Monday, February 27, 2012

Pinterest Sunday- Tagalong Cupcakes

We are keeping the girl scout cookie-cupcake theme going for the third week in a row. First, we did Samoas then Thin Mints
and now Tagalongs. If you are unfamiliar, Tagalongs are a cookie, topped with peanut butter, and coated in chocolate. 

I got my original inspiration {yet again} from my friend, Jenny. If you can't already tell, I have a little blog-crush on her {or at least a cupcake crush!}. Anyway, to mimic the cookies, we wanted our cupcakes to be a little more dense and cookie like. So, thanks to Pinterest, we found the sugar cookie cupcake recipe on the "Baked Perfection" blog here.

Sugar Cookie Cupcakes
recipe by Baked Perfection

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Recipe makes approximately 30 cupcakes.

The peanut butter buttercream was adapted from the peanut butter and jelly cupcake recipe from "The Girl Who Ate Everything" blog found here .

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons cream

Combine the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer beat until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the confectioners sugar along with the cream, and beat until well combined.

And the basic idea along with the chocolate coating was from the blog "Savannah's Kitchen" found here .

For the Chocolate Coating
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Chill cupcakes in refrigerator until buttercream is completely firm, about 1 hour.
2. Once the cupcakes have chilled, make the chocolate coating. Place oil and chocolate in a medium bowl and melt over a pan of gently simmering water.
3. Stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer to a large coffee mug. 
4. Holding cupcake by the bottom, carefully dip into the chocolate. Be sure to submerge all of the buttercream. 
5. Pull up and hold for a few seconds to let excess chocolate drip off. Transfer to cooling rack and repeat with remaining cupcakes. 
6. Before serving, let cupcakes rest a few minutes so chocolate can set.

Put the three together and you have our very own "Tagalong" cupcakes!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pinterest Sunday-Thin Mint Cupcakes

This week's Pinterest Sunday the girls and I put our own twist on an online recipe. We first saw chocolate mint cupcakes on Jenny's blog. Hers was a recipe adapted from Andes Mint Cupcakes found on a blog called Mel's Kitchen Cafe . So I guess our is an adaptation twice removed? We decided to do another girl scout cookie, Thin Mints.

For the cupcakes:

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 box of girls scout Thin Mint cookie

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with paper cupcake liners and add a whole Thin Mint cookie to the bottom of each. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; using a handheld electric mixer or an electric stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. The batter will be on the VERY thin. Pour batter into cupcake liner, directly onto the cookie and fill NO MORE THAN 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Remove from pan and let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack. This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes.

For the frosting:

1/2 cup (1stick) butter, softened to room temperature
4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
16 ounces powdered sugar (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoons peppermint extract
Green food coloring


While cupcakes are baking; in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the heavy cream and peppermint and vanilla extracts. Beat until light and fluffy. Add green food coloring until the color you like is achieved. Refrigerate until ready to use.

After baking 24 cupcakes, place remaining Thin Mints into a zip lock baggie and crush with a rolling pin or hammer. Once cupcakes are completely cool, pipe a generous amount of mint butter cream frosting and top with crushed cookies.

 You can see the cookie on the bottom, MMMMM!

Yummy! These were definitely a hit and we are proud of ourselves for our new invention!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

She's Eighteen!

I can't believe it. I mean I honestly CAN NOT believe my baby girl is 18 years old! Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday that she was my little baby girl!
 Newborn Alexa

 About 9 months.

I don't have a recent picture to share, as we have yet to do her senior pictures. I plan to get to that later this month {hear that Lindsey ?}.

Alexa really amazes me everyday with the young woman she is becoming. I know I sound like a broken record, but she is so smart and funny and responsible it's ridiculous!

Her birthday was pretty uneventful, unfortunately. She had a half day at school spent doing athletic field day. After school, lunch with her friends and then off to her softball scrimmage. We did take her out for dinner and Wildflower. I asked her if she wanted to go into Changing Hands for a book, or go to a movie, etc. Nope! All she wants is for us to get a bunch of tickets for the Hunger Games midnight premiere. Easy enough!

