Homemade Chocolate Frosting

One day I was baking a cake when I realized that I had no store bought frosting on hand! So after a quick scan in my cupboards I found powdered sugar and cocoa powder that I had bought for holiday baking. So  a quick search and I found a simple recipe for chocolate frosting!

Ingredients:

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

The inspiration: http://www.simplyscratch.com/2010/07/homemade-chocolate-frosting.html

Cocoa powder and powdered sugar blended together.

Cocoa powder and powdered sugar blended together.

Sift sugar and cocoa powder together in a bowl then in another bowl cream together the butter and vanilla. Add a cup of the cocoa sugar mix to the butter then add a bit of milk then more of the sugar coca mix. Keep mixing the sugar cocoa and milk until you get the desired consistency.

Finished frosting!

Finished frosting!

Then you use the frosting!! I spread mine over a sheet cake and it was delicious!!

cake ready to eat!

cake ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1 I didn’t have a sifter to mix the sugar and cocoa powder so I added each to my food processor and pulsed it for a bit until it was blended!

#2 For thicker frosting use less milk and for thinner frosting, like a glaze, use more milk.

#3 Before you go and buy anything at the store look in your pantry! I am big on reusing items and I used up the rest of the cocoa powder and powdered sugar that I had purchased for Christmas cookies!

I liked how easy and delicious this frosting is! I have been using it ever since for all my cakes, brownies, and cupcakes! At first my daughter wasn’t sure if she wanted to try it. I realized then just how little I made basic items like frosting if her only exposure in 13 years is store bought! I informed her that before once upon a time people had to make their own cakes and frosting at home before mixes and store bought frosting was available. She then tried a slice of cake and declared it was the best frosting she’d ever had! Now I make it a point to make a lot of stuff without mixes so she can taste real home cooking!

 

Happy Pinning!!

Single Serve Chocolate Chip Cookie

99.999% of people love fresh, hot chocolate chip cookies….right? They are so yummy and gooey but, admit it, it can be a lot of work and clean up to get those luscious cookies. Well the pin I found is perfect for those moments when you would kill for a fresh cookie but don’t have the time for a full batch of cookies!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp white

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 egg yolk

3 drops vanilla

1/4 flour

1-2 tbsp chocolate chips

pinch of salt (optional)

 

Melt the butter and add the sugars, salt, and drops of vanilla.

Butter, Sugar, and Vanilla

Butter, Sugar, and Vanilla

Then add the egg yolk and blend well

Sugars, Vanilla. Butter, Sugar, Salt, and Egg Yolk

After Egg Yolk

Mix in the flour and add the chocolate chips

Finished batter

Finished batter

Microwave 40-60 seconds until done and enjoy!

Hot, Fresh Cookie

Hot, Fresh Cookie

Tips

#1: Start with 40 second then if not done put in for 20 seconds more. I put it in for 60 seconds right away and while it was very good it was a tad overdone and crumbly because it was cooked a tad to long.

#2: I used farm fresh eggs that I get from a co worker and they have dark gold yolks which make baked good look almost neon. So your batter will not be as yellow as mine so do not be worried!

#3 This is very rich so you can split into 2 pieces and top with vanilla ice cream to make a delicious treat!

This was the fastest cookie I have ever made and it was so delicious! It made a lot and my daughter and I were able to share it since it was so rich. It hit the spot nicely and I will be making this again!

 

Happy Pinning!

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Now that it’s getting colder there are three things I love to make!

#1:  Homemade soups, stews, and chili! Nothing better then curling up on the couch on a cold day with a movie and a homemade bowl of yummyness!

#2 Fresh baked goodies! I love how the oven warms up your home on those cold days and how the scents make your home smell so good!

and

#3: Hot drinks! Normally I make tea or packaged hot cocoa but I remember making homemade cocoa with my mom when I was young. So I decided to make my own!

The pin:

http://simple-nourished-living.com/2011/02/hot-chocolate-recipe/

 

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/3 cup hot water

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups milk

dash of salt (optional)

Mix sugar, water, and cocoa in a saucepan and cook until boiling, make sure to stir constantly! After mixture comes to a boil continue to stir it and let it boil for 2 minutes.

Cocoa, water, and sugar boiling.

Cocoa, water, and sugar boiling.

After the two minutes is up add the 4 cups milk and heat to desired temperature. But DO NOT let it boil!

Milk added

Milk added

Once it is at the temperature you like remove from heat, add vanilla and whisk until foamy. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows or whatever you like!

