Friday, August 30, 2013

Lacie's Lazy Funfetti Cookie Bars

Lacie Jane loves to eat!  She is not picky in the slightest and eats plates full of broccoli and kale chips with the enthusiasm that I (and most normal people) reserve for birthday cake!  If you ask her what her favorite food is she will say, "Cheese!"  And she means it!  With that being said, she is a typical child, and she love love loves to eat treats in addition to her healthy meals!

These Funfetti Cookie Bars are one of the easiest recipes you will ever make (I promise), and they are DELICIOUS!  I get so many compliments on them from children and adults alike!  Now don't get me wrong, I love baking and cooking from scratch.  There is something very rewarding about spending a few hours in the kitchen whipping up something delicious.  Yesterday, I shared with you a recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes.  They happen to be one of my favorite "from scratch" recipes.

But sometimes you need something quick (because whatever your life looks like, I am sure that you are juggling a lot of responsibilities at any given moment)!  Or you want something easy because you just don't love to bake.  Well that is where this recipe comes in!  This happens to one of my very favorite "from a mix" recipes.

What You Need for the Cookie Bars:

  • one box of funfetti cake mix
  • one stick of butter, melted
  • two eggs, lightly beaten
  • a bag of white chocolate chips (I used Whole Foods store brand - 365 - they are actually white chocolate chunks and they are awesome!)
Yup, that's it!  You don't even need measuring cups! 

Now Let's Make the Funfetti Cookie Bars
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter or nonstick spray
  3. Pour Funfetti Mix into a mixing bowl
  4. Add in butter and beaten eggs and mix until a soft dough is formed
  5. Fold in your white chocolate chips
  6. Spoon batter into greased pan and spread into an even layer
  7. Bake your bars for 20 minutes

Your batter will look like this!

Then, it will look like this.

After 20 minutes you could be finished but I feel that there are a few more key steps to making these AMAZING!
  1. Take the pan out of the oven.  Use the back of a spatula to press down the cookie mixture into the pan...esentially making it flatter (like you would do if you were making rice crispy treats).
  2. Put it back in the oven for five more minutes
  3. Remove from oven and press down with your spatula again
  4. Allow to cool completely in least 1 hour!
  5. Cut and enjoy
Here is a close up of one of the Funfetti squares!  They taste even better than they look! 

Now, if you don't have white chocolate chips, you can always substitute plain chocolate chips!  I have done that many times and it is also wonderful!  However the Funfetti and White Chocolate is my favorite combination!  

Whip up a batch this weekend!  You will not be disappointed!

For this recipe I use a pink Longaberger baking dish that is no longer for sale.  Here is a similar one available at Sur La Table!  You want to make sure whatever you bake these bars in is the type of dish that is okay for a knife to cut in the pan.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Best Red Velvet Cupcake You Will Ever Make (and eat)!

I love a good dessert (doesn't everyone?)!  One of my most favorite desserts of all time is Red Velvet!  Red Velvet what you may ask.  The answer is I don't really care!  Cake, cupcakes, name it and I like it in the form of Red Velvet!

Cupcakes happen to be an all time favorite of mine.  I feel like it is such a fun way to give every person you are feeding their own mini cake!  Plus if you make cupcakes the right way, you get a ton of icing (a.k.a. the BEST part of any cake or cupcake)!

I have made a few different Red Velvet recipes in my years of baking, and this particular recipe happens to be my favorite!  I recently made it for John's birthday back in June and Lacie's birthday last week!  They did not disappoint!

