Saturday, December 5, 2009

Quick and Easy

Christmas cookies are probably my favorite thing to bake. I am pretty sure this stems from the fabulous holiday traditions we had as I was growing up. For a many many years, we would go to Gram's house for a huge Thanksgiving dinner and we would spend the night there as well. On Friday morning, after a breakfast of grape juice and powdered sugar donuts, we would start to bake. We made all the family favorites. Peppernuts, molasses cookies, thumbprints, something with dates in it, you name it, we made it.

I still make all the family favorites. I might even have to make peppernuts this year if Mom doesn't get around to it :) But every year I love to try something new. I am a sucker for all the magazines at the check stands that are covered with the prettiest cookies you have ever seen. The December issue of Better Homes and Gardens this year was no exception and if you turn to page 28, you will see my latest endeavor. Best of all, no baking required which looks like it is going to be my best bet this Christmas!

They are simply white chocolate covered Oreos that are decorated to look like ornaments!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ready for Christmas?

Handmade personalized holiday gifts are fun to give.
Do you have room on your to do list to get them done?
Wouldn’t you rather enjoy the holidays and let us do all the work? Treat those on your gift list to one of these handmade goodies. They are perfect for neighbors, teachers, clients, or as thoughtful hostess gifts.

Give us your to do list, and let it be done!

Keep fresh bills crisp or stash a gift card from your loved one’s favorite store in these colorful paper wallets that double as gift box and card. Package of 3 for $4.

Cook up compliments with this wonderful Christmas aroma of lemon, orange, cinnamon and cloves all served up in a vintage enamelware pan. $12 each.

The perfect coffee break! Enjoy a cranberry and white chocolate chip cookie with a latte all bundled together for a holiday afternoon pick-me-up. $4 each.

Not your traditional snack mix! Surprise someone with a white chocolate popcorn blend or a sweet cinnamon crunch. Single serving 6oz bag. $2.50 per bag.

Chocolate dipped brownies on a stick. Fun to give and delicious to eat! Don’t be fooled. They’re not just a treat for kids! $1.25 each or $15 per dozen.

What is Christmas without cookies? Pick your favorite cookie and we will bake them and bag them up for you. $3 for ½ dozen.

Call or e-mail your order today. Please give three days notice.
Ask about personalized, large quantities,and special orders.

Kellee Zweifel 970.744.0913
Laura Burrill 970.481.2191

Photography by Jan Melius

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cupcakes and More

A few months ago, I purchased Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook. It finally cried out to me and last week I made TWO kinds of cupcakes. I made the Pumpkin Brown-Butter cupcakes for Bible study on Thursday, (yes, I am a week behind again). These cupcakes didn't last a day! A few days later I made the Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes. We were invited to dinner and asked to bring dessert. I made only half a batch (15 cupcakes). These were easy and very, very good.

Pumpkin-Brown Butter Cupcakes-

¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for tins
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ granulated sugar
2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 3250 . Brush 15 muffin tins with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally until butter turns golden brown. Skim foam from top and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediments behind; let cool.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs and brown-butter mixture. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
3. Divide batter evenly among buttered/floured cups, filling each about ¾ full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
4. To finish, dip top of each cupcake in brown-butter icing, then turn over quickly and let set. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Brown-Butter Icing

½ cup unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes

42 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 2750. Line 30 standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place one whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowls as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand. Divide batter evenly among the cookie filled cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thanks Laura!

As you can see from Laura's post, the shower for Priscilla was so sweet and pink and very nice. I am quite impressed with Laura's ability to keep a secret too. She gave not a single hint as to what she was up to and so I was completely surprised when I finally got to see what she had been up to all week. As I wrote my thank you notes today, I got to look through all the great gifts and remember what a nice day it was. Here are some more pictures of the lunch

A Baby Shower for Priscilla

Precious, Pretty, Perfect, Pink: A Baby Shower for Priscilla

Sunday afternoon, November 1st , the basement of Mount Olive Lutheran church took on a new look.
ABC’s, blocks, and the letter “P” surrounded by pink flowers and precious pictures.
A most delightful luncheon of salads, sandwiches and pretty desserts.
Wonderful fellowship, great gifts, a most Pleasant afternoon.

The white chocolate popcorn might be a new favorite!

