Easy 4th of July Cake

Happy 4th of July to you all!

We had a party to go to with friends of ours and I was looking for a quick and easy dessert to make while the baby napped and Little Diva read. I found this recipe taken originally from the Betty Crocker site.

  • 1 box (15.25 oz.) white cake mix, and ingredients to make as directed
  • Red food coloring
  • Blue food coloring
  • 1 container (12 oz.) white frosting
  • Sprinkles to decorate, optional
1. Preheat oven according to cake mix directions.
2. Make cake batter as directed on box, using water, oil and egg whites. Divide batter in 3 containers. Dye one part with red food coloring, the second part with blue food coloring and leave the third white.
3. Pour red cake batter into bottom of greased bunt pan. Carefully pour the white batter over red batter in pan. Then pour blue batter over white batter. 
When you add the batter to the pan, Do Not Mix. Just pour it in so the colors rest on top of each other in the pan.
4. Bake as directed on box or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake completely, about 30-45  minutes.
5. When cake is cool, divide the frosting evenly into 3 microwavable bowls. Microwave 1 bowl of frosting uncovered on HIGH a few seconds until smooth enough to drizzle over cake. With spoon, drizzle all of the 1st bowl of microwaved frosting all over the cake, back and forth around the cake in a striping pattern. Repeat microwaving second bowl of frosting until smooth. Stir in a few drops of the blue food coloring until well blended. Drizzle over cake, scattering back and forth. Repeat with remaining frosting and red food coloring, making sure red, white and blue can be seen on the cake. Sprinkle with red, white and blue sprinkles, if desired.
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Weight Watchers/Low Fat – Pineapple “Dream” Cakes

Well school is officially out, my girl scout troop has bridged up the brownies, the garden is growing and the weather here in the Pacific North West is much hotter than normal…yup summer has arrived like a relative kicking in the front door. BAM!
Along with all that summer brings are also the day dreams…
For some these day dreams include the beach, the smell of coconut oil and the sounds of waves and seagulls.  Others may think of breathing mountain air, the sounds of woodpeckers and walking through a forest.  But my family’s day dreams mostly consist of eating a Dole Whip from Disneyland while washing our hands at the kitchen sink for the 6th time that day with that island pineapple scented foaming soap from Bath & Body works.

So, I was digging around in my pile of recipes to see if I could make a low fat (weight watcher friendly version) of something that had that pineapple flare to it.  Something to make that was different, refreshing, healthy and satisfying.
I finally came across a recipe that is an oldie but goodie. My mom used to make it years ago and after talking to a few fellow weight watcher meeting pals they have heard of it too but never tried it.
It’s such an easy recipe, and the little cakes are so good they feel like a little treat but are not overly sweet that they taste great for a snack.
A great thing about this recipe…it’s only 2 ingredients and thats it!
But the best thing ever about this recipe is that each “cake” or”muffin” (whatever you call it) is only 1 ww pts+!!!

**6/29/16 UPDATE- 4 Smart Points per cake**

IMG_3219Ingredients:
1 Box Angel Food Cake
1 20 oz Can Crushed Pineapple

Mix both ingredients together well in large bowl.
Scoop mix into 24 cupcake lined muffin or brownie pans.
Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes

Makes: 24 regular sized muffins
IMG_3225(I apologize my pictures did not come out too well, so I will have some update ones on here in about a week or so)

Refreshing Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I know it’s been so long since I’ve posted this summer. But after moving, family visiting and volunteering at a scout camp, I am ready to get back to normal and hopefully on an even better “track”.
Here is a great, healthy and easy recipe for summer. This is one of my family’s favorites during summer. With the fresh lime and cilantro, this has a nice refreshing taste that we really enjoy (especially me since I can’t eat chicken). And it’s only 3 wwpts!

I hope that you give this one a try and please feel free to share or hey even post a comment to let me know what you think!☺

photo 11 whole Pork Tenderloin (approx 1 lb.)
1 Lime, zest grated
½ cup Fresh lime juice
¼ cup Honey
1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp Garlic powder
1 tbsp Chopped fresh cilantro

Trim of any excess fat and silver skin off pork.
Place the lime zest, lime juice, honey, salt and garlic powder in a small lidded container and shake to combine. Pour only half of the marinade mix into a gallon ziploc bag, add the pork tenderloin to the bag and seal. Marinate in the fridge for about 6-24 hours. Place remaining marinade in a covered container and refrigerate.
Remove the tenderloin from the bag and allow to sit at room temperature while preparing the BBQ grill. Also remove the reserved marinade from the fridge.

Preheat BBQ on medium-high. Brush grill with approx 1 tsp of vegetable oil.
Remove the tenderloin from the bag and place in the center of grill. Discard the bag with the used marinade. Cover and cook for approx 13-16 minutes, making sure to turn every 2 minutes. Cook until the internal temperature of tenderloin is at least 140 degrees.

