Enchanted Mommy

Fall Cookie Cake = Yummy

festive cookie cake

Don’t you just want to take a bite?!?!?!?!

Doesn’t this look so yummy?  My husband always says that you eat with your eyes.

I made this because we had some friends over for Halloween that have two girls that are the same age as ours.  It was our after trick-or-treating dessert!  Yummmmm.  The cool part about this dessert is that Ella really did help me make it!  I got the idea from pillsbury dot com which came from pinterest.

Here is what you need:

cookie cake fun

cookie dough, chocolate chips, reese pieces, peanut butter, white icing, candy corn and round pizza pan

1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I didn’t really measure)
1/2 cup reese pieces
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup candy corn
1/4 cup vanilla creamy ready-to-spread frosting
Directions
  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Line 12-inch pizza pan with foil; grease foil with shortening. Break cookie dough into 2-inch pieces; arrange evenly in pan. With floured fingers, press to form crust.
  • Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until deep golden brown. (I only baked 14 minutes)
plain cookie cake

The edges should be a little golden brown.

  • Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • Use foil to lift crust from pan. Carefully remove foil from crust; place crust on serving platter or tray (I didn’t have a serving tray big enough so I left it in the pan).
  • Spread peanut butter over crust. Sprinkle with chocolate candies and peanuts.
cookie cake with peanut butter

It doesn’t have to be smoothed perfect because there will be toppings all over it.

kid helping with cookie cake

Here is Ella sprinkling the toppings on the cake

  • In small microwavable bowl, microwave frosting uncovered on High 10 to 15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle. Transfer to small resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut small hole in 1 corner of bag; drizzle over cookie pizza.
You’re done!!  It’s so easy, so yum and oh so fun!
cookie cake helped by 2 year old

She’s proud of her work!

fall cookie cake piece

Can’t resist, huh?

I made my husband take the leftovers to work the next day and they were all gone before lunch!

 

Oops! The best Caramel Popcorn Mistake!

You guys are going to love this!  In preparation for a movie night, I started making some chewy caramel popcorn from a recipe I have used a few times before.  It’s a simple recipe, but I was multi-tasking as mom’s tend to always be doing.  I mean really, since I have had kids have I ever been able to just do one task without simultaneously doing or thinking about several other things at once?!?!?!

Anyway, as I was making this yummy caramel to pour over the popcorn I didn’t quite have my head in the game.  I poured the sauce over the popcorn and started mixing, turned around and saw my key ingredient sitting on the counter unopened.  Dang!  It was too late to add it since it was supposed to be cooked in the saucepan before being poured over the popcorn. I am very happy to report that the popcorn was awesome anyway!  It was way different than the original recipe, but I loved it.  The caramel sauce didn’t quite cover all the popcorn leaving the salty butter portion exposed while still having the sweet caramel on some of it.   I am telling you, it is the perfect combination of sweet and salty!  So dang good that it didn’t last 10 minutes at my house between me and the kids.

Sweet, yet salty! Soft, yet crunchy! So so perfect!

I definitely plan to keep this recipe in the popcorn rotation!  It is too good not to!  Here is what I did…

Sweet and Salty Caramel Popcorn
Accidentally adapted from the-girl-who-ate-everything.com located here
1 bag of extra butter microwave popcorn
2.5 Tb of Butter
1/3 cup of light brown sugar
1/3 cup of light corn syrup

***Pop popcorn as usual.  Put the popcorn in a bowl, but make sure you remove all the unpopped kernels first.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan with the sugar and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for a 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir with a spatula constantly.  The longer you cook the caramel, the harder it becomes.  I like mine semi-crunchy without being too hard so 3 minutes was perfect for me.  Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix well.  Delicious!

 

Trunk or Treat Party!

We took the kids to a Trunk or Treat party at our church last night.  It was so much fun!

The car parked next to us had a life size skeleton with motion sensors.  If someone walked close to it, the skeleton would play music and dance.  To say my barely two year old was obsessed with it would be an understatement!  He spent most of the night running to it and pointing, “Dance bad guy! Dance!” and then laughing and dancing with it.  It was hysterical to watch and I am so sad that it was too dark out to get a good video of it.

My three little guys waiting for the party to start!

After the trunk or treating part we all went inside for some cupcakes (as if we didn’t already have enough sugar) and some fun and games.  The favorite game was Whack-A-Mole.  The line to play this game wrapped far around the table!  The wait was well worth it though!

