Sunday, March 30, 2014

IT'S A BOY CUPCAKES!

This past Saturday I hosted a baby shower for my newest grandson, Titus Michael. He was born a month early so we waited a few weeks for him to get his bearings in this world before my daughter drug him to a party in his honor! LOL He is doing tremendous though! God has really helped him and strengthened him. And he is such a handsome little boy! I just fall in love with him all over again, every time I see him.

I didn't want to do a cake so we went with cupcakes. I loathe D-R-Y cupcakes though, so was determined to make sure these were Mmmoist and delicious! I have a favorite little cupcake shop in Kansas City that I LOVE, called Cupcake ala Mode. Their cupcakes are to die for! So moist and yummy. And their flavor creations are incredible.....Stuffed French Toast, Mama Mia, Mocha Latte, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate overload, etc...  I have to admit I have a hard time with the price tag on them though. $5 each. OUCH! So worth every bite though! haha For Titus' shower, I made blue cupcakes, but didn't want to frost them w/ blue icing. So I made homemade buttercream icing. But then I had a terrible time finding BLUE sprinkles, or blue decorating sugar. So.... I MADE MY OWN! It's SUPER easy and I'll tell you at the end how to do it. You may have already seen it and done it yourself, but for those of you who didn't realize you could make it, this will help you. Save you the time and expense of running around trying to find blue sprinkles! And you can make it in literally ANY color you need! But first, the cupcake recipe!

IT'S A BOY CUPCAKES

1 Super moist white cake mix
1 small box vanilla, instant pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
3 egg whites
1/2 cup oil
15 - 20 drops of blue food coloring (or to your liking) (you would need less if you bought the blue dye that they use to color icing. It's sold in the cake decorating area - Wilton).

Preheat oven to 375.
In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix on medium high for several minutes until thoroughly combined and thick. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans. Using a scoop fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

HOMEMADE BUTTER CREAM ICING

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla (clear vanilla if you have it on hand. If not, regular works too)
1/2 of a (4 oz. container) of vanilla, snack pack prepared pudding (trust me on this!)
Splash of milk (only if you need it for consistency)

Combine butter and Crisco in mixing bowl and beat with mixer until combined. Carefully mix in powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix and again until combined and then add in the 1/2 container of pudding. (You don't need the whole cup of it - feed the rest to your grandkid or hubby or your SELF!)
If it's not of a good spreading consistency, then add in the splash of milk. But be careful because you can go from too thick and gloppy to too thin in a heartbeat! If you do end up using too much milk, then sprinkle in a little more powdered sugar to get it back to a decent consistency. Using a rubber spatula, spoon the icing into a large plastic cake decorators bag that has been fitted with a cupcake icing tip. The coupler isn't even necessary for this. Swirl the icing onto your cooled cupcakes, starting at outside edge, working in a circle and ending in the middle, making it mound up slightly in the middle.

COLORED SUGAR

1/2 Cup granulated white sugar
5 - 6 drops of desired food coloring

  1. Place sugar in resealable plastic bag. Add 5 - 6 drops of food color for pale colors. Add more food color, a drop or two at a time, if more intense color is desired. Seal bag and knead gently until color is evenly distributed.
  2. Spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet and break up any large lumps. Allow to dry thoroughly, about 15 to 20 minutes. Sift or press through sieve to return sugar to its original texture, if needed.
  3. Sprinkle onto cookies or cakes before baking, or sprinkle onto cooled, freshly iced baked cookies or cakes.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

SNICKER'S SALAD


One bite of this delicious apple creation and you'll wonder why it's called a "salad!"  But.... mine is not to question why. :-) All I know, is every time I take this dish to a potluck or make it for company, it is one of the first things to be devoured! Everyone asks for the recipe. It's so simple, you could make it with your eyes closed and one arm tied behind your back!

