Smores Cupcakes

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Happiness

Happiness

Some time ago I saw on the aisle at the grocery store a box of Smores cupcake mix kit type thing. I looked the box over. A light bulb went off. I could do that, I had all the ingredients I needed at home.

First I must confess, this was some time ago. Like beginning of summer. Yes I am a slacker to wait this long to share. But the worst is yet to come, I was so excited to try this I did not even think to take pictures until things were almost ready to go into oven. So pictures are scarce and we must rely on my memory from that day. In short we are doomed!

Here is how I recall that day.

My dad who at the time was on this kick of buying me cake mixes when he saw them on sale. There was this one mix that was, double chocolate or something like that. I just remember it was more chocolate then your average chocolate cake mix. So it was to be sacrificed in this experiment.

I mix the cake according to package directions. Now time for the graham cracker crust to be our foundation. I made a guess on how much I would need to line the bottom of the cupcake liner. So graham cracker crust is something I do make on a regular basis , I did not measure I eyeballed, cause you know my extensive experience would never lead me astray . I put some graham crackers in my little generic cheap version of the bullet thingy (technical term). Once I had crumbs I began adding melted butter till it was moistened. Well I made way too damn much. So I am going to make a guess and say you need 1 to 2 cups. Not a bowlful as I ended up with.

I pushed this mixture done firmly into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Now goes a thin layer of the cake mix. Here is the part that had me wishing I just bought the darn box kit to make this as I‘m sure the company has found the best way to handle this part. I needed to transfer my marshmallow cream into a baggie to squeeze the stuff into each cup. I first tried just using a spoon and putting a spoonful of cream into each cup but I was getting the stuff everywhere but the center, you know how sticky that stuff is. I went to the squeeze bag method.

Marshmallow cream is messy. Maybe it’s just me but that stuff fights me. So after fighting it into the baggie I snipped my corner and squeezed. Worked much better than the spoon. I then covered the cream with another layer of the cake mix. Into the oven to cook following the cake mix temp and time.

As I stood up from putting the pan in the oven I noticed the disaster of my kitchen and myself. My kitchen and my arms, hands, front of shirt and have mercy, even my hair had cake mix and marshmallow cream on them. Again I felt I would have been better off buying the box kit.

FYI: coconut oil will help get marshmallow cream out of hair.

As I finished cleaning up my timer let me know my cupcakes were done. I took them out of the oven. I wanted so badly to bite into one right then but I had this vision of me biting into one and marshmallow lava erupting all over me. I let them cool down while I took a few quick pictures. They were cooled down enough to taste test.
I finally took my first bite.

Holy Mother of Cupcakes. I don’t know how the box kit of this stuff taste but this, this was cupcake heaven. No icing was needed. At all. Now I had enough of everything to make a second pan but I was not fighting the marshmallow again. EVER.

You know you want to bite me

You know you want to bite me

SMORES CUPCAKES

Ingredients:
Chocolate cake mix from a box or your favorite recipe
Items needed to make the batter (eggs, oil, etc)
1 to 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
Enough melted butter to moisten the crumbs
1 jar of marshmallow cream or fluff as some people call it.
Strong baggie or icing bag to pipe out cream/fluff
Coconut oil to get that stuff cream/fluff out of your hair

Mix batter according to instructions on box or your recipe.
Moisten crumbs with butter, put a spoonful of crumb mixture into bottom of each cupcake liner. Press down until bottom is completely covered.
Next put down a thin layer of cake batter.
Pipe in a small amount of cream/fluff into center of the batter. Try to avoid it spreading to the edges.
Cover with another layer of batter.

Bake according to box/recipe instructions or until toothpick comes out clean. Avoid doing this to the center you will just hit the cream. Let cool, eat as is or cover with chocolate icing.

Now remember I made my own using ingredients I had at home. If you have to buy all the items it just might be cheaper to buy the box kit instead. It’s on the grocery store baking aisle with the cake mixes.

