Tuesday, January 31, 2012

God's Power Made Perfect!

Have you ever been there as a mother... wondering if you are doing a good job? Wondering if you are really doing the best you can? Wondering if God really knew what he was doing when he gave you the responsibility of motherhood?

We try so hard as parents to grow our children in God's word, to discipline them out of love, and hope they learn to depend on God and learn the important moral lessons along the way.... but then they begin to bicker and argue and act with selfish ambition ... and I find myself feeling inadequate and much like a failure. 

But then with just one brief moment, God is always so good to restore my confidence and hope. While the boys were playing video games yesterday(something that usually tends to bring out the most impatient and selfish attitudes), I overheard my oldest guiding his younger brother through the latest virtual level.. "It's OK, Cade. You can do it! I've got your back!" I watched as Cade sat up a little straighter, and focused a little more,  as his confidence was restored. At that moment tears welled in my eyes and God spoke this truth to me.

You can do it.  I have provided everything for you!
 I am with you, seek me because...
 I've got your back!

God didn't make a mistake when he blessed our family with 3 boys... He was just reminding me of his power through my weakness.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

If you haven't heard... I'm kind of, a little, just a bit... falling in love with baking.  You can read the full story here. and get links to the other great recipes!

I have shared over the couple of weeks, recipes for various cupcakes, ice cream cakes, and cookies... but the one I'm about to share with you is BY FAR my absolute FAVORITE!  It may just be the best cake I have ever put in my mouth!  Light, fluffy, moist, not to sweet... and the icing, NOM!!  So with no further delay, let me introduce to you,

Cupcake recipe from Your Cup of Cake

Cupcake Ingredients:

1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup melted butter, cooled
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup cinnamon sugar, for topping

Cupcake Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and cooled butter until light and fluffy.  Then add eggs, vanilla, almond extract and milk. Mix until well blended. 
  4. Combine dry and wet ingredients and mix until smooth. 
  5. Spoon into cupcake liners and bake for 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  6. While they cool, make up your frosting.  Frost once completely cooled, sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar mixture.   

Frosting recipe from Real Food Has Curves
(For best results, make this frosting the day you plan to serve the cupcakes)

Frosting Ingredients:
3 large egg whites
2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting Directions:
  1. In a medium Sauce pan bring (about) 2 inches of water to boil over high heat.  Create a double boiler* by choosing a large heat-safe mixing bowl that will eventually fit the top of the saucepan like a lid. (make sure the water will not touch the bottom of the mixing bowl.) 
  2. In the mixing bowl mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer until well blended.
  3. Turn heat to low-medium, bringing water to a simmer. Place mixing bowl over pan. 
  4. Continue to beat on high until consistency of frosting is much like marshmallow cream, and stiff peaks form when beaters are removed.  (About 7 minutes... but I actually ended up going more like 10 minutes) Count this as your workout for the day...my arms were so tired!
  5. Remove from heat, place in a piping bag and stick the tip in your mouth and eat... uhh, I mean, Frost your beautiful cupcakes!  Delish!
 *Yes, you can use a real double boiler itself, but you need a super-duper big one for the heaping mound of frosting to come.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

Read More on how I became a Baker?? and get more great recipes!

William Loves Ice Cream and Loves Chocolate, which makes sense why this has been his Birthday "cake" request the last 2 years! This is one of the most simple recipes ever... and it taste exactly like a  Blue Bell Fudgecicle! 

Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

1 Pre-made Oreo Pie Crust
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
Cool Whip, topping

In a blender, combine pudding mix, milk, and ice cream. Mixture will be thick and smooth.
Pour mixture into pie crust, cover and place in freezer for a minimum of 2 hours, until ice cream is set.
Before serving remove from freezer let set for 3-5 minutes for easier slicing. Top with a heaping mound of Cool Whip and some chocolate shavings!!! YUMMM!

Yes! It's That Easy!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Read More on how I became a Baker?? and get more great recipes!

I have to admit... I'm not a huge Oreo fan, but you mix them in a supreme cupcake and I can't seem to get enough! So here is...

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats


  • Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Place ice cream cones in a muffin tin using tin foil to help sturdy them.
  •  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together to blend and set aside. With an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time and vanilla extract.
  • With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.
  • Evenly divide the batter between ice cream cones. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired (I like cream cheese frosting). 

*I can't believe I didn't get a finished pic... I got in too big of a hurry! I swirled on a dollop of frosting, and topped with an Oreo cut in half.  William's class was super intrigued at the "Ice Cream Cupcakes", but unsure of the Cream Cheese Frosting.  If I'm making this for a classroom again, I will use Butter Cream Frosting!  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Go-To Chocolate Cupcakes

Today I'm sharing with you the start of my wonderful journey into baking.  I have a big confession to make... I can't believe I'm about to share this with you, but... This is the first time I have ever actually made a cake/cupcake from scratch!  There I said it!  ....

Are those crickets I here... Are you still there? 

I know your probably shocked.   I just can't tell you how much I hate to measure and mix and measure and mix.... and well all of a sudden it has become some sort of relaxation therapy for me... What is that all about?  You think you know yourself and then yourself throws you a curveball...

