Nutter Butters

I found this recipe from who got it from a New York Times article about Bouchon Bakery.  I also found reference to these copy-cat Nutter Butters on a site I just found called which reviews New York City desserts.  Anyway, I like the Nabisco version, so I thought it would be fun to try this recipe.  The cookies are easy to make and very yummy even without the peanut butter filling.  They are salty and sweet and have great texture.  The humidity in Texas was not kind to the cookies after a few days in the tupperware.  They lost a little crunch but still taste great.  Be sure to place the cookies far enough apart or they will join forces and become a giant monster cookie than must be consumed by its maker 🙂  These cookies don’t taste exactly like a real Nutter Butter…and that’s ok by me.  They taste more homemade, and that’s a good thing.


Cookie Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter, preferably Skippy
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped peanuts (omitted and used crunchy peanut butter)
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats

Cookie Filling:
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, preferably Skippy
3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar plus a tiny bit more if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare Dough:
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add sugars and beat at medium speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping down bowl twice.

At low speed, add egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until well mixed, frequently scraping down bowl. Add peanuts (if using) and oats, and mix well. Using an ice cream scoop 2 inches in diameter or an extremely heaping tablespoon, place balls of dough on parchment-lined baking sheets at least three inches apart.

Bake until cookies have spread and turned very light golden brown, about 10-14 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool and firm up, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before filling.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar until very smooth.

Spread a thin layer (about 1/8 inch) on underside of a cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat.

Makes 12 large cookies (I ended up with about 18 cookies)

Rate My Place!

I have recently begun spending most of my tv watching hours on HGTV.  House Hunters,  Open House and Hidden Potential are my favorites.  Anyway, this new interest resulted in a google search to find some design website and I came across Architect Studio 3D.  Its from the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.  You get to choose a client, a location, floorplan, building materials and everything else to make your very own home!  Wall coverings, flooring and furniture are limited.  I also have had some trouble getting things to hang on the walls and making the wall color look right.  Despite my troubles, I had a great time designing my own little home on this site.  Another cool thing is that I can share it with you!  Go to then go to Design Studio, Enter Design Studio and then enter my code: VYYUCNUR  After you check it out you can rate my place…keep in mind that I am not an architect!

Adventures in Waitressing

I am really liking my job! It has been fun working in an environment that is so much different than the classroom. I do feel a little out of place with all the young kids…but the boyfriend and girlfriend gossip is entertaining at least. I’ve earned quite a bit in tips, but every shift is unpredictable. Some days lunches are really busy and I’ll get $40 in tips. The same night will be completely dead and I’ll end up with 3 tables the entire evening and $16 in tips. I worked in the bar the last two nights, so my clothes and hair smell like smoke and beer when I get home. I’m meeting the “regulars” in the bar which is fun. It’s more laid back and there aren’t as many kiddos. The downside is that people tend to stay in the bar past close, so the bartender and I are the last people to leave in the evening. I also encounter more interesting people in the bar. Last night for example 3 women came in about 10 minutes before we close. They looked like they’d spent the day at the lake, and I’m pretty sure that they’d been drinking all day already. So I was not thrilled when she ordered a margarita and complained that I was new. She voiced her opinion that I wouldn’t be nice like her regular waiter and get her free liquor. Sorry, lady! So they order their nachos, I get them some water and bus some of the other tables in the bar. Suddenly she comes up behind me and drops the chip bowl on a table next to where I’m cleaning, “We need more chips, hon.” and then goes back to her seat. I know chips are important and I also hate staring into a empty bowl of chips, but her bowl was not empty. In fact, the impact of the chip bowl on the table caused whole chips, not just crumbs, to fly into the air and then onto the floor. So, I just smile and get more chips for the sweet, sweet woman. I bring their nachos upstairs and fill up waters, chips (again) and salsa. They ask for a to-go box and some salsa to go. Here’s the problem, we close at 9:30…it’s 9:55. They’ve already put all the salsa in the walk in except for a few little plastic containers they put in to-go orders. So I get her the two I had left and explain why I couldn’t get her anymore. She rolls her eyes and mumbles something, so I apologize again and go print the check. The ticket came to $17.01. She gives me a $20, so I get her $3 in change. They get up to leave and the sweet woman goes to the restroom. I start to clean up the table and see that they’ve left me the $3 as a tip, which is not bad. I bring the cups back behind the bar and as I stand up I see her walking back by the table where she picks up the tip, looks at me, says “Sorry!” and goes downstairs. It was great! I was really more entertained than irritated with the whole thing. Check back soon for more “Adventured in Waitressing”!

