Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yellow Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream



I received a pack of silicone baking muffin / cupcake cups from Sunsella and it gave me the perfect excuse to try out this super delicious recipe!! Oh my gosh - the yellow cake is divine. Light, perfectly sweet, lovely texture and consistency all on its own; then you add a generous topping of nutella flavored buttercream frosting?! Divine!


My husband is not a chocolate lover - but he sure does love yellow cake with chocolate frosting; it is his go-to cake whenever asked. That's what he gets every single year for his birthday. I was really excited to give this from scratch recipe a try (I've never done a scratch yellow cake before), and I was extra excited to give the nutella buttercream a try! I just had a hunch that was going to be a big hit with my hubby and son.


This is a keeper for sure - I didn't have any issues with the cake or the frosting and am so pleased to share this one with you - I hope you get a chance to give it a try and enjoy it as much as we have!


Yellow Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream from Chef Savy

Ingredients
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs plus one egg yolk, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
4 ounces milk, room temperature

Nutella butter cream frosting
½ cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Nutella
1 tablespoon milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Yellow Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Takes about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in eggs and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Alternatively add the dry ingredients and milk in two parts to the egg mixture. Make sure to stir in between. Do not over mix. The batter should be thick.
  5. Fill a cupcake lined pan with batter ⅔ of the way up.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Make sure a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Nutella Buttercream
  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream butter on high for about 2-3 minutes to get a creamy fluffy texture.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar on low speed until combined.
  3. Add in nutella, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix to combine. If the frosting is too runny add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick add some more milk.
  4. Pipe the icing onto cool cupcakes and decorate as desired. Cupcakes can be stored on the counter at room temperature for a day or two and in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.



20% off coupon code 'JJORSB8D'

*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Sunsella for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


Magnesium Survival Fire Starter Review


When I received the opportunity to review this magnesium
survival fire starter - my husband said YES PLEASE! We love little tools like this - they are perfect for things like camping, hiking, survival gear, go-bags, etc.


We like to have little tools like this handy to take with us on camping trips and for our go-bags in particular. After being stuck in my car for over 11 hours a little over a year ago thanks to some snow that shut down the Atlanta highways, we've tried to make sure I have at least a few survival items packed at all times in my car - blanket, fire source, change of clothes, granola bars, etc.


We took this outside and practiced with it and got some beautiful sparks out of it! It was a little wet, so I didn't get a fire started, but had no troubled getting nice hot sparks that I know would have quickly started a fire with the proper tinder. This is a great tool to keep handy for many different purposes!


Product Description

With the help of the Magnesium Survival Fire Starter, you will always be prepared for any journey you embark on! No longer will you have to struggle with the use of wet matches or lighters, because this fire starter is easy to use in any condition, wet or dry! It has a compact design convenient for travel, and also an attached lanyard for easy handling!  The Magnesium Survival Fire Starter can be used for lighting camp fires, stoves, gas-barbecues, and much more! It contains a magnesium rod which creates scorching hot sparks that produces fires instantly! This Fire Starter is made of extremely durable military grade material which lasts for approximately 12,000 strikes. It is guaranteed to function during all of your out-door endeavors, in any weather, including wind, rain, or snow!


*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Pernix Supply for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


INSTACANDI #Giveaway!


Don't miss any of the giveaways going on now! Visit the Giveaways Page and enter to win! 


Did your school ever offer Candy Grams as a fundraiser? I remember those from many, many moons ago. Pay your $1.00, write a message, and your card and candy would show up on the desk of your friend (or secret crush!) at a designated day and time. INSTACANDI is the grown up version of candy grams!



There are an assortment of package options to choose from with various themes such as Easter Eats, Sweet Treats, Birthday Bits, etc. Pick the candy assortment you want, then choose your message which will be handwritten on an enclosed card, choose your recipient, and send off a candy gram to someone you love!


Product Description:

The INSTACANDI ranges from old-time favorites like Mary Janes and Tootsie Rolls to Snickers, Milky Ways or Jolly Ranchers.  We stock 100's of different INSTACANDIS!

Pick out a package, write personalized message and ship!

Personalized card, 15 pieces of candy, beautifully packaged and shipped for $9.99!




