Monday, August 30, 2010

Mocha-Toffee Chocolate Cookies

I receive Betty Crocker e-mails, which deliver coupons, recipes and meal ideas. Today's mailing brought Mocha-Toffee Chocolate Cookies. OK!
4 t instant espresso coffee (I had regular instant coffee)
2 t vanilla
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c toffee bits
  1. Heat oven to 350. In small bowl, stir together coffee crystals and vanilla until coffee is dissolved. In large bowl, mix cake mix, coffee mixture, butter and eggs with spoon until soft dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits.
  2. On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart. (My first batch was puffy... I pressed down the second batch and they were much flatter.)
  3. Bake 7 to 10 minutes (always under bake for soft cookies!). Cool 1 minute before moving to cooling racks.
These have a dark, brownie-like flavor with a hint of coffee. The toffee is subtle... too subtle. Next time, I'll add the entire bag, not just the half cup. The dough was very good by itself, and the finished product was great. Quick and yummy!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Addicted to deals

Brad, Lindsey and I set out looking for sales again today. I think I'm addicted to the hunt! We hit a bunch around our house in Tigard and then fueled up at Taco del Mar in Sherwood before looking for more deals near the YMCA.
Check out our loot:
Blow-up Santa's going to work with me. And now I want to plan a vacation so I can use my new giant suitcase! :)


Thanks to Michael for sharing this funny :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fun finds!

I've been garage saling lately - good, cheap weekend entertainment. Those who know me know I enjoy holidays, especially Christmas. So I was thrilled when I spotted these babies... in my size... for $2! I will be wearing them!
Then today I was riding my bike home from work when I saw arrows pointing to a sale right by my house. Look what I found for $1:
YAY!! :)

Zucchini Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I spotted this recipe on Cakespy and had to give it a try - mainly because I have more zucchini than I know what to do with and because I wanted to eat a bunch of that chocolate cream cheese frosting!!

  • 3 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c vegetable oil
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 t ground cinnamon (I used less)
  • 1 t grated lemon peel
  • 2 c shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts (I had pecans)
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 T milk or cream
  • 2 to 3 c powdered sugar
  • 2 squares unsweetened Baker's chocolate, melted (I just realized that I used semi-sweet Baker's chocolate. Oops!)

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease either two 9-inch cake pans or line two muffin tins with cupcake cups. (I had out the cake pans and decided I was too tired to grease them. So I pulled out the muffin tins and paper cups. Lazy!)

  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, zucchini and lemon peel.

  4. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients - just until moistened. Gently stir in the nuts.

  5. Transfer the batter to your prepared pans. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes for cakes, 30 to 45 minutes for cupcakes. (I put my cupcakes in for 25 minutes and they were plenty done.)

  6. While the cakes cool, whip the cream cheese until it is soft and fluffy. Add the milk or cream and then the powdered sugar, bit by bit, until it reaches your desired consistency. Add in the melted chocolate last, and mix until it is fully incorporated.

  7. Frost and enjoy!

These were yummy! I wish I had set the timer for 20 minutes and checked then so they would have been just a bit less done. I also should have left out the cinnamon entirely, but that's just my crazy taste buds.

I took the cupcakes to work and handed them out to hungry-looking coworkers. Everyone seemed pleased. Then I ate too much frosting. YUM!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

I need your help!!

It's that time again... Race for the Cure!!! I will be running Sept. 19 with tens of thousands of others - to raise money and awareness. Our goal is to save lives and end breast cancer forever.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help me reach my fund-raising goal of $500 -- even a small donation makes a difference! Click HERE.

THANK YOU for pitching in for the cause!
-Liz :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Putting it all together

Band camp continues at Tigard High. The marching band took to the field in yesterday's heat to practice music and drill.

A new mister (thanks to my dad, the master volunteer) helps cool the kids:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Garden Party: Week 11

It's harvest time at Garden Party 2010!
Join us!! :)

Cascade Education Corps

Some of our (CE)2 students work on environmental service projects as part of our internship program. The majority of the Cascade Education Corps work focuses on regional habitat restoration and trail building.

Check out the CEC Web site to learn more about this amazing program for at-risk youth!


Monday, August 23, 2010

(CE)2 on the Web

I just updated some photos on the official (CE)2 Web site. Click HERE to learn more about the awesome alternative-education program where I work!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Tigard, is your band ready?

Random pics from band camp 2010:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Banana bread

3 c flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
cinnamon to taste (I use just a dash)
2 eggs
mashed bananas (I think I used 5 - whatever I had)
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c veggie oil
1 c nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Mix everything in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Pour into two prepared loaf pans. Bake for 45 - 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. For nice, clean slices, cool before cutting. (Modified from Better Homes and Gardens)

Enjoy :)

Zucchini Pie

Another yummy zucchini recipe! Friend Sarah made this for Garden Party a couple years ago and shared the recipe. It's really simple and tasty! Leftovers make good lunches :)

3 c grated zucchini

1 small onion, chopped
1 c flour
1 c grated provolone cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 c vegetable oil
4 T grated Parmesan
2 t chopped fresh basil
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan. Spoon the zucchini mixture into a 10-inch round glass pie plate or metal pie pan that has been coated with vegetable cooking spray. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New favorite

I stumbled on a newish TV show a couple weeks ago and watched again last night. I have to say, it might be my new fav. On Shaq VS, Shaquille O'Neal takes on world-class athletes in all kinds of different sports (and some non-sports, too - like Rachael Ray's hamburger cook-off) to see how he competes.
It's really entertaining and family-friendly - and Shaq is really funny! Check it out :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer reading challenge

I love TV. I really enjoy watching a good sitcom (The Office, Community, Big Bang Theory) or drama, especially crime shows (Law & Order, Criminal Minds). I like to be entertained.

But not wanting to waste my summer viewing television shows, I challenged myself to read a book each week. I started my first day of vacation (June 29) and finished my last book this afternoon (Aug. 16). But being the overachiever that I am, I actually read EIGHT books in those SEVEN weeks!
That was mostly because it took me just a day to whiz through Dan Brown's latest page turner! I really liked the Michael Connelly murder mysteries (I have read several others). The Lippman book was OK but really slow. And the Daheim novel had entirely too many characters to keep track of (It was set in a small town, and the author felt compelled to introduce and include most of the residents in the story).

So instead of spending way too much time watching TV, I spent way too much time reading this summer. Kinda funny how one obsession just turns into another :)

*** Did you read anything good this summer? I obviously like mysteries... what's your favorite genre?