Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Growing up my sister and I loved mom’s macaroni and cheese. She made it from scratch, using extra sharp white cheddar cheese. I’m pretty sure my sister and I were the only two kids in the world who would protest when the blue box came out.

When Nicki started solid foods I was so eager to try Macaroni and cheese. Not just any macaroni and Cheese, Mommy’s macaroni and cheese. I should have known not to push it. The white cheeses can be just a little more pungent than the yellows, and Nicki initially rejected it in favor of the box stuff. A few more months, a lot more exposure to new flavors, and I think she now actually prefers Mommy’s variety. And given that this variety reheats better, and is a better packed lunch for daycare, it’s a win-win!

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/8th teaspoon dried mustard
16oz of cheeder cheese (I tend to use Cracker Barrel)
2 1/4 Cup Milk.
2 to 3 Cups of macaroni (depending on how cheesy you like your macaroni)

Cup up the cheese into small, thin slices for easy melting. Melt butter. Blend in the flour and dry mustard. Warm up 2 1/4 cup milk on medium low heat in a medium size saucepan, and add the butter/flour mix. Once the mix has been dissolved, gradually add the pieces of cheese. Do not add the cheese pieces too quickly or they will stick together and take longer to dissolve!

While dissolving cheese, cook the macaroni until it is soft enough to eat. For us I use 2.5 cups of macaroni.

Combine macaroni and cheese sauce into a casserole dish and microwave for 10-12 minutes. You could also bake it in the oven at 350 degrees if you prefer, but I prefer the texture from the microwave better. It’s creamier.

It’s been a long couple of weeks. Multiple days working past midnight, graduation requirements stress, etc. So I decided to decompress by making cookies and cream fudge.


I really like the recipe on the back of the marshmallow cream jar. In my experience it’s super easy, makes the best traditional fudge, and is the easiest to modify for fun flavors. Want peanut butter fudge? Substitute 12 oz of peanut butter chips for chocolate. Mint Cream? White chips, and add a teaspoon of mint extract. Orange cream (my favorite!)? White chips and add a tablespoon of orange extract.

For these I substituted white chocolate, and added an extra half teaspoon (for 1.5 total) of vanilla when making the fudge. I used my mortar and pestle to grind up an entire package of Oreos to sprinkle on top. Easy Peasy. Well, except for grinding up the Oreos. Next time I’m using slightly stale, and softer, Oresos.

I lost my candy thermometer a few years ago, and never bothered to get another. Instead, I stir the mixture on medium high/high heat until it starts to boil, then down to medium/medium low for 5 minutes. That works just fine. I’ve also substituted reduce fat butter for full fat butter and seen no ill effects.

It’s October and time to break out the pumpkin! Pumpkin cupcakes that is. I found the recipe for pumpkin cupcakes online a few years ago. I think I may have changed the recipe slightly. The cake batter recipe was my own idea. I wanted an icing that had a doughy kind of taste (like the crust of a pie) but a little sweeter. It’s not a very exciting recipe, but it is the first one I came up with on my own. The idea to decorate the cupcakes to look like little pies came from the book Hello, Cupcake!.

Pumpkin Cupcakes


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup milk

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl.

In large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat eggs until frothy, combine with butter & sugar.

Blend in mashed pumpkin. Alternate between stirring in the dry ingredients and the milk, blending until batter is smooth.

I fill the cupcake tray 1/2 full instead of 2/3rds so I don’t get the cupcake top, and the cupcake is more pie shaped. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes.


The secret to the cake batter taste is a touch of anise. I add 1 teaspoon of butter extract and 1/4th teaspoon of anise extract. Anise has a licorice like flavor, so add very little to not overpower the vanilla and butter. The butter extract gives it that nice buttery taste (like dough). I used like half a drop of red food coloring, and 3ish drops of yellow to give it a batter-like color.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar slowly, mixing it in with the butter. Add extracts, salt and milk. If your frosting is too thick for your tastes, add a touch more milk. If your frosting is too thin, add more sugar.

To get half a drop of red icing, I typically insert a toothpick into the food coloring container, and then wipe said toothpick on the icing to transfer a tiny amount of food coloring.

April 30, 2011

Low(er) Sugar Cake Pops

I noticed a bump in traffic to my blog the past few weeks with a few visitors from Google looking for “Sugar Free Cake pops” and “Diabetic Friendly Cake Pops”. I had previously mentioned that you could use sugar free cake mixes and icing to reduce the sugar, so I thought I would give it a try and see how well they turn out. My only hesitation is that the icing uses Splenda instead of sugar. While I believe Splenda is better for you than some of the other options, any large quantity of artificial sweetener is probably not good. I thought I’d take the opportunity to try a low sugar frosting recipie.

I started with this absolutely sugar free recipe, and substituted whipping cream for heavy whipping cream. The down side is pudding mix contains aspartame. I figure (and I admit I have no real knowledge) that this recipe probably has a smaller amount of artificial sweetener from the sugar free frosting made with Splenda because pudding doesn’t tend to be as sweet as icing. Therefore, one could get away with less. At least in theory.

To make this frosting, mix the pudding mix into the following liquids, and whip for about 5 minutes minutes until creamy.

  • 1.5 ozs sugar-free instant pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 1/4 cups whipping cream

The heavy whipping cream has a lot of fat, especially saturated fat. Given that candy melts are also very high in saturated fat, I decided to go with the regular whipping cream (heavy whipping cream has no sugar, regular has a very small amount). The trade off is the consistency’s not great for icing a cake – but we’re making cake pops so it doesn’t need to be! I probably used a little over half of the icing I made.

The pops were yummy as always. The sugar in the pops are mainly good sugars (from milk) which have a low glycemic index.

Calorie Count (Approximately): 61.7
2.8 Calories from the Pudding
43 Calories from the Cake Mix
0.6 Calories from the Skim Milk
15.3 Calories from the Whipping Cream

Sugar Count (Approximately): 0.4 Grams
0 grams from the Pudding
0 grams from the Cake Mix
0.1 grams from the Skim Milk
0.3 grams from the Whipping Cream

Fat Count (Approximately): 2.4 Grams (1.3 Saturated)
0 grams from the Pudding
0.8 grams from the Cake Mix (0.3 Gran Saturated Fat)
0 grams from the Skim Milk
1.6 grams fat from the Whipping Cream (1 Gram Saturated Fat)

The calories/fat/sugar count of a “regular” cake pop vary by the type of cake and icing you use. I pulled a random box of cake mix at the grocery store to get an estimate of about 83 Calories, 7.2 grams of sugar and 3.8 grams of fat. My goal for low sugar also cut my fat count by a third. The big problem is the candy melts (which I didn’t include in the totals). Wow are they bad for you. They double the fat and calorie count, and add another 6 grams of sugar. Worse still, the fat is almost all saturated fat! I’m also not a huge fan of the taste, so I have plenty of motivation to find an alternative.

All I can say is YUM!

To make the sweet vinaigrette dressing combine (wisk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
(Recipe from

Drizzle over freshly cut strawberries & spinach for a wonderful spring time treat. I used an egg slicer to slice my strawberries. If you do that, don’t cut out the white core of the strawberry before slicing. The remaining berry looses all structural integrity and turns into strawberry puree.