|Posted by lilemdo on December 20, 2011 at 8:45 AM||comments (2)|
Being married to a soldier isn't easy and while we are just beginning, I can already tell how hard it's going to be for not only myself, but for my girls, when he is away. I love programs that help you out and give piece of mind for those that are waiting for their loved ones to come home. I'd like to take a moment and thank those that lost their lives overseas these past years. Your sacrifice and your families loss will never be forgotten.
For those of you who still have loved ones somewhere, far away, that can make it home this Christmas, this is for you.
This is free and all you have to do is fill out the form and they will e-mail you confirming your signup. You click on the link inside of the confirmation e-mail to begin your free recordings.
Happy Holidays, folks!
WINNER WAS ANNOUNCED!
Today is time for another giveaway!
Do you have kids that are currently in the stage where they like to throw things? Well, if so, then the Toy Bungee is a great thing to have!
The Toy Bungee is not as elastic as you would think it would be, so it won't spring back up and hit you in the face and it's also BPA, PVC, Lead and Phthalate free so if you can have ease of mind if your child wants to put this in his or her mouth.
The Toy Bungee fastens around the toy, while the other end can fasten to a stroller, a chair, etc; and the buttons are not so easy for kids to just be able to slip out of opening. Plus there is a clip so you can easily leave the Toy Bungee strapped to the stroller, but unhook the part that fastens to the toy, cup, etc;
This is quiet convienent for anyone who doesn't want to play the "I'll throw, you fetch" game with their kids, or if they happen to drop something, they can easily retrieve it by pulling up on the Toy Bungee itself!
There are several designs to choose and they work well. I tried chewing through mine and it was still intact! (You know kids will try to chew on anything when they hit that stage, and I wanted to make sure my Toy Bungee stood up to the test and it did!)
I was amazed with how well this product worked and I continue to use it every day. I don't want to have to fetch something my child has thrown or dropped, especially when I'm in the middle of trying to clean up previous messes made by said child and they're strapped to their chair, having a mid-day snack. They can easily help this mommy by "picking" up their own cup!
The makers of Toy Bungee also offer Paci Bungee and Crayon Bungee! You can check those out at http://www.nini-baby.com/
Now for the giveaway! One lucky person will win a Toy Bungee! All you have to do is leave a one sentence comment here and the winner will be drawn tonight at 9PM!
Also, don't forget about the iCaughtSanta giveaway that's going on now too! Just scroll down a few (I think it's three) posts and check that one out! That giveaway will end soon, so hurry up!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
|Posted by lilemdo on December 19, 2011 at 2:35 PM||comments (0)|
So I was shopping around a bit (online of course; have you seen the crowds?!) and I happened upon this website http://www.become.com and I noticed that they had a bit of everything! Stuff for babies, automotive, home and living,etc; and they list every item in one place from different sites, such as Kohls, The Company Store, Crate and Barrel and Sear's Marketplace. These are already places I love to shop at and it is so convenient to me to be able to compare prices and find things on one web site, than to have twenty different tabs open and me having to click back and forth to figure out which item to order from whichever store.
I don't know about you, but that is convenient to me and I love anything that saves me time! I was browsing and ran into these cute sugar packet holders http://home-and-garden.become.com/sugar-packet-holder and I can choose from white, black, aluminum, etc; and there are so many different styles! (My personal favorite is the Mediterranean Sugar Packet Holder and it is now $35.88 marked down from $55.20!)
Plus, since it's the Holiday season, I know my dishwasher is going to be in full effect with all the dishes I will be using to cook and bake with, and to save me money (and time) is a great thing, especially with these cute dinner plates! I mean, my family and I are not paper plate kind of people, since most family members either pile their plates so high and run out of room, or their knives and forks just make holes in the bottoms and tend to leave me with a bigger mess than I really want. Yet with most of these plates, I have durability and plates I can use over again for every Holiday. (I don't trust my family with my good China; are you nuts?!)
They also showcase some beautiful vessel sinks! And I'm not sure about you, but this is the type of sink I would love to have in my home! I've always been amazed with them and love the elegance of them. I get bored with the "norm" nowadays but this is starting to become a trend and these sinks last for a long time. Plus they have amazing vases to choose from that go with the sink top itself! My favorite one is the 31.5 in Contemporary Bathroom Glass Vessel Sink Pedestal Vanity (http://www.moderndanish.com/Modern-Bathroom-Kitchen-Products/Modern-Bathroom-Vanities/Contemporary-Bathroom-Glass-Vessel-Sink-Pedestal-Vanity?utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=become) because I love anything glass (that isn't easily broken by my kids) and it's just beautiful! If you plan to remodel your bathroom, or heck, your kitchen (if you're in to that sort of thing; who knows, it may be cute, just make sure to send me pictures!) then this is the base to choose from. It adds just that right touch where you need it to be.
