"Ahhhhh.....the first day of school." (Moms everywhere)
"Oh......the first day of school......." (the Mama of a Kindergarten student, Freshman in high school student, or college student)
"Ughhhhhhh....the first day of school." (You can guess who says this!)
Just like a bad dream, it always rolls around way too fast for me! As much fun as it is getting everyone ready for a new school year (yes, that is sarcasm), it is amazing how quickly everyone starts getting into the new routine. Back when I was a kid, we never started school before the day after Labor Day. This year, the kiddos are staggering back today, and we've been told that next year the public schools will start on August 11th. I feel like we are getting robbed of summer!
For as long as I can remember, the first day of school meant new shoes, first day of school photos on the front porch (there's no wiggling out of that), and at the end of the day, fresh baked chewy cookies waiting with tall glasses of cold milk.
I think I gave my mother heart attacks the first day of school - in Kindergarten, I got off the bus several miles from home with three of my neighborhood kindergarten pals - we were lost and crying at a corner way across town, and the anxiously waiting Moms were crying and screaming at the school bus driver at the other end of town.
The first day of First Grade I decided to leave school in the middle of the day and walk home - I didn't like it that the teacher wouldn't let us talk and decided to go home. Not a good idea at all - it involved a police search, an upset Daddy, and a teacher that had some explaining to do.
Luckily my first day of school adventures didn't carry beyond that, but I did become that crazy Mama that followed the school bus to school the first day for my baby (only because I promised her that I would - and I'm not one to break a promise). Thank God it got easier after that!
Now I console myself by baking up fresh cookies and waiting to hear about their first day of school adventures.
My gang loves Butterfinger candy bars, and they love soft chewy cookies - so these are a perfect treat!
I do find that the cookie dough tends to start disappearing when I turn around - guess it must be just as good as the finished fresh-baked product! The original recipe doesn't have the extra Butterfinger crumble sprinkled on the top - but hey, why not?
Fresh and warm baked cookies just make the first day of school a little bit sweeter!
Other perfect first day of school cookies:
Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Soft & Chewy Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
It is hard to believe how fast this summer has flown by! Of course, as soon as the kids start back to school, the summer weather returns. It's hot, it's muggy, and everyone is just a little bit on the crabby side as we struggle to get bedtimes, weekly routines and morning alarm clocks re-synchronized.
We have been blessed with really great teachers this year. That sure helps!
We're trying to squeeze in as many backyard barbeques as we can, and there are also marina activities going on as summer winds down. Skipper and I have date night to enjoy a steak and seafood dinner cooked dockside at the yacht club tonight, so I need something wonderful to have ready for the kids.
This is a wonderful and simple recipe to make root beer pulled pork in a slow cooker. This sandwich is packed with sweet onion, minced garlic and your favorite barbeque sauce.
Asian Coleslaw is perfect to serve with these delicious and saucy sandwiches.
The kids tell me that this is the best pulled pork they have ever had - even better than what you can find at the rib burn-offs around town. I just know it is simple easy to make and a real crowd pleaser!
The kids are fed, and now we're off to enjoy appetizers and happy hour, a wonderful dinner, and a beautiful sunset with a group of wonderful friends. What a perfect summer day - and evening!
Lucky us - there's even some Root Beer Pulled Pork leftover for tomorrow. YUM! And a recipe idea for later in the Fall, a big scoop of this delicious Root Beer Pulled Pork layered on top of homemade Macaroni & Cheese makes some delicious Piggy Mac!
This fabulous coleslaw has an Asian taste, and is a nice change of pace from creamy coleslaw.
Perfect with Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches - you can even pile some of this delicious side right on top of your sandwich - YUM!
You can have all of the salad ingredients ready to go ahead of time, but don't drizzle with the dressing until just before you are ready to serve.
The almond slices and cashews add nice crunch, texture and flavor. You can also add peanut pieces for a change of pace.
If you wait too long to serve (more than an hour) after adding the dressing, this light and flavorful salad will get wilty and sad...
Oh my goodness, such a crazy day today!
