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Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes

smallbatchvanillacupcakes

My daughters birthday was this past weekend, the big 10!  I can’t even believe it.  I’ll try not to make this post all about me sobbing and weeping over this latest birthday. Anyways, it was a very busy weekend for us all.  She had a horse show the day before, then a sleepover, and Mothers Day was on the same day as her birthday.  Whew, glad its over!

My daughter requested vanilla cupcakes for her after dinner celebration so I wanted to make a small batch, because we don’t need a bunch of cupcakes sitting around our house.  These were easy to throw together, easy to frost and also easy  to eat. Hahaha. Very moist with great vanilla flavor.  I thought they were more dense then usual but I didn’t happen to mind that at all.  The frosting was also great with a wonderful vanilla flavor.  This icing was not light and fluffy but sort of hardened after it cooled so it was not messy and held onto the sprinkles really well.

The best part being that there weren’t a bunch of leftover cupcakes for us to snack on.  That was my goal after all. 🙂

Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes

Recipe by Celebrating Sweets

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup milk

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar 
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp milk

Cooking Directions

  1. Line a muffin tin with 5 cupcake liners, or spray 5 cups with non-stick spray.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350º
  3. In a large bowl or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg and sugar for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and the butter and whisk until combined.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients in two increments and mix until combined, but do not over mix.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the 5 muffin cups and then bake for 14-16 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.
  7. Let cool before frosting.
  8. To make the frosting: Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy. Use a butter knife to frost the cupcakes and top as desired.

 

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

homemadechocolatepudding

I know what you’re thinking, why make homemade chocolate pudding when those little packets from the grocery store are SO convenient.  Well, because you don’t always have those on hand, and there are a lot of additives that you might not want to consume. This recipe really doesn’t take long to make and you can pronounce all the ingredients!

I loved how easy this was, and how delicious.  It does not taste like the boxed kind, it’s more chocolatey than that. It’s almost like eating a chocolate chip, it’s more that flavor.  The consistency was smooth and thick, just like pudding from the box.  You can even top it a million different ways, I’ll leave some ideas below.  If you’re looking for an easy replacement for the boxed kind, give this one a try!

 

Topping suggestions:

  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate chips
  • Nuts
  • Mini Marshmallow, or cut up big one’s like I did.
  • Toffee chips
  • Assorted candies
  • Fresh fruit
  • Sweetened coconut flakes
  • Caramel sauce
  • Sprinkles

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Recipe from Moms Need To Know

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Cooking Directions

  1. In a medium to large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt.
  2. Slowly add in the milk while whisking to incorporate.
  3. Cook until it becomes a rolling boil, stirring consistently. Once at a full boil, let it boil for two minutes, keep whisking so it won’t boil over.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract.
  5. Pour into a bowl that has a lid.
  6. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top (so it’s touching the pudding) and put the lid on and then put in the refrigerator until cold.

 

Doggie Cupcakes (for dogs)

doggiecupcakes

On Sunday, April 29th our dog, Kacey, turned 2!  She’s been such an important member of our family for these last two years that we can’t wait to see what else we can all get ourselves into.  I’m glad she at least got to meet our older dog, Chip, before he passed away.

Kacey came to us from Oklahoma and flew on a plane to get to us here in Charlotte.  She was a brave girl.  Stunning color (blue merle) and eye color (light blue) she’s a show stopper.  Well figuratively she is, we don’t show her. She’s a Miniature Australian Shepherd and we adore her.

For her special day, we made a peanut butter based cupcake, frosted with more peanut butter with some crunchy kibble on top.  She LOVES them.  The recipe made 6 so we’ve just been giving her one a day.

2ndbdaykacey

Doggie Cupcakes

Recipe from Little Sloth

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup  peanut butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large egg

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350º
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Line a cupcake pan with 6 liners or spray 6 cups without liners.
  4. Devide the battery up evenly between the 6 cups and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Let cool, decorate if desired, with peanut butter for frosting and dog kibble, banana slices, apple pieces, blueberries, etc.

 

Oatmeal Raisin Banana Bars

oatmealraisinbananabar.JPG

It seems like I’m always on a new diet.  Can anyone agree? I think I’ve tried them all by now.  Just waiting to find the perfect eating plan that I can do for the rest of my life.  While losing weight.  And now starving or missing out on desserts. That’s all.  No biggie right? I’m just waiting for the all carb and sugar diet to appear.

This recipe is really good, and really easy.  Two of my favorite things. No added sugar, or eggs, flour, or dairy basically made me wonder what the heck they did have in them.  Luckily the ingredients that are in them, is full of flavor and no bad stuff. Feel free to mix up the dried fruit or add some coconut and really make these your own.  No need to feel guilty either. These are a great bar to have around for a quick energy fix, before or after a workout, or whenever you feel a sugar craving. I love this one, I’ll be making it again soon.

Oatmeal Raisin Banana Bars

Recipe from Perez Hilton via Facebook from Aug 1, 2013

Ingredients

  • 3 whole bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups oats (I used old fashioned) gluten free if needed
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Spray an 8×8 or 9×9 inch dish with non-stick spray
  3. Mix all the ingredients together and then transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool in the pan, cut into squares and serve.
  4. I keep mine refrigerated in an airtight bag or container.

