Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Light and Dainty Lemon Cupcakes

I love sugar. I will eat sugary things for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack-time. But, let's be real about cupcakes. Sometimes the frosting is too sweet and you can only eat a few bites before feeling it in your teeth.

So when I chose to make lemon cupcakes for a dear friend's Sip & See, I opted for lemon-infused whipped cream for the frosting instead of a buttercream or cream cheese topping.

The result was a light, delicious little cupcake, or described on, as "truly lighter than air and will melt in your mouth." It's one that you can eat many of. And I did. (As did my hubs. And my children.).

Lemon Cupcakes ( )
Makes about 30 mini cupcakes, or about 14 large
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup whole milk, divided
1 1/4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quick Dinner: French Bread Pizza

Oh, this brings back memories of my childhood. With five kids all active in multiple sports and school activities, I know why my mom pulled this meal out every now and then!

On nights when we are running around or when my husband is working, this is a great, super easy meal that is still yummy and nutritious (minus the French bread). And, I love to make this the week of homemade tacos, using up any leftover taco meat.

Of course, this pizza can be topped with anything. We like mozzarella, loads of chopped, fresh spinach, taco meat and extra sharp cheddar. Plus a shake of dried basil and oregano.

Don't be afraid to use lots of sauce. The bread is like a sponge and will absorb a lot of it.

Done in less than 15 minutes!

French Bread Pizza
1 loaf French bread
1 jar pasta sauce (you will have some leftover)
Slices or balls of fresh mozzarella
1/2 - 3/4 bag fresh, baby spinach
1 cup taco meat (or hamburger meat)
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
Shake of dried basil
Shake of dried oregano

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice French bread in half vertically, place on sheet pan.
2. Chop fresh spinach leaves and put aside. Shred extra sharp cheddar cheese, if needed.
3. Spoon about 1 cup of sauce on each bread half, for a total of 2 cups of sauce. Apply liberally, as the French bread will soak up a lot of the sauce.
4. Layer pizza as follows: mozzarella balls/slices, taco meat, chopped spinach, shredded cheese, and a few shakes of dried basil and dried oregano.
5. Put into oven on top rack and cook for 8 minutes. Allow to rest for a few minutes, then cut and serve!

Easy Kid Breakfast: Egg Roll-Ups

My girls eat eggs. Every. Morning. It's the only thing that will keep them full for more than an hour. So, I've started branching out a little in their egg-filled breakfast. Every now and then, it's just straight scrambled eggs on toast (with cheese of course), sometimes it's eggs in a hole (via Pioneer Woman), but most mornings, it is Egg Roll-Up.

I'm sure many people do these, but I wanted my girls to remember this one, as they ask for it all the time, and it is super easy.

Now, a couple years back we had a scrambled egg discussion in Bible study. I know, we were off on a major tangent! I was shocked to hear that many of the moms did NOT cook scrambled eggs in the microwave. My mom has pulled out this trick for over 20 years, so I considered it the norm. Of course, when I'm making a big family-style breakfast, I pull out my skillet and cook scrambled eggs the proper way.

But, for just me and the girls, it's the whisked eggs, a splash of milk, and a microwave. 

One more side-note. Tortillas. They can be chock-full of calories. Like, 120-160 calories. Our local Hy-Vee carries a brand that is just 60 calories. Read the labels and find the healthiest in your local grocery store!

Egg Roll-Ups (Makes 3)
3 Whole wheat tortillas
4 eggs
Splash of milk
Plain cream cheese (your choice on making it low-fat or non-fat)
3 slices of ham
Shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

1. Spray microwavable bowl with cooking spray. Whisk 4 eggs, add splash of milk, and cook eggs one minute at a time in the microwave, moving cooked eggs to the middle of the bowl after each minute.
2. Put shredded cheese on top of cooked eggs, cover and allow to melt.
3. Warm up tortillas in microwave for 20-30 seconds.
4. Layer Egg Roll-Up as follows: warm tortilla, thick layer of cream cheese, one slice of ham (cut in two, layered vertically over cream cheese), strip of egg with melted cheese. Wrap tightly and enjoy.