Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Zoo Date with Cubbie Bear

For most people with small children in clubs or school, I guess there is usually a rite of passage families go on - taking the "class mascot" HOME!  This is our first experience with it and Margo got to take home Cubbie Bear from Awana.  She was ecstatic on Sunday night and has wanted to take Cubbie Bear everywhere.  So, we got to take him to the zoo!  I was pretty nervous that we would loose him, break him, or get him dirty but Margo was very responsible with him - and I kept a a close watch.  But like Jim said, it wasn't a live hamster or anything so I think we'll be fine!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Good Read...

Only for a Master of Divinity graduate's daughter!

New Dress

Pretzel Day!

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt


Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Duck Pond

Margo was totally freaking out while we fed the ducks today... scared that they would bite her, but loved seeing the ducklings and ran after them trying to give them all the breadcrumbs they would take!

Train Museum

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jim's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes


We celebrated Valentine's Day a day late, but on our engagement anniversary and Jim has been wanting me to make these cupcakes for a while now.  They were definitely worth the three hours it took for me to figure out the recipe - don't worry, it's not has hard as I made it!  So without further ado...
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

¾ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter (  ½ sticks), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
4 ounces chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 6 cup muffin tins, or line with papers.
2.     Combine peanut butter and powdered sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Set aside.
3.     Whisk four, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
4.     Combine butter and granulated sugar, beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add chocolate and beat until combined.
5.     Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture and beat to combine.  Add vanilla and mix well.
6.     Fill muffin tins half full with batter. Spoon about ½ tablespoon of peanut butter mixture on top of batter (do not spread).  Spoon remaining batter over peanut butter.  Bake 15-18 minutes.  Cool and frost with your favorite chocolate or peanut butter icing. 

I used homemade peanut butter frosting with the following recipe: 

½ cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup Brand Name peanut butter, room temperature
2 cups powder sugar, sifted
2-4 tablespoons milk or cream

Cream butter and peanut butter together with an electric mixer.  Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until well blended.   Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, to mixture and beat on medium-high for 3-4 minutes.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

“for God so loVedthe world,
♥♥♥ that he gAve
♥♥♥♥♥his onLy
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ soN
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ That whosoever
♥♥♥believeth In him
♥♥♥♥ should Not perish,
♥♥♥ but have Everlasting life.”
John 3:16

Friday, February 10, 2012