Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brotherly "Tattoos"

Apparently coloring himself blue wasn't enough for Punk...a couple months later he colored Bug orange...

Side note...isn't he just too adorable?  Bobby and I both think he has the Mineer smile (the same one his Uncle Derrick and Bobby's cousin John-Mark have).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

When night sleep goes bad...

When no one gets a real good night's sleep this is what can happen around here:

The baby falls asleep at breakfast.

Punk climbs up onto the couch and passes out before lunch.
Now if only those things had happened in such a way that both boys were asleep at the same time so mommy could have caught a quick nap too, but that is NOT what happened.  About 10 minutes after I carried Punk in to his bed, Bug was up screaming (hungry because he passed out at breakfast).

They are pretty dang cute though (especially when they are sleeping), aren't they?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cinnamon Almonds

You know what they are, you smell them before you see them and you are fishing out your wallet before you know it paying a small fortune for a cone of them at a fair or festival someplace.  They are yummy almonds surrounded by a lovely sweet spicy cinnamon mixture.  They are awesome to eat on the go because they really aren't messy and they are nuts so they are good for you, right? ;-)

I would never have guessed they were so easy to make (although, maybe I should have since they are made in tents all over the country), but they are super simple, can be made with any nut, and are impressive as a gift, in a bowl to munch when you have unexpected guests, or as an addition to your cookie or treat trays (Christmas is sneaking up fast!).

I found the instructions (via Pinterest, who'da guessed) here.

You probably have the ingredients sitting in your house right now!

Cinnamon Almonds (or any nut you like!)

3 cups nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
1 cup sugar (the regular granulated kind)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Place water, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a saute pan and mix together over medium heat.  When well combined (but not heated through or anything) add in nuts.  Stir, keep stirring, DON'T STOP STIRRING.  They should take you between 5-7 minutes and they are done when all the moisture is gone and the mixture crystallized and holding onto the nuts (not all of the mixture will hold on, that is okay, in fact I measured that I had 1/2 cup sugar/cinnamon mixture left over at the bottom of my nuts when all was done and the nuts were plenty coated).  Spread them on a sheet pan immediately to cool.  Store in a cool dry place for up to a month (these would be awesome for sending to military friends/family).

The picture IS actually of the nuts I made.  I, personally, liked the walnuts even more than the almonds, and I think I'll try it with pecans when the holidays are a little closer.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Boston Cream Cupcakes

My husband is a huge fan of the Boston Cream Donut.  So much so that there are some little jokes about it at work and he has on occasion been sent into the office with the promise of said donut only to be laughed at a little when he finds out there are no Boston Creams available.  I often send treats into work with Bobby (typically because I like to make treats, play with new things and try new things out and we can't eat them all for obvious reasons), so I thought it would be fun to send a "Boston Cream" something into work with him, I have been playing with cupcakes a little lately and I came up with these tonight.  It's my own recipe, but it is a mash-up of things I have gotten from cookbooks (the cupcake itself is a mix up of the Death By Chocolate recipe in 101 Things To Do With a Cake Mix) and around the internet (the frosting is a change up of the recipe I got here).

Interested in making them yourself?  Here you go:

Boston Cream Cupcakes:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Ready 24 cupcake liners in cupcake pans.  Mix cake mix and dry pudding mix together in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Fill cupcake liners 1/2 - 2/3 full (this should make exactly 24 cupcakes).  Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or JUST until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with just a very few crumbs sticking to it.  Leave cupcakes to cool.

1 small box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups cold milk

Make pudding as directed on package with 2 cups milk.  Let pudding set up 5-10 minutes in the fridge.

Fill a pastry bag with a #10 tip (large round tip) attached with the set pudding.  Place tip into the top of cooled cupcake and pipe about 1 tablespoon of filling into each cupcake (you won't use all the pudding probably).  This part just takes a little practice and patience.  Make sure you get the tip well into the cupcake (about 3/4 of the way in for sure) and pipe slowly.  They won't all have exactly the same amount of filling, NO ONE WILL CARE, so don't stress it.

Frosting (this is where it is at with this recipe, this frosting is ridiculous!):
8 oz dark chocolate (you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips here)
4 oz cream cheese (that's half a regular package)
1 cup heavy cream
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1 8 oz tub of Cool Whip (just use the Cool Whip and don't ask questions, okay?)

Place 8 oz of chopped chocolate or chips into a glass or metal mixing bowl with 4 oz of cream cheese broken up with your hands (I use the mixing bowl for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer).  Put 1 cup of cream into a pan and set on the stove over medium low heat and place mixing bowl with chocolate and cream cheese over it (you are creating kind of a double boiler).  You want your chocolate and cream cheese to start to melt, BUT you don't want to scorch your cream so watch them both closely.  When the cream starts to boil pour it over your chocolate and cream cheese mixture (it won't be fully melted, but make sure you cover it) and let it set to cool for 20-30 minutes.  When that time has passed add in your pudding mix and mix for two minutes with either the whisk attachment on your stand mixer or a hand mixer.  Now mix in 1/2 of the tub of Cool Whip then fold the other 1/2 of the Cool Whip in until the frosting is uniform.  Using your favorite tip pipe the frosting onto the top of the cupcakes (I like a giant tip like the 4B star tip I used for these today) and ENJOY!

Bobby and I have both tried them and they are pretty excellent...hopefully they get good reviews at his work tomorrow!