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    Crap I've Made

    Bread Box Charging Station

    perfectlydestressed.com

    It drives me nuts when people are like: “Oh my gosh Kristin, you’re totally obsessed with The Pioneer Woman.” And I’m like: “listen Debbie, Karen & Judy. Just because I watch her on TV, follow her on all social media accounts, make her meals religiously, am curious about what she’s up to every day of her life, have written her 60-70 handwritten fan-mail letters, googled her phone number & call her Ree while referring to her, does NOT mean there’s an obsession.” Seriously, jeez. The term “obsessed” is used so loosely nowadays….
    🤣😆🤫
    On an unrelated side note, I’ve been eyeing these Pioneer Woman bread boxes at Walmart for weeks. No, for months! Problem is, we don’t keep bread in the house long enough to warrant a bread box. One loaf only lasts us a day or two, so there’s no worry about the bread going bad or needing a long-term storage solution for it. Until, I decided to utilize it for another purpose! Now a messy, all over the counter, makes-me-crazy-daily problem is now solved! May I present:
    🥁 (drum roll please) 🥁

    The Pioneer Woman Bread Box Turned Charging Station

    Super simple supply list:

    Bread Box, Foam Craft Board, Cute Scrapbook Paper, Clear Tape and a Power Strip.

    Measure the inside of your bread box and cut a piece of foam board to fit snuggly inside.

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    I chose to cover my foam board with cute – somewhat matchy to the floral design on the front of the box – scrapbook paper I had in my supply. But, wallpaper, wrapping paper, washi tape or even painting the foam board would work!

    Once your foam piece is cut and covered, you will need to drill a hole (or, in my case, 3 holes because I had a 1″ spade drill bit and honestly was too lazy to look for anything else) in the back of the bread box to allow the power strip to be plugged in from behind.

    Once you have all of your charging cords plugged in and pushed back, cut small squares from the bottom of your foam board to allow the cords to easily pop through. I only cut 4 because typically we don’t have more than 4 devices charging at the same time. Next, just push your foam board cover in the front to cover all the messy cord crap in the back!

    It really is such a cute and decorative way to clean up your counter space and downsize the cluttered look of all those charging cords!

    Crap I've Made

    DIY Book Ledges

    perfectlydestressed.com

    The simplest way to DIY a book ledge for any wall!

    Honestly, this project was completed months ago. I made sure to take clear, quality pictures of each step at the time of construction. And then somewhere between then and now, the amazing step-by-step pictures have been lost in the wide world of the interweb.

    Sooooo, I took crappy pictures of an already finished project to try my darndest to explain how the heck I made these things.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Honestly, these DIY Book Ledges are a pretty simple concept. I used 1″ x 2″ furring strips, outside corner moulding and brass corner braces. That’s truly all it took. But, in an attempt to help you better understand the process, I will proceed below with my subpar pictures and most-likely even lower standard of explanation….

    You’re welcome (and I’m sorry!)

    The first step was to measure the length of the wall I wanted the ledges to hang on as well as how many layers of ledges there would be. I also needed to make sure I knew the width of the books I was planning on displaying as I was hoping to use outside corner moulding pieces (these are traditionally about an inch or so in size) and a thicker book wouldn’t fit. These particular vintage books were a find on Facebook Marketplace and were all fairly thin, so my idea was perfect.

    Once I knew the length of the wall and width of the books. Off to Home Depot I went!

    After picking up 4 furring strips and the outdoor corner moulding (that I had found in the clearance section because they had been previously cut and each had a warped edge), I found the braces that were also the correct width to fit the moulding.

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    I waited in line for quite a while on a Saturday morning to have these bad boys cut for me. I have my own saws at home, but it was rainy and cold and it seemed like an easier option to have Home Depot cut the trim pieces instead. It’s actually a pretty sweet service they offer at no cost to the customer and saves loads of time on your projects! Just make sure you are 100% sure of your desired length – otherwise you’re stuck with a wrong size wood piece that you’ve already purchased and brought home.

    The first step to actually constructing the ledges was to attach the furring strips to the wall. I decided to paint these white first (so they would blend in with the already white wall) and stain the corner moulding pieces to give the ledges a ‘warm’ look. Our walls are stucco and completely thin crap. Seriously. It’s a crazy pain to even find a stud and anything, heavy or not, must be attached to a stud. The function of the furring strips was to allow a foundation for the ledges that could be drilled into a stud and then be fully covered with the corner trim.

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    This is a really odd angle of the underside of the moulding trim.

    Next, after waiting for the stain to dry on the wood trim pieces, I attached them to the furring strips using the braces. I used 3 corner braces per ledge – one on each end and one in the middle. Learn from my mistake and be sure to use a drill bit extender or else you will jack-up your wood like I did here.

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    I personally consider these mess-ups to be a signature of sorts. Like, they say: “handmade slightly imperfectly by Kristin.”

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    Crap I've Made

    New Years Eve DIY Fun

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Christmas is over and a brand spankin’ new year is on the horizon. Whether you are entertaining a large crowd to ring in 2020 or just chillin’ at home with your fam, I’ve got a few DIY party ideas to share that are easy on time and the wallet (which is kinda great because personally speaking, the “wallet” is rather empty after Santa comes…am’i’right?!)

    These fun do-it-yourself New Year’s party decorations use up a lot of your Christmas stuff. But, even if you do have to go to the store for supplies, most everything you need will be on clearance! And this is all quick to put together – so if you’ve decided last minute to throw a get together, I’ve got you covered in that department too!

