Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's Official!

I'm announcing that it is officially fall! I know I hinted at it here, but, after a week of temperatures in the 70s, I'm going to ahead and make the official announcement...IT'S FALL!

I celebrated the change of seasons by...

becoming a redhead...                                                   drinking a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks...


                                                                               (Source)

covering some mini pumpkins in glitter...                        making these weird paper bag flower things...



(Yes, this was found on Pinterest...Here is the tutorial.)


AND by making some delicious pumpkin cookies!
 
They are bites of perfection.


Stop whatever you are doing and make these cookies to celebrate the change of seasons. Make sure you have 30 or so of your closest friends around as this recipe makes a lot of cookies.

Pumpkin Cookies
from Better Homes and Gardens
2 cups butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
4 cups all-purpose flour

Frosting
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
Ground cinnamon 





Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat 2 cups butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

Frosting: In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Beat in cream cheese. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread frosting on cookies or pipe on cookies.  Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Makes about 50 cookies.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Bread and Brown Paper Packages

Are you addicted to pinterest? I am. Everything is so wonderful, bright and beautifully packaged. I already have a whole Pinboard dedicated to Christmas. I'm always looking for ways to make things look cuter. Last year, I blogged my favorite Ginger Pumpkin Bread recipe. This year, (after the pinterest craze) I had to make it pretty.


Now this cute and tasty loaf of bread makes a perfect gift!

Brown Paper Bag Wrap:
Cut the ends off a brown paper bag
Slide your loaf of bread into the bag
Fold the excess bag on the bottom of the loaf and tape down.
Wrap with twine and tie a bow on top. Attach a note if desired.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Spinach Smoothies and Half Marathons

Have you seen these "green monsters" floating around the internet and blogs? Basically a spinach smoothie with the promise of delicious health. You see, I have become a runner (yes again, it never seems to stick).

Do you remember when I ran that 5K and I came in second place? Well, I ran it again this year. I didn't come in second.

 (No, I am not crossing the finish line, I am celebrating the fact that I can see the finish line).

Okay, Back to the Green Monters or Spinach Smoothies...You see, I signed up for a half marathon. Yes, me...I know it's hard to believe. It's the Disney Princess Half Marathon...I get to dress up like a princess, run through Magic Kingdom and have my picture taken with all the different characters. If that doesn't convince even the worst runner to run a half marathon, nothing will. Well it convinced me and three friends so it is official. The training has begun. I must become a health freak, thus the spinach smoothie.

I used some recipe (that will remain nameless since so many people love it) that combined milk, a banana, almond butter, chia seeds and spinach.  I cannot lie. It was gross. I closed my eyes, I pinched my nose, I sputtered, I gagged, my eyes teared up and I downed 3...maybe 4 sips. I admitted defeat and poured it down the drain.

Where did I go wrong? Have I eaten one too many cupcakes? Have my taste buds been diluted by chocolate? I'm not sure, what I do know is I will have to find another "healthy" recipe to boost my running training. In the meantime, back to oatmeal.

What are your go to healthy recipes?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trees

These branch-y trees are probably one of my favorite cookies I've ever made. Each cookie is different. The branches swirl out in different directions as I simply twisted and turned a toothpick through flooded royal icing creating an old mangled look that I find intriguing. 
All that is missing is a small bird perched on one of the branches and this cookie would be perfect, in a quirky kind of way. 
What do you think?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hand Painted

I love decorated sugar cookies. I think they are so fun and could spend hours pouring over blogs and learning new techniques.

This is the newest technique I've learned and I LOVE it. It adds a delicate element to the sugar cookies. It's called Brush Embroidery, here is a great tutorial.



Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall is in the air...at least for a moment

This weekend was gorgeous. The sky was blue and the air was cool.  I had my windows open, cranked pandora radio and had some friends over to craft the day away.

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday?

I made a fall wreath out of burlap, which seems to be pinterest's (Yes, I am addicted along with the rest of the world) fabric of choice.

Do you want one of your own? You can have one! All of the fun and none of the work. :)

Fall also makes me think of the beautiful sunflower. I decided to try my hand at some sunflower cookies.

I must say, they aren't my favorite cookie in the whole world...

But, they are my favorite flower and color.


And that is how I spent my first fall weekend.

Happy Fall!