Friday, July 29, 2011

S'Mores Cupcakes

One of my favorite movies of all time is
The Sandlot.
It never fails to make me laugh,
or want to make a S'more.

I love the scene where the boys are having a sleepover
and Ham Porter asks Smalls if he wants a s'more...

Classic, right?
I laugh everytime!

Well, since s'more season (aka summer) is heavily upon us,
I thought it would be fun to make a S'mores Cupcake
for my weekly cupcake.

I wanted a graham cracker crust, melted chocolate and marshmallows in the middle,
and a nicely toasted marshmallow frosting to top everything off.
Yeah, they were gooey and messy, and everything a s'more should be!

So, I scoured the internet to find some recipes.
Since I haven't been baking that long, I am trying a bunch of different recipes
and will eventually stick with the ones that I like.

I came across the recipe from Annie's Eats.

So, here's the recipe...

For the graham cracker crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Mini marshmallows (optional)

For the cake:
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water 

For the frosting:
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract 

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. (I wanted some mini cupcakes, so I  baked about 18 large cupcakes and 20 mini cupcakes. I still had some batter left over, though.) In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork.  Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom.  (Note: I used the bottom of my tablespoon measuring spoon to press down the crust. It worked great.)  Sprinkle a small amount of the chopped chocolate on top of the graham cracker crusts.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.

If you would like to have mini marshmallows in the middle, just put a couple of them in each cup.
If not, then omit this step.

To make the cake batter, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl just enough to combine.  In another mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract; whisk together.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the boiling water and stir just to combine (batter will be thin).

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full. (If you put the marshmallows in, they will rise to the top.)  Return the pans to the oven and bake about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  
*The marshmallows will be puffed up. That's okay because they will deflate as they cool down.

To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler.  (Note: I just set my clean, dry mixer bowl over simmering water, to avoid dirtying two bowls.)  Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.  Mix in the vanilla until combined.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.  Brown with a kitchen torch and garnish with chocolate and graham cracker segments (optional).  

I didn't have a kitchen torch, so I just used my candle lighter. It worked just fine.

I know this is pretty labor intensive, but if you wanted to use a cake mix from a box,
I'm sure it would work just the same.

I loved the frosting.
It was so gooey and tasted like marshmallow puff.
All I was missing was the campfire.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kids Corner - I Heart Crayons

     My kids love coloring.... for about 2 minutes. Then they're fighting over the crayons, coloring on the table, and yes, they have even colored on my sliding glass doors. And sidewalk. So I guess technically they are still coloring, it's just everywhere but the paper.

     Now let's rewind to last Friday. It was a really hard day for me. We only have one car, so I have been stuck in the house for the past 2 weeks. And I was fresh out of ideas on how to entertain my children. We have read all our books, taken tons of walks, played the piano, sidewalk chalked everyday, and on top of my nice ant problem, I needed to think of something free, quick, and fun.

     I went to and printed some new coloring pages (my kids are always curious if it's something they haven't seen before) and went to the crayon box. I picked out pairs of each color. One crayon makes one heart crayon, and I didn't want the girls fighting over colors, so I decided to make two of each color.

     We started unwrapping the crayons, and it was Miss A's job to break them into little pieces. I put them in my silicon heart mold thingy that I got in the dollar bin at Target awhile ago (you can also find some at Ikea).

     You can see at the bottom that we thought it would be fun to mix some colors. Then, I preheated the oven to 250 degrees, stuck the silicon mold on a cookie sheet (to make it easier to pull out of the oven when it's done) and baked for about 13 minutes. When it was done, I let them cool completely and about 15 minutes later... I had these colorful beauties...

     So fun, and the girls loved coloring with them. It turned a potentially dreary afternoon into a colorful one. What are some fun things that you guys do with your kids? How do you keep them entertained?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monthly Tiles

     I love vinyl. And I love tiles. And I love cute, little sayings. But, I am not a fan of overbearing tiles that take up a lot of storage room and that are a pain in the butt to change. My mom received tiles similar to these as a gift, and I thought they were amazing! And, I also knew that I could create some for myself, and they make perfect gifts. Designing them took some time, and there are still a few tweaks here and there to be made, but all in all, I love these tiles.

