Archive | April 2012

Breakfast Bars

I’m not a very spontaneous person. It’s a fact of life for me. It’s not easy for me to want change. I take a long time to get used to an idea, and usually, when I finally get used to it, something else changes. It’s the facts of life I suppose, but I don’t like it. Although most things that take me a while to get used are major changes in life or a schedule (I can’t stand schedule changes!), today’s spontaneity was all about breakfast.

My kids love cereal and will eat it everyday. I do, however try to get some oatmeal or toast in once in a while as well. But what can be easier than cereal and banana? This recipe is darn close, I’ll tell you that.

Along with being easy and delicious, it’s also healthy! That’s right, healthy. I love finding things that are good for me and still actually have taste. Cause let’s face it, most healthy foods don’t have much or any taste (at least not a good one, anyway)

I am all about Pinterest-ing and am looking at it in the morning while I watch the news and drink tea. I found this recipe  and thought it sounded like something I and my boys could eat. We all love peanut butter, we all love bananas, and we all love oatmeal. It’s perfect! So I gave it shot.

It’s super yummy when it’s warm, right out of the oven. Paired with fruit (I have to be honest, I didn’t have fruit with breakfast today…cause I ate a second bar. Don’t tell anyone)

It was a little crumby for me, but I may not have let it cool long enough, but I had two little boys begging for breakfast..I had no choice but to cut them almost right away. And I was thinking about it this afternoon and wondering if adding some ground flax would take care of that crumminess.

I’ll try it out next time I make these and I’ll let you know. For now, Enjoy!

Breakfast Bars (adapted from Gingerbread Bagels)

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk, just to add some sweetness, and I just love coconut milk)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large mashed banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Add the vanilla extract, milk and egg.

Then add in the mashed banana and peanut butter. Combine all of the ingredients.

Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 F degrees for 20 minutes.

Let cool for a bit, but not too long. You want to eat them warm.

You can also spread peanut butter on top.

Three Layer Carrot/Cheesecake Cake

Well, here it is folks..the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

ImageWell, maybe not all of you..but at least some of you…right?

This cake may look hard, but it is so not hard. Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it worth it in the end? You better believe it!

The original recipe was found here, and she also had other flavors of cake with the cheesecake as well. You can really put any sort of cake with the cheesecake layer in the middle. I chose carrot. And since I have the wonderful KitchenAid Shredder Attachment, I love shredding carrots (and just about anything else!)

I also made the cakes a day ahead of time with the cheesecake. Then the next day all I had to do was assemble and decorate!

So without further ado, I present to you my Three Layer Carrot/Cheesecake Cake!

Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake  (from my Taste of Home Cookbook)

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil or applesauce (I used applesauce)

2 cups all-purpose flour (I usually use a mix of white and whole wheat, if I have both)

2 tsp cinnamon (you may add another teaspoon if you really like the cinnamon taste)

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 cups grated carrots

In large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar and oil/applesauce. Add in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Stir in carrots. (really, could it get any easier than this?)

Note: I’ve found that it’s not good to over stir your ingredients. The cake tends to be more dense, instead of light and fluffy.

Pour the batter into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350* for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. (yup, I still use the ‘ol toothpick trick!)

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool on wire racks to cook completely.

Cheesecake Layer  (adapted from Erin’s Food Files)

1 1/4 pounds bar cream cheese (20 oz), room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (I used plain nonfat Greek Yogurt)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in lemon zest and juice, and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream/greek yogurt.

Cut parchment paper in a circle and line the bottom of a 9-in. springform pan. Pour in filling. Bake until just set in center, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from water; let cool 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge; let cool completely. Cover; chill overnight, then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

Assembly

Place the bottom layer of cake on cake stand. Remove cheesecake from freezer and unwrap. Remove bottom of springform pan and parchment paper from bottom of cheesecake. Place cheesecake layer on top of the bottom layer of cake. If the cheesecake is wider than the cake, let sit for about 10 mintues until just soft enough to cut the excess off. (Cutting the excess off was probably the most challenging part for me, but then you have extra’s that you get to eat right away!) Place top layer of cake on top of the cheesecake.

Voila! You did it! Way to go!

Now you can either chose to eat it right away..lol. Or, crumb coat and frost it!

I do not have a specific recipe for frosting. I did make cream cheese frosting to use as a crumb coat, but just threw some stuff together in my mixer and kept adding more powdered sugar until it tasted and looked right. You could also use a buttercream frosting, or fondant like I did.

