Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Ever since I decided to buy a new oven, I have been creating these cupcakes in my head. Thinking I am a genius and that no one else had thought of these, I googled them. Of course they have been done before! Ha ha
Since my oven arrived on Saturday, I have been a cooking machine! I made my husband Swedish meatballs (his favorite!) for picking it up for me. And because he had a horrible day picking it up. The clutch on the truck broke while he was on the freeway. With Jakah in the truck, and my bother in law. Ha ha... He had to have it towed to his parents house (where we keep the truck) Poor guy! Our delivery ended up costing us around $250 ...... ugh

Hello, Hello
My, My, My what have we here

So after the whole delivery fiasco, on Sunday, I dug in and got started on making these cute cupcakes.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
Cake Directions

1 Lemon cake mix (I cheated because I wasn't sure how these would turn out)

Make cake according to instructions on the box. I baked a batch of cupcakes, and then wanted to use my fancy rose pan because I have never used it before




















Its so pretty, shiny and clean!



I then got started on the frosting. I was debating on using the Crystal lite pink lemonade or the concentrated pink lemonade. In the end, I chose the Crystal Lite. Mostly because I used strawberry cream cheese (OK actually for no real reason except I didn't have any of the concentrated kind)

Pink Lemonade Frosting
2 - 8 oz packages of strawberry cream cheese
1/2 cup of softened butter
4 tablespoons of veg shortening
2 tablespoons of Crystal lite pink lemonade
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat together cream cheese, butter, and veg shortening. Slowly add Crystal Lite pink lemonade and powdered sugar until all mixed together.


The frosting was a bit tart. But the more I think about it, pink lemonade is tart, and adding sugar wouldn't have make it any better. I am really not sure if I would make these cupcakes again. While they were good, they just weren't what I had imagined. Maybe its the lemon cake and the lemonade frosting. Might be too much all at once. Its something I am going to have to play around with and work on.
Don't they look delicious!
Also, my husband wouldn't even taste them! I was then going to make Vanilla cupcakes with brownie pieces mixed in (mostly to use up the brownies I had made, and it sounded delicious!) But he requested that I make just plain vanilla cupcakes with plain vanilla frosting (I tried to tell him that people didn't want to read plain old cupcakes on my blog)

So just for him I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. BUT since I just don't like to do plain I added a twist. They do look adorable at least!

They look adorable!






P.S. I need to stop baking! Or someone needs to come eat all these goodies!
P.S.S. The pink lemonade cupcakes were good, just not what I had imagined
P.S.S.S I cheated on my husbands plain cupcakes and just used a box mix and canned frosting Ha ha!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's His Name?

As you may, or may not know, my son has an unusual name. Jakah (pronounced jay-ka) is not found in any baby book. When you google search it, nothing really comes up except for a few people on myspace or facebook and a city in Afghanistan. (you totally just googled it didn't you!)

He was not named after any of those things. A way long time ago (about 8 years), my husband and I had been dating for a year or so. I was working at the tax office (yes the same one I still work at!). A really CUTE guy came in, and his name was Jakah. I loved it (not just because the guy was cute either) I got off work and remember telling Casey that if I ever had a son, I really liked the name Jakah. He luckily also really liked it.

When I became pregnant, we picked out names for both a boy and a girl. We both had dreams it was a boy. But didn't want to tell each other just in case we were wrong Ha Ha! We found out it was a boy, and told both our families that we had decided on naming him Jakah. (just had to decide on a middle name) Both our families didn't seem to like the name very much (which only made us like it even more!) For a month we debated back and forth on the middle name. Casey really wanted to use his grandpa's name, and so we decided on Jakah Eldon :)

Usually when we go out people as his name and think I say Jacob. I usually don't correct it because they are strangers that I won't ever see again. But at the Dr. he has been called Jakiah, Jacka, or they just stumble threw it until it sort of sounds right. (one of his grandpa's can't even say it and just calls him Jake which... irritates me) Unfortunately it will be something he has to correct his whole life. But he also has a name that is very uncommon, and hopefully people will remember him better because of it.

