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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

{Candy Man Cookies}

Tomorrow is the premiere of my favorite TV show.

Note, I said MY favorite TV show. This time last year, when I made these Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes,  you'll note I said OUR favorite show.

The other day, I said to the Bean, "omigosh, our favorite show is coming on in a few days!!!".
To which he relied, "You mean YOUR favorite show".

A little piece of me wilted right then. A little piece of me that will never been green and happy again.

Kids are mean.

Now, granted, his favorite show is pretty dang cool. I mean, it's Doctor Who. However, he went on to tell me that Sherlock was number 2. Ok, gosh dern it, I LOVE Sherlock too, but when did this happen? When did we grow soooo far apart? I mean, my favorite show is now his third favorite? People, are you picking up what I'm putting down?

Or, it's possible I'm being overly dramatic. 

Scratch that. That cannot be true. 

Anyway, MY favorite show comes back on tomorrow. The problem with watching these cable shows is the fact that they are a literal YEAR from one season to the next. Network shows have a 3-4 month hiatus in the summer, but cable? A full year. That's just meanness.

However, in a little over 24 hours, I will be sitting down to watch the adventures of Shawn, Gus, and the Blueberry.

Psych is coming back!

photo property of USA Network

Now, if you don't know what Psych is, refer to my above link about the cupcakes. I tell a little about it there. It's a witty show, full of mystery, a fake psychic, real crimes, and oodles of 80s references.

What's not to love.

In the Season finale (in APRIL OF LAST YEAR, FOLKS), Gus had gone candy crazy. He was shoving it in every chance he got. So much so that this exchange took place:

Shawn: "You have a problem, Candy Man."

Gus: "I make the world taste good."

which is funny, cause of this song.

Get it. hahahahaaha.

So, I made some cookies for Gus.

I think he will appreciate them, they are chock FULL of candy.

I started with a basic, buttery cookie, to which I added over 2 cups of candy.

Cause. Candy.

I love this recipe. I have used it for years. I use to to make chocolate chip cookies, of course. I sub in some oatmeal to make an oatmeal chocolate chip, I use it to make M&M cookies, Butterscotch cookies, some cocoa powder to make double chocolate chip cookies, it's a great blank slate of a chewy, buttery cookie.

For these cookies, I added a ton of candies. As I mentioned, over 2 cups.

I used M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, Nestle Crunch, Butterfinger, Heath Bar, and a Hershey Bar.

I also used Milk Duds, but there is a trick to them. Cut them in 1/2 and place them in the center of your ball of dough. If they get to close to the edge of the cookie, they will goo out and make a bit of a mess.

Any Psych fans out there?

Do you think Gus would approve?

Cause my guys sure did.

I had to eat one (or 11) to deal with the emotional trauma inflicted on me by the Bean's declaration that we no longer share the same favorite show.

Growing up is hard.

I hear it is for the teenagers too.



Candy Man Cookies
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
 2 cups all-purpose flour
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
 1 egg
 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
 2 cups candy of your choice, chopped, if bars

Preheat oven to 325. 

Line sheet with parchment or a silpat mat or grease the sheet.

Add your melted butter in a mixing bowl along with the sugars, until well combined. Beat in the egg and egg yolk. Add the vanilla. Mix in the soda and salt. Add the flour about a 1/2 cup at a time.
Mix in the candies.

Bake for 13-16 minutes

Allow to sit on sheet for a few minutes before moving to cooling racks.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

{Fondant Ducks & Frogs}

Today was my friend Stephanie's baby shower. Steph and I met because she taught at the Bean's elementary school. She was a 6th grade teacher, but we found out long before he made it to her class that we were destined to be friends. Once he made it to her class, she had to keep reminding the other students that he didn't get any special treatment because we were friends. Haha.

Over the last several years, I've watched a lot of things happen in Steph's life. Dating. Bad dates, ok dates, and finally, finally The One. Her engagement. Her bridal shower. Her wedding (which I have claimed to be the only wedding I'll ever be the photographer at. My nieces probably have an opinion on that matter though!). In the last 2 years, since they've been married, I've seen her sadness as another month passed and no baby. Last June we decided to book a trip to Disney World & The Wizarding World of Harry Potter together. Plans were finalized in July, and can you guess what happened next? YES! Baby. As you can tell by this post & this post, we still made it to Florida. Steph just couldn't ride all of the rides. We still had an awesome time!

