Saturday, June 22, 2013

Caramel Mocha Punch {Perfect for Summer Play Dates!}

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Even though we’ve lived in our town for seven years, I haven’t actually developed friendships here until a few months ago (since our church was in a town a half hour away, so were all our friendships). But now that I’m plugged in with a mom’s group, I’m loving having friends near by! Since the ladies I’m getting to know have kids my age, play dates are the way we develop friendships. And what better way to enjoy conversation with a new friend than over a cup of coffee? Between painful knees (I just started running!) and the craziness of repainting our downstairs, my house has been a bit chaotic lately. So what better place to enjoy a play date than at the park?

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Perhaps I was hoping to wishfully will some nice weather into existence or maybe just a craving for summertime, but I thought a cold coffee punch would be a great way to accompany some chatter while the kids play. I picked up some Gevalia Espresso Roast coffee (I wanted the leftovers for when I make my caramel lattes), caramel syrup, vanilla syrup, hot chocolate and Safeway Select chocolate and vanilla ice cream at Safeway. The night before our park play date I brewed up 12 cups of coffee (I was expecting a decent turn out of ladies despite a bad weather forecast). Mixed the coffee with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of hot chocolate mix. Then let that sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning I mixed the coffee/hot chocolate mix with 1 cup of vanilla syrup, 1 cup of caramel syrup and half a carton of each ice cream.

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I love my Safeway (I am a master of using their Club Card) and that you can always find something fun in the midst of all the groceries. I picked up this double decker drink dispenser for under $20. I was impressed that it’s sturdy and glass. I mixed up the Caramel Mocha punch in the top and some iced hot chocolate for the kids in the bottom (I figured they’d want a special drink too).

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I made some of my favorite oatmeal, butterscotch coconut cookies and at the park set out the punch, cookies, extra caramel and vanilla, cool whip, cups and a marker to write their names on the cup. Setting everything up on a couple of placemats helped class things up a bit.

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In typical Willamette Valley fashion it rained during the play date, but we still had a great time! The other moms loved their coffee and cookies and the kids had fun serving themselves their punch.

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I love being able to connect with other moms in my community, and be able to provide some yummy treats to accompany our time.

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The kids had a blast in the rain! They rode bikes, played on the playground and just had fun being wet.

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And, of course, I couldn’t resist making myself a hot caramel latte when I was home later. I really like the flavor of the Gevalia—rich, smooth and definitely not bitter. I think I’ll have to make more of this punch when we have sunshine again!

Thanks for stopping by!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Favorite Cookie Recipe Perfected {Oatmeal, Butterscotch, Coconut Cookies}

My Favorite Cookie Perfected - Oatmeal, Butterscotch, Coconut

 

I experimented with this flavor combination back when Reese was a newborn and her tummy was too sensitive for me to each chocolate or dairy. Add that to the fact that I can’t have nuts and I was desperate for something to satisfy my sweet tooth. I used my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe (found on a Quaker’s can once and saved ever since), used crisco for my fat, and tried out the butterscotch/coconut combo because that’s what was in my cupboard. I don’t usually love either of those flavors, but something magical happened when they were put together.

 

My Favorite Cookie Perfected - Oatmeal, Butterscotch, Coconut

 

I’ve since been able to add chocolate (and some dairy) back into my diet, but I still find myself loving these cookies the best. In the quest for cookie perfection I have played with various butter/Crisco/flour combinations to achieve the right balance of chewy cookie and buttery flavor. After seeing THIS post about chewy chocolate chunk cookies, I had one more element to tweak (adding cornstarch). I tried it out yesterday, and I don’t think it’s possible for these cookies to get any better. The flavor is just the right amount of sweet and the texture is soft and chewy.

 

My Favorite Cookie Perfected - Oatmeal, Butterscotch, Coconut

(Paired with a yummy soy caramel latte for a yummy snack this afternoon.)

 

Oatmeal Butterscotch Coconut Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (do not substitute Crisco, even butter flavored, it’s just not the same)

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1+ teaspoon vanilla

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups oatmeal

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup coconut

 

1. Heat oven to 350 (my oven tends to be cooler and takes longer to bake so I always up this to 355)

2. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.

3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well until dough starts to get fluffy.

4. Add flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt; mix well.

5. Mix in oats, butterscotch chips and coconut; mix well.

6. Drop by rounded tablespoons (I like to use my scoops) onto ungreased cookie sheet.

7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen.

 

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

 

Parties I like to link up with:
Made with Love, The Sunday Showcase Party, Weekend Wrap Up, Show and Tell Saturday, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Take a Look Tuesday

Monday, June 10, 2013

Just for Fun

Hey there! We’ve been enjoying some sunshine in my neck of the woods (where summer doesn’t really start until after the 4th of July), so I’ve been working on my tan instead of anything crafty! I thought I’d make a silly request of you today, though…

 

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I’m kind of absolutely in love with this little girl and can’t help but stare at her almost all the time. So I thought it would be fun to enter her in the Parents Magazine cover contest and she could use your votes if you’re up for it. You can vote HERE.

 

Just a little something completely non- crafting/sewing/creating/inspiring related, but still something dear to my heart.

 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is off to a good start!