sour cream pound cake

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This recipe is pretty nostalgic for me. It is a combination of my mom’s recipe with the addition of some of my grandmother’s recipe. My mom’s recipe is pretty cryptic and, since I can’t ask her to clarify, I was kind of left to figure some parts of it out myself. My grandmother used to add sour cream to her recipe (which is a relatively common occurrence in the south), so I’ve added that into the original recipe as well.

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While I still have no idea what “1 Box 10X Sugar” means, it’s still really awesome to have this recipe book from my mom.

Step 1: Prep

There isn’t a whole lot of prepping for this recipe, but the few things that need to be done are super important. First, the butter must be at room temperature. I emphasize this, not because I think you’ll ignore me, but because I am so bad at this part. I’ll decide to make a cake and then have to convince myself to not just microwave the butter for an easy fix. It really is better if you just give it a little while to be come up to room temperature… The eggs also need to be room temp, but that doesn’t take nearly as long.

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The other very important step is to butter and flour the pan. Take the wrapper from the butter you are using for the recipe and grease down the inside of the pan. Then add a little flour and dust it around until the pan it is completely coated.

TIP: This method is better to use when baking, especially if you use nonstick pans, because it won’t leave residue like cooking spray.

Step 2: Mixing

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One of the great things about pound cake recipes is that they are incredibly easy to make and don’t take too much time. Because there are only a few ingredients, you’ll want to make sure you use quality products for each one.

Put the softened butter in the bowl and cream it together with the sugar until it is smooth. Once those two ingredients are well mixed, add the sour cream and mix on medium speed until it is incorporated. Next you’ll want to turn the speed to low and alternate adding one egg and a third of the flour until you have mixed all the ingredients.

I made a few different versions with this batter, so I separated the batter equally into three bowls. I added cocoa powder (about a tablespoon) to one bowl, cocoa powder (1 tbsp) and chocolate chips to another, and just chocolate chips to the last bowl. You can add whatever flavors you want to this recipe. That’s what I love about a good base pound cake recipe. Get creative!

Step 3: Bake

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I put the flavored batters into three smaller tins (3″X5″) for baking. I also made a larger vanilla cake in a 5″X10″ pan.

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The correct baking time is critical for pound cake. If you bake it too long, it becomes dry and doesn’t have that buttery, melt-in- your-mouth texture. If you don’t cook them long enough they’re still raw in the middle and will just end up being mushy. Cooking times will vary for the pan size, but you’ll want to keep an eye on them. When they start browning on the top and smell delicious, they are probably done. I know it sounds weird, but the smell is really important. You can always use the tried and true toothpick test to make sure as well.

Step 4: Enjoy!

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Once the cakes come out of the oven, you’ll want to let them sit for a few minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack. If they stay in the pans for too long they will continue to cook from the heat and you will risk a dry cake.

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My very favorite way to enjoy pound cake is with a little heavy cream and fruit. My grandmother used to eat it this way and one of my very few vivid childhood memories is of eating pound cake just like this with her. Whipped cream and ice cream are two other wonderful ways to enjoy this yummy dessert.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, it makes me warm all over thinking of the memories I have attached to this cake.

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This recipe is Zoey-Approved!

SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE RECIPE

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of sour cream
3 cups of sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking pan. Cream together the softened butter and sugar, then add the sour cream and mix until combined. Turn mixer speed to low and alternate adding one egg and 1/6 of the mixture, until you have combined all the ingredients. Transfer mixture to pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Then moved cake to cooling rack and let cool completely before cutting.

Enjoy!

 

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eggs – you’re doing it wrong

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Okay, that’s not totally fair. With a bajillion of ways you can cook an egg, we’re all doing it wrong at some point. I’d never really given eggs a lot of thought. Until now, I thought of them as a yummy protein for breakfast and really helpful when making cupcakes, but that was about it. It’s almost like I just discovered the real egg – I guess this could be called my Ode to the Egg.

While there are a MILLION ways to cook an egg, I will be focusing on the humble scrambled egg. When done right, this is probably my favorite way to enjoy eggs, although I do have a soft spot for them over easy too. (soft spot, over easy…ha. get it?)

Step 1: Prep

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First, put the pan (I use a simply nonstick pan) on the stove and turn the heat to just higher than medium. Low and slow is the name of the game, you don’t want to burn them, but we also don’t want to wait 45 minutes for breakfast either. Once the pan heats up, add a little pad of butter and swirl it around until it coats the bottom of the pan. Mmmmm butter…

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When I scramble eggs, I generally use 3 or 4, depending on how hungry we are that morning. I always use a blender bottle to “whisk” the eggs. I cook eggs so much that I actually have a blender bottle dedicated to just shaking eggs. In a previous life, I would add water, salt, and pepper into the bottle while shaking them up, but I don’t do that anymore. Just good ole egg, the rest will come later.

