Welcome to my little space in the virtual world that consists of all things that make me happy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Valentine's Day Goodies

Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to make (and eat) some sweet goodies. I made my boo his favorite chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with cream cheese icing, and my first attempt at red velvet cheesecake-filled cake balls. Little did I know he wasn't too crazy about red velvet...more for me! :D

Red Velvet Cheesecake-filled Cake Balls
8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 box red velvet cake mix
1 can store-bought cream cheese icing
Package almond bark/white chocolate for melting

Combine the powdered sugar and cream cheese and using a 1/4 tsp spoon, scoop small dollops onto wax paper. Put in the freezer for several hours or overnight.
Prepare the red velvet cake as directed on the box, but use milk instead of water (makes it more moist). Bake in 13 by 9 pan as directed and let cool completely. Once cool, crumble into a large bowl and mix with about 1/2 to 2/3 can of cream cheese icing. (The same way to make cake balls previously described). Remove cream cheese balls from freezer, they should now be easier to work with. Mold red velvet cake mixture around each cream cheese ball to form your cake balls. When finished with all the cake balls, place back into freezer until chilled (they are easier to dip into melted chocolate when chilled).
Melt almond bark/white chocolate in microwave or in a double broiler. Dip balls into the melt and place on wax paper, or make cake pops by using candy sticks for dipping. Add some sprinkles or decorate however you like.

So these aren't the prettiest cake balls in the world (I was having some trouble with the melted white chocolate) but they sure are tasty!

Margarita Cupcakes for MLK Day

One of the joys of being a state employee is getting off for MLK day. My cousin (who is a teacher and also had off) and I hit up the mall for our happy Monday free of work. Afterwards, we watched home videos from our childhood my mom let me borrow and made these yummy creations, washing them down with homemade frozen margaritas. The best part is that these cupcakes only have 160 calories a piece! :D


Pretzel Mixture:
1 1/2 c crushed pretzels
1/4 c  melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 box whitre cake mix
3/4 c margarita mix
1/3 c vegetable oil
1/4 c milk
2 tsp grated lime peel
4 egg whites
1 1/2 c frozen (thawed) whipped topping

2 6 oz containers fat free Key lime pie yogurt

2 tsp grated lime peel

1/3 c coarsely crushed pretzels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix pretzel mixture ingredients until blended and spoon about 1 tablespoon mixture into each of 24 cupcake liners.
In large bowl, mix cupcake ingredients with an electric mixed and fill each of the 24 cupcake liners about 2/3 full on top of the pretzel mixture.
Bake 18 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Mix yogert, whipped topping and 2 tsp lime peel and frost each cooled cupcake. Sprinkle with coarsely crushed pretzels. Store in the refrigerator.

Of course we had to do something with the rest of the margarita mix :D

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Merry Christmas to you

Christmas came and went too fast. It was a good one though! I took my mama to the Biltmore House in Asheville for the Candlelight Tour....SOO beautiful! It even snowed when we were there. We had such a good time together.

I wanted to make someithng really special for my grandparents this year for Christmas. So at Thanksgiving when the whole family was together I got sneaky and took some pictures of each grandkid each with a solid wooden letter.

I had looked into getting it matted at Michaels but of course I couldn't let myself pay $150 to have that done, so I got some artist painting canvas and tried it myself. It's a little crooked but hey it added character...and only cost about $10 to do. My Nannie loved it!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Festivities

The temperatures have finally dropped and winter is finally here! Christmas is next week and the year is coming to an end....so is deer season. Ben and I both got lucky this week. Now we have a freezer full!

This week I also got to see my best friend Miranda graduate from Appalachian State University...something she never believed she could do (but I did!) It just proves you can do anything you put your mind to. I went to Boone this past weekend for the commencement and I froze my tail off but I couldn't have been more proud. I am so glad I could be there on her special day. She will go so far!

This time of year is so busy, sometimes it's hard to find the time to stop and think about all the wonderful things we have in life. I've really counted my blessings hard this week, life is good!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mini Sweet Potato Pies with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping

Tis the season for holiday parties! I was asked to make some mini sweet potato pies for our annual training conference dinner at work. Mini pies??? Just like regular pies....only cuter. I got the mini pie shells in the frozen foods section at Harris Teeter, the only place I know of that has them. Our department head comes from a sweet potato family farm, so home grown Johnston County sweet potatoes made these sweet treats. The pecans are optional, but make it so much better!

Sweet Potato Pies with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping
Ingredients for pie:
1 frozen pie crust or about 12 mini pie crusts
1 big or 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1/3 c brown sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
3/4 c heavy cream
For pecan topping:
1 to 1 1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c brown sugar
3 tbsp butter

Boil sweet potatoes until tender then peel and cream with a mixer. Add remaining ingredients for pie and pour into crusts. For the mini pies bake on 375 degrees about 20 minutes, for regular pie crusts bake about 45 to 50 minutes. Once the pies are baked, let cool for at least one hour or put in the fridge.
For the topping, melt butter over stove then add brown sugar. Cook about 3 minutes or until caramelized. Mix in pecans and let sit for 1 minute, then spread over the top of the cooled pies.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Apple Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling and Praline Drizzle

Well I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I definately did. I ate WAY too much, but at my Nannie's house, thats a given. I took this cake on Thanksgiving to add to her multiple desserts (the best part!) I got the recipe from the Southern Living September 2011 issue. This cake was on the cover! I used gala apples which made it wonderful, although I think I put too much because it turned out a lot denser than I had hoped. The praline drizzle was by far the best and can't wait to use it on other cakes.

Happy Holidays :D

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Homemade Wreaths

All this warm weather we've been having is making me have a hard time getting into the holiday spirit.....until today! My mom, my aunt Deborah and my cousin Stephanie and I went to a wreath making class this morning at Tom's Creek Nursery in Farmer. This is a beautiful place, if you ever have a chance to go I recommend it! We spent three hours of our morning in the plant-filled greenhouse with hot chocolate, cookies, Christmas music, and lots and LOTS of laughter. You really can't buy a wreath for the price of making one of your own. We had such a great time making wreaths from fresh greenery and berries all grown at the nursery, and they smell so good!

 Stephanie's wreath


Our moms' wreaths.....my mom can barely see through hers!

My mom's wreath on the porch at home.

My wreath! I'm so proud! :)