Pancake cupcakes

imageToday is a day we have been looking forward to for a while… The Hobbit came out last week And we were able to see it today. We are lovers of all thing associated with geeks, nerds, dorks, and any other word that would be found next to those in a thesaurus. There was a time when I would of been ashamed to declare my love for Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc. But now I fly my geek flag high. My daughter dresses up when these types of films come out, it has been something I look forward to planning for and she looks forward to dressing up.

I would be a bad fan if I hadn’t been thoroughly anticipating December 14th for several months. While doing a marathon of the initial three films I realized what the perfect meal to make for this movie was… Breakfast, but not just any breakfast… Second breakfast. So we made pancake cupcakes!!!! Unlike those in the shire we would be unable to consume two full meals. So a bite size meal was fitting.

Recipe
2 cups boxed pancake mix
1 1/2 cups milk
Bacon bits

Frosting
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 cups powder sugar

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine boxed pancake mix and milk, whisk thoroughly, it will be THICK.
3. Portion off into greased cupcake liners. I filled slightly less then half way full, as these will rise considerably during baking.
4. Pop in oven for 15 minutes.
5. Allow to cool.
6. Beat butter until fluffy. Add in maple syrup and powder sugar.
7. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with bacon.
8. Enjoy!

This is something we serve for Christmas Breakfast and guys/men/boys go insane for them. I make them the night before, make the frosting, and it is ready in the morning.

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Doggy Treats

We love giving home baked goods as gifts for Christmas! We have been busy at work making everthing from candy to beef jerky. It is a busy time of year, but we couldn’t forget about our dogs! They are part of the family, we call them the puppy sisters, and between the two of them and my daughter they fight and tell on each other like sisters do. Making dog treats is enjoyable but it is much harder to incorporate my daughter in that process, so when I seen a recipe for homemade Frosty Paws I ran to the store to get the ingredients that I needed.

They have been a hit, and we have given them out to our extended family’s animals as well. Nothing has brought my daughter more joy than making this and “treating” her sisters to this chilly snack.

Recipe
32 oz. plain yogurt
1 mashed ripe banana
2 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
Ice tray, these sizes are much better for our little dogs then the large bowl available at our Target

1. I started by measuring the honey and peanut butter slightly, so that it would be easier to stir for my daughter. I threw in all the rest of the ingredients in and let her stir till her heart was content.

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2. Then she spooned it into the ice tray. I popped the tray in the freezer until it was ready to treat them.

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That’s the only mess she made! I’ll have to remind her next time she gets sloppy.

3. Let them enjoy! I thought wrangling kids for pictures was difficult, but two dogs and one kid was a killer. So I couldn’t get a good picture.

Happy Holidays!

BBQ Biscuits

This is a family favorite! My husband will ask for something this simple for his birthday. I would never complain about that not only do they enjoy being able to eat it but my daughter loves helping me cook it!

1 lb. ground beef
1 can buttermilk biscuits
1 cup cheese, I use whatever is in the fridge, shhhh!
1 1/2 ketchup
4 tbsp BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays for the win)
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup brown sugar

1. Preheat oven based on what your biscuit container says.

2. Cook your ground beef all the way through. While I am doing that I have my daughter roll out the biscuits. And putting them into greased muffin tins.

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3. I have my daughter make the BBQ sauce by measuring and whisking together the ketchup, BBQ sauce, chili powder, and brown sugar. Pour this over the cooked ground beef until the meat is evenly coated.

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4. I have my daughter spoon the meat into the “biscuit cups”. Once all of them are filled, they will be over flowing, sprinkle them with cheese.

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5. Pop in the oven for whatever the suggested cooking time is for the biscuit, for mine it was 15 minutes.

6. Enjoy!

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We have tons of variations on this, that I will share in the future, but this is a great weeknight meal! After a long day of work for me to just brown ground beef and pawn the rest of the work off on my all too excited daughter, I am a happy Momma!

Sweet Potato/Potato Salad

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Being a mom is exhausting. So when I plan family vacations I try to stay away from theme parks, I always fell those vacations are more tiring than working and coming home. For the past couple of years we have been picking different cities, going to explore them, and see what things they have to offer that we do not get to do when we are home. This year we went to Portland and while there we visited The Blue Heron French Cheese Factory. Yes, my husband and daughter have quiet the sense of humor, to take someone with a milk allergy to a cheese factory and go cheese tasting.