*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from INSTACANDI for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.   


Wonderful Mommy, Wonderful Baby #Review + #Giveaway



Don't miss any of the giveaways going on now! Visit the Giveaways Page and enter to win!

I am excited to share this giveaway opportunity with you! If you or someone you know is expecting, this is a terrific, allergen free balm / lotion to use during and after your pregnancy. The Invigorating scent is the one that I received, and it has a very nice list of ingredients, which you can see below - but my favorite is the peppermint and lavender with a touch of cinnamon; I could just breathe the fragrance in all day long!


Use these balm to hydrate your skin, provide a little relaxation at the end of the day, and to create a moment of bonding between you and your child.

Find Wonderful Skin Care around the web:


Product Description:

Wonderful Mommy, Wonderful Baby is a product designed for expecting mothers. You are now ready to tackle a lot of upcoming challenges, such as picking a name, decorating a room, and making sure that you are at your best! We know that not all days will be great, and that pregnancy, while wonderful, can also be stressful. Therefore we created our Wonderful Mommy, Wonderful Baby lotion in Invigorating and Soothing.

Our products are 100% natural, made only with ingredients you know and trust. For example, we don't add any harsh chemicals, preservative, or toxins. We created this lotion because a friend has a daughter with peanut allergies. The doctor mentioned that using products with almonds (a tree nut) could cause tree nut allergies in the future. We were concerned for the little one, and also saw a need to create a product that would be free of any allergens, that would allow future moms to focus on the important things.

Invigorating is a great option for the days when you feel a little overwhelmed. Soothing are for days when all you just need a little break. A fantastic option for preventing stretch marks, bonding with baby, and perking up your day. Use this daily while talking to your baby.


*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Wonderful Skin Care  for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own. 



Chew-Choos - 'Playdate' Silicone Teething Necklace #Giveaway!


Don't miss any of the giveaways going on now! Visit the Giveaways Page and enter to win!

I'm super excited to have the chance to give away another fantastic teething necklaces! If you have a baby or toddler in your house (or know someone who does) - these are such wonderful items to keep handy to entertain a little one really anytime, but especially when nursing, out and about, shopping, etc.

Silicone teething necklaces are intended to be worn by mom and offered to a baby / toddler for teething or to play with. Always be aware of potential choking hazards and do not leave a child unattended with these teething necklaces. Lindsey loves her necklace teether - she likes to play dress up and wear it, and of course chew on it while she's wearing it (always with supervision of course). She also likes to put the teething necklace on her big stuffed Carebear. Anything that is safe for her to put in her mouth gets a big thumbs up from me! She loves the fun colors on this necklace as well - in fact when it first arrived I was trying to take a few pictures of it in the package and she kept reaching up on the table to grab it because she really wanted to investigate it and try it out! The texture is nice and soft, and it is fun for little ones to chew on, and to touch and experience the texture of the beads and the different colors.




Product Description:
  • 100% SAFE: Organic Food-Grade Silicone and Free from BPA, PVC, Phthalates, Cadmium, Lead, Latex or any harmful toxins. This FDA-approved silicone is also hygienic, hypoallergenic and resistant to bacteria.
  • SOOTHING: Gentle soft yet firm silicone texture helps to relieve baby's tender gums and emerging new teeth.
  • FUN: Provides entertainment for curious nursling babies held in wraps or carriers while bonding with you.
  • UNIQUE: Chew-Choos original design, with added length to help your baby reach when held in a nursing position. It's also fashionable and perfect to wear for any occasion. No one will guess its function otherwise.
  • COMFORTABLE: Breakaway safety clasp and bead-less at the nape of the neck to prevent injury or hair pulling.
This adorable silicone teething necklace evokes the essence of supermom; she invariably searches for ways to stimulate her precious child by arranging meetups with her favorite friends at playgrounds, children's museums and other special events. It would make for a lovely welcome baby gift for moms and grandmas. You and your little playmate will love how versatile and fun it is. In fact, you can easily adjust the length: First open the safety clap, pull the silk cord through, cut to length and re-knot it.