White Chocolate Popcorn Snack

1- 3.3 oz. bag butter flavor microwave popcorn
1 cup salted mixed nuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 – 12 oz. package white chocolate morsels
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Discard unpopped kernels from popcorn that you have popped and placed in a large bowl.
Stir in nuts and cranberries. Microwave the white chocolate morsels in a 2 cup glass measuring cup at high for 1 ½ minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Pour over popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Spread mixture in a 15x9 jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Let stand until chocolate hardens. Break into chunks and store in an air-tight container.
You may also sprinkle with edible sprinkles.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Fun

The Halloween characters at my house this year nibbled on mummy dogs and wormy mac n chz before heading out to trick or treat. Guests included a famous video game character, storybook beauties, a pair of sibling bears and one beautiful baby. The monster munch snack was a hit with everyone!

Monster Munch
4 cups assorted chex cereal
4 cups popped popcorn
1 cup honey-roasted cashews
1 cup roasted salted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup butter
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup candy corn

In a 4-quart microwavable bowl, mix cereal, popcorn, cashews and pumpkins seeds. Set aside.
In medium microwavable bowl, microwave butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla uncovered on High about 2 minutes or until mixture is boiling, stirring after 1 minute; stir in pumpkin pie spice. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated.
Microwave 5 to 6 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl after every minute. Spread on waxed paper to cool, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally break up.
Stir in candy corn. Store in airtight container.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Last Week's Recipe :)

It was a busy week. But I did make it to Bible Study on Thursday, and I did make cookies. I actually made them the week before and had them in the freezer, because these cookies freeze really well. They are so good and so simple. If you like peanut butter and chocolate, this is a recipe you will want to try.

Cracker Cookies

1 box round buttery crackers (Ritz)
1 small jar peanut butter
1 lb. almond bark
12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almond bark and chocolate chips in a 9x13 glass pan. Once oven has reached the right temperature, turn the oven off and put chips/bark mixture in the oven to melt for 30 minutes. Whiles it’s melting, spread peanut butter between crackers, sandwiching two together. Stir bark and chips to blend. With kitchen tongs, dip cracker sandwiches in chocolate mixture. Place on waxed paper and chill. Can be frozen.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Most Eventful Day!

On Friday, October 16th, we catered a customer appreciation lunch for True Colours Day Spa & Salon.
A fall color theme was the backdrop for Honey Pecan Chicken Salad with cutout leaf bread, Smoked Salmon Spread on crackers with cucumber, Fresh Tomato Napoleons, The Infamous Grape Salad and Pumpkin Pie. We thanked the staff with a personal bottle of coffee and an individual cookie.
While I was hosting this event, the REAL EVENT of the day was happening just a little north, as Kellee and Scott were welcoming a new baby daughter into their family. Priscilla Gail Zweifel is a most precious, perfect, tiny baby girl.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bible Study Baked Goods

Thursday evenings we have Women's Bible Study at church from 6:30 to 8:00. We have a great group of ladies that attend on a regular basis and we have come to the conclusion that no Bible study is complete without baked goods and coffee. So, Laura and I, being ones that like to bake, have taken advantage of this opportunity by bringing some of our old favorites to share and to try out all the recipes that have been piling up from the newspaper clippings and the torn out magazine pages. Look for a new recipe from one of us every week! Here is what I made last week and they were great.

Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Orange food coloring

Preheat oven to 350o. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the cookies, in a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
In a second large bowl, combine shortening and brown sugar. Use an electric mixer to meat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Add half the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the other half and mix again.
Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets in 1 tablespoon mounds, arranging them 2 inches apart. Bake for about 14 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.
While the cookies bake, in a medium bowl combine the butter and maple syrup. Use an electric mixer to beat until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla and mix well. Add the powdered sugar and mix well, beating until fluffy. Add the food coloring and beat until uniform. Set aside.
Once the cookies have baked, cool them on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, pipe or spread frosting on them and decorate as desired.
Cookies should be refrigerated in an airtight container. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

“Picture Perfect” 18th Birthday!

My daughter Tasha, who loves photography, chose this theme for her 18th birthday party. Her collection of old cameras and flea market picture frames mixed well with the bright purple and green colors. The menu included simple meat and cheese finger sandwiches, tortilla rollups, grape salad and a dessert assortment of brownie pops, rice krispie pops, candy bags and of course cupcakes. The bottled soda was a hit with the teen crowd. They also enjoyed the “photo booth”, donning hats and scarves as they posed for the camera. With Rock Band and a “chip bar” in the basement and a “Movie Theater” with candy counter upstairs, the group had plenty to keep them busy. Tasha reported it was a great night – picture perfect!

Pepperoni Tortilla Rollups
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz. pepperoni, cut into small pieces
10 medium size tortillas

Mix together cream cheese and sour cream
Stir in shredded mozzarella cheese and pepperoni
Spread onto tortillas, rollup, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate overnight
Slice and serve.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Everyone Loves Cupcakes

Laura's daughter Tasha had her 18th birthday party on Friday night and of course we had to go all out. Tasha picked the colors, green and purple and the theme, cameras/ photography. Here is what we came up with for the cupcakes, which were funfetti with cream cheese frosting.

