Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Deeper Meaning of Fairy Tales

For lovers of stories, fairy tales, imagination, and dreams…

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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What Lies Around the Bend?

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

…and I’m not even kidding.  These are some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had…and considering the recipe comes from Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook, that’s really no great surprise.

If you love good old fashioned home cooking, you will love these soft and chewy cookies.  These cookies are great for bake sales and gatherings, since they stay soft and chewy for days.  Keep them in an airtight container to maintain freshness.  And if it just so happens that the cookies get hard or stale, simply throw a piece of bread into the container and your cookies should return to their soft state in a few hours.  By the way, if you’re shipping cookies to someone, this is a great way to keep them fresh and soft!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package chocolate chips, or chips of your choice


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a second bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Gradually blend in the flour mixture.
  5. Add chocolate chips and mix just until combined.
  6. Drop by the tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes, or until edges are brown.  Remove from pan and let cool.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 


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Never Forget Who You Are

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes

One of my all-time favorite flavor combinations is sweet and spicy…and there’s nothing that will get your taste buds in a frenzy like chili and chocolate.  Spicy chocolate is a genius invention and one of my go-to guilty pleasures.  If you haven’t tried it, I recommend you give it a shot.  To get the full sensation, melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler.  Create medallions on wax paper by spooning the chocolate on the wax paper when it’s melted.  Sprinkle each medallion with a little cayenne pepper and use a toothpick to swirl the powder into the melted chocolate.  Let harden and enjoy.  It may not seem spicy at first, but these little guys have a kick…and will bite back!

So when I was given the task of baking some yummy treats for my bother’s fiancee’s bachelorette party, I just had to try making spicy chocolate cupcakes!  What better way to top off a ladie’s night?  Oh, and I did make these weenie cake pops, which I thought you might enjoy!  HAHA!  I mean, it was a bachelorette party!

Anyway, back to these chocolate cakes.  I didn’t want the spice to be too overwhelming, so I just added it to the icing.  If you want a little more heat, add it to the batter.  It’s really up to you.  Just remember, when it comes to cayenne pepper–a little goes a long way!

Spicy Chocolate Cakes



  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine boiling water and cocoa, stirring well until all the cocoa is dissolved.  Let mixture cool completely.
  3. Place sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat until well blended, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and stir with a whisk until combined.
  5. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cupcake pans and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean.  For these cakes, it’s best NOT to use cupcake liners, since the icing is poured onto the cool cake and hardens over time.  You can place cupcakes in liners once the icing has set.  Let cake cool completely before frosting.
  7. To make icing, melt the butter in a pan.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
  8. Use a tablespoon to skim off the foam on top of the melted butter and discard.  Set aside the clarified butter, also discarding the milky liquid in the bottom of the pan.
  9. In the meantime, melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
  10. Remove the chocolate from the heat and pour the clarified butter into the chocolate.  Stir until smooth.
  11. Add cayenne pepper and mix until combined.  Add more to taste if the heat isn’t strong enough for you!
  12. Let icing sit for about 5 minutes to thicken.
  13. Place cakes on a cooling rack with a pan underneath to catch extra icing.  Pour icing over cooled cakes and let sit for at least 2 hours to let icing set.
  14. If you have extra icing, you can drizzle it over the cupcakes after the first layer sets.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Stamped Clay Keychain

I think it would be safe to say I have a thing for bees.  Ever since people I know and love found out that my name literally translates to “sweet like honey from the bee”, I was swarmed with bee-themed gifts, cards, clothes, supplies, and more.  After a while, the bee thing grew on me, and now I can say that I’m slightly obsessed with them.

I decided to make this key chain after I wrote a guest post on clay charms for a craft blog.  I guess I never really realized how fun and easy this is…and it’s a great way to create personalized charms for wedding favors, baby shower favors, and even gift tags.

