How to make yummy cupcakes?

redberrydeals_wackycakes

I’m a huge fan of Georgetown Cupcakes.  My sister-in-law introduced them to me a couple years ago and whenever there is a special occasion I ask her or others for at least one.

This evening we spent some time over at a friend’s house and I offered to bring over some desert so I tried at my stab at a yummy cupcake and icing.

I found this really good Allergy Free cake recipe – no dairy, and no nuts – called Wacky Cakes

Allergy-Free Dessert Recipe: Kathy P’s Wacky Cake
Recipe Information
Category: Cakes
Recipe Created By: Kathy Przywara
Ingredients
1 1/2 cup flour (see below for gluten-free options)
3 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vinegar
5 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup water
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.

Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl and stir to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until you get a smooth batter. Do not beat.

Pour into greased and floured pan (8″ square or 9″ round) or 12 cupcakes. Bake in oven until tests done – about 35 minutes for cake, about 20 minutes for cupcakes.

I made it with cocoa and they turned out so moist.  I used Cake Flour not all-purpose flour and I think that helps a lot.  I even used the Kitchen Aid mixer and poured all of the ingredients in the bowl to make it super easy and fast.  The batter is watery so I poured it from the mixer into a measuring glass and it was so easy to pour into the cups.   My toddler even helped and had a great time learning about how the mixer worked.  I baked them for 20 minutes.  When they came out they were a little crumbly when I inserted the toothpick which meant that they would be moist.

Then I created the icing.  This wasn’t allergy free by any means but it was close to Georgetown Cupcake’s Red Velvet cream cheese frosting thanks to Delleicious DC for the information. The icing recipe comes from Martha Stewart.  You can find the recipe HERE.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until well combined.

I highly recommend following the recipe to the letter – sift the sugar and make sure the ingredients are at room temperature.  I used the Kitchen Aid mixer for this too.  I love my mixer!

After the cupcakes were cool I then iced them by putting it in a plastic ziplock bag creating a hole at the corner and pumping the icing on top.

They turned out great. They weren’t too rich and not too sweet.  Yummy!

Sorry I didn’t take a picture but next time and I’m sure there will be a next time I will take a picture.

What type of cupcakes do you like?

Update:  12/22/2013 –  Here is an updated picture of the Wacky Cupcake.  I made these for my boy’s preschool Christamas party.  They were so yummy and perfect to take to school.  I didn’t even put icing on them.

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Making My Home-Made Dishwasher Detergent

April 2013 –
As I was working on cleaning up the kitchen last week, I was thinking about the fact I was getting low on dishwasher detergent and needed to find some good deals.    I just haven’t seen or heard of any recently.     In addition, I’ve become very interested in using healthy products in the home such as Shaklee Basic H2.     I did some simple searches and found several websites offering their recipes for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent including DIYnatural.com .   This got me very excited because I have most of the ingredients at home!  Not only would this be healthy but also cheap!   Now the question was would this really work???

From Homemade Dishwasher Detergent including DIYnatural.com:

Soap recipe

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)

Use 1 Tbsp per load (you can use a heaping tablespoon if you feel the need, but we do not).

Each batch yields 24 ounces of detergent. We recommend storing in a container you were going to dispose of anyway, like an old yogurt container or coffee can you can fit it under your kitchen sink. Feel free to double the batch, or multiply to create any amount you’d like.

I needed to find Citric Acid.  Where do you find Citric Acid?   There were suggestions the FAQ on their site such as Amazon, and Lemi-Shine , and most stores sell canning products with Citric Acid.

I headed to my local Walmart and compared the prices and what I could tell by the labels and found Dishwasher Magic Dish and Spot Remover.   It said its main ingredient is Citric Acid so I went ahead and purchased 16 oz for $3.50.  Note:  I only need 1/2 a cup for this recipe.

I came home and followed the instructions above and as you see in the picture came up with a container.  One of the suggestions is to continue to mix it by shaking it so that there are less clumps.  Clumping is a problem with this mixture especially for high humidity climates.    I did just as mentioned and so far so good.  Then I read, there are some people using the Silica-Gel packets that you get in medicines and other products to absorb moisture and add them in.   So whenever I find one I throw that in for safe keeping.

Then using it!   I put a tablespoon in the bottom of the dishwasher and then another half-tablespoon in one of the cups.   I also have solid Jet Dry that I use since our dishwasher is more than 20 years old it doesn’t have the fancy Jet Dry dispenser.

It turns out the dishes have been coming out very clean.  I’m so impressed!   I can’t seem to get them to come clean like that with any of the name brand detergents.   I know we have hard water but this recipe works great and with the solid Jet Dry it really works.

I love my old dishwasher!

September 2013 –

I wanted to update this post and say that I’ve been so happy with this recipe and even my skeptical husband really is impressed. We use 1 tablespoon in the bottom of the machine and a little less than a tablespoon in the cup that closes. The dishes come out perfect.

