Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Champagne Frosting

Valentine’s Day is a month away and in stores it’s hard to avoid. In fact, I saw Valentine outfits for babies in DECEMBER! What in the world?! I don’t typically observe Valentine’s Day in any major way like decorating the house or giving lavish presents but I do like to acknowledge it in small ways. I typically love all holidays but I guess I’m a bit of a Valentine’s scrooge. One thing I can get on board with over Valentine’s Day are the treats! Give me all the yummy meals, decadent desserts and sweets! If you don’t buy into the fancy, over-priced candlelit dinners and extravagant gifts then why not acknowledge your Valentine with a homemade sweet treat. You can’t ever go wrong with chocolate cake so I whipped up these easy chocolate cupcakes and got into the festivities with a delicious pink champagne frosting. All of the luxury and sweetness without the added cheese 😉

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Chocolate Cupcakes

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Or maybe you could say “I Love You’ with the gift of peppiness 😉 Take a look at my Vanilla Cupcakes with Espresso Frosting for an alternative caffeine fix!

How sweet are these Valentine’s apt baking items?

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Football Food: All American Game Day Snacks

Football season starts THIS week! Who’s excited?! I won’t pretend I’m ecstatic. Football is so big here and I find it overwhelming. I don’t understand the game and my team has been chosen for me thanks to my die-hard Greenbay Packers husband. Thus far, it’s been a loud and obnoxious whirlwind of jumping in the air, shouting at the TV and occasionally, week-long sulking over losses. There is something I absolutely can get on board with though and that is football food. Sunday football games call for All-American comfort food, delicious snacks and refreshing beverages! Football Sundays are the ultimate ‘cheat day’!

Football Food All American Game Day Snacks

Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to sniffing out fun new recipes to try and football season is no different. From basic recipes to creative works of art, there is a virtually unlimited selection of ideas. Here are some of my favorites!

Appetizers

Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread

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Husband is a big bread lover and while I’m not overly keen on carbo loading before eating my meal, I am always up for some tear ‘n’ share bread. This one from Creme && Crumb encapsulates the best of two worlds!

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

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I’ve made this dip multiple times now and while the amount of sour cream involved is slightly horrifying, the taste will make you forget all your problems. Try it with thick cut potato chips.

Mains

Twisted Hot Dogs

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The great American hot dog! Could it even be game day without one? Chicago dogs are my favorite but I can’t wait to try these dogs with a twist!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

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If you’re not a fan of MidWest delights then go further South and opt for some BBQ pulled pork sliders. They’re guaranteed to go down a treat.

Oven Baked Steak Fries

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I love thick cut fries (or ‘chips’ where I’m from!) and these super chunky steak fries are divine. Try them with salt and vinegar or fresh parmesan and garlic!

Dessert

Chances are after all the delicious savory food, there won’t be much room for dessert but just in case here’s some adorable dessert ideas!

Peanut Butter Football Dip

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Oreo Cookie Ball Footballs

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Want to skip the fattening cookies? Then opt for a fruity alternative!

Chocolate Dipped Football Apples

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What’s your favorite football food?

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Effortless Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Anyone who knows me, knows I am desperately willing Autumn to arrive. Chunky knit sweaters, boots, comfort food and darker evenings – I love it! If only Georgia actually experienced cool weather! So in order to bring Winter to me, I hike up the AC, don my winter woolies,  switch the flame on our fireplace and start eating my favorite comfort foods. The best thing about such food is that a lot of it can easily be made in the slow cooker. There is nothing I love more than being able to dump ingredients into one large pot and walk away until it’s time to eat!

Effortless Slow Cooker Taco Soup

When I moved to the US, I found it difficult to get into the swing of cooking dinners we both liked for an entire week. I was raised (stereo typically) on meat and potato based meals and it was hard to transition to a lot of culturally diverse dishes. Luckily I found I liked the majority. For such a fussy child, I will try anything now. Husband however, will not. Once tacos became a staple in our household, we fell into a rut. I felt like I cooked more sloppy tacos than I cared to look at and I was keen to branch out.

After feeling ill for a couple of weeks I hit up Pinterest and pinned a whole bunch of soup recipes. I saved a Chicken Enchilada Soup and it got me thinking about another variation of our tacos! I tweaked the enchilada soup recipe to be the easiest taco version I could muster and it turned out to be the most divine, tasty dish!

The title of this post is ‘Effortless Slow Cooker Taco Soup’ because truly, the most difficult step involved is opening the cans! This soup is as satisfyingly easy as it is delicious!

Effortless Slow Cooker Taco Soup

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Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Who loves cinnamon rolls? I do! I’ve been known to eat a whole pan. Not that I condone that sort of behavior! I realized that I hadn’t baked any cupcakes in a long time and as I was humming and hawing over what flavor I was craving, I saw a tube of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls in the fridge (yes, I cheat sometimes!) and my mind was made up!

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Have you made any Cinnamon Roll variations?

Let me know in the comments!

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3 Ingredient Bounty Bars

Bounty Bars, or Mounds as they are known in the US, are one of my favorite chocolate bars. Growing up, my mother would have them in the house but I thought coconut was the worst thing in the world. What was wrong with me?! I am a huge coconut fan these days.

3 Ingredient Bounty barsInstead of purchasing desserts, I try to bake as many sweet things as I can simply because I can see what’s going into them. I don’t claim to bake healthy versions of these treats but they are an awful lot ‘cleaner’ than the majority of items in America’s candy aisles.

I have said many times before that I’m an advocate of minimal ingredients, steps and clean-up when it comes to kitchen activities. Well this recipe is no different. With just three ingredients and two easy steps you can enjoy a Bounty! This is a great recipe to try with kids!

