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Mini Baked Funfetti Donuts

6/6/14


I'm constantly getting emails reminding me that such and such day is National [Insert Food] Day.  I usually ignore them, but apparently today is "National Donut Day" and that seems like one that should be recognized!  To be honest, I've never been a huge donut person.  I'd take a chocolate croissant over a donut any day, however I seem to crave the breakfast treat during my pregnancies (I dare you to find a sugary carb-loaded food I don't crave while with child).  So, when Kohl's let me pick out a few items from their Food Network line, I couldn't resist buying this Mini Donut Pan:  


As my 21 month-old daughter says, "cuuuuuuuuuuute."  It is cute, though, right?  I find anything mini adorable, it's a problem.  So even though I don't really love donuts, I now own a mini donut pan.  Jack and I decided to make his teachers treats for his last day of preschool (EVER), so I thought why not utilize my new, precious baking gadget.  I found this recipe for Baked Funfetti Donuts which I thought Jack would have fun with, and fun is what he had...  





One problem: we put too much dough into each donut, creating a puffed ball of sorts, sans holes:  


BUT, after flipping them over and a small amount of carving with a little piping tip, voila, they were back to resembling donuts!  And for those of you wondering if baked donuts taste like the fried assortment, they do.  The touch of nutmeg in this recipe really makes these tiny treats taste just like  cakey, old-fashioned donuts.  Doughnuts?  Donuts?  Whatever.      




Marshmallow Pops + Vanilla Rice Krispie Treats

5/26/14


Good morning on this Memorial Day Monday!  I hope you are having a nice, long weekend and remembering/honoring those who have served our country.  Are you heading to a BBQ today?  If you  want to bring something easy that you can probably throw together right now, here are two simple, no-bake ideas that involve marshmallows.  Because what else screams SUMMER other than marshmallows?  (Actually, a tiny, fluffy, screaming marshmallow is a terrifying thought).  


These are basic Rice Krispie Treats with 3/4 tsp of vanilla bean paste added to the marshmallow/butter mixture...


I let them cool, and then used a star cookie cutter to make the shapes (with the leftovers, I cut out small circles for the little kiddos)...


Place the stars on parchment paper, and then melt white chocolate chips in two separate bowls in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring in between.  Add blue food coloring to one bowl and red to the other and stir.  Place melted chocolate into a plastic baggie and snip one corner.  Pipe melted chocolate onto stars in a stripe pattern, or however you desire.  I also added lollipop sticks to each one, but you don't have to!


I found these marshmallow pops on Pinterest, and I knew they would be fun for Jack and I to do together (of course, he had patience for about two of them while I finished the rest).  They were extremely simple, and look how cute!  I can see myself making these in different colors for every existing holiday... so watch out.  

 

Dip a marshmallow in water, using a toothpick, and dabbing the excess on a paper towel.  


Over a bowl, sprinkle the desired color all over the marshmallow.


Place on parchment paper and remove toothpick.  



Lightly rub some Crisco onto a festive straw, and gently skewer the marshmallows.


Ta Da!  Sugar Rush, waiting to happen!!

#VoiceTailgate: Happy Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

5/6/14


Anyone else excited for next season when Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani join The Voice?!  The two of them performing last night - together at one point - was BANANAS.  They sure do make me happy.  Happy like Mickey Mouse sweaters and big hats and moms of three and bleach blond rockstar hair.  Yes, yours too Adam!  And, "because I'm happeeeeeeeeeee," so are my cookies.


For tonight's #VoiceTailgate and in honor of new coaches, I decided to turn my favorite sugar cookies into "happy" ones.  These are soft and chewy and topped with a buttercream frosting and a chocolate smiley face.  If that doesn't make you happy, then what does?  Kicking puppies?  Eating sad faces?  You're weird.  These cookies are festive and adorable and certain to please your tailgate guests : )               


Happy Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
(Makes 2 dozen)
Printable Recipe

For Cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sour cream

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes.  Scrape down sides with spatula.  Add egg and vanilla paste and mix until combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Add half to wet ingredients, mixing on low speed.  Then add sour cream, combine, and finally rest of dry ingredients.  Mix until a dough forms.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350.  Roll dough into golf-ball sized balls.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, a few inches apart.


Bake for 15 minutes, until edges start to brown slightly.




*Note: you can sub vanilla extract for the paste, but the paste is soooo good.

For Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons milk (or cream)
Yellow food coloring
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a bowl with an electric mixer, mix butter until light and fluffy, a few minutes.  Add powdered sugar and continue to mix.  Add vanilla and milk (more or less depending on desired consistency of frosting) and food coloring.  Mix until frosting has combined.  Frost your cooled cookies.



Let cookies sit for 15 minutes.  In the meantime, melt chocolate in heat-proof bowl in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate has melted.  Let cool briefly, then pour chocolate into plastic baggie.  Snip a tiny portion of the corner of the bag, and then pipe the smiley faces onto each cookie.  



Who do you think made the Top 5 tonight?!

