Cauliflower Cravings

Have you ever had a craving so intense, so fervent, that all you could do was think about said craving until that hankering was satisfied? Or maybe it’s just a former fat kid thing…

Lately for me, that has been pizza. Pizza. Ooey-gooey, cheesy, melty, toppings piled high, aromatic deliciousness. (See? I told you I’ve been obsessed)

And then reality sets in. Carbs. Like crazy. And since I’ve been doing so well lately following a low/no-carb lifestyle, I really didn’t want to undo all my progress with a stupid piece of pizza.

Cue our culinary hero – cauliflower

Cauliflower substitutes for things like mashed “potatoes” and pizza crusts have been filling my Pinterest and Facebook foodie feeds. What better way to satisfy my pizza craving than with a cauliflower crust low-carb alternative? Problem solved.

I would also like to note that this pizza craving was so intense that I made said pizza on a Sunday morning. At 8am. After making a quick grocery run post-workout. Yeah. It was that bad.

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But DANG it was delicious. Thanks to Katie Lee from The Kitchen for this tasty recipe. For my toppings, I had cheese (Wisconsin roots really show through here), Italian sausage, pepperoni, and bacon. Yes, bacon – who doesn’t love bacon?!

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It was a protein-packed, low-carb delight. Definitely a keeper. S’mores even approved!

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Snow Day Sweets: Heath Cupcakes

Mother Nature heard my snow day plea! Winter storm Kayla hit Mankato with a vengeance last Tuesday. School was actually called off the night before, so that meant:

Alarm = off. Sweatpants = on. Showering = optional. Oven = on

There is no better way to spend a snow day than in the kitchen. I had a bag of Heath baking chips leftover from some Christmas baking and after a little Pinterest perusing, I decided to make these beauties:

heath cupcakrs

Mmm. Oh yes. Chocolate fudge with Heath cupcakes, rolled in chocolate ganache and more Heath, topped with caramel frosting.

Drool.

I saw a bunch of recipes with homemade cakes, but I was feeling a bit lazy. After looking at a few recipes, I decided to wing it. They were surprisingly easy. I used a box cake mix with a heaping 1/2 cup of Heath bits stirred in the mix.

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For the ganache, I used this recipe here. It was a bit thick, so I added a little milk to thin it out. This was a crazy easy recipe – it’s called one minute frosting for a reason. In the recipe picture, they show it glazing a cake. Judging by the picture, it would make for a beautiful cake! Next snow day…

Roll the edges (or whole top – I won’t judge) in Heath chunks and tada!

They looked ridiculously delicious just like that.

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But it’s cupcakes – go big or go home. No better way to top this than with a nice heaping scoop of caramel frosting.

Cue sugar coma….

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Schnockered Snickers Cupcakes – Halloween edition

Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat…

Preferably chocolate. Bonus points if alcohol is included.

This recipe was just that.

S’mores and I were invited to a Halloween party, so of course I volunteered to bring dessert. Since Halloween was on a Saturday (teachers everywhere are thanking their lucky stars) and it was an adults-only party, I wanted to add a little booze to the mix.

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We went as soap and a loofah – and won the award for best duo costume!

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We had a TON of candy for trick or treaters (Target had a sale! I couldn’t help myself). After surveying the candy, the majority of it were Snickers bars. Chocolate, peanuts, nougat, and caramel – what’s not to love? May I present to you

Schnockered Snickers Cupcakes with Caramel Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting

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Oh yes. They were DELICIOUS! And pretty easy.

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S’mores even helped!

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I mixed up a box of dark chocolate cake mix according to the directions, scooped it into mini cupcake liners, and threw some chopped up Snickers in those bad boys.

For the icing, I kind of made it up.

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 8oz brick of cream cheese
  • splash of vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (plus more if you like your frosting a little thicker
  • caramel vodka (you be the judge of how much you’d like… 😉 )

For the garnish, I drizzled a little caramel sauce, chopped up Snickers bars, and a little chocolate spider (it was Halloween after all). They were a hit!

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Mini Donuts and Big Changes

It’s been 5 months since I last posted. And holy crap has a lot changed in those 5 months.

Here’s the super-abridged, Cliff notes update on my life.

  1. New job in Mankato!
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I’m teaching K-5 general music – exactly what I wanted. I know what you’re thinking…”isn’t S’mores from Mankato?” Congratulations – you’re correct! Which leads me to…

2. Moved in with S’mores

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Yes. You read that right. After 6 months together. Again, call me crazy, but it felt so right. And so far, it is!

3. Chopped off 8 inches of hair

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Fresh start!

To be completely honest, the transition from living with my parents in the same community I’ve called home the past 25 years to living in a brand new town, in a brand new (to me) house, with a brand new job hasn’t been easy. But nothing good in life comes easily. And I know I’ve got a REALLY good thing going.

Know what else is really good? Mini donuts.

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I found these adorable mini donut pans on sale at Kohl’s.

