Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd

I made these cupcakes for my sister’s birthday and they were the BOMB.  The lemon curd absolutely made them.  That is some good stuff.  I had never tried it before but recently ordered it, along with some other goodies, from Stonewall Kitchen.  I’m in love.
 
These were super easy to make because I went for the quick and dirty version.  Boxed lemon cake mix, lemon icing, and prepared lemon curd.  Obviously, making everything from scratch would make it that much better.
I made the cake mix according to directions on the box, except I added the zest of one lemon.  Once the cupcakes were done, I used a melon ball scoop, and scooped out some of the cupcake (which I ate), and added a dollop of  lemon curd.  We topped the cupcakes with canned lemon icing (I say we b/c my 11 y/o helped with the icing, in case you were checking out the first pic and wondering.  Not that my frosting skills are all that.)  The icing is the thing I would change for next time.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the artificial lemon flavor of the canned icing, but I was worried the homemade icing would melt so quickly in the heat, and I was traveling with them. Other than that, they were awesome!  My mother declared them divine…and that is saying something as my mom is more of a chocoholic than I am!  I know, it’s not even possible, right?!
 
I am thinking about making these again soon, and instead of frosting, just add some cool whipped topping and fresh blueberries.  Lemon and blueberry is always a winning combo.  I could even make these “skinny” cupcakes by just adding a can of diet lemon/lime soda to the box of mix.  If you haven’t tried this…it works! I posted it here if interested.  So…..maybe I’m just gonna go now and make these before I attack the lemon curd with a spoon! 
And if you are craving a salty snack….go enter my giveaway HERE.

German Chocolate Cake Bars

One of my Dad’s favorite desserts is German Chocolate Cake. So for Father’s Day, I thought I would make him one. Then, I saw German Chocolate Cake Bars over at Six Sisters’ Stuff.  They looked so yummy, and so easy! I like easy.  I decided I would make them instead.  It was a good decision.

German Chocolate Cake Bars 

Crust:
1 box devil’s food cake mix (not the kind with pudding added)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted *I used Smart Balance
1 large egg

Filling:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk  *I used fat free
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup chopped pecans *I used walnuts since that’s what I had 
1 cup shredded coconut 
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate is fine too)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with non stick cooking spray or butter.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter and egg, and press into the bottom of the prepared pan. The crust should not come up the sides.

Bake for 7 minutes and remove from the oven. The crust will not look done.

While the crust is baking, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, egg, pecans walnuts and coconut. Pour evenly over the warm crust and sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips.

Bake for 24-30 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.

 Recipe Source: Six Sisters’ Stuff & Paula Deen
Everybody loved these! Even if you are not a big coconut fan, these are delicious.  Very much like a brownie, and who doesn’t like brownies? {I saw in the comments from the source site that someone had added a caramel sauce to theirs when they took it out of the oven. I think that would be an awesome addition, but I didn’t want to make another run to the store (and didn’t have what I needed to make it from scratch.).}  My dad really enjoyed these, so that was the main thing.  Definitely a recipe that belongs in the ‘keeper file’!  It’s really hard to go wrong with chocolate and sweetened condensed milk!
 

I’m linking up this recipe with The Dedicated HouseEverything Under the Moon, Homemaker on a Dime, A Southern Fairytale, Delightfully Dowling, Making the World Cuter, Mandy’s Recipe Box, It’s a Blog Party, All the Small Stuff, 33 Shades of Green, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, From Mess Hall to Bistro , Lady Behind the Curtain, Ginger Snap Crafts, Eat at Home

