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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

{Fun with Girl Scout Cookies: Thin Mint Cupcakes}

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It’s a universally acknowledged truth that people go a little nutso in the period leading up to Girl Scout Cookie season.

The order is placed weeks in advance. Then the waiting begins.

Will it ever end?

Just when it seems like it will never come, dawn breaks over the day that little knock comes at the door. “Hi! I have your Girl Scout cookies!”. You resist the urge to sweep the young girl into your arms and dance with her. Hands shaking, you reach out, grasp your boxes, and flee into the recesses of your house where you can eat a cookie (or 12) in peace.

But do you ever feel like you need more?


I didn’t think so, but I’m going forward with this post anyway.

Here are my favorites.

Did ya’ll see the cookie amount is getting less and less? They think we won’t notice. Oh, we NOTICE when our Thin Mints get fewer.

Can’t fool us, you crafty she-devil Girl Scouts!

The Incredible Shrinking Cookie Box.

Soon, we’ll be paying $3.50  for 6 cookies and a cute picture on the cover.

But we’ll do it.

For the love of Girl Scout Cookies.

Anyhoo.. .This recipe requires chocolate cake. Pick any. Pick Pioneer Woman’s Best Sheet Cake Ever.  Pick Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cake. Pick Duncan. Pick Betty. We don’t judge. We’re even ok with that Dough Boy

Then take one sleeve of Thin Mint cookie and crush finely. You can use a food processor, but I prefer the ole ziploc bag and rolling pin method. That way they are fine, but not TOO fine.

After you’ve mixed your cake together, throw in the Thin Mint crumbs, and mix about 1 more minute.

Measure into cupcake liners (you should get 24 or so), then bake according to your cake recipe. Typically 18-22 minutes at 350. Allow to cool completely.

Now, we’s a gunna make some Chocolate Buttercream.


You’ll need 2 sticks (1 cup) butter (softened)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate- melted and cooled)
1 heaping Tablespoon Cocoa powder
4-6 Tablespoons milk

Beat the butter until creamy, then add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Add 4 Tablespoons milk, and beat again. If the icing is too thick, add more milk. 

You can stop here. Mmmm…


But chocolate awaits.


And we don’t want to disappoint chocolate.
Or ourselves.

Add the melted chocolate and cocoa, and again, beat well.
Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. Top with 1/2 of a Thin Mint.

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Try not to dwell on the fact that this recipe took almost an entire box of Thin Mints, and, if you can, enjoy.

They are worth it!

Here’s the printable.


shared at

Monday, March 28, 2011


Here’s a tip for you.

When a teenager says, “Hey Mom, I have an idea for a snack”. 

You should probably pat them on the head and reply, “that’s ok sweetie, Momma’s fine without your suggestions”.

Or you’ll end up in complete, utter, and absolute SUGAR OVERLOAD.

The Bean has recently discovered that pretzels and marshmallows when stuck together, are really quite a treat.

Salt? check. Sweet? check. mmm… a total package snackage.

But… why stop there?

”We should stick marshmallows on a pretzel rod and dip it in chocolate”.

By the way, “we” means “mom”. Just sayin’.


So, we (meaning, again, me) decide to use Campfire marshmallows.

Do you know what a Campfire Marshmallow is?


Well, they are the size of a kitten.

No, seriously.

That’s not a regular marshmallow sitting next to a mini. That’s a Campfire sitting next to a regular sized marshmallow.

Did I mention they are HUGE?

So, we begin.

Shove a pretzel rod into a marshmallow. 

Then, mix about 1/2 cup peanut butter w/ 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup. Microwave this for about 30 seconds, but keep an eye on it to prevent a mondo mess in your microwave.

I wish I’d watched mine. *sad face*

Then stir well. This should be nice and thin enough for you to dip your mallow on a steeeek. (Jeff Dunham, anyone?).

Allow the mix to set up. About 5 to 10 minutes.

Then melt chocolate bark (or chocolate chips with a bit of  paraffin). 

First, remove the pretzel rod and dip the end in the chocolate. Place back into the hole you made earlier. This will keep the heavy marshmallow on the stick. 

Repeat for all mallows, then allow to set up.

After that is set, go ahead and dip your mallows. Tap excess off by tapping the hand holding the marshmallow.

If you wish, immediately roll into other goodies. 

Today I used crushed Golden Oreos, Mini M&M, and a crushed Kit Kat.

Many crushed candy bars would work well, along with mini chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, graham crackers, candy canes, and more! 


