Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Combo Mambo



bite bite, sip sip. deep dish combo mambo!

My oldest, hit rewind to watch this commercial and grab her brother to see it. "It's' the commercial we hear on the radio!" Then they began their own version of mambo dancing around the kitchen.

Monday, April 21, 2014

coconut nest cupcakes



I had intended to post this before Easter, but that did not happen. I am behind on most everything in my personal life. I have decided that this is going to be the year of "don't care". I will still give my best effort, but if something goes off course... "don't care". After the year wraps up, I will assess if this was a better method or if I should go back to my usual ways.

Tonight, my new "don't care" method worked like a gem when two different insane drivers were freaking out on me. I swear there is something going down with this blood moon business. The crazy driver tonight looked like he was having a stroke while providing me the one finger salute. The weather is warmer, so all his windows were open for full effect. Thankfully my two boys were fighting with each other in the backseat and had no clue what was going down to the right of our vehicle. I just waved at him in a friendly manner... don't care.

My favorite coworker is moving to Florida next month. I am in total denial that this is happening. She loves coconut, as do I. So I will bake coconut things to make our final days sweeter and keep myself in a sugar coma. No worries, I am still attempting to train for a 5K (way behind schedule).

I stumbled upon this recipe on pinterest from Browneyedbaker (adapted from Martha Stewart). You can visit that site or read the recipe below. The recipe seems like a lot of steps, but it is pretty easy. Heavenly coconut cupcakes. This would be cute for a baby shower too. If I made these again, I would double the recipe.



Coconut Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Frosting (yields 12 cupcakes)

Cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg (room temp)
1 egg white (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (well-stirred)

Coconut Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract

Toppings:
1 cup toasted coconut
Assorted chocolate eggs or whopper eggs (I used Cadbury Mini eggs)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. 12 paper liners of your choice.

I chopped up the coconut on the cutting board. But if you are fancy and have a food processor, toss it in there (much faster). You want finely ground coconut.

Whisk together, flour, coconut, baking powder and salt.

In my Grandma's Kitchen Aid Mixer, I tossed the butter and sugar till well creamed. Add the eggs and vanilla. Drop the speed to low then alternate the flour mixture and the coconut milk until well combined.

Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes (I was more on the 20 minute range). Remove and let cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool completely.

Time to make the frosting! Whisk attachment on the Mixer. Whip the butter for 5 minutes, drop speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar. Once everything is well combined add the 2 tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of coconut extract (I found mine at SuperTarget).

Time to toast the coconut topping. I just tossed one cup of sweetened coconut in a small frying pan and toasted it about 5-7 minutes on medium, stirring constantly. It smells so good, like heaven. While the freshly toasted coconut is cooling in a shallow plate, frost the 12 cupcakes. You want to create a "well" on the inside of the frosting, so build the frosting walls high. Frost all the cupcakes, make sure they are equal. Then roll the sides of the frosting in the toasted coconut. Toss in some eggs/jelly beans/whoppers and you are done.

Stores well in an airtight container for a few days (if you can wait that long to eat them all)!







Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bunny Pancake

Hip Hop, check out this coconut fluffy banana slice tail with chocolate tip toes. No worries, this does not have to be perfect. My kids loved drenching the bunny in strawberry syrup to re-enact a death-like moment. Of course, they added many more chocolate chips to the sticky massacre.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

37


 
Another year older. A conversation with my youngest child goes something like this:

"How old are you?"
"37"
"I am going to draw a cake with all the candles on it. One, Two, Three, Four, Five..."
"Can you count in your head, please?"

When my Dad turned 36, I thought he was so old. I wonder what my kids think of me? My parents were avid watchers of "Thirty Something". I didn't hang out and watch the show with them, but I did cruise through and catch bits. I remember thinking, the thirties must suck. Getting old sucks, let's go place Zelda on the Ninetendo before the parents shut it down.

Now I am 37. I think I would rather play Zelda. Anyone have a functioning vintage Nintendo?

Friday, April 18, 2014

letting go



Oftentimes letting go has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength.  We let go and walk away not because we want the universe to realize our worth, but because we finally realize our own worth.

