Thursday, October 18, 2012

pumpkin cupcakes & pumpkin cream cheese frosting

                              pumpkin cupcakes & pumpkin cream cheese frosting
                                                          source: skinnytaste

what you need-
  • 18.25 oz Betty Crocker Golden Vanilla Super Moist Cake Mix*
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup water
for the frosting-
  • 8 oz Philadelphia 1/3 fat cream cheese (do not use fat free)
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 tbsp packed brown sugar

what you do-

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers.

Combine cake mix and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Add pumpkin puree and water, mix about 2 minutes.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake about 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar until smooth. You can use a spatula to ice the cupcakes or pipe them which may require making more frosting.

Makes 24

*Betty Crocker has reduced their cake mixes, so read the labels on your box. Dunkin Hines still carries 18.25 oz boxes.

these were so easy and soooo good!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

sweet & salty granola

Sweet & Salty Olive Oil Granola 
Source: With a Cherry on Top

what you need: 
3 cups of Old-fashioned Oats
1 1/2 cups Pistachios, hulled
1 cup Almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes
1 cup Dried Fruit
3/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 Egg White

what you do: 
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oats, pistachios, almonds, coconut, and fruit; mix well until combined. Add in the maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon; toss until evenly combined.

In a small glass, whisk the egg white until it becomes frothy and foamy (about 2 minutes). Mix into the granola mixture.

On a baking pan covered with parchment paper, spread the mixture out in an even layer. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, to get evenly browned.

Remove from heat and let cool completely. As it cools, it will begin to harden and form into one large piece. Once it is cooled, using your hands, break up the granola into clusters of your desired size.**

Store in an air-tight container or resealable plastic bag.

**I don't make clusters...I like it broken apart all together in case I want to eat it with milk like cereal. 
So good! Love it!! 


Friday, June 15, 2012

Mason Jar Salads!

Mason Jar Salads!

Another pinterest success! And, you can make them way ahead of time! :) Perfect for lunches!!

i use the small mason jars because i feel like that's enough for lunch.
you can also do this in the large mason jars if you want a little more :)

Most important: dressing on bottom and lettuce on top. If the lettuce & dressing touch the lettuce is slimy and gross!

Layer like this bottom to top-




Cheese (or you could put the cheese before the lettuce. for some reason I like the cheese on top)

My fav is easy-

Light Ranch Dressing



Red Peppers



Bacon bits

Caesar (from my not-so-simple-life)-

Light Caesar Dressing


Grilled Chicken (optional)





Add croutons later

and that's it! enjoy!!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Squares

Another pinterest success! I had a lot of bananas I needed to use so I made these bars and banana bread...yum. These oatmeal squares are great to grab and go :)

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Squares

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large mashed banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Mix together the quick cooking oats, light brown sugar, baking powder, kosher salt and ground cinnamon.

Add in the vanilla extract, milk and egg. Mix the ingredients together.

Add in the mashed banana and peanut butter. Combine with other ingredients.

Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch metal baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Easy peasy!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tomato Soup with Chicken & Gorgonzola Cheese

b recently had his wisdom teeth taken out. he waited forever to have this done and even the oral surgeon said it was more difficult than he thought it would be so i knew b wasn't going to heal as fast as i did (mine were SO easy and i was good to go in a few days) i knew i needed to make lots of soft foods and soup! i started looking online and wanted to check out cooking light...AND i found this beauty!! i made it and b loved it! (i did too! yay!) he has asked that it be added to the "rotation" :) Tomato Soup with Chicken and Gorgonzola Cheese source: cooking light
what you need: 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic 1 cup sliced celery (about 2 stalks) 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 3/4 pound shredded cooked chicken breast 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese what you do: Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add celery, pepper, and chicken; cook 6 minutes or until mixture is heated through. Add tomatoes and broth; bring to a simmer. Cook 8 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Tip: Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese. You can substitute crumbled feta or goat cheese, if you prefer.
soooo delish! xoxo. manda

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Marbled [Easter] Eggs!

Marbled [Easter] Eggs! AKA dinosaur eggs!!

