Thursday, February 24, 2011

Popcorn Cupcakes for Movie Night or Oscars Party

Want a sweet treat for family movie night or an Oscars party? 
Make popcorn cupcakes!
They are super easy, but a little time consuming.  I think they are so cute it's worth it though.
I made my own cupcake liners using scrapbook paper and a circle punch.

Here is what you do:

Make your favorite cupcake recipe or use a box mix.  Let cupcakes cool completely.

If you are making the popcorn box cupcake liners like I did, it is a good idea to put them on now and then pipe your frosting onto the cupcake.  They will look much neater this way.  Simply wrap them around the cupcake and use double-sided tape to keep the sides together.

Frost cupcakes with white frosting using a pastry bag and large star tip.

With scissors, make a tiny cut on each of the four sides of a mini marshmallow.  Twist the marshmallows into a popcorn like shape and then gently place them onto the frosting. 

Keep making popcorn marshmallows until you ask yourself "will my family really appreciate all this effort"?!?!?!?! and then make some more :)

Happy movie night!

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Linking To:
Serenity Now Weekend Bloggy Reading
Tatertots and Jello
Kim's Kandy Kreations
I heart Naptime Sunday Scoop
Made By You Mondays

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Banana Bread

In my quest to cut back on processed foods, I have been making my own snacks to carry with me to work.  I started with these Peanut Butter Granola Bars and then these Granola Truffles.  I am happy to report that I have not purchased store bought granola bars so far this year!

Since I had two very ripe bananas sitting on my counter top, I thought I would try this peanut butter banana bread.  It did not disappoint.  The bread was moist and very flavorful ~ love the peanut butter banana combo.  The addition of the oats sprinkled on top gives it a little extra crunch.  I'll definitely be making this again!

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Banana Bread
from Fannetasticfood

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I ground Soft White Wheat in my WonderMill)
3/4 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup finely ground flaxseed (I grind this in my Magic Bullet)
1 tsp. cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup skim milk (I used Soy)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg, beaten
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In two separate bowls, mix dry, then wet and the combine, adding wet to dry and stirring gently until the mixture just comes together.  Pour into a sprayed loaf pan and sprinkle oats on top.  Bake 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean.

Linking To:
Whipperberry Friday Flair
All Things Heart and Home

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vegetable Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

I have made more soup this winter than ever before. 
Probably because it's been so freaking cold! And soup makes you feel all warm and cozy :)

My vegetable soup recipe is so easy and the best part is that you can have it on the table in less than 30 minutes.  Don't I sound like Rachel Ray - ha ha. 
Add some grilled cheese croutons and you have a warm, delicous, healthy meal.

Vegetable Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium size zucchini, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 T olive oil
1 can (14.5 oz) petit diced tomatoes
2T tomato paste
1 can (14.05 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn
1 cup Digalini pasta
salt and pepper to taste

Add water to a medium saucepan and cook pasta until almost done. Drain and set aside.
In a dutch oven saute olive oil, onion and celery until tender.  Add carrots and zucchini and saute for about another minute or so. Add broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, corn and digalini pasta.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

Grilled Cheese Croutons

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp. thyme
6 slices of whole grain bread
3 slices of cheddar cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine the butter and thyme. Spread one side of each bread slice with the butter mixture. Place 3 slices in the pan, buttered side down. Top with the cheese, then with the remaining 3 bread slices, buttered side up. Cook, turning once, until toasted on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Remove the sandwiches from the pan. Let them cool slightly, then cut them into 1-inch squares. Makes about 60 croutons.

Tidy Mom

Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Baked Donuts

You know how some people have a "to-do" list? Well I have a "to-bake" list.

My to-bake list is really long, and I am constantly adding to it, but today I can cross something off.


I'm not a big donut fan, let me re-phrase that, my hips are not big donut fans, but my daughter loves them.
I also have this really cool donut pan (because I'm a sucker for cute baking pans), so when I found a recipe for baked donuts, I thought to myself,  today is the day I will conquer the donut.

The recipe is super easy. We happened to have some canned frosting left over from the night before when my daughter baked some Funfetti cookies for a friend, so I decided to use that for the donut frosting.
Just place the frosting in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds and then spoon it on top of the donuts. Add some sprinkles and you've got a cute donut for your valentine!

Baked Lemon Donuts
recipe from My Baking Addiction

Yield | 6 regular size donuts
½ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1¼ cups cake flour, sifted
1¼ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ tbsp. butter, melted
½ teaspoon of vanilla

Prepare pan with baking spray.
Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small bowl combine sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is moistened and fragrant.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in sugar mixture.
Add buttermilk, egg, butter, and vanilla and stir until just combined.
Add batter to a piping bag and fill each donut cup approximately one-half full.
Bake 10 minutes or until the top of the donuts spring back when touched.
Let cool in pan for 4–5 minutes before removing. Finish the donuts with glaze, sprinkles, or cinnamon sugar.

Note - this recipe was originally for 24 mini donuts baked for about 5 minutes, but my pan holds six regular size donuts.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Samoas (aka Caramel Delites) Ice Cream Truffles

Do you have any of these in your house yet? 