You got the chance to WHACK some real moles (12 to 14 year old Deacons) with a water noodle!  The Deacons would poke their heads out of the holes and the kids would nail them!  I am not sure the kids will ever have so much fun again!  Even my two year old got in on that action!

My two year old ready to Whack some Deacons!

The youth also put on a haunted house as they do every year, but this year I actually thought it was pretty good.  They some how found a way to turn off the emergency fire lights this year so the room was completely dark before the strobe lights started flashing! My hubby was helping work the spook ally so I felt pretty good about letting my almost three year old (yes, I have a 2yr old, 3yr old, and a 6yr old… all boys) go through it with me.

He loved it!  Someone would jump out at us with a scary mask on and he would yell the fakest “AAAAHHHH” you have ever heard.  It made everyone in the spoke alley laugh.  Although, I was a bit embarrassed after we came out the exit when my three year exclaimed with glee, “I saw Daddy dead!”  Maybe I shouldn’t desensitize him so soon!

Here’s to a fun Halloween!!!

Daisy Hair Bow Tutorial!

Because I have two girls, I’m an accessory addict!  I just love them matching.  However, even before I had my first daughter (but knew she was a girl), I was making different types of hair bows for her.  This style is a newer design, but I think it is so cute!

christmas daisy bow in hair

Bow in my 2 year old's hair

First, I take the alligator clip and wrap it with ribbon all the way around it.  This helps with it staying in fine hair (which most little girls have) and it makes it so the silver doesn’t show.

alligator clip wrapped with ribbon

wrap one of the ribbons all the way around the alligator clip

Next, I take three different types of ribbon and cut it into about 6 inch pieces
**you can choose the length, just remember the width of your bow will be about half of the length you cut the ribbon.

ribbon cut for daisy bow

my 6 pieces of ribbon

Then, you fold the ribbon in half (so you know where the center is) and you put glue across the fold.

folded ribbon for daisy bow

fold ribbon to halfway and glue it down

Repeat with the other side.

Fold and glue all of your ribbons.

glued ribbons for daisy bow

*all of the ribbons glued in the middle

Next, I glued the black ribbons in an x-shape and then the Merry Christmas ribbon and then the red.  I put them on top of each other with the button on top and glue the bottom ribbon to the alligator clip and wahlaaaaa, we have ourselves a bow.

Christmas Daisy Bow

Finished bow!

Here are some of the others I have done for the girls!

Different daisy bows

A few of the Daisy bows that I have made

Couple of side notes:

  • You can get all of the supplies at any craft store.
  • You can use all types of ribbon for this bow.
  • Sometimes I use thicker ribbon on the bottom.
  • Play with different designs!
  • Save your extra buttons from clothes!!

Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch!!!

When I asked my hubby what memories makes him think of family, in particular his mom, he told me he remembers how his house smelled of yummy food cooking when he came home from basketball practice or from a friends house.  For some reason, the smell of delicious food baking gives us that warm comfort feeling of home.

The best cooking in my family comes from my Grandma.  My siblings and I (there are seven of us kids) would cheer when we found out we were going to visit grandma because she is the super hero of cooking.  Now that we are all grown (the youngest of us is now 20 years old) we have been begging for all the memorable meals we remember having at Grandma’s.

We must have finally put enough pressure on her because she finally put together her own cook book of her most trusted and go-to recipes she has used over the years.  It is family recipe book now that she gave each of us grand kids for Christmas.

My sisters and I always laugh because sometimes recipes in my grandma’s book have strange instructions we feel are unnecessary, but every time we choose not to follow them to the exact detail the recipe is off just a bit.  Trust me… Grandma knows best when it comes to cooking and baking!

So this Cinnamon Rolls recipe can be found in this oh-so-coveted book of recipes.  I am told it is not an original recipe of my Grandma’s, but one she got from someone who got it from someone else, who may have gotten it somewhere else.  My mom has been baking them for years now and has taught me all the tricks!  Mom’s best advice:  It’s all about how much flour you add.  If you add too much the rolls will be too dense and stiff.  The key is to add just barely enough (the lease amount of flour you can get away with without the dough being too sticky to work with), so that you rolls will be soft, chewy, and fluffly.

By the way, this recipe makes 4 to 5 trays of cinnamon rolls (48 or so rolls) so if you don’t have a big crowd to feed (with seven kids and all the friends coming in and out we always did!) I would strongly recommend cutting this recipe in half.

Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 48+ rolls

  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  •  2 T yeast
  • 2 C warm water (not too hot or you will ruin your yeast)
    ***let this mixture stand 5 minutes until it looks a little frothy from the yeast
  •  2 Cups scalded milk (or 2/3 Cup powdered milk with 2 cups warm water) -my mom prefers to use powdered milk, although I have never been sure if that was a Mormon thing (recycling her food storage) or a baking thing, either way I have been trained to use the powdered milk.
  • 1/3 Cup oil
  • 1 1/2 T salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 9ish Cups flour
    ***Mix in all ingredients but the flour.  Using your dough hook, add one cup of flour at a time, mixing well (on the lowest speed) between each cup.  Once you get up to 5 cups or so, pay very careful attention while you add your flour.  You want to add enough so that the dough is soft, but not sticky.  It is a good sign that you are close to the desired flour amount when you see that the dough is all staying together and no dough is left on the sides or bottom of the bowl.  Knead dough in mixer with dough hook for about 7 minutes (yes my mom and grandma use to always do the kneading by hand, but even they agree that it just isn’t necessary to do it that way anymore).

Here is the soft, but not stick dough ready to start rising

Step 1:  After you have your dough ready, put about a tablespoon of oil on it and softly spread it across the surface of your dough.  Try to get it on the sides and bottom of the dough as much as possible.  Put a clean cloth over the top and let it rise until it is about double the size (30 – 45 minutes).  If it is a cold day or you are in a hurry you can use my quick rise method.  I put my oven on the warm setting until it is preheated, then turn it off and put the rolls in the oven where is it perfectly warm for them to rise.

This is what it looks like after it is done rising when you use the smaller sized kitchen aid bowl

Step 2:  Divide dough into four equal pieces.  Spread a little oil across your rolling surface. Using one piece at a time, roll dough into a rectangle.  Generously spread melted butter (I like to use a cooking brush to “paint” it on) over entire area.  Cover with cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Almost ready to start rolling!

Step 3:  Roll dough lengthwise into one long roll. Be careful not to have any gaps in your roll or they may fall apart later.  Cut rolls horizontaly about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in thickness (using a pizza cutter makes nice, clean cuts).  Place the rolls on a greased pan or use parchment paper about 2 inches apart.

Be generous with your butter and cinnamon/sugar

Rolls placed about 2 inches a part on baking sheet, getting ready to rise again

Step 4:  Cover rolls with a clean cloth and let the rolls rise until double again (30 – 45 min) or use the my quick rise method again.

When they are done rising they should be nice and plump and touching as you see here

Step 4:  Cook on 350 for about 12 minutes

All done and ready to frost! My mom would tell you to let them cool before frosting, but I must admit I never follow that advice and can't wait to eat one warm from the oven with the frosting melting off it!

Frosting
Dont skimp on the frosting… I like to add extra to mine.  🙂
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla
1/3 cup margarine
***Mix all ingredients together.  I often do a taste test here and sometimes add a little more butter or sugar until it I think its perfect.  🙂

Variations:  Add raisins or walnuts for an extra touch!  My mom recently made them using strawberry jelly instead of the cinnamon/sugar mixture… they were awesome!

I love, love, love the walnuts variation!!!!

These are best when stored in an air tight container and just like the directions on a Cinnabon box, heat them up in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds  before eating!  Perfection!!!!

Crepes, Crepes, and More Crepes!

I love crepes!  Growing up crepes were always a unique passion my Dad and I shared…  I say unique because when you are one of seven children in your family having something that is just yours is REALLY hard to come by.  Crepes have always been a traditional food for me… My Dad is the crepe expert and always makes them on Christmas morning and other special occasions.  He makes them so much that he never uses a recipe anymore, but he did tell me he got his original recipe from the Lion House Cook Book.  The Lion House is a famous restaurant in down town Salt Lake City, Utah.  The building itself as been around since 1856 and the restaurant’s reputation is for serving good home cooked meals with fresh baked breads, rolls, and pies being their featured items.

If I didn't prefer them filled with the sweet goodness of sugar, homemade whip cream, and pie filling I might be able to eat them more often!

Crepes are awesome because they can be served so many different ways.   They are no longer just a dessert or a breakfast food.  This past weekend I went to a little cafe owned by a couple from Paris while I was visiting the West Palm Beach area.  I am telling you these crepes were the most amazing things I have ever eaten!  I think the secret to great French crepes is the sauce.  The feature sauce at this little cafe was bechamel sauce.  It doesn’t really matter what you put in your crepe as long as you have bechamel sauce in it!  Not kidding!  You can have spinach, bacon, chicken, mushrooms… it doesn’t really matter, just mix it up with bechamel sauce and you are set!