School starts in a few days, and it was the last Saturday for all the crazy parents to pick up those school supplies - including me! It's so different for me now...my five girls were always VERY particular about having all the right school supplies, and wanted their own private one-on-one time with me, picking up things off their supply list and new school clothes and shoes. My son, on the other hand, could pretty much care less about the particulars - he is much happier if I just pick up what he needs and deliver the bag to him when I get home.
I was a little perplexed, because the school supply list just posted on the school website was completely different from the list that the school had provided to the local stores weeks ago. And school supplies were starting to get picked over and in short supply. I hate running all over town picking up a very specific item, just to find out weeks after school starts that it wasn't even necessary!
But then I had the pleasure of watching two young mothers with their little ones shopping for kindergarten, and they were a royal mess. I smiled to myself, and slowed down just to enjoy and remember!
I remember how emotional I was when my first started that first year of school, and wanting to make sure everything was just right for her. I remember sharing the special time with her to help her locate and check off each item on her kindergarten supply list., and how serious she was about getting it just right. When we got everything home we had to mark it with her name, and she double and triple checked her list and packed backpack a dozen times before that first day of school. It seems like only yesterday, but it was a lifetime ago!
It was a perfect night to take some time and put together a family favorite dinner. The layers of flavor in this dish are incredible! If you're putting this together on your own, get all your ingredients out and measured before you start, as it goes together pretty quickly. If you have extra hands for helping, this is a wonderful and easy dish to work on together.
Crispy bacon, tender herbed chicken cooked in the bacon pan, fresh asparagus, and a flavorful and creamy cheesy alfredo sauce that is much lighter that your typical alfredo sauce..
All you need is some good music, some good wine, a nice simple salad, and a loaf of fresh bread. Dinner is ready - enjoy!
A perfect evening to reminisce about school years past!
Every now and then we just have a hankering from some tender, cheese-filled ravioli, covered in a flavorful and fresh sun-dried tomato and basil cream sauce.
This is so easy to make, and tastes unbelievably fresh!
You can't believe how much flavor the fresh basil adds to this....fresh from the garden! We have bumper crops of tomatoes this year, and I'm always looking for a way to incorporate their vine-ripened freshness and sweet taste into meals.
I add finely minced sun-dried tomatoes to the sauce - they add just a blast of wild tomato taste, and another level of texture to the creamy sauce.
Fill up a bowl, grab some spoons, and call the kids...dinner is served!
Hope that you enjoy this family favorite as much as we do!
We have had two weeks of what feels like Autumn weather....cool temperatures, lots and lots of rain, and enough backyard bonfires to fill the air with the smell of fall as well.
So rather than the marina, campfire or grilling, it was full on oven time. And on my way to pick up some baking supplies and groceries, the Butterfingers were beckoning.
Not only are back-to-school sales in full swing now, but Halloween costumes and Halloween candy are starting to show up front and center. I don't know about you, but Baby Ruth and Butterfinger candy bars are totally a Halloween candy. Other than daughter Kelsey, I don't know anyone who eats them at any other time of the year. And lucky for everyone at home, inspiration struck.
Hello ladies and gentlemen....buckle your seatbelts for some fabulous cheesecake!
I used Oreo cookies for the tender and chewy chocolate cookie crust and gave it a quick bake. While that cooled, we whipped up the delicate peanut butter cheesecake filling and folded in a BUNCH of crushed Butterfingers.
My springform pan was filled to the top with the most delicious looking and smelling filling, and while this baked in an oven water bath, the most incredible aromas wafted thru the whole house.
The hard part is waiting for this to chill overnight. Don't be tempted to try it earlier - it is so thick and rich that it really needs the full chilling to set and reach full creamy flavor. And then, when you are ready to serve, stand back and observe this beauty for a minute before you cut that first slice....ain't she pretty?
And so while I've tried to embrace this unseasonably cool and rainy weather, and dream of some hot summer days and star-filled nights on the lake, we enjoyed the weekend for what it was. This Butterfinger Bliss Cheesecake certainly helped!
And hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate and bring our summer back!