FYI, I jokingly told her she can now buy cigarettes and porn and she replied that she can now register to vote....what did I tell you about this kid!
 Well, happy birthday to my beautiful, smart, ADULT {what???} girl young lady.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pinterest Sunday

It's that time again, Pinterest Sunday!

This Sunday we managed two Pinterest copies, a hair style and {drum-roll.......} another cupcake!

Sophie wore this cute 'do to church on Sunday, thanks to a "Pin" I saw on Pinterest. I see so many cute styles on there, most of which won't work on my curly locks so my kids are my guinea pigs {hair models, whatever}. So here is the "3 braided buns":

 Oh, my Sophie-Loo is such a cutie, if I do say so myself!

And, as you may know, it's Girl Scout cookie time. So in honor of my family's favorite I bring you Samoa cupcakes. I have seen them all over Pinterest, but got my recipe of my friend Jenny's blog, Learn With Jenny.
 If you haven't read her blog, you must! She is an amazing woman with an inspiring story. You can read about her story and her reason for baking cupcakes here.
And without further ado, the beautiful Samoa cupcakes:

 If you know Samoas, then you know they are a shortbread cookie covered in caramel, coconut and chocolate. This recipe is a chocolate cupcake, with coconut extract, topped with homemade caramel butter cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce, and topped with toasted coconut. The girls had a great time helping with these, and toasted the coconut on their own!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pinterest Wednesday

What do you do when you and your little one are home sick all week? Pinterest Wednesday, of course!

This is a project that has been in the works for quite awhile. I wanted an antique sign for my kitchen. Tony and I searched antique shops but couldn't find just the right one. After looking at signs on Pinterest, I decided to make one! Here is a little tutorial on my "antique" diner sign.

First we had a board cut to size at Lowe's. The kids put it in the gravel front yard and stomped on it, rode their bikes over it, etc. I did not want it to look too new and pristine. Next step, Sophie painted the whole board charcoal gray. After the gray dried, we did 2 dry brush coats of an antique white:

 {sorry about the photo, the background was really distracting!}
 Next I printed all the text in the fonts and sizes I needed to fit my sign. I used a ball point pen and traced the letters onto the board, leaving an impression to follow for the hand painted letters.
 In this photo you can see the impression. I put 2 coats of the red onto the words.
 Here it is with the words all painted. It is still looking a little too clean and white for my taste. I sanded it all over a little, then did a color wash over the entire sign with the charcoal gray diluted in water.

 I used some hardware from Lowe's to hang it on the soffit above my fridge. I really like how it turned out!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Proud Mama

 Just thought I would share some random proud mama moments from last month. {kinda braggie, I know!}

So from youngest to oldest we have:

 Sophie participated in the Ward Traditional Academy talent show singing "Hard Knock Life" from Annie. This may not seem like a big deal, but she is a very introverted and shy child. She and her friends learned the song and some simple choreography and did such a good job. They performed twice, once during the day in front of the entire school, and once at night for families. Didn't they make some cute ragamuffin orphans?

Next up, Celeste: 

 I am proud of Celeste for re-entering the world of softball after her nasty break Thanksgiving 2010. She had not played in over a year, and since she was the only one with any pitching experience, she pitched the entire season. She picked her skills back up pretty quickly and was a real asset to her team. She even got over her initial fear of sliding after her break and had some good slides!

And Alexa:
{Senior yearbook ad I created}
Alexa amazes me everyday with the fabulous young lady she is becoming. So smart and responsible! So my proud moments are that we heard from U of A {accepted, offer of $5000/yr plus an I-Pad-random!}, ASU {accepted, offered $7500/yr Provost scholarship}, and she was accepted to Barrett Honors College at ASU. We still need to hear about a few scholarships and we should hear back from Scripps in April, so I will keep you posted.

As for Michael, he makes me proud daily when I see the hard working, kind, funny man he is becoming. He has helped us so much this last year in building our business, and I know Tony could not do it without his help! I wish I had a picture to share of him, covered from head to toe after chipping asphalt out of a huge silo. The things he does for us!