Ada’s Frozen 5th Birthday Party!

Ada turned 5 last month! She reminds us daily that she is 5 now. We celebrated with friends and family in Frozen style, would you expect anything less? :)

I did all white food to make it feel like a wintry-snowy-land. Cauliflower & jicama with Ranch dressing for dipping. Powdered donettes, marshmallows (that everyone mistook for mints – so I’ll just do mints next time), turkey & Rondele cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Sprite & water to drink!

karainthekitchen.com .jpg

I borrowed all of my mom’s Christmas tree collection and I think they looked perfect around the cake! I used Duncan Hines Blue Velvet cake, my buttercream frosting, then topped it with rock candy (I saw the idea from a friend who saw it on Pinterest) and an Elsa. I’m so happy with how it turned out! Ada was in awe :)

Frozen Cake - karainthekitchen.com.JPG

I made snowflake sugar cookies and had a station with frosting and sprinkles for the kids to decorate their own:

karainthekitchen.com .jpg

Sweet girlfriends playing ring around the rosie:

Frozen party - karainthekitchen.com.jpg

Matt’s dad surprised everyone and showed up as Olaf!

Frozen party - karainthekitchen.com.JPG

All the party goers after the piñata. Did you know that they have piñatas now that you don’t have to hit? This one had ribbons that hung down and each person pulls a ribbon until you get to the one that opens it. Ours didn’t quite open enough and I had to rip it more, but I thought that was so cool!

Frozen party - karainthekitchen.com.JPG

My big 5-year-old while all of her friends sang Happy Birthday to her :)

Frozen party - karainthekitchen.com.JPG

I think we got all of the Elsas in this picture!

Frozen party - karainthekitchen.com.JPG

We also had Frozen playing on the TV and had some impromptu singalongs with popcorn after all the food and cake. I’d say it was a success!

Happy Birthday sweet Ada! Thank you for making me a Mommy 5 years ago and teaching me so much. Love you baby girl :)

Lemonade LA & Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Cookies

A couple of weekends ago, we went down to the Los Angeles LDS Temple for Stake Temple Day. It is so peaceful there. IMG 4543

We love going back to where we were married :) A big thank you to my in-laws for watching our girls for the day so that we could do a session together!

IMG 4551
I was sent the Lemonade cookbook to check out (isn’t it pretty?):
In reading it, I found that there are multiple Lemonade locations in the Los Angeles area. We decided to try one out after the temple and headed to the Brentwood location.

IMG 4553

Matt loved his Braised Short Rib Sandwich, and we all loved the Arugula Strawberry Salad and Red Quinoa Salad with Apples. Matt’s brother said the Ahi Tuna was the best thing he’s ever eaten and my sister-in-law raved about the Brussels Sprouts. The recipe is in the cookbook and I can’t wait to make them!

My uncle and I both got the Blood Orange Lemonade and it was sooooo good! I just asked the girl which one was the sweetest & she was right on.Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies  - karainthekitchen.com

I decided to make the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies on Sunday and they were awesome! We munched on them while watching the Oscars :) They have a crispy, sugary bite around the edges and are chewy on the inside.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies  - karainthekitchen.com

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
I doubled this, because when is one dozen cookies ever enough? :)
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two baking sheets, or line with silpat or parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Put the butter and sugars in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a hand-held electric beater. Beat on medium speed until light a fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the peanut butter, beating well to incorporate. Add the egg and continue to beat until well combined.
  3. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar mixture in 2 additions, beating just to combine. Do not overmix or the cookie dough can become tough. Turn the mixer off and fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula, until evenly distributed.
  4. Using a small scoop, put the dough on prepared pans about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are just set on the edges but still fairly soft in the middle. Cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

This post contains an affiliate link, thank you for supporting me!

Creamy Christmas Fudge

Merry Christmas!! I tried to make a fudge recipe that claimed in the title to be “no fail” – and it turned into a big ugly brick of chalky mess. Boo :(

The next day, I pulled out a recipe I’ve had forever. It turned out to be a total winner! Smooth, creamy, and totally addicting. I need to give more away before I eat it all!

Hope you enjoy it!