Basic Crepes
From the Lion House Cook Book
3 eggs
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 Cup water
3 Tablespoon butter melted
3/4 Cup flour
1/2 teaspon salt

***Combine all ingredients and mix in a blender or with a high powered mixer for a minute or two. Refrigerate for 1 hour (we have never refrigerated ours and they always turn out perfect).  Poor 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of batter into a round skillet pan.  The batter should be very thin.  Cook for just a couple minutes on each side.

Here the crepe has been flipped once and is cooking in an 8-inch skillet pan

Bechamel Sauce
From www.frenchcookingfordummies.com
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons flour
2 Cups milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
Salt and pepper

***Melt butter in a small sauce pan over low heat, but do not let it brown.  Add the flour and mix until completely combined.  Stir continuously for the next 4 to 5 minutes so that it does not brown at all.  Pour a little milk at a time while mixing, allowing the sauce to thicken as you go.  Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Cute Handmade Dragonflies!

Last weekend we went to husband’s parents house.  It was a lot of fun!  I decided to look up pumpkin patches there.  They live in Virginia Beach and I only found one online!  So, we gave it a shot.  Ella had a lot of fun.  It was no cox farms, but it was close and a different type of fun.

Something that really struck my attention was these really cute dragonflies made out of butter knives on the outside of a cage.

dragonflies made out of knives

Here they all are hanging on the outside of a cage of animals.

Here is the close up:

butter knife dragonfly

Close up picture of the four knives made into a dragonfly.

I thought this was an awesome DIY.  I would just go to a yard sale or even dollar store and pick up the butter knives.  Cut off four tops and super glue them to one bottom and wahhhhlaaaa.  I thought they would be so cute in a little girls room spray painted pastel colors!  Fun fun fun and very creative!!

 

An Ode to Cox Farms

I was able to introduce my husband to my favorite fall place yesterday!  I talked Cox Farms up SO much to him that he didn’t think it could live up to my awesomesauce feeling.  I think if I talk about how awesome it is one more time, he might start to hate the place because I’m overly obsessed (I know I’m being REALLY dramatic)!  In the end though, he loved it just as much!  Here’s an introduction picture of this awesome place that is located in Centerville, VA:

sign for cox farms

This place is SO fun!

Why I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cox Farms:

  • There is so much to do that even when there are 20 school buses full of kids, it still doesn’t seem crowded.
  • Everything is reasonably priced.
  • Good food (fresh kettle corn, yum yum yum).
  • Free cider and apples while you are in the park AND each person gets to take a free small pumpkin with them on their way out.
  • Workers are SO incredibly nice and helpful.
  • Porta potties are clean and they are all over the place.
  • They have a ton of picnic tables set up and you can bring your own food in to eat wherever or buy food at all the different food stands.
  • It’s for kids of all ages.

First, let me tell you some of the things they have for kids.

We started our day off at the HUGE slide

big slide at cox farms

It goes really fast. My two year old got her own burlap sack and rode down next to me. It's great for any age!

Then, we did the hayride that lasted about 15 minutes.  It had so much on it.  I don’t want to spoil it.  I wish that I got a better picture of it, but there is always next time.

hayride at cox farms

It can fit so many people on it. Each tractor pulls two of these and there was probably at least six tractors.

Next, we went to the awesome corn maze!  It took us a while, but it also had many fun things through it (an old school bus, an old little house, random doors).

corn maze at cox farms

Ella and my husband, Brian in the corn maze.

Then we hit up the petting zoo.  This was one of Ella’s favorites. You can buy an ice cream cone filled with goat food for $1.   Look at these pictures!

petting zoo at cox farms

Ella feeding the goats

goat at cox farms

Ella didn't want to leave this one out!

After this, we did many more slides and went to the kiddie area (awesome for little ones under three feet).

big slide at the farm

Castle Slide at Cox Farms (there are so many like this)

slide through barn at cox farms

This slide is going through a a barn.

cox farms slide

My two year old did all the slides by herself.

three little pigs house at cox farms

Here is a picture of the three little pigs brick house that they built. It had a slide coming out of it!

Ella in chick at cox farms

Here is Ella playing in the kiddie part at cox farms. It was a nice little break for her.

Lastly, we took Ella to the piled high hay bails and she loved jumping off of them.  There were tunnels that went through them.

Cox farm hay bails

Oh to be a kid again! Yes, she nailed the landing too!

