Mini Strawberry Upside Down Cakes

Over the weekend, I bought three 12-ounce containers of strawberries because they were on sale.  Yesterday, I utilized 8 ounces for the strawberry lemon yogurt mini bundt cakes.  I was trying to figure out how to use the strawberries again today.  As I was cleaning up in the kitchen, I spotted my mom’s ramekins.  They reminded me of the mini pineapple upside down cakes I made for my boyfriend’s birthday, so I thought, ‘Why not strawberries?!’  Found a recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it a bit.

Mini Strawberry Upside Down Cakes
(adapted from piarecipes)
Yields: 8 mini cakes

Ingredients:
12 oz fresh strawberries, 3/4 sliced and 1/4 crushed
1 small box strawberry Jello
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 box of white cake mix
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 8 ramekins with nonstick spray.  Wash strawberries and remove stem leaves.  Mash up 1/4 cup strawberries and slice up the other 3/4 cup.  Place sliced strawberries at the bottom of each ramekin and try to cover up as much of the bottom as possible.  Mix the strawberry Jello with the 1/4 cup crushed strawberries.  Distribute evenly into ramekins over the sliced strawberries.  Thereafter, distribute mini marshmallows on top of the sliced and crushed strawberries.  Next up, make the cake batter by combining the cake mix, eggs, milk, and oil and mix until smooth.  Top the ramekins with cake batter.  Pop into oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Let cool for 20 minutes in ramekins then use a knife to run around the sides of the ramekins.  Invert onto wire rack to cool some more or serve with a dollop of cool whip!

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My two cents:
The original recipe was much simpler, baked as a single cake, but of course, I like to make things complicated so I changed it up a bit.  No regrets though.  The mini cakes turned out absolutely beautiful!  Made a couple other modifications; one, I didn’t have strawberry jello but I had raspberry, and two, the original used a yellow cake but I used a white cake.  I had used half a box of my white cake mix a month ago and I just wanted to use it up.  Being that I was making mini cakes, I knew I would need less batter anyway so it worked out.  I was skeptical about the marshmallows, thinking it would make the cake too sweet but I didn’t really notice it too much.  The tartness of the strawberries went well with the raspberry jello mix.  I couldn’t help but eat one after it cooled down a bit.  Would be excellent with a dollop of whipped cream!

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Strawberry Lemon Yogurt Mini Bundt Cakes

Don’t you hate when you go to the store to buy one thing and come out with a bunch of other things you don’t quite need?  Well, I went to Target with my mom last week and walked out with a new baking pan.  Normally, I wouldn’t just buy things I don’t quite need but my mom was very convincing.  The pan makes a dozen mini bundt cakes — really cute!  I contemplated just waiting for someone to purchase it for me on my amazon wishlist, but I was already there and it was calling out to me, “Take me home!”  After a little searching, I found a recipe perfect enough to try out my new favorite baking pan.

Strawberry Lemon Yogurt Mini Bundt Cakes
(adapted from spicy perspective)
Yields: 20 mini cakes

Ingredients:
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
zest of 1 lemon
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz plain Greek yogurt
12 oz fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix 2 and 1/4 cups flour with baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.  In another bowl, cream butter and sugar, beating eggs in one at a time using an electric mixer.  Stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.  Alternate beating in the flour mixture and yogurt, mixing until incorporated.  Toss strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup flour then gently mix into batter.  Spray mini bundt cake pan with PAM then fill up with batter.  Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes (should be on center rack in oven) or until it passes toothpick test.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert and cool on wire rack.  Meanwhile, mix 1 cup powdered sugar with the remaining 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.  Glaze liberally when cakes are cooled.

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My two cents:
Fans of strawberries or lemons will definitely love this.  I happen to love both so it’s a double plus for me.  The lemon zest really gives this cake that citrus kick and the sweetness of the strawberries complement it.  One can opt to omit the lemon glaze but I think it’s that extra something special that should be drizzled liberally.  The original recipe bakes this cake into one large bundt pan, but since I was using the mini bundt cake pan, I adjusted the time from 1 hour to 20 minutes.  I stood by the oven and timed it, using the toothpick test to confirm it was done.  These came out so cute and delicious.  I have no doubt these would be definite party pleasers!