This piece is perfect for any occasion whether you want to dress up or keep it casual chic. It features a bare cord at the nape and sides to help prevent hair pulling. The beads are placed 6 cm away from the breakaway safety clasp on each side. It alternates the colors gray, turquoise and Navajo white while using a simple gradient of 9, 12 and 15 mm sized beads. The clasp is strong enough to endure infant tugs without falling off easily. It will work nicely for baby wearing or during nursing sessions to give your little one something to occupy their hands.
It was also designed to fall to the breast line so that your baby can easily reach.

Other great uses include:
  • A great conversation starter! Most do not even realize it has multipurpose use as a baby teether.
  • Perfect accessory to wear with baby wraps or carriers.
  • It is suggested that this could serve as a sensory object for special needs children.
  • Can be used during natural labor as a form of stress relief.
  • Imported item from a trusted manufacturer certified by FDA, LFGB and RoHS so you can feel secure knowing that it is 100% safe and non-toxic.
  • Excellent alternative to traditional fashion jewelry which can irritate sensitive skin. This necklace is made with the highest quality food-grade silicone which is free of lead, latex or cadium and is completely hypoallergenic



*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Baby Pinch for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


#FifteenCheesecakes ~ Classic Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce



Today we are helping Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla celebrate her 15th wedding anniversary with waaaayy more than #fifteencheesecakes.

Here's what everyone brought to the cheesecake table, listed in alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Berry Cheesecake Bars by Baking and Creating with Avril
Cherry Cheesecake Bites by Cookaholic Wife
ChocolateCaramel Cheesecake by Dancing Veggies
Chocolate Cheesecake by My Hobbie Lobbie
Chocolate Topped Peppermint Cheesecake by Amy's Cooking Adventures
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars by Tara's Multicultural Table
Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes by Little Bit of Everything
Everyday Cheesecake by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Irish Cream Cheesecake by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Layered Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake Cake by Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Lowfat Blackberry Cheesecake by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Matcha-YuzuCheesecake with a Meyer Lemon GelĂ©e by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecake by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Mini Maple Pecan Cheesecakes by Join Us, Pull up a Chair
Mom's New York Cheesecake by Taste Cook Sip
Mudslide Cheesecake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
{No Bake} Marshmallow Cheesecake by An Affair from the Heart
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Angels Homestead
Samoa's cheesecake by Goodie Godmother
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars by The Savvy Kitchen
Sopapilla Puff Pastry Cheesecake by Pink Cake Plate
SkinnyVanilla Bean Cheesecake by Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Twix Cheesecake Brownie Torte by Making Memories With Your Kids

For #fifteencheesecakes I had my cheesecake recipe all picked out - I read through all of the tips and suggestions for baking a cheesecake in a water bath (which I have never done before) - I had my ingredients pulled out - I even had a Reynold's oven bag around the bottom of my cheesecake pan to prevent leaks into the cake (which I thought was such a great tip!) And then... then I couldn't find my roasting pan... anywhere.


I have had a roasting pan for the past 10 plus years - I think I got it at some point after moving into our house in Hiram and don't use it often, but it's always worked great when needed. We moved late last October though - and somewhere between there and our new house it wandered off, or got donated, or trashed, or misplaced... I have no idea! But I did not discover this until I was ready to bake this cheesecake.


So what was I to do?! I almost jumped in the car and made the trip to the store to get a new pan. But I decided to risk it and bake the cheesecake exactly as written, with no water bath. I put a pan of water under the cake instead - hoping that might help produce at least some of a similar effect.


I'm pretty sure it did not work the same way, at all, as a water bath - but, irregardless of my issues with how I ended up baking this cheesecake, it was absolutely DELICIOUS! You can bet as soon as I locate my roasting pan, or buy a new one, I will be trying this again to see the difference with a water bath. This cheesecake has a perfect flavor; rich, decadent, just a light tanginess, super creamy, and with the strawberry sauce? Over the top. We all loved this recipe so much! I am so glad I finally gave baked cheese cake a try, and can't wait to do this one justice with the correct baking process!



