Cupcakes or Cake Pops? Why not both?

A great weekend to try a new recipe. Well, sort of. I haven’t made cake pops in forever. And being in the mood to try something different than what we learned at the Viking Cooking School Cupcake and Cake Pop cooking class, I decided to create my own cake pop recipe. With peanut butter – peanut butter frosting and chocolate cake. Can’t go wrong there! And using a box cake mix, easy peasy!

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cake pop (2)

In making my cake pop recipe, you only need one layer of a cake. I knew I would have left-over batter so not to let it go to waste, I just made mini cupcakes. I also knew I would have some of that wonderful peanut butter buttercream frosting left so that would be so good on top of those cupcakes!

See the pictures above? I took mini Reeses peanut butter cups and put one on each cupcake-that gives one a hint of the flavor of the cupcake. But given who was eating them it probably didn’t matter! HA

Here’s the handy dandy recipe in case you get industrious this week:
1 box chocolate cake mix – your choice of flavor and brand
(baked according to the instructions on the back of box-for cake pops you will only use one layer of the cake – either freeze the other layer or use it to make regular size cupcakes or mini cupcakes – I got one 9-inch cake layer and 24 mini cupcakes out of one box of cake mix)

one recipe for peanut butter frosting
Your favorite recipe or this one which tasted fabulous:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3-5 Tbsp milk
To make frosting, cream butter and peanut butter. Add powdered sugar and mix, adding milk one tablespoon at a time until smooth and creamy like frosting should be. I think I used 3 Tbsp. milk.

For the cake pops:
You will also need 2 Tbsp. Solid Vegetable Shortening (Crisco) 8 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped

Crumble the cake layer into a large bowl. If the edges got a little crispy, you will want to cut those away. After crumbling, you should have about 4 cups of crumbles. Spoon in 1 cup of the peanut butter frosting and mix gently with a spatula or your hands (hands work better) If your cake mix is real moist, you may not need the full cup of icing. Start out with 3/4 cup of icing. Once mixed, place in refrigerator for about an hour to thoroughly chill.
Once chilled, scoop out about 1 Tbsp of the cake mixture for each ball and lightly roll between the palms of your hand to form a ball. They should hold their shape well and be solid, place them on a baking sheet (or something that will fit in your freezer) lined with either parchment paper or waxed paper – cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 30 minutes. (I like to put mine on small plates so I can work in small batches)
Fill the bottom of a double boiler -or if you are like me and don’t have one, just put about an inch of water in a saucepan and place a bowl (one that won’t touch the water) over the pan once the water comes to a boil and place the chocolate and Veg. shortening in the bowl. Stir the chocolate and the shortening until it is melted and smooth. Remove half of the cake balls and dip in melted chocolate, using a small wooden skewer, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. place back on paper lined plate. You can top each with finely chopped nuts, sprinkles, or leave plain. You can also melt small amount of white chocolate and drizzle over top. If the chocolate starts to get thick, just set the bowl back over boiling water. It will thin out again. Once the chocolate has hardened, store in an airtight container at room temperature. If kept in refrigerator, the chocolate will sweat.

Now that wasn’t too hard, was it? See? I used some skewers in mine – if you choose to do so, make sure your chocolate comes up on the skewer to hold the cake ball on the skewer. Have fun with these!

Fro Yo – yummy!

We love frozen yogurt from our local yogurt (well, local as in Montgomery) and we love healthy smoothies. Which brings me to this – Fro Yo – a sort of in between recipe. This was so good, not too sweet, and fresh!

Which brings me to this also – I have GOT to get me a new blender/food processor that is not a dinosaur! If you have one of those fancy Blendtec or Vitamix type this would take just a few seconds – with my old food processor, I worked that baby to death! HA!

Anyway, try this either way – I did have to add a squirt of water to get my processor to blend it – but you can add a bit more yogurt if you want.

