Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

These cookies are AMAZING!

Seriously.  I love spice cookies.  And I love cream cheese.  And these are spicy and silky and gooey and sweet… *sigh*

But the most exciting part?  These can be adapted to every holiday.  Just change the shape of the cookie cutter and possibly the flavor of cake mix.

I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Anyway, I used spice cake for these.  Cake mix cookies are usually pretty soft and these were no exception.

I also used cream cheese because I thought it would compliment the spice flavor, but I’m going to try these again with other cake flavors and still stick with the cream cheese.

Incidentally, I used both butter and cream cheese in both the cookies and the icing, and the total amount used between the two was one stick of butter and one 8 oz. package of cream cheese.  Makes things easier.

Oh, and speaking of easy – do you see that photo?  Four ingredients.  Four.  (Technically it becomes six if you add in the vanilla and sugar from the filling, but that still qualifies as super easy in my book.)

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Here are all the cookie ingredients, except for the cake mix, creamed together.

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Isn’t that beautiful?  Off to the fridge!

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Remember:  if your cookie cutter is not symmetrical (like mine isn’t), you’re going to have to use both sides of the cutter to make cookies that will fit together when the icing is sandwiched in between them.

The shape I used it available in this set and this set.

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

So, cut out one cookie, then flip over the cutter to make the next one.

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

You don’t want your cookies to get brown around the edges.

And yes, mine are already brown from the spices, but I mean “browned” as in crispy.

The finished cookies need to still be soft if you want to eat them sandwich-style without your icing flying out the sides when you bite into them.

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

And this is the icing.  I waited until the cookies were cooled before I made it.  It only takes a minute.

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

I used a baggy in lieu of a decorating bag to draw on the cookie icing.

The easiest way to fill a baggy full of icing is by placing it in a cup with the top of the bag folded open over the edge of the cup.

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Before adding the icing, I lined up the cookies to make sure I had the right number of tops and bottoms.

You can see that I didn’t add a large amount of icing to the inside of the cookies.

I was happy with this amount, but could have put more.  I had handful left over, but it also makes an awesome dip for pretzels and fruit, so I just stuck the extra in the fridge.

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Then, I melted some white chocolate chips (in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time at half power) and drew on some bunny tails.

Store the cookies in a closed container.

Oh, and this recipe makes about a dozen large sandwich cookies (so, 24 3-inch cookies).

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Cookie Ingredients:

1 box (16.5 oz.) spice cake mix
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg

In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add egg and vanilla and blend until fluffy.

Slowly sprinkle in the cake mix and flour and blend until combined.

Shape cookie dough into a flattened disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a half hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough to a 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. If you want to make a sandwich cookie with a cutter that is not symmetrical (like in the photo), then make sure you cut out an equal number of matching cookies, using both sides of the cookie cutter.

Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. They should not yet be noticeably browning on the edges. Do not overcook them or your sandwiches will be difficult to eat.

Allow cookies to rest on the hot pan for a few minutes, then remove to cooling racks. Cool cookies completely before adding icing.

Icing:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups confectioners sugar
White chocolate chips (optional)

With a mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Mix in the vanilla. Add in the sugar a half cup at a time, and then the cinnamon.

Put icing in a decorating bag or a baggy with the corner cut off, and squeeze it onto the bottoms of half of the cooled cookies. Place another cookie on top of the icing and press down gently.

If desired, melt some white chocolate chips to draw on a bunny tail.

*****

To get the printable PDF, click here:  Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Enjoy!

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Candied Watermelon Popcorn

Candied Popcorn:  Great for birthday parties, holidays, and baby and wedding showers!

I’ve made this type of Jell-O candied popcorn a few times now, and I prefer the watermelon flavor, which is what you see here.

Now, it is pretty sweet, so it’s not for everyone, but I think it makes a nice addition to a party table, and it’s a bit of a conversation piece, too.

Bonus:  it’s easy to do and you can make it in ANY color.

Throwing a monster or a dinosaur party?  Make green apple or lime instead.

