Sunday, May 19, 2013

Camo Cupcakes

This is by far one of my favorite cupcakes that I've made so far, it just turned out so cute! Beware there will be another batch made for the premiere of the next season of Duck Dynasty! It takes a little time to put it all together but definitely worth it in the end! My mom actually found this recipe on Pinterest and forwarded it to me, it originally came from Crafty Mama's blog!

Here we go!

Ingredients for Cake
1 box white mix
1 box chocolate mix
Green Food Coloring

1. Make up each batter from the mix and divide into four bowls: 1)White Batter, 2)White Batter with green food coloring and a dash of chocolate batter, 3)Equal parts chocolate and white batter, and 4) Chocolate batter.
2. Mix the batters until you get the colors you want (you may have more chocolate batter than the rest) This can be used for a few extra plain chocolate cupcakes!
3. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.
4. I put each of the four batters into separate Ziploc bags (use pastry bags if you have them). If you use Ziploc bags cut one corner of each bag.  Drop a blob into each wrapper until the wrappers are 3/4 of the way full. 
5. Bake according to the directions on the box.
6. Once the cupcakes are done, cool completely.

Here are a few in process shots!

I paired it with a buttercream frosting, I found this to be the most difficult part to get three colors on the cupcakes!

Ingredients for Frosting
3 cups Powdered Sugar
1 cup Salted Butter (2 sticks)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of Heavy Whipping Cream

Green Food Coloring
Cocoa Powder

1. Soften butter. Mix it with a handheld mixer for about 30 seconds. 
2. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, turn your mixer on a high setting and whip the mixture for about 3 minutes. 
3. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl, and add the vanilla. Whip it another minute. Add a small dash of cream, whip for another minute.
4. Divide the icing into 3 bowls. 1)Keep this batch ivory, 2)Add a little bit of green food coloring and a little bit of cocoa powder, and 3)Add cocoa powder until it is the desired color brown.

Remember when using a tip to frost your cupcakes you might want to increase the recipe to about 1.5x the original recipe!

Put each frosting in a pastry bag (or a Ziploc bag) and combine into one large pastry bag to use the star tip.  Making sure all three frosting bags were distributed through the star tip was the hardest part, but made for a fantastic camo cupcake!!

These can be made for a hunter in your family, a Duck dynasty premiere, OR you just want a fancy new cupcake!  Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

I think this recipe may quickly be making its way to my favorite cupcake flavor! The vanilla bean just adds a little something more than a traditional vanilla cupcake. I think I've included this recipe before but I thought it was a good time to highlight it again! The recipe can be found in my previous post, UPcakes! I color the frosting to be light blue (or more of a mint color, a theme in my life!) and edible pearls for a bit of flair!


Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Do you have a sweet tooth but are really trying to eat healthier? Let me introduce to you this recipe for peanut butter oatmeal cookies! :) These cookies have no oil, no flour, no added sugar and no eggs, have I convinced you yet that these cookies are the way to go?! I found this recipe through a friend who raved on how easier they were to make and how good they tasted, so I headed over to her Pinterest page to find the recipe!

The original recipe comes from The Skinny Fork.  Thank you for sharing your delicious cookie recipe with us!

These cookies TRULY are so easy to make and enjoyed by ALL! In fact, your friends might eat 3 before dinner! :)

Nutritional Facts per Cookie (entire recipe yields 18 cookies):
Calories: 88
Carbs: 13g
Fat: 4g
Protein: 3g
Sodium: 168
Sugar: 4g

Let's get to the good stuff! The recipe!


2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup reduced fat peanut butter
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of ground cloves
Dash of ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cup quick or old fashioned oats
1/4 cup nuts (dry unsalted peanuts)
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup reduced fat unsweetened shredded coconut optional (I didn't use in this batch, but definitely next time around)

1. Preheat Oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Mix together the bananas, peanut butter, applesauce, vanilla, and spices.  Add in the oats, nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut; stir until well combined.
3. Spoon a rounded 2 tbsp. of the cookie mixture onto the lined baking sheet, leaving an inch or two between each and flatten slightly.
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes and allow to cool slightly!

Enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert! Okay, maybe not for every meal but they do make you feel a little better than eating a typical sugar cookie for every meal!