Fro Yo
(feel free to change up the fruit and make what flavor you wish!)
1 pound peeled, pitted and frozen peaches (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use the low-fat or fat-free)
3 Tbsp honey (to cut down on the honey you could use the natural agave nectar or 1 Tbsp honey and 2-3 tbsp water)
1 Tbsp lemon juice

place all in the food processor (or blender if you have a good one) and process until creamy and smooth,k about 5 minutes. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for about a month. You will need to set out a short while before serving once frozen.

I’m making mine with frozen strawberries next! And then blackberries, my favorite!

Have a great weekend, y’all.

I’ll take two, please

Sugar cookies, that is! If you like sugar cookies, these will become a favorite of yours. These are a little crispy on the edges and soft and chewy in the center. So good, and perfect for an afternoon snack. Or in a lunch box, or a plate full going to someone who needs their spirits lifted!

Make these today. But remember, this recipe is not the kind you roll out and make cutout cookies with. Top these with sanding sugar or with sprinkles just before you put them in the oven for decoration!

Sugar Cookies – my new go-to favorite

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 Tbsp Buttermilk
sprinkles and/or sanding sugar to decorate (or just leave them plain)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, soda, baking powder and a pinch of salt.
In another bowl cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Then gradually add in the dry ingredients. Add enough buttermilk (i only added about 1 1/2 tbsp) buttermilk to make the dough soft but not wet.
Roll round teaspoons of dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Using the rest of buttermilk, moisten fingers and slightly flatten center of each round and sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles if you are decorating.
Bake for 8-10 minutes (depending on your oven – mine baked for 10 minutes on an insulated cookie sheet- on a regular baking sheet it may have only taken the 8 minutes) or until slightly brown – let the cookies stand about 2 minutes before removing to rack to cool.
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See? Buttery and delicious! I used sanding sugar the same color as the dough so you may not be able to see it on top of the cookies but you will be able to taste it!

Just Enough

Wedding plans are in the works and to celebrate I made “just enough” cake to have a pow wow while talking all about what is going on with this upcoming wedding. This 8×8 little yellow cake makes “just enough” for the twosome or when you just want a little “sliver” as my mother would say – “give me just a “sliva” Teri” – so I would!

And it got a thumbs up – next time I make this I will get cute with it and cut it into little squares, slice the squares in half and fill it with a jam and then pour a “petit four” icing all over it!

Try this cake and have “just enough” – it will make you happy! Oh, the icing? You will find yourself licking the beaters!

Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (try splitting the vanilla with 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond extract – it will taste like a wedding cake!)

Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch salt
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
(and if you want to tint your icing, 2 to 4 drops of your favorite color!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, oil and vanilla. Add wet mix to dry mix. Lightly stir with a spoon or fold with a spatula just until combined. It will have small lumps in the batter but don’t over mix or try and stir smooth.
4. Turn batter out into the prepared pan and bake for 29-32 minutes or just until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few cake crumbs but not with any batter. Allow to completely cool.
Frosting:
Mix butter, vanilla, salt, and confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and beat on low for about a minute to incorporate ingredients. Then turn on medium and mix for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add coloring if you desire at this point. Frost cake.

I frosted my cake with all white and left about 1/3 of the icing – tinted the 1/3 icing with a bit of yellow (one of the colors in the wedding) and then put a thin layer of the yellow on top just for some fun.
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See? Just enough! (ok so you really can’t tell there is yellow icing but there is) Make your little cake – better yet- let the kids help with this one!

Grillin’ Time is here

We love spending time on the patio now that we both are retired, especially on days like today. So what better time than to get grilling! Hubby has been wanting to grill his deer tenderloins on the grill and I asked him to grill me some chicken.

For his tenderloins, I seasoned them real good with a bit of kosher salt and a small amount of pepper, and added a layer of Hardin’s seasoning mix and rubbed it in real good. (who misses our Hardin’s on Coliseum Blvd???) Then I wrapped them in bacon and they are ready for the grill. My chicken is marinating in McCormick’s “Mexican Fiesta” Seasoning mix. I can’t wait.