Well, this recipe is now my Go-To recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes. It's moist, not too sweet, just chocolatey enough, perfectly domed deliciousness. This is now my new (replacing the cake mix)

 Go-To Chocolate Cupcake Recipe!
recipe from Annie's Eats

½ cup cocoa
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk until smooth.
In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to blend.
In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until smooth.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.  Cool cupcakes in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

Love this with chocolate butter cream frosting . However, I made mine with vanilla buttercream frosting so I could add the requested color.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kid's say the Darndest Things

I would like to introduce you to Cade.  He just turned 5 years old. He has the brightest eyes of any child I have ever met, and melts my heart with every smile. He enjoys playing sports, building with legos, playing video games... but most of all Cade enjoys animals.  He soaks up every little bit of information told to him about every animal! 

Today Cade asked if  we could be a Tasmanian Devil family, and of course I agreed.  All morning the boys spent the day crawling on the floor and carrying things around in their mouths. At lunch we ate pb&j sandwiches with cheese and apples and referred to them as bones, because that is what Tasmanian devils eat.  Then nap time came... Thinking I am so smart, I said, "Tasmanian Devils are nocturnal so we better get to bed..."  Silence fell over the boys... And then with eyes bright and smiling Cade said,
"So mommy.  Squirrels and dogs are tournal, right?"
Not sure where he was going with this, I asked, "What do you mean?"
Cade: "Because they are awake during the day, so they are tournal.  And Tasmanian Devils sleep during the day so they are NOT tournal, right?" 
"That's right, baby!"  I couldn't even say more in fear I would start to giggle. 

I am always blown away at kids ability to reason through something! 

I'm a Baker?

First let me say... I do realize this post is following up a post about Healthy Eating.  And I'm sorry in advance for any temptation you may find here... 

You all know how much I love cooking.  I practically live in my kitchen, and God has blessed me with 3 growing boys, that are always ready to try out my latest recipe.  However, something I'm not sure you know is that I really really really don't like to bake!  Or Do I?   I'm not sure what is wrong with me... but I can't get enough of it lately!  In the last two weeks I have baked 4 dozen cookies, 120 cupcakes (3 different flavors), 12 muffins, and 2 ice cream cakes pies  FROM SCRATCH!!  and I LIKED IT!  I can't hardly believe it myself!  I may have a new found hobby.  So get ready... over the next two weeks are coming 5 of my new favorite recipes! Baking! :)

Go-To Chocolate Cupcakes
Cookies & Cream Cupcakes (baked in ice cream cones)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Chocolate Ice Cream Pie
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Get ready! Here they come!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quick and Easy Taco Soup

January is always a time of year that I get distracted by home projects.  What is it about starting a new year that puts a fire under me to get things done... Do you do this?  Well, unfortunately many times I get into project mode and dinner seems to be the first thing I forget to think about...Well, that is why this is the perfect recipe for my January or any busy time of year.  Taco Soup... I love this soup! It's so easy, makes plenty in a pinch or throw it all in the crock pot and let it simmer all day long. So here's how it goes.

Taco Soup

You will need:

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 small onion chopped
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans diced tomato
2 cans tomato with green chili (Rotel)
1 can yellow hominy, drained
1 pkg. dry ranch dip mix
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning

  1. In a skillet brown hamburger meat along with onions, until no longer pink. Drain.
  2. In a 5 qt. pot. Combine all ingredients, bring to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. 
  4. Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and fresh avocados
    Also great with cornbread!
* Slow Cook Instructions. Omit step 2,3, Instead place all ingredients in slow cooker on low 4-8 hours.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tips and Tricks on Eating Healthy in the New Year!

2012 is officially here and with each New Year, comes New Year's Resolutions.  I am reminded each time I turn on the TV that health and fitness are at the top of many Resolution lists each year.  Well, I don't have any magical fitness routines that are going to give you washboard abs, or help you drop a gazillion pounds in 2 days or less.  But I do have a few simple tips on eating healthy. 
Don't misunderstand, I'm not a health nut. We eat plenty of junk and processed goodies around this house. But we do urge healthy choices when choosing snacks and try our best to get balanced meals.  So here are some tips from a regular mom... that struggles just like you to get my kids eating healthy and keep myself out of the cookie jar! :)

Tip # 1:  Trick your mind, keep healthy foods in plain view.Keep healthy snacks in eye shot.  Don't hide those oranges away in a refrigerator drawer!  Place it in a pretty bowl in the middle of your table or on the counter top.  If that is what you are seeing that is what you will eat.  * By the way... I highly recommend Cuties. I know they are made for kids, but I love that there are no seeds to mess with and they peel like a dream. I'm a bit of a Cutie addict right now! I regress.... :)
  • Store nuts and dried fruit in pretty jars ON YOUR COUNTER or a nearby shelf.
  • Keep granola on hand. It's great for a crunchy snack or to add some texture to yogurt or a salad.
  • Store healthy pantry items on eye level shelves, keep sweets and other trigger foods on higher shelves and up and out of the line of sight. High shelves rather than low, also keep it out of your kids line of sight.

