Hamburger Cupcakes

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These were the perfect addition to a Scooby-Doo themed party!

HAMBURGER CUPCAKES

Chocolate cake batter or brownie batter
White cake batter
Sesame seeds
Frosting

Bake the chocolate cake in a sheet pan to make a thin layer.
Bake the white cake in mini muffin tins.
Cut small circles out of the cooled chocolate cake to make the burger patties.
Cut the white cake in half to make the buns.
Use different colors of frosting to make the condiments.
Sprinkle tops with sesame seeds.
Place a toothpick through each one, add a washi tape flag if desired.

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Perfect with the cookie hot dogs and fries!

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Hot Dog Cookies and Cookie Fries

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These are super easy.  Super fun.  Perfect to make with your kids!  They went perfectly with our daughter’s Scooby-Doo themed birthday party.  I used homemade sugar cookie dough, but even store bought is fine. Divide the dough into thirds.  Color one third red for the hot dog, leave the other 2 thirds uncolored for buns and fries.
Divide one third into however many hot dogs you are making to make the buns.
To shape the buns, make an oval shape and cut down the middle, not quite all the way through.

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Divide the red to make the hot dogs.

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Shape into tiny hot dogs and place in the center of the “buns”.

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I chilled mine so they would hold their shape better.  Then baked at 350 for about 9 minutes.
After they cooled I added a squiggle of yellow frosting for “mustard”.

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For the fries, roll out the remaining third of uncolored dough on a silicone mat thinly (about 1/4″)
Cut into “fries”.

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Bake and cool.  We made little paper fry pouches and lined them with checkered parchment.

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Whole Wheat Quinoa Bread (100% whole grain!)

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I’ve made many a loaf of whole wheat bread.  I try to use whole grains as much as possible and finding that perfect whole wheat bread recipe can be tricky.  This bread is not only 100% whole grain, it’s also 100%, hands down, the most fantastic loaf of whole grain bread ever.  Fluffy, soft, but still has a bit of chew you want for sandwich bread.  I make 4 loaves at a time.  You could easily cut the recipe down if you don’t want that much.  But it’s great for taking a loaf or 2 to a friend or neighbor (and trust me, nobody turns down homemade bread!).
I like to slice it on my meat slicer after it’s cooled and whatever we won’t eat within a few days I freeze.  That way it stays fresh and I can remove however many slices I need from the freezer at a time.  Flax seeds are optional but they add a nuttiness and also up the nutritional power.
I’ve broken the recipe down into a few easy steps, let’s get bakin’!

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WHOLE WHEAT QUINOA BREAD
Makes 4 loaves (9″ x 5″)

For step 1:
1 1/3 cups white quinoa
2 2/3 cups water

For step 2:
10 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
2 T instant yeast
2 T kosher salt
1/2 cup non instant milk powder (or 1 cup instant milk powder)
1/2 cup flax seeds, optional

For step 3:
4 cups warm water (approx 110 degrees)
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup oil (canola or something neutral)

Step 1: Bring water to a boil in a small pot.  Add quinoa, reduce to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.  Fluff and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.
Step 2: Mix all of step ingredients together in a stand mixer.
Step 3: Add step 3 ingredients to stand mixer and mix until combined.  Add quinoa and mix for 5 minutes – 10 minutes.
Place dough in a greased container and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel.  Rise until double in size, 45 minutes to an hour.
Divide evenly into 4 sections and  form 4 loaves.  Place in greased loaf pans and rise for 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Loaves should be about 190 degrees when done.
Immediately remove loaves from pans and place on wire rack to cool.
TIP: There are 2 ways to form nice loaves without big air bubbles.  For one, form dough into a rectangle, about 9″ by 12″.  Tightly roll up, pinching the seam close.  Place in loaf pan seam side down.  For the second, pat into a rectangle and fold in thirds (this is the envelope fold).  Both work well.

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Bread Illustrated

Whole Wheat Quinoa Bread (100% whole grain!)