Make it to match your wedding colors.

Let your imagination run wild.  :)

Watermelon Candied Popcorn

First, throw all the ingredients (except the popcorn) in a pot and simmer for four minutes.

Watermelon Candied Popcorn

Watermelon Candied Popcorn

Then pour it over the popcorn and bake it for a half hour.

Watermelon Candied Popcorn

After spreading it out on wax paper and letting it cool, I like to store it in a gallon baggy.

I prefer the baggy to a Tupperware container because you can massage the baggy to break up any remaining large chunks of popcorn that are stuck together.

Watermelon Candied Popcorn

Doesn’t that just look so pretty?

This certainly isn’t an every day treat, but it brightens up special occasions so very colorfully.

Watermelon Candied Popcorn

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 (3 oz.) package Jell-O watermelon flavor gelatin
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3 Tbsp. water
10 cups popped popcorn

Preheat oven to 250°F. Spread popcorn over one or two cookie sheets and place in oven to warm while making candy coating.

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except popcorn.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 4 minutes.

Remove from heat. If you want the color to be more intense, stir in some food coloring at this point (I did not add it to the pictured batch).

Pour the candy mixture over the popcorn and stir carefully to coat all of the popcorn.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Cool on waxed paper. Break apart large chunks and store covered.

*****

For the printable PDF, click here:  Watermelon Candied Popcorn

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100 Followers :)

100 Followers on Roaming Rosie April 2014

My blog reached 100 followers today, which I’m pretty excited about!

That may not be the most gigantumous number on The Internet, but I’m pretty excited about it.

Celebrating milestones are a great way to stay motivated after all.

Next goal:  reach that number of likes on my Facebook page:  Roaming Rosie Remix.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’ve got some bunny-shaped spice cookies in the kitchen that aren’t going to bake themselves.  :)

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Gifts for Writers and Bibliophiles

I came across some awesome jewelry that all seemed ridiculously appropriate for writers and bibliophiles of all sorts.

I find I have somewhat of a kindred spirit among librarians, teachers, and graphic designers, too, so I guess a better title might be “Jewelry for Word Lovers.”

Either way, from Alice to Ampersands, enjoy the view.  :)

Alice in Necklace from ModCloth

Alice in Necklace

Live Up to the Type Necklace from ModCloth

Live Up to the Type Necklace

Also available in silver!

Quote Couture Earrings from ModCloth

Quote Couture Earrings

Also available in silver!

This pencil bracelet is awesome. I would feel like writing all the time if I had this around my wrist:

Pencil You In Bracelet from ModCloth

Pencil You In Bracelet

And in And Bracelet from ModCloth

And in And Bracelet

Living Proofread Ring Set from ModCloth

Living Proofread Ring Set

And, again, this Helvetica necklace might be more for graphic designers than writers, but I’m all about equal pleasure for all word lovers.

Font-tastic Necklace from ModCloth

Font-tastic Necklace

Which one can you NOT live without?

My fave is the typewriter.  :)

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Taking {cheesy} Photos

Cheese!

I made this ecard because earlier today I was trying to snap a quick photo with my phone of my daughter doing something super cute.

I said her name to get her to look in my direction, but she never did.  Never took her eyes off what she was doing, BUT every time I called her name, she responded, “cheese!” and put on a fake smile.

I believe my two-year-old may have been mocking me…

Either way, it made me laugh.

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Easter Bunny Decorations

I’ve got bunnies on the mind.

I can’t help it.  Easter is nearly here and I’m still trying to decide what kind of cookies I’m going to make.  I just know I want them to be bunnies.  :)

Thus, with the bunnies already on my mind, while cruising the web I found a couple I just HAD to share.

They were way too cute not to.

Anyway, the bibliophile in me loved these decoupage bunnies:

October Hill 3 Piece Decoupage Bunny Figurine Set

And the graphic designer in me loved this colorful pillow:

Fauna Picos Organic Cotton Bunny Pillow

Okay:  I’m better now.