While we were they I tried this heavenly potato salad, I had never had anything like it. It was delicious! My daughter requested it be served at her birthday party, and the guests were very impressed.

5 Russet Potatoes, large (peeled and chopped)
3 Sweet Potatoes, large (peeled and chopped)
2 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Milk (I used rice milk)
2 stalks celery diced
1-2 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

1. Boil the russet potatoes and one sweet potato. In a separate pan boil the remaining two sweet potatoes. The reason for the separation is you want one to be soft enough to mash and the others to be fork tender. Once both batches are fork tender strain water out.
2. Mash up the sweet potato that was boiled with the russet potatoes. Now add in the mayonnaise, milk, dill, salt, and sugar. Mix together until fully incorporated and add the celery in.
3. Combine potatoes (russet and sweet) and chopped hard boiled eggs in a large bowl. Gently fold in “the dressing” that was made, folding until the potatoes are coated. Some of the sweet potatoes may be come mush thats okay, it adds to the character.
4. Refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.
5. Enjoy!

If you are a lover of eggs you can add more, I am not, and it will be just as good.

Cream Cheese Frosting

20121202-183248.jpgCream cheese frosting is was my favorite! Most cream cheese frostings are very thick, making it difficult to work with in the kitchen. My solution has been to slap it on top add more butter. Not only did it get become more manageable, but for me the taste was exponentially more delicious. Below is my recipe for cream cheese frosting.

8 oz. cream cheese, room temp (I use Neufchâtel because it has less fat, and I can’t tell the difference

2 blocks in salted butter, room temp

1 tsp. vanilla

Pinch of salt

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Because of the thickness of the cream cheese I scrap the bowl a couple of times, to make sure everything gets mixed in and isn’t sticking to the sides of the bowl. Nothing is worse than frosting that isn’t thoroughly mixed.

2. Once it is well incorporated add the vanilla and the pinch of salt.

3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, each time making sure what you added is fully incorporated. Trust me you do not want powdered sugar flying everywhere when you begin to beat the frosting.

4. You are ready to frost cakes, cupcakes, or use this as a delicious filling.

A Very Merry Un- Birthday

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I mentioned that Wednesday was my daughter’s birthday, but today was her birthday party! Beyonce talks about becoming Sasha Fierce when she steps onto stage, when it comes to party planning I become a different person entirely… The past few days have been a blur of making decorations, setting up, cleaning, cooking, and baking. Thank goodness for that alter ego of mine because she took over the wheel!

I mentioned that in my family nerdiness is valued. Along with that comes the need to pay attention to detail. When my daughter said she wanted an Alice and Wonderland party I knew I needed to do it justice it deserved, as it is a story near and dear to my heart.

I made Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting a la the Red Queen. To save time I used the box cake mix and made the frosting myself. I will share this recipe later this week.
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I also made Strawberry Chesire Cat Cupcakes! I also made these from the box, but added 3 tbsp. strawberry puree. The guest thought they were homemade, and who am I to tell them any different? 😉 I doubled this recipe to make the frosting
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Since it was a birthday party and we were celebrating everyone’s un birthday as well we went a bit crazy on birthday cake desserts.

We did birthday funfetti dip,
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Click here for the recipe

Birthday cake rice crispy treats,
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Click here for the recipe

And chocolate chip cookie dip. It pains me how delicious this is, and I am unable to gobble it down!
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Click here for the recipe

Also we had sweet potato/potato salad. It was fantastic I made this recipe up after having something similar on our family vacation! I will share later this week! It was so good my husband said to save it for ourselves. My inner party planner butted in and told him, “Nopers!”
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Because my alter ego, who is a perfectionist, took over this weekend there was little help required of my daughter in the kitchen. She helped with some of the decorations: the mushrooms, the flowers with eyes, painting the cards and characters, the mome raths, and the cylindrical paper lanterns. But as a do it all mom I wanted to share these with you!20121202-190454.jpg

All in all it was a great day! And I am giving my alter ego time off till Christmas at which point she will return with vengeance.

Thanks for reading this blog from Tweedle Dee and Alice!

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