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Monday, September 29, 2014

Salted Caramel Sugar Cookies

We were standing around the kitchen late one night after Mr Napping and I had been at (different) meetings all evening when Mr Napping said to me, "Are you going to the baptism on Saturday?"  "Which one?" I replied.  After about five minutes, he got to what he really was telling me, "I'm supposed to take cookies."  Aha!  "I'll just take that package of mint cookies in the cupboard," he quickly added.  Uh, no.  Those are MY mint cookies, thank you very much.  And you just don't take a package of cookies to a baptism.

SALTED CARAMEL SUGAR COOKIES

Cookies-
Ingredients:
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract (or other extract - orange, lemon, almond)
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 1 cup Shortening
- 1 1/2 cups Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 4 1/2 cups Flour

Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix eggs, vanilla, sour cream and shortening in a large bowl.  
- Add sugar, salt, and soda.  Mix.
- Add flour and mix until well combined and dough is formed.
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place two inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until cookies no longer appear wet.
- Let cookies cool for 1-2 minutes and then remove and place on cooling racks.
- Top with cream cheese frosting recipe below.


Frosting-
Ingredients:
- 4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1/4 cup Butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons milk
- 2 Tablespoons (yes, TABLEspoons) Caramel Flavoring Extract (you can always start with less and add more if you want)
- Sea Salt for garnishing

Directions:
- Mix the cream cheese, sugar, butter and milk with an electric mixer until all ingredients are well combined.
- Add flavoring (a teaspoon at a time, if you wish) and mix until it's well combined.
- Frost cookies and garnish with a pinch or two of sea salt on each cookie.

Yields approximately 4 dozen cookies.



This post was written by Krista and originally appeared on While He Was Napping.





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

{Printable} I'm so Glad I Live in a World Where There are Octobers

It's officially Autumn here.  According to the calendar, anyway.  We're still basking in temps around 80F and a lovely cloud of smoke from a nearby fire that has totally trashed the air quality.  Between the warm weather and the raging reminder of fire season, it still feels like Summer.  But October is coming!  And that's what screams Autumn to me.  October.  Pumpkins, hay rides, corn mazes, oh my!  And the cooler weather will slowly begin to permeate the nights. then the early mornings and evenings and before you know it we'll be donning coats and hats when we walk out the door in the middle of the day.

Lucy Maud Montgomery said it perfectly in Anne of Green Gables.  Why try to say something better when it's already been perfectly stated?  Here's a printable to celebrate the glory of October.  Enjoy!





Click the images to download your watermark-free, high quality copies of this printable.

And yay for October!



This post was written by Krista and originally appeared on While He Was Napping.





Monday, September 22, 2014

Monogrammed Porch Tree Decor

We went camping a couple weeks ago.  Moral of the story: camping is a lot of work to just go for a single night.  But we still had a lot of fun.  Mr. Napping took turns taking the boys up to a nearby crystal mine and I kept the other two brothers with me at the campsite.

Well, what's a girl to do out in the middle of no where, surrounded by huge pine cones and felled birch trees?  Yeah, the campground host gathers up the felled trees, cuts them into chunks and sets them around the camp sites for use as firewood.  These big, amazing, gorgeous tree trunk pieces with their beautiful white bark... I may have swooned a little.  Mr. Napping was mildly dismayed when he found the food box I'd emptied so I could fill it with pine cones... he was less than thrilled with the half a tree I hauled back to the car.  But he loves me, so with a sigh, a slight roll of his eyes and a persuasive kiss, he strapped that sucker to the top of our car and bounced it down the rough dirt road all the way back to our house.  He loves me.

