Monday, March 31, 2014

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

I really just love love love homemade icing!  In fact, if I had known how simple it was to make delicious homemade icing years ago, I would have never ever bought icing in a can from the food store.  NEVER!  I can promise that once you master a few recipes for homemade icing, you will never go back to that store bought kind either!  If you are looking for a basic and super simple icing recipe, you can find my Buttercream Icing Here

Now back to the chocolate!  I love all things chocolate and icing is no different!  This chocolate buttercream icing will go perfectly on any cake that you make - I used it to frost a yellow cake! 

Here's What You Need to Make the Chocolate Buttercream Icing:
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 pound (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp half and half (cream or milk will also work)

Now Let's Make the Chocolate Buttercream Icing:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the two sticks of butter and the vanilla extract
  2. Beat in the cocoa powder 1/4 cup at a time until fully incorporated 
  3. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time on low speed - the mixture will be thick and crumbly
  4. Add the half and half one tablespoon at a time, increasing the speed of your mixture, until the icing comes together
  5. Whip on high speed until desired texture is reached (I did about 4 minutes - as you continue to mix the icing it will get fluffier and take on a more "whipped" consistency)
  6. Immediately ice your cake (or cupcakes)

This recipe makes enough icing to generously frost and fill a 9 inch cake like this one! 

KitchenAid Pink Artisan Stand Mixer KitchenAid Pink Artisan Stand Mixer

Friday, March 28, 2014

Easter Egg Thumbprint Cookies

Happy Happy Happy Friday!  I look forward to Friday all week!  I always blog about dessert on Friday because I think it makes this day of the week even sweeter!

Before I get into this week's dessert, I wanted to let everyone know that I am being featured on my friend Christina's blog!  She is doing a Feature Friday once a month where she highlights a fellow blogger, and today she picked me!  I was super honored.  Click here to check it out!

Now onto the dessert!  I have definitely blogged about my love of the Cadbury Mini Eggs in the past!
These are like little scrumptious pieces of Heaven!  They are hands down my favorite Easter Candy!  So rather than watching TV and eating an entire bag of these pastel colored delights (something me and the hubby have done a time or two) I try to bake some yummy things using this candy instead! 

Here's What You Need to Make the Easter Egg Thumbprint Cookies:

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar 
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 24 - 30 Cadbury Mini Eggs (depending on how many cookies you make)

Now Let's Make the Easter Egg Thumbprint Cookies:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vanilla extract
  3. Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth
  4. Mix in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed
  5. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheets
  6. Use a thumb or the back of the spoon to make indentation in the center of each ball
  7. Bake for 11-14 minutes until just lightly golden
  8. Cool for two minutes on pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely - you may need to press down lightly on the thumbprints to make them deeper if they puffed up during cooking (which may happen since there is nothing in the holes to weigh them down)
  9. In a microwave safe bowl, place 1 cup chocolate chips with 1 tbsp butter and heat for 1 minute - more or less depending on your microwave
  10. Remove and stir until mixture is smooth
  11. Allow chocolate to cool for 1-2 minutes and spoon into center of each cookies or place into a piping bag and pipe into holes - this is what I did and it will be much less messy! 
  12. Press 1 Cadbury Mini Egg onto the top of the chocolate 
  13. Allow chocolate to harden before storing the cookies in an airtight container 

Looking for more Cadbury Mini Egg Recipes?!?  You can find one here and another one here

They are perfect with a cup of coffee! 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

#hiloskyeveryday2014 Week 13

Day 80 - This picture sums up their personalities perfectly...Lacie strolling along the path while Blakely is practically falling over pushing past Lacie so that she can run!  We are really looking forward to nicer weather! 

Day 81 - My artist!  According to Lacie, it is a picture of a big fat caterpillar!  We have been reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" at least once every single day! 

Day 82 - Celebrating Uncle Matt's 30th birthday with a Sunday Brunch!  It's not everyday that Lacie gets to eat a piece of cake the size of her head for breakfast! 

Day 83 - Nope we aren't going outside, Blakely simply needed a helmet.  We call her bumpy!

Day 84 - post 2 1/2 hour nap and they are still sleepy! 

Day 85 - Lacie was still sound asleep at 2:30 so I told Blakely to wake her up!  She got into Lacie's crib and just put her head down on Lacie's back and stayed there!  It was such a sweet moment.  And no Lacie didn't wake up - we had to shake her awake!  That child can sleep through anything! 

Day 86 - A pretty sad day for John's truck!  He's had it longer than we've been together so we knew it was coming.  I think the Hilosky Family may be in the market for a minivan...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sausage Egg & Cheese Casserole

I love hosting brunch at my house for so many reasons....

  1. Breakfast food is awesome
  2. It is way easier than hosting dinner
  3. And it works seamlessly into the sleep schedule of my girls!

Honestly, who doesn't love breakfast food!  I officially host brunch on Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day!  I also do brunch for other random occasions throughout the year, like my brother-in-law's 30th birthday last week!  One of my favorite things to make for a brunch is an overnight casserole - meaning you assemble the casserole the night before, refrigerate it, then pop it in the oven in the morning.  Of course I love making pancakes or waffles, but overnight casseroles really allow you to enjoy spending time with your guests rather than standing over the stove!

