Graduation, head of the class cupcakes

I made these last year at my sisters graduation. (from USU)  I don't have anybody graduating this year, but maybe you do!!

baked vanilla cupcakes
vanilla frosting
yellow, red and blue food coloring
chocolate frosting
1/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder\
fruit loops or o cereal - i used cheerios
yellow gum
chocolate sprinkles
White decorating sugar
mini chocolate and peanut butter cups, unwrapped
chocolate covered thin mints
blue mini candy (mini m&ms)
Decorate your cupcakes, make tan frosting for the heads and use the gum and sprinkles and chocolate frosting for hair. use cheerios for ears.  Place the mint on top of the peanut butter cup for the hat with a m&m and frosting for the tassel. For a bald head use the sugar on top of a frosted tan head.

be creative and make your own hair styles!!

Peanut Butter Eggs

 If you have ever noticed I have a thing for peanut butter and chocolate!! I just can't get enough!  This recipe is so easy and they are just as good or better then the store bought version!!!
2 packages (18 sheets) graham crackers, crushed very finely
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
Chocolate candy melts or almond bark, i also used dark and semi sweet chips - dark is my favorite!

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar. Mix on medium low until fully combined. You may have to use your hands to make sure it's completely blended.

Shape the mixture into eggs. I rolled it into golf ball sized balls, then formed the egg shape from there. I also made some smaller. I liked the two bite size ones!!  Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for one hour.

Once the eggs are frozen firm, melt your chocolate according to package directions. Place the eggs in the chocolate one at a time, and slide a fork under each egg to remove. Place back on wax paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sprinkles and refrigerate eggs until chocolate is set.

I got this recipe from confessions of a cookbook queen.

Santa Fe Chicken

Mmmmmm.... and only 190 calories for 1 cup! Love it! Seriously IN LOVE with this new website. (new to me)  Check it out. Also counts for weight watchers points, if anyone out there is interested in that.
Over rice.

  • 24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste
Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning. Serve over ric.

Mmmm... love it colorful!

Makes a great salad too!

This is for JUST the meat mix:
Servings: 8 servings Size: 1 cup
Calories: 190 • Fat: 1.5 g • Fiber: 5.6 g • Carbs: 23.1 g • Protein: 21 g

Sweet Barbacoa Pork

This one is for all you Costa Vida/Cafe Rio lovers! But unlike their 1300 calorie sweet pork salads... this one is only 202 calories per serving! (for just the meat part.) Gotta love that! This is from

 We made it into burritos and/or salads. Delicious!


  • 2.5 lbs pork loin roast, all fat trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 6 oz Coke zero
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (unpacked)
  • 1/4 cup water
Step 2

  • 8 oz Coke zero
  • 6 oz can sliced green chilies
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder (to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (unpacked)

Season pork with salt, pepper and garlic powder and place in the crock pot. Add 6 oz of coke and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Marinate refrigerated for a few hours or overnight turning meat at least once while marinating.

Remove crock from refrigerator, add water, and cook on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily). Remove pork from crock pot and discard any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork with two forks.

Step two: In the crock pot, combine 8 oz coke, green chilies, tomato sauce, chipotle chile, garlic powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder and remaining brown sugar.

Put shredded pork back in the crock pot and combine with sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, cover and cook on high 1-1/2 hours more.

Just for the MEAT mix:
Servings: about 10 • Serving Size: 3 oz
Calories: 202.5 • Fat: 6.3 g Protein: 26.2 g Carb: 11.5 g Fiber: 0.6 g

Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffins

On a cold spring day these muffins made the perfect snack!!
Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

Zest of 2 lemons

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup ricotta cheese (whole or low-fat is fine)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh blackberries - i used frozen

Turbinado sugar-for sprinkling on muffin tops - i just used regular sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the lemon zest and sugar together with your fingers. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar and lemon zest mixture together until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the ricotta cheese and beat until smooth. Beat in the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill each muffin cup half way with batter. Add three blackberries to each muffin cup. Top the muffins with remaining batter so blackberries are covered. Generously sprinkle turbinado sugar over each muffin top.
4. Bake muffins for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown. Let muffins cool for five minutes and serve.
Makes 12 muffins - i got more then 12

This recipe came from two peas and their pod

Asian Lettuce Wraps

I love lettuce wraps. I have several recipes and when I found this one I had to give it a try! 

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Recipe by Our Best Bites
2 tsp canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 lb ground chicken* I used turkey and I doubled the amount.
3 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped (about 8 small mushrooms)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 C bagged coleslaw mix or thinly shredded cabbage
1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and finely minced
1/2 C thinly sliced green onions
4 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 3-4 Tbs juice)
1/2-1 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce (1 tsp of Sriracha is fairly spicy in my opinion, so if you want less or no kick, just give it a little, or you can leave it out completely) I left this out - only cause I have no idea what it is!
1/3 C roughly chopped cilantro left out this!
1-2 heads iceberg lettuce
*To prepare your own ground chicken, cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into large chunks and pulse in a food processor until ground.
Dipping/Drizzling Sauce
4 Tbs soy sauce
4 Tbs rice vinegar
3 Tbs water
2 tsp honey
1-2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
Heat a very large skillet to medium-high heat on the stove top.  When hot, add vegetable  oil and then garlic and ginger.  Saute for about 30 seconds, until fragrant, and then add ground chicken, chopped mushrooms, and kosher salt.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through.  (*At this point, sometimes I have some extra liquid in the pan from the chicken.  If it’s quite a bit, I tilt the pan and spoon it out so the chicken can cook and not boil.) Add cabbage/coleslaw, water chestnuts, and green onions.  Cook for about 2 minutes, until cabbage starts to wilt.  Add soy sauce, sesame oil, the zest from the lemon and the lemon juice, and hot sauce to taste.  Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
To prepare dipping sauce, combine all ingredients and whisk to combine.
To serve, carefully remove the individual leaves from the head of lettuce.  (The closer you get to the center, the easier it becomes!)  Place chicken mixture in the leaves and serve with sauce.
Yield: about 5 C chicken mixture.  Makes 14-16 lettuce wraps.

