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Mini Chocolate Cheesecake Puffs

24 Jun

Hi everyone!

I feel like I haven’t blogged in forever, but I’ve just had…..more important things to do.  You know… summer stuff!  We have been busy going swimming and working outside and taking vacations to the beach and visiting museums.

Plus, I just haven’t had anything I felt like writing about.

But, I am so proud because I just made up a recipe.  Totally made it up, on my own, with nothing to base it on. I consider myself a pretty decent cook, but I always have a recipe to follow, so when I just made this up and they turned out GREAT, I decided I had to share the recipe with you.

I am part of a summer Bible study at my church, and am bringing some refreshments for tonight.  I knew I wanted to make something chocolate, but I am tired of making my old standby, symphony brownies.  Everyone loves them, but I have made them so many times that I kind of feel sick to my stomach when I think about making another batch.

I was in the grocery store, and saw the their phyllo shells were on clearance, so I bought up all they had left (because they are so good filled with so many things).  And that was the beginning of my masterpiece!

 

Mini Choc cheesecakes

 

Aren’t they cute?  And they were really easy to make.

You will need:

3 packages of phyllo cups (there are 15 in each pack)

2 blocks of cream cheese (softened)

1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar

Magic Shell Chocolate Sauce

Cook the phyllo cups according to the package directions (You don’t have to do this, but I like them extra-crispy).  Mix together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-combined.  Pipe the cream cheese mixture into the cooled phyllo cups, then top with the magic shell.  Pop them in the fridge for a few minutes to harden the shell.

The kids loved these, and they could be really versatile.  You could add fruit, jam, pecans, caramel, or any number of toppings to change them up a bit.

I can’t wait to share these at Bible Study tonight.  Enjoy!

 

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Banana Cookie “Milkshake”

23 May

During the summer, the kids and I love to have a milkshake or smoothie as a nice, cold afternoon snack.  One of our favorites is a banana peanut butter “milkshake.” I call them milkshakes, but they don’t really have any ice cream in them.  I like to slice and freeze bananas, then blend them with peanut butter and a little milk.  They come out really thick and creamy, but don’t have any of the added fat and sugar of ice cream.

Since discovering cookie butter (which is now my favorite thing in the world) I have been trying it in and on everything.  Today, I used it instead of peanut butter in our afternoon “milkshake,” and it was a big hit.

Add about 3 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup of cookie butter, and some milk.

Add about 3 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup of cookie butter, and some milk.

 

Blend together, adding milk as needed.

Blend together, adding milk as needed.

 

The kids and I loved this new twist on one of our summertime favorites.  If you have any leftover, pour it into popsicle molds and freeze-it makes fantastic popsicles!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

7 Apr

I have a new obsession!  I am trying to fatten the kids up a bit, so I have been trying to find a cookie recipe that meets 3 criteria: they need to have a couple of healthy ingredients, they have to be able to be frozen, and they have to be GOOD.

After doing a little searching and a couple of fails (the popular Pinterest recipe with only banana and oatmeal is not good, by the way), I have finally found the perfect cookie recipe for my family.

oatmeal raisin cookie pic

This is a basic oatmeal cookie recipe that you can easily adapt to meet the needs of your family.  I let Charlie and Maddie choose one addition each.  Charlie chose chocolate chips and Maddie chose raisins.

Here’s the recipe:

Oatmeal Cookies

Beat together the following until smooth:

1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Add and beat until well combined:

1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, both at room temperature.

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Then add:

2 cups self-rising flour

1 cup old-fashioned oats

Mix all of this together until it is well-incorporated, then stir in any dry ingredients you want to add.  Like I said, I added a bag of chocolate chips and a couple of cups of raisins.

Some other ingredients that would be a great addition: pecans or walnuts, butterscotch chips, or dried cranberries.  Basically, anything you can think of!

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  At this point, I froze most of the dough.  Just place the balls onto a cookie sheet, freeze them, then put them into a freezer bag.  This recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies, so you will have plenty!

Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.

This recipe was just an all-around success!  Maddie loved helping me roll the dough into balls, and we all love having hot, fresh cookies in minutes.  Now the problem is NOT fattening Jason and me up!

Chocolate Marshmallow Hearts

7 Feb

The kids and I made these wonderful, sweet white chocolate marshmallow hearts for a special Valentine’s Day treat.  They are so good and so easy to make!

Start with these cute strawberry-flavored marshmallow hearts.

Start with these cute strawberry-flavored marshmallow hearts. (Note the tiny hand reaching in to steal a marshmallow!)

Melt white chocolate chips then drizzle the melted chocolate over the marshmallows.

Melt white chocolate chips then drizzle the melted chocolate over the marshmallows.

