everyday food made simple

1. During a moment’s lapse of judgment, I decided to join Snapchat. I’m not sure what made me do it, but I thought I needed to jump on the bandwagon since it seems like a lot of people I know have been joining the Snapchat community lately. I don’t even know where to start – I’m still slightly confused at the point of the whole thing. If someone could enlighten me, that’d be swell.

2. Who’s ready for summer? Oh me!! Over here! Meeeee!!!! Can you see me frantically waving my hand over here? I can’t wait to make this Mexican street corn recipe this summer. It looks so crisp and fresh! Not to mention the fact that our family eats corn in the summer like it’s going out of style.

3. Speaking of summer, Minnesota’s been super blessed with some amazing sunny warm weather lately. Here’s a list of restaurants around the metro that have amazing patio seating. I intend to check a few off of my list this summer.

4. Scrambled eggs and cheese-stuff biscuit waffles?! OH. EM. GEE. I saw these a few weeks ago and made them for dinner one day, complete with homemade sausage gravy. It was delightful and ridiculous. Biscuits and waffles and eggs and cheese and sausage and gravy?!  Mmm mmm mmm.

5. Did anyone else see this? I really thought this was created by some guy who was sick of his cranky PMSing girlfriend/wife and designed this out of frustration. Nonetheless, it’s genius. “I need a scoop of “I Think I’m Dying” and a scoop of “Don’t Come Near Me” in a sugar cone please”. Bahaha!

6. If you were born without the fashion gene like I was and have trouble figuring out what to wear with what, I found this guide on to how to layer clothes. Every day I’m thankful that I have a job that I don’t have to think too much into what I’m going to wear to work. Usually the biggest decision I have is planning out whether or not my coworker and I want to be matchy-matchy or not. Throw on some scrubs, make sure they’re not inside-out, make sure your hair is presentable, there’s no drool crusted on your face, and out the door I go.

7. And if you’ve been called a hoarder and your loved ones have staged an intervention for you before (this has not happened to me… yet), here’s a link to ways on how to part ways with things that you may think you need, but you really don’t need.

8. When it comes to mac and cheese, I’m all about using spiral-y pastas… unless it’s the traditional 79-cent boxed mac & & cheese (with yellow cheese) – then only elbow macaronis will cut it. I’ll totally be making this recipe sometime in the near future.

 Have a good week everyone!

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samoa cupcakes

Before we go any further, don’t you just want to lick that caramel drizzle off your screen????

Those who know me know that I’m a sucker for sweets, especially when it’s anything that involves mint and chocolate. So when you see me choose anything over mint chocolate, you know it’s gotta be good. I don’t do it often, but when I do, you know Girl Scout cookie season is upon us

…(I would’ve made you a Dos Equis meme of myself, but I didn’t want to make a fool of myself).

As big of a Thin Mint lover as I am, the Samoas have traditionally been my favorite – the shortbread cookie, toasted coconut, and the sweet chocolate and caramel drizzles over the top are flavor combinations made in heaven.

And believe it or not, I actually still have an entire box of Samoas stashed in the back of my cookie cupboard from last month – it’s a miracle in itself that that box has survived this long!

samoa cupcakes

And then there are these ridiculous cupcakes. The cupcakes with layers and layers of textures and flavors that makes it a sweet, decadent, indulgent treat – yellow cake dunked in rich dark chocolate, topped with a sweet fluffy caramel buttercream (made from scratch!), garnished with crunchy toasted coconut flakes and drizzled with more melted dark chocolate and caramel sauce.

Pardon me as I wipe the drool off of my keyboard.

samoa cupcakes

samoa cupcakes

Pretty much everything in this recipe is made from scratch, except for the coconut flakes, because, well, I can’t seem to find coconuts anywhere around where I live, and shredding them myself seems a little time consuming…

samoa cupcakes

samoa cupcakes

But can we first talk about this homemade cake?! It’s OMGIcanjusteatallthecakesbyitself good. It’s so soft, fluffy, moist, and super duper delicious!

samoa cupcakes

Next up: the caramel sauce. It may seem easier to use store bought caramel sauce for this recipe, but please believe me when I tell you that you definitely need - NEED!!! – to make this homemade caramel sauce. It seriously only took me maaaybe 5 minutes to make and you can definitely taste the difference between the homemade version vs. the store-bought ones. The flavors are more pronounced – stronger, richer, and way more intense in flavor… I promise you totally won’t regret it!

So promise me you’ll make the caramel sauce? Pinky promise? I’ll even give you some tips!

