Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Football Fun

I meant to post this prior to Superbowl Sunday, but as usual, life has been keeping me busy and away from my Blogger dashboard. On Sunday afternoon, Don and I invited a few other young families over to hang out. While I have no interest in televised sports and the Superbowl is no exception, we both liked the excuse to throw a party, especially one that made use of our new living room, sectional sofa, and HDTV.

Since Donny had been begging me to do a craft, I employed his help and Hayden's in making a few football-themed decorations. I cut football shapes from brown construction paper, which the boys scribbled on with their crayons (washable only, a wise decision on my part, since leaving the room for just two minutes resulted in the walls likewise receiving decoration). I read a suggestion to staple these shapes together and stuff them with shredded paper, but since I had an excess amount of plastic grocery bags on hand, I used those instead. With a long strand of yarn, some painter's tape (leftover from my home improvement projects), and a garnish of ribbons saved from birthday gifts, we soon had a festive strand of footballs hanging from our ceiling beam.

It was Donny's idea to use the TV box to cut a giant football out of cardboard. Since the big game was to be watched on the big TV, I thought it was perfectly fitting, and decided to decorate the picture of the TV itself with the logos of the competing teams. Donny had his first exercise in coloring in the lines by helping me with the Steelers logo. Hayden's use of the (washable) markers was carefully monitored to prevent further murals from being drawn on the kitchen walls. After bedtime, I added a few construction paper pennants and tin foil stars to complete the decor.

In the process of googling "preschool football crafts," I stumbled across some ideas for a preschool football party, including a simple recipe for mini football pizzas. So on the big day, I made baked potatoes - which no one was hungry for due to the sheer volume of food, but they looked like footballs, and made great homefries the next day - and football shaped pizzas on Pillsbury grand biscuits. The biscuits can easily be flattened and shaped into something resembling a football, and since I love the personalized make-your-own versatility of English muffin and bagel pizzas, these little treats were easily topped with pepperoni, peppers, onions, and/or cheese as the eater desired. The pizzas were yummy, and I topped the extra biscuits with cinnamon and sugar before baking to keep them from going to waste. Of course, we were all too busy consuming bakery cookies and my football-shaped Tollhouse bar to fill up on biscuits.

For the sake of cuteness, gingerbread cookies with a football shaped cutter and some white icing would have been ideal. For the sake of taste, however, I really wanted to make a pan of Nestle Tollhouse bars, and the Superbowl theme came as more of an afterthought. While I won't win any cake-decorating awards for my football creation, it was a big hit...or should I say, it scored a touchdown? In case you have never had the pleasure of sampling these easy dessert bars, the recipe is below. You don't have to wait for next year's Superbowl to make some for yourself!

Tollhouse Bars
  • 40 oz. chocolate chip cookie dough (2 rolls or one tub, divided in half)
  • 12 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
1. Press half of cookie dough into the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.
2. Mix cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over cookie dough.
3. Cover with remaining cookie dough. (I find this to be the most challenging part - I usually squash patties of dough in my hand and patch together over the top like a puzzle.)
4. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.
5. Cool before cutting into bars. Keep refrigerated. And try not to eat the whole pan in one day!

Thanks to my mom and to Harriet at Don's work, both of whom shared this recipe with me...and to all of our Sunday guests for making a super party!

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