Tag Archives: cookie

Peppermint Dreams


Is all your holiday baking done, packaged up all pretty and ready to be delivered?

We still owe some of the special people in our lives some sweet goodies so we’ll be cranking out more confections and delivering them until the eleventh hour, that’s for sure.

Earlier this week I made some Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bars for the teachers, office staff and yard duties {if there is a newer more politically correct term, please share…I feel like [yard duty] is the equivalent of [stewardess] which we now call flight attendants}.

I packaged them up as the {nice} counterpart to the {naughty} Oreo lumps of coal.

It’s no secret that over this year I have made several batches of sugar cookie bars. I did make the pumpkin spice version this Fall and was underwhelmed. BUT, this festive candy cane version with peppermint buttercream is to-die-for.


Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bars


{via The Busty Baker}


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup crushed or chopped after-dinner butter mints {used Ralphs brand and only included the white, pink and green ones in the batter ~ sorry yellow!}

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
Food coloring, if desired {I used just 2 drops of red}
½ cup crushed peppermints or candy canes {processed in my Cuisinart}

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a large 11X17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line with parchment paper and grease paper as well; set aside. {I just used a flat cookie sheet lined with parchment paper}
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in vanilla. Add in flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in butter mints.
4. Spread batter evenly onto prepared baking sheet, smoothing top. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. {I baked mine for 18 minutes, turned off the oven and left them in for 2  more minutes. You don’t want to overcook these…they get too dry, in my opinion} Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
5. While cookie is cooling, make frosting; in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add peppermint extract and salt. Add confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, beating until well combined. Add milk, a tablespoon at a time, until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired.
6. Spread frosting over cooled cookie, sprinkle with crushed peppermints, then cut into bars. {I like to cut them into triangles}


If you like all things peppermint, you NEED to make these. I love the pastel colored mints running through the bars…not to mention the light pink buttercream peppered with crushed candy canes!

You will dream about these….


Off The Cuff

I feel terrible that I have been neglecting this here blog…

I now have 6 free hours, five days a week and I can’t sit down to write a post or do any post-worthy projects!

So, I am just going to throw some thoughts and stuff out there with what we’ve been up to over the past week ~ just off the cuff.


I can’t stop volunteering…first soccer coach, then yearbook layout, then assistant for PTA gala dinner, co-class momming it for Elliott’s room and picture taker/historian for Holden’s class! No wonder I don’t have time to blog.


Loving these…

{ginger is almost up there with my love for coconut and reminds me so much of Fall}


Fall NEEDS to hurry up and get here so I can make these…

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookie Bars



I think I’m turning Japanese. I am in LOVE with the bento box!

After posting this, I was inspired to make lunches more fun {for both me and the kids!} so I set out to find some inexpensive bento boxes. First stop was TJ Maxx and I found these…

$5.99 and BPA Free! Win. Win.

Here are a few of the lunches I’ve packed…

{homemade Uncrustable, trail mix, fishes in a cute cupcake liner and fruit snack for dessert}

{Uncrustable, string cheese, leftover mac n cheese and fruit snack for dessert}

{bean & cheese burrito with salsa dipper, raisins, dried snap peas and granola bar for morning snack}

It has been so fun to pick little bits of this and that to fill their boxes with. If I send them to school with little finger foods, I am OK with that since a lot of times Holden will have a sandwich or some mac n cheese and fruit when he gets home. From what I understand, they don’t have a lot of time to eat, so quick little snacks and mini bites are perfect.

From time to time I will post some new bento ideas on my Instagram feed ~ please follow me {@aaspiras} if you, too, are at a loss for how to mix up your kiddos’ lunches! I can say that, for right now, I am excited to fill these two boxes every evening/morning and I hope it keeps up…we still have a long year ahead of us.

This afternoon I baked some mini banana muffins that I will throw in the freezer and stick in their lunches from time to time. Elliott has requested pumpkin muffins so I will certainly throw those into the rotation, too!


Today is my mama’s birthday! We took her to Legoland over Labor Day weekend…

The happiest of birthdays to you, Mom!


And while we were having lunch at Legoland, Jay was checking FB and noticed that his cousin from Nor Cal was there too, so he sent her a note and we met up with them ~ hadn’t seen them in 4 years!

{Holden & Elliott with Cara & Zach}

So so great to see you, Gia, Danny and kids! XO


Tonight we’re trying out a new healthy take on Italian sausage with peppers and onions…can’t wait. Under 300 calories! They look de-lish and I will be sure and share the recipe.


Hope you had a nice & relaxing or fun & hectic Labor Day Weekend!

Back to the grind…..

Speading Sunshine ~ Teacher Gift Ideas

I’m always looking for unique teacher gifts. Something useful or handmade is what I tend to shoot for.

I wanted to share these simple, yet thoughtful mini pots that are home to a pretty little bloom…


Melissa has provided the cute printables on the popsicle sticks so head on over to The Larson Lingo and see how these terracotta cuties come together!

We have a large succulent that I’m going to snip a smaller shoot off of and plant it in yellow spray painted pots for Elliott & Holden’s teachers to look something like this…

Going with a yellow {you are our sunshine} theme…just pick up some fun yellow goodies, stick them in a festive gift bag or basket and spread sunshine as your favorite teachers head out to enjoy their summers.

I’ve saved a couple six pack containers and will decorate them like I did for Elliott’s dance teacher last year…

…stick everything in the openings and create a little caddy.

I love this Katie Daisy print and found the cards to round out the sunny theme…


I’m also making the office staffs my favorite sugar cookie bars, sprinkling with yellow sanding sugar, tucking them in cellophane bags and tying with ribbon.


