Monday, November 23, 2009

Cupcake MONDAY: week 5



APPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CUPCAKES

ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cups coarsely shredded apples, such as Macintosh (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats or old fashion(uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (or applesauce can be used instead)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided use
  • 2 (4-ounce each) cans spiced diced apples in light syrup or (5 homemade apples in 3/4 cup sugar ,add 1 tbsp lemon juice ,leave to sit overnight in the fridge.)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray bottoms and sides of 12 medium muffin pan cups with cooking spray or rub with oil.
  2. Drain apples reserving syrup.
  3. Spoon 5 to 6 apple pieces in a single layer onto the bottom of each muffin pan cup. Top each with 1/2 teaspoon reserved apple syrup and 1 teaspoon brown sugar.
  4. In large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and cinnamon ; mix well.
  5. In a bowl blend butter  and sugar  then add eggs and shredded apples; mix well. Add to oat mixture; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Divide batter evenly between muffin cups.
  6. Bake 16 to 19 minutes or until golden brown.
  7.  Cool upside down on wire rack or baking sheet  5 minutes.
  8.  Serve warm. Makes 12  cupcakes.

I love these cupcakes! The apple's not to sweet and the cake part is light and airy with just the right amount of spice. I'd eat these over apple pie any day, YUMMY!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our holiday card is here!


I know it's not even Thanksgiving but after last year when I returned three hundred holiday cards from printing mishaps and I had to make sure I gave myself enough time to reorder, reorder and maybe reorder again. We use to get the cards printed from a few different companies but through cost saving measures these companies no longer print on heavy cards or used a glossy coat over the image resulting in a flimsy card that fell off our mantel and looked like I printed it at home. I want the cards to look better than Martha's, you know Ms. Stewart the unachievable measure of how my life should be and my house should look, well at least the kitchen, cupboards and my laundry room. Anyways here are the chosen images!!!


We send out different versions so family and friends can talk about how fabulous their card is and be jealous they didn't get the other one too. No really, I just loved them both and couldn't make a decision.


Cheers!
~Kate 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's raining sunshine!!!


What a wonderful sunny day as the kids run around the house playing with the props from yesterday's photo shoot. Aidan playing firefighter with the engine red wheelbarrow and Emily walking around using one of the elephant leaves as an umbrella, the fun before the storm as today is christmas card photo day!

 Let me start by saying I love our photo every year, but as a photographer I find what I have to do to get my own 4 children with totally different personalities to cooperate is a dreaded task and I tried everything from standing on my head snapping the photo to bribery,  crying or not you're in the christmas photo for all to see.............stayed tuned.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welcome to Pixie Hollow...

Fall has finally arrived just in time or should I say to soon. The dining room has now been transformed into a fairy wonderland in preparation for tomorrow shoot , we must keep or subject comfortable especially the wee ones. Lucy was gracious enough to step in for a test run, what little girl would like to stay past bedtime and play dress up.

 Lucy the Garden Fairy

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cupcake MONDAY: week 4

What to make on Cupcake Monday when the cupboards are bare and no time to go grocery shopping????

I may not be Sandra Dee but I can sure whip up a tasty semi-homemade desert.



Y

U

M

M

Y




You will need:

1 box of brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Gluten Free chocolate brownie mix)
2 eggs (need for brownie mix )
1/4 stick butter melted(need for brownie mix )
1 teaspoon  baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 bag frozen cherries (I used Cascadian Farms frozen organic whole sweet cherries)
5 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chocolate bar

preheat oven at 350 degrees

makes 12 muffins

mix brownie according to package adding baking soda and baking powder to mixture

puree 3/4 of the frozen cherries in the blender then add to brownie mix

finely chop up a cup of chocolate chunks and add to brownie mix

blend well

fill cupcake liner 3/4 full and add on whole cherrie in the center of each batter filled cup

bake for 20-23 minutes

let cool on rack , eat plain or top with frosting

I topped them with leftover  marshmallow fluff cream cheese frosting you can find the recipe at  NieNieCuisine .


.
What could be better than the look of satisfaction on a child's face covered in fudge brownie!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

National Cupcake days!


I've done a little internet research and have found some important days to mark on your calendars:

*October 18 - National Chocolate Cupcake Day 


*November 10 - National Vanilla Cupcake Day

*December 15 - National Lemon Cupcake Day


Monday, November 9, 2009

Cupcake MONDAY: week 3

~Angel Cakes~

*1 package Duncan Hines Angel Food cake mix

*1 jar of Marshmallow FLUFF(not jet puff)

mix cake batter according to package then pour evenly into 24 cupcakes

follow preheat instructions on package , then bake cupcakes for 18-22 minutes or until they have light golden color on top

cool cupcakes upside down on cool rack

using a large injector or pastry bag insert into the top of the cooled cupcakes , leaving about a quart size dowel of Fluff on top of the cupcake. The fluff will spread so do not over fill.

Now, it's to enjoy your fairy cakes as we call them!

The thought of all you can eat cupcakes for the kids birthday party was great but making them was a different story.

Pedal Power!

Last night we got the call, NO SCHOOL!!!

Hurricane Ida moved into the Gulf of Mexico and was heading straight for us. I was happy we were going to be able to sleep in, but sad I wasn't going to be able to ride Sophia to school today on the Madsen today.

