Confessions of a Cookbook Queen http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com The cookbook queen, and lover of all things sweet, pink and sparkly Sat, 30 Apr 2016 11:06:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.10 Meal Plan {5/2 – 5/6} http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-52-56/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-52-56/#comments Sat, 30 Apr 2016 11:06:04 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12892 My weekly meal plan is full of quick and easy weeknight meals for picky families! Hi, hey, howdy. Happy Saturday! I am throwing a baby shower for one of my very best friends today, so I am super excited!! I’m doing an early afternoon brunch, and I spent yesterday making cups of the world’...

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My weekly meal plan is full of quick and easy weeknight meals for picky families!

WeeklyMealPlan5216Hi, hey, howdy. Happy Saturday!

I am throwing a baby shower for one of my very best friends today, so I am super excited!!

I’m doing an early afternoon brunch, and I spent yesterday making cups of the world’s best banana pudding and mini cherry cheesecakes. Who needs cake, am I right!

She’s also a huge Drake fan, so there may or may not be cookies decorated with Drake’s face on them. I mean, I am never one to miss an opportunity.

Here’s what looks good for dinner this week. As usual, be sure to print out a free grocery list. Everything you need for the week is already filled out for you, hooray!

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Monday: Greek Chicken Gyros with Tzatzikichicken-enchilada-rice-casserole-1

I mean, if anything could make a Monday a bit better, it would be these.

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Tuesday: BLT Pasta Salad

Pasta AND salad in one! Yes!!

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Wednesday: Tater Tot Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast for dinner! My favorite!

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Thursday: Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole

Loving all that cheesy rice.

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Friday: Bacon Wrapped Mini Meatloaf

We love these!

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Enjoy and have a great week!

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Mini Cake Batter Cheesecakes http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/mini-cake-batter-cheesecakes/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/mini-cake-batter-cheesecakes/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:17:12 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12866 These fun mini cheesecakes taste like cake batter and are packed full of sprinkles! Don’t pay any attention to me. I’m just sitting here alone, wondering if you’d like a mini cake batter cheesecake. Not that I mind. Being alone is actually one of my favorite things. Prior to having...

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These fun mini cheesecakes taste like cake batter and are packed full of sprinkles!

Cake Batter Cheesecakes PictureDon’t pay any attention to me. I’m just sitting here alone, wondering if you’d like a mini cake batter cheesecake.

Not that I mind. Being alone is actually one of my favorite things. Prior to having children, I was never one to do things alone. But my post-child self relishes it.

One time I made tacos for my family and then I immediately left to go grocery shopping. My husband was all, “don’t you want to eat first?” and I was like “nah, I’m not hungry.”

And then I drove to Schlotzky’s and had a salami sandwich on sourdough with salt and vinegar chips while I read my Kindle. When I finally made my way over to the grocery store, I was texting my husband all, “Wow, this place is packed! Typical Walmart — never enough cashiers! It’s taking me FOREVER!!”

I think that those kind of lies are actually allowed. Like when you tell someone a dress looks good on them when it actually doesn’t. Did my family NEED to know that I didn’t want to eat with them? No.

Some things really are better left unsaid.

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One thing I have learned about doing activities alone is that it’s best to always look slightly angry. Not like, actively pissed or anything. Just mildly annoyed, in a busy type of way. In novels, this is referred to as “harried.”

When a woman who is alone looks “harried,” people are less likely to bother her. Do I want to participate in a brief survey? Do I want to add on a cinnamon roll for a dollar more? Do I mind if you share my table?

Does it LOOK like I want any of those things? No. Because I am HARRIED.

Actually, I do want the cinnamon roll. Ooopsies.

cake batter cheesecakes pic

So back to the cheesecakes. I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled with how they turned out. Perfectly creamy with a Funfetti cake batter flavor that really shines through. I added cake batter buttercream as a garnish, but this step is totally up to you.

These are party perfect and make me happy just looking at them. Enjoy!

Mini Cake Batter Cheesecakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 12

Ingredients

  • Cheesecake:
  • 12 chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon imitation butter extract
  • 1/2 cup Funfetti cake mix (dry)
  • 1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles
  • Frosting:
  • 1 stick salted butter, softened
  • 3 TBS heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Funfetti cake mix (dry)
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 muffin tins with liners. Place a cookie in the bottom of each liner and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape sides of bowl and add granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. With the mixer on medium-low, add eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of bowl as needed. Add sour cream and extracts, beating on medium-low until combined. Fold in cake mix and sprinkles with a rubber spatula, scraping from the bottom of the bowl to ensure that everything is combined.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins until full. Bake for 20 minutes -- centers should be oh so SLIGHTLY jiggly. Let cool in pans until room temperature, then remove to a plate and refrigerate.
  5. Prepare frosting: In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, cream, and vanilla on medium low until smooth. Add powdered sugar and cake mix, beating on low until just combined. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for one minute. Frost cooled cupcakes, garnish with sprinkles, and serve.

Have a great day!!

