Monday, March 8, 2010

My Big Helper

It's no surprise that I spend lots of time in the kitchen on the weekends.  I have loved cooking for as long as I can remember.  My mom always told me that I started following recipes when I was pretty young.  She did the parts that pertained to fire or the oven, but the rest was up to me.  As I got older Mom was very supportive of my cooking endeavors and more than once allowed me to experiment on the family with new recipes.  Some were hits, others were definite misses.

I try to share my passion for cooking with my girls as well.  Brynne and Brooke always help in the kitchen and it's such a joy to show them new skills as they get older.  They have grown from simply following my instructions to reading recipes on their own.  Brynne even gets to use the "good knives" and it working on knife skills.

This weekend it was me and Tori at home.  The past few weeks she has become very inquisitve and independant. "I'll do it BY MYSELF." is her new motto.  Something else I head many times this weekend was, "Let me help you."  So I did.

She got to use her little toddler knife to cut up Velveeta (that I had already cut up) for chicken and rice.  She also got to brush the egg wash onto the loaf of french bread.  She was so proud of herself!

Sunday afternoon her ZeeZee stopped by for a visit.  We were all hanging out in the family room when Tori disappeared and got very quiet.  Anyone with a small child knows this is never a good thing.  When I called out to see what she was doing she yelled that she was doing the dishes.  Sure enough, she had pulled up her stool and was scrubbing away at the loaf pans I had soaking in the sink.  This was the best picture I could snap before I had to rescue my counter from being flooded.

I love my girls so much!  I'm so proud to be their Mom.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thin Mint Cupcakes

My thoughtful husband brought home ten, yes I said TEN, boxes of Girl Scout Cookies from work Saturday morning.  This should keep my emotional eating habits supplied for at least the next week or so.  But seriously, I had to think of something to do with some of them so they didn't end up taunting me from the cabinet.  I needed to make two dozen cupcakes for a church event and knew this would be the perfect time to experiment.  They were for the youth group and everyone knows that teenagers eat anything!  So even if they weren't great they wouldn't go to waste.

I took a shortcut here and used boxed cake mix.  I had it handy and I'm not ashamed to admit it. :-)  You can definitely used your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.

Thin Mint Cupcakes


1 box chocolate cake mix, prepared, or your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.
1 box Thin Mint Cookies
Double batch mint chocolate buttercream icing, recipe to follow.


Prepare cake batter according to box or recipe and preheat oven as specified.  Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.  Chop one sleeve of thin mint cookies into course pieces.  The other cookies can be cut in half to garnish the frosted cupcakes.

I usually use an ice cream scoop to measure out cupcake batter for uniform cupcakes.  In this case, you want the cookie pieces in the middle of the batter.  So put half the batter into the liners, sprinkle with crumbs, then finish filling in the batter.  Bake according to the recipe/box and allow to cool completely.  Frost with Mint Chocolate Buttercream and garnish with cookie halves.  I use a pastry bag and this tip that I ordered from Bake It Pretty to make the pretty swirl of frosting.

Mint Chocolate Buttercream adapted from Wilton


1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened

3/4 cup cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares, melted

1 teaspoon clear peppermint extract

4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)

3-4 tablespoons milk

Makes: About 3 cups of icing.


In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and extract. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.