Friday, February 11, 2011

Toys and Treats

I'm not sure if kids get the chance to use their imaginations anymore-what with wii games, the internet and t.v. I used to spend hours playing "Barbies" with my sisters, neighborhood kickball games in our backyard and board games with my siblings and my friends. I guess my favorite toy from childhood were the board games that we received each year from "Santa". Christmas break was spent learning the games and playing them over and over and over....

I had the chance to interview Chris Byrne (The Toy Guy) today during the Book Nook segment. Chris has over 30 years experience in the toy industry and is also the content director for He was talking to us from the Mattel Showroom at the Javits Center in New York City in order to give us sneak peek on what we can expect to see on store shelves this year. Chris said that the Movie and the Entertainment industry drive some of the trends. Look for Justin Bieber dolls (with real hair!), 30 different toys to mark the newest "CARS" movie, action toys and figures for the latest "Pirates of the Carribbean" and "Transformers"-a big hit in the '80's (when my son was playing with the originals). Technology also plays an important part in toy development. Look for V-Tech's "Ino-pad", similar to Mom and Dad's I-Pad, but geared for kids. Classic toys-such as Lego (which appeal to kids as well as the "kid" in all of us) are also always popular.

You can check out "The Toy Guy's" website: .

You'll find lots of information on the newest toys, reviews on the top toys as well as book reviews and reviews by parents.

Today is Peppermint Patty day. Not sure if it's in refrence to the "little red-headed girl" in the Peanuts cartoon strip, or if it is to celebrate the candies.

I shared a recipe to make your own Peppermint Patties (see below) and we also talked about easy Valentine treats. I found a yummy recipe for Waffle Cookies ( you use your waffle iron). I am hoping to find some time this weekend to try them. I've posted the recipes below. If you try them, let me know what you think!

Peppermint Patties
¾ c. sweetened condensed milk
1 ½ tsp. peppermint extract
4 c. confectioners’ sugar
3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. shortening
In large mixing bowl, combine condensed milk and peppermint extract. Beat in enough confectioners’; sugar, a little at a time, to form a stiff dough that is no longer sticky. Form into 1” balls, the place on waxed paper and flatten with fingers to form patties. Let patties dry at room temperature 2 hours, turning once. IN medium saucepan over LOW heat, melt chocolate with shortening, stirring often. Remove from heat. Dip patties, one at a time, into chocolate by laying them on the tines of a fork and lowering the fork into the liquid. Let cool on waxed paper until set.

Waffle Cookies
½ c. packed brown sugar

¼ c. sugar

½ c. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

½ tsp. salt
1 c. + 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

¼ tsp. baking soda

½ c. flaked coconut
½ c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ c. chopped cashews

Confectioners’ sugar, optional
In large bowl, combine sugars, butter, egg and vanilla. Combine flour, salt & baking soda; gradually add to sugar mixture. Stir in coconut, cashews and chocolate chips. Drop batter by tablespoons 1” apart onto a preheated waffle iron coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove to wire racks; cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Yield: 3 dozen.

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