A New Favorite Sweet

Is your recipe box, or more realistically, your Pinterest account cluttered with recipes you view as either will take too much time to make or may not turn out as well as you hope? We drool over lots of recipes that fall into both of these categories. But, this rainy and gloomy Saturday was the perfect opportunity to tackle Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Pretzels. We carved out a good chunk of the afternoon and went for it. And you know what, they turned out wonderfully. A new fave for sure!

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Cookie Dough Stuffed Pretzels

 

 

Ingredients

1 package of Fleishmann’s Simply Homemade Pretzel Baking Mix

1 batch of Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • 3/4 cup Butter Flavored Crisco Stick
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2  cup semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate M&Ms
  • 1/2 cup Heath bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together Crisco, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla using an electric mixer. Beat in egg until well combined.

Sift flour, salt, and baking soda together into a separate mixing bowl. With mixer on low speed, carefully add flour mixture 1/4 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Add chocolate chips, Heath, and M&Ms to dough, stirring by hand.

Directions

  1. Make the pretzel dough according to the directions on the back of the package.
  2. Make the cookie dough.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Divide the pretzel dough into 8 equal balls and roll each out into a rectangle (about 11×3 inches). Spread a little cookie dough along the length of each piece. Starting with the opposite side, roll the dough up into a log, enclosing the toppings inside. Pinch the seams together and then very gently roll the dough with your hands to form an even cylinder and fully enclose the filling. It is ok if some of the chocolate chips peak through, but try to avoid any large tears in the dough.
  5. Take the two ends of each rope and form into a circle that is overlapped by a couple of inches of dough on either side, twist the ends and lay over the opposite side to form a pretzel shape. Press the ends under the pretzel to seal.
  6. Grab a bowl and fill it with warm water and 2 teaspoons baking soda. Dunk each pretzel in water and then place on a parchment (no more than four pretzels per sheet). Brush the tops with the beaten egg wash and season liberally with sea salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until pretzels are very lightly golden and the cookies that have oozed out are golden. You do not want to over cook the pretzels. Eat warm!

*recipe modified from Half Baked Harvest

A Happy Crafternoon

How do you like to spend cold and snowy Saturday afternoons? For us baking is #1, but crafting comes in a  close second, especially when our best friends share in the fun. One of the many things we have in common is our love of great conversations over great coffee. Personalizing coffee mugs seemed a perfect fit for this craft session. Dollar store mugs, Sharpie paint pens, and lots of imagination is all it took to create these one of a kind treasures. Crafts completed. Now on to baking!

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Holy Craft!

It’s been gloomy and raining A LOT around here lately. We could spend the time being couch potatoes catching up on on our DVR shows, but no, not us! We’d rather be crafting! What better way to brighten the gray away than by making a colorful tassel garland to hang in a spot that needs a little extra shine. This is really easy and will make any area super spec!

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Trina’s Tassel Garland

How to Make a Fabric Tassel Garland

You can make the tassels any size you like. We cut our fabric rectangles around 6″X 10″.

Fold your fabric in half so the two shorter sides meet.

Make cuts in your fabric about an inch apart, stopping around 1.5″ before the fold.

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Now unfold your fabric and lay it flat.

Begin to roll your fabric up.

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Continue until you have a tube with fringe at each end.

As you roll, untangle the fabric fringe, and try to keep your roll as tight as possible.

Pick it up, fold it in half, and pinch the top together so the fringe ends meet and the edge of the fabric is hidden between them.

Use a fabric scrap or string to tightly secure the top of your tassel.

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Make as many as you would like to have. Feed a string through each loop at the

top of the tassels and hang them somewhere you can enjoy them.

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Tina’s Tassel Garland

We followed the instructions from Prudent Baby

Sweet Riches

We have a confession and it’s worth a lot. It is impossible, inconceivable, and darn right unthinkable in our opinion to make cookies without devouring the dough! We’ve tried it and we just can’t resist.  Time and time again (especially by our mom, Nurse Cain) we’ve been told that we shouldn’t eat it, but we simply can’t help ourselves. So when a recipe was recommended (thanks Becky!) that includes eggless cookie dough we couldn’t deny ourselves the opportunity to sample it for ourselves. The name says it all: Billionaire Bars. One bite and we felt like the richest girls around!

billionaire bars

Billionaire Bars

Ingredients
1 pkg refrigerated sugar cookie crust
1 jar caramel syrup
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp milk
1 & ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13×9″ baking pan with cooking spray. Unwrap the sugar cookie dough and press it evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake the sugar cookie crust for approx. 15 minutes or until center appears set and top is lightly golden. Cool completely.
In a medium saucepan, melt together the caramel until the mixture has melted and is nice and smooth. Pour the mixture over the sugar cookie crust and spread to even out.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and milk, beat again. Lastly, gradually add the flour until a soft dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spread the cookie dough mixture evenly on top of the caramel layer. Place in the fridge to set, about 2 hours. Before serving, melt the remaining chocolate chips and drizzle on top of the bars. Cut and eat!

*recipe adapted from The Domestic Rebel

Keep Calm and Craft On

Need a fun activity to do with your girlfriends?  How about crafting?  Recently we were so lucky to spend the entire weekend with our besties. We did the usual sitting around eating goodies, drinking coffee, shopping, and whole lot of giggling!  But we decided to spice things up and throw a craft party.  We wanted our craft to be something unique yet useful, easy to travel with since 2 of our BFFS came from other cities, and simple enough to complete while lots of chitter-chatter took place.  Trina found instructions to make braided T-shirt bracelets.  We collected a few soft T-shirts that were no longer being used by our family members and cut them into strips. We gathered the rest of the supplies and followed the directions for completing a 6 strand braid. With a little trial and error and a lot of laughter we each made a fashionable bracelet that is certainly on trend.  We all decided that crafting together is fun…even the skeptical ones want another go at it the next time we are all fortunate enough to be together.  I say the sooner the better!  Eat Sleep Craft!!!