     They are simple to store, and simple to display. Plus, it gives a fun little change to look forward to each month. Especially months like August and September that don't really have a holiday to decorate for. I am in the process of designing more tiles, and who knows... maybe one day, I'll do a nice little giveaway. That is, if I get more followers and have some spare change lying around. But, if you would like to purchase the vinyl for these tiles, I would be more than happy to cut you some and send it your way. Of course you would have to do all the tile buying (It costs like 40 cents a tile at Home Depot) and you would have to do all the tile applying... but hey, I do most of the brunt work, and you get to reap the benefits. Just shoot me an e-mail if you're interested.

     Once again, I apologize for the lack of posts last week. I'm in my groove again, so look out! Just kidding.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sausage Sliders

Ok, so my problem with ants is almost over.
I have had it with these little critters...
I pulled out everything from my cupboards, 
and have had it sitting on my counter for the past week!
I set a couple of traps, and let the ants have at it for a couple of days.
And, they are slowly disappearing,
which means I am s.l.o.w.l.y. getting back to cooking.
Ever so slowly.

I still have a couple of more cupboards to inspect before I will
even break out my baking supplies.

But on the menu for this weekend is a favorite meal of ours...
Sausage Sliders.

        *½ lb. pork or Italian pork sausage
*1/3 cup shredded carrots
* ¼ cup chopped onion
Brown until done and tender.

*1 (8oz.) cream cheese with onion and chives
* 5 0z. fresh or frozen spinach, chopped and drained
(I prefer fresh spinach)
*1/3 cup chopped pecans
* ¼ cup finely dried bread crumbs
Blend in with meat mixture until the cream cheese is melted.
Mmmm... doesn't that look good? I think so!
Continuing on...
According to package directions
prepare 12 Rhode's Bake and Serve Rolls.
(Or, if you're feeling really adventurous... bake your own rolls!)
When the rolls are finished,
scrape out the middle and fill with the meat mixture.

Not only are these easy to make, 
but they're fun to eat because they're so... mini.
Sorry, that's the only word that's coming to my mind at the moment.

I hope your weekend is fabulous,
and I hope that you never, ever, ever have to 
encounter ants.

Death by Dresser... (Part 1)

This dresser is killing me!
I do love this beautiful curvy lined mahogany dresser, but I am afraid the combination of my inexperience and the horrible shape it was in has caused many hours of frustration and also in a wierd way, enjoyment. I have learned alot and I am here to share.

Let's start at the very's a very good place to start.

Isn't it pretty!  I bought this dresser/changing table from the cutest couple up in north Portland.  They had the coolest house with a little garden in the front.  I brought it home and my sister suggested I take the top piece off and just sell it as a dresser.  Which I did not even think of because I honestly thought the top was part of it, when she said that I realized it was added later.  I debated about this for a while, because I thought it was soooo cute as a changing table.  So cute, I wanted to keep it for myself and our next child (still TBD).  But then I showed some pics to an interested friend up in Seattle.  She also fell in love and said she must have it!  Decided--we go topless!

So the top actually came off suprisingly easy.  I think it has been the easiest part so far.  After I took off the top with my hammer and screwdriver, I cleaned-up the little dust bunnies and spider webs.  I did not think my friend Tev would want new pets in her house.   I filled the holes with my trusty Elmers wood filler and then sanded. Did not need to do much sanding since there was really no sealant left, just stained wood.  There were so many dings and holes though, I just kept filling and filling.  I probably should have just left some for the distressing look.  But I like to be in control of that part.  I like to start from scratch.  Maybe that is bad..I don't know, but it is my preference.

Then I primed with my tinted (I learned my lesson with the red chair) Zinsser 123 primer.  I had it tinted by Lowes in a brownish beige color.  Easy peasy.

Here it comes...I went for my normal morning walk, it was a beautiful sunshiney morning, came home made some lunch, put my little boy for a nap, went to the garage, layed out my paint cloth's, got my paint sprayer ready...painted.  Looked great, went inside to clean everything out, came back out..........(insert scream here) It had started to sprinkle all over my freshly painted drawer fronts.

To be continued...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vinyl Plates

Hello again!
I can't believe the weekend is already gone!
We had a pretty low key weekend.
Every Saturday we go to Costco to just eat lunch.
We love their hot dogs, and we love feeding a family of 4 for $6.
Plus, it was pretty entertaining watching our almost 2 year old
(her birthday is a month from today!)
chow down on a whole hot dog.
She's such a little squirt, 
so she gave us a good laugh.

