03/04/2014 12:11 pm
This recipe comes to you from my good friends over at Tradernation on instagram.
It is absolutely GENIUS and too good not to share with you!
Bake the brownies according to package directions.
(licking the brownie batter off the spoon is part of the package directions, right?!? Kidding, I don’t recommend it, especially because it has raw eggs, but it’s oh so good!)
When the brownies are done baking, remove them from the oven and take these:
And spread them all over the warm brownies. I used about 3/4 of the package of PB cups. It turns out the to be the most perfect, decadent icing. YUMM!
Hope you enjoy this easy peasy recipe.
And, if you happen to love Trader Joes (like I do) and happen to have an instagram, go follow tradernation, for more great products and recipe ideas!
02/28/2014 7:00 am
Ohh this is a good one friends!
This recipe comes from my hubby’s Great Grandmother. I have absolutely no idea where she acquired this recipe, could be her own, could be a friends, could be out of a cookbook! All I know is that it’s amazing and I had to share it with you!
3 Cups ( 18 oz. ) Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Butter
2 Cups Miniature Marshmallows
2 Teas. Vanilla
2 Cups Coarsely Chopped Walnuts
4 Cups Sugar
1 12oz. Can of Evaporated Milk
Put the first 5 ingredients into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine Milk and Sugar in a large heavy pan. STIR, slowly but
CONTINUOUSLY, bring to a boil over medium heat. As soon as it comes to a
full rolling boil, cook it for 11 minutes. NEVER STOP STIRRING! A flat
wooden spoon works well to keep it from sticking or scorching at the bottom
of the pan. At the end of 11 MINUTES pour the sugar/milk mixture over the
ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir until completely combined. Pour
into a greased 9"x13" cake pan and chill for a few hours before cutting.
Store in a covered container in the fridge.
This fudge is so good, I'm enjoying it as I write this! Trust me, you gotta make it!
02/25/2014 4:14 pm
Join Pretend City next Tuesday in celebrating Mardi Gras!
In honor of the new Cajun-themed Pretend Cafe exhibit opening, the Bayou Cafe, Pretend City will be hosting a family-friendly Mardi Gras celebration. Kids will have the chance to make their own float to march in the Mardi Gras parade, decorate jazz masks, play with toy instruments along with the live jazz band, sample some Cajun food at the pretend cafe and walk in the confetti showered parade with colorful beads galore.
Sounds like a good time to me!
Mardi Gras parade begins at 12:30, next Tuesday March 4th. Hope to see you there!
29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618
02/24/2014 8:48 am
Just wanted to let you all know that Donna B’s Bakery- Voted best cookies in OC are on Amazon Local deals today!
You get your choice of either 1 dozen cookies for $11 or 1 dozen mini cupcakes for $12. Awesome value… You don’t want to miss out on this sweet deal- I already got mine!
Click Here for the link to the deal.
And click here and here to read more about Donna B, and her award winning cookies!
Hurry and go get your Donna B’s deal!!
02/19/2014 4:28 pm
If you know me, then you know that I absolutely love my doTerra essential oils.
I’ve been using them for about a year now, slowly replacing many of my over the counter meds and other household products in exchange for these natural, pure and safe essential oils.
You guys probably never would have guessed that I just love desserts, and could pretty much live off them for
the rest of my life like a day, maybe… haha. Well, leave it to me to create an essential oil infused dessert! I don’t just use my oils for medicinal and household use, no I love to bake with these oils and let me tell ya, I created a very unique sweet treat!
I love that these oils are so pure that you can cook and bake with them. I had so much fun with these cake pops!
I chose 2 of my favorite oils: peppermint and wild orange.
For the peppermint cake pops I made a chocolate cake, and added 1 drop of oil- I repeat ONE drop of peppermint oil to the cake batter. The oils are SO extremely potent that all you need is a drop!
So bake the cake, remove from the oven. Let it cool. Then crumble it all up! Mix cake crumbs with approx 1 1/2 cups of frosting until the consistency looks almost dough-like. Then roll into cake balls approx 1 inch in size. Place cake balls on a wax lined cookie sheet, and pop them into the freezer for at least half an hour. Freezing the cake balls will allow them to be much much easier to work with when it comes time to dip!
