Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bake and Share: Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Homemade ice cream sandwiches can be made ahead for an easy and delicious end to a barbeque gathering. They are also a great way to thank a neighbor for picking up your mail or watering your lawn while you were on vacation. Just wrap in wax or parchment paper, add a stamped gift tag and deliver when you know they are home.

The chocolate cookie recipe is another one from Martha Stewart. Because it uses confectioner’s sugar instead of granular sugar, the cookie has a great denseness. Remember you can also divide the dough and freeze portions for up to three months, so you’ll always be ready with a delicious summer treat.

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 large, lightly beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
Using an electric mixer combine butter and sugar, beat until fluffy.
Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Add flour mixture on low speed.

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
On floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 thick and cut shapes.
Place on ungreased baking sheets.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.

If all you’re doing is circles for ice cream sandwiches then you can skip refrigerating the cut shapes before baking.

Wait for the cookies to be completely cooled before adding the ice cream centers. Use your favorite ice cream flavor and spoon small scoops around the entire surface of the cookie, then add the top cookie applying only a little pressure. If you’re using classic vanilla ice cream, roll the sides in sprinkles for a fun summer look. For a more adult version try a Starbucks ice cream, like Java Chip Frappucino.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Window Drawing

Happy summer to everyone! Now that the kids are out of school it is time to find them things to do. Letting them draw on your windows sounds like it's breaking the rules and thus an exciting way to spend an afternoon. If they're old enough, challenge them to write backwards so that it's legible to a passer-by. Bright Stick wet-erase markers work well, so do Chalk Ink markers. Both wipe off with a damp cloth.
Window drawing is a fabulous way to show off your child's creative spirit, give them something to do on a rainy day, and make everyone who walks by smile.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Making Wrapping Paper With Kids

Turn an afternoon of art into a useful project by asking your little ones to help make wrapping paper. Any medium will do, colored pencils, markers or crayons work great if you’re short on time. Let them paint if you have the time to let it dry. Pre-wrap the gift and let them draw, even glue things to it.

Large rolls of plain paper are great to have on hand for projects like this. Ikea has cute easels for $14.99 and paper rolls for $4.99. The paper is great on the easel, but can also be used as base for other projects. Reuse that piece of paper a couple of times and it can also be turned in to wrapping paper. Add ribbon, gift tag and stamp for a truly personalized package.

If you’re thinking of using a existing piece of artwork from their enormous stack of artwork make sure you ask your little one first. You want them to be excited not devastated that you are using their artwork. And even though you may think their blue and red blobs look alike, there’s a little artist in your house that thinks differently.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Save Money on Greeting Cards

There some beautiful greeting cards being created today, but having the perfect card for every occasion can be difficult and expensive. By having a personalized rubber stamp and a few gift tags on hand (you can also make you own gift tags) you can always be ready for any event. 

Birthday, wedding, new baby, new home or graduation gifts can all be ready at a drop of a stamp. You never have to make a special trip to pick up a greeting card, just stamp on one side and write a note on the other. Use a gift tag instead of greeting cards and the stamp pays for itself in seven or less uses.