This weekend I also decided to spruce up my kitchen wall a bit. 
I've had a beautiful plate rack that's been in storage the past 5 years,
and I finally hung it up once we moved to Oergon.

Yes, it's been sitting empty like this for the past 6 weeks...
but while I was at WinCo, I saw some cute red plates for 88 cents each.
I knew they would match perfectly in my kitchen,
so I snatched up 4 of them.

I came home and cut some vinyl 
(which I got for free, thanks to my hubby's job...)
and I now have a cute wall hanging!

At first,
I didn't like it. It really bugged me that it wasn't symmetrical,
but it has now grown on me.
I love the fact that it's just a little off....

On a little side note...
I have been battling sugar ants for the past week.
At first they were containable,
but then they started showing up in crazy spots!
I am a fairly clean person,
but this has thrown me into Crazy C mode.
Crazy C mode is a term my husband came up with
for when I get completely obsessed about something.
I have carried around a bottle of bleach and will spray every ant I find.
After every meal I Clorox the counters, sweep and mop the floor and vacuum
under our kitchen table.
I hear ants hate cinnamon, so I've sprinkled that on our counters at night.
Well, this morning I was finished battling ants!
I went to our landlord and got some super super strong ant bait.
So I have to deal with them for another couple of days,
and hopefully they'll be gone.
But until then, I have no desire to cook.
Or bake.
I'm so sad because I had the best idea for the weekly cupcake...
So please understand if I don't post anything for a couple of days...

I feel so defeated!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Remember my love of peanut butter?
Remember I like to make cupcakes once a week?

Are you surprised that this week's cupcake was
none other than 
Peanut Butter Cupcakes?

{Well, I guess the title of the post kind of gave it away. Hee hee hee...}

Since the past couple of weeks I have made cupcakes
with filling in the middle,
there is no possible way that I can go back to having cupcakes with no filling!

So, when I came across a fabulous peanut butter frosting ,
I knew I had to make a cupcake with peanut butter filling.

Delicious, right?
To say the least...

For starters, you need to make the peanut butter filling first:
*1 c. powdered sugar
*3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
*4 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
*1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*Combine the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
Beat with an electric mixer until well combined.
Put the mixture in the fridge until you're ready to use it.

After making the peanut butter filling, I made the chocolate cupcakes:
* 1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour 
*3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
*1 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 c. sour cream
*2 TBSP milk
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*8 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
*1 1/2 c. sugar
*2 large eggs

*In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the sour cream, milk, and vanilla.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar with an electric mixer.
Beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Now with the mixer on a low speed,
alternately add in the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture,
beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Mix until just incorporated.
(It is very important not to over mix because the cupcakes will turn out dry.)

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with liners.
Spoon a small amount of batter into the bottom of each liner.
Place a small amount of peanut butter filling into each liner,
gently pressing into the batter.

Top with remaining batter.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
(I started with 19 minutes. They weren't quite done so I added another minute.)
Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.
Then put them on a wire rack to cool completely.

*Once the cupcakes are completely cooled,
you are ready to frost!

For the frosting you'll need:
*1 c. powdered sugar
*1 c. creamy peanut butter
*5 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
*3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/3 c. heavy cream

*In a bowl, mix together powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt.
Mix until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed.
Add the heavy cream and mix on medium speed until light and smooth.

When I made the frosting, it wasn't as stiff as I personally wanted it,
so I just mixed in about 1/4 c. more of powdered sugar.

Also, since I swirled the icing, I didn't have quite enough frosting 
to finish all the cupcakes.
However, if you just smoothed the frosting on top of the cupcakes with a knife,
you'll have enough frosting.

For garnishment, I just chopped up a few frozen Reese's Peanut Butter cups
and put them on top of the icing.

And, I'll tell you a little secret...
I thought the recipe said to use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour,
so my cupcakes turned out really dense and heavy.
But you know what?
They were H.E.A.V.E.N.L.Y!
It was almost a like a brownie texture!

I loved this cupcake. 
It is so fun and rich, it just made my day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

{Simple Solutions} - How To Get Rid of Hard Water Spots

I come from a town that is infamous for it's 
crappy hard water.
It has improved somewhat over the years, 
but it tastes terrible, rusts metal, and leaves behind
film and grime on glass.