Got some of the bunny-ness out of my system.

For now.  :)

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How to Get FREE and Really Cheap Books and eBooks

How to get FREE and Really Cheap Books

I read a lot.

Or, I read a lot now.

I read day and night as a kid.  As a teen.  But in college my time became absorbed by textbooks and term papers.  After college I found myself lost in some sort of television black hole that lasted into my early adulthood, punctuated only occasionally by books.  And then I had kids.  With two young kids I didn’t have the time to brush my teeth, let alone read.

But I’ve always been a writer.  Which means that I’ve also always been a reader.  I just took a little (very unfortunate) hiatus for awhile.

These days my oldest has finally hit preschooler age and a few months ago my youngest finally started sleeping through the night (more often than not), so I actually have time to read books.

What I don’t have, tho, is an endless budget to spend on books.

So I’ve found ways of working around my budget.  Getting my reading high on the cheap.

Now, I prefer paper books to electronic books, but I’m including tips for both, because I do read both, I just prefer the weight and texture of paper in my hands and thus opt for that whenever I can.  So that’s where we begin…

1.  Your Local Library

This may seem like a given:  borrow books for free, right?  Well, not really.  I rarely borrow books.

I like to own mine.  (I figure it’s a fairly healthy addiction.)

Luckily for me, libraries sell books, too.

My local library actually has an entire small room dedicated to books for sale, all ranging in price from 10 cents to $2, with a few rare exceptions priced higher (I found the hardcover box set of The Millennium Trilogy at my library).

Plus, twice a year, the library has a huge book sale which includes a limited time special of fill-a-bag-for-$5.

A bag stuffed full of hard covered book for a few bucks?  Hard to beat that.

Plus, all the proceeds go to funding programs at the library that foster the love of reading in the community, like the story time I take my kids to every week.  That’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

How to get FREE and really cheap books!

2.  Chain Bookstores

Trouble occurs when I step inside a Barnes & Noble.  Seriously.  Unless I was to go in there with no cash or credit cards… but that never happens.

Anyway, I’ve learned that one of the ways to avoid disaster (and an empty bank account) is to stick to the bargain section.  They actually have a rather expansive bargain section.  And that makes me happy.  Borders used to have this, too, but they’re gone now.

But if you’re more interested in eBooks or shopping online, Barnes & Noble also offer a large selection of discounted books on their website.

Their bargain section includes categories like “books under $5″ and “up to 85% off.”  There are quite a few bestsellers under $10 and even under $5.

Other large bookstores also offer discounts like these.  I’ve also picked up a bunch of $3 books at Books a Million, who also have a bargain section on their website with books as low as $1.97.

3.  Indie Bookstores

I’m a big advocate on shopping local, so I love local, indie bookstores.

If you don’t know of any where you live, you can do an online search with  “bookstores [your zip or town].”

And although local mom-and-pop stores are the only places I’m willing to spend a little more money on something I know I can get cheaper somewhere else, these are also great places to score cheap books.

One of the reasons for this is that many small bookstores carry used books and will allow you to exchange your used books for cash or credit.

A bookstore near me also offers the generous option of giving you an extra 40% for your books if you opt for store credit instead of cash.  And since you know you’re just going to buy more books anyway…

I spend more money on books than I spend on clothes.

4.  Thrift Stores

Thrift stores always seem to have shelves of books available.

And sometimes the books available are best sellers that are still going for at or near retail price elsewhere.  Of course, you won’t pay that:  I just drove by a thrift store yesterday that had a sign out front stating, “books 50 cents.”

So, thrift stores are worth a look.  Especially because so many of them benefit charities.  That way you’re not just scoring cheap books, you’re also helping people.

You can search for thrift store locations online, or call up local churches and charities to ask if they have one.

5.  Amazon

Yes, Amazon.com sells many books at a discounted price, and yes, I buy many books there because I like to read the reviews and utilize the handy “wish list,” but the main reason I’m bringing it up is to let people know (or to remind them) that Amazon also has a very large selection of free books.

