Cherry Soda Cupcakes

5 Oct

I’m finally giving in and trying the soda cupcakes that are all over Pinterest. There’s so much appeal to them. Who wouldn’t want to be able to make cupcakes with 2 ingredients?! It’s economical, quick, and flexible (from what I’ve read). You can subtly change the flavor of your cupcakes just by changing the flavor of your soda.

I kind of made my own directions as I went along. I’ll probably use the directions I found next time I make them. I used cool soda instead of room temperature, and I didn’t use a whisk to get out all of those irritating lumps. Even with those hiccups, the cupcakes turned out moist and springy. This is a recipe worth keeping and definitely one to experiment with.

Soda Can Cupcakes

All you need to make Soda Can Cupcakes

Soda Can Cupcakes

Found at Cookies and Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 box cake mix, any flavor
  • 1 can room temperature soda, any flavor

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°
  2. Line muffin pan with liners.
  3. In a medium bowl combine your soda and cake mix, stirring with a whisk until most of the lumps are gone.
  4. Fill each liner 1/2-2/3 full of batter.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes until cupcakes are springy and toothpicks comes out clean.
  6. Let cool completely before frosting.
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Biscoff spread

4 Oct

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Lately I had been seeing a lot of recipes incorporating Biscoff spread, but I had no clue what it was. From looking at the photos I had seen, it looked like a jar of peanut butter. What could the big deal be all about?

Well, as I was exceeding my weekly food budget at Wal-Mart (i.e. grocery shopping), I saw a jar of Biscoff spread. I didn’t expect to find it at Wal-Mart. I pictured it being available at some exclusive grocery store (do those exist?) or some specialty shop. Since I was already over my food budget, I figured a small jar of Biscoff spread wouldn’t hurt.

The anticipation was mounting. What did one eat Biscoff spread with? I settle on a piece of wheat bread. I wasn’t expecting anything special; I was almost expecting the stickiness that is associated with peanut butter. I got none of that. What I got was an exquisite burst of flavors that mended so well with the bread. I had to stop myself from slathering another piece if bread with half of the jar.

I am definitely a Biscoff believer. I guess the hype was right. I probably won’t be baking with it yet, maybe on my next jar. This one is exclusively for…taste testing.

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Homemade Apple Pie Filling

3 Oct

Mitten’s has been studying apples in her Kindergarten class. They’re counting apples, cooking apples, eating apples. So when she asked if we could make apple pie, I thought “Why not?” I didn’t have any canned apple filling but I did have a bunch of apples (just in case, Mittens needed to bring more apples to school).

I did a quick Google search and found a Homemade Apple Pie Filling recipe from Chocolate Moosey. It made my house smell wonderful. It totally made me feel like autumn is here.

Because the apples I had were already sliced, I gave them a rough chop but kept the skin on (for texture – i.e. I was lazy). My family didn’t care that the skin was on, but I’d probably skin the apples for the filling if I used it for a pie that I would serve to guests.

Apple Pie Filling

Homemade Apple Pie Filling

Adapted from Chocolate Moosey

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp apple juice, apple cider, or lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups apples, cored, peeled, and chopped

Directions

In a large saucepan, combine water, juice, sugar, spices, and cornstarch. Stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and apples. Cool to room temperature then use right away or store in the refrigerator.

 

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Homemade Laundry Soap

2 Oct

I finally gave in and made homemade liquid laundry soap. I had researched it for weeks. I even bought everything I’d need but couldn’t bring myself to melt the grated soap. As if that step was any harder than boiling water? I had gone so far as to grate the soap and make homemade powder laundry soap, but always stopped short of going the liquid route.

Finally, I decided to give it a try yesterday. I went to my go-to blog, One Good Thing By Jillee, and read and reread her instructions. I was 5 seconds into hand grating the soap when I got the bright idea to throw the soap into my handy Ninja blender, and to my pleasant surprise, it pulverized the soap into tiny little pieces within 30 seconds. Awesome! I took that as a good sign that tonight was my night to make my laundry soap.

Laundry Soap

Mix grated soap with 8 cups of warm water and bring to a slow boil.

After the soap is completely dissolved and the mixture was at a slow boil, I added 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda. Very important, don’t let it boil over because it will  bubble up and try to invade your stove. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat.

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Smoked Sausage and Scalloped Potatoes

2 Oct

I really do hate to procrastinate when it comes to cooking for dinner, but somehow it always happens. Thank goodness for my growing arsenal of “go-to” recipes that I know are quick and flavorful. Too bad not all of them are completely healthy, but 2 out of 3 works for me! I had made this recipe before and Char and Hubby both loved it. They don’t normally give me compliments on dinner so when they do, I know to save that recipe as a family favorite.

The first time I made this, I peeled the potatoes. Then I realized that I had wasted time by peeling them. It actually turned out better when I didn’t peel them because it gave the dish “roughage” (as the Hubby says). Awesome! Another plus for this recipe! No potato-peeling!

The only change I made when I made it this time around is that I substituted Progresso Recipe Starters Cooking Sauce Cheddar for the condensed cheddar cheese soup. It turned out a little more soupy than the first time I made it but nothing that a good piece of bread couldn’t fix.

Smoked Sausage and Scalloped Potatoes

Crock pot loaded and ready to go

Smoked Sausage and Scalloped Potatoes

Adapted from Fix It and Forget It

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. potatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick, divided
  • 1 lb. fully cooked smoked sausage link, sliced ½-inch thick, divided
  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped, divided
  • 10 ¾-oz. can condensed cheddar cheese soup, divided
  • 10 ¾-oz. can condensed cream of celery soup
  • 10-oz. pkg. frozen peas, thawed, optional

Directions

  • Spray interior of cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Layer into the cooker one-third of the potatoes, one-third of the sausage, one-third of the onion, and one-third of the cheddar cheese soup.
  • Repeat layers two more times.
  • Top with cream of celery soup.
  • Cover and cook on Low 8-10 hours, or on High 4-5 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
  • If you wish, stir in peas. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. (If you forgot to thaw the peas, stir them in but let stand 10 minutes.)