*Next time I would double the cabbage too.  I used a whole bag of the coleslaw, so it was more then called for but I would use more!  It made a lot, we had leftovers which was great!!

Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies

 Have you seen these little lovelies in the store?  I think that they are my new favorite thing, to eat and bake with!  Everything is better mini!!  So after eating half the bag this is what I did with them!
Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup peanut butter - except i never measure this, just eye it
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi sweet chips
couple handfuls of the minis cut in half
   preheat oven to 375
   cream together butter, peanut butter, sugars until smooth.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in corn syrup, water and vanilla. combine four, baking soda and salt.  stir into the pb mixture. fold in chocolate chips and minis. Drop by scoopful onto baking sheets. bake for 9 mins. 
* I made some of mine with an ice cream scoop and baked them for 11 min.  After I pulled them from the oven i put peanut butter m&m's on top!!!
 I just added the m&m's because I had a few left over.  They aren't really necessary and I didn't put them on all the cookies!

Cheesy Chicken and Artichoke Pizza

If you live where I live, then you are familiar with Fredrico's. I'm sorry, but I find it odd that a pizza joint has artichokes for toppings, and NOT jalapenos! Seriously! Or maybe it's just me, after all, artichoke is the favorite topping of one of my friends, and my brother in-law requested it for his bday dinner. Maybe I'm out of the loop...?

So I found this recipe on , and the only change I made was that I added spinach. (cuz those spinach/artichoke dips at restaurants are de-lish! So why not.) And I must say, I'm now in love with artichokes on pizza. Mmmmm!!!

  • 1 (10 ounce) Pre-baked prepared pizza crust (or any 12 inch pizza crust)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • frozen spinach (optional)

  • Heat oven to 450.
  • Place pizza crust on cookie sheet. (I used my Pizza stone)
  • In a medium bowl, mix mayo, parmesan, artichokes, and garlic.
  • Spread over crust, leaving one inch border.
  • Top with 1 cup of the cheese, chicken, onions, and spinach.
  • Top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and pizza is thoroughly heated.

** The only thing I will do differently next time is get a different crust, or maybe make my own. I didn't like how this one didn't rise a whole lot and didn't make much of a rim around the edge.**

Greek-Spiced Baked Shrimp

I LOVE shrimp! I really don't know if you can go wrong with it... unless you burn it or something... :)

I found this recipe on Epicurious and it is definitely one that I would make again. Mmmmm....
From the Website... I wish I had that cool bowl.

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 1/4 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/4 pound feta, crumbled (2/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill

  • Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
  • Cook onion and garlic in oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes with juice and sugar and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Season shrimp with 1/8 teaspoon salt, then stir into tomato sauce. Transfer to a 2-quart shallow baking dish and top with feta. Bake until just cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with dill.
  • Would be great served over rice or pasta. Enjoy!
My plates just aren't as cool.

Cupcakes: Pistachio, Dark Chocolate

I loved it!!Who doesn't love a good cupcake. I have found two recipes that I loved and will be making again.
Pistachio Cupcakes from Real Mom Kitchen

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 (3.5 oz) package instant pistachio pudding
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 (3.5 oz) package instant pistachio pudding
  • 4-6 drops green food coloring
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios, optional
  1. In a large bowl, beat together all of the cupcake ingredients with a mixer. Mix on low for 30 seconds then increase speed and beat for 2 minutes. Beware that the club soda with cause the ingredients to puff while adding them to the bowl.
  2. Place batter in muffin tins that have been lined with liners. You only need to line 21 muffin tins. Fill tins about 2/3 of the way full with batter.
  3. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes until golden. Allow cupcakes to cool.
  4. Once cupcakes have cooled you can make the frosting. In a large bowl, whip together the milk, whipping cream, and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. I did this in my kitchen aid.
  5. Then beat in the package of pistachio pudding and food coloring until combined and firm peaks form. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Sprinkle each cupcake with a little of the chopped pistachios if desired. Makes 21 cupcakes.

Here is the original recipe that I found at how sweet it is.
i will mark in red what I changed! If i were to make these again I think that I would follow the recipe above for the cake part, just change everything to chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes i doubled it

1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder used regular coca powder

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup homemade fudge sauce (recipe below) didn't make the fudge sauce I had left over fudge frosting in a can, i just microwaved that until it was runny enough to pour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth, then swirl in fudge sauce. Line a muffin tin with liners and using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to each cup. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Peanut Butter Buttercream
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter didn't measure this but used more

3-4 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons of milk since i used more pb I used more milk

pinch of salt
Cream butter and peanut butter together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add powdered sugar with mixer on low speed and gradually add milk and vanilla extract. Mix until frosting is smooth. If too thick, add more milk; if too thin, add more sugar. Frost cupcakes as desired.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark cocoa powder
2 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
1 cup boiling water or scalding milk
1 tablespoon of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Combine sugar, cocoa, salt, and flour in a bowl or pot over a double boiler. Bring water or milk to a boil. Gradually add hot liquid to sugar mixture. Stir constantly until mixture thickens.
Once it has reached the desired thickness, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Drizzle over cupcakes and store the rest of the sauce in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
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