Wordless Wednesday: Valentine, you blow me away

I really try to cut down on refined sugar for our family, so it seemed hypocritical to send gobs of candy home with other kids for Emma’s Valentine party at school. So here’s what I sent instead 🙂

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It was super easy. I bought a 24-pack of miniature bubbles from Dollar General for $3.75 and created a heart shape with the words, “Valentine you blow me away! Love, Emma” inside in a Paint program. (I did have to do the words in another program first because it didn’t let me center them in paint. So I copied and pasted the words already centered, and it worked great. But maybe you’re not as OCD as I am. And that’s good.) Then I selected the heart with words already inside and copied. I pasted as many as I could fit on one page (which it turns out was 6 with the size I made them) and then printed 3 copies on pink cardstock. I was still exhausted from having been sick with the stomach virus (even though I was better by that time- just still tired from being behind on sleep), so rather than taking the time to cut out each heart, I just cut out a square around each hear and hole-punched that. Then I tied them around the bubbles with a little ribbon. It really did not take very long and was not very expensive. Plus, Emma loved having something different to hand out than all the other kids.

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The kids were also supposed to bring a Valentine box. I remembered this at 11:30 pm the night before she was supposed to have it at school, so at midnight (when the baby had finished nursing and fallen back asleep), I dragged myself back out of bed and threw this together as well as possible. It’s just an empty Kleenex box that I covered in black construction paper and covered in construction paper hearts. I used cookie cutters to make the letters because I couldn’t find any stencils or stickers. And because I was super-tired so I didn’t look very hard. But by-golly, she had a box. I even saved the pink hearts on the very top for her to glue on with a glue stick in the morning so she could feel like she helped. I forgot to take a picture of it before she left for school, so this is what it looked like 2 days later after the party 🙂

Love it? Repin here!

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Valentine’s Day Breakfast

I had plans. Great plans. Cute plans. Plans for heart-shaped food all day long. But as often happens, the best-laid plans of mice and moms….

Anyway, breakfast worked out ok. It just took longer than I thought, but we had heart-shaped breakfast 🙂

We had what I will refer to as heart-shaped eggs. I took a heart cookie cutter and cut out the center of bread,

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then cracked my egg into the hole and fried the whole thing together.

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Unfortunately, it was hard to see the heart by the time it was done, but that’s ok. I also threw the hearts in the skilled to make heart-shaped “toast”.

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All the while, I was cooking my heart-shaped bacon in the oven. I tried it in the skillet first. It was even less heart-shaped that way. 🙂 (Sorry no picture. I was trying to hurry so Hubby could run off to work!) So our Valentine’s Day breakfast was heart-shaped eggs, bacon, and toast. Too fun! The kids loved it.

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Love it? Repin here!

Mexican Pizza

2 lb hamburger meat

12 flour fajita size tortillas

beans, cooked or refried

small jar salsa

shredded cheese

1 small or 3/4  medium onion

2-3 green onions

2 tomatoes

taco seasoning (or make your own!)

Brown hamburger meat. I like to add my taco seasoning before it’s cooked and just taste afterward to make sure there’s enough seasoning. Some people like to add it afterward. It doesn’t really matter. Make taco meat 🙂

If you have refried beans already, skip this step. We like black beans. Many people prefer pinto beans. Use your favorite. Put your cooked beans and the onion in a food processor with a little bit of vegetable oil. When it is sufficiently mashed, dump all of it into a hot skillet with already warmed vegetable oil (enough to have a thin layer on the bottom of the skillet, so it depends on the size of your skillet). Add more oil if necessary to get the consistency you like. Simply stir them around in the skillet over medium heat while cooking your taco meat.

Lay out tortillas on greased cookie sheets without overlapping. Cover with refried beans and top with taco meat. (Hubby said I should have added either cheese or another layer of refried beans to act as “glue” for the second tortilla because his kept falling apart. Mine were fine, but I like cheese, so we’ll do that next time.)

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Add a second tortilla for the second layer of your pizza.

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Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Use that time to chop the tomatoes and green onions and shred your cheese.

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After removing from the oven, cover each tortilla with salsa.

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Then sprinkle with green onions and tomatoes.

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Add a liberal amount of cheese and bake for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese. If you want your Mexican Pizzas crispy, Bake 10 minutes rather than 5 and/or spray with cooking spray before putting them back in the oven.

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It was delicious, but you’ll have to trust me. With the 3 year old throwing a fit, taking a picture of the finished project slipped from my mind 🙂

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Snickerdoodle Valentine Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes Wednesday night (inspired by this recipe I found on Pinterest and these instructions for the hearts) for our youth group at church. A-may-zing. You guys have got to try these.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

3 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T ground cinnamon
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 c sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk

Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 c powdered sugar, sifted

3 T brown sugar

2 t vanilla extract

1 t ground cinnamon

milk to thin to desired consistency, 1 t at a time

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

2 T sugar

1/2 t cinnamon

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Add vanilla.  Alternate adding 1/3 flour mixture and 1/3 milk until all is combined. Fill 28 cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Note: do not do like I did and try to make bigger cupcakes if you’re going to make the heart cut outs. Bake 18-20 minutes at 350F.  Remove promptly and allow muffin tins to cool on wire racks until you can comfortably handle them. Then remove the cupcakes to the wire racks and allow to cool completely.

Next, to make the heart cutouts, remove the tops of the cupcakes so that the cupcake is level with the wrapper.

 

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Transfer the tops to a cutting board and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar topping. Press a heart shaped cookie cutter into the center of the top.

 

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Top the bottom half of the cupcake with icing.

 

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You can choose to put the heart or the cut out on top of your cupcake.

 

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I did mine in a hurry after overfilling my cupcakes, so a lot of the cut outs didn’t make it. Most of mine ended up with the heart on top, which was fine with my youth group.

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