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Sugar with a Spooky Twist – Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Posted by casey on October 30, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

Do you need a delicious yet adorable dessert that you can make in a snap for Halloween? Perfect, I’ve got you covered.  Don’t need one?  Too bad, you’re getting it anyway.  These have been a yearly tradition now, so from me to you your family can have candy corn sugar cookies too! (This is the perfect cookie to make with young kids – very easy and minimal mess).

First, you will need to make a batch of regular, old sugar cookies.  Here is my recipe, but you are welcome to use just about anything!

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies
– Before you refrigerate your dough, divide it into three sections.

– Leave one ball of dough as it is.  Using food coloring, dye the second section yellow and the third section orange. In order to keep your hands and counters dye free, I recommend you put the sections of dough back in your mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to stir the food coloring in.  Then, take it out and put the next section in.

– Take out a bread loaf pan and line it with plastic wrap.

– Press the dough into the pan one section at a time.  First, press the dough you didn’t dye onto the bottom.

– Next, press the orange dough on top of it and push down.

– Lastly top it off with the yellow.  Wrap the plastic wrap over the top of the dough to cover it and refrigerate the dough in the pan for 2-3 hours.

– After the dough is chilled remove it from the fridge and preheat your oven.

– Now to make the candy corn!  Using a sharp knife cut slices of the dough just as if you were slicing bread.

– Now, to make the candy corn make alternate diagonal slices to make a /\/\/\ pattern. Ta – daaaaaaaa candy corn!

– Bake the triangles for 8 -10 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack.

Adorable right?  You’re welcome.
Happy Halloween!

 
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CRAZY Eight

Posted by casey on October 28, 2010 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles, Family

Eight.  Mr. Caden became an official eight month old on Wednesday and man are we in for it.  This past month was full of mischief, laughter, personality and the phrase “Mommy said NO!” (Let me tell you that works really well.)  Sometime during this past month our little genius realized that he didn’t have to crawl just to his toys, that he could make anything gracing the floor with its presence his toy.  Then, his brain struck again when his little arms really figured out that not only could he grab anything on the floor, but he could reach up….and pull up. Yay!

Yay for Caden! Yay for new tricks! Boo for our home.  Poor home.  Under siege by a little china doll look alike.  As challenging as it can be to stay one step and one thought ahead of the little bugger it is unbelievably rewarding to just sit and observe him while he discovers his strength and curiosity.  Sure, sometimes I wish he would just stay in one place again, but the boy laughs constantly.  Laughs as he is crawling somewhere knew.  Laughs when he gets there.  Cries when you take him away, but laughs again at something new. I have a feeling this next month is going to be particularly interesting as he himself has just become fully interested in the stairs.  Aware of them before, yes, but now determined to figure them out.

Challenges
– Spitting up.  He began spitting up what seemed to be most of his feedings again.  He wasn’t mad about it, so he wasn’t in pain and our pediatrician agreed with us that it didn’t seem to be an illness or reflux as most go to right away.  It also didn’t make sense for him to suddenly be allergic to my milk after all this time.  So, our pediatrician recommended having our little man see a chiropractor they work with to check his alignment which is why we love our doctor.  We are a team.  An open discussion, keep your options open, slower to whip out the prescription pad team.  Caden responded immediately to his sweet, sweet chiropractor and has completely stopped spitting up and has doubled his intake.  Fix the alignment of the midback vertebrae and the neck and the liquid doesn’t get squished and compressed as much.  That way, what goes down, stays down.

– Sleeping.  After he turned 6 months he had stopped sleeping through the night because of his 6 month growth spurt.  That backed into teething.  By the time both of those were over, an amount of time great enough had passed for him to have formed a habit of waking up.  The “best” part is that he is waking up to be pissed that he is awake.  All he wants is to go back to sleep, but not letting himself do it.  We have been fully working on “sleep training’ him again this past week and we are getting back to our sleeping routine.  Phew!

(It took 8 months, but Colter finally started sleep “talking” and walking through some things I needed help with at night.  There have been many mornings filled with the laughter that makes your stomach hurt as I told Colter what he did during the night.  Another story, for another time.)

Joys
– Puppies. Watching Caden and Thrasher together is still one of the most hilarious things.  They just LOVE each other.  Caden chases him, and then turns around and Thrasher will chase him back.  If Caden is booking it for somewhere Thrasher thinks he isn’t allowed, Thrasher will race ahead and lay down right in front of him to block his path.  Caden will crawl around him and Thrasher will repeat his block move.  They dribble a toy basketball back and forth to each other and of course, swap smooches.

