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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ahhhh...fall is in the air...and so is the smell of pumpkin.  Literally.  But that's just my new Scentsy scent in Pumpkin Roll. 


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Ever since I got the delish scent - I have been craving anything and everything with pumpkin it it.  When I found out we had to make a dish for a Going Away Party the other night at work, it was the perfect excuse to make a pumpkin dessert.  I am of course partial to cupcakes, so pumpkin cupcakes seemed ideal.  I found this recipe on RealSimple.com (one of my most fave mags and websites for recipes) and couldn't resist.  They came absolutely fabulous so I had to share with all of you.


Here's the recipe:


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Makes 24 cupcakesHands-On Time: 15m Total Time: 40m

Ingredients

  • 18.5-ounce box yellow cake mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 24 pieces candy corn

Direction


Heat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following change: Add the pumpkin pie spice and substitute the can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions.

Adding the pumpkin puree turns the batter this rich golden orange color - YUM





Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool.




Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn.


The BF obviously stole one!
How cute did these turn out?!  And let me tell you, they were so easy to make and a huge hit at the work party!  


What fall flavors are you craving?


xoxo,
Amanda

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Vintage Glam Inspiration

As Katina's (aka Recipe Gurl) Wedding gets closer (okay it's still 8 months away but in Wedding Time, that will be here in the blink of an eye), we seem to rely on Pinterest more and more everyday to house our constant ideas and inspirations.  For Katina's Vintage Glam Wedding, here is what we have been inspired by lately:

Who said your Bouquet has to be Flowers??  Step outside the box and use vintage jewels instead!

Vintage Frames with Old Family Photos

Rehearsal Dinner Inspiration 

Mixed Matched Votives, a Must for the Centerpieces

Nothing says Vintage like a Lace Gown 
Milkglass and Baby's Breathe - So Sweet
(All Photos can be found on our Pinterest Board)

What has inspired you lately?

xoxo, 

Amanda and Katina



Monday, October 17, 2011

Pinterest Dinner: Spicy Thai Noodles

I swear I spend way too much time on Pinterest.  But I have to say it's totally worth it since the past couple of recipes I've made from my Food Board have turned out absolutely fabulous.  There's nothing better than sitting at work, thinking about what on earth I'm going to make for dinner that night, and instead of aimlessly scouring the internet, searching for god knows what - I just head to my Pinterest and pick something off my "Food" Board knowing that it will never let me down.  


Last week I made the BEST Cheesy Enchiladas which I found on Pinterest...and tonight I made Spicy Thai Noodles - a dish I 'pinned' awhile ago but finally got around to making.  The dish comes from the uber cute blog, A Small Snippet.  If you love chinese/thai flavors with a little heat yet don't feel like buying a zillion thai ingredients, this dish is for you.  It was made with items I already had in my house and turned out amazing!  Here it is:


Source - I'm sorry, I was lazy and didn't take any of my own pics!




Ingredients:


1 Box Linguine or Angel Hair (I actually used regular ol' Spaghetti b/c that's all I had!)
1-2 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Sesame Oil
6 TBSP Honey
6 TBSP Soy Sauce
Green Onions, Cilantro (I absolutely loathe Cilantro, so I subbed Basil for this), Peanuts and Sesame Seeds


Directions:


Boil Noodles.  Drain.
Chop Green Onions, Cilantro, and Peanuts.
Heat Both Oils and Crushed Red Pepper over Medium Heat in a Small Pan.  (2 TBSP Makes This Dish VERY Spicy - I used just 1 TBSP and it Still Turned out Very Hot).
Strain Out Pepper and Reserve Oil.
To Oil, Whisk in Honey and Soy Sauce.
Toss Mixture with Noodles.
Refrigerate Overnight or Until Cold (I did NOT Do This...Me and the BF Were Way Too Hungry so We Ate This Warm!)
*I Also Sauteed One Small Chicken Breast in the Vegetable Oil and Added it to the Pasta for a Little Extra Protein*
Before Serving, Top with Onions, Cilantro (or Basil), Peanuts and Toasted Sesame Seeds.


Enjoy!  


Thanks Again to Leana from A Small Snippet for this Quick and Yummy Meal!  


If you are lacking creativity in the kitchen, you seriously need to check out Pinterest and get inspired!


xoxo,
Amanda

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tiffany & Co. Necklace from Mary and Dyer

As a woman, I swear there is nothing better than finding a Tiffany Blue Box with it's little white ribbon arrive at your front door step.  Wait, there is only ONE thing better than that......and that's if the little blue box is a prize I won for FREE!  Here's the deets:

One of new fave fashion blogs, Mary and Dyer, just held their first giveaway for this little baby:

All I had to do was 'Like' them on their Facebook Page (which I would have done anyways)and bam, I was entered to win this fabulous necklace.  I NEVER win anything and I swear I have the worst luck out of anyone I know, so I was not expecting to win this whatsover.  So imagine my shock when I found out on Facebook that I had actually won! 

I, of course, wore it the very first day I received it:



So here's a HUGE thank you to Kat from Mary and Dyer for hosting such a wonderful Giveaway Contest.  If you haven't checked out her blog, I suggest you do so immediately:-)  She is always posting her super cute outfits and sharing her beauty advice:

Kat from Mary and Dyer


Oh - So excuse the iPhone photo above of my me and my huge melonhead - that pic does my hair no justice, but here it is in extreme close-up:


I get asked on a daily basis how to do this - it's seriously the easiest thing ever, so I will post a tutorial to this very soon! 

Thanks again Kat for my necklace - I LOVE IT.

xoxo,
Amanda

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

China Cabinet Project: Finally Complete!!!