For our side I mixed this up to also grill in our grill pan:
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Simple and full of flavor, these veggies are something we enjoy hot off the grill – cherry tomatoes (these look like baby roma tomatoes and they have so much flavor), yellow squash, zucchini, and onion, all sliced and thrown in a bowl, sprinkled with kosher salt, resh ground black pepper, and fresh rosemary that I just stripped off the stem and threw in, drizzled with a bit of olive oil and mixed all together. Now it is just sitting and ready to get cooking.

I say that is a perfect spring (well, almost) afternoon.

Enjoy the weather and the rest of your week! What’s for supper in your neck of the woods?

Memom and Rainbow Cake

Memom (my mother) always liked to make the “rainbow cake” when either the family got together or for a grandkid’s favorite request or to take to church for pot luck suppers when she was still able to cook. One of the grandkids fell in love with this simple-to-make cake and requests it almost every year for his birthday for his mom to make him. (Memom would be so pleased if she were still with us today!)

It couldn’t be easier and makes a great cake to serve/take to church functions. Try you a slice soon!

And what makes this so special, for one of her school projects, our oldest granddaughter made a “cookbook, put together and bound, of “Memom’s Favorite recipes” and we pulled her favorite, especially her “handwritten’ recipes, and now all the children and granddaughters will have a lasting memory of her.

Rainbow Cake
2 baked 8- or 9=inch white cake layers, cooled (any box of white cake mix, cooked according to package instructions will do)
2 packages (3 oz. each) of any two flavors JELL-O Brand Gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 container (8-oz) Cool Whip, thawed (now I just may be apt to get the larger size for more/thicker frosting but the 8 oz always worked for Memom!)

Place cake layers, top slices up, in 2 clean layer pans; prick each cake with utility fork, at 1/2 inch intervals. Dissolve each flavor gelatin separately in 1 cup of the boiling water and carefully spoon each over one of the cake layers. Chill 3 to 4 hours. Dip one cake pan in warm water for 10 seconds; burn out onto serving plate. Top with one cup of the whipped topping. Unmold the second cake layer and place carefully on first layer. Frost top and sides with remaining whipped topping. ‘Chill.

Now wasn’t that easy? Kids love this! So do the grown-ups. Give it a try and I am sure Memom will be smiling from above! Have a great week next week!

Breakfast or for snack- just make it

Oh my – this bread. This wonderful delightful bread. Peanut Butter Bread. Toast it and slather it with more peanut butter – or Nuttella spread – or more peanut butter! Or plain, good old jelly or jam! It’s like eating a PBJ piece of toast! It is good just by itself. Trust me on this …. it is why I am getting it out of the house!!

Peanut Butter Bread
1 cup milk (any kind will work – fat free, regular, 2%)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter (I used creamy not the kind with nuts)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups plain flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put milk, eggs, sugar and peanut butter in a mixer bowl (or you can use your blender if you have a good one for this) and mix until blended (if using a blender put on “batters” setting-since mine is 30+ years old I am sure mine does not have a “batters” setting!).

In another bowl, stir flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to mixing bowl with peanut butter mixture (or blender if using it) and mix until combined. (on blender, pulse a few times until combined).

Pour batter (will be somewhat thick) into a prepared 9×5 inch loaf pan.
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Look how pretty that batter is! And the smell is so incredible – even before baking.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Mine took exactly 50 minutes.
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I just can’t tell you how good this is. Hope you try it soon.

Weddings and food

There’s a wedding in our family on the horizon and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Our oldest granddaughter and her “intended” will be saying the “I do’s” late spring and we love her fiance. He is already part of the family and calls us Grammy and Paw Paw. A true sign that he just may like us a little!

One of the items that will be on the menu are these:
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And little old me gets to be in charge of making these! And I couldn’t be happier! These are easy, fun, and don’t fall apart like some cheese straws. But what makes these so good is that they are “Smokey Cheese Straws”, not just your regular cheese straws. We made a recipe for taste testing and they were so good. I wanted to make sure the bride loved them. And what made these a “plus” for her was that the store was out of the “smoked Cheddar cheese, but had the “smoked bacon cheddar cheese” of which I kindly obliged her bacon likings and used it. The recipe, according to her, was great. So I may just make a batch of regular and a batch using the smoked cheddar with bacon. Serve these at your next shower, get-together, or tailgate party!

