Molasses Cookies

As soon as there is just a bit of chill in the air, the boys and I jump into baking cookies. One of our very favorite fall cookies is molasses cookies and this time the boys split up the tasks with A measuring and mixing all the dry ingredients and J adding in all the wet ingredients.

Then they took turns dividing out the cookies on the pan:

And then we patiently waited for them to bake:

And they were gone in a flash! This is one of our very favorite recipes and you can find it here!

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Monster sprinkle cookies

As I’ve blogged about before, these confetti cookies have been our go to weekend cookie for awhile. They can be mixed in your food processor, and now that we have a shiny, new oven I can bake them in a snap with my extra wide baking sheet. I picked up some Halloween themed sprinkle the other weekend, and decided to do a twist on our normal rainbow sprinkles.

 

For the majority of the cookies I used Target Hyde and Eek Monster Mash sprinkles, but I started running out at the end and used the Wilton Sprinkles. The ones with the Monster Mash Sprinkles turned out perfectly:

 

However, the ones with the Wilton Sprinkles:

Were a total fail:

I’m still unsure of what happened, but something in the chemical make-up of the Wilton sprinkles didn’t work with the cookies. I’d recommend buying two of the Target Hyde and Eek Monster Mash Sprinkles to do the entire batch. Overall, these are such a good cookie, and one of my favorite “lunchbox cookies” for the boys! And us!

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Trick or treat mix

Our favorite game day watching snacks are either queso and chips, or candy popcorn. After a Target run this past week, I picked up some festive additions to our candy popcorn to create a fun trick or treat mix. Here are our treat mixes items (plus two bags of popped corn…I’m asking for an air popper for Christmas):

 

I always put the popcorn, pretzels, marshmallows, and a few white chocolates on the parchment paper first:

Then I melt the chocolate according to package directions and drizzle it all over the popcorn mix, then add sprinkles all over the top:

And voila! Trick or treat mix and Saturday college football! And a little bit of the driving range beforehand:

Happy Monday!

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Chicken Alfredo

When I haven’t gotten a chance to get to Costco to pick up a pan of chicken alfredo, this Momfessional’s recipe is my new go to casserole. I edited the recipe from shells (they were out of stock at Walmart), and used mini penne pasta instead and defrosted rotisserie chicken (I get refrigerated rotisserie chicken from Costco and freeze four individual portions, if you haven’t tried this, you should!). I cooked it for about 30 minutes because the chicken was cold.

I served it with zucchini spirals, and it was delicious! B, J, and I all took leftovers to work and school the next day. This would also be a great take and bake casserole for a potluck, friend with a new baby, etc. Pair with a loaf of Italian bread and a salad and this is enough for four to six people!

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Lemon pudding cookie cups

J has asked repeatedly for two weeks to please, please make the cookie cups we made awhile ago. And by awhile ago, I mean two years. J tends to think of something then decide he wants to do it, and then ask me about it until we do it. Which is why on the craziest of Monday’s, we made cookie cups. Thankfully, this is a super easy recipe. All you need is a small box of vanilla pudding, lemon pudding, lemon Oreos, whip cream, milk, and a gummy octopus (optional).

First, make the vanilla pudding according to package directions and split amongst four cups (this recipe is super rich, so you could spread it across more glasses for smaller portions).

Then let the cups chill in the fridge for about five minutes. While doing so, crush up your lemon cookies (we used one third of a package).

Then make the lemon pudding. Divide half of crushed cookies on top of the vanilla layer, and then add the lemon pudding divided amongst the cups, then add the rest of the crushed cookies divided on top.

That’s it! You can eat them immediately or cover with foil and when you are ready to serve add whipped cream and your octopus gummy.

That’s it! So simple, and fun!

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Cooking with kids

As the boys are getting older they have become more interested in learning how to cook and bake different things. While, I love that they are interested and want to help, I’ve been working through the challenge of them “helping” and me keeping my sanity in the process. I have always used cooking as a bit of personal therapy/calm down at the end of the day. It’s where B and I discuss our days, prep stuff together, etc. When the boys were little they would happily help me prep a few items, hand me spices, mix things, but now they want to do it all. So, I’ve worked on a few things as they are older that have made a big difference, and thought I would share.

