Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lemon Cupcakes


Today I am sharing with you my recipe for a refreshing Lemon Cupcake. I used a cream cheese based frosting which brought all the flavors together perfectly making them not too sour or overly sweet. They are very delicious and I hope you have a chance to try them! 


Ingredients
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon Extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
Yellow food coloring (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
Prep cupcake pans with liners.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. 
Add dry ingredients into a mixer bowl.
Add oil and mix on low speed, once incorporated add the eggs, milk, lemon extract, zest and coloring.
Mix on low speed for about 15 seconds.
Scrape sides and mix on low speed for about a minute or until the batter is all mixed together. DO NOT OVER MIX.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. For a moist cupcake you do not want to over bake them. Take them out before they turn golden brown and when you think they might be a little underdone. Cool cupcakes and ice with the following recipe.

Icing
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature
1 pound confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In an electric mixer cream together butter and cream cheese for about 1 minute.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add sugar a little at a time.
Scrape side and add lemon juice.
Mix on medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until the icing is at your preferred consistency.


ENJOY!


Nichole

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Time to Get Organized

A while back I made a list of things I needed to get done around the house and once the holidays were over I decided it was time to get it all done. At the top of my list was of course to get organized!! I am an organizer in life, I love it and I get really excited about it, so this was a fun project for me to start with.

First off our living room was in serious need of a redo. We typically watch TV in this area as well as this is the kids' play area. It is gated off so the kids can play as they please without getting into anything that they shouldn't be. Before our redo we had a bench toy box that the kids' toys were thrown into. After a few birthdays and holidays the "toy box" was over flowing with toys and could never be closed. It drove me crazy how messy this area looked even when all the toys were put away. 

To help this area I purchased a cubical shelf unit and fabric containers from Target and the area looks SO much better, well at least when the toys are actually put away and cleaned up that is. Check out the before and after pictures:


Before

After

Next I worked on our closet which is constantly a work in progress. Since it is used and thrashed on a daily basis it is hard to really get it perfectly clean and "together". But before I reorganized it we had stuff everywhere, nothing had a particular home and the shelves were not organized at all. I literally just did some cleaning, putting things away and purchased tons of plastic bins to organize all the stuff into. It is not a huge looking difference because there is so much stuff in our closet but it is SO nice for everything to have a place and for it to look cleaner. Check out the before and after pictures: 


Before




After



Besides our closet and the living room I did some organizing in the kids' dressers, closets and the kitchen and it feels so great to have things more in order around here.. 
Thank you for taking a look and I hope this inspires you to get a little more organized in your life.


Nichole

Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebrating Valentine's Day with the Kids


If you haven't figured out by now I absolutely love to celebrate all holidays, including Valentine's Day. I will take any excuse to get creative and have a good time. Since we have two toddlers Valentine's Day is spent with them and this year I want to make the entire day filled of fun activities, yummy and fun looking food, beautiful decor and a fun set up. I of course turned to Pinterest for a little inspiration and wanted to share with you some of the fun things I found and what I plan to do while celebrating Valentine's Day with the kids and my hubby this year.

Activities


On Valentine's Day I want to have the kids make Valentine's for family and friends
and I love this idea to make some celery stamped Valentine's



My daughter would have fun doing this color sorting activity, especially when using candy! 


My daughter loves to bake and lately it has been cupcakes but I think she would 
love to do some cookie decorating. 


This heart matching game would be perfect for my daughter


Both the kids would love making these Tissue Paper Wreaths


Check out my Kids Valentine's Day Art Projects as well for some fun ides

Set up/Decor

For lunch on Valentine's Day I plan to set up the kids' table then for dinner we will all eat at our dining table, I love all the ideas I saw but these stood out:

This is by far my favorite Valentine's table! I am absolutely in love with it as well as the rest of the party found on Amanda's Parties To Go...


