CINNAMON BUN CUPCAKES

CINNAMON BUN CUPCAKES
CUPCAKES
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 LARGE eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  • Line cupcake tins with papers.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  • Whisk eggs for about 1 minute. They will become frothy and lightened in color.
  • Add oil and whisk again until combined.
  • Add sugar and whisk for about 1 minute.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Add sour cream to the batter, whisking until combined
  • Now add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk gently. Whisk batter until JUST until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX!

CINNAMON SWIRL
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar

  • Make the Cinnamon Swirl: mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of white sugar. Set aside.

ASSEMBLY

  • Now start by pouring about 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter on the bottom of each cupcake tin.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the Cinnamon Swirl mixture.
  • Top with another heaping tablespoon of batter.
  • Now, sprinkle another 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon Swirl mixture over batter.
  • Top with another heaping tablespoon of batter.
  • Using a toothpick, swirl the batter a few times to create a swirl effect.
  • Top already swirled cupcakes with one final 1/2 teaspoon of the Cinnamon Swirl mixture.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking halfway to rotate pans.
  • Remove from the oven once cupcakes are lightly golden brown and puffed.
  • Cool 10 minutes.

GLAZE
+/- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
+/- 2 tablespoons milk

  • Mix powdered sugar and milk together.

NOTES:  There are many factors that will affect your glaze consistency.  The brand of sugar you use, whether you use a scale or a measuring cup…  If your glaze is too thin and runny, add more sifted powdered sugar and test for consistency again.  If the glaze is too thick and not spreading, add a very, very small amount (1 teaspoon) of milk at a time, until you achieve your desired consistency.

BLOGMAS 2019 – DAY 24 – CHRISTMAS EVE

THE HOLIDAY SEASON & CHRISTMAS EVE…
Usually the holiday season is an endless list of tasks and errands.  Christmas Eve is usually at our house and then Christmas Day many times too.  The last several years though the holiday season has been quiet, many times too quiet.  This year will also be quiet.  With having been under the weather the past week, I didn’t get my baking for the neighbor plates done until yesterday, but by last night I had everything cleaned up and the plates covered ready for delivery Christmas Eve afternoon. This year our selection is Cider Glazed Christmas Cakes, Golden Gate Brownies, Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes, Rolo Pretzel Turtles, Chocolate Pretzel PB Bars and Salted Caramels.

Personally, I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  I’m a list writer and as a Virgo usually have my presents bought early and the Christmas cards ready to mail by Thanksgiving, many times they are even hand made.  Having all this done and ready made it possible for me to go to the malls, get a nice cup of coffee and just watch other people hustle and bustle.  Then I would go home and cook and bake and then bake some more!

I learned much of this from my folks.  My folks would have the majority of their shopping done before Thanksgiving and then because of their hectic schedules dad would sit me down with all the gifts, a card table, wrapping paper, tape, bows and tags on the day after Thanksgiving and that was where I would spend the Thanksgiving weekend watching Christmas movies, eating leftover turkey sandwiches and wrapping gifts.  When the gifts were done, I would start on the Christmas cards.  LOL this wasn’t an abuse of the child labor laws, it was how I earned a chunk of money for my own Christmas shopping.  Dad was a generous employer.

Christmas Eve was spent at our house with the immediate extended family (grams and gramps, aunts, uncles and cousins and many times neighbors too). We would do a big buffet and then open all our gifts to each other and have a party.  We’d go to sleep happy and sated while waiting for Santa.

Christmas day began with stockings and brunch.  By afternoon the turkey and ham were smelling great and we were ready to start all over.  Oh, it was the same bunch of people, but we would add a great aunt and uncle. Looney Louise, (okay we didn’t call her looney to her face, but it is what made her such fun) made us cornflake wreaths with red hots and fudge too!  All us cousins would sit on the front porch waiting for them and for our wreaths!  It wouldn’t have been Christmas without them!

Looney Louise many, many  years before she made us our wreaths!

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa Claus is coming to town tonight. If you have kids, or are just a big kid at heart, you can track Santa’s progress as he travels around the world on NORAD.
Merry Christmas everyone!

May the Christmas season bring you a bounty of joy,
happiness, health and everything else you desire!

