Babycakes for my baby

So today Adelaide bamboozled me. Yep … sure did. I’ve prided myself in the past on knowing when she’s faking but this morning she got me. She started to complaining that her “tummy was going in circles” when we were in the middle of breakfast. She (like her dad) can think her way into her sickbed and this has been a thing before. I figured it was the Monday-morning-don’t-want-to-go-to-school blues so I employed my usual tactic and encouraged to her continue getting ready for school. But when she told me 30 minutes later, “Mommy I’m 1000% I don’t fell good,” I second guessed my tough-love approach. So I told her she could stay home. But I DID make her pinky promise (that is the ultimate level of promise between us) that if she started to feel better that she would go to school.

Well … by 10 a.m. it was pretty apparent whatever “ailment” she had wasn’t there so I sat her down and reminded her of the pinky promise. By 10:30 a.m. we were in the car headed for her school. As I drove home, I just shook my head. I couldn’t believe she fooled me. She’s only five years old!

We also discussed why she didn’t want to go to school. It is heartwarming that my little girl wants to spend her days next to me, but it’s also heart-wrenching because she wants to so that she doesn’t have to feel the ache of separation anxiety  when we have to say goodbye for a little while.20160908_173218

So after school I busted out the Babycakes cake pop maker for my baby girl. Grandma gave this little gem to Adelaide as a Christmas gift and it has been a lot of fun. For a while my creativity was stunted and I just made plain ol’ cake pops using a box cake mix because they were easy to make with Adelaide and our decision to make them was usually spontaneous. A few weeks ago clouds lifted from my creative brain matter as I pondered the usual dinner dilemma and I thought, “Wait! I bet you can make all sorts of stuff in this thing!” And sure enough … you can. I found a ton of ideas online and have tried a few already.

Well … today we stayed simple because I was dying to try brownies in the cake pop maker! It was amazing. I used a box brownie mix and followed the directions to make cake-like brownies (I added a tiny bit more water because I like them a bit lighter) and viola! Delicious brownie balls. Some came out looking a little odd but delicious all the same. The brownie balls didn’t last the night and two-year-old Oliver definitely approved.

I recommend the Babycakes cake pop maker because, really, the options are endless with what you can do with it. It’s easy with kids who want to help make whatever you’re making, and the end product usual earns you extra cool-mom points and is just as impressive to adults.

Here are links to three of my favorite cake pop maker idea generators:

6 Things You Can Make in A Cake Pop Maker – Besides Cake by OneGoodThingByJillee

14 Things You Can Make For Dinner In A Cake Pop Maker by Diply

Tips & Recipes by Babycakes

 

 

 

Easy Banana Bread

I am sure I am not the only person who has the all-to-often “Gosh the bananas have ripened already?” problem. So … what to do? One common solution is banana bread. Everyone loves it, right? My sister Sarah included this recipe in the 2nd edition of the Borg Family Cookbook (seriously … one of the best ever) and it is exactly as the title claims: EASY. Not only is it quick and simple to put together but it always turns out wonderful. Ummmm … Maybe too much so because I think I ate half the loaf myself last night.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
3 ripe bananas
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter your loaf pan (or use parchment paper which is my usual way). Bake for 1 hour.

(Note: My family likes the banana bread a little crusty so I usually bake it at 350 degrees until the top is hard.) 

Gingerbread Cookies

One important element of Christmas, for me, is gingerbread cookies. My mother used to make them and hang them on the Christmas tree for my father to munch on the days leading up to the big day. He especially liked them when they got a little stale and crunchy. The aroma of gingerbread cookies always brings back warm memories and big smiles.

I am not a huge fan of molasses flavor so I’ve experimented with lots of recipes and tweaked a few to come up with this easy recipe. I hope you enjoy making them and decorating them like I (and Adelaide) do. I usually double this recipe so I can give some away.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup light soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp molasses*
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup*
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup (you can substitute golden syrup)*

*When I double the recipe I only add 1 tbsp molasses, 2 tsbp maple syrup and 4 tbsp corn syrup. You can adjust the molasses to syrup ratio according to your taste. 

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix butter, sugar, and egg together.
  • Add molasses and syrups to butter mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon together.
  • Add part of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Keep adding the flour mixture in parts until it is all incorporated into the butter mixture. The cookie dough should be stiff and a bit dry.
  • Shape the dough in a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for about 2 hours. You can refrigerate it up to two days.
  •  Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface. If you like softer cookies, roll out the dough but keep it a little thick. If you like crisper cookies, roll it out thin.
  • Cut out the cookies with gingerbread man cookie cutter or any shape you like. Place cookie cutouts on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes (depending on your oven and your desired doneness).
  • Cool cookies completely before decorating.

 

ICING RECIPE

I live in the Caribbean and do not use A/C in the day so I love frosting and icing recipes that do not melt! This one dries fast (even in humidity) and is very easy to use.

INGREDIENTS 
Water
Powered sugar
Almond extract

DIRECTIONS
Forgive me for not knowing the exact measurements, I usually just put in some powdered sugar into a small bowl, add water until desired consistency and add a drop of almond extract.

Add food coloring if desired.

Use a spatula to put the icing in a icing bag or a plain ol’ zip-up plastic bag. If you use the zip-up plastic bag, snip a small hole in one corner to apply the icing on the cookies.

Ice the cookies and let them dry before packing them in boxes or presenting them for consumption.

 

 

 

Pumpkin Bread & Muffins

So it’s October and every year I make something pumpkin on October 1st just to celebrate the awesomeness of Autumn. Even though I am living in the Caribbean and it’s hot regardless of the time of year (I’m sweating even as I write this) I still practice this tradition.

The first time I had these pumpkin muffins I was visiting my cousin Wendy Gagnon and her family in Dusseldorf, Germany. I was immediately hooked! Now … fair warning that even though it has a vegetable in the title, this bread recipe isn’t all that healthy (I mean … it does have 3 cups of sugar) but you will fall in love with them.

Wendy added this recipe in the first annual Borg Family Cookbook with this commentary:
“This makes enough for a crowd or some to keep and some to sweeten someone else’s day. With this recipe I usually make one regular loaf tin of bread, one or two mini muffin pans and one regular size muffin pan. It really makes a lot. They are really yummy!”

Ingredients

3 1⁄2 cups flour
1 1⁄2 tesaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-15 ounce can pumpkin
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup oil
3⁄4 cup water

Directions

Sift flour, soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon together.
Add oil, eggs, water and pumpkin. Mix well.
Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes for a large loaf tin or 25 minutes for muffins.

Covert Vegetable Cupcakes

Everyone once and a while I feel like I need to boost my kids’ veggie intake and I do not feel shamed by hiding vegetable goodness in treats. So occasionally I’ll make these Covert Vegetable Cupcakes (another recipe gem from the Borg Family Cookbook) and encourage them to eat as many as they want. The bonus is I don’t feel so bad about eating as many as I want, too!

They have yet to figure out there are beets and spinach in the cupcakes (because I don’t let them in the kitchen while I make them). In fact, I have fed these to friends and neighbors and no one has figured it out. I love it!

Ingredients

2 packages (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry (I’ve used one tin of canned spinach and it worked just as good)
1 jar(16 oz) beets, drained
1 package Devils Food cake mix
4 Eggs
1/3 cup Oil
1 cup Water
Frosting of your choice (I usually make a basic chocolate buttercream frosting)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease eighteen muffins pan cups.
  2. In food processor or blender puree together spinach and the beets until smooth.
  3. Prepare cake mix according to package directions using four eggs instead of three. Stir in puréed spinach and beets.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling near to the top.
  5. Bake 22 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.