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Fun Finds!

Okay, I just had to share this with you all! I have found some great deals on baking ingredients lately! Normally, unless I search for the deals with coupons and such, I just buy what I need to buy (usually at an Aldi or Woodman’s) and get over it. But lately? Oh man, I am having some great luck!

First thing was powdered sugar. The cheapest I can find is $1.39 for a 2lb bag at Aldi. It’s a good deal and the cheapest in our area. So I was out grocery shopping at Woodman’s last Monday, I paid for my regular groceries and was headed out the door when I spotted some carts near the front full of powdered sugar bags that were all taped shut and discounted. I asked an associate if she knew why these were discounted and she told me someone cut the box that all the bags were in and accidentally cut the bags open too, so they had to discount them. Yay for me! I bought 9 bags! And they all still have about 2lbs in them!!!!

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Do you want to know how much I paid for each bag????

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That’s right….79 cents each! I was ecstatic! Especially since I had just run out two days before 🙂

My next deal was, of course, on Halloween stuff. It’s two days later, and there was still a bunch or candy left (no chocolate though 😦 ) But I stayed away from the candy and kept walking to go get my dish soap. Guess what..I got distracted.   By these:

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Yes, that’s right. I bought four packs of pumpkin candies and 3 packs of mini cupcakes liners. That makes 300 of them. But every time I go to use my sister’s mini cupcake pan (that happens to live at my house right now!) I’m out of them…so this way, I’m set for at least a few months…. 🙂 And when I make those cute little cupcakes, I can put a candy pumpkin on top of them! Yay!!!!

My next deal came today. I was getting ready to make bread and realized I did not have enough yeast. Sigh. It’s nap time and I was already at the store today. Luckily, I live near a Piggly Wiggly (only a mile away) and I was able to throw the kids in the car and hurry to get some yeast.

While I was there I spotted canned pumpkin. As you maybe have already guesses, I have a slight obsession with pumpkin this time of year. While I normally buy it at Aldi since they sell it for only 99 cents a can, I couldn’t pass this deal up!
I paid 79 cents a can with my Pig card! So I bought a few….

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One more thing at the ‘Pig’.

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Since I was in the baking aisle getting yeast, which also happened to be on sale, I spotted Nestle baking chips! $1.99 when you buy 2, limit 2. Well, I’m sold.

I bought two.

And when I got the check out, I had just enough ‘Pig Points’ to get one of the bags for 99 cents!

 

That is all for now, I can’t wait so share more deals and recipes with you!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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Crockpot Chicken

The chicken as it was cooking and making my smell, oh so good!

I have to admit, whole chickens kind freak me out. The fact that the whole body is there, still being held together by muscle and tendons….eeewwwww! And taking out the insides? Don’t even get me started…
But for some reason, I keep buying whole chickens. I think it’s because I’m cheap and would rather spend $3.00 on a whole chicken than $7.00 on a whole, cut up chicken. Call me spending savvy…lol.
I happened to be on the phone with my hubby when I was preparing this chicken. I had my gloves on and was ready to tackle that chicken. To my pleasant surprise, all the insides were nice stuffed into a little plastic bag!
Woohoo!
No gagging for me today!

I think what I love most about this recipe is the smell. It makes my house smell so good! And it also doesn’t take ALL day to make. Right around 4 hours..or less if your crock-pot runs warm, like mine.
I put mine in at about 2:20pm and it was done before 6. My chicken was just over 4lbs. So, really you just cook until its so tender it just falls off the bone. Yum.
What’s more, you can use the leftover juices, bones, skin, and whatever other parts there are, to make your own chicken stock, right in the crockpot, overnight. You will thank me for this. Waking up to the yummy smell of DIY Chicken Stock…mmmmm.
It makes me hungry just thinking about it.
I served this chicken with baked potatoes and broccoli. Sour cream (or plain greek yogurt), shredded cheese and butter and you have a delicious meal!

