Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Delicious 5-Minute Chocolate Frosting

Over the years I've tried several different variations of frosting. Most are the same basic ingredients with slightly different sugar to cocoa ratios and varying amounts of added liquid (some call for milk, some cream, etc.). Finally, I think I've found THE one. This will be my quick and easy go-to recipe from now on because of its great chocolate flavor and super creamy, easy, spreadable consistency.
I love that it whips up in just a few minutes, with just a few ingredients.
And it's creamy and spreadable..but not so soft that it slides right off!
You can take 5 minutes to whip this up with butter, sugar, vanilla, cocoa and milk or you can buy the canned version with palm oil, high maltose corn syrup, distilled monoglycerides, polysorbate 60, and the list goes on.
The key to a great frosting is not only the texture/consistency, but even more important...the flavor! The amount of desired chocolate flavor is going to vary from person to person. I love dark chocolate, but some of my family prefers milk chocolate.  For us, I found the perfect compromise by combining regular and dark cocoa powder.

5 Minute Chocolate Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup cocoa (I used 3/4 cup regular Hershey's cocoa and 1/4 cup Hershey's Dark)
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup half and half (mine was fat free, can also use milk of choice)
  • In a large mixing bowl, add softened butter and vanilla. Mix until creamy.
  • Add cocoa. Mix until blended. 
  • Add 2 cups powdered sugar and half of the creamer (or milk). Slowly mix together (to prevent having sugar all over your entire kitchen!) Mixture is going to get thick.
  • Add remaining 2 cups powdered sugar and remaining milk. Stir until well blended and creamy.
If frosting is not at desired consistency: 
-too thick? add small amounts of milk until desired consistency is reached
-too thin? add small amounts of powdered sugar or cocoa until desired consistency is reached

Recipe adapted from Discount Queens

NOTE: I made a double batch to frost this 4 layer cake, however, I had a lot leftover. It freezes great! Place leftover frosting in a sealed container in the freezer, when ready to use again allow to thaw and then mix well to "fluff" it up again!
My son was very specific on what kind of birthday cake he wanted for his 6th birthday. He wanted four layers, chocolate cake, chocolate icing, with M's and Kit Kats on top! He also picked out his Lego candles. Nothing fickle about this kid...he knows exactly what he wants! What can I say...my boy has his mama's heart and generally gets what he wants!


Friday, July 25, 2014

3-2-1 Skinny Mug Cake

Many of you may have seen this before...I've seen it several times on various blogs. I first tried this out about a year ago, and I have no idea why I haven't written about it before.
I think it's because I can never get a good picture...mug cakes are generally ugly. I'm also usually in a hurry to stuff something sweet in my face if I am making a cake in a coffee cup in the microwave! You know, desperate times and all.
I can't say that I love these cakes, or that they are anything gourmet, but I can say that when you are craving something sweet in a hurry, and do not want to totally bust the calorie bank, these fit the bill. I really like them for the convenience...my children love to make them, and my girls can make them by themselves. That way, when they want a sweet treat, and I don't want the temptation staring me in the face, they can go make themselves a cake. They are satisfied, and there are no leftovers sitting on the counter torturing me with their existence. 
(See...the photos aren't very good. Gotta work on that I suppose...which you know, means making more cakes!) My kids have had a good time coming up with variations...adding hot fudge (pictured, which is why it looks so gooey), peanut butter, nutella, etc.

The "skinny" part comes in because they are low in fat..you are combining a pack of regular cake mix (any flavor) with a box of angel food cake mix...that's it! Store the combined dry mix in a container or plastic bag and use "as needed"...which is often in my house. It gets the name 3-2-1 because you need 3 T. of mix, 2 T. of water, and 1 minute in the microwave. Super fast, super easy.

3-2-1 Skinny Mug Cake

1 box of cake mix (favorite brand and flavor)
1 box of angel food cake mix

Combine 2 cake mixes in a large container or gallon size bag. When you want a cake, get a coffee mug or microwave safe bowl, add 3 Tablespoons of cake mix, 2 Tablespoons of water. Stir until just combined. (Can also add in a tablespoon of hot fudge sauce, peanut butter, chocolate chips, etc.) Microwave for 1 minute. Add cool whip or frosting if desired.

*The best I could calculate, the mug cakes were approximately 4 Weight Watchers Point Plus points without any additional add-ins. 

Do you have any single serving treats that you enjoy? Feel free to leave links or a recipe!

