Cheeseburger Macaroni

As I’ve expressed in the past, I love a good hotdish. My heart skips a beat when I know I’m going to have it for a meal, and I just about jump out of my shoes in excitement. Sad, huh? You’d think this reaction was for going on a trip or something! What can I say besides I don’t get to have hotdish too often!

Ryan was gone awhile back, so I made this cheeseburger macaroni recipe I had found on Pinterest. I really enjoyed it. It’s creamy, filling, and has a little kick to it. Mine turned out nothing like what Amanda’s did from her blog Kevin & Amanda. I don’t know it if was due to the fact that I didn’t have elbow macaroni or if it was due to the fact that I looked away for 3.5 seconds and my roux was going crazy. Still tasted delicious though, that’s for sure! May not look cheesy, but it tasted cheesy!

 

Cheeseburger Macaroni

Recipe from Kevin & Amanda

1 lb hamburger, browned

1 c. elbow macaroni

1 package taco seasoning

1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilis

2 c. beef broth or water

 

After browning hamburger, add taco seasoning, Rotel, broth/water, and macaroni. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 12-14 minutes until macaroni is tender.

While that is cooking, make the cheese sauce:

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

3/4 c. milk

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 5 minutes until fragrant and light brown (Make sure to whisk the entire time!). Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Whisk until smooth and thickened. Remove the pan from heat, and add the cheese, stirring until fully melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger mixture, and gently stir to combine.

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Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

With summer just around the corner, I’ve found the perfect light and flavorful cupcake to make for all occasions- the raspberry lemonade cupcake. It’s bursting with fresh raspberries and the hint of lemon, and is sure to please family and friends! Super easy to make, and even easier to indulge in!

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Cupcakes:

1 package white cake mix

1 small package vanilla instant pudding

3 Tbsp sweetened raspberry lemonade drink mix ( Country Time Lemonade or the like- pink lemonade mix also works)

1 c. sour cream

2 tsp lemon zest

3/4 c. water

3/4 c. oil

4 egg whites

3 drops of red food coloring

1 c. fresh raspberries

Frosting:

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. shortening

1/2 c. frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed

2 Tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla

zest from 1 lemon

2 lb package or 7.5 c. confectioners sugar

3-4 drops red food coloring

*I could have easily halved this and frosted all my cupcakes. I had a ton left over*

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk cake mix, pudding mix, nad drink mix together. Add sour cream, water, oil, lemon zest, and egg whites to the mix, and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed.  Add drops of food coloring and mix in. Fold in raspberries and mix gently to incorporate.

Scoop batter into a muffin tin with cupcake liners (24).  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, cream butter, shortening, and lemon zest together. Add the lemonade concentrate, milk, and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, mixing well until light and fluffy. Beat in the food coloring.

Pipe frosting on cupcakes and garnish with a raspberry on top.

Happy Mother’s Day!

To celebrate Mother’s Day, I wanted to honor the one person in my life (besides Jesus) who has been my main supporter, rooting me on every step of my life… that person is my mom.

My mom:

  • Has been there before day one, loving me, and having high aspirations for my life
  • Spent the first day of Spring in 1985 bringing me into this crazy world
  • Gave me her curly, unruly hair 🙂
  • Never gave up on me, no matter how feisty, naughty, mean, rude, unappreciative, and  distant I was
  • Believed in me (and still does!)
  • Continues to play Sorry! and other board games with me when I’m home
  • Is stronger and more determined than any other person I know
  • Has a wonderful sense of humor, and a fantastic smile (pic shows the humor, not the smile! 😉 )
  • Cares immensely not only for me, but for the rest of our family, her friends, and also patients she sees at work
  • Helped save my life 11 years ago, even when I didn’t want to be saved
  • Has a poofy head of white hair, and wouldn’t want it any other way
  • Taught me how to be a strong, confident, self- sufficient person
  • Collects marbles on my behalf
  • Makes wonderful desserts (Like mother, like daughter?!:) )
  • Is a ridiculously talented quilter
  • Loves my kitty since I can’t have her in my home
  • Always has time to listen to me- whether I’m complaining, bragging, laughing, or crying, she’s there when I call
  • Put up with me not showing her what my wedding dress looked like until the day of my wedding
  • Lights up a room with her personality
  • Loves God, and walks side by side with her personal Savior Jesus every day (!!!)
  • Never asks for anything in return
  • Used to sew my sister and I matching Christmas dresses- Don’t worry mom, I forgive you for doing that to us!
  • Is beautiful, inside and out
  • Will love me as long as she’s on this planet- how cool is that?
  • Lets my sister and me stick our tongues on her for a photo

My mom is so many things besides the above, but there’s not enough time in the day, or space on my blog to post it all.

Mom, thank you for being you, and nobody else. I know I don’t tell you enough how much you mean to me, but know that each and every day,  I am SO thankful that I’m your daughter. Love you more than I can comprehend!