Crockpot Whole Chicken and DIY Chicken Stock

1 Whole Chicken, 3-4 lbs
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 onion

Combine dried spices in a small bowl.
Loosely chop the onion and place in the bottom of the crock pot.
Prepare your chicken by removing and giblets, then rub the spice mixture all over the chicken. (give it a good massage!) You can place some spices inside the cavity too, if you want.
Place prepared chicken in the crock-pot, put the cover on, and turn on to high.
Don’t add liquid, you won’t need it.
Cook until the chicken falls off the bones. I test this by sticking a fork or knife in it and twisting a bit.

Now, don’t throw out those bones or skin or anything else leftover!

Overnight Crockpot Chicken Stock

1 Leftover chicken carcass
1 onion, chopped loosely
1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped (you don’t even need to peel it)
1 bay leaf
fresh or dried parsley (I just shake a bunch in, probably around a 1/2 tbsp)
1 tsp chives
Salt, to taste
Please, if you don’t have these ingredients, don’t let it stop you from making it. If you compare the original recipe with this one, I changed some stuff, because I was out..

My frozen chicken stocks 🙂

After all edible meat is devoured removed from the bones and such, add the carcass and all other ingredients to the same crock pot you used for you chicken. Don’t remove anything from before.
Fill the crock-pot with water until its about
1/2 inch from the top.
Turn the crock-pot on low after dinner and cook all night (8-10 hours). This could also be done during the day, for the same amount of time.
After the stock is done cooking, turn off the heat and use a soup ladle to pass the ladle through a fine sieve, removing the bones and such.
You can either freeze or refrigerate the stock for future use.
I like to freeze mine in my silicone muffin tin, then its portioned out in about 1/4 cup portions. After they’re frozen, I just pop them out and place them in a freezer bag.

1/4 cup

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte

What’s the first thing you think of once fall weather hits your hometown?
Baking? Apple picking? Pumpkin picking? Fall colors?
No matter what you think of, this is truly a magical time of year. Besides the long, cold winter, I am very glad that I live in the Midwest. Not every state or country has the changing of seasons that we do. I am thankful for all the seasons as they come. I’m just not as ready for them all when they arrive. But I definitely appreciate different things about them. And if it wasn’t for winter, I wouldn’t appreciate spring and summer so much!
But for now, we are full on Fall! Cool weather, leaves are turning, and if you’ve read my last few posts, you can tell I am in to pumpkin. More than any other fall flavor, I love pumpkin. (I’m sorry if you don’t share the love of pumpkin that I do, you clearly have been missing out on some tasty treats!)
I tried this recipe last week when I hosted an Arbonne party in my home. It was wonderful evening of relaxing, drinking lattes and chatting with girl friends 🙂
The Pumpkin Spice Lattes were a big hit and easy to make. Fix it and forget it. Only about 2 hours in the crock-pot and you’ve got a delicious hot drink that anyone would be excited to drink!

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes (adapted from Urban Nester)

8 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeded
2 tsp cinnamon
8 Tbsp sugar
4 cups strongly brewed coffee
6 cups milk (I used 1%, because that’s what we have in the house)
Whipped topping or Redi-whip (optional)

Using a whisk to stir, combine all ingredients in the crock pot and whisk well.
Turn crock-pot on high and cook for about two hours or until hot.
Top with whipped cream and dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

Enjoy!

Note: if you don’t have vanilla beans, don’t worry, just add extra vanilla extract.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

Well, to continue on in my celebration of Autumn, I decided to bake yesterday, despite the warm temperatures. I felt the need to make a practice cake..and boy am I glad I did! I was so proud of it. I don’t feel as though any of my other cakes compare to this one. Was it fancy? No. Did I do rosettes or decorative piping? No. It was simple. Plain, some might say. But to me, it was beautiful gorgeous perfect.

 

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I loved this cake so much, it even received an outdoor photo shoot!

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I just couldn’t stop taking pictures!!!

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Also, the recipe I used, found here, made a three layer, 8-inch cake. Well, I knew I didn’t want big cake. I wanted to make something small and delicate. Something I could practice on in a smaller scale. You may ask what I did with the leftover batter. Well, I’ll let the pictures explain it for me 🙂

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In case you’re wondering, I was able to make a two layer 6-inch cake and 9 cupcakes.

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This recipe really was a hit. Not only did I make the best looking cupcakes that I’ve ever made (Beth, you would have been proud!), but it all tasted amazing too! I received lots of compliments from my friends (Thank you everyone!)