Just 7 more days left…

How about you, is school out for you or are you not quite in full blown summer mode yet?

Smooth Sailing

Hi friends!

Happy Humpday.

Hope your week has been smooth so far. Mine has been drama-free thus far and I have been able to get up to the gym the last couple nights which was always good for me and seems to make life smoother.

Last week I {invented} a little breakfast smoothie with one of my new finds via Instagram. A friend posted some {Cookie Butter} from Trader Joe’s during Lent and I immediately fetched a jar to enjoy on/after Easter! It is fabulous alone on a spoon, on bagels, Ezekiel toast and graham crackers, but I thought I’d incorporate it into a smoothie in place of peanut butter and see what happened!

{Cookies & Cream} and Banana Smoothie

You will need: 2 cups crushed ice, 1/2 cup almond coconut milk, 1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt, 1 banana, 1 tbsp ground flax {flax meal} and 1 tbsp. TJ’s cookie butter

Place all into a blender and blend ’til smooth!

Pour into a glass, add a straw and enjoy!


And speaking of {sailing}, we plan to take a quick little trip to the beach this weekend.

Last time we went to the beach {in January!} Jay captured some cute pics of the kids just frolicking in the sand…this time I wanted to plan a little better with their wardrobes and hair and have a little Nautical inspired photo shoot at the shore.

I had originally picked up the anchor tee for a gift for a little girl….when the guy rang it up, it came up as boy’s. I thought it’d be cute on Holden so I set out to find something complementary for Elliott and stumbled upon this little striped number with the big bow on the shoulder. Both of them will wear rolled up jeans and bare feet ~ I think it’ll be perfect for some fun photos to get us excited for summer.


Make the most of the rest of your week…Saturday and Sunday will be here before you know it!


Purple, Green & Gold

10 years ago around this time, in my Marketing days, I went to New Orleans for the NADA {National Automobile Dealers Association} trade show. It was right before the Superbowl and Mardi Gras, but the beads were already flying, the zydecos were playing and the Hurricanes were certainly flowing. If it was {that} crazy a week or so before Fat Tuesday, I can’t imagine what the actual day would be like.

Good times.

GOOD times.

Last night for dinner I wanted to channel NOLA’s cuisine so I threw together some muffuletta sandwiches and red beans & rice.

These were so easy to put together and are great for summer picnics since they have no mayo and should be made an hour or so before enjoying.

I just picked up a fresh loaf of Italian bread, cut it in half and then in half again horizontally. Scoop out a little of the bread to make room for the fillings.

I threw a whole jar of Mezzetta California HOT Mix into my mini processor and reserved the liquid. Add 3-4 tbsp liquid to processed veggies before spooning onto the 2 halves of hollowed out bread. You want the extra juice to soak into the bread just a bit, but don’t want to oversaturate it ~ this will give it great flavor. {Muffuletta is made with lots of chopped olives, too, however I am not a huge fan of them so that’s why I used this mix ~ thanks for recommending, Lisa!}

Then just layer your meats and cheeses ~ I used ham {or capicola}, genoa salami and provolone.

Cut into triangles and eat up!

I cheated with the red beans & rice and just used a packaged mix.

And since I will be saying bye-bye to desserts during Lent, I had to go out with purple, green & gold sugar cookie bars!

My new addiction. Recipe here!

{This time I used almond extract and coconut/almond milk in the frosting ~ a definite tweak to the recipe for batches to come. After Lent, of course}


Happy Ash Wednesday!


Visions Of Sugar Cookie Bars

I’ve had visions of these dancing in my head ever since they jumped out at me on {the big p}.

I decided we needed to ring in the new year with these beauties ~ don’t they look like they’d go well with champagne?



Not overly sweet.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not a big cream cheese frosting fan so when I saw that the frosting had something to do with Philadelphia, I was a little skeptical. But the rest of the butter, powdered sugar and Nielsen-Massey made up for it!


You MUST make these. They are MUCH easier that rolling out sugar cookie dough, cutting and decorating!

The recipe makes a TON…..so if you live nearby, I have 5 big soft, sugary squares of this stuff tucked neatly inside a cellophane bag and tied up with a bow. If I know where you live {in the SCV only ~ ha!} and you’d like the sugar cookie bar fairy to drop a sweet New Year’s Day goodie off at your doorstep, just say the word.

Now, off to mingle and ring in Twenty Twelve.

It’s gonna be a good one ~ I can feel it!

Be safe, y’all!


To Scentsy Or Not To Scentsy…That Is The Question

**Update: I have become mildly obsessed with my not-so-Scentsy wax warmer! Last night during another trip to Wal-mart I picked up {Crisp Linens & Black Raspberry Vanilla} waxes….I used the candy cane one yesterday and the whole house smelled so pepperminty fresh ~ not overpowering at all. Loving my new purchase. Check out all the yumminess here!**

I walked into my friend Hollie’s house the other day and it smelled like Christmas! She had, what I thought was a Scentsy, burner going and her place felt so festive and warm. Come to find out it’s the same thing as Scentsy, but she got it at Wal-mart of all places.

I decided, while I was strolling through the aisles of Wally World this weekend that I was going to treat the household {read: me} to one. Afterall, we’re having several guests here for Christmas and I need the house to feel welcoming. I chose one that I thought could stay out year round ~ lime{ish} green. Get this, the burners are $15 and the wax cubes are only $2! I got gingerbread, oatmeal cookie and candy cane….mmmmm.

This would make a great last minute gift.

5 more days……..