Yield: 4 (9" by 5") loaves

Ingredients

    For step 1:
  • 1 1/3 cups white quinoa
  • 2 2/3 cups water
    For step 2:
  • 10 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 2 T instant yeast
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup non instant milk powder (or 1 cup instant milk powder)
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds, optional
    For step 3:
  • 4 cups warm water (approx 110 degrees)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup oil (canola or something neutral)

Instructions

Step 1: Bring water to a boil in a small pot. Add quinoa, reduce to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes. Fluff and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.
Step 2: Mix all of step ingredients together in a stand mixer.
Step 3: Add step 3 ingredients to stand mixer and mix until combined. Add quinoa and mix for 5 minutes - 10 minutes.
  • Place dough in a greased container and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Rise until double in size, 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Divide evenly into 4 sections and form 4 loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and rise for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Loaves should be about 190 degrees when done.
  • Immediately remove loaves from pans and place on wire rack to cool.
  • TIP: There are 2 ways to form nice loaves without big air bubbles. For one, form dough into a rectangle, about 9" by 12". Tightly roll up, pinching the seam close. Place in loaf pan seam side down. For the second, pat into a rectangle and fold in thirds (this is the envelope fold). Both work well.
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    Super Chicken

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    Why “super” chicken? Well, it’s SUPER easy, SUPER quick, SUPER crispy, and SUPER DUPER delicious.  So yes, “Super Chicken” is fitting to me!
    My kids love chicken strips and I’ve made many a variations.  Some are here on the site and turn out well.  But I wanted one I could make in no time that didn’t require flipping, or frying, or marinating.  And crispy on the bottom too!  Impossible.. right?   Well, not anymore! I’ve experimented with tons of tricks that honestly don’t make that much difference.  I’ve made these with fresh breadcrumbs and that version turned out well too.. still crispy and pretty easy.  But I wanted easier.  So I took inspiration from this recipe , but used a parchment lined baking sheet so they would get crispy without sticking to the tray.
    I pulse up a whole box of cornflakes in my food processor and keep them in a ziplock in the freezer for added convenience.
    These were gobbled up in less time than it took to make them!

    SUPER CHICKEN
    1 1/2-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or tenderloins
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    2 T unsalted butter, melted

    Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
    If using chicken breasts, cut into strips.
    Set up 2 shallow bowls, the beaten eggs in one and combine the cornflakes and spices in another.
    Dip chicken in eggs, then cornflake mixture, then place on baking sheet.
    Drizzle with the melted butter.
    Bake for 30 minutes.  Boom.  Dinner.

    Super Chicken

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or tenderloins
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 2 T unsalted butter, melted

    Instructions

  • Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • If using chicken breasts, cut into strips.
  • Set up 2 shallow bowls, the beaten eggs in one and combine the cornflakes and spices in another.
  • Dip chicken in eggs, then cornflake mixture, then place on baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with the melted butter.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Boom. Dinner.
  • Tip: Pulse up cornflakes in your food processor and store them in the freezer for added convenience. You'll have them ready whenever you need them! You could even add the spices too.
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    Tie Dye Scooby Doo Cake

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    Have you ever tried a tie-dye cake? They are easier than you think and super fun to do with kids.  You can really do these in any colors you like as well.  Think purple and orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, pink and white for a flowery cake.. you get the idea.  It’s super easy, here’s how.

    Separate cake batter into 6 equal portions and color.

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    Decide what order you want the colors in, then pour your first color in the prepared pans.  Each color should be poured into the center, the weight of the batter will push the other colors out to the edge.

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    Repeat until batter is used.

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    Bake as usual.

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    And decorate! We used our trusty Marshmallow Fondant recipe to make a Scooby-Doo to go on top.

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    The fun part is cutting into this cake!

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    Homemade Jo-Jos (Super Crunchy Potato Circles / Wedges)

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    Maybe once a month I make a fun “dinner in” dinner.  We make something my kids would order in a restaurant.  The more kids can see how things are made from scratch and involved in the process the more open they are to trying new foods.  So every now and again it’s fun to let them pick something to make that’s more of a treat too.
    These are super crunchy, tender and fluffy inside.  They even stay pretty crunchy the next day.