Strawberry Shortcake on Chocolate Chip Biscuits

mmmmm, fresh strawberries!
Once upon a time, I was a weird kid who didn’t really like strawberries.  They have grown on me over the years, and this year, I can’t seem to get enough!
I thought I would make the kids and I a special treat –
Strawberries, Sugar Free Cool Whip, Chocolate Chip Biscuits, topped with a little sugar free chocolate syrup.  Chocolate. Chip. Biscuits. Oh yes.
Chocolate Chip Biscuits adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments
  • 3 c. flour (can use a mix of all-purpose & white whole wheat)
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 T. baking powder
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter 
  • 1-2 c. chocolate chips (I used a combo of dark and semi sweet – 1 cup)
  • 1/2-1 c. milk (I only needed about a 1/2 cup, skim milk)
1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Add the milk, a little at a time, just until dough comes together. If you add too much milk and the dough becomes too sticky, add a little more flour.
3. Roll out dough and cut, or just drop 1/4 c. portions onto a baking sheet.
4. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until fully cooked and lightly browned on top. I made these a little larger than usual since I wanted to make big mack daddy strawberry shortcakes 🙂
I love this pic. Check out the top left corner….little hands that couldn’t wait to get into the strawberries too.  He likes his with powdered sugar.

‘Lightened Up’ Apple & Snicker Bar Salad

This is one of those dishes that isn’t really ‘pretty’, but taste oh soooo yummy! I was wondering if anyone would notice the apples in yesterday’s What was it Wednesday! I saw versions of this all over the web, and first spotted it somewhere on Pinterest.  Since I sorta winged this when I made it, I don’t have any particular person to give credit to.
 For Mother’s Day, I decided I wanted needed a lighter dessert, but it still had to have chocolate. (duhhh!)  This fit the bill, and would be great all during the summer.  Speaking of, today is supposed to be 90 degrees with 93% humidity.  Yep, bring on the hot sticky NC weather!
Lightened Up Apple & Snicker Bar Salad (it seems odd to call this a salad)
4 Apples of choice (I used Granny Smith and Pink Lady)
4 regular size Snicker Bars*
1 tub of Sugar Free Cool Whip (regular size, not large)
1 small box of Vanilla Sugar Free/Fat Free pudding**
1 cup skim milk (optional – see notes)
*I used Almond Snicker Bars b/c I can’t eat peanuts
Chop apples into bite size pieces.  You can dip them in lemon juice to prevent browning, but they are going to be covered in cool whip so it doesn’t really matter.  If you are going to pre-cut your apples like I did, you may want to do this just so they don’t look all yucky (technical cooking term).  Chop your candy bars into small bite size pieces.  This is easier if you have them nice and chilled.
In a large bowl, add your container of Cool Whip and your pudding (see notes). Fold in your apples, and candy bar pieces (reserving a few to sprinkle on top if desired.)  Chill for about an hour (not really necessary if you are in a time crunch).
**NOTES:  Learn from my experience….if you buy the SF/FF INSTANT pudding – you need to add 1 cup milk to your pudding mix first.  Mix it together and then add to your Cool Whip.  If you buy the SF/FF Cook and Serve pudding, you can just add that to your Cool Whip.
Oh yeah, and I chopped up a few Hershey’s Miniatures too, b/c it didn’t seem like enough chocolate. But it’s rare that I feel like I have enough chocolate. and it was Mother’s Day and all.
You can play around with the recipe and use whatever flavor pudding and fruits you like.
I also made an apple/strawberry version with chocolate pudding! I skipped the candy bars to reduce the calories, but it would be awesome with them! My girls love this.

I’m going to link this recipe up with these fab linky parties – The Newlyweds, It’s a Keeper, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, A Little Nosh, Talking Dollars and Cents, Eat at Home

White Chocolate, Cranberry & Pistachio Cookies

Preschool ended this week for Mr. Three and we wanted to give a little something to his teachers.  He really loved his teacher and classmates…it is so sweet!  As always, when thinking of a little gift, food comes to mind.  I’ve especially been on a cookie kick recently. (Why can’t I get on a lunges kick, or jump rope kick…why’s it always food?!)

The Candid RD had a perfect guess to my little sneak peak photo yesterday!