I may be linking up at any of the following - (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy's Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen's Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters' StuffMade from Pinterest

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One Dish Chicken Dinner

Talk about winner, winner, chicken dinner! This is going to sound too good to be true, at least it did to me. It's a meal - meat, potatoes, vegetable (yes, I know potatoes are technically a vegetable...but let's just go with it) all thrown into a dish and baked in the oven with very little 'hands on' time. Oh! And it taste good! Four out of five food critics that reside in my house enjoyed this meal, and that's sayin' something around here. (And by food critics, I'm not even kidding...my girls have seen way to many episodes of Chopped. They will literally critique my meals sometimes. Gotta love it.)
When I first saw this on Pinterest, I was skeptical. I expected my potatoes and green beans to be swimming in chicken 'juice' and that my green beans would end up mushy and overcooked. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case at all.  There was very little grease in the pan, the green beans were just fine (I used canned green beans) and the potatoes and chicken were perfectly cooked and well seasoned.  The original post I saw used an entire stick of butter, which would have produced more grease, but I only used a few pats...I didn't see the point in a whole stick, but others seem to really like it that way too. It's up to ya.

One Dish Chicken Dinner

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
8-10 small red potatoes (I've used Idaho potatoes as well); halved
1 can of cut green beans
1/4 cup butter (more or less as desired)
spices of choice (I sprinkled on some dried basil, oregano, onion powder, parsley, herbs de provence,)
*original recipe calls for a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix. I'm not a big fan of ranch seasoning, so I did my own thing.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Place raw chicken down center of 9 x 13 dish. 
Dump green beans (drained) down one side as pictured. 
Place cut potatoes down the other side. 
Season as desired (entire dish), and place pats of butter randomly over entire dish. 
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for one hour. 

That's it. One hour and remove the foil and viola! Dinner is served!

Recipe adapted from Cooked to Order

I may be linking up at any of the following - (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy's Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen's Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters' StuffMade from Pinterest

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Bahamas Vacay

My husband and I have been married for 15 years. For our 12th, 13th, and 14th wedding anniversary...my other half was out of town! It was for work and couldn't be helped, but celebrating your wedding anniversary via Facetime just isn't the same. So, we had said that this year, since my husband was going to be home, we would try to do something special...and we did! We spent a few days in the Bahamas. It was gorgeous!
I'm not much on flying, but seeing this from the plane helped!
As well as plenty of ginger ale. (And I couldn't resist Biscoff cookies, regardless of how queasy I felt!)
The main entrance of the hotel. The grounds were beautiful.
Why, yes! I'll be happy to hang out here...
or here...
The birds like the pool too!
The most popular food I saw...conch! Conch fritters, conch stew, conch chowder..my husband tried the fritters. He said they were 'fine'. So...I don't know what to do with that. I didn't try them. I'm not an adventurous eater, especially with seafood.
Especially when the seafood looks like that! They said it was a mussel. Again, my husband ate it. He said it was 'alright'. 
This was more my speed. A Cajun Fish Sandwich - not as spicy as I was hoping but pretty good. 
It paired well with a Corona...which, what doesn't? 
This was a meal I could identify all the components (as opposed to the soup we were given when seated. It was something with goat!) This was an amazing grilled steak. Everything was delicious...it was perfectly seasoned and cooked. The salad was basic but delicious. The potatoes were good, even the drizzle on the plate was fantastic! I was in love, and it was just a very small steakhouse and bar in the Port Lucaya Marketplace. I wish I knew the name of it, but it was fabulous.
I did get a little more adventurous at the 'Traditional Bahamian Buffet' offered at the resort one night. Sorry for the blurry cell phone pic, but it was interesting. The Curried Seafood Chowder was good, even though I know I was eating lots of different things that I would rather not think about. They had a dessert called Guava Duff with Rum Sauce that was very good. I didn't get a pic, but found it online here

To burn off some of those calories, we walked around the grounds and saw where they were setting up for a wedding...
Not a bad spot to get married in! I wanted to crash the reception but my husband wasn't down for that idea. 
Here is another gazebo where the spa offers outdoor massages.
We also had the opportunity to swim with dolphins! It was so much fun! Dolphins are amazingly intelligent animals.
More intelligent than I am, because I've already forgotten which command I was giving this dolphin. 

What about you? What fabulous vacations have you been on? I need to make a vacation bucket list!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...