Confessions of a Cookbook Queen http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com The cookbook queen, and lover of all things sweet, pink and sparkly Thu, 28 Jul 2016 20:13:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.12 Circus Trash Candy http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/circus-trash-candy/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/circus-trash-candy/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 20:13:16 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=13427 Circus trash candy is totally addictive! Whip up a quick batch of this no-bake snack and watch it disappear. Hi. Why is it still summer? The heat part I can mostly handle. Stay inside. Drink frosty margaritas. Repeat. That is simple enough, yes? It’s the children part that I am struggling with...

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Circus trash candy is totally addictive! Whip up a quick batch of this no-bake snack and watch it disappear.

Circus Trash Candy Picture

Hi. Why is it still summer?

The heat part I can mostly handle. Stay inside. Drink frosty margaritas. Repeat. That is simple enough, yes?

It’s the children part that I am struggling with. Why are they so obsessed with me? Sometimes after a day at home with my kids, I understand how Britney Spears must feel, minus the part about having a hot body. It gets really tiring when people follow you around all day, poking into your business and asking questions that you don’t feel like answering.

“Where did you get that chocolate?”

“What are we having for dinner next Thursday?”

“Why does your tummy look like you ate a lot of pancakes?”

“Are you going poop or pee and can I come in and watch?”

“Can you take me to look for Pokémons?”

Circus Trash Candy Photo

Suddenly the whole 2007 Britney-shaving-her-head meltdown makes perfect sense. Because right now, nothing sounds better than driving aimlessly around town without my kids, drinking Starbucks frappes and talking with a fake British accent. The other day Lucy tried to wipe me after I peed and I was literally THIS close to running outside and hitting my car with an umbrella.

Please summer…go away. I don’t wanna be 2007 Britney. I wanna be I’m a Slave 4 U holding the big yellow snake Britney. Or Crossroads Britney. Or Vegas Britney. Anything but Kevin Federline/Adnan Ghalib Britney.

In light of the fact that I’m longing for Fall and Winter, I thought I’d re-make one of my favorite holiday treats — Christmas Trash Candy (also known as Christmas Crack). A simple mixture of pretzels, Chex or Crispix cereal , M&Ms and peanuts coated in vanilla almond bark, this stuff is SO easy and my family INHALES it every year. It’s SO crazy addictive and everyone I give it to asks for the recipe.

Circus Trash Candy ImageWHY this is only a holiday recipe is beyond me, because it just begs to be made in the summer. It’s no-bake and perfect for making with the kids! I decided to put a fun spin on it and make CIRCUS TRASH CANDY — a circus animal cookie snack mix that tastes even better than the original Christmas version. I left out the M&Ms and peanuts and added some chopped circus animal cookies and nonpareil sprinkles, which added a nice crunch.

Make up a huge batch of this — it’s great for long trips in the car, parties, or just snacking in general. It won’t last long!

Circus Trash Candy

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 25 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups mini pretzel twists
  • 6 cups Rice Chex (or Crispix cereal)
  • 2 cups chopped frosted circus animal cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups white candy melts
  • 1 1/2 cups pink candy melts
  • 3 oz jar rainbow nonpareils

Instructions

  1. Place two large sheets of wax paper on a table or your kitchen counter.
  2. In a large bowl, combine mini pretzels, cereal, and animal cookie pieces. Divide mixture in half, placing half in a separate bowl.
  3. Melt candy melts separately according to package directions. Pour melted pink candy into one bowl, stirring thoroughly to coat. Repeat with white candy melts and other half of snack mix.
  4. Spread pink snack mix on one sheet of wax paper, spreading as well as possible. Repeat with the white snack mix. Sprinkle very thoroughly with nonpareil sprinkles. Allow candy to harden, then break into pieces and mix together. Keep stored in a covered bowl of large resealable bags.

Enjoy, friends!! Have a great day!

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My K-Beauty Favorites! http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/my-k-beauty-favorites/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/my-k-beauty-favorites/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:55:29 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=13412 I’m reviewing and sharing my favorite K-Beauty products! No doubt you’ve probably heard that I’m kind of a beauty product junkie. But what I haven’t shared with you is that I have recently fallen down the rabbit hole that is K-Beauty products, and I don’t think I’...

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I’m reviewing and sharing my favorite K-Beauty products!

My K Beauty FavoritesNo doubt you’ve probably heard that I’m kind of a beauty product junkie. But what I haven’t shared with you is that I have recently fallen down the rabbit hole that is K-Beauty products, and I don’t think I’ll ever find my way back out. There’s no point in even trying, really. Just join me down here and we can be stuck together. It’s kind of fabulous.