Tips from me

#1 I had a few snack sized Hershey’s chocolate bars laying around so I had Alison, my daughter, chop them up into bits. Then we sprinkled a little in the bottom of our mugs before adding the hot chocolate. The we stirred it up and wow it added just a little something extra to the already amazing drink! You can also add the grated up chocolate to the sauce pan instead of putting it in your cups like we did!

Secret ingredient!

Secret ingredient!

Ready to drink!

Ready to drink!

 

Everyone loved this drink and we all agreed that this was WAY better then the packaged mixes! It was so tasty we didn’t have any leftovers! This is my new favorite fall/winter drink and it wasn’t any harder then making packaged mix! Alison couldn’t get enough of it, as shown below, and wants to know when we’ll be making more!

Yummy!!

Yummy!!

Happy Pinning!

Crock Pot Round Steak and Gravy

I am sure I have said this before but I LOVE my crock pot. I just love putting ingredients in, turning it on, and leaving for work so when I get home dinner is ready to be served! So I am always looking for new recipes to use so I can expand my crock pot horizons! I bought some eye of round steaks at a local store sale ($1.90 for 2 steaks! Amazing!!) and wanted to do more then just pan frying them up. So off to Pinterest search I went and I came up with this:

The Pin:

http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/beef/crock-pot-round-steak-gravy.html#.UE3G0Kia0FA.pinterest

Ingredients:

Round steak (or eye of round like I used)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 packet Lipton onion soup mix

1/4 cup water

All you do it place the steak in the crock pot and add the soup, water, and onion soup mix on top of it and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

After this is done cooking you can put these steaks on top of pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes….or you can eat them as is! I cooked tri-color rotini pasta and placed a steak on top of the noodles and poured some of the gravy on top. Yummy!

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1 Before I added the onion soup mix I blended it with the water before pouring it over the steaks and mushroom soup.

#2 Right when they were done cooking, while I was baking the biscuits for dinner, I sliced up some mushrooms and onions (I left them in rings). I heated up a frying pan and added a small bit of butter and when ready I added the onions and let them slowly caramelize. When the onions were half cooked I added a little more butter and added the mushrooms and cooked until done! When I plated dinner I put the rotini on bottom, added the steak, poured a bit of gravy on top, and then top it all with a healthy dollop of the onions and mushrooms.

Onions and mushrooms added.

Onions and mushrooms added.

It turned out beautifully and tasted so yummy! Even my picky daughter said she loved them! She never liked mushrooms before so while cooking I had her help me caramelize the onions and mushrooms so when plating the food she said she wanted some. She has never cleaned her plate up so fast! She said she wants it more often so after I post this I am off to the store to get some more! I loved how quick and easy this dinner was (sometimes crock pot meals require more work once the entree is done) and the flavors….just amazing! Enjoy!!

Happy Pinning!!!

Halloween Crafts: Lollipop Ghosts

I love, love, LOVE Halloween! It is my favorite holiday and one day when I own my own home I will decorate so it is Halloween 24/7 365! So when this time of year rolls around I love to decorate, make spooky fun crafts, enjoy lots of pumpkin flavored things, and jsut get ready for the most spook-tacular month of the year!

Ingredients:

Bag of Tootsie Roll Lollipops (or other suckers like Blo Pops, but not flat ones)

Box of tissues

Yarn

Items you need to make this craft.

Items you need to make this craft.

First you are going to cut some yarn in pieces big enough so you can tie it around the lollipop stick.

Cut yarn

Cut yarn

Then you drape a tissue over the lollipop and tie it just under the round sucker part on the stick.

almost done

almost done

Now you can decorate your ghosts! Some people use marker to put eyes, nose, and mouth on them but you can decorate them anyway you want! I put spooky fun stickers on them. Also before you hand them out don’t forget to frill out the bottom of the tissue to make it look like a floaty ghost!

Finished Ghost

Finished Ghost

This is a fun craft for kids or adults. I work as a Occupational Therapist and I took the items to work and had my patients make some for their kids/grandkids/friend etc. They all had so much fun! Making these will help increase fine motor skills, sequencing, creativity, and if you do them while standing will help balance. So it is ideal for kids, disabled people, or patients in a nursing home…to me thats the best part anyone can make these because they are so easy and simple!!

Food (and life) Saving Tips

Imagine you’re cooking your favorite meal and halfway through it you realize you don’t have the spices for it or another important ingredient. Nothing is more frustrating right? Well thanks to Pinterest I have found so many neat tricks that have saved me a lot of time, money, and most important frustration!

