Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"Elvis" Cupcakes: Peanut Butter & Banana

Recently I was invited to a potluck cook out at my church so I used it as an excuse to come up with something pretty to make. We had collected just a ton of overripe bananas  in our freezer so I thought it might be time to use some up. Most of my banana recipes are breakfast oriented so I thought I'd try my hand at some cupcakes. Immediately the idea of "Elvis" cupcakes came to mind combining banana cake with peanut butter frosting. 

Funny story? So I bring said cupcakes to the cook out with the label "Elvis Cupcakes" describing them as banana cake with peanut butter frosting and I had at least three people ask me what that had to do with Elvis (maybe you're wondering the same thing). I was shocked! I thought Elvis' love of fried peanut butter & banana sandwiches was common knowledge... but perhaps Elvis has lost his grip on pop culture trivia. Learn more about Elvis' love of fatty foods in this great NPR story or watch this super awkward Elvis impersonator making his own version. 

Anyway! Here goes the recipe. 

Elvis Peanut Butter & Banana Cupcakes
click above for an easy print version

For the cupcake from
very ripe banana
1 teaspoon lemon juice
whole eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons very soft, unsalted butter

For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup whipping cream 

For the butter-fried breadcrumbs (if you're feeling fancy):
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Mash together the banana and lemon juice until smooth, then whisk in the eggs. In another bowl, use a fork to whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat in the butter until well incorporated. Add the banana and egg mixture and mix until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake so that your cupcakes don't come out dry. 

Allow to cool completely and pipe on the icing. 

For the icing, combine the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth. 

If you're feeling fancy, take a few minutes to fry some panko breadcrumbs with butter and a bit of sugar and a pinch of salt to sprinkle over the top. Be sure to let them cool before sprinkling on your cupcakes. 

Beautiful and delicious!

Boy that Elvis had something going. Now you can share a little Elvis history with your friends. 

curly girl thinks you should eat one

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Getting Organized: a Cleaning Calendar

We’re a busy family. Two kiddos under three and two working parents makes life challenging to manage day-to-day. My husband and I are neat and tidy folks with type-A personalities so we both get a little edgy when the chores pile up.

My husband came across this great image of a cleaning calendar from the blog when he was searching for ideas on how to get more organized with household chores. This calendar was such a great idea, but I wanted to create one for myself that I could update with chores that better fit our lives. Now I want to share an editable version with you!
Click on the link above to download my google doc. To edit the chores in the text boxes, just click on the text and start typing! I used “Apple Casual” for the font to match the headings I created so depending on the fonts available to you, your download might look a little different. Isn’t that the great thing about being able to edit it? If you like what we’re up to and don’t need to change the chores, feel free to just save my image.
Happy cleaning!
Like this? Maybe you’d be interested in a freezer inventory too. This was another great pinterest find that I made my own. I use it to keep track of all of the proteins, veggies and pre-made meals stored in my freezer.  If you laminate it, you can use a dry-erase marker to mark the checkboxes on the left with one slash to indicate the number of an item in the freezer (like three boxes slashed for three pounds of ground beef) then I complete the X once the item has been used.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Better Than (you know what) Cake

Earlier this month we traveled home and had a little birthday celebration for my GiGi and my wonderful sister-in-law. I offered to make the dessert and asked my SIL what she might like and she said, "You what would be good..." and this was the result! 

Having eaten this cake a bazillion times at potlucks and at my favorite downtown Fargo lunch spot the VIP room (they call it BTS cake, which cracks me up!), I am surprised I've never made it or had much thought about what actually went into delicious treat. It's surprisingly simple! 

Here's how:

Better than Sex Cake

1-chocolate cake mix and supplies
1-14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1-12oz. jar of caramel ice cream topping (the thick stuff!)
8 oz. of whipped cream or cool whip 
1 cup of chopped Butterfinger or Heath bars (2-3 bars should do it)

Take note (because I didn't!) that this cake should be made a day ahead for maximum "sexiness". 

Make the chocolate cake mix as directed on the box (or make a homemade chocolate cake if you're fancy.) Using the end of a wooden spoon (or whatever you have handy), poke holes all over the cake. Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over the top then pour the caramel ice cream topping over the top of that. 

Allow the cake to cool at room temperature then refrigerate for at least one hour, but it's truly best made a day ahead to really allow the topping to soak in. You can put the whipped cream on before popping it into the fridge or dollop on individual pieces as you serve. Sprinkle the top with chopped up Butterfinger or Heath toffee bar pieces. 

