Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcake Shoppe

Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcake Shoppe
This week, Wrigley and I tagged along with Steve to go to Hot Springs for a business trip.  On our way into town, we drove through historic downtown and I spotted this adorable cupcake shoppe.  I think I started squealing when I saw it.  It was a small little shop with some beautiful cupcakes. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekly Menu Planning

It's come to my attention that not everyone does things the same way I do.  It was what Oprah calls an "A ha" moment for me.  I have heard various menu planning ideas over the years, but most often I find that people have no plan at all.  I have been using a form of this system for over a decade, but just recently combined it into one pretty package.  I will show you what I do each week then you can download the Excel files to customize them for your family or print the PDF file versions if you just want to print and write on them.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What do you want to see?

Cookie cake I made
It has been a busy week!  I hosted a Thirty-One party yesterday and also made some cupcakes and a birthday cookie cake for one of Steve's co-workers.  It was all a lot of fun, but I am beat now!

I have several ideas for what kind of post to work on next, but I would like to know what you guys want to see.  So, please take a minute to answer the poll question on the right and give me your feedback.  If you choose "other," please post a comment on this post with what you would like us to do next.  Next week I will work on the most voted for item.

Check back tomorrow to learn how I plan my dinner menus and grocery list each week.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip and Nutella "Ice Cream"

Banana Chocolate Chip Nutella "Ice Cream"
Did you try Susan's Mango Sorbet? It looks delicious! I'm not a big mango fan, so I'm going to try it with pineapple soon. It got me inspired to come up with more healthy dessert recipes that can be made quickly and cheaply.

I remember a recipe I saw Williams Sonoma post on facebook awhile back. I remember it clearly because it pissed me off when I read it. Some lady froze some bananas and blended them in a blender then called it one ingredient ice cream. Here's what irritated me: 1) If there is no cream in it, it's not ice cream, 2) That is not a recipe, and 3) This would have been a fine post for Kraft foods or something, but not for Williams Freaking Sonoma. I expect better from them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Make Your Own Sorbet in 5 Minutes

So, recently I was told that neither my husband nor I could have dairy.  This was devastating. It's not that I love drinking milk, because I don't. I'm weird about my milk. So is Shannon. Walk with me down memory lane...

We could only drink 2% from Smith's (grocery store) and it had to be Mountain Dairy brand. It also needed to sit in our fridge for at least 24 hours reach the optimum temperature and feel like it was ours.  Forgetting about the pasteurization process was a plus too.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Closet Renovation

I have been unhappy with our master bedroom closet for awhile now because it just wasn't very functional.  It would make a great pantry, but for a bedroom it was just blah.  It is almost 4.5 feet wide by just over 9 fee long, which is a good size.  It just needed a little organization, so I sketched out a plan to have floor to ceiling shelves built in along the back wall and create a double clothes hanging rack on the long wall along with two separate long clothes rods with shelves above.  We don't have a dresser, so I needed space to put baskets that hold our "unmentionables."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pretzel Bites

Wrigley and I had a bake and play date today and we made pretzel bites from a Pinterest recipe and while they tasted really good, they didn't look so good.  They looked a little like chicken nuggets.  I just wanted to share with you that even good cooks have "nailed it!" moments.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cherry Dr. Pepper Cupcakes

Cherry Dr. Pepper Cupcakes
After seeing these Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes, I knew I had to try them.  I love Coke and cherries and cupcakes.  If you add Christ and the Chicago Cubs that pretty much makes up the five "C's" of my life.  When I went to the cupboard to see what ingredients I needed to buy, I found my Cherry Dr. Pepper dessert topping (which is delicious) and wanted to experiment.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite things in life.  I'm not a big fan of stuff, but there are a few things in life that I really enjoying having around.  I would like to share three of them with you here.

Starbucks Caramel Frappuccio
When I am stressed out, this is my drug of choice.  A grande one of these
can take me from down in the dumps to  pure joy in just a few sips.

