Life Tastes So Good

Exploring life one taste at a time.

Apple Dump Cake.

octobers

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AppleDumpCake

Oh how I can’t wait for cooler weather! I was talking with one of my co-workers and I realized I had never made a snowman. No really. Never. I mean I’ve lived in Texas (Houston area) my whole life, we don’t get much snow here y’all. This makes me sad. I’ve never been on a sled, never made a real snow angel, once I did make a “snow” (more like Ice) ball. Once. I need to find somewhere to travel this winter or perhaps next winter that snows. Just to visit ya know. Can’t handle it too much. Total southern gal here can’t help it.

On another note, I love easy yummy recipes (even more they are a family recipe)! This Apple Dump Cake was a recipe my mother in law shared with me and it is about the easiest recipe ever and taste so great. Hope you enjoy the family recipe.

What You Will Need:

2 Cans of Apple Pie Filling

1 Box of Yellow Cake Mix (I used Pillsbury, Traditional Yellow Cake)

Vanilla Ice Cream (I used Blue Bell, Homemade Vanilla)

2 Sticks of Butter

Cinnamon

13 X 9 Inch Glass Pan

Here are photo by photo directions.

step one

“Dump” the apples into an ungreased pan and spread.

step two

Lightly Coat the top of the apples with ground cinnamon.

There is no right or wrong amount.

step three

Cut the sticks of butter in to “squares” as pictured above.

“Dump” cake mix and spread over the top of the apples (pictured as well).

step four

Equally space each square of butter across the top of the

cake mix. Bake in a middle level rack for 45 minutes or until all

the butter has melted and the cake mix has become golden brown,

much like a crust.  Cool and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Typically

leave the cake a tad warm so that the ice cream melts a little and

that way you have warm and cold sensation when you eat.

Enjoy!

** This post was not sponsored by Pillsbury or Blue Bell **
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Gluten-Free Brownies.

Tip of the Day: Got some white clothes you just can’t get white enough? Add regular plain white vinegar to the wash and watch the white come to life! I typically wash the clothes a second time without the vinegar in the second round just because it can leave a vinegar-ish scent on the fabrics, that or add tons of fabric softener and dryer sheets to get the smell away, mostly ’cause I hate the way vinegar smells, if it doesn’t bother you the clothes will air out quickly if you just let it hang around for a little while before use.

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“I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up”

Ever had a song that you just can’t stop listening to? I’m having that kind of day. I got my first paycheck from my new job and decided I was going to splurge on myself. I drove my little Corolla to Walmart and picked up the latest Jason Mraz CD. I AM IN LOVE! First off it has the song, I Won’t Give Up on it and lets say its been on repeat for awhile now, second the whole CD is awesome. Not to sound like I’m some kind of crazed fan, but this guy sounds like prince charming, I would totally leave my hubs for him!….Just kidding. Kinda.

Needless to say life is forever a changing thing, and mine is no exception. My husband started school, is working, I’m working, and being full time mommy. I find myself running around to work, sitter, play dates, doctors appointments, speech therapy, and finally back home. By no means am I complaining, I love my kiddos and hubs but man oh man, never realized just how much really goes into all of this until I found myself here. You never want to admit your parents, or elders were right but sometimes you have to take a break from pride and admit it.

With all of life going on it is hard to find time to do things that I enjoy just for me but I try very hard to make it happen. And what do I enjoy you ask? First and foremost, baking. Oh how I love to bake. In no way does this me I’m actually good at it, but I sure as heck love doing it. So after today, my last day of work for the week and getting some no so exciting news from the hubs, I decided its time to bake. I tired to find the most “healthy” brownies but I mean really?! Healthy brownies, that’s like asking for a non-alcoholic beer, what is the point!? And yes I know what you’re thinking, and yes they do make non-alcoholic beer, I guess for the pregos that just can’t kick the bottle, honestly I don’t get it but anyways….. Like I was saying I did attempt to make “healthy” brownies by making Gluten-Free brownies and by using as natural of products to make as I could find. 

I would also like to just mention this little fact, just ’cause it makes me giggle. My son is two, almost three (in August) and he is just like a puppy! You know how a dog gets excited if you move his food bowl or he hears you rattling the dog food? My son is the same exact way with my mixer. He hears it come on and he is pacing in the kitchen waiting to see what treat I have worked up for him. I love my stinker.

Gluten Free Brownies 

You will need:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour mix**

1/4 cup amaranth flour**

8 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa

1/2 teaspoon guar gum OR xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon salt

**If you prefer you can remove the 1/4 cup amaranth flour
and substitute 1 cup of all purpose
gluten-free flour mix instead, I have had great results with both ways.

Preheat oven to 325°F

Line your pan of choice with parchment and grease with butter or lightly coat with baking spray.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs and mix until they are well incorporated.

Place dry ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until blended,

will look like a light brown-ish color by the time you finish.

Add the dry ingredients and mix just until well combined.

Spread brownie batter in prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until done.

Take caution to not over bake the brownies, that’s when you get tough and crumbly brownies.

Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting.

Cut. Serve. Enjoy!

(This recipe was modified from a few trial and errors and
is strictly my own and I am no professional,
but by all means share away!)

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Oh My Snicker-doodle!

Happy holidays y’all! I would like to say I am officially done with Christmas wrapping! I still have to get one gift but Santa will be a little late on that one, oops,… Anyways, the other day, while going crazy with Christmas music and screaming children, I tried to find sanity while surfing the web. In doing so I came across this recipe that the Brown Eyed Baker had on her site and jumped for joy! I mean really a cupcake and a cookie? Why didn’t I think of that?! Okay, okay, it’s not literally both but it sure tastes amazing!

