Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Red Velvet Cake

One of my little princesses just turned 9 on Saturday.  I can't believe how fast time flies!  She requested a Red Velvet Cake for her birthday.  Say what?!?!  Am I the only person in the world who has never made a red velvet cake?  I don't think I've even eaten Red Velvet Cake more than 2 times.  Ever!  So when she let me know she wanted a Red Velvet Cake, I almost panicked and bought a mix at the store.  I didn't panic and this cake was awesome!  It was moist, just a little chocolaty, and everyone loved it!

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (1 ounce) bottle red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350.  Add lemon juice to milk and set aside.  Combine butter and sugar and mix well.  Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add vanilla, sour cream, milk, and food coloring and mix until combined.  Add salt, baking soda, cocoa powder and flour and mix until combined.  Pour into 3 (8-inch) round cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

I frosted it with my favorite frosting, Coconut Buttercream Frosting, but it would also be amazing with my Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting.

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Coconut and Pecan Pralines

I'm all about easy.  But only if delicious is also in the description.  These little Coconut and Pecan Pralines are both.  No baking or thermometer needed!

Since I knew it would be dangerous to keep these little bits of sugary goodness in the house too long, I decided to share them.  They received rave reviews!  Not 5 minutes after I dropped some of to a friend, I got this lovely text.

"Holy Hannah!
De-freaking-licious treats.
Worth every calorie in them. Thanks lady!!"

They really are that good!

2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups shredded coconut

In a large sauce pan, combine sugar, evaporated milk, corn syrup and sugar.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, pecans and coconut.  Stir for 4 minutes (the mixture with thicken a bit).  Drop by the spoonful onto waxed paper.  Let sit to harden - about 1 hour.

Recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

Monday, December 22, 2014

No Fail 7 Minute Microwave Caramels

When I say "No Fail," I seriously mean it!  This is the third batch of caramels I made in about 3 days.  The first 2 were on the stove top and were complete and total FAILS!  I couldn't get either of them to get up to temperature, and then they were both hard as a rock.  After the second batch I decided that it was my thermometer that was the issue, not so much the cook.  Thank goodness!

I didn't feel quite brave enough to try another stove top batch of caramels and so I decided to give these a try.  They were amazing!  Quick, easy and they worked!!

We ate about half of them plain and I dipped the other half in milk chocolate and sprinkled them with a little sea salt.  Oh. My. Heavenly!  If you are a chocolate dipper, try it!  You can thank me later.  Or not, when you can't stop eating them.  Thank goodness there are so many mouths around here to help devour the holiday temptations!

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large microwave safe bowl and cook until melted.  Add corn syrup, white and brown sugars and sweetened condensed milk.  Mix well until everything is smooth.  Return to the microwave and cook for 7 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and stir in vanilla.  Pour into a buttered 8x8-inch baking dish and let cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Banana Crumb Muffins

I don't know about you, but my family is pretty picky when it comes to eating fresh bananas.  They have to be just barely under ripe for us to eat them.  Because they seem to ripen so darn fast, that gives us about a day when they're the prefect ripeness for us to eat.  That means that we end up with more overripe bananas than I'd like.  Sometimes they ripen past the point we like them before we even realize they're ripe!  Solution?  These Banana Crumb Muffins.  

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted

Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, softened

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl combine mashed bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter; mix well.  Add dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Grease or line a 12-count muffin tin and divide batter between the cups.  To make the crumb topping, combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter until it looks about like corn meal.  Sprinkle the crumb topping over the muffins and bake at 375 for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Recipe from Allrecipes.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Savory Pumpkin Soup

I-used-my-kids-pumpkins-for-this-soup!  Whew!  I sure feel better now that I got that out of the way!  Just, please, don't tell them.  They'd hate me forever.  Or at least as long as a 4 and 6 year old can hold a grudge.  I wasn't going to.  Honest!  I had every intention of buying (another) pumpkin to use, but for some reason, once Halloween has come and gone, they all disappear.  Only 2 days after there wasn't a single pumpkin to be found.  Lots of Christmas trees and ornaments, but not a single, solitary pumpkin.  I guess feeding the littles their beloved pumpkins is better than sneaking them into the trash, right?

