Thursday, October 31, 2013

Easy Homemade Cookie Butter Frosting!

Candy corn, sprinkles and cupcakes for a chilly, wet October day.  Life is sweet!

First I'm happy to share that finally (!) just this week, the trees have really become brilliant in color, and the leaves seem to delicately sprinkle from the sky, creating a carpet of many colors in our yard! This beauty is a gift from our Creator!  I'm loving every day of it.

Yesterday, I wanted to make a fun treat that the children could help with, something I could top with festive sprinkles that would be delicious in the way of the fall season!  The kids love cupcakes!  I already had a box yellow cake mix ... perfect!!  They helped me mix up the batter by pouring in ingredients and stirring, even though we used the stand mixer.  My little helpers had a ball in the kitchen!  The park--in all it's jungle-gym glory--wouldn't make them as happy as they are when making dessert with Mommy! :D

The yellow cupcakes baked so moist and tender.  I used extra large eggs which just work best in baking, and we mixed the batter... A lot!  I think those things helped to produce a really fluffy cupcake.  Not to mention, box mixes can make fantastic, easy cakes!

However, I did want to make a decadent homemade frosting to top our cupcakes with.  While the kids napped, I decided to whip the frosting together and do "my magic" to surprise them with some finished ones when they got up!  I was about to make my go-to rich chocolate frosting which is a classic with yellow cake, but I wanted to be adventurous and try out something new!  

Mr. Cozy and I absolutely love Biscoff cookie butter, and he has mentioned to me before about making another dessert using that.  Last year I made some outrageously good mini cookie trifles and topped them with cookie butter whipped cream.  It was certainly a winning recipe that I happened to make on the fly.  Don't you just love those sudden ideas!

(FYI: Cookie butter isn't butter at all, but a sweet cinnamon-gingerbready tasting spread that is wonderful alone, on graham crackers, or in recipes like this!  If you've ever had a classic Biscoff cookie, you know what (Biscoff) cookie butter tastes like.)

So I decided to make Cookie Butter Frosting!!!  I can't take credit for the recipe, but I'm so glad I found it on Pinterest.  It's really easy to make, has only 4 ingredients, has the perfect consistency, and it is delicious! The cookie butter frosting tasted perfect on yellow cupcakes, but it would look beautiful piled high on chocolate cupcakes, too!   Hmm..... 

Please. You have to try cookie butter frosting to jazz up your own box cupcakes or any other special cookie or cake!  

Happy Fall Baking Y'all!!!

Homemade Cookie Butter Frosting
Adapted from Dinner Dishes and Dessert

1 c. Butter (2 sticks)
1 c. Cookie Butter, such as Biscoff (mine was Trader Joes)
4 c. Powdered Sugar
4 Tbsp. Half n half

With an electric mixer, beat together butter and cookie butter.  Mix until blended.  Turn down the mixer to low, add the milk, and slowly add the sugar.  Add a little more more milk or sugar if you need to get a different consistency.  Turn the mixer up and beat until no lumps remain.

Frost onto cooled cupcakes.  Refrigerate cupcakes if you're making them for the next day.

Will be more than enough frosting for 24 cupcakes. :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Little Piggies in a Blanket!

These cuties are delicious, and they're such a perfect little appetizer for a game night or lunch for your children!  Easy is the word when it comes to piggies in a blanket, and they're fun to eat, too!  Here's the dilly ....

I use the Hillshire Farm turkey sausages so they don't have as much fat as the regular ones. I love the hot & sweet mustard that I rub in the cresent before adding the sausage.  It adds just the right flavor.  There is a yummy looking dipping sauce with this recipe that I need to make the next time.  My kiddos are easy, so when I make them for lunch I simply serve it with fresh grape tomatoes and pretzels or the like, but feel free to "jazz" them up however your family wants!