Tip #2: Keep everything convenient! The easier it is to grab the more likely you will be to grab it.
  • As soon as you get home from grocery shopping, wash fruit and prep any vegetables.  You are more likely to eat fresh veggies when they are ready to go.  If you get in a crunch you take time to wash veggies and will find yourself grabbing more processed (calorie filled) foods. Don't have time to prep... buy fresh veggies that are already prepped. I know it costs more, but so does that bag of potato chips.
  • Prepacked smoothie ingredients into individual size baggies by freezing them in muffin tins.  In the morning or for a mid afternoon snacks throw them in a blender and  VIOLA!  Smoothie in an instant!
LacyinLove, has a great walk through for smoothie packs over on her site.

Tip #3: Fridge is a good bet!
  • Still searching for a snacks, search the fridge first.  Keep you fridge well stocked with string cheese, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, yogurt, and those ready to eat veggie sticks. You will always find healthier food in the fridge than you will in the pantry. Again, store them at eye level, use that drawer for your ketchup or something. :)

Tip #4: Drink more Water!!
  • Stay hydrated!  With all the cute thermoses, and Tervis Tumblers (love them) out there you have no reason not to drink more water!!!  Unless your name is Jared and you don't like the taste.   In that case have you been on Pintrest.... Sassy Water is everywhere right now.   2 qts. water, 1 lemon, 1 cucumber, 10 mint leaves... cover and place in the fridge overnight... yummy flavored water waiting for you the next morning.
  • Oh, and don't forget that there are a million and one choices for flavoring water. I really like this one from Kraft. MiO Water Enhancer... Peach Tea is my Favorite so far!  
  • MiO Liquid Water Enhancer, Sweet Tea

Tip #4: Protein, Protein, Protein!
  • Keep your hunger at bay with proteins!  Broccoli, Nuts, Eggs, and Beans are great and easy choices to keep on hand!  *I like to keep Garbonzo Beans in the fridge sprinkled with a little course cracked pepper, YUMM!

OK, I know some of these are common sense, but they do work for me and my family!  Good luck on your resolutions, or on just eating a little more healthy through the next year. Happy 2012!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Caderade is 5!!

It's official... Our sweet Cade is 5 years old. 

 He has gone from an easy going baby, with astonishing blue eyes, to...

 A mud monster...

 To mommy's angel...

What Cade has to say about being 5...
What are you looking forward to this year? Buying my own DS
What is your favorite memory while you were 4? Playing with my brothers
What is your favorite food? Gummy Bears
What is your favorite color? Yellow
What is your favorite animal? Cheetahs and Black Panthers

 1 year old
 I love the little moments of my sweet boy that he shares throughout the day. I love his growing maturity and curiosity that he expresses in his nightly prayers.  I love the way he looks after his brothers and is always wanting to be near them.  I love to watch him play with his plastic animals and the imaginative story lines that flow through his mind.  So here is a Big Happy Birthday, to our Sweet Cade! We love you!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Holiday Montage 2011

After another Holiday Trip we are back home!  We always enjoy our family so much and are so thankful that we can travel to see everyone, but it's always nice to be back home and back in our normal routine. I like structure! :) 

We have been home for 2 full days now and I have unpacked our luggage, packed up Christmas decor, cleaned house, done Tons of laundry, literally, and have a small birthday party for my sweet Caderade! I can't believe he is 5 years old, Tomorrow!!  Now it's time to sit back and reflect on the holidays and 2011 (what a year it has been)!

Well there is no time like the present, so let the Holiday Montage Begin!! :)
(Sorry Picture Quality is Lacking this year)

Caldwell Christmas in Waco

 All the kids! They have so much fun!

 Aunt Jen wrapped all the boys gifts in one big box, they couldn't wait to open it.
 Nerf Guns for everyone! The living room became a battle ground, and everyone was a target! :)
HaHa, Gotcha! :)

From Waco, we headed for Muleshoe... yes that is my hometown. :)  And for the first time EVER (on our many visits) we got to play in the snow... and yes it was on the side of the road about 30 minutes from our actual destination, and yes we were those people who pulled over on the side of the road to play in the snow.  And yes all we have are sweatshirt weight hoodies, we are from Corpus you know, Brennan doesn't even own a coat.
Snowy Fun,  the first time my boys have ever actually played in the snow! 

 I love that Michael and Cade are working.... Exactly the same!

Cade, my little snow leopard!
I love team work!  And check out the profile on that snowman! :)  Ok, ok... enough on with the trip! 

 Clarkson Family Christmas in Muleshoe.
You can't help but feel sorry for him love him!  Gotcha Bro!
 My wonderful Grandparents! We live so far away,  I love & cherish every minute I get to spend with them!
 Cousins, playing some games...
 Cade, was Punk Mickey!
Me with the Horses and Grandma & Grandad's house.  This is how I used to spend my days growing up!  Miss it so much, I feel like a kid again every time I visit!
Me and my Goofy Brothers! :) 

Ok, now that you are all totally bored out of your minds with my pics and silly commentary... I hope you all had a great Christmas filled with family and safe travels! See you soon!