Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coconut Cream Filled Macaroons

You didn't think I would leave you hanging did you???

Of course not! Salivate no more! Now you can enjoy these decadent little treats anytime.

Something about the name "macaroon" automatically induces "oohs" "awws" and "You made THESE?" by those that choose to have these meet their mouth! I personally am not a fan of coconut (just the texture; the flavor I love!), but I have received countless complements on these macaroons every time I have made them. These reactions and compliments have lead me to continue making them! If you are looking for a quick, easy, impressive, and scrumptious dessert - search no more!

Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons
by Martha Stewart COOKIES

3 cups unsweetened shredded (finely if possible) coconut - I usually use sweetened cause it is all I can find!
3/4 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tsp coconut extract
1/8 tsp salt

Cream Filling:
4 TBSP unsalted butter (in two 2TBSP slices), room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp coconut extract

To Make Cookies:
Stir together cocnut, sugar, egg white, coconut extract, and salt in a large bowl. Refrigerate, covered until cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Form heaping teapoons of dough into balls; space 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Gently flatten to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Bake cookies, until edges begin to turn golden, 9 to 10 minutes (you may need to rotate the baking sheets halfway through). Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.

Make the filling!
Put butter and shortening in mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and coconut extract; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Assemble cookies:
Place heaping teaspoon of filling on the bottom of one cookie. Sandwich it together with another cookie! Repeat with all of the remaining cookies. Transfer to platter and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until the filling is firm, around 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bunnies Galore!

One thing I have always looked forward to is baking (and cooking) with my kids. I have long awaited the day we could frost, dip and pour in the kitchen! Maister is finally old enough to enjoy this, and we are having a fun time with all sorts of kitchen projects. I have been trying to have a new "treat" for every holiday. I was really excited to make these little cuties with her this year! I took two ideas I found and mashed them together to make a batch of these guys:

Don't you just want to squeeze those cute little bunny cheeks?!

Here is how we assembled them on top:
Dip the frosted cupckaes in coconut to give it that furry look
Large marshmallows cut in half and dipped in pink sugar
mini marshmallow cut in half for cheeks
M&M's for eyes and nose
Small black licorice squares cut in segments (I couldn't find any black licorice rope!)


Maister was quite proud of her little creation. She opted to have no coconut fur on top. She is definitely my daughter :)

For these cupcakes I created a sweet new frosting that I have been excited about! Jay seemed to like it, and he is a pretty good critic! We will definitely be making this frosting again. I hope you enjoy!

Coconut Buttercream Frosting

3 TBSP butter, softened
2 1/2 cups (approx) powdered sugar
1/4 tsp coconut extract
2 1/2 - 4 TBSP milk

In a mixer combine butter and powdered sugar, add coconut extract. Slowly add in milk 1 TBSP at a time until the desired consistency. VOILA!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Busy Baking

There has been a lot of baking going on around here. Infact, there has been more baking than is even pictured here! Between hosting a baby shower and the Easter holiday, I found myself more often than not, in the kitchen! No compaints here! Here is a virtual "taste" of what we have had baking around here:

Bunny Cupcakes with Cocnut Buttercream Frosting (recipe to come)

Mini Cordial cups filled with vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and strawberries!

Stuffed Brownie Truffles

Coconut Cream filled Macaroons (recipe probably to follow :) )

What have you been baking lately?

Friday, April 22, 2011

All or Nothing

All or nothing
go big or go home
don't hold back

Sometimes I drive myself crazy. You see, all of the above words describe my attitude. When I commit to something I completely DIVE into them. I have to give it my all! In baking, crafting, cooking, teaching, running, etc... I can't rest until I am satisfied. And I will meet my goals! While I usually see this quality as an asset, I think it hurts me at times.

Let me get to the point:
I can't do the same running schedule I was maintaining only a few months ago. There are a few reasons for this. But it is what I think is best at this time. But is so frustrating! I have a hard time now working out 1/2 the amount that I was.

When I am feeling stressed, I want to RUN or have an abs date with Jillian Michaels. It helps me to feel better! I love the way I feel after I get a good sweat on.
When there are so many things right now that I can't control (mainly other health issues!) I feel like my working out and weight are something that I can control - - but that is another post. :)

I wish I could get the same enjoyment out of working out less, but it just isn't the same. I suppose I just need to learn to enjoy my new workout regimen a little more and give IT my 150%. Because that is all I can do. And I can choose to be happy with it! It is up to me and I just need to learn to love my new routine!

Here is to a new found fun in my new workouts -- running (just less miles) included!!

