Friday, July 3, 2015

Chocolate Buttercream Heaven and Holidays

Seriously guys, this is the best icing.  This is the icing my mama made for every birthday, and every holiday celebration.  It isn't cake or cupcake for me without this icing.  SUPER simple.  I've seriously never bought canned icing because of this recipe.  I'm super spoiled. 

This was the trick my mama always used to make people think her cake was homemade!  She'd just whip up a regular cake mix (Duncan Hines is her label choice) and make this scrumptious icing.  NO ONE EVER ASKED if it wasn't homemade.  The icing makes the cake.  Promise.  Because so many have requested I tell my secret, I decided to do a cute download card and a step by "easy" step tutorial on just how to make this miracle happen.  

First combine the room temp butter and 6 cups of the powdered sugar.

Grab your Hershey's Cocoa (I keep mine in a cute jar because of my sister Kami).

Add 4 HEAPING tablespoons to the bowl.

Then add a tablespoon of vanilla.  Let's talk vanilla for a second...

As many of you know I grew up in Texas.  I SWEAR by this stuff.  It's the BEST vanilla in the world. I've tried several brands/kinds and this can't be beat.  My baking isn't the same without this.  It's called Adams Best.  I order it online because I can't get it in Utah.  I order it in the gallons!  haha  

Seriously though, I go through it like crazy.  I just transfer it into a glass jar and keep refilling as I go.  My cookies don't taste the same without this stuff.  Order yours today.  You won't regret it.  If you live in the south...well, put down that "other stuff" and get to HEB or Walmart.  NOW!

Liquid heaven.
Ok, ok...back to the icing.  Start mixing the amazing ingredients. Adding milk as you go.  I like semi-soft/semi-medium consistency unless I'm frosting a very warm cake.  Typically you are supposed to wait until the cake is cool, but let's be honest...Ain't nobody got time for that!

Whip it...whip it good. (80's reference)

Oh man does this smell like heaven.  

You can also use this icing for brownies!  SO Delish.  
Whip some of this bad boy up and enjoy a little southern homemade perfection.  

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Save leftovers for dipping graham crackers in or just a simple plastic spoon in the middle of the day for a quick sugar rush.  Ahh, the memories and the joy this stuff brings. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

BROWNIES and a happy weekend.

Today I am excited for a lot of reasons.  First and foremost, I'm back on my blog trying to manage to post regularly now, work full time, and still find time to create every day.  Also, my 6 ft, 7" tall BABY brother, Travis, is coming to town from brownies are in the oven.  What could be better than that?  A clean home??  Yeah, that will have to wait!  haha  Really though, I'm so itching to scrapbook, journal, paint, cook, bake, create and basically get this blog thing up and running again.  So today, since my very favorite brownie recipe is in the oven and it's starting to smell DIVINE, I'll post this perfect recipe again.  I've posted it before, but it's just that good.  HAPPY WEEKEND and thanks for continuing to follow me and support my crafty habits. :)

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Thursday, January 8, 2015


I've been gone from blogging for a while as I decided to start working again (October 2013).  I thought it would be a short vaca from my blog, but it turned into over a YEAR!  AHHH!  Not what I planned, but as we all know LIFE gets in the way sometimes and priorities change.  In that time I've journey into the land of "weight loss" (lost 55 pounds last year), my daughter got married and my baby daughter (she's 19) left two.5 weeks later on a 18 month LDS mission.  She's headed to New York, New York South mission (Long Island, Queens, get the idea).  SO, a LOT has happened, and kept me VERY busy, but I'm ready to start adding to my site again. :)  I really appreciate all the friends/family who kept visiting my site and finding something fun to do or make.  Thank you to those of you who are new and just finding out about my loves which include crafting, cooking and first and foremost…my family.  So WELCOME and WELCOME BACK to me.  Stay tuned to new and exciting posts within the coming year.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Tomato Basil SOUP

(Free download.  Save to your desktop and print a 4x6 photo out at your local Sams/Walmart)

Who doesn't swoon over a warm bowl of Tomato Basil Soup and a warm loaf of homemade bread?  Especially on a cold, breezy day.  Well, my son's favorite soup is this one.  Always has been.  When I lived in Texas there was this amazingly quaint Bistro call LaMadeleine's.  They served a very similar soup which was my favorite.  I never got anything else (besides dessert of course).  It was especially nice having this soup with a friend.  This is my own rendition of that wonderful memory.  Hope you enjoy it on a nice cool day this fall.

Place your crushed tomatoes in a saucepan and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes.
I have a TON of fresh basil growing in my herb garden so I was thrilled I remembered this recipe.
Grab about 14-18 leaves.  OOOHHH the smell is amazing.
Once the tomatoes have simmered blend/puree the tomatoes with the fresh basil in small batches and return to the saucepan and add the following:
Heavy Cream - makes the soup amazingly creamy.
Butter (...don't freak out.  I used two sticks because I doubled this recipe...I have hungry college kids with friends.)
A little sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  I start with about 1t. Salt and 1/4t. Pepper.  Taste. Add more if needed.
Stir and heat thoroughly and serve with a slice of homemade bread.  I also, in a pinch, grab a loaf of french bread at the grocery store if I'm short on time.  As long as there is bread life is good.

I store my leftover soup in a Mason Jar in the refrigerator.  It doesn't last long.  It's just that good.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013


WHO doesn't like a cute clipboard??  Well here's an easy way to dress up a plain clipboard to WOW your friends & family.  You can give them as gifts or just create one for every occasion for your own home.  My daughter made the cutest yellow themed colored one and put a cute scripture quote about being a "light" for her friends birthday.  I wish I had a picture to show you.  It was adorable.  On the back of the clipboard she wrote a personal message thanking her for being "a light in my life".  Seriously.  I love my kids.  So thoughtful and creative.  Ok, enough bragging moments...
 Here's what you do.

