Life Tastes So Good

Exploring life one taste at a time.

Loaded S’mores Brownies

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”  – Ignacio Estrada


I want to say sorry for my huge lack of posts. I have at a ton of crazy life things going on. Here’s the scoop.

Several months ago I started planning to take my son, Alex, in for a behavioral evaluation and that day finally came. We spoke with his doctor and come to find out my concerns were within reason as we found out that he has a form of high functioning autism.  After a little freak out and a few tears I came to realize that this explains a lot of my lingering questions about his melt downs, sleep habits, and many other things that were red flags. Now that we know what we are working with we have had smoother days and I have a better understanding of  Alex and that his actions aren’t always in his control.

 I think its only fair to share all this because I plan on being the kind of person that y’all can connect with and it would only be honest to let you know. We are learning, we are planning, and we are growing together.  My son has Autism but that does not change the boy I’ve raised for the past four years. He is the same loving boy, the same giggles, the same smile and I am so proud to call him mine.  I hope to be able to share what I learn and experience with you all. I also had a food break through with Alex, for the first time ever he ate bacon, hash browns and ever ate spinach. Granted he spit the spinach out, he at least tried it. After that I decided we deserved brownies. Great ones.

BrowniesWithName

To make these first bake your favorite brownies. I used this recipe but you can use anyone you would like. Don’t worry if you like to use box brownies. I won’t tell! I would also suggest to line the pan with parchment paper first since these can get a tad sticky.

You need:

Brownies

Gram Crackers

Mini Marshmallows

Mini Chocolate Chips

Jumbo Chocolate Chips

Caramel sauce

Step one – Bake Brownies.

Step two – Take brownies out of the over and coat in gram crackers (use the pre made cut likes for each rectangle).

Line the entire top, space the crackers about a half an inch apart.Step three – Add a layer of mini marshmallows on top of the gram cracker. Bake for a few minutes @ 350*F until marshmallows become swollen and soft (Mine took roughly 2-3 minutes.) then remove from oven.

Step four – Measure 1/4 C of mini chocolate chips and 1/4 C of jumbo chocolate chips and layer the chocolate chips over the melted marshmallows. Bake again @ 350*F for an additional 2 minute, then promptly remove from oven to cool. Once cooled drizzle with caramel sauce.

Brownies2Sig

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Liquid Luck.

 “May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks.

May your heart be as light as a song.

May each day bring you bright,

 happy hours that stay with you all the year long.”

Photo Credit

St. Patrick’s day is tomorrow! Like most people I have to work so we decided to have our own celebration today! I’m not a huge drinker and really don’t like beers like Guinness however certain times of the year its acceptable to enjoy a cold one. Have you ever thought about which beers are the top Irish beers? I mean we know beer is beer but which ones are Irish and which ones are, well, not? Here’s a list of the top Irish beers:

Beamish Stout

Guinness Draught

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Ohara’s Celtic Stout

Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout

Harp Lager

Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale

Murphy’s Irish Red

Smithwick’s Irish Ale

Visit this site for more details on each beer.

Not in the mood for a cold beer? I got you covered!

I usually don’t drink beer either so I of course made a back up. This is possibly the easiest to make as well!

StPatDrink Liquid Luck sig

All you need is:

A cup

A shot glass

Mango Juice

Pineapple Juice

Coconut Rum

Melon Liquor

Optional: Liquid Green Food Coloring

Measure out 1 shot of coconut rum, 1 shot of melon liquor, 3 shots of pineapple juice,

3 shots of mango juice — pour all into a shaker with ice (optional liquid green food coloring, if you want a more vibrant green color).

Give a quick shake or two and pour into a glass of choice.

Drink up! Told you it was easy! I’m a simple kind of gal.

No matter what drink you decide to enjoy St. Patrick’s day, please enjoy responsibly.

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Mummy Brownies.