Heavenly Lemon Angel Cake

Here is the recipe for the cake we served at the baby shower. It came from a packet of cards I got at a Pampered Chef party where the proceedes from the cards went towards cancer research. It was great for our little girl themed party and it fits right in for Breast Cancer Awareness Month too!

5 drops red food coloring
1 package (16oz) angel food cake mix
3 lemons
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups thawed frozen fat free whipped topping
1 package frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed

Preheat oven to 350. For cake, add food coloring to amount of water specified on package. Prepare the cake according to package directions. Pour batter into a 9x13 pan. Bake on center rack 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown, cracked and slightly sunken. Remove from oven; invert on cooling rack and let stand until completely cooled.

Poke holes in cake about 1 ½ inches deep with a large fork.
Zest lemons to measure 1 Tbsp lemon zest and juice lemons to measure 1/3 cup juice. Combine sugar, juice and zest and whisk until smooth. Pour glaze over cake, spreading evenly. Let stand 30 minutes or until set.

Top cake with whipped topping and raspberries. Serves 15.

Check out these other pink products from Pampered Chef.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pink, Pink and More Pink

Last night we had a shower to welcome little baby Hannah. We had a great turn out and lots of great food too! The menu included chicken salad croissants, chicken caesar skewers, a lettuce salad, fresh fruit plate and deviled eggs. The pink theme made its way into the desserts too. We had pink popcorn balls, cheesecake pops, cream cheese mints and a really yummy heavenly angel cake. Recipe to be posted later, I promise! Thanks to to everyone that helped out. It was a great way to welcome such a cute little girl.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


My first plum crop from the small tree in our backyard was more than I anticipated! So to the internet I went-a-looking for things to do with my plums. I made slow cooked stewed plums, plum jam, plum dumplings, plum quick bread, plum kuchen (3 different recipes), spicy plum chicken thighs, plum cake, plum sauce and plum crumble! I also gave away a number of plums to friends and neighbors. Needless to say, I was plum tired, but most of the results have been filed away for next year. Here is the recipe for the plum crumble which was very good!


3 pounds fresh plums, pitted, quartered, about 5 cups
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted


Combine plums and bown sugar, stirring well to blend. Pour into a buttered 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch baking dish. Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the beaten egg, stirring lightly with fork until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the plums then drizzle with the melted butter. Bake plum crumble at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Read Twice - Bake Twice

This is a great breakfast/brunch casserole dish that is easy to make. But, carefully. You DO bake this recipe twice for 15 minutes each time. But if you forget your reading glasses like me and assemble it all at once just bake for 30 minutes, it will turn out!


4 slices soft bread torn into pieces
¼ c. melted butter
½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4-5 eggs
½ c. cream or milk
½ to 1 tsp. thyme
½ tsp. salt
Spread crumbled bread in a shallow pie pan or casserole. Pour butter over crumbs. Bake 15 minutes in a moderate oven - 350°. Sprinkle cheese over top. Break eggs onto cheese, keeping separate. Heat cream or milk and thyme and pour over eggs.
Bake 15 minutes in a moderate oven - 350°, or until eggs are set. Serve at once. Serves four to five.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cream Cheese Mints

Here is what 30 dozen mints looks like all boxed up!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Get Your List Making Fix

For those of us who have to have a list in order to function, these sure make the tasks alot more enjoyable! She also has some really great downloadable cards and mini file folder templates. I am reminded again why I love all things paper. *Sigh*

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fab Furniture Find

Check out this super cool photostream and the blog that goes along with it. Very inspirational for a person getting ready to work on a basement project :)

The Meaning of R.S.V.P.

Because I have been wondering what RSVP means, and because I just hosted a party where I requested RSVP's (and actually had a really decent response) here is what I found out.

Let's Clear Up the Confusion Over RSVPs
By Donna Pilato,

I hope that this week's tip will benefit hosts and guests alike, because there seems to be a lot of confusion about the meaning of the above term.

Lack of RSVP's - A Growing Problem
I hear more and more often, and have found in my personal experience, that hosts often do not receive firm indications whether guests plan to attend their parties, even if RSVP is clearly printed on the invitation. This could mean either one of two things. First it could mean that rudeness is a growing trend in our society. Or, as I would prefer to believe, people no longer understand what the term means. Assuming the best, and that the decline in RSVP's can be attributed to ignorance and not rudeness, I will clarify this for the record.

