Friday, January 25, 2013

Welcome, 2013!

Our New Year card :)

So behind on updating the wind (probably?) on the goings on in our life. Not quite a year ago, we celebrated the beginning of a new life that we would meet in nine months, and then only months later, we mourned the loss of our precious Carsen, the little one we will have to wait to meet with our Jesus. This sweet song became my heart for weeks, months: "I Will Carry You" by Selah. But God got us through that loss, though I still anxiously await the day I get to meet my precious baby.

But what a hope we have in our God! He promises that He doesn't forget us. Doesn't give us too much hurt. And He's reminded us of His grace this year as we await the birth of our second child in July. We've made it through the first and into the second trimester! Praise God! And in less than a week, we will get to start calling our baby girl or baby boy by name!

I'm doing a lot less baking and a lot more healthy meal-planning now. Baby's got to eat right ;) And also less sewing and crafting because, good gosh, busy season is busy! But I am soooooo excited about the cupcakes I am making Friday! Not sure yet if the center will be pink or blue, but that is how we will announce the baby's gender to my family Saturday. (I won't sleep a wink Thursday in anticipation of the sonogram Friday!)

So for a whirlwind of an update, here are a few pictures of the last few months (and a quick tour of the house now that I've had time for a little bit of decorating)...

We started once-a-month plus meal prepping!
And now have a freezer stocked with quick, healthy meals that are perfect for dinner after working all day!
Freezer meal!
Of course I baked a little...

And sewed a bit... I've got pregnant friends needing baby gifts, right?

We celebrated my dad's 50th! My mom thought it would be hilarious to have an old college pic of him posing on the KA house printed on the cake... and it was! :)

And a reminder of what the outside of our house looks like since I didn't catch it in the tour.

And here is a link to a house tour... missing the carpet we picked out this week. I can't wait to get that in a couple of rooms! We created the video to show potential nannies our house; hence the reference to nanny... House tour



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tailgate Cupcakes... Mississippi State style!

Hail dear ol' State!

Today was our season opener, and I've been pumped for weeks about heading to Starkville to see the fam, tailgate and watch what was sure to be a slaughter/win for our first game of the season. As life would have it, plans changed and twenty minutes into our two hour drive, the rain was pouring so hard I couldn't see ten feet in front of the car and the husband was complaining about having to go watch a blowout game potentially in the rain. So I found the closest turnaround on the interstate, and we hauled our butts back to the house. After I dragged him to the grocery store, the hubs and I salvaged the rest of our day by pigging out on tailgate favorites and watching the game on TV from the comfort of our couch.

Earlier in the week, someone asked me to bake cupcakes for her tailgate this weekend. She kinda had to twist my arm because I'm swamped at work and her tailgate was at that school up north. But, I stink at saying no (plus I love an excuse to bake!). She chose Cookies and Cream cupcakes which dissapointed me because I was craving a new Rolo cupcakes recipe (and I was just planning to double the recipe and take the same cupcakes to my tailgate). Turns out, Cookies and Cream was a delicious choice!

I adapted this recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. I stuck with her filling and (AMAZING!) frosting recipes but used this go-to, never-fail doctored up mix recipe from My Baking Addiction for the cake. Then I topped the cupcakes with Bakerella's adorable football Oreo truffles. Sorry I don't have pictures of the process. I wish that my baking was less rushed, but the fulltime job doesn't account for all my hobbies in its schedule. I tripled the recipe and made two batches of full-sized cupcakes and one batch of minis to take to work.


(makes 24)
1 box of Duncan Hines White cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) package french vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegatable oil
5 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water
24 Oreos

My kitchen at this point. Organized chaos.

1. Original instructions call for a 350 degree preheated oven. I have convection ovens, so I turn mine down to about 315 degrees. Line your muffin wells and place an Oreo at the bottom of each. (For the minis, I put two little pieces of broken Oreo in the bottom of each liner.)
2. Beat all your ingredients together (for about two minutes) until well combined.
3. Distribute the batter between 24 lined muffin wells (on top of the Oreos). I use an almost full cookie scoop. Your wells will be almost three quarters full.
4. Bake for about 18-22 minutes or until toothpick insert comes out barely clean. Again, my convection ovens cook differently, so I'm assuming the original instructions are good for traditional ovens. I haven't tested that.

Right out of the oven.

