Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 50: In honor of Grandpa Caponi, Chocolate Chip Cookies

A common theme throughout this blog is family. When someone is hurt we all feel for them, when someone is sad we try to cheer them up, when someone is sick we make them soup or even cookies.

I am so lucky to have the love of a wonderfully large and crazy family. I hope my boys grow up knowing how much they are loved and actually liked. To be around family just because they are family is easy. But to actually like the people you are related to is something special.

Last evening at 8:40pm my dear Grandpa Caponi picked up his dancing shoes, took a sip of his liquid courage and finally got to dance with his beautiful bride again.

Grandpa was a World War II Vet that never thought of himself as a hero. He spent four years in the Pacific and claims that he came home "without a scratch" on him. He started talking more about his experience while in the war as he got older. The stories he would tell made us all shake our heads in disbelief. He would often say that he didn't know how he survived.

Once, he was with another soldier in a foxhole and a live grenade was tossed between them. The grenade some how got buried in the sand and miraculously didn't detonate. He Survived.

He had story after story about how he survived when others didn't.

Last May, Grandpa visited Ian's classroom to be honored on Veteran's Day.
The hugs and smiles made his day. He was glad to come and share his story and spend time with his great grandchildren.

A wonderful day and a special memory for all of us.


Grandpa was a constant entertainer. He loved to dance, sing and even play the spoons. After Grandma passed, he hung up his dancing shoes for...well, a chair. At weddings he became the centerpiece while we dance around him. He loved being the center of attention. But not as much as we loved all gathering around him

The smiles on our faces says it all.  Even in a chair, Grandpa knew how to boogie down!


Last night as I walked down the hall of the hospital and saw the CPR team at the nurses station, my heart sunk past my stomach in into my toes. I looked into the family waiting room and saw my aunt and uncle. The look on my aunt's face confirmed my fear. Grandpa was gone.

As each family member arrived, we were overcome with grief again. We cried, hugged, prayed and finally said good bye. Grandpa will be laid to rest on Monday. Until then we will share more memories, hugs, tears and find comfort in the family that Grandpa and Grandma Caponi built.

Today as a special COD project, Noah and I made my Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I was comforted by the fact that the teachings of the most special people in our lives will always live on.

Baking cookies today deepened the meaning of this challenge for me.

A year from now I may not be baking cookies everyday. But, 40 years from now, I will be telling my grandchildren about the time grandma promised their dad and uncles that she would bake a new cookie everyday for a year, and did.

Heaven gained a new angel last night. I miss you already. Give Grandma a hug from us, I love you so much, Grandpa.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: May Calendar

I am currently making on online scrapbook of our trip to Disney. It is taking forever! We had so many great pictures, I think I will be working on it for quite a while.
Until it's finished I'm glad I have Deb at Focused on The Magic of Disney that comes up with such wonderful weekly themes to post pictures to. This week, if I were to make a calendar this is the picture I would choose one of these shots for May. According to the boys, seeing the princesses was my early Mother's Day present.

However, something tells me they didn't mind it too much!

Day 49: Cookie Candy Bars

As my recent lack of posting proves, we are busy! The boys have started spring soccer.
Adding to our regular schedule of martial arts, religious ed (Ian is making his First Communion in a few weeks), work, traveling and finishing up Fun Run. I am having a hard enough time finding time to bake the COD let alone blog about it. Oh, and did I mention? We had our garage demolished and a new one is being built. Crazy things happening at the Z's the past couple weeks.

However, now that Fun Run is over (we raised over $14,500!), the new garage is up and my house is finally clean I am focused on posting.

I have made some great quick cookies during this whirlwind of activity. One of Ian's favorites were these no-bake Cookie Candy Bars. They really look like candy bars and were so easy to make. The boys all loved decorating them and I thought it was great that they were helping!

Cookie Candy Bars (No-Bake)

Graham Crackers
Peanut Butter
2 cups of Chocolate Chips
Candy to Decorate (We used M&M's and Heath Bars)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Break apart graham crackers
Spread peanut butter on one cracker and top with another graham cracker

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl

Working quickly, dip graham cracker sandwiches into melted chocolate. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Decorate and refrigerate until set. I found storing these treats in the refrigerator worked best. Simple, and fun for the kids!

A quick tip: The M&M's were a little heavy and fell off some of the cookies. I would recommend using a mini M&M if that was your decorating candy of choice.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 48: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

This was my second attempt at a bacon cookie. On day three I made Bacon Toffee Cookies. Since my family's obsession with bacon has only increased since that cookie was baked I thought it was about time to try it again.

