Michael’s Way

Hey all!  How has everyone been?  I’m dropping in with a quick post about some cookies I just made!  I didn’t get a chance to take any nice, professional looking photos before I sent these out the door (new work responsibilities, grad school and attempting to have a life in between have me feeling like everything is moving at warp speed these days, know what I mean?) but I wanted to do a little write up, mostly to spread the word about a great charity.

Michael’s Way is an organization in the Philadelphia area that provides assistance to the families of children battling pediatric cancer.  According to their website, “Michael’s Way has raised more than $6 million to lessen the financial hardships of hundreds of families whose children are suffering from cancer. 100% of money raised, as well as private donations and grants received from foundations goes directly to the families, not to overhead.”  I think that’s pretty amazing given the number of “charities” that spend more per dollar on salaries, marketing and who knows what else than they do on actually helping people.

For the third year in a row PMC Property Group is sponsoring a bowling party at Lucky Strike in Philadelphia to raise money for Michael’s Way (4/20/16 – details here if you are interested!) and I was more than happy to make some Michael’s Way logo cookies for the event!

So here’s my crappy picture of what turned out to be a pretty cool cookie!!

Michael's Way Logo Cookies #charity #decoratedcookies

If you suck at bowling or aren’t in the area, but are interested in making a donation to this wonderful organization head over to their online donation form!

 

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Spiked Irish Potatoes

Hi everyone!  Sorry I have been MIA for the past two months!  In addition to this being the WORST winter weather-wise (seriously, 3rd snowiest winter in Philadelphia – I think I have spent half the past two months just shoveling my driveway!), this has also been a very bad start to 2014 on a personal level.  Hence, my disappearing act.  Things are better now though, and with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner I am hoping a bit of the Luck o’ the Irish will get everyone through the rest of this winter unscathed!  In order to facilitate said luck, I made some Irish Potatoes and added an extra special ingredient – booze (I know, no surprise there right?)!

If you aren’t from around here you may not be aware of these delightful confections. I am obviously not talking about those spuds that grow in the ground.  I am talking cream cheese, powdered sugar, coconut flakes and cinnamon.  They are a traditional Philadelphia candy that look like little potatoes, and are especially popular this time of year.  There is absolutely nothing Irish about them. 🙂

Until last year when I shared my Drunken Irish Potato cocktail recipe, I had no idea that people outside of the Philadelphia area may have never experienced the sweet perfection of these little treats.  So this year I am making it my mission to get everyone acquainted with my little spuddy buddy, the Irish Potato.

Spiked Irish Potatoes | Shake Bake and Party

These couldn’t be any easier to make and the taste payoff is beyond worth the minimal effort!  You just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, roll the mixture into little balls or potato shapes and then cover them in cinnamon!  And then you spend the rest of the night sneaking into the fridge to grab “just one more” and furtively wiping the traces of cinnamon from your fingers.  Or maybe that’s just me…

Spiked Irish Potatoes (adapted from Irish Potato Candy submitted to Allrecipes.com by Saundra)

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 of an 8 oz. package of cream cheese
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon Malibu Coconut Rum OR 1 tablespoon RumChata OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
ground cinnamon

Directions

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add the liquor of your choice (or vanilla extract if you don’t want to use alcohol) and confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, beating until smooth.  Mix in the coconut flakes – I used my hands! – and then chill the mixture for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator.  Pour a few tablespoons of ground cinnamon into a small bowl.  Once the mixture has chilled, roll into small balls or potato shapes and then coat in the cinnamon.  Place onto a cookie sheet and chill to set.

The addition of the coconut rum just enhances the coconut flavor in the Malibu potatoes, and the RumChata potatoes were slightly creamier with a hint of vanilla.  These aren’t overwhelmingly boozy the way rum balls at Christmastime can be.

Irish Potato Candy spiked with Malibu and RumChata | Shake Bake and Party

These are fun to make, and even more fun to eat!  If you leave out the booze these are definitely an easy St. Patty’s Day treat that kids can help whip up; their little hands are perfect for shaping these bite sized spuds!  If you have never had an Irish Potato before, give these a try and let me know what you think!  I’d love to hear from any first-timers out there!

Spiked Irish Potatoes | Shake Bake and Party

If you agree that the combination of creamy coconut and cinnamon is as awesome as I think it is, try out my liquid version – the Drunken Irish Potato!

Bowled Over

The first thing I saw when I turned on the news while getting ready this morning was the live update from Wing Bowl 21.  Every February, gluttons from around the world gather in the early morning hours in Philadelphia to see who can chow down on the most chicken wings (no shortage here folks!).  People actually buy tickets to this.  And, because it can’t be that fun just sitting around watching people try not to regurgitate their drummies, a bunch of scantily clad women (aka “Wingettes”) are on hand for added…entertainment.  Why this event garners more coverage on the morning news than any actual NEWS taking place is beyond me, but whatever.

