I wanted to apologize (well not really) for my absence. I actually have a very good reason for being MIA for so many months. Here are a few photos to help me explain…
Full term pregnant!
Baby boy was due July 12 but decided to make an early appearance on July 8. He was perfect in every way and we love him more and more each day!!! <3
Our friend Liz at Elizabeth Frederick Photography captured Cameron at only 2 weeks plus a few days old!!! This was our favorite family photo <3
Newborn photo shoot
And this is Cameron today…we can’t believe that he is already 7 months old. He is full of smiles, giggles, and rolly-polies. We love him so much!!! I hope to be back to my regular posting soon!!! Hope I still have some followers out there ;-)
7 months old
For my hubby’s birthday last year I decided to surprise him and make a golf inspired cake. I think I saw this idea originally on pinterest, and it was a lot of fun to make. All you have to do to start is bake a chocolate rectangular shaped cake. For the frosting, tint your vanilla or cream cheese frosting green, whichever shade of green you desire for “grass”. To best get the grass effect, spread on a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake first. It will give your piping something to stick on to. I do not have a “grass” frosting tip, so I used the one that could best resemble grass. It was actually a lot of fun piping rows and rows of the frosting grass, and I loved the way that it looked! Next, use a round glass to cut out the “hole” for the hole in one. Just press your glass upside down into the cake and it will give you a circular cutout. Feel free to eat the part of the cake that you need to remove ;-) To finish it all off, insert one clean golf ball and voila! You have a hole in one! :-)
I was presented with the challenge of baking Gummy Bear Cupcakes…and the challenge was to bake them without the bears melting in the middle. I made the first batch by inserting the bear in the batter of each cupcake. That didn’t work. They melted into colorful blobs (the green at the bottom of the cupcake).
For the second batch I baked the cupcakes regularly and then used my vegetable parer to carve out a little hole and insert the gummy bears (the cute yellow bear sitting on top of the melted blob above). I figured that was the sneaky way to avoid melting them. It turns out that it wasn’t the “correct” way. The person who challenged me said that you have to freeze the gummy bears over night. When it comes time to bake the cupcakes, fill your liners halfway. Bake for half the time called for on the box. Insert a gummy bear in each cupcake and cover with a little more batter, baking the remaining time that your recipe calls for. I’m still skeptical about this method…and considering I’m not a big fan of gummy bears, am not willing to use another batch of cupcakes to test the theory :-P I’ll stick with inserting the bears after the cupcakes bake. That way they still look cute when you bite into them!!! And you can finish them off with some gummy bears on top of the frosting.
What a perfect introduction to spring – Cotton Candy Cupcakes! Don’t they just make you think of carnivals and the stress free days of being a kid? That fluffy, melt in your mouth goodness. These were a big hit. And it didn’t hurt that there was extra cotton candy to consume either ;-) I got the inspiration for these cupcakes from CakeSpy. She has lots of unique and drool worthy recipes on her site. Check it out! Here is my variation.
Cotton Candy Cupcakes
(makes 24 cupcakes)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line baking tin with cupcake liners.
Cream butter until light and fluffy.
Add sugar and continue to cream.
Gradually add vanilla and eggs.
Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Mix in the dry ingredients with the butter mixture, alternating with adding the milk.
Pour batter into tins, about 3/4 full.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top.
Let cool before frosting.
I used regular canned frosting to save time, and tinted it with neon blue food coloring. It was such a cool color, and contrasted nicely with the bubblegum pink cupcake liners that I used. Then I topped off each cupcake with a poof of cotton candy. It was immediate melt in your mouth deliciousness!!! :-)
***TIP*** Wait to put the cotton candy on top until you’re ready to serve the cupcakes, otherwise the cotton candy will dissolve away and it won’t be as pretty OR as fun to eat :-)
This one will be short and simple. Both my husband and I love shrimp. I love shrimp cocktail, he loves shrimp in wine sauce, we LOVE shrimp and steak fondue. That’s one of our favorite meals! Another that we’ve recently added to the list of favorites is Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo. It was so simple to make and tastes so yummy!
Cook 8 oz. fettuccine according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
We used bottled Alfredo Sauce, rather than making our own. Heat desired amount in a large saucepan.
Once heated, stir in the pasta and 12 oz. cooked medium shrimp.
Heat through and add a sprinkling of parmesan cheese for extra flavor.
Sprinkle some basil on top to complete the dish.