    *You better just put your hands up right now ’cause I’m giving you a virtual double high five, my friends*

    Tinsel Numbers

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle!

    Before you pack away the cheap shiny plastic-y tinsel-y stuff, grab an Amazon box (because we all know you’ve got a couple lyin’ around or a few more on the way!) and freehand block numbers 2-0-2-0 with a pen or marker. Make ’em big, make ’em small, make ’em whatever size you want! Cut out the cardboard numbers, hot glue some of that tinsel on top and you just made an awesome photo backdrop or fun table decor!

    Bell Balls

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    Grab some clear, plastic ornaments and add a handful of little silver and gold jingle bells to make awesome and festive “Ringers” for the new year! These Bell Balls are perfect for little and big hands alike! Just make sure your ornament opening is large enough for your bells.

    *Oh, and if you’re giving them to really tiny hands, a dab of hot glue on the ornament lid after you fill them up will ensure the bells stay inside the ball!*

    Table Covers

    Why buy plastic table covers when you can use the rest of that roll of wrapping paper to decorate your tables? Make it fun and festive while using up those remaining paper pieces so you don’t have to lug the darn almost-empty things up to the attic for another year!

    Shaker Sticks

    perfectlydestressed.com

    For the big kids, a jumbo popsicle stick (painted or plain) with different sized silver and gold jingle bells hot glued on and adorned with curling ribbon make loud Shaker Sticks that ring in the new year in DIY style!

    Mini Wine Snow Globes

    perfectlydestressed.com

    When entertaining a crowd, sometimes mini bottles of wine are the way to go. These cute bottles satisfy everyone’s palate preference by providing a variety of flavors for your guests. Plus, less wine waste at the end of the night! Put the tiny bottles in a large glass bowl, add some faux snow balls and flakes and watch your guests “oooooh” and “aaaaaaah” over your Mini Wine Snow Globe as you sit back and sip your lil’ miniature drink.

    Wine Glass Stars

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Using inexpensive and sparkly plastic ornament stars, you can personalize your glasses in a uniquely different way. Simply remove the string for hanging the ornament and cut the star in half using sharp scissors. You may need to create a small hole in the center of the ornament with your scissors if your glass stem is thick. Slide your stem through the cut section and gently pull the star back in place around the base of the glass.

    Food

    Spritz Cookies

    perfectlydestressed.com

    These easy, buttery cookies will soon be a fam fave!

    Quick to make and perfect for the cookie press, these melt-in-your-mouth goodies are just what your cookie platter is missing!

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Spritz Cookies

    Quick to make and perfect for the cookie press, these melt-in-your-mouth buttery goodies are just what your cookie platter is missing!

    Ingredients

    • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup salted butter
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp vanilla & 1 tsp almond extract
    • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400°
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, butter, egg, salt and vanilla as well as food coloring (if you are adding it).
    • Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until batter is light and fluffy. Approx. 2-3 minutes.
    • Add flour slowly.
    • Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Approx. 2-3 minutes.
    • Place dough in cookie press. Form desired shapes 1 inch apart on cookie sheets
    • Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.
    • We prefer these plain, but if you desire a decorative glaze, simply whisk 1/2 cup confectioners sugar with 4 tsp of water. Brush glaze over baked cookies and top with colored sugar or sprinkles.
    Food

    Best Ever Sugar Cookies

    perfectlydestressed.com

    These Best Ever Sugar Cookies are literally a cookie par-tay in your mouth. They are the perfect balance of soft and chewy and are totally addicting. Perfect for cut-out cookie shapes or bars, trust me when I tell you, everyone will love these sweet babies!

    Best Ever Sugar Cookies

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup salted butter room temperature
    • 3 eggs large
    • 1 cup sour cream room temperature
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 5 cups flour all-purpose

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350°. Line pan with parchment or baking mat.
    • Mix dough using stand mixer or hand mixer in order of ingredients above.
      *I suggest not doubling this particular recipe. It is thick and may be too hard on your mixers. Instead, make separate batches.*
    • Chill dough thoroughly. *Dough can be prepared in advance and frozen for use at a later date.*
    • Bar cookies: Evenly press dough on greased and floured sheet pan. Cut-out cookies: Flour counter. Using small portions of dough at a time, roll out to 1/4" thickness and cut out shapes.
    • Bake 10-13 minutes. Cookies will not look brown. If preparing bars in a large pan, baking time may require a few more minutes depending on thickness of bars.
    • Allow to cool completely on cooling racks before frosting.
    Crap I've Made

    Sangria Gift Jar

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Here’s the thing about fruit at Christmas- we already know fruit is good for you. But for a present? I mean, you could give someone the gift of a big ol’ fruit basket. And maybe they would love it – or, you could give them the gift of an awesome Sangria Jar full of delicious fruit and wine. And they would totally crown you the “Best Gift Giver Ever In History”… I mean, I know the type of people I want to be friends with! (wink, wink)

    perfectlydestressed.com

    And FYI – if you come to my home toting an adorable drink dispenser with all the necessary ingredients to make a homemade Sangria, you might as well buckle up buttercup because you’re about to be my Best Friend Forevah!

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    All it takes to make this gift of so much friggin’ glad tidings is one trip to the store and about 30 minutes of your time when you get home. Seriously, easy on your wallet and your time!