Don't forget to browse the website. They have so many more items that are easy to find and great deals on a whole bunch of things. This is where I plan to come when I need to start searching for my girl's 6-9month clothing.
|Posted by lilemdo on December 19, 2011 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by lilemdo on December 8, 2011 at 8:45 AM||comments (0)|
I love the time of year when the leaves begin to change and we have to dig out the jackets (and now, the heavy coats, gloves, hats and scarves) just because it brings along with it Pumpkin.
I love most things Pumpkin related. I especially love Pumpkin Spice Creamer.
And I use a lot in one cup of coffee. I honestly hate the taste of coffee but the creamer is amazing and while I do drink some of it from the container (I can't help it!), I need something to put it in and well, coffee is about the only thing that I've come across that tastes good.
Maybe I'll try it in some cereal and see how that goes.
So, I wanted to make something Pumpkin-y and I ran across Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls and let me tell you, they are amazingly good. There is the right amount of Pumpkin to the right amount of Cinnamon and it makes for a great breakfast treat.
For the dough, you will need:
1/4 cup warm water (not hot, about 110 degrees)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, either fresh or canned
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups (approximately) All-Purpose Flour
1 1 /4 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (I also did not use this, as wheat flour, to me, gave it an odd taste. I just used regular all-purpose flour in place of this.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
(Now, my warm milk, egg, pumpkin puree and butter are not showing in this picture because I mixed them together all at once. I warmed up the milk for about 15 seconds, then dropped in the butter and put it back in the microwave until the butter was melted. I added the egg and beat the mixture, then added the canned pumpkin puree last.)
For the filling you will need:
1 stick butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and ginger (I only added ginger-you can make your own allspice, though.)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
For the Cream Cheese frosting, you will need:
4 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 cups powdered sugar
Stir the yeast into the water to soften into a large bowl.(I didn't stir mine in just yet.) Allow to rest for five minutes before stirring to combine.
After the mixture rests, stir in the egg, milk, pumpkin and butter (which I had mixed seperately), 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I just added 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour), brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.
Slowly add the rest of the flour (all purpose, if you are using the whole wheat flour also) a little at a time, until the dough is stiff enough to knead. (Start with 1 1/2 cups flour and increase as necessary.)
Turn the dough on to a floured surface, and knead, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough into a greased bowl. (I used shortening.) Turn the dough in the bowl to coat the entire ball with oil.
Cover the ball with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise until doubled, approximately an hour.
(I had limited time, so I turned my oven into a proof box. I turned the oven on warm for an hour and put the covered ball of dough into the oven and let it rise that way.)
While the dough is rising, combine the white sugar, brown sugar, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg in another bowl and mix until combined to make the filling.
After the dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly greased surface and pat (or roll with a rolling pin) in to a rectangle.
Spread softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
(Note; I took part of a stick of butter and used my hands to rub it on the dough. Since my dough was a bit warm from being in the "proof box," it melted quickly.)
Roll the dough into a log the long way. (It'll stretch to about 20" when you roll it.)
Using a very sharp knife, slice the log into slices. To cut down on torn edges, rinse the knife in hot water after every cut. (I actually used a bread knife, with the serated edges, and I didn't have to rinse the knife at all.)
Place the slices in a greased 9X13 pan and cover with a towel until doubled in size.
Once doubled, bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the rolls are starting to brown around the edges and turn gold in the center.
While the rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
Add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and lemon juice to a food processor. (I used a hand mixer.) Beat until smooth and combined.
Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, until the mixture reaches desired consistency. (I used maybe two cups.)
Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting and serve.
You can prep these the night before; just prepare them to where you put them in the pan and cover them with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge. Take them out ahead of time the next day so they can double in size. (Them being cold may make them take longer to rise.)
Boy was it hard to get a picture of one where I hadn't bit into it already! I love these and am actually eating one right now!
|Posted by lilemdo on December 5, 2011 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
So, I'm not the best at writting. I mess things up all the time and my hands shake way too much for me to be able to write pretty.
I was gifted this a while back and thought it was pretty neat and since I was working on an anniversary cake, I thought I'd give it a go.
The first time, it was terrible. I put the word upside down and didn't realize it until I had lifted it off the cake. (On the back, it has the word written in the corner, so you know if it's upside down or not. I didn't realize this, until it was pointed out to me.) I do like how that is on the back. I love triple-checking my work and this makes it easier.