My husband, mom, brother, sister, and her boyfriend all give their stamps of approval!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Creamy Christmas Fudge
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (one stick) butter
  • ⅔ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 inch pan with foil, letting the foil hang over the edges, and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Once the mixture starts to boil, continue stirring for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add marshmallow creme and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
  6. Add vanilla and stir.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and let cool to room temperature.
  8. Score fudge into 1-inch squares, then place in refrigerator until firm, 1-2 hours.
  9. Remove fudge from pan by lifting sides of foil and cut through the scored lines.

 

Making Sugar Cookies with Ada

Every Christmas growing up, we would make sugar cookies for Santa with my mom. I remember learning how to roll out dough, cut out shapes, and decorate cookies. When I told Ada that I used to do this with her Nonnie, she just laughed and said, “That’s weird!”

Unfortunately, these cookies didn’t make it until Christmas. We’ll just have to make another batch for Santa :)

It’s really hard for me to give up control (especially in the kitchen), so baking with children is a good exercise for me. I just try to relax, know that it’s going to be messy, and keep my cool. Ada couldn’t help but lick her fingers every time they got dough on them, so we made many trips to the sink to wash them yet again! Ah, lessons in life.

IMG_1142

She did such a good job! I loved watching her little hands at work.

Sugar Cookies

This recipe is great for children because it doesn’t require the dough to chill in the refrigerator. Which means you get your cookies faster. Wahoo!!

sugar cookies

We used a simple buttercream frosting and decorated with festive sprinkles. I just love a thick sugar cookie with a buttery frosting and crunchy sprinkles on top. I know Santa will be happy!

IMG_1188

I hope you and your children will try making these together! It’s messy but worth it.

I mean really, look at this face.

IMG_1175

IMG_1176

So worth it :)

Simple Sugar Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add egg and mix. Add the powdered sugar and beat well, scraping down sides as needed. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out dough to about ½ inch thick. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut into desired shapes and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

 
Easy Buttercream Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: frosting
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until very soft and light, about three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Enjoy!!

This post was originally featured on Mom it Forward on 12/15/13.

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars

This year, I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap again! It was once again hosted by Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil. For the second time, I have been amazed at how they pulled something like this off! Over $13,700 was raised for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and I am so honored to have been a part of that, however small.

http://www.fbcookieswap.com/

It was kind of a crazy time…coming home from MixedCon in Virginia, Thanksgiving(s), then having to make cookies, photograph them, and ship ’em off to three people! But with a little help from my mom’s old Betty Crocker Cookbook and my best friend (who watched my girls for a few hours), I got it done.

IMG 2707

I looked for an easy cookie recipe that wouldn’t take very long. The second I read about these Toffee Bars, I knew they were the winners.

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars - karainthekitchen.com

They may look like chocolate chip cookies, but don’t be fooled. They have a crisp, buttery bite instead of a squishy, floury one. They are perfect for large gatherings because one recipe makes 48 bars. Bar cookies are also an easy way to save time and not have to keep scooping dough and baking batches. One time and you’re done!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars - karainthekitchen.com

I hope my cookie swap matches liked them, (I know one did)! My family and I sure loved them & I will be making them again soon. You should too :)

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: cookie
Serves: 48
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly cream butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla together.
  2. Add the sifted flour and mix well until combined.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed, then pat dough into an ungreased 15½ x 10½ x 1 inch baking pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
  5. While warm, cut into bars, then let cool completely before removing from pan.

 

 

Thanksgivings 2013

The day after we got home from Virginia, we just took it easy around the house. There were cookies, princess buns, and dress up.

IMG 2610

The next day, we went to visit Nana & Bobba. They have the cutest playhouse for the girls in the backyard that they love :)

IMG 2620

Wednesday night, I got down to baking for Thanksgiving with Matt’s family the next day!

I made Sweet Potato Muffins (recipe coming soon),

IMG 2632

IMG 2637

Apple Pie (recipe coming soon),

IMG 2638

And stuffing. No pictures of it alone because it just doesn’t photograph well! It’s in the pic below on the plate…covered in gravy :)

I was up until 3 AM and got it all done but was too tired to join in the 5K my sister-in-law puts on every year, I was so bummed :(

Marsha hosted down in Lompoc & everything was wonderful at their new place.

Ada & I in a happy food coma! Poor girl got knocked to the ground by her cousin swinging at the park. Why is it that kids just walk in front of swings? It makes me so sad. She hit her chin and it’s looked like a little goatee bruise for the past weeks.