Crab Rangoon

I found this recipe on a My Fitness Pal forum, and was so eager to try it out! Each piece is 41 calories! Sign me up. Now I had in my mind they would taste like Surin's Crab Angels and they weren't quite as creamy but definitely delicious.

The original recipe says it makes 24 but I was able to get about 32 out of the recipe!

Nutrition Info (per piece):
41 calories
1.1g fat
2.7g protein

24 wonton wrappers
Olive oil cooking spray
8 oz lump crab meat
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2.5 tsp curry powder (could probably use a little less of this)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup reduced fat cream cheese

Preheat Oven to 375
1. Spray a mini muffin tin with olive oil spray.  Push a wonton wrapper into each muffin tin.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine crab, Worcestershire sauce, curry, ginger, and cayenne pepper.
3. Mix with a fork, breaking up large chunks of crab.
4. Add cream cheese, mashing with a fork until fully incorporated.
5. Using a teaspoon, spoon filling mixture into wontons.
6. Fold ends of wonton wrappers over mixture, wet finger to seal.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, until ends are slightly browned.
8.  Serve hot (garnished with scallions if you wish).


Before sealing the edges over the mixture.

Ready to Serve!

Mexican Chicken Lasagna

I recently went to my first Pampered Chef party and for those of you who know me I know you are shocked that it was my first Pampered Chef party! I ordered the round baker which can serve as a crockpot for your microwave! Last week I tried my first recipe, Mexican Chicken "Lasagna", it was fantastic! I will be working towards adapting this recipe for the oven so it is more universal for my followers but if you have been searching for a dish to use in the microwave and make a fantastic meal contact Carrie with Pampered Chef for the round baker! The thing I love about the deep covered baker is makes prepping your meal very easy and the cook time is so quick! On to the recipe, if you have the regular deep covered baker please double the following. This recipe was provided from Pampered Chef.

1/8 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1/2 can (14 oz) enchilada sauce
1.5 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese
1/3 chopped onion
6 corn tortillas
Additional chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

1. Cook the chicken on the stove top with a little bit of olive oil until cooked through, dice, and set aside ready for assembly.
2. Chop cilantro leaves. Place cream cheese in a bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds, enough to soften it. Add cilantro and 1/2 cup of the Monterrey Jack cheese. Mix well.
3. Chop onion and set aside.
4. Spread 1/3 cup of Enchilada sauce on the bottom of the baker and the rest into a mixing bowl.
5. Assemble the lasagna, dip two tortillas into the enchilada sauce in the mixing bowl, line on the bottom of the baker, scoop half of the cream cheese mixture over the tortillas and spread evenly.  Top with 1/2 cup of chicken and 1/3 of the onion.  Repeat layers one time.  Dip the remaining tortillas in the sauce, arrange over the second layer.  Top with the remaining chicken and onion. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the lasagna and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
6. Microwave, covered, for 6-8 minutes. 

This yields 4 servings and has 390 Calories per serving!!

Enjoy this twist on Mexican night!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Spaghetti Squash. If you haven't tried it, you MUST. I love pasta and while this doesn't taste just like pasta it does give the same consistency! I love this recipe and it seemed to be a hit! Once I purchased the spaghetti squash, I took to Pinterest to find a good recipe! I found this Skinny Spaghetti squash recipe and knew I had to try it!! The recipe originally comes from The Comfort of Cooking,

1 medium sized spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk I actually used Almond Milk
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons extra for topping
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes and fresh parsley for optional garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Prep the squash, cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet covered with water. Bake about an hour, until tender.
3. Once squash is cooked, use a fork to gently scrape the "spaghetti" strands in the center.
4. For the sauce, melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
5. Whisk in flour, cooking for another minute while stirring.
6. Whisk in milk, until no lumps remain. Once hot, add cream cheese and stir until smooth.
7. Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan, salt and pepper.
8. Spoon sauce equally into each spaghetti squash half. Pull up spaghetti strands to evenly cost as much as possible with the sauce.
9. Top with extra Parmesan and place under broiler of oven for 2-3 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
10. Top each half with red pepper flakes and parsley if desired.
11. Serve hot.

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Maple Glazed Salmon

Salmon is so easy to prepare and so healthy for you, I'm all for a quick weekday dinner! This is my new go-to salmon recipe! The sauce takes about 2 minutes to whip up and then bake the salmon quickly and you have a delicious meal. I got this recipe from Real Simple.

