everyday food made simple

Happy New Year, friends!

golden oreo cupcakes

To say that it’s been a while would be an understatement, so thank you for sticking with me and following along despite the fact that SEF has been on a long hiatus since May of 2015.

The main reason why it’s been a little quiet on the blogging front is because I’ve been a leeeetle preoccupied with something else in our life right now. Something that’s been taking up most of my energy..

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Yep, we found out we were expecting a little bundle of joy (it’s a BOY!) not too long after we came back from our Taiwan trip last May, so instead of spending time blogging, I’ve been spending my energy shoving donuts and cinnamon rolls in my face and taking multiple naps on the couch for the past 9 months.

I can’t promise that there will be regular posts on SEF once the baby is born, but I’ll do my best to make an appearance on here every once in a while in between the messy hair, sleepless nights, and multiple diaper changes.

Now that we’ve got the big news out of the way, did everyone have a fabulous holiday season filled with family, friends, fun, and food? I hope so. Our holiday season this year was pretty low-key considering I’ve been achy, tired, and uncomfortable pretty much 24/7. Putting up Christmas decorations and planning a feast and making a few dozen Christmas cookies just seemed way too exhausting while carrying around a 6+ pound bowling ball.

To celebrate the beginning of 2016, let’s start the year off on the right note – cupcakes!

Diet? Diet schm-iet. You can resume your healthy diet after you make these cupcakes!

golden oreo cupcakes

golden oreo cupcakes

These golden Oreo cupcakes are made with a little help from a box of yellow cake mix. Each cupcake is lined with a golden Oreo on the bottom as a surprise, and is topped with homemade fresh whipped cream frosting.

golden oreo cupcakes

golden oreo cupcakes

IMPORTANT: Because the whipped cream frosting uses heavy cream as one of its main ingredients, I would recommend either making and piping the frosting right before serving. If you prefer to make the frosting ahead of time, transfer the frosting into a piping bag, store it in the refrigerator and pipe onto cupcakes when they’re ready to be served.

golden oreo cupcakes

golden oreo cupcakes

I brought these to work and they were a huge hit! Everyone loved the little Oreo surprise on the bottom and people raved about the fluffy frosting that had just the right amount of sweetness to it.

 golden oreo cupcakes

Thank you again for everyone’s support throughout the past few years and sticking with me even when posts have been scarce – let’s make 2016 a good one!

golden oreo cupakes with whipped cream frosting
Print
For the cupcakes
  1. 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  2. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  3. 1/2 cup sour cream
  4. 1 cup skim milk
  5. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  6. 1 box yellow cake mix (I used a 15.25 oz box from Betty Crocker)
  7. 1 package (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
  8. 24-26 Golden Oreos
For the frosting
  1. 2 cups heavy cream
  2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 24-26 mini Golden Oreos, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners and place a Golden Oreo in each liner. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, sour cream, milk, and oil. Beat over medium speed until combined. Then slowly add in the cake mix and pudding mix and beat until just combined. Spoon about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons worth of batter into each liner.
  3. Turn your oven down to 350 right before you place the cupcakes in. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (mine took exactly 20 minutes). Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes before transferring them onto a wired cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Right before you're ready to serve the cupcakes, make the frosting: beat the heavy cream over medium-high speed then gradually increase the speed to high (I used the splash guard that came with my mixer to prevent splatters all over my kitchen walls). Add in the powdered sugar, pudding mix, and vanilla extract, and continue to beat the mixture on high for about 5 minutes, or until frosting looks pale and fluffy. Pipe onto cupcakes prior to serving and top with a mini Oreo.
  5. Makes 24-26 cupcakes
Notes
  1. Because this frosting uses heavy whipping cream, the piped cupcakes cannot be stored at room temperature. I transferred the frosting into a piping bag, stored it in the refrigerator, then piped the cupcakes (as many as needed) right before serving.
  2. Otherwise the unpiped cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Living Better Together
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Living Better Together

© 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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If you are ever in need of a quick, easy cookie recipe that’s going to make you the most popular person at a potluck (or if you want to bribe your coworkers to like you – which is what I do all the time), you totally need to add this recipe to your list.

mississippi mud cookies

These cookies may be the easiest cookies I’ve made in a long time. How easy, you may ask? Well let me tell you the two main things that make up this cookie.

Hold on to the edge of your seats, my friends. Ready?