Okay so MONTHS after my first post on this, I have finally finished that beast of a china cabinet and could not be happier with the turnout.  It took so much longer than I anticipated, but so worth the wait.  I hastily purchased several fabulous fabrics to put on the back panels, but in the end I settled with a Vintage Gold paint by Martha Stewart.  Let me tell you, I love this color so much, I'm in the process of hunting down other things in my house that I can paint with this stuff.


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I think the gold really enhances all of the antique pieces with the contrast against the new pieces.  


Here it is again BEFORE:


Old Fashioned and NOT Working with my Style

My Muse:

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Sorry mom and dad - it's not that I didn't appreciate this beautiful antique, it just wasn't meshing with the style I'm trying to achieve in my new home.  


So without further adieu, here is the FINAL result:


Side View Without Any Accessories

Front View Without Accessories
It almost took me just as long to pick out and organize the perfect accessories to display.  But I think I did a pretty darn good job:


Fully Accessorized



What makes me so happy about the cabinet is that every single item I've displayed has some sort of history or meaning to either me or the bf.  The above picture shows an old autograph book that belonged to my great-grandmother, Amanda Caroline Fromm, for whom I was named.  This book dates back to 1897 - how cool is that?  The little girl in the frame is my grandmother Fromm as a baby.  Those books belonged to my grandfather; they are actually from the Harvard University Library - where he went to school.  That glass pitcher - well that has been in my family for centuries.  I'm ashamed that I don't know the full history behind that thing.  I just know that it's beautiful.  


Below is the room as a whole:


Please excuse the hideous chandelier.
Next steps:

~Replace Chandelier with something like this:

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~Find Fab Rug

~Hang these Peacock Prints on Either Side of Cabinet:

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Phewww....so glad this project is over.  On to the next project.........stay tuned to see what that may be:-)


xoxo,
Amanda

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Warrior


Okay so I guess warrior may seem a little extreme, but I totally do feel like one since I am so happy to announce that I FINALLY finished my mother's china cabinet!!!!  Yayyy.......okay, well I can't rejoice too much since I haven't actually put the thing back together yet.  BUT, at least the hardest part of painting it is finally over.  Not only did I lock myself in my house to finish this beast this weekend but I also banged out three fabulous dishes that I've been dying to share with everyone.  Before I get to that, here's a little sneak peak of the fully painted, yet unassembled bottom half of the cabinet:




I will do a full post on the final product once I get it put back together (hopefully tomorrow).  On to my fab recipes:


The first thing I made was the easiest Banana Bread recipe ever.  I don't know why, but I have been craving Banana Bread ever since it's gotten a little bit cooler outside.  Feeling overwhelmed by my painting sitch on Friday, I wanted to make the bread but didn't feel like actually going to the store (since I was covered in paint).  So I found this recipe online and I just so happened to have all the ingredients in my pantry already (as I think most other people would as well).  This recipe is so basic and even though I made it as is, I can see myself adding walnuts, or chocolate chips, or whatever I want in the future.  Okay here it is:







Easy Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas  (I used about three large bananas)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.






Okay so once we got our fix of banana bread, I moved onto my next craving (I'm not preggo, I swear)...a little gem called the Enchilada.  I've searched high and low for the perfect recipe and have pinned several on my Pinterest, but who would have thought that the most delicious Enchiladas would come off the back of a cream cheese container?!  I was at the store Saturday, picking up some necessities when I stumbled across the new Philly Sante Fe Cooking Creme.  The recipe seemed so easy with very little ingredients so I couldn't pass it up.  Let me tell you, the result was absolutely mind-blowing.  


Not the most attractive pic, but wanted to show how MUCH you get from this recipe!

Serve with Spanish Rice and Dollop of Fat Free Sour Cream - What More Could You Want?




Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients
1 small onion, chopped

2 tsp. oil

3 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts (I took the lazy approach again and used Mojo Rotisserie Chicken)

1 can (14.5 oz.) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained (I actually used the diced tomatoes with added jalapenos)

1 tub (10 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Santa Fe Blend Cooking Crème, divided

1/2 cup KRAFT Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese

8 flour tortillas (6 inch)

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F.

Cook and stir onions in hot oil in large skillet on medium heat 4 to 5 min. or until crisp-tender. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, 3/4 cup cooking crème and shredded cheese.

Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining cooking crème. Cover.

Bake 15 to 20 min. or until heated through.

I Repeat - Mind Blowing.


On to dessert!  Okay, so there is NOTHING fancy or creative about this.  Just one magic ingredient, mascarpone cheese.  The bf wanted cupcakes, specifically yellow cupcakes, so I took the lazy approach yet again and got the magical Yellow Cake mix out of the box:


I may not mind taking the shortcut on the cake part, but I absolutely refuse to take a frosting shortcake.  Yes, I am a frosting snob.  I saw Giada make a chocolate ganache awhile back that I thought looked so amazing. So I made it:


Ganache:

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until small bubbles appear on the outside edge of the cream. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate chips. Using a fork, gently stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Yes, it was delish, but the bf turned his nose up at the fact that it was extremely runny and he's accustomed to the super fluffy frosting.  Hmmm...what can I add to this to make it fluffy??  Bingo!  I just happened to have Mascarpone Cheese in the fridge since I had vowed to use it somehow.  



I plopped the entire tub of the cheese into the chocolate and mixed.  Enter the most rich, creamy and delish frosting I've ever had.  No lie.



 So do I even have to explain this...just make the yellow cake mix as directed.  Make the ganache and add the mascarpone.  Dip the cupcakes in the chocolate goodness. ENJOY.


What did ya'll do this weekend?

xoxo, 
Amanda