SNICKER'S SALAD

6 Apples (your choice - but some prefer Granny Smith. I am not a tart apple fan, so I use Gala)
6 Snicker's candy bars, chopped into bite size pieces
2 bricks cream cheese, softened
2 (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
1 cup sugar

With mixer, cream softened cream cheese w/ sugar. Stir in Cool whip and mix until combined.  
Cut UNpeeled apples into 8 wedges and remove core. Dice each wedge into 4 or 5 bite size pieces. Add apples & Snickers pieces to cream cheese mixture. Fold all together until it is well combined.
Chill until ready to serve. Have several copies of recipe ready to hand out!

Friday, May 17, 2013

STRAWBERRY FREEZER JAM

It's that time of year again! Strawberry season is upon us! For you folks in the cold North, you still have another month to wait for berries! Someone gave me a bunch of "leftover" berries the other day and it was so many that my first thought was to make freezer jam with them! I ended up making 20 (1/2 pint) containers and still had enough left over to make a batch of strawberry shortcake! WooHoo!
Strawberry freezer jam is so quick and easy to make! And makes such a nice gift when you pair it w/ a loaf of homemade bread or biscuits. To make preparing the berries quicker, I chop mine in my food processor. But you could mash your berries with a potato masher or just mash them with your hands even. At any rate, any work that goes into making the jam is WELL worth the effort!

STRAWBERRY FREEZER JAM

2 cups  crushed strawberries (buy 1 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
4 cups  sugar, measured into separate bowl
3/4 cup  water
1 pkg.  SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
 
RINSE 5 (1-cup) plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Discard stems. Crush strawberries thoroughly, 1 cup at a time. Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally.  
 
MIX water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring 1 min. Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 min. or until most the sugar is dissolved. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)
 
FILL containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or in freezer up to 1 year. (If frozen, thaw in refrigerator before using.)
 
*I'm still trying to master the low sugar version. I made both kinds yesterday. The regular one set up quite nicely but the low sugar one did not. I'm working on fixing it and figuring out what I did wrong. 
If I can't fix it, I'll have 8 jars of ice cream topping to give away as gifts! When life hands you runny jam, make ice cream sundaes!  :-)   

Saturday, April 13, 2013

FAVORITE SCOOP


Cupcakes are all the rage right now, aren't they?! I don't know about you, but I find it annoying to try to fill the muffin papers with a spoon. You never know how much batter to put on the spoon and once you get all the papers filled, you go back through adding to each one, to make them all the same size. At least that's what I used to do! I'm a bit anal that way! haha When I started cooking for Summer Camp I discovered the joy of using measured scoops!! It was exactly what a CDO (that's OCD, except the letters are in order like they should be!) person like me needed!


This No. 20 scoop - 1 5/8 oz (if you scoop your cupcake batter out in even scoops) makes exactly 24 cupcakes, all perfectly the same size! There! Now isn't that better?! :-)

Friday, April 12, 2013

BANANA CINNAMON WAFFLES (Low Carb-GF)

Breakfast can be a real challenge when you are trying to eat Low Carb - GF. I try to rotate different meals so we aren't just eating eggs every morning. For a while now I have been making Cream cheese waffles that, if I remember right, have roughly 2 carbs each. These have a few more, but are still only 6 carbs each. I have been seeing this recipe all over Pinterest and decided to give them a try this morning. It received a thumbs up from hubby so that's all I needed to add them to my blog. I keep over ripe bananas in my freezer, and just popped a couple in the microwave to thaw, so this went together super quick and easy!

BANANA CINNAMON WAFFLES
Yield: 2 waffles

1 over ripe banana
2 large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Splenda (optional)

Heat waffle iron until your light says it's ready.
The easiest way to mix this up is to throw everything in a food processor or blender. Start by adding eggs and banana to the processor, blend until thoroughly combined. Add in remaining ingredients and give it another whirl until it's smooth and creamy.
Spritz hot waffle iron w/ Pam cooking spray. Add half of the batter to the hot iron and close cover. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until medium golden brown. Remove and drizzle with melted butter.