Large Red Le Creuset Dutch Oven
For years I wanted one of these because all the cool chefs on TV had one.  My mom
got me one for Christmas several years ago and I feel happy every time I cook in it.

Crocs Shoes
I know they are fugly, but they are really comfortable and the best
kitchen shoes ever!  I wore them almost  exclusively while I was pregnant.

So what are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trivia Tuesday 3.13.12

The first correct respondent to the trivia question below will get to choose a recipe for us to make in an upcoming post AND if we get at least 10 unique responses (from 10 real people) and you live near Susan or me, we will give you the finished product.

This week's question is:
In the blueberry cupcake post I mentioned a cake stand that I use.  What brand name is the cake stand featured and how did I get it? 

Think you know the answer?  Just comment below (make sure you use a name so we know who to contact).  I will give you a hint.  The brand name is not mentioned specifically in the post, but you can easily find it by using the hyperlinks.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rub 'em all over your body chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies
I started really cooking when I was in junior high and my favorite thing to make was cookies.  I have always been a good cookie maker when I didn't follow the recipe and just dumped everything in the bowl at the same time and mixed it by hand.  I don't know why it worked, but it did.  Since then I have tried to make cookies the "grown up way" with my Kitchen Aid mixer, but never got good results.  I would follow a recipe precisely, but while they would taste good they were some sad looking cookies.  Usually very thin with chips sticking up.  When making the same recipes by hand I would get excellent results.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

New Blog Posting Schedule

Susan has a lot going on right now with trying to make some healthy lifestyle changes and preparing for the adoption process.   She will post on here whenever she can, but you are stuck with me for little bit.....bwah ha ha.  One thing you need to know about me:  I am major planner.  I don't always follow through with my plan, but I love to have one to deviate from, so I have come up with a schedule for the types of posts you can expect from the blog each day.

Monday: Healthy recipes - This will begin the following week because I am already working on a recipe tomorrow for chocolate chip cookies that one person described as "I want to rub them all over my body because they are so good."

Tuesday: Trivia - I will come up with a food or housekeeping related question and the first correct responder will get to choose a recipe for me to make for a future post.

Wednesday: Tips for feeding a crowd - I have house church on this night where I plan a dinner menu for about 30 adults and children.

Correction:  This will now be "Three Favorites" - I will share three things I love with you.

Thursday: Sweet treats - Recipe write ups for all kinds of desserts, but mostly cupcakes and cookies since they are my passion right now.

Friday: Main dishes - This will be some of my favorite main dishes I make for dinner or special lunches.

Saturday: Meal planning - Every week I have a menu plan, I will just share it with you to give you ideas for your own family's dinners for the week.

Sunday:  Personal - These could be a story to help you get to know me better, a life lesson I learned during the past week or just something personal I would like to share with you all.

Susan and I are so excited about this blog and thank you for taking the time to read and comment.  We LOVE hearing from you and watching our page views grow.  Don't forget to share our ideas on Pinterest and Facebok if you find something helpful!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blueberry Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream

Blueberry Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream
Since I started my cupcake kick, people have been giving me their "requests."  This one came from a friend at church who after seeing a few pictures of what I was making said I needed to stop putting pictures on facebook unless I was going to bring her one.  She said her favorite was blueberry, so I got to work.  This is not just a blueberry muffin with some frosting.  It has a distinct white cake taste and texture with the just right balance of blueberries.  This recipe is an adaptation from Always with Butter.  She made homemade blueberry preserves for the topping, which I did as well, but found that they played such a minimal role that I would just use store bought.  I know, the woman who wonders why anyone would buy marshmallows just recommended a store bought product over a homemade one.  That should tell you how not worth it they are.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chew Your Food!

