31 May 2012

Icebox Key Lime Pie

Oh how I love this pie!  Just seems mandatory to eat this during summer.  That first bite gives you that little pucker on the sides of your mouth!

I trust anything from Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country.  They really get into the science of each recipe, making each recipe many times in their test kitchen to ensure they get things just right.

I have posted the recipe below.   I do use a premade 9 inch graham cracker crust just to speed things up a bit.  I also buy a large vanilla pudding box because it gives you enough to make 2 pies.  It also takes anywhere from 14-17 small limes in order to get that 1 cup of juice.  Feel free to use key limes but regular limes work just as well and you won't need as many.


Icebox Key Lime Pie


8 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon grated lime zest

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix

1 ¼ teaspoon unflavored gelatin

1 cup fresh squeezed juice from limes

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Pulse crackers and sugar in a food processor until finely ground.  Add melted butter in steady stream while pulsing until crumbs resemble damp sand.  Using bottom of dry measuring cup, press crumbs firmly into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake until fragrant and browned around edges, 12-14 minutes.  Cool completely.

For the filling:

Process sugar and zest in food processor until sugar turns bright green, about 30 seconds.  Add cream cheese and process until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add condensed milk and pudding mix and process until smooth about 30 seconds.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Stir gelatin and 2 tablespoons lime juice in a small bowl.  Heat in microwave for 15 seconds; stir until dissolved.  With machine running, pour gelatin mixture, remaining lime juice and vanilla through feed tube and mix until thoroughly combined about 30 seconds.

Pour filling into cooled crust, cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.  To serve, let pie sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing.

On a different note... enjoying the summer break so far.  We popped into the Aquarium this morning.  If you ever have a heat wave, head to the Aquarium!  The a/c is kick'n.

Have a great day!

28 May 2012

23 May 2012

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

I know I have recently posted about these awesome chocolate cupcakes, but now I tried them with chocolate cream cheese frosting! 

I decided to give some to the Teachers today as an end of year gift.  So I put them in glass mason jars.  (lids will go on after the photo)  These really do some together very quickly.

Frosted others just as normal cupcakes.  They were soooo good!

All yummy recipe credit goes to Glorious Treats.  I just love her food blog.  All the recipes I have tried from her blog  turn out so good I feel I must share with everyone!

Chocolate Cupcakes and cream cheese frosting found  here.

21 May 2012

Cement Globes & Stepping Stones

Fairly easy project to jazz up the front entry way of our house.

Supplies I used:  concrete, plastic 8" & 10" plant drip trays, glass stones, glass light fixture ball,  cooking spray and cooking oil.

For the plastic trays I dipped a paper towel into some cooking oil and rubbed it all over the inside of the tray.  Then mixed up small batches of concrete.  I made it very moist.  If it's too stiff the glass stones will not set into the concrete.  You want to be able to push down a little on each stone as you set them into the cement, so once cured they won't just randomly pop off while sitting in your yard due to the Seasons.

Of course if you want to do hand prints you want a stiffer cement in order to hold that shape of the hand print!

For the glass globes, I used Pam cooking spray and coated the inside of the globe.  I used the same consistency as with the plastic trays and put in small batches at a time and made sure to really agitate the globe to make sure it leveled out inside the globe.  I continued to add more cement to the top of the globe making sure to keep shaking  the globe side to side to settle the cement.

Everything filled up and waiting to dry.

K had alot of fun thinking up designs for her stepping stones.

The stepping stones set up alot faster than the globes.  They just slip right out of the plastic trays.

The glass globes take longer to set up.  Once they were fully cured I placed them inside a trash bag, put on protective gloves and glasses and used a hammer on the outside of the bag to break the glass surrounding the cement globe.  I love how one turned out so smooth and the other one has alot of pot marks and such.

I bought a 60 lbs bag of cement for under $3.00,  stones were a $1.00 a bag at the Dollar Tree, plastic trays at dollar tree for $2.00 (qty 7 included) and the most expensive thing was the glass globe at home depot for around $4.25.  You could easily make ALOT of stepping stones for very cheap and really make your yard or garden area look pretty.

