Elliot Turns Two

Today is Elliot’s birthday. I don’t know where the past two years have gone. It seems like just yesterday he was a screaming baby who barely slept. Now he’s a big guy that loves trucks, whisks, and going to the grocery store. He loves being on the go. He has a large vocabulary and talks all the time (no seriously, all of the time. I would really like him to give it a rest for an hour or two). He wants to be a grandpa when he grows up. He is such a joy, and we are so happy that he is ours.

To celebrate his birthday we had a party for family at my sister’s house. Her house has the space for entertaining, ours does not.  We do brunch birthday parties for the kids. They nap in the afternoons, so planning a lunch or early dinner can be hard.

Brunch doesn’t just work with timing, it also helps with food. Brunch food is delicious and can be made ahead. We had 2 egg bakes (strata with sausage and potatoes with bacon), cinnamon rolls (I go with the freezer kind for birthday parties), fruit, and cake.

I made two cakes. A layer cake for everyone and a smaller cake just for Elliot. He loves construction equipment, so I topped the cakes with Oreo dirt and put a few new toys on top. It was a very easy way to decorate and I didn’t have to worry about how the top of the cake looked. 20180414_0937251381250925.jpg

Audrey helped me put the trucks on. I’m pretty sure she only wanted to help because she thought she could sneak frosting. In addition to stealing cake, she also made sure the excavator was dumping dirt into the dump truck.

When it was time for Elliot to eat his cake he had no interest. He only wanted to play with the backhoe.


This is his cake after he was done with it. He wasn’t interested. Trucks are more exciting than cake.

I would like for time to slow down, but I know it won’t. I hope he continues to be a sweet boy, continues to grow, continues to learn, and continues to enjoy toys more than cake. I also hope he continues to want snuggles from his mommy.


John Cookies

When John and I got married we had M&Ms on the tables for people to snack on. I like to be overly prepared, so I bought extra M&Ms just in case. Well, we didn’t need the extra M&Ms. We ended up with about a gallon of M&Ms. John took it upon himself to eat the extras.

He created the “deconstructed candy bar” and had it for dessert every night. It is a very fancy name for a simple treat. First you put a glob of peanut butter in a bowl. Then you put M&Ms in the bowl. Then you dip pretzel sticks in the peanut butter and scoop up a nice sized blob. Then you dip the peanut butter pretzels into the M&Ms. Then you eat it. If you get tired of using the pretzel sticks you can use a spoon and place pretzels directly on the glob.

Deconstructed Candy Bar, circa 2011

Today I looked at the remaining Easter M&Ms and knew that they had to go. I don’t like to have temptations like M&Ms in the house. I got to thinking about John’s deconstructed candy bar, and decided to take those flavors and put them in a monster cookie.

I started with the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Monster Cookies. I made a few changes to the recipe. I reduced the brown sugar by about 1/3 and added about 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter. I also added pretzel bits, as I was trying to recapture the magic of the deconstructed candy bar for John.img_20180409_170952_263570686803.jpg

The cookies turned out OK. If I make them again I would reduce the salt from the original recipe. I should have thought about that when adding the pretzels and the peanut butter, but I didn’t. John likes the cookies that he inspired, but he isn’t sold on pretzels in cookies, as they lose a bit of their crunch. I liked their crunchy texture and peanut butter flavor, but I think there were too many chips. I absolutely loved the rice krispies and I think I’ll be adding them to cookies again.

I’ve been trying to mix up my baking by not following recipes to the letter. I am an experienced enough baker it is unlikely that I will royally screw cookies up. Even if the cookies are bad at least I will have tried something new.