New York Cheesecake from Food for a Hungry Soul

Ingredients
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups (one pint) sour cream, room temperature
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (one stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions
  1. Generously butter the inside of a 10-inch springform pan.  Wrap a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil tightly around the outside bottom and sides, crimping and pleating the foil to make it conform to the pan.  This will help to prevent water seeping into the pan when you put it into the bain-marie.  Position the baking rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 300* Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sour cream until well blended.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese with the butter until smooth and creamy.  Add this to the egg-sour cream mixture and beat until smooth. 
  4. Add the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and beat thoroughly, about 2 minutes. 
  5. Pour into the prepared springform pan and place in a roasting pan (or other pan) large enough to prevent the sides from touching.  Place in the oven and carefully pour in enough very hot tap water to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  6. Bake for 2 hours, 15 minutes, or until the cake is very lightly colored and a knife inserted in the center emerges clean.  Remove from the water bath and carefully peel the aluminum foil (or oven bag / slow cooker liner) from around the pan.  Let stand at room temperature until completely cool, about 4 hours.  Refrigerate, covered, until well chilled.  For best flavor and texture, this cheesecake should be chilled overnight before serving.
Note - please visit Katy's site linked above for  comments / feedback to help ensure you get good results with this recipe if you're not familiar with baking cheesecakes and water baths (neither of which I'd done previously to making this recipe).


Strawberry Sauce / Puree from Spusht

Ingredients
1 lb box of strawberries, fresh
¼ cup sugar
2-3 Tbsp of water
1 tsp of white vinegar or lemon juice

Directions
  1. Cut the greens off of the strawberries, rinse well. 
  2. Dice the strawberries into small pieces (depending on how "chunky" you want your sauce - unless you plan to puree, then just quarter the strawberries), place berries in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat along with water, vinegar/lemon juice, and half the amount of sugar, stir, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes checking every few minutes to make sure it's not boiling off all the liquid. 
  3. When the strawberries are soft and the sauce has thickened, taste and adjust sugar as desired.  
  4. If you want a finely pureed consistency, allow the mixture to cool and then put it in a blender and puree until the desired consistency is reached.
Note: Use within 2 - 3 days, or freeze any remaining sauce for later use.


Monday, March 23, 2015

#SecretRecipeClub ~ Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars



Welcome to the March, Group D, reveal day for Secret Recipe Club! I hope you will take a moment to visit the  Secret Recipe Club if you've never heard of it before - it is a wonderful group of bloggers who are given a "secret" assignment of another member's blog each month and our goal is to pick ANYTHING from their blog to make and post about on our designated reveal day! I have been a part of SRC for just over two years now and LOVE the opportunity to get to know another blogger a little better each month by spending time browsing their blog, reading through their recipes and posts, and finding something perfect for my family from what they've shared.


Something I have never, ever done before happened this month.


For the very first time in my Secret Recipe Club history the very first day I visited Asiya's beautiful blog Chocolate and Chillies I ended up picking and making a recipe! Usually I browse, print, browse, think, browse, then cook a recipe or two later in the month from my assigned blog. But the stars aligned. Hubby wanted cookies, I had Chocolate and Chillies opened since I'd just received my assignment, and I thought "I bet I can find a good cookie recipe!" And I did!! If you haven't visited Chocolate and Chillies before make sure to pop over and drool your way through a few recipes like the Zucchini Corn Pancakes, Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Mummy's Indian Spiced Shrimp BBQ'd, Avocado Hummus, and these Banana Oatmeal Pecan Breakfast Bars!


Asiya's blog has a fantastic mix of recipes - there are Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern dishes along with delicious breads, Indian sweets, pies, cookies, etc.

We were very happy with the choice we made in these chocolate chip cookie bars - I added in a handful of toffee chips but otherwise stuck to Asiya's recipe and they were devoured in no time flat. Both my husband and son really, really enjoyed this recipe - and I love that I finally made a bar version of cookies! Love how easy it was to spread these out, bake them (in ONE BATCH), let them cool, slice and done! Awesome! The flavor and texture is wonderful - super tender, lovely and crisp around the edges, filled with delicious bites of chocolate and toffee. Perfect to enjoy with a glass of milk, pack in a school lunch, serve as an after school treat, or warm and top with vanilla ice cream. Delicious!


Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars from Chocolate and Chillies

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate toffee bits (optional)

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, add the oil and both sugars.  Mix well.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.  Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients gradually, mixing until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.  The batter will be much thicker than a cake batter and will take a bit of effort to get it spread into all the corners.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until light golden.