    • Glass Dispenser Jar – mine were purchased at Walmart
    • Wood Spoon (If there’s no predrilled hole, you will have to drill a hole in the handle or simply place the spoon in jar if you prefer to not drill)
    • Wine (white, red, whatever you or the recipient prefers just make sure the wine bottle fits inside the jar)
    • Fresh Cranberries
    • Oranges, Apples, Lemons and Limes
    • A small jar/can of cranberry juice or orange juice (optional)
    perfectlydestressed.com

    For the tag I used a wood craft slice, a black and white printed recipe on regular printer paper from my computer made on Microsoft Word and a layer of ModPodge under and over the cut paper to adhere the recipe to the wood slice.

    I have attached the recipe in a PDF format below. You may need to adjust the size before printing depending on the size of your wood slice (mine was approx. 3″ round).

    Attach it with a cute ribbon around the mouth of the jar.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Easy Peasy Cranberry Apple Orange Lime Lemon Squeezy. Right?!

    Crap I've Made

    DIY Snowman Cocoa Jars

    DIY Snowman Hot Cocoa Jar

    This DIY Snowman Cocoa Jar makes an adorable and totally unique gift! Seriously, a super awesome Christmas present! Bonus – it’s crazy easy to make and a perfect addition to a festive holiday kitchen ❤️

    Gather your supplies, warm up your hot glue gun and buckle up because you’re about to make the sweetest hot cocoa display evah!

    Using 3 different sized glass jars (candy jars, terrarium/air plant jars, etc) black buttons, a strip of cute ribbon and all the hot cocoa fixins, I created this adorably cute Cocoa Snowman in under 30 minutes!

    Food

    Snickerdoodlers

    perfectlydestressed.com

    These Snickerdoodler Cookies are a perfect blend of tangy cinnamon and sugar goodness.

    Oh, and the name of these delicious delectable discs is not a typo. These cookies (traditionally known as Snickerdoodles) have always been referred to as Snickerdoodlers around here. Regardless of what you prefer to call them, they are so good, you can’t have just one!

    Snickerdoodler Cookies

    The perfect blend of tangy cinnamon and sugar goodness.
    Servings: 3 dozen

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1 ½ cups white sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp cream of tartar
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • ¼ tsp salt

    Cinnamon and Sugar Mix

    • 1/2 cup cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup sugar

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400°. Line pans with parchment paper.
    • Cream butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs and vanilla in mixer.
    • Blend in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
    • Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small, separate bowl.
    • Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into ball shapes with your hands.
    • Roll balls into Cinnamon/Sugar Mix until completely covered.
    • Bake at 400° for approximately 8 minutes.
    Food

    Oh My Gingerbread Lovin’ Goodness

    perfectlydestressed.com

    To Eat or Not to Eat. That is the Question.

    Just kidding. One of these recipes has glue in it, so obviously you won’t want to eat that one…

    And the other ones are absolutely yummy amazing so clearly, the answer is to most definitely eat those!

    The first recipe is for the most delicious homemade gingerbread you’ve ever had. The second recipe is for the cutest lil’ cinnamon gingie ornaments that are a perfect addition to some homemade holiday potpourri (also posted below).

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Gingerbread Cookies

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
    • ¾ tsp baking soda
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp ground cloves
    • 1 tbsp ground ginger
    • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
    • ¾ cup brown sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • ½ cup molasses
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare baking sheets by spraying with nonstick spray or lining with parchment paper.
    • Mix together dry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
      *note* correct measurements make or break this recipe. Too much flour will make it dry and too little will make it too sticky. The best way to avoid this is by measuring the flour into a small bowl, sift it, then measure it a second time (chances are high there will be extra flour left over that you will not add back).
    • Using your counter mixer or your hand mixer, beat butter, brown sugar and egg until well blended.
    • Add molasses and vanilla.
    • Gradually add dry ingredients to mix until thoroughly mixed.
    • Using a floured work space, roll out small portions of dough at a time and cut with cookie cutter or simply add to a greased 9×13 sheet pan for a slab cookie.
      *note* working with smaller dough sections at a time is best for this recipe. Unlike sugar cookie dough, the gingerbread dough really can't be moved around much. By rolling out smaller dough balls, and only applying slight pressure with your floured rolling pin, your dough will be less likely to crack or crumble.
    • Space cookies approx. 1½ inches apart
    • Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes. 7 minutes will give you softer, chewier cookies. 10 will give you more of a crunch. Both are delicious!
    • Let cool and decorate with my Royal Icing recipe below.

    Easiest Royal Icing Ever (Egg Free)

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tbsp water or milk (I prefer milk)
    • gel food coloring, if necessary

    Instructions

    • Mix all of the ingredients together. A stand mixer works best if you've got one. You may need to add more powdered sugar if it's not thick enough or more milk if it's too thick until you've reached your desired consistency. This icing is perfect for piping your cut-out cookies!

    Cinnamon Gingie Kids

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup ground cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp ground cloves
    • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
    • ¾ cup applesauce
    • 2 tbsp white craft glue

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 200°. You can also omit the oven and let the ornaments air dry in a sunny spot for 4-5 days.
    • Stir together cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix in the applesauce and glue. Worth the mixture with your stand mixer or just your hands for a few minutes until a ball forms. If mix is too gooey, add more cinnamon. If it's too dry, add more applesauce.
    • Lightly dust your work surface with cinnamon. Roll out dough to approx. ¼ inch thickness. Using desired cookie cutter shapes, cut out dough and place on non-stick sprayed pans. Don't forget to punch a hole using a toothpick or skewer if you wish to hang them with ribbon or add a bow.
    • Bake for 3 hours.
    • Allow to cool completely.

