Am I a Funny Girl?

Moscow Mule Shooters

moscow mule shots

Someone proclaimed 2015 the “Year of the Mule” or something. Maybe. I think.

Well, whatever it was, the mule-inspired cocktail is everywhere these days.

A traditional Moscow Mule is vodka, ginger beer, and lime, served over ice in a copper mug. I went to one restaurant, where in a patriotic (?) move, they use an American-made vodka, serve it in a stainless steel mug, and call it an American Mule. I’ve made it with Cherry Vodka (Three Olives brand is a favorite) and it makes a super-refreshing variation for summer.

When I found these ridiculous little copper shot glasses at HomeGoods recently, I just knew what had to happen. Moscow Mule shooters.

When trying to refine a recipe to convert one of my favorite cocktails into a shot, my biggest concern was the bubbles of the ginger beer. I wasn’t sure how to get the bite of ginger beer without the carbonation; after a little thought, the solution was to make a strong ginger simple syrup.

My friend Vikki first introduced me to ginger simple syrup last year, and I was instantly hooked. It’s so easy to make, and keeps for several weeks in the fridge.

So first, make the ginger syrup. You’ll just need three things:

  • A large piece of ginger, about the size of your hand
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 cups of water

My recipe is more about the ginger than the sugar; Vikki’s recipe has more sugar in it. Thinly slice the ginger and put it in a saucepan with the water and sugar. I use my mandolin to slice the ginger really, really thin, so get as much surface area as I possibly can.

Bring to a boil and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes, then strain out the ginger pieces and store in the fridge until you drink all the delicious, delicious syrup.

moscow mule ginger sumple syrup

Once you have the syrup made, putting the shots together is simple; depending on how many you’re making, just adjust the amounts.

Over ice in a shaker, pour:

  • 2 parts vodka
  • 1 part ginger syrup
  • Juice from 1/4 lime (per shot)

Shake well and strain into shot glasses, little copper ones if you have them! :)

moscow mule copper cup

So fun: Minifig Trading at Legoland

minifig trading at legoland title copy

If you’re headed to LEGOLAND, it’s entirely possible you’ve already heard of the LEGOLAND answer to Disney’s pin trading: Minifig trading. The way it works is simple.

Every employee (Model Citizen in LEGOLAND-speak) wears a nametag with a LEGO minifig on it… and every model citizen will trade with you. See an awesome minifig you just HAVE TO HAVE on a ride attendant’s nametag? Simply ask them to trade and boom! It’s yours.

We brought 10 minifigs specifically for trading; here are some of the best swaps of the day: We turned random Chuck Norris0ish dude into Millhouse from The Simpsons: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Office-worker slash pirate looking minifig turned into Batgirl! Freaking BATGIRL!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I then turned around and exchanged Batgirl for the DJ from The Lego Movie, and I especially love him because I have that same t-shirt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Minifig trading is a really fun way to engage with the folks at LEGOLAND, and you can end up with some really great collection additions this way.

Here’s a tip for minifig trading: Buy a lot of minifigs ahead of time, on eBay or Craigslist. And by a “lot” I don’t mean “a lot,” I mean a grouping of them that are sold together… I paid about $11.00 for 10 mix and match minifig pieces, which we used for trading. We ended up with a few pretty crazy ones, like the world’s friendliest Darth Vader:

minifig 02

But in exchange, we ended up with this awesome Master & Commander guy:

minifig 03

Max absolutely loved minifig trading, and we ended up with several really cool minifigs that we might not have gotten otherwise. Like I said, we brought 10 to trade, I wish we’d brought 20. We ran out of trade-able minifigs around 2pm, because we’d gotten so many we loved, so we had to stop trading earlier than we wanted to, which was a bummer, so if/when we go back, we’ll bring MORE minifigs to trade.

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2015: The year of DO.

I’m tired of waiting for someday.
For someone else to make something happen.
I feel like I’m spending too much time thinking instead of doing.
“Oh, I’d like to ___(insert activity of some sort____. Someday.”
Someday is today.
Or tomorrow.
Or any day.

Because my word for 2015? Do.

2015 the year of do
For the last several New Year’s Eves, I’ve lamented our lack of plans. Halloween, too. The holidays seem to sneak up on us, and we find ourselves sitting at home, or scrambling to find something to do the day before.
No more.
I’m throwing a party for NYE into 2016.
(Jamie’s going to saber a bottle of champagne, he just informed me. He’s watching YouTube videos and everything)
I’m going to plan a wine tasting day with some friends this summer.
I’m going to stop waiting for someday and take advantage of today.

2014 brought a lot of reality awfully close. Jennifer died, and her mom is changing the world. #ForThemBecauseofHer has made me a different mom. A better mom. I say yes more, because we don’t know when the last day could be.