So, after I fixed the icing on the cake and let it set up again, I tried again. I pushed it into the cake in the spot I wanted and lifted it up. (Careful not to go down too far, because the icing did like to get stuck inside the letters and lift off.)
The words were on the cake, perfectly! All I had to do, was trace over the letters. It looked amazing.
My only con was that the letters didn't come in different sizes, but because Wilton also carries alphabet letters and another script writting tool that allows you to combine letters to write whatever you want, I am pleased anyway.
I would recommend this to anyone who needs it, or anyone who just wants it! It's a great tool to help you make beautiful desserts and no one has to know you use it. It'll be our little secret!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for my review of this product. I only give my honest opinion for products I have actually reviewed.
|Posted by lilemdo on December 5, 2011 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
So, I'm not sure about you, but I love anything that has to do with S'mores. The combination of graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate has a special place in my heart. (And my stomach!)
I know it's Winter time, but unlike a lot of people, I love S'mores all year round! Who says I have to have it just in summer time?!
So I made S'mores bars and had one for breakfast (okay, two) for breakfast this morning with my morning cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee!
For the Graham Cracker Crust you'll need:
1 1/2 cup finely ground graham crackers (you can also buy already ground graham crackers, but this is all I had at the moment)
1/3 cup white sugar
6 TBSPS melted butter
1/2 TSP ground cinnamon (optional)
Mix together all ingredients and press into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes and cool. (I did not cook it, but placed it in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.)
For the Marshmallow Filling you will need:
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water (I love my Bacardi stein, so I had to show it off)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 TSP kosher salt
1 TSP vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Place 3 packages unflavored gelatin in a stand alone mixer with 1/2 cup of the cold ice water. (Have whisk attachment ready.)
In small saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining 1/2 cup cold ice water, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup and 1/4 TSP kosher salt. Cover and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover and clip a thermometer to side of pan and cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F. (Approximately 7-8 minutes.) Once temperature is reached, immediately remove from heat.
Turn the stand alone mixer on to low speed and while it's running, pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once added, increase speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture is thick and lukewarm, approximately 12-15 minutes. Add 1 TSP vanilla extract during the last minute of mixing.
While the mix is whipping, lightly spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray. Combine the 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar with the 1/4 cup of cornstarch. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture to the pan and completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the rest of the mixture to the mixing bowl for later use.
When ready, pour the mixture in the stand alone mixer into the pan, using a spatula to evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later.
Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for up to 4 hours or overnight. (Mine sat overnight.)
Turn the marshmallows onto a cutting board and cut enough to add to the pie pan (or other pan) and lightly cover the sides with the cornstarch and sugar mixture before adding.
(Note: I put the marshmallow mixture into the pan with the graham cracker crust already in it. I took a paper towel with shortening to the sides and then before adding the marshmallow mixture, I dusted the sides of the pan with the cornstarch and sugar mixture. But you can do it either way.)
For the Chocolate top you'll need
1 cup chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks)
3 TBPS butter (I used 3 TBSPS shortening
Combine ingredients in a microwaveable safe bowl and microwave at 10 second intervals, stirring the mixture after each time. (For the chocolate chunks, I microwaved at fifteen second intervals.)
Pour this over the set marshmallow layer and put in fridge to set up. (Mine set up in about ten minutes, but I let it stay for almost an hour before cutting it.)
Cut in to squares and enjoy!
I added marshmallows that I toasted (not shown; I ate it too fast) and mini chocolate chips.
|Posted by lilemdo on December 1, 2011 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
So, I got in The Big Book of Cupcakes by Betty Crocker for a friend who is starting out baking.
She wanted several different recipes to choose from, but a set base recipe and only just a few frostings to choose from.
This book has over 175 recipes to choose from, along with great detailed pictures of every cupcake. They have varieties of recipes that allow you to use cake mixes or scratch recipes. Which is great for days when you may or may not have the time, and there is even decorating tips and ideas in the book.
With easy to read and easy to follow instructions, there is no way to go wrong with this book.
The first few pages explain how to have success from baking, how to bake multiple batches of cupcakes and what you should stock up on. It also lists a few frosting basics and decorating essentials that you should use.
There are different ways to frost a cupcake - which is shown and explained in the book, as well as how to store a tote the cupcakes.
Like I said, there are basic yellow, chocolate, white and lemon cake recipes that are used in all the cupcakes. If it's not these base recipes, it's a cake mix! How easy is that?