    Holiday Gingerbread Potpourri

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup dried orange slices You can purchase them packaged and pre-dried. You can also slice your own oranges and dehydrate them in a dehydrator or your oven set at the lowest setting until dried out.
    • 1 cup dried anise stars
    • 1 cup dried rosehips
    • 1 cup cinnamon sticks
    • homemade gingie kids

    Instructions

    • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl or container. Take a few really good sniffs to let the amazing scent settle into the depths of your nostrils.
      Separate potpourri mix into smaller boxes or bags tied with ribbon for a perfect housewarming gift, hostess gift, Christmas gift or simple "Just Because" gift.
    Crap I've Made

    Lamb’s-Ear Christmas Tree

    perfectlydestressed.com

    These trees are so stinking unique. Unlike anything I’ve seen at the stores and actually very simple to put together! Using a handful of easy-to-find supplies (some even straight from your backyard), you can make these rustic and adorable Lamb’s-Ear Christmas Trees too!

    perfectlydestressed.com

    A wood slice, a stick, some twine, lambs-ear garland (dusty miller or eucalyptus both would look cute as well! I like anything that has a flocked-look), hot glue and floral tape are all the supplies needed.

    *tip*: I have 8 kids. So Mama don’t have money to throw around (I also haven’t slept in over 18 years but that’s a whole ‘nother subject). When making anything faux floral, if possible, buy the garland instead of the separate flower sprigs. It’s less expensive for more of the same thing! This message brought to you by a mother that has perfected the art of penny pinching, dumpster diving and making crap from junk.

    “Any way you want it

    That’s the way you need it

    Any way you want it”

    Make ’em tall, make ’em wide, make ’em any way you want!

    perfectlydestressed.com

    I made these for a stage presentation that lasted 30 minutes. I was done each time in about 15 minutes. Seriously. That quick. I wouldn’t lie to you, friends. I mean, who doesn’t love a quick Christmas DIY?!

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Start with a wood slice. You can find these at the craft store already dried and clean, or you can find them in your backyard or local park or trail for free (especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace and a husband that is crazy about picking up every downed tree within a 25 mile radius of your home for free burning wood….) Find your stick (again, either from the craft store or from the backyard) and drill a hole into your wood slice the same width as your stick. Add hot glue inside your drilled hole to hold your stick in place – make sure it’s straight-ish.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Your stick height will be your tree height, so keep that in mind when picking out a stick as well as making sure you have enough lamb’s-ear for your project. I’ve made trees as tall as 28 inches high and 1 lambs-ear garland was plenty.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Next, you will want to measure (I use that term loosely. By “measure” I mean hold up your garland and figure out approx. how long each piece needs to be)

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    Using wire cutters, floral scissors or hedge clippers, cut the garland pieces to size. These pieces will be hanging upside down to create a more “tree” look, so make sure to leave an end piece of a few centimeters on each sprig for attaching to the base stick.

    With a dab of hot glue, adhere each sprig to the stick. I typically use 3-4 sprigs around the stick.

    If you get hot glue on your fingers during this step, I give you full permission to curse like a sailor if it makes you feel better. This here is a judgement-free zone. No one knows the feeling of 3000-friggin’ degree hot glue burning through the skin of your tender digits until they’ve actually had it happen.

    Tip: Some trees I use only one tier of sprigs. Others I layer up 2-3 tiers for a fuller tree.

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    Once they are all glued on the stick, use the floral tape (in this case I used white floral tape to match the white stick) to secure the sprigs of lamb’s-ear onto the stick.

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    Cover up the exposed floral tape with a line of twine secured with hot glue.

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    This tree was made with a backyard stick and I love how it “leans” a bit. Not perfect, but totally cute. I also used 2 layers of lambs-ear for this one. A shorter layer on top and another longer layer underneath. The floral tape is hidden under the top tier. Both layers were attached in the same method described above, but I didn’t need to cover the second tier’s tape with twine since you couldn’t see it.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    I also added a string of twine along 3-4 inches on bottom of some of the taller trees for an added layer of texture. With or without the bottom twine, they are pretty.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    A pinecone hot glued on the top can be a fun addition to the rustic feel of these sweet things.

    Food

    Pumpkin Pie Cake Slab

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Have you ever had one of those days where you really want a piece of pie, but you really want a piece of cake, too? I was having one of these major dessert dilemmas the other afternoon. I mean, why the heck do we have to choose just one? I resolved this sweet tooth conundrum, combined pie and cake together, and now your Cake Cravin’ Autumn Lovin’ Pumpkin Pie Relishin’ Tastebuds will never be the same.

    It all starts with a can of pumpkin pie mix. The rest is easy as pie. I mean it. This recipe is a real piece of cake. Goodness, the puns are strong with this one!

    perfectlydestressed.com

    The best part about this recipe (other than its amazing flavor), is it can be served with or without frosting. Both finishes are yummy. But, if you do decide to frost the slab cake, make sure to use my homemade cream cheese frosting below the cake recipe!

    Pumpkin Pie Cake Slab

    This recipe feeds a crowd. It makes a slab (a sheet cake). Perfect for holiday get-togethers!