I have recently purchased the Citric Acid from Amazon and it works just as good as the Dishwasher magic.

Our environment is pretty humid in the woods which causes it to clump up a bit. I put several of the moisture packets (silica gel) into the mixture so that it doesn’t clump as much and I gently shake or stir it regularly.

I find this batch lasts us about 3 weeks and we do at least 1 to 2 loads a day.

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Day #18-28 -30 Day Cleaning Challenge

Day #18-28

I’m going to challenge myself by following the 31 Day Cleaning Challenge with Money Saving Mom.     She is using the chart from Fresh and Organized. So, I’m a little off the same schedule but we are getting most of the things done.

Day 18:  clean out your refrigerator and/or organize your pantry I’m amazed how fast time has past!  It has been over 10 days since I updated my blog.  Trying to keep up with it all is hard work.   Even though I haven’t been good about posting here I have been great at keeping up with my daily activities for this challenge or doing something on the list.

I did go grocery shopping and re-filled the pantry and refrigerator.  I do need to clean out the refrigerator!

Day 19:  clean your entryway, sweep your garage, and/or vacuum out your car.  We didn’t get to this on Day 19, but my hubby cleaned the front porch on Day 26.  It was awesome!       I did clean up some of the bedrooms and even vacuumed every room in the house including the basement!

Day 20, 21 and 22: surface clean living room and kitchen, surface clean bathroom(s), or surface clean bedroom(s).    We worked over the weekend and cleaned up the family room and kitchen.   I even had my daughter help with the downstairs bathroom.

Day 23:  sweep and vacuum all the floors in your house.  Since I had already done this over the weekend, I caught up on cleaning the kitchen and putting away some of the laundry.

Day 24: clean your linen closet.  I should have worked on cleaning out one of our closets.  We don’t have a linen closet but we have a lot of other closets.  I did go through some of them earlier in the month and pick out things to donate.  (This would be a great challenge each month!)

Day 25: surface clean or deep clean your kitchen and/or living room.  I didn’t get to deep clean but I did keep up.  I ended up deep cleaning the kitchen on Day 27.    We did a quick clean around the house and vacuumed the family room before we had guests over.

Day 26,27 and 28: surface clean a bedroom or the bathroom(s) or you can vacuum and/or sweep the floors in your home.  I ended up surface clean the kids bedrooms on the 26th as well as the hubby vacuuming the front porch.

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Day #15-17 -30 Day Cleaning Challenge

Day #15-17

I’m going to challenge myself by following the 31 Day Cleaning Challenge with Money Saving Mom.     She is using the chart from Fresh and Organized. So, I’m a little off the same schedule but we are getting some of the things done.

Day 15:  surface clean the living room and kitchen. We had a huge playdate at our house that was a bit larger then I was planning for so I quickly had my daughter and I clean as much as we could. I ended up filling up a basket of items from our dining room and put them in the upstairs guest room and papers were put back into the office. My half organized office is back to piles again. 🙁 I had my daughter help me and clean one of the bathrooms later in the day. I did put some laundry away.

Day 16:  deep clean your bathroom(s)  I ended up doing some cleaning in the family room instead and it was so good to vacuum most of the rooms on the main floor. We had babysitters come over to watch the kids while I got some other things done.

Day 17:  Knobs and handles –  I decided not only to tackle that I would also deep clean the kitchen and re-organize a couple of the cabinets. Wow! What a difference!

redberrydeals_kitchen_day17

This is the before and this is the after of the back part of our kitchen which we call the butler’s pantry. See how I have so many appliances. I found lots of unused or not used correctly space. For example the 2 bread makers that we love to use are now sitting in the lazy susan which was being used for cereal which half the time is being put on the floor by one of the boys. Moved the cereal to the pantry.

 

redberrydeals_kitchen_day17_3

This are looks and feels so clean!

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I got so excited at finishing my first project and the kids were playing and being very good I decided to tackle the next portion of the kitchen!  Yes, this is what my counter looks like after lunch.

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This is after I cleaned up the counter and ready to clean out that cabinet above it.

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The process of sorting things out and figuring out what we use and don’t use or forgot we had!

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The end result a well organized cabinet with markers, pencils, crayons and paint ready for craft time.  I also put stickers in a plastic bag so when we find stickers we have a place for them.  I used cans from canned food for the markers and plan to decorate them later.   I love this all organized!

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Day #6-14 – 30 Day Cleaning Challenge

Day #6-14

I’m going to challenge myself by following the 31 Day Cleaning Challenge with Money Saving Mom.     She is using the chart from Fresh and Organized.