Don’t want to use the box kit? My recipe to vague? Hit Pinterest and search. I know there’s a recipe out there. Trust me when I say, if it’s not on Pinterest it doesn’t exist.

Warning: marshmallow cream is sticky and messy

Warning: marshmallow cream is sticky and messy

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Gotha’s Chocolate Coconut Bombs

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Too damn tasty

Too damn tasty

I have added coconut oil to my diet in hopes of helping my dry cracking itchy skin. I am trying to heal my skin from the inside out because in my 40 something years nothing has helped my skin from the outside. If I had back the money wasted on lotions, I wouldn’t be rich but I’m sure I could pay a few big bills off.
I first became familiar with coconut oil from Pinterest when I was looking for natural hair treatments. That sparked my interest about that amazing oil, so I researched the many uses and benefits of the awesome coconut and the oil it produces.
What you must first understand is the oil is solid like lard. Fortunately it has a low melting point of 76 degrees. Which makes it easy to use on the hair and skin. Now getting it inside the body is easier for some but not everyone. I fall into the not everyone category.

I have tried melting the coconut oil and just slamming it down the hatch like a shot of liquor. Nasty doesn’t even begin to describe that process. Some Pinterest pins suggest just eating it by the spoonful, solid. That ended up with gagging like a cat trying to upchuck a fur ball. I have added it to food and drink with some success.

When done properly coconut oil in coffee is a great tasty way to get it into your diet. But when you have stomach issues like me, coffee every morning is a no-no.

Much by accident I came across several pins about coconut bombs.
What are coconut bombs you ask? Just a tasty way to ingest good ole healthy coconut oil.

There happens to be a few ways to make these bombs. Some recipes just have you mix the solid form of the oil with some tasty ingredients. Some call for you to melt the oil before mixing.

Ingredients added to the oil varied also. Some people used ground cinnamon, some cinnamon with chocolate and others used just chocolate or cocoa powder. None that I found had shredded coconut in the recipe. What?
Now my version is one of many. You may not like it. No problem. Go to Pinterest and search ‘coconut bombs’ you will have so many recipes you are sure to find one you love.

Here is my version:

What you need

What you need

Gotha’s Chocolate Coconut Bombs for Smoother Skin

1 cup of melted coconut oil. (about 60 seconds in microwave handles that)

A small handful of chocolate chips, about 25. Semi-sweet, milk chocolate, basically whichever floats your boat.

One tablespoon cocoa powder.

1 cup of shredded coconut.

Here is the easy peasy way to build your bombs:

Add your chocolate chips and cocoa powder to your melted coconut oil and stir. Stir a lot. It took some convincing for the chocolate chips and oil to decide to become one. After that mix in the shredded coconut. Your mixture will be runny. Just toss it in the freezer for two minutes. While your bombs are cooling lay out some wax paper on your counter.

Remove mixture from freezer, stir well. If it’s still too runny pop back in freezer for another minute. Once cooled and slightly hardened use two spoons or a melon baller to shape bite size bombs. Place on wax paper to set up. I ended up with 25 bombs. You may get more or less depending on how you size them. I have most at a two-bite size.

This is from a smaller test batch. The recipe makes much more.

This is from a smaller test batch. The recipe makes much more.

Adding the coconut. Yum

Adding the coconut. Yum

I store the bombs in the fridge. Remember coconut oil has a low melt point. My house is HOT!
The husband thinks we live in the artic and keeps our heat on what I call the tropical setting. I have had to go outside in 20 degree weather wearing shorts and a t-shirt to cool down. True story. Neighbors must think I’m having menopausal hot flashes. So I feared my coconut bombs would react like Frosty the Snowman on a tropical island and turn into coconut puddles.

Tasty. This is a skin treatment that can spoil a girl.

Tasty. This is a skin treatment that can spoil a girl.

