Thursday, June 23, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes


I looooooooooove this recipe!  I found it in my Martha Stewart Cupcakes Cookbook.  If you like cupcakes, you would love this cookbook.  


Martha has so many creative ideas on how to make, decorate, and display cupcakes.  The cupcakes use fresh strawberries which is PERFECT for summer.  I love taking pictures of the process, but have learned that I need daylight to get great pictures.  Look at the box score below.  Can you guess what time I was making these?


Yep.  That is right. ONE AM.  I surprisingly didn't screw anything up...

The Cake Goods:
  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2-1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 20)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin tins with paper liners. 
2.  Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt. 
3.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time (including egg white), vanilla, and beat until each is incorporated. 
4.  Add half of your flour mixture, and beat until well combined.  Add your milk, and you guessed it...mix until well combined.  :) Now add the remaining flour mixture, and you know what to do know.  
5.  Fold in your chopped strawberries by hand.  Evenly, distribute batter into muffin tins and bake 25-30 minutes.  

Icing Goods:
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 2 sticks butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3-1/2 cups powder sugar
  • 1/2 TSP vanilla

1.  In a small food processor, add your strawberries and pulse until they have been pureed. 
2.  In a mixing bowl, beat butter and salt until light and fluffy.
3.  Slowly add your powder sugar; mixing as you go. Beat until well combined.
4.  Add vanilla and 3 TBSP of strawberry puree.  Mix until just blended.  Do not over mix!


Grace, peace, and be sure to enjoy some sweets!

{Leslie}

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adventures in the Texas League {Springdale, AR}

With my Tall Tan Man's occupation I do A LOT of driving.  This is mostly done all by myself, but to be honest I can entertain myself pretty well!  One of my road trip essentials is Braum's ice cream.  Did you know you can get a kids cup for only 86 cents? Well, I guess you do now.  Looking at this pictures makes me want to stop writing this post, and go get some ice cream...


The ballpark is located right next to this...


Some people found this strange, but I liked feeling in the middle of no where.  This pictures makes me want to go put on my cowgirl boots, and drink some sweet tea.  The ballpark was really nice, and had great ice cream (I am sensing a trend).





While Tall Tan Man goes to the field I am left with a little free time...well, more than a little.  I had an earlier post about going to take pictures with the FABULOUS Lyndsey Sullivan.   On another day, I went antique shopping and of course I was hungry and stopped at this cute little shop.  The cinnamon rolls reminded me of the ones my Mamaw made for every Christmas.  The sweet lady that made all of these goodies was working the register, and I really wanted to ask her to give me a baking lesson.  I refrained because she probably would think I was crazy.  Now that I think about it, she already thought I was a little crazy, because I asked her if it was okay to take pictures...I can't even imagine all baking secrets she must of had. 


One day for lunch Tall Tan Man and I went to Fayetville, home of the Arkansas Razorbacks {where my baby bro will be going to school very soon}!  We had some dam good pizza at Damgoode Pies.  This was located not too far from the campus.


After having yummy pizza we I was craving something sweet.  These are cupcakes from Bliss.  Tall Tan Man picked a cheesecake cupcake...It was divine.


Mine was good too, but not quiet as good as the Cheesecake. The top of mine was prettier, but I bet you can guess what happened...


Grace, peace, and be sure to enjoy some sweets (looks like I need to take a break from the sweets...)!

{Leslie}

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lyndsey Sullivan Photography

This baseball season I have been very blessed by the fabulous wives/gf's of my Tall Tan Man's teammates.  One that I am particularly thankful for is Lyndsey Sullivan.  This baseball life is not easy or glamorous, and it great having someone who understands what you are going through.  Lyndsey is a wonderful photographer, and if you are lucky enough to meet her you will be able to see her passion for photography.  Look at these beautiful moments she captured:




I miss these next two children...a lot...and their parents.



So while on the road in NW Arkansas we had some free time while our men were doing what they do.  So what does this mean?!  Photo Shoot Time!  








Lyndsey was so fun to work with.  If you are in the Tulsa area this summer, and in need for pictures, Lyndsey is your girl!  To contact her, or to see more of her amazing pictures you should check out her Website or her Facebook Page!

Grace, peace, and be sure to enjoy some sweets!

{Leslie}

P.S.  Please leave me any comments if you have any questions!  :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hello Sunshine


Hi ya'll!  God reminds me of his presence in ways that I would never expect.  The other day I was laying out, and when I looked up the sky was so beautiful.  For some reason when the sun is shining through the clouds I feel like God is looking down on me.  I am thankful for those reminders.  God knows me.  He knows I need those reminders.  I hope your having a wonderful week.  Try not to get too wrapped up in this world today.  Look up at the sky, and know that the God that created that beautiful masterpiece also created you.  As I am writing this I remember one of my favorite verses:

See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:28-34

Grace, peace, and be sure to enjoy some sweets!

{Leslie}

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Beginnings in OKC


I am officially on SUMMER break!!!  Sorry to rub that in your face if you only get 2ish weeks off each year...If you don't think it is fair you could teach (I bet most of you just said "ha, yeah right").  I wonder sometimes how I survive an entire school year...Summer means my back no longer has any knots, and I am not having to wear under eye cream!  Before going to see my Tall Tan Man, I decided to stop in OKC to see my cousin and her hubby (she is 8 months pregnant...yay!).  It was a great trip, and of course it was filled with fabulous food.  We went to Big Truck Tacos, which is a restaurant that won the Food Network's first Food Truck Competition.  


