Easter Bunny Cake

Easter Bunny Cake-1

I don’t get tired of making this cake. Every Easter, this is what we do. We dye eggs, we read Easter books, we make an Easter bunny cake. Tradition! My mom always made this cake with us; now I make it with mine. It really couldn’t be easier- just a little bit of cutting, then simply frost and decorate! It’s so much fun for the kids to help with- the sprinkles, the jellybeans…such fun!

Easter Bunny Cake 3

Just start with 2 round cakes (mine are 8 inches). I’m not including a recipe, because I take the easy road and just use a boxed mix. Funfetti is always good. 😉

Easter Bunny Cake 4

Then cut 2 football-shaped pieces out of each side. These pieces will be the ears and the bow tie. Then, simply frost and decorate! Simple and fun!

bunny cake 2   bunny cake

 

Here’s my frosting recipe:

Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
pink food coloring, if desired

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk, vanilla, and almond extract. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is a good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar (or if you like it thicker, feel free to use more). Stir in a few drops of food coloring until the desired color is reached. Use the icing at room temperature and store in the refrigerator. If you’re not using it right away, allow it to set out at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour before use.

Easter Bunny Cake-2

 

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Tuscan Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Tuscan Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Hello there! Sorry for the delay- Elliott is still teething, which means I barely trust myself to type out coherent sentences anymore. But, I’ll give it a go today, simply because I loooove this soup. Love it so much, I’ve made it several times over the past couple of months. It’s so rich and creamy and flavorful. I think you’re going to love it too!

One of the secrets to how rich and creamy this is, is the carrots. That’s right, carrots. They are pureed before they’re added in. That way, you get that nice, orangey color as well as an added thickness. Cool, huh? This is another of my friend Chris’ recipes. She made it for our bible study a while back and we all just loved it so much. I had to share it with you.

Tuscan Sausage and Tortellini Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 pound Italian sausage, browned and drained
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 cups cooked carrots (or 1 can)
1 pound cheese tortellini
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

In a large pot over medium heat, cook the onions in the olive oil until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, sausage, basil, and salt and pepper. Let simmer while you puree the carrots.

In a food processor, puree the carrots until smooth. Stir into the soup. Add the tortellini and cook for about 8 minutes, until al dente. Stir in the heavy cream. Serves approximately 6.

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8 Months

Elliott 8 months-2

Look at that lil’ cutie pie! My big boy is 8 (well, almost 9 at this point) months old now!

I’m starting to understand what everyone was trying to tell me about boys being SO different from girls. My sweet, delicate Cassidy never really got into stuff or pushed the envelope once she started crawling. Elliott, on the other hand, is our little thrill-seeker. When we put him on the floor, he immediately makes a beeline for ZuZu’s and Izzy’s water bowls. If those aren’t available to him, he goes straight for the floor lamp and tries to climb it.

He pulls up on literally everything. Including my pants. While they’re on my legs. Which results in me getting pantsed. That’s always a fun surprise while I’m waiting for my coffee in the morning. Makes me feel like I’m 23 again…

If there’s an obstacle in his path, he doesn’t even pause, he goes over it. If I take my eyes off of him for a second, when I turn back around, sometimes all I’ll see are his feet going up in the air over a stool or a large toy. I never had to move breakable or valuable items from Cassidy’s reach when she was crawling. She just never messed with them. I can tell I’m going to have to move ALL that crap for the next ten years or so. I sense that Elliott’s going to have his eye on it. All of it.

Elliott 8 months-3

As much of a sweet, snuggly Mommy’s boy as he is, he’s even MORE of a Daddy’s boy. This kid ADORES his Daddy! When Joel comes in from work, Elliott stops whatever he’s doing and heads straight for him. He loves the way Joel tosses him up in the air and plays “rough” with him. He loves the thrill, this one!

Elliott 8 months-5

He’s doing awesome with solids. And he loves food, that’s for sure! Yogurt is his favorite, but he really eats pretty much every kind of baby food I give him. Pretty soon, we’ll start trying more textures, but for now, he’s only really interested in purees.

Sleep is still good. I don’t want to talk about it too much, so as not to jinx anything! 😉

Still no teeth. But judging by the vast amounts of wine we’ve gone through over the past couple of days, I’m thinking one or two are BOUND to pop through anytime (please, God, PLEASE).

Bottom line, I can’t get enough of this kid. He is SUCH a joy. Throw his precious sister in the mix and I get overwhelmed just thinking about how freaking blessed I am. I mean, I get these 2 great kids AND their dad just happens to be a hottie with a beard?! Doesn’t get much better than that, folks.