You think I'm joking?
One day I was at school, and I went to get a drink from the 
drinking fountain, and the water came out orange.
Yes, you heard me. Orange.

Needless to say, I wasn't thirsty anymore.

After battling hard water spots for many years,
I finally found an easy, homemade recipe
that works wonders on glass!

Yuck. Notice the film of grime on this glass?

All you need to do is take 1 part vinegar and 1 part water,
and scrub away. I use an old toothbrush, and it works wonderfully.

After you have scrubbed with vinegar, just rinse, and you're done!

I love cleaning with vinegar.
Did you know that you can use vinegar to clean the bathroom?
You can clean the sink, tub, and even the toilet!
For the sink, tub, and countertops, use the vinegar/water solution.
To clean the toilet, use undiluted vinegar and pour it around the inside rim of the toilet bowl.
Then, simply scrub!

A few weeks ago,
my daughter spilled a blueberry shake on the carpet.
I freaked out because we are just renting,
and I was worried about the stain!
I mixed baking soda and vinegar together to form a paste.
I put the paste on top of the stain,
and worked it in with my cleaning toothbrush.
I left the paste to dry overnight,
and the next day I vacuumed it up,
and the stain was gone!

So get out there, and start using vinegar to clean!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chili Chicken Sandwiches

Hello to all of you!
My little blog is slowly growing, and it's all thanks to you!!
Each day, I love getting on and seeing everyone who is supporting me.
It really means a lot, and I hope that you are finding some new recipes
and craft ideas.
 (Although, I haven't been posting a lot of crafting items lately...don't worry, they'll come!)

I'm all about finding quick and easy dinner ideas.
There are some days where I don't mind working real hard at cooking dinner,
and quite frankly, there are other days
that I just want something easy and delicious to make.

I totally scored when  I found this recipe for Chili Chicken Sandwiches.

Yes, those are homemade rolls, and I'll share the recipe later. :)
But here's the recipe for the filling:

*1 pckg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
*2 cups cubed cooked chicken
*1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
3 TBSP chopped green onions
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. chili powder
*hard dinner rolls

*In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. 
Stir in the chicken, cheddar cheese, chilies, onions, and seasonings.
Cut top fourths off of rolls; carefully hollow out the bottom roll,
leaving just a little bit of the roll. 
(Discard the removed bread or save it for another use.)
Fill bottom portions with the chicken mixture and replace the tops.

*Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes
or until golden brown.

Now, I'll be honest with you...
I was too lazy to bake them in the oven, so I just slapped them in the microwave 
for about a minute or so. 

When I made the rolls, I made a couple of smaller ones for my kids.
They loved it, and I hope you do too!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Frozen Fruit Bites

I hope you all had just a scrumptious weekend!
I know we did... the weather here in Oregon is just beautiful!
It's been in the mid 70s, and we are soaking up every minute of it!
I always look up the weather in Utah (where we're from)
and I gag when I see how hot it is there!

I thought I'd share a little treat that is completely refreshing
and easy to make. 
I love that they're bite size!

Here's what you'll need:
*Mini cupcake liners
*12 vanilla wafer cookies
*1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
*1/2 c. cream cheese, softened
*1 tsp. lemon juice
*1 tsp. honey
*Sliced kiwis, strawberries, and blueberries

Here's what you'll do:
*Place liners in a mini-cupcake pan. Put a wafer cookie, flat side up, in the bottom of each liner.
*In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, cream cheese, lemon juice, and honey. Mix until smooth.
*Spoon a heaping tablespoon on top of the wafer cookie.
*Top with desired sliced fruit.
*Cover with plastic and place in the freezer for about 1 1/2 hours.
*Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Now, how easy is that?
Gotta love the fact that there's no baking involved,
making it a perfect treat for those scorcher days.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cute little green desk

Silly me!  I started this post last week and then got side tracked (it happens to us Gemini's).  So here is a story of a cute little green desk...

Original glory...not so glorious in my opinion.

