Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

These cupcakes are incredible. Biting into one, you get the tangy lemon cake,  along with a burst of fresh strawberries. I can't help but think of summer with each bite. They take me back to sipping fresh strawberry lemonade out on the patio. Boy, am I looking forward to those days again. Especially right now, when it is raining outside.


Ingredients:

Lemon Cake-

1 box of white cake mix
1/3 cup veg oil
3 eggs
zest of 2 lemons
fresh squeezed juice of 2 lemons
1 cup sour cream

Strawberry Frosting-

1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup butter (softened)
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.

Sift cake mix into a large mixing bowl. Add the veg oil, eggs, lemon zest and juice. 

Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, mix until combined and smooth. 

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Let cool completely. 

FROSTING-

Place the fresh strawberries into a food processor or blender. Blend until pureed.

Transfer the puree to a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Bring to a boil (stirring often), until the puree is reduced to about half (15 minutes) Remove from heat and cool completely. 

Beat the softened butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. 

Add 1 cup of confectioners sugar into the butter, and beat until blended. 

Add 2 TB of strawberry puree, and mix until blended (don't forget to scrape the sides)

Add 1 cup of  the confectioners sugar and mix. Add 2 more TB of the puree and continue mixing. 

Add the last 1/2 cup of the confectioners sugar and mix until all is combine (scrape the sides).
 Fill into a pastry bag and ice the cupcakes. 




Enjoy!





Apple Pecan Pull Apart Rolls


I remember these rolls from my childhood, all seven of us kids, loved them. We always used to fight for the top parts, you know, the ones covered in glaze. 

I now make them for my family, It is a breeze with my bread machine, but even if you don't have a bread machine, you can still make them, it just takes a little time and effort with the dough. 

They are great for breakfast or just a snack with a glass of milk. Each piece is filled with pecans and cinnamon covered apples. Definitely a mouth watering treat. 


Ingredients:

dough-
1 cup of warm water
1 egg
1/4 cup of butter (melted)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp quick active yeast

Filling-
3 apples (peeled and chopped)
1 cup pecans (chopped)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
------
1/4 cup of butter (melted)

Glaze-
2 TB melted butter
1 cup of confectioners sugar
1-2 tb milk 


Directions-

I make the dough in the bread machine- Carefully place all of the dough ingredients into the bread machine pan, and select the dough cycle. Do  not use delay cycle.

If you do not have a bread machine, use your stand mixer.  In you stand mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter, egg, sugar, salt, and flour. Beat until smooth. Add more flour to form a stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6/-8 minutes. Place into a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-2 hours.

While the dough is rising, combine the chopped apples, pecans, cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. 

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into 20-25 pieces. 

On a floured surface, pat and roll each piece of dough into a small circle. Fill with 1 tsp of filling and pinch the sides together to form a ball. 

Melt 1/4 cup of butter, dip each ball into the butter before placing them seam down in a spring form pan. Layer the balls and then sprinkle the remaining apple filling. 

Cover and let rise for at least 1 hour, until doubled. 

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for at least 15 minutes and remove the sides from the pan. 
Combine the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the warm bread. 

Sunday Fun-Day!




This Sunday didn't have a very good start and I am surprised that it turned out to be such a great day. But sometimes that happens, right? It's called life :)  

Hubby ended up working in the morning,  and starting the day with cleaning the house, washing all the sheets and doing loads of laundry was not fun. By the time breakfast was cleared up I was exhausted. 

After I got all the chores done, I took the boys for their hair cut, which William ended up crying throughout the entire time, I ended up having to hold him down on my lap :( 
Poor little guy is so scared of the electric buzzer. I am hoping that this phase passes soon, because his hair grows so fast. The the hair stylist was so patient and kind, and she ended up doing a really good job. 

Afterwards we stopped by Target (off course) to pick up a few things and then headed home for nap time. I was surprised that hubby was home already! Yay! He ended up giving the boys a bath to wash away the haircut hairs, while I fixed lunch for everyone.  

I wish I could have taken a nice long nap,  but I opted to take a nice long hot shower while William napped. I was covered in hair from William's cut, and it was driving me crazy.  That shower did it. I did my hair and makeup and felt like a brand new person ready to take on the day. 

Shortly after William woke up, we decided to head to the Oregon Museum and Science Industries (OMSI) We have gone to the 3D theater with the kids, but we never actually taken the kids to all of the exhibits. Well we thought they were finally old enough to enjoy the museum now, and boy were we right. The kids had so much fun, that we ended up getting family membership, because there is so much to see.

I am looking forward to taking the boys during the week because they have a great "little kids" exhibit with water play, indoor sand, and so much more. After the museum, we ended up going to our favorite little Italian restaurant, and I had my favorite butternut squash ravioli. YUM!

It turned out to be a pretty good day after all :)





The love we feel...


If you are a parent, then you know that there is nothing greater then the love you feel for your children. When I think about my children, I feel so much joy, and happiness. As I wake up in the morning, and get a glimpse of a smile from them, a sleepy "good morning mom" and the sweet little hugs and kisses with their messy bed hair, my heart is about ready to explode.  They are such a big blessing to my husband and me. I can honestly say that our lives have changed for the better because of them, they are helping us learn to be patient, loving and selfless. 
Being a mother to them is the greatest feeling in the world because they have shown me a love that I never thought was possible. I love my parents, siblings,  I love my husband, but the love for your children is something else. 
I can not help but think about my God's love towards all his children.  This is something I have heard through out my childhood, but only recently have I started to recognize how big this love truly is.  God does not love us because we are so lovable or because we deserve him, He loves us because He IS LOVE (1 John 4:8, 16) What an amazing statement,  God doesn't just love, He is LOVE. His nature and essence are love. God's love is personal, he knows each of us individually and loves us personally. 
 Because of his love, I want to love him back, I want to serve him, worship him and glorify him. I want to be the best daughter I can be, the best wifey and mother. All because He Loves me.















Love,




Valentines Day 2016



I have always loved valentines day, ever since I was a kid in elementary school. I loved buying or making cards, and handing them out to all of my classmates and friends. I remember coming home and trading cards and candy with my sisters. It was such a fun time and something I think back to when I think of valentines day.

Valentines day means different things to people, for some people it is all about the romance. For us, it is about family. Me and my hubby never really got into the whole "valentines day celebrations" because our anniversary is just 2 weeks later and we were broke in the first few years of our marriage.
Now that we have older kids, I find myself making an effort during the holidays. Its not about expensive dinners, or gifts, its about letting them know that they are really special to me and I love them.  Hubby and I exchange cards, chocolate, and he also gets me flowers :). I pick out a card for each of my children and write them each a special message---they keep their cards in their memory box, one day they can look back and read them all.

We had our "romantic" date a week ago,  on Super Bowl Sunday of all days, but the restaurants were practically empty and we had an amazing time. We went to a little Italian restaurant and then to a cafe in downtown portland for drinks and dessert. So on Valentines day,  we had a family date at home. The kids love to be included and like to help out with setting the table with special plates, napkins, and lighting the candles.

We had a fun playdate/party for the kids and their cousins on Monday since there was no school, they made their valentine bags, exchanged cards and candy, ate lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon playing. Here are some pictures from our day-