–  Mr. Mom.  When Colter, “Mr. Mom” walks in from work, Caden squeals.  When he sees his Dad, he will shriek, grin huge and then crawl as fast as he can to him grunting to go faster.  He gives his dad the best smiles and laughs as soon as Colter lifts him and he kicks his legs in excitement.  It is precious.  Almost as precious as when he knows his Dad is going to tickle him and he already starts to laugh and try to get away.

- Evening Walks.  He loves to walk with us and usually takes a mini snooze, especially when he is all bundled up.

The Run Down
At eight months, Caden is weighing in at a bit over 19 lbs (something like that), has three teeth which is huge because he didn’t have any teeth last month.  Three teeth in three weeks….poor guy!  He chatters all day and gives high fives.  He is beginning to figure out that he shouldn’t bounce while trying to stand because he will hit his chin on whatever he is holding on to. (So smart.) He has protested his solids a bit with his new teeth, but will still eat bananas no matter what.  He loves his Mom and Dad, and his Nonna and Pa Pa (Colter’s Parents).  My Dad, “Pop” came in town this month again and Caden loved to giggle at him as well as he saw him stick around here each day.  We continue to count our blessings and I have never been so grateful for a husband who has taught me to fully sit back and just enjoy the moment and time we are currently in.  Never have we laughed so much and appreciated the messes along with perfect times. Enjoy his latest pictures!

Crazy Eight with Caden

 
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Treats Without Tricks – Frosted Pumpkin Puffs

Posted by casey on October 27, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Most Important Meal of the Day, Sweet Treats

I “tweeted” about these delicious little pumpkin morsels the other day and knew I couldn’t wait long before posting them!   These frosted pumpkin cookies are wonderful, and not tricky at all!  I discovered a few things about them though that might help you along the way.  If you peek at the picture you might notice they seem a little puffy so to speak.  Do not be alarmed if you look into your oven while they are baking and they seem to be staying in the ball shape you put them on your cookie sheet in.  They won’t flatten out, but will puff up more than anything.   This isn’t a chewy, gooey cookie if you are one of those people, they are more cakey.  In fact, I think they would be the perfect addition to a morning cup of coffee even, instead of say a scone or muffin.  (Plus, they are the perfect size.)  Don’t you just love pumpkin season?

Frosted Pumpkin Puffs

Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees
Cookies Will Bake for 13 – 15 Minutes

 INGREDIENTS:

1 cup shortening
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans

 FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

½ cup butter
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

 The frosting is wonderful, but the next time I think I will use it as more of a glaze, or drizzle instead of an actual frosting.  I also think that my carrot cake icing would make a perfect alternative if you prefer that!

DIRECTIONS:

– Cream shortening and brown sugar. Add pumpkin and mix well.
– Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
– Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture
– Stir in the pecans
– Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
– Bake at 375 Degrees for 13 – 15 minutes.  Remember, they won’t flatten out.

– For the frosting, combine the butter, brown sugar, and milk in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
– Boil for 3 minutes and then remove from the heat.
– Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla.  Cool slightly.
– Beat in enough powdered sugar to achieve spreading consistency and frost the cookies while they are still warm!

 
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Read With Me II – Week Four

Posted by casey on October 26, 2010 in On My Nightstand, Read With Me, Uncategorized

I can finally say that I am fully intrigued and wishing I had the time to spend entire days reading outside in the fall weather to find out; what happened to Harriet, Lisbeth’s back story, and what the heck they have on Wennerstrom.  Sure there are the pages where I really want to skim instead of digest each and every word, and yes I still think I need the Vanger family chronicle myself to keep everyone straight, but man does Lisbeth immediately suck you in when she is on the page!

Discussion Topics – Chapters 12 – 15

1. Were you surprised to learn of Lisbeth’s guardianship circumstances and how long she had been under these terms? (Chapter 12)

2. Why do you think Lisbeth has in the past and continues to refuse any “normal interaction” when it comes to examining her and the terms of her mental capabilities?  Do you believe that she is or is not actually capable of handling her own life and finances?

3.  Why would Cecilia Vanger describe her “relationship” and behavior with Blomkist as reckless? (pg 255) Do you believe she has any other motivation in pursuing Blomkvist other than being lonely?

4. What was your reaction/feeling while reading Lisbeth’s revenge on Bjurman?  Where do you think it will go from there?

5. “If you’re a member of the Vanger family, you learn early to speak your mind.” (pg 234).  Do you have any similar situations or mottos regarding your family?

6. What do you make of Cecila Vanger’s uncertainty towards Mikael in the end of Chapter 15?

Next Assignment: : Chapters 16 through 19

 
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It’s Your Right!

Posted by casey on October 26, 2010 in Home

Excuse my while I take a moment on my soapbox… (You have got to love freedom of speech.)  Early voting for the November 2nd General Election began yesterday and continues through this Friday.  That means, that you don’t have to wait until next Tuesday, you can go and vote now! No lines, no hassle, just easy early voting!

I know, let me guess…

- You can’t find your current voter registration card.

Do you have a valid driver’s license in your wallet? I bet you do.  Then you are set.  Take that right to your voting location and it is just as good as a voter’s registration card.

- You cant just go during the day when your child isn’t napping like me.

You can go from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. any day this week.  That is perfect for going on your way home from work!  To beat that, it is your right, so no one can really argue with you needing to leave to go and vote. (So long as you aren’t taking a 3 hour lunch to “vote”)

Here is the thing.  I personally am not fighting for my country in uniform.  So voting, that is something I can do for my country.
You should take ten minutes and do your part too.

I’ll even help you out Dallas friends and make it REALLY easy on you in case you haven’t seen the signs labeling the voting locations near you.  Below is a list of all of the Dallas early voting poll centers. Listed by city, zipcode and even with the address.  Type that in to your GPS, pull out your driver’s license….you have until Friday! (Plus November 2nd of course.)

Dallas County Early Voting Locations

Collin County Early Voting Locations

Dallas County Election Day (Nov 2nd) Voting Locations

    Collin County Election Day (Nov 2nd) Voting Locations

Not in the Dallas area? Google “Insert County Name Here” County Early Voting 2010 Locations and You Will Get Your List!

 
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Final Tastes of Summer – Lemon Bars

Posted by casey on October 25, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

As I and every magazine, cooking show and cookbook are about to overwhelm you with the delicious spices of Fall and Summer (mmm think pumpkin spice and cinnamon) I thought I would share with you one more taste of summer.  One more tart yet sweet and refreshingly satisfying bite to hold you over until the holidays are done and our neighborhoods defrost.

Lemon Squares

Preheat Oven to 325 Degrees

Will be Increased to 350 Degrees

 

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks softened butter
____________________
4 eggs
4 Tablespoons flour
2 cups sugar
Juice of 2 lemons (1/3 cup)

 DIRECTIONS:

Crust
– Grease a 9 x 13 dish

– Combine first four ingredients.

– Press into the bottom of the greased dish.

– Bake 20 minutes at 325 and cool slightly.

When you take the crust out increase the temperature to 350 degrees.

Filling 
- Beat eggs slightly.

– Combine the flour and sugar, and add to the eggs.

– Add the lemon juice and mix.

– Pour over baked crust.

– Bake for another 25 minutes at 350 degrees

Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.

Cool, cut and KEEP REFRIGERATED.

 
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Who Is Laughing Now?

Posted by casey on October 21, 2010 in Caden, Life as I Know It, Snapshots

Remember when I was trying to relax towards the end of my pregnancy and I took up knitting and you all laughed at me? 

Yes, that is right, you laughed. You laughed because I took up knitting to begin with and then you secretly laughed telling yourself I would never make anything or do anything with it.  I know you. Don’t lie to yourself.

Now what?  Whose kid has an adorable pumpkin hat knitted by his mother and who doesn’t? Pumpkin head!
That is two blankets, and three hats down…two more hats already on order!

 
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Downhill to 30

Posted by casey on October 15, 2010 in Home, Life as I Know It

This morning marks the day that I am officially on the downhill to 30.  Sure…you could “round up” from 25, but you could also still claim your spot in the middle.  At twenty-six you have no choice, it is closer to 30 than 20. Want to know a secret though???

I don’t mind a bit.  Being one of those “20 somethings” has slowly become like being “that damn teenager driving through the neighborhood”. It is a love hate relationship.

I am making it your job to remind me of that statement when I do in fact get to the big 3-0. (My brother will get there this year. Ha! Old man.)  The year of my quarter century crisis was filled with excitement and change and all of the things Colter and I have wished for together for years.  In fact, the biggest change and best birthday present decided to start his day at 5 a.m. today. “He didn’t want his mom to feel lonely on her birthday and wanted to spend every minute of it with you.” – Colter’s reaction to the early wake up call. Since I’m up,  let me help remind you of a few things that happened in this past year.