What You Need for the Cupcakes:
  • ½ cup (one stick) butter, softened (I use regular salted butter...I never use the unsalted stuff even when I am baking...I think that the extra salt gives it better flavor)
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces red food coloring (I use two McCormick bottles of Red food coloring...yes 2 whole can find them by the Vanilla and other flavor extracts in the baking aisle)
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ounces water
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

What You Need for the Icing:

  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (two sticks) butter, softened (again I like salted butter, I think the flavor is better)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Now Let's Make the Cupcakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners (this recipe will make 24 regular size cupcakes)
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy (I like to use my PINK kitchen aid stand mixer for this recipe)
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition
  5. In a separate bowl combine cocoa powder and food coloring (be careful not to dye your hands or kitchen counter red like I did) and add the colored mixture to the butter mixture
  6. In a small mixing bowl combine flour and salt (I whisk them together - I actually never sift anything but if you like sifting flour go right ahead).  
  7. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet mixture, beating on low until combined
  8. Add the vanilla, buttermilk, and water to your batter and mix until combined
  9. In another bowl combine the white vinegar and baking soda (it will fizz up).  Then, fold this into your batter 
  10. Divide batter evenly among cupcake cups
  11. Bake for approximately 20 minutes (it may be a little more or less depending on your oven) until a toothpick comes out clean
  12. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans, transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely

Now Let's Make the Icing
  1. Blend together softened cream cheese and softened butter
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract
  3. Blend until smooth - you can add a little more or less powdered sugar to achieve the thickness of the frosting you would like
  4. Frost your cupcakes and enjoy!  

Here we are blowing out the candles on Lacie's Red Velvet Birthday Cupcakes!  

A Few Notes
Make sure that the cupcakes are totally cool and frost them.  I like to use a star tip from Michaels Arts and Crafts Store.  I put a lot of icing on each cupcake!  STORE YOUR ICED CUPCAKES IN THE REFRIGERATOR!!!  You will most likely have some left over me this is not a bad thing!  You can eat it on graham crackers, make up a batch of cinnamon rolls and use it as icing, or just eat with a spoon!  You could also cut the icing recipe in half and use less icing on each cupcake, but I don't recommend doing that.  

Here are the finished cupcakes before I put them on the cupcake stand!  See how much icing there is?!?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome to my PINK Life!

Hi!  I'm Lindsay!  Welcome to my second attempt at a family blog (the first was very very short lived).  Check out my About Me page to learn a little bit more about me and my family.

Trust me when I say, I don't expect this blog to be anything special.  I don't consider myself to be an expert on cooking, baking, raising babies, or peanut allergies...yet those things are what I plan to write about!  Basically, I will be sharing my life with you.  And with two little girls at home, my life is definitely PINK!  I wouldn't have it any other way!

See long before I had my baby girls, I loved the color pink.  It has been my favorite color as long as I can remember.  Most of the things in my kitchen are pink!  After we got married in 2009 and moved into our first home (which is currently still our home) I decided to make the house very neutral...but the kitchen was MINE!  John (my wonderful husband) did not cook - he since has mastered a few meals - and I knew I would be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  It was my room within our home!  Therefore, it has an awful lot of PINK accessories!

Now we have added two more girls and a lot more pink to our happy home!  John embraces all of the pink with such a positive attitude (I am one lucky girl)!  I truly believe that God blessed us with two beautiful baby girls because we were meant to have more PINK in our lives!

I love all things pink but here are a few of my favorites....

I love these pink Anywhere Chairs from Pottery Barn Kids.  Lacie and Blakely each have a hot pink chair with green personalization!  We have the oversized chairs so that the girls can get a lot of use out of them while they grow.  Here is Lacie in her chair that Santa brought for her first Christmas!

Another favorite pink item is the amazing B-Ready stroller.  It is made by Britax and it happens to be a single that can turn into a double stroller!  When I found out that I was expecting a second girl, I knew I had to have this stroller.  The problem was it was 2012 and they had discontinued the hot pink fabric option in 2011.  I found a store in California that had two left in stock and had one promptly shipped to my house!  Here's Blakely riding in the top seat!  

Another awesome pink item that I use on a daily basis is this pink coffee mug from Longaberger.  It is an amazing mug, and it is my absolute favorite!  After receiving this pink mug as a gift, I decided a needed more of these mugs in a variety of colors so that John could use them too!  He agrees that coffee tastes best out of a Longaberger mug! 

I have many more pink items that I love and will be sharing with you in the future!  I hope you enjoyed reading my first post!  

I also have a few items on my pink wish list:


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