IMG 2640

The whole Miller bunch!

IMG 2661

Love these ladies: Lori, me, Kandie, Karina, & Alissa

IMG 2652

We headed over to Matt’s parent’s for PIE + truffles!

IMG 2665

I found a meat cleaver in the drawer and it was the same height as the pie, so I thought, “Why not?!” Alissa wielded that thing with strength and fortitude.

Princess cousins & pie!

IMG 2662

Lola after a long day!

IMG 2745

The next day, we had Thanksgiving with my family! We had planned on getting our Christmas tree in the morning, but it was raining so we went the next day. I was grateful for the extra sleep & got to making Nana’s rolls!

IMG 2687

Devin & Liz hosted and everything was beautiful!

IMG 2685

I’m hungry again…

IMG 2686

We went and saw Catching Fire the next day with Matt’s siblings & spouses and I loved it! I only read the first book, so it was fun to see what happened next. Excited for the 3rd!

I am so grateful to have so much family in the area and to be living close to them now. It was so fun cooking in my own kitchen and being with family and friends this year! Hope you all had great Thanksgivings too!

How many Thanksgivings do you usually have? – 2 this year. We trade off Thursday and Friday between families every year.

Anyone else see a movie over the holiday weekend?

Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls

Matt signed me up to make a treat for a church meeting (he knows I love this stuff) :) When he told me, I said, “Would cinnamon rolls be good?” He said, “That’s what I thought and someone else said at the meeting!” So, cinnamon rolls were meant to be.

This was actually my first time making them! Crazy, right? I’ve made my Nana’s Christmas Bread which is like a cinnamon bread braid loaf, but never rolls before. Ever since I saw these in my Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook, I’ve wanted to make them. My friends the Hammetts have raved about them and now I know why!

Start with a floured surface and your basic dough…

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

Roll it out nice and evenly (I always have trouble making it a perfect square or circle).

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

Spread that melted butter on…

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

Sprinkle on your cinnamon sugar…PW doesn’t say to spread it, but I just had to. There’s nothing worse than biting into a huge chunk of cinnamon that has no sugar accompanying it. Mix it up!

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

Roll it up as tightly as possible…my first attempt was much better than my second.

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

Check out your log…then slice it! I used unwaxed & unflavored dental floss. Worked like a charm. Who says that?!

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

Look how pretty they are! Let ’em rise…

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

Bake and make your icing. My whisk was dirty so I used the girls’ giraffe whisk :)

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

Add some maple flavoring…mmm!

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

Pour it on top! Oops, I got a little crazy with the icing…got some on the tea kettle!

PW Cinnamon Roll Recipe - karainthekitchen.com

ENJOY!! :)

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 50
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages (4½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 scant teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • Filling:
  • 2 cups melted butter
  • ¼ cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Maple Icing:
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon maple flavoring
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar over medium heat. Stir until warm but don't let boil. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk mixture, letting sit for 1 minute.
  3. Add 8 cups of the flour, stirring just until combined. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  4. Take the towel off, adding the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 cup flour. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Split the dough in half. Flour your work surface and turn out one half of the dough, rolling into a rectangle about 30 x 10 inches.
  6. Pour one cup of the melted butter on the rectangle of dough, spreading liberally to cover.
  7. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon and one cup of the sugar over the buttered dough. Spread and mix with a spatula.
  8. Beginning at the edge farthest from you, start rolling the dough towards you. Work slowly, keeping it as tight as possible.
  9. When it is completely rolled, pinch the dough together, forming a seam.
  10. Slide unwaxed, unflavored floss underneath the dough log to slice. You will get about 20-25 rolls from each log.
  11. Spray pans with cooking spray and place sliced rolls inside, making sure not to overcrowd.
  12. Repeat the process with the second half of dough.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  14. Cover all of the pans with kitchen towels and let rise for about 20 minutes before baking them.
  15. Remove towels and bake for 13-17 minutes, until golden brown. I cooked mine a little longer to ensure all of the dough was cooked through.
  16. While the rolls are baking, make the icing.
  17. In a large bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, milk, butter, and salt. Add the maple flavoring and whisk until the icing is smooth.
  18. Once the rolls come out of the oven, drizzle with icing while they are still warm.