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups flour
    • 4 tsp baking powder
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 cups vegetable oil
    • 8 eggs
    • 2 cups brown sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 can pumpkin pie mix 30 ounce

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease your 9×13 baking pan.
    • Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set aside.
    • Whisk the oil, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie mix together until combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and use a mixer or whisk until completely combined. The batter will be thick.
    • Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Baking times vary – the cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
      *You may find you have extra batter left over after filling the sheet pan. I call this "Mom's Cake". It's just a smaller, extra cake that I prepare (typically a small 8" round), bake and stash away somewhere in the back of the fridge for a few days to snack on in secret. I have no shame.*
    • Remove from oven and allow to fully cool.

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    Ingredients

    • 8 ounces cream cheese 1 full block
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temp
    • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/8 tsp salt

    Instructions

    • Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat on lower speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes.
      *If you prefer a sturdier frosting, add extra sugar – 1/4 cup at a time – until desired thickness*
    Food

    Pumpkin Casserole

    perfectlydestressed.com

    I know what you’re thinking – “dinner in a pumpkin? You’ve got to be jack-o-lantern-in’ me around!” Nope! I swear to gourd this is a real thing. And it’s totally awesome, my friends.

    Before we hop into the casserole recipe nitty-gritty, there are actually 2 ways to make this meal. The first is for those who want the pumpkin look at dinner, but not the pumpkin taste. The second is for those pumpkin lovin’ peeps that can’t get enough of the orange stuff this season. Make sure you are following the proper recipe instructions for your preference!

    Pumpkin Casserole

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts shredded – I prefer to use cooked rotisserie chicken – de-skinned and shredded
    • 1 tsp garlic salt
    • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
    • 1 can corn
    • 1 can peas
    • 1 ½ cups instant white rice
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • 1 cup cheddar cheese
    • 2 Tbsp cream cheese
    • 1 cup water

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350°. The pumpkin will need to be placed on the lowest rack, so you will most likely need to remove the second rack from your oven for the pumpkin to fit lid and all.
    • Cut the top off the pumpkin and set aside. Make sure your opening is fairly wide to allow ample room for the casserole to be spooned out. Remove the seeds and insides of the pumpkin. You can carve a face on your pumpkin, but just make sure to line that side with aluminum foil so the casserole stays inside. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet covered in foil.
    • Cook and stir chicken, garlic salt and a bit of salt and pepper together in large skillet sprayed with cooking spray until evenly browned.
    • Add veggies, butter and cream cheese; stir. Keep over heat until thoroughly mixed.
    • Remove from heat. Stir in rice and water. (If you are NOT planning on baking the pumpkin, continue to heat the rice and water until the rice is fully cooked. Pour cooked casserole into foil-lined pumpkin and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese generously on top. Serve immediately.)
    • Pour casserole into gutted pumpkin. Place cut pumpkin "lid" back on top.
    • Bake for 90 minutes on the lowest rack in the oven. Sprinkle generously with shredded cheddar cheese and let set for 10 minutes or so. You will have to serve the pumpkin on the baking sheet as they become very soft and easily break after baking.
    • Make sure to scoop some of the baked pumpkin off the sides as you scoop out the casserole!

    Notes

    Notes to Remember:
    If you are just using the pumpkin as a seasonal container and prefer not to cook it, line the interior of the pumpkin with aluminum foil and pour the completely cooked casserole inside right before serving.
    Food

    Oatie Chocolate Chip Muffins

    perfectlydestressed.com

    These babies have oatmeal in ’em. I’m pretty sure that means they are healthy – but I know for a fact it means they are so good!

    The vanilla and brown sugar give a bit of a sweetness that makes them perfect for dessert, after-school snacks or breakfast on the go.

    Oatie Chocolate Chip Muffins

    This recipe can be easily doubled (or tripled) to feed a crowd.

    Ingredients

    • 1 egg
    • 1 ¼ cup quick oats
    • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • 4 tsp baking powder
    • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
    • ¾ cup mini chocolate chips
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • 1 ¼ cups milk

    Instructions

    • Combine oats and milk. Let them soak for 15 minutes.
    • Preheat oven to 400° & grease or line muffin tins
    • Stir egg, oil, 1/2 cup of brown sugar into the milk and oat mixture
    • Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add oat mix to flour mix stirring until the dry mix is moist.
    • Fill each cup of muffin tin 2/3 full
    • Sprinkle the tops with remaining brown sugar (you could add some chopped pecans as well to the brown sugar for a crunchy topping)
    • Bake for 20-25 minutes
    Crap I've Made

    Woodland Apple Wreath

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    I love projects that are inexpensive to make and help feed our wildlife, too.

    What a perfect wreath to use on the front door in the autumn. Especially if you’re hosting a fall or Thanksgiving dinner. It would be adorable in the kitchen, too. Plus, this is a great use (other than baking) for those bruised apples you don’t want to just throw out but don’t know what the heck to do with!

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    Apple picking is such a fun fall family activity. But sometimes those cute little hands of those cute little people put apples in the basket that haven’t been inspected and aren’t so “cute”. Here’s a simple use for them that isn’t baking – not that there’s anything wrong with baking. My thighs and I can both assure you that we love to bake. This is just a unique and different idea. And for me, the only cost here was the apples. Everything else I had in the workshop.

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    Using an inexpensive metal wreath form, line the interior with fabric. I used burlap ribbon because it was already the perfect width, but any fabric would work really. (You could also skip this step totally if you are omitting the moss. The fabric adds a base for the moss to lay on.)

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    I used green floral wire to attach the burlap ribbon to the wreath form.

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    Hot glue the moss in clumps onto the fabric. It doesn’t have to be hot glued all over. Just enough to hold it in place. The apples on top will help stabilize the moss as well.