Seasonings

I was halfway through making tacos one night when I realized I didn’t have any taco seasoning packets! I was also broke so I couldn’t just run out and buy one! Thankfully I remembered I had pinned some seasoning blends so I went to my computer and found this lifesaver!

Taco Seasoning:
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
mix and use! When I made this I omitted the red pepper flakes since I don’t like it to spicy. Also when using this put a little in at a time then taste it before adding more. I didn’t do this and my meat came out really spicy so I had to cut it down with water and more meat before we could eat it.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend:

I was making the pumpkin pie steel cut oats I realized that it called for pumpkin spice blend and I didn’t have any! S0 again I dug through my pins and found a great helping recipe.

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

mix together and use!

The best thing about these blends is the fact that they have no MSG, preservatives, or other additives! I like knowing what is in my food and I love how with a few simple spices you can save money by not buying packets at the store!

Freezing

Ever make something only to have a TON of it and no idea what to do with it all? I always freeze items for quick and tasty meals but I found some great tips that made this process a bit easier.

#1 Use a muffin tin!

Oatmeal in a muffin tin

Oatmeal in a muffin tin

(the pin http://highermiles.blogspot.com/2012/03/friday-food-oatmeal-from-freezer.html) After I made the pumpkin pie steel cut oats (post here https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/pumpkin-pie-steel-cut-oats/) I took a 1/2 cup measuring cup and filled the muffin tin with the oatmeal then I put it in the freezer. After they froze I used a knife to gently loosen them so they popped out and I put them in the baggie to save for later!

bag of oatmeal!

bag of oatmeal!

You can also use your freezer to make yummy desserts!

The pin: http://www.funelf.net/ice-tray-strawberries-chocolate-go/

Slice strawberries in half, place in an ice cube tray, pour melted chocolate over,and freeze! I would spray the tray with a bit of non stick spray so you can pop them all out then break apart!

Misc Tips: 

#1: Use your muffin tin to poach eggs!

Poached eggs

Poached eggs

Crack the eggs into a muffin tin and cook at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes! You can then freeze them like this then heat up for breakfast or make sandwiches out of them and freeze those!

#2 Use 2 cookie sheets to make crispy, baked sandwiches!

Perfect grilled sandwiches

Perfect grilled sandwiches

Hopefully these tips will help you in your cooking future!!

Happy Pinning!

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Since the season of pumpkin is upon us I decided to make some yummy, scrumptious pumpkin bread! I love all things pumpkin including, but not limited to, pumpkin bread, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice cappuccino, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin oatmeal. Yummy!!

The pin:

http://mylifeandkids.com/moist-pumpkin-bread-recipe/#comment-91397

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 c sugar

½ c brown sugar

½ c butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1½ cup canned pumpkin

Ingredients

Ingredients

First you preheat the over to 350 degrees then mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Mix butter and sugar together until creamy then add eggs one at a time while still stirring (or crack one and then stir…add the other…stir). After the eggs add the vanilla, then you slowly combine the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients. Add pumpkin into mixture (the blog says to “by hand, mix in pumpkin”) but I folded it in gently until all combined.

Pumpkin batter, ready to bake

Pumpkin batter, ready to bake

Pour into a greased, floured pan and bake for 45 minutes, let set in the pan once cooked for 15 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Done and ready to eat!

Done and ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1: Oven temperatures vary widely so the cooking time may be longer. I checked mine at 45 minutes and it was still really liquidy so I cooked it longer, it took 1 hour and 10 minutes before the knife came out clean.

#2: Like I said above the blog stated to “by hand, mix in pumpkin”. But in my experience a batter like this that is sticky and really liquid it is hard to knead by hand.

#3: When it says dry ingredients it means the spices too lol! When I first made this (I have made 2 loaves so far) I mixed everything in but the spices since it didn’t occur to me they were dry ingredients! So I added them in at the end but before adding the pumpkin! It tasted every bit as delicious as my second loaf (made properly this time lol!).

I found this to be a very easy and simple bread to make! It was very moist, flavor full, and it sliced real easily! It was so good in fact my boyfriend ate half the loaf the next morning for breakfast! Since my mom, as well as I, wanted some I had to bake a second loaf and let him have the remainder of the first one! So be prepared because this pumpkin bread is so good it’ll disappear quickly!

