creativelifetolive

using everything he gave me… this is my creative life to live.

The Perfect No Bake Cookie – Step by Step July 4, 2012

RED, WHITE and BLUE

and NO BAKE COOKIES

These are the perfect treat for the 4th of July!  These tasty chocolate cookies don’t sport the typical red, white and blue flare that you might expect from a 4th of July snack but I never forget to make these the night before because if frozen – they are ideal to pack in your picnic basket before heading out to the lake, pool or park!  I freeze mine in a Costco size cream cheese container in advance and grab them on our way out the door.  They are delicious frozen and don’t melt  into a puddle of chocolate oatmeal sauce while you play on the water. 

Many of my friends have asked for step by step directions for my No Bake Cookies – Enjoy!

In a medium size saucepan melt 3 tbls cocoa, 2 c sugar, 1/2 c milk and 1/2 c butter.  Stir occasionally until  it reaches a gentle boil.  Boil gently for 1 minute then remove from heat.

Stir for 30 -60 seconds allowing your chocolate mixture to cool slightly

then add 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 c peanut butter. 

This step is the make or break it step!  Be sure NOT to add the peanut butter while the mixture is to hot.  This is the most common mistake.  If the temperature is too hot, your peanut butter will break down and your cookies will not set up and remain a shiny, gooey mess. 

Stir until the peanut butter is completely combined and your chocolate

mixture is smooth and creamy. 

Add 3 cups Quaker Quick Oats and stir until well combined.

4) Drop by heaping tablespoon on to wax or parchment paper and allow to set for about 30 minutes.  Most often I use a 1″ cookie scoop but sometimes I vary the scoop size for larger cookies all the way to a full size ice cream scoop.  If you use a larger scoop, gently press the top center of the heap with the rounded underside of the scoop to flatten each one as you go.

Ta-da!  The perfect No Bake Cookie!  Ready to eat or freeze. 

They freeze well up to 2 months in an airtight container. 

*Tip from my kitchen to yours:  If you make cookies in the quantity that I do as you’ve seen in previous posts then I recommend you pre-portion your dry ingredients into ziplock baggies.  In my cupboards I keep a 2 gallon ziplock that has 3 sandwich ziplock bags with the 3 c oatmeal in each one and 3 sandwich ziplock bags with the 2 c sugar and 3 tbls cocoa.  All I need to do in a pinch is grab one bag of each and add the milk, butter, vanilla and peanut butter. 

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A Cookie Monster Bash – Ethan’s First Birthday Party July 2, 2012

I can’t believe our little cookie monster is already a year old!  I’ve been planning his first birthday party for about 9 months now, down to the very last detail!  I’ve been handmaking 3 banners and many signs, embossing every napkin, preparing many batches of cookie doughs, planning and making games and even had Grandpa hard at work on some amazing outdoor activities for the littles.  Aside from not so great weather the party went off without a hitch.  We had over 60 guests and an absolutely amazing photographers who captured every moment. 

Photos were taken by our dear friends Jamie Crone and Gina Sainsbury and we are blessed by their talents.  Not only was I able to host the party and visit with everyone – I didn’t miss a moment because of the 600+ photos that were taken. 

THE INVITATION

 I used a variety of rubber stamps, cricut cartridges, paper punches, and my sewing machine to create the ticket effect as seenonpinterest!  See the 3rd and 4th pictures below…

 

Banners, Decor, Signs and Games

I used my Cricut to cut 12 letters that hung from above the garage.

I hand paperpieced several signs – I love how this banner turned out!

Plus I’m taking it apart to use as accents in our family scrapbook.

A small poster that has baby pictures of David and I for comparison.

I sewed small cookie beanbags for the littles to toss into Cookie Monsters Mouth.  inspiredbypinterest!

My dad this amazing “Cornhole” game that is double sided.  One side is blue and we put laminated cookie monsters that I made out of cardstock on it – the other side is a great terra cotta color for everyday use!

My father made these tire teeter totters for the smaller kiddos – if only we’d had better weather for the kids to be out playing more!  inspiredbypinterest!

This next project took me months (a year actually) but actual months to put together.  I used a picture for each month of Ethan’s first year as the 1, 2, 3 oclock stations on this clock whose hands are adhered at 1:38 (pm) the time Ethan was officially welcomed into this world on June 6 of 2011.  The detail is the border – a picture from every day of the year.  Well just about, for some reason I missed some days in October but it turned out amazing!  This is put together on a peice of left over sheet rock from when David was finishing the interior of our garage.  It’s painted to match our dark walls and will soon be hung on the lighter walls that grace our stairway to the upstairs.