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    Taking heavy duty wire, push the wire straight through the apples at different angles so the apples lay imperfectly.

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    Once all the apples are on the wire, twist tie the wire to the back of the wreath. The reason we’re using such heavy wire, is because once it’s outside, this will ensure it stays together as long as possible.

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    I strategically wrapped grapevine twigs and wired burlap rope around the exposed metal wire to conceal it in the front of the wreath. I used green floral wire to hold the twigs in place.

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    Once the apples start to turn and bruise, take your wreath outside! Place it somewhere near a window so you can watch all the creatures enjoy it!

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    And make sure to save your wire wreath form once the apples are gone. You can always reuse it!

    Crap I've Made

    Upcycled Fall Flannel Decor

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    Using old ratty flannels and a worn pair of jeans from the closet (thanks to Marie Kondo for making me feel like a hoarder…) I created this one of a kind banner for my fall decor and the cost was practically nothing!

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    I started with this plain wood banner from the craft store. They typically come packaged with the twine as well. Pretty sure I bought this one clearanced, but even at full price they are fairly inexpensive.

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    Using a black marker, I traced the outline of the triangular banner on the inside of the flannels and jeans. Inside is important because it will hide your black lines on the finished product.

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    Grab that Mod Podge! Yes, there’s Mod Podge specifically for fabrics, but I’m a “use what you’ve got” sorta girl and what I had was traditional Matte Mod Podge. Plus, I was still in my PJ’s on this particular fine Saturday morning and my hair was in a not-so-pinterest-approved “messy bun” so I was avoiding a trip to the store at all costs. I mean, seriously. Who wants to get dressed and tame their mane on a Saturday if they don’t have to anyway?!

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    Using a foam craft brush, I applied a layer of Mod Podge to the wood, placed the cut fabric on top – black lined and cut side down – and applied another layer of Mod Podge over the fabric. Let fully dry. Using a screw driver or hammer and nail, make holes through the fabric that lines up with the preexisting holes in the wood banner.

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    Hang this cute banner thang with the length of twine anywhere that needs a little touch of flannel-y fall y’all!

    Crap I've Made

    Succulent Wreath & a bit about the Country Living Fair

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    I had the privilege of Presenting at the Columbus Country Living Fair last weekend and it was absolutely amazing. I talked about flowers, houseplants and succulents, I met Annie Sloan and ate way too much food. I thought I’d share a bit of my “succy” talk with you peeps today.

    First, I want to tell you a story. It’s a story about a girl. We’ll call her “plant killer” for fun. She loved all things green and pretty, but they didn’t love her back. Whether it be slow and agonizing or suddenly quick, the little plant babies died on her. Every.Single.Time. So, the “plant killer” gave up. This girl then had kids. Like, a lot of kids. And while she was shopping at the grocery store one day, she saw a beautiful little rosemary plant. It was aromatically gorgeous. So, on a whim, she bought it. Even her husband breathed a sad sigh of regret for this poor plant when he arrived home that evening – knowing it would most likely be living its last days in their home. But, buuuuuuuut, the plant survived. It thrived even. You see, the “plant killer” decided that day in the grocery store that she was going to try again. After all, if she could keep so many people alive in her home every day, why the heck can’t she keep plants alive? It was time to try again. Only this time, she researched and read and took notes and pushed up her sleeves and got dirty in the dirt. And she learned a couple things. I’m going to share these things with you today (because obviously I’m talking about myself!)

    To simplify, there’s 3 key points to keeping plants alive. Water, Sunlight and Temperature. If you take anything away from this post – other than you know my dark past of murdering plants – it’s those 3 things : Water, Sunlight and Temperature (which I forgot mid-sentence during my presentation. Ugh. Why am I so awkward…)

    Let’s talk about what we tend to do right with plants: We buy plants for all the right reasons. For the healthy air, calming effects and the aesthetically pleasing atmosphere they provide. 

    Here’s what we typically do wrong with plants: We tend to be Hover Mothers. Over-watering, over-fertilizing, over-analyzing our plant kids. Or, we go in the opposite direction of care and completely forget we even have plant kids to care for – sound familiar? 

    One of the most popular indoor plant breeds right now are succulents. They are known to be inexpensive, hardy and totally forgettable. Wait, whaaa? Forgettable?! Yep! You can literally forget them and they thrive. Ever heard of a lil’ plant called aloe? You can buy them practically everywhere. I see them at CVS all the time – they’re a type of succulent! If they can be sold on the top shelf at drug stores, completely forgotten and wrapped in plastic with very little to no natural light, imagine how simple their care and upkeep must be. Plus, you can actually make décor with them. From paper mâché box letters to living wreaths and wall hangings, succulents are one of the few plants that can be planted vertically, without soil and survive. Oh, and bonus! – their fallen leaves can be propagated – but more on that later. 

    Where to find them – nursery, greenhouse, Home Depot, Lowes, FB Marketplace, Amazon – always check reviews and deliver time before ordering online to make sure they plants will be healthy and the shipping fast. I prefer to buy them at my favorite local greenhouse so I can actually see and touch each plant I’m buying. Plus, the greenhouse is just so good for my soul. But, I’ve also ordered online and from big box stores in the past.