A 180-grit sanding block got to dig in on this primed and painted piece.  The primer- water based Zinsser 123.  The paint-Olympic "oops paint" $1.25 from Lowe's in a sagey green grey color

I wanted a more grey than brown glaze on this piece because I kinda had that all going on.  A lot of grey in the paint as well as the dark pewter colored knobs.  So I chose to mix a little Varathane Espresso with my new love (sorry hubby) Valspar Clear Mixing Glaze.  The glaze makes it so you have a little more time to work with your stain.  But not too long, I left my top coat on a little too long and had to work some magic with a little sprayed water.  It was almost disastrous.  I would only do for example two drawer fronts at a time.  Brush your glaze mix on to the front heavy like.  Then about 2 minutes later wipe off with a dry rag first if you want more off, dampen your rag.  If you want more on, apply another coat or you can add more stain to your mix.  I start with eyeing about a tsp of stain to 1/2 cup glaze.  You can always add more from there of either product.

See the sort of a grayish tone. Sorry for the little blur in all of my pictures, that would be my husband ruining our camera about 6 months ago.

Almost done, don't you love these art deco type half cup pulls!  I heart them!

I even took it a step further and took off the small pulls and spray painted them a darker silver.  In my opinion it did not quite match close enough.  Simple desk waiting for the perfect space.

{Simple Solutions}

I thought it would be kind of fun to post a simple solution each week.
Sometimes I tend to make things extremely complicated.
I over think, over analyze, over estimate.... blah, blah, blah!
So, in effort to simplify my life... and the way I do things....
I will share some simple solutions that I have come up with.

The first Simple Solution I would like to share with you 
is how I use my liquid dish soap.

For years, it has sat under the kitchen counter,
and for years, every night as I would do the dishes, I would stoop down to take out the dish soap.
(And yes, I say years, because I just barely got a dishwasher!)

And even now that I have a dishwasher, I still do some dishes by hand.
Well, I was sick and tired of getting out the dish soap!
But every time I would go to the store and look at containers,
I was just outraged that people would pay $10-$15 for a dish soap holder!

Then, the idea came to me as I was browsing the aisles of Target.
Why not use an olive oil bottle for my soap?
So, I quickly went to the kitchen aisle, found an olive oil bottle for $4, 
and voila!

My new soap holder. 
I love it because it sits on my sink, so when I need it, it's right there!
Now, how simple is that?

If you have any simple solutions you would like to share... let me know!
I'm always up for new ideas and I know you have plenty to share!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

{Earring Board}

Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
Well, it is for me...
So, I have a lot of earrings....
and I've never had a good jewelry box.
For the past 6 or 7 years, I have had a little Sterilite container 
separating all my jewelry.
I'm tired of all my necklaces being tangled
and I'm tired of sorting through the earrings to find a match.

I got soooo sick and tired of it that I decided to make 
myself and earring holder (I'm working on the necklace holder this weekend...).

Now, you're going to think I'm pretty ghetto because I used cardboard
in this project, but I don't care cause it was f.r.e.e.

Here's what you'll need if you want to make your own:
*an empty frame
*Modge Podge
*Push Pins

I had a spare frame... it's and 8.5 x 11 that I got from the Dollar Store.

and I measured some cardboard to fit inside the frame...

Then I Modge Podged some scrapbooking paper onto the cardboard.
I Modge Podged the cardboard before putting the paper on,
and then once that was dry I did a layer on top...

While I was waiting for that to dry, I painted my frame white...
Sorry I don't have a pic for that one... I'm new at this tutorial stuff. :)

Once the frame was dry, I sanded the edges to distress it.
I then fit the cardboard piece inside and started adding push pins...

I had 25 pins, so I did 5 rows and 5 columns.
I just eyeballed where I put them because I hate measuring.
I started with the 4 corners, did the top and bottom rows,
then did the middle... 
I staggered the pins to allow my earrings to dangle freely.
After I pushed each pin in, I would super glue it to the paper.

I did run into a bit of a problem...
the push pins were longer than the cardboard, so they poked through.
But that's ok, because I ended up looping the ends of my twine (which I doubled and tied the two ends together) around the two end push pins.
I measured another piece of cardboard that was slightly bigger than the first one,
but smaller than the frame, and hot glued it to the back, securing the twine in between the two cardboards.
I hope that makes sense.  

I loved using push pins because my earrings don't fall off the ends.
I hung it in my bathroom, and I am so pleased with how it turns out!

Stay tuned for the necklace version...
and this time I'll remember to take more pics. :)

P.S. I'm doing my very first linky's, and I'm linking it up to:
Whipperberry, The Shabby Nest, Paisley Passions, Inspiring Creations,
Tatertots and Jello and Thirty Handmade Days

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Oh my, oh my...
These are one of the best cupcakes I have ever tasted.
I have decided that I can never go back 
to a regular cupcake.
I have to have something in the middle!
First... it was the Oreos.
Now... it's the cookie dough.