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Managing Screen Time: Problem Solved http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/managing-screen-time-problem-solved/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/managing-screen-time-problem-solved/#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2016 03:06:13 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12859 I’ve finally found the perfect solution for managing my son’s screen time! I’m so excited to share it with you! Hey friends, hey! I know that we’ve talked about our kiddos and screen time before — it is honestly a never ending issue around here, and with Summer Vacation...

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I’ve finally found the perfect solution for managing my son’s screen time! I’m so excited to share it with you!

iOS Screen 4Hey friends, hey!

I know that we’ve talked about our kiddos and screen time before — it is honestly a never ending issue around here, and with Summer Vacation fast approaching…ugh.

It sounds like such a ridiculous first world problem, but screen time is a large source of stress for me. I run a pretty tight ship but I often find myself second guessing my methods. Am I keeping my son safe? Do I check what he’s doing online often enough? Am I encouraging creativity and a love and understanding of technology? And how do I create a good balance between preparing him for the future but also making sure that he spends time enjoying the REAL WORLD?

There is no manual for this, although it would be extremely helpful. Sometimes I just want someone to come to my house and decide all the things for me while I take a nap and read a good book. Hi, here are my crazy kids, can you figure out life? Thanks so much.

My friend and fellow blogger Shawn has a daughter the same age as Jon David (they are actually friends, which is adorable). We were recently on a trip together and I shared my frustrations and fears about electronics, especially as my son (now 11 1/2) approaches his teenage years. Shawn quickly pulled out her phone and showed me Circle with Disney, and explained that she could track her daughter’s device usage from an app (currently only available on iOS) on her phone! She swore that it has changed their lives, and I made a note to look into it when I got home.

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After doing some research, I am completely convinced that Circle is one of the most useful products in the entire universe. Not only can you track and control the usage of ALL the devices in your home, but soon Circle will give you the ability to control your children’s usage when they aren’t at home! My son is at the age where he takes his devices to friends’ houses pretty regularly, so this is a big deal for me.

So what does Circle do?

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It allows you to set restrictions on all of your children’s devices — gaming devices, laptops, desktop computers, iPods, and tablets. If it connects to the internet, you can monitor and control it.

You can set content filters according to age and maturity. You can turn off certain apps or social platforms. You can filter out certain websites, content, or ads.

You can set a “Bedtime” for devices, when they automatically will not connect to the internet. This is useful for kiddos that use their iPods as an alarm but you don’t want them iMessaging or going online from their beds.

You can set an “Awake” time as well. If you have a child who tends to get up super early to get online, this is really useful. Sorry, kiddo, your stuff won’t work until 9am. The end.

You can also set time limits — these time limits can be according to platform or they can be an accumulative total. You decide.

Does your child have friends visiting? As soon as they connect to your network, you can restrict their devices as well. This will ensure that your kids aren’t accessing inappropriate content or playing late into the night on their friend’s device.

Dinner time? You just smarted off time? Chore time? You can pause your child’s internet usage at any moment with one simple push of a button. If my son doesn’t come the first time I call him for dinner, I push the pause button immediately. LOVE THIS.

You can manage this on the go. Is your child home alone while you run errands? Pause the internet or check on what they’re doing while you’re away. Make them send you a photo of their completed chores before you’ll enable their internet privileges.

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As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to love this device. And I’ll give you one more — set up is a BREEZE. Just plug it in, download the app, and locate your child’s devices that show up on your screen. Set up their profiles and you’re done. Easy peasy.

Got a crafty kid? Unplugging Circle triggers a notification to your phone. You’ll never NOT know if it has been unplugged.

One of the coolest things of all?? NO MONTHLY FEE!!!! Nope, none. You purchase Circle for $99 and that’s it. That is literally your ONLY expense for this service.

You can purchase Circle HERE — please be advised that this IS an affiliate link, meaning I do make a small percentage off of every sale. This does NOT change your cost at all — you pay the same price regardless.

After researching Circle with Disney I reached out to the brand to see what I could do to help spread the word about their product, which I genuinely LOVE and think my readers will find useful. This resulted in a partnership which I could not be more thrilled about. There’s nothing I love more than working with brands I truly believe in to bring you something I think will change your life for the better!

I’d love to hear any questions you might have and what you do to help limit and filter screen time in your home.

Have a great day!

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Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/lemon-raspberry-layer-cake/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/lemon-raspberry-layer-cake/#comments Mon, 25 Apr 2016 00:06:08 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12843 Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake is like a giant plate of sunshine. Tart, sweet, and brightly colored, it’s the perfect Summer cake. Do you know how when you have a two year old and it’s awful and you call it the “Terrible Twos”? And then people tell you to just wait because the Th...

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Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake is like a giant plate of sunshine. Tart, sweet, and brightly colored, it’s the perfect Summer cake.

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake PictureDo you know how when you have a two year old and it’s awful and you call it the “Terrible Twos”? And then people tell you to just wait because the Threes are even worse?

Well, they are telling the truth.

I was a doubter of this for quite some time. But here we are, 6 months into the Threenage Years, and I am eating all the feelings and drinking all the wine.