We’ll have more slumber parties, and more dance parties. More friends over for dinner, and I’ll reach out to people more. I’ll do more laundry. I’ll go in more bounce houses and sing more songs “one more time, Mommy!” I’ll laugh at jokes that grew weary a dozen tellings ago, I’ll do my best.

I’ll publish all the draft posts that are on here, polish them up and put them out there. Because this is the year doing. I’ll bake more bread, and more cookies. I’ll write more for me, and take more photos. I’ll DO more with the days I’ve been given.

What are you going to do?

Apple Pie Cookies a la Mode: the perfect dessert with Marie Callender’s Pot Pies!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EasyAsPotPie #CollectiveBias

Pot pie ice cream cookie box #EasyAsPotPie #adWe are so busy. Not by choice, but because Jamie and I both work for tech-related companies, along with the holidays, we have to prep for the huge CES show in Vegas right after New Year’s. Thankfully, Marie Callender’s pot pies make it easy to put together a delicious dinner with very little effort, and just a little bit of time.
Pot pies are one of the favorite comfort foods, and Marie Callender’s are my favorite brand if I’m not making one from scratch (which basically never happens) I love the flavorful gravy and all white-meat chicken, but what really wins it for me is that crust. Because YUM.
Now here’s the cool thing; when it only takes me 5 minutes to prep dinner? I have time to make a special dessert to go with it! Total mom win.
Because the crust is our favorite part, I love to make pie crust cookies, and they are so quick and easy, you’ll start inventing reasons to make them. Because the thing is, I totally use frozen store-bought pie crust. I buy the rolled kind in the freezer section. Cheater cheater but shhhh! don’t tell! I can grab everything I need at Walmart, while I’m getting the pot pies that we’ll be eating too.

Pot pie instore #EasyAsPotPie #adPie Crust Cookies #EasyAsPotPie #ad

4.7 from 6 reviews
Apple Butter Pie Crust Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg. Frozen pie crust (rolled)
  • Apple Butter
  • 1 egg
  • Splash of milk
  • Turbinado sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350
  2. Unroll pie crust and use cookie cutter to cut shapes as desired.
  3. Spread approximately 1 teaspoon of apple butter on half the crust pieces.
  4. Lay 2nd crust on top to line up and cover filling
  5. Use a fork to gently crimp the edges together
  6. Use a sharp knife to cut a small slit in top of cookie
  7. Whisk egg with a splash milk to make egg wash
  8. Brush cookies with egg wash, sprinkle sugar over all
  9. Bake on parchment paper covered sheet until golden brown

apple pie cookies stack #EasyAsPotPie #adNow the cookies are delicious, both warm and once they’ve been allowed to cool, but do you want to know what takes them to the next level? Serving them a la mode! Jamie picked up a little ice cream maker at an antiques fair over the summer, so we’re always looking for excuses to make ice cream. The perfect flavor to go with our apple cookies? Cinnamon of course!

Ice cream and cookie #EasyAsPotPie #ad

This is delicious ice cream for anyone who loves that cozy familiar taste of cinnamon, and I’ve actually now found an ice cream flavor I can eat when it’s cold outside! The flavor is amazing with the apple in the cookie and makes for the perfect finish to a heart and belly-warming meal like a Marie Callender’s pot pie.

Homemade cinnamon ice cream #EasyAsPotPie #ad

4.7 from 6 reviews
Cinnamon Ice Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2¼ cups half-and-half
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix sugar and 1½ cups half-and-half.
  2. Once it starts to simmer, remove from heat.
  3. Slowly add a portion (about ½) of the milk mixture to the beaten eggs to temper it and keep the eggs from cooking.
  4. Pour egg mixture back into saucepan, add ¼ cup heavy cream and remaining half-and-half to pan.
  5. Keep cooking over medium heat until it thickened.
  6. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
  7. Set aside to cool.
  8. Make ice cream according to ice cream maker's instructions

How pretty is this, with the flecks of spice in there? I have two kinds of cinnamon in my spice cabinet; the giant bottle I buy so Max can have cinnamon sugar on his oatmeal, and then the good stuff, that I save for special occasions. Homemade cinnamon ice cream is totally a special occasion.

ice cream close up #EasyAsPotPie #ad

We often make ice cream on the weekends, because it takes a bit of time and the texture impoves a bit if the ice cream has some time to freeze up. But not counting the ice cream making time, my hands on working time to make Marie Callender’s pot pies for dinner with Apple Pie cookies for dessert is less than 15 minutes, which leaves me less time in the kitchen, and more time with Max and Jamie. Because isn’t that what really matters?
Ice cream cookie with pie bkgd #EasyAsPotPie #ad
Want more information about Marie Callender’s pot pies, and more recipes to go with them? Check out MarieCallenderMeals.com for info about the products, and PotPiePlease.com for more recipes!