So I had an appointment just the other day and the #1 thing that I need to be doing with my health is...Chew my food. You're thinking, "You've got to be kidding me! You don't chew your food?". I am saying openly...and with a little shame..."No. No I don't." It's not that I don't chew at all. It's that I don't chew it enough. My immediate family knows that I don't do this. It's a habit. Now I've got to break it. I had no clue that it was that important!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Snickers Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cup Variation

Snickers Cupcakes with caramel buttercream 
My favorite flavor combination is sweet and salty, so salted caramel with sweet chocolate is always a welcome flavor combo.  When I came across a Snickers cupcake on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it.  This is kind of like my marijuana (I'm proud to say that it took me 4 tries to spell that word because I'm not very familiar with drugs) cupcake.  This is the cupcake that started my cupcake addiction.  I made these for Steve's office for Valentine's Day and his boss liked them so much he ordered two dozen from me for a bake sale (yes, if you are in the Northwest Arkansas area, I do cupcake catering at very reasonable rates, just email me for more information)!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quick tip: foil

I was wrapping some potatoes to make baked potatoes tonight and it reminded of a good tip about aluminum foil.  Foil has a shiny side and a more matte finish side.  The shiny side reflects light away from it and the matte side draws it in, so if you want to attract the heat to your food use the matte side.

Example:  I used the matte side out to wrap my potatoes.  If I were covering the edges of a pie so they didn't brown too quickly, I would use the shiny side up.

Chubby Chicks Iron Chef (kind of) Cook Off

This is my (Susan's) first blog post. How exciting! Like Shannon said, we made this blog not only about what makes us chubby...the food...but also everyday things we're interested in. If you look closely at our Profile on Twitter...You'll see that [I think] we cleverly came up with the State, "Arkansutah" because we are in two different states. Our mom lives in the Dallas area and recently, we had the opportunity to go for a visit when we could all be there for about a week. Originally, I went out there to shoot my first wedding (It was scary at first! But I will save that story for another day) but I decided to stay for an extra week afterward while my husband went back to work so I could spend time with my sister and mom.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Strawberry and White Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Vanilla Buttercream

Strawberry and White Chocolate Cupcakes
with Strawberry Buttercream
This recipe was inspired by the white wedding cake cupcakes on Recipe Girl's blog.  While grocery shopping, I saw how beautiful the strawberries looked (they are in season right now) and immediately started thinking about what kind of cupcake I could make with those.  So, I used the wedding cake recipe I found on Pinterest which is delicious by itself, and just cranked it up a notch.  I also make a couple healthier swaps in the recipe without making it taste nasty.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Welcome to our blog

Susan (left), Shannon (right)
Photo by Levi Sim with SDesigns Photography in Logan, UT
Welcome to our first blog post!  Susan and I are sisters and housewives who would best be described as a cross between Martha Stewart and Tina Fey with the body of Angelina Jolie.  Ok, not quite, but a girl can dream, right?  Susan lives in Utah with her husband, Josh and two shih tzus.  They are in the process of waiting to adopt a baby in the US and trying to adopt a little girl in Hatti who they met last year during a mission trip.  I live in Northwest Arkansas with my husband of nearly 14 years, Steve, and 2 year old son, Wrigley.  We struggled with infertility and losing babies for 11 years before having Wrigley and have lost one baby since.  The purpose of this blog is not only to share domestic ideas, but also share our lives and provide inspiration and comfort to those in similar situations.

We have been working on (ok, mostly just thinking about) this blog for a year and are happy to finally start posting.  We will be featuring anything that interests us or makes our lives easier.  For recipes, we will post step by step instructions complete with a photo of each step.  They will also contain a photo for you to print a 4x6 card that is ready for your recipe box.  It will even include a picture of the recipe and a QR code that you can scan to view the detailed instructions from this blog on your smart phone or tablet device.

Other features will be tips on how we cook at home, plan menus, organize parties or just share what's going on in our lives.  We would love to hear from you as well.  If you have a recipe you'd like us to make or need help with ideas for your son's next birthday party (I LOVE birthday parties) let us know!