Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Yes, it’s New Year’s Eve and yes, I’m going to write a dessert blog.  Why?  Because I’m laying in a hotel bed with my sleeping kiddies next to me and I really have nothing better to do.  Also, I’m majorly craving ice cream (not a pregnancy craving – this is just the typical me at night) and that means I can’t stop thinking about food.  Also, my hubby is at his grandparents’ house playing fun board games and I’m not, so I have to find ways to distract myself. haha  For the record, I volunteered to watch the girls and when they wake him up half dead tomorrow, I probably will be a lot happier about that choice!

IMG_3026edit and small

This recipe came from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.  I wasn’t overly impressed with these brownies warm, but I later realized the key to them being AMAZING is eating one cold out of the fridge!  Wow!  Suddenly, they made their way onto my “please make this again” list!

Red Velvet Cheesecake BrowniesRed Velvet Cheesecake Brownie

*Brownie Layer

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, broken in pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

* Cream Cheese Layer

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease well an 8″ x 8″ baking dish.  In a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate together until smooth (stir pretty consistently so it doesn’t burn).  Set aside to cool.  In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, vanilla, and food coloring until well combined.  Stir in melted chocolate and butter.  Add in the flour and salt, stirring until well combined.  Pour into greased dish.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.  Scoop in spoonfuls on top of the brownie layer.  If you’re extremely talented, swirl the cheesecake layer in with a knife and make pretty red streaks.  I found this recipe really tricky to swirl as the textures were a little off for that sort of thing.  I tried, but it was kind of a fail.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until set.  Let cool completely before cutting.  And remember to eat these straight out of the fridge for the best possible experience. 🙂

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Advertisements

Cookie Dough Truffles

These are a recurring holiday favorite for us.  I found this amazing recipe via Taste of Home.  What makes this crazy delicious is that it tastes JUST like cookie dough, but there are no raw eggs in it!  That’s right.  Time to get pumped!  I used these on our Christmas cookie trays for our neighbors.

IMG_2892edit

Cookie Dough TrufflesCookie Dough Truffle

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1  can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • dark chocolate candy coating and optional white to drizzle over top

Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour and milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Shape into 1” balls, place on wax paper and refrigerate 1 – 2 hours or firm. Melt chocolate candy coating and dip balls in. Place back on wax paper and refrigerate a few minutes or firm. Drizzle melted white coating over the top. Let harden and enjoy!

 

The BEST Sugar Cookies

My title had to be cliche, because these really are pretty stellar.  Mostly, they’re great because they are about as different from those store bought, play-doh sugar cookies as you can get!  Caleb told me he kind of likes that kind, but he has to be one of the few, right?  I mean, those are terrible!  For the sake of my side, I’ll admit that as a child I thought play-doh was pretty tasty (at least the salty, homemade version).  As an adult, I no longer think it’s tasty, but I can testify that the typical store bought sugar cookie tastes almost identical.  I’m not even kidding you.  Go ahead and do a taste comparison.  Yuck.

Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies

These are the sugar cookies my mom always made and they’re kind of a holiday tradition or an anytime you need to whip up some cookies and decorate them for a function kind of thing.  If you can get past the whole, you’re virtually eating cooked butter and sugar, then you’re good to go!  They really are delicious!  I used these for our Christmas trays I gave to the neighbors.

The BEST Sugar CookiesStar Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together butter and sugar.  Stir in egg.  Stir in baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla.  Gradually add in flour until the dough forms a ball.  Don’t add too much or your cookies will be really crumbly.  You want a nice, soft, slightly sticky dough.  Dump your ball of dough onto a lightly floured surface (adding more flour as needed).  Roll it out to desired thickness and cut your cookies out.  Space out on baking sheets and pop into the oven for about 8 minutes or just lightly golden on the edges.  Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes or until cookies are firmed up.

A couple of things to note….  I got about 2-3 dozen cookies from this recipe.  You can easily double this recipe (double exactly) for twice as many if you need to feed a crowd. 🙂

Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

These probably sound healthier than they are.  While they do have an awesome amount of blueberries and oats in them, they also are pretty loaded with sugar and butter.  This was my first time making them, and I stuck with the recipe.  Next time, I’d like to try subbing one stick of butter with applesauce and cutting back on the sugar because it was definitely not lacking in sweetness.  The girls loved these and I thought they were close to something really awesome – they just were a bit too sweet for me to completely love them.  I’ll update this if I ever attempt my changes and am happy with the results.

IMG_2889IMG_2895

This recipe came from Delightful E Made and is fast and easy!  It also has made a very quick breakfast option for the girls all week, which is a major plus in my book and the main reason I’m posting this for everyone!

IMG_2898

I had the best helpers with these bars.  They were excited about them from start to finish. 🙂

IMG_2908

Blueberry Oatmeal BarsIMG_2913

  • 2 1/2 cups oats
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 3 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and slat.  Mix in the butter.  Press 2/3 of the mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking dish.  Reserve the rest for topping.  In a separate bowl, coat the blueberries with sugar and cornstarch.  Dump blueberries over the crust.  Crumble reserved topping over the blueberries and bake 20-25 minutes or golden brown.  Let cool completely prior to cutting.  I stored mine in the freezer, so they’d last longer.

IMG_2911

G Week

I didn’t catch all the way up through letter “I” this weekend, but at least this is some progress! 🙂  Letter “Gg” week……

G is for green, glitter, and glue!  And that’s what Abigail used to fill her block letter “G” this week.  I had her use a small sponge on a stick to wipe glue all over her letter.  Then she shook green glitter on until she was satisfied.