Pre-filling. Love that Oreo baked in!

Now, for the filling:
I'm going to send you over to the original recipe for these instructions. They're perfect.

Once you've made your filling and the cupcakes are baked and cooled, fill each cupcake with the yummy, gooey cream filling. I found that the easiest way was to core the cupcakes with the handy tool I picked up at Hobby Lobby, and then pipe the filling in with a medium sized round tip. Then I replaced half of each core to cover the filling. (For the minis, I just used a medium-sized round tip, poked it halfway into the minis, and pumped the filling right in. They don't take much filling since they're so small.)

Now on to the AMAZING frosting. I promise, it tastes exactly like cookies and cream ice cream. Again, run on over to Cookbook Queen's blog for this recipe. I would add that you need to be very gentle when adding the crushed Oreos to the frosting. I'm not sure if it's because my Oreos were ground too finely in my food processor or if I overmixed, but my frosting turned out a bit more grey than I would have liked. Still, it was delicious.

Generously pipe your frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Wilton's #1M tip.

Now for the decor. My cupcakes were going to tailgates, so I colored some of my leftover frosting the team colors and made cute little frosting pom poms on the tops of each cupcake. I used Wilton tip #233 (the grass tip) for the main color of each pom pom, and then accented that with little pieces of the other color using Wilton's smallest round tip (#1). For the maroon and white cupcakes, I used white chocolate for the white accents since the frosting was grey.

Ole Miss pom pom!

For the football Oreo truffles, head over to Bakerella's blog. All I can say about the football shape is that it's a pain. Which is why not all of my cupcakes have footballs. Don't even try the shape if your dough isn't firmly chilled. Also, be sure they're firm when you dip them, or you'll end up with a blob, not a football. I used Wilton's #1 tip to pipe white chocolate for the laces.

Carefully smush each football onto your pom pom decorated cupcakes (you don't want them to fall off during transport). Store in airtight container in fridge until an hour before serving. These do well left out for a while, but I wouldn't leave them out overnight.

Now just whip up some of your favorite tailgating foods, and you're ready for a party!

Mississippi State style!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Photo update of the past year

Sadly, almost a year has passed since my last post. Ironically (or not), it's been about a year since we started planning our new home! What a year it has been! Now we're moved in, unpacked, and back to normal... in a nicer, more homey place.

Here's what we've been up to over the past year.

Like I said, we built a house:

We got to see the progress from the very beginning

Ahh... love it! (You should see the kitchen!)

And an aquarium to go in it:

90 gallon saltwater aquarium. The reef part is still in progress.

Behind the scenes of the aquarium

We vacationed... to the beach... and the mountains:

We can't just lounge at the beach...

Or catch normal, small fishies

Thanks for the photo, Jessica!

Photo by Tracy Anderson

Photo by Tracy Anderson
My mom turned 50 years young, so my sisters and I threw her a surprise birthday party. Her BFF flew in from Waco, TX, and I dabbled in the cake making business:

 I joined Pinterest. Best mistake of my life!

And used new kitchen and sewing/craft rooms to their fullest potential:

Baby girl travel play mat and changing pad with storage pockets
Tutorial by 

Baby boy mat for my nephew

See how nicely the mats fold up for travel?

Learned to make bias tape

Diaper cake

Fanned diaper cake... waayy easier than the traditional way.

Romper and matching onsie for the neice and nephew
Tutorial by Makeit-Loveit

Baby girl tutu for a friend

Baby girl pinafore for a co-worker's little one
Adapted from Smashedpeasandcarrots's little girl crossover pinafore

It's reversible!
So there's a tidbit of an update. Hopefully I'll be posting more tutorial links as I find more time to sew and bake! Until then, follow me on Pinterest for some adorable (or yummy!) tutorial links!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

LSU Pierrot top

If you ignore the bayou bengals, this top is precious! And with the matching legwarmers if leggings are too annoying for a mom who has to change about 100 diapers a day. The Pierrot pattern belongs to Rae Hoekstra of I made this one is for a precious baby girl whose daddy loves LSU... I'm thinking he'll have a new favorite outfit for baby girl.

Pumpkin patch cake pops

This week I made pumpkin cake pops for a co-worker for her two-year-old's pumpkin patch birthday party. In the end, they were adorable, but they caused more problems than any cake pop I've ever made.