To dip, I used Wilton Candy Melts-
You can find these at most craft stores in the cake decorating section, in a variety of colors. I used the green and orange colored candy melts. Melt according to the package directions.
Take your cake pop stick (these are also found in the same section), dip just the tip into the melted candy melts, and stick it into your cooled cake balls. This will act as a “glue” so the sticks won’t fall out. Let them harden for a few minutes. Now dip your cake balls into the candy melts.
I garnished them with some pretty purple sugar, and wrapped them up.
For the wild orange cake balls, I went about it a little differently:
Make your regular cake batter this time and don’t add any essential oil yet. Bake your cake, cool, crumble, add frosting, roll into balls, freeze… you get it- exactly the same way I made the peppermint cake balls. Now melt your candy melts, and this time add 1 drop of the wild orange essential oil to the melted candy melts. This will make the candy melts taste like an orange creamsicle, yumm!
Both flavors of cake pops turned out great, but I found that the orange infused ones had more flavor. I think this is due to the oil being placed into the melted candy melts rather then the cake batter. It gives it a more intense flavor!
I brought these cake pops to an “Intro to essential oils” class taught by my friend Jen Broas (also known as Crash Test Mommy, here on OC Family) The class was hosted by Suz Broughton- Alive In Wonderland, and I think they were a hit!
I love this photo Suz took of Jen and I with the cake pops. Such a fun night!
I’d love to hear from you if you try making some of your own cake pops with essential oils, if you use essential oils… I’d just love to hear from you! Happy Baking!
02/05/2014 4:48 pm
My very first blog post for OC Family included a recipe for “cake box cookies”
These are extremely simple cookies to make.
The recipe consists of a box of cake mix, any kind-
and 1/2 cup vegetable oil-
All you have to do is throw these ingredients into a large bowl, and mix. I use a fork, and it works perfectly. No mixer required!
I added the juice of about 1/2 a lemon to my cookie dough. Roll the dough into 1 in. balls. Pop the rolled cookie dough balls into the oven at 350 for approx 10 minutes, and they came out looking like this, yum-
Ciera is very anxious to try them!
I also thought it would be fun to ice these cookies, so I took approx 1 cup of powdered sugar, and added the juice of one small lemon. Mix together and ice those cookies!
Here is the finished product-
They turned out very pretty, and VERY lemony! I’ll be bringing these to our Girls 4 God and Father Son Network events at church tonight. They are an easy, quick last minute treat to bake up. Especially if you forgot that you signed up to bring snack, and had absolutely nothing prepared. I’m not saying that’s me- but you know, just in case…
01/24/2014 12:47 pm
I’ve been a busy little bee lately.
First off, I’ve started weight watchers. I’m down 6 pounds since the beginning of January. It’s been pretty easy for me to follow the points plus program this time around. Of course I do have my hard days- especially when I’m baking. But I’ve learned I can enjoy my sweet goodies, as long as I keep it in moderation. Moderation is KEY, for sure!
A few weeks ago my family and I started hiking again. Oh how I love hiking!
We went to the “Ghost Rock” in Laguna Beach-
Then the very next day my husband and I went hiking to “The Dripping Cave” in Aliso Woods-
In two days we hiked over 12 miles. I loved it- although my foot did not! On our Dripping Cave hike, I must have rolled my ankle, although I don’t remember injuring it at the time. It took me a good week and a half to recover, I could barely put weight on it. But the good news is I’m all better now, and ready to start hiking again!
How beautiful is this! It’s amazing how some of our local OC hikes can make you feel like your in a whole different world.
Other then hiking, I’ve also been going a little crazy with my crafting. I decided to take apart my dark brown and beige burlap wreath, and add some new colors and design accents to it to match the inside of my home-
I used two different colors of burlap, a beige and green. I love the two tone. I also tied a cute bow, hot glued it onto the wreath, and then picked up a black wooden N at Joann’s and glued it onto the bow. I embellished the wreath with these adorable burlap flowers, and placed a pearl in the center-
Aren’t they cute!?!
Here is the burlap wreath tutorial I used- click here. I love this girl! She’s adorable, and explains the wreath instructions in such a simple way.
If you are interested in learning how to make the sweet flowers, click here.
I also made a cute little “gift in a jar” as a get well gift for our pastor’s wife, Cathi, who has recently had knee surgery-
This craft pretty much explains itself! Find a mason jar, and have fun filling it up with goodies!
