How sweet it is

Isn’t it sweet that it’s Friday? I think it is… and I completely missed sharing a sweet spot I visited a couple of weeks ago.  he weekend my sister-in-law was in, we made a pit stop from fabric shopping over to a local cupcake shop, Bubble Cake. It is the cutest place, complete with jars full of sprinkles and a comfortable “eating” area.

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We each picked out a yummy treat and settled in to test it out. I picked a crème Brule cupcake, complete with that crispy sugar crust. Sorry I didn’t think to take a pic before I started in on it… oops!

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Here is my sister-in-law’s… yum!

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She got a Palm beach brownie… seriously… this thing was rich!!

Oh and you know the little man had to get some… whenever he sees something he wants to eat he starts in with “hum” until you give him a bite. He really is insistent. I think he had an idea what was in store.

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And then right before we went to leave he decided he wanted to sit in this chair, and he wanted that table to put his drink on. He settled in and commenced to cleaning the chocolate off of that spoon. He didn’t really want to leave. Isn’t he adorable??? Ok, I am a little biased, right? J

 

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And another reason I am so glad it’s Friday is that I have plans for the weekend… it involves this little sketch I made up the other day. I need to do some measuring and make it more to scale, but I bet you can’t guess what I am doing!!

 

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Anyone else have big weekend plans? Had any sweet treats lately? Maybe you have had a 17 month old boss you around?

Oreos all dolled up for Christmas

A few years ago, we were introduced to a special treat. Oreos balls. You know peanut butter balls? Of course you do, everyone eats peanut butter balls! Well, these are so much better (at least to me). All you need is a package of Oreos, a block of cream cheese, and something to dip them in. Seriously, it’s that easy. Now what to do with that itty bitty list?

Oreos and cream cheese… I used a couple of different dipping chocolates – the little chips you use to make candy as well as some of that block stuff.

Put the Oreos in a chopper of some sort and grind them up.

I grind them up until they are really fine, but I suppose you could make them chunkier as well if that was more to your liking.

Once I ground up the whole pack this is what I had… doesn’t seem like much huh?

Drop that block of cream cheese in there (let it soften at room temp for a while or it will be hard to combine)

Mix this up with a fork until you have all of the cheese combined. It would probably have been easier to use a deeper bowl cause those little Oreo crumbs are sneaky and kept trying to escape.

I didn’t get a pic of the next step (probably because I would have had to lick my fingers to get them clean before grabbing the camera – and we all know that would have been a show stopper on finishing the batch) But you roll little bunches up into balls – you pick the size! They are fairly rich, so I have found that smaller bites work out better. I stick them in fridge to cool while I am melting the chocolate. If they are pretty cold when you dip them, you get less Oreo residue in your chocolate.

Then I started melting the chocolate. I used white chocolate. I have never used anything but white chocolate myself, I was always afraid that it was too much chocolate to use milk chocolate, but I think dark chocolate would be good. I have to admit that I swiped some of the chocolates that Hannah made with my mom to melt down (with her permission of course!) The kids never seem to eat all of the candy they get and I saw no reason to let it go to waste! Oh and you might notice my “double boiler” is a little, um, not a double boiler…but it works. lol

So once the chocolate was all creamy, I removed the pan from the heat and started dipping the Oreo balls. Once dipped place them on some wax paper to cool.

And there they blow… or sit…or umm, await close examination by my taste buds. You call it.

And we had helpers that day… here is one of them “sampling” the peanut butter Oreos that my husband was using to make these.

Pumpkin muffins on a Sunday afternoon

I had a serious hankering for something pumpkin this past weekend. My first plan was to make pumpkin pancakes like in Savory Sweet & Sassy’s blog post that looked super good. But then I realized we had no syrup. Boo!! Those will just have to wait for another weekend I am afraid. So, I put away the pumpkin and moved on. Or so I thought. Later that afternoon I found myself scouring the web to find muffin or cookie recipes. Ok, maybe not the web only, but Pinterest. Who is shocked??? ;) I found this recipe for easy pumpkin muffins over at smitten kitchen and saw that Deb had even made some boo-boos making them and they turned out, so surely I can make these huh?

Here is the ingredients that I used (most are from Deb’s post, some I adjusted)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (I used the whole can)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil since we didn’t have any vegetable oil)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice (I made my own, see below.)
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar (I used 1 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar, then just eyed the topping sugar)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

I pulled out all of the ingredients

Then I preheated the oven to 350 degrees

I followed the directions pretty closely, except we love brown sugar in this house, so I exchanged the 1/4 cup of white sugar for brown sugar. I just feel that brown sugar adds a little more flavor to food. I mixed up all of the ingredients except the flour, adding that last per the directions. I did take a moment to add all of the dry ingredients(baking soda, powder and spices) together before I added them to the wet ones. I can’t stand to get a bite of baking soda or baking powder. One other change I had was that I had no pumpkin pie seasoning. So I made that as well! I did that by putting together:

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

I also took a moment here to put together a “topping” for the muffins. I eye-balled it, so no measurements on this so just use your best judgement here. I creamed together:

sugar
brown sugar
cinnamon
butter
oatmeal

Now back to my batter. I added the flour, all at once.

One of the tips from the smitten kitchen post was to use a whisk to avoid over mixing the batter. So I pulled out my whisk and mixed it up until just combined. I have to say, I will start using my whisk more often for mixing batters, super simple.