P.S. We still have a girls name and another boys name picked out for if and when we decide to have another kid.
P.S.S. It has been such beautiful spring weather here!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Farewell old oven friend

For the past two years or so, my oven has been dying a slow and painful death. Its a cheapo builder grade stove, that has surprisingly lasted 11 years! Its so cheap, there is no window in the door.... but there is an oven light button. (I don't really understand it) Last summer while my sister and brother in law were dog sitting, the oven caught on fire. heh its dying. So obviously we have known we will be needing to buy a new one. And since I only have two appliances left to replace, the oven and the microwave. My husband said I could get them both at the same time Yippee!!! We are deal shoppers. Waiting for as long as possible, and pricing out every single thing to make sure we are getting the best price with the best review. So for the past week we have been pouring over ads and reviews. Comparing notes with each other. My husband went out to the stores yesterday and sent me text pictures of the ones we had discussed. And from there I would look them up online again and compare them to each other. (oh yes we are annoying like that)

So today we went out, and shopped some more (yay!) this time I was able to look at them in person. Because really its hard to shop for an oven and microwave thru text pictures and the Internet. I was having a tough time deciding (its a new oven for gods sake! I have been waiting 7 years to get to buy this!!!) And of course I had this ridiculous problem with all the drawers. (drawers) Yes, because as much as I want the double oven, i would be losing the storage from the drawer. And honestly I need the storage. So I would find drawers that were too small, had no handle, didn't pull out far enough. Until FINALLY I found a Kenmore. (OK actually I loved the LG because it had no knobs and was pretty royal blue inside, but my husband didn't like that there were no knobs) Its a pretty fancy one I must say. Went with it for the features, and the 20% off with 0 interest for a year at Sears wasn't bad either And I will be so super excited to use it when we get to pick it up next Saturday.

I also got to pick out a microwave. I fell in love with a convection one at Lowes. I figured that a convection microwave is pretty much the same as a double oven. So win win to me, i keep my drawer, and get two places to bake Hooray!!! Went to buy it, and it was originally $50 off. Awesome, they have it in stock, I go to pay for it and surprise.... Its $100 less than the original price! (if you have shopped for convection microwaves you will know that they aren't cheap!) So yay! We brought it home, and my wonderful husband installed it for me! And I baked a cake in it! It was awesome! And I am so excited! (hence all the exclamation points)

Isn't it beautiful! I love it!

Almond Brown Sugar Bundt Cake
(adapted and changed based on a recipe from Betty Crocker)
Ingredients -

Cake
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup milk

Directions
Heat oven to 350F. Grease bottom and sides of bundt pan. In medium bowl mix flour, salt, and baking powder. Set Aside

In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter in an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl, and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add vanilla and almond extract. On low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and milk. Pour into pan. Bake 55 to 1 hour and 10 mins (or until toothpick comes out clean)
Cool for 10 minutes, remove cake from pan and cool completely.

Cooking in my microwave!!!


My mom brought this from California for me!!!




















Sauce Ingredients
1 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla flavored syrup
(or 1 tablespoon light corn syrup and 1 tsp vanilla)

Sauce
In 2 quart sauce pan, heat all ingredients (except vanilla) to boiling over medium heat, Stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla. Serve warm sauce with cake.





P.S. My pictures need some work.
P.S.S. So excited about taking my aunt out to the casino last night and walking out having doubled my money! Yay!
P.S.S.S. I LOVE my microwave

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Its A Family Tradition

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Hope everyone remembered to wear their green so they don't get pinched :) Ha ha!
This morning I made the boys green pancakes for breakfast. They seemed to like it! Plus they were super fluffy! Yum!

Ever since we had Jakah last year, My husband and I have been trying to think of ways to make our own family traditions. We didn't do anything for Easter last year (like a 2 month old needs a basket of candy). For the past two Valentine's days we have had our family pictures taken. (only because Jakah was born in February and its been easy to take him in on a weekend to get the pictures done)
Oh and I bought Jakah a gift the day after because it was on clearance then. (he doesn't know the difference)

But we are going to have to start coming up with our own traditions now that he is getting older. I think for St. Patrick's day, I may make only green food. Makes it fun that way, and it would be a good tradition. (my husband's family doesn't really celebrate St. Patrick's Day, because they are not Irish. My family on the other hand goes all out since we are VERY Irish)

The day after Thanksgiving, we try to go sledding. OK so we have only done it once, but we would like to make it an every year event. (This year we helped my sister in law move into her new house! So we had a good reason for missing it)

Around Christmas time I saw something called The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition with Blue Eyed North Pole Pixie-Elf. I was thinking it would be something fun to do. I also read an article where the lady traced her kids hands every year on a tree skirt. I liked it so much I made myself (and my best friend) a tree skirt so we could do that. (as of now Jakah's hand has not been traced onto it yet. Its going to take the both of us to get him to sit still. Maybe I should do that this weekend HA HA!)