Grab your best DecouPaige or ModPodge, a sponge brush and some super cute paper.  I like to "gather" my supplies/colors before I begin.  I do however believe in "improvising" as you go as to create on the fly, but starting off with a basic idea is best.  This super cute paper is by Heidi Swapp called "Sugar Chic".  Literally a dream pallet of color.

So, basically just start off by modpodging a section of your clipboard and tearing your paper choices and placing them in any pattern you like.  Modpodge right over the top of the paper as well.  I also use my fingers to rub the paper down to release any air bubbles.  

This goes pretty quick.  It's so fun!  Look how cute!  As far as going around the metal I just did my best to modpodge around and slide my paper a little bit under the metal.  It wasn't hard.

The other clipboard I decided on (since I only had two clipboards laying around) was going to be HALLOWEEN THEMED.  It's my favorite holiday so there.  Anyway, I wanted to start it off by painting it black.  That way my paper didn't have to be right bud up to each other and a little of the black would show through.  Your choice though.  Just go with it!

After the black paint had dried I did the same steps I talked about above and just placed my paper around as I went modpoding away.  The paper pack I used was from Hobby Lobby.  It's from the product line "Me and my Big Ideas" 12x12 Mambi Sheets.
Now... you can stop there and add the ribbon or go a little more "MIXED MEDIA" on the clipboard.  I wanted more, of course, so here's what I used.  Stencils, Glimmer Mist in Party Pink...
My favorite Paint Dabbers (this one is Adirondack brand - Silver)
RUB ONS are the bomb.  My favorite brand is Christy Tomlinson's She Art.  Go to to see all the fun mixed media products she sells.  It's my weakness.
I wanted this clipboard to be inspirational so I found some other rub on's I had in my collection and used them in random places.  It really adds to the clipboard don't you think? 
See the finished look?  I would say, just don't add stickers that aren't flat.  It's a clipboard after all.  Don't want bumps as you are using it.  That's why rub on's work the best.  Word stickers do too, just not 3D ones.  That's my tip of the day. :)
Here's a closer look at the rub ons and a word definition sticker.
And another...
Next I use my favorite mixed media pen that writes on EVERYTHING without smearing (also sold at  Just marked squiggly lines, xxx's, swirls in random places to add the final touch.
Closer look...'s perfect!
Now, grab about 12-14 inches of coordinating ribbon.
On the top of your clipboard it has this cute tag device for hanging.  I used it for glamping up the clipboard.  I love a good junque bow.  It adds the final element to any project.  Plus it keeps you from wasting pieces of ribbon just hanging around your craft room.  Become a believer. 
Just feed it through the tab and tie a knot and trim to the size you want.
Here's my stash for the Halloween one.
This time I fed the ribbons through together then tied each type in a knot separately instead of one big knot.  Either way works good.  I just wanted to try a different look for this one.  See...I just wing it and it always works out.  That's what I love about mixed media.  Always forgiving.  Sure hope I've sparked your creative side and you start gathering and creating today.  

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(Don't forget to right click and save to your desktop!  Print as a 4x6 photo for your personal record)

Ahhh the memories this cake conjures.  Home.  Family gatherings.  Love... the list goes on.  My Aunt Jill Hayes makes the most wonderful food and this is one of her best.  It is moist, delicious and one of the most delectable cakes you will ever put into your mouth.  I love it so so much.  I've added my own favorite icing recipe to make this even more amazing.  I sure hope you will fill your home with the most amazing smell this fall season and enjoy a nice piece of cold carrot cake (that's the way we like it at our house).  Here are the step by step instructions:

Mix 3 eggs
 3/4 c. Buttermilk
3/4 c. Vegetable Oil into your mixing bowl
 Add 2 c. Sugar
 Add 2 t. Vanilla
In another bowl mix the dry ingredients:
 2 c. Flour, 2 t. Baking Soda, 1/2 t. Salt, and 2 t. cinnamon.  
(I sometimes add a 1/2 t. Freshly ground nutmeg...but that's just me.)
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Add 2c. Grated carrots.  I just use my food processor to quickly grate them.

Then drain a small can of crushed pineapple and add it to the mixture. 
Lastly add 1 c. Chopped pecans (I use the "Pecan bites") and 1 1/2 c. Coconut.

Now, I don't know about you, but growing up in the South when your mama says, "ALWAYS use Crisco to butter your pan and don't forget to flour it.  It just won't be the same..." YOU DO WHAT YOU'RE TOLD.   However, over the years I've started using PAM to grease and then add the flour.  BAD daughter.  Either works just fine.  I literally don't taste the difference. 
Pour the mixture into your 9x13 pan.  I use a glass pyrex pan that's a tad bigger than that but either will work.   Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  
While it's cooling.  Make this magical icing.  It literally takes you to another dimension.  Trust me.  I use this on chocolate cupcakes too...just saying.

1 stick of butter, 1 8oz Cream Cheese, 2 pd box Powdered Sugar, 1T vanilla  (yes, Tablespoon), and mix with a little evaporated milk until desired consistency.  Don't add too much of the milk.  A little at a time.  You don't want it too thin.
Once the cake has cooled spread that yumminess all over the cake.  AHHH the smell and the happiness.
And HERE IT IS!!!  SOOOOO good.  In our family we love to freeze this cake.  It's so moist and the icing turns into this wonderful fudge of love.  It's perfect.  It freezes so well.  Make this ahead and always be prepared to have a homemade treat to share.  If it last that long.  In my home ... maybe a week.  Enjoy!
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