What is K-Beauty? KOREAN BEAUTY PRODUCTS!! Have you ever SEEN the gorgeous smoothness that is Korean skin? Well that is no accident. Korea knows a thing or two about beauty products, and THANKFULLY, they are willing to share.

Think you’re clueless about K-Beauty? If you’ve tried a sheet mask lately, you’re already hip to this trend. Look at you go — you’re ready for the next step!

k-beauty products picture

I feel the need to warn you in advance — K-beauty products are kind of addictive. The packaging is adorable and fun, the ingredients are kind of exotic, and it’s fairly affordable. The next thing you know you’ve got 38 different serums and no money for groceries. Oops, so sorry.

Where do you buy K-Beauty products? They’ve become fairly mainstream in the last year or so and are readily available at Sephora and sometimes even Ulta. But my favorite and most affordable place for ordering my products of choice is Amazon! So always be sure to check there first.

To save you some time, money, and hopefully help you have smooth, glowing baby skin, I’m sharing the K-Beauty products I’ve tried — my favorites and my not-so-favorites.

Snail Recovery Gel Picture

Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream

Yes, you read that correctly. This gel is chock full of snail SECRETION and I don’t even know what to say about that. All I can tell you is that this stuff is a major cult favorite in the world of K-Beauty for it’s ability to improve skin’s texture and elasticity, as well as treat/prevent redness and blemishes. I’ve been using it for a month now and I LOVE what it does for my skin.

I apply this daily AND nightly, after toner but before serum and moisturizer.

Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask Picture

Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask

I decided to try this mask after seeing it all over social media. It’s a carbonated clay mask that foams after you apply it to your face. The foam grows and grows as it sits on your face, which is really fun to watch.

I feel kind of lukewarm about this mask. While it was fun to try, the sensation is really ticklish (imagine an itch on your nose you can’t scratch) and not particularly pleasant. While my skin DID feel nice afterwards, it wasn’t anything life changing. I’m glad I tried it, but won’t be purchasing it again.

IMG_0107Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator

This serum has been compared to Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, which I have used for years! This stuff is much cheaper though, so I decided to give it a whirl and I’m SO glad that I did. It’s great!

I apply this every night after the snail gel but before my moisturizer. My skin feels wonderful every morning and I honestly don’t see any difference between this and my old Estee Lauder. It’s always great when you find a more affordable option!

Tony Moly Brightening Peeling Gel PictureTony Moly Brightening Peeling Gel

This stuff is SO crazy — you rub it on your face and the next thing you know, you’re rubbing off bits of dirt and skin! If you have sensitive skin and/or are looking for a mild exfoliator, this is AMAZING. It’s so gentle and my skin always looks so bright and smooth when I’m finished using it.

I use this a few times a week — usually in the evening after washing my face.

Milky Piggy Hell Pore Clean Up Mask PictureElizavecca Milky Piggy Hell-Pore Clean Up Mask

This is a goopy black mask that dries and has to be peeled off. If you’ve ever seen the “glue method” of cleaning your pores, where you apply school glue to your face, let the glue dry, and peel it off, this is very similar.

The mask did seem to do a great job of cleaning out my pores, but I wasn’t a fan. It was difficult to peel off (at times a bit painful), and I had to spend awhile cleaning off all the black bits that were left behind. I won’t be purchasing this again.

Laniege Water Sleeping MaskLaniege Water Sleeping Mask

This is one of the most popular K-Beauty products and probably my personal favorite. This gel-like product is meant to be applied after your night moisturizer has absorbed into your face, shortly before bed. My skin looks and feels SO incredible every morning since I’ve started using this. No dry patches to be found. If you try one product from this list — try this!! You won’t regret it.

Hydro Gel Bouncy Eye Patch PictureElizavecca Milky Piggy Hydro-Gel Bouncy Eye Patch

These little patches are kind of like sheet masks for your under eye area. They’re meant to plump under your eyes and eliminate fine lines, but I personally didn’t notice any difference. I won’t be buying these again.

Egg Cream Mask PictureToo Cool for School Egg Cream Mask

These sheet masks contain egg yolk and coconut extracts but don’t let that put you off! They smell lovely and leave my skin feeling so soft and smooth! I will definitely continue using these!

Tony Moly I'm Real Mask Picture

Tony Moly I’m Real Sheet Masks

I got this pack of 11 Tony Moly sheet masks and so far I have loved all of them! There is a variety to address different skin issues and they are so affordable, at under $1 each. I highly recommend them.

 

Have you been using any K-Beauty products lately? I’d love to hear about your favorites!

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Watermelon Layer Cake http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/watermelon-layer-cake/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/watermelon-layer-cake/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 23:03:44 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=13403 This Watermelon Layer Cake tastes exactly like a summer day with sweet watermelon flavor! You guys, I am losing my mind over the phone charger situation at my house. Where do they go? Are they somehow involved in a secret intimate relationship with my 278 missing socks? WHO IS STEALING ALL THE PHONE...

