Fig Bars

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I have three 100-year-old maple trees in my yard.  One in the front, one on the side, and one in the back–all closely surrounding my house.  My house is like a cocoon, tucked neatly under the blanket and protection of the leaves.  These trees I love in spring and summer, but fall…well, that’s a different story.

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I know that trees have this internal clock, and it starts with the falling of one leaf.  It reminds me crisp mornings are on the horizon.  Then they really taunt, letting a few more leaves drop.The days are getting shorter, they remind me.  School will be starting soon, they gently whisper in the wind.  I will be slowly dropping all my leaves and you will spend every weekend in the fall cleaning them up, they laugh with the drooping of their branches from the heavy load they bear.  This is what I hear mid-August.

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(This picture is from 2 years ago on Halloween, when half the leaves had dropped.  Matthew thought tromping through the leaves was a blast.  I just thought the smaller the leaves become, the harder they are to sweep up.  Sigh…) Continue reading

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Frozen Hot Chocolate

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“I can resist anything except temptation.” Oscar Wilde

As an English major in college and an English teacher these past 12 years, I have read my fair share of great classic literature.  Oscar Wilde wrote my favorite play, The Importance of Being Earnest, and if you have not read it, I suggest you do.  I dare you to not laugh out loud as you read this!  (Don’t ask me about the movie adaptation as I haven’t seen it.  This is mainly do to the fact that I may not like it and then it will forever taint my view of this beloved play. Please tell me this isn’t weird.)

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This quote is not from that play, but every time I read it I laugh.  Out loud.  And quite honestly, I can resist many things, but this dessert…Nope. Nada. Negative Ghostwriter.  I have been making this for 6 years now, and every time I offer it to others, they can’t resist it either.

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The best way to describe this dessert is that it is a cross between a slushie and a milkshake.  I make it in summer; I make it in winter. I make it when I have have a craving for chocolate; I make it just because.  And you should too. Enjoy! xoxo Continue reading

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Star Wars Birthday Party

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My baby, Matthew, turned 6 a few weeks ago and insisted on having a Star Wars themed birthday party.  And when I say insisted, it was all he could talk about.  His only restriction: “No Princess Leia!”  This, or course, hurt Grace’s feelings, because that’s the only character she likes.  Sigh…

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For the past few years we’ve had his party at our house, but with Matthew getting older, and boys being so active, I decided to have it at a park.  So they could run around.  And pretend they were Star Wars characters.  And just be boys.  And eat lots of food and spill and it doesn’t matter because we’re at a park.

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On Amazon, I found this AMAZINGLY HUGE Storm Trooper–like 6 feet amazing.  The morning of the party I sent Eric and the kids out to get it inflated while I stayed home and made cupcakes.  When he came back this was his brief story. Continue reading

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Healthy Banana Bread

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I have a problem.  Maybe you have this problem too.  It goes a little something like this: buy too many unripe bananas at the store; take home and set in a fruit bowl to ripen; all ripen at the same time; bananas coming out my ears; get tired of eating bananas; promptly forget about bananas and eat other fruit instead; bananas become overripe and almost gross-looking; certainly won’t eat bananas now; shove in freezer and forget about it completely.  Repeat process next week.

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And it certainly doesn’t help that every time my kids see bananas, they shout in their best Minion voice, “Bananas!”  Help me, please.  So when I opened the freezer last week and a few frozen bananas fell out onto the floor because I have too many shoved in the freezer, I realized I needed to do something about it.  Hence, banana bread.  I have posted another banana bread recipe here, and I think I talked about my problem then also–bahahah!  (If you’re looking for banana dessert recipes using very ripe bananas, try banana cake or banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  You can’t go wrong with either of these!) Continue reading

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Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Scones

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It NEVER fails.  Every time I go to a coffee shop, I always order a scone with my drink.  I don’t know what compels me to do so.  Maybe I subconsciously think that my coffee will taste better.  Maybe I just really like scones.  Rarely do I order the same scone, but I always order the same drink.  I know, I’m weird like that.

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I have had scones that are dry, dense, and hard.  (Maybe that’s where the coffee/scone combo came into my head–the coffee helped me eat the scones!)  These scones are flaky and soft and anything but dry.  The cinnamon adds a nice touch and is not overpowering at all.  Eating it with a dab of the lemon cream makes it taste like heaven–light and refreshing.  Continue reading

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Farmers’ Market Quiche

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One of our favorite things to do on Saturdays (besides eating a big, homemade breakfast and letting the kids stay in their pjs–see this post) is to go downtown to the Farmers’ Market.  I love being able to get fresh produce for the week and the kids love being able to pick what they want for lunch, after looking at all the food vendors.

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After shopping, we grab our lunch and sit down to eat, listening to the music by local musicians.  Being a musician myself, it’s fun to point out the various instruments to the kids.

Matthew said he wants to take harmonica lessons, that is, after he learns to play cello and air “cutar.” (Guitar apparently is a hard word to say–either that or he really misunderstood how I pronounce it.)

Unfortunately, my kids are picky eaters, but as they grow, and are introduced to more varieties of foods, they are getting better.  This is one dinner they really like.  Matthew said, “Double thumbs up, Mom,” which I think is kid-code for a really good meal, and Grace said, “Save the recipe.  I am glad you made it this time without squash.” Haha, the mouth of kids!

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Cherry heirloom tomatoes and fresh corn work best in this recipe, but you can use frozen corn and roma or beefsteak tomatoes if you’re in a pinch.  The Ricotta and Parmesan cheese add a nice balance to the egg and vegetable mixture, as it doesn’t feel too heavy or too egg-y. Continue reading

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Chocolate Pudding Surprise

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When my grandmother passed away years ago, I was given her recipe box.  To say I was honored was an understatement.  She was the best cook and baker I knew, and instilled in me a love of baking.  I was rummaging through her recipe box and came upon a recipe that my aunt have given her in the mid-70s.  (Pudding and jello desserts were all the rage then, apparently.)  What caught my eye was that it appeared similar to a recipe that I received in my inbox a week prior.

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So, I decided I would combine the best of both and create something new.  This is now my favorite, easiest dessert ever.  It has a cookie dough base, then it’s layered with cream cheese, pudding, and cool whip, and topped with toasted nuts and chocolate curls.  And then you put it in the fridge to chill overnight. What could be easier than that?   Continue reading

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