Here is the batter all mixed together.

So the next move was to put it in a muffin pan. I discovered that I only had 5 muffin liners, so I just buttered the pan before I put the batter in. I used a tablespoon and a half for each muffin. I sprinkled a little topping on each. I would think that adding walnuts or pecans would be good for this recipe as well. Here they are ready to be cooked:

I cooked these for approx. 25 minutes. Once they were out, I let them cool and then dumped them on a towel before digging in.

The verdict: WONDERFUL!!! I love these muffins!! They were super moist, although a little dense. I would probably doctor the recipe a little and add more cinnamon next time, but truly, this is a full proof recipe. I tried to get a good picture of the inside and how wonderful they looked, but my photography skills and camera just weren’t there. :)


Anyone else can’t wait till Thanksgiving day to get their pumpkin fix? Or did you find an awesome recipe that needs sharing?

**Update: I made these again. I added a little more brown sugar vs. white sugar and used 2 heaping tbsp of mix in each muffin:

I also added 1/2 tsp more cinnamon

Decorate it on a budget…for Thanksgiving!

My sister-in-law and I just decided that we are going to set a budget, and then DIY a Thanksgiving table scape!!! So exciting! I love me some decor on a budget, and it’s even more exciting to have someone to be a partner in crime! Here are some of the ideas that I have pinned so far…

Beans beans the magical fruit… um, ok maybe not for this meal. But aren’t they pretty? Def. a possibility

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I am thinking that my sis-in-law is going to love those pumpkins :)

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Can’t go wrong with these lanterns….

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How adorable are these? And the leaves are… F-r-e-e

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Those little stumps on the table?? Hearts all around from me!!!

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Our official budget is $30 buckaroos. I think we can do it. Between what we already have and what we can thriftily(is that a word??) find, we are going to make the dinner table beautiful this year!!

Anyone else putting together some decor for Turkey day? Setting budgets for yourself to control the inner shopper??

Caramel Apple Trifle

Boss’ Day was Sunday… did anyone know that? Well, my co-worker and I decided that we would whip up a little something for our boss to bring in on Monday. I am very good with desserts, and I really enjoy making things that people will scarf up. Ok, reword that, that sounded way too much like upchuck. SO… I really enjoy making things that people will devour. Enter: my brilliant plan to use my boss and other co-workers as guinea pigs. I had seen on Pinterest that you could boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for 4 hours and it will come out as caramel. I have been dying to try this. sweetened condensed milk in our house is like crack, so how could this go wrong?? ha… I got started on this at around 9:00 pm Sunday night.. mind you, I am not a night owl, bed time for me would be with the baby if I had my way about it. But, things to do, so I stayed up to get this little treat made.

Here is what I started with:
1 angel food cake
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 can apple pie filling
2 tsp cinnamon

I didn’t have 4 hours to watch a can boil so I opted to make this on the stove top in a saucepan. I poured in the sweetened condensed milk and stirred constantly on low for about 45 minutes.

That’s around the time that ASM decided to wake back up. Off I went to get him back to sleep. I removed the pan from the burner so it wouldn’t burn. That sounded like a good plan right? Wrong! When I came back it was firm, like fudge firm.

Great, it’s 9:30, we live miles from a store and I have to come up with something. I put the pan back on low to see if it would soften when it got warm. Lucky break! It softened right up, so I added some milk and a little sugar to it to thin it out a little. I stirred that around for a while, waiting for what, I am not sure, then turned the heat off the burner and moved the pan away from it. I have to note here, that it never turned that pretty caramel color. It just looked like warm sweetened condensed milk. I am sure I didn’t do it right, like how I read you should use a double boiler. Anyhoo, I didn’t take it off the stove, thinking that if I left it there it would stay warm = soft.
I then took the angel food cake and sliced it in half, then into about 1-1 1/2 inch pieces. Next was the apple pie filling. I must admit, slicing and cooking some apples would have tasted far better. But I knew I wouldn’t be worth a hoot if I stayed up late enough to do all that. I did doctor up the pie filling though. I added cinnamon to it.

Time to build this thing!! I made a layer of the angel food cake on the bottom of a trifle dish (you could use whatever clear dish you want, but I would make sure it’s at least 5 to 6 inches deep to get the pretty layering effect). Mine didn’t look layered like I would normally like… blame it on the “caramel”. I spooned half of the pie filling on top of the angel food cake, followed by half of the “caramel”. Then repeat that process over again with the rest of your ingredients. That’s it! Your done! These types of recipes truly are so simple. I covered it and put it in the fridge for the next day.

Remember how the “caramel” had gotten firm the night before? Well, 2 guesses on what it did in the fridge overnight, and it didn’t stay smooth and creamy if that was your first guess (although I appreciate the confidence in me lol). The whole thing was a big ball of angel food cake/sweetened condensed milk stuff/apple pie. Well, you know how you can remedy that? No, I didn’t put the whole thing back in the saucepan on low again. I just left it out of the fridge to thaw out for an hour or so. Then I drizzled it with store-bought caramel(duh, should have just bought that in the first place since I was short-cutting the apples), and spooned some cool whip on top.

So was this a pass or fail? Believe it or not.. this was a Pass!!! Everyone loved it! I thought it was a little too sweet, should have used pound cake to ground it a little. But overall, it turned out well.

SO has anyone else had a baking debacle lately? Any sinful treats that need to be shared with the world?