Happy (Belated) Easter


Well, first off I want to start by saying Happy Easter to everyone. I’m a bit behind on my blogging. Been a bit busy and distracted lately with work and life.

I started out having a rather lovely weekend, involving a nice relaxing Saturday, I decided to tackle a project my Mom had on her “list,” this thing grows daily as she finds more tasks that she needs to do, yard work, housework, etc. Needless to say I figured me taking some gumption and doing this would be a nice surprise. Plus!!! It looks awesome!


I guess I could say what I did…we used to have a top waterfall by our front door, and then a waterfall leading down to a lower pond by our basement. Due to yard work and other things that went on the bottom pond got axed. Now a waterfall to nothing…it’s not that cool…or aesthetically appealing. My mom was thinking something floral or herbal in the sections would be really pretty. I not only agreed, I thought it was brilliant. Hence why I jumped at this task on her list.

Needless to say, draining the yucky water out of each section, drilling holes in the bottom, lining with rocks, and then covering with a thick layer of dirt was a fun task…and I’m not your typically get my hands dirty kind of girl. I wash my hands constantly when handling raw meats…so it’s hard to work in dirt. Yuck!


After accomplishing this feat of a project I decided that was it for me. I was done. I thawed some shrimp and added to some fun shaped pasta and made some shrimp mac and cheese. Not too shabby…



Sunday rolled in with a lovely day and a few more projects to complete. First, what was I going to cook from scratch this weekend that I could blog about, and also be something nice to enjoy for Easter? Raspberry Oat Bars! Yum! Plus, I’d found this lovely jar of Raspberry preserves at the store, that wasn’t Smuckers…so I knew the recipe was meant to be. No offense Smuckers, but I wanted something a bit more…

I got this recipe from Ziplist, my new iPhone addiction app. I highly recommend it if you don’t already use. Plus a lot of really great bloggers use the app directly on their blogs, so you can just click a button and add it to your recipe box/list.



Raspberry Oat Bars
adapted from All Recipes


INGREDIENTS:
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 (13 ounce) jar raspberry preserves (originally called for 10ounce, what does one do with leftovers…)


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. I like to use convection bake a lot, I just feel like my baking is a bit more even and I get happy little treats instead of sad…Grease a 9×13 inch pan, then line pan with parchment, grease parchment.
2. In large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar, until smooth. While this mixture is creaming. Measure out and combine in medium bowl your oats, flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir into the creamed mixture.
3. Now to get our hands dirty. Dive right in and crumble the mixture a bit until it’s a nice crumbly consistency. Take about half of the mixture and press into the bottom of the pan onto the parchment.
4. Next spread the preserves on the crust. Then crumble the rest of the mixture onto the top for a truly divine look.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in preheated oven. Until light brown. Cool completely, then enjoy!

Anywho, I didn’t take step by step pictures this time, I was too into making and baking and moving on to another task…spraying off all the nasty crap that falls from the tress in good ole Missouri…



~Nikki

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Strawberry White Chocolate Donut Muffins

Around Valentine’s Day I stumbled upon a recipe from the Confessions of a Cookbook Queen for Chocolate Strawberry Donuts. They looked awesome! She even had this super cute donut pan that was in the shape of a heart. As I’m just really starting off on my journey of food, I definitely do not have the super cute donut pans like everyone else does. I turned her donuts into donut muffins…still tasted awesome!

I only changed a few things about this recipe when I made them, as I didn’t have any buttermilk…whooops. I also didn’t have my boyfriend here at the time to tell me that I could add vinegar to milk and make my own version of buttermilk. Seriously!?! What? Did everyone else know this but me?

Sometimes I wonder if Josh knows a bit more about cooking than he lets on, just so he can let me cook and clean up after myself all the time…just a thought. Ha ha. 

Back to the recipe…instead of buttermilk I used heavy cream, I think that really just accomplished making the batter a bit fluffier, and when they baked they were pretty much what I thought of a cake donut but much better. Clearly, that statement shows I wasn’t a fan of cake donuts to begin with. I always feel like I need 6 gallons of some kind of beverage to stomach one cake donut…again could just be me.