I then drizzled white chocolate over my mallows.


If you want to make these a little fancier (can marshmallows be fancy??), don’t dip them in the candy/cookies. 
Leave them lookin’ classy (again, can mallows be classy?? I’m thinking no, but continuing with this thought) and use a Pirouline Wafer instead of pretzel rod.


These are also a little classier (giggle) if you dip them in white chocolate only and solid color sugar sprinkles.

For a smaller, more reasonable sized treat, use regular marshmallows and pretzel sticks or lollypop sticks.

So, did your blood sugar just raise reading this post? I know mine did. 

The Bean  has declared that these, however, are “UH-MAZE-ING”, and I must make them for his (14th- EEK) birthday party.

So, next time your kid says, “Hey Mom, I have an idea….” and it pertains to food- run away.


And don’t look back.


*P.S. please forgive today’s photos. I know they aren’t the best. My external flash died, and unlike many, I do not profess to be a ‘natural light only’ photographer. Especially not in my less than ideally lighted kitchen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

{Stuff It!}


This is the most exciting post you’ll ever read!

Sorry, I totally lied there. I just need attention.

I apologize.

What I’m about to show you is not exactly ground breaking or genius.

I’m sure you’ve made this before. Or at least eaten it.


Yup, the good old Brownie with a mini Reese’s Cup stuffed in it.

It’s totally yummy, but it’s not exactly news.

My question here is this…

What have you stuffed into a brownie or cupcake?

I’ve stuffed Reese’s (uh.. thank you Captain Obvious!), Hershey’s Kisses, Cookie Dough, mini Candy Bars, Filling, and cookies themselves.

I like to stuff things. I need to stuff more, um.. stuff.

Are you a stuffer too? Leave me a comment with your stuffing prowess!

(P.S. stay tuned in the next few days for Fun with Girl Scout cookies! squee!)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

{that was too easy: Saltine Toffee}

Here’s something for you that’s cheap and easy.
And, no, I’m not talking about the cast of Jersey Shore.
This is perfect for those moments when you realize you forgot to make something for the party and a pantry that would make Old Mother Hubbard cry.
I just worked Old Mother Hubbard and Jersey Shore into the same post.

Seriously, someone gimme some props on that!

Ok, back on topic here (I tend to say that a lot, don’t I? ADD much?)…
This recipe calls for very basic ingredients and very few of them. When you finish you’ll end up with this:

Toffee goodness! Think Heath Bar-ish. mmmm… Heath Bars.
Bear with me, because this is a little off the wall. Here’s what you start with:

Mmmhmmm.. saltines. Plunk down a sleeve on a foil lined pan (that you’ve lightly sprayed with cooking spray). If you don’t have a jelly roll pan, a 13x9 cake pan will work as well. I recommend filling to all the way to the sides. I only used a sleeve and my little babies went floating as you’ll see a few photos later.
You need 1 cup of butter and 3/4 cup of brown sugar. I used 1/4 dark brown and 1/2 light brown because I refuse to color inside the lines. If you are a more of a stick to the plan kinda person, feel free to use 3/4 light brown.

If you are a total rebel, go all dark, baby. All dark.
Bring to a boil, then let boil for 3 minutes. Stir constantly so it won’t stick or scorch. Add a splash of vanilla, and whisk well.
Then… pour it on, honey.
This is where my floating began.. but did not end.
Fully coated, and floaty, crackers.
Pop this into an oven that has been preheated to 400. Bake for 5 minutes.

I’m going to tell you something shocking here. Ready?
I was nearly out of chocolate chips!
Gasp! I KNOW!

So, I had to improvise. You are supposed to use 2 Cups of chocolate chips. I only had about a cup. So, I broke into the Bean’s stash. (don’t rat me out, man!).
This is his favorite chocolate. He has two big bars currently. He won’t notice, right? RIGHT???

Anyway, I broke it up into small pieces and mixed with the chocolate chips.
Sprinkle onto the toffee as soon as you take it out of the oven.
(you’ll notice more float-age in this photo)
Let it sit for a couple of minutes until they are good and melty.
Then spread over the crackers.
At this point you can add 1/2 cup of nuts to the top.

I choose to say no to nuts.

You can leave this or embellish it. I used melted white chocolate and white non pereils. You could also use mini M&Ms.
Allow to fully cool, then cut into triangles or break into pieces.
This will keep for about a week when stored in an airtight container.
I highly doubt it will last that long though.