White Chocolate, Cranberry & Pistachio Cookies

adapted from my Tropical Trail Mix Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter or margarine *I used Smart Balance 50/50
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries 
1 cup chopped pistachios *I used a 1/2 c. pistachios and 1/2 c. almonds b/c that’s what I had on hand

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy; add egg.  Combine flour and baking soda; blend into creamed mixture.  Stir in chips, fruit and nuts. Drop rounded tablespoonsful of dough (1-1/2 inch balls), about 2 inches apart, on silicone mat lined or greased cookie sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes.  Cool 2-3 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool. Store in tightly covered container.  Makes about 32 cookies* 
*Depends on the size of your cookies and how much dough you eat!

We took the cookies and put them in little tins that I picked up from Target (in the dollar bins). If you are thinking this looks familiar, it’s because it is….I did almost the same thing for Teacher Appreciation last year, except I made Tropical Trail Mix Cookies.  Yum.

This cute little printable came from Shaken Together, and I just pasted it onto some decorative paper.

 I wrote a little note on the back and my son signed his name all by himself! 

I thought these cookies were really good.  (Because you know I had to try them several times before I gave them away. Obviously.)  I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate, but it pairs very well with the cranberries and pistachios/almonds.  Definitely a combo I’ll be making again!

Don’t forget to go enter my Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY for 2 mega boxes of Cheerios!

I’m linking up today with It’s a Keeper, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, A Little Nosh, Simple Living with Diane Balch, Just Us Four, Bacon Time with the Hungry, Hungry Hypo; Local Fun for Kids, Alli ‘n Sons, Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Six Sister’s Stuff, Eat at Home

Homemade Brownie Larabars

Do you eat Larabars?
They are made only with fruit and nuts.  And my favorites, of course, contain chocolate.  When I saw this post over at Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  I found a large container of dates at Sam’s Club the other day, and decided it was time.

Homemade Brownie Larabars

from CCK
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 and 1/3 cups pitted dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 T cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Dark cocoa)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
  • chocolate chips (optional) (of course I used chocolate chips! Ghirardelli 60% chips)
Blend all the ingredients, using a food processor, Magic Bullet, etc. Form into bars. (bars are sticky, so I placed in between waxed paper and shaped them into ‘bars’)
Verdict?  They taste just like Larabars!  Wholesome ingredients that are great for an energy boost or quick snack on-the-go.  You can change up the nuts and add different fruits to make your own varieties of bars.

2-ingredient Apple Angel Food Cake

Yes, it can be done! Another tested 2 ingredient recipe that turned out oh so tasty! You may remember that I have already tried the 2 ingredient brownies, which were quite good.  I have also made the 2 ingredient lemon bars, but my pics were lost on my crashed computer.  They were also pretty good. So now….the 2 ingredient apple cake!
SO EASY!

Apple Angel Food Cake

1 can pie filling (any flavor, I used apple)
1 box of Angel Food Cake Mix
nuts (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix can of pie filling with dry cake mix. {No other ingredients}
  • Stir until blended.
  • Pour in a greased/sprayed 9×13 baking dish.
  • Top with walnuts if desired – making this a THREE ingredient cake 🙂
  • Bake at 350 until done. *I saw on a pin somewhere that it should be baked for 20 minutes.  This was not long enough in my oven.  It took at least 25-30, and the middle of mine still wasn’t done, and my oven usually cooks faster than the recommended times.  Next time I will def. cook it longer and make sure to check the center.  Mine also ‘deflated’ by the next day, but that could also be because I didn’t cook it long enough.  However, the flavor was really good, especially since I was craving something sweet like a mad woman.
This is a great little recipe to have tucked away when you need to throw something together in a hurry, looking for something low fat (definitely not low in sugar however), or just have a sugar craving.  You can use any flavor pie filling you want, so you can make lots of variations.  I have also found a ‘no sugar added’ pie filling, so that would cut down on the calories as well.  Now, if I could just find a chocolate recipe with no sugar, no carbs, no fat, but full flavor.  Yes, it IS nice in my dream world, haha.
I’m linking this up with Carole’s Chatter for Food on Fridays

Banana Ice Cream with Oreos

Yesterday I posted this pic –

and asked if anyone could guess what it is.
On Facebook I had a guess of “maybe a smoothie of some sort? With blueberries and chocolate??”
 