    We tried wedges and circles, and both turned out great.  The circles are slightly easier to cook evenly since they are an even shape.

    Either way, get ready for some mom points!

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    Homemade Jo-Jos

    1 1/2 – 2 lbs gold potatoes, cut in wedges or sliced in 1/4 inch slices
    2 T vegetable or canola oil, plus extra for frying
    1 cup buttermilk
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 cup cornstarch

    Spice Mix:
    1 T kosher salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp paprika

    Toss the potatoes in a microwave safe bowl with 2 T oil and 1 T of the spice mix.
    Cover completely with plastic wrap. Microwave for 8 minutes, carefully tossing them around after 4 minutes to redistribute without removing the plastic wrap.
    Carefully remove plastic wrap and pour potatoes out onto a baking tray and let cool. You should be able to pierce them with a knife but they won’t completely fall apart.
    Heat a couple inches of oil in a dutch oven or deep pot to about 350 degrees.
    Set up 2 bowls. In one, mix the buttermilk and baking soda together.
    In another, whisk the flour, cornstarch, and remaining spice mix together.
    Coat the potatoes in the flour mix, then the buttermilk, then back in the flour mix.
    Place on a wire rack and continue coating the remaining potatoes.
    Fry in batches for a few minutes, flipping halfway, until golden and crunchy.
    Since they potatoes are pretty well cooked you’re really just cooking the coating more so.
    When done, remove to a new wire rack set over a baking tray.
    Sprinkle with salt while warm if desired.

    Adapted from Cook’s Country

    Homemade Jo-Jos (Super Crunchy Potato Circles / Wedges)

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs gold potatoes, cut in wedges or sliced in 1/4 inch slices
    • 2 T vegetable or canola oil, plus extra for frying
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch
      Spice Mix:
    • 1 T kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp paprika

    Instructions

  • Toss the potatoes in a microwave safe bowl with 2 T oil and 1 T of the spice mix.
  • Cover completely with plastic wrap. Microwave for 8 minutes, carefully tossing them around after 4 minutes to redistribute without removing the plastic wrap.
  • Carefully remove plastic wrap and pour potatoes out onto a baking tray and let cool. You should be able to pierce them with a knife but they won't completely fall apart.
  • Heat a couple inches of oil in a dutch oven or deep pot to about 350 degrees.
  • Set up 2 bowls. In one, mix the buttermilk and baking soda together.
  • In another, whisk the flour, cornstarch, and remaining spice mix together.
  • Coat the potatoes in the flour mix, then the buttermilk, then back in the flour mix.
  • Place on a wire rack and continue coating the remaining potatoes.
  • Fry in batches for a few minutes, flipping halfway, until golden and crunchy.
  • Since they potatoes are pretty well cooked you're really just cooking the coating more so.
  • When done, remove to a new wire rack set over a baking tray.
  • Sprinkle with salt while warm if desired.
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    Perfect Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

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    I’ve tried too many versions of Instant Pot hard boiled eggs to count.  But this is definitely the best in my opinion.  By using low pressure the whites stay more tender, the yolks are still perfectly cooked without a dark ring (which indicates overcooking). Cooking on high pressure for 8 minutes works well also, but the low pressure is definitely better.  And the best part? Pressure cooked eggs are unbelievable easy to peel! I always make a lot of deviled eggs for our family holidays and every time I am immensely annoyed peeling all the eggs and how tedious it is.  Not anymore!

    Perfect Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

    Eggs, how every many you want
    1 cup cold water

    Place a steamer basket in the instant pot and pour the water in as well.  Place the eggs in the basket, making sure the eggs are not in the water.
    Cook on low pressure for 12 minutes, then quickly release the pressure.
    As soon as the pressure drops, open the lid and place the eggs in ice water to stop the cooking.
    Remove after about 5 minutes when eggs are cool and peel or refrigerate and peel later.