  • Make sure you read all the instructions (preferably several times) prior to making the sauce… you want to know what you’re doing before you start the process rather than reading the instructions as you go. Get all the ingredients you need before starting: you want to have everything you need in arm’s reach, because once things start happening, it goes fast.
  • Although it only takes a few mere minutes out of your day to make this, it’s kind of a recipe that requires you to babysit it as you make it. That means if you’re a multi-tasker like I am, try to refrain from having five things going on all at once that all require your attention (ahem Pinterest, Instagram, changing the TV channel, trying to get the dog to stop harassing the cat…).
  • At the same time, be patient! It may take a few minutes for your boiling sugar-water mixture to start turning colors, but don’t forget to swirl your pan occasionally and have your whisk handy for when the mixture turns amber brown.
  • Once things start happening, whisk whisk and whisk some more! Make the whisk your best friend for these few minutes. Be one with the whisk.
  • Don’t be scared of making caramel! Seriously, it may seem like a daunting task but it’s really a lot easier than it seems. Plus as cliche as it sounds, it really does taste so much better (I just typed “butter” instead of “better”… hahaha!) than store-bought ones. Not to mention that it will also make your house smell like a caramel candy-making factory.
  • You’ll most likely end up with extra caramel sauce, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find things to do with it. I’m pretty sure I’ve ever heard of anyone complaining about extra caramel… have you?!

Add this homemade caramel sauce into some plain ol’ buttercream frosting, and you’ll end up with the a frosting that may just be the highlight of the entire cupcake.

samoa cupcakes

samoa cupcakes with caramel buttercream frosting
Print
For the cakes
  1. 1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  7. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  8. 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  9. 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. 1/4 cup skim milk
  12. 1/4 cup buttermilk
For the caramel sauce
  1. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  2. 3 tablespoons water
  3. 3 tablespoons butter (I used unsalted butter because that's what I had on hand - you can use salted butter or a combination of both unsalted + salted, if desired)
  4. 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, combined in a small bowl
Caramel buttercream frosting
  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 2 cups powdered sugar
  3. 1/3 cup caramel sauce
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, if necessary
Optional toppings
  1. Chocolate sauce* (see Notes)
  2. 1/2 cup toasted coconut
For the cakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine the milk and buttermilk, whisk together and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and whip using the paddle attachment on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl if needed. Add in the vegetable oil and mix some more. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium-low speed after each addition just until mixed. Add in the vanilla extract and mix some more.
  4. Add in the flour mixture and the milk mixture into the butter, alternating between the flour and the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture, mixing until just combined after each addition (flour - milk - flour - milk - flour).
  5. Spoon cake batter into the lined muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (mine took exactly 17 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wired cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the caramel sauce
  1. {Before starting this, read the instructions first - I have tips on how to make the caramel sauce in the post, and gather all your ingredients so you have them nearby}
  2. Using a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat, whisking constantly to make sure the sugar completely dissolves. Once the mixture starts to boil, stop whisking. Carefully swirl the pan every once in a while the mixture continues to boil. Once the mixture reaches a dark amber color, add in the butter and whisk vigorously until butter has melted and is incorporated. Remove from heat immediately, wait 3 seconds, then very carefully pour in the heavy cream while you're constantly whisking the mixture. Be very careful, as it may splatter as you add in the heavy cream. Whisk until smooth and let cool before transferring to a bowl/container to cool completely.
For the caramel buttercream
  1. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and beat on medium speed until combined. Add in the caramel sauce and the vanilla extract and continue to beat on medium-high until frosting looks light and fluffy in texture. If the frosting looks too thick, whip in 1 tablespoon of heavy cream at a time until you reach desired consistency.
To assemble the cupcakes
  1. Dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes into the chocolate sauce, letting the excess run off and return cupcakes back to their upright positions. Let the chocolate have some time to harden prior to piping the frosting, about 10-15 minutes. Pipe the caramel buttercream frosting over the tops of the cupcakes with your favorite piping tip, top with toasted coconut flakes, and drizzle with extra chocolate and caramel sauce. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  2. Makes 12 cupcakes
Notes
  1. * To make chocolate sauce: add 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each interval until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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1. I’m all about storage hacks that can effectively de-clutter the house, because organization is kind of my thang.

2. I grew up being a Disney child, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I still watch Disney cartoons to this day, especially the classics (Beauty and the Beast, anyone?). But have you ever thought about these questions when you watched Disney movies? I haven’t. What happened to watching cartoons for the pure love and enjoyment of it all? Do we really have to think that much into everything? (Although I’ve gotta admit that many of these questions are all very legit)

3. I can relate to almost every single one of these. Does that mean that I’m old? But for the record, hospital personnel (and many EMS people) still carry beepers around.

4. Last week, Nadia Cakes rolled out their annual April Fools cupcake line. Of course I had to get them. I felt like many of them tasted similar (vanilla cake, vanilla frosting), but kudos to them for the beautiful, meticulously decorated cupcakes. I couldn’t get myself to eat the Tootsie Roll kitty poop. I just couldn’t.

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5. Speaking of April Fools, did you see this? Imagine ALL THE GLITTER with one simple spray.

6. Peeeeps. You either like them or hate them. Here are 6 things that you probably didn’t know about those yellow marshmallow chicks. Me? I don’t mind them, but I also don’t buy packs and packs of them at a time. But Peeps s’mores? That’s something I’m on board with.

7. In case you’re into listening to Podcasts and you just happen to love food as well, here’s a list of some food Podcasts that you might want to check out. I’ve tried getting into the Podcast thing but listening to people talk on air just has never been my thing.

8. Sweet, decadent dessert bars that ooze melty chocolate, salted caramel, creamy Nutella, and peanut butter? I think I need to have every single one of these in my life.