  1. Cake mix.
  2. Marshmallows.

And that chocolate drizzle that goes on top? You bring butter and milk to a boil, throw all the other ingredients in the pot, whisk, and drizzle away.

See? Told you it was easy. There’s barely any prep work that goes into it. No waiting around for things to chill in the fridge or 12 different steps to follow just to make some cookies.

mississippi mud cookies

mississippi mud cookies

mississippi mud cookies

Although these are extremely simple to make, your coworkers or friends would never guess that the actual cookie was made out of a box of cake mix. Talk about a cookie tasting like it came from a gourmet bakery without all the effort and the price that goes into making or buying a gourmet cookie.

mississippi mud cookies

The cookie is soft and chewy. The marshmallows are sweet and gooey. The chocolate sauce? It’s there for a whole lotta fancy and a titch of sweetness.

mississippi mud cookies

mississippi mud cookies

They look and smell so good that even your dog will be willing to stand guard for these cookies – you know, in case some crazy eagle swoops in through your window and snatches the entire pan with its long talons and flies away with it to a nearby tree…

Unless your dog is like my dog and likes to take naps while on guard duty.

mississippi mud cookies   mississippi mud cookies  mississippi mud cookies   mississippi mud cookies

….Well, then you’re on your own to defend that eagle…. :)

mississippi mud cookies
Print
For the cookies
  1. 1 box Devil's Food Cake mix, dry, not prepared (I used a 15.25 oz box of Betty Crocker)
  2. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  3. 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  4. 3 cups mini marshmallows
For the chocolate drizzle
  1. 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  2. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  3. 2 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  5. 3 tablespoons skim milk
  6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, butter and eggs until well combined. Drop about 1.5 tablespoons worth of dough on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1-2" of space in between each dough ball.
  3. Bake for exactly 8 minutes. Remove cookies from oven (do not remove from cookie sheet) and top each cookie generously with mini marshmallows - press them down a bit if they keep rolling off the cookie. Return cookies back to oven and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely
  4. While the cookies are cooling, make the chocolate drizzle: In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, salt, and powdered sugar and set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter and milk to a boil. Add in the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar mixture. Whisk vigorously until mixture is smooth. Drizzle over cookies*. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  6. Makes 18-20 cookies
Notes
  1. * If your chocolate drizzle starts to harden, pop it in the microwave and heat in 15 second intervals until runny again.
Adapted from Chef In Training
Adapted from Chef In Training
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Chef In Training

© 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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Hey guys! Guess what?

Today we’re celebrating a special day that’s coming up tomorrow and I’m quite excited about it.

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I’ll give you a few hints:

  1. It’s going to be a two-year celebration
  2. It involves something that started out as an idea, which turned out to be a hobby
  3. It involves food (lots and lots of food), lots of time in the kitchen, hours of time spent on learning photography and techie things, and a little space I own here on the internet

That’s right, you guessed it! Tomorrow will be Simple Everyday Food’s 2nd blogiversary! Can I get a whoop whoop?!

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This little site of mine started out as an idea, and after a few encouragements from the mister, I bit the bullet two years ago, signed up for my own domain name, and BOOM! SEF was born. Fast forward throughout the years, this little corner of mine here on the world wide web has slowly became my happy place where I get to temporarily run away from everyday stresses, let loose, and be creative. I still have so much to learn in regards to the food blogging business, but SEF wouldn’t be able to continue to grow without all my supporters and those that I constantly learn from every single day.

So it’s only appropriate that we celebrate this special occasion with sprinkles. Lots and lots and looooots of sprinkles. And instead of a cake, we’re celebrating with some soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls. Homemade cinnamon rolls dotted with plenty of sprinkles baked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection, generously drizzled with a sweet and creamy cream cheese frosting with sprinkles, to be exact.

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A big thank you to all of you who have been part of this journey – I wouldn’t be here without you guys! xoxo