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Tortellini Soup

When I first saw this recipe, I was not so sure. I like soup, but I’ve always been more of a chicken noodle or chili kind of girl. Anything that’s to brothy I’m not usually up for. I like chunks. Meat. Vegetables. Noodles. Or even brown rice. But broth…is not my thing.

After seeing this recipe on a blog I follow and knowing that everything I’ve tried from this blog has been amazing, I decided it was worth a shot. And, the first time I made it, my electrician brother-in-law was here fixing a light fixture in our house and he ended up being here for dinner and even he liked it! And he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy if you ever saw one. He eats no salad greens and if the whole family goes out to eat, he orders a burger or steak, no matter where we go. So if he likes this soup, then everyone should like this soup.

My kiddos ( an almost 2 years old and a 3 year old) like the cheese filled noodles. I have even added shredded chicken to this recipe to give it a little more ‘umph’. (that’s my chunky soup love coming out)

Tortellini Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced (i used already minced garlic)

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 (15oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juices

4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

9 oz. tortellini, any variety (fresh or frozen)

3 cups fresh baby spinach, loosely packed

salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan, for serving

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in the oregano and diced tomatoes. Add the broth to the pot. Bring mixture to boil. Add the tortellini to the pot and cook according to package directions. One minute before the tortellini is fully cooked, stir in the spinach. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste Serve warm with grated Parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

NOTE: the last time I made this, I had only ‘hot’ diced tomatoes and it gave it an extra zip! My husband, who has a thing for spicy stuff despite his heartburn, loved it!

The Happiest Birthday Cake Ever!)

My birthday was last Friday, April 20th, and I have to admit, I was not thrilled with this birthday at all. Don’t get me wrong. I love birthday’s! I love presents! But I turned 25 this year. This may not seem like much to some, but for me..it’s all new. I don’t know if I should rejoice that I’m older hopefully becoming more mature? (no laughing please) Or cry cause I’m half way to 50!

Well, instead of dwelling on this fact too long, I decided to make myself a special cake. Some of you might be thinking, ‘Why is she making her own birthday cake?’ Here’s my reasoning… I’d rather make it exactly how I want it, than someone else making something and hoping I like it. There’s a kicker though. I share my birthday celebrations every year now, since I’ve been married. My ‘little’ (I use that word only because he’s younger than me) brother-in-law’s birthday is a week before mine so we’ve ‘shared’ birthday’s for 6 years now! And the past two birthday’s have also been celebrated with his girlfriend who’s birthday is only a few days before his. So it’s big party..well not big..just many birthday’s to celebrate.

So the only kind of cake we can all agree on is carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. But I wanted to practice with fondant since I’ve only used it once on my 3 year old’s cake back in February. (someday I’ll post all my beautiful cakes) So, they gave me the go ahead to decorate the cake however I wanted to, as long as it was carrot cake. I agreed.

So, as you may have guessed from my blog name..I have a thing for flamingos. And with having two boys, it’s the only pink things we have in this house. So my bathroom is decorated with them and I even have some outside. Every time I see flamingo decor in a store, I get very excited freak out. I mean, literally. I’m sure I embarrass my husband to no end. I’m surprised he even shops with me anymore!

Have you guessed what my cake looked like yet???? Yup! FLAMINGOS!!!!!!!

Well, only one actually. We (Beth and I) named him Guy. I wanted him to be a girl so badly, but Beth insisted it was a guy, so there’s his name… Guy. He was delicious.

 

Guy  There is still a bit of his body left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the actual cake.

Top and bottom layer: carrot cake,

Middle layer: cheesekcake

 

 

 

 

Yeah..I said it. Cheese. Cake.

If Heaven was a cake..this would be it.

It was surprisingly easy, even though it doesn’t look like it.

I will post the recipes for the cake, fondant, and frosting I used, on a different day.

All was delicious!

Thank you for bearing with me through my sorrow of turning 25. I’ll make it. My kids keep me young..or maybe they’re aging me……

Here’s the final project 🙂

 


What’s Coming

Oh my goodness. It has been too long since I posted. Our modem decided to quite working, so our computer isn’t working and I have to do everything from my phone. Let’s just say, that’s not easy.
I don’t have the pictures I want on my phone, so we will just have to sit tight and wait until we buy another modem.
I listed a few recipes last time that i was making for Easter, and indeed, I made them all. But here we are, and no way to get them to you!
Now I have another great recipe that I will need to post. My birthday cake! I’m super excited to make it and have the help of my wonderful friend Beth!
That will hopefully be posted next week, and I can’t wait to share!
Have an awesome week!