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Cranberry Orange Cream Scones

I don’t know anyone who didn’t love orange creamsicles as a kid.  There’s just something so complementary with its sweetness, sourness, and overall creaminess.  And who doesn’t like a little nostalgia now and then?  Today was that day for me.  I had already baked cinnamon bun scones yesterday so I just kept within the theme of scones.  Yes, I have an obsessive personality that way.

Cranberry Orange Cream Scones
(adapted from yourhomebasedmom)
Yields: 14 scones

Ingredients:
SCONES —
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oats, uncooked
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cool whip
1/8 cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
GLAZE —
1/8 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp orange zest

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Cut butter into slices and work into flour with forks or bare hands.  In another large bowl, combine eggs, milk, orange juice, cool whip, and orange zest.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix.  Fold in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.  Using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop batter and place on cookie sheet (foiled up and Pam sprayed) 2 inches apart from one another.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, orange zest, and orange juice.  When scones are done, let cool on a wire rack and glaze after about 5 minutes.

ImageMy two cents:
I knew I had to tweak this Orange Creamsicle recipe when I first saw it because initially, I was craving orange cranberry scones.  I also added oatmeal because the scones I baked last night had it and I really liked it.  As for the glaze, I omitted the 2 tablespoons of butter, simply because I misread it and didn’t see it.  This caused me to change the recipe to only 1 cup of powdered sugar instead of 2 in the original.  Nonetheless, the glaze still came out perfect and it was enough for all 14 scones.  I just hate wasting!  In the end, all modifications worked out and in my opinion, enhanced the recipe even more.  I will definitely be making this one again!

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Cinnamon Bun Scones

Didn’t really like scones much before — even the name sounds pretentious.  Then, one day, at a hidden gem in Oakland called Gregory’s, scones didn’t seem so bad anymore.  My eyes were suddenly opened to the world of scones again.  As I browsed through Pinterest,  I stumble upon this recipe for cinnamon bun scones and I’m utterly intrigued.

Cinnamon Bun Scones
(adapted from recipegirl)
yields: 12 scones

Ingredients:
SCONES —
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ground vanilla
3/4 cup cinnamon chips
GLAZE —
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 tsp milk

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425.  Line cookie sheet with foil and use a nonstick spray.  The scones may have to be baked in two batches.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, salt, and baking powder and mix well.  Cut in the pieces of butter with two forks until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl, combine egg, milk and vanilla and mix well.  Add to dry ingredients all at once and mix once more.  In an even smaller bowl, mix the two tablespoons of sugar with the two teaspoons of cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over dough.  Gently stir batter to swirl in the cinnamon mixture.  Fold in cinnamon chips.  Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop out dough and place them 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  Bake for 11 to 13 minutes then place onto wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  For the glaze, combine the sugar, vanilla, and milk and mix until smooth.  Drizzle over scones freely.

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My two cents:
I was somewhat skeptical about the oats but I loved this recipe!  You can enjoy this delectable treat with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning or the afternoon.  My mom loved it because it wasn’t overly sweet.  I opted to glaze only a few scones since my mother and brother aren’t too keen on sweet stuff.  The cinnamon chips do add that extra something.  I’m so glad I had some on hand.  Will most definitely be making this again, especially since my mom requested it already!

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Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

Jury duty has me going on Pinterest quite a bit, especially during the down time.  When I saw a recipe for beef stroganoff on there, I had to make it as soon as I got home.  I still had a few errands to take care of but luckily, being that this is another crock pot recipe, it gave me the freedom to finish up the rest of my chores.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff
(as seen from Five Little Peaches’ blog)

Ingredients:
1 to 2 lbs stew meat
1 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1 onion, sliced
garlic powder, to taste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1 & 1/2 cup beef broth
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup water
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions:
Put stew meat in crock pot, sprinkled with the onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  In a small bowl, combine beef broth, Worcestershire, and ketchup and pour over meat.  Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours.  After 4 hours, combine flour and water and pour into the crock pot.  Stir into the meat mixture to thicken juices.  Add mushrooms and cook for another 30 minutes.  Mix in the sour cream when ready to serve.