In Cathi’s jar I included some organic shower gel and lotion, 2 See’s Candies lollipops, a bag of mini snickers, 2 tea bags, and a EOS lipgloss. She loved it!
Of course I’ve also been baking- a lot! I made these yummy red velvet cupcakes for a BBQ we went to over the weekend (please excuse my kitchen in the background!)-
You can find my recipe here.
I also made these brownies. Let me tell you, I’m obsessed! A homemade chocolaty fudge brownie, that has a very fudge-like texture with a decadent chocolate honey buttercream icing. It’s heaven! I made these for Cathi after her surgery, and I also made them for a sweet friend who has just had her third child- a sweet little baby boy!
The recipe is pretty darn easy, and so worth giving it a try. I hope you enjoy it!
Here’s what you need for the brownies:
- 1 Cup butter
- 2 Cups sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 2/3 Cup cocoa powder
- 1 Cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13 baking pan.
- In a mixer, add softened butter. Add the sugar and beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
- Mix in cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add flour and stir until combined. Pour into your prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake approx 25-30 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely.
Here’s what you need to make the delicious frosting-
- 3 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 Tablespoons chocolate syrup (I used Midnight Moo from Trader Joes)
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
Beat the butter, chocolate syrup, honey and vanilla until blended. Add powdered sugar and beat to desired consistency and pour over the cooled brownies.
I garnished these brownies with chocolate sprinkles, and for the second batch of brownies I made, I topped them with dark chocolate chips. Have fun with it!
I’d love to know if you try out this recipe. Shoot me an e-mail. I’d love to hear from you. Happy Friday and happy baking friends!
01/15/2014 4:35 pm
Have you heard of the show “Army Wives”? I’ve become completely obsessed with it. Like I could sit down and watch an entire season in a day obsessed.
We recently signed up for an Amazon Prime account (which is awesome by the way, free 2 day shipping- yes please!)
Amazon Prime offers something called instant video, which is similar to Netflix. In adding movies and TV shows to our list, my husband added Army Wives for me. Well, just one show in and that was all it took for me. I fell in love. The characters, the story line, all of it!
I’ve always had so much appreciation and respect for the soldiers serving in our military, but this tv show, whether being realistic or not, has taken my appreciation to another level.
A few weeks after we started watching this show I got an e-mail forwarded from my husband Brandon-
FW: Your Soldier Information from AAUSS ( Adopt A US Soldier )
He signed us up for an “Adopt a Soldier” program. This program allows you to connect with US soldiers who are deployed over seas. You have the opportunity to have your very own soldier, to connect with them, write to them, send them care packages. How awesome is that?! I had no idea this even existed!
We’ve already connected with our soldier, who by the way is a female. Very nice surprise! We’ve been sending e-mails back and forth, and I’m in the process of putting together a fun care package for her filled with lipglosses, lotions, some store bought treats, and of course some homemade goodies!
I decided to bake some of my homemade snickerdoodles to send to her. You can find the recipe here. I figured they’d will ship well, and I won’t have any concerns with them melting. And really, who doesn’t love a snickerdoodle? I’m including a cute Valentine card for her as well as some drawings from the kids.
I really hope she likes it! We had so much fun putting this package together for her. The kids have been loving helping me write e-mails to her.
I want to leave you with a little info on this great program, I hope this blog inspires you sign up to adopt a soldier. It can be as involved as sending care packages and daily e-mails, or you can do as little as sending an e-mail once or twice a week. All that matters is they know that someone out there cares about them, and it means a lot , I’m sure of it!
Sign up here:
12/31/2013 12:11 pm
A recent trip to Stone Brewery, in Escondido has inspired my latest creation- chocolate stout cupcakes. But, before I get into sharing my recipe, I want to tell you a little about this brewery and super fun weekend I had with my husband, sister and brother in law–
We’ve been planning a trip down to San Diego for my sisters 25th birthday for months. A few weeks ago it finally happened. Can you tell I’m excited? We don’t get to go out of town too much, so I was really looking forward to this trip!
The plan was to get down there early on a Saturday, spend the day hanging out, going to Seaport Village, just exploring San Diego sans the kiddies. Our plan had changed a little, due to my sister having to work half a day on Saturday, so now, my husband Brandon and I had time to kill.