6 carbs each

Thursday, April 11, 2013

FLOURLESS PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

Here I am again, still on the quest to get hubby off his insulin. The apple fritters were a brain freeze. I didn't technically make them for home, but to take to a new family that had visited. But anytime there is any baking going on, hubby seems to sniff it out! :-) So I will be a good girl and bake things that 'if' he does come sniffing, and he will, the thing he devours, won't serve to kill him! Recently I tried a flourless chocolate cookie for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised! So I thought if that was so good, then I wonder if there is a flourless version of the good ol' PB cookie and voila! Didn't take much searching to find one! I did not have Sucanat on hand (have actually never used it) but I did have bulk Splenda, so I used that. Personally when I make these again, if I use Splenda again, I will knock the amount down to 1/2 cup rather than 3/4. They were amazingly tasty though. It's crazy how you can still make these yummy little treats w/out flour or sugar! Who knew? :-)

FLOURLESS PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE
(Low Carb - Gluten Free)

3/4 cup Sucanat (if using bulk Splenda, reduce that to 1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. (I used my PC stone sheet pan, so didn't need the parchment paper).
Place sucanat, egg and vanilla in mixing bowl and mix well until smooth. Add in peanut butter and baking soda and mix until combined.
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop up dough and drop on cookie sheet. I put 8 on each pan so they would have room to bake and not run into each other and it was plenty of space. Roll each ball with your hands, and flatten slightly with the tines of a fork, in two directions, giving it the classic " Plaid PB cookie design."
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until desired doneness. I baked mine for exactly 8 minutes and when I removed the pan from the oven, I left the cookies on the stone for another 5 minutes before I removed them to my sheet of foil to cool completely.

Optional: If you want to make them PBJ thumbprint cookies, roll dough into balls, do not flatten with fork, but instead make slight indentation with thumb. Fill with about 1/2 tsp sugar free jam and bake as directed above.

Yield: 16 cookies

As best I could figure, these were 4 carbs per cookie

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

APPLE FRITTERS


Whenever we have a new family visit in a church service, hubby and I make a visit to their home and I take a homemade treat to them. This time I decided to try my hand at apple fritters. It was a super easy recipe to mix together and they were DEElicious! I had to make my family members all "cup bearers" the night before as I fried up a trial batch. (I know..... poor things! They live such sacrificial lives!) I was being overly cautious about the fry time in the cast iron pot, as I didn't want to burn them. The first batch came out looking all lovely and golden brown. We quickly dunked them in the glaze and with mouths watering, we dug in, only to have them OOZE out their uncooked middles all over the plate! :-) Glad it was the "trial" batch! 2nd batch I fried a couple minutes longer. We all stood around the stove watching them sizzle in the hot oil and magically flip themselves over when one side was done! Once I got the knack of it down, I flew right through the whole batch. I could fry up about a dozen at a time. I'm planning on making these for prayer breakfast this weekend. I'm thinking they'll go over fantabulously!

APPLE FRITTERS

1 heaping cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup milk + plus more if needed
1 – 1 1/2 cups diced apple (your favorite kind)

oil for frying

milk and powdered sugar glaze for dipping or just powdered sugar for dusting
1 cup powdered sugar
1 T 1/2 & 1/2 (or milk)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients together, slowly add the wet ingredients minus the apple. Carefully mix until well combined. Gently fold in apple pieces. The batter should be the consistency of a light cake mix. Heat oil in cast iron pot over Medium to Medium high heat. Perfect temp to fry donuts is 375. Once the oil is ready (I always test it by sticking the handle of my wooden spoon in the oil. If it sizzles, it is ready) then using a cookie scooper place balls of dough into the oil. Be careful not to overcrowd (my cast iron dutch oven easily held a dozen fritters) and watch carefully for the underside to turn golden brown, then gently flip over and continue frying until done. I cooked mine about 2 minutes per side, but they were the size of golf balls – adjust cooking times based on size of fritters and temperature of your oil.
It's a good idea to do a trial run so you can gauge the temp of your oil and the fry time needed. Make your family or friends guinea pigs to taste test!
ENJOY!