Step 2: Cooking

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Once the pan is warm and the butter has melted, add the eggs. Resist the urge to jump in and start stirring from the beginning, give them a few seconds to start cooking on the bottom. While you’re giving them those seconds sprinkle over a pinch of salt, then start stirring gently with a spatula, just enough to break up the curds. Once they are about half way cooked, pour in about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and continue stirring. You can adjust the heavy cream to your taste, it really is a personal thing. The more you add the creamier they will be.

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We are looking for a really creamy texture, so don’t over cook them. Once they’re done cooking, remove them from the heat and grate some fresh pepper over the top and fold it in.

Step 3: Plate and serve

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We dig fruit in this household, as you can see. I also love avocado with eggs, something about that avocado creaminess and the creamy eggs…just divine! My other favorite thing to have in the morning is an english muffin with almond (or peanut) butter, honey, and bananas. I always add chia seeds to the muffin. Sometimes the chia seeds will even find their way into the eggs before they get cooked too. I am completely in to chia seeds right now, but we’ll save that for a different blog.

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There you have it, the “secret” to delicious scrambled eggs every time.

Enjoy!

 

refrigerator overhaul

So, I had a bit of an OCD moment yesterday and I thought I would share it with you guys. Our fridge…it is amazing to me. There are only two of us, but it always looks like a food bomb has gone off in our ice box. I can’t imagine what it would be like with kids constantly opening the door and riffling around in there.

I want to go ahead and apologies for the lame pictures in this post, definitely not my usual quality, but I haven’t figured out refrigerator photography yet…

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Here it is in all its scary-ness… The first thing you’ll want to do is declutter and get rid of all the expired stuff in there. I think it goes without saying that you’ll want to do this quickly, so things don’t sit out at room temperature for too long.

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As you can see in these ‘before’ pictures, things were basically all over the place with no home. There were actually eggs in the door AND in the main part, all varieties of cheese (I love cheese) all over the place, leftovers just strewn about, and veggies and fruit everywhere.

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The funny thing is that the drawers at the bottom weren’t really being used at all. It is no wonder we were throwing out expired food all the time. I had no idea what was in there!

Step 1: Declutter and clean

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This part is a little sad for me, I hate throwing out food. It is so wasteful and yet we do it all the time because I have no idea what is actually in the refrigerator. I pulled everything out of the fridge and separated it by category on the counter. I then measured the shelves and made a quick trip to Bed Bath and Beyond to get these super fancy containers. I even got one for the eggs, which I always thought was pointless, until I realized I can now stack things on that container too. Brilliant.

I also went by Target and picked up some labels for each of the bins and got a dry erase board that we’ll talk about later.

TIP: This is a fantastic time to deep clean and get all the gross out. I’ve read that keeping activated carbon in your refrigerator will help if you have issues with smelly odors. Also, if you hate cleaning, put cling wrap down on all the shelves for easy clean up later. Wiping up spills when they happen will also save you a lot of heartache in the end.

Step 2: Categorize and organize

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You know your family and food needs best, so you’ll have to make the category choices for yourself. On the top shelf I went with Condiments and Milks/Juices.

TIP: Apparently, milk shouldn’t be kept in the door because the temperature fluctuates too much. This is also true about eggs. They should both be on the inside of the fridge.

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The next level consisted of another Condiments bin and a Snacks bin. The cool thing about these bins is that you can take them out and put them back in, all in one little neat package.

TIP: Make sandwiches a lot? Make a bin for sandwiches and keep all the sandwich fixin’s in it. That way you can grab it out of the fridge, make those sandwiches and then just return it.

Next is a drawer that is now dedicated to cheese. Yup. Cheese. I think there might be a roll of croissant rolls in there too. But mostly cheese.

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We have an obscene amount of jelly, jams and butters. Obscene. So the next level has a bin dedicated just to those. The eggs are also on this level, now inside the fridge and not in the door.

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Next are the sodas, teas, and leftovers. There are two levels of soda holders, but it is hard to see that in this picture, since I need to go and buy some more. The teas in the back are sitting on a lazy susan (where did that name even come from?), so we can turn it around and find what we want. I also left some room for leftovers on this shelf.

TIP: If you have raw meat in your refrigerator, this is where it should to go. You always want raw meats and seafood to be on the bottom shelf to avoid contamination.

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Now the drawers are actually being used – the top for fruit and the bottom for vegetables.

