Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin-shaped Buckeyes. {Recipe and Printables}

Last week was awesome. I can't wait to tell you about my trip to Auburn (go Tigers!) and Atlanta, and I have several books and things I'm excited to share as well. However, it will be Halloween in two days and I've been meaning to share my special creation with you. I suppose this could be a Halloween OR Thanksgiving treat, since it's not really spooky or anything like that. (Although, I would love to see someone make these into some little ghosties or something!)

First of all, do you know what buckeyes are? My mom used to make them for Christmas, only they are called "peanut butter balls" at our house. They are traditionally dipped in milk chocolate and are basically like homemade Reeces Peanut Butter Cups. They are goooood. These are only slightly different, as they are dipped in white chocolate. (This is probably obvious to you, but the switch to white chocolate was made in order to dye the chocolate orange for pumpkins.) They turned out super cute and delicious, in my humble opinion.

Pumpkin-shaped Buckeyes

Mix together the following ingredients, until well-blended: 1 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup butter (softened), 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3 cups powdered sugar (or as needed, until dough will form a ball that will hold together and not fall off of a toothpick).

Form peanut butter mixture into 1-inch balls. At this point, I recommend placing the formed balls into the freezer to chill. It is not necessary, but will make the rest of the process easier.

Prepare some "stems." I used Jolly Rancher bites, and used kitchen scissors to cut them into quarters. You could probably be creative about what kind of candy you use here, just as long as it's about the right size and color.

Melt candy-coating white chocolate. The package you buy includes a microwaveable tray, so you just pop it into the microwave. Follow the instructions on the package so the chocolate doesn't become lumpy or crystallized. Add red and yellow food coloring until you have orange-tinted white chocolate. My tip here is to use a very high yellow to red ratio. A little red and a lot of yellow seemed to give us the best "orange."

Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer and dip in chocolate. I did this by inserting a toothpick into each ball and rolling the ball around in the chocolate until coated. Set on aluminum foil or wax paper to dry. Meanwhile, place the stem at the top of the pumpkin (while chocolate is still melted).

And, voila! So easy, and cute! (If I dare say so myself.) If you'd like, you can print out some little bag toppers if you want to gift these in ziploc baggies. Just print these out at 4x6 on some cardstock, fold them in half horizontally, and staple onto the baggie. What cute fall treats are you making? I'd love to hear about it or see photos! Happy Fall!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Franken-tines: Adorable Halloween greetings for people you love.

So, I don't necessarily consider myself a huge Halloween person. I do, like many folks, enjoy a good costume party, festive Halloween treats, and watching the old Alfred Hitchcock film, Wait Until Dark. But aside from those pleasantries, I view Halloween largely as a stepping stone to more important holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That being said, I have spent more time over the past two weeks preparing for Halloween than I have in a very, very long time. Possibly ever. No, I haven't done any decorating or even picked out a costume. But what I am sharing with you today has consumed a large, slightly embarrassing amount of my time.

I've always enjoyed making treats for people. I pride myself on my baking skills, and the selfish part of me thrills at all the compliments I get for the treats I make. The unselfish part of me likes to see people happy as they wolf down empty calories before they can help themselves. I have fond memories of the elaborate Christmas-treat trays my mom makes every year. We would bundle up in the car and drive them around to friends and neighbors. Sometimes my dad would slow the car down to around 10 miles per hour, roll down the windows, and blast Christmas music on the radio while we waved to the empty, snowy streets as if we were in a parade. Silly, I know. But we thought it was hilarious. I always secretly thought to myself proudly, "Our treats are better than everyone else's." What a little snot I was. But really, they are beautiful. My mom always has the perfect assortment of chocolate and non-chocolate, the right balance of colorful greens, reds, whites, and neutral fudge-y colors. The treat-making is a highly supervised process which is staggered over several days, with the perfected treats being preserved in the freezer until game-time. The "ugly" treats--whichever ones are too misshapen, slightly burned, or otherwise non-presentable--are usually the ones we eat around the house.

Do you think my family is crazy right now? Well, I like our crazy.

