Coconut Rum Cupcakes

I have more cupcakes I want to try than I have events to bake them for! This is a flavorful little guy, so if you don't like coconut...it's not the one for you. I have had my eye on this baby for a while, but never got around to making it. Then I saw that Kate, from A Healthy Passion, took this awesome recipe and and brought the calorie and fat count down a bit, which is awesome! I know that it's difficult to lighten a coconut recipe, it's just naturally high in fat...but so yummy! I just had to try them.

Coconut Rum Cupcakes-Lightened up!
adapted by A Healthy Passion, originally by How Sweet

3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup salted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/3  cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup coconut rum

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together until fluffy. Add vanilla and coconut extracts and mix until combined.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients. Add coconut rum and fold in shredded coconut.

Pour into cupcake tins and bake for 20-25 mins at 350. Let cool, then frost.

Malibu Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut rum
1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream butter until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternating with rum and vanilla, until desired consistency is reached. Feel free to add more or less sugar or liquid based on how thick you want your frosting.

Curious George Cupcakes

A friend asked me to make cupcakes for her son's 1st birthday party..it was a Curious George theme...super cute idea! I wanted to keep the cupcakes simple, she had a really cute cake planned. 

So I just went with some primary colors and a Curious George stand. I hadn't finished it in this picture, it ended up saying "Happy Birthday Cillian" down the three tiers with little pictures of bananas and other monkey business.   :-) 

I don't have a lot of practice with cookies yet, but I wanted to make some to decorate the cupcake stand a bit. So I did some with the baby's name, little number ones, and of course the yellow hat! You know, like the Man in the Yellow Hat's hat. 


Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

This is one of my two favorite summer salads. My mom started making this a couple years ago and I seriously couldn't get enough of her first batch. It's so fresh, so tangy, and just downright yummy! If you don't like cilantro as much as we do, cut back on the amount or go ahead and leave it out. There are enough flavors to carry this salad without it. But for me, the cilantro is the best part! I love this with some rotisserie chicken in a wrap! mmmm

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw
(Original recipe: Eat Smart Magazine)

4 cups cabbage, shredded (I used a bag mix)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1- 14 oz can sweet corn corn kernels, drained
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup Splenda (you can use sugar, but the calorie count will not be the same)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill and serve. 

Makes 8 servings: 37 calories, 1g protein, 0g fat, 9g carbs, 2g fiber, 12mg sodium


Countdown Muffin Tin

The parents of the kids I watch went to Paris for a few days and I wanted to do a countdown project with them to help me them through the week. 

I didn't have much to work with and between camps, classes, and playdates we never seemed to find the time to go to a craft store...so we made due. It may not be the cutest thing ever made, but it certainly did the job and the kids had fun making/using it. They helped make the actual "calendar" then I sent them out of the room to fill it so they would have a surprise a day until their Mom and Dad came home. I loved watching them work together to pick out the papers, cut them to the size, and the older one did a great job with the numbering.


So in every cubby, I put a note for each child and a little treat. Before their parents left, I had them write a note a day for each boy, just telling them something about where they would be on the trip or giving suggestions to combat the "I'm Bored" summer phenomenon.

(Yes that is a Dora bracelet, the little guy LOVES Dora..and jewelry.)

The kids couldn't wait to take off a number each day and see what Mommy and Daddy had to say, as well as what little toy or candy they would find. Next time I will plan ahead and get cute papers, or magnetic paper even...though I don't think the boys will know the difference. :)


S'mores Bars

What is summer without S'mores? This little bar of awesome was created because I needed a dessert for an event, didn't have time to go to the store, and had to use what I had on hand. I was originally going to make Rice Crispy treats, but only had Special K and Golden Grahams on hand...what's the obvious choice there?! 

So S'mores bars were born!

S'mores Bars

6 cups Golden Grahams
4 tablespoons butter  
5 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Grease a 9x13in pan and set aside.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium low heat. Add 4 cups mini marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat and pour in Golden Grahams cereal. Stir until completely coated. Fold in remaining cup of marshmallows. Gently press into pan using waxed paper.

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until smooth. Transfer chocolate to a ziplock bag.