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 52 of 2019

GOOD MORNING We’re officially in the Christmas week!  So, Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you are as close to be done with shopping, wrapping and food prep as you want to be.  We’re also only a week away from New Year’s 2020.  I remember thinking how weird it was going to be changing to a “new” century and now I find it even MORE mind bobbling to think about it even being 2020!!!!!!!   I’ve been under the weather for several days, but still have things to do before places close up shop for the holiday and LOTS of food prep to do also so I’m jumping right in with Happy Homemaker.  Be sure to join us and link up over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom with Sandra for Happy Homemaker Monday.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING The weather has been REALLY weird lately and changes daily despite the predictions! I’ve truly just been taking it one day at a time.  Theoretically it’s going to rain all week with highs in the mid 40’s and lows in the low 30’s.  Today’s a baking day and a couple errands so I’m dressing for comfort – Levis, favorite teal hoodie and UGG’s.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE hot water and cherry yogurt

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE, WEEKLY TO DO LIST, HOUSE & CRAFT PROJECTS, APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY, LIVING AREAS & KITCHEN… just a couple loads of laundry, floors to vacuum (though I know they’ll need it again on Thursday), kitchen to clean, though I’ll be making the neighbor Christmas plates today so it will need a good deep clean later today or tomorrow morning. At least I’m doing dinner in the slow cooker so that will help.
  • YARD… refill hummingbird feeders – we have a breed that lives here year round called the Anna – they sing too.  I’m not sure how they exist in the cold here, but they do so I keep the feeders full.  I have to bring them in at night a good deal of the time so they don’t freeze.
  • APPOINTMENTS & TO DO… nothing this week except the butcher today for the Christmas Eve steaks and mail my mom’s mail to her.
  • BLOG… working on a few recipe updates and future postings.  I’ve also revived my “recipe” blog, SAVORY KITCHEN TABLE specifically for a recipe file. I like that it is ONLY recipes these days and doesn’t get bogged down with crafts or house remodel updates!  I moved to this wordpress format here at Chasing MY Life almost 3 years ago and it works great, but I honestly miss the simplicity of the blogger format I use at SAVORY KITCHEN TABLE.  I had been involved in several other blogs and while I miss my original that I lost to a google issue with their domain company, I’m happy to be doing things much simpler overall.
  • CRAFTS/PROJECTS… I hope to start on a couple mixed media projects after the first of the year and finish the garland for next Christmas.

WHAT IS ON THE DVR, I LIKE OR ON THE LIST TO WATCH/SOMETHING INTERESTING I WATCHED

We finished Dolly Parton’s Heart Strings on Netflix – a series of heart warming stories and the new season of Mrs. Maisel. We’re caught up on the fall finales.  But, I still have quite a few Hallmark Christmas movies to watch this week as well as a ton of cooking shows.

Some of the “regular” shows we’re watching for this year are:

  • CRIME, SYFY, POLICE & MEDICAL  – Chicago Series (Medical, FIRE and Police), Law & Order SVU, Blue Bloods, Hawaii 5-0, Magnum PI, FBI, NCIS Series (Original, LA, NOLA), All Rise, Bluff City Law, The Resident, New Amsterdam, The Good Doctor, StumpTown, The Rookie, Bull, 911, Emergence, Seal Team, Supernatural
  • COMEDIES & FAMILY – Young Sheldon, The Good Place, The Unicorn, American Housewife, GOD Friended me, Almost Family

I’M READING I finished Kissing Jenna Book #2 of Kristen Proby’s BIG SKY series and have moved on to Book #3 Waiting for Willa

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA We had a short break in the rain one day last week and took that opportunity to take all of the stale snacks, chips and crackers over to the peacocks. They will eat ANYTHING and according to hubby’s research it’s okay that they’ll eat anything 😀  They especially loved the peanut butter balls and nuts.

There were just a couple straggly looking peacocks when we first got there, but dozens more literally came running out of the trees and bushes to join in.

There were a bunch of wild turkeys lurking in the background.  They seemed like they wanted in on the buffet, but the peacocks kept running them off which kind of surprised me.

