Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Farmhouse Banana Muffins...

Just thought I would drop a little note your way to let you know I'll be away for a few weeks visiting family. I'm going to try to post... although it may not be my usual posts about food...... I hope that's ok.

You may see pictures of deer, or lush trees, or quaint towns.

Who knows... stay tuned.

In the meantime, I have a family recipe that has been handed down by my great-grandmother. Yeah, we love this banana bread. I like to make mini-muffins with this recipe...... because everyone knows that mini-muffins are fun. Hello. They're fun to look at, they're fun to eat, and they're fun to make. Fun.

I'm going to classify this as a "healthy" muffin... you know... since there are bananas in it. Obvi.
If it's got veggies or fruit in the recipe, it's healthy in my book.

So, while I get packed and ready to travel, you need to bake these muffins... like... right now...

... seriously, you do.

Farmhouse Banana Muffins
  •  ½ cups Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons Vinegar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ½ cups Shortening
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 3 whole Mashed Bananas, Very Ripe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by measuring out the milk and adding the vinegar to it so it sours; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, using your mixer, combine the sugar and shortening. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined. With a wooden spoon, stir in the mashed bananas. Stir in the soured milk and lastly, the floured mixture.

For mini muffins: Spray mini muffin pans with cooking spray and fill each mold nearly to the top. Bake 12-14 minutes.

For loaves: Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Divide the batter evenly into each pan. Bake 45 minutes to an hour.

Transfer muffins or loaves to cooling racks and cool completely. Store covered.  Makes 5 dozen mini muffins or 2 loaves of banana bread.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Birthday Cake...


I must be crazy or something, because I agreed to a sleepover birthday party for my now 12 year old daughter. Plus, I had all that other stuff going on that I mentioned before.

Yes, certifiably crazy.

P.S. Please excuse the un-ironed tablecloth in the picture... I was being lazy and didn't want to iron... I'll admit it.

Anyway... I love baking, but I always order a cake for my girls birthday parties. Pastries and cupcakes...... those I can handle...... but fancy birthday cakes? Not so much.

This year my daughter wanted me to make a small cake for her and some cupcakes for her party guests to decorate. Since I was a little strapped for time, I decided to go with an easy boxed mix and container of frosting. I did contemplate making the frosting from scratch, but in the end went the easy route.

I piped a few simple roses on the top, bought some pirouette cookies, cut them down, and placed them around the cake. My daughter loves these cookies, so I thought it would be nice to incorporate them.

It needed a little something, so I made a cute topper from scrapbooking paper, a lollipop stick, and some embellishments.

I thought it would be a nice whimsical touch.

Overall, I was pretty happy with how the cake turned out...

... and I think my daughter was too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cake Pop Display Stand...


Did I mention how busy I have been the past few weeks?

Yeah, I've been pretty busy. Between a Field Day at my girls elementary school, the Teacher Luncheon the PTA Board that I'm on organized, the school book fair I volunteered for, and lastly... my daughter's 12th birthday party sleepover we are planning... I really haven't had too much time to devote to this little ol' blog of mine.

One thing I can post about, is this super easy cake pop display I literally threw together. I don't have step by step pictorials, but I think it's simple enough that you'll understand, just by my explaining it to you.

And away we go....

  • One, 11 7/8 x 7/8 white Styrofoam disc
  • One, 12 x 12 scrapbook paper; design of your choice
  • Paper cutter
  • Double sided tape
  • Decorative materials of your choice
  • Basket filler or candies
  • One, lollipop stick for piercing the Styrofoam
Begin by making 11 holes around the outer part (not too close to the edge) of the Styrofoam disc with a lollipop stick, about 2 1/2 inches apart. Then, moving approximately 3 inches inward, make 4 holes about 2 1/2 inches apart. Finally make 1 hole in the center. You should have 16 holes total.

Next, cut your 12 x 12 paper into four, 2 1/2 inch x 12 inch strips. You'll have an extra strip left over... discard it or save it for another project. Place your strips around the disc to get an idea of where you will need to place the tape to piece them together. Tape your strips together, but do not completely seal it into a circle. Place your decorative materials where you would like, then seal it shut around the disc. Lastly, place your cake pops into the pre-poked holes, place your basket filler or candies over the Styrofoam to hide it, and display!

Just another great reason to make cake pops!

I'm linking this post up to Tidy Mom's I'm Lovin' It.

Now, please excuse me while I pass out from exhaustion...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ramen and Spam Stir Fry


Sorry... I know... I haven't posted in a week. I've been a little busy. Hope you can forgive me.

Sorry again if you don't like SPAM... I love it, so this recipe just made sense to me. And it's somewhat healthy because there are vegetables in it. Justified.

Everybody knows that if it has vegetables, it's healthy...... geesh.

As I said before, I love SPAM. I pretty much grew up eating it. My dad would fry it up most weekends for breakfast. I like to eat it drenched in maple syrup...... too much info? I thought so... I won't go into my eating habits with you. But seriously, it's that whole sweet and savory thing... it gets me every time.

Plus, I live where SPAM dishes are pretty much available...... EVERYWHERE!!!...... yes, everywhere.You can buy it at the local gas station, in Target, at 7-11.... yep.

Anyway...... go buy some SPAM, some Ramen, some veggies, and some Korean Bar-B-Que sauce...... and you've got a great stir fry. Well, unless you don't like SPAM...

... in that case I don't see any harm in substituting pork, chicken, or beef. I'll let you off the hook...... this time.

