Monday, July 23, 2012

Hazelnut-Moolatte Cupcakes . . .

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!

So last night it was hotter than all get out and it was trickling inside, even with all of the cool air producing. So the boys slept up in our room cause it was cooler. So I go to go to bed and 3 boys {daddy, Lance & Adam} are sprawled out on my bed, using my pillows and my blanket...It was the cutest darn site ever!!! Even Kenna ditched me to join the boys on the bed! So here I am all alone, and I went to sleep in Adam's wasn't all that bad! Hehehe...

So this morning I woke up, not remembering where I was and super groggy and get a phone call that our puppy Kenna was at the neighbors because she dug a hole under the fence...not what you want to wake up to at 7:30 in the morning! So since I was awake, I thought everyone else should be too and decided to get my butt kicked at Turbo Kick, which it did...

So now, here we are just before lunch time and I thought I would share a quick recipe with you all! I LOVE Hazelnut Moolattes and had a craving for one the other day, but I also had a craving for a cupcake...but I couldn't have both...or could I? Try them out and see what you think!!!

Hazelnut Moolatte Cupcakes & Frosting
{Yields 12}

1/3 c. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 c. Heavy Cream
1/2 c. Butter @ Room Temp
3/4 c. Sugar
1        Egg
2 tsp.  Vanilla
1-1/4 c. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Buttercream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare muffin pan.
2. Place chocolate chips in a bowl, heat heavy cream in a double boiler until steaming hot, not boiling. Pour over Chocolate Chips, let it sit for 30 seconds and stir until creamy. Cool to room temperature before adding to cupcake batter...
3. Combine dry ingredients to a medium bowl, set aside.
4. While ganache is cooling, cream butter & sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
5. Slowly add the ganache to stand mixer until well combined. Scrape sides & add egg & vanilla and mix 2 minutes.
6. Slowly add flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape sides as needed...
7. Fill liners 1/2 full, bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 12-15 min. until they bounce back when you press on them {depending on oven}.
8. Allow to cool completely before frosting

Hazelnut Latte Buttercream
{Yields 2 cups}

1/2 c. Butter @ Room Temp
2-1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
2 Tlb. Sugar Free Hazelnut Flavoring
1 tsp. Instant Coffee Granules
3-5 Tlb. Heavy Cream {Depending on how thick you want it}

1. Cream butter for 1 minute, slowly add powdered sugar until powdery.
2. Hazelnut Flavoring and Coffee.
3. Add Heavy Cream 1 Tlb. at a time until desired consistency is reached {About 5 minutes total mixing time} 
4. Frost & Enjoy!!!

Until next time...


Friday, July 20, 2012

Growing into Myself...

Hey everyone!

So a year ago, I set out to get myself healthy. I had just had my 3rd son via c-section and was given the go ahead to start exercising again. So last July, I set my goals and went to work. After a month of working out daily, but not changing what I ate, I set new goals and adjust things. In August of last year, I started Herbalife and couldn't BELIEVE the results. They were quick and I worked out just as hard, but was finally able to see some results. I had someone then tell me that I will gain double whatever I lost on Herbalife because that is what happened to her. That scared me. So I struggled this past winter. Didn't gain any back, but struggled just the same.

I found out I couldn't exercise anymore as well because I became severely anemic and couldn't get oxygen and really struggled. I tried to maintain myself, but not being able to work out like I wanted was hard. So I set new goals for myself and started getting away from Herbalife because I didn't want a diet, I wanted a transformation within myself and not have to depend on anything...I did a 6 week wt. loss challenge with myself and had a body scan done. The results were amazing and I shared them with you on this post HERE...
So now, here we are 1 year later, 30 lbs lighter, not entirely where I'm wanting to be, but light years away from where I came from. I'm happier, healthier, have more energy, and becoming a better person to not just myself, but my husband, children, family and friends. It's amazing what you can do if you have a mind to do it. I'm just happy and wanted to share it with anyone and everyone that cared to listen!

I read something recently that is most certainly true...Being fat is hard. Diets are Hard. Getting fit is hard. Staying fit is hard. Which hard will you choose?

Many blessings for you and yours...

Until next time...


Quick, Easy & $$ Effective Chicken Marsala

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to quickly share with you a quick, easy and cost effective recipe for Chicken Marsala...Hope you enjoy! I cleaned my plate...was sad I hadn't made more!

