Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Monica posted these awhile back.  I whipped them up for a party last weekend and they were absoltuely perfect.  Quite the hit!  Delish!

Well I found it. I found my perfect go to pumpkin cupcake. I'm excited because so far I've had only semi good luck when making a pumpkin cupcake. Last year I did the Martha Stewart Pumpkin cupcake and although it tasted good it had more the consistency of a muffin. Sorry Martha. This cupcake is light and fluffy and delicious. The frosting on the other hand is all Martha. This is my favorite cream cheese frosting. It is simple, basic, and perfect. It tops this cupcake perfectly.

I wanted to take pictures of my process but I was in a hurry. So you get the finished product and the recipe so you can tries these babies out at home.

Enjoy!


Pumpkin Cupcakes
4 eggs, slightly beaten

3/4 cup Oil
2 cups sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Corn Starch
4 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

Blend the eggs, oil, sugar, and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl; set aside. Stir together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and beat until well blended. Scoop into lined muffin tins. Fill about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched.

My oven cooks hot so these only took 20 minutes and they were perfect. Make sure you check on them earlier than 30 minutes. If you touch the top and it bounces back, they are done.

Martha Stewart Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. Butter (2 sticks) room temp.
12 oz. Cream Cheese room temp.
1 lb. (4 cups) powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Cream the butter and cream cheese together until they are light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Add vanilla and mix. Now get a spoon and taste. Heaven. :)

Source: Allrecipes.com, MarthaStewart.com

By the way...the cupcake topper was made using Photoshop Elements and Products from JessicaSprague.com. One more thing you can do with your digital stash. :)

Monica :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chocolate Toffee Cookie Dough Dip

I was feeling a little sad...a little lonely.  It is hunting season around these parts, you know?  Which means the hubs isn't around much.  I decided to make me something sweet and yummy to help with the pain of being without him for a few days.  This didn't disappoint.  Me and my kids loved it.  I will be making this again for Holiday parties. 




Chocolate Toffee Cookie Dough Dip
1-8 oz package of softened cream cheese
1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. toffee bits
 
Cream together your cream cheese and butter.  Add in the rest of your ingredients.  Mix well.  Eat with your favorite graham crackers, or nilla wafers.  I was dipping pretzels, and that as pretty dang good too.
 
Source-Add a Pinch
 
Hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
 
Happy Tuesday!
 
Love, Erica*

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Streusal Muffins

We are deep into Fall. The air is getting crisp and the colors are breathtaking. I love this time of year. With the cool air comes the need to get in my kitchen to bake. I've been looking for muffin recipes to stock up in the freezer. My son loves them for snack at school. Anyway, I found this little treasure. If you're looking for a Fallish pumpkiny muffin, here you go my friend. :) Pumpkin + Buttery Streusal, you can't go wrong.


Pumpkin Streusal Muffins
1 3/4 cups all-purpose baking flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil (You can use applesauce!!)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Streusal:
1/4 cup all-purpose baking flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, pie spice and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or use paper liners; fill three-fourths full with batter.

For topping, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar and pie spice; cut in shortening until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.


Have an aweome Monday!!

Love, Monica


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Butter Toffee Cookies

A few summers ago, Monica and I took a trip to the beautiful Boise, Idaho.  We went to visit our gorgeous cousins, Connie and Jennifer.  While we were there we went to the Farmer's Market.  Boise has the best Farmer's Market!  It was absolutely fabulous!  We bought ourselves some cookies, and I got a butter toffee one.  It was HUGE, and flat, and Oh, so delicious.  I can still remember how it tasted, how it pretty much melted in my mouth.  I've been trying to find a recipe similar to that cookie, but haven't had much luck yet.  Don't get me wrong...this cookie is delicious too, but not the same.  One day I'll figure it out, and I'll make sure to post it here.  If you know what i'm talking about with flatness and butteryness, then PLEASE, let me know.

Mmmm...Butter and Toffee...
 
Butter Toffee Cookies
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. toffee bits
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In your mixing bowl mix your butter until it's light and fluffy.  Add in your sugar, and mix until creamy.  Add your egg, and vanilla.  Mix.  Add your dry ingredients, and mix until well blended.  Stir in your toffee bits.  Use a cookie scoop and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges start to brown just a tiny bit.  Let cool on pan for a couple minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. 
 
I only got 2 dozen cookies out of this.  I probably would have got a few more, but I ate a little bit of dough...or a lot of dough!  Ha ha!  :o)
 
Adapted from-Land O Lakes
 
I sent most of these with the hubs today for opening day of the deer hunt.  Woo.  Can you hear my enthusiasm in my writing?  Yay. ;o) 
 
Happy Hump Day!
 
