Salted Caramel Mocha Latte

Like many of you, I am enamoured with all things fall most things fall, minus Halloween…I know, maybe I will love it one day.

Anyway, one of the best things about fall is coffee time.  I pass two Starbucks on the way to work (and I only live 8ish miles away), and I have tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte…YUM…and the Mocha Salted Caramel Latte…YUM.

Also like many of you, Pinterest has become a new hobby.  So when I found a recipe on Pinterest for the Salted Caramel Mocha latte, I decided to try it!

I used the Salted Caramel sauce from The Cooking Channel because I needed a little bit more direction on how the make the actual sauce.  Cooking sugar was a new experience for me!

Then, I followed the directions from 52 Kitchen Adventures, and viola! Salted Caramel Mocha Latte.

ps.  Mine was still a little bit sweet, so next time I am going to try cocoa powder into the hot milk.

Pps. To clean my caramel sauce pot (I had NO idea it would look like a crazy brown mess…but I guess that I should have known!), I added water and boiled on the stove top until all of the sugar dissolved off of the sides.


Weekly Meal Plan

With school fast approaching, (AHH!! I cannot believe I said that word!! hehe) I am super excited about meeting my new students and getting back into the swing of things.

Every year, the swing of things also involves planning for dinners a little more efficiently. So I figured, with the few weeks that I have left, I would make some meal plans for the week so that I can just print and make with no decisions involved!

Here is the first one I have typed up. I only do three meals because, with two of us, it is really all we need and we usually eat out once or twice on the weekends.


Meal Plan 1 HERE!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

I love me a tall, cold glass of chocolate milk.  Yum-o! In case you haven’t been watching the news lately, I live in North Texas and it has been H.O.T.  I was dying for a glass of chocolate milk but dont buy regular chocolate syrup.  I did have water, sugar, cocoa, salt and vanilla on hand, so I tried to make my own.  Famous last words right!?

First, I made a simple syrup of one part water to two parts sugar.  In my case, I used one cup water and two cups sugar.

I brought the sugar water to a boil until all sugar was dissolved and then added a half cup cocoa, some salt and a little vanilla.  Not super scientific but worth a shot….in the dark…chocolate.  hehehe 🙂

Once the mixture was the consistency I thought looked good…I let it cool on the stove a little bit. At this point, I had NO idea how it tasted because it was boiling hot!!

Once it cooled down, I poured it into this sweet little container and left a little bit out for my chocolate milk.  BOY was it chocolate-y!!

Have you ever made your own chocolate syrup? I would love to know if there is a better way.  For now, I will go with the less-is-more-but-oh-so-delicious chocolate syrup I made that sits in my fridge!

Keeping It Simple

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Red Velvet Cake cookies with Cream Cheese Thumbprint

The other day, I bought two boxes of red velvet cake mix at the grocery store. Because it was on sale. I don’t really even like red velvet cake! About two weeks ago, I made cake pops with the first box. They turned out alright but made me feel a little bit sick. Yep, I am the girl who really doesn’t like icing but wants to because everyone else likes icing. Icing mixed with cake covered in chocolate just did not do it for me.

But a cookie, I LOVE a cookie. So, I decided to make cookies with the cake mix and add a little cream cheese because everything is better with cream cheese!

Red Velvet Box Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Thumbprints

Box of red velvet cake mix

2 eggs

1 stick butter

2 tbls. vegetable oil

1/4 c. cocoa powder (i wanted theme to REALLY taste like chocolate)

1 tsp. vanilla

Cream Cheese Filling

1/2 package cream cheese

1 tblsp milke

1/2 c. powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Cream butter, add one egg at a time until incorporated, and then add the vanilla, oil and cocoa powder

3.  Mix the cake mix in until all ingredients are incorporated, but no need to kill it.  Just get everything mixed up.

5.  Beat cream cheese until smooth, and powdered sugar and milk to taste.  (like I said, I am not a huge frosting fan, so I make mine less sweet).

6.  Drop cookies onto a cookie sheet.  Then create a thumbprint depression and fill in with heaping teaspoon of cream cheese mixture.

7.  Bake for 8 minutes, let rest on the sheet a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.


Palm Sunday!

This Sunday at church, we learned all about Palm Sunday.  It was my first time to use Resurrection Eggs during Sunday School! They are nifty little plastic eggs filled with small trinkets that represent each of the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  The kids loved it and did a fantastic job connecting the small items and what they mean.

After church, I decided to make some Easter cookies!  I used Amanda’s Amazing Sugar Cookie recipe and some sugar cookie icing colored with Wilton’s Gel food color.  They turned our super cute; I cannot wait to give them away!

Happy Easter everybody!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Jessica’s Marshmallow Clouds and White(chocolate) Trash(all the cereal left!) Mix

For my scrapbooking reteat, I signed up to bring dessert and snacks.  After much internet and cookbook searching, I settled on a chocolate cookie recipe and white trash snack mix.

Jessica’s Marshmallow Clouds (from Mrs. Fields Cookie Book)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips
8 oz mini marshmallows, frozen
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Keep the marshmallows in the freezer until you are assembeling the cookies!
Mix together flour, cocoa and baking soda, then set aside.  Next,  blend sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Be sure your eggs are room temp or the butter will congeal. Mix in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips at a low speed because the batter will be unusually stiff…or at least I have never used cookie batter that is stiff like this!
Now, this is the fun part! Take a heaping tablespoon of batter and wrap it around four to five frozen marshmallows.
Then, place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes (mine took 9).  Don’t overbake these!! You should still be able to see some marshmallow in the center.  Let the cookies cool for a minute or two on the pan, and then remove and let cool completely.  They are delish!!
][White Trash Mix- This was a huge hit!

2 lb. white chocolate
4 c. rice chex
4 c. corn chex
1/2 bag sm. pretzels
1 can mixed nuts
Pour melted white chocolate over all other ingredients. Stir gently, spread on waxed paper. Break into pieces and mix with remaining pretzels.  Store in covered containers.

Scrapbooking Retreat

This last weekend, I tried something brand spankin’ new…a scrapbooking retreat! Thanks to the invitation from my wonderful friend at work, I spent the entire weekend in Roanoke at Oak Street Cottage.  It was AMAZING! First of all, the accommodations were pristine.  The cottage was super cute, super clean and had 4 1/2 baths.  With 12 women, you cannot beat that!  The twin beds had the most comfy pillow top and beautiful duvet covers.  We all signed up for a meal/snack, so the food was delicious!  I had some blueberry frenchtoast like cobbler thing for breakfast that was UN-believable.  But my friend and I did get in a little Babe’s because it was withing walking distance.  We just got it to-go!

The charm of the home was unmatched, however, by the kind and accepting women I met on the trip.  Only knowing one person, I was a wee bit nervous, but I shouldn’t have been! These scrappers were serious, but so kind and friendly. The scrapbooking abilities I saw in the two large workrooms covering the 8 foot tables was amazing.  Tools, glitter, Stickles, punches, Cricut cartridges and some thing that turns ANYTHING into a sticker were a few of the overwhelming sights. By the end of the weekend, I had twelve more pages scrapped and felt very productive…although one super effeicient, super creative woman finished 44!  I can only hope they will invite me again!