Pistachio Nut Bundt Cake

I don’t think of myself as someone who leans toward pistachio flavored things, but when it comes down to it, pistachio really has a similar flavor to almond extract which I LUURRRRVVVVV. So I guess that means I’m a pistachio flavor lover too? Anyways, this Pistachio Nut Bundt Cake has that old school appeal with the green color and the bundt cake style and it was different from my normal chocolate calling so I got the ingredients and tried it out! Find the recipe here!

I found the recipe from Pinterest. I thought it was interesting that instead of water it called for club soda (that was a new one for me), and it also used pudding mix in the frosting (something I’ve always wanted to try), and something called Dream Whip which is super grandma-y to me and feels nostalgic even though I’ve never used it before!

The recipe called this cake Watergate Cake which I wondered about. I gave a slice of this cake to my friend and she did some digging on the name.  She found out that pistachio pudding came out around the time of the Watergate Scandal and some people started calling the cake that name because it was filled with nuts and fluff like the Nixon Administration.

The bottom line is this cake is delicious and you should definitely make it!!

Find the recipe here!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Homemade Hamantaschen

The Jewish holiday of Purim was this past weekend and we “took part” in the celebration by making these delicious homemade Hamantaschen cookies. Even if you are not Jewish, you should totally make these because they are THAT good! You could even make these into thumbprint cookies instead of forming them into triangles. They are traditionally filled with poppyseed, fruit preserves, or chocolate. I used strawberry preserves that I had on hand and put some semisweet chocolate chips in others (yummm!).

If you have never heard of Purim, don’t worry – I hadn’t really either until I started attending basic Judaism classes. The holiday is unlike the other Jewish holidays because it is very carnival-like; there are costumes, drinking, noisemakers and booing at specific parts during the reading of the Megillah (the Book of Esther) at synagogue, and giving gifts to the poor. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this website.

Here’s how to make these awesome cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  •  2 large eggs
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  •  2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
  • Filling of your choice, canned or homemade (I realized afterward I totally could have used lemon curd that I had in my fridge…guess I’ll just have to make more!)

Directions:

  1. Line unrimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat until lighter in color and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix just until the mixture starts to hold together.
  5. Very gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface about 10 strokes or until the dough is smooth and holds together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes (preferably for 30 minutes or more).
  6. Roll the dough out on a board that is lightly covered with flour or confectioners’ sugar. Note: The sugar will slightly glaze the baked cookie and make it a little sweeter. (I used the confectioners’ sugar and in my opinion it did not make them taste too sweet, which I was nervous about!)
  7. Preheat the oven now to 350 degrees
  8. Cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch circles, and place 1 scant teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle. Don’t roll the dough too thin or they are hard to shape. My second round came out better when I rolled the dough a bit thicker. (between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick)
  9. Shape into triangles by using your thumbs to push up from the bottom of the circle and your forefingers to pull down from the top sides. Pinch the top seams of the dough well to securely enclose almost all of the filling. A little should peek through the top of the opening.
  10. Pinch the dough together so that the filling is exposed only at the top of the cookie.
  11. Bake the hamantaschen in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden.(mine took about 12 – 13 minutes. Store in a plastic bag or container when cool, or freeze for later use.

    my first batch had some that didn’t hold up so well!
  12. Enjoy your cookies! They’re really good with a cup of your morning coffee!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Pillowy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

PUMPKIN? Yes, you read that right. I know it’s January, but it’s a grey, rainy day here in Houston and I have had the ingredients to make these cookies foreverrrrrrrr, so today’s the day! We’re called Perfect and Flawed, not Perfect and Perfect-Because-We-Make-Seasonal-Recipes-in-Season-only. 😉

You only need three ingredients to make these Pillowy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. They aren’t too pumpkin-y and have the perfect amount of chocolate chips in them (aka a lot LOL).

Ingredients:

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Use a cookie scoop to place dough “balls” onto baking sheet (you could also use a spoon to make little cookie mounds)
  4. bake for 8-10 minutes (I did mine for 9 1/2 mins and they were perfect; 8 mins was a little underdone in the middle)

Try not to eat them all at once! I would love to try this idea with a different cake mix, but not sure what to sub out the pumpkin puree for…..any ideas???

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Easy Oreo Truffles

These Easy Oreos Truffles are just that, and you’ll be lucky if you have any leftover after you put them out for your guests! Some of my friends thought these were cake balls, but I’m here to tell you they’re even simpler than that. You don’t even need to turn on the oven to bake a cake for these bad boys! I’m practically drooling just writing this post. Yes, they’re that good.

