These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things... The Cookie

I love oatmeal cookies (but not with raisins), chocolate chip cookies, and anything with cranberries in it. So, I combined a few ideas and came up with these little babies. They have become one of my favorite cookies and one of my most requested recipes. Oh, and I love making them as bar cookies too - it's like a whole other recipe!

what you put in it:

2 sticks butter, softened

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups oatmeal, uncooked

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

how you make it:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.

3. Add egs and vanilla; beat well.

4. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to sugar mixture; mix well.

5. Stir in oats, cranberries, and chocolate chips; mix well.

6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet and then remove to wire rack.

Makes about four dozen

For bar cookies: Spread batter evenly in an ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.


Fall Fun

I can't believe that it is already the end of November and I have yet to even post Halloween pictures. I've been so busy lately that I've been going to bed by nine! What an old lady! So, since I have once again gone forever without a post, here are some of the highlights...

At the beginning of October, Dillon and I went to the pumpkin patch with my mom's group from Church. Dillon had a blast jumping in all the different bounce houses and riding on the "ATV" train. He did not like the petting zoo at all. He went in and then wanted right back out.

Next up was a dinner to celebrate my brother's engagement! I am so excited that he is getting married - I love my future sister-in-law and am so lucky that she is going to officially going to be a part of our family!

And finally, it was Halloween and Dillon got his first experience with Trick-or-treating. He told us that he wanted to be a skeleton for Halloween, so that's what we got him. I found a pair of skeleton jammies at Gymboree for ten bucks! How perfect - he can wear his costume over and over. He was such a cute little skeleton. When we started out trick-or-treating we didn't think to bring the stroller and by the time we got to the end of our street Dillon said that he was done. We went home and got the stroller and he was ready to go again... but after ten minutes he was finished. He said that he just wanted to go home. I'm sure next year it will be a totally different story.


Crafty Pants

The last couple of weeks I've been wearing my crafty pants. I've been working on several projects and thought that I would share a couple that I finished recently.

I saw this wreath in a magazine (can't remember which one and now I can't find it either) and fell in love with it. It was so simple and best of all, cheap to make. I bought the paper mache letter at Joann's and spray painted it with a couple coats of brown. I bought some fall leaf vines at Michael's (for 40% off) and just cut all the leaves off of the vine. I used my handy glue gun to glue on all the leaves in a few layers. When I was done I glued some magnets on the back and and once it was dry I stuck it on the front door. The magnets were leaving some black marks on the door, so I gave them a quick coat of Mod Podge and viola - no more black marks.

I wanted some kind of banner it decorate my mantle with and decided on this one. It's sort of a variation on the one that I made for Dillon's birthday. I love how it turned out. I cut 12x12 scrapbook paper down to fit in my printer and printed the letters on the back using the reverse printing option. I cut out the letters with scissors and an exacto knife and attached them to paper circles that I cut out with my circle cutter. I used scrapbook photo mounting tape and attached the circles to some ribbon and then I stuck them to my mantle with some removable velcro strips.

I got tired of Dillon asking me multiple times every. single. day. how many more days until Halloween, so with the scraps left over from my banner, I whipped up this count down chain. Every morning we take of one ring and now he knows that when we get to the last ring - the one with the three and the one - it's Halloween. Each day, as we take off the rings we count how many days are left - so it's a good teaching tool too. And it was free to make - gotta love that!

I still have a few more craft projects that are in the cue that I haven't gotten around to yet - but I'm definitely not hanging up the crafty pants yet.


Laguna Beach

Dillon absolutely loves the beach. He loves playing in the sand, splashing in the water, and looking for sand "shrabs". When we go he never wants to leave. I, on the other hand, have never been a "beach person." It's not that I don't like the beach, it's more like the beach doesn't like me. It gives me poofy, frizzy, curly hair and my skin gets all sticky and gross feeling. But the more time I've been spending at the beach with Dillon, the more it's growing on me. I'm not paying attention to the fact that I leave the beach with an Afro... as much. And I'm ignoring my overwhelming desire to run to the nearest shower, because I love how much Dillon loves the beach. It's worth sacrificing my cleanliness and overcoming my vanity to see the sheer excitement that Dillon has at the beach.

A while back we went down Laguna Beach (or as Dillon calls it Maduna) for the afternoon and Dillon was so sad when it was time to leave. He had fun building sand castles with Jordan and climbing on the rocks with Jason. I had fun taking pictures. The weather was nice - overcast but not cold. And though I had a smallish 'fro when it was time to go - it was so worth it!


Favorite Food Friday: Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Pies

So, yes I realize that it's the middle of summer and yes, it's super hot out now, but I was craving a full on Thanksgiving dinner: Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy... the whole nine yards.
And, what's a Thanksgiving dinner without pumpkin pie? So, since it is summer after all, I decided to forgo the traditional pumpkin pie and make some easy homemade pumpkin pie ice cream and then put a scoop of it into store bought mini pie crusts and then finish it off with a dollop of whipped cream. All the taste of a slice of pumpkin pie with a cool twist. What a super yummy way to beat the heat!

what you put in it:

1 - 15 oz can pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

a pinch of salt

8 mini graham cracker pie crusts (store bought or homemade)

whipped cream

how you make it:
Heat cream and sugars over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove the pan from heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Place pumpkin, chilled cream mixture, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and the salt in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (I use my stand mixer) for 5 minutes on medium speed.
Pour pumpkin mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze for 25 minutes (or freeze according to the manufacture's instructions). Scoop the ice cream into the pie crusts and place into the freezer until ready to eat. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

**note - this ice cream gets pretty hard so you may want to let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving**

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