Frozen White Cake

4/25/14


I will admit something right now: I love Frozen.  I really, really love it.  And I've seen it, oh, maybe 77 times and that is not an exaggeration.  But I still love it.  I'm close to creating a viral video of myself singing the entire soundtrack.  And every time little Elsa sends little Anna away and she sadly sings, "okay bye" - I cry.  So when my niece requested a Frozen-themed cake for her 5th birthday, I jumped on Amazon to buy snowflake sprinkles faster than Kristoff and Svein race to Anna's side at the end of the movie oh my god I'm such a nerd.  I made a basic white cake following this recipe, a buttercream frosting following this recipe (which I dyed a light blue), cut one of the 9-inch rounds so that it would fit atop the other, creating a tier, and decorated it with sprinkles and a tiara.  My niece loved it, although she did ask if I was going to draw Elsa and Anna with frosting on the top.  I think they overestimate my abilities just a bit.       

More fun cakes for the kiddos: Polka Dot, Rainbow, Brobee, Wubzy and Corn on the Cob Cupcakes


#VoiceTailgate: Mini Pancake Muffins + Bloody

4/22/14


How are you guys enjoying the #VoiceTailgate so far?!  The first live show was incredible, and the range of talent this season seems immense.  My five-year-old declared every performance his favorite, and I'm with him.  I can't pick a front runner!  But I can pick a favorite Season 6 coach... OF THE FEMALE SEX.  Bam!  I'm clever.  So, since tonight's #VoiceTailgate is centering around her, let's talk about Shakira...

What's not to love?  She's insanely talented, beautiful (girl crush!), extremely smart (Adam is correct when he says she speaks better English than Blake), and very, very sweet.  But I think my favorite thing about her is that she's a down-to-earth mom.  When we first met, she was pregnant, and my daughter Etta was teeny, tiny.  She was so curious about what first-time motherhood would be like, and from what I've seen around the set, she's mastering being a parent along with everything else in her life.  Milan is THE cutest, and we may or may not be arranging his marriage to Etta already.

Chubby ring finger...


So these easy-to-make pancake muffins are dedicated to Milan and his mom.  Bite-size and versatile (I added chocolate chips to mine but you could throw in blueberries, mashed bananas, nuts, etc).  Dipped in maple syrup, it makes a great appetizer for any time of day.  Especially if you're pairing it with Carson's famous Bloody Mary (see below).  In this case, the perfect after-dinner snack that your entire family will love.  They will be served at Etta and Milan's wedding in 30 years...      
     


Milan's Mini Pancake Muffins
(Makes 36 muffins)
Printable Recipe

2 cups pancake mix (I used Bisquick)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Maple syrup, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a large bowl, whisk together the pancake mix, eggs, milk and vanilla.  Stir in the mini chocolate chips.



Lightly grease a mini muffin tin.  Spoon batter into each tin, filling about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges have just started to brown.  Let cool slightly, and then serve with maple syrup for dipping.


Since we're sort of on the breakfast thing... let's talk about Carson's Bloody Mary's.  They are just as much a part of the Voice backstage as Milan's toys or Blake and Miranda's pets or Adam's tiny shirts.  Carson's trailer is like a Costco for Bloody Mary ingredients, and people need only pop their head in and nod and he knows what to do.  Luckily, he loves doing it, and it's not unusual for him to make 20 or so before each show.  The best part is, they are good whether you add vodka or not (although he might disagree).  And I should know, because I'm very, very pregnant and I demand virgin ones often.

    

Carson's Bloody Mary
Printable Recipe

Ice
Vodka (optional)
Bloody Mary mix (we like Mr. & Mrs. T's original mix)
Worcestershire sauce
Prepared horseradish
Tabasco
Bread & butter pickle juice
Fresh lemon juice
Celery salt
Black pepper
Garnishes: green olives, pepperoncinis, pickles, celery stalk, beef jerky, sharp cheddar cheese

Fill a tall glass with LOTS of ice.  Add vodka if desired (Carson pours a generous amount, at least halfway full).  Fill the rest of the cup with the Bloody Mary mix.  Add 4-5 shakes of Worcestershire sauce, about 1/2 tablespoon of horseradish, a few shakes of tabasco, a splash of pickle juice and a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Mix well, either with a cocktail shaker or by transferring back and forth in between two glasses.  Top with celery salt, black pepper and garnish with desired toppings.




As you can see... they are "famous."  Make your own tonight and post your photos on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram using hashtag #VoiceTailgate!

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

3/17/14


My baby boy turned 5 over the weekend.  He's 5.  He will start kindergarten next year and ride the bus and did I mention he is 5???  I can't wrap my head around how fast time goes by.  We had a big birthday party for him in California before we left, so this weekend's celebration was rather small but still birthday-cake worthy.  At least to me it was.  He said, "Mama, I don't want a birthday cake, I don't like birthday cake" and I said, "Okay that's fine but I'm still making you a birthday cake."  And guess what?  He liked his birthday cake.  Because this was the best Red Velvet Cake I've ever tasted.


His favorite colors are red and gold, so this particular cake was a no brainer (I put edible gold stars on top).  At first I was going to settle on a Paula Deen recipe, because despite her issues let's face it, if boooooter, iggs, and awwl are involved (human translation: butter, eggs and oil) she usually gets it right.  However, the reviews on her recipe said it tasted like Playdoh?  So I went with this recipe instead.  It's perfectly moist (even better the next day), has that defined hint of cocoa flavor and the cream cheese frosting is to die for.  I cannot stop eating it and I HIGHLY recommend you try it.      





In case you care...
Jack's 4th birthday cake(s).

AND little Miss Etta's 1st birthday cake.

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