DIY Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Cups…who doesn’t love them? I mean honestly. It’s the perfect combination of milk chocolate and peanut butter. I like to think that in Heaven there will be a giant ginormous peanut butter cup just waiting for me 🙂

So, my friend Beth was over for dinner last night and instead of just sitting on our butts and talking about food, we figured we’d make some. After realizing I was out of shortening (I know, I’m a terrible person) and we couldn’t make cut-out cookies, we had the genious idea to make peanut butter cups. After doing a  little searching on Pinterest, (I ❤ Pinterest. It’s where I find almost all of my recipe’s now.) we found the recipe to try.

With only a total four (count ’em four) ingredients we knew it was for us. Let’s just say my husband wasn’t quite at thrilled since he doesn’t like the taste or smell of PB. (I know, he’s crazy) So we got started…

Melting the chocolate. (Melted it in the oven in a Pyrex bowl. It worked amazingly well!)

Added the peanut butter and started filling the muffin liners in the muffin tin.

The hardest part for us was waiting while they sat in the freezer. But, oh my goodness, they were SO worth the wait!

Thank you to The Sweetest Kitchen’ for trying these out first 🙂

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DIY Peanut Butter Cups

Yield: 12

For the Chocolate:

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

2 Tbsp Peanut butter (you could probly use chunky if you wanted, but i prefer smooth)

pinch of salt (we forgot the salt, but they still tasted great!

For the Filling:

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup powdered sugar

pinch of salt

Directions:

Prepare a standard muffin tin with 12 muffin liners

Preheat oven to 200°F.

Place chocolate chips in oven safe bowl and put in oven. Keep your eyes on the chocolate and stir occasionally until chocolate is completely melted. (you could also melt the chocolate in heavy-based saucepan or double boiler, but this method works great!

After the chocolate is melted, add the peanut butter and salt and mix until all is melted and a good consistency. If you need to stick it back in the oven for a couple minutes, go for it. It’s easier if the chocolate is meltier to put it in the muffin liners.

Place 2 teaspoons of the chocolate mixture (we guessed on the amount, but ran out at the end when we were covering the PB with the chocolate) and use the back of a spoon to spread on the bottom of each liner and up the sides, just a bit. Place these in the fridge for 20 minutes or freezer until the chocolate hardens.

Prepare the filling while the chocolate is hardening. *Don’t forget to keep the rest of the chocolate melty!

Mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt.

Place 1 heaping Tbsp of peanut butter mixture in each muffin liner and press down with back of spoon. You don’t have to spread it, cause you want the chocolate to cover the PB in the next step.

Place the muffin tin back in fridge/freezer.

When the PB is hard enough, take out of freezer.

Top with 2 teaspoons  melted chocolate, spreading carefully so none of the PB is showing. (This is where we ran out of chocolate on the last peanut butter cup. It was still tasty.)

After covering them all, place back in fridge/freezer until chocolate is hard.

You’ll want to keep these refrigerated, otherwise you’ll have a ooey-gooey-chocolatey-peanut-butter mess everywhere…which really can’t be all bad…

ENJOY!

NOTE: we used part milk and part semi sweet chocolate chips for this batch. I made a second batch the next night with all milk and it turned out even better than the first!

Easter

I LOVE Easter. Maybe it’s the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead and is coming back to save us all again! (yes, I do truly believe that 🙂 )

Or, maybe it’s all the candy. Let’s face it. I love chocolate, I love sugar, and I love things that are generally extremely unhealthy for me. However, I say no to these things while I’m at the store, because I don’t want to gain 80 pounds every time a holiday comes around.

So here’s my solution. I am going to make some treats for Easter and they won’t be full of sugar and other nasty stuff. Here’s the list for Sunday:

— Chocolate Coconut Cups (Gluten and Dairy Free — My mother-in-law is gluten intolerant, so I try to keep her in mind

— Homemade Peanut Butter Cups ( I ❤ PB — will also be gluten free and hopefully somewhat healthy)

— Cutout Cookies w/ Buttercream Frosting (not so healthy, but everyone loves cutouts!)

— Baliey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake (the most unhealthy dessert EVER! But it’s so good, I don’t care)

That may sound like a lot, but I am so looking forward to it, as I don’t make lots of treats in out house, because to be honest…I would eat them all. I wouldn’t tell my husband. I wouldn’t even share with my kids. I have an problem addiction and I admit it. So sue me.

I will be putting these recipes up sometime after I make them.

Have a blessed day!