Ramen and Spam Stir Fry
  • 1 bag (14 Oz. Size) Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 can (12 Oz. Size) SPAM, Diced
  • 8 cups Water
  • 4 packages Top Ramen (3 OZ), Plus Seasoning Packets
  • 4 Tablespoons Korean Style Bar-B-Que Sauce, Or To Taste
Begin by emptying the seasoning from the Ramen packets into a small prep bowl; set aside. Cook the frozen vegetables in water according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or large saute pan on medium heat. Add the diced SPAM and cook until crisp.

Once the vegetables are cooked, drain them and set aside in a bowl. Next, in a large pot, bring the 8 cups of water to a boil and add the Top Ramen. Cook until done, about 5 minutes. Drain all but 1/2 cup of the water.

Turn the heat in your wok or pan down to low. Add the ramen to the SPAM, along with the cooked vegetables, seasoning, and the BBQ sauce. Add a little water to moisten the seasoning, so it’s easier to blend. You may not need all the water. Stir until the seasoning and bar-b-que sauce is well combined with the other ingredients and everything is heated through.


Thought this graphic about Ramen was pretty cool and thought I'd add it to this post...
    We Love Ramen Infographic
    Created by: HackCollege.com

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Orange Chocolate Sauce...


    I love chocolate sauce... and here's why:

    1. It tastes good. Obvi.

    2. It's versatile... you can put it on almost anything sweet... even some savory foods.

    3. It's a great food gift... just whip it up, package it in some cute canning jars with labels, and give em' away.

    4. It tastes good. Ooops, I already said that didn't I?

    Well, although I love chocolate sauce, I had never made it before. I would just buy it at the store if I ever needed it. Let me tell ya... all that is gonna change. Here's why:

    1. It's easy to make.

    2. Anything from scratch is totally better than store bought... and yes, I do cut corners a lot by buying store bought..... no shame in that. But if you ever have the chance to make it yourself... I suggest it. It's nice to feel like June Cleaver or Donna Reed every once in a while.

    3. You can adjust the flavorings to your taste... customize... I'm all about that!

    4. Did I mention it's easy?....... Well, it is.... fo' shizzle (sorry there's my Snoop Dogginess coming out again).

    So, please make this chocolate sauce. As you do, throw on some pearls, high heels, and an apron. Rock that 1950's housewife look..... it's actually kinda fun. 

    Orange Chocolate Sauce
    • 1 bag (11.5 oz) of Milk Chocolate Chips
    • 2 Tablespoons of Butter, Softened
    • 1 Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
    • 1/2 Teaspoon of Orange Extract
    • 1/2 Pint of Heavy Whipping Cream 
    In a small bowl, place the chocolate chips, butter, vanilla and orange extracts; set aside. Heat the cream in a saucepan, just until boiling. Remove from the heat and pour over the ingredients that have been set aside. Let it sit for about 15-30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Pour the chocolate sauce in an airtight container or jar(s) and store in the refrigerator. The sauce will thicken up. To warm, microwave at 10 second intervals. Serve over ice cream, pancakes, pound cake, or whatever your heart desires. Makes 2 cups. 


    I'm linking this post up to Tidy Mom's I'm Lovin' It.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Topiary Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting...


    I've been wanting to use mascarpone cheese for a while now. After watching Giada de Laurentiis use it..... like, a million times, and rave about it....... I thought I'd better give it a try.

    Plus, it seems like such a fancy ingredient....... I love fancy ingredients.
    To make it even fancier, I thought I'd frost them on some topiary cupcakes...... and I totally recommend making these for Mother's Day.... totally.

    Spread the fanciness.

    So, what I did was bake some regular and mini cupcakes. I then cut bamboo skewers down to four inches and tied a pretty bow on them. I then placed the flat end of the skewer into the regular cupcake all the way down and then placed the mini cupcake on the pointy end, about half way through. I noticed that my skewers started to lean a little, so I would recommend using small lollipop sticks. I think they may hold the weight of the mini cupcake a little better than the skewers.

    I love how fancy they look...... and so will everyone else!

    Mascarpone Frosting
    • 1lb Powdered Sugar, Sifted
    • 8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese
    • 5 Tablespoons of Butter, Softened
    • 1/2 Teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
    • 1/4 Cups of Milk
    Cream the mascarpone and butter for a few seconds, until blended. Add the vanilla and mix. Next, alternately add the powdered sugar and milk. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator. Frosts 24 regular cupcakes.


    I'm linking this post up to Tidy Mom's I'm Lovin' It and Sweet Tooth Friday.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Teacher Appreciation Sweet Treat...


    I have yet another cute idea for Teacher Appreciation Week..... sweet treat bags.

    I decided to use the same scrapbooking paper that I used for the Notepad and Pen Set that I posted the other day.

    I'm telling you.... these are very easy to make and are perfect as favors for birthday parties as well.


    • 3-4 Decorative 12 x 12 scrapbooking papers, coordinating solids and prints
    • Themed embellishments and/or stickers
    • 3.75 x 6 in. Treat Bags, for lollipops and cookies
    • Small candies, such as M&M's, to fill the bags with
    • Double-sided tape
    • Stapler
    Begin by choosing a 12 x 12 paper for the base of your design. Measure and cut the paper into 4 x 4 squares. One 12 x 12 paper will cut into nine 4 x 4 squares. Fold the 4 x 4 square in half. Decorate one side of the folded paper with coordinating papers and embellishments and/or stickers to your liking. Next, fill the treat bags with your candy about half full. Fold the top of the treat bag down, about an inch and secure with double-sided tape. Take your decorated folded paper and place it over the top of the folded treat bag, so that the top of the treat bag is sandwiched in between the decorated paper. Staple shut and voilĂ , a cute bribe...... I mean gift...... for your kids teacher!

    Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

    I'm linking this post up to Tidy Mom's I'm Lovin' It.

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