It sat on our porch for a couple days, until I had the chance to turn my lovely vision into reality:

MONOGRAMMED PORCH TREE DECOR

Materials:
- Tree Stump (you might check with local landscapers, nurseries, or go on a nature hunt in your local forest... the stump I took was set aside for fire wood at a campground)
- Wood Burning Tool
- Monogram printed or drawn on paper to use as a stencil

Directions:
- Draw or print out a monogram you want to use one.  If you're feeling bold and daring, go ahead and free hand your design.  I did both on our tree.
- To transfer the design from the paper to the wood, lay it over your wood where you want it positioned and use the hot wood burning tool to poke holes through the paper and into the stump.  Watch the paper so it doesn't smolder and catch fire (I didn't even come close to having this happen, but better safe than sorry),  If the design can be cut out - the circle part of our monogram, for example - you can use a permanent marker to trace the design rather than doing the dot method.  It's a little faster.


- Use slow and even pressure to connect the dots and solidify your design.  Be patient.  It is not a fast process.  The monogram on our tree took me about an hour to an hour and a half.

- I also free-hand burned the year we got married below the monogram and then I did the boys' initials on the back of the trunk and a little heart carving with Mr Napping and my initials in it.  I didn't really want it front and center for the world to see our initials (better safe than sorry), but I wanted something that represented everyone.  It turned out great.  I love it and Mr Napping even admitted last night that it looks pretty neat on our porch.



Tips & Tricks:
- I would suggest doing this outside or your house will smell like a forest fire.  Ironically, I did this in my kitchen because it was too smoky outside... from a forest fire.  The smoke was giving me a headache and I decided that I'd prefer the smell of burning wood from one tree to the terrible air quality from lots of burning trees.
- Use the rounded tip for your wood burning tool.  It makes bolder lines and is easier to get a consistent burn depth than the pointed tip, which is what I used and then was too impatient to change it.  I didn't want to have to wait for the wood burning tool to cool down and heat up again.
- Keep a wet sponge nearby to clean the tip of your wood burning tool if it starts to get a build up of charred wood on it.  It will burn more quickly if it's clean.
- DON'T expect perfection.  Nature isn't perfect, it isn't symmetrical, but it is beautiful.  You won't get perfectly straight lines and your burn depth might vary.  It's okay.  I promise it will still look fine.  Even if you slip or burn something you didn't mean to.  The bark was incredibly forgiving and you don't even notice any slips.
- Be very, VERY careful with the wood burning tool.  Take your time, pay attention to what you're doing and always be aware of other body parts (yours and anyone else's).  The tip gets extremely hot and can cause 3rd degree burns.  BE CAREFUL.
- Put your wood burning tool inside a glass jar when you're not using it.  It will be more protected and less likely to be bumped onto the counter or something than if you set it in a stand.
- Don't be afraid to free hand.  Go read the 4th suggestion again.

Now I just have to decide what else to put out there with it... I have a wreath for the door (watch for that coming soon) but what else?  Pine cones?  Flowers?  More tree pieces?  Rocks? Seasonal decor?  What would you do?

Maybe I'll just leave him out there with it... he's pretty cute.  




This post was written by Krista and originally appeared on While He Was Napping.





Friday, September 19, 2014

The Best Oatmeal Cookies Out There!

Did you try out any of the cookie recipes I posted this week?  Here those are, should you have missed them:

 



Well, in case those weren't your cup of tea or you're just aching for more of the oatmeal goodness, check out these other delicious recipes I found.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies at The Pioneer Woman


Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies at Sally's Baking Addiction

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies via Food Network

Three variations of Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies via Sally's Baking Addiction

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie via Sweet as a Cookie

Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookie via Sweet Treats & More

Old-Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies via Saving Room for Dessert

Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling via Shop Girl

Carrot Oatmeal Cookies via Yummy, Healthy Easy

Caramel Oatmeal Cookies at Six Sisters' Stuff

Raspberry Oatmeal Cookies via Amy's Healthy Baking

Cowboy Oatmeal Cookies via Allrecipes

And, in case that's not enough inspiration for you, check out this post at Crazy for Crust with 160+ oatmeal recipes!



This post was written by Krista and originally appeared on While He Was Napping.





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