.  I love it!!  Thank You MMC!

      

Decorating for this party was almost as fun as hosting it.  You see, we LOVE to have luau’s.  We had our first one about 5 year ago to celebrate our daughter turning 13 and my husband turning 50.  We enjoyed it so much that we have had several more since then.  The fact that we had tons of luau decorations was another reason why I went with this theme for the Red Box party.  That meant I could spend more money on prizes and food.

     

 Ahhh, the food!!!  The YUMMIEST part of it all!  I had a fabulous time making it.  I had Mickey/Minnie and luau themed candy molds.  The candy and suckers were a big hit with the kids and the adults!  I also found some Mickey sprinkles for the cake, just the right touch for it.

   

I called Disney Shopping and ordered some pretzels that were Mickey heads, some Mickey shortbread cookies and some Mickey pasta.  These were some really fun additions to the food.

   

I used my Mickey egg form to cut out PB&J sandwiches and to make rice crispy treats with.  We left some plain and dipped some in chocolate.  It was just like getting a Disney treat straight from the parks!

  

  Here is a shot of our table top decorated with confetti we cut out with a Mickey punch.  Check out the wonderful picture of my nephew all decked out in his best luau attire.  My niece, who loves sweets, had her eye on the cake! I thoroughly enjoyed hosting this party and I would jump at the chance to host another.  I mean, who doesn’t love Disney???!!!  It is absolutely YUMMY!

A few yummy things at World Market

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Oh, the yummy things you can find at World Market!  For those of you not familiar with this store, they sell a unique variety of furniture, home decor, kitchen and dining items, food, wine and much more.  I love to shop there and always come out with some “must have” items.  While browsing the other night I thought I’d take a few pictures of some of things I liked. 

       

They have an awesome selection of candy.  I love these boxes Belgian chocolates.  I don’t know what I liked more, the candy or the yummy polka dot presentation!   Have any favorite candies from your childhood?  You’re sure to find them in these groovy bags that contain a sugar explosion from specific eras.  I was a 70’s kid myself, but I’m sure I could be persuaded to eat any piece (and maybe every piece!) of the sweet treats inside these.  Know someone who is celebrating a birthday?  Why not give them a bag of these mouth-watering goodies to remind them of their youth. 

      

World Market also has a unique selection of food.  I wish I had taken more pictures here, but this blog would go on forever if I showed you everything that they have.  I chose to share their pasta and sauces this time.  They have a good variety of both there, but here are just a couple.  It really makes me want Italian for dinner tonight!

We may as well have something yummy to drink while we are having pasta for dinner!  World Market has a fabulous selection of wine, beer and ale to choose from.  These items could also make a wonderful gift for any occasion.  And speaking of gifts…..

I saw these brightly colored gift bags and had to take a picture of them.  They also carry a neat selection of cards for different occasions.  You could get a unique gift, card and wrapping paper or bag all in one place. 

So, if you are lucky enough to have a World Market near you, spice up your next shopping spree and see what a wonderful selection of YUMMY things they have!