Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies

Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies at RoamingRosie.com

These book-shaped cookies are soooooo cute!

And I’m a total sucker for cute food.

Anyway, I made these for a book party I was throwing.  You know, because cookies that looked like books seemed like an appropriate snack for a party celebrating books.  :)

The best part?

{Have you read my blog?  Do ya know what I’m gonna say next??}

They were easy!

Cute + easy + yummy = AWEsome!

The idea came from Catholic Cuisine when I found a picture of their Bible cookies on Pinterest.  I just made mine a little differently.

Here are the step-by-step pictures:

Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies at RoamingRosie.com

As you can see from the above picture, I just cut off one end of some Newton cookies and – just like that – the cookies already looked like little novels.

I used the Apple Cinnamon Newtons and Blueberry Newtons, but any flavor will work.

To amplify the effect, I added some icing in a pattern that would make them look a little bit more like fancy hardcover books:  a line down the front to indicate where the spine would start, 4 little lines across the spine in two groups, and a rectangle over the front cover.

And then, for fun, I wrote some words on some of them.  You don’t really need to do that, but I really got into it.

Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies at RoamingRosie.com

To make the icing, all you really need to do is mix a little water or milk into some confectionery sugar, but I actually used the same recipe that I use for my Soft Sugar Cookies and Mini Soft Iced Gingerbread Cookies.

Then you just let the cookies sit for a couple of minutes to let the icing harden, before storing them in a closed container or displaying them on a tray to serve.

They’ll keep for a few days, so you can make them ahead of time.

Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies at RoamingRosie.com

And they’re totally perfect to enjoy with a cup of warm tea or coffee and a good {you know} book.

To find out more about the amazing books at our party, visit BooksWithRosie.com!

Enjoy!

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Fall French Toast

Fall French Toast

French toast is one of my favorite breakfast foods.

I’ve made it so many times that I usually don’t measure things, but I made sure to for this recipe.  :)  Either way, tho, feel free to adjust the measurements.

And this time, I changed things up by making it more autumn-themed.  Great for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or fall in general.

I cut up the bread with leaf and acorn cookie cutters and used plenty of vanilla extract and cinnamon in the egg mix.  Of course, you could substitute {or combine} it with almond extract, if you’d like.  {If you’re looking for something a little more fruity – check out my Tropical Almond French Toast!}

The shapes were fun for the kids {and me} but if you don’t want to go to the trouble of cutting out them out, you can still make this french toast with normal square slices of bread.

Fall French Toast

Stale bread always works best for french toast.  Fresh/soft bread tends to fall apart once you soak it in the egg mixture, and the stale bread is much easier to cut with the cookie cutters.

I didn’t have any stale bread, tho, so I laid out the bread pieces I was going to use on the counter the night before.  Let it sit uncovered and not overlapping for the best results.

I used regular sandwich bread.  A few slices of white and a few of wheat.  I happened to have them both, and I loved the combination of colors.

For each slice of bread, I got 3 medium or a combo of 3 medium and small leaves and acorns.  The extra bread can be used for croutons or breadcrumbs.

I used the Wilton Leaves and Acorns 9-Piece Aluminum Cookie Cutter Set, which you can see here:

Wilton Leaves and Acorns Cookie Cutter Set

Fall French Toast

Once you have your leaves and acorns cut out {you could also do this step the night before if it’s something you don’t think you can accomplish in the morning before your coffee kicks in}, then whisk together the other ingredients in a bowl.

Melt some butter on a griddle or in a large frying pan.  Dip the bread pieces in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides and allowing to sit for a minute so the bread soaks everything up.

Fall French Toast

Look at all that yummy cinnamon!

I stopped using my hands to lift the bread from the egg mix and transfer it to the griddle years ago.  Too much breakage.  And messiness.  I use a fork for large slices of bread, but I used two for some of the more delicate leaves here.  Didn’t want them falling apart.

Fall French Toast

Cook them for a few minutes on each side, until browned.

I suggest dipping a few pieces at a time and transferring them all to the griddle at once, so you have a couple of batches cooking at once.

Fall French Toast

When they’re finished, you can either transfer them directly to the serving platter, or put them in a oven safe dish in an oven that’s been preheated to a low temperature to keep them warm.

I served these with just maple syrup {see photo below}, but you could also sprinkle on some powdered sugar or some Cinnamon Sugar.

Fall French Toast

Fall French Toasts {with leaves & acorns}

Ingredients:

10 slices stale bread
1 cup whole milk
6 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla or almond extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

The bread is easier to work with if it’s stale, so if you only have fresh bread, leave it out on the counter the night before.