Right now I have two bombs a day. One at my first break at work the other during my second work break. If in a few weeks I feel I need more coconut oil I will add a third bomb. And yes I do yell, “Bombs away” before eating one. (UPDATE: with two per day for two weeks my skin still looks dry, but man it feels soft. So it is helping. I will now add a third bomb to see where that takes me on my dry skin journey).

How do they taste? Like an Almond Joy minus the almond. But without almonds it’s a Mounds you say. Nope. Mounds uses a dark chocolate which changes the taste dramatically. Don’t argue I’m a ‘robust’ girl, I know my candies.

Now some people use coconut bombs for weight loss. Does that work? I don’t know but you might want to omit the chocolate chips from the recipe if you are trying to watch your weight. I have not lost any weight but I have noticed that after eating a bomb I do feel full plus do less mindless snacking. It’s the late evenings that kill me with the over eating. I will soon tackle my food issue. First I am focusing on being more active. Which with my Vivofit is working well. Small changes, not all at once is my plan.

A note on buying coconut oil. My first suggestion is do your research so you can make an informed decision. After trying several, some refined some unrefined. Some virgin some not so virgin. Some without taste others with a coconutty taste. As of right now my favorite is a unrefined virgin coconut oil from Target. It does have a coconut taste. I still try other types/brands as I find them so one day my favorite might change. So, research, try a variety, maybe look at some brands on Amazon and read the reviews.

Are you a coconut oil user? If so please share with me, I am always looking for new ways to try this amazing oil.

UPDATE: I have tried this a few times adding extra ingredients. After research I have discovered Cacao Nibs are a nutritional powerhouse. Brazil nuts may help my Thyroid issue. So I added 1 tbsp of the nibs and three chopped Brazil nuts to the recipe for my bombs. The bombs are still great with the add ins.

 

Cookies plus Chocolate equals Happiness

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In a world filled with stress and tragedy bombarding us everyday we need something to help us cope, something to fill us with happiness even. Is there such a thing that can do this? Is it possible something can bring us joy amidst the stresses in life?
Hell yes there is something. Chocolate. Chocolate by itself, chocolate with marshmallows, with peanut butter, with ice cream, in milk, in cookies, chocolate covering other items, like nuts or raisins or even bugs. For the record I have never ate a chocolate covered bug but If there is ever a chocolate shortage and that’s what’s available. Look out bugs.

Today it is chocolate chip cookies that are calling my name. “Gotha. Gotha” they are whispering to me.
I found a pin that took me to a post with several chocolate recipes. This one claimed to be THE Best chocolate chip cookie recipe. Was it the best? Close, what would have made them the best was if someone else had baked them for me. Ha-ha. Seriously, out of all the chocolate cookie recipes I have tried over the years this one is my new #1.
Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (I used 1 cup, I’m a rebel that way)
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Directions:
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. I used a hand mixer and it works better if you use a fork to work your butter a few minutes before using the hand mixer. Add the brown sugar along with the sugar, mix on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Next add in the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix in the wet ingredients until well combined. The cookie dough will be thick, if you’re using a hand mixer it will be struggling at this point. Add the chocolate chips and mix for several seconds until evenly disbursed, at this time I just used a fork to mix in the chocolate chips. Cover with aluminum foil to chill for at least 1 hour.
After the dough chills is done chilling out in the fridge let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. I used a silicone mat, I love it!
Roll into balls, using about 1 tablespoon of dough per balls. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container. They should keep up to one week. If they last that long, they are pretty darn good.
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Strawberry Cobbler

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The husband and I went down the road to the strawberry farm this past weekend. We brought home a huge container of strawberries. HUGE! Once home I chopped most to freeze for smoothies. Used some for Strawberry Chia Jam. Recipe for jam will come at a later date. The last thing I made was a fresh Strawberry Cobbler (recipe a friend shared with me). My husband called it a pie but it’s a cobbler. He is still saying it was a pie. Poor misguided soul.
Oh my it was yummy no matter what you call it.

