Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Red Hot Cupcakes and Frosting

If you have been wondering where I am you should know that my laptop charger died.  (I realize I have already used that excuse once this year, but really, I should probably be a professional charger exterminator or something because I do a really good job.)

I have currently taken my husband's laptop hostage for the night so I can post some of my Valentine's treats far enough in advance that you can actually make them if you want to.

Anyways, this charger drama cause a real rift in our marriage.  I was all "Whyy do you have to be in *marketing*... why couldn't you work at the Toshiba parts assembly plant! Seriously!  Why do these things always happen to me!"

So then for awhile I'm really mad at him for not being a charger repairman.

But then he says he'll go get me a slice of pie to make me feel better. (Obviously he knows the way to my heart.) And he returns with not one slice of pie, but two WHOLE pies, (which is like 8 slices of pies, or 16 if you have portion control), so then I pretty much forgive him for not being a Toshiba repairman, because first of all, who does that? and second of all, he buys me pie so he pretty much rocks.

I think these cupcakes are a pretty great way of saying "I forgive you for not being a Toshiba repairman and you're a pretty awesome pie-bringer."

Which is always a great thing to express to people, don't ya think?

These are really yummy. I was so-so on the frosting, because I have aversions to buttercream.  But the red hots in the cake... mmmm so good.  Don't be afraid of them if you don't like feeling like your mouth is on fire.  These have a great cinnamon flavor but are not really "hot" per se.  You don't need to have a glass of water handy to chase it with, I promise. My 2 year old didn't even notice, and he's kind of a wuss.

Have a great week! 

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Graham Streusel Coffee Cake

I am a fan of coffee cakes.  To me they are just an acceptable way to eat cake to eat for breakfast, so what's not to love?  This is even more true for this recipe, because it uses a spice cake mix as the base.  Just ignore the fact that you're adding even more butter and sugar to it and calling it breakfast.  Your tummy with thank you.  (But in spirit of full disclosure, your thighs probably won't.)

I think it's pretty obvious from the ingredient list that this is a sweet coffee cake, so if you can't handle sugar in the morning, you can feel free to eat it for snack or dessert instead.  

I on the other hand do not function properly without massive amounts of sugar, so I have no problem having a slice for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and afternoon snack.  And maybe a teeeensy slice for midnight snack.  

This is because I am actually an alien and my blood has been replaced by extraterrestrials with pure glucose.  

Which, of course, I need to keep regenerating by constantly consuming sugar.


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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chocolate-Dipped Heart Marshmallows

February is a great month for me.  I get to put up pink girly stuff all over the house and my husband can't really complain about it.  (He is super manly and thinks master bedrooms should be decorated with "gender neutral" colors... whatevs that means... I think fuschia pillows totally qualify.)  Also, we have two boys so I never get to do the girly thing there.  So, I like to start the Valentine's celebrating as early as possible.

(Wait till my husband finds out I'm making this and hanging it on our front door for a month. I'll be sure to take a picture of his face and put a caption on it that says "The cat peed WHERE? " before slapping it on pinterest.)

Anyways- back to girly Valentines things like these mallows. You can make them in any shape you want using teensy tiny cookie cutters.  Fondant cookie cutters work great for this (look in the cake decorating section).  My hobby lobby also has some small holiday themed sets by the modeling clay.

(Bizzar-o, I know... Doesn't anybody have the guts to tell the Hob Lob that modeling clay is inedible?  Suddenly the fact that I use the same coupon every single day and never get questioned or imprisoned makes soo much sense.)

PS- I finally finished my Chocolate Dipping Tips tab. Check it out and let me know what you think.  A video might be coming someday.  I just have to check with Reese  first to see if she could play the part of me while I whisper instructions from the sidelines.

(And by Reese, yes, I mean Witherspoon.  She's not quite as hot as me, but I guess she'll do.)

Have a happy Tuesday!

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Chicken Enchiladas (Great freezer meal!)

I don't usually post dinner recipes, especially ones without pictures.  But, I feel like I am always typing this up for someone, so it might as well be shared here!  This is my go-to  "freezer meal" to make for others.  We almost always get asked for the recipe, so I think that means people like it as much as our family does.

I usually use just one can of mild chiles, because you never know what other people's kids will like/dislike. This makes a pretty mild casserole.  If you are making this for your family and don't mind the heat, feel free to up the chilies to two cans, or to use medium or hot chilies.

This recipe will make TWO foil pans of enchiladas  (about 6 medium sized enchiladas each).  If you are making this for your family, you can either half this recipe, or just make an extra pan to freeze for later!  I usually grill 3 XL chicken breasts the day before making this and chop them up and keep them in the fridge until I'm ready to assemble the enchiladas.  You could also use a rotisserie chicken if you're short on time.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Valentine's Candy Skewers

Candy skewers are one of my faves. The jist is that you throw a bunch of candy on a stick and call it good.  Taffy skewers are particularly cute for showers and parties with color themes.  Kids LOVE them.  (And not just kids... I'll eat pretty much anything off a stick.)

And guess what.  There's no recipe.  You get a bamboo skewer... slide a bunch of candy on.  Serve.  I usually buy my candy from the bins at Winco.  (LOVE going through the checkout line with like fifteen bags of candy with only 3 candies per bag.  It makes my day.  I'm pretty sure I am the definition of hell for WinCo employees.)  I don't really love it.  It actually kind of makes me cringe, but I DO love feeling like I'm buying all this stuff and then the bill coming to  a dollar and thirteen cents. 

I love these for Valentine's day, especially if you have a school district that lets you bring homemade treats to school... Do those still exist? Cause I'm willing to move.

