Hello, Happy Wednesday! This week already has started and I feel like I've had to hit the ground running. Work has been incredibly busy, as usual. Home life has been decently busy as well.
I'm mid-way through re-decorating one of the bedrooms in our house for my middle child, Ashton. Needless to say, I've been dragging my feet on it a bit and he has been chomping at the bit to have it done. At this point, it's painted. The trim still needs to be painted a complimentary color (the walls are a sage-y green), a dresser still needs to be purchased, and everything of his still needs to be moved into the new room. While I would love to say this is going to be done this weekend, in all reality, it may be another week or two.
Other than that, things have been pretty copacetic around here. Menu plans really have been non-existent the past few months. This has really made dinner more stressful than it needs to be, but I haven't had the motivation to really do anything about it. Hopefully starting to write more on the blog again will give me the jolt I need to break out of this rut I've been in.
So here goes nothing, our first menu plan in practically forever....
Beef and Rice Casserole
Nothing fancy. No bells or whistles this week. I decided to keep it pretty simple so that hopefully I'll have time to work on some house projects (my sons room is still waiting...). For more ideas on what to have for dinner, check out Laura's Menu Plan Monday at her blog. She's got some great ideas along with a handful of other gals who have some tasty dishes planned for the week!
Breakfast is one of my all time favorite meals. There are so many ways to mix it up and keep it fresh. There's pancakes, eggs, omelets, crepes, and french toast.
French toast is probably a favorite out of the bunch. It can be jazzed up with different flavors such as vanilla, hazelnut, and peanut butter, to name a few. It also is delicious just as it originally is, without any added bells or whistles.
That being said, I really love dessert. Dessert is my favorite meal of the day. My husband always gives me a hard time about the order in which I eat my meals, insisting I set a 'good' example by eating my dessert after I eat the actual meal. Picky, picky.
With that being said, I thought the only logical thing would be to make a dessert that (at least flavor wise) would fit into the meal category.
After scouring the Internet for different breakfast flavored recipes, I settled on French Toast cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. I actually used two different sources for the recipes for the cupcake and the frosting, the original sources are noted by the recipes. They turned out magnificent. The kids liked them, and I really enjoyed them. They were so delicious! While we (we being my children) won't be actually eating these little cakes for breakfast, they certainly remind me of breakfast and the tasty french toast we often enjoy at our house.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 lg. eggs, separated
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners (the original recipe says approx. 12 cupcakes for are produced from the recipe, I ended up with about 21).
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Mix on low until it is just incorporated, and then raise the speed to high and mix for about 10 minutes until the butter and sugar mixture is nice and fluffy.
While the butter and sugar is mixing, combine the rest of the dry ingredients into a bowl. Whisk them together and then set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and vanilla, and then set aside.
Add the egg yolks one at a time to the butter mixture, waiting until the yolk is completely mixed in before adding the next one.
Next, reduce the speed of the mixer and alternately add the flour mixture (3 additions) and the milk mixture (2 additions). Add just a little of each at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated before adding the next. Once all the milk and flour have been added, speed up the mixer until the batter is smooth. Transfer the batter into a separate bowl.
Clean the mixer bowl out and then put the egg whites inside. With the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.
Fold the egg whites into the batter until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the lined muffin pan. Fill each cup about 3/4 full.
Bake until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (I baked ours for about 30 minutes, but I think 27 would have been sufficient).
Remove the cupcakes from the oven, cool completely, then frost.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. maple extract, more or less to taste
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and salt until creamy. (I actually softened my cream cheese and butter in the microwave for a few seconds as I forgot to set it on the counter prior to making the frosting. I also forgot to add the salt as the original recipe suggests, and the frosting still tasted delicious, in my opinion). Add in the maple syrup and maple extract (again, here, I actually didn't use maple syrup, I used Mrs. Buttersworth. Not sure if this makes a huge difference, but my family thinks real maple syrup is too sweet and I didn't want to purchase a whole bottle for just one recipe). Beat this mixture until the extract and syrup is fully incorporated.
Add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until all of the sugar has been add in. Mix the frosting on high in between additions. Mix until the frosting has a light and fluffy consistency.
When I made these cupcakes, I simply garnished them with some edible grayish pearls. They also are delicious when garnished with bacon "sprinkles." I just wasn't in the mood to cook up any bacon when I made these though.
Do you ever feel like everything is crazy and that you have no time for pretty much anything but the basic functions such as eating, sleeping, working, etc.? I sure hope so, because if I am the only one, that would suck, as well as make me feel pretty darn pathetic.
It only has been about a three months since my last post, but whose counting, right? Go ahead and call off the search parties... I'm back. I unsuccessfully attempted NaBloPoMo, have celebrated Thanksgiving, done Christmas shopping, baked many cupcakes, cookies, and desserts, as well as have celebrated Christmas with family since anyone has last heard from me. I've also changed jobs, and done many loads of laundry, rang in the New Year, and probably numerous other things that would generate various degrees of interest.
So what exactly has been preventing me from posting these last few months? Not exactly any one thing in particular. It more has been a zillion little things that just form a unsurmountable obstacle when it comes to my time and my energy.
The holidays have come and gone. While I absolutely love the whole holiday season, I am thrilled it has finally passed us by. I really enjoy being with family, and just the whole spirit of the season, but the amount of stress I create for myself is not something I will miss.
A little less than a month ago, I changed jobs at work. While I am thrilled to be doing something different (I loved my old job, but sometimes you just gotta mix it up), it has been a rollercoaster of busy. The transition from my old job to my new job has been a stressful one. I think the ride will finally be over, as they have finally gotten a replacement in my old position and so I will not be juggling new and old responsibilities anymore.