Smoky Cheesy Straws Makes close to 5 dozen
1 (8-ounce) block of smoked Cheddar cheese, shredded (or the smoked bacon cheddar cheese like I used)
1 (8-ounce) round of smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (more or less for heat to your taste)

In a medium bowl combine the cheeses and butter. Beat at medium speed with a mixer until well combined.

In a small bowl, combine flour, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper. Gradually add flour mixture to cheese mixture until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. (It took two baking sheets for my recipe)

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. (err on the thinner of 1/4 inch. Mine were a bit too thick and were not as crisp as we wanted them to be). Using a pizza cutter or ki=nife, cut dough into 6inchx1/2inch strips, and place on prepared pans (I plan on making my next batch 3 inch x 1/2 inch) and place on prepared pans. bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove to racks to let cool completely. Store in air tight containers.

Stay warm and enjoy the rest of your week.

Feeling a little “punchy?”

I had a question about recipes for punch. There are so many recipes out there that it can get confusing. I have several basic and good recipes that we have used at my previous church that are so good and versatile and appropriate for weddings, receptions, baby showers, and family get-togethers. If you have one to share with a request, post your favorite punch recipe below! We all could use a new punch recipe!

A good basic recipe is ginger ale and sprite. Then add whatever color/flavor sherbet you want. Makes a great simple punch for any kind of a gathering.

Here are a few recipes.

Strawberry Punch
1 large can pineapple juice
2 pkg pink lemonade kool aid (regular packages)
1 gallon water
1 small frozen lemonade undiluted
1 pint frozen strawberries
4 cups sugar

Blend thawed strawberries in a blender. Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Freeze. Remove from freezer several hours before use. Will be a slushly punch.
Makes 2 gallons and serves 40-50 people.

Fruit Punch (yellow)
1 large can pineapple can pineapple juice
3 small cans frozen orange juice (add water as directed on can -or i substitute for 72 oz of juice)
2 quts water
1/2 cup frozen lemon juice or 1/2 dozen lemons, juiced
1 (6 oz) pkg lemonade mix (dry)
2 1/2 cups sugar
mix well and freeze. Makes 1 1/2 gallons. serves 40-50 people. Remove from freezer, let thaw at least 3 hours. Before serving, add 1 qt ginger ale.

Passion Tea (this would be great for a bridal tea)
3 cups water-bring to a boil – add 4 family size tea bags – cut off burner and steep for 30 minutes.
Add:
1 1/2 cups sugar and stir until dissolved
then add 1 large frozen lemonade, thawed and
1 6-oz. can pineapple juice

stir – garnish with orange or lemon slices – serve over ice.

So… If you have one to share, let’s hear it! Have a great week, y’all.

Peanut Butter No Bake Bars

Peanut Butter in anything is a win-win for us. And with no flour, 3 ingredients, and no baking, you can’t go wrong. And if you want to get really creative, throw in some nuts, dried cranberries or raisins or other dried fruit, and you have a great afternoon pick-me-up! Or a wonderful breakfast bar.

Keep these in the refrigerator for a firm bar. Or if you prefer, let sit out for a short time for a more softer, chewier bar. But even in the refrigerator, these are still good and chewy. Enjoy and create your own version.

Peanut Butter No Bake Bars

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey

( halved everything since there are only two of us and used an 8×8 pan and made a really thin bar – that way hubby doesn’t get much honey in each bar)

Line a 9×9 inch pan with foil and lightly spray with non-stick spray.

Melt the peanut butter and honey together in a microwave until smooth. (doesn’t take long!)
In a medium size bowl mix all ingredients together. Press into pan. I find that if I place a piece of saran wrap on top to use to press the mix down, it makes it much easier and less messier on my hands and the mix doesn’t stick to my hands nor to the saran wrap. Works for me!
Place in refrigerator until set. Cut in squares and enjoy!

Here are mine!

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(please overlook the grandkids’ almost 20 year old melamine plate that I just can’t seem to throw away!)

Let me know what you plan on throwing in to your concoction! I just may have to give yours a try!