I absolutely love this kids table set up shown on Pottery Barn Kids' website


Beautiful table decor and set up


Love this dessert table 


This dinner set up would be perfect for dinner with the kids
From Wannabe Balanced Mom





Fun Food


absolutely LOVE the idea of having food to fit your holiday and/or theme and Valentine's Day is so much fun with shaping as much food as you can into a heart. Take a look at these very creative foods that I found:

This entire dinner from Workman Family has to be one of my favorites.
So much detail was put into it and I love it all!





Love these fun dinner rolls from Rhodes


Love this Heart shaped pizza from Wilton. Just use their heart pan and they provide the recipe! 

My kids would love these Calzones from Ziggity Zoom


Love the cheese heart on the salad and of course the table set 


YUM! Pudding Parfaits


Start the morning with some heart shaped pancakes


Loving this adorable lunch from Jenny's Cookbook


Thank you for taking a look
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day spent with your loved ones!!

Nichole

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's GIVEAWAY time over at Wannabe Green.. GO enter to win!

Its GIVEAWAY day!!!

Special thanks to all of my amazing January sponsors and swaps for being such a wonderful group this month. You all have made my start to the New Year one to be remembered.

Now lets do the same for 1 lucky Winner.....

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Good Luck Stay Crafty,


Nichole

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Delicious Creamy Potato Soup Recipe



Today I am sharing with you my Creamy Potato Soup Recipe that has been in the works for some time now. I am a huge fan of a good potato soup and I have tried many recipes over the years and they just weren't that perfect soup that I have been looking for. After so many failed attempts I began putting together my own recipe and I now have that perfect Creamy Potato Soup that I had been looking for. I hope you have a chance to try it out through the next few cold months and enjoy it just as much as I do. 


Creamy Potato Soup Recipe

Ingredients: 
7 medium size potatoes
1 small yellow onion, minced
4 cans of chicken broth
2 cups water
3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 sticks of salted butter
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp sugar

Toppings:
Shredded cheese
Bacon broken into bits 
Green onions chopped

Directions:
Peel and cut potatoes into bite size pieces.
Boil potatoes in a large pot until they are cooked enough to poke a fork through but not too mushy. Drain potatoes and set aside. 
In the large pot melt the butter on medium-low heat. 
Add onion and stir until they are cooked. 
Add flour and stir while it cooks for about 2 minutes. 
Add Chicken broth, water, celery salt, pepper, basil and sugar.
Slowly add the heavy cream.
Carefully add the potatoes.
Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add more salt and pepper as you desire.
Serve, sprinkle with toppings and ENJOY!


Nichole

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Enter to WIN during Nanny2Mommy's Sponsor Giveaway

Today I am sharing with you a giveaway that is taking place over at Nanny2Mommy. I have had the privilege to sponsor her blog this month so please check it out and enter to win some awesome prizes
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Thank you all for dropping by today.

This is my first Sponsor Giveaway as a host and I am so excited to have all of these wonderful bloggers as sponsors.

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Nichole

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thumbprint Cookie Recipe


Today I am sharing with you another cookie recipe that I made over the holidays that is one of my favorite. This recipe was my Grandmothers and I got it from my Mom last year and finally got around to making them. They are amazing so be sure to try them!

Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3 egg whites lightly beaten
1 cup preserves (any flavor- I used Raspberry and Apricot)

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Blend in egg yolks and vanilla. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time. Roll dough into 48 equal balls. Dip into egg whites and arrange on greased baking sheets. Press thumb in center of each cookie and fill with jam. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, cool and ENJOY!


Nichole

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Decor

Of course we have another holiday upon us and I love any excuse to decorate. Today I am sharing with you my Valentine's decorations. I switched things up from last year and added some of the fun art that our daughter made to our mantel. I absolutely LOVE the teal mixed in with the reds and pinks.


Our mantel.. My favorite place to decorate!


My favorite part of the mantel has to be these branches with the hearts hanging from them
This was so simple to make! 
Literally get branches and hang punched out hearts on string and hang on the branches


 

This fun sign I made last year with each of our names on it
A very fun piece to have forever

Thanks for taking a look!
Nichole

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