T-Rex Cookies.

I adore T-Rex – for reasons that make for too long of a story to tell here. But for Solstice this year, one of my sons bought me a T-Rex cookie cutter. I waited, patiently, for the holidays to be over so we would have room for snacks – and today I made a trial batch of cut-out, flood-iced cookies.

SO CUTE.

SO CUTE.

I’ll be honest – this is the one that turned out the best. It was a learning process to get the eye placed properly and the outline and flooding done reasonably. But I am ridiculously pleased with how they turned out – and sad that I didn’t make more of them (this recipe made 9 cookies).

Here’s the cookie recipe that I used:

1 Dozen Cut-Out Cookies

Ingredients
3/4 cup flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (I used vanilla again)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a stand mixer,  cream together the butter and sugar. Scrape down the sides frequently.
  3. Once everything is light and fluffy, add the egg yolk and extracts. Mix well.
  4. Sprinkle half the flour mixture into the bowl and continue to mix on a low speed until combined. Add the remainder of the flour mixture.
  5. Mix until no visible flour remains (don’t over-mix!)
  6. Dump the dough onto a floured surface. Squish the dough into a ball. Using a floured rolling pin,  roll out the dough until it’s large enough to make approximately 8 medium-sized cut-outs.
  7. Place the shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Gather the dough scraps,  re-roll, and cut out the rest of the shapes. Put them on the cookie sheet too!
  9. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer and start heating your oven to 350F.
  10. When the oven reaches temperature, remove the cookies from the freezer and put them into the oven.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just start to turn brown.
  12. Let the cookies rest on the pan for a few minutes and then move them a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. Don’t frost the cookies until they’re fully cooled.

I used this method for doing the outline and flooding. It worked well, but I had to add quite a bit more powdered sugar to my recipe (possibly because I make my own sugar in the blender so it doesn’t contain corn starch?)

For my own records, this is what the recipe looked like for me in the end:

Icing for Border & Flooding

For the border icing:

1.5 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring extract
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons milk or water
Food coloring, optional

For the flood icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring extract
2 1/2 tablespoons milk or water
Food coloring, optional

Directions:

  1. Mix the ingredients together for the border icing. It should be quite thick. Spoon it into a squeeze bottle and then make the outlines. Allow the icing to dry to the touch (about 10 minutes, at most).
  2. Mix the flood icing. it should be thick but not too much. Spoon it into a squeeze bottle and then use it like a magic marker to colour inside the border icing. FUN. Allow to dry overnight.

Secret Litterbox.

We have 4 cats and 2 dogs.

We keep our cats indoors which means they poop in litter boxes. The dogs, and the beagle in particular, believe these little poops-in-boxes are a delicacy and will do almost anything to get to them.

Since we have 4 cats, we need more than one litterbox and, ideally, it’s a good idea to have them in different parts of the house – so the cats can have some privacy to do, uh, their business. There are only so many tiled places in our house to put a litterbox and I refuse to put a litterbox on carpeting.

So, cats who need litterboxes and dogs who want to eat out of the litterboxes (but who get sick all over the place if they do).

Can you see the challenge?

My husband made this:

Front hall cabinet.

Front hall cabinet.

More specifically, I picked out a bookshelf from Canadian Tire and my husband assembled it. He then bought some wood, stained it to match the bookshelves, added hardware, and attached them to cover the bottom shelf areas.

So far, so good.

Then we found a big plastic bin – with high sides – that fit (with a bit of trimming) into one of the lower sections.

Big blue litterbox!

Big blue litterbox!

We cut out a portion of the side of the bin and a matching hole was cut between the two lower sections. If we open the right-hand door and look in, it looks like this:

Passageway between the right and left sides.

Passageway between the right and left sides.

Then we cut a hole in the lower, outer portion to give the cats a way to get in and out – but keep the dogs from getting in at all. Thankfully, our dogs are larger than our cats.

Little cat entryway!

Little cat entryway!

Ta-da! A fancy-shmancy place to hide cat litter in plain sight!

Apologies for the dusty pictures – the good news is that everything is easy to wipe down. Once the cats are a bit more accustomed to using it, we’ll add a small holder for the litter scoop and the hand broom/dustpan in the right-hand lower section. For now, we don’t want to startle anyone at an inopportune moment..

Pumpkin Donuts? Donut Pumpkins?

Now I'm hungry for donuts.

Now I’m hungry for donuts.

My friend Rebs sent me this link. They’re not difficult to make – just paint some pumpkins – but the entire Universe was conspiring against me actually doing it.  The dollar store, where I went to buy paint, didn’t have many colours (so all 3 of mine are frosted with pink icing). The grocery store where we normally get pumpkins didn’t have any that were the right shape (so I bought squash instead).

But, all that aside, they turned out nicely and I’m pleased.