So, now we are in the final countdown. Baby Zeke will be here in a month and there are just so many people awaiting his arrival! 

Today, as I said, was the shower. I asked to make the cupcakes for the event. I knew right away I wanted to make Blue Velvet cupcakes! The recipe is by my friend Heather of Sprinkle Bakes
My personal favorite cupcake is the French Toast cuppies by my friend Darla of Bakingdom, so I decided I must make those as well.

I wanted to make something adorable for the tops though. I came up with the idea of duckies pretty quickly, but it wasn't until this very  morning that I decided to add frogs and lily pads. Hey, I'm a planner. (Ok, normally, I am, seriously).

This is only about my 4th time working with fondant. (I use the Marshmallow Fondant recipe, also by Darla. It's easy and while still very, VERY sweet, it's much tastier than regular fondant.)

So, I'm still a noob too. When I tell you these ducks, frogs, and lily pads are easy, I'm being serious.

For one duck you'll need:

1 large (size of a quarter) yellow ball of fondant
1 medium (size of a dime) yellow ball of fondant
1 tiny (size of pin head) orange ball*

paintbrush (used for food purposes ONLY)
food writer

*what I have pictured is actually too big

 roll into an oval, flatten the bottom, and then pinch the back to make the tail.

dab on a bit of water and then attach the head

Now, you can kind of reshape his body as needed

Dab on a bit more water and attach his beak. This is the most tedious part.

As you attach it, pinch the ball so it becomes more beak shaped.

Now, I very highly recommend the Americolor Gourmet Writer. I've had other writers that aren't good at all. Food writers are just food coloring in pen form.

Dot on his little eyes, and... that's it! Allow them to sit out and dry a bit so they are sturdier.

For one frog you will need:

1 large green ball of fondant (the size of a bouncy ball)
2 small white balls of fondant (the size of peas)

paintbrush (used for food purposes ONLY)
food writer

just dab water in two places on the top and attach. WAY easy.

draw in his pupils, nose, and mouth and you are done!

For the lily pads, I didn't even take process photos. They are just a green ball, smashed. Cut out a tiny pie shaped section with a knife, and then add flowers. You can shape little guys by hand, but I used a teeny tiny fondant cutter for mine.

To get rid of excess powered sugar, simply brush away with a dry paintbrush (used for food purposes ONLY).

Want to see them on top of the cupcakes?


As you can see by this photo, all of my ducks are different sizes. I think they are cute that way.
On the ducky cupcakes, I also added sugar pearls to look like a bubble bath :)

Yes, I totally bought her a Mickey Mouse bodysuit with personalized ears!

Happy baby, Steph & Bobby!! We can't wait to meet little Mr. Zeke!

Tina <3

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

{Hogwarts Letter Cookies}

(See all my Potter recipes here & my HUGE Potter Parties here: 2012 & 2013)

You know what today is?

It's my best bloggy friend's birthday!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DARLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darla, of Bakingdom, LOVES birthdays, so I wanted to be sure and do something for her today. Something more than shipping a gift across the country (I totally got her the 10th Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver), something that took time and a lot of thought.

I wanted to have a party for her!

So, I gathered up another one of her friends, the amazingly talented Heather Baird of Sprinkle Bakes. Heather has a treat for Darla today on her blog too, be sure to check out this Firefly cake inspired by Kaylee's Dress. It's GORGEOUS, of course: Kaylee's Dress Cake.

By the way, be sure to check out Heather's book, Sprinkle Bakes (no, she didn't tell me to mention her book. I mention it because I have, and love, it. It's just beautiful). 

I went through a lot of geek ideas for Darla's birthday.  TARDIS cupcakes? Red Shirt Red Velvet cake? Hunger Games Oatmeal cookies?

Then, I stumbled upon this idea from Glorious Treats.

And a noise in my head, people, it was audible, I swears, went DING. 

What does Darla often talk about never receiving?

Her Hogwarts Letter!

The cookie I made here is BIG. It's a good 7"x4". You could make them smaller, but your letter would have to be either smaller (text is tiny as is) or you'd have to fold it more.

You'll make 3 cookies of the same size, like shown on Glorious Treats. For the middle cookie, you will remove the center of it before baking.

As you assemble it will look like this

(ignore the powered sugar on my counter, kay?)

