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Egg-Allergy Friendly Samoa Cupcakes

on February 12, 2017

How many of you realize that some ice cream cakes contain eggs? I didn’t know that either until I nearly poisoned my son at his birthday party. Although there have been more than a few non-super mom moments in my life, that event rated right up there with one of the worst. I still cringe thinking of the look on his 8-year old little face as we frantically left his party to grab some Benadryl before his reaction got out of control. Yes. I had changed purses and didn’t have any Benadryl either! Ugh! #Badmomsunite #Alwayscheckthelabel

Before I had a child with food allergies, I had no idea how difficult it would be managing events like birthday parties or other such social events. It became glaringly obvious early on that homemade was the only way to go. It’s no small wonder that I’ve been trying to make up for that birthday party and that cake ever since!

Everybody around here LOVES Samoa Girl Scout cookies, but nobody adores them more than my oldest son. There was a time when he had what we called his “stash” drawer, filled to the brim with candy wrappers, marshmallow containers, and yep, you guessed it, Samoa boxes. (Much to my envy, the boy burns calories just breathing). So, when his birthday came around this year, it was a no-brainer as to what flavors he’d be looking for, but with nary a Samoa in sight, I had to improvise a little bit.

Over the years I’ve tested dozens and dozens of recipes, and I’ve had great success with two methods. In the first method, Ener-G Egg Replacer acts as an egg substitute. The second method uses a depression cake recipe, which is a cake that uses no eggs, butter or other dairy ingredients. These cupcakes fall into the latter camp.

Incidentally, depression cakes have been around since – yes, you guessed it – the Great Depression, when ingredients such as milk and eggs were scarce. These recipes are often passed down through families and are so, so simple to make. As well, surprisingly, they produce a moist, well-crumbed cake that, lucky for me, is perfect for allergy sufferers. This cake is dairy free as well and produces a delicious dark chocolate cupcake.

But, the chocolate cupcake is only the first chapter of this story. After all, what gives a Samoa it’s yummy goodness? Is it the crisp, vanilla cookie? The smooth chocolate? The gooey, sweet caramel? The flaked coconut? Of course, it’s all of that!

But, how do you put all of that into a cupcake?

For me, you start with the chocolate cupcake and use a simple trick to fill the cupcake liners.

First, prepare your muffin tins by filling each cup with a liner. Set aside. To evenly fill your liners, you will need a large Ziploc bag and a large-mouthed cup or jar. Place your Ziploc bag into the cup or jar and fold the opened edge over the lip. Set aside and prepare your batter. Spoon your prepared batter into the Ziploc bag, lifting carefully to fill completely. The bag will be approximately half full. Carefully lift out of your cup or jar, press the air out of the bag and close. To fill, carefully clip one corner of the Ziploc bag and carefully pipe the batter into the liner by squeezing through the hole. To stop the flow, pinch the hole closed and tip the filled bag backward before moving on to the next cup. Repeat for the remaining cups and until all batter has been used. To clean up, just discard the Ziploc bag. Voila! These chocolate cupcakes were made using this recipe from Savory Sweet Life without any tweaks and made one dozen cupcakes, baked for 16 -18 minutes.

Then, you add caramel. If you’re going to have caramel go ahead and use homemade caramel – it’s much easier to make than it seems. You’ll never regret it. I used this fabulous recipe from Add a Pinch. Easy-peasy and Oh so good!

Buttercream frosting is where I shine, and I’ve shared the recipe for that below. A simple vanilla buttercream frosting flavored with dollops of caramel takes care of the vanilla layer, save for the crunch aspect.

For coconut use toasted, flaked coconut to get back some of that crunch, along with the unmistakeable flavor of coconut. I like to toast coconut in a pan over medium-high heat, tossing it gently to prevent burning. Remove the pan when the coconut is nicely browned.

Now, put it all together – decadent chocolate cupcake, topped with whipped salted caramel buttercream, topped with toasted flaked coconut, drizzled with sweet, gooey caramel and velvety chocolate – and my friend, you’ve got yourself the ultimate Samoa cupcake. And if you’re a better momma than I, and left out the eggs – or at least brought the Benadryl, you’ll also be wearing your Supermom cape.

My son has grown into an impressive young man. Lucky for me, I got the honor of watching that happen – with or without my cape. Maybe someday I’ll forgive myself for what was certainly the worst party he ever had, but for now, I’m so glad I FINALLY got it together in the birthday baking department for him.

Caramel Buttercream

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/3 cup cooled caramel sauce
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add caramel, vanilla, and half the cream. Beat well. Slowly, add sugar, beating on low until well combined. Add additional cream until you reach your desired consistency. You want your frosting to be soft but able to hold it’s shaped. Place frosting in a piping bag (I like to use Ziploc bags!), or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

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Hearty Slow-cooker Chili Recipe

on November 8, 2016

On this election day, no matter your political views and whose name you’ll be placing a check mark by, I think we could all use a bit of comfort today. There is not a whole lot more comforting than a hearty chili, especially one that tastes this good. As I make my way through the last day of the One Room Challenge, I’m seeking as much comfort as possible! Be sure to stop by on Thursday morning to see the big reveal of our new game room.