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My two cents:
I’m not a fan of onions so rather than slice up a whole onion, I added 2 tablespoons of granulated onion.  I also added a tablespoon of garlic powder with other herbs mixed in.  I cooked some egg noodles to accompany this dish and straight threw it into the crock pot after I drained the noodles (I didn’t want to wash any more dishes).  This recipe was okay.  A part of me feels like it was missing that something to make it phenomenal, though I don’t quite know what it is since I’m completely novice to cooking.  My family seemed to like it though, but I probably wouldn’t make it again anytime soon.  However, I do applaud the easiness of it.  I’m all about easy cooking!

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Crock Pot Mushroom Beef

I can’t tell you enough how much respect I have for the crock pot.  I could be sleeping or at work and it’s getting my next meal ready for me.  Found another recipe through Pinterest, but I couldn’t find the actual recipe on the website, outside of Pinterest.  Simple recipe but definitely makes a hearty, comforting meal.

Crock Pot Mushroom Beef
(seen from Pinterest through Food2Please)

Ingredients:
2 lbs beef stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet lipton dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
mushrooms, sliced

Instructions:
Mix the gravy mix and onion soup mix with water and combine with the cream of mushroom.  Place the stew meat at the bottom of the crock pot and pour the combined mixture on top.  Toss the sliced mushrooms in and heat on low for 6 to 8 hours.

ImageMy two cents:
I’ve made this dish a couple times now.  The first time, I used stew meat and the second, I used a chuck roast.  I suppose it doesn’t matter too much because the meat will be tender regardless.  Also, I would add a lot of mushrooms since the mushrooms tend to shrink being in the crock pot that long.  Maybe throwing it in the last hour and a half or 2 hours would suffice if one didn’t have that many mushrooms to begin with.  In any case, I liked the taste of the gravy and I enjoyed this dish with some steamed rice.  Please ignore the top left portion of the picture above.  That happens to be some homemade Pad See Ewe with broccoli that my mom made that day.  I know, I know.  I should have taken a separate picture!  Anyway, this is an easy meal fix and even better when coming home to it from a long day of work.

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Miniature S’mores Pies topped with Strawberries

Been getting into the habit lately of making dessert to go along with dinner, especially during weekends.  Not only was my boyfriend over this weekend, but the rest of my siblings and their significant others were also surprisingly available — enough to enjoy a meal together.  The boyfriend and I got to cooking pretty late but I was desperate to whip up a quick dessert.  Luckily, I had some left over chocolate ganache from the previous night and I’ve been meaning to use up the sliced strawberries sitting in the fridge.  A little improvisation and I whipped up some miniature s’mores pies with strawberries.

Miniature S’mores Pies topped with Strawberries
(adapted from Chef-In-Training)

Ingredients:
1 pkg 6 mini graham cracker pie crusts
8 oz cream cheese
1 tub Cool Whip
1 cup powdered sugar
1 jar marshmallow creme
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sliced strawberries

Instructions:
Pop the mini graham cracker crusts in the toaster.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cream cheese, cool whip, powdered sugar, and marshmallow creme until smooth.  Distribute the mixture filling into the mini graham cracker pie crusts evenly.  Pour heavy cream into saucepan and heat on medium-high until it reaches a boil then put heat on low.  Add the chocolate in and stir until completely melted.  Let chocolate cool.  Spread chocolate ganache on top of each pie then add sliced strawberries on top of that.

ImageMy two cents:
This dessert was quick, simple, and absolutely delectable!  Like I mentioned, I already had the ganache on hand and the sliced strawberries so I merely had to toast the graham cracker pie crusts and whip up the marshmallow filling.  This recipe actually yielded more filling, enough to fill an additional package of 6 mini pie crusts.  I couldn’t stand to waste it.  Luckily, I had just bought a regular size graham cracker pie crust so I put the rest of the filling there, as well as use up the rest of the ganache and strawberries.  The strawberries turned out to be a great idea.  Initially, I wanted to just use it up before it went bad in the fridge, plus, I figured it would make the dessert look better with a pop of color.  What it really did was balance out the dessert by cutting the richness/sweetness of the creme and chocolate.  It looks beautiful, it tastes wonderful, and I will definitely be making it again in the near future.

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