My assistant, Charlie, sprinkled red sugar over the hearts.

My assistant, Charlie, sprinkled red sugar over the hearts.

Marshmallows and floats8

Aren’t they too cute?  These would be perfect for any Valentine’s party you are going to, and are fun to make with the kids.

Valentine’s Strawberry Floats

5 Feb

Isn’t February such an oxymoron?  It is the shortest month of the year, but it sure FEELS like the longest!  It’s cold and wet and dreary, with long nights and short days.  I don’t know about you, but I miss the warm sunshine.

Then, right smack in the middle of the month, is Valentine’s Day, the day of love.  Some people hate Valentine’s Day, but I think it’s a good distraction from this long winter month and a good excuse to love on your friends and family, plus eat lots of chocolate.

The kids and I got an early start on our Valentine’s celebrations today by having yummy strawberry ice cream floats after lunch.

Add a couple of scoops of ice cream (I used strawberry, but any flavor would be good) to a pretty glass.

Add a couple of scoops of ice cream (I used strawberry, but any flavor would be good) to a pretty glass.

I added some frozen strawberries, then poured some Sprite over the ice cream.

I added some frozen strawberries, then poured some Sprite over the ice cream.

The Sprite and ice cream fizz up and make a yummy combination.

The Sprite and ice cream fizz up and make a yummy combination.

Maddie definitely approved!

Maddie definitely approved!

This was a fast, easy treat, and we need all the treats we can get to make it to the end of this month!

It’s a Jammie Day!

22 Jan

That’s right, it’s jammie day at the Watkins’ house.  This is what we call it when we go the entire day in our pajamas (Well, the kids do at least.  It is a little after 2, and I do have clothes on now, much to Charlie’s disappointment!).  Charlie and Maddie love jammie days, and want every day to be jammie day, so they were really excited when I agreed to skip story time today and have a jammie day.

And it really is a great day for a jammie day, with it being so cold outside.

What do you do on a jammie day, you ask?

Lots of playing!  The kids have played with stickers, Legos, their doctor kit, and have dressed up in lots of superhero outfits.

Lots of playing! The kids have played with stickers, Legos, their doctor kit, and have dressed up in lots of superhero outfits.

We've read lots of books.

We’ve read lots of books.

And we made these wonderful strawberry cookies!

And we made these wonderful strawberry cookies!

We have tons of strawberries from my  mom’s recent trip to Florida.  These cookies are so good, so here’s the recipe if you want to try it out.  Don’t make them too far ahead of time, though-they are best when they are fresh.

Strawberry Cookies

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar and 2 tbs white sugar

1/ 2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 1/4 cup self-rising flour

1 cup strawberries, cut up

1. Mix your strawberries with the 2 tbs. sugar and set aside

2. Mix the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together.

3.  Add the vanilla and egg and mix well.

4.  Add the flour and mix well.

5.  Gently stir in the strawberries.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for a13-15 minutes until brown.  This makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Do you and your kids ever have a jammie day?  What do you like to do on a day like this?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!

7 Oct

Guess who hasn’t gotten the message yet that we don’t get out of bed until the house is filled with sunlight?

That's right.....the Madster!

That’s right…..the Madster!

She gets up SO EARLY!  Sometimes I put her back in bed, but some mornings, like this morning, the alarm is so close to going off anyway that we just go ahead and start our day.

Thankfully we had sweet potato cake leftover from yesterday’s family reunion!

Sweet Potato Cake

Sweet Potato Cake

Now that is how you start a day off right!  It was so good with my coffee. And of course, the kids were like, “What? Cake for breakfast? Yeah!”

I’m such a good mama (with satire).

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/photo-challenge-morning/

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

23 Jul

What is more fresh than freshly washed children in the tub with fresh watermelon and banana popsicles?

DSC_0515

I had a really difficult time getting a decent picture! Maddie likes these watermelon popsicles, but I think the cold was bothering her!

Check out Madster's face!

Check out Madster’s face!

Definitely the coldness!

Definitely the coldness!

This is why I never ask them to actually pose for pics!

I did like this one of Charlie:

DSC_0505

 

I have been making popsicles like crazy this summer!  The kids love them and I don’t mind how many they eat.  They are probably thinking, “Why is Mama making us eat so many popsicles?”

Here’s how I made these:

1. Put fresh, seeded watermelon in the blender and puree until it is just juice.

2.  Drop some banana slices into the popsicle molds.  Blueberries or pineapple chunks are also really good.

3.  Pour the watermelon juice into the molds.

4.  Freeze and done!

Have a good night, everyone!