Operation Birthday Cake

My dad will turn 60 this month and the daughters are throwing him a birthday bash! We’ve had to plan mostly via email since we’re scattered around the nation. We divied out jobs between us; Lisa does the invites, Linds and Sarah get the food ordered, Mom does the guest list, and Sarah and I are in charge of the cake. I am a fan of Ace of Cakes, so I start to consider getting a really cool sculpted cake for the party. It just HAD to be a motorcycle! My dad has really gotten in to riding over the last 6 years or so, so it seemed like the perfect thing for him. Sarah and I have been searching bakeries in Austin and getting price quotes. Looks like its going to be about $200 to serve 30 people. Yowza! But its going to be great. I’ll update y’all on the cake once we get it ordered and have the party. For now, check out this video. No wonder it costs so much…4 days to make this thing.

Hi, my name is Carrie and I’ll be your server tonight…

Don’t worry, I haven’t quit my old job. I am still teaching in China Spring. But what’s a teacher to do in June, July and 2 weeks of August? I’ve heard a lot of people say that teaching is so great because you get summers off. Not so if your husband spends 14 hours a day working on Law School stuff and you don’t have a cat to keep you company! So, the job search began. Rejected…rejected…rejected…you get the picture. Monday, my first official day of summer vacation, I decide that I’m going to call every business in the phone book and take whatever I could get. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did promise myself that I would not apply to Taco Bell despite the huge “Now Hiring!” sign in front of the shop. I will not do fast food. Ever. There’s a mexican restaurant, La Fiesta, about 5 miles down the street from our apartment. They have 3 locations in Waco. Ben and I have been to the one in town a few times, but always thought the one close to our place looked too creepy, so we never wanted to chance it. I took a chance on Monday and walked in, asked if they were hiring and if I could get an application. The manager asked if I’d waited tables before…nope! She asked when I could start…ASAP! Can you come in tonight…sure! I was hired on the spot and was to return for training a few hours later. I was pretty excited. I’ve always wanted to see if I could wait tables. I’m a fairly competent person and lets just get it out there…not all waiters are competent people. So, I should be able to do this. If I can teach 5th grade…I can wait tables. Right? 5pm. I will be trained by Josh who graduated high school the same year I graduated college…and he’s one of the oldest wait staff there. I feel a bit out of place. He assures me “It’s a Monday. We’ll be pretty slow.” He was right about one thing…it was Monday. It was not slow. It was fun…even invigorating. I like being busy, but I hated not knowing what to do to help. He tried to fill me in as much as possible in the first hour when things really were slow. This is where dishes go, silverware, cups, chips are here, salsa is there, sweet tea on the left, unsweet on the right, don’t touch plates under the warmer with bare hands (no joke!) learn the menu, 3 tortillas for fajita fundito, 6 tortillas for fajitas for 2, and get your own charro beans and rice. I also learned the computer system which is how the kitchen gets your orders. Nice system, but you better be on top of things or the system and the kitchen cannnot save you. I have to learn what every item on the menu looks like, how to fix orders when they’re wrong, what orders get sour cream, cheese, when to ask for fajita meat, etc. I’ve worked two shifts so far in training. Tomorrow will be my first REAL day. Which also means my first day to get tips! Woohoo! I am a waitress…at least for now.

Baby Birdies

Every morning and afternoon for the last 3 weeks I have checked on my babies…my baby birds. The nest came first, of course, in the top corner of our deck. Then 5 little speckled eggs. Then the eggs hatched and I was the proud mother of 5 precious barn swallows. The real mother isn’t too happy with me spying on her children every day. She rallies her bird friends and they dive bomb me when I try to look in the nest. I have managed to get a few pictures. I had to do a little research to figure out what kind of birds they were…I’m not a Orthinologist afterall, just a teacher! I’m pretty sure that they’re barn swallows based on this info from Bird of Texas website.

Field Marks: This bird is about 6 ¾” in length. Adults of both sexes have dark bluish back, dark wings, long, deeply forked tail. The males have rusty or buff under parts and a chestnut throat and forehead. Females and Immature are similar but paler.

Voice: Song complex combines clear notes, twitters, and gurgles. The call is a soft wit wit or emphatic slip slip.

Where found: Breeds from Alaska across Canada to Newfoundland south through the United States. These birds winter in South America.

Texas: Migrant (Mar. – June, July – Nov) throughout. Winters occasionally along the Texas coast.

Habitat: Open country, farms, fields, marshes, lakes, etc.

Nest: An open mud cup lined with feathers, on ledge, bridge, beam, or building. Eggs (3-5) speckled.


Here are my sweet swallows!

Blackberry Pie Bars


My mother in law gave me a cookbook for Christmas…Rebecca Rather’s cookbook The Pasty Queen. I’m really starting to believe that rather haughty moniker of hers! I’ve made about 5 of the recipes from the cookbook including the chocolate chip and sugar cookies. Both were quite tasty. Not as good as the cookies I ate from the bakery itself, Rather Sweet in Frederickburg, but still very good and not too difficult for the home baker. These bars sounded pretty decadent (3 sticks of butter in the crust alone!) and also pretty delicious. I love fruit desserts because it makes me feel like I’m eating something healthy, ha, so I decided to give these a try. They were easy to put together and everything in the recipe turned out great…except the baking time. I used a 9×13 glass pan and baked the bars for 50 minutes, then I let them cool overnight. When I cut them in the morning they were incredibly gooey and almost impossible to eat with your hands. So, I recommend at least an hour of baking. I did try a half recipe in an 8×8 pan and baked them for 45 minutes. They’re cooling right now, but they look much less iffy than the last batch. Enjoy!