The quote I put in the center of the “clock” is the quote that is engraved on our wedding watches (the gifts we gave to eachother) as well as on Ethan’s first scrapbook layout which details his every moment of his 15 day stay in the NICU.  I love this quote, it is truly timeless.  QUOTEBYHENRYVANDYKE 

I use the Canon IP1700 and it has so many print options for sizes of photos.  Each border picture is only 1/4″ squared in order to fit them all.

inspiredbythispinonpinterest

One last sign will be shown at the end of this post…

 

The Buffet is open!

Da-da the grill master manning his post…

 

 

 

Sweet Street – My Dessert Buffet

I bring home milk jugs from work to recycle and one day as I was rinsing one out from Costco I thought – there is something here for the party – these can make great cookie monster cookie “jars!”  It worked great!  The eye’s had to be bolted on after we spraypainted the outside.  We made 3 of these cute jugs.

My party tip for the beverage bar is to make ice cubes of each drink you are serving.  This way your beverage stays cold and when the ice melts your beverage doesn’t get diluted!  I made white milk and chocolate milk cubes, blue raspberry kool-aid cubes and orange sherbet cubes for the monster juice.  It works great and looks fabulous!

 

Click here to see some of my cookiemonster inspiration

 

The Cakes

I made Ethan a small banana cake so we wouldn’t end up with blue carpet.  He wasn’t very interested in it though – too many people and new toys around!

My First birthday cake for my baby!  David had to help work the fondant and Grandma piped the rice crispie cereal head I created to assist due to my terrible hand strength.  The cake turned out so cute!

 

A COOKIE MONSTER FAMILY

When you choose your party theme… commit to it!  I had cookie monster in my,  a neclace, a ring, cookie monster fingernails and toenails, made a shirt for Ethan with a cookie monster patch and found a tee-shirt for dada!  My men are so supportive of their silly momma and what fun we had!  Happy birthday my sweet little Ethan – Next year I’m thinking TOY STORY!

I will link recipes soon for all my tasty creations!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

 

Three Day Weekends to the Rescue February 20, 2012

I Loooove three day weekends!  They are just the perfect length of time to do all the things I’d like each weekend.  It’s President’s Day today and aside from the “perfect storm” that was the latter part of Saturday this has been just an ideal weekend. 

Friday evening we tidied up the house, did laundry and enjoyed a great movie: Warrior

Saturdays are family day in our house.  We take Ethan swimming at the Y, go our for lunch and do what ever shopping needs to be done.  This weekend aside from our normal stop at Huckleberry’s to get organic fruits and vegies for Ethan and their AMAZING Chicken Artichoke Pasta Salad for us, we decided to take advantage of all the Presidents Day Sales around town.  This little momma has been spoiled with a new stainless steel microwave, stove and dishwasher (fridge yet to come) as well as a new leather sofa and finally… my dream come true… a new giant squishy leather rocking/recliner chair!  Oh how I’ve longed to have a big cozy rocking recliner in my tv room!  All in all our day was busy but pleasant – especially when we top it off with dessert at FroyoEarth “Cake Batter” yogurt covered in Butterfingers!  YUM!!!

So we made it home to relax and have some good food.  Saturday night was Ethan and Momma night as Papa had guys night to attend.  Cut to a PerfectStorm for the rest of this evening – oy!

Finally it’s Sunday!  I survived the “storm” that was Saturday night and have awoken after a long, warm and restfull slumber.  It’s 9am.  Feed Ethan Breakfast, eat my breakfast, prepare and freeze 3 lbs of taco meat, 2 pot roasts, 6 baconeggandcheesemcmuffins, 4 mini meat loafs, feed Ethan lunch, prepare 3 pans of greenchilisourcreamchickenenchiladas with roasted tomato and corn rice, 2 batches of homemade chili, pureed pears, pureed apples, cook dinner, bake Smore’sCookies for dessert and sit down to watch the CostaConcordiaDocumentary with my boys.  Whew – it’s now 9pm and I’m exhausted.  I’ll watch a little Celebrity Apprentice with David before hitting the sack. 