This is the 11th year my daughter has been selling Girl Scout cookies, so we've had a lot of cookies in our house over the years!  She will be a senior in high school next's kind of sad that our cookie selling days are almost over :(

Girl Scouts is a great organization that helps girls gain courage, confidence and character.

So when you see some little Girl Scouts selling cookies this weekend - BUY SOME!!

Samoas Ice Cream Truffles
from MyRecipes

1 pint vanilla ice cream
8 coconut-chocolate cookies (Caramel Delites or Samoas)

Let ice cream stand at room temperature 15 minutes to soften.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in freezer.
Process cookies in a food processor 1 minute or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Pour cookie crumbs into a shallow dish.
Scoop ice cream into small balls using a 1 1/4 inch ice cream scoop and roll in cookie crumbs.
Arranged on prepared baking sheet in freezer.  Freeze truffles at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Makes 16 truffles.

Try not to pop them all in your mouth in one sitting!

Linking To: Tatertots and Jello

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cup'oat'ccino and a Winner!

I have a new obsession.


Cappuccino that tastes just like oatmeal!!!

I discovered this earlier in the week at my local Sheetz Convenience Store and had to give it a try since I love, love, love oatmeal.  It even has tiny bits of oats floating around. Yum.

Hopefully this cold weather goes away soon. 
My Diet Coke obsession is bad enough.

Congratulations to Leslie from The Hungry Housewife who said:
"Thanks for the giveaway! Hmmm. my favorite way to cook green giant veggies? I am a big fan of a good sautee! "

Leslie won my giveaway sponsored by My Blog Spark and Green Giant.  I've sent you an email Leslie. 
I just need your address so My Blog Spark can get your prize pack out to you.  Congrats!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Green Giant Giveaway

I love veggies almost as much as I love cupcakes, so I was really excited when My Blog Spark contacted me about doing a review for Green Giant Frozen Vegetables.
Did you know that over 25 delicious varieties of Green Giant veggies are now endorsed by Weight Watchers®, and most have only a 1 or 2 point values per serving! Green Giant Boxed Vegetables are available in a wide variety of flavors and all are packed with flavor and only take minutes to make. I love the broccoli with cheese sauce served over a baked potato ~ yum! 

The nice people at My Blog Spark and Green Giant sent me this awesome prize pack that included a large green insulated tote, a box of Green Giant frozen broccoli with cheese sauce, a cool Zak serving bowl, an Orka silicone spoon and a clip on pedometer.  And guess what?  You can have one too!  Your prize pack will include a coupon for a box of frozen veggies, not the actual box as shown here. 

Want to know how you can win?  Just follow my blog and leave a comment telling me your favorite way to fix Green Giant frozen vegetables.  The contest will be open for entries until midnight, Wednesday, February 9, 2011.  The winner will be picked on Thurday.
Receive extra entries for doing each of the following:

1.  Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave me a comment that you did.
2.  Tweet about this giveaway using the hash tag #myblogspark and leave me a comment.
Happy Monday and Good luck :)

This contest is now closed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cupcake ~ Go Steelers!!

I'm always looking for an excuse to bake cupcakes and the Super Bowl sounds like a good one to me!
We're heading over to my brother and sister-in-law's house for a party later, so I decided to take these cookies and cream cupcakes along to show our Steeler spirit. 
My husband is from Pittsburgh, so we will be waving our terrible towels this evening!
Go Steelers!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sweet Whole Wheat Cornbread

Ok here's the yummy cornbread recipe I promised you.  I love that this recipe uses whole wheat flour instead of white. You know how excited I get when I get to use my wheat grinder :)
Seriously, that thing is fabulous!! 
Anyway, make this the next time you have soup or chili ~ you won't be sorry!

Sweet Whole Wheat Cornbread

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 T baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil

Mix together whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add egg, milk and oil.  Mix together until combined.  Scoop into greased muffin cups or greased 8 x 8 bake dish.  Muffins bake for 20 minutes.  Bake the 8 x 8 pan for 35-40 minutes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Two-Bean Vegetarian Chili

It's been so chilly that I have been making a lot of soup this winter, but when I spotted this vegetarian chili on My Kitchen Sink Recipes, I knew it was time to try something new.

Just a quick stop at the store to pick up some squash and I was ready. I used petit diced tomatoes because the word "stewed tomatoes" just grosses me out for some reason :)   Is that weird?

The recipe came together quickly and tasted so hearty and delicious. It will definitely be in my dinner rotation again and again. Serve it with cornbread (recipe coming soon) and you have a complete, tasty meal for a cold winter night. Let's just hope we don't have too many of these cold nights left.  Bring on spring!!

Two-Bean Vegetarian Chili

1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb, butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1/4 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes (I used Petit Diced)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
lime wedge

In a dutch oven or large saucepan with lid, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Add squash, red pepper and chili powder.  Season with salt and pepper, cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Add 1/2 cup water.  Cover and simmer until veggies are crisp-tender, about 7 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and their juice, breaking them up with a spoon.  Add chickpeas, black beans, 1/4 cup of the cilantro and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, partially cover and cook until lightly thickened about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in remaining cilantro.  Spoon into serving bowls and serve with lime wedges.