Love, Erica*
 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Apple Pie Caramel Apples

I made these a couple of years ago for a Monday Match up post. Remember those Erica? Oh good times. Anyway, I figured they needed a post of their very own. They are just too dang good.

I learned this technique from my good friend Michelle. We used to make hundreds of them for a fund raiser for our Special Education class. They were a hit. I love the tart and sweet together. Yum! They are a perfect Fall treat and great for a party or for a family get together. My kids had a ball helping out and they taste so yummy. Give them a try!


Apple Pie Caramel Apples


5 Granny Smith Apples (the tartness of these balances perfectly with the sweet coating)
1 pkg. caramels
White Chocolate or White Almond Bark or White Candy Melts (any will work)
Cinnamon/Sugar Mixture
5 Popsicle Sticks

If you want to make a ton of these you can usually find a huge brick of caramel at food supply stores. Those in Utah can find them at Orson Gygi or Kitchen Kneads in West Jordan. Kraft also makes Caramel Bits in a bag by the chocolate chips. These are nice because there is no unwrapping of caramels. I bought a bag of wrapped caramel because they were cheaper and they had the sticks with them. Any of these work.

As far as the white coating, I have used the white candy melts with great success. They were thin enough to give the apple a nice coating. With these I had some white almond bark leftover so I used that. It was a little thick and even when I thinned it, it still gave the apple a pretty thick coating. No problem for me for a family treat, but I would want it a touch thinner if I was presenting them somewhere. I haven't tried the plain white chocolate. I'm sure it would work just fine too.

So, wash the apples really well and dry completely. It is best if your apples are at room temp. I took mine out of the fridge ready to get started and had to wait a few hours because they were "sweating". If you dip them while they are wet your caramel will just fall right off. Not good. Take the stems out and insert the sticks. Next, melt the caramel. I did mine in the microwave but you can do it on the stove top too. Dip your apples and coat thoroughly. Hold the apple over the bowl and let it drip. Place on a sprayed piece of parchment. This works the best, I promise. Do all your apples, reheating the caramel if needed. Let sit until completely set. For a nicer looking apple, use kitched shears to trim off any excess caramel on the bottom.

Next melt your white candy melts, also done in the microwave. Dip each apple the same as the caramel and immediately sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Let sit till set. We like to cut these in pieces. Enjoy!

Love,
Monica 







 

Monday, October 8, 2012

I am a Mormon

Hi all! I hope you all are having a great weekend. I've never been one to yell from the rooftop my religious preference but after today's conference, I thought maybe I should. Every six months our church does a general conference where our church leaders including our Prophet speaks words of inspiration to us. This morning Sister Ann Dibb spoke about taking a stance and living by it. She coined the phrase, "I am a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it."

I loved it! I thought it would make a great printable for my kids' bedroom and look good on our blog sidebar. I'm not the only one. I'm seeing them all over Pinterest and Instagram already. Here is my take on it.


This is an 8x10 jpg image. If you want it you can download from Google docs HERE. If you nab it please remember to give credit where credit is due and it may only be used for personal use. Speaking of, the background paper is by Dani Mogstad. Thanks so much!

I hope you enjoyed your conference weekend. I'm feeling uplifted and refreshed. Now onto face a new week!

Love,
Monica

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cheesy Ranch Broccoli Bacon Noodle

Say that 5 times fast!  ;o)  I've been on a comfort food kick.  My family MIGHT just be getting sick of the cheesy buttery goodness i've been making the past couple of nights.  I will be honest...I've been lacking in the kitchen department lately.  I've been dieting, and I finally came to the end of my string with that.  I've missed eating what my family eats. I got tired of cooking different things for them for dinner.  And I've really missed making yummy things for the blog. 
 
This was right up my alley for comfort food.  Read that title!  Yum!!! 
 

 
Oh my!
 
Cheesy Ranch Broccoli Bacon Noodle
16 oz. small shells noodles
1 package of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 regular sized bag of frozen broccoli
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4-1 c. ranch dressing
16 oz. of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or your favorite cheese. 
(I used half colby jack and half sharp cheddar)
 
Boil noodles according to package directions.  While that's boiling, cook your bacon in a large pan and steam your broccoli.  Make sure not to cook your broccoli too long or it will get all mushy.  Unless you like mushy broccoli.  When your bacon is good and crispy, remove it from your pan. Pour out all your grease except maybe a tablespoon or so to give your dish even more of a bacon flavor.  Add your milk and ranch.  Stir until combined.  Pour in your shredded cheese.  Stir until it's all good and melty.  Don't have your heat too high.  You don't want this to burn.  Add your broccoli, bacon, noodles.  Stir until all combined.  Let it thicken a little bit more and then ENJOY!
 
Seriously...so so GOOD!
 
This makes quite a bit of food.  You could easily half the recipe.
 
I'm off to get a crown in my mouth.  I'm scared to death!  Wish me luck!
 