Heres what you need:

Ingredients:

  • one package of Oreos
  • an 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips (for melting)
  • white chocolate chips (for melting)
  • toothpicks

Directions:

  1. in a food processor “purée” 36 oreos (the whole package) into a fine cookie crumb mixture. I did this in batches as I don’t have a full size food processor.
  2. if you have a normal size food processor, add your cream cheese to your cookie crumbs and pulse until fully blended OR put your Oreo crumbs in a large bowl and mix the cream cheese in by mashing it together with a fork. If you use this method, be patient. It WILL come together!
  3. take a Tablespoon to portion out your truffles and roll them into balls. Place them on parchment paper or silpat mat and put them in the fridge for at least  20 minutes.
  4. Melt your semi sweet chips in the microwave in small time increments (so you don’t burn the chocolate), stirring in between OR do the double boiler method.
  5. Once your chocolate is melted take your truffles and dip them into the chocolate, holding them by a toothpick inserted into the top. I swiped the extra chocolate off the bottom with another toothpick so the chocolate didn’t pool around the bottom and take away from the nice circular shape.
  6. Melt your white chocolate chips and use it for dipping as well, or make a drizzle over the tops of your truffles. It feels scary to put a spoon in white chocolate and wiggle it like mad over the tops of your beautiful truffles, but trust me, if you keep wiggling you won’t have blobs of white chocolate scattered about!
  7. Put your truffles back in the fridge to set until ready to serve. They’ll be gone in no time!!! (I used fancy DIY Pom Pom skewers I had from our wedding that I used to dress these up for a New Year’s party we went to. It was very appropriate!)

I can taste these just looking at the pictures!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Hanukkah Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Happy Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, everyone!! I’ve been wanting to try out my Hanukkah cookie cutters for far too long (I’m talking years, people), and decided to amp up the traditional sugar cookie by making Hanukkah Chocolate Sugar Cookies! I didn’t decorate mine with icing because I was too lazy, but you totally could or I even entertained the idea of melting chocolate and drizzling it over the top. Laziness won and I left them plain. They’re still really tasty though with a glass or milk, eggnog, or even your morning cup of coffee. Hey, cookies don’t care what time it is when you eat them! My belly doesn’t either. Lol.

I was hobbling around my kitchen when I made these as I was recovering from foot surgery so I didn’t bother taking pictures of the process for you. And I used a recipe from here at Sally’s Baking Addiction that is very simple and straightforward. I had all the ingredients on hand already so I didn’t need to make a trip to the grocery store to get anything.

Have fun making these into whatever shapes you desire!! Happy baking!

Use this recipe.

love & cupcakes,

Katie

Ps- do you spell it Hanukkah or Chanukah??!

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Fancy Appetizer Fakeout: Brie Bites

We all have holiday parties this week and next. I hate going to a party empty handed, even when the host tells you not to bring anything. If you’re stumped and looking for a fun, DELICIOUS appetizer that looks fancy, but takes no effort at all to make, then you NEED to make these little cuties!

You’re probably dressed to impress, so bring something to eat that’ll knock ’em dead too!

Here’s  what you need:

  • Mini fillo shells (I got mine in the freezer section at Walmart!!)
  • your favorite brie
  • your favorite jam
  • pomegranate arils

How to make them:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Place your fillo shells on a baking sheet

3. Cut your brie into pieces that just fill the mini shells and pop em in the oven for 10 minutes!

4. Top with a little dab of jam and pomegranate arils

5. Eat them all!!!! YUMMMM!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

 

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Healthy Stuffed Winter Squash

Comfort food usually comes with a hefty dose of calories and fat, but not in this recipe! We’re using acorn squash, turkey sausage, some veggies and quinoa to make this fulfilling cozy dish: Healthy Stuffed Winter Squash. You’ll wanna snuggle up in sweatpants on the couch with some tea after a meal like this!

Ingredients: (feeds 2, with some leftover quinoa)

  • 3 turkey sausage links
  • half an onion, chopped
  • half a red pepper, diced
  • olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • chicken broth
  • 1 acorn squash
  • garlic clove (or more depending on how garlicky you like your food)
  • your favorite shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

Directions:

  1. drizzle a little olive oil in a large pan. Cook turkey sausage on medium heat.
  2. meanwhile, chop onion and red pepper; add to pan with sausage.
  3. cook 1/2 cup quinoa according to package directions. (Typically the liquid is double the amount of quinoa you’re using). Replace half of the water with chicken broth for added flavor.
  4. when veggies/turkey sausage are almost done cooking, add a few splashes of chicken broth to pan and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan (= flavor city!). You don’t want the veggies swimming in liquid so don’t use too much!
  5. use a garlic press, or finely chop your clove of garlic and add to the turkey sausage/veggie pan.
  6. Take acorn squash and cut it in half; remove seeds and place on a plate, cut side down with a little water. Microwave for 10 minutes (check for doneness).
  7. When squash is done, sprinkle cheese on the inside of it so it can melt.
  8. take the sausage out of the pan and cut into thin slices.
  9. add the cooked quinoa to the pan of veggies; add a good swirl of sesame oil to the pan and stir to thoroughly combine.
  10. fill the squash with the quinoa veggie mixture, and top with the sliced sausage.
  11. ENJOY!