9. These homemade noodles. They remind me soooo much of home. Chewy, non-uniformly knife cut noodles that puts any other kind of noodles to shame.

Have a wonderful week, folks!

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fluffernutter donuts

My coworker Katie, who’s from Massachusetts, recently informed me that their state sandwich is the fluffernutter sandwich (do you think they say it with an accent? Like a “fluffanutta” sandwich?). She told me that creamy peanut butter + marshmallow fluff sandwiched between two pieces of white bread was what her mom made her for an after school snack growing up, and it was basically the best thing ever.

I’ve never actually had a fluffernutter sandwich before and boy was I missing out.

These donuts are soooo good!

fluffernutter donuts

The peanut butter-based donuts are soft and fluffy and bursting with rich peanut butter flavor. One bite into and I bet you’re going to be all like OMGthisissogoodcanIhaveanotherone. I probably could’ve taken a whole dozen of these pre-frosted donuts and been happy about it. But this is a fluffernutter donut after all, and no donut is ever complete without a sweet sticky glaze on top… especially one that’s made with marshmallow fluff that transforms the entire donut from a peanut butter donut into a fluffernutter donut.

A fluffernutter donut you guys! It can’t get any better than this.

fluffernutter donuts

fluffernutter donuts

But wait! It totally did… you know what I did? Yep, I drizzled more peanut butter on top. Gooey, creamy melted peanut butter that I could’ve just slurped up with a straw.

fluffernutter donuts

fluffernutter donuts

And if you’re going to eat half a dozen donuts for breakfast, you might as well eat donuts that are healthier, right? To keep the cake soft and fluffy, we’re using protein-packed Greek yogurt, so naturally these are good for you. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

fluffernutter donuts

Don’t worry, I won’t judge if you eat the entire pan – I almost did. #sorrynotsorry

After we demolished these donuts, I made myself fluffernutter sandwiches for breakfast for about a week straight. #truestory

baked fluffernutter donuts
Print
For the donuts
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  5. 2 tablespoons low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  6. 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  7. 1 large egg, at room temperature
  8. 1/3 cup skim milk
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting
  1. 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  2. 1/4 cup marshmallow fluff
  3. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1-2 teaspoons heavy cream
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. A few extra tablespoons of peanut butter, melted, for drizzling (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray your donut pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set that aside, too.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and brown sugar on medium speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula if necessary. Add in the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat for another 1-2 minutes until combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix on medium-low speed until batter comes together. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (mine took exactly 11 minutes). Remove donuts from oven, let cool for 3-5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wired cooling rack to cool completely.
  3. While the donuts are cooling, make the frosting: using an electric mixer, beat the butter, marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of heavy cream, and salt on medium speed until smooth. If the frosting looks too thick, add another teaspoon of the heavy cream. Dip the tops of the donuts in the frosting, letting the excess drip off, then place the donuts back on the rack for any extra frosting to run off. Drizzle the melted peanut butter over the tops. Donuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  4. Makes 9 donuts
Adapted from Buns In My Oven
Adapted from Buns In My Oven
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Buns In My Oven

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Welcome to the very first post of my new weekly series here on SEF, which I am calling “What You Need To Know Tuesdays”. I wanted to call it “What You Need To Know… Or What You Might Not Care About But I Want To Share It With You Anyway”, but then the abbreviation would’ve been WYNTKORWYMNCABIWTSIWYA, and that seemed a little ridiculous.

I figured this can be a place where I share interesting links I have stumbled upon on the interweb throughout the week, and serve as a platform for everyone to chime in and share things as well.

1. Did anyone try the birthday frappuccino from Starbucks last week? You know, the cake batter-flavored blended sugary drink that is topped with a pretty pink whipped cream that they rolled out to celebrate Frappuccino’s 20th birthday? It sounded amazing, and it tasted just as equally amazing.

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2. Does anyone have any experience with compact digital cameras such as these or these? We have a big trip coming up and I really don’t want to lug around my giant heavy DSLR camera during this trip and would really like something that’s light, compact for traveling but yet still takes high-quality pictures like my DSLR. Thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

3. In case you’re planning on spring cleaning soon, here’s 10 handy-dandy little shortcuts you can use. I’m quite dreading the weekend when we decide to tackle cleaning and purging things from our garage.

4. This potato salad. Bacon and Sriracha? Sold.

5. Apparently I’m on a salad kick because this pasta salad also looks and sounds amazing. I have a feeling I’ll be making a lot of pasta salads this summer.

6. A brewing guide for all coffee lovers. It’s more like a flowchart, which greatly pleases my Type A OCD personality. Me? I usually either go for my Keurig or Starbucks/Caribou.

7. A list of useful nail hacks for future manicures. I don’t paint my nails and get manicures on a regular basis (unless you count once a year as “regular”), but I’m definitely going to refer back to this guide next time when I get them done!

8. Are you ready for Easter? If you’ll be knee deep in dying Easter eggs this weekend, here’s a guide on how to make your own natural dyes that’s pretty, vibrant, and bold in color.

Hope everyone has a good rest of the week!

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