The Bacon Toffee Cookies are very sweet. I used a maple bacon in addition to the toffee and I feel the bacon flavor was lost.  This didn't bother Noah or Ian but Dane really wanted the cookie to taste like bacon!!

This time I opted for a thick cut smoked bacon.  It made all the difference!

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

1lb of thick cut smoked platter bacon
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 sticks of butter (softened)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook bacon on a line edged cookie sheet with foil.
Place bacon strips on cookie sheet and bake until crispy, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from baking sheet and place on a plate lined with paper towel, let cool.
**Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees**
Then chop bacon into pieces (in my house I then HIDE the chopped bacon or else it would be gone before I had a chance to add it to the cookie dough!)

Sift flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together and set aside.
Cream butter and sugars together on medium speed until creamy.

Add vanilla and eggs (one at a time) mix together.
Slowly add dry ingredients mix until well incorporated.
Add chocolate chips and bacon.

Stir then add dough to a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10- 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheet for one minute.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

We took a plate of these cookies over to friend's house and between 6 kids and 4 adults the sentiment was the same...these are delicious!!

I'm sure this will not be the last bacon cookie you see in this challenge. They are fun to make and I love seeing the reaction of people when I say: "Why yes, that is bacon in your cookie."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fun Run

I have been a little behind on my post this past week and a half, but for good reason.
We have an annual Fun Run at our elementary school and guess who's the chairperson...this girl!! The Fun Run is our PTA's number one fundraiser and brings in a bunch of money in a very short period of time. A great friend of mine ran this event beautifully for the past few years and really made an impossible job doable with her stellar organization skills.
This year we hired PAWS the Detroit Tiger Mascot to kick off our pledge drive. The kids were so excited! One teacher even said that she had never heared the school so LOUD!
Since the kick off, I have been sucked into this time warp of spread sheets and money counting. However, on this Fun Run Eve, I am glad to say that our financial goals are with in reach and our kids are ready to run and have a great time tomorrow!
On the cookie note, I have been keeping my promise and baking a new cookie everyday. I can't wait to show you what I've been up to.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Adventure

This week's Wordless Wednesday theme is Adventure! For my boys, the biggest adventure of our trip was participating in Jedi Training. To have a chance to have a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader was enough to put them over the moon.

Thanks again to Deb at Focused on The Magic of Disney for coming up with such wonderful themes! Wednesday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week, I look forward to seeing all the fantastic Disney pictures and meeting such nice people!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 47: Root Beer Float Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Last week, my boys were on spring break. Having the boys home made making the COD even more fun. They came up with some cookie ideas only kids could. Ian is still pushing for the baked bean cookie, so if anyone has any ideas please share!

Once again it was Dane that started the ball rolling on this creation. Back when I started this challenge I made a Vernors Cookie, this time Dane wanted a root beer cookie. However it didn't stop there. Just making a root beer cookie wouldn't have been as fun.

Collectively we decided to make a Root Beer Float Cookie...or a Root Beer Float Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich! What could be better then that?!!!

This recipe is easy, but has a lot of steps.

Root Beer Float Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

1 box of french vanilla cake mix
3 tbsp of cocoa powder
1/4 cup of butter (melted)
1/2 cup of Root Beer (I used A&W)
2 eggs
vanilla bean ice cream
root beer

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix cake mix and cocoa powder together.
In a separate bowl mix  together eggs, melted butter and root beer.
Add egg mixture to cake mix mixture and stir together.
Scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Cool cookies on a cooling rack.
While cookies are cooling, take out ice cream. Let the ice cream sit out to soften.
Once cookies are cooled and ice cream softened assemble the ice cream sandwich.

First add a scoop of ice cream to the bottom of one of the cookies.

Then top with a teaspoon (or two) of root beer

Place second cookie on top. Place cookie sandwiches in a pan, cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Remove from freezer and prepare to fall in love!!

Ahhhh!!!!! Best Cookie Ever!!!!

Day 46: Crispy Candy Nest Cookies

Now that Easter is over, here is a fun simple way to use up all the candy the Easter Bunny left.
This is a variation of the the Rice Krispie Robin's Egg Nest recipe. It is simple and the kids all loved them.
Crispy Candy Nest Cookies

6 Cups of Rice Krispies
1 bag of marshmallows
3 tbs. butter
2 tbs white chocolate chips
candy eggs

Melt butter over medium heat, add marshmallows melt over low heat. Add Rice Krispies, stir.
Place mixture into a mini muffin pan and let cool.

Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave
Make a small depression in the middle of the nest, add a dollop of the white chocolate to nest, then add candy.

Super simple!! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day 45: Cookie Pizza

As Easter approached I asked my boys if they wanted to dye Easter eggs. Not a single one had any interest. I don't want to admit it but I was excited about not having to dye eggs this year.  Dying eggs is a mess, AND no matter how hard I try I cannot seem to make a hard boiled egg that is easy to peel.

Every year, it's the same thing. I google "How to make the perfect hard boiled egg" follow therecipe, and still fail. Now that I think about it, that may be the real reason why I don't like to dye Easter eggs. It's like each colorful little egg is a reminder of my failure.

Rather then dye eggs, we opted to do two fun Easter themed cookies.  The first is a Cookie Pizza. This basic recipe can turn in to something spectacular when decorated.

Cookie Pizza
adapted from Pizza Cookie Recipe in 500 Cookies by Philippa Vastone

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup of white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar
4 oz of cream cheese

2 cups of sweet shredded coconut
a few drops of green food coloring
Reeces Pieces peanut butter eggs
Pastel Easter chocolate-I used Sixlets
Dark green sprinkles
Light green sprinkels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a saperate bowl sift flour, and baking soda together.
Beat butter and sugar together. Then add vanilla and egg. Mix well.
Add dry ingredents, mix.
Form dough into a ball and place on a piece of parchment paper.
Cover with a nother piece of parchment paper and roll out to the sice of your pizza tray.

Remove top piece of parchment paper and place dough and parchment paper on pizza tray
 **I found it helpful to start rolling the dough in the middle then flip over the dough while still in the parchment and roll both sides**
Bake for 18-20 minutes. While cookie is balking, prepare frosting. Remove cookie and parchment from pizza tray and cool on a rack.

Beat together butter, powdered sugar, add cream cheese.

Frost cooled cookie, then decorate.

To make green coconut add a few drops of green food coloring to a coconut and shake in a zip lock bag. Spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet to dry.

The best thing about Cookie Pizza is that it can be decorated for any occassion!

For the record, it is the day before Easter...and I just googled "How to make the perfect hardboiled egg." I may not be out of the egg dying woods yet.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 44: White Chocolate Blueberry Crunch Bars (Gluten Free)

After an enjoyable coffee with some great moms, I went about the rest of my day and evening. I picked up the kids from school and Adam and I decided since we actually had a free evening (no practices or activities!) to take the boys out for dinner.

We live in a great city with a vibrant downtown area. Any type of restaurant you desire,we have it. We can walk, drive or even ride our bikes a few miles and have any number of dinner options. After we enjoyed our meal we returned home. On arrival home, Noah notices a package between out doors.

Since Adam works mostly from home, we get things delivered to the house daily. Having a package on our porch is actually the norm around here. But this package was different. As we entered our house I noticed that the brown bag was from one of my favorite local gift shops, Catching Fireflies. Immediately I knew what was in the bag, and who it was from.

At the coffee, my friend had mentioned that she saw this book at Catching Fireflies and wanted to get it for me. The book: 500 Cookies!

I was tickled to receive such a thoughtful gift from a person I hold in such regard.

As I looked through the book, I found a recipe that I could pass a long to my friends that are avoiding gluten. These White Chocolate Blueberry Crunch Bars are easy to make and since there are blueberries in it they are healthy...,right?!

White Chocolate Blueberry Crunch Bars

1 lb white chocolate
1/4 cup of sweet butter
4 cups of gluten free rice cereal
1 cup fresh blueberries

Line a square pan with parchment
Melt the chocolate and butter

Stir in gluten free rice cereal

then blueberries. Spoon mixture into pan.

Refrigerate until set (about 30 minutes) then cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Noah: "Wow, the blueberries are really good"
Dane: "Nice!"
Ian: "Do I have to eat the blueberries??"

As an added bonus, I traded some of these cookies for an important costume prop owned by my cousin Jenny. For Halloween, Jenny was the "box head" from the LMFAO Party Rock Anthem video.

Each year our elementary school hold a talent show. This year my three boys teamed up with our friend's (who are moving to China) three girls. They decided to do a hip hop dance to Party Rock Anthem. Since Noah was making a cameo appearance, Jenny's box head was key. Her boyfriend made the box head, and he did a fantastic job!!! See for yourself.