Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipe: Bunny Blondies (YUMMY!)

I absolutely love to bake.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't know if it's so much that I love to bake or rather that I love to eat baked goods. But for all intensive purposes, I do love to spend time in the kitchen trying new recipes.

Yesterday I decided to whip up a batch of Bunny Blondies, a recipe I came across in the September 2012 issue of Family Fun Magazine. A recipe that promised a yummy, (mostly) wholesome snack that is literally packed with carrots. And butterscotch. I love butterscotch!

My daughter (now almost 3) helped me make the special treats. It took us about an hour and destroyed my kitchen, much like most of our from-scratch recipes do. But it was totally worth it.

Bunny Blondies are DELICIOUS. Take a spicy carrot cake and mix in a moist, butterscotch blondie and you've got a whole lot of bunny goodness.

And you know what? These things are so good, so easy to make and so ridiculously tempting that I considered not sharing the recipe at all. I imagined myself holding this one in the arsenal of amazing recipes and bringing them to all sorts of events, blushing at compliments like they were my own master creation. Like nobody else could ever make them as well again. Like I've got Paula Deen, butter queen herself, in my bloodlines.

But that just wouldn't be right. So here it is, the amazing recipe for Bunny Blondies. Enjoy!!

(Oh yea, and I left the walnuts out of ours. There are so many nut restrictions these days that it's usually better to see how the recipes turn out sans nuts first.)
See? They even look delicious.



 
 
 
 

Ingredients:
8 medium carrots (about 1lb)
2.5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 sticks butter (softened) - it doesn't specify but I used unsalted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
Directions:
1. Place oven rack to center and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray.

2. Peel and trip the carrots using a box grater. (You want about 3 cups total.)

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt.

4. Using a mixer, blend butter with both sugars until pale and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and continue beating on medium speed until well blended. Reduce the mizer's speed to low and add the carrots. Mix in butterscotch chips and walnuts.

5. Gradually add flour mixture (the recipe says to do this with a wooden spoon, but I just slowly added it to the mixer). Pour batter into pan and spread evenly (it will be thick).

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway.

7. Let cool completely before serving. (Yea right, if you can wait that long!)



Disclaimer: This recipe is originally from Disney's Family Fun Magazine, by cookbook author and writer Kathy Kingsley. While I have no association with the magazine, I am a huge fan and do enjoy sharing a great recipe! 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: Emily Giffin's Where We Belong

I have a love/hate relationship with nearly every Emily Giffin novel. Partially because her characters really come to life for you within her book (making it easy for you to either really really like them or not...) and partially because she seems to really dwell on the subjects of infidelity and lying, neither which are my cup of tea. That being said though, no matter the content I just can't seem to put her books down! And Where We Belong is no exception. Best book to date by this author who brings to life the real drama of awkward situations.

Marian and Kirby meet face to face for the first time after 18 years, unraveling an adoption story and an entire web of secrets. This novel trends back and forth between the two and their stories, and as only Emily Giffin does so well, everything comes full circle with a few surprising twists along the way.

I really enjoyed this book, and read through it in only a few short days. It was the type of story that made me sad to put away, because you feel like you actually get to know and like the characters. As with most of her books, they bring a wave of nostalgia as I read her scenes depicting Manhattan (my stomping grounds for a couple years post-college).

I'm giving this book a five star rating because of how readable it is. I enjoyed it and I couldn't put it down. That being said, I can see this book not sitting well with two very distinct groups of people: those who are in Marian's shoes and have given a baby up for adoption, and those who are in Kirby's shoes, desperately in search of some sort of belonging because they were adopted. While the story is really nice, I imagine that compared to a lot of the true adoption/birth family stories that it's a lot of fluff. Unfortunately.

I do appreciate that Giffin painted a portrait of pro-life in this novel. I really hope that she has another book that continues with these characters. I'm dying to know what happens with Marian, Conrad, and Kirby! You hear that Emily Giffin? There had better be a sequel!

Check out Emily Giffin on Facebook.



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Scary School - A New Series for Young Readers! {A Book Review}

Scary School is a brand new series meant to delight readers ages 8-12 (and honestly, anyone who appreciates a quirky, imaginative read). Narrated by 11 year old Derek the Ghost (who had the misfortune of dying at school when a science experiment went totally haywire), Scary School is more charm and humor than scary, and your tweens will love the storylines and characters.
About the Book:
You think your school's scary?
Get a load of these teachers:
Ms. Fang, an 850-year-old vampire
Dr. Dragonbreath, who just might eat you before recess
Mr. Snakeskin—science class is so much more fun when it's taught by someone who's half zombie
Mrs. T—break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex!

Plus
Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the loose
The world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch

And
The narrator's an eleven-year-old ghost!
Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends—including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf—and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky!
Review:

Scary School sure is a crazy place! Poor "New Kid" Charles has no idea what's coming to him on the morning he first steps in front of Scary School, only to be greeted by the crazy giant squid living in the moat surrounding the building. Author Derek Kent (also known as Derek the Ghost) creates a fully imaginative world where the most mundane details become twisted and spooky, luring readers in to see just what will happen next at Scary School.

This debut novel introduces us to all that Scary School is, with each chapter focusing on a specific character or scenerio within the Scary School walls. You'll meet characters like Sue, the amazing Octo-Chef, and find out what crazy consequences there are when one student mentions to Ms. Fangs that she only has one fang, and therefore should only be Ms. Fang.

Even as a 20 something who doesn't usually read about paranormal situations, this book kept me thoroughly entertained throughout. I was not expecting Scary School to be such a funny place. It certainly makes my own school experience sound boring!!

I think this book is perfect for boys and girls alike who love to let their imaginations take them to new places. The chapters are the perfect length, and the 3rd grade reading level makes this book easy to navigate whether a child is reading alone or with a parent. What really drew me to Scary School the most was the combination between 11 year old Derek the Ghost's narration and the cool illustrations by Scott M. Fischer, which can be found on nearly every page. Their work together on this novel really brings Scary School to life!

Scary School is currently available from in the following formats:
Hardcover
Kindle eBook
Nook Book

Can't get enough of Scary School? Head on over to the Scary School website, where you can tour the school, play games, and take Ms. Fang's quiz after you've read the book.

...and there is more Scary School to come!!
Scary School #2: Monsters on the March

is set to release on June 26th, 2012. You can pre-order it now on Amazon.com for just $10.87! (Click the title above for more information.)


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Scary School from Derek the Ghost, however the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own, and may differ from yours.