Does it drive you crazy when you feel you can't give something all you have?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chicken n Waffles

I found this shirt at the Nike Outlet over the weekend. I was a few notches beyond excited when I found it! Jay and I lived in dirty south, A-town, Hotlanta, Atlanta for about a year. We loved it, and we loved all the waffle houses we saw at every freeway exit. We lived about a block from the famous FOX theater, and a block in the other direction from Gladys Knight's Chicken n Waffles restaurant. So this shirt sort of takes me back to the good 'ole peach state. I would have paid a hefty price for this beauty but fortunately (for our bank account) only had to pay $10. DEAL! I would wear it everyday if it wasn't for that whole stinky hygiene thing and not wanting to run my washing machine everyday.

When you buy a new shirt do you want to wear it all the time, or do you save it for a special occassion?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Possible Race

When I become obsessed with something I have a difficult time not talking about it.. A LOT! I like to talk, infact one of my former nicknames was Chatterbox Chandler. It fits. Since running has been a new passion of mine, I have been talking to a lot of friends and family about racing, and why I run. I was even able to connect with my cousins wife who can run a 3:12 marathon, and has 4 kids. She totally inspires me. She even ran the Boston Marathon pregnant... ok ok she was only about 5 weeks along but it totally counts! I have a friend from high school that wants to race with me this Summer and I have challenged my bro to a half marathon, and my Dad even says he is interested. SWEET! Watch out friends and family - - I WILL get you running!!! I think they may all start to avoid me soon. I have a dream about running with my whole HS group of girls and run a race someday! Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants? - in a good way :) OK - there I go chatting again. Anyways, onto the point : I have been talking with my sister in-law about starting to run more. She is a busy professional that is exhausted by the time she gets home, but she really wants to get fit. Plus she lives near (read watches people running from her bedroom window) some of the BEST trails in the whole area and I always tell her she really needs to take advantage of them! She has been showing interest and has committed to running a 5k coming up! YAY! I am so excited for her. This will be her second 5k and this time she is hoping to train more :)

Jay and I are also planning on running this race along with her. I can't decide between the 5k and 10k. The full on 3 mile sprint challenge of the 5k excites me, but I really enjoy a little longer distances, plus Jay is running the 10k. I am torn.


I am looking forward to another race in May. It should be a fun time! With kids in tow! Thank you BOB double strollers for making this possible.

Any input would be appreciated!

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Groove

I have been taking things easy on the running front ever since my half marathon. easy= very little running. My knee, calf and shin were taking much longer to recover than I wanted, but what are you going to do? I decided to listen to my body and take a break. I focused more on Turbo Jam and playing with my kiddos. Sometimes you just need to take silly pictures and move on :) For about the past week I noticed I wasn't having any discomfort or painful twinges in my legs... COULD IT BE? i thought. I was a little nervous to find out, but was thrilled when both runs this week left me feeling GREAT! I think I am back to normal... YAY! I am planning on getting back into a better running groove now, but still switching between running, turbo jam, and jillian michaels. Life is good.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fire it up!

There is something about the taste of grilled meat the just makes me happy. I have visions of summertime's past, and dream of the weekend barbecues in the future. When we go on walks and smell backyard BBQ's it makes me want to go home and grill too! With the warm weather that has been spoiling us, I have been itching to get our grill on! Monday Jay spoiled me by firing up our grill for the first time! I love preparing the food, and letting Jay fire it on the grill. It is perfect teamwork. Plus, Gator and Maister LOVE to run around outside with their Daddy.

When I made the fresh hamburger buns, I wanted something delicious to rest on the top. I am big grilled chicken fan, so that is what I settle on. I began throwing things together, and this was the end result of my grilled chicken sandwich experiment:

I marinated our chicken with Lawry's Szechuan Sweet n Sour Barbecue marinade. Then once it was grilled we added 1 piece of lowfat Jarlsburg (similar to swiss) cheese and let it get melty.


Sauteed 1/2 an onion, half a red bell pepper in 1 1/2 tsp olive oil.

Once they were almost tender, I added 2 (diced) mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms have reduced I added 1-2 cloves grated/minced garlic and 2 handfuls of spinach. I allowed the garlic to get fragrent - about 30 seconds - and then removed it from the heat.

Add this the the top of your chicken breast, followed by a few slices of avocado and ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HOT {Hamburger} BUNS!