These were soooo easy to make.
My hubster took them to work 
and they were a SMASHING hit!

I found the recipe here...
but I'll share it with you...

For the cupcakes:
Use a white or vanilla cake mix (I used white...) and bake as directed.
When they are done baking, remove them from the oven
and let them cool for a couple of minutes.

For the filling:
2 sticks of butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
4 TBSP milk
1 TBSP vanilla
2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. mini chocolate chips

Combine the butter and sugars in a medium mixing bowl
on medium speed until it's creamed together.
Beat in milk and vanilla and mix well.
Mix in the flour and salt until it's just combined.
Add the chocolate chips and stir well.

Place the dough in a piping bag (without a tip in it) and set aside.

After the cupcakes have cooled for a couple of minutes, but are still warm,
take a large piping tip and core out the middle of the cupcake.

Pipe in a little cookie dough while the cupcakes are still warm.

Let the cupcakes cool completely.

Once they are cooled,
you can frost them with your favorite vanilla buttercream frosting.
I just used some frosting from a can...
I wasn't in the mood to make some fresh frosting. :)
However, the canned frosting was a little goopy,
and wasn't ready to pipe, so I added some powdered sugar
until I got the consistency I wanted.

Sprinkle with some mini chocolate chips,
and you are good to go!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Peanut Butter Popcorn

There are a couple of things you need to know about me...
and one of those things is 
I love, love, love it!

So, I am always up for trying a new recipe that involves
the creamy goodness of peanut butter!

I came across a recipe for Peanut Butter Popcorn
and instantly knew it would be perfect for our 
Friday night movie.
(Every Friday, Miss A gets to stay up late and we watch a movie together.
This week it was "A Cinderella Story")

The recipe is soooo easy...

1 c. corn syrup
1 c. sugar
1 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 bags of popped popcorn

First... pop the popcorn. Pour into a bowl, and make sure you get all the little kernels out!
Second... combine the corn syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan.
Dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil.
Once it's boiling, boil for 2 minutes.
Third... Remove from heat and add the peanut butter.
Mix until the peanut butter has melted.
Fourth... Add the vanilla.
Fifth... Pour over the popcorn and mix until it's evenly coated.

Let it cool completely...
and now enjoy the creamy goodness
Peanut Butter Popcorn!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Tile

Every month I've made a decorative tile for my home.
However, I didn't have one made for July.
So I quickly whipped up this beauty...

I thought I was pretty clever using a firecracker as the "I"
and the heart flag as the "love".
Hee hee hee.

I hope you all enjoy your 4th of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July Treats

I love the 4th of July!
What an amazing holiday
to celebrate our great country.
We have so many things to be grateful for,
and I am especially grateful for those
who have served our country.

I have a brother in the Marines
who has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan,
so this holiday is very near and dear to my heart.

I love all the festivities of the 4th...
fireworks, parades, BBQs,
and I especially love seeing our flag everywhere!

So, every year I try to come up with a new
red, white, and blue dessert.

This year, I made some simple sugar cookie stars.
All I did was take a package of sugar cookie dough
(I used Pillsbury)
and baked the cookies according to package directions.
While the cookies were cooling,
I beat 1 pkg (8 oz) of softened cream cheese,
1/4 cup of sugar, 
and 1/2 tsp. of vanilla
in a bowl until well blended.

After the cookies were cooled completely,
I spread the cream cheese mixture over the top
and placed the sliced strawberries and blueberries on top.

Super easy and super sweet!
I hope you all have a fantastic 4th of July!

Quicky Makeover

Over here at Portobello Road, we are not just about painting and crafting, we are about beautifying per our clients desire.  In this case my client is my favorite (only) sister.  She spotted this dresser, but had something against the pulls.  She said something about her childhood and how every dresser she ever had, had these Queen Anne style pulls. "Clink, clink", she shivered and said, "they have to go!" I warned her of the existing imprints and expense, this sucker has 12, count them 12 pulls!  So off I went to Lowes, which by the way I find has a much better selection of knobs/pulls...$50 dollars later, a little hole drilling and wha-la!  Very old dresser, very new look...

Something Old...

Something new :)

PS. Sister, please come get this out of my garage.  I need the space for my other fun projects!


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