Blackberry Pie Bars
from The Pastry Queen

Crust & Topping
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chilled unsalted butter

Fruit Filling
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen blackberries, defrosted and drained

For the crust and topping:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until fully combined. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the butter to the flour mixture and process until the butter is evenly distributed, but the mixture is still crumbly.

Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture for the topping. Press the remaining crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Cool for at least 10 minutes.

To make the filling:
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl, then add the sour cream, flour and salt. Gently fold in the blackberries. Spoon the mixture evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the top. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the crust is lightly browned. Cool for at least 1 hour before cutting.

Makes approximately 2 dozen bars.

Television, glorious television

Anyone who knows me knows that I like television.  I don’t really like one show in particular.  I don’t run all wide eyed and crazy to the television at a certain day and time each week to watch MY show.  I just like television, plain and simple.  It doesn’t really even matter what’s on.  I like it all!  Last weekend MTV was running a marathon of So You Think You Can Dance.  I was totally hooked!  Here’s why…1: I cannot dance, so I like to watch people who can.   2: Bryan Gaynor.  This guy has scoliosis and auditioned for the show in season 3.  Here is the youtube video.  The season premiere is on my 32 inch Philips flatscreen while I type this post and I can see Thurdsays @ 7pm being on my weekly calendar until the finale.  Thanks FOX!  You couldn’t trap me with American Idol, but you’ve got me here.

Fredericksburg Weekend

Ben and I celebrated his completion of the first quarter of PC at Baylor Law this weekend. So, Sunday morning we headed to Fredericksburg, Texas for our 24 hour getaway! Our first stop was at Enchanted Rock where we hiked to the top, climbed into dark, dangerous caves and my mountain-man husband led me the “back way” down the back of the rock and around all creation back to our car. One of the best parts was watching a 3 year old boy climb without fear into a cave that scared the heebie jeebies out of me. Ben and I both came away with nice little sunburns. That’s what we get for being whiter than sheets and not wearing sunscreen. Since it was a Sunday a lot of the places on main street were closed. We did have a nice little snack at Fredericksburg Brewery; a link of sausage, cheese, mustard, a roll and sauerkraut all for only $4.99! We checked in to our bed and breakfast, The Angels Lodge, around 3. Our room was really nice. Right outside our room was a small pool with a waterfall…very peaceful. HUGE king bed that required a stool to get in…nice bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. We were not too thrilled with the lack of a shower. An awkward hand-held shower caused some interesting words to be uttered during Ben’s time in the shower. We survived this little predicament and headed to The Nest for dinner. We had a stuffed shrimp appetizer that could have been a meal. 4 large shrimp stuffed with artichokes and other yummy goodness on top of angel hair pasta with a red pepper sauce. We also had a crab cake appetizer with a cilantro lime hollandaise on top of sauteed spinach. Entrees came with a field greens salad with pecans and feta cheese. Ben had quail stuffed with sausage on polenta. I had sea scallops with a chipotle lime sauce and turnip mashed potatoes. We were really pleased and would definitely go again…but maybe not order 2 appetizers. I slept really well in our HUGE bed. Breakfast arrived to our room at 8:45…fresh fruit, cranberry muffins, red-pepper breakfast potatoes and a breakfast burrito. The weather was a little nasty, but we went to main again after checking out of our room and walked up and down for a while. It was really a good weekend for us. Only two more quarters of law school!

Easter 2008

A few years ago I took a cookie decorating class at Central Market with a friend. While my first few attempts at these fancy decorated cookies were not exactly bakery quality I learned some really helpful tips that I’ve practiced since then. I’ve made cookies for my cousins’ and sisters baby showers, a wedding shower and of course for Christmas. Last week was my spring break, so I made some for Easter. It’s a time commitment. About 4 days all said and done. However, definitely worth it in my opinion. I have made the cookies from scratch in the past, but to save time I’ve been using a sugar cookie mix from Betty Crocker which works pretty good. I followed the instructions on the bag for cut-out cookies and then chilled the dough in the fridge for about an hour before I rolled it out. Watch them closely when baking or they’ll burn, and I don’t know anyone who likes burnt cookies.


We used the egg-shaped cookies as place cards for Easter lunch on Sunday. Lunch, by the way, was spectacular. Ham, corn pudding, roasted rosemary potatoes, green beans, rolls and lemon tarts. I stuffed myself silly and had to take a nap when we got home. The sign of a good meal.