MIA + Recipe: Candy Cane Cupcakes

Happy Monday, everyone!

My sincerest apologies for being MIA for the last week and a half. I knew the week leading in my my trip to Chicago would be busy, but it was more of a bear than I thought. On top of that, with the weather fluctuating so much, I caught a cold that only worsened during my trip.

Upon arriving home, I spent as much time as I could resting up and finally went to the doctor on Friday morning after about 10 (!!!) days of coughing and feeling crappy. I knew I wasn’t to the point where it could be pneumonia yet, but I was scared it would head that direction as I started noticing that I was out of breath. The doctor said it was viral, but gave me a steroid shot (never had one…they are AMAZING!), antibiotics, a course of steroids and an inhaler. I’m finally feeling better and have a voice back (mostly). It just started out as the typical reaction to the temperatues drastically changing so much, but I’m glad they gave me something to keep it from progressing.

I’ll do a separate post later, but the trip to Chicago was AMAZING! It wasn’t the sites or the activities, but the quality time with some of my favorite friends over a five-day period were absolutely perfect. It makes me so happy to see them so happy!

So, now that you’re caught up, we’re FOUR days from Christmas. EEK! Definitely not prepared, but we’re getting there…minus the fact that we don’t have a tree. At this point, I’m just saying screw it, but it definitely doesn’t feel like Christmas without it — and usually, we are such Christmas people. Jason’s just been working so much and has now caught a cold, so he’s just not into it. All that matters is my mom will be here, the puppies will be spoiled and we’ll hopefully have a great group for dinner on Christmas day!

On to the cupcakes!

A few years ago, for my work gift, I made everyone little boxes with four cupcakes. It was a TON of work, but one of my favorite gifts I’ve done. With the numbers now, it would sadly be too difficult to do, but I have hung on to this recipe and use it almost every year. Such a great holiday cupcake!

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Candy Cane Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

From Baking Bites, makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 tsp peppermint extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp red food coloring

Directions:

1-Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2-In a large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until mixture is light and creamy and the sugar has mostly been dissolved.

3-Stir in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and peppermint extracts. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

4-Pour into wet ingredients and whisk just until batter is smooth.

5- Measure out one cup of batter and place it back in the medium bowl. Add red food coloring to this bowl and whisk to incorporate.

6-Put a spoonful (approx 2-3 tsp) of the white batter into the center each cupcake paper and let it spread slightly on its own.

7-Put a spoonful of red batter in the center of the white. It will push out the other batter and, as it sits for a moment, will also spread itself.

8-Alternating spoonfuls of the two batters and trying to keep the amounts as even as possible (after the first layer, I used smaller amounts of red and white with each spoonful), repeat the technique until all the batter has been used up.

9-Bake for about 15 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.

10-Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

 Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

4-oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp milk

2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar

green food coloring (optional, but recommended for the holidays)

Directions:

1-In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.

2-Beat until smooth, then mix in vanilla extract, milk and 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar.

3-Beat until very smooth, then gradually blend in additional sugar until frosting is fluffy, thick and easy to spread.

4-Beat in up to 1/2 tsp green food coloring to dye the frosting, if you wish.

Note: Frosting can be spread onto the cupcakes or piped on using a piping bag.

Sorry, again, for the absense! Looking forward to a week of holiday-related posts!

Have a great day!

-Lindsey

 

 

 

Recipe: Chocolate Mint Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

Today, I’m excited to share one of my favorite holiday cupcake recipes. I LOVE baking all year round, but especially during the holiday season — peppermint is one of my favorite flavors and these chocolate mint cupcakes are amazing!

Side note: One year, I couldn’t find peppermint extract ANYWHERE on Christmas Eve (I know, I know… waited until the very last minute). Best place to look — stores that carry groceries, but aren’t grocery stores. Target and Walmart were the only places I had any luck that year!

I found these receipes a few years ago and modified them a bit. I wish I could share a link to the original, but it’s been so long since I found it!

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Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

(Makes about 18 cupcakes)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

 

Instructions:

1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

2-Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3-Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, water, and peppermint extract, and beat with a mixer on low speed until smooth.

4-Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

5-Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

6-Let cupcakes cool in tins on wire racks for 10 minutes.

Note: Undecorated cupcakes will keep, covered, for 1 day, or frozen for up to 2 months.

Mint Buttercream Frosting (Simply Recipes)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tbsp milk

1/4 – 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

2 cups powdered sugar

 

Instructions:

1-Beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.

2-Beat in milk and mint extract.

3-Slowly add in the powdered sugar on low speed, stopping every once in a while to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until light and fluffy.

4-Taste and add more mint extract if it isn’t minty enough.

5-Also add more powdered sugar if it isn’t sweet enough for your taste.

Note: I usually put a little more than 1/4 tsp of the mint extract and exactly 2 cups of sugar.

Easy peasy and so delicious!

Have a great day!

-Lindsey

DIY Gift Idea: For your MistleTOES!

Happy Monday!

Today’s post is the perfect little gift for co-workers or girlfriends. A couple of years ago, I made this for my female co-workers. I always like to put a little something together for the girls in the office that I’m close with–in most jobs, especially sports, you spend a TON of time with one another and they’re all such great people. It’s the least I can do to thank them for the vent sessions or the help or advice for an event!

