Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recipe: Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons

Because we live in the Frozen North, it snowed again last week - enough snow that my sweet neighbor was again in my driveway with his snowblower clearing the fluffy white stuff for me. Of course his act of service meant I needed to bake some cookies so I enlisted Sophie's help and this is the recipe she chose. It can be found in Martha's Cookie Cookbook.


  • For the cookies:
  • 3 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

  • Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons cream of coconut, or unsalted butter, softened (I used butter)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Make cookies: Stir together coconut, granulated sugar, egg whites, coconut extract and salt in a large bowl. Refrigerate, covered, until cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Form heaping teaspoons of dough into balls; space 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Gently flatten to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges begin to turn golden, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.

Make filling: Put butter, cream of coconut and shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add confectioners' sugar and coconut extract; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Assemble cookies: Place a heaping teaspoon filling on the bottom of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Transfer to a platter; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until filling is firm, about 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

I have no idea who bit into that cookie. Certainly not me as I am trying not to eat sugar . . . ok, it was me. The macaroons are delicious and I liked but did not love the filling. I just cannot stand shortening in a frosting of any kind. I would use butter to replace the shortening next time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Make Marshmallow Fondant

As promised, here is an instructional video for making your own fondant. It is so easy to do and I certainly did not come up with this idea on my own. I googled it years ago.

Things you should know:
  • Sophie filmed this in real time
  • I have no editing capabilities so this is straight from camera
  • Several times she got tired of holding the camera - look for those moments
  • You can hear Calvin in the background despite the fact that I asked for 2 minutes of quiet
  • Try not to notice that I get more "cleavagey" as the video progresses
  • I did not have a wardrobe person to tell me to wear a different shirt
  • I do not like how I look on film - specifically those extra 20 pounds I could stand to lose
Oh well, it is what it is and I hope you find it useful!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Roller Madness

I found some poor quality shots of Max's birthday party (which was back in February . . . don't judge). Looking back I remember a couple of things:

  • I would like to stop having birthday parties altogether.
  • When did you stop giving birthday parties - what age?
  • The roller rink was LOUD.
  • There were several blatant fire code violations at that establishment.
  • A thousand other people felt the need to skate that day.
  • My kids do not know how to roller skate.
  • Neither do I.
  • Max chose chocolate dipped shortbread heart cookies instead of a cake.
  • He had a GREAT time and received lots of Star Wars Lego's (his favorite thing right now).
  • Bringing a book for me to read was overly ambitious.
  • Three hours (four?) was a bit too long - for me.
  • I am glad his party was NOT at my house.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dear Target:

Your rain boots suck. I guess Calvin will be getting some Bogs too.

Edit: REI has kids Bogs on sale for $35!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rainbow Jigglers

This is the snack I made for St. Patrick's Day (except I started late and they were not done until the next day - whatever). I rarely make jello, so the kids thought this was a special treat. It does take a bit of patience, but they really are pretty when done! There are lots of recipes online for these - the white is made with knox and sweetened condensed milk.

Interstate State Park

Monday was supposed to be the nicest day of spring break week so I loaded six kids in the car, met up with Kelly and headed out to do some hiking. The forecast said 50 degrees however, the warmest it got was a balmy (OK freezing) 38 and cloudy. We drove a little more than an hour North to Interstate State Park. Before we left I had the kids watch a video about the geological pot holes the park is famous for. Though many of the trails were still too icy, we were able to see many of the pot holes and have a great time climbing on the rocks and trails.

The park is on both sides of the river in Minnesota and Wisconsin and we visited each side. On the Wisconsin side we had the coldest picnic ever by the river and then went on a hike we later dubbed "The Poop Walk" by the amount of animal droppings we had to navigate. The kids informed me the droppings were from an herbivore, because of their shape and contents (don't ask how they found that out).

We will have to go back and visit again when it is warmer and I imagine the park would be simply gorgeous in the fall. One word of warning: the trails travel along many cliffs so you need to have enough adults or older kids to hold the hands of every young child.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break

This is spring break week for the kids
It's a busy little week
On Saturday Max had strep
He is on penicillin and is feeling much better
I'm so glad he can swallow pills these days
On Saturday I took Sophie and her doll Kirstin to lunch at the American Girl Doll store
Calvin came too and Sophie's friend and her Mom
It was actually quite fun and rather adorable
There were approximately 500,000,000 people at the mall
That was not in any way fun
Calvin wanted to spend several hours in the Lego store
It about killed me
On Sunday we stayed home (because of Max and his infectiousness) and did nothing
Books, games, naps
It was delightful
Did I tell you I gave up sugar for Lent?
Yes, I am still Mormon
It was my sister's idea
I made it 10 days (10 days!!!) before eating a brownie from my Visiting Teacher
I blame my lapse on that "time of the month" and general PMSing
Do not get between me and chocolate when I have cramps
I am back on the sugar fast until Easter
On Easter Sunday I am planning to eat an entire bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs
I took the kids hiking today
It was supposed to be 50 degrees
It was 38
It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow and snow on Wednesday
Why do we live here again?
The kid's Dad is supposed to be flying in on Thursday to spend the weekend with the kids
They have not seen him since last summer
Needless to say they are incredibly excited and have been talking about nothing else for weeks
I hope and pray it all works out and they have a lovely, lovely time together
The divorce is now finalized

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's Starting to Feel Like Spring!

Several feet of snow still color the ground in our yard, but yesterday temperatures soared into the 40's! We took advantage of the warmer weather and the sunshine by heading to the zoo. We walked the outside loop and most of the animals were outside actively enjoying the sun as well. It is pretty wet and muddy, but worth the mess to be outdoors once again!

Welcome spring! we'd like to invite you to stay please.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breakfast Today

My kids reminded me last night how cool it was last year when I served a green breakfast on St. Patrick's Day. Guess who was at Cub Foods this morning at 6:15am?!

Green apples, green grapes, green milk and green donuts. I was tempted by the donuts, but stuck with the grapes instead (they were gorgeous but sour). The kids were pleased with this so not healthy, but fun start to the morning!

Sadly I cracked the glass jug the milk was in today - :(

Craft: Rainbows

We did manage to make a rainbow craft for St. Patrick's Day. Honestly, this craft is better for older children as the chenille sticks hold better with hot glue.

Start with pairs of matching lids (we eat a lot of Greek yogurt around here). I wanted these rainbows to stand up, so I used hot glue to attach a clothespin to the back of each lid.

Give each child a set of lids.

Let the children fill each lid with glue and then stick the cotton balls to the glue to form the clouds.

Flip the lids over and give each child one pipe cleaner of each color. They will need to trim a little off each color except the red (I did this before I gave them to the kids). Have them bend the sticks into the shape of a rainbow and then glue them to the back of the lids.

Once dry, stand up and enjoy!