    How to care for them – Pay attention to where they are coming from. Most succulents are grown in a greenhouse and kept in a store. Either completely perfect lighting for their growth or little to no lighting at all. So, when we bring them home, putting them in direct, hot sunlight is actually damaging. Slowly introducing them to bright light will prevent dark spots or sunburn. Just like when we walk out of a dark movie theater on a bright afternoon, the sun can be too much. And always read the instructions! Anymore we seem to go to the internet for advice on our lives, but with plants, the key to their survival is written out for you on a tag on the plant. Read the gosh darn thing! If only the hospital stuck a little tag on the baby before we left to go home! I’d have that tag memorized from front to back!

    You not only need to review the tag, but you need to read the plant. Just looking at it will tell you how they’re feeling. If they’re wilted and soft, they’re over watered. Only water when the soil is totally dry. Whether that’s one week or 3 weeks, if the soil is moist, walk away. Once the pot of soil is totally dried out, you soak the soil thoroughly to the root and walk away again. I typically water them in the late afternoon/evening when they are in their rest period. The succulents will absorb water and nutrients the most during this period. Another common misconception about succulents is to mist them weekly. Succulents actually do not need misted. It can lead to fungal disease on their leaves. If they’re leggy and long-stemmed, they are reaching toward the sun and therefore not getting proper sunlight where they are located.  Morning sunlight is softer and best for succulents with an average room temperature of 50-85 degrees. 

    How to propagate them – Just like my house plants, I place my succulents outside in the summer. The sun, temperature and rain water are just perfect for them here in Ohio. They always seem to thrive and grow huge. By the end of summer, I have plants ready to be brought back inside and ready for propagation! If there’s anything I’m really good at, it’s makin’ babies! And with succulents, it’s easier than you think! 

    1) remove leaves. Cutting them off is a bit trickier as the cut portion has a difficult time establishing a callous where leaves that were popped off or naturally fall off produce quick callouses. 

    2) place leaves on a paper towel in the sun. No water. No fertilizer. Just put them someplace in indirect sun they can hang for a while. Eventually, after a week or 2 or 3 you’ll begin to notice little roots emerging from the calloused end of the leaf.  

    3) place rooted leaves on top of a pot of cactus soil. Soil Matters! Cactus soil is a thing and it is a necessity. The leaves will take root in the soil on their own. Following the rule of succulent soil – wet until completely dry, eventually the leaves will wrinkle and wilt and start to disintegrate into the soil to be replaced by the new, baby succulent growing from the roots. Keeping newly rooted succulents misted is the only time it’s okay to mist a succulent with water.

    Depending on how you are repotting them, succulents can be moved into soil or moss. Sphagnum moss serves as not only a flower bed but also a sturdy surface that allows the succulents to be placed vertically. The soil would just spill out, whereas the sphagnum moss stays put.  

    You can make your own sphagnum moss wreath. But, unless you already have some of the supplies – floral wire, moss or garden netting – it may be cheaper to buy a premade living wreath. Especially if you are only planning on making only one. Plus, the store-bought moss wreaths typically come with a heavy-duty chain hanger already attached which is nice and handy since these tend to be heavy. 

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    I attached my sphagnum wreath to a grapevine wreath using floral wire and I love the rustic feel it gives!

    First thing you want to do is soak your sphagnum wreath. Place in a bucket or container of water for 15 minutes or so. While you’re waiting for it to soak, this is the perfect time to place your succulents in a circular shape similar in size to your wreath to figure out placing. Keep in mind spacing. Allow room for your plant to grow and spread.  

    Once your wreath is wet through, let it drip off a bit before moving it otherwise you’ll be working in a pool of water (squeezing a bit works too) 

    Using a super fancy tool (just kidding. A pencil will do just fine) make holes in your wreath large enough to fit the root of your succulent. No soil needed! Pull your succulent out of the pot and brush/pull off the soil gently. You literally only need to push the root into the hole you’ve created in the sphagnum moss. Taking a floral pin (or a paper clip if you’ve forgotten floral pins on your supply list) and push the pin through one of the bottom leaves and into the sphagnum.

    Once your wreath is fully planted – DON’T HANG IT! That’s right – don’t hang it! You need to leave it flat for a few weeks to allow the roots to establish. Once you’ve given it that time, it will hang beautifully and be a centerpiece to your wall or door. 

    FYI – plastic plant pot saucers are perfect for succulent wreaths similar to the one found here . They are an inexpensive but sure-fire way to make sure your wreath is watered properly. Every week or so, place your wreath in the water-filled form and allow it soak through. Rehang and walk away! 

    Food

    Give Me ALLLL The Butter Pie Crust

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    This all butter pie crust is simply perfection. I mean, the main ingredient is butter soooo…..

    I know the example picture looks more like cut-out cookies, but how fun is a picture of a ball of pie dough? Not very fun. So, I took a picture of the pie dough in the process of cutting out shapes for the top of the slab. Have you tried my slab fruit pies yet? Ya need to. My Perfectly Perfect Apple Pie Slab and Peach Pie Slab are the bomb diggity of pies, my friends.

    Give Me ALLLL The Butter Pie Crust

    Made with butter and a few other not-near-as-important ingredients.

    Ingredients

    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 1 cup cold salted butter cut into small cubes
    • 1/2 cup ice water
    • 2 metal pie pans Why metal pans? Because this is an all butter crust, it needs to be frozen before baking to keep the pie shape. The extreme temp change from freezer to oven could cause glass to shatter.