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillets

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a small bowl mix syrup, mustard, and a little salt and pepper. Coat salmon and place on a baking sheet.
3. Bake 6-8 minutes until opaque throughout.

Serve with your choice of veggies.

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Kielbasa, Apples, and Onions

This is one of my new favorite recipes to make, probably because it doesn't take long at all and makes plenty for leftovers! This recipe is originally from Broke Ass Gourmet Love it!

1 Kielbasa
1 red apple
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and put in half of the kielbasa, onions, and apples in and sauté. Repeat with the rest of the olive oil and ingredients.

I don't typically post pictures of myself in the kitchen but Allyson snapped this candid photo while I was preparing this dish so I thought I'd include it, a look inside my life in the kitchen!

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A new obsession, a slightly healthy one. Smoothies! My cousin, Robin, graciously shared this recipe with our family and those of us that have tried it have made it part of our daily routine! It is easy to make, delicious, and gives you an energy boost! Trust me, it is delicious, give it a try (I say this because I was a little reluctant myself to try it the first time).

Green Machine Smoothie
3/4 glass of Almond Milk
A couple of ice cubes (optional)
A large handful of Spinach (or Kale)
1/4 cucumber peeled, more if you'd like
1/4 avocado, more if you'd like
1/2 pear peeled (this is your sweetener) I typically add banana and/or peeled apple

You can also add blueberries if you'd like. Really, you can make it your own by the fruit you add!

Blend on high until creamy.

I have adapted this to make just about 1 smoothie.

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie
Smoothies are just so easy to make in the morning and usually hold me over to lunch so I've gone to Pinterest and now have a collection of recipes to try! Here is one that I've tried and love!
1 tablespoon peanut butter
3/4 cup milk (I use Almond Milk)
A couple of ice cubes

Blend on high until creamy!

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Bunny Cake

An Easter tradition, a bunny cake! This year I was joining friends and family for Easter lunch so there was no problem eating all of the bunny cake! Typically I make a coconut bunny cake but this year I opted for carrot cake. My mom's carrot cake recipe!

This cake is very easy to make, you make 2 round cakes and cut one of them for the ears and bowtie! Simply take one round cake and cut out a curved portion for the ear, lay it over the opposite side of the cake and cut exactly along it, now the leftover center makes your bowtie. I arrange everything on a covered baking sheet and begin frosting. Set aside some frosting to color pink. I put a layer of frosting over the entire cake, then frost the entire bowtie with pink frosting. For the ears I used my icing tool that I use with my cupcakes and it made it ten times easier than ever before, mom was amazed! Ha. I used the round tip and quickly added a dab of pink in the center of each ear! For the whiskers I use one licorice twizzlers sliced to make several whiskers. I typically use jelly beans for the eyes and nose but this year used mini Cadbury eggs. On to the recipe!

Carrot Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups finely grated carrots
1. Sift and mix dry ingredients.
2. Add oil and stir well.
3. Add eggs one at a time.
4. Add carrots and cinnamon.
Split into two round 8 inch pans.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
Cool completely before frosting.
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 box (1lb) confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Soften cream cheese and butter and mix together.
2. Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla and beat well.

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St. Patrick's Day cupcakes

This year I went to visit my sister St. Patrick's Day in Savannah and was assigned the task of bringing cupcakes, now that's a task I can handle!!

So I set out on a mission to find the perfect St. Patrick's Day cupcakes, I opted to take two kinds, Green Velvet cupcakes, and Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting! They were both hits but I'm pretty sure everyone voted the Guinness their favorite!

For the Green Velvet recipe, I used my traditional Red Velvet recipe but substituted green food coloring in place of red, a simple change! I added a few green sprinkles on top as well. You can never have too much green on St. Patrick's Day!

The Guinness cupcakes recipe I got from

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup Guinness stout
2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and fill muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. Combine butter and stout in a medium saucepan until butter is melted.
3. Add cocoa powder and brown sugar, whisking until combined and mixture is smooth. Set aside.
4. In a new bowl, mix baking soda and flour. Add salt and sugar.
5. Combine the flour mixture with Guinness mixture and beat for one minute.
6. Add eggs and sour cream, beat for another 2 minutes until well blended and smooth.
7. Divide among the cupcake liners, bake for 14-18 minutes. Cool completely.