 

 

Blueberry Pie and The Honor System

25 Jun

My Husband and I both had to work this past Saturday morning.  Luckily, we were both done by lunchtime and when I got home, he said he had a surprise for me!  Yay! I can usually figure out what his surprises are, but this one really had me stumped.  We got in the car and headed to wherever the surprise was.  We ended up in the next town over, Pilot Mountain.  He was taking me blueberry picking!  There was this cute little blueberry farm that he had driven by on his milk truck route and he thought I would like it.  Of course I would!  I love doing stuff like that!  So, we pull in and there are 2 people there, none of whom work there.  We just grab a little bucket and start picking.  It was hot, but we had a lot of fun eating berries and throwing them at each other!.  When our bucket is full, we head back, but there is still not anyone in sight that works there.  Well, there is a table set up with scales, plastic bags, a metal box, and a piece of paper.  The paper says “The Honor System:  You pick them, weigh them, put them in a bag, and leave your money in the box.”  So we did!  I thought that was pretty cool!

Apparently, I was tricked because, little did I know, Johnny had been wanting a blueberry pie, which I have never made before.  Of course, I wasn’t going to tell him that.  And it turned out freaking fabulous!  So, here is my recipe.  I apologize for the measurements.  I tend to not measure things.  I just guess and add and pour, but I will try to get as close as possible.

4 pounds of blueberries!

4 pounds of blueberries!

These were some big berries!

These were some big berries!

 

So to start, if you are using fresh berries, you need to wash them of course.  I assume everyone knows this, but I also forget that not everyone has blueberry farms 15 minutes from their house.  If you buy them from the store, I would recommend washing them anyway!  Now, I’m not going to get into the pie/sonker/cobbler thing (that’s a whole other blog) but, I had just bought a deep dish pie crust and I really wanted to use it, while I really felt like the blueberries would work best in a sonker/cobbler setting.  I filled the pie crust with blueberries.  I really don’t know how many it was, but if I had to guess, I would say 6 cups.  Next, you mix together 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.  I just poured that over the berries inside of the pie crust and kind of tossed it around until all the berries were coated.

 

Next step is the topping.  This is just a crust, you could use another pie crust if you wanted, I just didn’t want to go that route with this one.  I melted 6 tablespoons of butter a mixed in 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of sugar.  I also added some cinnamon and quick cooking oats to it, just to be fancy.  (Reminder:  I don’t measure, so what I am writing on here is just a guess of what I used.)  Mix everything together until it is pasty.  It shouldn’t be runny.  More like a cookie dough.  You kind of have to drop it onto the top of the blueberries in the pie crust as evenly as you can.

That's what it looked like before it was cooked.

That’s what it looked like before it was cooked.

 

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  You can’t cut it immediately, it needs time to set up.  This pie is so good!

Finished Product!

Finished Product!

 

 

 

Sometimes I let him do what he wants.

Sometimes I let him do what he wants.

 

That’s why you shouldn’t cut it immediately.  But, he was going to terrorize it anyways!  It was a great Saturday!  I also got a new planter from my Dad and got my chicks and hens planted (This is what I call that plant, although I have heard several other names.  I do know it is one of the only plants that I can successfully multiply!!!)

So cool looking!

So cool looking!

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini Bread, Puzzles, and Cartoons

7 Jun

Since Tropical Depression Andrea (I think that’s her name) has come to visit us today, we are stuck inside all day.  While the kids and I love being outside, we also enjoy a rainy day in the house every once in a while.  Charlie is getting caught up on his DVR’d episodes of Max and Ruby and playing with his Batmobile while Maddie is taking a nap.  Great day for a nap, isn’t it?

This morning we decided to make some zucchini bread.  I still have several bags of shredded zucchini in the freezer from last summer that I need to use up before our zucchini starts coming in this year.  Maddie decided to take a break from her princess duties to help me:

Cinderella (before she became a princess).

Cinderella (before she became a princess).

Here’s my zucchini bread recipe, if anyone wants to try it:

Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

6 eggs

3 cups white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup dark Karo Syrup

2 cups oil

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. cinammon

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

6 cups flour

4 cups shredded zucchini (if frozen, include the juice)

*optional: 2 cups nuts

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour bread pans.  (This recipe will make 3 large loaves of bread, or 6 mini-loaves, and also makes great muffins.) Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugars, karo syrup, and oil.  Mix well.  Add the vanilla, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix well.  Alternately add the flour and zucchini, mixing well between each addition.  Fold in nuts if desired.

Pour into bread pans and cook 40-50 mins depending on loaf size.

Turned out well!

Turned out well!

The kids and I ate zucchini bread with peanut butter for lunch and it was so good.  Hopefully the rain will stop this afternoon and we can get out to deliver our other loaves!

This is the stack of books we have been working on today:

DSC_0325

Sometimes rainy days are so good!