    Instructions

    • In a stand mixer, or by hand with a pastry cutter if you're old school like that, blend the dry ingredients together.
    • Add butter. Mix until the butter chunks are no bigger than blueberries.
    • Add 1/2 cup of ice water and mix until a dough ball forms.
    • Remove ball and cut in half. Flatten into 2 large pancake dough discs.
    • Flour counter and roll out dough half a few inches larger than the pie pan you are using.
    • Line the buttered pan with the pie dough, tuck under the edges evenly and beautify -AKA- "crimp" the edges.
    • Place the crimped pie shells into the freezer for at least an hour before baking but preferably overnight.
    • When you are ready to bake your pie, fill the frozen crust and bake immediately. Do not thaw the crust.
    • Preheat oven to 400. After 15 minutes, reduce oven to 375 and bake according to your recipe. Starting out with a very hot oven helps keep the shape of your crimping.

    Notes

    This recipe makes 2 regular sized pie crusts (top and bottom). But, if you are making a slab pie, this recipe will make 1 slab pie crust.
    Food

    Perfectly Perfect Apple Pie

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    If you have been looking for an amazing and easy apple pie recipe, look no further.

    This apple pie recipe is all you’ll ever need. It’s a family favorite around here and it’ll be a favorite at your house, too!

    Pair the Perfectly Perfect Apple Pie Filling with my Give Me All The Butter Crust and you, my friend, have become the neighborhood Martha Stewart.

    Perfectly Perfect Apple Pie Filling

    This recipe is for one regular-sized apple pie. But, if you are making a slab pie like mine, you will need to triple the recipe.

    Ingredients

    • 6 cups peeled and sliced apples approx. 4 large apples
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice

    Instructions

    • Coat peeled and sliced apples with lemon juice.
    • Toss lemon covered apples with sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg

    Notes

    This recipe freezes really well – if you pick a bunch of fresh apples in the fall, make a few containers to freeze and have throughout the long winter!

    Give Me ALLLL The Butter Pie Crust

    Made with butter and a few other not-near-as-important ingredients.

    Ingredients

    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 1 cup cold salted butter cut into small cubes
    • 1/2 cup ice water
    • 2 metal pie pans Why metal pans? Because this is an all butter crust, it needs to be frozen before baking to keep the pie shape. The extreme temp change from freezer to oven could cause glass to shatter.

    Instructions

    • In a stand mixer, or by hand with a pastry cutter if you're old school like that, blend the dry ingredients together.
    • Add butter. Mix until the butter chunks are no bigger than blueberries.
    • Add 1/2 cup of ice water and mix until a dough ball forms.
    • Remove ball and cut in half. Flatten into 2 large pancake dough discs.
    • Flour counter and roll out dough half a few inches larger than the pie pan you are using.
    • Line the buttered pan with the pie dough, tuck under the edges evenly and beautify -AKA- "crimp" the edges.
    • Place the crimped pie shells into the freezer for at least an hour before baking but preferably overnight.
    • When you are ready to bake your pie, fill the frozen crust and bake immediately. Do not thaw the crust.
    • Preheat oven to 400. After 15 minutes, reduce oven to 375 and bake according to your recipe. Starting out with a very hot oven helps keep the shape of your crimping.

    Notes

    This recipe makes 2 regular sized pie crusts (top and bottom). But, if you are making a slab pie, this recipe will make 1 slab pie crust.
    Food

    Easy Peasy Lasagna

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    A super tasty 4 ingredient homemade-ish Lasagna and Meatballs dish for those crazy busy school nights.

    Tired mothers rejoice!

    Now you can feed your family a hot, home-cooked meal in under an hour from start to finish. No worries. You can thank me later.

    Easy Peasy Lasagna & Meatballs

    Ingredients

    • 1 bag frozen cheese ravioli
    • 1 bag frozen meatballs
    • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
    • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    • grated parmesan cheese

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 9×13 baking dish
    • Place a layer of frozen ravioli along bottom of dish
    • Add spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce on top
    • Sprinkle sauce covered ravioli generously with mozzarella cheese
    • Repeat this process until the dish is full
    • Add a layer of frozen meatballs to the top and sprinkle with grated parm
    • Cover with aluminum foil and bake until hot and bubbly – 45 minutes to an hour.

    Notes

    This “Lasagna” is perfect for those busy school nights where running around to gymnastics, soccer games and after school clubs have left you tired and worn out.
    Now you can still make your fam a hot home-cooked meal in a flash.
    Food

    Celebration Chocolate Chip Cookies

    perfectlydestressed.com

    They are called Celebration Chocolate Chip Cookies because there’s a major part-ay in your mouth with every bite of these delicious things.

    Also, because they are perfect for any celebration. Birthdays, Back to School, Snow Days, Holidays, Trips to the Dentist, A Successful Day of Cleaning Your House, whatevs….

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    And we’ve all seen loads of recipes that claim to be “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever”, but those guys need to just sit down right this minute because these chocolate chip cookies?

    They’re actually The Best In The World.

    Believe it, my friends.

    Celebration Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup softened salted butter
    • 1 cup vegetable shortening
    • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 eggs
    • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • 2 bags chocolate chips We prefer milk chocolate, but semi-sweet works too

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350°
    • Cream butter, shortening, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.
    • Stir in eggs.
    • Slowly add flour to avoid splash-over. Beat until thoroughly mixed.
    • Fold in chocolate chips.
    • Drop by rolled teaspoonfuls on baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
    • Bake 10-12 minutes.

    Notes

    This recipe is also perfect for Cookie Bars. Simply follow directions and spread cookie dough into a greased sheet pan. Press dough until evenly spread. Bake 350 for about 20 minutes.

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