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overnight funfetti cake batter cinnamon rolls
Print
For the rolls
  1. 2 and 1/2 cups water
  2. 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 box funfetti cake mix (I used Pillsbury)
  5. 5-6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling
  1. 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  2. 2 and 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the glaze
  1. 2 and 1/2 oz light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  2. 3 tablespoons milk
  3. A splash of vanilla extract
  4. 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  5. rainbow sprinkles for garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat water in a microwave safe bowl until it reaches ~120-125 degrees F. Sprinkle in the yeast and salt and give it a good stir. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake mix and the 5 cups of flour, stir to combine. Using a dough hook attachment, slowly add in the yeast mixture and vanilla extract. Turn on the mixer and mix on low, gradually increasing the speed to medium-low. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is still too sticky, add in additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until it no longer sticks to you hand (I only used about 1/2 cup of extra flour). Remove dough and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until it doubles in size, about 1-2 hours.
  3. In the meantime, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside. Grease two 9x13" baking pans and set those aside as well.*
  4. Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into two portions so it's easier to work with. Turn half of the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle, approximately 11x15" (or in my case, my dough always turns out to be a large blob instead). Brush half of the melted butter onto the dough, covering every single inch if possible. Then generously sprinkle half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly on top.
  5. Starting on the long end, tightly roll up the dough and cut dough into 10-11 slices, about 1.5-2" thick each. Place into prepared baking pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  6. Cover baking pans and let rise overnight on your kitchen counter.
  7. The next morning, bake rolls in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown (mine took exactly 15 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool.
  8. While the rolls are cooling, make the glaze: beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add in the milk and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Drizzle over rolls and sprinkle with additional rainbow sprinkles, if desired. Rolls taste best the same day, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days**.
  9. Makes 20-22 rolls
Notes
  1. * If you only have one 9x13" baking pan like me, you can always use a 9" pie plate along with the baking pan.
  2. ** You can always freeze one pan of the rolls after they've cooled from the oven, then wrap well and freeze. Thaw out in the refrigerator or at room temperature, make the glaze, and heat rolls in microwave until warm.
Adapted from Something Swanky
Adapted from Something Swanky
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Something Swanky; glaze recipe adapted from Well Plated

© 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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I had originally planned on posting this recipe next week, but these cookies turned out so pretty (and delicious) that I couldn’t help but share it with you guys a week early!

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Brian is a fan of the holiday Oreos. He swears that they taste better than the regular ones, and has tried convincing me that the Halloween ones are the best, despite the fact that I personally think they are the same thing and taste exactly the same (except for the different designs and different colored filling)… but I don’t think he believes me.

I think it’s all mental. I think somewhere in Oreo’s headquarters dwells researchers that have conducted market research that show people are more likely to buy “new” products if they change the look of the product and make them “limited edition”, even if they keep the recipe the same.

Do you think the Halloween Oreos taste better than the regular ones?

Since Halloween is just around the corner and my local grocery store has strategically placed all these tempting Oreos right by the checkout aisles, I caved and bought myself a pack of them. I knew they would make the perfect cookie with some of the Halloween sprinkles I bought at the craft store a few weeks back.

You know I’m a sucker for all things sprinkles!

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I purposely made a big batch of these cookies earlier this week, knowing that I had my one-month post-LASIK checkup on Friday, and wanted to bring a couple dozen of these for the staff at the Whiting Clinic to show my appreciation of how wonderful they have been. I hope they liked them!

If you don’t want to make so many cookies at once, you can halve the recipe… although these cookies do freeze well and it never hurts to have frozen cookie dough in case of any late night cookie emergencies. Also, you can definitely use regular Oreos for this recipe (or any flavor for that matter). And it’s definitely not limited to just Halloween sprinkles either – use your favorite kind, none at all, or mix all your favorite sprinkles together to make it one colorful cookie – the possibilities are endless.

I decided to divide the batter in half since I had two different Halloween sprinkles I wanted to use – a spooky green/purple/orange one, and a candy corn colored one… the perfect pairing with some orange cream-filled Oreos! But dividing the batter into two also resulted in a lot of “transferring of the doughs”, which would’ve been a lot easier if I had two electric mixers…

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Basically you’ll be making one basic cookie dough and mixing in the add-ins separately. And trust me when I tell you that your arms will thank you if you use an electric mixer – it saves time and muscle and mixes everything better since the batter will be pretty sticky. The chopped Oreos may come apart while you mix them in and that’s totally okay! You’ll get swirls of the orange filling throughout the dough which will give the cookies a beautiful festive look.

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About 1.5 hours after you chill the dough, make sure to take it out and roll them into dough balls. If you chill them for too long, the dough gets hard, making it difficult to roll. Once they’re rolled into balls, you can refrigerate them up to 3 days if you don’t plan on making them right away.

I normally prefer a thick puffy cookie rather than a thin one, but these turned out so good! They’ll look slightly puffy when you take them out of the oven, but they’ll flatten out a bit as they cool. The outer edges are slightly crunchy, but the insides are oh so soft and chewy with tons of chopped Oreo cookies laced in between each bite.