TIP: The vegetable drawer should be humid. News to me. Also, I found a really helpful article about keeping your fruits and veggies fresh for longer.

Step 3: The door

So, you’ve moved all your milk and eggs out of the door…what goes there now? Well, I added another Snacks shelf and a Misc. shelf for all that random stuff that shows up from time to time. It is currently holding a pitcher of lemon-infused water. Yum. The last two shelves house Wine and Beer because they need their own space too. Remember all that butter I was mentioning? Well I have a separate place for the butter I use specifically for baking. It now lives in what was once the egg holder in the door. Genius, I know.

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And there it is, in all its organized glory. Kind of nice, huh? And it really didn’t take that long from start to finish. Maybe a couple of hours, tops. Looks like I need to go grocery stopping…

Step 4: The dry erase board

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Now, for all of you fellow OCDers out there, I present to you (dramatic pause) the dry erase board. Whether or not this will stay updated at our house is questionable, but it is a great idea in theory. This way I can keep track of what’s in the fridge, what’s going to expire soon, what leftovers we need to consume, and what I desperately need to purchase on my next trip to the grocer. I’m also going to try and plan weekly meals ahead of time… try.

So there you have it, a nice organized fridge in only a few hours. Definitely an afternoon well spent!

 

lasagna cupcakes

lasagnacupcakes

Finally! I am writing a blog about the lasagna cupcake recipe. It is such a fun dinner – and super easy to boot! The cool thing about this recipe is that you can really change the flavors to suit whatever mood you are in. For example, I used some leftover roasted vegetables from dinner the other night. (more about that later)

This is an awesome, kid-friendly dinner and they can even help make it!

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Here’s what you need:

Wonton Wrappers
Tomato Sauce
Ricotta
Shredded Cheese (some italian combination)
Vegetables or Meat
Cupcake Pan
Nonstick stray

Step 1: Prep

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As I mentioned above, I had some leftover roasted veggies from a couple of dinners ago. I decided I wanted to try them in these cupcakes, so I threw them in the food processor and let it do its thing. Since I cooked these with plenty of salt, pepper, and olive oil, I didn’t need to add any extra seasoning to them.

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Next you’ll want to spray your cupcake pan with nonstick spray and place the wonton wrappers in them. I have found that two in each cup works best and if you place them with one corner in the bottom, they will cover most of the cup.

Step 2: Assembly

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Assembly of the cupcakes is wicked easy. It’s all about the layers. This is where you can get creative and use any flavors you want. You can also add meat to the recipe if you would like, just brown it beforehand and mix it in with the sauce or ricotta.

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First, start with the tomato sauce. You could make your own sauce from scratch, but who has time for that mess? There are so many great natural and organic choices that it would be crazy to waste the time. I think.

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Second is the toss-up layer. I used the aforementioned veggies. I tossed onions, zucchini, mushroom, and tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasted them in the oven. You could go with some sort of meat or fresh veggies. I usually use fresh zucchini and squash, but I thought the roasted veggies would add a nice depth of flavor. I was not disappointed!

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Third layer is the ricotta cheese. YUM. I could eat this out of the cup. By the spoonful. Just a little tip, I put a dollop down, and then once you put the shredded cheese on top, you can press it flat rather than trying to unsuccessfully spread it with the spoon.

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Last layer is the cheese. Just sprinkle some on top of the ricotta and press the layers down to compact it a little.

Next, you’ll want to repeat the four layers one more time in the same order. Put a little more cheese on top at the end, so you have a nice final layer of delicious melted cheese.

Step 3: Bake and serve!

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Into the oven they go! This is the hardest part…waiting. I usually wash dishes, so I can enjoy the meal afterwards with little clean up.

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Don’t they just look delicious?

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The final product is so wonderful.

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They get even better with time too. Try them cold out of the fridge the next day – divine!

LASAGNA CUPCAKES

24 wonton wrappers
1 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup roasted veggies (or other filling)
1/2 shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cupcake pan with nonstick spray. Overlap two wonton wrappers in each cupcake cup, making sure they cover the sides thoroughly. Evenly distribute half of the tomato sauce between cup, next evenly distribute half of the roasted veggies between each cup. Continue doing this with the ricotta cheese and the shredded cheese. Slightly compact the layers and then repeat the other half of the tomato sauce, roast veggies, ricotta, and shredded cheese layers.

Put the pan into the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the wonton wrappers are browned.

