What’s on Your Oscar Ballot? | Oscar Party Cookies

We wanted to do something fun and original for the Oscars (to be broadcasted on ABC this Sunday, Feb. 24: oscar.go.com/) … first we planned to do envelopes or message cookies that said, “And the Oscar goes to …,”. Then we hatched an idea inspired by using only the animated films (largely because we had actually seen them). Oh and then there was the idea of Hollywood Stars and replicas of the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Mann Chinese Theatre or Grauman’s Chinese Theatre), who knew the name/owner had changed again? But I digress because focusing on iconic Hollywood symbols made us think of the ultimate Hollywood icon!

Pictured below with some quintessential gold stars, check out our replica of the famed sign! 


Queen for a Day! | Purim Queen Cookies

It’s Purim again! Last year we made some Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus cut out cookies using bright and vibrant colors to help us retell this biblical story of good over evil (http://yentamamas.com/purim-is-coming/). This year we kicked around the idea of making grogger (noisemaker) cookies or Esther’s crown and Haman’s hat … but none of those ideas were that inspired. Then, just this morning, I was looking for a cutter and came across this little tulip we have and bingo … an idea was born and I said to Elaine, “Look! Mini Queen Esther Cookies!” (it doesn’t take to much to make us happy around here) … so we baked a batch for our friends and got to work with the fun part!

First, we iced the top of the tulip to make her crown, applying a small amount of disco dust (edible “pixie dust” like stuff) to the wet icing to give her crown that royal sparkle.

queen crowns

Then we filled in her beautiful porcelain face. Next, we gave her some perfect red, pretty lips.

Of course no queen is finished without an abundance of hair.


Lastly, we gave her some eyes to see and “blushed” her cheeks to give her a rosy glow.


Queen Esther

Isn’t she just the most darling queen you’ve seen in a while?

Opposites Attract … Brownies and Black Beans! | A Heart Healthy Brownie

When Elaine asked me on Wednesday what we could do for her daughter’s “Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day Party” at school, I got to work, searching on the web for some new twist on an old idea.

Somehow I came across the idea to incorporate black beans into brownies. Finding this idea a compelling one, I found several involved recipes, reading reviews and comments as I searched … until I came across a comment from one person who suggested just using a whole can of black beans and a box of brownie mix and that was it.

Now, I have to say, I know of a similar recipe, with a similar substitution – mixing a whole can of pureed pumpkin with a standard box of golden cake mix – and knowing from experience … this recipe is amazing (and easy and certainly trims the fat content).

So, going on this assumption, I revised my search: “Black Bean Brownies” where the top result from Spark Recipes (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=986481) caught my eye – “Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix Black Bean Brownies” – for Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix happens to be our go-to brownie!

Armed with a can of black beans and a box of brownie mix, I followed the recipe, step by step … modifying the recipe only slightly by draining the beans completely before dumping them in the blender and adding about ½ cup of water before setting it on “puree”.  Lastly, I incorporated the fiber-rich beans with brownie mix, poured it into my pan and baked!

And it worked, my house smelled like brownies, my kids ate them like brownies … then I brought the balance over to Elaine’s where the remainder, were tried and tested by another three kids and one suspicious husband!


I have to say, I would make them again … so there’s something to be said for opposites attract! Try it, trust us, your family might be foiled, but they won’t be lacking!

Did Anyone Ever Tell You, “It’s what’s inside of you that counts …”? | Valentine’s Secret Gift Boxes

Well it’s true! Especially when it comes to these fun Valentine Cookie Boxes we made for our families!

To start, we baked the sides of the boxes, selecting cookie cutters that would work for the size of the secret compartment we needed (enough space leave our candy surprise therein).

After the cookies had baked and cooled, we got to assembling by using one of our whole cookie hearts as a base, piping a small amount of Royal Icing along the edge and setting our cutout cookie on top.

Heart Box 3 cookies


Herat Box bottom layer

Herat Box bottom layer


Heart Box Middle Layer



Next, we added our secret candy surprise!

Heart Box with m&m Then we decorated the tops of the cookies boxes.

Heart Box decorated tops

Then we piped around the edges of the cutout cookie and carefully placed our third layer to the top. Our boxes were complete … well almost!

IMG_6024Phew, now if only we can keep these little treats a secret for just a little longer!

IMG_6023 IMG_6028So … what do you think? What would you add to the interior of your Cookie Box if it were up to you? What do you think our kids will say when they shake their handsome Valentine’s treats tonight and they hear a little something click inside? Shhh … we can’t wait to find out!!


P.S. Our kids loved them and were totally surprised!

“Jar of Hearts” | The Perfect Valentine’s Gift

Not even the sad lyrics of Christina Perri’s song, “Jar of Hearts” could have stopped us from jonesing to do something special with these Mason jars we just purchased!

So, with love in our hearts, we set off to bake and decorate even more Mini Heart Cookies to fill these precious pots of love to the brim! Two dozen hearts fit into one jar, how adorable (and if you’re numbers person like April is, how perfectly balanced)!

 Our kids are so excited to deliver these to their favorite teachers tomorrow!

IMG_6008 IMG_5995
Jars of Hearts

I’m Nuts About You! | Valentine’s Cookies

Well, we reached for the stars this week in Valentine’s Day preparation and in return we got some love! Everywhere we turned, there was a little piece of love! Check out these coordinated Valentine’s Day Treats and Teacher Gifts appropriately titled, “I’m Nuts About You”!


Each adorable gift we made included a hot pink Squirrel (complete with a handsome bow tie), a fully flooded Acorn and Mini Heart and a Message Cookie. How cute are these?

Nuts Teacher GiftThen, moving on, we made Mini Heart Valentine Gift Bags for classmate and friend giveaways, boy were these cute and plentiful! We made over 200 of these suckers! Wow, we have a lot of love to spread, don’t we?!
IMG_5946 Mini Hearts in Bag