Excellent guess, but it was actually
Yes, once again, I have taken something perfectly healthy and uhh….de-healthified it?
oops. my bad.
My kids wanted a treat, and I had frozen bananas on the brain since having an email conversation with another blogger who is preggars, and ‘enjoying’ all the crazy food obsessions and repulsions that come along with pregnancy. And yes, that conversation included the healthy banana.
For whatever reason, I had Oreos in my house.  Which is such a NO.NO.  Since I have absolutely zero will power.  Anyways, I decided I would take the bananas we had in the freezer, blend them up and toss in a few Oreos.
My kids thought it was a delicious, decadent treat!

Oreo Banana Ice Cream

 I used 3 frozen bananas
4 or 6 Oreos (sorry, can’t remember!)
1/2 T. cocoa (mainly for color – my kids eat anything chocolate)
and had enough to fill 3 ice cream cones, plus some leftover!
**Don’t throw away those over ripe bananas, just peel and stick in the freezer in a freezer bag.  Then you can enjoy ‘ice cream’ whenever the mood strikes.  Leave out the Oreos, and it can be completely guilt free!

Margarita Cake

I’ve mentioned that I made a Margarita Cake for Easter, and wanted to share the recipe.  It was really good, and it starts with a cake mix!

Margarita Cake

slightly adapted from the Cake Mix Doctor

  • Cake: 
  • Cooking spray, for misting the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the pan
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow or lemon cake mix (I used lemon)
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix (I used fat free, sugar free instant pudding)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime or Key lime juice
  • ¼ cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons triple sec orange liqueur 
  • 1 teaspoon  tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • Glaze:
  • 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • 1 tablespoon triple sec orange liqueur 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or Key lime juice
  • 3-4 drops Orange NuStevia (optional)
  • 2-3 drops of Lemon NuStevia (optional)
  • 1 lime, cut into thin slices (I omitted)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons coarse sugar (I omitted)
  •  
  • Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the cake mix, pudding mix, sugar, water, oil, 1/3 cup lime juice, ¼ cup tequila, 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, lime zest and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are combined, abt 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix on medium speed for 1½ minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look smooth and thick. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula, and place the pan in the oven.
  2. Bake the cake until the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 42 to 47 minutes. Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake, shake the pan gently, and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, about 25 minutes longer.  (My cake pulled away from the sides as it cooled and I didn’t need to run a knife along the sides of the pan.  It came out easily, unlike this one! My cake also fell some.  ALL my cakes fall…I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!)
  3. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Place the confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon tequila, 1 tablespoon orange liqueur, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and the lemon and orange Stevia drops in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Slide the cake onto a serving plate. Using a long wooden skewer poke 12 to 16 holes in the top of the cake. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Garnish the cake with the lime slices and a sprinkling of coarse sugar. Let the glaze set for 10 minutes, then slice and serve the cake.
Verdict – This cake was all I hoped it would be….dense and moist like a pound cake, with a nice citrus flavor.  The glaze was delicious and really complimented and added to the flavor of the cake.  The new flavored stevia extracts from NuNaturals are amazing!  Very intense flavor.  I can’t wait to try them in different recipes. (Review & Giveaway coming!)  I only tasted a hint of Tequila in the glaze, and I think that is just because I knew it was there.  It could be left out if you prefer, or increased if you want to intensify the flavor.  (If you add more liquid, you may need to add more confectioner’s sugar,depending on the consistency of the glaze.)  Overall, this is a perfect dessert for spring/summer and is going in the ‘keeper file’!
 