In other news, I spent alll night last night working on a new Recipe Index tab.  (See it up there?)  I wanted to make it easier for you to browse my recipes.  I have it organized by categories, and then holidays, and even seasons of the year  (apologies for the OCD freakness).  I really hope this will make your life and my life easier! (Plus it was a really good excuse to watch six episodes of Psych in a row.)

Have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Soft Orange Cookies with Orange Zested Glaze

We've been talking a lot about "girly" flavors at our house lately.  This is prompted by my husband's proclamation that mint chocolate chip ice cream is "girly".  Orange is also a girly flavor according to him (but cheesecake is not.  Don't ask me how that works.)

Anyways, I'm fine with that because it means I have two dozen of these all to myself; thank you very much.  Although it will probably shock you, I do believe in moderation.  Usually when I bake I sample a few bites and give the rest away.

Not these.

I have purposely lost count of how many I've eaten. (Although I am sick, and everyone knows you're supposed to have lots of Vitamin C when you've got a cold, so I'm pretty sure these cookies have lots of medicinal value.)

This is officially one of my favorite cookie recipes. These are soft and orangey and a bit floury (but in a good, filling, fabulously textured way).  I highly recommend them.

Annnnd... not to be snooty or anything.  But I'm a pretty good cookie judger.  I mean, I've been practicing for most of my life, so I think I'm a pretty reliable source. (Although if you're not female you might want to double-think this because husband didn't care for these much.  He preferred the Oreo Cheesecake cookies which totally weirded me out... I don't think cream cheese really belongs in cookies, you know?)

Anyways... try them and let me know what you think.

Happy Tuesday!
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Chocolate-dipped Pretzel Peanut Butter Bites

If I had to survive on one food for the rest of my life, it would be chocolate covered pretzels. (I'm pretty sure there are lots of scenarios that would require me to choose a single food source, so I figured this out long ago.)

So really, how could I not make these?

This treat combines chocolate pretzely goodness with mini Reeses cups.  These are a bit time consuming because they are dipped, but they are worth it.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Birthday Rims

We have a birthday tradition at our house of waking up to a donut cake on the morning of your birthday.  We stick a candle in the top of the "cake", sing Happy Birthday, and dig in.  I think it's a great way to begin a birthday. (sugar = happiness in my world)

This year I thought Chase probably needed a birthday-rimmed glass of milk to go along with his donut cake.  These rims could easily be adapted for any holiday by varying the color of nonpareils/sprinkles.
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Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Do you like my ghetto cake picture?  Turns out in the craziness of Chase's birthday I completely forgot to take a picture of his six layer "bone" cake.  So you get a picture of a cake that's lost a layer, fallen on it's side, sat out for a day and a half, and been 75% devoured.  I should probably roll one of my sweatpant legs up right now, tie a bandana around my head, and ask people to call me "K-dizzle".  If you can overlook my ghetto-ness today I'll reward you with a fantastic chocolate frosting recipe.


This buttercream is great because it tastes nothing like butter.  You don't feel sick as you eat it or want to scrape most of it off.  This is a great go-to chocolate frosting recipe. Also, my dad told me over and over what a great chocolate cake this was, so I'd like to public thank Mr. Duncan Hines for his boxed Devil's Food mix (x2) in helping make the ultimate chocolate cake so ridiculously easy.

This recipe frosted my entire 6-layer cake (barely).  If you want to do great dollops of frosting on 24 cupcakes you should probably make the whole recipe; otherwise, half it because it makes loads. 
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Funfetti (Skeleton) Cupcakes

Parties are uncomfortable for me.  Partly because I'm socially awkward, and partly because people usually end up discussing things from the 80's or 90's like Chips (apparently a show and not a delicious snack) and funfetti cupcakes (apparently a rite of childhood passage).  Not having really grown up in this country, half the time I have no idea what's going on during these conversations, so I usually nod and smile and scan the room for something to stuff in my mouth so I don't have to say anything.

Would you believe me if I told you I'd never had a funfetti cupcake before last weekend?  I don't like sprinkles so the idea of them in cupcakes never really appealed to me. 

Turns out they're pretty good.

I made these for my little boy's 4th birthdayHe loves bones and skeletons and all kinds of "body" things.  I love seeing his face light up when I make him something special.  I'm thinking you should probably make these for Halloween with black/orange sprinkles inside and chocolate frosting under the skeleton topper.  (If you don't happen to have a body-loving 4 year old.)

This recipe isn't really "homemade" because it uses a boxed mix, but it lets you add your own sprinkles to a white mix, so you can use any color or combination you want.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

This was definitely my favorite new cookie recipe of the Christmas season.  I honestly don't know why I gave any of them away.  While I'm not a big cherry OR white chocolate OR almond flavoring fan... something about this combination just stunned me.  

Also- do you want to know what's a little bit ridiculous?  At the time I made these I had like SEVEN pounds of Walker's shortbread in my pantry.  Seriously, the big Costco tin costs like twenty dollars and has NINE full packages of cookies in it.  

I still made these.

And I didn't regret it for an instant.

Oh, and by the way, there's only one package of Walker's shortbread left in that tin.
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Christmas Eve Chocolate Cherry Mice

Is it weird that mice remind me of Christmas?  I think it has something to do with going to the Nutcracker every December with my dad.  In case you didn't know, I was basically destined to be a professional ballerina.  Unfortunately my sense of rhythm didn't get the memo or something. 

At any rate, our kids loved these and I think we will be making them every Christmas eve from now on. They are best fresh so I recommend making them day-of.
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