I’ve always wanted to go down to Stone, and do a little beer tasting and tour the brewery. My wish came true! And we had a blast! We got down there early, booked a brewery tour for noon (please note, if you plan on doing this, you must get down there early to book the tour. They do not allow online/phone reservations, only in person)
Took the tour (which was super affordable, $3 per person and $1 of that fee will go to charity– this includes the tour, 4 beer tastings and a take home souvenir glass) tasted beer, and had lunch in their beautiful gardens. I highly highly suggest visiting Stone. It was absolutely stunning having lunch in their serene gardens. My husband described the feel of these gardens as modern organic. SO peaceful. We could’ve stayed there all day.
So after Stone, we met up with my sister and brother. We stayed at a great little hotel right on Mission Bay called The Dana. Walked around Seaport Village for a bit, and then off it was to Old Town, to celebrate my sister’s birthday at Cafe Coyote Mexican restaurant (you know- the one that makes those oh so addictive fresh tortillas right there in front of you? That’s the one)
The next day we got up early, rode our bike on the Mission Bay bike path, had breakfast, then returned home. It was such a wonderful and much much needed weekend!
Here’s my sister Julie with her hubby Calvin-
Now this brings me to my recipe for Chocolate Stout Cupcakes, with all the beer tasting going on, and multiple beers my hubby got as Christmas gifts this year, I’ve had a new appreciation for beer (usually I’m a red wine kind of girl). All these beers inspired me to make a dessert with, you guessed it– BEER!
Here’s what you need:
1 cup stout beer
2 sticks butter, softened
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ cup sour cream
Here’s what you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, and baking soda together. Set aside.
Add the eggs and sour cream to a mixer, and mix together on a medium speed. Add butter, mix. Add the beer and cocoa, mix. On a low speed, mix in the sifted dry ingredients. Add in the chocolate chips and stir in by hand.
Spoon the batter into cupcake tins lined with baking cups. Bake for approx 19 minutes. Cool on wire racks before frosting.
Now, you can leave these cupcakes plain, just as they are. They are now known as chocolate stout muffins, haha =)
But, I ended up frosting mine. I made a dark chocolate, merlot buttercream. You heard me right- Merlot. Yum. Told you I loved red wine, didn’t I?
Here’s what you need for the frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 stick softened butter
5 tbsp of merlot
Here’s what you do:
Cream butter in mixer, slowly add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add in merlot.
Frost the cupcakes- very lightly. This has a very strong, rich flavor. Recipe yields approx 3 dozen adult friendly cupcakes.
I noticed this book at the Stone Brewery gift shop, and it made me laugh. Very appropriate for this post!! Now you can have both beer and wine in this cupcake!
Hope you enjoy friends, and a very Happy Happy New Year to you and yours!
12/18/2013 4:40 pm
This recipe is inspired by my good friend Casey. She gave me the sweetest gift over the weekend– a gift of precious, uplifting bible verses, which I definitely needed.
She also gave me a bag full of yummy cookies and cream popcorn. I’m not the biggest popcorn person, but I couldn’t put this down. I was practically pouring the bag into my mouth. It was SOO good!
Here’s what you need to make this simple, yet delicious treat-
1 sleeve of peppermint Joe-Joes found at Trader Joes (there are 3 in the box)
1/2 bag of white chocolate chips
approx 5 cups of popped popcorn, or you can use an envelope of microwave popcorn
1/2 bag of Andes mint chips (chocolate chips can also be used in place of these)
Here’s what you do-
Pop your popcorn. Place the popped corn in a large bowl.
Melt 1/2 bag of the white chocolate chips according to the package directions. Mine melted up perfectly in the microwave. Once the chips are melted, drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn. Mix.
Now add your Andes chips or chocolate chips into the popcorn mixture, stir.
Last step is to crush up the sleeve of Joe-Joes, add them to the popcorn mixture and stir.
DONE! How easy was that??!!??
This is the perfect treat to bring to a holiday gathering (which is exactly what I will be doing tonight– high school girls small group, you get to be my taste testers!!)
Or how about pop in your favorite holiday DVD- mine is Elf in case you were wondering =) cozy up on the couch with some fuzzy blankets and enjoy this fun dessert!
The kids (and adults will love it).
A super fun twist on popcorn!
Merry Christmas friends!