The cake was perfectly moist. The frosting perfectly sweet and cinnamon-y. I was going to take a picture of a slice in daylight today, but forgot and ate it instead. So you are stuck with my yellow-y pictures because my kitchen walls are yellow. Oh well.

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At first, I wanted to use plain butter cream frosting, since I knew I want to try piping of some sort and wanted to practice getting the cake as smooth as I could. But once I figured out my cake flavor, plain old butter cream just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed something with more flavor than just butter and powdered sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I love the flavor of butter and powdered sugar, but it just didn’t seem to fit in with this cake. I then had the idea to add cinnamon. I went on a search to see if this was even a possibility, and sure enough, it was! Thanks to Pinterest, I found many recipes. I ended up combining a couple and making my own. And I’m so glad that I did. I ended up with just enough for the cake and cupcakes. Whew!

Pumpkin Spice Cake (adapted from Country Living)
Yield: 3, 8-inch layers or 2, 6-inch layers and 9 cupcakes

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned, but you could use homemade as well!)
1/2 cup buttermilk (1/2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, fill the rest of half cup with milk. let sit for a few min.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp allspice (I was out of nutmeg, which is what the original recipe called for)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut circles out of parchment paper to line the bottom of the cake pans. With some softened butter, lightly coat the sides of the cake pans and the circles of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add the sugars and mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each egg.

In another bowl, combine pumpkin puree, buttermilk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside

In yet another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and allspice and set aside.

In thirds, alternate adding the flour mixture and pumpkin mixture to the butter mixture, blending well after each addition until smooth.

Pour cake batter into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 35-40 minutes for 8-inch cakes.
15 minutes for cupcakes (at least the 9 that I baked)
About 30 minutes for two 6-inch cakes

Let sit for a couple minutes, then remove cakes from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting (my own creation!)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3-4 Tbsp heavy cream or milk

In bowl of a stand mixer, blend butter and shortening until smooth. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Sift powdered sugar into the bowl in 1 or 2 cup increments. Otherwise you will have a giant ‘poof’ of sugar. I also like to use me bowl cover when I’m mixing things like this. (See picture below)
Add heavy cream/milk one tablespoon at a time until frosting reaches desired consistency.
Note: I like to use my whisk attachment for frosting. It seems to make it fluffier.

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My extra helper!!!

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There had to be a reward for being such a good helper! He sat licking this for over 15 minutes!

Assembly:

Place bottom layer of cake on cake stand or plate. Spread frosting on top of bottom layer.
Place next layer on top of frosting. Place a large dallop of frosting on top the this layer (if it’s your last layer) and spread it pretty thin. Use the extra to thinly frost the sides. This is your crumb coat. Place in the refrigerator until frosting is hardened. This will make it easier to put on the actually layer of frosting.
Frost the cake with an even coat of frosting. You can keep it in the fridge if you want the top coat of frosting to harden as well. Decorate as desired.
I also use an offset spatula to frost my cakes, it seems to work quite well!

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Not sure why my cakes had belly buttons.

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Don’t worry about the frosting that might fall out the sides, you can use this as part of the crumb coat.

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The crumb coat 🙂

If you’re going to make cupcakes as well, you can use a knife to spread the frosting on or a frosting tip. I used a Wilton 2D tip.

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Thanks for visiting The Stuffed Flamingo!

 

 

 