Not only is this recipe yummy but it’s incredibly easy to make and doesn’t involve any thing sharp or harmful so 100% kid friendly! Yay! My two year old helped decorate, which he never gets to help, and he had a blast. Naturally it’s Christmas time which means there will be baking, sweets and most defiantly of all over eating (I suggest some comfy sweat pants, yoga pants, or men basketball shorts). Since I’m not perfect, I know what a shocker there, I accidentally over baked these a little, not to the point of burning them but they were slightly more tan than really wanted them to be. Along with that I killed the moister, so once again, forgive me for not being perfect. I had some tiny misbehaving children distractions that contributed to the over tanning. It happens to the best of us!

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did, and enjoy them twice as much when your eating them! My Alexander had a field day eating them!


Snicker-doodle Cupcakes

Yield: 28 cupcakes

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Bake Time: 20 minutes

For the Cupcakes:


1½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups cake flour (Don’t have cake flour? Make it Here!)

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1¾ cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1¼ cups whole milk

For the Seven-Minute Frosting:


1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

6 egg whites, at room temperature

For the Garnish:

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

3. Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes and frosting. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4. Make the Frosting: Combine 1½ cups granulated sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees F.

5. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, beating to combine.

6. As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees F, remove from the heat. With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down the side of the bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise the speed to medium-high; whisk until the mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

7. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco #809 or Wilton #1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold the bag over the cupcake with tip just above the top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak.

8. Combine the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Using a small, fine sieve, dust the peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Frosted cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve


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Pork Chops to Shoes.

So this post was supposed to be about apple glazed pork chops, but to be frank, I wasn’t feeling it. Instead I am going to chit-chat with y’all about Shoes. I mean who doesn’t love shoes!? Also I’m taking Pioneer Woman’s advice. Write what you want when you want and in your own voice. With that being said, I think I have a very bad case of “Mommy Shoes” going on.

Let’s rewind to this morning really quick, so you can better understand where this whole shoe topic is coming from. Please, please don’t judge me, well you can just be gentle. This morning I had an interview to work at an insurance office, an interview that I really wanted to make a great impressions at. I dyed my hair, clipped and filed my nails, even used nasty smelling Nair on my eyebrows. As I went to pick out what I was going to wear to this interview I had my clothes all ironed and ready to go this morning, then came the *sigh* shoes. My two options for footwear were as follows: Beaten to death flats, or, running shoes. Honestly, I love shoes but, looking at my closet you wouldn’t even know it. At this moment you could walk in my closet and find two pairs of running shoes, two pairs of flats, one pair of heels and a pair of snow boots, which I couldn’t understand why on earth I have those. Y’all it’s Houston, when on earth am I going to use those!? (Oh and I’m wearing my ugly, beaten, Crocs, “House shoes” for me.) 


Caution! What follows is not for the faint of heart, and may cause temporary vision blurriness! 




These little gems are my black, I wear them with anything flats. These once had insoles also that you can see, that my son, whom I really love, after a time-out, ripped out of these comfort shoes. I admit this while hanging my head. I mean really, this is what it’s boiled down to? These were my best option for my job interview until I found my other heels, of course late this evening after my interview.

Nicely done Diana, nicely done.

Now even though these shoes look better I wouldn’t call them interview appropriate shoes either. I mean I love these Jessica Simpson shoes that I wear about once a year, but they are a tad….night club, give me another mojito shoes. Defiantly not “I’m your friendly neighborhood insurance agent” shoes. (But I do love these.)

I have taken an oath, I expect y’all to hold me accountable, with my first paycheck, when I find a job, I am going to buy decent shoes! Gosh darn it! I’m shopping as I blog on Zappos.com. Wish me luck!



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Deep Chocolate Cupcakes! It’s Trick or Treat Time!

I’ve decided I’m going to start food blogging. Seriously. In high school I took a intro culinary arts class and loved it! Don’t get me wrong though, I still make hamburger helper if im in a huge rush (A really really big one). I really do try to keep things healthy and as close to home made as possible but i’m realistic, some days a bowl of Coco Pebbles will have to do.

I plan on making things that are Kid Friendly, and Simple to make but delicious. So here’s the first of many. (Hopefully).

I absolutely l-o-v-e Halloween! Except, Confession: Candy Corn. Ugh. I’ve tried it over and over and just can’t get the taste for it. I bought a huge bag of it thinking maybe this would be the year i’ll take to it, and now my husband is eating it for me. None the less I think they make adorable, simple, clean decorations. No need for a fuss or mess. This was my first attempt to make icing where it actually came out pretty darn good, a tad salty, so I suggest using less than what the recipe calls for (recipe has been modified).

If you didn’t read my previous posts, you wouldn’t know but I have two small children. Alex and Emily. It end up taking me all day and well into the night to complete this project just because….well I have two small kids. My son is a cake fanatic! As soon as I had the cupcakes out of the oven Alex was running around screeching “Cake-Cakkkke“. Two year old’s have a one track mind. If they can see it they want it and want it now. Therefore I had to hide my cupcakes in my mother’s room until they cooled off. Of course between nap time, cleaning, dinner, and baths I completely forgot that I had left them in her room. Once everyone, my kids, the dogs, and my husband were all fed and in bed I snuck out of my bedroom and made my frosting. Around two am I finished decorating all the cupcakes. I would call that devotion!

Classic Chocolate Butter-cream Frosting

Perfect for frosting cakes, cookies, brownies, or cupcakes.

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)


3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar


1/2 cup cocoa powder


1/2 teaspoon table salt (originally was 1 teaspoon)


2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract


4 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream

Instructions

Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer.

Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl.

 Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter.

 Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes

. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

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