{Mini} Monster Cookies

A few weeks back, a co-worker brought in monster cookies. I had one…or two (she guilted me into the second!). I went home craving monster cookies, and waited two days before caving in and making my own. I had a good excuse to make them though- Ryan was leaving for the week, and I wanted him to have some treats to share with the people he was working for, and for family members he was staying with. Plus, that meant that I could limit how many I kept behind for me to indulge in, which is definitely a benefit given I had 84 cookies total.

I’ve always enjoyed making monster cookies not in monster-size. They are easier to bake, store, and eat. Plus, I find them to be cuter in small form 🙂 This recipe can be used for big or small cookies- no set size required here!

Monster Cookies

1 1/2 c. peanut butter- not generic or reduced fat

1/2 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

1 c. packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

4 1/2 c. quick-cooking oats

2 tsp. baking soda

1 c. miniature chocolate chips

1 c. M&Ms miniture baking bits, or 1/2- 3/4 c. regular M&Ms

In a large mixing bowl, cream peanut butter, butter, and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine oats and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and M&Ms.

Drop by heaping tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until edges are browned.  Remove to wire racks.

Taco Dip {low-fat}

Recently, Ryan and I graduated from Dave Ramsey’s  Financial Peace University. FPU is a 13 week course to assist you with learning about how to get out of debt, and manage your money correctly (both through saving and investments).  Our group had a potluck to celebrate, and boy was I in a pickle. You see, I don’t participate in potlucks. I never know what to make, and just thinking about having to bring something makes me nervous. Lucky for me, I saw this recipe for taco dip, and felt it was something everybody would like.

This recipe really can’t get any more easy. Mix a few things, sprinkle on a few toppings, and done. Let me tell you, I went home with nothing left in my 9x 13 pan. It was a hit! Best of all, it’s low-fat! I even had some and loved it, and I’m not a huge chip/dip fan. If you’re looking for a great dip for gatherings, a potluck, or just watching a game at your house, this is definitely one to try!

Taco Dip

Recipe from Skinnytaste

8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese

8 oz reduced fat sour cream

16 oz jar salsa

1 packet taco seasoning

2 cups shredded lettuce

2 tomatoes, diced

1 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

2 oz black olives, sliced

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, and taco seasoning and mix well with an electric mixer. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 glass pan and spread evenly. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and olives. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

I love pizza rolls. There’s a restaurant in particular that has delicious pizza rolls, and when I drive by, I immediately crave them. As a substitute for going to the restaurant every other day (if I could, I probably would), I decided I’d make my own pizza rolls.  This recipe makes about 8 pizza rolls, so it’s a perfect appetizer for Ryan and I to share. Not too many, not too little!

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated thin crust pizza crust

1/2 c. diced or mini pepperoni

1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

pizza sauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round pan with cooking spray.

Roll dough out on a work surface, and put cover with a small amount of pizza sauce. Sprinkle cheese and pepperoni on top. Starting at one side, roll dough up. Cut the roll into 1 inch sections, and place in the round pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with additional warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

There aren’t too many times when Ryan asks me to make a certain meal/dessert. When he does, I know it’s something he’d really like to have. One item that has been requested has been cinnamon rolls. Ryan loves them, and wishes I would make them probably every weekend.  I haven’t yet…I avoid making them like the plague. I say it takes too much time, and Ryan offers a way to shorten the process. I say I have absolutely no idea how to make them, and Ryan provides a step by step recipe. All this effort means he really must want them!

I found this cinnamon roll cake recipe online, and thought this would be the perfect substitute for rolls so I didn’t have to make them. Ryan called me out right away when I mentioned the recipe and said this wouldn’t be as good as the real deal and that I should just make the darn rolls. *sigh* I have quite the persistent husband.

While this recipe didn’t turn out quite like the blog I found the recipe from (mine was quite fluffy), I really liked the cake, and Ryan liked it too. It was no cinnamon roll, but it may be as close as I’ll get to making them! 😉 The cinnamon swirl was yummy, and the glaze acted just like frosting on a roll. If you’re looking to get out of making cinnamon rolls, definitely give this recipe a try- I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Recipe from Chef In Training

Cake:

3 c. flour

1 c. sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 c. milk

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 c. butter, melted

Topping:

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. brown sugar

2 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp cinnamon

Glaze:

2 c. powdered sugar

5 Tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 glass pan with cooking spray, and set aside.

In an electric or stand mixer, add the flour, milk, eggs, vanilla, and baking powder. When well combined, slowly stir in the melted butter. Pour into the prepared 9 x 13 baking pan.

For topping, mix the butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together until well combined and creamy.  Drop evenly over the batter by tablespoonfuls and use a knife to swirl through the cake.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out nearly clean.