So, like I said, cheap and easy (but in a good way).
Here’s the link to the printable! Enjoy!
Also, this is great for holiday gifts! (and yes, I am aware it is March, thanks).
With a whisk and a dream… Tina

*recipe found on the back of a Kroger Saltine box

Shared on Fat Camp Friday for 9/16/11 
Shared at Passionately Artistic

Thursday, March 17, 2011

{Don’t go Green!}


So, it’s St. Patrick’s Day!

Does that mean everything needs to be green?

Yeah… NO.

Today my friend Lori and I went to Ponderosa for lunch. On their hot food buffet they had green mashed potatoes.

Seriously, they were tinted green.

Some food should never be tinted green.

Mashed potatoes is one of those.

It was quite disturbing.

We always think GREEN, GREEN, GREEN on St. Pat’s.

Sure, that’s the norm, but we are not the norm here, are we?

And really, as illustrated above, green is not always the most appetizing color.

Spice it up a bit. Think gold. Think RAINBOWS!

Maybe today would be the perfect day to try a Rainbow Cake.

It’s sure to get ooooooooohs and aaaaaaahs.

Bake this puppy up and your family will think YOU are golden!

Rainbow Cake!



Need more rainbow ideas?

Check out
these colorful treats!

I’m gonna make the pudding. Post about it later :)

May your day be touched by a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart, and warmed by the smiles of the people you love. -Irish Blessing

Happy St. Patty’s!

With a whisk and a dream.. Tina



Sunday, March 13, 2011

{Oh My…Holy Rolls!}

So, since forever ago, I’ve been wanting to make The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls.

Problem is, I have a family of three, and this makes seven pans. Yes, I said seven PANS. Even at my hungriest, I can’t eat that much.

No, really, I can’t.

I planned to make them at Christmas and give them as gifts. However, I used a packet of yeast and forgot to buy another until… well, last week. Actually I bought a jar, but – semantics, folks.

I wondered who I could dole all these out to. Then it hit me.

Church people.

I don’t know if you realize this, but church people are always hungry.
It’s a fact of life.

I set (sat?) about my task last night at 8pm.

By 9 pm I was crying.

Real tears.

Ok, so I wasn’t, but I like to be dramatic. I can’t help it. It’s who I is.

1. I ran out of flour.

2. these things are sticky and messy, and they looked really ugly.

3. I thought no one would ever eat them.

4. I was COVERED in flour. I mean it. I looked like the dough boy- and not just cuz I’m chubby.

5. I ran out of powdered sugar.

SERIOULSY? yes, seriously.

First crisis averted when I ran to the store to get more flour.

But when it came time to go back out for the sugar, I was not excited. 

And, um.. covered in flour, remember?

My parents live 2 houses down. They weren’t home. They gave me a key. That was their first mistake. 

So, I rumbled through their cabinets and found said sugar.

And I left this note:

I have taken your powdered sugar.
If you wish to see it alive again call 000-000-0000 when you arrive home.

They never called.

R.I.P Powdered Sugar.

Meanwhile back at the ranch….

I mean that literally, Pioneer Woman lives on a ranch. I was tweeting my frustrations when, lo and behold, PW replied to me.

Our tweeted conversation:

ME: I'm making @thepioneerwoman 's cinnamon rolls for the 1st time. Pray they come out. because if they do, they're going to church tomorrow :)
Me: this is not going well @thepioneerwoman 
PW: @DSPTina Tell me what's up! I'll walk you through it. 
ME: @thepioneerwoman thanks, hon, but they are rising now. i'm covered in flour and a little dogtrodden, lol. They are just small and stickeeey 
PW: @DSPTina Very normal! They're a total mess...but worth it. (Next time, refrigerate the dough; easier to work with!) 
ME: @thepioneerwoman Oh, thanks, great tip! :) 
ME: @thepioneerwoman did I say dogtrodden. haha.. I meant downtrodden. Or maybe I didn't. :) 
PW: @DSPTina I thought I had learned a new word tonight! 
ME: @thepioneerwoman sure, let's go with that! 
(this is where she becomes bored with me and goes off to brush her long red hair, or herd cattle, I know not. Ree? Ree??? Are you home? *knocks on computer screen*). 
ME: @thepioneerwoman BTW, the rolls went in looking a HOT stinkin mess, and came out brown and beautiful. I didn't know you had magic recipes! 
ME: just so you all know @thepioneerwoman 's cinnamon rolls are WORTH THE EFFORT. I may never love again after these! 
Anyway, I took only one preparation photo and it's from my phone, because I’m linking you to her site, and she has photos that are more tasty than her food. Or, almost.