“My  favorite scary movie was always ‘Halloween.’ I love that there’s hidden emotion  underneath Michael Myers’ psychotic behavior. Plus, he has the best mask,  hands-down.”
— Chris  Zylka

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mummy brownies

I love Halloween! The weather around this time is pleasant, being roughly in the 70’s, the candy, the parties, and the dress up!  My daughter has decided she wants to be Sofia the First and my son is going to be Luigi……again. I have opted to wear one of those headbands with cat years. Boom. Done! I took the day off from work to do all my favorite Halloween things with my kiddos. Only reason I kind of want to go to work is that they are having a Halloween pot luck. I love cooking for pot lucks! I made these because I felt like I was going to be left out of making something for the pot luck this time so, I just decided to make brownies for home! Matt and I finished off the pan of brownies in ya’know a few…days errr hours. While watching Master Chef Junior.  It is what it is. They were good.

What you will need:

Your Favorite Brownies (I used These)

Mini Oreo Cookies

Buttercream Frosting  (Your favorite vanilla recipe)

For the brownies you can use whatever your favorite recipe is. You can try a few of these.

Then for the mummy you need a Ribbon tip much like this one from Bake It Pretty.

Basic idea here is gently cover the brownies with “ribbons” of buttercream, once one layer is covering the entire brownie gently take Mini Oreo cookies for the eyes and place the eyes as desired, I did mine towards the top for the brownie. Using a toothpick make small eyes and continue to make ribbons until you cannot see through to the dark brownie. Allow the buttercream to harden for about an hour or until stiff enough that the buttercream holds shape.

Serve with a tall glass of milk and enjoy!

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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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Breaking Bad Cupcakes.

“I am the one who knocks.”

Breaking Bad, Walter White, Season 4, Episode 6

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BreakingBadCupcakes
It’s no secret, it really isn’t, I love TV shows. I am absolutely terribly immensely distraught that Breaking Bad is ending. In honor of the end of Breaking Bad I made mini cupcakes. The actual cake is just a normal white box cake but I made coconut frosting and a dyed flavored sugar. (Nut = Jesse, White cake = Walter, get it? GET IT? Ha.) To make the cupcakes make box cake as directed and cool. I also hollowed the center and added the colored sugar to the middle of each cupcake. The frosting was intentionally made messy, just like Jesse would have done it.

For the frosting you will need:

1½ cups granulated sugar
6 egg whites
1½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅔ cup coconut milk

 For directions please visit the original post here.

coloed sugar

For the sugar:

1/2 Cup of Sparkling Sugar

 1/4 tsp. of Cornstarch

Food coloring or Food gel

Zip-lock bag – try to make sure it is thick, or double bag the sugar before mixing.

What To Do:

Pour sugar into zip-lock bag add a few drops of food coloring or gel color. Depending on the color you need add a little at a time. You can mix food coloring to make colors as well, and shake, shake, shake! Make sure you press out with your fingers any clumps that may happen. If you want to flavor the sugar you can add 1/2 tsp. of extract of vanilla, coconut, mint, etc. and continue to shake and press out clumps.  Add the 1/4 tsp. of cornstarch to keep sugar from feeling “sticky”, if you added extract you may need 1/4 tsp. more of cornstarch.

PS – Like my football nails? Super easy to do, just saying.
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Perfectly Pumpkin Cookies.

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
― George Eliot

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As fall quickly approaches so does my desperate need for pumpkin.

I love everything about fall. The weather, the scent of fall, colors, and most of all the food!

 I was trying really hard not to do any pumpkin recipes until after September but I couldn’t hold it in anymore! These cookies have been requested by a few of my co-workers for their birthdays and they never let down. My kids love them just as much as the grown-ups do. Real crowd pleaser, these cookies. So, bake up a batch for your fall pot-lucks for the season of eating is about to be upon us.

Yum.

Perfectly Pumpkin Cookies

Perfectly Pumpkin Cookies

What You Will Need:

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For the Frosting:

1/4 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions for Frosting:

Mix together on med speed, butter and softened cream cheese until well incorporated then Add vanilla.

Gradually add the 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar, adding roughly 1/2 cup at a time to avoid having the sugar “fly” everywhere.

Continue to mix on Med speed until frosting stiffens.