Happy Friday!
Love, Erica*
 
Adapted from-Little BGCG
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

10 Healthy Snacks for the Kiddos



When I moved from Utah, I was surprised when I had to provide a snack for my kids at school. In Missouri I had to send a snack once a month for the whole class. I didn't mind that. Here in Michigan I have to send a daily snack for my kids. That takes a little more thinking and creativity. I'm getting better at it but I hit Pinterest for ideas along with my own to create this list.

1. Muffins
These make an easy portion controlled snack. You can make a bunch and freeze a dozen or so for later. I love being able to take a couple out the night before and have them ready to go in the morning. You can also make these as healthy as you want adding applesauce instead of oil and mixing in whatever fruits and veggies you want.

Erica and I have made a lot of muffins right here on our own little blog.





You can find more of our Muffins HERE.

2. Granola
Granola is easy and also very adaptable. Make it as healthy as you want. There are tons of recipes out there. This is the one I make and love.


3. Granola Bars
I was so excited when I made my first granola bars. I love how easy they came together and I knew every ingredient in them. I love that.


Just do a search on Pinterest for Granola Bars. There are hundreds. :)

4. Fresh Veggies and Hummus
We love Hummus at our house. It's such a tasty treat with fresh carrots sticks or Pita chips. It's so easy to blend up too. You can make hummus very complicated or very easy. There are many many recipes out there.

Hummus III Recipe
Here is a basic recipe from Allrecipes.com. You can adjust the ingredients to your taste. I never really follow a recipe but basically use these ingredients. Find it HERE.
Photo also from Allrecipes.com.

5. Fruit and Crackers
I loved this when I saw it on Pinterest. (I have yet to try it.) But it's such a cute way to make snacktime fun. Plus, it's an easy one to throw together if the pins are already made.

This is from Jugglingwithkids.com. Cute, right?

6. Healthy Breakfast Cookies
I like the idea of these. Maggie doesn't love granola bars, but I think she would go for this.

Pinned Image
These cookies pictured seem to have a lot of "fancy" ingredients. You can find the recipe HERE. You can also find a good list on Allrecipes.com HERE.

What kinda fits in this category are these Energy Bites. I've made them a couple of time. Most of us like them. Maggie is just picky. :)

Find them HERE!

7. Boiled Eggs
Nothing like opening a baggie with a boiled egg inside! Smells gross but tastes pretty awesome. I loved this photo I saw on Pinterest. Now Maggie would really get a kick out of these and would gobble them up!

Pinned Image
This is another good snack resource. Super Healthy Kids.

8. Peanut Butter with...
A lot of schools have restrictions with Peanut Butter so be in the know about your childs' schools policy on this. My kids can take PB, so it works for us. They love it too!! Of course you can pair PB with lots of things. We make our PB but I love the Jiffy single serving cups too.

Banana Boats

9. Fruit (You Can't go Wrong!)
Whether you send fresh or dried, it's a good choice. Erica makes a yummy fruit leather that kiddos love. It's easy to make a fruit dip or an occasional caramel to go with a fruit cup too.


10. Popcorn
Mmmm. I love popcorn. There are so many variations to make popcorn tasty and healthy too. It doesn't have to always be butter or caramel to make it amazing.

Pinned Image
Photo Credits Here.

Here is a whole list from Allrecipes.com. Yum!

Okay, that's it! I hope I've given you some ideas and recipes to send the kiddos off to school with yummy snack. Have a great day!!!

Love,
Monica



Monday, October 1, 2012

Digi Day and a WINNER!

There are some new classes coming to JessicaSprague.com that look so fun. The first one starts today and you can still register until Wednesday.


Jessica gave us a little sneak peak last week and the announcement is to die for!

If you've ever been interested in designing your own invitations and announcements, this is the class for you. You can register HERE.

Candice Stringham is also starting a new photography class. If you are looking to up your photography skills, she is a professional photographer and does a great job at teaching. Check it out HERE.


As far as my work goes, I have three layouts to share with you.


I love Fall and I love this fun mini kit by Echo Park. Buy it Here!
Full Credits Here.

Awww, Hawaii. I miss that beach. These fun papers are by Dani Mogstad. The template is by Jessica Sprague from her Photoshop Friday series.
Full credits Here.

These gorgeous papers are by The Glitz Girls.
Full Credits Here.

I hope you are having a wonderful Monday! Now for the winner of our Giveaway!!!
 
I used the Random Number Generator, and the lucky winner is....Michele!
Michele said on September 25, 2012 3:42 PM
Love, Love, Love these aprons! This particular one has a great design!
 
Yay!  We need to get your address, so we can get this shipped out to you ASAP!  Email it to us at enjvanbeb@yahoo.com  Can't wait to hear from you! 
 
Love, Monica and Erica*
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