Monday, September 15, 2014

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Acorns

I was never a straight A student in school…from junior high all the way until my senior year of high school, my grades mostly consisted of B's, C's, and a couple of D's.  I was painfully shy and in my mind, suffered from what we know now as social anxiety disorder.  Except I like to call it, school anxiety disorder.  

There was just something about being in a room full of my fellow students that just made me very nervous.  Even if my closest friends were in the class, I still felt anxious.  
I was always worried that if I blurted out the wrong answer in class or if I had a booger sticking out of my nose, everyone would poke fun at me.  Which, let's face it, they probably would have….because children, tweens, and teens can be very mean.  I spent the majority of my educational years locked up in a silent bubble.  

It wasn't until I went to college when I learned that it was ok to be myself and that it was ok to blurt out the wrong answer in class.  I like to consider my college years as actually being the best educational years of my life.
I am trying very hard to make sure my children do not follow in my foot steps.  I reiterate to my daughter over and over that it really is 'ok' to ask the teacher for help…and that you should raise your hand if you have a question.  Chances are, someone else may be wondering the same thing but just may be afraid to ask, like I was all those years ago.

I hope they take my advice to heart and realize that mommy does know a thing or two about life ;)  
Aren't these acorns cute?! Truth be known, they've been circling Pinterest for a few years, which is where I found them.  I was in a 'fall' mood yesterday and decided to put them together.  

These are super easy and super fast (or like my kids like to say…speedy quick) to make that I actually caught Ava (my 8 year old) putting some together for her friends while I was doing the photo shoot above.  They only require 3 ingredients too!  That's it!  I have no clue why I've waited till now to make them.  

If you're looking for a great way to usher in the fall season, these are it!  Gather the children in the kitchen, make these acorns, and pass them out to everyone you know.  They will love you for it!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Acorns
(makes 70 acorns)

1 (12 oz.) bag of mini-chocolate chips
1 (8 oz.) bag of mini Nutter Butter cookies
1 (12 oz.) bag of Dark Chocolate Hershey Kisses

1.  In a microwave safe bowl, heat 1 cup of the mini-chocolate chips on high for 10 second intervals. Stir in between each interval.  Stop heating when all of the chips are melted and smooth.
2.  Dip the flat end of a Hershey Kiss into the melted chocolate and top with one of the mini Nutter Butter cookies.
3.  Dip the flat end of a mini-chocolate chip into the melted chocolate and stick it on the opposite end of the Nutter Butter.
4.  Place acorns in the fridge until ready to serve.

**Libby's Notes:  If you have a child or know someone who is allergic to peanut butter, use mini vanilla wafers or mini Ritz crackers instead of Nutter Butters.

Recipe Source:  From the blog, Six in The Subarbs.  Original recipe can be found here.  

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Creating Your Own Baking Station {Kitchen Organization}

I'm taking a break from recipes today to talk about kitchen organization.  
The above is a picture of my baking station (aka the baking zone).
If you enjoy baking, then creating a specific area in your kitchen for this task will help you tremendously.  

How many times have you put an ingredient down on your grocery list because you were certain you didn't have it?  You run to the store to purchase it, only to find out a few days later that it was hidden in the back amongst all of your other supplies in your cabinet.  

By creating a baking station, you will know where everything is, instead of going through ten thousand different items in four different cabinets.  It will save you money and also save you lots of precious time.

A Look Inside My Station:
(not the prettiest or biggest, but we do live on a military base so keep this in mind)

The place in the kitchen where you find yourself doing the most baking is probably where you want your station to be.  I use my Kitchen Aid mixer when I bake, so for me, it was just a matter of where I placed my mixer and the cabinet space located above it.

I'm going to break it down shelf by shelf for ya:

I'm a short person (think 5'4") so of course I'm going to place all the baking ingredients that I use on a regular basis on the bottom shelf.  

Items include (but not limited to):
granulated white sugar, all purpose flour, self-rising flour, cake flour, bread flour (not pictured), Crisco,
Bakers Joy, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon, chocolate chips, etc.

When we first moved into this house, I had everything sprawled out inside the cabinets.  There was no rhyme, reason, or method to it.  It was driving me nuts trying to find certain items, so I searched Pinterest for some organizing ideas.  The idea of using a lazy susan to house small ingredients kept popping up. 

So I took my butt to Wal-Mart and purchased a few of them.

I installed them inside the cabinet and presto….I can find what I need without the hassle of going through ten thousand different ingredients.  Plus, I just love spinning it around :)

There's not a lot of wiggle room on the second shelf, so I decided to place all my baking spices, extracts, and different types of sugar that wouldn't fit on the bottom shelf onto this one….

The very top shelf houses those baking items that I rarely use, but still would like to keep out.  It's shaped at a weird angle so space is pretty limited up there, however, I was able to install another lazy susan as well.

And there you have it my friends…your own personal baking station…

The military is supposed to move us again in another 3 years, but you can bet that in our next house, I will be setting up a station there as well ;)

Do you have a specific area in your kitchen made just for baking?  If you do, tell us about it.

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