The brilliant part of all of this is I still have today.  A Monday with no work!  A day for momma to spend in her studio blogging, crafting, sewing, watching movies and playing with Ethan.  That is the beauty of the 3 day weekend.  A day to spend with the family.  A day to tend to a bunch of freezer meals for my boys.  And a day just for me in my studio.

 

One S’mores Cookie Recipe, Three Adaptations January 23, 2012

Filed under: about me,cookies,recipes — cyurik @ 2:09 am
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“EVERYTHING – ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING – is BETTER with PEANUT BUTTER!”

I recently blogged about a S’mores recipe I came across that were DELISH! but I just knew they needed the one ingredient I grew up on and of course, I even put it on my s’mores by the campfire as a child.  All hail JIF!  So a big shout out to Amber@SprinkledwithFlour for sharing her recipe, inspiring me to add a PB Twist and allowing me to get in touch with twelve-year old me, warming my snowy weekend with plates full of warm cookies!  In the adaptations below I’ve added one main ingredient – the graham cracker and changed them up with peanut butter or caramel…  The base recipe is the same as shown in the link above except the changes noted below AND – I ALWAYS use DARK BROWN SUGAR!  I never even buy regular, dark is just too delicious and gives my cookies the extra umph I’m always looking for.

Adaptation #1 – The Caramel Hypothesis: When my husband first tried the original recipe last weekend he loved them but also said “mmm, I bet these would be great with caramel in them!”  A collegue at work wondered the same thing and mentioned Ghirardelli Caramel Squares.  I thought maybe a layer of milk chocolatey and caramel goodness would be magical for them both…  While they were yummy I did discover that the caramel has a tendency to explode in the oven a bit.  If you filled the pan with a solid layer of graham crackers and wanted to spend a small fortune on the good stuff (Ghirardelli Squares) then I bet they would be less messy when baking…

 Adaptation #2 – The Peanut Butter Permeation: I thought I’d try adding PB in two ways to be thorough in my research.  First I mixed it directly into the cookie dough creating a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie base with marshmallows and hershey bar added on top as the recipe states.  It gave it a more peanut butter cookie texture with a little crumbly action and was fine but I knew it wasn’t quite living up to it’s full potential.  My stroke of brilliance came when I spread the PB in a hearty layer on a graham cracker square, added my scoop of cookie dough then added marshmallow and hershey bar as the recipe calls for.  YUM!!!

Adaptation #3 – The Stay Puft Stratum Innovation: And the winner is…  ahhh yes…  the cookie with a layer of marshmallows on top of the peanut buttery goodness!  I prefer this version for it’s simplicity – now there is only ingredient to add 4 minutes from the timer buzzing (Hershey) but am torn because I love the look of the of the toasted marshmallows baked into the top of the cookie and I also love the look of the marshmallows barely reaching the surface of the cookie when a layer of them is added on top of the PB.  I’ll probably just continue to make them both ways from here on out! 

So there you have it, it’s like Nutter Butters and S’mores met and had a gooey little love child for all to enjoy!  Remember to have a glass of ice cold milk on standby!  Happy Dunking!

 

S’mores Cookies January 16, 2012

Filed under: cookies,recipes — cyurik @ 12:06 am
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 Yummy S’mores Cookies are a Big Hit!

 I came across this recipe recently and just knew I had to try it sometime.  After battling several weeks of illness in our household I decided we deserved a treat after our Sunday family dinner tonight (resolution alert!).  I prepared them exactly as the recipe states, but stay tuned…  I have some twists coming as while these were magnificent – I remember S’mores just a bit different growing up so I will be putting the Yurik spin on the recipe in the near future.   

 Now get baking and don’t forget a tall glass of MILK!

 

Christmas Cookies 2011… December 19, 2011

Filed under: Christmas,cookies,family,friendships,recipes — cyurik @ 12:03 am
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Christmas Cookies 2011

Each year I bake up literally a TON of cookies to share at the office, with friends and family.  Two years ago I hit my record of 1260 cookies.  This year I almost doubled that hitting a grand total of 2000 cookies (22 varieties) for Christmas!  I started in late October, creating balls of cookie dough and freezing them in hopes of streamlining the baking process in December and it worked wonders!  I baked hundreds of cookies in just 3 evenings with this game plan and received rave reviews for my efforts.  It was so much fun!  Hmmm, how many should I aim for next year and what new and exciting delivery method will I come up with?  Time to start planning!

Stay tuned for a list of the types of cookies and recipes…