I have linked up with Skip to my Lou for made by you mondays.

15 May 2012

Coconut-lime bars

Just made these to welcome my Sister for a quick visit!  They contain some of her favorites!
This recipe is a keeper, but I did over cook by a minute or two.  Now I know...
Still tasted soooo good and a perfect summer time dessert.

Coconut-lime bars

½ cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for baking pan

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 cups all purpose flour (spooned & leveled)

½ teaspoon fine salt

½ cup chopped macadamia nuts

1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package (7 oz) sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375.

Butter a 9 inch square pan; line with parchment, leaving 2 inch overhang on two sides.  Butter parchment.

In large bowl, whisk butter, brown sugar, and 1/3 cup sugar.  Add 1 egg; whisk until smooth.  Stir in 1 cup flour, salt, nuts and lime zest. 

Spread batter in pan.  Bake until top is set and very light golden, 15-18 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup sugar, 2 eggs and vanilla.  Reserve ½ cup coconut; stir remaining coconut and 1 cup flour into egg mixture.  Gently spread over base; top with reserved coconut.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 minutes.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. 

Using parchment, lift cake form pan and cut into bars.

Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.

Courtesy of Martha Stewart.

14 May 2012

Gumball Machine

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but who cares... if you like something and want to put a spin on it, do it!  A friend had made some recently and I thought it would make a good end-of- the-year Teacher gift.

Simple items:  clay flower pot, glass bowl, clay saucer, flat bottom wooden knob, spray paint and
E-6000 adhesive.

I got everything but the saucer from Hobby Lobby.  I was really picky about finding a saucer that JUST covered the opening on the glass bowl.  I  did not want over hang, so after like 3 stops to different craft places, I finally found a 4.25" saucer at Wal-Mart.  It was painted gloss white and located inside the store, not in the Garden area.

I spray painted the saucer and pot and flat-bottom wooden knob.  Once thoroughly dry, I glued on the knob to the saucer and the glass bowl to the bottom of the flower pot.

Using my Cameo and some vinyl, I cut out a 5 cents sign.

Alot of variations out there on the web if you search: gumball machine flower pot.
I think it would be cool to make some mini ones, so I'll be keeping my eyes open for smaller glass bowls.  I'm thinking I will try Garden Ridge.

Linked up with Skip to my Lou, Made by you Mondays.

08 May 2012

Tote Bag - Favor Size

Just made these as party favors for my sister's college graduation party.  I love my full size version from Lands End and once Papertrey Ink came out with a die, I knew I had to buy it.

I used textured paper to give it the same effect as the real tote bags.

I added initials like the real version!  Going to buy some small food/treat bags, fill with goodies and place them in each tote for the party. 

Here is the link for the die.

07 May 2012

Hungry Caterpillar

Well, I thought this was just too cute to pass up.  Only problem.... I have no idea how I'm going to use them!  I was thinking of perhaps a Book Worm Birthday party.  The leaf inside each jar would be the invite.  I think this would be great for a 1st Birthday Party.

I decided to try and make one with purple antennae to look more Eric Carle-ish.  But decided to stick with the brown ones.

Very fast and easy to put together.  I used a hot glue gun to attach 7 -  1/2" green pom poms.  Then attached a 1 inch red pom pom.  I cut out small yellow eyes and used a green marker to draw the eyeballs.  I traced leaf shape onto textured paper, cut out and then used my scallop punch to create munch bites!  Using the metal lid I traced a circle onto patterned paper and inserted under the metal rim of the canning jar.

To see the Pottery Barn version  try this link.

This this linked up to Made By You Mondays by Skip to my Lou.

02 May 2012


Just made these to surprise a co-worker.

I just love using this Joseph Joseph rolling pin.  Its adjustable with 3 different discs to make perfectly even cookies EVERY time!  You can find it here.

I get alot of compliments using this recipe, so it's my go-to for cut out cookies.

Funny how just using toothpicks can make such a cool design.

Have a great day!