    Perfect Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

    Ingredients

    • Eggs, how every many you want
    • 1 cup cold water

    Instructions

  • Place a steamer basket in the instant pot and pour the water in as well. Place the eggs in the basket, making sure the eggs are not in the water.
  • Cook on low pressure for 12 minutes, then quickly release the pressure.
  • As soon as the pressure drops, open the lid and place the eggs in ice water to stop the cooking.
  • Remove after about 5 minutes when eggs are cool and peel or refrigerate and peel later.
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    http://mystainedapron.com/perfect-instant-pot-hard-boiled-eggs/

    April Fool’s Pizza!

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    My youngest was super excited for April Fool’s Day this year and wanted to do some “pranks” that wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.  So we went with making foods that aren’t quite what they seem.  Dinner is chocolate cupcakes with frosting (meatloaf with mashed potatoes)! And dessert? Pizza! I helped her pipe the “cheese” but let her do all the other toppings.  She had so much fun and can’t wait to serve it up later!
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    APRIL FOOL’S PIZZA

    For the pizza crust:
    1 cup unsalted butter

    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp kosher salt

    For topping:
    raspberry jam (pizza sauce)
    frosting (cheese)
    Marshmallow fondant or fruit leather to cut out topping shapes
    sprinkles, for herbs and parmesan cheese

    Make the pizza crust:
    Cream everything together with a wooden spoon or mixer just until creamy. Don’t overmix.  Will be pretty dry.
    Press into a 10 inch springform pan.
    Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool.
    Top with raspberry jam for pizza sauce, frosting for cheese, and other decorations.
    April Fool’s Pizza!

    Ingredients

      For the pizza crust:
    • 1 cup unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
      For topping:
    • raspberry jam (pizza sauce)
    • frosting (cheese)
    • Marshmallow fondant or fruit leather to cut out topping shapes
    • sprinkles, for herbs and parmesan cheese

    Instructions

  • Make the pizza crust:
  • Cream everything together with a wooden spoon or mixer just until creamy. Don’t overmix. Will be pretty dry.
  • Press into a 10 inch springform pan.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.
  • Top with raspberry jam for pizza sauce, frosting for cheese, and other decorations.
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    Mediterranean Salad

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    Chicken Shawarma is one of our favorite dinners.  And if I’m making that you can bet I’m also making this.  It’s cooling and refreshing and is just what you want with the warm spices in shawarma.  I usually make it before I cook the shawarma so the acid in the lemon juice can mellow out the onion a bit before we eat.  You can use equal parts cucumber, tomato, and onion or cut back on the onion if you like.  This is something you don’t really measure.  Just chop, drizzle, and mix.
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    MEDITERRANEAN SALAD

    Cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
    tomato, diced
    white onion, diced
    flat leaf parsley, minced
    Lemon juice
    Olive Oil
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    Mix the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions together in a bowl.  Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

    Mediterranean Salad

    Ingredients

    • Cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
    • tomato, diced
    • white onion, diced
    • flat leaf parsley, minced
    • Lemon juice
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions

  • Mix the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions together in a bowl. Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
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    How we celebrate St Patrick’s Day

     

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    Yet another thing I love about Homeschooling is that we can decide how to celebrate holidays.  For us, St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect opportunity to learn about Irish history and to read Irish folktales.  My Dad was an amazing storyteller and was incredibly proud of his Irish heritage.  So to celebrate him we go all out for St Patrick’s Day all March.  Actually… it pretty much starts the day after Valentine’s Day.  We make decorations, make a little leprechaun fairy garden, and I put all our Irish folktale books on the coffee table and we read them often.
    I teach them traditional Irish recipes and read through my Irish cookbooks and look for new ones to try.
    I don’t dye milk green or make leprechaun traps.  There are no pots of gold to be found.  But there is apple cake and soda bread and isn’t that pretty much the same thing? 🙂

    My favorite Irish Recipes can be found here

    My favorite Irish cookbook is:
    Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen

    Some of our favorite Irish folktale and history books are:
    Irish Tales of Mystery and Magic by Eddie Lenihan
    The Story of Ireland by Brendan O’Brian
    Tim O’ Toole and the Wee Folk by
    O’ Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott
    Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute
    Jamie O’ Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie Depaola

     

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