If you are a wimpy sort of person, I really recommend some type of boarding school for your child’s entire 3rd year of life. Except, you’ll have to invent it because a boarding school for three year olds actually doesn’t exist. I would know — I checked.

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake Image

Lately the weather has warmed up, which is always nice because I can let my dear child roam the backyard. Much like a cow or any other sort of livestock, miniature people seem to thrive in wide open spaces. And while outside with my daughter, I noticed that she had a tendency to squat near a small pile of sand and rocks, so engrossed in building hills and filling cups that I would have to eventually tear her away, screaming like an adorable tiny demon.

A lightbulb went off. What my daughter needed was a large sandbox. This would solve all of my problems. When she was terrorizing the house, running around in her underwear and grinding Froot Loops into the carpet, I could just bring her outside, plop her in her sandbox, and read for an hour or so, sipping wine and getting back to discovering who I am. That type of thing seems to get lost during the toddler years, after all.

After discussing this with my husband (minus the finding myself part — he would have guessed, and correctly so, that “finding myself” actually meant “online shopping from my iPhone and eating Reese’s Cups”), he agreed to build Lucy a sandbox. He spent Saturday afternoon digging and hauling wheelbarrows full of sand, while I watched excitedly, daydreaming about all the peace and enlightenment that was going to soon follow.

Finally the moment of truth came, and we placed Lucy before her sandbox, lovingly built by her father.

She didn’t even want to play in the darn thing. All of my dreams were crushed. My husband was heartbroken. I started looking online for a boarding school for 3 year olds again, just in case someone built one since the last time I Googled it.

You guys…life is hard.

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake PicI have found, in times like these, that cake is the only solution. And what better cake for these gorgeous Summer months than a tall lemon cake with layers of creamy lemon buttercream and tart raspberry filling?

It’s gorgeous, it’s delicious, and your three year old can’t have any.

You’re welcome.

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 20 servings

Ingredients

  • Cake:
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • Raspberry Filling:
  • 24 oz frozen raspberries, thawed and pureed (straining seeds is optional)
  • 2 small envelopes unflavored gelatine
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Lemon Buttercream:
  • 3 sticks salted butter
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 6 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to sugar mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in lemon juice and lemon extract, giving the bowl a few good scrapes from the bottom with a wooden spoon.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  5. Prepare raspberry filling: In a medium bowl, sprinkle packets of gelatin over 1/2 cup cool water. Let sit until gelatin has absorbed water and expanded.
  6. In a medium saucepan, combine pureed raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Add gelatin and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Let boil for one minute, then pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator until cool and firm. Before using, I like to beat it with a hand mixer to break it up and make it easier to spread.
  7. Prepare lemon buttercream: In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, lemon juice, and lemon extract on medium-low speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar, beating until just barely combined. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for one minute.
  8. Assemble cake: Using a serrated knife, cut cakes in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on a plate. Top with 1/4 of lemon buttercream. Spread 1/3 raspberry filling on top of that. Repeat 3 times, finishing the cake with the remaining lemon buttercream.

Notes

**lemon cake recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Enjoy and have a happy Monday!!

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Meal Plan {4/25 – 4/29} http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-425-429/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-425-429/#comments Sat, 23 Apr 2016 16:22:17 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12832 My weekly meal plan is full of simple weeknight dinner ideas for kids and picky eaters! Happy Saturday!! Let’s all take naps!! I have a busy May coming up, so I am looking forward to this last lazy weekend. I am throwing a baby shower next weekend for one of my very best friends! The weekend a...

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My weekly meal plan is full of simple weeknight dinner ideas for kids and picky eaters!

WeeklyMealPlan42516

Happy Saturday!! Let’s all take naps!!

I have a busy May coming up, so I am looking forward to this last lazy weekend. I am throwing a baby shower next weekend for one of my very best friends! The weekend after that is Mother’s Day, and I bought tickets to go see Frozen on Ice. You know you’ve fully converted to #momlife when you’re actually excited about spending your special day doing something fun for your child.

I have some travels coming up to — I was invited on a European cruise as part of a Carnival press trip. We stop in Rome, Greece, and Turkey and I am SO excited! I am bringing Jon David with me — he’s a Percy Jackson fanatic and got super into mythology this past year. I can’t wait to share this fun opportunity with him.

Here’s what looks good for dinner this week. As usual, be sure to print out a grocery list! Everything you need is already filled out for you — just print and go.

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Monday: Roasted Veggie Nachos

I’ll have to whip up some ground beef for Jon David and my husband, but I’ll pile all the veggies on mine!

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Tuesday: Cuban Sliders

Tiny sandwiches taste better, don’t they?

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Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Salad

I love a good salad, and those chunks of chicken and corn right off the cob are calling my name!

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Thursday: Italian Beef

We have ballet on Thursday nights, so a simple crockpot meal is a must.

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Friday: Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

I’ve bought the frozen version of this many times — I’m excited to try it homemade!

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That’s it for this week. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

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