Remove the waxed paper and snip the tip of the bag, just a little so the chocolate can come out slowly. Drizzle over the cereal treats. Let cool until chocolate has hardened then cut into squares.



Raspberry Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are one of my favorite desserts. I can resist cakes, pies, and cookies, but lemon bars? Never. So when I saw this recipe for Raspberry Lemon Bars on Two Peas and Their Pod,  I had to try it! I love their blog, so many great recipes and their pictures rock! If you haven't stopped by, do it! You'll be happy you did.

My In-Laws were coming over to go see Harry Potter and I needed a quick dinner/dessert combo so we wouldn't be late. I decided on these and they were definitely worth it! Quick, easy, and delicious. I know it's a little strange that there isn't any flour or anything, but it works! Next time I'm going to try it with blueberries...mmm!

Lemon Raspberry Bars


For the crust:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted (I used light butter)
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon

For the filling:
2 large egg yolks
1-14 oz. can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
6 ounces fresh raspberries


Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 8 by 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Stir until graham cracker crumbs are moist. Press crumbs into the prepared pan, pressing the crust mixture one inch up the side of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Once the crust is cool, combine the egg yolks and condensed milk until well mixed. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir until mixture begins to slightly thicken. Gently fold in the raspberries. Fold carefully so you don't break the raspberries.

Pour the lemon raspberry filling evenly over the graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just set.

Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least one hour before serving. Cut into bars and serve. Keep bars in the refrigerator-up to five days.


Prom Dress scraps to Necktie

So to get to this craft, you need to get through all my big sisterly love! 

May and June were really crazy, but great months for my family. My little sister went to her senior prom,

Then my little brother had his 8th grade dance..

In June they both graduated. Sissy's off to college, 

And B-ry will be going to high school!
It's hard to believe the time has gone so fast...but it certainly has been fun so far! I can't wait to see all these two will accomplish in the coming years! We are very proud of both of them.

OK, now on to the crafting! So, Sissy got her dress hemmed..of course, because we're a family of shorties :)  (except for Daddy!)  and she asked if I could make her date a tie from the scraps. I said "Of course" before I thought about whether I knew how to do that or not...but I figured, it's a pretty simple shape...plus I had a month. I was using one of hubby's ties as a template when I noticed the inner lining...so I grabbed an old one, took off the silk and this is what I was left with...

Perfect, right?! A little fabric interfacing and I was on a roll. I got the fabric to stick to the lining, but then I ran into a problem. I couldn't sew it shut because you would see the stitching, so I ended up hand stitching it shut...verrrry carefully. The fabric her dress was made from was NOT forgiving at all. It showed every little pull, so I was careful not to make many!

 He said that everyone loved it! And look at how it matched his boutonniere...


And of course it made the Queen happy..

*Yes, that means she was Prom Princess last year, and both Homecoming and Prom Queen this year. 

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!


And with those pretty purple flowers in the background...Perfect!

Strawberry Pecan Muffins

It's amazing how many things I can think of that "I've been meaning to do" when there is unpacking and cleaning to be done. hehe Well, here's another procrastination project...Strawberry Muffins! 

My first grade teacher sent me this recipe a few weeks ago and they looked so yummy, I decided to make them for Sunday brunch with the hubster. Now, these are low fat, but of course I had to add a streusel topping! But I was good about it...And doesn't it make it look just delicious?!


Strawberry Pecan Muffins
(Original recipe: Taste of Home)

• 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or a wheat/white mix)
• 3/4 cup sugar (Can use Splenda Blend)
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used cinnamon b/c I don't like nutmeg)
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
• 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled (I used light butter)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1-1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries 

For the topping:
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4-1/3 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, combine the first four ingredients. 

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, butter and vanilla. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in strawberries. 

Fill muffin cups coated with cooking spray or lined with paper liners two-thirds full. Sprinkle on topping.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. 

Yield: 1 dozen. 


I {heart} power outages :)

I have always loved when the power goes out. When I was growing up, it seemed like it happened all the time. I can remember one time when it was out for a few days (not as much fun as a few hours) and I had a project due for school. Ironically, the assignment was to write a journal from the perspective of a pioneer headed west in a covered wagon...so my dad got me out the oil lamp and said "There, now it's authentic!" What fun! He sat next to me and read the paper while I worked at the coffee table. 