Put the bottom and middle cookies together with a royal icing.

Then, put your letter inside. A little more royal icing and add the top cookie.
Be sure to fold your note to one side (I folded mine in 1/2 again after this photo), so it will not get torn when you break/cut into it).

Glorious Treats did a great job making her cookies perfect and even. If you can do this, you can probably pull off using the Flood and Fill method with Royal Icing.

I was not so successful as you can see in this photo.

Enter fondant. I used an easy Marshmallow Fondant. It's by Darla herself.

Cover with your fondant and allow it to sit out and dry for a bit. This will make it easier to write on with a food writer.

And there you have it. 

A cute, addressed cookie. You can add your real address, of course. I don't think that Darla would have been to excited if I'd published her home address on the internet though ;)

Other things you can add are things like "the Cupboard Under the Stairs", "The Smallest Bedroom", "The Bedroom at the End of the Hall", etc.

Now, you have a big darn fondant covered cookie. They will have no idea what lies inside though.

Oooh, what's that peeking??

(this photo was for demonstration only, you can see it was clearly folded again in the middle so it would not get torn in half when cutting into the cookie)

Congratulations, Hogwarts wants you!

You can make this in lots of different shapes, Glorious Treats has done a pumpkin, Christmas Drums, & the heart I linked above, but I thought that this Hogwarts letter was perfect for my geeky, Potter obsessed friend.

Happy Birthday, Darla, I hope your day is as wonderful as you are!

Stop over to Bakingdom or Bakingdom's Facebook to wish her a happy day! Tell her Heather & Tina sent ya! :)

Tina :)

If you haven’t already,  you can ‘like’ my Facebook page here, and follow me on twitter here, and you can follow me on instagram here.

(See all my Potter recipes here & my HUGE Potter Parties here 2012 & 2013)

Things needed for this project:

Hogwarts Letter (made by you)

*you will still a stiff icing to assemble the cookies even if using fondant to cover, but you will need a very small amount.

Linked up at Bakerette's Show Us How You Rock Link Party

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

{ Honey Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub }

So, the Bean is recovered from the flu, YAY... but, last night he started Driver's Ed.


That is dumb. Where does time go?? Yesterday he looked like this.

Right? 1998 was NOT 15 years ago. That. Is. NOT. Possible. The end.

However, for some reason, I was out taking him to Driver's Ed last night. And it was snowing.
Big snowing. Like, flakes the size of kittens. It was In.SANE. No snow plows to be seen, so, on about 75% of the 20+  min. drive, I was laying the first set of tracks.


Now, we really didn't get much snow, only about 2", but plowing through that in my car was rather stressful.

However, I made it there in "only" 50 minutes.

Then, I had to stop and have coffee, because stress. It was good. White Raspberry Mocha, thankyouverymuch.

This is the road in front of my house.

No, I wasn't driving at the time.

Now, the snow is all melty, because Ohio weather is stoopid, and I have to take the Bean back to Driver's Ed tonight. And tomorrow. And next week.

So, I'm grumpy, and I should have made chocolate, but I didn't.

This is not a food post.

I'm sorry.

Wait, not really. Cause this is good stuff.

I have painfully, chronically, perpetually dry sky.

People who say dry skin is better than oily skin do not have painfully, chronically, perpetually dry skin.

But, I didn't have acne in high school, so, maybe it's not that bad.

No, no, wait yes it is. haha.

This stuff is amazing on my dry, cracked heels and elbows.

This is a cheap alternative to expensive sugar scrubs & you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now.

It couldn't be simpler.

Just mix Brown Sugar & Cane Sugar (also called turbinado sugar or sugar in the raw), olive oil (or melted & cooled coconut oil), honey, and vanilla together.

Store in a jar. You can buy fancy jars, or recycle. This used to be a mushroom jar.

This is super great and inexpensive for gifts!

This is the consistency you should have.

To use, use as you would any other sugar scrub, and save dollars while you are doing it!

If you are using this on your feet, please DO TAKE CARE. The oil will make them a little slippery until you dry them off!

Now, to the next on my list, is Coconut Oil. Coconut Oil has about 1 million uses.

No, seriously, it's the new wonder drug. Wonder oil? Wonder product?

Anyway, here is a listing I found for some uses. Now, some sound a leeeeeeeetle sketchy to me, but I'm not suggesting you try all of them, just saying, there's a list. Points ----------> List.