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This Watermelon Layer Cake tastes exactly like a summer day with sweet watermelon flavor!

Watermelon Layer Cake PictureYou guys, I am losing my mind over the phone charger situation at my house.

Where do they go? Are they somehow involved in a secret intimate relationship with my 278 missing socks? WHO IS STEALING ALL THE PHONE CHARGERS???

I can tell you one thing for certain — I’m not the one losing them. But SOMEONE in my house is, and said someone isn’t coming forward. Basically, a criminal is in my midst.

I have tried everything to prevent this dire situation. I have stocked up on inexpensive spare chargers. I have set up “Charging Stations” in my home, where the chargers are NEVER EVER TO LEAVE THE OUTLET. And yet here we are, with two chargers to our name.

watermelon layer cake photoWe are charger poor. And I am not happy about it.

I am contemplating setting up a Charger Cam to catch the thief in action. Too extreme? Not extreme enough? I am leaning towards the latter.

Don’t get get me started on the little wall ports that the chargers plug into. Finding one of those around here is like stumbling across a golden unicorn with a four-leaf clover hanging out of it’s butt. Show up here with a handful of those plug-ins and we are likely to crown you king of our land. I’m not even kidding.

In the midst of this ridiculous wave of heat and humidity we are having here, I am liable to lose what is left of my ever-loving mind. I hoard my remaining charger like it holds all the secrets to the universe. I don’t even know if anyone in my family knows that it exists. I charge my items furtively, tucking the cord into it’s secure hiding spot when I’m finished. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. A charger prisoner.

It’s not fair, is it?

watermelon layer cake image

To brighten up what is clearly a very dark point in my life, I made this bright and sweet Watermelon Layer Cake. The cake itself is ACTUALLY watermelon flavored, which I wasn’t too sure about until I tried it. It’s SO GOOD! So summery with the perfect watermelon flavor, not to mention a breeze to make.

Your summer needs this cake. It really does.

Watermelon Layer Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Yield: 15-20 servings

Ingredients

  • Cake:
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 box (roughly 18 oz) white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz) box watermelon gelatin mix
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced watermelon, seeds removed
  • 4 eggs
  • Frosting:
  • 3 sticks salted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • green food coloring, red food coloring, and 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour 3 (8 inch) round cake pans and set aside.
  2. Dump cake mix in the bowl of your mixer. Sprinkle flour over the cake mix, then add watermelon gelatin, oil, and watermelon. Mix on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each.
  3. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for about 5 minutes, then carefully turn onto wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Prepare frosting: In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, cream, and vanilla on medium-low speed until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase speed to high and beat for one minute. Remove about 1/3 of frosting. Add green color to remaining frosting until desired color is achieved.
  5. Frost and assemble cake, leveling layers with a serrated knife, if needed. Chill for about 30 minutes.
  6. Add red food coloring to reserved frosting. Spread carefully on top of cake. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.

Notes

**cake portion adapted from The Blue Willow Inn Cookbook

Enjoy, friends!!

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Meal Plan {7/25 – 7/29} http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-725-729/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-725-729/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 12:00:31 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=13399 My weekly meal plan is full of family friendly dinner ideas for busy weeknights! Happy Saturday!! We are looking at a heat advisory this weekend with temps in the 100s. So if you need me. I’ll be inside, covering myself in ice cubes. I just was not cut out for this kind of weather. Is anyone? ...

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My weekly meal plan is full of family friendly dinner ideas for busy weeknights!

MealPlan72516Happy Saturday!!

We are looking at a heat advisory this weekend with temps in the 100s. So if you need me. I’ll be inside, covering myself in ice cubes. I just was not cut out for this kind of weather. Is anyone?

We are about 3 weeks from the first day of the new school year. Not that I’m counting, except I am. Every darn second.

Here’s what we are having for dinner this week. As usual, I’ve included a printable meal plan for your convenience. Everything you need to buy for dinner is already filled out for you!! Easy peasy.

pan-fried-beef-tacos-photo

Monday: Pan Fried Beef Tacos

I’ve been obsessing over these crispy tacos ever since I saw them on Facebook. OMG!

**photo credit

Grilled-Honey-Mustard-Chicken

Tuesday: Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

This simple chicken would be so good on a salad or cut up with lunch as leftovers!

**photo credit

bang-bang-pasta-016

Wednesday: Bang Bang Chicken Pasta

This slightly sweet, slightly spicy chicken pasta looks SO good.