6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For Serving:
Parmesan cheese
Homemade Croutons (I didn't use the sourdough bread this time, just what I had on hand.  They're still stinkin' amazing!)

Combine all ingredients, except cream, in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  *Puree soup on small batches (about 1 cup at a time) in a blender.  Return soup to pot and simmer an additional 30 minutes.  Mix in cream and serve garnished with Parmesan cheese and croutons.  Don't skip the croutons.  Seriously.  They take the soup from good to WOW!

*I blended the onion and garlic with a little of the chicken stock BEFORE I cooked the soup, and just let it simmer for an hour.  You could also use an immersion blender half way through the cooking time.  If you cook the soup and then blend it. BE CAREFUL!!  The hot soup burns!

Recipe from All Recipes.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Walking Tacos

Have you missed me?  Well, I've missed you!  My little sis informed me that I've been sorely neglecting you all.  Since I last posted, we moved, the kids all started school (and I somehow ended up as a room mom for the 3rd grader!), went through almost an entire season of soccer and lacrosse (2 more weeks, just 2 more weeks!), joined the gym (like 2 days ago.  Yikes!  I am SO sore!  Wish me luck!), and I couldn't find my baby.  For almost an entire half hour.  Talk about near heart failure!!  Luckily he just went to a little friends house and was playing on their way-super-awesome play set in the back yard.  I went from I'm-so-mad-I'll-strangle-the-little-monkey-when-I-find-him to, when I finally found him, oh-my-precious-perfect-little-angel-I-just-want-to-kiss-your-sweet-little-face-until-you-scream!

I have to say, I've forgotten how much of an ordeal moving is!  We were in our last place for 8 years.  Seems like a lifetime sometimes.  I guess it is for some people.  We moved in with a 6 month old baby and had 2 more little ones while we were there.  That's a lifetime for the 3 of them.  All though moving is the pits, it sure was nice to have some of the kids old enough to really help.  I think the actual moving part was the easy part.  Changing the address on all the mail and transferring the kid's schools was probably more stressful.  Not to mention the melt downs over leaving friends and the best. Schools. Ever.  Luckily, we're in a pretty awesome neighborhood with lots of little kiddies.

Do you have kids?  If you do, you're going to want to bookmark, pin, print out and save, whatever, this recipe!  These Walking Tacos are totally kid approved!  The kids thought (for at least 7 seconds!) that I was/am the coolest mom ever!  The 15 year old asked where I got the idea.  I told him Pinterest (Coolest. Site. Ever!).  He informed me that he would never EVER complain about Pinterest again!  Now THAT is HUGE!

1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
8-10 individual serving sized bags nacho cheese Doritos
Your favorite taco toppings like...
Lettuce, shredded
Cheese, grated
Tomatoes, diced
Sour cream
Olives, sliced

Brown the ground beef and add taco seasoning (along with the water called for on the package).  To assemble, slightly crush chips, then squeeze the bottom of the bag to make it POP!  Pretty sure that was my favorite part.  The 15 year old was in the other room and asked what the popping noise was.  I completely lied to him and told him I didn't hear a thing.  Not sure if he believed me, but he didn't come to investigate.  If you are a little more civilized than we are here, feel free to either cut the top off the bags or pull them open.  Just open the little bags.  Add meat and desired toppings.  Mix it all up and grub up!

Recipe from....Well, I saw pictures on Pinterest and did my own thing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Construction Party

My baby just turned 4!! He loves anything and everything with wheels, as well as going to work with Daddy (he's a general contractor/developer), so a construction party was the perfect theme for him. This was his first "friend" birthday party and was too excited to sleep the night before! Luckily he slept in the morning of his party so I didn't a little grump on my hands. :)

My little guy and his buddies had lunch of Uncrustables, juice boxes, goldfish crackers and squeeze applesauce, and then colored construction truck pictures, built with blocks and played with playdough.

Crayon boxes - I LOVED the Est. 2010!!

 Lunch boxes

Chocolate coins - Payment for a job well done. :)

My little man loved everything and kept telling my how handsome his party was as I was setting it up. :)

All of the super cute printables are from Just a little Sparkle.
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