Cut leaf and acorn shapes from the bread slices. Use a combination of white and wheat for more color variation. Reserve remaining bread pieces for breadcrumbs or croutons.

Preheat a griddle to medium heat (about 350°F).

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Melt some butter on the surface of the hot griddle. Dip the bread pieces in the milk mixture, turning to coat both sides, and lifting with one or two forks so that the shapes don’t break apart. Place the bread on the griddle.

Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Serve immediately, or keep warm in a low temperature oven.

Serve with maple syrup, and optionally with powdered sugar or a cinnamon sugar mix.

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And click here to print the free PDF version of the recipe:  Fall French Toast

Enjoy!

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Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

These Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds {made with coconut oil and cinnamon} are pretty addicting.

I’ve been eating a handful every time I walk through the kitchen.

And cooking them?  Oh, my.  The coconut oil… the maple syrup… the cinnamon….  The kitchen smelled AMAZING.

If you prefer something more savory, be sure to check out my Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

But – either way – you need to try these.  I’m seriously considering buying a trunkful of pumpkins to carve just so I can roast some more seeds.

Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Anyway, the process starts off with cleaning the seeds.  Getting rid of all the pumpkiny pulp.

I do this by putting some water in the bowl with the pulp and seeds and squeezing out the seeds through my fingers, but if there’s a different method you prefer, please share it in the comments!

Now you’ll either dry your seeds and roast them right away or let them soak overnight.

Soaking them has something to do with removing the phytic acid to allow you to absorb more of the gazillion nutrients in the pumpkin seeds.  But mostly, I don’t feel like roasting them as soon as I’ve finished carving and am busy trying to scrub orange goo off my hands and clothes.

So I let them soak overnight.

I MAY have let them soak for 48 hours… possibly.  I mean, it’s not like I let myself get distracted by my toddler and preschooler or anything… but – just so you know:  if you soak them for a couple of nights {whether for convenience or because you accidentally passed out at 8p.m. next to your kid’s bed and woke up in a puddle of drool waaaaaay too late to be bothered by checking on your pumpkin seeds}, you should be fine.

Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

After cleaning and/or soaking the seeds, dry them off on a cloth towel.

Then measure them out to make sure you have approximately a cup and a half.  But if you’re a little off, don’t worry about it.  Just add a little more or less of the other ingredients.

And for reference, I got my seeds out of this guy right here:

Our Jack O' Lantern

I’m a sucker for the traditional look.  :)

Back to the seeds:  mix all of the ingredients really well in a bowl.  You want to make sure all of the seeds are coated.

If your coconut oil is solid, melt it on the stove and allow it to cool slightly before using.  My extra virgin coconut oil is stored in my pantry and I live in Florida.  It never completely solidifies.  And I use to extra virgin for this because I like the smell and taste of it, but any coconut oil will work.

Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Then spread them out on a large baking sheet, getting as flat a layer as possible.

Stir them every 10 to 15 minutes while baking, always making sure that you spread them out as much as possible each time.  It can make it easier to do this if you use two spatulas/spoon instead of one.

After baking, let them cool on the pan, then put them in a bowl to serve or a covered container to store.

I can’t stop eating the darned things, so I can’t say for certain how long they’ll last.  :)

Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

After removing the seeds from your pumpkin, separate the pulp from the seeds.

Once the seeds are cleaned, cover them with water and let them sit overnight. (This step is optional.)

Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C). Drain the water from the pumpkin seeds (if you soaked them overnight) and dry them on a cloth towel.

In a bowl, mix the seeds with the coconut oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon. If your coconut oil is not in a liquid or mostly-liquid state, melt it on the stove and allow it to cool slightly before using. Mix well so the seeds are evenly covered.

Spread the pumpkin seeds on a large baking sheet with as few touching as possible. Bake for one hour, stirring every 10 or 15 minutes.

Let cool and store covered.

[Note: the ingredient measurements can be adjusted up or down depending on how many seeds your pumpkin contains.]

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Click here to print the free PDF version of the recipe:  Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

And here are some of the ingredients I used:

Coconut Oil Organic Maple Syrup

Enjoy!

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Octopus Dinner Rolls

Octopus Dinner Rolls

I saw these Octopus Dinner Rolls in a magazine (can’t remember which one) and thought they’d be fun to tackle with my girls.

They do take a few minutes to shape, but they’re pretty easy to make – and especially fun to eat!

Octopus Dinner Rolls

I used crescent rolls that had a butter flavor in them already, but if yours don’t (or you’re making your own dough), you can always wrap up a small chunk of butter inside the “head.”

