Summer Fun: Cooking with My Kids – Recipe: Monster Cookies

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The littles have been wanting to have real cooking lessons.

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While they often stir, pour, and watch, they never really stay in the kitchen to see a recipe go from the beginning through the final stages.

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When I was deciding on a cookie recipe for the week, I wanted to find one that had several ingredients so that they could all take turns with the actual adding, mixing, and stirring process.

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The one cookie that immediately came to mind was Monster cookies.  I have been making these for many years now, but I could not find my recipe.

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So, I turned to Brown Eyed Baker, and her Monster Cookies recipe was exactly as I had remembered it.

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Since the cookies were made by and for the littles, we used 2/3 blue M&M’s and 1/3 pink M&M’s.  Yes, my mind really does work that way sometimes.

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We had a great time cooking together, something that we will definitely continue doing throughout the summer.

 
Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies

Ingredients

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

4 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup M&M’s

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper.
  3. Add the eggs, sugars, and vanilla to a mixing bowl.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the butter and peanut butter, continuing to mix together with the sugar mixture.
  6. Pour in the oats, flour, salt, and baking soda.
  7. Mix until combined.
  8. Add the M&M's and chocolate chips, stirring until just combined.
  9. Using a cookie sheet, add spoonfuls to the cookie sheet. Slightly flatten with the palm of your hand.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
  11. Remove and cool slightly before moving to a wire rack or platter.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/07/09/summer-fun-cooking-with-my-kids-recipe-monster-cookies/

Recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker’s Monster Cookies.

Let Freedom Ring – Recipe: Strawberry Cobbler

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We had a fantastic Independence Day.

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It was about celebrations…and about food.  For the food part, I turned to some of my favorite bloggers for inspiration.

It all started with breakfast.  When I saw these adorable pancakes on my Pinterest board, I knew that they would be a hit at our 4th of July breakfast table.  Amanda at i am baker is simply brilliant, and I love how creative she is when it comes to turning something like breakfast into a special event.

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Since we had late mid-morning breakfast, I was not expecting us to be very hungry for lunch.  I put together some appetizers, which would not have been complete without Pioneer Woman’s Stuffed Jalapeños.  While they are still too hot for Ethan and Summer, Gabriel is starting to like them now, too.

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I had started preparing dinner 1st thing in the morning, starting with these amazing crockpot baked beans by Jessica at How Sweet It Is.  Her blog is one that I try to visit often because she has amazing recipes, and she always has a side of humor to go along with them.

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I knew that I wanted homemade macaroni and cheese, too, but I did not know which recipe to try since I had pinned more than my fair share on my pasta board.  I decided to go with Panera Mac and Cheese by Annie at Annie’s Eats.  I have professed my adoration with her before, and I continue to be amazed with her recipes each time I visit her sweet blog.

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Sean wanted to make pork ribs that just fell off the bone, and I am happy to report that he succeeded.  I will post the recipe later.  I know that everyone has their favorite rib recipe, and this one is now ours.  They were truly, truly amazing.

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Rounding off the dinner menu was some grilled chicken and burgundy mushrooms.

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Dessert had me stumped.  I just could not decide what to make.  So, I turned to Gabriel for help.  I asked him if he wanted cobbler or ice cream.  He appropriately responded, “Both!” and smiled.  So, of course, both it was.

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I made vanilla ice cream and strawberry cobbler.  For the cobbler, I kind of made it all up as I went.  There are so many different ways to make cobbler that I decided I pretty much could not go wrong, especially since it would be topped with a big ‘ole scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.

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The meal part of our day was great because we were all able to sit down together at a red, white, and blue table, cheers to the day, and talk about what the day meant to us.  That is why I try to make every detail of these days memorable.  It is about so much more than the food.  It is about the memories.

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And, I will remember every minute of their fireworks experience.

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This is the first year that we went together as a family because it was the first year that they were all able to stay up late enough to attend.  Since we did not want to go into the crowds because of how loud and, well, crowded, it would be, Sean found us a beautiful spot overlooking the city.

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We were literally able to see fireworks from all over the greater Austin area.  It was beautiful.

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My fireworks pictures were far from perfect, but when Gabriel sat next to me and told me, “Momma, you know the best camera is your mind, right?”, I knew that he was right.  I have taught him well, and he has been listening.

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It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Strawberry Cobbler

Strawberry Cobbler

Ingredients

Crust

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup butter

¼ cup cold water

Filling

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups water

Instructions

    Preparing the Crust
  1. Mix the 2 cups of the flour, salt and sugar together lightly in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the butter cut into the flour using a pastry cutter or by mixing together with clean hands. The mixture should look like large crumbs and begin to cling together in clumps.
  3. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour and mix lightly.
  4. Sprinkle the water over the dough and continue mixing together with clean hands until the dough holds together.
  5. Spray a pie pan with cooking spray.
  6. For the bottom layer, I just took half of the dough and pressed it onto the bottom of the pie pan. It does not have to look pretty or be prefect because it will be covered up with the strawberry filling.
  7. For the top, roll out the other half on a generously floured surface. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes to add to the top. But, first add the filling.
  8. Filling
  9. Place the strawberries, sugar, and water into a pan and cook over medium high heat.
  10. Cook for about 15 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce by half.
  11. Putting It All Together
  12. Preheat oven to 350.
  13. Add the filling to the top of the crust in the pie pan.
  14. Place the stars on top of the filling.
  15. Sprinkler the top of the stars with sugar.
  16. Put the cobbler in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  17. Remove from the oven and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/07/05/let-freedom-ring-recipe-strawberry-cobbler/

Independence Week – Recipe: Red, White, and Blue Jell-O Cups

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After finishing my classes and exam, I have realized that I have so much more time in the day that I had thought before I jumped into my teacher certification.  I could not wait to put that time to good use this week by spending time crafting and cooking with/for my littles, my family.

A quick look at my Pinterest boards for 4th of July food and crafts, let me know that I did not have that much time in a day.  I was a little over-zealous when I pinned some of the things. But, I did know that I wanted to make a few things, so we started celebrating Independence Day today, talking about why we are thankful for our freedom while crafting and eating all things red, white, and blue.

We started with some Glitter Paint Fireworks.

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Gabriel was able to look at the picture and understand the concept very easily.

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Summer and Ethan mostly just cared about being very abstract with their artwork.  They enjoyed their freedom of expression immensely.

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First thing this morning, I started making these Red, White, and Blue Jell-O Cups.  The original recipe called for push-up pops, but since I did not have any, I opted for clear plastic cups instead.

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It does take a few hours to finish these because you need to wait 1-2 hours between each layer.  But, it was so worth the wait to see the look on the faces of my littles when they saw the beautiful red, white, and blue.

It was a perfect beginning to Independence Week.  Just watching my littles go crazy with glitter paint while I made them a special dessert, I was struck by how much our freedom, our independence, really does mean.  We are able to sit at home enjoying our summer break, painting abstractly and creating works of art in the kitchen. We are able to do those things because we do live in a free country where family, holidays, and freedom is celebrated daily. Yes, this week we are very thankful for this land of the free and home of the brave.