Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cinnamon Apple Brain Cakes

I just cannot get enough of Halloween.  I call this a ‘Semi-Homemade’ treat, because this time of year who has time to make anything from scratch?

What you need:

1  white cake mix
18 cupcake wrappers (red is what I used, but you can use any color)
2  apples (any kind) peeled & chopped
½  cup of white sugar
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 dash of nutmeg
1 can of caramel apple frosting
1 tube of red decorating gel

Here’s How to do it:

Prepare your cupcakes from mix using the directions on the box (it’s okay to make the whole egg version) for cupcakes, and prepare your cupcake pans.  Bake and let cool.

Peel and chop your apples, in a medium sauce pan, add your apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, mix well.  Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, stir occasionally.  Reduce heat and let the apples cook until they are soft.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once your cupcakes have cooled, cut a circle in the top, remove that cake, fill with apple mixture and place the ‘top’ back on the cupcake.

With the red decorating gel make a line down the center of each cupcake.  Using the frosting and a decorating tip, ‘swiggle’ lines down the cupcake.

That’s it.  You are done, no trick!



Friday, October 17, 2014

Leftover Love

When my husband and I first got together, I thought that he was crazy.  He won't eat leftovers, not at all.  This was so strange to me coming from a family that really liked leftover night.  Honestly, I can imagine that when my husband was growing up there probably were not alot of leftovers, he is a big, hungry guy and I can only imagine when he was like as a teenager.

Needless to say after years and years of my cooking, and being around my family he has come to really embrace leftover night.  In these days of decline budgets and increase food costs, you cannot afford to just throw away good food.  Not to mention what a time saver they can be on a busy weeknight.  

Here are my tricks for getting your family to not only eat leftovers but to go crazy for them!

1.  Pasta

I like to make a big pot of pasta sauce and pick away at it all week long.  My trick is that I make fresh pasta each time I serve it.  To me you are scrapping the bottom of the leftover barrel eating spaghetti that was cooked 2 days before.  It also helps to serve a fresh salad, and bread.

2.  Roasts

I like a good roast, pork or beef.  It hits all the marks.  It can be done in the crockpot, they are delicious, and you can so many different leftover meals from it.  The simplest idea is to shred the leftovers and either make hot beef or pulled pork sandwiches, which are terrific paired with french fries.  They can be used in casseroles, and stir-frys as well.

3.  Chicken

Chicken is my favorite meat to work with period, it is such a blank canvas that you can do anything with it.  Same can be said with chicken leftovers.  My favorite is to make chicken, rice and broccoli.  It is easy, and the oven does most of the work.  My second favorite is chicken salad, which can make leftovers a yummy lunch treat.

4.  Make a casserole.

There is not much in the kitchen that a can of cream of mushroom soup, or a cheese sauce cannot make better. All you need is a meat, past or rice, and a sauce.  We have recently discovered the awesomeness of the taco casserole and the ingredients are something that always have in your frig or pantry.

5.  Pizza 

Pizza are great because you can top them with almost everything from veggies to meatballs. Also, in a pinch you can use tomato (or pasta) sauce.  top with some cheese and a salad on the side and you have just cleaned out the leftovers from your frig.

6.  Stir-Fry

Alot of people love the stir-fry to use up leftovers.  It's easy to try everything in a pan with some soy sauce and/or rice vinegar.  It's not our favorite, but it works.

7.  Leftover Night

This is my favorite.  It's easy.  Heat everything up, put it on the table.  Everyone gets what they love.

I would love to hear how you handle leftovers...


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let the Groom Help?!?

This is my Groom, isn't he handsome?  How lucky am I?  Right.  Great Husband.  Terrible Wedding Planner.  It's not like he didn't care or didn't want to be a part of it, it was just not something that wasn't in his comfort zone.  He was great with do you like this entree or that entree.  He picked the venue, and hotel.  I used him like a sounding board (oh, and a checkbook too!)

Planning a Wedding is not for everyone.  With busy lives, and the stress and events that a Wedding and impending new Marriage brings up, it just seems like there is not enough time to get it done.  A bride could use some help.  I think it is great that more grooms are getting involved with the planning process.  As with everything the more cooks that you get in the kitchen, the more likely dinner is going to be a mess.

That is not to say that they cannot be a help to you.  So, before you have a Groomzilla on your hand, let's figure out a plan for getting the busy Bride alittle help.

What to do Together:  Big Tasks

Pick your venues
Pick your date
Decide on colors
Honeymoon location

Let Him Help with:

Honeymoon Details
Bar Menu

I never expect that Bride would make big Wedding decisions without talking to the Groom and the same rules in reverse.  Working together is the best thing that a couple can do, it really helps you understand how you work as a team.

Regardless of who does the majority of planning the big key to a successful Wedding and then Marriage is to support each other through the process!

Happy Planning!