Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Made from scratch Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

 I love to bake, but I had never made Red Velvet Cupcakes before.  Plus, when I make cupcakes I usually use a box cake mix.  Let's face it, they're easy and pretty good.  I ALWAYS make the frosting homemade and that's what makes the biggest difference to me anyway.  I'm a big time frosting lover!  So, these cupcakes were a challenge for me- new AND made from scratch.  And let me tell you- they were De-Licious!  Plus, the color was gorgeous.  I guess I've gotta make cakes from scratch more often!  I pinned this recipe from She Makes and Bakes.

For the cupcakes:
1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 ounce red food color
1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder 

For the cream cheese frosting:
1 1/2 packages cream cheese (12 ounces)
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Okay before we get started let me tell you that I forgot to buy buttermilk, so instead substituted 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.  Mix those and let them sit for about 10 minutes before you use it in the recipe.  The lemon juice kind of thickens up the milk.

Also, I could not find cake flour at my grocery store, so I used this instead:
For every one cup cake flour you need place 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch in a one-cup measuring cup.  Then fill the rest with all-purpose flour and use in place of cake flour in any recipe.

Okay now on to the actual recipe! In your mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar.

In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda, vinegar, and salt.

Add the flour into the mixing bowl in a few additions, alternating with the wet ingredients.
Start and end with the flour.

 Once combined, add the red food color and cocoa powder into the batter and mix.

Divide the batter into muffin tins with liners, filling each with about 1/4 cup of batter. 
I use an ice cream scoop to make it easy. 

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes and then remove from the pan to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. In your mixing bowl cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated. Add the powdered sugar in three additions and mix until smooth.  If you ever add a little too much powdered sugar, add a tiny bit of milk or creamer, mix again, and see if the frosting is the smoothness you like.  (Hint:  I mix a little vanilla flavored coffee creamer in some frosting recipes.)

 Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Umm, Yummy!

Friday, February 22, 2013

High Five For Friday 2/22

1.  These cousins LOVE each other!  H really wants to help Baby Boy hold that rattle!

2.  My dad gave me the Baby Brezza for my bday and I tried it out this week.  I made some pea baby food!

3.  Had Bunko last night and I won my money back!  Biggest loser here- 10 losses (out of 12 games)!

4.  Heard some really good news about a teaching job for next school year.  Just hoping it all pans out as planned.

5.  Made some delicious red velvet cupcakes yesterday all from scratch!  I love to bake, but this was my first time ever making red velvet.  Look for how to make these next week!


How was your week?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Nûby Brites Ortho Pacifier Review

Nûby Brites Ortho Pacifier Review

I am so excited to tell you guys that I am now a Nuby Mommy Blogger!  
That means that I will get to tell you about some of my favorite Nuby products.
Nuby products are not only great, but totally affordable too!
The first item we were sent was the Nûby™ Brites Ortho Pacifier.

 Nûby sent me the Brites Ortho Pacifier for review and I was super excited because we can never have enough pacifiers in this house.  I know that somewhere in this house there are at least 10 pacifiers.  Seriously, where do they all go?  I picked these pacifiers because of their fun designs and bright colors.  It makes them easy to find in the crib and around the house.  Plus, they're cute.

This pacifier is designed to fit in baby's mouth naturally and comfortably. Nûby's air system allows air to circulate between baby's delicate skin and the pacifier.  One thing I really liked about this pacifier is how lightweight it is.  This is really important to me since it makes it easy for Baby Boy to hold it and keep it in his mouth.  When he was littler we couldn't use some of the other, heavier brands of pacifiers because they would fall out of his mouth in about 3 seconds.  Now that he's bigger it's better of course, but I think these would have been great then too.  

This pacifier has the ortho nipple design.  We use both kinds (oval and ortho) of pacifier nipples in our house, so I think Baby Boy would have loved the regular Brites pacifiers too! 

I think he likes it!  

Follow & Connect:  You can connect with Nûby on Facebook or Twitter.

Buy It:  You can buy the Nûby Brites Ortho Pacifier at BuyBabyDirect.com, Diapers.com, and Amazon.com

Disclosure:  I was provided samples to facilitate this review at no charge in exchange for my honest opinion.   
No monetary compensation was or will be received between My Life According to Pinterest and the sponsoring company.  
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pecan Melts

If you like shortbread type desserts you're gonna love these pecan balls!  
Just like shortbread cookies these pecan melts are super easy to make too.

2 cups ground pecans
1/2 cup butter
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Then, use a food processor to ground 2 cups of pecans.  I guess you could try to crush the pecans in a bag if you don't have a food processor, but you might still have some bigger chunks of pecans in there.

Cream the butter and sugar.  Then add the other ingredients and mix.  This is a pretty dry dough, so don't think you did something wrong if it seems that way to you.  Just keep mixing it until all of the flour is incorporated.  I found mixing with my hands was the best way to do this.  (So make sure your hands are nice and clean!)

Make into small balls and bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.  

These don't change much after they are baked.  They puff out a tiny bit, but that's it.  Just try to use your best judgement to see of they are done enough.  They get a little browned, but I usually crack one open to check that they are cooked through.

