Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 05/28 - 06/03

Now I know today is actually Tuesday, but with Memorial Day yesterday, my week is a bit mixed up, so here's what should have been posted yesterday ☺ 

Working full time as well as being a full time mom can certainly be a daunting task some days.  One of the things that makes me want to pull my hair out is coming home after a long day at work to hear my children ask what are we going to have for dinner, especially when I have no idea. 

Having two and a half children makes for a big task when feeding them.  They have little patience and do not have the time for me to figure out what to feed them, they just want it now!

One of the things that makes my life, and theirs, much easier has been menu planning.  While I don't always remember to get this done, when I do, my week goes so much smoother.  When I get home from work, I know what I'm cooking, my children know what they are going to eat, and we all know about how long it's going to be until dinner is ready.  No who, what's, or when's about it.

So what's for dinner this week?  Here's my family's dinner plan!

Elvis Sandwiches
Potato Chips

Polish Sausage
Chicken and Broccoli Rice


Sausage Links

Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles
Green Beans

Fresh Salad

BBQ Lil' Smokies
Macaroni and cheese

Still not sure what your family should have for dinner?  Check out Menu Planning Monday at orgjunkie.com.  Not only does Laura have some great ideas on different menu's, as she posts her own family's menus, there are dozens of other fantastic bloggers who post thier own menu plans.  It's a great place to check out other gal's recipes and get some fresh solutions to the ever present problem....

What is for dinner?


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Butterbeer Cupcakes

I have never been a huge fan of cake.  I think that truly, the best portion of a cake is, without a doubt, the frosting on top.  That is probably one of the reasons I enjoy cupcakes so much.  Not only do cupcakes (well at least the way I make them), have a ridiculous amount of frosting on them, they have enough cake in them to keep the frosting from being overwhelming, but not so much that it takes over the frosting.

For my birthday this past year (which was last week, hence the reason it's been mentioned in a few posts now), my hubby purchased "The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook" for me, which I've had been eyeing lustfully everytime I went to the book store.

While the recipe is not actually in this cookbook, receiving this gift made me want to make something Harry Potter related, hence the reason I decided to make Butterbeer Cupcakes.  Cupcakes felt appropriate for a birthday related recipe, while butterbeer felt appropriate for a Potter inspired dessert.

Not only were these cupcakes delicious, they brought back so many good moments from the books and movies.  The butterscotch ganache and the rich frosting made me think what I imagine butterbeer to taste like, and made me feel like I was in Hogsmeade with Harry, Ron, and Hermoine, enjoying some delicious butterbeer with them.

The only warning I offer in regards to these cupcakes is to be careful!  They are addicting, and it is hard to stop at just one!  I only hope you enjoy them as much as my family and I did!  ☺

Butterbeer Cupcakes
from amybites.com

Makes 18 Cupakes

For the cupcakes

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

For the ganache

1 (11 oz) package butterscotch chips
1 cup heavey cream

For the buttercream frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 16-oz. package powdered sugar
Splash of milk or cream (as needed)
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream your butter until light and fluffy. Add your sugars and beat until well-combined. Beat in your eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then beat in your vanilla and butter flavoring.
Alternate adding your buttermilk, cream soda, and dry ingredients in batches until all are well incorporated. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and cake springs back to the touch. Cool completely on wire racks.
For butterscotch filling: In a double boiler (heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), combine butterscotch chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth. Cool to room temperature. Fill a squeeze bottle with ganache and insert into the center of each cupcake, squeezing until filling begins to overflow.
For buttercream frosting: Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Add milk or cream by the Tablespoon as needed. Frost cupcakes and top with a drizzle of butterscotch ganache.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

This past few weeks, I have been waiting to read the book everyone seems to be talking about, "Fifty Shades of Grey."  While I have wanted to read the book and find out what all they hype was about, I also had mixed feelings towards it due to the fact that I have read both good and bad reviews... Needless to say, my curiosity won and I asked my husband to pick up the book for my birthday.

While it is no Charlaine Harris or Patricia Briggs book, it was an (eyebrows raised) interesting read. 

**Warning Spoilers**

The book starts out with a woman named Ana who is in her twenties, who is so naive, it is almost laughable.  While I'm sure there are some twenty year old women who not only have never had sex, but also never have never had a relationship of any sort, it is certainly getting more and more rare these days. 

She meets Christian Grey in an interview she does for a friend, since her friend is on the school newspaper but is sick.  Christian Grey is a twenty something year old rich CEO (almost as laughable as the virgin) who is deeply into BDSM.

They start a relationship, and basically are trying to come to a compromise of how things will be since he is a bit twisted and she is so naive.  By the end of the book, the reader is left hanging to find out what will happen between Ana and Mr. Grey.

This is all amidst the almost constant monologue of Ana's inner goddess and Christian touching, as the author so eloquently puts it (lol) Ana's sex.  Why can't the author just call it what it is?  And Ana's inner goddess needs to put some duct tape over her mouth... although between the duct tape and Ana's almost constant lip biting, the reader still wouldn't get much beyond all of the heightened hormones and contant intercourse, since Christian would just be in a state.

Don't get me wrong, the story was interesting... Interesting enough I will continue the trilogy to find out what happens between Ana and Grey, but the writing lacked a certain finesse.

If you're looking for something with some real literary meat, stop reading.  Fifty shades of Grey will not meet that need.  But if you're looking for something that is meant for light reading with a bit of romance and a bit of kinky scenery, Fifty Shades of Grey is a match for you.