Anyway, I got started thinking about what kind of awesome Halloween treats I could make this year. I really liked the candy-corn sugar cookies I made last year, so I planned on making them again. But, what about presentation? What is a delicious cookie if presented unfashionably? Really, has my mother taught me nothing? As I began brainstorming, I became flooded with clever Halloween puns. (I must also credit best-friend Maggie for helping me with several of these ideas!) And before I knew it, my idea had morphed into something different. I had begun collecting ideas, essentially, of how to say "I love you," Halloween style. The little cards I had begun designing were much like ones you see around Valentines Day. And therefore, as you have by now figured out, I called my little creations Franken-tines! (They were briefly called "Halloween-tines," but made way for a much catchier name.)

Okay, too much talking. I am excited about these. They are fun, and the perfect way to say "Happy Halloween" to co-workers, neighbors, friends, whomever. Save 'em, print 'em, share 'em with all your friends. I hope you like them like I do. Happy Halloween to you!


Notes about printing: right click on the image and hit 'save as.' You can then print the image you have saved to your computer. Make sure you select "full page" and "shrink to fit" when you are preparing to print. Otherwise, the images will get trimmed. We wouldn't want that. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits

This isn't much of a real post, just little announcements I will be talking more about in the coming days that I didn't want to keep to myself!

{one} I tried CrossFit yesterday. For the first time. I have wanted to do it for so long, and well, it looks like I am gonna try it! For at least a month. (I've never wanted to spend the money to do it--I will let you know if I think it is worth it! I am participating in a reduced-rate-first-month deal.) The initial consultation consisted of a "baseline" workout that included 500m of rowing, 40 lunges, 30 situps, 20 pushups, and 10 burpees. I am so out of shape that I totally was out of breath and dizzy at the end, and it took me 8 minutes and 32 seconds to do it. We'll see how it goes in a month.

{two} I am making some AWESOME Halloween printables. I think they are going to be called Franken-tines (you know, like Valentines?). They are adorable and I am going to give them out to all my friends. They are replete with silly puns (just a sneak preview: picture a mummy, with the catchline, 'you've got me wrapped around your finger.'). I think they're way fun.

{three} I finally gave in to the smart phone trend. Goodbye, ancient flip phone, hello iphone! I never thought I would say that. I think it's gonna be a committed, long-term relationship.

What are your Tuesday Tidbits?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ohio! {Visits to Kirtland and Sandusky}

Last Monday and Tuesday the dental school had Fall Break, so we decided to take a little jaunt up to Ohio. Road trip! Our trip had two different facets:

First on our trip was a stop at Punderson State Park, where we camped for the night. We could not have asked for better weather that afternoon, and the place was beautiful. That is, until it began to rain mercilessly from sundown to sunup. Our friends, who were traveling with their three little girls, had brought a comfortable-sized tent for their family. We had also brought a tent--a two-man, that would have been okay, except one of the poles was broken and we just weren't so sure how it was going to hold up in the rain. It was standing okay, but it looked kind of like a Charlie-Brown's-Christmas-tree tent, and it seemed like it could've given way under the slightest pressure. So the 7 of us piled into the Laus' tent and posted up for the night. My favorite quote of the evening was when I asked Eliza how many people she thought could fit in their tent. We were all already sitting in the tent. She looked around thoughtfully (no doubt practicing her math skills) and said, "Well, probably all of us minus the two of you." Nothing like the honesty of a 4 year-old.


Waking up untouched by rain felt like such a miracle. We packed up camp, hopped in our cars, and drove to Kirtland, OH. Kirtland is home to some pivotal and very interesting LDS Church history sites, including the Kirtland temple, the Newel K. Whitney Store, the School of the Prophets (housed in the store), and some of the living quarters of early saints. It was all very cool.

After spending a few hours in Kirtland, we hopped back in our cars. . .

. . .and landed at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, OH! We spent the rest of Monday and all day Tuesday cruising around the indoor water park like a pack of 10 year-olds. It was soooo fun. 

I just love vacations. I really feel so blessed to be able to pack up and go relatively easily. Here's to another string of hard-workin' weeks!

Wanna link-up to talk weekends? Check out Sami's weekend linkup.


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