Ingredients for Bailey's Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 1/4 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps for Frosting
1. Cream butter until smooth and fluffy. Add salt and slowly add powdered sugar. Add Bailey's and vanilla extract and blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Choose piping tip and fill baggie or tool with icing and pip on cupcakes. I chose the round tip and to just add a dollop of icing.

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Strawberry Jello Cake

I believe I've posted this recipe before but this time I made it for Valentine's Day in the shape of a heart, my mom did this while I was growing up and figured I would do it for my friends this year too! Again, this is one of my mom's recipes. Also, the cake seems to sink in the middle, but that is okay, and still just as tasty!

1 box white cake mix
1 cup oil
4 eggs
5 ounces frozen strawberries
3 ounces strawberry jello

1. Stir oil in cake mix.
2. Lightly beat the eggs and add to the cake mix.
3. Stir in 5 ounces of strawberries.
4. Mix in jello.
5. Pour into 2 cake pans.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
7. Cool completely and frost with the Strawberry Frosting.

Ingredients for Strawberry Frosting
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 pound butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces strawberries
3-4 tablespoons strawberry juice, from frozen strawberries

1. Beat powdered sugar and butter together.
2. Add salt and vanilla and strawberry juice.
3. Add drained strawberries.
4. Frost cooled cake.

One thing I love about this cake and frosting is you don't need to use any food coloring to get the perfect pink shade!

Of course these can easily be made into cupcakes, as seen here.

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Strawberry Honey Butter

This is the perfect addition to bagels, croissants, or just toast! Another random Pinterest find from Half Baked Baker www.half-baked

1 pint strawberries
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1. Purée the strawberries and force the purée through a sieve into a saucepan.
2. Add the honey and lemon juice, boil the mixture, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until it is thickened. Let the strawberry mixture cool to room temperature.
3. In a bowl, cream together the butter and the strawberry mixture. Let the butter stand, covered, in a cool place for 1 hour.

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Mustard Pretzel Chicken

Love this recipe!! Found on Pinterest, I originally got this recipe from Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice

4 cups hard pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup Canola oil
1/2 cup coarse mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground. Transfer into a shallow bowl.
2. Wipe out the food processor, mix the olive oil, Dijon mustard, water, and vinegar and pulse until mixed smoothly. Season with salt and pepper!
3. Pour half of the dressing in a shallow bowl, dredge chicken and then coat with pretzel crumbs and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until done.
4. Cut the chicken and serve warm with the rest of the dressing.
5. Pair with any vegetables, I served with corn and asparagus.

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Coca Cola Cupcakes

Something new to try, right? Not too bad of a result either! I got this recipe from

Ingredients for Cake
2 cups Coca-Cola (do not use diet)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the Coca-Cola, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add both sugar and the brown sugar and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
4. In a small bowl whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Batter might be lumpy, that is okay, don't overbeat.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool completely.

Ingredients for Frosting
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maraschino cherries for topping

Steps for Frosting
1. Beat whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until peaks begin to form.
2. Choose your icing tip, I used the round tip for these cupcakes.
3. Top with a cherry and enjoy!

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These cupcakes are based off one of the best movies, UP! Months and months ago Loree tagged me in this pin for UPcakes, so for her 25th birthday I surprised her by making them for her, never mentioning another thing about them since she pinned it!

I made 24 mini vanilla bean cupcakes and one jumbo vanilla cupcake to complete this dessert! I found the recipe off of Pinterest but it originally comes from Gimme Some Oven,

1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds)
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream (avoid non-fat versions)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Add sugar and vanilla bean to a large bowl and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add in cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, beat for additional 1 minute until well mixed. Add butter and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes until well combined.
3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium until just combined.
4. Slowly add milk and beat on low until just combined. The batter will be thin.
5. Fill the cupcake liners just over 1/2 full. Bake for 14 minutes at 350 and test to see if they are done. Cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients for Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean (optional)
3-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Steps for Frosting
1. Add the butter and beat on medium speed for 1 minute until smooth.
2. Add powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, the seed of a vanilla bean and about 2 tablespoons milk, beat on low speed for about a minute. Increase to medium speed and beat for an additional minute until smooth. Add an extra tablespoon or two of milk if you want a thinner frosting.