1. The past can steal your present if you let it
2. Not everyone, and not everything is meant to stay
3. Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them
4. Sometimes you just need to do your best and surrender the rest
5. You are in control of one person, and one person only: yourself
6. What's right for you may be wrong for others, and vice versa
7. Some people will refuse to accept your for who you are
8. Relationships can only exist on a steady foundation of truth
9. The world changes when you change
10. You can make decisions, or you can make excuses
11. It usually takes just a few negative remarks to kill a person's dream
12. Sometimes walking away is the only way to win

content found here    image found here

Sunday, March 23, 2014

key lime cake pops


YUM! I have been wanting to make Key Lime Cake Pops for a while. I finally found a snippet of time this weekend. The goal was to entice my eldest child to eat them. No go. So these lovely ladies will be taking a trip with me to work on Monday morning. 

The mix was from Pillsbury, found at my local Target. I dipped them in both white chocolate and dark chocolate. The white chocolate photos were prettier...

For other my other fancy cake pop varieties check out the watermelon cake pops or ice cream cone cake pops

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Old Spice : Hair that gets results




I saw this Axe commercial tonight. Yes, I am behind times. My hubby said it has been out for a while. I loved it. It's memorable, funny and surprising. My mother-in-law is visiting, she was not amused by it. I am on board any time someone shakes things up.

applause.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Target Commercial 2014 : Haim





I love that Target used the band HAIM in their recent tv spots. The music is perfect. In Minnesota, we are still suffering through one of the worst winters since 1979. Summer cannot come soon enough. I am so over my boots, scarves, gloves and layers of coats. Let's reveal our pasty lilly-white legs and frolic in some dewy grassy bits. I promise to shave my legs and paint my toenails. It will be a grand time.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Maxed Out

Too often friends will say "Do you have more hours in the day than the rest of us? How do you do everything you do?" Nope, I do not have more hours than anyone else. And I have no idea how I do what I do. Most day, I feel like I am falling with style like Buzzlight Year from Toy Story. I am over-tired, behind on my kids photo books, I rarely see good movies or have date night, my home office looks like an episode of Hoarders (sans dead animals or rotting food) and I have about eight different books that I am half way through. Fake it till you make it. Laugh off the stress. A mother in motion stays in motion.

I recently finished one book, in under a week! Maxed Out : American Moms on the Brink (thus the title of this post). Originally I had attempted to place a request at my local library but the wait list for the book was nearly 100+. HELLO, red flag pending mothers! I decided not to wait and ordered the book immediately. (Rachel if you are reading this, I am bringing you this book tomorrow).

I also recently read Lean In. Both of these books hit on the struggles that mothers and women face in the workplace and at home. The fact that I finished both of these books says something. I have had it. Something needs to change in a big way. I know I cannot keep on the pace for another 12 years (that's when my youngest will graduate). There has to be a better way.

So if you are treading in my realm, just order this book and read up.




"Katrina Alcorn was a 37-year-old mother with a happy marriage and a thriving career when one day, on the way to Target to buy diapers, she had a breakdown. Her carefully built career shuddered to a halt, and her journey through depression, anxiety, and insomnia—followed by medication, meditation, and therapy—began.

Alcorn wondered how a woman like herself, with a loving husband, a supportive boss, three healthy kids, and a good income, was unable to manage the demands of having a career and a family. Over time, she realized that she wasn’t alone. As she questioned other working moms, she realized that many women were struggling to do it all, crashing, and feeling as if they were somehow failing as a result.

Mothers are the breadwinners in two-thirds of American families, yet the American workplace is uniquely hostile to the needs of parents. Weaving in surprising research about the dysfunction between the careers and home lives of working mothers, as well as the consequences to women’s health, Alcorn tells a deeply personal story about “having it all,” failing miserably, and what comes after. Ultimately, she offers readers a vision for a healthier, happier, and more productive way to live and work."






Monday, March 10, 2014

coconut chocolate chip oatmeal cookies


I love these cookies. The coconut gives the cookie a nice chewy texture and a bit of extra flavor. Yes, they are now my new favorite. 