Chicken Marsala
{Yields 4 servings}

3 Tlb. Extra Virgin Olive Oil {I use Light}
2 Tlb. Butter
4 Chicken Breasts {I used Great Value Frozen Chicken Breasts without bones and skin, sells for $9 per bag of 8}
S&P to taste
1/2 Red onion, Thinly sliced and then Quartered
8 oz. Bella Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c. Marsala Wine
2 c. Chicken Stalk
4 Tlb. Flour
3 Tlb. Carbonated Water {or you could use beer}

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease sheet pan, set aside.
2. Heat olive oil and butter over med.-high heat until just sizzling.
3. Add chicken breasts and sprinkle with S and P {I add my chicken frozen to the pan, but you can thaw your chicken, would cut down on time too}...heat each side for 5 min. until golden {frozen, or 3 min. thawed}
4. Transfer chicken to baking sheet and cook in oven for 15-20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, add onions & mushrooms & 1 Tlb. Olive Oil to the same pan as the chicken and cook until onions are nice & tender {about 3 minutes}.
6. Add Marsala wine and reduce juices in 1/2.
7. Add Chicken Stalk and reduce until juices aren't so watery.
8. In a bowl, mix together flour & water to make a "tempura" batter...{sounds weird but it literally is delish!} and add that to your pan and stir out any clumps and just until thick...
9. Serve and Enjoy!

Until next time...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Birthday Cake: Construction Zone

Hello everyone!

This week I got the privileged of creating a birthday cake for a little man turning 3...He had a construction themed party and here is the cake I created to go along with the theme!!! I'm also going to include the recipe for the cake! Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Cake

3 sticks Butter @ Room Temp
2-1/4 c. Sugar
4 Eggs
4 tsp. Vanilla
3 c. Flour
1/2 c. Cocoa Powder
1/4 c. Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 c. Buttermilk
1 c. Hot Coffee {I use instant coffee mixed with hot water}

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare pans {I grease my pans and line them with parchment paper}
2. Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
3. Cream Butter and Sugar for 3 minutes in a stand mixer using paddle attachment.
4. Add Eggs one at a time. Scrape sides down and add vanilla 1 tsp. at a time.
5. Slowly, add flour & buttermilk alternately {beginning and ending with flour}.
6. Slowly add hot coffee.
7. Pour into prepared pans and back for 25-45 minutes. {I say this because if you use a 6" pan, you bake for 25 min. If you use a 9" pan (filled with 2 c. batter), bake for 35 min. Etc...}
8. Allow to cool completely before assembling.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 c. Heavy Cream
8 oz. Chocolate {I use Bittersweet}
4 Tlb. Butter, Cubed

1. Place chocolate into a bowl.
2. Heat Heavy Cream in a double boiler until steaming, not boiling.
3. Pour Cream over chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds, then slowly mix until smooth.
4. Slowly add the butter and mix until smooth and creamy.
5. Use to your my case, this went between the inside layers of my cake...

Chocolate Ganache Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 c. Heavy Cream
10 oz. Chocolate {I use Bittersweet}
4 oz. Butter + 8 Tlb. Butter at Room Temp
8 oz. Cream Cheese at Room Temp
5 c. Powder Sugar
5 Tlb. Cocoa Powder

1. Using the first 3 ingredients, repeat the ganache process, allow to cool to Room Temp before adding to frosting...
2. In a stand mixer using whisk attachment, cream 8 Tlb. butter and cream cheese until pale and fluffy {5 minutes}
3. Slowly add Powdered Sugar and Cocoa Powder.
4. Once the ganache is cooled, slowly add to stand mixer, scraping sides of the bowl and mix until smooth {about 3 minutes}
5. Frost your cake!

Until next time...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chocolate Chip S'mores Sandwich Cookies

Hey everyone! Happy weekending!

Today I woke up and went to our local YMCA for a Zumbathon! It was super fun and helped raise money for the expansion of their current program. I think it is a great thing to support since I am a huge YMCA user. I even purchased some raffle tickets and won a door prize {a beautiful turquoise scarf from a local boutique!!!}...My foot could only go so long before it gave out, so after 75 minutes, and 10 lbs of sweat, I decided to take my butt inside and proceeded to do 35 minutes of weight lifting. By the time I was done with my workout, I swear I lost 10 lbs of blood, sweat and tears and a hole lotta stank! I mean litterally! It is 90 degrees, we did our Zumbathon outside on the black top, so it was more like 120! First thing Lance says to me when I get in the door "Mommy you really stink" and waves his hands in front of his nose...