I know this is not a new concept, but here is the yummy recipe I've been using to make these piggies in a blanket for my own sweet, little Piggies!  ;)

Piggies in a Blanket
adapted from The Neely's
1 8 oz. can of refrigerated crescent rolls
3 Tbsp. hot & sweet mustard (or Dijon)
21 (about 1/2 pkg.) mini turkey sausages  "lil smokies"
Poppy seeds

Dipping Sauce ingredients:
1/2 c. Sour cream
1/2 c. Mayo
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 
1 Tbsp. Whole grain mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay out the crescent roll dough triangles, and using a pizza cutter make three strips lengthwise in them all.  Using a pastry brush or back of spoon, spread on the mustard.  Lay down the mini sausage on the wider end and roll up like you would any crescent roll.  Place on a cookie sheet.

In a small bowl, crack the egg and whisk with a little bit of water.  Brush the egg wash on the top of each roll.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.

Stir together dipping sauce ingredients for a dip, or eat them as is... Delicious!!!  They can also be made ahead and fridge rated for tomorrow's lunchbox:)

(I split my little one's sausages because they're still so young.  I always want to be careful to prevent choking.)

Creamy White Chicken Chili and An Eventful Week

I don't know about yours, but we've had a good fall season so far!  Even though Mr. Cozy has had no less than a crazy work schedule being on and off nights, he's had several weekends to enjoy the family, praise the Lord!  The children and I have had fun days playing outside and enjoying chilly mornings cuddling by the fire.

Last week my Mom came (aka, Grammy) to watch the kids a few days, because I had surgery in my mouth.  My first surgery ever and I had a very tricky impacted wisdom tooth laying on a facial nerve to take out and an old baby tooth that had to get pulled and replaced with an implant.  :/. Meaning the last week hasn't at all been fun and games for me. My mouth is still sore and I have some strange tingling that I pray will go away very soon!  You know, as a Mommy, every little discomfort seems to be magnified.  Instead of being able to lay around with a ice pack and ice cream all day.... there are lots of things to take care of with two little people on your own!  I always have heard that parenting is very sacrificial, but until I became one, I had no idea how true that is!

Thankfully my own sweet Mom was here last week.  Mr. Cozy couldn't take off even one night shift, so she was here to take care of me and the children.  She brought us a chocolate chip pie, hummingbird bread, made creamy potato soup, and brought gifts for the kids and us!  It was wonderful!!!  Mom was the biggest blessing in this whole process.  Last week, I was able to lay around with my cotton packed mouth with ice packs since I knew the kids were in Grammy's loving hands.

Another thing that happened last week--on the 16, the day after surgery-- was our 9th wedding anniversary!!!  Oh, how I wish I could've spent more time with my wonderful husband that day.... Our anniversary is one of the most important, special days of the year to us!  This year was our first as parents to our children on earth, although Bailey Faith (our daughter in Heaven) made us mommy and daddy for the first time 4 years ago.... This anniversary is full of redemption!!

I. Love. This man!!!!

We have survived so much together, and because of Jesus, thrived despite so many obstacles in our way.  He knows my ins & outs more than any other person residing on the planet and loves me anyways.  I love him so deeply!  It's really wild how much we're one...he really is a part of me on every level.

I don't mean to glorify our marriage or make it seem struggle free, because we have seen seasons that have been particularly trying and down right hard. Marriage really takes work, but we both know we're in it 100%, and that God has a powerful way of mending the broken places when we trust Him!  We're committed no matter what, and part of that means making our relationship a priority even in our bustling, hectic lives.  Saturday night, we visited his family, and Meme and Grandad graciously kept the kids as we went out to one of our favorite restaurant Max's Brick Oven.  It's really hard to have a date night with children AND living so far from parents, but we decided to make it happen and I'm so glad we did!  It was magical!

I enjoy showing love to my family by cooking for them, you all know that!  This comforting creamy white chili is something Mr. Cozy loves, and I do too!  We all gobbled it up with mini Jiffy cornbread muffins last night.

It's filled with chicken and white beans and flavored with green chilis and cumin.  The creaminess from the sour cream is rich and delicious!  I used the breast meat of a rotisserie chicken from the grocery ( love those!) to make this an even faster meal to put together.  I think it's simple and easy to begin with, though since it's a one pot wonder!  Add more broth or milk if you want to thin it out. Topped with crunchy tortilla chips and Monterey Jack cheese, this soup is sure to satisfy your cozy meal craving!