What RSVP Means
The term R.VP comes from the French expression "répondez s'il vous plaît", meaning "please respond". If RSVP is written on an invitation it means the invited guest must tell the host whether or not they plan to attend the party. It does not mean to respond only if you're coming, and it does not mean respond only if you're not coming (the expression "regrets only" is reserved for that instance). It means the host needs a definite head count for the planned event, and needs it by the date specified on the invitation.

Why It's Inconsiderate to Not RSVP
An incomplete list of respondents can cause numerous problems for a host including difficulty in planning food quantities, issues relating to minimum guarantees with catering halls, uncertainty over the number of party favors and difficulties in planning appropriate seating, among other things.

So the next time you see RSVP on an invitation you receive, please call your host and respond promptly.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sushi Anyone?

Hey Laura, do you think Brian would like this kind of sushi? Just wondering. :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Rest of The Fish

Here are the rest of the fish related snacks we had for VBS last week.

Cheesecake Tarts Recipe

Here is the recipe for the cute little cheesecake tarts Laura made. I happen to be borrowing the cookbook they came from so I got the honors of posting the recipe. The book is called Dessert Express, 100 sweets you can make in 30 minutes or less, by Lauren Chattman.

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
12 vanilla wafers
12 fresh raspberries or blackberries
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Combine the cream cheese, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar.

Arrange the vanilla wafers on a serving platter. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on each one, then top with a berry. Garnish the platter with mint leaves. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to one hour before serving.

Makes 12.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Something fishy is going on here.

We have VBS at church this week and can you guess what I managed to volunteer to help with? Yep, snacks. We have a fish theme going, Icthus. Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior. No, there are no crucifix cookies in the works but there are plenty of fish to go around. Here is what we have had so far.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No time to bake fancy cupcakes?

Check out these Vanilla Wafer Cheesecake Tarts from my new cookbook, “Dessert Express”. Cream Cheese with a bit of lemon and sugar piled onto a vanilla wafer and topped with a berry. Bite size and very good!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Do you see a theme here?

I seem to be on a huge cupcake kick these days. I made the cherry limeade cupcakes for Bible study on Monday and they were a hit. The week before I made these Banana Caramel Cakes which were equally as delicious. Banana cupcakes are cut into layers and filled with caramel topping and sliced bananas. The best part was the caramel flavored whipped cream that went on top.

So I guess what I am saying is I will keep the cupcakes coming :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fun with Cupcakes

Everyone loves a cupcake. It is kind of hard not to. Check out the Fancy Flours blog with some super cute cupcake and cookie ideas.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

We made these today for fun and they turned out cute and tasty!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

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We hosted the 2nd grade (I suppose it's techinally 3rd grade now) girls book club at our house on Sunday afternoon. We just finished Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH so we went for a mouse sized snack theme, mice included!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Is there such a thing as too many books?

The answer is NO. My new found love for altering books has possessed me to buy books everywhere I go. Best spot on a weekly basis is the Habitat "Restore" second hand shop where you can buy a bag of books for $4.00. However, last weekend I hit the jackpot at the "Friends of the Library" used book sale. Fortunately, I was not able to make it the first two days, so ended up there with Kellee and the girls (that always means her twins, Grace and Josie) on the last day of the sale. It was $7 a bag (large bag). I only came home with 4 bags of books.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More than one use for TLH

Red and White and Fun All Over!

On May 1st we set up shop at the salon where I get my hair cut, True Colours. I made the food for the grand opening of the salon back in December and the lovely ladies there invited me back to show case my business. My business actually turned into our business since last December and so Laura and I put our heads together and came up what we wanted to do. And if you didn't make it to the salon that day, here are the pictures.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cupcake Papers

Check out these great cupcake papers I found over at! They have tons of colors and patterns to chose from.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The "To Do" List

A To Do list is a great thing. It keeps you organized and focused and gives you a great sense of accomplishment as you check something off as done! Research shows that if you make a To Do list every morning, you will actually get more things done during the day. I have to admit that fact came from an independent research study I conducted on myself over the past thirty years.
The only problem with a To Do list is that we usually only list those things we know we are capable of getting done. Again, my research has proven that if a coffee date or a glass of wine is on my list, I usually find time to do those things. So what about the things you need to do, but know you can’t get done? A list works really well when you have a special event like an anniversary, graduation, or a baby shower. There’s the invitations, the menu planning, cooking, baking, gift buying, and wrapping. Then there is the table décor and the perfect punch recipe. The list can be very long. Running out of time? Too busy? Don’t know where to begin?

Let us make your To Do list and then . . . let it be done!
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