 

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

     slowcookerporkroast.JPG

I’m back!  Finally after a long, much needed break, I’m finally able to start blogging again.  I needed some time to reevaluate my blog and my life in general.  I needed to come to some clarity about what I wanted, and it turns out that blogging is just the thing for me.  I’ve been cooking a lot on my break and even though I haven’t taken the steps to blog about what I’ve tried, I have figured some things out.  For example, we moved into a new house last summer and my stove really never worked correctly. So, we’ve recently replaced that stove and now the world is spinning correctly again, at least for me. Also, I’d like to do more than just cook.  I love cooking and baking, obviously,  but theres so much more that I enjoy as well. I’d like to explore those things too.

 

Also, recently I’ve been getting our meat shipped to us from ButcherBox. I have been buying from them for about 4 months and I LOVE the meat.  First of all, it’s organic or grass fed meat.  I find it rather easy to find organic chicken, and grass fed beef hamburger but in general it’s not easy to find pork and different cuts of meat without going to a health food store and paying the premium prices, and that is why I choose to buy it from ButcherBox. (I am not partnered with this company at all, they have no idea who I am), I just really like them. If you’d like to have premium meats shipped directly to your door,(this is a subscription box)  use my code: http://fbuy.me/ijsuZ

Ok, now that all that is out of the way, lets get to the recipe!  I have never been a huge pork lover.  Honestly, it was probably all my fault because I cooked it incorrectly.  In the past, all of the pork I cooked (not bacon or ham) would turn out dry and tasteless.  Since I’ve been ordering from ButcherBox I’ve fallen in love with pork again.  Nothing I’ve cooked has been bad.  So I ordered this pork roast for the first time and decided to try a new recipe from the internet. This recipe is really good.  The sauce is definetly sop up with a piece of bread, worthy.  A touch of sweetness, plus a peppery bite, plus a variety of other flavors meld perfectly.  The pork turns out tender and juicy.  The onions are so sweet and tender, and delicious, with every bite of pork. This one is another winner for my recipe book.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Recipe from AllRecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 1/2 pounds pork roast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • dash hot sauce, or to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Slice the onion and line it in the bottom a large slow cooker.
  2. Place the roast on top of the onions.
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over the top of the roast.
  4. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours or high 3 to 4 hours.

 

Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Icebox Cookies

chocolatevanillaswirliceboxcookies

Getting ready for the holidays, for me, means trying to do as many things in advance as possible.

Icebox cookies are a great option for planning ahead. You can make this dough and keep it in the refrigerator and bake as needed, freeze the dough and then bake as needed, or you can do what I’m doing which is bake them, and then freeze them.

This is a simple cookie as far as flavor goes, but they look all fancy and stuff. There is no reason  you couldn’t frost these and jazz them up a bit if you want, but honestly they are just great on their own. Delicious chocolate and vanilla flavor, crispy cookie, thin and relatively small makes them a perfect cookie to dress up the holidays!

Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Icebox Cookies

Recipe by Bakerita

Ingredients

Vanilla Dough

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp  salt

Chocolate Dough

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large  egg yolk
  • 1 oz.  dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp  vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Make the vanilla dough first: Add the butter and both sugars to the mixing bowl and blend until light and fluffy. 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until blended. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  3. Make the chocolate dough next: Add to the mixer the butter and both sugars, blend until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredient and mix. Refrigerate in a seperate bowl for at least 1 hour.
  5. When cool, take about 2 Tbsp and roll the dough into a snake until about 8 inches long. Make three “ropes” in each flavor, 6 total. Now press them together and carefully smooth the sides by rolling on a surface until it’s smooth and about 2 inches in diameter.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or up to 2 weeks. Continue the steps and wrap each in plastic wrap.
  7. When ready to bake, cut each roll into 1/4 inch slices and bake in a 325º oven for 12-15 minutes.

 

Succotash Stew

succotashstew

On our recent trip to Massachusetts, my family and I went to Plymouth Plantation and had the best time!  After our long day we ended up in the cafeteria where they had this delicious Succotash Stew, and when we got home I went right to work trying to replicate it. I think I did a pretty good job.  The only difference between theirs and mine was that they had pieces of ham in theirs.  I might have added that if I had any on hand.  But we loved it just the same.  Feel free to change-up the vegetables to whatever you have, and add meat too.  I don’t think you can go wrong with just winging it. I think they key flavors came from the Old Bay seasoning and the dried Thyme.

I love recipes that you can make your own and this is one of them.  Add more or less of whatever you like (or don’t like).  This is a great warm and cozy meal for the chilly nights ahead. Enjoy!

Succotash Stew

Recipe from Alissamay’s kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves, minced
  • 1 large turnip, peeled, diced
  • 1 small bag  frozen baby lima beans
  • 1 small bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 small bag diced potatoes
  • 1 small bag frozen leeks
  • 1 small bag frozen corn
  • 1 small bag frozen okra
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 32 oz box vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large stock pot or a dutch oven, add the oil and heat on medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and let soften.
  3. Add the garlic, and turnip.
  4. Once slightly softened add all the remaining ingredients and spices.
  5. Bring to a boil and then turn to simmer, put the lid on and let cook for about 30 minutes or until all veggies are soft.
  6. Check seasoning and modify if needed. Serve hot.