Directions for Cookies:

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until fluffy.

Add large egg and vanilla. Add pumpkin; mix well.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a small bowl; gradually add dry ingredients to
creamed mixture and mix well.

Using a cookie scoop (or a regular dinner spoon) drop cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart onto greased baking
sheets.

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly
browned and cookie retains shape when touched.

Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Once cooled apply frosting as desired to each cookie and lightly dust with ground cinnamon on top if desired.

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Agua de Horchata.

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
―     Ernest Hemingway

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I have been so tired the last two weeks. Seriously falling asleep at work tired. My car was out of commission and therefore to get to work I had to get up at four-thirty AM to head out with the kiddos and husband with one car. I know I am going to sound spoiled when I say this but I hate having one car. We live in an area where there is no public transportation and getting around basically requires a car. It stinks when moments like this happen. Anyways off my soap box, I’ve been extra lazy luckily this cool summer drink does not involve much of any work other than waiting. My husband loves this drink and so do my step kiddos, they call it cinnamon milk. It’s a traditional Mexican drink that I enjoy from time to time and it’s a bonus that my kiddo and husband like it so it never lasts.

Horchata

Agua de Horchata

1 3-inch cinnamon stick
4 cups hot water (Bring to a boil on the stove and remove from heat)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Sweetened Condense Milk
Ice cubes
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (Optional)

What To Do:

 In a large bowl mix up rice, cinnamon stick and water;

Cool it down, and Cover; Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Strain the mixture over a pitcher, reserve the liquid. Remove Cinnamon sticks. Place rice in blender. Add a ground cinnamon (optional, for a stronger cinnamon taste.)

 Cover; blend on High for 3 to 4 minutes until mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the reserved soaking water and Sweetened condensed milk; blend for an additional 2 minutes. Pour entire mixture into pitcher.

Serve over ice or blend with ice in the blender for a “shake” texture.

Enjoy!

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Caramel Turtle Cookies.

Sometimes I think that the one thing I love most about being an adult is the right to buy candy whenever and wherever I want.

Ryan Gosling

(PS- Not only a looker but a lover of candy? Watch out husband he’s giving you a run for your money!)

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There isn’t much going on in the crazy world of Diana these few week. I did get exciting news that I got offered a secure position at my job, full of benefits and vacation time. Real grown up talk. Boring! Let’s talk candy! YUM! When I was pregnant with my littlest, Emily, I loved me some candy! Top of the list? Chocolate. Dark. Milk. Chocolate covered anything. It was chocolate. It was mine. Point. Period. End of story. At that point of my life I was working at a pharmacy and they carried large boxes of the caramel turtles. Oh my! All of my favorite things in one bite! I mean who wouldn’t love it? Unless you don’t like chocolate, in that case I’m not really sure if we can be friends. Hate to break it to ya.

This past week I realized its been ages since I’ve made cookies or had turtles and then the wheels started turning. Combine these amazing items into one. Needless to say I did to a little happy dance in the store and people were staring but who cares my house was about to smell amazing. The cookies didn’t last through one pot of coffee another favorite of mine. What is your favorite candy? Have you tried using it to cook or bake? I am going to experiment with a few more the next coming weeks. I am excited to see what we can come up with.

caramel Turtle cookies

Caramel Turtle Cookies

What You Will Need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

30 caramels

What to Do:

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat to cool.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Chop about 10 caramels to in small  “chunks”, and set aside. In another bowl, beat together melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Beat in egg and vanilla. Slow your mixer to the slowest setting and gradually add in the flour mixture.

Stir in, using a spoon or spatula, the chocolate chips, pecans and chunks of caramel.

Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (skipping this step will make your cookies too thin)

Heat oven to 350°F

Roll dough into balls or use a cookie scoop and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake 8 minutes or until set and light golden. Cool on wire racks. Melt caramel in the microwave and drizzle over cooled cookies.

*Note: these cookies are a tad sticky so if you are transporting them it may be best to wait to put the caramel topping on at location.

And of course, enjoy.

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