Monthly Archives: December 2012

Reindeer Cupcakes

Merry Christmas!

These are some of the easiest cupcakes ever!

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For each cupcake, you will need:

  • chocolate cake mix
  • chocolate icing
  • two mini pretzels
  • one Nilla Wafer
  • one brown or one red M&M
  • two white M&M’s
  • black gel icing

Here’s what you do:
1. Make the cupcakes according to directions on the box.
2. After they are cool, frost one cupcake.
3. Add a Nilla Wafer for the face.
4. Add two pretzels for antlers.
5. Dip one side of the brown or red M&M in the frosting.
6. Place it on the Nilla Wafer for a nose.
7. Put the two white M&M’s on for eyes.
8. Using the black gel icing, put a small dot on each white M&M to finish the eyes.
9. Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes.

Friendly tip: Don’t frost all the cupcakes first, and then expect to go back and add the toppings. The icing will harden as you go, so do each cupcake right after you frost it. 

Where do I find white M&M’s? Well, I got mine at a party supply store, Zurchers. They have M&M’s there that you can buy by color. So I’d suggest checking with your local party supply store. If you can’t find them, you can also just use upside-down white chocolate chips!
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Aren’t they so cute?

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Let me know how yours turn out!

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Thick, Soft Sugar Cookies

I have officially found the PERFECT sugar cookie recipe!!!
They seriously melt in your mouth!

And it’s so easy! And it doesn’t need to chill!
If  you like thick, soft sugar cookies, then this is the only recipe you need.
The trick is to roll them out thick and bake them for less time than you think they need.
As far as how many cookies this makes, it really depends on how big your cookie cutters are. Mine were really varied, and each batch made about 40 or 45 cookies.

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Even the icing recipe is perfect!

But we’ll start with the cookie recipe…

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar

2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
5 1/2 cups flour

Here’s what you do:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In mixer, cream butter and sugar
3. Add eggs
4. Add vanilla
5. Beat well
6. Mix in the sour cream
7. In a different bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
8. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture (if it is too sticky to roll out, add more flour…1/4 cup at a time, until it’s good enough to roll out)
It was at this point that I really wanted a Kitchen Aid, because my wooden spoon broke! I couldn’t believe it! I mean, it was getting old, but seriously?! Luckily I have other wooden spoons…but I still want a Kitchen Aid really badly…
DSC080939. Roll out on floured surface to about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Really.
DSC0809110. Place on cookie sheet. You can put them pretty close…mine were probably between an inch and 1/4 inch apart…
11. Bake for 7-8 minutes.THEY WILL NOT LOOK DONE! But don’t give in to your temptation to cook “just a little bit longer” or you will get crunchy cookies instead of soft, pillow-like cookies.
This is what mine looked like when I took them out of the oven:

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They are still very pale and have no browning anywhere. If you have a golden brown color along the edges then you have baked them too long.

12. Wait about 5 minutes and then transfer carefully to a cooling rack. If you wait longer they will get soggy on the bottom.
13. Frost with icing (see recipe below) and decorate with sprinkles!

Now it’s time to make the icing!
I used a handheld electric mixer, because that’s what I have. My cooking buddy and best friend Michelle made this recipe, and said she used her Kitchen Aid and whipped the icing for 5 minutes and it turned out delicious. So it just depends on if you want whipped icing or regular! I prefer regular, but if you want whipped, then whip away!

Here’s what you need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk

Here’s what you do:
1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter.
2. Mix in the vanilla
3. Mix in the sugar until crumbly.
It will look something like this…
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4. Gradually add milk until frosting reaches desired consistency
5. Add food coloring of your choice, if you so desire.
6. Frost your cookies!

I collect sprinkles…I seriously LOVE them. If you are feeling generous, but you can’t afford to buy me a Kitchen Aid, then sprinkles will always make me happy! (Update: I have a Kitchen Aid now! Read about it here!)
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Its really that simple! And they turn out perfect every time. TRUST ME…I MADE THREE BATCHES IN FOUR DAYS.

I know, that’s a lot! But I made them last Sunday just to try out the recipe. My friend Jacey and I baked them, and then my friend Cara and I decorated them. And then I made them on Tuesday so I could bring them to my ASL class on Wednesday…and I made them again on Wednesday so I could bring them to my CPSE 463 (Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities) class on Thursday….so there you have it…3 times in 4 days! They’re just so good, I want everyone to have some!!!

If you bake as much as I do, then you will definitely want tons of flour from Costco…I also get my powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and butter from Costco…things I always use when cooking!
DSC08092Here’s some personal favorites….Cara and I had so much fun decorating!
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If you make some, please let me know how yours turned out!

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Stuffed Cookie Cups

Stuffed Cookie Cups

These turn out so good! And they are super easy! My friend Ashton told me earlier this week that she wanted to bake with me sometime, so we made it happen today! So fun. And so delicious.

Here’s how you can make your own!