Cobblers. It seems everybody has their favorite recipe. To me the key to a good cobbler is the cake like top. If it’s not good it doesn’t matter how wonderful your filling is. This is a new recipe for me. It is not my favorite but it is a good cobbler. Darn good cobbler. One day I will share my two go to cobblers. They are simple, fool proof and so amazingly tasty.

Fresh Strawberry Cobbler

Fresh strawberries. Enough to fill you pan/pie dish over half full.
1 cup Bisquick
1 cup granulated sugar (I only had half a cup so I did half granulated sugar and half coconut sugar)
½ cup melted butter
1 egg

Chop your strawberries. Put in the pan the amount of strawberries you think is plenty. Now put in some more. These guys will cook down a lot. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of your sugar over the fruit.
Mix your Bisquick, rest of sugar, egg and butter together. You will have a thick batter type concoction. Spoon this over your strawberries.
Cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Fresh picked strawberries

Fresh picked strawberries


Sugar mixture

Sugar mixture


batter topping

batter topping


I had a piece with a little bit of whipped cream. The husband had his with vanilla ice cream along with a huge helping of whipped cream. It was good. If I make this again I will either add more melted butter or some water to the batter topping. I think a thinner batter would have mingled more with the strawberries instead of just floating on top.
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Open Sesame Chia Seed Candy

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I have been wanting to do this for awhile. I have went through tons and tons of Pins to find the perfect recipe. Is there a perfect recipe for this? I don’t know but I found the perfect recipe for me, it was more the measurement and technique I needed. I omitted and added a few things here and there.
What am I talking about?

Sesame Seed Candy!

Yes that little bitty pale unassuming seed that adorns out hamburger buns. You take that seed, work a little bit of magic, and BAM! You have a nice little candy that makes a great tasting, sorta close to healthy snack.

Here is the original Sesame Candy recipe. Below is my adapted recipe along with my account of the whole process.

Sesame Chia Seed Candy

Ingredients:

1 c. Sesame seeds
2 tbsp. Chia seeds
3-4 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. coconut sugar

Dry roast your sesame seeds for 5-7 minutes. Pour into a bowl add the Chia seeds and mix well. Set aside. In a small pot add the sugar and honey. Bring to a boil, now simmer for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly. Add seeds. Stir. Pour onto a piece of wax paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover with another sheet of wax paper, roll candy with a rolling pin until about ½ inch thick. With a knife cut/score into 1 inch squares. Let cool. Break apart. Done!

I measured out my sesame seeds, put them in the pan to toast. I toasted mine the full 7 minutes because I wanted some of my seeds a dark brown color. After toasting I pit them and the Chia seeds in a dish. I happened to have my small pie dish close by so I used it.

Ready for toasting

Ready for toasting


Toasted Sesame seeds mixed with Chia seeds

Toasted Sesame seeds mixed with Chia seeds

The pot was on the stove to heating up while I mixed my seeds together. So the pot was hot when I started measuring out the honey. I poured my first tablespoon in and it went wild with the boiling. So I had to work fast to get all the honey and the coconut sugar in the pot, while trying to stir at the same time. FYI: have what you need in arms reach, closer if you can. I was like a crazy woman trying to do all that at once with everything I needed in different place around the kitchen.

Boiling, boiling, get that stuff a boiling.

Boiling, boiling, get that stuff a boiling.


5 minutes and a lot of stirring later I poured in my seeds and began mixing, this comes together quick. At first you think that is not going to be enough honey mixture to coat that much seed. It is plenty.
I did not have any wax paper so I used one of my new baking mats. I used another to lay over top. I also don’t have a rolling pin (mainly for the husbands safety) so I used this high tech gadget called a can of soup. Worked fine.
Ready to roll

Ready to roll


High tech rolling technique.

High tech rolling technique.