Has it been over 8 days since I posted on this Challenge?  Well, I have to admit I have been doing the challenge!  When I get on my computer I have been doing a lot of other things like finishing up my small business paperwork, creating some embroidery items for customers and working on a new up and coming sewing forum.   Feel free to check it out!   It is called 4 the love of fabric.com. It is a paid subscription forum. It is a great place to talk and learn about sewing, quilting, and embroidery.

Day 6:

Clean Bathrooms – Since the bathrooms were basically already cleaned from a couple days ago I didn’t feel I needed to again so I continued on working on the office paper work.

Day 7:

All interior windows –  This is still on my list.  I used the rest of the weekend to catch up on keeping the kitchen and family room clean.

Day 8:

Sweep and vaccum all of the rooms in the house – I’ve always wanted to do this!  I’m not joking.  But, my house is always a mess in some room.  So I made it a challenge on Day 12 and Day 13 to do this challenge and I almost succeeded.

Day 9:

Surface clean bedrooms – I worked again on my daughter’s room the master bedroom.   We got several loads of laundry put away.

Day 10:

Deep clean the family room –  I actually did some of this.  I cleaned the TV, dusted around the hearth and some of the base boards.

Day 11:

Clean the bathrooms – I wanted to do this but I needed to catch up again on the kitchen, laundry and other chores.

Day 12:

Clean out closets – Hahah!  This one is a challenge so I went back and did the sweeping and vacuuming of the house.   The best part is I remembered I have a Roomba.  I forgot we had one.  We have the original one.  My hubby had it in the basement so I used it in there both on Day 12 and Day 13 since it really needed it.   We have a lot of kid toys down there and it helped to convince the kids to clean up the toys because the “robot” doesn’t like to vacuum toys.

Day 13:

Surface clean the other rooms – Besides vacuuming the other rooms and doing some more laundry.  I did tackle the guest bedroom that has a bit of everything.  It has the donation pile, the consignment sale and my extra sewing supplies.  I had my hubby take the donation pile to the Salvation Army today – total of 5 bags.

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Day #3-5 – 30 Day Cleaning Challenge

Day #3-5

I’m going to challenge myself by following the 31 Day Cleaning Challenge with Money Saving Mom.     She is using the chart from Fresh and Organized.

Day 3:

Surface clean the bedrooms

Day 4:

Surface clean other rooms

Day 5:

Surface clean kitchen or living room/family room
This is hard!   My kids and I worked hard on the bedrooms and only got to 2 of them.  It was a lot of hard work for 2 hours with 3 small kids.  I got pretty exhausted and it did cause me to fall behind on my other chores like dishes.   Here is the before of my Doodle’s room.

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Here is the before of the boys’ room.

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Yesterday we had outside activities so I fell behind again on working on the  “other” room.  I did put some items away in the dining room and I even cleaned up the family room a bit and vacuumed it.   It still needs more cleaning even after that quick clean up.   Then today the kids spilled a bag of popcorn all over the floor so I need to re-vaccum.  It is never ending!

My goal this weekend  is to get the office cleaned! My husband and I are on the same page to get it looking very clean and re-organized.  I plan on catching up on coupons and we plan on working together to get rid of papers we just don’t need to keep.   One that has continued to work well for us is our receipt envelopes which is part of our message board.    This method has saved us so much time and stress.  Yes, we have been doing this for over a year and it has worked!   As soon as we get a receipt for anything we put it in the monthly envelope and if we need it again we know exactly where to go!

door_organization

 

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Day #2 – 30 Day Cleaning Challenge

Day #2

I’m going to challenge myself by following the 31 Day Cleaning Challenge with Money Saving Mom.     She is using the chart from Fresh and Organized.

Per Money Saving Mom:

Your project for today is to clean your bathrooms.

  1. Clean the toilets.  I usually just use free shampoo or if I toilet bowl cleaner I use that and let it sit.
  2. Take everything out that doesn’t need to be in there.
  3. Including taking the rugs and washing them, if I haven’t already done this recently.
  4. Clean the sinks with a microfiber cloth and Shaklee Basic H2.
  5. Mop the floor to get the dust and grime up.  It’s been awhile.
  6. Rinse out the tubs and spray them down.
  7. Clean the mirrors.
  8. Clean the front of the cabinets.

Woohoo!  I finished all of the bathrooms.  Thanks to my daughter for helping me.    She helped mop the floors and wipe the sinks.   We were done with all 3 bathrooms in about 30 minutes.

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Oh how I love my clean guest bathroom.

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Master bathroom!

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Day #1 – 30 Day Cleaning Challenge

Day #1

I’m going for it!  I’m going to challenge myself by following the 31 Day Cleaning Challenge with Money Saving Mom.     She is using the chart from Fresh and Organized.

Per Money Saving Mom:

Your project for today is to surface clean your living room and kitchen.