Let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes and then ENJOY!

chocolate cupcakes for two

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Today is a very special day for mothers, but this year it also happens to be my amazing bf’s birthday. Since it is just the two of us, it doesn’t make much sense to make an entire cake or a full batch of cupcakes, so I decided to just make a couple. This is a super quick and easy recipe if you just need a couple of cupcakes for a special quiet birthday in or need a chocolate cupcake fix in the middle of the night. No judgements here!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

Flour
Sugar
Cocoa Powder
Salt
Baking Soda
Milk
Canola Oil (or vegetable oil)
Vanilla Extract
Butter
Powdered Sugar
Peanut Butter

Step 1: Mix dry and wet ingredients.

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You’ll want to start by whisking together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda. The great thing about this recipe is that chances are pretty good that you’ll have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge already. And if you decided you’re not really feeling the chocolate, leave out the cocoa powder and substitute in a little more flour. Easy-peasy.

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Next you’ll want to add in the wet ingredients: milk, oil, vanilla extract. I used a whisk, you could use a hand mixer if you want, but it seemed like over kill to me. A fork would work well too in lieu of a whisk.

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It will be pretty a quick whisk. Make sure you get all the lumps out, no one wants a lumpy batter!

Step 2: Fill and bake.

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You’ll want to put two liners in a cupcake pan. I don’t know if I have a weird sized pan or odd sized liners, but they never fit… bummer. Fill both the liners about half way up the side. It should use all of the batter, leaving just enough to lick the bowl and not hate yourself in the morning. They will take around 20 minutes to bake. So now would be a good time to clean up a little or start on the peanut butter icing!

Step 3: Making the icing.

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For the icing, I used a hand mixer since it requires a little more mixing to get it all incorporated. Start with the room temperature butter (which happens to be the only thing I took a picture of…sorry!) and cream it together with the peanut butter and milk. Next add the powdered sugar, a little at a time unless you want it to snow in your kitchen. Make sure the butter is actually room temperature or you will end up with lumps in your icing…no bueno.

I chose peanut butter for this icing because it is a favorite of the bf. The beauty of this icing is that you can substitute just about anything for the PB, for example, nutella. Mmmmmm. Or you could use cream cheese. If you opt for the cream cheese route you could also add some jam to it to make it all fruity. If you decided to go with a vanilla cake, take the PB out all together and add in more butter and vanilla extract for a vanilla butter cream.

Step 4: Icing the cupcakes.

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This is not a shining example of my icing skills, but I made due with what I had! I usually use a plastic bag full of icing with a piping tip on the end, but I couldn’t locate my piping tip today… So I just used the bag with a hole cut in the corner. I also happened to have some decorating sugar that matched perfectly – score!

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My biggest regret with this recipe is that I didn’t make more of them…but then it would defeat the point of cupcakes for two, wouldn’t it?

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES FOR TWO

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE

3 tbsp of flour
2 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of cocoa powder
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
3 tbsp of milk
1 tbsp of canola oil
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and put two cupcake liners in a cupcake tin. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Once combined, whisk in milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Separate batter between the two liners. Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

PEANUT BUTTER ICING

2 tbsp room temperature butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2-1 tsp milk (for consistency)

With an electric mixer, cream together butter, milk, and peanut butter. Slow add in powdered sugar until fully combined. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, split the icing between the two little cupcakes.

ENJOY!

 

 

 

chex krispy treats

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A little twist on a basically perfect sweet treat. That’s how I roll. There is a local coffee shop here that had some krispy treats made with chex mix and I decided I was game! My trend lately is the super easy recipe and this one fits right in.

Before we start…when did there become 27 different types of chex mix? I had no idea. I’ve never been so indecisive about cereal in my life. I went with corn chex mix, not because it is gluten-free or corn, but because the person beside me was humming loudly and starting to freak me out. It did occur to me later though that this would be good with any of the other varieties of chex as well. Chocolate and honey nut sound particularly delicious. Just from food for thought. (ha.)

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Here’s what you’ll need:

butter
marshmallows
chex mix
sprinkles (or whatever you decide to dress them up with)
bowl
spatula
wax paper
microwave

Step 1: Melt the butter and marshmallows.

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Put the butter in a medium to large size bowl and microwave for about a minute if it is cold. If your butter is room temperature, it won’t take nearly as long. Add the marshmallows and stir them to coat. The only way to possibly make a marshmallow better is to coat it in butter. Lucky for you, you don’t need the ENTIRE bag of marshmallows, so “taste-testing” is totally acceptable and definitely encouraged!

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Next you’ll want to melt the marshmallows in the microwave. It only takes a minute or so. I always love the consistency of the melted marshmallows – they still barely hold their shape, but you know everything in your kitchen is about to be covered in sticky.

Step 2: Gettin’ sticky with it!

Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah… anyone? Okay…

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This part is so much fun, it is probably my favorite. Add all the chex mix to the melted marshmallows and butter…the calm before the storm. This can be really fun with kids too, just do it before bath time and not after…

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I use a plastic spatula because it makes for an easier clean up. Make sure you fold them in gently, you don’t want to end up with a bunch of crushed chex squares. The chex texture is part of what makes this version of krispy treats so much fun!

(well, that and the sprinkles. sprinkles make everything fabulous.)

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Speaking of sprinkles… like that segue? Add a bunch of them. As many as your colorful heart desires. I think I ended up adding about a 1/4 cup when it was all said and done AND I added even more to the top. I have a thing for sprinkles.

Step 3: Spread it out.

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Now, we could be totally predictable and put these in a greased pan and cut them into squares later… Or, we could be awesome and just let the chex fall as they may on a piece of parchment paper. (I’m in a punny mood tonight. Ha.)

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I would suggest that you deal with this immediately. If you only put it in the sink and fill it with water and soap, you will really appreciate yourself later. It will be a sticky mess. Everything will be a brilliant stick mess and totally worth it. Even my camera had a slight layer of sticky on it after this recipe.

Step 4: Cut and ENJOY!

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Look at all that gooey goodness! You’ll need to wait for a little while before you cut and dig into these beauties. If you’re really impatient, the freezer will speed up the process.

Distract yourself by washing that bowl…

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I opted to cut these all willy-nilly and get a little creative, but you could just cut them in squares in be done with it.

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The really great thing about this recipe is that you can modify it in so many ways. Add chocolate chips and nuts or go with white chocolate and butterscotch. I love the rainbow sprinkles, but you could go with chocolate instead. The possibilities really are endless.

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CHEX KRISPY TREATS

1 10oz bag of marshmallows
1/4 cup of butter
4 cups of chex mix
1/4 cup of sprinkles

Begin by melting butter for 1 minute in the microwave in large microwave safe bowl. Add marshmallows and stir until evenly coated with melted butter. Return bowl to microwave and melt marshmallows, about 1 minute. Gently fold in chex mix until completely covered. Add in sprinkles and fold until combined. Transfer mixture of a sheet of parchment paper or a greased baking dish. Let cool for 15 minutes. Cut and ENJOY!

 

easy pumpkin spice muffins

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I have to admit, this recipe is in no way my idea. It has been floating around the interwebs for quite some time now, but I was astonished by how many people haven’t actually tried it! It is so easy it should be illegal and it’s healthy, to boot!

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All you need:

bowl
whisk
muffin tin
muffin tin liners*
can of pumpkin
a box of spice cake mix

*if you’re lazy and don’t want to wash a pan, like me.

Step 1: Open and combine.

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1. Open the spice mix, dump it in the bowl.
2. Open the can of pumpkin, dump it in the bowl.
3. Combine.

That’s literally it.

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I find that a whisk does the best job. Also, and I speak from experience, use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need. You’ll thank me in the end. (I totally cleaned off the counter before I took that picture up there…classic amateur bowl-choosing mistake.) I always under estimate the size bowl I need and by the time I realize it, I’m already too far in. Who wants to clean an extra bowl, when you could spend your entire mixing time desperately trying to keep the batter IN the bowl? Not me. This is particularly amusing since, in every other aspect of my life, I tend to over estimate. Dinner serving sizes, number of shoes I’ll need for a weekend getaway, amount of shampoo… quarter sized? Ha.

Moving on…

Step 2: Fill muffin tin.

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Yup, that’s it. Simple as that. I know you’ve probably heard it a million times, but an ice cream scoop is really the absolute best way to get the batter from point A to point B. If fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever actually used our ice cream scoop for anything OTHER than filling cupcake/muffin tins. It makes it super easy and it ensures that each muffin is the same size…which ensures even baking…yada, yada.

Trust me, use an ice cream scoop.

Step 3: Bake and enjoy!

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Bake the muffins per the instructions on the box. That’s what is so great about this recipe, it takes an already easy cake and makes it even easier. And the result is delicious!

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Because of the pumpkin, the muffin is moist and not too sweet. I think it makes for a perfect quick breakfast or a nice snack. These don’t last any time at all in our house. I made a dozen yesterday and they’re all gone. So, what are you waiting for? Go grab a box of spice mix and get to it!

Enjoy!

EASY PUMPKIN SPICE MUFFINS

1 box of spice cake mix
1 15oz can of pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine spice mix and pumpkin. Mix until completely incorporated. Divide evenly in muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before you dig in! Enjoy!