Stamped Clay Bumble Bee Key Chain


  • 1 block Studio by Sculpy Clay, in Butterscotch (#6437)
  • Stamp of your choice
  • 1 block Studio by Sculpy Clay, in Cappuccino (#6785)
  • 1 sewing pin
  • Ribbons of your choice
  • Two similar buttons
  • Hot glue gun


  1. Condition the butterscotch clay until it’s easily workable and roll it into a ball.  Using a marker, pen, or clay rolling pin, roll out the ball until it forms a circle about 2 inches in diameter.


  2. Take your stamp and carefully press it into the clay.

  3. With the sewing pin, create a hole large enough for your ribbon to go through.
  4. If you have clay tools, you can add texture to the clay however you’d like.  I just used the round head of the pin to make tiny grooves in the clay charm.  I like the vintage look of it!

  5. Once your charm is the way you want it, set it aside.
  6. Condition your Cappuccino clay until it’s easily workable and roll it into a ball.  To create a bead, shape it to be the size you want (I did a cone shape to mirror a bee hive) and carefully pull the pin through the bead to create a hole.

  7. Once your charm and bead are ready, bake them according to the package directions.  If you’re using Sculpey clay, bake at 275 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.  After baking, remove from oven and let cool completely.

  8. Depending on how workable your ribbon is, you can weave it through your charm.  I had to use a tapestry needle to help get my ribbons through the holes on the charm and the bead.  Once the ribbon is through both clay pieces, tie a knot to secure it.

  9. If you’d like, you can attach a separate ribbon like I did to the secure knot.  Then I secured that ribbon by gluing 2 like buttons together.  I think it looks kind of cute!


This is an easy project to make for any occasion.  You can easily attach these clay charms to gift packages, wedding favors, necklaces, and more!

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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May You Forever Live in a World of Fantasy

Thank you for a childhood (and adulthood) filled with fantasy and imagination.

Maurice Sendak, 1929-2012

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Honey Granola

If you’ve ever eaten plain matzah, you know that it’s not the most exciting food in the world.  It’s very bland, dry, and basically tastes like a huge saltless cracker.  For those who don’t know, matzah is a plain unleavened bread eaten by Jewish people during the Passover holiday.  Matzah is a large part of the  Passover Seder, but it’s also Jewish law to eat matzah instead of bread for the following week.  And let me tell you, it gets boring.

Thankfully they’ve recently come out with a variety of matzah flavors, making it much easier to make delicious matzah pizzas, sandwiches, and snacks (I’m a lover of the new Mediterranean flavor.  If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it.  It would be wonderful with a little hummus!).

Now I’m not what one might call a matzah lover.  I’ll eat it to keep the holiday, but I’ve never craved it or looked forward to a meal in which matzah was involved.  However, that all changed after I had this honey granola.  Made with farfel, which is basically crumbled up matzah, this granola is delicious…and kosher for Passover!  It’s great to eat with ice cream, yogurt, and more recently I discovered that it’s a delicious topping to a bowl of strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

When I make this honey granola, I usually double the recipe, so I have enough to last me a good 2-3 months (make sure you store it in an airtight container or a Zip Lock bag to ensure freshness).  If you can’t find farfel, you can buy a box of plain unsalted matzah and crumble it up into small pieces.

This is also a recipe for honey lovers.  While you can often rely on that cute “honey bear” for all your honey baking needs, I’d recommend splurging on the good stuff for this recipe.  You can find all kinds of honey flavors at your local produce market or Whole Foods store.

Honey Granola


  • 3 cups farfel, or crumbled up matzah
  • 2-3 cups mixed nut/dried fruit mix
  • ½ cup sweetened coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon (plus more for dusting)
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup clover honey


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine the farfel, mixed nut mix, coconut, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Mix until combined.  Set aside.  If you can’t find farfel, you can crumble up plain matzah.  Here’s what farfel looks like:


  3. Combine butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl and melt in microwave for about 1 minute, or until butter is melted and honey is more fluid.