That’s right:  free.  They’re eBooks, of course, but so many people have tablets nowadays that eBooks make sense for a lot of us.

Many of the free books they offer happen to be classics whose copyrights have expired, but if you love Poe, Twain, Dickens, or Verne, you’ll want to check out their free ebooks by clicking here.

Don’t have a Kindle or a Kindle Fire?  No problem:  Amazon has a free Kindle Reading App that allows you to read the eBooks on your phone and computer, too.

And if you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll have access to their free Lending Library which allows you to “borrow” a book for free each month.  Plus, the Lending Library offers a lot more than just Twain and Dickens:  they have over 500,000 titles, including New York Times bestsellers.

But – if you’re like me and prefer paper books – you also have the option of buying used books from Amazon.  You can find many listed for only a penny plus shipping and so come out to around $4.

I confess, I have an addiction.  If book were a drug, I would snort them.

6.  Gutenberg Project

Project Gutenberg is a website with over 45,000 free eBooks.

It gives you the option of reading them in a variety of formats, such as an HTML or Kindle version, with or without images, and in English, Portuguese, Dutch, or French.

It’s an ambitious project, founded by Michael Hart and begun in 1971.

The selections of books include (as per their site):

Light Literature; such as Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, Peter Pan, Aesop’s Fables, etc.

Heavy Literature; such as the Bible or other religious documents, Shakespeare, Moby Dick, Paradise Lost, etc.

References; such as Roget’s Thesaurus, almanacs, and a set of encyclopedia, dictionaries, etc.

In other words, there are a ton of awesome books available, but I only read books from here occasionally.  If you’re looking for some light, mind-dump type reading, you may want to consider one of my other suggestions.

7.  Free-eBooks.net

There are a few websites out there that advertise free books, but I like Free-eBooks.

The reason I recommend it is partly because there are a lot of newer and mainstream books available here but also because it’s easier to search.  I’m big on user-friendly.

There are Spanish and Portuguese options for the eBooks, and the site also offers an extensive list of free Business, Computer, Engineering and Trade magazines.

There are two types of accounts:  free and VIP.

Free membership allows you download 5 eBooks for free each month.  VIP gives you unlimited access, mobile formats, priority service, and exclusive titles.  One of the VIP options is a lifetime membership, which is a pretty awesome deal, but there’s also a month-to-month option if you wanted to try it out first.  But the free membership works if you don’t have the time right now for more than 5 books a month.

I also have to bring up their wide variety of categories, which include everything from drama to business and mystery to self-improvement, but also because I find it infinitely amusing that the Top 10 “most popular” lists often include multiple erotica titles.

The site has a ton of eBooks that were submitted by lesser known authors and, while I love this, I love even more that I can preview the books.  I don’t want to download something (even a free something) if it means I’m going to have to drag myself through a massive storm of grammatical errors.

Luckily, the blurb usually tells you all you need to know in terms of whether or not the writing style of the book is something you’ll like, and a page or two of a preview is usually enough to tell me if I want to actually invest my time in reading it.

That said, I highly recommend Free-eBooks.  Their wide range of books and authors makes them well worth a visit.

8.  Dollar Stores

I darn near forgot to include this one – shame on me!

I get a huge amount of craft supplies for my kiddos at The Dollar Tree, and I often pick up small board books or coloring and activity books for them when I’m there, too.

But they also have books for adults.  Sometimes the pickings are slim and sometimes you have to dig through the not-as-appealing books people tossed in front of the actual novels written by New York Times bestselling authors, but they’re there.

Usually.

Of course, much like large chain bookstores, these discounted books are likely to be the first in a series and the publisher is trying to hook you on buying more books.  But this isn’t always the case.

Okay, that about wraps things up, except for my nifty graphic:

8 Ways to get FREE and really cheap books

And please, please, please, if you have any suggestions to add about where you get free or cheap books, let us know in the comment section!

Happy Reading  :)

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