Oreo Cupcakes

Sometimes you just need a picture to inspire!

I love looking at beautiful cupcakes.  This is so simple yet fun.  This is also a post to let everyone know that I don't always make "EVERYTHING" from scratch.  It is kind of funny to find out what people thing goes on in my kitchen sometimes!  

If you have never used Dream Whip, it is AWESOME.  I basically only use two kinds of frosting:  Cream Cheese, and Dream Whip.  I love how light and fluffy the Dream Whip Pudding frosting is.  Warning:  It does take a LONG time to beat, so make sure you follow directions as stated on box which is 4-6 minutes.  There are several different recipes on the box, so make sure you use the "Fluffy Frosting" recipe that calls for  instant pudding.  I also use this to make vanilla frosting or any kind you'd like.  You just vary the pudding flavor.

No added Sugar Jam

This jam has been an awesome find.  Jam is loaded with sugar and "sugar free" options are often loaded with a bunch of things that I'd rather not eat.  This Polaner Fruit Jam is 100% fruit juice, fruit, and pectin.  I buy this at Walmart.  It comes in several flavors: Blueberry, cherry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, apricot, and grape.  I think blackberry and raspberry are my favorites.

May Salad Cooking Class

Here are the recipes from the May Cooking Class!  Click on Salad title to take you to recipe link.

Salad (use any combination of the following)
napa cabbage
red cabbage
red pepper
mandarin oranges, juice drained
green onions
sliced almonds
dry chow mien or rice noodles (or dried ramen noodles work too)
cooked breaded chicken, sliced

3 TBS honey
2 TBS seasoned rice vinegar
1 TBS sesame oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
-Whisk until smooth and creamy

firm pear, sliced (or apples, blueberries, oranges, strawberries)
swiss, gorgonzola or blue cheese
toasted almonds or sugared pecans
bacon, cooked and crumbled
Red onion avocado

Pomegranate Dressing:
1/4 c. pomegranate balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. light olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
14 grinds fresh pepper
1 TBS white sugar

Greens, Quinoa, Avocado, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, Bacon
-Place tomato halves one side of a baking sheet, and toss with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes until skins are blistered.
-Drizzle salad with olive oil, salt/pepper, and Balsamic Glaze

This is a recipe adapted from Cooking Light. It is delicious! Don't be overwhelmed by all the ingredients. I rarely have everything when I decide to make this, but it always tastes good regardless. I also rarely make exact measurements, so don't feel tied to the recipe. This is a PERFECT summer recipe! 

1 tablespoon fajita seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
5 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
3/4 cup ranch dressing

2 cups fresh or canned corn kernels (about 4 ears)
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
12 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups pre-shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups tortilla chips, crumbled
1 cup bottled or fresh sliced peeled mango, chopped
diced cucumbers
diced tomatoes
¼ cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
-Combine all ingredients together in a BIG salad bowl. Enjoy! 

Ranch Dressing Demonstration:
Homemade Ranch (add extra pepper, garlic, and 1 TBS lemon/lime juice)

BBQ Ranch (add 2 TBS lime juice and ¼ c. BBQ sauce)

1 ranch dressing packet prepared using pkt. recipe*(see note)
Juice of 1 lime
½-1 bunch of cilantro
2-3 tomatillos (can use 1/3 c. green salsa as a substitute)
1 large clove garlic
freshly ground pepper
1 jalepeno (no seeds)--omit this if you don't like things spicy
-Using a blender, blend all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Serve with quesadillas, taco salad, etc.
-*NOTE:  I'm a bit picky when it comes to my ranch...this is best using 1 c. 1% milk and and 1 c. KRAFT mayonnaise (don't use low fat!)

Father's Day Gift Idea

For the man in your life...
Fun wrapping idea huh!  
If your husband is like mine, he ALWAYS needs another clamp!

Avocado Tuna Salad Lettuce Wrap

This is perfect summer fresh and light meal.  Whip this up in a just a few minutes and Enjoy!

1 7 oz can tuna, drained
1 small avocado, diced
1/4 of a red bell pepper, diced
1/4-1/2 cup chopped English cucumber
2 TBS minced red onion
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
Juice from 1/2 a lime (may want to add more if lime is small)
3 TBS olive oil
-Mix together in a bowl to combine.  Spoon into Romaine Lettuce leaves and serve.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

This is my go-to simple Chicken salad recipe.  

Cooked chicken, chopped
Chopped Celery
Toasted Pecans (don't have to toast them, but it does taste better!)
Salt/Ground Pepper
-Combine all ingredients and serve on croissants or rolls. You can also serve mini sandwiches open faced and garnish with a whole pecan.

BLT Bliss Bowls

I love that the internet allows for recipe sharing!  This gal at lovely little kitchen has some great recipes and amazing pictures!  I couldn't improve upon her recipe, so here is her exact recipe and picture.

Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 2 bowls

  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon oil (I used avocado oil)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 strips center cut bacon
  • 2 packed cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Topping: Balsamic glaze* plus additional avocado oil, salt and pepper
  1. Place tomato halves one side of a baking sheet, and toss with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Lay strips of bacon on the other side and place in the oven. Turn the oven on and set to 400 degrees. Cook the tomatoes and bacon for about 13-14 minutes, or until the tomatoes are blistered and the bacon is crisp. The oven will just about reach 400 degrees in that time.
  3. To assemble the bowls, place mixed baby greens on the bottom, and top with cooked quinoa and sliced avocado. Top with crumbled bacon, blistered tomatoes, and feta. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with a bit more oil and balsamic glaze.
You can find balsamic glaze at Trader Joe's in the oil and vinegar section. It's wonderful on salads, but also on grilled veggies or chicken. You can also heat balsamic vinegar on the stovetop slowly to reduce it into a glaze. It becomes sweet and tangy!

European Muesli

This is a simple fantastic breakfast. 
This is similar in concept to the recipe COLD OATMEAL
but it has a creamy European flare!  

Like any oatmeal, you can really top it with any fresh or dried fruit, nuts, 
shredded coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. 
 I make a large batch of the oatmeal base and it just sits in my fridge ready to go.  
I often have the batch last for 3 weeks in the fridge!

Lemon Pound Cake

I think pound cake is my favorite base for strawberry shortcake.  This cake is stand-alone good, but I just love strawberry shortcake so much, that it never does stand alone!  I love the This is great for strawberry shortcake! Along with sliced strawberries, drizzle some STRAWBERRY SAUCE for an extra wow factor!  (image from tastespotting.com)

Cream until fluffy:

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temp.
4 eggs, at room temp.
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
zest from 3 lemons (optional--but makes it extra good!)
Add and mix together well:
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 cups white flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
-Grease and flour bundt pan. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 350 for 50-60 minutes until wood skewer comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert.  Glaze or serve with sliced strawberries and strawberry sauce and a little whipped cream.  Taste a little bit of heaven!!!

Optional glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
3 1/2 TBS fresh lemon juice
-Combine and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.