We still need to think of something for Easter.... and maybe Mother's day and Father's day....

So with that said, What are some other good ideas that would could turn into family traditions? What do you do with just your family?

I want Jakah (and any other kid we have) to think back and have awesome memories of fun things we did. Something they could remember doing every year. Who knows, maybe they will want to pass them onto their family also.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Hippie finds a Pot of Gold

I am very Irish.... So Irish in fact that my maiden last name used to start with an O' (well a long time ago, the O' got dropped with my great great grandpa). So understandably St. Patrick's Day  is one of my all time favorite holidays. No, not because of the green beer (that came later) or the leprechauns, but because it was the only day of the year we ate Corned Beef and Cabbage. Corned beef and cabbage is the most delicious thing in the whole world. I would probably make it at home, except my husband doesn't eat it or like it. (probably because he's not Irish. Or because he is weird)

Anyways, I have been working on this idea all week. Pot of Gold Cupcakes! Brilliant! And so Easy :)


My cute helper!!!




Pot of Gold Cupcakes
Directions

Green Cupcake Liners
1 Box of yellow cake mix
Yellow Food Coloring

Make cake according to directions on the box. I added yellow food coloring to make mine look extra gold.


Pour cake mix into green cupcake liners. From here I added a surprise! I put a Hersey kiss in the middle of the cupcake and covered it up.


I baked my cupcakes for 19 minutes, and then allowed to completely cool.


Now onto a REALLY good frosting!!!

I found this under the Tasty Kitchen on The best frosting EVER!

I did change it up just a bit.

Best Frosting Ever
Ingredients
5 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of milk (I used 1 cup of vanilla flavored half and half)
1 teaspoon of vanilla (I left this out due to the half and half)
1 cup of softened butter
1 cup of granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)

Directions
In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. (if in a hurry, place saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or until mixture is cooled) It must be completely cooked before you use it in the next step. Stir in Vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don't want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven't beaten it long enough. Beat until it is all combined and looks like whipped cream.

***I used Darigold Vanilla Flavored Half and Half instead of milk. I also left out the vanilla***


I then seperated out enough frosting into 4 bowls. (leaving some white also) and colored it with food coloring until it was the right blue, green, red and orange (to look like a rainbow, but I left out yellow since the cupcake is yellow) that I was looking for.

I filled a piping bag with the different colored frosting (which by the way I bought myself another decorating kit, and this time it had a big star tip! its a Wilton 1M if you are looking for it Wilton 2104-6667 12 Piece Cupcake Decorating Set) And squeezed enough onto the cupcake. Each one is different colored due to the frosting

I attempted to make it look like at the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold. But as my husband so kindly told me, it looks like a hippie. So its a hippie cupcake



So Here is my Hippie Pot of Gold Cupcake. The frosting is to die for! My husband gave it a thumbs up :)

P.S. Its still homemade even if its from a box!
P.S.S. Happy St. Patrick's Day!



Sunday, March 6, 2011

Climbing Monkeys and Grasshoppers

Saturday morning, Jakah figured out how to crawl out of his crib. Around 5 am, I heard him laughing in his room. I figured he could stay in his crib since I needed sleep (and it was saturday for goodness sake) A few minutes later hubby heard a thump. Thinking it was the dog, he also stayed in bed. Atleast that is until he heard the door opening. Our dog is smart, but not smart enough to open doors. He went out and found Jakah headed to the kitchen to get himself some milk.
Luckily he wasn't hurt getting out, but now the crib is down to the lowest setting. Which of course I cannot reach. I think I will need to build a catapult to put Jakah to bed now. Or just get him a helmet and call it good.

Since today is my day off, and I like to bake on my day off I decided to make a grasshopper fudge cake. And to make it with even more calories more delicious, I am going to add some of the Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies I was suckered talked into buying. (Damn those cute girl scouts!) Of course I had to buy the cookies since I myself used to be a girl scout. There were many weekends that we stood outside the grocery store selling cookies. Actually my best friend and I would talk my younger sister into doing it, since we were both too shy to talk to strangers.