I'm not sure if it was the brand of candy melts (I will never use Wilton again) or all the food coloring I had to add to get to bright orange or the freezer method or a combination of all those. I dipped all 45 cake pops, and they were so cute! And then one by one, each one cracked and fell off the stick! I mean, I've had a couple crack before, but not every single one!

So for round two, I used Make n Mold chocolate, which seemed a little thinner (I've heard Merckens is the best.), and I didn't freeze my shaped pops. I refrigerated the pops and made sure my melted chocolate was slightly cooled before dipping. The second batch of pumpkin pops turned out wonderfully!

Since the cake pops were party favors, I wrapped each indivdually.
Isn't that a precious kids party idea?!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's fall y'all

And have I got two great fall recipes for you! The first recipe is a miniature mix of a cupcake, a cheesecake and a cookie, loaded with delicious pumkin, chocolate and caramel. The second is a two-step... get this... cupcake inside a cupcake! And it's packed with every imaginable flavor of fall.

Cheesecake Pumpkin Cookie Cups
slightly adapted from Something Swanky

Here's what you need:
The Cookies
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips or 1/2 c. caramel chips+1/2 c. white chocolate chips

  • Combine all the ingredients, except chocolate chips and/or caramel chips. Fold in chips.
  • Drop the mixture into mini muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full. (I prefer no liners with these. Be sure you spray with cooking spray if you don't use liners.)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Don't overcook! It's difficult to tell when these are done due to the dark tint of the batter. You may have to sacrifice one in the beginning. Cut it open to see how long your oven takes to cook these. Doughy=moist=yummy!
  • Using the back of a spoon (or your clean thumb), press the tops of the cookies will still in the tins to create a shallow bowl. This step really isn't necessary except to create a space for more cheesecake frosting. I didn't press hard because I didn't want to make the cookie seem packy.
  • Remove from tins and cool on a wire rack.
Cheesecake Buttercream
8 oz. regular cream cheese
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. confectioners sugar (more or less for desired consistency)
  • Mix together the cream cheese and butter until smooth (ish).
  • Alternate adding the remaining wet ingredients with the powedered sugar. I don't like a terribly sweet frosting, so I add as little sugar as necessary to thicken the frosting.
  • After the cookie cups have cooled, pipe the frosting on top.
  • Top with caramel topping, chopped nuts or chocolate curls. Cinnamon also looks nice on top.
  • Enjoy!
Now for the cupcake that has quite possibly become my favorite that I've ever made...

Everything Fall Cupcakes
an apple cobbler, caramel frosted mini cupcake
inside a pumpkin spiced rum and maple cupcake with
cinnamon cream cheese frosting

I have only a few changes (*described below*) to her recipe, so I will let you find it at Stef's blog. Since I took these to the office, I baked about 70 (I tripled Stef's apple cobbler cupcake recipe and quadrupled the pumpkin cupcake recipe.) Stef outlines the baking process as follows:
  1. Bake mini apple cobbler cupcakes. To make the minis, chop the apple pieces *I used a combination of apples from sour green to sweet red and chopped them quite small* a bit smaller than in the big cupcakes and cut the baking time down to fifteen minutes *I only baked them for about 12 minutes*.  You'll end up with way more than you need if you follow the recipe exactly.  If you don't want a ton of extras (why wouldn't you want extras, though?), cut the recipe in half. 
  2. Frost the mini cupcakes with brown sugar frosting.
  3. Freeze the frosted cupcakes.
  4. Prepare the batter for pumpkin maple rum cupcakes.
  5. Fill normal-sized cupcake liners half full with the batter.
  6. Remove the liners from the frozen frosted apple cobbler cupcakes.
  7. Place a frozen cupcake into the center of each prepared pumpkin cupcake.  This should push the pumpkin batter two-thirds of the way up the liner.
  8. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until the cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
  9. Frost with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. *I added 3/4 tsp of pumpkin spice and almost twice as much cinnamon to the frosting. Add to your taste preference.*
  10. Top with dried cranberries. *Gold sanding suger under the cranberries is also very pretty!*

My Everything Fall Cupcake

When human wisdom fails...

We can argue with human wisdom until the end of time and still lack the right answers. However, the word of God can be trusted. If you live in Mississippi, you can probably find this very relevant in the midst of a controversial upcoming ballot:

Psalm 139:13-16
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fea...rfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."