Monday, July 20, 2009

Perfect Butter Pecan Cookies

I must admit that I was not a big fan of butter pecan anything—until I made these cookies. I thought I'd give them a shot and see what happened (figuring I could give them all away if they really didn't turn out well). The first time I made them I HAD to give them away to keep from eating the whole batch. They are ridiculously simple (unless your name is Kristen) and are really quick to make. Let me know what you think.

Butter Pecan Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (the lowfat version works fine)
1 butter pecan cake mix

Mix all three ingredients together. The dough will be quite sticky, and that is OK. Place tablespoon sized balls on cookie sheet and smash to make flat (I know—that's really technical!). Cook at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy in moderation (if you can). :-)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Book Review: The I Believe Bunny

When I saw this book offered in the Thomas Nelson Blogging for Books program, I knew I had to request it for Kaelan, my 20-month-old daughter. She absolutely LOVES reading. The two phrases I hear all day are, "Momma, read it, please," and "Momma, hide." She will sit in her room and sort through her books, looking at the pictures and reading them to herself, or me. We seriously never make it through a day without at least 20 readings (or various books or the same book multiple times).

With all that reading, I want to make sure I'm providing quality literature for her (one of my quirks as a former elementary school teacher). I'm REALLY picky about the "feel" of a book—language and pictures or illustrations. Some books I keep in the pile because she really seems to enjoy them, but others I'll hide, hoping that she forgets we ever had them.

The I Believe Bunny falls in the middle for me. Honestly, I love the message portrayed throughout the book, but the quality of the language was a little sub par to me. The I Believe Bunny stresses relying on God, even when we think we might be too small, and trusting in Him to meet our every need. One rainy day, the bunny hears a mouse calling for help. He tries to help her by stretching out a stick, but falls short and is afraid she's going to drown. He prays for help and his friends show up to help fish the little mouse out just in time.

Tish Rabe, author of several Cat in the Hat books, does a good job of portraying the message throughout, but she does so through telling instead of showing. Even kids' books should leave some room for children to figure things out. The book does fall in line with her work from the Cat in the Hat books, though. For example, I wasn't impressed by Clam, I Am.

Overall, it was a good selection to add to our library. Kaelan enjoys reading it, and I'm definitely able to pull good insights from the book to share with her.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing

Since entering pregnancy I have a) been terrible at continuing to blog regularly and b) been craving cinnamon rolls like crazy. I wasn't thrilled with the outcome of previous batches because of both form and taste. I like a cinnamon roll that is gooey and cinnamoney (yes, that's a word) on the inside and oozing with icing on the outside. These cinnamon rolls hit the spot and the maple icing just adds to the "yum" factor. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have...and will continue to.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing

You need:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
For the filling:
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
For the icing:
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple flavoring
  • enough milk to make desired consistency (not much)

  1. Heat milk, water, and butter until warm (butter doesn't need to be completely melted). Add the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt, and add to the milk mixture. Mix well.
  2. Knead on floured surface for about 10 minutes and add more flour as needed to reduce stickiness. Return to greased bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled (about an hour). Punch down, and divide into 2 parts. On a floured surface, roll each part into a large rectangle. Smear each rectangle with the softened butter. Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar. Sprinkle over the rectangles.
  3. Roll the dough up into two logs starting at the long side. Cut each log into 12 slices. Place the rolls cut side down into two 9x13 inch greased baking pans. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 30 minutes).
  4. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Combine the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, maple flavoring, and milk. Frosting should be thick. Spread over baked rolls and enjoy. Yum!!