I really love this dish becuase there are so many interesting flavors going on! You never tire of taking a bite. There’s the natural sweetness from the squash, the savory bit from the cheese, the salty and unique seasoning of the turkey sausage, and the sesame oil in the quinoa peeking through. It’s just so yummy!

Try it out, ya’ll!!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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DIY & Thoughtful Gift Giving

Christmas and Chanukah are just around the corner, and I thought I would round up some of my previous posts to help inspire your gift giving. If you’re stuck on a few people on your list and just don’t know what to give them, check out a couple of my simple DIYs for easy gifts. There’s a few extra ideas thrown in there for you too!

  • For the girlie girl and accessory lover, try this DIY Leather Tassel: click here!
  • For the caffeine lover, get them a Cold Brew Toddy System. They will love you FOREVER. Check out my post here and read about it/where to buy!
  • For the skin care fanatic, take your leftover coffee grounds and make them a delicious body scrub. Find out how here!
  • for the girl boss working from home/lover of chic office supplies and decor, you’ve got to make them a marbleized clipboard! Pair it with a chic set of pens and stationary and voila! Perfect gift! 
  • Lastly, if you have a certain someone on your list that you THINK you should buy a present for, but aren’t really sure? (we all have those, right?) Why not bake them something delicious and tie a cute bottle of nailpolish to whatever you package the sweet treats in? I know I would enjoy a gift like that, and it’s simple! (plus, you could keep a few of the desserts for yourself!!! BONUS!)

Here’s some easy giftable dessert recipes:

I hope this gave you a few ideas for those hard-to-buy people on your list!

Have you been naughty or nice?!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Friday Quickie: Pancakes!


Just a quick little post for you on this Friday! The hubbie has the morning off after a really busy week so I decided to treat both of us to a yummier than usual pancake breakfast that I doctored up just a bit. 

I wanted to share it with you in hopes that it inspires you to treat yourself to a cozy breakfast this weekend!

To make your pancakes, I used pancake mix and followed the directions on the box. I added about a tablespoon of sour cream to the mixture and about a teaspoon of vanilla extract. (I eyeball these things so I’m guesstimating, but you really can’t screw it up unless you go overboard!)

As your pancakes are cooking, heat up some lemon curd in the microwave on half power (so it doesn’t spurt everywhere inside the microwave). It’ll get nice and runny for drizzling on top of your pancakes. 

Once your pancakes are done, put butter and lemon curd between each layer, and top it with more lemon curd and some maple syrup. 


It’s sooooo delicious and feels extra special, without being a lot of extra work. Win win!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!


love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Homemade Italian Cream Soda

This is such a fun drink that really tastes like a special treat but isn’t too terrible for you calorie wise. I made these Homemade Italian Cream Sodas when we had a girls Pinterest night and they were a big hit! If you wanted to, I think these could easily be made into “adult friendly” cream sodas, if you know what I mean. And not only do they taste good, are really quick to make, but they look really really pretty too!

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Here’s how to make them!

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Ingredients:

  • ice
  • Torani Sugar Free Syrup in Black Cherry (or any flavor you prefer)
  • your favorite fizzy water
  • half and half (I had heavy whipping cream leftover in my fridge that needed using up and it worked perfectly!)

Directions:

  1. Pour your fizzy water over iceimg_7649
  2. add 4 pumps of the flavored syrup (use more or less to alter how sweet you want it)img_7651
  3. add a splash of half and half (or heavy whipping cream)img_7655img_7661
  4. mix it together and enjoy!img_7665img_7667

Does this sound like something you would make for a girl’s night in? If you’re thinking you would only have one use for these flavored syrups, try one that would also be good in your morning cup of coffee! Mmmmmm, talk about a special morning pick-me-up 🙂 And lastly, since we’re using sugar free syrup, the majority of the calories/fat is coming from the splash of cream, so it’s not that terrible at all. Live a little! LOL

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love & cupcakes,

Katie

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