This post follows along nicely with my Lemon Creme Cupcakes :-) I made these during the spring, and they definitely had that tart key lime flavor. They had a nice key lime glaze on top, topped with a powdered sugar key lime cookie, which gave them the little extra kick of sweetness too. I also used brightly colored cupcake wrappers, which made them even more fun, standing out against the neon green color of the cupcakes. What perfect timing to post about nice sunny springtime – while being snowed in for the 4th day in a row due to Blizzard Nemo! This is another Betty Crocker recipe by the way.
Key Lime Cupcakes
(makes about 24)
1 box lemon cake mix w/ pudding in the mix
1 box lime flavored jello (4 serving size)
3/4 cup water
1/3 c. key lime juice
1/3 c. veg. oil
drops of green food coloring to desired shade of green
Heat oven to 350° and add baking cups to the muffin tin.
In a large bowl, beat the cake mix and jello and then add the remaining ingredients.
Divide batter among the cups, filling about 2/3 full.
Bake 17-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove to wire rack.
Using a toothpick, pierce the top of the cupcakes in multiple places (this is for when you put the glaze on top).
1 c. powdered sugar
2 to 2 1/2 tbsp key lime juice
In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar and key lime juice until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.
Drizzle and spread the glaze over the tops of the cupcakes while they are still warm.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.
1 package 8 oz. cream cheese – softened
1/4 c. butter or margarine – softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add in vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
Frost cupcakes as desired.
Top with key lime cookies if you have them (this is optional).
I offered to bake a special treat for a good friend’s daughter’s birthday party. She had a “Tea Party” for kids…it was such a cute idea! I made Lemon Creme Cupcakes and they were quite tasty. I’m not a huge fan of lemon, but these were light and sweet. The recipe comes from Betty Crocker.
Lemon Creme Cupcakes
(makes about 24)
1 box Betty Crocker yellow or lemon cake mix
ingredients called for on the box
Bake cupcakes as instructed.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to wire racks and cool completely.
For the filling, use the rounded handle end of a wooden spoon to make an indentation about halfway through the cupcake. You can wiggle or twist the handle to do so, or use a parer to carve and scoop out a little hole.
In a small bowl, mix 3/4 cup whipped vanilla frosting with 1/2 cup marshmallow creme.
Put this mixture into a ziploc bag and seal it.
Cut off one of the bottom corner tips and use this makeshift frosting bag to fill the cupcake holes.
For the frosting, in a medium bowl, stir together 1 container of buttercream frosting, 2 tsp lemon peel, and 4 tsp lemon juice. Frost cupcakes as desired. Decorate with sprinkles of choice :-)
Here is another very versatile recipe that you can make with basic ingredients in your kitchen. This was another recipe created using the extra spinach and swiss cheese that we had in the fridge. They were so yummy! I pretty much love any type of quesadilla, but these were even more enticing because they had spinach in them! That means they’re healthier ;-)
- Heat up your quesadilla maker or heat a skillet if you’re cooking them on the stove.
- Put one flour tortilla on and top with shredded swiss cheese, cooked & diced bacon, and cleaned spinach leaves.
- Put the other flour tortilla on top and grill until lightly browned (if cooking on a skillet, cook until browned on the bottom, then flip and cook until the other side is lightly browned).
- Cut into slices or wedges and serve with sour cream if desired. Enjoy!
- Tuna Spinach Swiss Wraps (theoptimisticbaker.com)
Many times when I am trying to decide what to make for lunch or dinner, I will look to see what’s available and come up with a new meal! This time we had leftover flour tortillas and spinach. I looked around to see what could go well with those and decided to make some tuna and sprinkle on some shredded swiss cheese. These wraps were so good! And the ingredients are so versatile that you can use them to make many different meals.
- Drain the tuna and mix with a little mayo.
- Spread the tuna evenly in the center of your tortilla wrap.
- Top with a few leaves of rinsed baby spinach.
- Sprinkle some shredded swiss cheese on top.
- Gently fold in the top and bottom of your wrap and then roll from one side to the other to wrap it up.
Here is the recipe for the potatoes that we serve with our Linguine w/ Zucchini Sauce meal. You will want to eat these potatoes right off the tray, and there will be none leftover. They are “lick your fingers clean” delicious!
6 medium baking potatoes
1/3 cup butter – melted
1 clove garlic – minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
Scrub each potato clean and cut each into 8 wedges.
In a large bowl, stir together butter, garlic, Parmesan, and seasonings.
Add the potato wedges and stir until coated.
Place wedges on baking sheet and bake, uncovered, at 425° for about 30 minutes.
I think I’m going to go bake some of these right now, as there are some leftover potatoes waiting to be used…now I’m excited :-)
(recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)