Cooking 101 - Favorite Jam Bars

Happy Valentine's Day! 
or Single Awareness Day...
...or whatever you choose to call this day...

I always try to do a fun Valentine breakfast for the kids,  you know, because I don't show them enough love during the rest of the year.  I kind of save it all up for Valentine's Day.  Don't we all?  Especially for my 12-year-old boy--I hug and snuggle, kiss his face, and hug and snuggle him all morning long and I am 99.9% positive that the pre-adolecent boy enjoys this.  Especiallly if he has a friend over.

Anyhooo--this morning's breakfast came straight from our dearly, dearly beloved Pioneer Woman sister, whom I do believe is another soul sister of mine.  Someday, we're going to get together, my soul sisters and I - BFF Kadie, Paula Deen, The Pioneer Woman, Betty White, Madonna - no, wait, not her - definitely Cheri Oteri, though - and she'll be wearing the Spartan Cheerleader suit. Oh, and Jim Gaffigan.  He will be there, too.  

These were incredibly good.  I served them with some cheesy scrambled eggs for a little protein to go with their dessert/breakfast.  Delish!

original recipe from The Pioneer Woman
(I say 'favorite jam' because you can use ANY flavor of jam you want, as long as it's seedless.)

1 1/2 c. Flour
1 1/2 c. Oats
1 c. Brown sugar, packed
1 t. Baking powder
1/2 t. Salt
1 3/4 stick salted butter, cut into pieces
1 jar (10-12 oz) Preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients except preserves.  Press half of the mixture into a buttered 8" square (or small rectangular) pan.  Spread preserves.  Sprinkle second half of mixture over the top and press down lightly.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until lightly golden.  Let cool completely, cut into squares.


Embroidered Felt Bookmarks

Recently, I was honored to be asked do a feature for Simply the Sweet Life, which happens to be a FANTASTIC magazine, as well as a blog site.  This was so much fun for me {thanks, Heather!!} and I couldn't have been more thrilled to take on the challenge of coming up with a fun, new project.  I have to say, though, that I always sound like such an idiot on someone else's blog!!!  I can say anything I want here on my blog, and, well, it's fine--but on someone else's blog it's so lame!!!  What a nerd!

Aaaaaaannnd....as you are all aware, we've been so very sick for the entire month of February, so that makes it hard for me to post a Valentine project in a timely manner.  However, I think this one is fairly easy  and it doesn't take much time or resources.  You could also start on these now and have some great end-of-year teacher gifts, or just something nice to have on hand for those spontaneous moments when you forget-then-suddenly-remember a friend's birthday!  Then you'll feel so amazing because you're PREPARED.

Click here to get the instructions for the bookmarks

My goal was to think of a fresh idea for a Valentine gift.  We often give food items or flowers--but what about books?!  Who doesn't love a good book?  {maybe even a romance novel...*wink*...but I think it would be awkward if you gave a romance novel to your kid's male teacher.  Or your elderly neighbor lady who only comes outside to water her plants.}  But anyway.  These were fun!  They're a great gift idea for the book lovers in your life.

Happy Stitching!!!


Cooking 101 - No Bake Cookies

Whatta Classic!!!

While I had a house full of sickies, and while I cleaned and took care of people, I had this burning desire for....No Bake Cookies...???  Honestly--who doesn't love a No-Bake?  I'm embarassed to admit that I devoured *ahem* a lot of these.  They're freakishly good.

And since I had these cute little paper wrappers, I thought I'd try making my cookies into an oblong shape--and I love it!  What a fun way to package and give your cookies away! {gasp!}

Original recipe from:  One More Moore

1/2 C. Butter
2 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Milk
4 T. Cocoa powder
1/2 C. Crunchy peanut butter (I love Skippy All-Natural Super Chunk...no hydroginated oil)
3 1/2 C. Quick oats
2 T. Vanilla

Combine butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan; cook on medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.  Boil for one minute.

Stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla.  Spoon onto waxed paper and let cool for a few hours.

And then try hard not to eat all of them!!  


Thinking of Warmer Days

Don't get me wrong---this winter has been the most mild, wonderful winter I have ever experienced in my 8 years of living in Michigan.  {thank you, Nature! I love you!}  We have barely had any snow, which means my world hasn't been total gray blah-ness, the sun has popped out occasionally,  and the temperatures have been so mild.  No complaining here!

But I'm still dreaming of warmer days.
Sun dripping off of everything it touches.

Foliage. Warm nights.  Bare feet.  No bundling up.  Flip flops.  Skirts.  Eating grilled food on the deck.
{these are all my photos, by the way.}
 Golden colors.  

You don't realize how much you miss 'golden' hues during a long, gray winter. 

Thank goodness for winter---it gives us such a greater appreciation for some of the little things in our world that we take for granted.
And big things, too--like the SUN!

Cool evenings with crickets chirping in the back yard.
Ice cream on the deck after the kids go to bed.

Warm mornings. Going for a walk while the sun comes up.

mmmmm....summer.  I can't wait to see you again, my friend!

Have a happy day!!


Slow Sunday Afternoon

Lots of sick people at my house.  Saturday night, all through Sunday, more on Monday night, and all through Tuesday.  Five out of six people in my household got the same stomach bug--and it was violent.

I don't get it, either--we're clean people, our house is clean, we're hand-washing freaks, and we preach the "don't pick your nose or eyes" rule like nobody else.  Oh, well.  Germs don't care--they work their way in somehow.

So...I stayed home from church on Sunday with the little barfer and sanitized the place.  She slept--I cooked--it was heaven--and I disinfected every surface.  And I waited for my little family to come home.  And enjoyed the rare sunshine streaming through my windows, filling my soul with joy.

Sunday dinner is a sacred tradition at my house.  Even if 'someone' doesn't iron the table cloths like they used to do in the olden days, (those women were go-getters, weren't they?)  we still use nice dishes, real glasses, and sit together.  Sometimes I don't even have to beg them to eat their food, which is nice.

Little do any of these boys know that in a few hours, they'll all be hit with the same stomach bug that the little one had - only it will be more violent and horrible.  So much for my disinfecting job.  It was NOT food poisoning, either--I cooked our dinner for, like, 4 hours!  My older daugher and I didn't get it with the boys, but she did get it a day later.  I dodged a bullet---how?!  Maybe I have a weird immunity since I clean up all of the barf all of the time.  hmmmm..