We actually went twice...this was completely necessary.  The first time we went was for dinner, and when we saw the breakfast menu (my favorite meal of the day) we knew we would be returning.  Both times we ate there it was ridiculously good.  I believe breakfast burritos can be eaten anytime, any day, and for any meal.  This is one meal that both myself and Tall Tan Man love.  Hmmm maybe I should work on a recipe {note to self}. 


The restaurant is in an old drive in restaurant building.  For breakfast we ate outside on one of the many picnic tables.  When Meg and I went there for dinner to meet my dear friend Kristen it was way too hot to eat outside {gotta love Oklahoma summer}.  Tomorrow I am headed to Springdale, AR!  I am excited to see my Tall Tan Man, and catch up on some baseball!  Have a fabulous week!

Grace, peace, and be sure to enjoy some sweets!


{Leslie}

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sour Cream Cutout Cookies


These are fabulous sugar cookies.  I really like them because they are not your typical sugar cookies.  They are fluffy and light, but no in the low calorie kind of way.  I love making these during Christmas time!

The Goods
  • 2 cups sugar                        
  • 1 cup sour cream                  
  • 3 eggs    
  • ½  cup butter                  
  • ½  cup vegetable shortening         
  • 5 ½   cups all purpose flour       
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder       
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla          
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract      
  • 1 / 4  teaspoon salt

Mix sugar, sour cream, eggs, butter, shortening. Beat medium speed until light and fluffy.  Normally, I would not put all this in the mixer at the same time, but I did.  It mixed fine! The mixture is fairly liquidy (remember you will be adding a LOT of flour).  Add the vanilla and almond extract.

Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in large bowl.  Beat at low speed one cup at a time.  Make sure you are scraping down the sides, and make sure your mixture is well combined (will be a little sticky).


I split the dough in two.  Place dough onto plastic wrap, and wrap tightly.   I usually freeze one half in a freezer bag. Place the other half in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, overnight, or until firm.
 
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough on floured surface.  I keep the saran wrap on it to flatten it out with my hands.  Roll out to desired thickness.


Add some flour on the top of the dough.  I usually roll the dough out a couple time to make sure it will be easy to transfer to the baking sheet.


I find it helpful to place the cookie cutters in flour before using them.


Place cut shapes 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. 


Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges BEGIN to turn brown.  My balloon cookies looked a little funny (they need frosting...badly).


Cool before frosting.

Frosting Goods
  • 1 / 2 cup butter                     
  • 1 / 2 cup shortening                
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powder sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Mix butter, short, and vanilla.  Slowly add sugar.  Add milk until creamy.


Now this looks like a balloon!


Grace, peace, and be sure to enjoy some sweets!

{Leslie}

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Graduate

My baby brother graduated high school yesterday!  I am very excited for him to start this next phase of his life!  I am going to reflect on some of my favorite family trips with him...

Cabo San Lucas


Scotland


London


I had to throw in one from when he was SOOO adorable :)



He has grown up to be quiet a handsome man.  I love you, Michael Ryan.  :)  I might have to pay him if I want him to actually read this...haha I better learn how to call the Hogs, because he is headed to University of Arkansas in the fall. 


Grace, peace, and be sure to enjoy some sweets!

{Leslie}

Sunday, June 5, 2011

twenty five

I know I already had one birthday post, but I really LOVE birthdays.  My coworkers really love me.  How much you ask? This much {don't you worry...I cleaned it up}:  


What makes me even more happy about that picture is that I don't have to work at that desk for a long time {2.5 months}!  My birthday was really great.  Starbucks gave me a free drink!  This is not because I am really loved, and see my barista 3 times a week.  It is because I have a registered Starbucks card {you should really register a card}!


Tall Tan Man sent me these {I literally ran to the office when I got the "you have a delivery" email}:


I wont tell you how long it took me to eat these...fruit is healthy right?!  I will definitely recommend Edible Arrangements from now on.  These were ridiculously awesome.  I hope you all have a WONDERFUL week!  It is my first week of summer, and my baby bro graduates high school {I have only cried once about it}!   Do something corny this week. 

"I like corny.
I'm looking for corny in my life".

Grace, peace, and be sure to enjoy some sweets!

{Leslie}

* Quote was from the movie The Holiday.  One of my top 5 most watched movies. I have stopped watching it with other people, because I quote it too much. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The BEST Banana Pudding EVER {thanks Paula}


I never liked banana pudding.  If banana pudding was the only dessert at a meal, I wouldn't eat it {this is extreme for me}.  Paula Deen made this recipe on her show, and it was called Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding.  It actually made my mouth water thinking about it. I dove in, and haven't turned back {I still do not like "normal" banana pudding}.  Looking at the ingredients you should automatically know it is a Paula recipe.  :)

The Goods:
  • 1-8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz frozen whipped topping, softened
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1-5 oz instant French Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 box vanilla wafers
  • 6 small bananas
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  Make sure you mix until the mixture is smooth.  Fold in the whipped topping. 


In another large bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding mix.  


Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture.  Stir until well combined.  


Chop up your bananas.


Now choose the bowl or dish you want to put this in.  I had just bought this bowl at Ikea for $2.99!  I was SO excited!!!  Paula says you can also use a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.  I started with a layer of cookies and bananas.  Then add the wonderful pudding.  Go ahead and test it...yum. 


Continue layering until you have used all your pudding.  


This would be great at your next BBQ :) 

Grace, peace, and be sure to enjoy some sweets!

{Leslie}
p.s.  I love Paula and cream cheese.    
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