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Vanilla Cupcakes With Espresso Frosting

Ever feel like you’ve had too many cups of coffee but still want to enjoy a coffee? Get your coffee fix via these light and fluffy, vanilla cupcakes with rich espresso frosting! I love finding new ways to enjoy coffee and nothing goes better with a cup of coffee than coffee flavored baked goods! I didn’t want to over-do it so rather than make coffee cupcakes, I made simple vanilla cupcakes with a rich and creamy coffee frosting.

Vanilla Cupcakes + Espresso Frosting

Have you tried espresso cupcakes or frosting?

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Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookies

I have a sweet tooth which those of you who follow me on Pinterest will already know. I don’t know about you guys but I LOVE salted caramel. Whether it’s chocolate, ice cream, coffee or baked goods – I just love the sharpness of the salt counteracting the sweetness of the caramel.

Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookies

 

I am not a fan of cooking or baking that requires endless washing up or tricky preparation. If it has more than 10 steps, I’m not interested! This is why I adore these cookies. They have just three, yes three ingredients and they are so quick and easy! They won’t win any awards for being the lowest calorie cookie out there but sometimes we deserve a treat. Everything in moderation, right?

I posted before about my Fool Proof Shortbread Cookies but here’s a recap so it’s all in one place.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy salted caramel?

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Georgia Peach Smoothie

This Georgia Peach Smoothie is no joke!

Georgia Peach Smoothie

I love a good smoothie. They’re so easy to whip up and you can enjoy a tasty, sweet treat without the guilt. I love drinking them for breakfast to kick off my day with a healthy start or after a workout to re-energize.

Here in Georgia peaches are aplenty in fact it is known as the Peach State and pretty much everywhere you go to eat or drink has a peach treat to offer (my personal fave being a Peach Margarita I had once on River Street, Savannah!). I just bought some peaches and couldn’t justify baking a cobbler for one so to use them up, I decided to try a peach smoothie. A new flavor for my repertoire and boy, I’m glad I did. It was delicious.

Peach State

I’m not one to follow a particular smoothie recipe, usually just dumping whatever I can find into my blender. My standard base is always a half cup of vanilla yogurt, a dash of orange juice and a medium sized banana. This time I added 3 cups of sliced peaches, a quarter cup of cubed pineapple, a half cup of ice (if you choose frozen fruit, skip the ice) and a spoon of honey.

Peach Smoothie

Voila! Peach perfection!

GA Peach Smoothie

What’s your favorite smoothie flavor?

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Homemade Snickers Bars

Snickers are my favorite! Peanuts, caramel, nougat and chocolate. What’s not to love?

Homemade Snickers Bars

 

I’ve noticed that European Snickers bars are a thousand times nicer than their American counterparts so I took matters into my own hands so I could enjoy the Snickers I know and love. Imagine my surprise when they turned out nicer than the originals. Toot, toot goes the sound of my own horn!

Snickers Bars
Homemade Snickers Bars
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12-24 bars 20-30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-24 bars 20-30 minutes
Snickers Bars
Homemade Snickers Bars
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12-24 bars 20-30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-24 bars 20-30 minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Line a 11×7 inch baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Microwave half of the peanut butter with a cup of chocolate chips in a bowl until melted.
  3. Evenly spread the chocolate mixture in the bottom of the baking tin.
  4. Freeze until hardened, 3-4 mintues should suffice.
  5. While your base is hardening, combine the marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar and 1/4 cup peanut butter until it resembles dough. This nougat stage is the trickiest. That marshmallow fluff is super sticky!
  6. Spread your nougat evenly into your tin and sprinkle the peanuts over it. Lightly press them into the nougat.
  7. In a small saucepan, over a medium to low heat, combine the caramels and cream. Stir continuously.
  8. Pour caramel over the nougat immediately. Spread evenly.
  9. Chill in the fridge for 5 minutes or until set.
  10. Melt the remaining half of the chocolate chips and peanut butter together.
  11. Pour over the caramel layer and return to the fridge for 15 minutes to set.
  12. Cut whatever way you wish and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

The great thing about these bars is that they are constructed in stages so while one layer is chilling in the fridge you can go about your other business and come back whenever you’re ready!

Snickers Ingredients

Snickers Method

 

Snickers Bars

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Fool Proof Shortbread Cookies

The thought of baking shortbread can be daunting but what if I said these cookies have just three ingredients? Yes, THREE!

Foolproof Shortbread Cookies

Next time your sweet tooth is tingling and there’s no sweet treats in your cupboard, fear not! Just three kitchen staples will culminate in the most delectable, buttery cookies. Perfect for accompanying your tea or coffee but are also adorable wrapped up in a neat little package and given as a gift.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and in celebration of my upcoming national holiday, I’ve made use of my shamrock cookie cutter to make these larger than usual (who’s complaining?) cookies!

Fool Proof Shortbread Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12-15 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time
12-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-15 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time
12-15 minutes
Fool Proof Shortbread Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12-15 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time
12-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-15 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time
12-15 minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Mix the butter and powdered sugar together until smooth and creamy
  4. Add the flour one cup at a time until a dough is formed (dumping it all in at once will make your life a lot more difficult!)
  5. Shape the dough into a large ball
  6. Dust your counter top with powdered sugar
  7. Roll the dough about 1/4 inch thick (If you want your cookies thicker remember to compensate your baking time!)
  8. Use a cookie cutter of your choice and carefully lift onto baking sheet (I recommend rounds on your first attempt as shapes tend to crumble!)
  9. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are golden around the edges
  10. Cool on a wire rack
    Fool Proof Shortbread Cookie Method
Recipe Notes

 

Foolproof Shortbread Cookies

Looking for something for the kiddos? Then try these adorable Leprechaun Hats from The Cake Blog!

Are you baking something special this St. Patrick’s Day?

 

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