  1. I plan on cleaning the kitchen counters and even turn the self-cleaning on the oven.
  2. Empty the dishwasher
  3. Put the food purchases from Sam’s Club away
  4. Clean the top bar of the kitchen counter
  5. Mop the floor in the Living room.

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The kitchen looks a bit better.  There are still some items on the left hand side that need to put in their proper places and I’ve decided the hubby will take on those items.

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I have the list of the 30 day challenge in a plastic sleeve with my dry erase markers.    I also have the drink 8 glasses a day chart and behind the 30 day challenge I have the list from A Bowl Full of Lemons – PDF file Daily List of Chores here.

These dry erase markers are so handy and they were from the Dollar Store.

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I also did the self-cleaning in the oven.  It had been at least year since we last had done this.  Good time of year to do it right before the weather got warm and used the heat to help heat the house.   I plan on clean it out the last of the dust tomorrow.

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The living room looks so nice!  I’m hoping this picture will keep me motivated to keep it that way.   It also gets me thinking of ways to get it simpler.   Just last week it had a lot of toys including a toy kitchen and puzzles which have now moved to the basement.   Those days will be the challenge!

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Update to Redberrydeals!

Hi to all of my readers. Welcome to 2013!

I have mentioned this in previous posts this last year and I thought I would get into more detail. 2012 was a great year for us. Watching our kids grow has been so rewarding. My husband and I have decided to create a company. I’m very excited. It will include several components to it including Redberrydeals and my passion for sewing and embroidery. I’m in the process of following the proper business creation procedures. I’ve been so busy with it that I’ve neglected adding the Shoppers Matchups each week. The time that took to prepare and post is more time then I have right now.   I will no longer add those matchups.

I’ve decided to limit my posts to Redberrydeals this year. I have some exciting ideas that I will try and create this year.

  • Posts about creating a small business.  The dos and don’ts.
  • Family Organization for 2013.  Since are family is now 5 members we have had to adjust quite a bit to little crawlers to now runners.  It is time to re-organize!   My goal is to make the house super simple.   Declutter, declutter and declutter.
  • More recipes.  I love sharing recipes and I love trying new ones too.
  • Share my new sewing and embroidery business as it gets moving forward.  It is a part-time at home business.  I truly believe you are most happy when you do things you love.
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SHOPPERS: Deals & Coupon Matchups for 12/13/12-12/19/12

Here are some of the best Shoppers Food & Pharmacy deals for the week of 11/15/12-11/22/12. I focus on the Northern Virginia ads. Please check your local ad before shopping. I also try and focus my coupon match-ups using the Washington Post and other Washington Area regional insert coupons.

SHOPPERS will double the value of valid manufacturers’ coupons with a face-value of up to 99¢
Shoppers stores in the Washington, DC metro will double valid manufacturers’ coupons with a face-value up to $0.99 everyday, with a limit of 4 identical coupons that can be doubled in one transaction. Shoppers will accept valid internet manufacturers’ coupons with a face-value of up to $7.01.   For more info, click HERE.

Don’t forget to look for this week’s Facebook coupon for FREE items with a $25 purchase.

Sign-up for Recyclebank.com and when you earn 50 points you can get a $5 off a $25 purchase coupon for Shoppers Food & Pharmacy. (Note: Limit one per Recyclebank member per 30 days. Additional purchase requirements exclude lottery, beer, wine, tobacco, postage stamps, gift cards, film processing and pharmacy purchases.)  It will take 3 to 4 weeks to be mailed to you.

Save $10 on your Next Shopping Trip when you purchase $100 in select gift cards in a single transaction between 12/2/12-12/22/12. See in store Gift Card Mall display for eligible cards and check back weekly for NEW offers. *Coupon will print out at checkout. Coupon expires 7 days after issuance. Limit 1 coupon per qualifying and 1 coupon per redeeming transaction.

Grocery

Barilla Lasagne $2 each
Snapple Tea 6 Pack MUST BUY 2 – $3.99 each

Duracell Coppertop Batteries 1 count 9 volt; 2 count C or D; or 4 ct AA or AAA $2.99 each
Use the $2/1 coupon from 12/9 Red Plum Insert
Final Price: $.99 each


Duracell Coppertop Batteries 16 ct. $6.99 each (Great price!)

Use the $2/1 coupon from 12/9 Red Plum Insert
Final Price: $4.99 each

Coca-Cola 12 Pack $2.75 (Great price!)

Meat

Gwaltney Smoked Ham $.99 lb
Smithfield Premium Boneless Whole Pork Loin $2.79 lb

Produce

5 lb Box Seedless Spanish Clementines $3.99 each
Sweet Potatoes 3 lbs for $1
Sweet blackberries $2 each
Whole Pineapple $1.99 each
Hass Avocados $.50 each
3 lb Bag Florida Tangerines $2.99 each

Frozen and Dairy

Turkey Hill Premium Ice Cream $3 each

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