The process of turning these triangles into an octopus is surprisingly easy:  cut the end opposite the point into 8 pieces.  Then tuck the pointed end under and bunch it up into a ball.  Voila!

Octopus Dinner Rolls

I asked the girls to help me arrange the myriad legs, but they were really much more interested in adding the eyes.

My 4yo even used the tweezers from her bug collecting kit to place them on.  (Don’t worry – we washed them first!)

Octopus Dinner Rolls

Here they are, all ready to bake.

You should make sure the legs aren’t touching, but the dough doesn’t spread much during baking, so they can be pretty close.

Octopus Dinner Rolls

Also, I baked one tray the full recommended baking time on the package (see above photo) and the other tray a few minutes less (see below).

Undercooking them slightly ensures that the tips don’t brown, but the head will be a bit underdone.  Now, that didn’t bother me or my girls at all – but then, neither did the crunchy legs of the fully cooked ones.

The crispy tips didn’t present a problem for us in the least, so really, how long you decide to bake them is up to your personal preference.

Octopus Dinner Rolls

And if you want to shape them ahead of time, you can put the octopus-filled, parchment-lined trays in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them.  Such as on Halloween.  :)

Click here to get the free printable PDF version of the recipe:  Octopus Dinner Rolls

Plus, if your kids enjoyed this, they may also like my Octopus Hot Dogs:

octopus-hot-dogs-with-seaweed-zucchiniEnjoy!

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Perfectly Popped Popcorn {with coconut oil}

Perfectly Popped Popcorn with Coconut Oil

This is some pretty amazing stuff right here.

I make a lot of popcorn … I MAY have mentioned once or twice my Garlic Infused Parmesan Popcorn … but sometimes it’s nice to enjoy just the butter and the salt of traditional movie theatre popcorn – but without all the gross chemicals and additives.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn with Coconut Oil and Himalayan Salt

This recipe was my solution to that.

And it’s AMAZING.

Now, part of that is because of the virgin coconut oil.  If you don’t use virgin, then you won’t get the coconut taste.  Maybe that’s what you want.  But it’s not what I wanted.

The subtle tropical flavor suits the puffed kernels so perfectly.

And the Himalayan salt tastes pretty amazing all on its own anyway.

Plus, I buy my popcorn kernels in bulk at my local health food store.  I like this popcorn for two reasons:  it’s organic and it pops light and fluffy every time.

Oh – and yet another benefit:  the combination of the popcorn and the virgin coconut oil will make your kitchen smell incredible.

Seriously.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn

Okay, to make the popcorn, start with a large pan with deep sides, or a pot.

Melt the coconut oil over medium heat, then toss in 3 kernels of popcorn.  Cover.  When you hear the 3 kernels pop, add in the rest.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn

When you add in the rest of the popcorn, quickly shake a pinch of salt over them, then cover.

Shake the pan now and then to make sure all the kernels cook evenly.  Even tilt it from side to side.  Just hold the cover on while shaking.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn

Once the popcorn is done, put it into a “giant” paper lunch bag (mine are approx. 11 x 6 x 4 inches and I found them at Walmart).  Or, use a small paper grocery bag.  You could try using a regular paper lunch bag, but that won’t allow the popcorn as much movement when shaking.

Drizzle the melted butter over it and add a few more pinches of Himalayan salt.

Fold over the top of the bag and shake vigorously until you’re quite certain that all of the popcorn is covered with the toppings.

Some of the melted butter will start to soak through the bag.  That’s okay.

And remember, you can always add more salt if there’s not enough for your taste, but you can NOT take it away.  Better to add too little than too much.  Himalayan salt is really strong and you don’t need a lot of it.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn

Then pour it into a bowl and enjoy!

It’s hard to beat fresh, incredible food that takes only a few minutes.  And the taste … *drools*

Perfectly Popped Popcorn {with coconut oil}

Ingredients:

1/4 cup virgin or extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup organic popcorn kernels
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Himalayan salt, to taste

Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a large pan with high sides.

Once melted, add 3 popcorn kernels and cover. When the 3 kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels, spreading evenly over the bottom of the pan. Quickly sprinkle a pinch of salt over the kernels and cover.

While continuing to cook over medium heat, occasionally shake the pan (making sure the cover is secure). It should take only a few minutes for all the kernels to pop.

When the popping has slowed and there are a few seconds between popping sounds, remove the pan from the heat and carefully shake it once more to make sure there are no more unpopped kernels floating around inside.

Transfer the popped popcorn to a large paper lunch bag (or a small paper grocery bag). Drizzle the melted butter over it and then shake a few more pinches of salt into the bag. Fold over the top of the bag and shake vigorously to cover all of the popcorn with the toppings.