 

I’m linking this recipe up with Homemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou, The Girl Creative,  All the Small Stuff, Tasty Tuesdays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday @ For The Love Of Blogs,Blue Cricket Design,Ginger Snap CraftsLady Behind the Curtain, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, A Little Nosh, Simply Delish, It’s a Keeper, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo, Simple Living with Diane Balch, Around My Family Table,  Just us FourSix Sisters’ Stuff, The Sweet Details for Savory Sunday; Finding Joy in my Kitchen (Ingredient Spotlight: Citrus)

Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake – 4 ingredients!

I know, I know.  Chocolate again.  I just can’t help it.  There have been birthdays and stuff that have just required chocolate. (Not that I really need a reason, but it helps ease the guilt.)  Week before last, I volunteered (yes, volunteered. I should know better.) to make dessert for a church fundraiser/dinner.  I had all kinds of fabulous ideas floating around on Pinterest in my head that I wanted to try out.  Last week rolls around, and it’s time to make the dessert.  And guess what….sick kid.  Like 104 fever, coughing his guts out sick.  So, I stay home doctoring him for a couple of days and realize it’s getting worse instead of better, so we make a trip to the doctor.  Of course this happens to be the day I’m supposed to make the dessert.  We go to the doctor, Mr. Three has an ear infection, we go to the pharmacy….yada, yada.  So, by the time I get home to make said dessert, I don’t have a lot of time.  Nothin’ fancy is going to be happenin’ in my kitchen.

Thank goodness I had some quick and easy recipes pinned!  Like this ‘Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake‘ by Eat, Live, Run.  It looked super delicious, but only required 4 ingredients.  Holla!  I was all over it.

This is all you need, plus milk.
And you end up with this….
Total crowd pleaser!
I SO wanted to try it before I sent it to church, but (one) that would be tacky, and (two)….well, I don’t have a second thing.  It would just be downright tacky, and my mama taught me better than that 😉
However, I was nervous about sending something out the door without having been ‘taste tested’.  The batter was delicious, but that is all I could vouch for.  Anyways…sick kid, no time, no choice!
Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake
(‘dump’ cake is such a Southern thing I think.  Who wants to eat something chocolate with ‘dump’ in the title?!)  Well, me, apparently.  
1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 small box of chocolate instant pudding (I used the sugar free/fat free)
1 3/4 cups skim milk*
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi sweet)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix your pudding with the milk. *The original recipe said to prepare the pudding with the milk according to package directions.  My package said 1 3/4 cup milk for pie, and 2 cups for pudding.  Her directions called for 1 1/2 cups.  So…I just went with the 1 3/4 cup amount.  She used regular instant pudding, not sf/ff, so her box might have called for a different amount.  After mixing your pudding and milk, stir in your chocolate cake mix.  Just the dry mix, do not add anything to it.  The batter will be very thick.  (Like very thick frosting!).  It’s okay, just go with it.  Spread it into a greased 9×13 baking pan and scatter the chocolate chips on top.  Bake for 30 minutes, until the edges start pulling away from the pan.  My oven cooks hot, so I only cooked mine for about 25 minutes.
Looks good right?  I told my children they must taste it and let me know how it was!
Verdict? The kids said it was fantastic.  I was told it was the 1st dessert to run out.  Others were talking about it afterwards….sooo, I’m calling this one a keeper, even though I haven’t actually tasted it!  But with all that chocolate, how can you go wrong?!  You could also change this up and use different flavors of cake mix and pudding, and different chips.  Lots of possibilities, and it’s easy!  What would your favorite combination be? I’d love more ideas!
I have a giveaway going on for a $25 dollar gift card to sneakpeeq.com.  Be sure to check it out and enter! *GIVEAWAY ENDED*

I’m linking up today with Everything Under the Moon, Homemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou, The Girl Creative, Life as Mom, Things that make you say “mmmmm!”, Making the World Cuter, The Sweet Spot, Our Delightful HomeIt’s a Blog Party, All the Small Stuff, 33 Shades of Green, Blessed with Grace, From Mess Hall to Bistro, Eat at Home, Finding Joy in My Kitchen