Okay as soon as I finished rolling I tried to remove the top baking mat. Nope not a good idea some of the candy mixture was coming up with it. I just stopped pulling the mat and mashed it back down over the candy. I popped the whole thing in the freezer for maybe 2 minutes. Took it out while it was still warm enough to cut. This time the top mat came up easily. Not wanting to damage the bottom mat I used a butter knife to ‘cut’ the candy into squares. I did not cut all the way through the candy.
You can see in the upper right where I tried to lift up the top mat

You can see in the upper right where I tried to lift up the top mat


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After letting the candy cool a few minutes I broke the pieces apart. Both mats had sticky stuff on them but I only had to run water over them for a few seconds and they were clean. I think I might be in love with silicone baking mats.

How did the Sesame Chia Seed candy taste? Great. Sweet with a toasted nutty taste. This is going to be my midday snack at work next week. Thanks for joining me on this Pinteresting adventure.
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Baked Fajitas

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Saw this on Pinterest the week I made my DIY taco seasoning. Thankfully I wrote down the recipe because like a few other pins I have tried Pinterest flagged them as spam and now the sites are gone.
I only have a photo of the dish before it went into the oven. It smelled so good when I pulled it from the oven I couldn’t keep the husband away from it before I could snap a picture.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven


It was tasty and so much easier and less time consuming than the regular way I make fajitas. Only thing I will do different next time is marinade the chicken like I do when I have made fajitas in the past. Recipe for marinade is below baked fajita recipe.

Baked Fajitas

1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can green chilies
1-2 onions, sliced
1-2 bell peppers, sliced
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 ½ tbsp. taco seasoning
½ tsp. lime juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Mix chicken, onions and peppers in a baking dish
In a small bowl combine oil, lime and taco seasoning.
Drizzle over meat and vegetables.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Warm some tortillas, gather up your toppings (sour cream, guacamole, cheese, etc.) and enjoy!

Marinade for chicken:
¼ c orange juice
¼ c lime juice
¼ c olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
Dash of salt and pepper

Mix it up in a small bowl throw in into a baggie with your uncooked chicken. Put into fridge to hang out for and hour to several hours.

I love onions, every so often I get a craving for some cooked onions. This marinade is awesome to use to fry up a pan of onions. Eat those onion by themselves or toss on top a baked potato. Yummy.

Blast from the Past: Cinnamon Toothpicks

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I remember in my early teen years walking to this convenience store down the road just to get a pack of cinnamon toothpicks. I loved those things. Sometimes my lips and mouth felt like they were on fire but that was part of the fun. I thought I was the coolest thing walking down the road dressed all in black with my toothpick hanging from my lips. Haha.
On a whim I typed in cinnamon toothpicks on Pinterest and imagine my happiness when a how-to pin popped up. I had on hand what I needed to make these. So hell yeah I did! Recipe from Ehow

Cinnamon toothpicks:

Cinnamon oil or flavoring
Small glass jar with a lid
Toothpicks

Pour oil into jar till it’s about 1/8 to ¼ deep.
Stand toothpicks upright so only one end id in oil. Just grab up a bundle, no need to count.
Screw on lid
Let sit overnight or 24 hours
Spread toothpicks on baking sheets to dry. When no longer oily/wet to touch.
Could take up to 7 days.

what you need

I did not have a small jar, well I did but the toothpicks were to tall I would not have been able to screw on the lid. So I had to go with a bigger jar. The jar was way to big. I poured cinnamon oil flavoring into the jar I realized right away that was not going to work as is. I would not be able to stand the toothpicks upright and the flavoring was spread to thin on the bottom. I had to do a little improvising. I tilted the jar to get the oil to one place, gently placed the toothpicks in, screwed on the lid. Then sat the jar tilted into a small cake pan and placed another glass jar up against the toothpick jar so it wouldn’t fall out of the pan.
Lastly I gently backed away trying not to bump anything.

Making it work

Making it work

Drying out

Drying out

Twenty-four hours later the oil was completely absorbed. I laid the toothpicks out on my pizza pan to dry. It did not take long to dry, just a day and a half.

Yes they are just like from my younger years.