On the way out, you get a free small pumpkin.

free pumpkins at cox farms

Each person with a wristband (2 and older) gets a free pumpkin

On the way out to your car, there is a market that you can buy pies, pumpkins, local honey, kettle corn, cider, apples, candy and toys.  We didn’t buy a big pumpkin, but I wish we had because they are a lot better looking than the ones at the grocery store.  They were $.69 per pound.

Some things we didn’t even get to do.  They put on a little show where they milk a cow (it’s really cute, I saw it last year).  We also didn’t do the rope swings because Ella was too little and we didn’t get to do all of the slides because it was time to call it a day.  We played for about four hours.

Okay, I guess I’ve said enough and I hope I convinced you to take a trip to Cox Farms and feel my over-the-top happiness (if you’re in the northern VA area)!  If you’re not a NOVA person, find a fun pumpkin patch near you!

 

 

A Bunny-Farm Birthday Party!

This past weekend I went to my nieces 8th birthday party in West Palm Beach, Florida.  It was so well done that I felt like I needed to write about it! Even though it was at specific place, I think a lot of the ideas can be incorporated anywhere.

The party was at a place called the Edu-Garden.  It was made and designed by 7th grade students and their science teacher (my sister).  The middle school students plant vegetables and care for bunnies and chickens as part of their school science lab at a public charter school.

The Edu-Garden

The party set up at the Edu-Garden patio

The party was a huge hit… and how could it not be when you can hold and play with real bunnies!!!  One of the bunnies just had babies so the kids got to see the little tiny baby bunnies as well.  They fed the bunnies lettuce and carrots and fed the chickens raisins.  The garden was huge and had a ton of hands on and educational stuff to do.

My niece, the birthday girl, with the baby bunny

Besides the animals, the kids hunted for bugs then used identification cards to identify them.  They also had plastic critter puzzles the kids used to catagorize and match up different types of  bugs.

My 2 year old niece, chasing bunnies around. The bunnies sure got a good work out!

My nephew catagorizing bugs during the party

Critter categorizing puzzle

My niece planting her sunflower

Basically, the kids had free reign of the garden where they could play with the bunnies, feed the chickens, plant a sunflower to take home, identify different bugs, and play with plastic bug puzzles.  They also had a gated parking lot where they set up relay race games using scooters.

The scooter relay races were a big hit!

The party ended with an adorable pair of bunny birthday cakes and party favors of plastic bugs and a sunflower they planted themselves.

It was all very cute and all the kids had a great time!

Decorating an Elephant Pumpkin

My son’s first grade teacher asked me to be in charge of their class pumpkin this year.  The class voted on one of their favorite book characters to create for the school pumpkin contest.  Gerald the elephant won the contest so I started up on google to see the best way to create an elephant pumpkin.

Gerald the Elephant Pumpkin – The final product

I got the idea from Michaels.com and loved it for a class project because it had so many different pieces to it that it was easy to get all 25 kids to help with at least one part.

This is the book character the 1st grad class voted to make

This is the book Character the class voted for

 Materials:

1 large tall shaped pumpkin (for the body)
1 small round shaped pumpkin (for the head)
4 Styrofoam cones about 9 inches long (for the arms and legs)
12 half wooden robin eggs (fingernails)
2 wooden circles (eyes)
Black yarn (eye brows)
Black pipe cleaner (glasses)
Sharpie (to draw the mouth and pupils on the eyes)
Strong Tooth picks (to secure pumpkin heads together and limbs to the pumpkin)
4 artificial pumpkins (to glue together to make the trunk)
Cardboard (to cut ears out)
White paint (for the fingernails and eyes)
Grey paint (for the pumpkins, legs, trunk, and ears)

 Instructions:

  • Paint the pumpkins, cylinders, artificial pumpkins, and ears grey
  • Paint the wooden half robin eggs and the wooden circles white
  • After the pumpkins are completely dry, place four or five toothpicks in the bottom of the smaller pumpkin about halfway in.  Carefully put the small pumpkin on top of the large pumpkin pressing the toothpicks into the larger pumpkin
  • Glue the artificial pumpkins together in the shape of a trunk, then use a tooth pick to secure trunk to the pumpkin face
  • Glue three fingernails to the large end of each cone and secure cones to the large pumpkin with toothpicks
  • Use a sharpie to draw a mouth on the pumpkin and and pupils on eyes
  • Use a hot glue gun or super glue to glue the eyes, eyebrows, ears, and glasses to the pumpkin