 I was thinking about IDA when alI sorts of thoughts started to fill me head, what if the power goes out? What will we eat ? Our pantry has only 3 cans of beans and 15 lbs of sugar, the fridge was empty too!. So I loaded up my reusable grocery bags in the back of the cargo bike and off I went to the supermarket before the rains came. The wind was blowing, a skirt might not have been the best choice with an impending hurricane looming, but I was glad to have arrived home only minutes before the first down pour.

Yea! The pantry's stocked and the kids are playing quietly, it won't last.

.

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Here's a photo from our first trip on the Madsen Cargo Bike back in September after it arrived in the biggest box I've ever seen. Emily and Aidan are so cute singing songs as we ride through the neighborhood. A biking we will go.....( I do wear a helmet but it was off for the photo.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

who unplugged the ?????

Here is our ceiling fan or should I say airplane propeller. This fan is great, even on low it still makes your hair blow!


and sign I had made to hang in the kids bathroom reads:

WASH BRUSH FLOSS and... LIGHTS OUT.

 I'm so excited to talk about saving energy because now I get to brag a bit on my kids... each month they get so excited when the water and electric bill arrive, screaming HOW MUCH? HOW MUCH? The bill is conformation that all their hard work turning of the lights and fans, making sure not to leave the water running when they brush their teeth and unplugging the toast after they use it REALLY does make a difference!

Okay here's it is..... October's energy cost Total $166.04

The break down: Electric bill $112.34 and Water  Bill #1 $10.14(sprinkler system whether it's used or not) and Water bill #2 $43.56( for the house, sewer and trash pick-up). 


Lucy and Sophia have low wattage lamps hanging on their beds to read at night, before they use to leave the bathroom light on all night, only to have used it to read for an hour, a easy to reach reading light can save $$$


The uncomfortable part...

well not for me but Mr. M doesn't like it much.

I keep the air conditioner at 81-83 degrees , my theory is that if it's 96 outside 83 feels great! We got used to it after a few weeks , who needs to be fully dressed at home anyways? We also added extra cellulose insulation to the attic and caulked the exterior of the house, being a new house not much else was need.

Water conservation is key too. Bathe when necessary and flush if you must. The kids also wash their hands and brush their teeth at the same time to reduce the water use. The fun part of conserving water is when the sprinkler system turns ons it's time for the swimsuits, I'd hate to see all that water being used on just the grass.

We also have all Energy Star Appliances my favorite is the  Fisher and Paykel dishdrawers , we also the French door fridge in cabinet depths so it uses less energy and the LG front loader washer.

I won't use natural gas, where we live it's 50% more than most of the country, I guess we pay to look at oil rigs. If we had natural gas the monthly bill energy would be at least $100 dollars more.

Finally.... I had this awesome dream the other night, I dreamt we had solar panels installed on the roof, Oh a girl can dream can't she?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

a composting we will go...

Lucy's helping clear the table after lunch, thank you sweetie.

I have the compost bin in easy reach for all the kids and they really seem to enjoy using it.

Our composting bucket is from World Market

It's so cute! I leave it sitting on the counter near the sink. the bin comes in white with a silver handle and lid with a charcoal filter.  It's emptied once or twice a week and the charcoal filter really works we never smell a thing . The bin is made out of ceramic so just toss in the dishwasher to clean.


Once our bin is full it's carried to the "pile" and using my jolly green giant fork I dig a hole to dump the food scraps and spoils in. The compost won't attract flies or give off noxious odors if the food is properly covered with a thick layer of grass clippings or leaves.

Yes, composting really is fun!!




I have the "pile" in the corner of the backyard, made from a bed of leaves surrounded by fallen branches and covered with grass clippings.



 It's so exciting to see all the worms hard at work turning our scraps into soil for our organic vegetable garden. 
who doesn't love FREE dirt!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

THE 4 R'S: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE AND REPLENISH

I'm reusing this photo of my sweet Emily when I caught her climbing for some goodies in the pantry at our old house a few years ago, some things never change and I have since placed a step stool in the pantry.

Starting tomorrow I'll be blogging for the next week about the 4 R's. I was so proud of my family this month, our electricity and water bill were the lowest yet (stop by on Friday for more about our energy savings) and it took 18 days to fill up out 10 gallon kitchen trash bag and I could help but smile when Mr. M asked our 5 year old son if he wanted cereal for breakfast and the response was "is it organic?" .

I am a very proud Mommy! 

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cupcake MONDAY: week 2

**Cookies and Cream Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes**

I almost couldn't wait a whole week to make these delicious cupcakes

RECIPE:

Makes 24 cupcakes

prep time 30 minutes

one package of golden double stuff oreos

2 - 80z packages philly cream cheese at room temperature

2 eggs at room temperature

2/3 cup of granulated sugar

10-15 0z of canned 100% pumpkin filling

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

- Place cupcake liners into the tray adding one cookie into each cup , then crumble the remaining cookies in a bag , put aside.

-Beat cream cheese and sugar with hand mixer until smooth then mix in the eggs and pumpkin until well blended, folding in the crushed cookies with a spatula.

-Even distribute the cheesecake filling in the cups making sure the cookie is completely covered.

Place into 300 degree oven

Bake for 22 minutes or until set

-Let cool on cooling rack then place in fridge for 4 hours or until you can't take waiting any longer to taste your creamy, sugar delights!



I have to bake with the oven lights on, so the kids can run into the kitchen every 2 minutes and yell DONE!!


Aidan just couldn't wait, YUM YUM!!!


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