INSPIRATION & A FUNNY

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK
MONDAY – TROPICAL DUMP CHICKEN with CARROTS & APPLE COMPOTE
TUESDAY – GRILLED STEAKS, BAKED POTATOES & WILTED GREENS SALAD
WEDNESDAY – BAKED HAM, SCALLOPED POTATOES, HONEY GLAZED CARROTS & POMEGRANATE CHESS TART
THURSDAY – C.O.R.N.
FRIDAY – EGGS IN HASH BROWN NESTS with HAM STEAKS
SATURDAY – LEMON PANCAKES with PEPPERED BACON
SUNDAY – C.O.R.N. – probably HAM SANDWICHES

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

FEATURED PARTY LINKS FOR THIS WEEK A few of my favorite party links are taking a holiday break so I’m also taking a break until the second week of 2020 from participating in any groups or parties 😀

RECIPES TO LOOK FOR THIS NEXT WEEK

  • CREAMY GARLIC BACON BRUSSELS SPROUTS
  • WHITE CHICKEN RAGU with FETTUCCINE
  • CIDER BAKED HAM
  • CIDER DRIZZLED CHRISTMAS CAKES

SHREDDED EGG SALAD

This is one of the simplest of recipes, but oh so tasty!
SHREDDED EGG SALAD serves 4-6
6-7 hard boiled eggs
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons FRENCH’S mustard
+/- 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • Grate eggs into a mixing bowl.
  • Stir in pickle relish and mustard.
  • Fold in mayonnaise a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

BLOGMAS 2019 – DAY 22 – WEATHER

It’s been a whirlwind of weather changes around here.  Back at Thanksgiving I would have told you we were definitely in for a white Christmas, but sadly I think that chance has passed. 🙁  Last Friday we had a fluke warm up (65°) that only lasted the one day and then Friday night brought an unpredicted wind storm that had us scrambling to save the blow up from scurrying away despite his guide weights, but seems to have also influenced this next week.  ALL the predictions from before Friday have now warmed up a bit and even the rain amounts have decreased.  That said, I really don’t put much stock in the predictions anymore and take each day as it happens 😀

 

BRAISED BALSAMIC CHICKEN for 2

This recipe was originally written to serve 6 over at ALLRECIPES.com. It uses dried herbs and a can of diced tomatoes. Unfortunately, diced canned tomatoes don’t come in small enough sizes for 2 so I adapted the recipe to make my own using cherry tomatoes AND use FRESH(er) herbs.  I also don’t particularly care for olive oil so I substitute avocado oil and instead of onion I substitute shallot for a little extra flavor.

BRAISED BALSAMIC CHICKEN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
FRESH ground black pepper
garlic salt, to taste
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1 ¼ cup quartered cherry tomatoes
¼ cup QUALITY balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Gourmet Garden “squeeze” Italian herbs
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden “squeeze” Basil

  • In a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, basil and Italian herbs.
  • Fold in tomatoes, cover and refrigerate until dinner.

  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground pepper and garlic salt.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
  • Add shallot, cooking until browned. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add chicken to skillet and sear each side, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Top chicken with shallots and tomato mixture.
  • Bring to a QUICK boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Turn chicken to coat well in glaze.
  • Serve over pasta or mashed potatoes.
  • Garnish with FRESH herbs.

BLOGMAS 2019 – DAY 21 – PRESENTS

When does your family open their presents?

This category has changed a lot over the years for me as I got older. 

My family traditions as a kid were of a BIG Christmas eve open and that carried on through college, but as we (cousins) all got older and began getting married with families of our own, our grandparents passed on, blended families (with their own traditions) were formed, etc… getting together for both Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day became harder and harder to do. 

Eventually Christmas eve became a much smaller event for immediate family for a small dinner and to open our gifts to each other.  Christmas morning was for being at our respective home with our kids opening presents and then the larger family get together much later on Christmas day for dinner at just one place, usually my mom and dad’s house which became our house after my dad passed away.

BANANA UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

I found this recipe for BANANA UPSIDE DOWN CAKE over at TrickNTreat. I love banana in any type of cake, but this recipe takes bananas to a whole other level. The caramel topping is truly the “icing” on the cake!  I added a small amount of cinnamon to help enhance the flavors.

BANANA UPSIDE DOWN CAKE Yield 8 servings

TOPPING
3 small VERY RIPE bananas, cut lengthwise
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup brown sugar

  • Melt butter in a skillet, remove from heat and add brown sugar, stir until sugar is melted.
  • Pour butter mixture onto 8 in pan, arrange banana, cut into 2 lengthwise  on top of sugar mixture.

CAKE
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup milk
2 VERY RIPE bananas mashed
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
8 tablespoons butter
1 LARGE egg

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray an 8×8 baking dish or a loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  • Sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking powder.
  • Beat butter and sugar until creamy.
  • Add salt, vanilla and egg.
  • Fold  in half of the flour, mixing well.
  • Add mashed banana, milk and remaining flour, stirring until well incorporated.
  • Spoon batter over sliced banana topping and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  • Invert into a serving plate and serve.