Anyways onto the recipe! (which may or may not have been stolen and adapted from my awesomely free Betty Crocker calender)

Grasshopper Fudge Cake with Thin Mints

Ingredients:
1 box of white cake mix
1 1/4 cups of water
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of mint extract
3 egg whites
12 dropps green food coloring
2 - 16 oz jars of hot fudge topping
1 - 8z container of cool whip (thawed)
5 drops of yellow food coloring
A few (however many you want) Andes creme de menthe thins (for the top)
Thin Mint cookies (however many you want)


Directions
Heat oven to 350. Spray bottom of 13x9" pan with baking spray

Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of mint extract, and the 3 egg whites. reserve 1 cup of batter. Stir in 3 drops (or however many you want) of food coloring into the reserved batter. Set aside and pour the rest of the batter into the cake pan.


Drop green batter by generous spoonfuls randomly onto the batter in the pan. Swirl batters together with a metal spatula or butter knife.














Bake for 28 - 33 minutes (mine took 30 mins) or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely for atleast an hour

Carefully spread hot fudge topping evenly over the cake. Sprinkle chopped up pieces of Thin Mints over the hot fudge.



















In a medium bowl, mix together the cool whip, 1/2 teaspoon of mint extract, 9 drops of green food coloring and 5 drops of yellow food coloring (or again however much you want!) until blended.


Spread cool whip mixture over fudge and cookie topping.




Garnish with Andes pieces

Eat and Enjoy!
(oh and keep it in the fridge until you have eaten the whole cake)

Hope you enjoy it!

P.S. In case you are wondering, I also cooked the boys lunch (gasp!) It was the super healthy and very difficult to make. (OK you caught me! It was top ramen and oyster crackers) Sometimes I seriously wonder how they would ever make it without me

Friday, March 4, 2011

Handy Hubby

I basically work 4 months out of the year. Well.... I nanny almost all year round, but I only work tax season during well tax season. So from January to April I am busy. I missed most of last years tax season because I had a baby in February. So this year, hubby has had to pick up our kid from my work on his way home. He is then in charge and makes dinner, gives baths, and puts kid to bed. Typical stuff...

Except this week Hubby has decided that we own too much stuff and has taken it upon himself to de-clutter our house. ugh!!!! While its nice to have help once in a while, he has taken it upon himself to start a goodwill pile. Some of which the stuff in that pile I still actually use. So I am forced to go thru whatever he is getting rid of. (because of course as soon as its out of your house, you actually need it)

He could be going thru his own dresser and closet and cleaning that out but nooooo. He is going thru the other closets (ie: blankets) and our sons room. Which is now screwing up my routine of going thru our sons room every month and packing up the clothes that no longer fit.

Its funny how hubby doesn't notice this stuff all year long, until he is home and having to do the housework. Bahahahaha

Sometimes I am thankful I get to work so that he can see what its like to take care of the house and kid.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies

I LOVE danish butter cookies. Love, love, love with a passion (and some days more than my child). But after Christmas is over and done with, I am done eating them for the year. (they are only good at Christmas time right?)

This year, like every year, I ate more than I needed to. Christmas came and went and I was stuck with 2 tins of these cookies. (yes I should have made my own from scratch but I was too busy enjoying my babys 1st christmas!)

So what do you do with 2 tins of butter cookies laying around? Eat them ofcourse Turn them into Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies Sandwiches of course!

I made 2 different kinds. Some had plain chocolate (Hersey's kisses) and the other ones had Chocolate and Carmel (Rolo's) - And yes all that candy was also left over from Christmas and needed to get eaten up or thrown away!

The cookies turned out DELICIOUS! So stinking good! You should definitly try them! I brought all the cookies into my work, and everyone tried them out.  The cookies made with the chocolate and carmel were eaten right away. While the ones with plain chocolate are good also, I think the carmel was the topper.

Here is the easy peasy recipe ( I am almost ashamed at how easy this is and how good they are)

Danish butter cookies (I used Royal Dansk)
Bag of either Rolo's or Hersey Kisses - although they do make hersey kisses with carmel






Heat oven to 250, place cookies on tray. Un-wrap and place chocolate on top of cookies. Put into oven for 7 minutes. Take out and put top of cookies on, press down lightly

ENJOY!
P.S. - I told you it was super easy
P.S.S.- Good luck not eating all of them, I luckily gave mine away or I would have