Wet:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Dry:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 -2 1/2 cups flour 
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1 cup chocolate chips (if you want more, than more)

Preheat the oven to 350
1. Cream the butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. set aside.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a new bowl.
3. Add dry to the wet ingredients, mix well.
4. Toss in the chocolate chips.
5. Spoon on to cookie sheet, bake 8-10 minutes

Monday, January 27, 2014

valentine heart cake


We are living in the Polar Vortex right now. My youngest used some blue painters tape to tape intervals on the floor. He prefers to race like a herd of elephants while I work in my office below. Then he falls over in a coughing spell and wonders why. This weekend, I needed to escape my home for a spell to steer away the cabin fever. Since the kids don't have school till Wednesday (fingers crossed) I was looking for things to keep them busy. I was also attempting to purchase a cake at Target bakery, but my kids have nut allergies. I wasn't in the mood to read all the food labels, so I decided to make my own instead.


This is just a box cake mix and frostings. I used a heart shaped cookie cutter directly on the cake and then spooned in some red sprinkles. Added a little washi tape banner and waaaa- la. Done. I am not about making things "perfect". I like just making things, problem solving, trying things out and seeing what happens. This idea works for a cake, fixing a car that won't start, scraping the Polar Vortex interior car frost with a credit card or dancing to stay warm while pumping gas.






Sunday, January 26, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins with Greek Yogurt frosting


Dry
¾ c. all purpose flour 
¾ c. whole wheat flour* 
½ tsp. salt 
½ tsp. baking soda 
1 tsp. baking powder
 ½ tsp. cinnamon 

Wet
1⅓ c. mashed, overripe banana (2-3 bananas)
¾ c. sugar
2 eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla
⅓ c. oil

Frosting
1 c. cream cheese, softened (regular or low fat) 
½ c. greek yogurt (I used Fage 0%) 
½ c. powdered sugar 

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

In another bowl, mash the bananas until it looks like puree. Then add the sugar, eggs and vanilla till combined. Slowly add in the oil. Finally combine the dry with the wet. Don't overmix. I also added a handful of mini chocolate chips. It's a must with my kids, but not necessary. 

This recipe made about 16 cupcakes. Fill them, about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost. 

To make the frosting, bring the cream cheese to room temperature. One box of cream cheese (8oz) equals one cup. Blend the cream cheese with the yogurt, till smooth then slowly add in the powdered sugar. I found 1/2 cup to be enough sweetness. You can always add more powdered sugar if you would like it sweeter. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Samantha French : Groveland Gallery



startribune.com/entertainment

I am a big fan of Samantha French. Sadly, I do not have enough extra funds to purchase one of her original large scale paintings. I do however, have one of her prints (from etsy) and hope to purchase a few more. Yesterday we went to her opening at the Minneapolis Groveland Annex. I took my oldest with me. Viewing original art is powerful.

samanthafrench.com
etsy.com/shop/SamanthaFrench


As you can see, winter is still here in full force. Word has it, school may be cancelled another 2 days due to windchill. Cabin fever doesn't begin to explain my household. So thank the heavens for free art shows and trips to Target. 

Spiced Beef Empanadas with Lime Sour Cream

I was lured in by the idea of lime.
My little one even helped out!

Golden Raisins might seem a bit odd, but they gave great flavor.




  • 1 TBS Olive Oil 
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (80-85% lean)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 store-bought refrigerated rolled pie crusts
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest

  • Heat oven to 375ยบ F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the raisins, ketchup, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

  • Using a 2½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the piecrusts. Divide the beef mixture among the circles, brush the edges with water, fold in half, and press with a fork to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with the egg. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

  • Put the sour cream in a small bowl and sprinkle with the lime zest. Serve with the empanadas. Makes approximately 24.

I saw this recipe on Real Simple

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tiny Heart Pies

Tiny heart Pies! We had some left over pie filling from the Cherry and Apple French Toast rollups (with cream cheese dipping sauce). I made a Blueberry French Toast Rollups a few weeks ago.  By the way, the blueberry version works the best. The cherries shot out like cannons and I had to spoon them back into the rollup. (pass-no one has time for that).

I have made tiny Apple pies before with lattice like topping.  This time to fall in line with Valentine's day, we tossed little heart cutouts on top. I was uber lazy and used some pre-made crust. Don't judge me. I have three kids. The fact that I can get anything done, is amazing somedays.