NOTE: IF you prefer a different look, the bananas can be cut into chunks or rounds instead of lengthwise. I PREFER a lot of small rounds myself.

While I’m glad I tried this recipe and it was good, I really prefer my regular Banana Nut Bread.

BLOGMAS 2019 – DAY 20 – TREE REVEAL

I mentioned yesterday that I LOVE our tree this year.  We bought all new LED lights this year so I worry a lot less about the lights getting too hot. and it’s full of all our favorite ornaments.  I would still like to find a lighted star or angel that I really like. 😀

In reality how I decorate each year changes based on my mood, weather, where we are living, etc… so it will never be the same twice! But, it will at least be the same components.

This is my Snowman Family arranged from 2 different years.
We made candle yule logs for Advent craft night at church one year and they were a HUGE success and soooooooo easy to do.  The decorations below are a few of my all time favorites.
The ornaments below are some of our homemade bulbs.  Several years ago I made quite a few and then did them with my girl scout troop also.  Hubby liked them so well that we have now donated all our store bought bulbs and made enough of these for the entire tree.

My cousin that passed away in 2014 made the ornament below for me.  It will always be hung by my shooting stars in her honor even though I’m still mad at her for leaving the mess called A HOUSE FROM HELL for me to deal with.
And our handmade ornament by Design Chick Creations.

SALTY MILK CHOCOLATE CARAMEL BLONDIES

SALTY MILK CHOCOLATE CARAMEL BLONDIES
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup PACKED brown sugar
1 LARGE egg
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla
1 cup AP flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup KRAFT caramel balls
¾ cup toast walnut pieces
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper (leave plenty of paper hanging over the edge to use as handles) and then spray with non-stick spray and flour.
  • Whisk together the flour, fine sea salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In your mixer bowl beat the melted butter and brown sugar on medium until combined.
  • Add vanilla and egg, beating 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to the mixer, beating JUST until combined.
  • Fold in the milk chocolate, caramel balls and nut pieces.
  • Spoon batter into pan.
  • Bake 20-22 minutes until lightly browned and BARELY set. Add flaked sea salt after 10 minutes.
  • Let cool 1 hour.
  • Remove from pan and cut into squares.
  • Store in airtight container.

BLOGMAS 2019 – DAY 19 – 2020 IDEAS

Christmas is full of tradition and with tradition comes a cyclic nature in how we do things year after year.  Our traditions and practices though stem from our experiences.  As life progresses things change and evolve over time. This year we decided to “downsize” or streamline our decorations to only those that really mean something to us.  I honestly used the Feng Shui method on every decoration and ornament.  I have already donated the discards so I can’t change my mind.  So my ideas for 2020 are to decorate almost identically to how I decorated this year.  I LOVE our tree and am going to try and quit trying to invent the wheel with changing things.  There are still a few boxes to go through, but I see even more donations in the future 😀

This is a category I have given a lot of thought to OVER AND OVER, year after year, and while I no longer really want an upside down tree, I find the story of its origin very interesting. 
I found several places offering background on the upside down tree. One was, ChristmasCarnivals.com which also has many other links for Christmas history to check out too.

“Christmas is associated with many traditions, of which the Christmas Tree is an inherent part. The history of the upside down Christmas Tree has its roots in the 7th century. It is during this period that St Bonafice journeyed from Devonshire, England to Germany to preach the message of God. He engaged himself in religious as well as social work and spent a lot of his time in Thuringia, a town located in Germany itself, which is the birthplace of the industry dealing with Christmas Decorations.

It is believed that St Boniface, while staying in Thuringia, took the help of the triangular fir tree to represent the Holy Trinity made up of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. As a result, the converted people started to [consider] the Fir tree as God’s Tree. Then St Bonafice, using this triangular shaped tree tried to introduce to the pagan tribes the paragons of Trinity.

By the 12th century, it became a custom, especially in Europe to hang the Fir trees upside down from the ceilings to symbolize the Holy Trinity. The Upside down Christmas Trees was also considered the symbol of Christianity. However, the real history behind the hanging of the upside down Trees remains vague. Presently the trend of hanging a Christmas Tree has changed, because nowadays the tip of the Christmas Tree is made to point towards Heaven, as many think that an upside down Christmas tree is a sign of contempt.”

St. Boniface~Wikipedia
St. Boniface~New Advent
ChristmasCarnivals.com