Well, as an adult, I haven't really experienced power outages of any great length, but it did go out for a few hours last night because of the storms. It was awesome! The lightning outside the window, the crashes of thunder...so fun! We lit some candles, which was easier said than done since we just moved and nothing is unpacked. Poured some iced coffee, and talked on the couch. It was wonderful. No tv. No phones. No internet. Just us.  After a while we found enough candles to play a game, so we got out our favorite backgammon set. (Pete crushed me in both rounds, as well as the game of Scrabble to follow) I'm not a good opponent...unless you want to win. haha

My honey. Iced coffee by candlelight. Board games.
The simple pleasures in life :-)
I still love when the power goes out.


Tiramisu Layer Cake

My Dad loves Tiramisu and since it's one of his favorite desserts, I decided to make him a tiramisu birthday cake! I've had this recipe in my "to make" folder for some time now and thought Daddy's birthday would be the perfect time to try it out! It was a hit, although I didn't have instant coffee powder, only espresso so the coffee flavor was not as strong as I would have liked. Still yummy though!


And it looked pretty good too! So chocolatey...mmm 
I even made a monogram out of dark chocolate. Though be careful if you put candles on the cake...the monogram will melt...quickly. Lesson learned. :-)

Tiramisu Layer Cake
  • CAKE:
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package moist white cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1/4 cup (strong) coffee
  • 1 tablespoon coffee flavored liqueur
  • 1 (8 ounce) container mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) pans.
  2. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Divide two thirds of batter between 2 pans. Stir instant coffee into remaining batter; pour into remaining pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. In a measuring cup, combine brewed coffee and 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur; set aside.
  4. To make the filling: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer set on low speed, combine mascarpone, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur; beat just until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  5. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the cream, 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur until stiff. Fold 1/2 cup of cream mixture into filling mixture.
  6. To assemble the cake: Place one plain cake layer on a serving plate. Using a thin skewer, poke holes in cake, about 1 inch apart. Pour one third of reserved coffee mixture over cake, then spread with half of the filling mixture. Top with coffee-flavored cake layer; poke holes in cake. Pour another third of the coffee mixture over the second layer and spread with the remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer; poke holes in cake. Pour remaining coffee mixture on top. Spread sides and top of cake with frosting. Place cocoa in a sieve and lightly dust top of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  7. To make the chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of the chocolate bar.

I've got the blues..and I don't mean Mac and Cheese :)

I have been a crazy person these last few weeks, between moving and switching jobs, I haven't had any time for crafting. 

Boo :-(

Well, now that we're in our new place and I have a few jobs to choose from, I can begin again! Woohoo! I have already made my first peach pie, tried a few new recipes and done a couple crafts...yet I haven't unpacked all my boxes..whoops! hehe Priorities, right? 

Here's a necklace/earring set I made for a giveaway a few months ago, I am trying to catch up on past posts...bad blogger! This set went to a woman in my church, Linda, who correctly guessed where my lost keys were! (In the washer...not great, but they still worked!)
 She loves blue, so I went with a few shades of blue and then some clear glass beads to fill it out. I want to make one for myself now! It can be long or short depending on how you use the toggle...an idea I got from another necklace I have. I liked it because it could very easily be causal or dressy!



Baked Kale Chips

This year I have tried to focus on healthy eating and so far I've been doing well! (Parties don't count, right??) I'm a snacker, so I've spent a lot of time trying to find healthy, satisfying snacks. I had been wanting to make the Kale Chips for a while now, and finally got around to it! They are definitely not the "chip substitute" they claim to be, but they are an interesting, salty, and munchable snack...that's what I was going for. I'm not a big chip eater, but I love salty pretzels. These were a little bitter, but had a neat texture. Definitely worth trying.


Crispy Kale Chips

Recipe by: Melissa d'Arabian


  • 1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I used a Misto so it was quite a bit less oil)
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food. 

 * * My only suggestion would be to keep an eye on these little guys..you don't want them to brown or they won't be as tasty.