There is something I have wanted to do for a long time. This is of course besides my secret wish to go to culinary school, or become a nurse. Wouldn't it be fun to cook all day, and be critiqued and receive pointers by a professional! Anyways... on to the point:

I am all about making as much as I can from scratch for our family. Even if it has more calories or a little more fat than the ones you buy at the store, I am OK with that because my food isn't stuffed with preservatives or chemicals! I like to try and keep our diet as natural as possible. Not that I didn't down several handfuls of the Easter Jubilee mix our grocery store had in the bulk section....but my obsession with fruity candy can be saved for another day.
For a long time I have wanted to bake my own hamburger buns. When I woke up this morning I wasn't planning on baking these, but as the day went on it just came together perfectly. I looked at a couple recipes, but couldn't pass on the recipe that told me I could be done in less than an hour from start to finish - including baking and rising! I was SOLD!

I was a little nervous, but I was thrilled with the way they turned out, even with the changes I made. * I have a hard time sticking to a recipe 100%. I love to add my own flare to things. *

Here is one of the trays of buns.
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns:
Adapted from
16 buns

2 cups warm milk (110 degrees F)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup warm water - almost hot, but still warm
1/4 cup sugar
2 packets or 4 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 TBSP water

  1. In a saucepan warm milk until 110 degrees Faranheit
  2. In a large bowl, mix the warmed milk, melted butter, warm water, sugar and yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes, until it gets foamy.
  3. Mix in the salt, and gradually stir in the whole wheat flour, let it mix a minute or two.
  4. Add the all-purpose flour until you have a soft dough. Divide into 16 pieces, and form into balls. Place on greased baking sheets so they are 2 to 3 inches apart. Let rise for about 20 minutes, or until they have grown a little bigger - not necessarily doubled but close to.
  5. Lightly whisk the egg and water together, and then brush the tops and sides of the buns with the egg wash.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until golden on top. Cool slightly, then split them in half horizontally. Serve with a juicy burger!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Keeping busy

I have to stay busy. If I have more than one day where I don't have something going on, I go stir crazy! I feel completely lazy and get quite grumpy. But if I get too busy, then I get stressed which again means "meet Mrs. Grumpy Pants"...I just need that desirable happy medium. :) With the need to stay busy we have been at the park much more frequently. Now that both of my kiddos are completely mobile and can {somewhat} safely climb and jump, parks have become so much more fun! They both climb on the jungle gyms, go down the slides, dig in the sand, and swing! I am loving every second of it.

The sun has finally decided to make a grand appearance around these parts, and we have been taking full advantage of it. We have spent hours every day outside soaking up the springtime sun. Unfortunately the sun is supposed to disappear later this week. BOO! Taking advantage of the sun led us on a little adventure; last week we went to a fairytale themed park. It was fun for each of us!
Unfortunately this photo is not evidence of all the fun we had...
*Any suggestions on how to NOT look like I am 16???

Yesterday was all kinds of busy! We had three different sets of company at our house from sun up to sun down yesterday. To end the evening we had our good friends over for some dessert and Jay requested THE cake. Remember that one? It was a huge hit for the second time!
If you like chocolate and peanut butter, I highly recommend this three tier beauty. Every bite tastes better than the last, and you are left licking your plate clean. If you are interested in the recipe let me know and I will pass it along.

What are you doing to stay busy?

Do you go stir crazy when you have too much free time?

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Things have been, well, BUSY around here. Fortunately the weather has been fantastic, so running has been wonderful this week! I even busted out the ol' jogging stroller a couple of times. I think the kids enjoyed the fresh air as much as I did.

Random Fact:
I am a person that needs variety. In everything in my life I need variety: changing up my workouts, clothes, styles, etc... And as far as food, I crave different things all the time and I feel it my duty to fulfill my crazy cravings...After all, my body has treated me well in holding together while running, so I think I owe it a reward or two :)
There is one exception to my need of variety, and it is THIS:
Baked Oatmeal. I have been known to eat this stuff for multiple meals a day (2 usually)...several days in a row. My favorite fruit additions lately are strawberries, blueberries, and frozen (thawed) blackberries. I have been tweaking the recipe, so I need to update it with all my new changes - only a few - and it is better than ever. I LOVE THIS STUFF. And it is good for you, real good. I have been eating a whole lot of this stuff lately. I can't help it. It makes me excited to wake up in the morning.

For my workouts this week I added plenty of variety! I ran with and without the double jogger, got my groove on with Turbo Jam, and finally I got reacquainted with Jillian Michaels and my abs. They have been screaming at me and burning good ever since. I love working out with Jillian, my only complaint is that the DVD I have is a little longer than I always have time for unless I get up way before the kiddos.

Overall, I am feeling pretty good this week. My knee and calf are both slowly starting to feel better. The only thing I would change from the week is I would knock out a few of the sweets I have eaten this weekend. Really, I have eaten less sweets than usual (I like to think) but they have been calling me by name and I hate to be rude and not respond with a bite or ten :)

How has your week been?

Do you need variety in your life?