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So. Frickin’. Good.

halloween cake batter oreo cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 and 1/2 cups vanilla cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. A pinch of salt
  5. 1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  6. 1 cup granulated sugar
  7. 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  8. 2 eggs, at room temperature
  9. 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 1 cup Halloween sprinkles*
  11. 20 Halloween Oreos, roughly chopped**
Instructions
  1. 1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. 2. Using an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and sugars together on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Then add in the vanilla extract and mix until combined, scraping down the sides in between if needed.
  3. 3. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gradually increase the speed to low-medium until everything is combined.
  4. *** If you plan on using only one kind of sprinkles, go on to Step 4 ***
  5. *** If you plan on using two different kinds of sprinkles, skip to Step 5. ***
  6. 4. Add in the sprinkles and mix on low. Then add in the chopped Oreos and mix on low until everything is evenly distributed.
  7. 5. Divide the batter in half (approximately is fine), and place one half of the dough in a separate bowl (we'll call this Dough #2). Add in Sprinkle #1 to the dough that is still in the mixer bowl, mix on low and then add in the chopped Oreos until combined. Remove Dough #1 into a bowl and set aside. Put Dough #2 into mixer bowl, mix in Sprinkle #2 and chopped Oreos until combined.
  8. 6. Cover bowl(s) with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 1.5 hours. Roll dough into balls (I used a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop) and place in a tupperware, cover tightly, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Cookie dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days.
  9. 7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes and let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them onto a wired cooling rack to cool completely. Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
  10. Makes 60 cookies
Notes
  1. *If you plan on using two different kinds of sprinkles like I did, you'll need 1/2 cup of each
  2. **If you plan on making two different batches, divide the roughly chopped Oreos into two separate bowls
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

© 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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Is anyone else sad that it’s already mid-August and summer is coming to an end? Where did my summer go? I made a whole list of summer to-dos at the beginning of the summer, and there are so many things I haven’t got to cross off the list yet!

But let’s try to be positive here – even though summer is ending, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be 20 degrees and snowing the next day (but you just never know in Minnesota). There’s always the Minnesota State Fair, all things pumpkin and apples and cinnamon, the beautiful fall foliage, and plenty of crisp fall days ahead of us!

But as long as it’s 80 and sunny, I will be clinging on to every last day of summer. This includes the making of all things that scream summer that are bursting in summer flavors! Like this lemon gooey bar.

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This lemon gooey bar tastes exactly what it sounds like – lemony and gooey. If I could’ve called it “The Amazingly Delicious Soft and Gooey Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Bars”, I totally would’ve. Soft lemon bars sprinkled with plenty of white chocolate chips… every bite is melt-in-your-mouth amazing! I brought some to work to share with some lemon-loving coworkers and I’m pretty sure the pan was gone within the hour. Word sure travels fast around the hospital when there are sweets involved!

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These bars are made in a similar manner to the peppermint gooey bars I made last winter. If you haven’t tried those yet, I do highly recommend you do so sometime!

So you’re going to make the dough first, pressing half of it into the bottom of the pan. Then do a little bit of drizzling of some sweetened condensed milk and a bit of sprinkling of some white chocolate chips. Tear the rest of the dough into little pieces, pressing them on top. Don’t worry if the pieces don’t cover the whole pan completely – they will expand and stretch out once you put them in the oven.

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The entire process is super straightforward and simple, but you know what the most difficult thing about making these bars is? The waiting. I hate waiting, but believe me when I tell you these taste way better when you actually wait patiently for them to cool completely. I highly recommend running a few errands and getting out of the house while they cool so you’re not tempted to check on these bars every 3 minutes (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything… ahem).

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lemon gooey bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  2. 1 box (16.25 oz) lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  3. 1 egg, at room temperature
  4. 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  5. 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9" baking pan with aluminum foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer, stir butter over medium speed until fluffy. Mix in the cake mix and egg. Beat until texture resembles cookie dough.
  3. Place about half of the dough in the bottom of the pan, press to form the crust, making sure all corners and sides are covered with dough. Sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly over the dough and drizzle with the sweetened condensed milk. Drop balls of remaining dough evenly over the top. Press lightly. Don't worry if the entire surface isn't covered by the dough balls - the dough will expand once cooked in the oven.
  4. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Once completely cooled, bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Crazy for Crust

© 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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