Now that things seem to be settling down a little bit, I am hoping I can focus more on things that I want to focus on. Some of these things include my new job, some projects I have around the house, my blogging, and of course spending time with friends and family.
Some things I am looking forward to this year include my kid's birthdays (which although are not for another two months, I already feel like there is some pressure - self induced, of course - to plan some sort of party or something), the new job - and the opportunities it will bring, my baby brother's wedding, and the Revenge of the Leftovers.**
(**officially, I believe that the name of the movie is going to be Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, or something along those lines, as well as the release date has been changed to 09/27/13**)
Anyways, this post really has no specific point, other than pointing out that obviously I'm a slacker who hasn't written anything in a few months. As well as to be an opportunity to write about my excitement over a children's movie that comes out in 217 days. (Only 5 days until the first trailer **jazz hands**)
There have been two articles recently that have stuck out like a sore thumb to me.
An individual from Texas has started an online petition to secede from the union. While this really is not new news, I mean pretty much every time an election finishes, someone starts one of these petitions because they are unhappy with the outcome of it, but this time they actually got enough 'signatures' to get a response from the White House. I believe that the actual limit is somewhere around 25,000 signatures within 30 days is needed to get their official response. Even then, I believe they can opt out of responding if they wanted, I mean, they are the government. This whole situation completely reminds me of the Family Guy episode where Peter starts his own country and calls it Petoria.
I wonder what they would call Texas if they started their own nation?
At this point, It looks like Texas has over 100,000 signatures. While this sounds like a lot it's only approximately .4% of their population. In fact, their petition is starting to look a little silly as Austin and El Paso have both put in petitions that they would like to stay part of the US. I seriously am doubting the validity of any single state seceding from the Union. It didn't end well for Petoria, so I have my doubts of it ending well for any other single state.
This other issue, in my mind, is of utmost importance. It appears as if the creators of Zombieland had it right when they showed Tallahassee not finding that little succulent creme filled yellow sponge cake we know as a Twinkie.
According to the headlines recently, Hostess will be filing for bankruptcy.
What exactly does this mean? Well besides the fact that over 18,500 employees will be losing their jobs, the people who make not only twinkies, but also Ho Ho's, Ding Dongs, Snowballs and Cupcakes will no longer be doing just that.
If they were right about the Twinkies, what else were the creator's of Zombieland right about?
Hello, and Happy Monday! This past week has felt like it has been incredibly busy. Looking back, it really doesn't sound like I had a lot going on, but it sure felt like it.
Work has been super busy lately, just with the normal shuffle of the new month as well as people being on vacation, things have gotten just crazy. Home has been busy too, just with trying to keep up with everything with the kids, the hubby, and just trying to keep it together.
Last week Ashton had his first grade nursery rhymes musical. It was so adorable. He sure makes me proud of him. I also got some exciting news about my brother's wedding, you can read about that here. And last but not least, I actual tried another craft that I pinned on pinterest (I know, amazing, since normally I just pin stuff and never follow through on it). I didn't get any pictures of it, but if I get a chance, I'll do another of this particular pinterest craft to post here later this week hopefully. *crossing my fingers*
Anyways, here's what's happening for our evening meals this week:
Chicken Fried Steak
Spaghetti w/ Meatballs
Mac N' Cheese with Hamburger
(Unless I find a recipe I want to test before Saturday)
Chicken Bacon Roll ups
So what's your family having for dinner? Have you found any new recipes that are keepers lately?
I recently came across this recipe both on Pinterest and Strut Your Stuff Saturday for Chocolate Chip Donuts with Peanut Butter Glaze. Since I saw this recipe, I have been thinking about making them pretty much constantly. It has been a constant buzzing in the back of my mind for probably a good solid two weeks.
So this weekend, I broke down, went out and bought a donut pan, and actually made them. I have to say that normally I am completely happy with the Pinterest recipes I've tried, I was a little disappointed in this one.
I should clarify that my disappointment was not in the donut. The donut was delicious. I was letdown by the peanut butter glaze. I'm not sure if I missed a step in the whole process of making it, or if it turned out how it was suppose to and just wasn't as tasty as I thought it should be? Who really knows. I think I may be trying the glaze again to see if it comes out differently, especially since my glaze looked nothing like the one in the picture at A Kitchen Addiction's blog, where I got the recipe.
While I was a little dissatisfied with my results, the kids were very pleased. They both thought they were very tasty, and Sydney loved decorating them. She thought it was pretty fun to dump the sprinkles on them.
Ashton's exact words were that they were good, good enough to have again, but that he likes the store ones better.
That being said, I think that there is room for improvement, although I'm thinking I may just need to practice up and try getting my glaze on again.
Any who, here is the recipe for these little guys, just in case you want to give it a go.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips in mine)
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray donut pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in milk, vanilla, and egg until well-combined. (I ended up using slightly more milk than was called for, the batter was too dry at first) Stir in chocolate chips.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag or gallon-sized bag with the tip snipped off. Fill donut cavities about 2/3 full.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until donuts just start to turn light golden brown. Do not over bake. Remove donuts to wire rack to cool.
To prepare glaze, melt together butter and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes. Add milk and boil for another 2 minutes. Be sure to continue stirring.
Turn heat to low and stir in confectioner’s sugar and peanut butter until smooth.
Keep over low heat while glazing donuts to prevent glaze from hardening.
Allow glaze to cool before serving.
Store leftovers in an airtight container.