Breakfast of Champions

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Saturday morning: I wake up at 6:30 due to my three year old. So I’m instantly wide awake. My mind is thinking about all the things I have to do today. The boys are going with G & G to Bay Beach. A place with all sorts of carnival rides minus the creepy carnival ride operators. There’s a train (which my boys will die over), little boats and cars for them to ride in, bumper cars (whiplash waiting to happen), a giant slide (I’m sad about missing this), and Elvis’ favorite roller coaster! (the name of the coaster escapes me at the moment, but still, we got Elvis’ favorite roller coaster!)
So what, you may ask, are my husband and I doing while our boys are out galavanting around with the Grandparents?
Well, we ran some errands, ate some lunch, and then got ready for a friends wedding!
First, my shopping trip. I wanted to take advantage of some deals at Copp’s/Pick’n’Save and use some coupons to take advantage of double coupon days. Double coupon days are when you cand double coupons up to $1.00 in value. So I had a 40 cent coupon for yogurt and got 80 cents off instead. I also had some $1.00 coupons for almond milk, coffee, and some cheese. My big deal of the day of Kraft shredded cheese. It was 99 cents per package if you bought 5 or more packages. I also heard if you bought 10 packages, a coupon for $10 off your next purchase of 10 Kraft items. So what did I do? I went back and bought 10 more packages of cheese.
You may be thinking ‘What on earth does she need 20 packages of shredded cheese for?’
My answer: if you knew my husband, you’d understand. Born and raised in Wisconsin. In fact, we still live here and love it.
Lunch was Chipotle. Amazing! Nuf said.
The wedding we went to was on…wait for it….a Boat! It was a wedding cruise! Four hours of being on the Foxy Lady in the grand ‘ol bay of Green Bay! The home of the Green Bay Packers. Brats, beer, and cheese! (okay, sorry for that little rant. In just proud of where I’m from!)
So, back to the wedding. It was beautiful. Nautical themed with blue and yellow all over! They even ‘tied’ the knot..literally. hey used an old rope from another friend of ours’ sailboat. It was pretty cute. All of it was perfect!

Derek and Rachel, you two are one cute couple and I wish you all the best! Love you!

So, I guess the moral I’d the story is.. eat a good breakfast..it can lead to a great day!
Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Apple Muffins

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This was my morning, last Thursday:
My hubby’s alarm went off at 2am. He got out of bed about 3am (that is a whole different story) and 3am is when I woke up and was then wide awake. Between my allergies and my mind racing, I decided that just getting up would be better. I gave a valiant effort to go back to sleep, but by 4am, I was done. I had to get up.
I decided to spend the extra time I had reading my Bible and praying. And then I decided to bake. It was still cool outside, it was dark, and I had my coffee already, so I figured it would be safe for me to start using sharp objects and my oven
Then came my search of what to make. There were so many options. Zucchini. Pumpkin. Apple. Banana. It’s all so good. I also wanted to make something that was ‘clean’ and that I wouldn’t feel guilty eating myself. So, I started scouring my Pinterest boards (yes, pretty much all my recipes are ones I found on Pinterest. What can I say, it’s a great website!)
Once I found this recipe, I knew it was the one for me. I had apples in the freezer that I had sliced last year and needed to be used (I’m not sure how long they last) and I knew I could replace most (if not all) of the brown sugar in this recipe. It was a success! I love them. My three year old was not a fan when it came to breakfast time that day. He picked out all the apples and only ate about half the muffin. But later in the morning, he told me was ‘starving’, so I offered him a muffin and he devoured it.

Apple Muffins (adapted from Budget Bytes )
Yield: 12 muffins

1 3/4 cup whole wheat pasty flour
3/4 cup ground flax
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar (you could use all agave syrup, and you also use honey or any sweetener you wish)
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium apples (or about 2 cups chopped apples)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place all ingredients, except apples, into a mixing bowl. (I used my stand mixer) After everything is well blended, fold in the apples.

Spray muffins tin with non-stick spray and divide batter between the 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove muffins from tin and let cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

Cake Planning

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We are on our way to Silver City, Michigan to have a nice weekend away with the adults in my family and what am I doing? Planning out the two cakes that people ordered from me that ate both due next weekend. That’s right. We dropped the kids off at my Aunts house and picked up my sister-in-law and started driving. My brother is ahead of and enjoying the outdoors on his motorcyle. And I’m riding in the mighty Buick, jamming out Vincent Gill (totally aging myself there), and designing a Hawaiian/Liau cake and, wait for it, a WWE Wresting cake. That’s what I get for agreeing to do a 10 year old birthday cake! Either way, I love the experience and practice. Pictures will be coming when I’m done with then along with all the other cakes I’ve decorated over the past few weeks. July has been a crazy month. Lots to do, places to go, and cakes to make. I hope you are all having a great summer. Enjoy it while it lasts 🙂 God Bless! -karen