Book Themed Baby Shower

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I’ve been dying to tell you all about this, because, quite frankly, it was awesome.  This is the third shower I’ve hosted with this group of ladies, and we are a great team.  We’ve sorted out our particular talents so that each of us is doing something we’re good at, and also that we enjoy…it really makes for one heck of a shower when you have such amazing co-hosts. The book theme was really fun and easy to work with, and we were able to coordinate all the food, games, and decor with no trouble at all.  My co-host with the Cricut (such an amazing device!  I want one!) made the banner above, as well as the tissue paper Hungry Hungry Caterpillar, and the clothesline for the  gifts was her idea as well.  Another friend (the adorable young man below belongs to her) came up with some children’s book trivia games for us (I didn’t win.  I was actually sad about that, but then, I don’t read a lot of children’s books these days…), and our fourth co-host made us some lovely invitations, of which I have no photo…but they were made to coordinate with our banner (above) and you can rest assured, they were adorable.  Your truly was responsible for the food, and I can’t even tell you how much fun I had with it.  Everything I made was meant to go with one of the books and here’s the list:

Green Eggs and Ham – Spinach and Pancetta Quiche

Goodnight Moon – Homemade Moonpies

Give a Mouse a Cookie – assorted cookies, including Homemade Oreos, Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbreads, Sugar, and Chocolate Chip (not made by me, but I will be telling you about them, because they have a secret ingredient that is Killer)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Carrot Cupcakes

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Baked Chicken Meatballs

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – fruit Kebabs

We also had Lemon-Berry Punch, which was a Martha Stewart recipe and came out quite well.  I’ve already share the meatball recipe with you, and I will be sharing the rest of them over the next week.  The carrot cupcake recipe came from (where else?) SmittenKitchen, and I’ll just direct you over to her site for the recipe.  As usual with Deb’s recipes, they turned out wonderfully – moist, tender, and tasty.  I did pipe wee carrots on top of them, and I was quite proud of how they looked, since I usually have no great gift for decorating.  Please do email, or comment, if you have any questions about any of our decor or the theme, etc.  We had so much fun being creative with it, but it took a few skype brainstorming sessions and quite a bit of time on Pinterest for us to put all of our ideas to solid plans and then to reality.  For now, enjoy some photos of the happy Mama-to-be, and be sure to check back in a day or two for the recipes!

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I’ve been away for a while, but I have been doing quite a bit of baking in my absence, and I have lots to show you!  I chose these to start with since anything my husband declares “…are the best cookies I’ve ever eaten” must be shared. He just doesn’t do desserts, and he really doesn’t like raisins, so I figured these must be the mother of all oatmeal raisin cookies to get that sort of reaction from him.  This is the simplest recipe, but the results are the sort of cookie that makes you want to curl up in your comfy spot with a good book or a marathon of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (that last may just be me though…).  These are rustic, homey, not very pretty cookies – sort of lumpy and not-very-impressive-looking – but no one is going to notice how they look when they’re shoving them into their mouths as fast as possible.

I got this recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook (one of my favorites that I picked up at TJ Maxx for like $15…Who loves that store?!).  They were listed as Oatmeal cookies with the  note to add raisins or chocolate chips if desired, but really I don’t think they’d be nearly as good if they were just oatmeal – I think that would be too much “healthy” for me. I’ve also made them with both raisins and chocolate chips and let me tell you, that takes them to a whole new level (really, what doesn’t chocolate improve?).

These really are the easiest cookies to make: you just cream the butter and sugar (really well!  Light and fluffy is the goal here!), add the egg and a little vanilla, then dump in all your dry ingredients.  I used a medium cookie scoop – it’s 1 1/2 tbsp – and that made just the right size cookie for me.

So, in conclusion, you should all rush home and make these immediately.  You won’t regret it.  You might even want to do it when no one else is home so that you don’t have to share, but that’s your call – I won’t tell if you do though.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook

makes aprox 2 dozen cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  •  3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (1 1/4 sticks)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1 1/2 cups raisins, or chocolate chips, or both – to taste; I like lots so I use more like 1 1/2 cups of raisins, and if I use both I do about 3/4 cups of each.
  1. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  2. Mix first 5 ingredients, plus the raisins or chocolate chips, in a bowl.
  3. Cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy – several minutes. Add the egg and vanilla until well combined.
  4. Add oat mixture and beat until just combined.
  5. Drop heaping tablespoons (my 1 1/2 tbsp scoop was perfect) of dough about 2 inches apart onto the lined baking sheets. Gently flatten the dough drops with slightly moistened fingers – this helps them not mound up in the center.
  6. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just golden for chewy cookies.  You can let them crisp up for another minute or two if you like them that way, but beware of the bottoms getting too brown.
Enjoy!