- I was knocked up…by my husband…from the moment I turned 25 plus 4 months before that.

- I got the swine flu. Technically.  Now I can oink occasionally for no reason and blame it on a side effect of the “epidemic” that is the flu of the swine.

- My husband was gone for two weeks of every month. This allowed for me to sleep in the center of the bed with a massive pillow the dogs and I named “pillow palace” to hold up my belly, and support my hips, and raise my swollen ankles.  That was the only perk of him being gone.

- I took a new job as a third grade teacher from a fourth grade teacher.  Then, I left that job for maternity leave prior to him being born. Then I changed jobs and became a mom, full time.  The first one paid the best, the middle one was the most relaxing, the last one feels the best.

- I gained 34 pounds, another chin and a waddle. I then lost 44 pounds and the chin but kept the waddle. Kidding.

- Then well, the end of February until now pretty much sums up with “I had a baby and I can’t remember anything else.”

As my birthday approached this year, I was just as excited because you know how I love birthdays…but then as this week came, I forgot that it was almost my birthday.  I blame the loving birthdays on my mother and the forgetting it was my birthday on a sad, teething, sleepless child.

Speaking of children isn’t it funny that as a child you could list three hundred useless things you would like as a gift and now I just want health and safety for my family? Okay…and the boots I bought myself…and a cake… and a glass of wine.  Oh yes, cake and wine.  Mostly health and safety though…with a side of cake and wine.

Disclaimer: If anyone from the Texas Lottery Commission is reading this I would also be more than willing to accept a massive lottery winning.  That would be completely reasonable and under the umbrella of “health and safety” since I would then be able to afford a personal chef and bodyguards.

I think that is all completely reasonable.

It is going to be pretty difficult to top my year as a 25 year old, so Universe, here is your challenge.  I bet you can’t make this year any better than last year!   Without further adieu, and please feel free to join in and make it a sing-a long…

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, Happy Birthday to me!
(And, many, many, many, many, many, many, moooooooorrrrreeeeee)

 

 
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Read With Me II – Week Three

Posted by casey on October 10, 2010 in On My Nightstand, Read With Me

I could offer up my list of “reasons” also known as excuses why I forgot to post this two Fridays ago, and then two days ago but I will spare you.  It seems as though Read With Me II has become an every other Friday occurrence instead of weekly! I will tell you this though, I am reading and intrigued and only wish I could sit and do nothing but read this straight through to the end.  Alas, it isn’t to be, so I will keep getting after it chapter at a time.  Many of you I am sure have gone and read ahead since I haven’t put up the new assignment or discussion questions, but please still leave your input!

Discussion Topics: Chapters 5 Through 11

Remember, you can leave your responses by posting in the comments section or you can e-mail them to me at lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com!

1. In Chapter Five we began to learn the details of Blomkvist’s assignment with Vanger.  What was your first impression of the detailed manner in which Vanger recalled that day and has investigated it?

2. Do you think that Erika Berger didn’t want Blomkvist to go to Hedeby Island because of personal or professional attachment? Why?

3. If you were leaving your “big city life” to spend a year on Hedeby Island, what is one thing you would pack to bring with you to help you survive so to speak?  What would you have to leave at home that you would miss most?

4. Thus far, what do you believe to be the most challenging part of sorting through this investigation/Blomkvist’s job of solving the mystery is?

5. Reaction to learning of Lisbeth’s “guardian” and not having the rights to control her own money?

Next Week’s Assignment?
 – Chapters 12 – 15

Don’t Know What I am Talking About?  Grab your copy, catch up with Week One , Week Two and Read With Us!

 
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Tis the Season for Pie Bread!

Posted by casey on October 6, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

Last year I posted my Pumpkin Bread recipe for you.  That recipe is almost as famous as my apple pie.  Colter refers to it as Pie Bread.  Soooooo, I am reposting it for you since with the fall weather change we are all craving any and all things fall.  It makes a scrumptious gift and even freezes perfectly, so make some for now and store some for later!

Pumpkin Bread

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees

 INGREDIENTS:

3 cups of canned pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

 (On the three spices above, I like to go on the heavier side.  You can even add more to your taste or keep it light if you don’t prefer it.)

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Grease and flour two loaf pans

2. Mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

4. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until well-blended

5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans

6. Bake in preheated oven, Cool on a rack when done.

Bake at 350 Degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour

(Use a Knife to See if It Comes Out Clean)
If you bake both loaves at the same time it will increase your baking time and you will have to continue to check them in 5 min increments.

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