The problem with Coconut Oil for a moisturizer is that it is hard and you have to scoop it out. There is an easy fix to that.

A mixer.

Just plop the amount you want in the mixer and whip for a few minutes. It will become a light, fluffy cream. 

Now, it's easy to use as a moisturizer!

Coconut Oil will liquify at 77 degrees F, so make sure it doesn't get too warm.

You can whip in a little Aloe, Vitamin E liquid, or some essential oils for scent, but this is pure Coconut Oil and that works just dandy.

So, there you are.

After the watching the pretty snow melt all day, and having to drive Mr. Bean back and forth to Driver's Ed, I feel I deserve a little pampering.

And chocolate would have been nice.


Honey Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub
recipe by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers 

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Pure Cane Sugar*
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together.

Store in an airtight container.
Use as you would any other sugar scrub.


Friday, February 1, 2013

{ The Big Cheesy Dip }

 The Bean has the Flu.

No, he didn't get the shot. No, I don't want to discuss that. ;)

For the last 4 days, he's been planted on the couch. Whenever he is sick, he pulls the coffee table up next to the couch, adds a few (or 12) pillows, a couple blankets and declares "A nest has been established". Then he barely moves.

The cat must sit with him when he's sick. All. The. Time.

In those last 4 days, I will tell you that we have definitely gotten our money's worth of Netflix Streaming. We've watched The King's Speech, Good Will Hunting, The Adventures of Tin Tin, Sahara, The Decoy Bride, and several episodes each of Mr. Bean, Firefly, Doctor Who, The Vicar of Dibley, and The West Wing. Not to mention all of the DVRed shows we've watched.

And yes, we do have a penchant for watching British shows. Is it any wonder over 1/2 of the suggestions Netflix makes for me are British?

The Bean is doing better. Still achy, dizzy, with a sore throat, and very tired, but no more fever or chills! Yay! 

He's improving. Except when I tell him to do his make-up work for school. Then suddenly he is SO sick. Tragic.

We are not football people at all. In fact, I have no idea who is playing on Sunday. All I do know is that the coaches are brothers. I saw that on the news today at noon. Didn't catch the team names though. Oops.

However, we were going to go to a Super Bowl Party with our Youth Group on Sunday.

We are staying home instead. Keep the flu germs all here in the house.

You know, so I can get it next week.

I was going to take this to the party, but... no.

I made this dip on New Year's Eve.

We very often have a party food, that my mom makes called Hanky Panky (unfortunate name, I know). I asked her to make them for NYE, but she didn't  have any of the cocktail bread required. 

So, I made it into a dip. The Bean L-O-V-E-D it.

Look, I know there are lots of Cheeseburger Dips out there. Many involving ketchup in the dip.

This is not one of those. This is, however, a very unhealthy dip, ie, it's really yummy.

Let me just tell you, there are some things in life that can't be made without the creamy, orange loaf.

This is one.

If you are opposed to a little Velveeta, this recipe is NOT for you. 

Scroll down. Banana Muffins. Goooooooooood. (No Velveeta involved).

This is a super simple recipe.

Just brown up hamburger & sausage with onion, dice up some Velveeta, plunk in a crock pot, add a lil milk. Done.

Serve with Tortilla Chips or Fritos (Scoops are best).

I severed this with a round loaf of Rye Bread, but it's much better with chips. Of course. 

This is a hearty dip, great for Super Bowl (and lots of other) parties!

Get your game on. Go, fight, win.... um, one of those brothers. I feel like awkward holidays await them, as the one flashes his Super Bowl ring and the other seethes in the corner. 

Maybe not, maybe they are fabulously well adjusted and will hold no grudges.


Happy Snacking!

The Hopefully Flu Free Tina

The Big Cheesy Dip

1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 to 1/2 pound ground Italian Sausage *
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (optional)
1 pound Velveeta, diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk **

Fry the burger, sausage, and onion in a skillet. Do not salt (the cheese and chips will add plenty of salt to the flavor).

When fully cooked, drain any excess grease and transfer to a Crock Pot. Add the velveeta & milk.
Allow to cook on LOW, for about an hour.

Crock Pot times vary greatly, so check it occasionally, and stir if needed.

*You can add more or less of the sausage, depending on the flavor you want.
**You can add more or less milk depending on how thick you want the dip.


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