For the glaze- In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together with a whisk. Drizzle over the warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Homemade Snickers bars

Oooooooooh goodness. If you are on a diet or avoiding sweets for some crazy reason, stop reading now. This recipe for homemade Snickers bars is delicious, and addicting. I could probably eat an entire 9 x 13 pan of them by myself. They are almost spot on to the real candy bar, and are pretty effortless to make. A little melting here, stirring there, pouring, and viola! You’re done.

These do take a little bit of time to finish, as each layer requires that you let it cool and set before putting the next layer on top. Well worth the wait though. Just remember that 🙂 I brought these to a bible study, and they were quickly gobbled up, with everybody asking for the recipe. You will not be disappointed by this recipe!

Homemade Snickers Bars

Recipe from How Sweet It Is

Bottom Chocolate Layer

1/1/4 c. milk chocolate chips

1/4 c. peanut butter

Thoroughly grease your pan, or line with parchment paper. Melt ingredients in a sauce pan or microwave, then pour into the baking dish and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nougat Layer

1/4 c. unsalted butter

1 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. evaporated milk

1/1/2 c. marshmallow fluff

1/4 c. peanut butter

1/1/2 c. lightly salted peanuts, roughly chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in fluff, peanut butter, and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat, and  gently stir in peanuts, then pour over chocolate layer. Cool completely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caramel Layer

1- 14 oz bag caramels

1/4 c. whipping cream

Combine ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Pour over nougat layer and cool completely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Layer

1/1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

1/4 c. peanut butter

Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, and pour over caramel layer. Cool completely.

Refrigerate at least one hour before serving, then cut as desired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I kept mine in the fridge, as they tend to melt, and ooze out caramel, making them a little messy*

Colored Deviled Eggs

Looking for a fun, creative, and fast activity for your children to do for Easter? Look no further! These colored deviled eggs are just it! They’ll add a splash of color to your dinner table, and kids can take pride knowing they helped make these colorful yummy eggs.

Colored Deviled Eggs

Recipe from FOODjimoto

10 eggs

1/2 c. mayonnaise

5-6 Tbsp vinegar

5-6 tsp cider vinegar (optional)

paprika (optional)

food coloring

Put eggs in  a pot and cover with water.

Bring to a boil,  turn heat down to low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 15 minutes, cool the eggs by running cold water in the pot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peel the eggs, then cut them in half.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put the yolks in a separate bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depending on how many colors you’d like, take out glasses, and pour 3 drops of food coloring, 1 Tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp cider vinegar, and 1/2 c. room temperature water in each.

Place eggs in glasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take eggs out when they have achieved the color you are looking for.

Dry on paper towels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crumble the egg yolks with a fork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add mayonnaise ( a little at a time until you’ve reached your desired creaminess) and add any additional flavorings if you’d like- mustard, pepper, chives, etc.

Scoop or pipe (with decorating bag and tip) mixture into each egg half, and sprinkle with paprika.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place on a white dish so allow for the eggs to fully show their color.

Happy birthday…{to me!}

When asked what I want for my birthday each year, there’s only one thing I TRULY want- a cake, and it’s either an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen or a marble cake with chocolate frosting. Most years I’ll get one a few days after my birthday when Ryan and I get together with my family to celebrate my sister and my birthdays. Ryan’s completely against making homemade frosting for a cake, and he doesn’t like ice cream cake, so I usually go cake-less on my birthday.

When I saw this polka dot cake on SnowyBliss’s blog, I thought it’d be the perfect birthday cake for me. Vain a bit? It’s my birthday- I can be! 🙂 I love all things polka dots, so finding out you can make cakes with polka dots, I about died. Super cute, and didn’t look too terrible hard to make.

The polka dots are made by using a Babycakes Pop Maker. My mom scored a new one for $6.00 around Christmas and gave me it. I also decided to color my pops so I used fuchsia gel dye to make those babies vibrant.

I didn’t follow SnowyBliss’s directions completely, but wish I would have followed a little closer, as my pops weren’t covered with batter and they ended up being a little dry on top. Other than that, the cake was easy to assemble, looks fun, and tastes great!

Polka Dot Cake

1 boxed cake

Ingredients for the pops (found in the Babycakes recipe booklet)

Gel dyes- optional

Frosting of your choice- I used a chocolate fudge buttercream found on this post 

Step 1:

Make the cake pops as directed within the Babycakes booklet. If you want colored pops, once batter is mixed, squeeze dye in until desired color is found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2:

Make cake batter as directed on the box instructions. Pour a small amount in a greased and floured 9 inch round pan. Push half the pops into the batter. Repeat with a second 9 inch round pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3:

Divide the remaining batter between the two round pans and pour on top of the cake pops.

Step 4:

Cook the cake, checking after the directed time to see if a toothpick comes out clean. I baked mine about 7-10 minutes extra. Let your cakes cool on a wire rack.

Step 5:

Make your frosting.

Step 6:

If your cakes are rounded on top, use a knife to level them off. Put one cake on a plate,  put some frosting on top and spread around the cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take the second cake and place on top of the frosting. Use remaining frosting to frost entire cake.

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