Easter 2013 Brunch

 Here's What You Need to Make the Sausage Egg & Cheese Casserole:
  • 1 pound bulk sausage (or your favorite breakfast sausage)
  • 10 slices of white bread (I like using a country white which is more hearty then standard white bread - but any kind of bread you have on hand is fine)
  • 10 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
  • salt and pepper 

Now Let's Make the Sausage Egg & Cheese Casserole:
  1. In a non-stick skillet, crumble and brown sausage - drain and set aside
  2. Cut bread into one inch cubes (I remove the crusts - you don't have to) and place into a greased 9x13 baking dish - the whole bottom of the baking dish should be covered with a nice layer of bread - you may need to use more or less depending on how thick your bread slices are 
  3. Sprinkle cooled sausage onto the bread cubes 
  4. Top sausage with shredded cheese
  5. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and milk.  Add salt and pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp of each)
  6. Pour egg mixture slowly and evenly over the top of the casserole
  7. Cover and plate in the refrigerator over night
  8. In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees and then bake casserole for 45 minutes or until cooked in the center and browned around the edges 
  9. Allow to rest for about five minutes before serving 
 Lacie Jane loving her Egg Casserole during our Easter 2013 brunch! 

Le Creuset® Classic Cassis Bakers, Set of Two Le Creuset® Classic Cassis Bakers, Set of Two

Friday, March 21, 2014

Black and White Cadbury Egg Bars

Guess what I found in the Easter section of Target?!?!?!

YES!  Those are white chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs!  I have already blogged about my love of the original Cadbury Mini Eggs.  You can find a fantastic cookie bar recipe that uses the original Cadbury Mini Eggs by clicking here.  Now even though the original mini eggs will always be my hands down favorite, I knew I had to try these white ones!  And I knew that I needed to use them to come up with a great new recipe!  And I definitely wanted it to be Cake Mix Recipe #30!!! 

Here's What You Need to Make the Black and White Cadbury Egg Bars:

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 bags of Cadbury White Chocolate Mini Eggs

Now Let's Make the Black and White Cadbury Egg Bars:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter or cooking spray
  2. Open your Cadbury eggs and pour the entire first bag and half of the second bag into a large ziploc bag (save the remaining half bag of the eggs - don't start eating them - you will use them for the top)
  3. Seal the bag and use a rolling pin to lightly crush the Cadbury Eggs (you don't want them to be ground into find powder - you still want there to be big chunks in your batter).  Set bag aside
  4. In a large mixing bowl stir together the cake mix, melted butter, and the beaten eggs until a soft dough forms
  5. Fold in the Cadbury Eggs that you broke into pieces
  6. Spread into your prepared 9x13 baking dish
  7. Take remaining whole Cadbury Eggs and sprinkle on top
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  9. Remove from oven and lightly push down with the back of a spatula - making the surface of your bars flat
  10. Return to oven for five minutes
  11. Remove from oven and cool completely in pan
  12. Cut into 24 squares and enjoy! 

Beautiful Black and White Cookie Bars!  I promise you will love how easy these are to make and how delicious they are to eat! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

#hiloskyeveryday2014 Week 12

Happy First Day of Spring!!!  I am so ready for this season to be here, and the girls are more than ready too!  I can't wait for warmer weather, walking the trails, playing at the park, and lots and lots of ice cream!

Today is also Uncle Matt's 30th Birthday!  We made this cute video first thing this morning! 

And finally it is Thursday which means a new week in review for #hiloskyeveryday2014!  And it's week #12! 

Day 73 - this is what my shopping cart looked like at Wegmans!  I am super thankful that my mom was willing to watch the girls because you can see that there is clearly no room for them in this cart! 

Day 74 - Sisters on a walk outside!  I love that they are best friends! 

Day 75 - The girls have officially taken over the entire house - including both couches.  Blakely can now climb on and off the couch without help!  In case you are wondering Lacie said she was "tired"... after sleeping for 13 hours the night before! 

Day 76 - Happy Saint Paddy's Day! 

Day 77 - What happens when I leave the room for 10 seconds! 

Day 78 - you can tell if Sweet B took a good nap just by looking at her hair!  This hairstyle indicates a great 2 1/2 hour nap!  Lucky Girl! 

Day 79 - Happy First Day of Spring!  We are enjoying the day by having a little picnic and eating ice pops outside!  I'm not 100% sure, but I think Lacie liked it! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini

Lent is in full swing, and Easter is about a month away!  If you are counting, there are also five Fridays before Easter Sunday, which means you may be in search of a great meat-free meal idea!  Last Friday, I made this Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini Casserole for my family, and it was a hit!  I used to make this for John all the time when we were dating/engaged/newly married, but honestly I haven't made (or even thought about) this recipe in over a year!  Neither Lacie or Blakely has had it before, and they both ate a ton of it - loving every single cheesy bite!  

Now that I remember how simple it is to make and how delicious it is to eat, this Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini will definitely be making it's way into the dinner rotation more often at the Hilosky House!

Here's What You Need to Make the Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini:

  • 1 large package of fresh cheese tortellini - about 16 to 20 ounces (from the refrigerator case at the grocery store)
  • 2 cups of smooth marinara sauce (your favorite kind or homemade) 
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (I like whole milk ricotta)
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese 

Now Let's Make The Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish
  2. In a large pot of salted, boiling water cook tortellini for 2 minutes (only 2 minutes - don't over cook)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the marinara sauce and the ricotta cheese 
  4. Add the pasta to the sauce mixture and stir to coat 
  5. Pour into prepared casserole dish 
  6. Top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan 
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40 - 45 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and the edges have browned
  8. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving 
It is so so so Cheesy! 

How Easy Is That! Happy Meat-Free Cooking!  


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