Green Glitter

Letter “Gg” writing practice.

Letter G Writing Practice

This week, we started something new – letter tracer pages!  I had made a bunch of these, but wasn’t sure if Abby was ready to use them yet.  I helped guide her hand for the first one and to my surprise, she did great with the rest!  I think we’ll keep this as an activity each week from here on out.

Gg Tracing Page

G is for goat.  My girls love animals, so they had no problem loving up on some of my little sisters’ goats. 🙂

IMG_2730IMG_2733

This was my favorite “G” activity.  I made gumball machine counter pages and slipped them in sheet protectors so we can reuse them!  Abby enjoyed getting to use so many dot stickers.  The stickers peeled off of the sheet protectors really easily too, so they can also be reused!  Double win. 🙂

Gumball MathGumball Counting

Gumball Machine Math

Gumball Counting Sheets

F Week

F is for FUN, am I right?!?  I don’t really know why, but that’s what popped into my head.  Anyhow….. Abby used feathers to fill her block letter “F” this week.

IMG_2477

Abigail’s capital “F” letter writing practice page.

IMG_2514

This flower craft was a lot of fun! (See?  F is for fun!)  First, she painted a paper plate yellow.  After it was dry, she used her scissors to cut slits along the outside and create petals.  Then, I gave her a few, rectangular strips of black construction paper and she cut it up to make a bunch of sunflower seeds.  Finally, she glued the seeds all over the middle of her flower.  I thought it turned out cute!  I was really happy with this idea since it was the perfect scissor practice for Abby.  She isn’t to the point of trying to cut something out along a line or anything, but she loves working with her scissors (see smug smile).  She could focus almost completely on simply holding and mastering the open/close concept with her scissors since she was literally just cutting across the rectangle to make a small square shape fall off.

IMG_2473IMG_2478

IMG_2486

We were in the midst of Fall season during this letter, and we made sure to utilize the beauty!  Abby helped me glue together this fox face.  She enjoyed it, but REALLY loved creating her own unique fall masterpiece afterwards.  I let her cut up some scraps of paper and use the leftover leaves we had collected and she had a blast cutting and gluing!

IMG_2143

IMG_2142

On one of our many walks, we collected a bunch of beautiful leaves and Abby made a crayon leaf rubbing book with her favorites.  I thought it would be fun if we wrote the name of each tree above the leaves, but we never actually got that done.  Maybe next year. 🙂

IMG_2954

Learning about “F” made a good excuse to visit Papa’s farm!

IMG_0518IMG_0512

IMG_0484

IMG_0510IMG_0482

Abigail loves beads.  She always has enjoyed sorting and manipulating them, so I wasn’t surprised when she got a kick out of this activity.  She got to pick through all of my beads and thread her favorites onto a pipe cleaner.  Once it was full, I helped her twist it into a fish shape!

IMG_2506

IMG_2500

IMG_2508

Going with the fish theme, the girls enjoyed fish (goldfish crackers) for snack a couple times this week.  Abs also worked on her math skills with this fish counting sheet.  I’m hoping to create my own and at least go up to ten, but that’s a future project since I missed getting it done this week!

IMG_2549

IMG_2551

 

E Week

I’m (extremely) late getting this week up, but I’ll blame it on the kids being sick and holiday madness.  I’d like to attempt getting up letters F, G, H, and I before the weekend is over, but no promises.  Really, it all depends on how needy my children are, sooooo there’s a good chance this will be my only completed post for the next while.

Capital “E” writing practice.

Ee Writing Practice

Although “E” doesn’t strike you as the most exciting letter ever, we had a surprising amount of fun with it! For our block letter fill in, we used stick on googly eyes.

Googly Eyes

Along with the eye theme, Abby colored this picture to match her own brown eyes and  learned about some of the basic parts of eyes.

E is for Eye

I had an epiphany and realized E is for Experiments!  Big Sis had tons of fun with the two different egg experiments we did over the week.  For the first one, we filled two glasses with water.  Abby added a tablespoon of salt to one cup and stirred it up.  We talked about what might happen when she carefully dropped an egg into the plain water and then tried it out.  It sunk to the bottom.  After asking her what she thought would happen when we dropped the egg into the salt water, we tried that out as well.  It floated!  Abby enjoyed poking the egg and making it sink and then watching it float back up again.

Salt Water and EggPreschool Egg Experiment

Floating Egg

Our second egg experiment was really exciting.  I had somehow never seen this one done before and it was awesome!  Again, we filled two glasses with water.  Abby added some vinegar to one of the glasses and dropped an egg into each glass.  Right away, the egg in the vinegar water had little bubbles fizzing all around it’s shell.  We let the eggs sit overnight and in the morning took a look at what had happened.  The egg in the water had stayed the same, but the egg in the vinegar water looked funny.  It’s shell had been almost completely eaten away (I rubbed it gently under the faucet to get the last little bits off).  The egg still had a thin skin like material holding it together and Abby loved squishing it and holding it.  After a minute or two, I had her try dropping it short distances above the ground (into a dish) until it exploded!

Vinegar and Egg Experiment2

Where is the shell

Exploded Egg

Edamame and hard boiled eggs were hits with both of the girls for snack time. 🙂

Evie MunchingEdamame

E snack

Using a template from the internet, we put together a trumpeting elephant.  Using a party blower, your elephant can really trumpet!

Elephant TooterElephant Horn