Valentines Day Sugar Cookies

Valentines Sugar Cookies

Valentines Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookie recipe + royal icing = the perfect Valentine’s Day cookies! Happy baking, hon.

(Tip–This recipe makes a large amount of cookie dough. You can make all of it or use half and freeze half.*)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to butter/ sugar mixture in increments until the flour mixture is completely incorporated.
  3. Chill mixture in fridge for about one hour then let sit on counter while you prepare the surface you are using to roll out the dough.  
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Roll dough to desired thickness and cut into shapes. Bake cookies on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper but you may bake them directly on your ungreased cookie sheets.
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges turn slightly brown.

Yield:  Whole recipe makes approximately 4 dozen cookies, depending on cookie cutter size.

Royal Icing

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of meringue or dried egg white powder (I used the brand Deb El and a product called Just Whites.)
  • 6 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, optional (note: adding vanilla adds flavor but tints the color of the icing)
  • food coloring, optional
  • sprinkles, decorating sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat all ingredients 4 to 5 minutes
 by hand.
  2. Stir in optional flavorings.
  3. Tip: Cut icing in half, keeping one half white and adding a couple drops of food coloring to the other half. Thin icing, if needed with extra Tablespoons warm water. Decorate as desired.
  4. Let icing dry. 

*After I defrosted the second half of the dough, I had to knead it a few minutes before I could work with it.

 

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“Amazon Dating,” Parody as Performance Art, Part 1

My daughter Morgan, and a few of her artistic colleagues, fed up with modern dating (think Hinge and Tinder), wondered if they could design a fake site where single men and women could be ordered as easily as ordering college textbooks, shoes, or humidifier filters. What if singles came starred and reviewed? What if all parties involved had to sign a “Non-Ghosting Agreement?” Their creation? “Amazon Dating!” The fake site has been commented on by a bunch of other sites, all who get the joke except for one who thinks Amazon’s playing a joke on their customers. (C’mon Betches, really?!)

Commenting in the article “Just In Time For Valentine’s Day, “Amazon Dating Is Selling Hot Singles Near You (Kind Of), GQ Australia, said,

If you’re currently in a relationship, you will be well aware of the fact that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Even if stores weren’t blasting Michael Buble and dropping confetti from heart-shaped balloons from the ceiling, it would be impossible to ignore your partner’s nudges that the romantic holiday is near and you better have that dinner reservation booked and a present purchased.

Singletons however, will likely be avoiding the holiday in its entirety. “It’s just romance at gunpoint,” those single colleagues will declare in the office, probably via email as they take the day off work in an effort to avoid anyone brandishing a bouquet of flowers and smug smile that they can only hope changes to one of disfiguration brought on by severe allergies induced by cheap chocolate and 7-Eleven purchased flowers.

Being single is tough. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t see people marrying someone they’ve just met on TV in the hope of finding love, or intelligent men and women pitting themselves against a number of others. Tech companies are well aware of the plight of the single woman and man, and consequently dating apps continue to roll out with increasing speed. But sometimes we’re just too busy for Bumble, too tender for Tinder, and too horny for Hinge, so what are we left with? What slim chance do we have of meeting someone in the real world then, hey?

Well, a parody site called Amazon Dating offered one solution: singles you can order with free one-hour delivery through your Prime Membership.

The website is an hilarious take on Amazon’s official website. Given that you can practically buy anything on Amazon these days – portable fans, sneakers, shampoo, cat food – it’s not so far-fetched to think that sometime in the future, we might just be able to order a date off the retail giant. In this instance however, instead of delivering packages, the site “delivers” dates. Visitors can “choose” from over 40 singles at varying prices and ratings, even with the option of selecting their ideal date’s height and love language.

Created by Ani Copian, Suzy Shinn, Morgan Gruer, and animation studio Thinko, the website features a number of Internet punchlines and even links to Chat Roulette as “Prime Video” and Britney Spears’s “Toxic” as “Your Last Relationship.”

While Amazon Dating’s FAQ page answers several questions and also goes on to outline that yes, the site is indeed a joke, it’s hard not to imagine that sometime in the future, Amazon just might enter the dating landscape with its own app, given that they seem intent on dominating every other sector. And if that was the case, we can only fear what our price tag would be. Heck, it would probably read: REDUCED TO CLEAR.

 

On Mashable, Anna Iovine wrote “Amazon Dating is perfect parody for your pre-Valentine’s Day panic.”

A Book Called Love, Book Review

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day for Love, a new picture book written by Matt De La Peña and illustrated by Loren Long. Although this exquisite book is for children, it resonates with all ages. I had the opportunity to see Matt and Loren at Words Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ on the second day of their book tour. When they read Love, I choked up. It’s that beautiful.

“In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.

A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life.”

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.  (Goodreads)

Interestingly, the book has a controversial scene. In it, a child and his dog hide under a piano while the boy’s parents fight. In an interview, Matt said he and Loren were told this scene was too raw and should take it out. Matt and Loren insisted the scene stay. Matt said that a child going through something similar might recognize himself in the picture. If not, where better to explore scary emotions than in the lap of a caregiver? As a response to the controversy, he wrote an excellent article, “Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children From Darkness,” in Time magazine.

Click here to see a beautiful 4 minute video where Matt and Loren talk about their book. Hon, have you read it? Do you have a favorite scene?

Another Snow Day? Valentine’s Marshmallow Snowmen

Valentine's Marshmallow Snowman
Valentine’s Marshmallow Snowman

Another Snow Day?  Kids are home?  Run out of ideas?

Here are mine.

Valentine’s Marshmallow Snowmen (and Snowladies):

My K-2 After School Enrichment class made these Monday and, believe it or not, they waited to taste the “art supplies”…ummm, candy….until everyone was finished.

IMG_1112

“Art Supplies”:

–large marshmallows

–lollipop sticks (or assemble these on a plate w/o sticks)

–icing (or “glue”)

–red candies, such as red M & M’s, red hots, red candy melts, licorice, sour belts, etc.

–candy melts for hats and noses, other options:  candy corn, cherries

–food coloring and toothpicks (or “paintbrushes”) and/or edible markers

–edible candy eyes

–pretzels (for arms, we used brown food coloring to paint the branch arms)

–OR use whatever you have in the house.

Orange candy melts, which are just white chocolate with food coloring.
Orange candy melts, which are just white chocolate with food coloring.

Cut orange candy melts into small, narrow triangles for carrot noses.
Cut orange candy melts into small, narrow triangles for carrot noses.

Assembling Snowman.
Assembling Snowman.

Assembling:

Each child got a plate with a glob of icing, marshmallows, a plastic knife and candy eyes. The rest of the candy was in bowls, so they could choose how to decorate their red-candied Snow-people.  Easy peasy!  The kids made Snow-families, some carrot noses stuck out and others were iced to the side of the face.  Branch arms were drawn on with toothpicks dipped in brown food coloring.  Pretzels make nice branch arms, too.

Warning:   Eating too many Marshmallow Snowmen in one sitting will cause a sugar rush!

Snow-family.
Snow-family.

  

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Other ideas:

My other ideas are mainly food related because one of my mottos raising triplets plus one is “If all else fails, bake!”

Valentine’s Sugar Cookies

Valentines Sugar Cookies
Valentines Sugar Cookies

Melted Snowman Cookies 

Melted Snowman Cookies
Melted Snowman Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Cup

Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Cup.
Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Cup.

Indoor Spa Day

Tween Daughter with avacado mask
Tween Daughter with avacado mask.

Happy Snow Day, hon.