Saturday, June 29, 2013

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

I hosted a baby shower for my cousin and had so much fun making things! Today, I made these crazy chocolate cupcakes with a homemade strawberry buttercream frosting. It was my first time making them and they turned out delicious!

My favorite cake has always been the crazy chocolate cake from the family recipe cookbook. This goes back in my family for years. I have never made them as cupcakes though. I gave them a shot.

Cake Ingredients:
3 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons of sugar
6 Tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup oil or melted shortening
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 1/2 cups cold water
2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350
In a mixer, blend the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients one at a time. Blend together just long enough so that the flour is incorporated. Probably like two minutes on a medium low setting. Don't over mix. When you do, your cake becomes crumbly. The batter can either be runny, or slightly thick. Either way, the cake will turn out every single time.
If you are making a 9x13 cake, cook for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserting it into the center. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the cupcakes, pour the batter so that it's 3/4 of the way full in a cupcake liner. Bake for 18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. This batch will make about 24 cupcakes. Cool completely before frosting.

For the yummy strawberry buttercream frosting:
I used Martha Stewart's Recipe and then added the flavoring I wanted. I just used the candy flavoring from the cake decorating aisle.

4 sticks of butter, softened
6 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt (takes away the powdery flavor)
2 small drops of strawberry candy flavoring
pink food coloring

Put butter in bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce to medium and add sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Mix until well combined, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, salt, flavoring, and food coloring and mix for about a minute until well combined.

This frosting recipe seriously makes the best frosting for cupcakes!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Homemade Pizza

This is one of the only recipes I can truly call my own. I have tweaked it and tried so many different recipes until I figured out how I liked it the best.

This is it...

It really is delicious. It doesn't taste like your typical homemade pizza (you know the sweet tasting, soft crust, generic taste you always have?) The flavors blend well together, the crust is perfect, and the toppings are endless. My favorite: pepperoni and bell pepper.

First, you start by making the dough. I use my mom's recipe. It's the best. I use it for everything.


2 cups heated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 -5 cups flour
2 teaspoons yeast

If you have a bread maker just put the ingredients in the bread maker in that order on the dough setting.

If not just use a mixer

Mixer Instructions:
 Melt the butter in the milk. Pour milk into mixer. Add sugar and salt. Slowly add half of the flour. Add the yeast and the rest of the flour. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Dough should be soft. Cover and let stand for 10-30 minutes. If you have a dough setting on your bread maker, that should usually be enough. The dough setting will have it raise before you start. It does make a difference, but not always needed. The longer the dough stands, the fluffier the crust will be.

Olive Oil
Pizza Dough (Recipe above)
garlic salt
Italian seasoning
Parmesan Cheese, grated
your favorite pizza sauce (I use classic brand)
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Toppings of choice (I prefer pepperoni and green peppers)
Parmesan Cheese, the powdery kind

Preheat your oven to 400.

Start by giving your pizza pan, stone, or regular pan a little drizzle with olive oil. Just lightly though. You'll take your big thing of dough and cut it in half. It usually makes two pizzas. Put half on the center of the pizza pan and use your fingers to spread the dough out evenly around the pan as much as you can. Use a rolling pin to help. I always press it from the center and out. I leave the crust a little bit thicker as well.

Next, you will poke some holes in your dough. This was one of the things that got it to taste better. It makes it nice and fluffy. You can just use a fork and go around the dough like you're putting pepperonis on :)

Next, grab some butter, put it on your fingers and spread it all around the dough. This also gives you a chance to spread the dough out evenly if there happens to be a spot thinner than the other.

Next, sprinkle the dough with some garlic salt and Italian seasoning. I just shake and don't really measure. Also, sprinkle the crust with the parmesan cheese, paying close attention to the top crust part. People tend to forget about that, but who wants a plain top part of your pizza?

Next, add your sauce. Start by scooping a generous amount in the center and using a spoon going outward to spread it around. Go all the way up to the end. It makes it WAY better. My husband would kill me for using WAY. haha

Next, add the cheese. I used to use a ton, but no need to. Just lightly cover it. In some parts, I don't even add it.

Finally, add your toppings, top with some oregano and pop in the oven. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. This makes the crust just a tiny bit crispy, the top well done, and the taste very yummy!

After baking, top with parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and ENJOY. Let me know if you try it. Next time I make it I will try to post pictures of each step to help.

Cook the pizz

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Owl Shower Invite Stuff

I saw most of these ideas on etsy and loved them, so I created them on my own. :) I added my own ideas to some though. It includes cupcake toppers, hand sanitizer thank you covers, baby bingo, and some subway art to display. The hand sanitizer I came up with on my own though.

