Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maple Blondie

Have you ever had the skillet blondie from Applebees?  I think it used to be a White Chocolate Maple Walnut Blondie or something like that, but now I think they've changed it up a bit.  This is supposed to be a knock-off recipe of the original one.  I haven't had one in years.  It was always one of my brother-in-law's favorites and although I enjoyed it, I don't remember it being on my must have list.  But this, this is.  My friends, you must make this today.

I've had this recipe bookmarked to try for quite some time and finally a couple of weeks ago, decided it was time.  I was looking for something I had all the ingredients on hand for and something that could be whipped up quickly.  My sister and brother-in-law were on their way over for dessert and I needed well, a dessert.  The recipe called for walnuts, which I didn't have, but honestly, I think it's soo much better without.  {If you are a nut lover though, go for it.}  I ended up making this two times within a week - it's really that good.  Justin declared that it was his favorite dessert I've made thus far.  Which is a big deal - and means it's really that good.  The other good thing?  You'll have extra maple cream sauce, so you can use it on ice cream, or just it eat by the spoonful.  

Maple Blondie

1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnut - optional

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
1-2 drops maple extract

Vanilla Ice Cream


Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease a 9-inch square pan.  In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.  Add the brown sugar to the melted butter and mix well. Add the beaten egg and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well. Stir in white chocolate chips and walnuts if using. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

While brownies are baking, make the sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine the syrup and butter and cook over low heat until butter is melted. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved and remove from heat. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, soften the cream cheese until it can be stirred smooth by hand {in my microwave, that's about 45 seconds on high, but mine is old and not super powerful}.  Gradually pour the maple butter mixture into the softened, stirred cream cheese, mixing well as you add the maple mixture.  Add a drop or two of maple extract {or as much as you would like to taste} and stir until combined.  

To serve: Place a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream on the warm brownie and drizzle with sauce and additional walnuts if desired.  If you want to be fancy, warm a small cast iron skillet on the stove or in the oven and serve your blondie sizzling-skillet style.

Leftover sauce should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator.  To use, heat in the microwave until it reaches desired consistency.

Thanks Cait! 

Source: adapted from Create-A-Torium

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vintage Book Theme Baby Shower

{Just a little late posting this!}  Back in August, we had a baby shower for my sweet cousin, Rachel, and the incredibly beautiful baby boy she was adopting.  {You need to click over to Rachel's blog and see sweet baby Bo...he is the cutest thing you will ever lay eyes on.  Be prepared to spend hours just staring at his sweet face!}
Cait, my cousin Victoria, Rachel's friend Katie, and I {and food contributions from our wonderful family!} collaborated to host this vintage book themed baby shower.  We thought a book theme shower would be perfect for Rachel since she's a {former} English teacher and lover of books! It was so much fun working with these girls!  

// Library card invitation I made.  Template for the pocket can be found here. // Cait made the sweetest book banner.  // Mini baby blocks spelling Bonsa - from Michaels.  //  We had the shower at my Aunt & Uncle's farm, down by the pond, and it was a picture perfect place to host a party! // Yummy food made by the hostesses and family. // Mini fruit kabobs - they were on toothpicks and it was the cutest thing!  Made by V.  // Chicken salad sandwiches - Cait made the star topped toothpicks.  Love them. Cait can you just make me an unlimited stash to always have?! // Katie provided drinks with cute tags made from children's books.  Another picture of the amazing book banner.  // Sweet Amelia sipping from the baby bottles we used for cups.  //  The beautiful flower arrangements were made by Kaite {who owns Flower Fields Forever}.  They were all in book boxes that she made! // One of the shower we games we played - Rachel had to try to guess the flavor of the baby food that Victoria fed her.  So fun! //  Our dessert table. // I made Mocha Fudge Cake and a book banner cake topper. // Cait also made book page table runners that you can just barely see sitting under that cupcake - they were so cute! // Book page pinwheel cupcake toppers, made by Cait.  // I made S'mores Cupcakes - maybe a recipe post to come soon? - they were a hit.  //  Vintage books, globes, suitcases and crates were used as props - all brought from our own stashes. // Another picture of the cupcakes and those amazing toothpicks! // The favor table and a circle book page banner made by Cait. // I made mini apple pies in mason jars for the favors, topped with a vintage book page. // Our favor table also had a stash of blank library cards so that guests could write a note to Rachel, Doug and Bo. // Vintage glasses as a prop {you can see one of the book page table runners a little here too}.  Cait and I also made bookmarks as favors, inspired by these.  //  Book page elephant mobile made by my Michael - thanks love!  

Such a wonderful party & crew to help pull it off!  Congratulations to Rachel & Doug on your baby boy - we're so blessed to have Bo in our family!  

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Pumpkin Patch

Um, hi.  Remember me?  I used to blog here sometimes.  I'm not sure what's been keeping me away...I have really good blogging intentions, but then...I don't know.  Life.  Someone breaks a light. Someone wants to play outside.  Someone wants to bake.  Or read.  Or gets sick.  Or could be the new phase of life, the new I-wear-jeans-all-the-time-and-don't-blog-anymore stage.  Could be any number of things.  But know that I have good intentions.  And I'm trying to come back.  It's a whole lot easier when you have some really great photos to post.  Photos that a real photographer took...I love having a photographer in the family.

Last weekend we went to the pumpkin patch.  Cait brought her camera along and graciously shared these photos with me.  We've been going to Pully's Farm Market for years, and it just keeps getting better & better.  There are amazing fun, free things for the kiddos to do.  A corn maze, a corn sandbox, pumpkin launches, an odd duck game that I have no idea how to describe but the boys love it.  And of course, lots o pumpkins to pick from the patch {aka picking from the crates on the ground}!

Hope you're enjoying autumn as much as we are!  And I hope I'll be back with another blog post soon!


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