After they cool for a minute or two, I usually put some powdered sugar in a big Ziploc bag and put a few of the cookies in there at a time to roll around until they are completely coated.

There you have it.  Quick and easy!

Friday, February 15, 2013

High 5 for Friday 2/15

1.  Baby Boy just makes me smile every day!

2.  Our delicious Valentine's Day dinner.  The husband grilled steaks, twice baked potato and salad.

3.  My little Valentine's love bandit.

4.  Birthday flowers!

5.  Made this quiche this week and it was sooo good!  I'm gonna have to post this one next time I make it.


How was your week?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Birthday?

Woah - 32 is old!
Some self deprecating humor to help me celebrate my birthday this year.  

                                                I'm 30 if you round down.
                                                 Funny Birthday Ecard: Happy birthday to someone who wasn't welcomed into the world via tweet or status update.       
                                                 Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: I'm 32 but I still feel like I'm 22.... Until I hang out with 22 year olds. Then I'm like no, never mind, I'm 32.
                                                 Congratulations on not being remotely young enough to be picked for the Hunger Games.
                                                  Like many women my age, I<br />am 28 years old.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Love Cards

 I saw this all over Pinterest awhile back and decided to make this for my amazing husband last year for our anniversary.  I wanted to share it with you today since it would also make a great Valentine's gift for your hubby or boyfriend.

All you need is a deck of cards, your computer and printer, ribbon, hole puncher, and heart stickers.

The first thing I did was punch holes in all of the cards.  Sometimes that gets tough because those cards are thick.  You want to make sure all the holes in the cards line up evenly so they will stack well when you put the ribbon through.

Next, I made a list of all of the 52 reasons I love my husband.  The reasons are infinite really, but I narrowed it down to 52 ;)  After that I typed up all the reasons on my computer using PowerPoint to get each rectangle the same size.  Cut them out and glued one on each card.
Here are some samples:

Then, I threaded the ribbon through the holes and tied it up with a bow. :)
I added some cute glittery hearts to dress it up a bit too.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Please share any crafty gift ideas you've made for your hubs or bf for some more inspiration!

Friday, February 8, 2013

My top 5 baby items for Months 1-2

Today I am linking up with Rebecca at Let Them Eat Cake for My Top 5 Baby Items.  
I had to break this up into more than one post since each month is so different for my favorite baby must haves.  Next week I'll post my top 5 items for months 3-4.  Baby Boy just turned 5 months old, so all of these things are still fresh in my mind and I definitely want to tell you about my faves!

Let Them Eat Cake

1. Boppy Newborn Lounger

This is something that I just put on my registry on a whim and one of my friends ended up buying it.  Thank goodness because I probably never would have bought this and we used it EVERY DAY from the day we brought home Baby Boy till he grew out of it around 2 1/2 months old.  When he was really tiny he would sleep on it.  As he got older he used it to hang out and lounge.  It was a definite part of our baby rotation throughout the day. Loved it!  It's one of those things that I would buy even though I could really only use it for 2 months- still worth it!

2.  Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Ocean Adventure Gym

This was another staple in our baby rotation. I think this playmat really peaked in months 2 and 3, but it was definitely something we used every day after we brought it out. Baby Boy absolutely loved the blue octopus that hangs from this gym. It was his favorite toy for awhile.  He also loved the mirror and batting at the toys that hang from the gym.  

3. Swaddle blankets

We used swaddle blankets for a long time- till Baby Boy was about 4 months old. He loved being swaddled! The only reason we stopped was because he got really good at rolling over and eventually started rolling over in his swaddle at night and waking up! That's when we had to stop. But I loved the Aden & Anais blankets for swaddling when he was tiny- probably till he was 1 month old. Eventually he started breaking out of those, but I still love the Aden & Anais blankets for tons of other stuff now. Plus, they are lightweight which is great for Florida! As he got bigger we switched to using the Summer Infant SwaddleMe's and they were great until he stopped being swaddled. The SwaddleMe's come in two sizes so that you can use them with your baby for quite awhile.

4. Graco Pack N Play with Newborn Napper

What was so essential about this was the newborn napper. Baby Boy slept in our room in the newborn napper until he was 3 months old- basically until he got too long for it and we had to kick him out to his crib. The newborn napper just cradles the baby perfectly so he feels nice and secure while he's sleeping. And after he grows out of that you got a playpen you can use for a long time.

5.  Graco Baby Swing



Now we have 2 baby swings- this one that was given to us by a friend and another swing that I got at a garage sale for $30. This is the one that we used when he was really little. It was great. It swings side to side and is nice and cozy for baby. Again, another staple in our baby rotation. :) Plus, we used this a lot when he would wake up in the night and have trouble going back to sleep right away. He did a lot of napping in this little lifesaver too. 

So, that my top 5 for months 1-2 for your new baby.  Of course, there were a lot of other things that we used and loved, but these are the ones that really stood out.  
What were some of your favorite baby items? 

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine's Day Idea Mania

I'm bringing out a post from the archives with some added fun.  I've always loved Valentine's Day (mostly because my birthday is the day before).  So, here are some great Valentine's Day treats, crafts, and ideas from some of my other favorite blogs. Only one week left till V-Day!

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