Needless to say, I hopped in the shower, ate lunch and the was having SUPER cravings for chocolate of some sort...So I set to making Chocolate Chip S'mores Sandwich Cookies and thought I would hop on in and share the recipe with you since they turned out absolutely DELISH!!! Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Chip S'mores Sandwich Cookies
{Yields 12 Giants}

2            cups plus 2 Tlb. Flour
1/2 tsp   Baking Soda
1/2 tsp   Salt
1-1/4 c. Butter at Room Temp
1/2 c.    Sugar
1 c.       Packed Brown Sugar
1 Egg plus 1 Egg Yolk
2 tsp.    Vanilla
12 oz.   Bittersweet Chocolate Chips {you can use semi-sweet or milk chocolate or butterscotch...}
12         Graham Crackers, Halved
6           Marshmallows, Halved
2           Hershey's Chocolate Bars

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees, lightly grease 2 baking sheets, set aside.
2.  Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
3.  In a stand mixer using paddle attachment, cream together butter & both sugars until creamy. Add egg & yolk 1 at a time. Add Vanilla and mix for 3 minutes.
4. Add flour mixture to stand mixer in batches until just combined.
5. Fold in chocolate chips
6. Grab a heaping spoonful of the batter and create a patty. Place on baking sheet, top with 1 graham cracker, 3 chocolate squares & 2 marshmallow halves and then grab another heaping spoonful of batter and create another patty and place over created s'more to make a patty. Gently push down so tops don't fall off during cooking process! {Learned that the hard way! LOL}.
7.  Repeat process 11 more times. Should create 12 s'more sandwiches {6 per sheet}.
8. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, cool on sheets 10 minutes. Remove and enjoy! Tastes the best with cold milk!

Until Next Time...


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Land of the Free {Freebie}

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to pop in and share a quick freebie! Feel free to use it any way you want!

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Favorite FREE Fonts

Hello everyone! Hope you all are enjoying a beautiful 4th of July!!!

Being an illustrator, I'm always looking for fun, funky, and fantabulous fonts to keep things looking new and fresh. So what I wanted to do, was share my favorite fonts with you all! Hopefully you can add them to your colletions and create some fresh new items to share with the creative world!!! Just be sure to follow the guidelines of the creator of the fonts so that we can all continue to enjoy such pretties!!!

Hope you enjoy and have a fabulous 4th of July! Until Next Time!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Traditional Frosting

Hello everyone! Happy Monday!!!

I've got a wedding coming up this weekend that I'm making the cake for, but it's for a recipe I've not tried before. So I thought I would do a moch-up of the recipe today to test out and OMG I just had to share!!! I did your typical Red Velvet Cake Recipe into mini cupcakes with a traditional Red Velvet Frosting that I got from Ree Drumond the Pioneer Woman! That woman is absolutely amazing and she's totally correct when you won't be turning back after trying it! Sounds really weird to make, but it is absolutely the most delicious and creamiest frosting I've ever tasted! Will possibly be trying to adapt this to chocolate and different flavors as well!!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 48 mini or 24 normal

1/2 c. Butter
1-1/2 c. Sugar
2 Eggs at Room Temp
2 Tlb. Cocoa Powder
3 Tlb. Red Food Coloring {1 oz.}
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 c. Buttermilk at Room Temp
2-1/2 c. All Purpose Flour
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tlb. White Vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare mini muffin pan {24 liners}
2. In a stand mixer, cream butter & sugar until smooth.
3. Make a paste of cocoa powder & food coloring, add to stand mixer and cream until combined. {about 3 minutes}
4. Mix Buttermilk, Salt & Vanilla in a small bowl. Alternately add flour & Buttermilk mixer to stand mixer beginning and ending with flour. Mix until smooth.
5. In a small bowl, mix together baking soda and vinegar and fold into batter.
6. Using a mini scoop, fill mini liners 1/2 full of batter.
7. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

*Note, I only have 1 mini cupcake pan, so I have to make one batch of 24 and then another, but the recipe will yield 48 cupcakes.

Traditional White Frosting for Red Velvet
Frosts 48 mini cupcakes or 24 regular sized cupcakes

1 c. Whole Milk
5 Tlb. All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 c. Butter
1 c. Granulated Sugar

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat milk & flour together until a thick consistency. Set aside to cool completely. {DO NOT SKIP this part, allow it to cool completely before moving on!!!}
2. In a stand mixer using whisk attachment, cream together butter & sugar for 8-10 minutes until smooth and not grainy.
3. Once consistency of butter/sugary mixture is smooth and creamy, add the milk/flour mixture to stand mixer. Whisk all together on medium speed for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy and resembling whipped cream. {If the frosting is separated, you haven't whisked enough, so keep going!!!}
4. Once desired consistency is achieved, frost and enjoy! Be sure to taste a little before you frost so you are able to get a bite!!! LOL...

Until next time...