It all goes along with this invite:
I found the inspiration from these etsy shops:

Chalkboard Pictures

Before I had my baby I found this idea on pinterest. I was so excited to try it. I found a frame I liked, for a cheap price, bought some chalkboard paint and created my chalkboard. The first month I attempted to write it cute with different colors of chalk and make it a readable font. That was my first mistake. I don't have the patience to sit there and write it all out with perfection. The next mistake was not thinking my baby would end up smearing it haha. So on the second month I had an epiphany.... I could take the picture blank and use all the different fonts I have collected to add the "achievements" on there. DUH! Why didn't I think of that before? I spent hours trying to make it look good AND get the good picture I needed. This made it all 100% worth it. Now, I just have to worry about getting a good picture (which isn't too hard with my little guy).
To add the words I just uploaded my photo to Picasa, added the text on and changed the font to the style and color I wanted and VIOLA! Perfection. I get asked all the time how I write it soo good and since I get a lot of people wondering, I thought I would post how I did it.

Here was the first picture I tried

Here was my second attempt at writing it:
Here's how I take my pictures now (I couldn't resist this pic haha)
And here are the rest.. aren't they SOOOO much better?

My Favorite Recipes Printed!

I participated in my friend's Bunco group. She had a "My Favorite Things" Party. I've been wanting to do one for such a long time! This turned out so fun. You bring two items each $5. Then you put your name twice in a bowl or something. You draw to names out and those are the people that receive your gift. You tell them why it's your favorite thing.

For dinner she served

Penne Noodles with My Alfredo Sauce found HERE
My Homemade Breadsticks found HERE
A yummy salad with homemade ranch
A lemonade drink
and a yummy strawberry shortcake for dessert

There were all sorts of things exchanged at the party. Some girls brought lip balm, their favorite tank tops, gift cards, hair and nail products, lotion, and more. I ended up with a towel that soaks up water like crazy (kind of like the shamwow) and a homemade vitamin C serum that helps your skin. It was so fun. I'm going to be planning and hosting my own party shortly.

For me, I created my own mini version of my favorite recipes. I added the recipes, the picture, and some backgrounds and put two to a paper. Then I printed them on cardstock, cut them, glued two together, three hole punched, tied them on the side with raffia and called it good. They actually turned out kinda cute. So if you want to print them yourself just open the link, print them on cardstock and do the same. It only took me like ten minutes.


My Beginning Invites

I am on an activity committee for church. We are in charge of creating activities for the ladies in our church. I usually do the invites. Here are a few that I made. Don't judge me on them, I'm still learning ;)

We usually have a giveaway at our events. I found a saying and framed it, but later changed my mind to something else. I compiled my favorite subway arts offered from all those wonderful bloggers out there. I got a frame from the dollar store and printed the subway art as a 5x7 each. Now, they can change it with each holiday. I'm thinking I might start doing my own subway art in the future.
Here is the original giveaway I created

I am also helping in a couple baby showers coming up. I've created the invites from others that I have liked. I don't have a ton of other stuff to do with my time so I thought I might as well make them :)


Just a little project.. or two

I have been creating some little wall displays based on inspiration from a photo someone liked on facebook. The original designs are just photos I have liked that others have created. I have changed them to my liking.

This was the first one I made. I thought about putting it in my son's room, but I have already changed the colors I want to put in there. :)
This one I was thinking of my cousin and her new baby girl coming soon.

My friend is starting to teach Kindergarten and she was doing a safari theme in her room. I thought this would go cute in there.

I made this for a family reunion and framed it in a white frame. However, I think it would be cuter in a black frame.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

A few girls got together for lunch every week for a couple months and exchanged recipes. This recipe was one of them. I am not a huge meat fan, but I'm slowly trying more things with meat in it. This is something that I could eat without even thinking there was meat in it. I use this for baby showers, when I'm hosting parties, or even when I just want to have some girls over for lunch.

Here are some of the ingredients that go in it:

Since I use it a lot for parties, I like to prep before hand (usually the night before). I chop my green veggies and shred my chicken. I keep them in their own air tight container and then add them in the next day along with everything else.

1 cup sour cream
1 cup of mayo
2 Tablespoons sugar (you could also use agave instead)
1-2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons curry
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rotisserie chicken, about 1 full breast shredded
purple grapes, just a handful or so, sliced in half
3 green onions chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1/2 bag of craisins
1 Fuji apple
1-2 cans mandarin oranges
1/2 cucumber, quartered
1/2 green bell pepper

Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and add any other ingredients to flavor the way you like it.

 Add the remaining ingredients by mixing them together. It keeps in the fridge for a few days, if it lasts that long. I just serve them on my homemade rolls found HERE

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Blog Posts Coming Soon!

Wow.. I am way behind on new recipes. I've got some new ones coming up, along with better pictures of my old ones to show them off just a bit better. So stay tuned!
Some include:
Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza
Gluten free stuff
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
and more!


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