Elliott 8 months-1

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Cinnamon Roll Bread

Cinnamon Roll Bread-1

Ok, it’s been cold/rainy/snowy/icy for far too long now. One of the perks of being a Texan is only having to deal with like, 3 days of REAL winter. Well, we’ve had it for weeks now and I’m sick of it. My kids and I are sick of being stuck inside. We need sunshine, we need fresh air! Granted, the snow was lovely and Cassidy did enjoy playing in it. But dang, what a PAIN it is getting kids ready to play in the snow! I had to ask myself if it was really worth it. After we each got on our 8 layers of clothing, mittens, extra socks, boots, etc, I was already sweating like a pig. Cassidy ran around a little bit, built a couple of little snowmen, and made a snow angel before she got bored. Elliott looked on from his bouncer, happy as a clam, while I frantically snapped pictures with my phone. “Cassidy, get back in that snow and make another snow angel! If I’m going to go to all this trouble I’m getting some good shots out of it! NOW SMILE AND LOOK LIKE YOU’RE HAVING FUN!” 

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Cassidy was ready to go in after only 30 minutes or so, go figure. But I did get some pretty good pictures of my sweet babies having fun, so I guess it wasn’t a total waste. 😉

Anyway, Cinnamon Roll Bread! I always bake when it’s snowy and/or icy outside (it’s a thing), and I wanted something non-chocolatey and non-cake. I asked my friend Chris if she had any ideas and she sent me the link to this recipe. It’s really simple, really quick, and you probably already have everything you need in your fridge/pantry. It’s not too rich or sweet; it’s the perfect snack on a cold, snowy day. Have a slice with a cup of tea and try to make the best of all this freaking snow.

Cinnamon Roll Bread-2

Cinnamon Roll Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream

For the Cinnamon Swirl:
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons water

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk

Pre-heat our oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×5 bread pan.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a small bowl combine egg, milk, vanilla extract, and sour cream. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine.

In a small bowl combine swirl ingredients together. Use a tablespoon to drop spoonfuls of the mixture over the bread, then use a knife to swirl the cinnamon mixture into the bread.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a cooling rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Remove the bread from the pan and allow it to continue cooling completely. When the bread has completely cooled, drizzle the glaze over the top. Serves 8.

Recipe source: Center Cut Cook

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Mini Oreo-Bottom Raspberry Cheesecakes-1

OK. I’ve got my cuppa tea (Yorkshire, with milk and honey!), got my fuzzy blanket, got my Taylor Swift going, and it’s QUIET and peaceful in this little corner of my bedroom- I’m happy. So let’s talk about CHEESECAKE. Raspberry cheesecake, to be more specific. Raspberry cheesecake with an Oreo as the crust. YES.

Mini Oreo-Bottom Raspberry Cheesecakes-3

As much as I love plain ol’ cheesecake, I adore raspberry cheesecake. I guess because the tartness of the raspberry really cuts through that creamy richness of the cheesecake. And since Oreos are God’s food, why not add them in for good measure? You know, just in case this recipe wasn’t already awesome enough.

Mini Oreo-Bottom Raspberry Cheesecakes-2

I made these cheesecakes for our Valentine’s Day dessert (Joel and I always stay in and cook dinner together. It’s tradition.). I usually make chocolate fondue or one of my all-time favorites, Gooey Chocolate Cakes, but due to the billions of brownie recipes I’ve made lately, I decided to go non-chocolate this year. It was a very good call. We inhaled these; even as full as we were, having just had steaks, baked potatoes, and wine. Another good call. We’re great decision makers, really.

Mini Oreo-Bottom Raspberry Cheesecakes-4

Mini Oreo-Bottom Raspberry Cheesecakes

2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream

6 ounces fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon raspberry jam
1 tablespoon sugar

36 Oreo cookies

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners (you’ll need 36) and put an Oreo in the bottom of each.

Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a full minute after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream.

To make the raspberry swirl, pulse raspberries, jam, and sugar in a blender until smooth and pureed. Push through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds.

Give the cheesecake batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula and spoon into the cupcake liners. Drop 3 small spoonfuls (about half a teaspoon) of raspberry puree on the top of each and swirl with a toothpick.

Bake for about 20-23 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. They’ll puff up during baking, but as they cool they’ll level out again.

Let cool completely and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Makes 36 cupcakes.

Recipe source: cheesecake from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours; raspberry swirl adapted from Annie’s Eats

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