  4. Pour the butter mixture over the farfel mixture and stir to coat.

  5. Spread mixture over a large pan and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir half way through cooking.  I doubled mine, so I had a lot!

  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  7. Store in a Zip Lock bag or air tight storage container.  Serve with yogurt, ice cream, or just snack on it throughout the day!

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 


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Seriously…I’m Kidding Book Review

I think it would be safe to say that I, like many straight women in the world, have a serious lady crush on Ellen DeGeneres.  She’s really the whole package…she’s cute, she’s funny, she has an awesome personality…and she’s got one heck of a career going for her.  I mean, what more can a girl ask for?
I was first introduced to Ellen back in the early 2000’s, when I caught one of her early stand-up routines on TV.  After that, I was hooked.  Ellen has not only done wonders for the gay community, but she truly seems like a genuinely good person…someone who would be there for you no matter what.
That belief was reinforced after I read Portia DeRossi’s tell-all autobiography, Unbearable Lightness.  In her book, she can’t say enough good things about this woman who changed her life, who changed so many lives.  While Portia’s story was often quite sad and heartbreaking, the end of her book—the beginning of her new life with Ellen—was filled with love and appreciation for this woman who just invited her to a party because she liked watching her laugh.
If you’re one of the many millions of people who know and love Ellen DeGeneres, I highly recommend you check out Seriously…I’m Kidding, Ellen’s most recent book filled with hilarious stories, theories, advice, activities, and more.
A very quick and hilarious read, Seriously…I’m Kidding was everything I wanted it to be.  From Ellen’s thoughts on the fountain of youth to her funny yet poignant comments regarding politics, family, gay rights, and dancing your heart out, Seriously…I’m Kidding is proof that Ellen is exactly what many picture her to be…a woman with no hidden agenda.  She’s the real deal.  Watch her talk show for one week and you’ll find yourself smiling more, enjoying the little things like dancing, singing, and laughing at yourself when you can’t find your car keys.
Even if you don’t know anything about Ellen, other than she was the voice of that fish in Finding Nemo, you will find joy and laughter in Seriously…I’m Kidding.  In its wit and wisdom, this book was almost a sense of comfort that even the most famous of celebrities are still human…they still eat and poop and forget people’s names.  They still have to sit in traffic, deal with people they don’t like, and work to pay the bills…and for as famous as she is, it was nice to see Ellen in that light…and to know that she’s out there, dancing her own dance, is an inspiration and perhaps a beacon of hope for all of us.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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11 Clever Uses for Milk Jugs

Buying milk in those gallon jugs should be a weekly occurance.  Not only is the milk great for you, but the jug can be put to use in so many ways!  From organizing fruit to growing seedlings, plastic milk jugs can make your lives easier in ways you may never have thought possible.

1.  Create cute little gift baskets out of milk jugs.

2.  Cut the bottom off the jug and cover plants to create a little greenhouse.  Remove the cap on warm days to let heat escape.

3.  Cut the bottom off the jug (leaving the handle on) and make it into a scoop for dog food, kitty litter, salt, and more!

4. Fill them with water, sand, or dirt as use them for weight training.

5.  Save up those pennies by turning empty jugs into piggie banks.

6. Use them as weights to hold down swimming pool covers or other cloth coverings.

7. These window clings are absolutely beautiful!  It’s a great way to craft with kids and makes for a fun arts and crafts project on a rainy day.

8. Turn them into bird feeders by cutting two small holes in two sides of the feeder and sticking sticks through the bottom so the birds have a place to land.

9. Make beautiful luminaries for a beach or garden party by cutting the top off milk jugs, filling the bottom with 2-3 inches of sand, and placing a votive candle inside.

10.  Cut the tops of milk jugs and use the base to hold small items in your fridge, kitchen, office, and more.

11. Fill it with plastic grocery bags and use it as a dispenser.  This makes storing and using those pesky bags so much easier!

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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