When I plan for gifts in the office every year, I always want to get something that can actually be used. Food is always a good option, too, but I usually prefer to do a gift for the ladies (we all know the guys prefer sweets!). This DIY was my gift two years ago and last year, I did a set of wine charms (DIY coming later this week). Hopefully, the girls think they’re useful! This would make a great hostess gift, too — you can always include multiple bottles of polish!

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Here’s how I did it:

Supplies

-Bottle of nail polish (I got mine for $1 a piece at Ulta on Black Friday – they were holiday-ish colors!)

Glitter pens (I use these and LOVE them; they’re great for nail art, too!)

Clear plastic bags

Jingle bells

Thin red ribbon

Blank gift tags

Fake snow

Red shredded metallic paper (Found this online, but I usually just buy it at Michael’s)

Instructions:

1-Make your tags. You’ll want to include “For your MistleTOES” on it somewhere, but put your spin on it. I used a Sharpie to write the message and then used the glitter pens to highlight ‘TOES’ and the heart.

2-Fill the bag about 1/3 full with the metallic shredded paper.

3-Add the nail polish bottle.

4-Lastly, sprinkle a little faux snow in the bag to give it some sparkle.

5-String the tag and tie it around the top of the bag once.

6-String your jingle bell on next and tie a double knot before tying the rest of the ribbo in a bow.

Easy, right? This idea was on Pinterest a few years ago and my co-worker and I both did it for everyone! Haha! But, you can never have too much nail polish, right?

What gifts do you give your co-workers? What’s your go-to DIY gift? Would love to hear more ideas!

Have a great day!

-Lindsey

 

Five Things for Friday

Happy Friday!

If you checked this post earlier, I’m sorry it was blank — not sure what happened. We’ve been having internet issues at home and, when I saved and scheduled the post, it had pictures and text, so who knows!

Tonight is not one of my favorite games of the season as the Pelicans play the Cleveland Cavaliers, my hometown team. I’m all Pellies tonight, but I always cheer for both when they’re not playing each other — GO PELS!

We’ve got a weekend of sports ahead with a Saints game on Sunday, as well. The undefeated Carolina Panthers are in town — it’d be fun to spoil that streak!

This week seemed to go pretty quickly. Lots of holiday projects and TONS of National Geographic Wild Big Cat Week. Nat Geo Wild’s programming has been killing it…it’s one of the only stations I’ve watched this week (besides Ellen, of course!). Every morning, Nat Geo Wild has televised a three-hour game drive from Kruger National Park in South Africa. On the website, the crew hosts two drives – one from 9:00 a.m. to noon (central time) which is the evening game drive for them and one from 9:00 p.m. to midnight (central) which is their morning outing. It is awesome — if you are able to tune in on the website, do it! If going on safari is on your bucket list, you’ll get a good idea of what a game drive is like. The guides are so knoledgeable and fun.

Here are your photos for the weekend!

IMG_29031Enjoyed this gorgeous sunset leaving work the day after Thanksgiving.

IMG_3042Sneak peek at our holiday decor.

IMG_2957Had to test out the tecnhology before Monday night’s What You Give Will Grow Dinner with Thomas Morstead. So much fun helping out at the event – Congrats to the WYGWG team on an amazing event!

IMG_2930Caught these two snoozing after a long weekend of decorating. Because they did SO much of the work.

IMG_2949All of a sudden, Jersey and JoJo enjoy cuddling. It’s the cutest thing ever. I made Jason snap some photos when they were sleeping so sweetly behind next to me on the couch.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and have a great Fri-YAY!

-Lindsey

10-minute project: Snowman Sweatshirt

One of the best part of the holidays are festive sweaters and sweatshirts. It’s a blast to go to a holiday party and don your favorite cheesy Christmas apparel. I can’t remember what I was reading, but recently, a link took me to the below sweatshirt on ShopBop.

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So cute, right? Price check: $98. What the WHAT?! (as my co-worker Julie would say). It’s cute, but that’s just too much for a sweatshirt that might be worn once a year. But… it’s the perfect DIY project!

This project cost under $15 and took less than 10 minutes. During a busy holiday season, that’s all you can ask for, right?

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Supplies:

-White sweatshirt (I got mine at Walmart for $5.96; it’s even cheaper on the website!)

-Sheet of orange felt

-Sheet for black felt

Liquid Stitch

-Scissors

Instructions:

1-Lay your sweatshirt out.

2-Cut two large squares with rounded edges for eyes, the carrot nose and seven squares with rounded edges for the mouth. I based the size of each on the proportions on the sweatshirt.

3-Cover the back with a hearty amount of Liquid Stitch and secure on sweatshirt.

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4-Let the sweatshirt and all the pieces dry for 30 minutes.

5-Enjoy!

I mean, really? How easy is that?!

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As you prep for the holidays, don’t spend too much time if you’re looking for a festive top for a party. This DIY will save you lots of stress and time. Throw on a red scarf, a black winter hat or top hat (that would be so cute!) and head to your party!

Have a great day!

-Lindsey