If you're feeling fancy, make your own whipped cream! Fresh is always better than the frozen chemical kind. Just whip up 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 1-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. 

poking holes into my prepared cake

yummy condensed milk and caramel poured on top

not many leftovers of this baby

top it off with whipped cream and candy bits


Super simple, super delicious!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Egg Salad & Amma's Everything Dressing

I just adore my mother-in-law. She is so very thoughtful and kind. She and my father-in-law would give the shirts of their backs to help anyone who needed it. With all that sweetness and generosity, she still has some sass and can tell you what's what. She's the oldest of seven children and it shows. My father-in-law is 100% Icelandic so our girls call my in-laws "Amma" and "Afi" (Icelandic for grandmother and grandfather), special names for special people.

Amma authored one of my popular recipes "North Dakota Hotdish". As I shared in that post, she is one of those old-fashioned chefs that whips everything up from memory with a pinch of this and a dash of that. She makes everything with butter and cream (and love) and all things sinfully delicious (...but since she's not following a recipe we can all pretend it's only a "dab" of butter so it's not the calorie fest we fear.)

One of the things she's truly famous for is her salad dressing--coleslaw, potato salad, egg salad--really anything sweet and creamy that comes out of her kitchen contains a variation on this wonderful dressing. 

When we visited last week she just so happened to get called into work and she was disappointed that she wouldn't be there to make egg salad sandwiches for lunch. I jumped at the chance to get her to walk me through her recipe step by step and try it myself so here it is!

Amma's Egg Salad

Ingredients (amounts as close as I could figure from what she described):
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 TB sugar
1-2 TB yellow mustard
a few drops of yellow food coloring
a dozen hard-boiled eggs

Whip together the Miracle Whip (she uses the light version but regular will do too), heavy whipping cream and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the mustard. Start with one tablespoon of mustard and add more to your taste. 

To make the dressing classically yellow, add a few drops of yellow food coloring until you achieve the color you want. 

Chop up about a dozen hard-boiled eggs and gently fold in the dressing.

Amma uses this same recipe in her potato salad. For coleslaw, just skip the mustard and food coloring. Simple? Yes... but insanely delicious. 

 ingredients--Amma says to use ultra-pasteurized cream and the dressing will keep in the fridge for weeks (...not that anyone would let it go uneaten that long)

whipping up the cream, sugar and Miracle Whip

 a couple of tablespoons of mustard

 yum! light and fluffy and sweet

 add a few drops of food color to make it nice and yellow

cut the eggs using a handy egg slicer

 and the other way

 fold the dressing into the chopped eggs

serve on rye bread

Amma approved my trial run on her recipe, though I admit I felt like it was missing something. Maybe it's just that special touch that Amma's bring to the kitchen. Maybe when I'm an "Amma", I'll have the special love that makes it just right. 

...and hold on a second. Can we just take a minute to talk about one of my favorite features of my mother-in-law's kitchen?

I loooooove this thing! It's a storage unit for flour, sugar, coffee and cookies. It has two levels with the second level fitting together like a puzzle. It is deliciously vintage and straight out of the 70's. I've never seen anything like it but if I did I'd snatch it in a second. It just reminds me so much of good times in Amma's kitchen.

And can I just say that the ratios are totally off for their kitchen. My father-in-law drinks coffee like it's going out of style yet it's the smallest container. :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cupcake Onesie

Well, here it is! My last monthly onesie for my GiGi. I'm not sure what symbol I would have done for August (maybe a popsicle or something beachy?) so I was glad to have her birthday fall this month so that I could celebrate with a fun cupcake. 

I made this one in a hurry so I failed to document each step but if you've been following my onesie project, you probably know the routine by now. If not, please check out some of my other posts

Here's How: Cupcake Onesie

Step 1: Find adorable image on good ol' google images that is easy to trace.
Step 2: Trace said adorable image backward on ironable fusible web
Step 3: Iron fusible on chosen fabric and cut it out
Step 4: Iron the cut outs onto onesie
Step 5: Sew edges (if desired. Just ironing is fine too.) and EMBELLISH!

I made a simple cupcake with some brown stripey fabric for the bottom and pink polka dot top. To embellish, I sewed a little pink button on top.

When I get a minute to do some photo editing, I'll surely put together a beauty of a collage with all of my onesies together. 

In the meantime, feast your eyes on this little sweetie. 

Happy Birthday, girly! Mom loves you!