First, helping clean up as you go. I have found cooking/baking is so necessary for J. He is a go go go kiddo and this has really helped him to learn he has to slow down. You can’t whisk as hard as possible or turn the mixer on high without making a mess. However, who cares about making a mess if you don’t have to clean it up? I’m a clean as you go baker. When we get done with a bowl, a spoon, whatever it is, it gets rinsed and goes in the dishwasher. This has helped immensely in the boys not running in to help and then leaving when they get bored and leaving me with the mess.

Second, follow the steps. Reading a recipe is a method and can be a bit of a learning curve. We will go through the recipe together and I have them help me collect the ingredients we need, so they not only know what we are using but also where it is stored.

Third, walk away when necessary. Obviously you should be standing there when they are doing tasks that need supervision, but I try to let them be independent, so I’m not over instructing and correcting them. For example, when J was scooping cookie dough, I showed him how and then I worked on cleaning up the flour from the sink. I was there if he had a question, but not right there telling him it was too much or too little.

For this particular baking session we made Picky Palate’s Jack Jack Cookie Num Nums. We altered the recipe just a tad, using milk chocolate chips because we couldn’t find chunks, and using a regular muffin tin. We lowered the baking time to between 10-15 minutes to adjust for all this and they turned out excellent!

I also made only half the batter and then refrigerated the other half to make next week (I would say this method would make about 24 total cookies:

You are supposed to eat them warm, so for any leftover cookies, we just popped them one the microwave for about 15-20 seconds to warm it up.

 

These are my new favorite way to make (and eat!) chocolate chip cookies:

 

 

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Homemade Pizza Pockets

I don’t know if this even qualifies as a recipe, but it checked a bunch of boxes for my boys! 1. Individual portion. 2. Toppings of their choice. 3. It’s a pizza pocket! All you need is:

refrigerated pizza dough (like Pillsbury)

ricotta cheese

shredded mozzarella

pizza fillers of your choosing (pepperoni, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, pepperocini, etc.)

2 tbs melted butter

Marinara for serving

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. To make four servings, roll out your pizza dough, and slightly stretch it beyond its normal rectangle shape. Then cut it in to four smaller rectangles. Fill (don’t over fill) each rectangle with tbs of ricotta, and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella and a remaining 1/4 cup of toppings of your choice. Then fold that rectangle in half lengthwise, and pinch all sides with a fork. Repeat with all remaining dough. Place on a nonstick foil lined pan. Slice a few small slits in the top of each pocket and then brush all pockets with melted butter. Cook for 10-13 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool, it’s going to be hot! You can serve them with jarred marinara, or make your own. My favorite jarred marinara is here, and my favorite marinara recipe is here.

I served it with the warmed marinara and a simple side salad.

This recipe is so easy, friends!

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This and That

This is the Nintendo game announcements we watched this week in anticipation of new Switch games.

This is J checking out his first set of summer books from the library:

This is me trying to visualize the rug I bought for in our bedroom once we get hardwood in there:

This is B checking out the boys’ Father’s Day Cards….that they made with scented markers:

This is J helping me make snickerdoodles for Father’s Day lunch:

And finally, this was Sunday dinner:

Happy Monday, friends!

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This and That

This is my new Summer tea towel that I picked up online on sale from Anthropologie (it’s the cutest):

This is our redwood that we planted in the ground this fall and it is flourishing!

This is J playing catcher in his last game of the season:

He has grown so much in his playing ability this year! By the end of the season he was hitting at every at bat, and got multiple runs! Most importantly he loved playing and is excited about next season.

This is the boys with their fresh haircuts that they got at our local barbershop. They look handsome and are ready for summer vacation now!

After their haircuts we headed over to the food trucks that are set-up in our downtown during the weekends for May-August, A most enjoyed the milkshake for dessert:

Then on Saturday I ran to Costco with my sister and got one of my favorite stress free dinners:

Chicken alfredo pasta, French bread, and frozen corn. Sooooo simple, and the boys eat it up!

This is the adorable eagle J made at school:

And finally, this is J entering into the toothless club! He lost his first tooth this weekend:

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Shrimp Florentine Pasta

A flip on one of our favorites, this will actually take you even less time than the original recipe! We had everything to make this recipe one weekend, except instead of chicken I had a pound of shrimp. I cooked the shrimp just like the chicken, but it will only take about five or six minutes for the shrimp to cook through. After that the recipe is very similar to the original, just using mini penne pasta and a box of arugula and spinach! An easy Saturday night meal, with some crusty French bread it is perfection!

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