I saw this on pinterest (of course) and HAD to try it!! I have an Easter deviled egg platter so I always make deviled eggs this time of year. We were having a little brunch at work today so I thought it would be the perfect time to try the marbled eggs. They turned out AWESOME and my coworkers and I have decided they should be called dinosaur eggs…since that’s what we think they look like. I will definitely make my eggs like this from now on…because it’s so fun! I mean, really, how perfect would these be for kids?! OR adults…as I’m a big kid myself.

The blog that these eggs came from is narcissism is necessary and she has step-by-step pictures. I was lazy last night and didn’t do step-by-step pics….so if you want to see it go to her blog and check it out.

Marbled Eggs (new name = Dinosaur eggs)
Source: narcissism is necessary

What you need:
Food coloring
White vinegar
Sandwich bags

Step 1: put eggs in pot of water, bring to boil, and boil for 7 minutes.

Step 2: After eggs have boiled for 7 minutes turn off the heat and leave eggs to cool in the water for 5 minutes.

Step 3: After eggs have cooled for 5 minutes, remove the eggs and let them cool for an additional hour. (I just put mine in a bowl to cool)

Step 4: After the eggs have cooled for 30 minutes, gently tap or roll the eggs against a hard surface (countertop, etc) until cracks are all over the eggs. You want the shells cracked but still intact.

Step 5: Place your egg(s) into a sandwich bag and add a few drops (roughly a tablespoon) of food coloring.

Step 6: Roll the eggs around in the sandwich bag until they are coated with the dye. Leave eggs in the bags for 30 minutes to allow the color to absorb.

Step 7: After the eggs have been in the bag for 30 minutes, rinse the eggs under water to remove excess dye. Then splash the eggs with white vinegar (this makes the color set). Use a paper towel to dry the eggs.

Step 8: Peel off the shell and BOOM! Awesome eggs! :)

My deviled eggs-

Remove yolk(s) and put in a bowl. Mash yolks completely. Add cheddar cheese. Mix in mayo (I use Light Dukes)…a generous spoonful, a little mustard…few squirts, and some relish. Mix together well and pipe or spoon mixture into the egg whites.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

coconut chicken w/ sweet chili dipping sauce

We all know pinterest is the BEST! I found this coconut chicken w/ sweet chili dipping sauce the other day and couldn't wait to make it! B and I have been pretty lazy in the kitchen lately so it was Friday night and we wanted to get back into the kitchen together. Insert coconut chicken. :)

This recipe is from Budget Bytes. Awesome website...she breaks everything out in price and shows you cost per serving. check it out here.

coconut chicken w/ sweet chili dipping sauce

what you need:

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk (optional) (i didn't use)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 cup sweet chili sauce

what you do:

Trim and cut each breast into 6 strips, diagonally to prevent the end strips from being really short. **Making the chicken strips thinner is the best**

Prepare 3 bowls. First bowl- combine the flour and salt. Second bowl- combine the eggs and coconut milk. Whisk together until well combined. Third bowl- stir together the panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut.

Place 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a large heavy duty skillet and heat over medium/high heat until it is just below smoking. You can test the heat by throwing in a little bit of flour. When it is hot enough, the flour will sizzle and create a lot of bubbles.

While the oil is heating, prepare the chicken strips. First, coat each strip in the flour and salt mixture. Then dip each into the eggs/coconut milk and finally coat each in panko and shredded coconut. I find it easiest to coat all of them in the flour then go back and then do the egg wash and panko/coconut for each before moving onto the next.

After breading the strips, the oil should be hot enough. Place about 6 strips in the pan at once. There should only be one layer in the pan and there should be about an inch between each strip. (If you over crowd the pan it will get too cold and the strips will soak up a lot of oil instead of frying.)

Fry the strips for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy. Place them on a plate with paper towel to drain and move on to the next batch. After a couple of batches you may need more oil so you can add the second 1/4 cup to the pan. Allow the oil to come up to temperature before frying the next batch (2-3 minutes). Because the strips are thin, they should be cooked through by the time both sides are browned. You can tell by the texture of the chicken; it should be stiff when pressed.

Serve with sweet chili sauce.