I adapted this chili recipe from a fabulous recipe I found many moons ago on The original is to-die-for, but I’ve adapted it to our tastes and, to whatever we have in our house to put into it – it’s flexible. It’s also the recipe I follow every year for our annual Halloween Party, this year being no exception. I’ve yet to hear anything other than mmm.. oh yummy.. so good.. from our guests! I hope you enjoy it, and I hope, no matter who our new President is to be, good chili will help us all to remember that all will be okay. It always is. Even in the world of the One Room Challenge.


Hearty Slow-cooker Chili


2.5 pounds ground beef chuck
1 pound mild Pork sausage
2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can chili beans in spicy sauce
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with peppers and onions, chili ready, in juice
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (28 ounce) Baked Beans
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 can (6 ounces) chili peppers, chopped
1 can (15 ounce) sweet corn
3 slices of bacon, cooked, chopped
4 cubes beef bouillon
1 bottle of stout beer

1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco(TM))
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon white sugar

Serve with cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped green onion


In a large pan, crumble the ground beef and sausage until evenly brown. Add onions and celery and cook until vegetables are translucent. Drain off fat.Transfer meet mixture to a large crockpot. Add remaining ingredients, other than toppings, and combine to blend. Cover and cook on 4-6 hours on low. Serve immediately, or for even better flavor, refrigerate overnight and reheat the next day, serving with your choice of toppings.

Thanks for stopping by!

Looking for more comfort food?
Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese


Easiest Black Bean Soup


Grown-up Grilled Cheese

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Banana Bread Pudding

Posted in FOOD
on September 27, 2016

Hi, Loves! I don’t know about you, but all of this decorating makes a girl hungry! 

If you’re new here, you should probably know that I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like. I’ve talked about my love for cookies and other sweets at length numerous times. 

But, despite my love of sweets, I’ve never been entirely sure of the thought of bread pudding. I’ve not had a lot of bread pudding – it wasn’t a “thing” in my house. I just couldn’t get the whole stale bread becoming a dessert thing, especially when it was served on the soggy side. At least that’s how I felt until a recent side trip to Savannah, Georgia on our way home from a Disney World trip. 

We decided to check out a charming and highly regarded restaurant called The Pirates’ House. Built in 1734, it is the oldest building in Savannah, and is rumored to be haunted by the pirates that used to visit there. The dark wood and unique layout made a believer out of me! I’d go there just for the famous and epic pecan fried chicken. But, that’s not what changed my mind about bread pudding. What changed my mind about bread pudding was that in addition to the fried chicken they also served something called Banana Bread Pudding which just sounded A.MAZ.ING. 

How can something with banana bread in it be anything else but A.MAZ?ING? I bet that banana bread pudding would have been just short of heaven sent if I’d been able to taste it. Probably equally as good as my favorite strawberry pie

Unfortunately, I’ll not know until the next time I’m in Savannah because they were out. Talk about taking the wind out of my sails! 

I’ve been thinking about banana bread pudding since August and I just can’t get it out of my head. 

Something had to be done. Something like making my version of Banana Bread Pudding for example. One with a warm, salted caramel sauce perhaps? Yes. 

I had already waited for so long that I wasn’t up for waiting for a loaf of banana bread to bake, so I used store-bought. I also didn’t bake my french bread, although I could if I wanted to. Still, it was A.MAZ.ING just like I knew it would be. 

So, I love bread pudding now, and I totally get it. Especially with ice cream. Trust me, after this, you will, too! 

Banana Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce  

Pudding Ingredients: 

3 cups (1-inch) cubed French bread
2 cups (1-inch) cubed Banana bread
2 cups of milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons rum or rum extract
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 large bananas, sliced 

Sauce Ingredients:
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons rum or rum extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 tablespoons half-and-half, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted.
3. Combine milk and next 7 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add bread cubes. Let stand 20 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to soak up milk.
4. To prepare sauce, combine brown sugar, 3 tablespoons rum, and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Simmer 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Stir in 5 tablespoons half-and-half; simmer 10 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup. Remove pan from heat. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon half-and-half, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Keep warm.
5. Spoon half of bread mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Evenly sprinkle half of the banana slices over the bread mixture. Drizzle 3 tablespoons sauce over bread mixture. Spoon remaining half of bread mixture over sauce, followed by the remainder of the banana slices. Top with chopped walnuts. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm sauce with bread pudding.
Thanks so much for dropping by – You can thank me later! 
Looking for more comfort desserts? Check these out! 
Apple Pie Cake
Old Fashioned Rice Pudding with Rum Sauce
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