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Birthday Breakfast!!

9 Sep

My DH works nights and it stinks.  It stinks even more because he slept for most of his birthday.  So, in order not to totally miss his birthday, I decided to make breakfast his “cake”.  I scoured Pinterest and the internet and found Cake Batter Pancake recipe.  Since I was looking for a recipe I could accomplish after work, it utilizes pancake mix.  There are recipes that include more homemade recipes.

I kid you not, these pancakes are not too sweet, and are absolutely delicious.  We even had some leftover which are still amazing heated up!

And, after all, isn’t everything better with sprinkles?

The How-to

Pancakes

1   cup Original Bisquick® mix
1   cup Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
3  tablespoons candy sprinkles
1  cup milk
1  teaspoon vanilla
2  eggs

Glaze and Garnish

1  cup powdered sugar
1 1/2  teaspoons milk
1/2  teaspoon vanilla
Additional candy sprinkles
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Snowman Cookies!

15 Jan

Definitely wish I  stumbled upon these quirky melted snowman cookies a month ago!   Crazy Domestic has a great tutorial that will give step-by-step instructions on how to create these little guys.  Although the season is over, these will be awesome for next year (I couldn’t wait a whole year to share these)!  [Photo courtesy of Crazy Domestic]

Toasters

31 Dec

With 2011 in the review mirror and 2012 shining in the distance, it is time toast to all the happy moments, all the laughter, and all the lessons learned from this past year.  As all your dear friends huddle around the tv, the bar, or wherever you choose to bring in the New Year, there has to be an appropriate toasting drink.  After all– it is the first thing you will say and taste this new year and you don’t want to start off with regrets!  Here are some recipes to get your toasts going!  But remember, moderation is always number one.  Have a very Happy New Year!

So drink up — Skål, Santé, Zum wohl, Salud, Salute, Gan bei, Egészségére, Cheers!

Festive Treats

25 Dec


Here are some last-minute cookie ideas that are what you would call “semi-homemade.”

  • Salted Carmel Turtle Squares (The caramel will melt off at room temp, so make sure to cut, then refrigerate prior to serving.  Even though they were messy, people loved the play of the cookie bottom, the caramel top, and the salt on the top)
  • Cake Batter Cookie Stacks (need I say more at how amazing these were?)
  • Choco-Lumps of Coal (My coworkers loved these! The are made from coco-puffs for an extra surprise!)

A Better Thanksgiving Kids’ Table

20 Nov

The weather knows it, the leaves know it, and children definitely know it. What is it you ask? Well, it is the beginning of that magical holiday season, of course! And what better to start that season with friends and family than with the all important Thanksgiving dinner. As soon as Halloween is over, the kids begin preparing day in and day out at school with traced hand turkeys, feathers, and glitter– apparently a very important fashion statement for pilgrim belt buckles. So, why not reward all that hard scissor work with a table all their own at the Thanksgiving feast? Here are some ideas to make your children’s table seem less like an after thought and more like the place to be!

The Table

Pumpkin Table Weights

Turkey Place mat (with tutorial!)

Thanksgiving Themed Finger Puppet Favors (with tutorial!)

The Activities

Thanksgiving Coloring Place mat (with tutorial!) Checkout Crayola’s site for more free coloring book ideas!

Pine Cone Crayon Holder (with tutorial!)

Pilgrim Hat Holder (with tutorial!)

The Goodies

Oreo Turkeys (with awesome tutorial!)

Acorns (with how-to)

Corn Cookie (with how-to)

Hopefully these wonderful ideas help jump start your kids’ table and make the adults try to sneak a seat over with the kiddos. As a note, adjust all the ideas accordingly for different age groups. Remember that happy entertained kids also means happy entertained adults. Happy planning and Happy Thanksgiving!

Engineering Cakes!

5 Jun

Trying to decide on a cake for two civil engineer’s birthdays is pretty hard work– and to top it off, I am far from a great baker or decorator.  My theme for one cake was clearing the land, and the other was pouring the asphalt.  I utilized the kids’ toy aisle at my local big box store to jazz up the cakes along with some store-bought frosting and chocolate rocks!

To save myself time on a weeknight, I purchased a cake from a grocery store.  I looked for a cake with ‘earthen layers’ so I could tie it into my theme.  It was a bit more pricey, but saved me tons of time.  I also purchased some butter cream frosting from the bakery.  I scraped off the topping from the store-bought cake and put my frosting on the top.   For the other cake, I actually baked!  Well, sort of– I mixed some brownie mix and put it in the oven.  The frosting was from a store-bought jar.  Some clever placement of rocks hid any mistakes!  Below is the Electrical Engineer’s cake that mimics a circuit board.  I again purchased a store bought cake and redecorated the top.  I used mentos, mini M & M’s, chocolate bar, and Mike and Ikes to create the little circuits.

After researching online, I found that I must be the only person that does not specialize in fondant and cake decorating— the cakes I found online were amazing!  So harnessing my inner designer, I decided to find something within my skill set.  I settled on mini cupcakes.  I perused the candies/cookies aisle looking for inspiration when I came across vanilla sticks and 100 calorie sandies.  I purchased premixed butter cream frosting from the bakery and decorated away!  I made little ruler lines on the vanilla sticks and then put elevation tags on the sandies.  The mini cupcakes were perfect when I brought them to work!

Cooking & Clipping

19 Apr

I began dabbling in cooking as soon as I married my husband (Hubs).  After the wedding, and the ensuing wedding registry gifts, I felt I owed all those relatives and friends to learn how to actually use all those random trinkets I scanned in at Macy’s and Target.  I was in school full time and Hubs was part time school and full time work.  I took it upon myself to make sure we had a home cooked meal everyday.

Yes, I know this sounds pathetically patriarchal.  Didn’t those women in the 60’s burn their bras to get away from stuff like this?  Well, those ladies didn’t have to deal with student loans, rising gas prices, and the threat of no job when you graduate.  I get a lot of slack from my single girlfriends about me cooking every night and actually being excited when I find a new recipe.  I guess it is what I get for living in a liberal college town.

Yet, there is more to cooking at home than just falling into a stereotypical housewife.  I have learned to completely budget our grocery costs to where we are down to $140 for 10 days of meals (or $7/day/person or $2.30/meal/person).  It takes a keen eye on sales and diligent coupon clipping, but we are making it work.  I’ll get into how I achieve this feat later on.

Most of my meal creations come from Cooking Light, like the pizza below with had provolone, pears, arugula, and prosciutto.  I used turkey bacon because it is cheaper, and a heck of a lot healthier than prosciutto. I’ll show how a laymen like myself can create pretty nice food presentations as seen below.  These images are taken right off my dining room table, so excuse some of the quality of the images.

Another awesome recipe from CL was their Spicy shrimp and grits.  I had never cooked, or even tried, grits before.  *Gasp!* A girl from the south has never had grits!  It must be a crime somewhere in Florida.  However, I might be sold on this recipes addition of Parmesan cheese.  This recipe is a five alarm ringer due to the addition of cayenne pepper at the end.  Uber hot!

A forgotten veggie is fennel.  I have come to love this anise tasting veggie in all aspects– sautéed, raw, and steamed.  I tried CL’s Pita salad with cucumber, fennel, and chicken recipe, and it did not disappoint.

Advantages to cooking at home are that you control the amount of fat and salt that get added to your meal.  I know as a 20-something, my generation tends to think that nothing will bring them down, but good health does not start when something bad happens.  You have to take care of yourself now in order to enjoy everything later.