Sunday, March 22, 2015

Natural Bamboo Charcoal Deodorizer Bag - #Review


If you like the idea of a natural deodorizer product to limit your family's exposure to chemicals in aerosol odor neutralizers, then I think this is a really terrific alternative. I knew when I was given the chance to review this deodorizer bag that I would be using it in my 18-month old daughter's room, next to her diaper pail.


This natural deodorizer is helping eliminate the diaper pail odors and I don't have to spray febreeze every day or so to help keep the room smelling fresh which I love! (Nothing against Febreeze air fresheners - I LOVE their products, it's just nice to not have to use an aerosol with chemicals in her room anymore)!


We just used a 3M hook to attach it to her armoire below her diaper keeper and it works great! I love that this lasts for up to two years and just needs natural refreshing by placing the bag under direct sunlight once a month to ventilate and dry for about an hour.  That's all there is to it!

Product Information from GreatValueSG:

THE AIR PURIFYING DEODORIZER BAG THAT WORKS BY ABSORBING ODORS NATURALLY

Wouldn't it be nice if you could get rid of odors commonly found in the fridge, kitchen, closet, room, car, shoes and pet areas that make you feel uncomfortable effectively? What if there was a natural way to remove odors and reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals?

Introducing GreatValueSG natural bamboo charcoal air purifying deodorizer bag with 100% organic bamboo charcoal crystals which removes odors and moisture by absorbing them. It also removes bacteria and toxic chemicals from paint or furniture and prevents mold and mildew. Unlike aerosols or scented products with harmful chemicals, the odors are not just masked but absorbed and removed. It's safe to use around pets and children. It is held in a durable linen bag unlike cheap imitations using non-woven materials which tear easily. Each bag is handmade fresh from the factory and full of natural goodness. It could be refreshed monthly and reused for 2 years and covers up to 70 sq feet area. Start noticing improvements in the room or area after about 1-2 days.

BEST NATURAL BAMBOO CHARCOAL AIR PURIFIER DEODORIZER BAG
  • Effectively remove odors, toxic chemicals and moisture not just masking them with chemicals or fragrances. Noticeable result in 1-2 days.
  • Perfect For The Fridge - Prevent mold, mildew and bacteria growth. Help keep food fresh longer. More effective than Baking Soda.
  • Best Quality At Great Value - 100% fresh, natural and quality organic bamboo charcoal crystals in a durable linen bag. Reusable for 2 years. For $0.015 a day, enjoy the fresh and clean air and other health benefits it brings for two years! After which it is RECYCLABLE SO NO WASTAGE!
  • Protect Your Home - Fragrance free, Non-toxic and Safe for Home Use, Eco, Pet and Children friendly. 
Perfect for the fridge:
  • Prevent mold and mildew. Help keep food fresh longer 
  • More effective than Baking Soda
  • Create healthy environment 
  • Effectively block electromagnetic radiation 
  • Increase the amount of negative ions and create healthy environment

*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from GreatValueSG for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.







Bobee Polka Dot Wall Decals - Perfect for Nurseries, Playrooms and more!


The Bobee Polka Dot Wall Decals come in over 10 colors to choose from and you can mix and match to decorate any area in your home you choose - make a changing area more interesting, spruce up your child's bathroom, decorate their wipes container! Lots of ideas for ways to use these fun polka dot stickers.


Each pack comes with multiple sizes and styles of circles, so you can create something unique and interesting. I chose to receive a pack of green, yellow, and pink.


I used 3 packs of these wall decals to make a colorful border on two of the walls in Lindsey's play room! I showed them to Lindsey after I was done and she looked back and forth and back and forth and smiled. It adds a really nice touch of cheerful color to her room which she spends so much time in every day.


I had also thought about decorating her bathroom and the bathroom mirror with the stickers, and think that would be another fun use for these decals. They are easy to apply to your walls, and remove easily as well if you want to rearrange or remove them.

Product Information:

  • Removable and repositionable stickers
  • 32 polka dots in one color per package
  • Five different sizes vary in width from 1.25" to 3"
  • Safe for walls, leaves no sticky residue
  • Proudly MADE in USA



*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Bobee Decals for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.