Step Out: To Stop Diabetes

Yesterday I had the honor to be apart of the annual Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes here in Kansas City. The walk started out in the park across from the Nelson Atkins art museum and we walked along brush creek to the country club plaza then back to the park. All in all it was about 2.5 miles in some of the nicest weather, along some gorgeous scenery. I walked with the team from my mom’s work North Kansas City Hospital and my brother in law and his kids walked for Team Subway (he owns several Subway restaurants)

Team North Kansas City

Team North Kansas City

Team Leaders

Team Leaders

My family me, my mom Georgieanna, my sister Angela, my nephew Drake, and my niece Hailey.

My family me, my mom Georgieanna, my sister Angela, my nephew Drake, and my niece Hailey.

my brother in law Jeremy and niece Cloe

my brother in law Jeremy and niece Cloe

 

As a health care professional I know all to well the horrible side effects that diabetes can have on the human body. Amputations of toes and feet is common a long with diabetic neuropathy (loss of sensation in feet and hands). Often times I have to teach people how to compensate for loss of sensation so they can still live as independently as possible. We use our hands so much and never stop to think things like “How would I know my bathwater was too hot if I couldn’t feel it with my fingers?” and I have to teach people to use a thermometer since their hands can’t feel. Or teach them how to do skin checks on feet and hands since any cut or sore can lead to disastrous consequences up to and including amputation. Then I have to help rehab them to get them (hopefully) back to where they can live independently as possible. Often times they can’t and wind up either living with family or in long term care.

This is why I walked yesterday…for all my past and future patients affected by this disease.

Everyone who came out

Everyone who came out

Long line of walkers

Long line of walkers

Waterfall along the walk

Waterfall along the walk

One day I hope we can cure diseases like diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s….this is my dream!

Tomorrow back to my regularly scheduled pinning post! Have a good day!

Oven Baked Corn on the Cob

It’s been awhile since my last post but I used everything I had at the time and I didn’t have the ingredients for other things! I just went shopping and I got all the items I need to cook up some yummy pins! I am now I am back on track and I can’t wait to try some of these yummy looking foods!

OK back to blogging!!

I love, love, LOVE grilled corn on the cob! It’s so buttery, yummy, and just the right amount of crunch to soft ratio…just delicious! However I have absolutely no idea how to run a grill so I don’t get it very often. But one day I really wanted some grilled corn, like badly, so I hit the internet and Pinterest and I fount his WONDERFUL, lifesaving pin!

The pin: http://workinghousemomwife.blogspot.ca/2012/07/baked-corn-on-cob.html?m=1

It was so easy I can’t believe I didn’t know about it! All you do is take some corn, leave the husk on, rinse with water, and bake at 350-400 degrees!  When I pulled them out of the oven I let them sit a minute or so to cool slightly then I put on over mitts and slid the husks and silk off. I buttered them and added some seasoning (I use Weber’s Veggie Grill) and they were just so tender and perfectly steamed! Everyone agreed they were very tasty, better then boiling in water.

Tips from me:

#1 I found two pins with separate cooking times, hence the 300-450 degrees in the instructions, so once you know your oven you can pick your ideal temperature.

#2 You can peel back the husk slightly to add butter and seasoning so they come out already buttery but remember to seal the husks back up so they can steam properly!

Happy Pinning!!

Homemade Beer Bread

Since today was a holiday I worked a half day then came home to spend some time with my daughter. I was looking over my pins when I came across a fairly recent one that looked like it would be fun to make. I called Alison into the kitchen and asked if she wanted to make beer bread with me and at first she thought she couldn’t eat it lol! I had to explain to her that when you cook with alcohol the cooking process destroys the alcohol component so it would be OK for her to eat it. After that she was on board and couldn’t wait to help!

The pin: http://www.julieseatsandtreats.com/2013/08/homemade-beer-bread/#comment-6989

This super easy recipe was fun to make and easy to follow:

3 C flour

1/3 C sugar

1 TBSP baking powder

1/2 TSP salt

3 TBSP melted butter

1 12oz can Beer (or you can use soda)

Mix everything except butter in the bowl…

Alison mixing the dry ingredients.

Alison mixing the dry ingredients.

Adding the beer...

Adding the beer…

Scrape dough into a loaf pan and top with melted butter and cook at 350 for 50 minutes until done.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

 

Cooling on a rack

Cooling on a rack

Cool on a wire rack, if you can wait that long, then slice and enjoy! I sliced it up and wow was this a very tasty bread! I have never baked bread that was this easy before and this could become a nightly staple instead of store bought bread and butter!

Tips from me:

#1 When baking the bread remove the other rack in the oven because the bread rises up during baking. I thought I had enough space but the dough rose to the next rack and I had a hard time removing the rack without messing up the baking bread. 

 

Happy Pinning!