If the next few nights are going to be as cold as ours, it would be the perfect time to simmer away creamy white chili while your family warms by the fire and catches up on one another's day!

Creamy White Chicken Chili
Gooseberry Patch's Autumn in the Country

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1lb. chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 onion, diced (I used frozen chopped onion)
14 oz. can chicken broth
2 15 1/2oz. cans Great Northern white beans, rinsed and drained
1 or 2 small cans green chiles (I used one)
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. aground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
8 oz. container light sour cream
1/2 c. Milk
1/2 c. Half n half
Toppings: corn or tortilla chips and shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add onion. Cook until soft.  Add the beans, chiles, and broth and seasoning.  Bring to a boil.  Add the chicken and reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add sour cream and milks, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well and heat for a few more minutes.  Label into bowls and top with a healthy portion of chips and cheese.

Enjoy with loved ones on a chilly night!
Serves 4-6

Friday, October 11, 2013

Apple Pie & Autumn Days

Love Autumn!!!

There is something so comforting about fall's sights, smells and, of course, tastes. 
You know what I mean ... the crisp blue sky and the colors in nature going from summer's green to rusts, golds, plums, and blazing red.  

The smell of leaves on the ground (you know what I'm talking about) takes me back to my early childhood.  Jumping in huge piles of freshly raked leaves with my little brother is a favorite memory of mine!  My children are loving the beautiful colored leaves on the ground and collecting them along with acorns for a little fall "display" on our porch!  Precious.

It's pumpkin patch time, and we all go as a family for the very first time!! Here we are riding out to the patch together on a wagon!

What a dream come true for us...  Something I've looked forward to for many years! 

 The children's eyes lit up, as did my heart when they ran through the patch finding their perfect pumpkin!!

Back at home, get out the comfy throws and add an extra blanket to the bed for chilly nights in our upstairs attic-like master bedroom.  Blankets are my friends in cold weather, just ask my husband! 

This time of year our homes begin to smell like Grandma's house with vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin fragrances wafting in and out of rooms.  

We bring out our cozy recipes that simmer long and slow and start baking desserts that are really our favorite, like pumpkin spice muffins and pecan pie. 
And apple pie!  
Windows are opened again during the day to air out and cool off, and fireplaces are ablaze at night and early morning.  

Rainy days that bring in cold fronts give an additional excuse to light our candles and brew afternoon coffee... Such as this particular day last Saturday.  A perfect day!

The children were resting, and Mr. Cozy and I had an impromptu date in our living room!  I made Nana's (perfect) apple pie to really give us a taste of the season.  He made amazing coffee with extra fluffy foam on top.  He topped it off with a dusting of Pennsylvania maple sugar that Papa gave us as a yummy gift. Oh my!!

Melt in your mouth apple pie, perfect coffee, rainy afternoon, candles and sharing it all with the love of my life!.... What could be better?!

My new book, Women Living Well!!!  

When my blog "friend" Courtney Joseph just released her first book, I had to preorder it.  I was thrilled it came in on a rainy weekend so I could really dig in and read!!  

And oh, how it's a good read!

Courtney loves Jesus with all her heart, and she has an amazing online ministry (Women Living Well).  She is so lovely in spirit and genuinely enjoys all things home & family as I do, but she is also very real and relatable!  When I read this book, I feel as though she's talking to me in my own home, as a friend does.  This book is encouraging to read and the more I do the more I want to serve my family and draw closer to the Lord.  She and I have never met, but we certainly could be close friends!

(There are a few of you whom I feel the very same way about:)

Y'all really need to try out Nana's apple pie recipe (delicious!) and also this book if you haven't yet!   

My life has even more facets now, but I still like to keep pleasures simple, and I draw the rest I need from God's love and grace.  He is the only constant in our changing lives, and the return of Autumn reminds me of that. :)

If you love apple desserts like we do, you must check out my Caramel Apple Cake and Best Apple Crisp!  
 Linking up with friends at: