Pinterest Test Kitchen #97 ~ Banana Pudding Cupcakes

A while back I hosted a baby shower for my niece who loves banana pudding. Because I am all about the presentation I just did not want to put a bowl full of banana pudding on the pretty dessert table and I did not want to do individual cups either for some reason that I no longer remember. I’m sure it was a good one though.

Because Pinterest is magic it didn’t take long for me to discover banana pudding cupcakes and they were a hit at the shower! I’ve made them twice now and tweaked the recipe a little the second go round and probably have one more adjustment that I’ll make the next time I make them.

The first time I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of using banana flavored pudding. (I totally got suckered by the Minion packaging.) I wasn’t a huge fan of the cupcake itself so the next time I made them I used this recipe for the cupcake and added mashed bananas to the batter. And while no one complained of the pudding I found it to be too thick so I will probably change it to just regular banana cream pudding and not make it with the sweetened condensed milk next time.

What you’ll need:

12 to 15 cupcakes 
1 box instant vanilla pudding (or banana cream), prepared
Nilla wafers, about 1/3 cup crushed and 12 to 15 whole ones for garnish
Cool whip
What you’ll do:
Hollow out a portion of each cupcake being sure not to go all the way to the bottom.
Sprinkle the Nilla wafer crumbs into each cupcake.
Spoon the pudding into the holes with enough extra to do a layer of pudding across the top of the cupcake.
Ice the cupcakes with the cool whip.
Garnish with the Nilla wafer.



Pinterest Test Kitchen #89 ~ Inside Out Egg Roll

So, last week I shared a picture on facebook of the dinner I had made for us that night.

Y’all that post got busy! People commented and messaged me asking for the recipe. The funny thing is that it is so simple I didn’t even follow a recipe. A friend had made it for us the week before and she walked me through how she had made it (she had tweaked the recipe she found) and said to just pinterest search inside out egg roll.


This is the recipe I found that seemed the closest to what she had told me. I read through it and wrote the ingredients down and haven’t looked at it again since…not even when I cooked it. I say that only to point out how very versatile and easy this recipe is. (I left out the egg & celery and could not find the Chinese Five Spice at all.)

What you’ll need:

1 head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped
1 1/2 pound ground beef, browned and seasoned (I used salt, garlic and ginger)
Soy Sauce, to taste
1 can water chestnuts
8 oz mushrooms, sauteed 
What you’ll do:
Steam your cabbage with water almost to the point of being done. (We like ours with a little crunch.)
Toss in the other ingredients and stir fry until everything is heated through and at the desired tenderness.

Eat and enjoy!


Seriously, it couldn’t be any easier and even the kids were clamoring for more. Next time I would probably prepare some rice as a side to go along with it. I’ve also seen a couple of recipes that substituted chicken for the beef.

I’d really like to find that Chinese Five Spice so if you know where I can get some don’t be shy, let me know! I really enjoy Asian food and want to experiment with making more of it from scratch.

You can find this recipe, as well as the other test kitchen recipes I’ve shared on the blog, here on My Test Kitchen Pinterest board.

Pinterest Test Kitchen #82 ~ S’more Pie

I have a weird relationship with s’mores.

I love the idea of them. How could I not?

I like the crisp crunch of graham crackers.

Melted chocolate? Love some, thanks!

Ooey gooey marshmallow? Absolutely!

But the three come together and I am just…sorta…kinda…underwhelmed maybe?

I think, for me at least, the three good things come together and cancel each other out.

Shocking, I know. And my camping enthusiast friends are probably second guessing their relationship with a crazy person but there you have it.

The truly funny thing is that I am fascinated by them. And apparently a lot of people are because if you type in “s’more” on Pinterest a lot of pins come up. And I mean a lot. And also a lot of categories…in a jar, gourmet, treat, camping, buffet, kit and, I kid you not, one labeled healthy.

Since Rob and I are the only ones to have this weird indifference to s’mores I decided to give this s’more pie a try one Sunday for our fellowship meal. The pie plate came home empty so I guess it was a success.


The only complaint I have is that it didn’t cut into nice slices…we ended up doing more of a scooping thing. This could totally be my fault though so who knows? If you try it let me know how your’s slices up.

What you’ll need:
1 stick butter, softened 
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
7 oz marshmallow cream
2 Hershey bars, unwrapped and separated*
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup chocolate chips

*The original recipe calls for way more candy bars than I needed…a tragic event that left me with a surplus of chocolate to hide share with the kids another day 😉

What you’ll do:
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar together.
Add in the egg and vanilla.
Stir in the flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder.
Divide the dough in half, pressing one half of the dough along the bottom and sides of a lightly greased  9 inch pie plate.
Spread the marshmallow cream evenly on the bottom crust.
Place the separated chocolate squares on top of the marshmallow cream.
Sprinkle the marshmallows on next.
Pat sections of the remaining dough on top of  and all around the marshmallows.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until a nice golden brown.
Allow to cool completely before cutting.


A Back to School Tea

A few weeks ago Emily hosted a tea for the 9th through 12th grade girls. I didn’t have to do much but talk through the planning stuff and then she pretty much handled everything else. She enlisted the other sophomore girls to help with the food after deciding on the menu, she wrote out all of the invitations, and figured out the decorations.

Originally she was thinking something along the lines of a vintage chic look with old books and paper flowers. But in the process of looking at proper table setting ideas we came up with an idea that changed the direction but she pulled it off beautifully.

Instead of using place cards to seat the girls in a way that would encourage the girls to mix and mingle she made them all a name plate. Since she would need to use Sharpie pens and they only come in certain colors she nixed the vintage look and the plates became a charger with a clear glass plate on top for eating. The girls each got to take their plate home with them as a gift.



She added some bright colored flowers to the table and kept things simple but quite lovely.

The idea for using Sharpies on plates is all over Pinterest but I’ve never seen anything like this. It took her a little over a week to make the plates which were 88 cents each from Walmart. The really fun thing to me is how adaptable this is. Can you imagine the holiday plates you could do? A bridal shower with monograms or using paper plates for a kid’s party with clear plastic plates on top? So fun!

This one sat on the front porch with a bouquet of flowers to welcome the girls.

Pinterest Test Kitchen #78 ~ Snicker Caramel Apple Pie

I’ve never shied away from sharing a recipe that flopped or went wrong. And while this one wasn’t an actual flop per se, it just didn’t live up to the expectations I had for it.

Have you ever had the Snicker caramel apple salad? I don’t make it often but I love it so when I saw this recipe for it basically in pie form I got pretty excited. (Plus her pictures are lovely and I’m a sucker for good food photography.) But I found mine to be underwhelming, and it didn’t really set and sloppy pies just aren’t my thing. I’m totally copping to user error and personal preference though since I heard no complaints and my pie plate came home empty. But I think my Snicker salad is going to stay in a bowl from now on.

What you’ll need:
1 graham cracker pie crust
3 granny smith apples, chopped
15- 20 mini Snicker candy bars, chopped
1/4 caramel ice cream topping
2 1/2 cups Cool Whip
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 oz cream cheese, softened


What you’ll do:
Place chopped apples into pie crust and top with Snicker pieces.
Drizzle the caramel topping on top.
In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth.
Gently fold in  cool whip and sweetened condensed milk, stirring just until combined. *
Spread over the apple and Snicker mixture in pie plate.
Sprinkle a few more Snickers pieces on top and drizzle with caramel sauce.
Refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.


*It’s been a few weeks since I made this so my memory is unclear, but I am wondering if I used the mixer the whole time and that is why my pie never set? Maybe I caused it to be too thin. Like I said, I can’t recall exactly but that would make sense.

So, you know, don’t do that and yours will probably turn out fine 🙂

Pintrest Test Kitchen # 77 ~ White Sour Cream Cake with Butter Cream Icing

So, I knew it had been a while since I shared a recipe but I had no idea it had been since December.

I mean it’s March already! Can you believe that? Where does the time go?

(Totally unrelated to the recipe but last week we took our oldest daughter to visit MSU and I had the most surreal experience on the drive over. Sarah was sitting in the back seat and said something and Rob turned his head to answer her and I had the craziest flashback. Seriously, it was like something out of the movies…I could see her as a little girl on our first road trip, little curls all over her head and feet swinging and bouncing. The echo of her laughter was as clear as day. I cried a little.)

While we may not be able to stop time from flying by and our children from growing up too fast we can slow it down a little and enjoy a piece of cake every now and then with a cup of coffee.

That was a really smooth transition to the recipe wasn’t it? Yep, that’s why everybody reads my blog 🙂

This cake is kind of a mash up of box and homemade. You begin with a cake mix but jazz it up a bit for a nice dense cake. Also, I am not normally a huge fan of butter cream icing but I made this the morning and kept it refrigerated until after lunch and it was quite tasty all nice and chilled. Here is a link to the original pin but I changed a few things. Mainly because you need two cake mixes to get the amounts required and I didn’t so I added an extra cup of flour. I also reduce the amount of sugar added.

For the cake ~ What you’ll need:
1 box white cake mix
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 TBS oil (I use canola) 
1 1/3 cup water
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
What you’ll do:
Mix together all dry ingredients with a whisk.
Add liquid ingredients and beat on low until well combined.
Pour into prepared cake pans. 
Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes. (Time will depend on size of pans so check after 30 minutes.)

The cake is pretty dense and heavy and pairs well with the butter cream frosting. This is the strangest icing recipe to me. Other than the Hershey icing I’ve never made one that required cooking.

For the icing ~ What you’ll need:
5 TBS flour
1 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature  
1 cup granulated sugar
confectioner’s sugar to taste*
What you’ll do:
Whisk together the flour and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. 
Stir constantly until it thickens being careful not to burn it.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Allow it to completely cool before finishing or it will not work.
(I emptied mine out of the hot saucepan and into a small bowl to help it cool quicker.)
Cream together the butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy.
Add in the cooled flour mixture.
Keep beating it until it has the consistency of whipped cream.

white_cake, butter cream_frosting_dessert

*I mentioned that I am not a fan of butter cream frosting. The taste is a little sharp to me so I added just a wee bit of confectioners sugar until I liked the flavor. You may be fine without it so suit yourself.

The cake iced well although it was a little plain looking so I covered the top with some lovely gold sprinkles. In my opinion taste is only part of it…pretty counts for something.

Would I make it again? Yes and no. It tasted good and everyone seemed to enjoy it but I am solidly a cream cheese icing gal. But I don’t think I will ever make a cake any differently other than to tweak the amount of flour depending on how stout I want the cake. It has a great texture and flavor and it seems rather versatile. I’ve made it using a cup less flour and a yellow cake mix with almond extract and it went together nicely with some strawberries and whipped topping. I’m trying to figure out some kind of chocolate and mint combination now…maybe in time to celebrate the luck o’ the Irish!

I’d love to know if you try it as is or if you tweak it.


Titus 2 Tuesday

Test Kitchen #72 ~ Nutella Cream Cheese Mini Sweet Rolls

nutella, cream cheese, sweet rolls

We have been enjoying some rather fabulous autumn weather lately. Windows have been open…I’ve made a pot of chili and tried a new recipe for a chicken corn chowder. I intended to make these delicious pumpkin cream cheese rolls last week for moms group in keeping with the autumnal weather but then I got distracted by the jar of nutella and well…the rest is history.

A delectable ooey gooey nutella infused mouth pleasing history.

What you’ll need:
2 packs Pillsbury crescent rolls*
8 oz cream cheese, softened
13 oz jar nutella
confectioner’s sugar
What you’ll do:
Mix together half of the cream cheese and half of the nutella until well blended.
Unroll both tubes of crescents, being careful to not separate the rectangles.
crescent rolls, sweet rolls
Put them short end to short end and pinch the seams together making one long rectangle.
Spread cream cheese nutella mixture over dough.
nutella, sweet rolls, pillsbury crescents
Begin rolling the dough into a log starting at the long end.
cream cheese, nutella, pillsbury crescent rolls
Cut into one inch pieces.
Lay them into a 9×13 that has been lightly coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until rolls are a golden brown.
nutella, cream cheese, sweet rolls, pillsbury crescents
While they’re baking mix together the remaining cream cheese and nutella, adding in a small amount of confectioner’s sugar to taste.
When the rolls come out of the oven, allow them to cool for about 10 minutes and then smother them in the frosting you just made.

Needless to say none of the moms seemed to mind that I hadn’t made the pumpkin cream cheese rolls. They were so good with a cup of hot coffee and tiny so they felt indulgent without all of the guilt.

nutella, cream cheese, pillsbury crescent rolls

*I am normally all about using generic brands and saving money but I have found that the off brands for crescent rolls are just lacking in taste and texture so I suggest using the Pillsbury brand.

Tuesday’s Table

Test Kitchen #63 ~ The Dip Edition

I really enjoy little foods like appetizers and finger foods. Sweet or savory, it doesn’t matter, I just like popping bite size chunks of goodness. And, while dips are slightly different than other kinds of hors d’oeuvre, they still fall into that delicious category for me.

Because dips are usually easy to whip up, I like having plenty of options so I am going to share a couple of different recipes with you. One of  the most popular recipes I’ve shared is the simple but oh, so good feta dip. It is seriously at the top of my go to list when I need this kind of appetizer. But another savory dip that is almost as popular is this chili cheese dip. Only 3 ingredients and served hot; it is full of flavor and a quick fix. (And so good it was almost gone before I grabbed a picture!)

What you’ll need:
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 15 oz can of chili (the original pin called for bean less…I’ve discovered it makes no difference.)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips
What you’ll do:
Spread the cream cheese evenly into an ungreased pie plate.
Pour the chili over the cream cheese.
Cover with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until the chili begins to bubble and the cheese is melted. (We don’t have a microwave but obviously you could nuke it for a couple of minutes.)
Serve with tortilla chips.

Variation: Instead of chili use black beans. This recipe is also easily adaptable to a gluten free diet.

Although I have blogged this peanut butter toffee dip and it  is delicious, I think I have only made it twice. The favorite sweet dip in my house, hands down no question about it, is the chocolate cookie dough dip. It starts with melted butter and brown sugar so is anybody surprised? I think not.

What you’ll need:
1/2 cup of butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
graham crackers
What you’ll do:
Melt butter and whisk in brown sugar, stirring well until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add vanilla.
While mixture is cooling, beat cream cheese and confectioners sugar together until smooth.
Add in the nectar of the gods brown sugar and butter combo and blend until combined.
Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
(I tried regular chips once and it totally changed the texture and not in a good way either.)
Sprinkle a few chips on top for garnish and serve with graham crackers.

Try one of these the next time you have a gathering and you probably won’t come home with any leftovers.

A sure sign of a successful recipe! You can visit Tuesday’s Table for some other sure to be a hit recipes.

Test Kitchen #60 ~ Blueberry Shortbread Bars

I am not quite as adventurous in the kitchen as Rob. He’ll plunder cabinets and spices and throw some deliciously creative something something together that becomes a family favorite. I will tweak a recipe to suit what I want but I still usually start with a recipe as a guide.

Which is what happened with this week’s recipe. I came across this on pinterest but the more I thought about it and after a successful blueberry picking trip I realized I would definitely be changing things up a bit. And since I was changing a thing or two I decided to use a really good homemade shortbread recipe instead of  the cookie base they used. (This still looks yummy though so at some point I will probably make it and follow the directions 🙂
What you’ll need for the shortbread crust:
1 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

What you’ll do:
Cream together butter and sugar.
Gradually stir in the flour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for about three minutes.
brown sugar shortbread dough
Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper leaving some to overlap for easy lifting.
Pat the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan. (I didn’t quite get a full pan but it was close.)
Prick with a fork and bake at 300 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes on until the bottom begins to brown.
Allow to completely cool.
brownsugar shortbread
What you’ll need for the cream cheese layer:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tsp almond extract
confectioner’s sugar ( I eyeball the amount until I have the right consistency…probably about 1 1/4 cups)
What you’ll do:
Beat the cream cheese and almond extract until smooth.
Gradually add in confectioner’s sugar. (Add milk a little at a time if you need to smooth it out.)
measuring cups, cooking, baking
What you’ll need for the blueberry topping:
1 cup of blueberries
1/4 cup sugar (less if your blueberries are really sweet)
2 tsp flour
little bit of water
What you’ll do:
Combine the first three ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Cook until the blueberries begin to break down and it begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whew! That seems like a work intensive dessert but really it’s all easy…it just has parts. Now it all comes together really quickly.

Simply spread the cream cheese mixture over the shortbread and then pour and smooth the blueberry compote on top. Cut into squares and enjoy!

fresh blueberries shortbread cream cheese filling bars

Can’t believe I almost forgot this fun tidbit! All the pictures were taking with my iPhone5s which is kind of fun.