Remove the tenderloin form the grill and place on a large piece of aluminum foil folded at the edges to create a “basket” and pour all of the reserved marinade on top of the cooked tenderloin. Wrap foil tightly to seal and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Remove to a cutting board and slice, then top with fresh chopped cilantro.
photo 3

*Recipe adapted from Alton Brown

Baked or BBQ Corn on the Cob…so easy to do

corn1

I haven’t posted anything for a little while it seems.  I was in the middle of moving from one end of town to another, not far at least, but still no fun at all.  Once I actually find the other half of my kitchen items Ill make up something yummy to post…I promise ☺

Anyway, my daughter has just fell in love with our local farmer’s market and begged me to get some corn on the cob.  I didn’t want to boil it, yuck, so I figured let’s just BBQ and/or bake these up. And so I did…

This is what you do:

  • Grab however many corns you like
  • Clean of the husk and silk from each corn
    (If BBQ’ing I recommend soaking the cobs for about 20 min in water before cooking)
  • Then rub each cob with a little butter and anything else you like: salt & pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic etc.
  • Wrap each cob tightly in foil.
  • Bake at 400 degress for about 20 min or BBQ on medium heat for about 20 min, making sure to turn them every 5 min.

Yes, that’s all you need to do. They come out great and very tasty.

corn2

Rainbow Cupcakes (very fun to do with the kiddos)

20130617-133719.jpg

Last summer my daughter and I were trying to do a new project or activity that we could do at home everyday using stuff we already had in the house. (summer fun on a tight budget)
We came across this recipe in the Family Fun magazine. Many times this particular magazine has some good ideas but they are too often to difficult for my little one. Anyway, we found this great idea for cupcakes and it was easy enough for Little Diva to help me the whole time.

I have to say that the cupcakes came out looking pretty cool!

What you’ll need

  • White cake mix (we used an 18-1/4-ounce box)
  • Food coloring (red, blue, green, and yellow)
  • Baking cups

How to make it

  1. Prepare your favorite white cake mix, then divide the batter evenly among six small bowls. Following the chart below, dye each bowl of batter a rainbow color.
    RAINBOW COLOR DROPS OF FOOD COLORING
    Purple 9 red and 6 blue drops
    Blue 12 drops
    Green 12 drops
    Yellow 12 drops
    Orange 12 yellow and 4 red drops
    Red 18 drops
  2. Line 16 muffin pan wells with baking cups. Evenly distribute the purple batter among the cups, then the blue, and so on, following the order shown. As you go, gently spread each layer of batter with the back of a spoon to cover the color underneath.
  3. Bake the cupcakes according to your recipe directions. Before serving, remove the paper wrapping.

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Easy Basil Balsamic Salad

Summer comes along and so does a change in the menu at my house.  We like salad, like most people, but man did it get boring after a while.  Then my mom told me about a salad she used with all basil and no lettuce.  To be honest it sounded a little gross and overwhelming at first to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love basil, I put it into any pasta dish I make and more. I was worried that it would be a little “basil over kill” for it to be the main base of a salad.

Anyway, she made some one night during a  visit…and I was hooked. ♥

image

The items you need to make it are:

-Basil

-Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

-Greek Olives

-Croutons

-Balsamic Vinegar

-Olive Oil

Now you can put the ratio for these ingredients however you like. I use 4 oz of basil, 1/4 cup cut Greek olives, about 4 oz of fresh mozzarella cut in small cubes, 1/2 croutons, 1 tbsp olive oil and about 2-3 tbsp balsamic depending on how strong you would like the flavor. Just make it anyway you like.

Now I get all my ingredients (except the balsamic vinegar, tell you later) for this salad at Trader Joe’s.
They are they only store I have found to carry a large enough package of basil with out me freak’n out in the produce section, can’t believe what some store charge for the stuff. So go to Trader Joe’s, you will $ave a bundle…
Up here in Washington at my Trader Joe’s it’s a 4 oz package of organic basil it’s $2.79 and regular $2.29.
imageThe other ingredient that really makes this salad so awesome is the balsamic vinegar. I have made this salad with the balsamic vinegar from Costco many times but my absolute favorite is to use an 18 year aged balsamic vinegar I found here locally and I don’t think I can ever go back!
It’s so flavorful and a little thicker than your run-or-the-mill balsamic.
My husband is hooked on it, my family and extended family all fell in love with it during a visit a few years back. Now every time they come they have to get a bottle or two to take home!

This is what it is:image…yes you can order it online if you aren’t here in WA 🙂

This stuff is so good I have even put the Strawberry Balsamic one this company makes on steak…I know weird right?

But it’s that good people!