Once you’ve seen these tasty “donuffins”though you do kind of get curious about them. I will admit to having seconds…I think…

CHOCOLATE Drizzled STRAWBERRY and white chocolate DONUT muffins

Slightly adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 Box Strawberry Cake Mix 
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425. Grease muffin tin or spray with nonstick spray.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, heavy cream, and melted butter. Beat on medium until just combined. Stir in white chocolate chunks. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins.
3. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Allow to cool in pans for a few minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Make glaze.
4. For Glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla and whisk until there are no lumps. If the glaze is too thick, add a bit more milk.
5. Drizzle the chocolate glaze over the donuffin for an extra hint of chocolate yumminess with each bite


Hope you enjoy!
~Nikki

Pumpkin Donut Muffins

One of the ladies that works for us has been very good recently with watching her sugar intake and making sure to not partake in many of the goodies I’ve brought in recently. So after she asked what I would be baking and bringing in the next morning one day I decided it was time to make something special for her.

Yes, I know you’re thinking seriously you spoil your employees. Yes…I do. I like the ladies who work for me and I like that they will eat most anything I bring in. Actually, they’ve eaten everything I’ve brought in and asked for recipes.

I went for something that I thought wouldn’t be too sweet or unhealthy so that she wouldn’t feel completely guilty by partaking in the yumminess.

I dropped on by A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll and dug around for a recipe I felt I could achieve fairly quickly and easily.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
By Crunchy/Rock (I’m sorry I’m abbreviating the name)

Let’s start with what you’ll need, Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
         
For playing dunk the doughnut/muffin (you should have plenty of extra):
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons cinnamon

I’m trying this whole process of trying to snap pictures of each step through the recipes process here, but let’s be honest, I am struggling.


1.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin pan (you can use any size depending on how large or small you want your muffins).

2.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.

mixing together the dry ingredients
3.  In a small bowl, mix together the milk and pumpkin. Set aside.
Seriously, this is such a gorgeous color!
4.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and ½ cup of sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue mixing.
5.  Add the dry ingredients gradually, alternating with the pumpkin mixture.
It kind of loses the gorgeous color
6.  Fill the prepared muffin cups to about ¾ full and bake for about 20 minutes.
7.  Cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack. When cool enough to handle, roll in the melted butter and then in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.



cooling…



cooling….


cooling…


cooling…


the messy part is just beginning

 So don’t let anyone tell you dunking your muffin doughnuts about in butter is a clean job. I had to wash my hands a lot. I’m kind of finicky about things like that I guess. Anyway, dunk those puppies in butter then toss them in a bowl…if you like to shimmy and shake things about when in the kitchen this is your time to get funky with the cinnamon sugar coating. I had a blast tossing them in the cinnamon sugar mixture…walking around the house.

Interesting side note, I tossed the first few in a bowl and walked from the kitchen to the living room where my parents were face-timing with my brother and his wife. They were having issues seeing what I was doing and why on earth I’d do it.


Truth be told I didn’t have any of these…I kind of let everyone else enjoy them. Happy eatings everyone and I hope you enjoy these as much as my employees and family did.


~Nikki

Bird’s Nest Breakfast Cups


All I can say to truly explain our household is to say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We don’t skip breakfast…ever. We will eat almost anything for breakfast too. I’ve been known to grab a cold slice of leftover pizza and eat that on the drive to work. Now I’ve found something new that I can snag out the door instead of waiting to grab some eggs at work.

I found this great recipe on Pinterest, and had to check out the blog it came from, The Little Birdie Blog. They looked so tasty I just couldn’t say no to a recipe that would entice my entire family to munch!

I made a few modifications but not much. It also would’ve helped the bottoms of mine to read the recipe first, not after having started them. Ha! This is what happens when you’re anxious!

Bird’s Nest Breakfast Cups
Modified from The Little Birdie Blog

1 24 oz. bag of shredded hash browns (more or less)
2 t salt (I forgot)
1 t pepper (I forgot)
2 T oil (I forgot)
1/3 cup shredded cheddar (I forgot)
Hormel Real crumbled bacon (be your own judge)
8 eggs
1 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper
Extra shredded cheddar (cheese of your choice, I used a Colby Jack blend)
Muffin tin, I used small

1.                     Take your bag of hash browns and mix in the salt, pepper, oil and 1/3 cup shredded cheese. (I neglected this one)
2.              Divide amongst the cups in your muffin tin, making sure to grease tin beforehand. (Did this and they still stuck, however that extra oil you use to coat, helps)
3.              Bake hash browns at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until toasty.
4.              Once they’re finished, take them out and lower the temp of the oven to 350 degrees.
5.              Top the hash browns with a hearty helping of bacon and extra cheese
6.              Pour your egg mixture over the top of the bacon and cheese until you feel is an appropriate level. Don’t get too full or they will expand and cook over (ever seen an egg in the microwave?)
7.              Bake at 350 degrees for 13-16 minutes
8.              Slide a knife along the edges; we didn’t wait until the pan was cool so this could have been the problem with sticking. Also, I used a spoon to help scoop out more of the hash browns that got left behind.