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

2 Oct

Time management is something I’ve never been very good at when it comes to my personal life. Professionally, I’m a time management wizard, but for some reason, when it comes to trying to schedule when to start cleaning, cooking, napping (to assist the Little Man of course!), I just procrastinate until the very end.

When I finally got the Little Man down for a nap…at 3:00 pm, I had 20 minutes to figure out what to make for dinner, whether or not to cook something for the kids to snack on, and try to finish another load of laundry. As you can see, my meal planning efforts are still in the baby stages because I still have no idea what to make for dinner. Luckily, I found this quick and easy recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Puffs from Comfy Cuisine. I didn’t finish it in time before Charze so she went for her old standby after-school snack – frozen White Castle Cheeseburgers (thank goodness Sam’s Club carries them in bulk). Then she pulled out the French Onion dip! Oh the horror I cannot get away from! That French Onion dip is my weakness for sure. Hopefully, these puffs will be done before Mittens gets home and Little Man wakes up. I don’t need them snacking on my dip stash either. Happy Snacking!

Pepperoni Pizza Puff

Perfect for little hands that need an afternoon snack

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Found at Comfy Cuisine

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded 4 cheese Italian Blend cheese (mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan and Romano)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed pepperoni
  • Pizza or marinara sauce, warmed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan or 12-cup cupcake pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes; whisk in the milk and egg.
  • Stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni.
  • Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Stir the batter and divide among the mini muffin pan or cupcake pan.
  • Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Hash Brown Egg White Nests

2 Oct
Hash Brown Egg White Nests

Hash Brown Egg White Nests served with Turkey Link Sausage and a Whole Wheat English Muffin topped with Apple Butter

Breakfast of champions…that is not the way Little Man and I started out our day. I woke up with a raging headache. Not a good way to start the day. I was very apprehensive because Little Man and I had not been getting along lately. Temper tantrums is an understatement. He threw a fit at the store when he couldn’t get M&Ms. He threw the mother of all fits when we got home because he couldn’t have chocolate. And this had been going on since Saturday. He even went on a hunger strike yesterday. No peanut butter and jelly. No chicken noodle soup. Not even chips. Nope, he wasn’t going to eat unless he had his chocolate. I had come to the conclusion that Little Man is a chocolate addict – and because he has a mean Mommy, he’s going through withdrawals.

He first got hooked on the goods while we were living in Hawaii. My mom has a sweet tooth so she always had chocolate laying around the house. Every night before she went to work, and before Little Man would go to bed, she’d have a handful of M&Ms while she drank her coffee. Soon she started sharing this nightly ritual…with the Little Man. So he associates “Mama” with M&Ms and “Donalds” Chicken Nuggets. And now that we’re in Oklahoma and Mama’s still in Hawaii, there’s no one that will feed his need for chocolate, except great-grandma (who lovingly sent him home this weekend with half a bag of chocolate which he was supposed to share with his sisters). *sigh* This is looking like an uphill battle.

So, I was preparing myself for another grueling day of tantrums and screaming coupled with my headache. When we set out to walk Mittens to the bus stop this morning, I got a little resistance putting Little Man’s hoodie on. Not bad. When he got home, he asked for chocolate. Uh oh, here we go again. I decided to try compromising instead of yesterday’s power struggle strategy. I know, I know, you shouldn’t negotiate with a 2-year-old, but I was at my wits end. Surprisingly, the compromise worked. Little Man got a little piece of chocolate if he ate his banana. He even drank some v8 after his morning sippy cup of milk. Awesome!

Then he asked for chips and dip. Well, I was on such a high of relief that I said yes, but I also threw in two carrots into his bowl. Unfortunately, once the chips and dip came out of the fridge, there was no stopping…me. Hello long lost friend that I have not been able to partake in since my “I’m gonna eat healthy” kick. While Little Man was having a “healthier-than-yesterday” breakfast, I was having the “I’m-gonna-have-to-do-Zumba” breakfast. Add two King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls with margarine and orange marmalade and we’ve got a winner!

So today’s recipe comes from a morning where we actually did eat healthy. Hash Brown Egg White Nests are such a breeze to whip up because you can cook a bunch of them at once and not be stuck slaving over the stove all morning. I usually make these on Sunday morning because they travel well. We go to Hubby’s grandparents’ house on Sundays, and they live about 2 hours away so this travel friendly breakfast makes it great for the kids to munch on in the car.

Hash Brown Egg White Nests

Hash Brown Egg White Nests

Found at Skinny Taste

Ingredients

  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup shredded potatoes, Simply Potatoes
  • dash of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup egg whites or egg beaters, beaten
  • 2 tbsp diced onions
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers
  • 0.8 oz reduced fat swiss, chopped
  • 1 oz turkey ham, diced
  • dash of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Lightly spray a muffin tin with oil spray.
  • Combine potatoes, 1/2 cup onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Fill each muffin tin with 1/4 cup of potatoes and press along the side of the tin so that it forms a nest.
  • Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown and edges are crispy.
  • While nests are baking, combine the egg whites with remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. 
  • Remove nests from the oven when golden brown.
  • Fill each cup with about 3 tbsp of egg mixture.
  • Return to the oven and bake an additional 17-20 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked.
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