Decorating the UPcakes
1. Separate frosting into 4 different bowls and color to your choosing (I did pastels- blue, green, yellow, and pink). Save some frosting aside for the big cupcake.
2. I used a round tip for these cupcakes and decorated each of the little cupcakes, alternating the colors.
3. Frost the larger cupcake with the vanilla frosting with the round tip and use food coloring pens to draw on the house.
4. Arrange the smaller cupcakes above the larger cupcake and using your food coloring pens add some balloon strings! I used a baking sheet to make transporting easier.

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Spinach Pasta with Ricotta and Pine Nuts

Pasta, yum. Spinach, yum. Ricotta, yum! What could go wrong with this recipe? I got this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Food Everyday, Great Food Fast (yes, while most of my recipes do come from Pinterest I still have a few printed and bound cookbooks that I live by!)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 pound spinach penne (I actually used rotini for this recipe)
1 1/2 pound baby spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven, toss occasionally, 6-8 minutes. Set aside.
2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions. During the last two minutes of cooking, add the fresh spinach and continue cooking. Drain and then return the pasta and spinach to the pot.
3. Add the olive oil, season generously with salt & pepper and toss well.
4. Serve immediately, topped with ricotta, pine nuts, and Parmesan.
5. Enjoy!

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Tacky Christmas Sweater

Again, this is an untimely post but save it for December, you'll be glad you did! Our Toastmasters club has started having an annual "Tacky Sweater Party" in December and this year, I decided a themed dessert was in order!

This post is more for the decoration of the cake so I will not have recipes attached but I believe I used a simple yellow cake recipe and I know I used a cream cheese frosting, which you can find in many of my blogs (Carrot Cake Cupcakes or Red Velvet Cupcakes)!

You can design this sweater however you like, make it as tacky as you can! I chose to do red and green frosting and added edible cake decorations purchased at JoAnns, Target, or Michaels!

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This is a simple, never failing cheesecake recipe! Who doesn't love a good slice of rich cheesecake? I got this recipe from my mom and hope I can live up to it!

Ingredients for Crust
12 ounce box vanilla wafers, crushed
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Steps for the Crust
1. Mix crushed vanilla wafers and butter and press into 10 inch spring loaded pan.
2. Cover bottom and at least half the sides.

Ingredients for Filling
40 ounces cream cheese
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream

Steps for Filling
1. In a large mixing bowl cream the cream cheese.
2. Mix in sugar, flour, salt, lemon peel, and vanilla. Beat well.
3. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, beat after each egg.
4. Blend in the heavy cream.
5. Pour into the crust.
6. Bake at 500 for 10 minutes. The top of the cheesecake may get brown but as long as it is not burning that is fine.
7. Then bake at 225 for 70-80 minutes.
8. The filling will almost set. Let it cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
9. Run knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the spring.
10. You can top it with whip cream, strawberries, or a jelly of your choice.
11. Enjoy! For a Christmas treat, a birthday cake alternative, or just a random dessert!

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Chocolate cupcakes with Peppermint Swirl frosting

I have been slacking on uploading new recipes, never fear I'm back and plan to do a major upload today!

While I know these cupcakes are a little more for the "winter" season, it doesn't mean you can't plan enjoy them any time! I tend to find one cupcake flavor that I love for a season and make it for everything I do, these cupcakes were my Christmas season go-to! Lets get on to the recipe!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Swirl Frosting
I originally got this recipe from Glorious Treats and love it!!

Cake Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Line muffin tin and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder,baking soda, and salt.
3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute.
4. Stir in boiling water (your batter will be thin, this is correct).
5. Fill liners about 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 22-24 minutes, I still turn the pan halfway through.
7. Cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients for Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter
6 oz. cream cheese
4 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Place butter in a mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined.
2. Add powdered sugar, a little bit at a time,and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed until fluffy.
3. Add vanilla and peppermint extracts.
4. Slowly add cream, a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.
5. Beat about a minute, until fluffy.

Because I use a piping tool to frost I usually 1 1/2 the icing recipe, the ingredients above are the original ingredients

Before filling the piping bag or tool, take some red food coloring gel on a toothpick and drag it down two sides of the piping tool then fill with the frosting. Once you frost the cupcakes add a Hershey's peppermint kiss on top, I tend to only put the kisses on half the cupcakes in case some prefer them without. Enjoy!

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