Pour into a bowl and enjoy!

[Note: the virgin coconut oil is what gives this recipe its unique taste, but you can still use regular coconut oil if you prefer.]

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Click here to print the free PDF version of the recipe:  Perfectly Popped Popcorn with coconut oil

Enjoy!

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Frozen Hairstyles of Elsa and Anna

Okay, I’m kind of terrible at styling hair, but these how-to pictures got me pretty excited.

I think I might be able to at least manage Elsa’s braid.

Anyway, the pics were shared by Zulily, who is having a sale on Frozen items starting today.  And my little girls LOVE to play dress up, so I’m pretty excited about all the outfits.  Click here to get up to 60% off of Disney’s Frozen products!  (This is an affiliate link – I’ll get some compensation if you purchase something, so many thanks in advance!)

Guide to Anna's Royal Updo:  Disney's Frozen HairstylesGuide to Elsa's Side Braid:  Disney's Frozen Hairstyles

 

Guide to Anna's Coronation Updo:  Disney's Frozen Hairstyles Elsa's Braid Tutorial:  Disney's Frozen Hairstyles

Don’t forget to Pin your favorites, and follow me on Pinterest!

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Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

When I was five years old my favorite food was macaroni and cheese.

Nothing’s changed.

Seriously, I could eat this stuff every day.  But it IS nice to change up the elbows and cheddar routine.  And one of my favorite ways to do that is with Gouda.

As you’ll see, I also incorporated sausage into this.  You could do that in a variety of ways, but I chose to fry the sausage and cut it into half-slices.  You could also remove the casing and crumble it into the pan to cook, if you think you’d prefer that.

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

I also added half a sweet onion for flavor.  As you can tell from the photos, I removed most of the onion before adding the sausage pieces to the macaroni because they’d become a little too dark for my taste.  I didn’t want the taste of the burnt onion pieces in my final dish, but cooking the sausage with the onions gave it a nice depth of flavor.

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

This recipe also calls for a basic roux.  Butter, flour, milk, cheese:  voila.

And pepper.  Gotta have my spice.

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

Also, I used Corkscrew pasta.  I like to change up the shapes of pasta sometimes, but keep in mind that when using a different shape of pasta than what the recipe calls for, you may need to adjust the amount.

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

You could easily use regular breadcrumbs, but I like using Panko sometimes.  I used it here.

If you’re not going to bake it right away, wait to add the breadcrumbs until just before baking.  Sometimes I put a little bit of my mac mixture into a small ramekin or two to keep in the fridge to bake another day.

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

And, if your breadcrumbs don’t brown as much as you’d like by the time the sauce is bubbling nicely, then just broil it for a couple minutes.

As you can see from my photo, the Panko don’t brown as quickly or evenly as regular breadcrumbs.  But they’re still toasty, even the parts still light in color, so it still adds a nice crunch to the dish.

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

Sausage and Gouda Mac & Cheese

So, here’s the path to yumminess:

Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

2 cups corkscrew pasta
2 to 4 sausage links
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 Tbs olive oil
5 Tbs butter, separated
3 Tbs flour
2 tsp pepper
3 cups whole milk
2 cups (8 oz.) apple smoked Gouda, shredded
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add onion and sausage and cook until onions are translucent and sausage is at least mostly cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and slice into 1/4 or 1/2 inch slices, and cut the slices in half. Return sausage to pan, adding extra olive oil if the pan is too dry, and cook until the pieces are well-browned on all sides. Drain on paper towels, removing any onions that have become too dark (or all of them if you only want the flavor of them in the meat).

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions. Also, in a small dish, melt the 2 Tbs butter and mix the panko into it. Set panko aside.

Melt 3 Tbs butter in a saucepot. Sprinkle flour over it and stir well to create a roux. Add pepper and stir for a minute to lessen the taste of the flour. Remove from heat and whisk in milk. Return to heat and cook at medium high, stirring frequently, until just starting to boil. As soon as it starts to bubble, turn heat to low and stir in cheese. Stir until cheese is fully incorporated.

Stir the cooked pasta and sausage into the cheese sauce. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle the panko over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 minutes more, or until sauce begins to bubble. If desired, you can broil it for 2 minutes to achieve a well-browned crust on the breadcrumb topping.

(Note: Dish can be stored in the fridge or freezer before baking. Let sit at room temp at least 30 mins from fridge before baking and add 10 mins to baking time. Do not add panko until ready to bake.)

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Print the FREE PDF of the recipe:  Sausage and Gouda Mac and Cheese

Enjoy!

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