They list 14 different types of frostings like chocolate, cream cheese, butterscotch and a decorator icing.
To have these in one simple book and for the recipes to be so easy and not involve too much, is great for any beginner baker!
They showcase simple and well-known recipes like the Cookies 'n Cream cupcakes, to ones not really heard of, such as the Christmas Pomegranate cupcakes. .(There is also, in the index, a "recipe tasting and calculating nutrition" information side bar.)
I am very pleased with my purchase of this book for my friend. She was ecstatic to have the book and can't wait to make the cupcakes featured in it. It can make a great gift for someone for this holiday season, or just for yourself!
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. This is my honest opinion.
|Posted by lilemdo on November 30, 2011 at 8:35 AM||comments (0)|
So, I received a stein in the mail yesterday during the baking of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi Hat cupcakes (see previous entry) from http://www.facebook.com/bacardi and I thought what better way to make something of these cupcakes, than to add in some Bacardi?
I had gotten 24 from the last recipe and having only myself, my husband and two three months old that can't eat cupcakes yet (and wouldn't need that much sugar anyway, even if they could) I figured I'd make something with a different flavor for us to enjoy.
The cupcake turned out great! There was a bit of the Spiced Rum in the cake and the frosting wasn't overpowered by the taste at all.
I love the glass and I love the Spiced Rum! Try some for yourself and if you decide you want something sweet, there's always a cupcake waiting for some Spiced Rum!
Disclosure: I was in no way compensated for my opinion in this blog.
|Posted by lilemdo on November 30, 2011 at 8:20 AM||comments (0)|
This is an adaptation of Stef's Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi Hat from http://http:/www.cupcakeprojects.com
It is a delicious chocolate peanut butter cake with chocolate chips and peanut butter frosting, drenched in melted chocolate chips.
I was having a serious craving for chocolate and who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter? Except well, those allergic to PB. (Sorry.)
Anyway, I changed mine up a bit. I did make the peanut butter mixture for the cupcake itself, but I only added it in half (I got 24) of the cupcakes. I'm not a big peanut butter lover, and there was enough in the frosting for me not to even notice it was in the cake. I also did not add in the cup of chocolate chips into the batter, because again, there was enough chocolate for me.
Yields 24 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TSP baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup peanut oil (I used regular vegetable shortening)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 TSP vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (I didn't add any in the cake, though)
Whisk together the 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 TSP baking soda and 1/2 cup cocoa powder.
In another bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter and 2 large eggs until well blended.
Mix 1/2 cup peanut oil (or 1/2 cup vegetable oil), 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%, but you can use any kind) and 1/2 TSP vanilla extract into the bowl of wet ingredients as well.
NOTE: (I only used these in half of the cupcakes, as to me, the cake was quite rich with this mix and I am not fond of very rich or very sugary desserts.)
Slowly add the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients until well blended.
Once the cake is mixed, fold in the 1 cup of chocolate chips. (Again, I did not add these in to the cake, as I felt the cake was very rich without them.)
Fill paper liners 3/4 full. (I found that the cake was a bit dense and flattened on me for the first batch, being 3/4 full. I filled them a bit more and the next batch did not cave in as much.)
Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.
(I did not put these in for thirty minutes, as the cake was done around 22-24 for each batch, so watch them carefully at least the last ten minutes of baking.)
(Ignore the rust on the pan. My pans have been put to good use and I have yet to buy a better set.)
While the cupcakes are baking, gather your ingredients for the peanut butter frosting.
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups smooth peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 2 TBSPS milk
In a large bowl, mix 1 cup butter and 2 cups smooth peanut butter until well combined.
Mix 4 cups (or to your tastes) powdered sugar in a little bit at a time until well blended.
Add 1/4 cup + 2 TBSPS milk in a little bit at a time and mix until frosting becomes light and fluffy.
Once cupcakes are done, pipe a swirl of frosting onto each cupcake using a large round tip.
(I did not add too much peanut butter to some of them, because I am not a huge peanut butter fan. These did dip well, though as is.)
Place the frosted cupcakes into the freezer for one hour for the frosting to set up.
Melt 2 cups chocolate chips and 3 TBSPS peanut oil in a microwaveable safe bowl. (Or you can use a double broiler and if not a double broiler.)
Microwave for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between.
Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes so that it is warm, but not hot.
NOTE: I did not add the 3 TBSPS peanut oil.
Dip the cupcakes one by one in to the chocolate and let the excess drip off for a few seconds.
And there you have it! Easy, right? Now, get in that kitchen and make some cupcakes! You'll thank me later.