Materials:

  • Old t-shirts
  • glue
  • scissors

Directions

1. Take 6 pieces of fabric, mine are about 45 cm long and 1,5 cm wide. Place something heavy on top to keep them in place.
2. Take right strip and follow the red line in the picture.
3. It should look like this.
4. Take the left strip and follow the red line in the picture.
5. It should look like this.
6. Now repeat steps 2 and 4. Pull on them, but not too tight!
7. Keep braiding until you have ure desired length.
8. Get you’re glue gun or some textile glue and place a stripe of glue on top of the end. Do this on both sides.
9. Cut the fabric that is on the other side of the glue strip. Not the braided side!
10. It should look like this.
11. Put some glue on the outside of the braid, like shown in the picture.
12. Place the other outside against it and push them together until the glue has dried.
13. Measure the width of youre braid.
14. Cut a piece of fabric. The size should be 2x the width of your braid + 1 cm.
15. Fold the piece of fabric around the part where the bracelet is attached. And glue it together.

Braided T-Shirt Bracelets

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Gather your friends and supplies

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Make a 6 strand braid

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Finish the braid and connect ends with hot glue

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Voila!

*We followed the directions from Lana Red

Big Boy Room, Freestyled!

My son was ready for his big boy room and I was so excited to decorate it for him. Redecorating rooms in my home is a joyful hobby of mine. The only dilemma was I didn’t want to spend very much money. That’s when the idea of “freestyling” popped into my head. For those who aren’t avid HGTV viewers, Freestyled was a program where the designers took items already in the home and used them to redecorate a room. I decided to take on the challenge of “freestyling” my son’s bedroom and do it by spending no money.

My husband wasn’t a fan of the wall color. It was a shade of mint, perfect for a baby, but not a big boy. I mixed a few half empty cans of different shades of blue and whites and and came up with my own custom blend of Big Boy Blue. Trina kindly helped me repaint the room and I think it really changes the look of the room.  Much more masculine.

Lucky for me the big item, the bed, was given to me by my sister-in-law since her son had out grown it.  She even had a comfy mattress to hand down too.  Originally the bed frame had been one that my husband used when he was a boy which makes this piece extra special (awe). I painted the stained wood using left over black paint I had in my garage. For the bedding, I used the backside of a comforter that was once used by my daughter. It is almost brand new since she graduated to a queen bed when we moved to our new home. Based on the blue fabric, no one would even know this is girls bedding (I hope).  To finish off the bed area, I took two mismatched side tables from my guest room and placed them on either side of my son’s new bed.

I took a dresser that was mine when I was a little girl and painted it tomato red. Trina had this can of paint left over from painting a table and chairs for me (she likes to redecorate just as much as me). Trina also gave me the star knobs that were on a dresser she used when her son’s were babies.

I took a bookshelf from my daughter’s room that she wasn’t using. We have been fortunate to be given so many books from older cousins that filling this book shelf was quite easy and there are many more books to transition in over time. The baskets were from my daughter’s room. And the globe too. What a nice sister to share her things!

As for accessories, I kept many of the pictures and figurines that were already in my son’s room.  I also searched Pinterest for printables of things my son likes…super heroes, pirates, adventures, and Daddy’s favorite…baseball.  I put these in frames that I found around the house.  I made a gallery wall out of the framed prints. I can later change these out as my son’s interests change.

There you have it. My son’s big boy room, Freestyled.  (Almost…I did spend $16 on sheets since there were no twin size sheets to be found in my house and none at Trina’s house either).  Pretty good, huh?  Why not give “freestyling” a try in a room you’ve been wanting to redecorate? It has been a fun adventure to take on.

Chance's Room          chances room 2

chances room 3        Chances room

 

Updated Upcycle

What’s the easiest way to update a piece of hand-me-down furniture? Without a doubt, paint it white! I was graciously given two end tables that once belonged to my husband’s grandmother. I loved the scalloped square shape and the fact that they had drawers was a major plus. The only problem, the stained wood didn’t really go with anything in my house. They had been sitting in my basement for several months until I decided to try the old trick of painting them white. I gave them a good sanding, a few coats of white latex paint with primer, and topped them off with a coat of polyurethane. Now they are the perfect addition to my guest room!

DIY side table

Got 15 minutes? Got garland!

It’s time for some Holiday DIYing!
Hosting an up-coming holiday gathering?  Want a quick and easy last minute decoration to add to that one spot that never got tinseled?  Look no further.  Here’s a 15 minute holiday garland DIY. We’re guessing that you have most of the supplies lying right there in your craft room (or wherever you keep those sorts of things). To make things a little more whimsical we chose non-traditional holiday colors in all sorts of patterns for our garland but any color or pattern you choose will be perf!
garland4
Supplies:
scrapbook paper or gift wrap
paper cutter
scissors
clear tape
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Directions:
1) Cut the paper into 1 inch by 6 inch strips
2) Begin linking your strips into a chain by taping the ends of one strip together and wrapping another strip through and taping it  (Remember doing these in grade school with stiff construction paper?)
3) Hang your new festive garland wherever you need a little more holiday cheer
Happy Holidays!

Curbside Treasure

We’ve never shied away from a good bargain and nothing beats free, so when I saw this well-loved gem on the side of the road Tina encouraged me to take it home and give it a little TLC. After a good sanding and a fresh coat of paint I now have a new home for our board games and puzzles. Thanks neighbor for sharing. As my husband Shadd likes to sing in a goofy tone, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Yes, honey, it sure is!

 Before

dresser before

After!

dresser after