Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A recipe, a gift, and more

A couple weeks ago my Doodle locked herself out of the house! She had forgotten her cell phone at school and her dad and his long-time girlfriend (who live behind us – yes, strange, but it works for us) were not home.

We had never really gone over a ‘what-if’ plan. (Can you say, “Mommy of the Year strike again!”) But luckily she had the foresight to go to the neighbors across the street. My neighbor is almost always home. And as suspected, she was there.

My neighbor calmed the Doodle down (she was near tears) and let her use her cell phone to call me at work. I asked her if she’d let Doodle stay there for a bit while I tracked down her dad. I knew they were near because I had just talked to them.

Sure enough, they had just pulled up at home and she must have missed them while cutting through the yard.

But because my neighbor was there to provide comfort for Doodle I wanted to do something for her.

So, doing what I do best…I baked! (Yes, I’m a baker too! Not so much a cook…but a pretty darned good baker if I don't say so myself! LOL)

I made her (and my coworkers…and my ex, his girlfriend (Joanie)…and me, LOL)…

Crème Brule Cheese Cake Bars!

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix

1 box (4 serving size) French vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

½ cup butter or margarine, melted

2 ½ teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

½ cup sour cream

½ cup sugar

2/3 cup toffee bits, finely, crushed

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, pudding mix, brown sugar, melted butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1 whole egg until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of pan.

In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining whole egg, 3 egg yolks and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread over crust in pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set in center. Immediately sprinkle top with crushed toffee bits. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

This was my first time making these and they were FAN-FLIPPIN-TASTIC!!! That’s why I just had to share this with you!

Baking Tip: Get rid of all those fancy pans and baking sheets! The thinner the pan the better the baked goods come out! I can bake fantastically on my Dollar Tree pans! The expensive, thick pans always burn the bottoms of anything I bake. I sold them all years ago (and laughed when everyone thought they were getting such a deal) and will only buy the super thin, cheap pans now. Plus you don’t feel bad when they get rusty and you have to replace them. :)

Then I took a metal pail I got at Goodwill (washed it really good, obviously) and put some ribbon around it and paper flowers. I just used a small amount of glue so she could remove it if she wanted to. I lined it with wax paper and put the bars inside.

I also made her a recipe card to go with it just using scrapbook paper, which you know I had to antique up some. :)  I Modge Podged the whole card when I was done a couple times on each side to seal it so it wouldn’t get bent and messed up too easily. I was going to laminate it, but I thought that would take away from the old look.

And that’s it. My very heartfelt thank you to my neighbor!!

I am so appreciative of my wonderful neighbors!! I know that some people might snub their nose at a neighborhood like mine. It’s older, vinyl sided, mostly smaller homes, some of the homes are in need of some serious repair, quite a few renters, sadly, quite a few foreclosure (that are slowly being bought up, thank goodness!)…let’s just say, it’s not the kind of neighborhood you drive into unless you are visiting someone. But, you know what…most of the homeowners are just hard working people, trying to get by and almost (isn’t there always one or two, LOL) every one of them are the friendliest people you’d ever want to meet!! They’ll water your plants when your out of town, bring your cat back when he’s slipped out AGAIN, knows your kid by name, and waves when you’re out on the porch! It may not be my dream location…but it’s becoming my dream home!

Oh....and we now have a back up plan in place at our house! :)

Until next time…


  1. I would love to be your neighbor when you make gifts like that LOL What a cute recipe card that you made from the Cosmo Cricket paper. Adorable! Sounds like you have a great place to live. Some people live in houses - sounds like you have a "home" - and that is special.

  2. What a wonderful gesture on your part Erin! Our neighborhood has really cleaned up since we bought our house in '08 and although it's not a hugely populated street, we all know each other well enough to do the same kinds of things. It sounds to me like you live in the best kind of place!

    Many Blessings,

  3. What a wonderful way to build community! (not to mention, a wonderful way to make new friends with yummy dessert!) I am adding this recipe to my holiday dessert MUST try list! Thanks for sharing!

    And thank you for stopping by Sew Super Sweet earlier this week, I appreciate your visit! :)