I used Hormel real bacon crumbles, because that’s what we had on hand. Not saying this is your best choice by any means, you can use any bacon pieces or cook up some fresh bacon and crumble into the cups. I also didn’t follow the amounts in the original recipe. We’re big on protein in this house so I added lots of bacon and cheese.
YUMMY!!! Bacon!!

The recipe calls for one egg per cup, however you can take 8-12 eggs and beat them with some milk or whipping cream to make them a bit more thick and yummy and pour over the top. It works just the same. My mom and I are not yolk people, plus that was a lot of our farm fresh eggs, and I felt guilty using one egg per muffin cup.

This recipe really allows for you to have some creativity here. I would say adding broccoli to a larger breakfast cup would be a good idea, sausage would be another…basically what I think and what the original blogger of the recipe think are the same. Add, add, add. It’s yours to play with.

I’ll be honest it never ceases to amaze me all of the wonderful and great recipes that I’ve found on blogs recently. I cannot stop cooking, and wanting to cook! 

Baked Apple Fritter Muffins


In my household we have two dieters currently, Mom and Dad. So when I make the items on my list that are considered “cheat food” for them, I have to keep those to weekend days, typically Saturdays. Due to the Super bowl we moved the cheat day to Sunday. For breakfast I tried Baked Apple Fritter Muffins from Sweet Anna’s.

AMAZING!

To say I was shocked at how much I loved them would be a lie. I love apples and so does my family. The fact I veered from the amount of apples a bit didn’t make me change any of the other ingredients though. I probably added 2 cups more apples than it calls for.



I apologize in advance these picture do not do the fritter muffins justice. Let’s just say biting in to them was appley delicious and Sweet Anna deserves some kind of medal for coming up with this idea.

Below is Sweet Anna’s recipe in parenthesis is my change.



Baked Apple Fritter Muffins Recipe
Adapted from Sweet Anna’s 
Due to the size tin I used, I got about 12 small muffins and 5 extra large

Ingredients:
For the coating:
2/3-cup sugar
1-tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup butter, melted and browned*

For the muffins:
1-½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1/3-cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1-teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk
3 cups finely diced apples (about 3 large) (I used one large granny smith, and 3 medium sized baking apples)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping; Set aside.

*To brown the butter:  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat until melted and starting to foam.  Stir occasionally while the butter continues to cook, turning a bit brown on the bottom and smelling rich and nutty.  When the butter is browned and aromatic, pull it off the heat and set aside.

Browned butter has the most delicious smell and taste to it; seriously don’t be afraid to brown the butter!! Honestly, the nutty flavor the butter gets when browned only adds to the heavenliness of the fritter muffins.

Butter or spray 2-24 ct. mini muffin pans and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the 1/3 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.

Gently stir in the flour and milk, a bit at a time and alternating (1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour) until just combined.

Fold in the apples and spoon into the muffin tins, about 3/4 full.  (You won’t probably fill all of both pans, but you will get more than one pan-full!).

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the muffins a springy when you press them and a toothpick inserted in to one of them comes out clean.

Remove the muffins to a wire rack until they are just cool enough to touch.

When you can pick them up…  take each muffin and dip it in the browned butter and then roll it in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Serve warm with a big glass of cold milk!

A picture snapped quickly with my cell phone, Naked Baked Apple Fritter Muffins (they taste just as good, ask my Dad)

Not only can you serve nicely with cold milk, my boyfriend drinks ice-cold milk with everything (so it was a given he would drink milk with his). My Dad couldn’t wait to try them so he ate several naked fritter muffins (those without the cinnamon sugar brown butter bath) covered in syrup. He loved them like that. Bless my Dad’s heart, he had it set on French toast. My mom and I popped a few into our mouths and savored the flavors while we each moved onto our next cooking project for the day.