What you will need:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
12 Oreos, Reese’s, or anything your heart desires for cookie centers

Here’s what you do:
1. Preheat oven to 3oo degrees
2.  Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan, by greasing with butter or pan spray.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend the granulated and brown sugars.
5. Add the butter and beat to form a grainy paste.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time.
7. Add the vanilla, then beat at medium speed until fully combined.
8. Add the flour mixture and blend at low speed until just combined; do not over mix.
9. Fold in the chocolate chips.
10. For each cookie, roll a 3/4 inch ball and press into the bottom of the muffin cups.
11. Press the treat of your choice into the center of the cookie.
12. Roll another 3/4 inch ball and cover the treat by pressing it over the top. (You will have enough cookie dough left to eat some, and to make some regular cookies)
13. Place in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, checking every so often. (We cooked the regular cookies for 15 minutes, or until done)
14.  Pull out of the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes (even longer if you can) before attempting to remove them from the cups.
15. Enjoy!!!

Here’s a pic of the process…

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They will be totally full when you put them in the oven

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And here’s what they look like when they are done!

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I tried to get a picture of one cut in half, but it doesn’t look so amazing…but trust me, they are DELICIOUS.

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You can kinda see the Reese’s at the bottom, right? Anyways, SO GOOD!!! Let me know how yours turn out!

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American Sign Language

As you may or may not know….I am passionate about American Sign Language (ASL). There are many times when I feel ASL can express things so much better than English can.
I believe that ASL is the natural language of the Deaf and that instruction in ASL in schools is key to the success of Deaf students, just as learning the English language was key to my success in school.

I encourage you to sign the ASL petition below. It just takes a few minutes. You do not have to be Deaf to sign it. You do not have to know ASL to sign it. Anyone can. SO PLEASE sign… we need about 4,000+ more signatures by December 12th.

Click here to sign the petition

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

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Overcoming the Selfish Life

I’ve heard before that college is the most selfish time of life. I hadn‘t thought much about it until recently. Today at church someone mentioned that even though college is a selfish time of life, we need to find time to focus on serving others. So it got me thinking about my own life and whether I am spending too much time being selfish, or if I am finding time to serve others.

After having a short chat with my roommate Katrina, I have come to the conclusion that yes, college is a selfish time of life. Why? Well…I need to spend time studying for a test that I need to take so I can pass my class and get a good grade to show on my transcript so that when I finish college and I can get a good job in the future. When I go to the grocery store, I buy food for myself. When someone asks me how I am doing, I tell them about my part-time job, my classes, my homework, the students I am working with, etc. ME, ME, ME.

Personally, I think I have been able to overcome parts of the selfish life. How? Well…I tend to be good at finding opportunities to volunteer. I volunteer with SLCAD (Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf), Provo Parks and Recreation, The Sanderson Community Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, USDB (Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind), and a few others. Basically, I feel like I find time to reach out and volunteer in the community. But is it enough?

I don’t think it is. I think one of the most important ways to beat the selfish life is to serve those you associate with every day. Be it roommates, family members, classmates, professors, whatever…there is SOME way you can help. This is what I need to mostly work on. When a roommate asks me to help her out with something, I have been known to declare myself as busy and not help out with a simple ride here or there, when I know I should – especially because she has done these things for me in the past. I’m not saying that I never help, but I wish I did more. And I know I can do more. Another idea – make dinner for someone! When you cook for yourself, just double the recipe or decide to not save the leftovers and share with someone instead! I’m sure anyone will appreciate a meal cooked with love.

I am taking 17.5 credits. Next semester it will be 18 credits. I work 17.5 hours a week (from 4am-7:30am Monday through Friday). I am president of a club on campus. Next semester I will be president of two clubs on campus. I need to eat. I need to do my laundry. I need to sleep, but I only average about 5 hours of that a night. Oh, and a social life? What’s that? Basically, life is insane. But I still feel the need to reach out to others and volunteer. When?

I have decided that you just have to MAKE time. Set aside time to volunteer. Find an organization you want to volunteer with, contact them, ask what they need, make a commitment, and stick to it! I’ve found that to be the simplest way to serve. Make a commitment.

So if you’re interested in getting more involved, you kind of need to know where to look. Where? If, like me, you are a student at BYU (Brigham Young University), then your school has a service website! BYU’s website is called Y-Serve, and there you will find MANY opportunities to volunteer. For example…last week I went to the Y-Serve website. Then I clicked on “Disabilities” because I love working with people with disabilities (I’m a Special Education major). There was a list of opportunities, including Kids on the Move (interacting with special needs children while parents attend classes). I found out that they need people next Wednesday night for about 4 hours. Considering it’s during finals week and I won’t have any homework, I definitely signed up for it! It honestly is that simple.

If you are a college student and you feel like you are wrapped up in the selfish life, I encourage you to find simple ways to reach out to those around you. If it’s volunteering with an organization, that’s great. If it’s finding out the needs of those around you and trying to fulfill those needs, that’s great, too. Just make time.

And now I want to quote a great man, Henry B. Eyring: “As you keep the faith, you will find yourself invited by the Lord often to serve someone in need when it will not seem convenient. It may appear to be an unpleasant and perhaps even impossible task. When the call comes, it may seem you are not needed or that someone else could easily give the succor. Remember that when the Lord lets us encounter someone in distress, we honor the good Samaritan for what he did not do as much as for what he did. He did not pass by on the other side even though the beaten traveler on the road was a stranger and perhaps an enemy. He did what he could for the beaten man and then put in place a specific plan for others to do more. He did that because he understood that helping may require more than what one person can do.” (Click here if you want to read the rest of that.)

I encourage everyone (including myself) to do our part to help others.

I have found so much joy in my life through service to others. I hope that you, too, can find that joy.

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