There it is.
The classy Wingettes from Wing Bowl past…. (Photo credit: Phillyspider)

Next, from my favorite morning radio show – The Preston and Steve Show – came the first annual Possum Bowl.  I found watching possums Petunia and Marigold on the webcam to be much more entertaining (and less nauseating) than the slobby guys and excessive amounts of boob at Wing Bowl, and according to the outcome of this bout – the 49ers are favored to win the real thing on Sunday.

English: Baby possum lapping milk out of a bowl
Possum IN a bowl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Speaking of the real thing on Sunday, I had to get in on the action too.  A few weeks ago a coworker showed me these cupcakes in a magazine (my poor brain can’t remember which one) and said, “You should make these!”

So I did.  And here they are:

football cupcakes

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For the grass I used a small closed star tip (Wilton #27), and the footballs are chocolate covered almonds.  These were pretty easy to put together and would make a great addition to any Super Bowl party.  Too bad for everyone I know – no one invited me to one this year.  No cupcakes for them!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering – the Wing Bowl 21 champ, Jamie “The Bear” McDonald, ate 287 wings.  Gross.  Not quite as gross as last year’s winner though.  He devoured THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN wings.

Bowl of "Wings"
Bowl of “Wings” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holiday Wanderings

I’ve been doing quite a bit of Christmas-y stuff the past week.  First, I put together gift tins full of goodies for my coworkers.  I made chocolate covered Oreos (Double Stuff, of course), cute little candy cane striped cups full of Christmas gummies, personalized stocking cookies, and a treat I found on Pinterest – Cinnamon Sugar White Chocolate Pretzels (or what I now refer to as Christmas Crack – it’s THAT good)!

Chocolate Covered Oreos

Cute Christmas tin I got at the dollar store!
Filled Tin
No calories there!

Stocking Cookies

I also went with a bunch of friends to see the Holiday Pops show.   Before the concert we had lunch at Max Brenner, where I had this lovely concoction:

Yummy drinks at Max Brenner!

This wasn’t the first time I got to have this drink, called Satisfaction Guaranteed, and it was every bit as good as I remembered!

After lunch we headed over to the Kimmel Center to see Peter Nero and the Philly Pops!

Holiday Pops Concert
Love the architecture at the Kimmel Center!

Once the show was over, we wandered around the city quite a bit.  We went to Love Park to check out the Christmas Village and the tree at City Hall (which was not actually at City Hall this year due to some construction mess).

Lights on Broad Street
City Hall tree, at Love PArk

All the walking made us hungry again and we ended up a my favorite restaurant, Jones, where I had some excellent baked mac and cheese.

Jones Restaurant, 7th and Chestnut

The next night I baked cookies with this candy cane sugar cookie dough made by Pillsbury.  I found it with the refrigerated doughs.  I dipped some of the cookies in melted dark chocolate, and drizzled the chocolate on others.  I also made some chocolate covered marshmallows and put it all together on a tray to take to work.

cookie tray

The cookies were really good, so I went looking for another package of the dough at the grocery store this morning but couldn’t find any. 😦  Bah humbug!

Last but not least, I headed over to Christmas Madness Central with my brother to take some pictures.

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Insanity!

I could hear their electric meters whirring from across the street, and I swear as you round the corner onto the street where these two houses are the air actually feels warmer.  I wonder if they can been seen from outer space…

So there’s a sample of what’s been keeping me busy the past few days!  Since the world didn’t end this morning I’ll probably be baking some more cookies today!  Hope everyone is enjoying all the fun this time of year has to offer!

Peanut Rum? Yum!

Peanut Rum Creme.  Sounds a little strange, no?  This is what I thought when I saw a drink called Banana Nut Bay on the menu at Rum Bar in Philadelphia last year.  However, other ingredients were Creme de Banana and cream of coconut and I figured something with those flavors could never be bad so I ordered it.

Oh Happy Day!  This drink was soooo good!  It reminded me of  boozy Gerber Baby Bananas.  (Yes, sometimes I buy a jar of baby bananas for a snack, so what?)  Now, it was last year that I had this drink.  I don’t know what made me think of it today but I checked out Rum Bar’s website and it appears that – for some bizarro reason – this tasty concotion is no longer on the menu.  For a brief second I was broken hearted, thinking I would never again taste such deliciousness, but then I remembered Google.

And so, here is the recipe!

1 oz Brugal Anejo Rum
1/2 oz Creme de Banana
1/2 oz Castries Peanut Rum Creme
1/2 oz cream of coconut
3 oz pineapple juice

Shake and serve with ice.  Thank Angela for introducing you to a taste of heaven…

But wait – there’s more!!  A few months after Banana Nut Bay, I was having brunch at Max Brenner’s and what do I see on the menu but another drink made with Peanut Rum Creme!  This drink was called Satisfaction Guaranteed, and it did not disappoint!  Castries Peanut Rum Creme, Caramel Liqueur and milk chocolate.  It was a damn good drink on its own…extra bonus points for presentation!

I would say Peanut Rum Creme would definitely make a a great addition to any home bar!