I never planned to share it here, but what the hey- I have no pride.


This is the roll before I started slicing. FYI, my bar is 4 foot long. And this is the SECOND roll. Did I mention this recipe makes a TON?

And yes, my kitchen was a HOT MESS after.

They went in the pan looking sad and pathetic, that’s not how them came out of the oven though.


and.. the “lots” that it makes- I counted 74 rolls.


So, enough with the yapping and get on with the recipe givin’, you say?

OK, but promise me that you’ll not go off, get lost in her huge, massive, wonderful, stupendous recipe collection and never come back to my teeny corner of the interwebs, ok?

Just remember, you promised!
With a whisk and a dream and a whole lotta cinnamon rolls*, Tina

*not really, those church people… they took care of ‘em!

**Oh, note #2, She says in that link to use 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of butter each time you roll out. I only used 1/2 cup on each for 1 cup total. I apparently fail at reading directions, but I cannot imagine what it would have been like with that much butter. I don’t think I could have sliced mine!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

{Print Me!}

I'm trying out printable recipes for ease of use for you.

I hope you like... and.. that this works!

Coffee Cake 

Please give me feedback on this feature! If you like it, I'll try to include it with all the recipes.

Thanks, Tina

Sunday, March 6, 2011

{You Don’t Have to Drink Coffee: Coffee Cake}

The name ‘coffee cake’ has always disturbed me.

Why coffee cake? There’s no coffee IN the cake.

What if you don’t like coffee?

Can you not eat this cake??

MUST it be served with only coffee?

Why not ‘milk cake’? Or ‘tea cake’?

Heck, if you wanna, why not ‘Mt. Dew Cake’?

Ok, fine, I admit, that would be wrong.

So WHY Coffee Cake? I had to google.

The ALWAYS accurate Wikipedia has this to say:

A class of cakes intended to be served with coffee or for similar breaks and snacks. Under this definition, a coffee cake does not need to contain coffee. They are typically single layer cakes that may be square or rectangular like a Stollen. Coffee cakes are typically flavored with cinnamon, nuts, and fruits. These cakes sometimes have a crumbly or crumb topping called streusel and/or a light glaze drizzle. Some similarity to teacakes may be found, though teacakes are often smaller individual items served with tea.

So, they mention teacakes.

Oddly they do not mention Mt. Dew Cakes.

Nevertheless …

The Bean tells me this morning that he is in charge of Sunday School Snacks.

Really, I was better informed when he was 5. Teenage brain is not the most cooperative thing.

I decided to whip up this cake. It starts with Bisquick. Imma cheater.

Don’t tell.

Coffee Cake


1 3/4 Cup Bisquick

3/4 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

toss it all together in a bowl


Stir/whisk/beat until well mixed.

Pour into greased pan.


(seriously, is that not a fun word? streusel? say it with me… streusel. hee)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

blob on half of it


then swirl through with a knife

(forgive these photos, it was early, and I hadn’t had coffee yet)


top with remaining streusel (streuuuuuuuuuuusel).


Bake at 375* for 20 minutes

As soon as it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with brown sugar until coated as you like. I used about 1/4 cup.


Now.. you can serve it just like this.

But why would you want to?

Instead- make a Vanilla Sugar Glaze.


Vanilla Sugar Glaze

4 Tablespoons of Butter, melted

1 Cup Confectioners Sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-3 Tablespoons HOT water

Add sugar to butter, and whisk. Add vanilla. Then thin with 2 Tablespoons of water. If it is still too thick, add the 3rd.

This should be runny, but thick enough to fully coat your spoon.

This is the same glaze I used in the Secret Cupcakes, just without the chocolate.


And there you have it! Coffee Cake.

Or Milk Cake.

Or Tea Cake.

Or Mt. Dew Cake.

It’s totally your call.


with a whisk and a dream… Tina

Shared at Gooseberry Patch 10/13/11

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

{Dishes Hate vs. Dishes Love}


I really hate doing dishes.

Like, super.. duper hate.

Loathe really.

Even though I have a dishwasher, I still hate it.

I always try to remember the poem that my aunt had hanging on her wall in her kitchen.

It's no longer there because they are now full time RVers, but it was one of the few things that went into the motorhome with them.

So, when I saw my full sink tonight & started to sigh, I decided to snap this picture instead.


Once I stop to put this in perspective, I guess, in all reality, I love doing dishes.

Who knew?

With a whisk and a dream… Tina


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