Oct 31, 2012

pumpkin molasses cookies!

 can i just say how incredibly soft & just plain delicious these cookies were? wow. i wolfed down THREE whole cookies in one afternoon. probably shouldn't broadcast that but we'll just blame it on the pregnancy. or the fact they were seriously THAT good. so excited to share the recipe with you today!

pumpkin molasses cookies:
{yields 24 cookies)  

ingredients:

2 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 TBS butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup molasses
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling

directions:

1. whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and pepper
2. working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. add the brown sugar, molasses and pumpkin puree and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. add the egg and beat for 1 minute more. reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spice disappear. if flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, mix the last of the dry ingredients by hand to avoid over beating. you will have a very soft dough.
3. divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. freeze for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least an hour. the dough is sticky, so the longer time if can chill, the easier it is to work with.
4. preheat oven to 350 degrees. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. put the sugar in a small bowl. working with one packet of dough at a time, divide it into 12 pieces, and roll each piece into a ball. roll the balls in the sugar and use the bottom of a glass to press down on the cookies until they are between 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. transfer to cookie sheets. do not over crowd.
6. bake the cookies one sheet at at time for 12-14 minutes, or until the top feels set to the touch. remove baking sheets from the oven. let cool 5 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a cooling rack.


i dare you to just each one... ;)

happy wednesday!
              

Oct 29, 2012

a chilly & stormy night here in raleigh...



it's a chilly & stormy night here in north carolina. all the more reason to have a cozy fire in the fireplace, snuggle up in a pile of blankets and drink some hot cider. hope everyone is staying warm!

Oct 24, 2012

paper mache deer head!


as i was planning out how to decorate our little one's nursery, i found myself always admiring (and drooling) over these faux deer heads i kept seeing online. the only problem was that they were so expensive. i thought about making my own but didn't have the slightest clue on how to do it. thankfully, there's pinterest and a DIY blog called lil blue boo. after reading ashley's tutorial on how to create your own paper mache animal head, i made the bold move and dived right in. i admit though, that i was a little nervous it would turn out to be a complete disaster seeing as this was my first experience with paper mache BUT with the help of some friends, it came out so much better than i expected and for only $20, i'm pretty much in love with it! so let's get started...

  
the first items you'll need are newspaper & masking tape. take the newspaper and start crumpling it in different size balls until it's the shape you need and then wrap it in masking tape. this is how you'll shape the head. this step took me several tries until i was happy with the general shape of the deer head. just keep shaping & taping until it looks something like this...


i opted out of making a neck for him because it was just more work than i thought necessary but if that's something you want, just keep using that same process you used for the head. i then cut out an oval shape from my cardboard and attached the deer head.

the next step is making your paper mache paste. i used 4 cups of water + i cup of flour. bring to a boil and keep stirring until it has a "soup-like" consistency. if the paste seems a little thicker than what you think it should be, that's fine. just make sure the mixture is smooth and all the flour is dissolved. while the paste is cooling, cut some paper towels in different size pieces. i found that the smaller pieces helped keep things smoother and easier to apply.

dip the paper towels in the paste, cover the entire head and let dry overnight (or longer if need be) - while the head was drying, i shaped antlers and ears out of cardstock & masking tape. the antlers were a challenge, so i suggest looking at a picture for reference.

once the head is dry, attach the antlers and ears with masking tape and then cover with another batch of paste and paper towels. this time, feel free to go thicker and take your time to shape the head to look exactly how you want. this is how it should look when you're done with the second layer of paper mache...


as you can see, i only added the paper mache at the base of the antlers and ears to help stablilize them. let the head dry for 24 to 48 hours (mine needed two days to completely dry) - once that's done, cut up small pieces from an old book and mod podge them all over the head, cardboard, antlers and ears until it's completely covered (this will take some time) but be patient and keep covering...


once the head was dry, i attached it to a wood plaque i bought at michael's using industrial glue and then some small wood nails around the edge to secure it. a staple gun is recommended so if you have one, i would suggest using that instead of the wood nails. 

i let the glue settle for about a day and then we hung it up on the wall! here's the finished result...


and that's it! it took several hours and the help of a couple friends but it was such a fun project and i saved some money in the process. can't beat that! happy wednesday!

  
 

Oct 23, 2012

an evening stroll in the park.


 our walking boots.
belly bump.


i love walks in the park. it's a time to just relax, enjoy the weather and reconnect with joel after a long day. it's enjoying the simple things...

happy tuesday!