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Friday, June 29, 2012

Button Swap

I've never done this before, but I recently swapped buttons with two other bloggers. If you are interested in swapping as well, please email me at layne.erika{at} Thanks! I am excited!

Amped-Up Cookie Bars

Today I am guest posting over at Like Mother, Like Daughter with my French Toast Cupcakes recipe! Be sure to go check out their blog :) You won't be sorry!

One of my assignments in my nutrition class was to create a bar. My group was specifically assigned to make a high fiber whole grain bar. We took Martha Stewart's cookie bar recipe and tweaked it a bit. Another part of the assignment was a taste panel, and we received pretty good reviews.

We added half whole wheat flour, Brown Rice Krispies, ground flax seed and oatmeal. We also reduced the butter and added applesauce instead.

Amped-Up Cookie Bars
adapted from Martha Stewart

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
6-8 tablespoons ground flax seed(depending on your flax tolerance)
1 cup Brown Rice Krispies 
1 cup oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of an electric mixer w/the paddle attachment, cream the butter, applesauce and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue to mix until well combined. 
2. In a separate bowl, combine both flours, flax seed, rice krispies, oats, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. 
3. Spread the dough into a sprayed 12 by 17 inch baking sheet. Bake until the edges are brown and the top is golden, about 40-45 minutes. After it is cooled, cut into square or rectangles. 

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Black Currant Truffles

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know of my complete obsession with all things Europe. My friend Hannah was born there and served an LDS mission there as well. So naturally, when Will & Kate's first year anniversary came around in April, we had to have a British party. Hannah made Shepherd's Pie and I made Black Currant Truffles. It was a magical night!

I am a sucker for good quality chocolate, especially Lindt. Their dark chocolate truffle balls? To die for! I think this is my favorite chocolate picture ever!(above)

That's perfection right there!

Black Currant Truffles 

1/4 pound Lindt Black Currant Chocolate Bar(about 2 and 1/4 bars), finely chopped
3/8 cup heavy whipping cream
2 to 3 tablespoons cocoa powder 
3/8 pound Lindt dark chocolate (about 1 1/2 bars), finely chopped 

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from heat, then pour the black currant chocolate into the mixing bowl. Let it stand for a minute, then stir until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted. 
2. Cover the cream and let cool at room temperature overnight(or for several hours) or in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Wait for the cream to cool before putting in the fridge so you don't get condensation.*
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Pour half of the truffle cream into a pastry bag with a large, plain round tip. Pipe out 1in mounds of the truffle cream. Using a small ice cream scoop works as well. 
4. Once all of the truffles are piped, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 2 hours or refrigerator for 6.*
5. Dust your hands with the cocoa powder and roll your truffle mounds into balls. Cover with plastic wrap again and chill for 2 hours in the freezer.* 
6. Remove the centers from the freezer and bring to room temperature. Line another baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Temper the dark chocolate. Place a truffle center into the tempered chocolate and move around until completely coated. Remove with a fork or truffle dipper and place on the baking sheet. Continue this process with the remaining centers. Drizzle the remaining chocolate on the top of the truffles. 
7. Chill in the refrigerator for  10 to 15 minutes or let set up at room temperature. Tightly covered in aluminum foil, they will last up to 1 month in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer. 

*If you need to, you can leave the truffles/cream in the refrigerator or freezer for longer than the recipe says. These are the minimum times. If you leave the truffle cream in for longer than 2-3 hours, make sure to bring it to room temperature before piping your truffle balls.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Yellowstone Part 2

As promised, here is part two of our Yellowstone trip a few weeks ago.

Mud Caldron

Mud Caldron Pano

Mud Volcano area

Mud Volcano area

You can't really tell from this picture, but there is steam coming out of this vent. This area of the park(Mud Volcano) is so acidic it's deteriorating the vents in the parking lot. 

An ugly bug. 

The Dragon's Mouth Spring. This was so cool! Probably my favorite thing. It really sounds like a dragon is living in there. 

Little bit more about the Dragon's Mouth Spring. 

We thought maybe these were bear tracks. What do you think? 

Mud Volcano

Mud Volcano

Yellowstone Lake. So gorgeous!

Even just driving through the park was absolutely beautiful. 

We really wanted to see animals while we were in the park, and we got pretty lucky. I think this is a deer? Maybe an Elk?

Elk. You can see that it's antlers are velvet!

Hayden Valley

Upper Falls. My hair looks so great. 


Brenton & Hannah

Upper Falls


Upper Falls
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Lower Falls


Emerald Spring

Another Bison

We really were this close! He was right next to our car. It was amazing!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yellowstone Part 1

We made a spontaneous trip to Yellowstone last weekend.

I took a ton of pictures, so I'm doing this in two parts. I am really glad we got to go. I haven't been for a few years, and there was a lot of new things we saw and a lot that I didn't remember seeing before. It was an awesome day! We are so lucky to live so close-it's only an hour and a half drive.

Old Faithful 

 Chilling at the porch after getting ice cream. 

Buffalo Chip ice cream-this was so good! Super creamy. 

Old Faithful.

Firehole Falls


Firehole River. 

The first bison we saw. 

Lower Geyser Basin

Red Spouter. Looks like blood!

Dead tree. 

Some hot springs. 

Spasm Geyser. 

Dead trees!

Fountain Paint Pots-these seriously look like bubbling paint. 

Norris Geyser Basin

More Bison!

Bison-you can see one of the babies in the background!

Opal Pool. 

Opal Pool 

Bacteria Mat

Bacteria Mat

Grand Prismatic Spring

Opal Pool 

Excelsior Crater Geyser

Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Sprin

Grand Prismatic Spring

We saw this sign a few times. Good reminder, but pretty funny!

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