**photo credit

perfect-pulled-pork-recipe-02

Thursday: Perfect Pulled Pork

This recipe is one of our favorites! We all love pulled pork sandwiches, and I love having the shredded pork leftovers.

**photo credit

philly-cheesesteak-pizza1

Friday: Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

Two of my favorite things in one meal! Yes, please!

**photo credit

 

That’s it for this week! Enjoy!

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Easy Coconut Refrigerator Cake http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/easy-coconut-refrigerator-cake/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/easy-coconut-refrigerator-cake/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 20:45:00 +0000 http://confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/queen/2010/04/easy-coconut-refrigerator-cake/ Easy Coconut Refrigerator Cake is moist and delicious, with the perfect amount of sweet, creamy filling. ***HEY, GUYS!! HEY!! This recipe and post was originally published in 2010, about 3 months into my blog. Although the photos were always a hot mess and the writing was definitely NOT my best work...

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Easy Coconut Refrigerator Cake is moist and delicious, with the perfect amount of sweet, creamy filling.

Coconut Refrigerator Cake Picture

***HEY, GUYS!! HEY!! This recipe and post was originally published in 2010, about 3 months into my blog. Although the photos were always a hot mess and the writing was definitely NOT my best work, this has HANDS DOWN stayed my MOST POPULAR recipe EVER. I am actually not surprised — I make this cake several times a year and get requests for it from friends and family members often. It’s not too sweet, moist, and just all around pretty fabulous. I’ve taken the liberty of cleaning the post up a bit and updating the photos. Enjoy!! ***

I remember as a child, begging my mom to buy a coconut at the grocery store so I could drink the coconut milk. Obsessed with the way coconuts were portrayed on cartoons, I desperately wanted to hold one in my hands, stick a straw through the top, and drink from it like I saw on TV.

One day my dreams finally came true — my mom bought one and I discovered that not only are coconuts way harder to crack open that what I had always been led to believe, but coconut milk was completely disgusting.

Recently my son when through the same phase, and BEGGED me to buy a coconut while we were at the store. I bought it and when we came home I put my husband to work getting it cracked open. “Why did you buy this thing anyways, he’s not gonna like it,” my husband said.

Coconut Refrigerator Cake Photo

And I explained to him the thing that makes us moms just a little smarter than the average person. The thing that my mom obviously knew all those years ago. That I could tell my son he wouldn’t like it, but he would never believe me. It is much easier to spend the couple of dollars and let him see for himself. And then he will never bother me about a coconut again. My husband then admitted that he too once talked his mom into buying a coconut so he could drink from it. He too was disgusted. And he too, was done with fresh coconuts.

After about sixteen hours, my husband got the coconut open. My son grabbed it and took a sip….and the look of disgust on his face was priceless. That is when I learned that not only was it worth the money to get him over his little coconut dream, but also to see the look on his face when he tasted the milk.Maybe my mom knew that too.

Coconut Refrigerator Cake Image

I have made this coconut cake a couple of times, and so far it is my favorite. The recipe is from one of my favorite cake cookbooks, The Cake Mix Doctor Returns, and it is best made a couple of days in advance. The frosting, made with sugar, sour cream, and whipped topping, can then absorb into the cake layers, making it even more moist and delicious. You guys — this cake is SO incredible!

Easy Coconut Refrigerator Cake

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil, for misting the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the pan
  • 1 package (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix (my favorite is Duncan Hines)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream of coconut, plus more cream of coconut for brushing the baked layers
  • 3 large eggs
  • Frosting:
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip)
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350. Lightly mist two 9 inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pans aside.
  2. Place the cake mix, milk, 1/2 cup cream of coconut, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes longer, scraping down the sides of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look well blended.
  4. Divide the cake batter evenly among the 2 prepared pans, about 1 1/2 cups batter per pan, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula.
  5. Place the pans in the oven and bake until layers are light brown and the tops spring back with lightly pressed with a finger, 18 to 23 minutes.
  6. While the cakes bake, make the frosting. Place the sour cream and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  7. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes longer. Add the whipped topping and beat on low speed until well blended. Stir in 3 cups of coconut and beat on low speed until mixed. Place the frosting in the refrigerator to chill for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let the cake layers cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, and then invert again so they are right side up.
  9. While the cakes cool, use a small brush to gently brush the tops of the cake with the remaining cream of coconut. Let the cakes cool completely, 15 minutes longer.
  10. When the cakes are cool, use a large serrated knife to cut each cake in half horizontally to make 4 layers.
  11. To assemble the cake, transfer one layer, cut side up, to a serving platter. Spread the top with 1/4 of the frosting. Repeat this process with the remaining layers.

Notes

This cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Make this cake today and it will be moist and yummy just in time for Easter dinner. Enjoy!!

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