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I knew I would find SOME way to use them. Who doesn’t love donuts?! I searched my trusty friend Pinterest for this recipe. Since they’re baked, they’re partially healthy…right?

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Super duper easy. They whip up in less than 10 minutes, bake in 5, and then you have glorious mini donuts. I decided to add some of my own flavors to the batter.

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I left part plain, added pumpkin spice to one, cocoa powder to one, and sprinkles to one for a funfetti mix!

I also got creative with the glaze. The base is powdered sugar and milk, then you can go CRAZY! I’ve tried mint extract, maple extract (with the pumpkin? Hello fall explosion in your mouth), peanut butter, and cocoa powder. All were successful!

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Who doesn’t love anything mini?!

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The final round-up:

  • Funfetti
  • Chocolate donuts with chocolate glaze and chocolate sprinkles
  • Chocolate donuts with peanut butter glaze and Reese’s on top
  • Chocolate donuts with mint glaze
  • Plain donuts with glaze and sprinkles
  • Pumpkin spice donuts with maple glaze
  • Plain donuts with cinnamon sugar

Woof. A little like my life as of late –  little spice, little stress, little chaotic, but plenty sweet and oh so delicious.

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Bachelorette Baking – Oatmeal Cookie for 1

Watching cooking shows is oh so dangerous. They say not to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry – I shouldn’t be allowed to watch cooking shows when I’m bored.

S’mores is in Nashville, so this is one of the first weekend days that I haven’t done anything with him. I checked everything off my to-do list for the day and decided to watch a little of my favorite cooking show – Chopped. The judges were talking about some sort of spice mixture and somehow, oatmeal cookie made its way into conversation.

And then I really really REALLY wanted an oatmeal cookie.

But I really really REALLY didn’t want to do dishes. Or wait around for all the cookies to bake. Or have all the extra cookies around the house begging me to eat them…

Pinterest to the rescue! A search for “single oatmeal cookie” pulled up this lovely recipe.

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Easy ingredients, all of which I had. I added a splash of vanilla and a pinch of nutmeg. I also didn’t want to deal with 1 tablespoon of egg, so a little Googling suggested that milk may work too so that’s what I used instead of egg.

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The recipe says to bake for 13-15 minutes but after about 10 minutes I smelled something burning…never a good sign! I took it out and this is what I ended up with

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Is it pretty? No. Does it look like her picture? Heck no! But it was actually pretty tasty! The edges didn’t taste burnt; they had a lovely chewy, caramel-y texture. The middle was delightfully soft and a little gooey. A quick and easy (and super tasty) way to curb my oatmeal cookie craving.

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Buttermilk Grapefruit Donuts

Tis the season for baking (and eating). I’ve definitely had more than my fair share of sweets the last week…or two…or three.

We were invited to a family friend’s house for Christmas Eve brunch. Along with beer candied bacon (this time made with seasonal Leine’s Cranberry Ginger Shandy – so good!) I decided to make buttermilk grapefruit donuts.

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Tasty!! They’re baked, not fried, and the tangy grapefruit zest makes these donuts much lighter than what you typically think when you think donuts.

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Then you don’t feel so bad about eating one…or two…

Baking Bonanza!

I may have gone a little overboard this weekend…

My high schoolers had their concert Sunday (which went very well) and I always bake treats for the next day. There is no better choir recruitment/retainment tactic for high schoolers than food! I also wanted to give some Christmas goodies to my accompanist (because she is AMAZING and saves my sorry terrible piano playing butt). To top it all off, I had the house to myself Saturday and Sunday. What better way to occupy some time than baking?

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I got so carried away I even forgot to take pictures of a lot of them. But that 6 hours spent dancing and cooking in the kitchen with my Pandora shuffle blasting was pretty fantastic.

Here’s the rundown

Salted caramel pretzel bark

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So tasty. And SO EASY!

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Oreo truffles – I bought the family size package of Oreos because I wasn’t sure how many I wanted to make. And you always have to leave some room for eating – I mean, error….

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Gingerbread cookies (I didn’t get a picture!)

Chocolate crinkle cookies

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These were super tasty but a little time consuming since I had to let the dough chill. And let me tell you, you HAVE to let the dough chill. If you don’t, there’s no way you’ll actually get a ball of dough. More like a sloppy sticky mess.

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Last but certainly not least, Grandma’s sugar cookies and frosting.

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These are pretty stinking delicious. And the frosting is SO yummy! The recipe is direct from grandma’s email (yeah, she’s pretty hip…)

Cookies

1 1/4 c butter
2 c sugar
2 eggs
5 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp each
cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, beat until fluffy. Stir dry ingredients together. Add alternately to creamed mixture with milk. If its too sticky add a little flour so it is easy to roll out.
bake at 375 for about 8 minutes
Frosting
1/2 c crisco
1/2 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 c powder sugar (1 lb )
2 tbs milk
Cream butter and crisco. Add vanilla. Add sugar 1 c at a time. It will look dry. Add milk.If it doesn’t spread nice add a little more milk. Beat at med speed