Carrot Cake Cupcakes | Use A Food Processor!

2014 July 25

Best Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

 

When you’re craving carrot cake, but don’t want the WHOLE cake or maybe you’d like to freeze some of the batch for later or for kids’ school lunches…

CUPCAKES are the way to go.

the best carrot cake cupcake recipe with cream cheese frosting

And we all know the real reason we crave carrot cake is for the cream cheese frosting right?
I mean… cream cheese frosting just makes everything better.
Scraped knees, broken cameras (don’t ask!) and back to school fears.

What Makes the BEST Carrot Cake Cupcake Recipe??

{HINT: Use a Food Processor!}

Easy to Make:
I looked around for a carrot cake cupcake recipe that included both baking powder and baking soda. (More like muffins that way.) Plus I wanted to use my food processor to both shred and chop the carrots as well as mix the liquid part of the ingredients. Quicker and easier all around. I actually thought about NOT peeling the carrots I was so lazy, but at the last second I peeled them, hush up already.

And of course the cupcakes have to be VERY moist:
Every recipe I found used vegetable oil of some sort… some used canola oil, while others used regular vegetable (which is usually soybean oil). I went along with this option. But in the future I’m going to try using a tad less oil and make up the difference with yogurt. That’s how I make my favorite banana muffins.

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

best carrotcake carrot cake cupcake recipe with cream cheese frostingIn Large Bowl of Food Processor

  • 3 Cups Grated and Chopped Carrots (Plus more is fine)
  • 1 and 1/3 Cups Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs

***

In Large Mixing Bowl

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1.5 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
{SEE Temp Change NOTE BELOW!!}

In a large mixing bowl use a whisk to mix the dry ingredients, set aside.

Peel a bag of carrots. I had about 10 medium/small carrots. Then with a shredding attachment process all the carrots in a food processor. Switch out the shredding attachment for the chopping attachment and pulse a few more times for smaller pieces of carrot.

Next add the vegetable oil to carrots in food processor and pulse a few times. Then add the eggs and run for 30 seconds to a minute until the mixture turns fluffy and a lighter yellow.

Pour the liquid carrot mixture into the large bowl of dry ingredients and gently ‘fold’ the two together. When Baking Powder is used you never want to over stir.. JUST mix 10 or 12 times and stop.

You can use baking cups but I sprayed my pans and crossed my fingers they would come out of the cupcake pans easy enough. (In the end I wish I had sprinkled a little bit of flour into the greased cups as well.) This made 24 cupcakes.

{NOTE:} Turn the oven up to 350 degrees and immediately put the cupcake pans in the oven. Bake between 10 and 13 minutes until the tops spring back. I learned about the increased temperature thing from Alton Brown. The scientist in me loves this trick. When using baking powder the boost of heat when muffins first hit the oven activates the baking powder, and SHAZAAM! Magic happens!

While the cupcakes are cooling…

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

    • 8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese
    • 6 Tablespoons Softened Butter (I accidentally melted mine… see below)
    • 3-4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
    • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla

My happy little accident with the butter (please tell me I’m not alone in the microwave fiasco where I attempt to soften the butter and melt it instead?) turned out I liked the frosting a LOT with the butter melted? Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together with a hand mixer, add powdered sugar until you like the thickness of the frosting. See how mine was kind of glossy and soft still?

Best Carrot Cake Cupcake recipe with cream cheese frosting- goodncrazy

I had WAY WAY too much frosting (you might want to make half a batch). Then again can you really have too much cream cheese frosting?? I’ll be using it on graham crackers, toast, cereal… eggs?? Okay maybe not.

I was going to freeze these and see how they held up.
Yeah. Good luck with that. They were all gone before I could find the freezer.

Next time I might double the batch!

 

Travelon | The Best Travel Bag I’ve Ever Used

2014 July 22

 

I dare you to find a better Travel Purse!

This Travelon cross shoulder bucket bag anti theft is the best Travel Purse EVER! Doubles as a camera bag! *This black cross shoulder bucket style purse/bag was given to me to review from Travelon.com.

I wasn’t immediately in love with it. I like that it’s black (comes in other colors). But the overall look of the bag is a bit… um… Functional? Stick with me… it grew on me in a big way I think you’ll agree.

I LOVE cross shoulder bags.
Ask my friends.
They make fun of me.

I am rarely without my small cross over the shoulder purse. I wear it in the car WHILE DRIVING most of the time. Just easier that way—I’m lazy?  I will lose everything if I don’t ‘wear’ my purse.

Cross Shoulder Bucket Bag Doubles as Camera Bag

Relic Crossbody Bag--About $30 on Amazon

Relic Crossbody Bag–About $30 on Amazon

My regular little purse is WAY too small to carry my big girl Nikon camera. Lately dragging my camera on airplanes especially has become a chore. I hate to pack it in my luggage so it’s always in my larger carry-on tote.

But I stress it might be getting knocked around in a big bag like that.
Here’s a side shot of my ‘Daily’ crossbody purse. It’s VERY thin. And it doesn’t work for travel and DEFINITELY doesn’t work as a camera bag! —>

Travelon bucket Bag is Perfect for airport travel plus safety from theftI tested the black Travelon Bucket Bag out heavily in the past 4 months. I used it as my everyday bag as well as put it through the traces on several air travel trips. I became very fond of it. At first I thought the $60 price tag was a bit high. But it has held up impressively and is especially well suited for travel. It cleans up easily. I will have this bag for years and years.

{NOTE: The Anti-Theft details of the Travelon bag are below and another reason I’ll have this bag for a long time!}

The Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Bucket Bag isn’t necessarily meant to be a camera bag, but wow it’s the PERFECT size and shape for exactly that. Plus, two expandable side pockets hold water bottles. And THAT came in super handy on our recent family vacation to Spain where we walked 2 and 3 miles every day. The front outer pocket is the perfect size for a cell phone (even my huge HTC One Max fit fine).

 

One Big Negative For Me Though…

I refuse to own a wallet. So my purses HAVE to have built in credit card and money slots. The interior main compartment has credit card slots, but something about them didn’t work for me, they weren’t snug enough maybe? Every time I reached into the bag I would knock the cards out of their slots. WAY too big of a stress that I would somehow not realize I had bumbled the cards and lose one! I finally had to put the cards in the money pocket, which was fine but not ideal.

In general the whole bag is very comfortable to wear even when packed with all of my day’s travel gear. There is a stretchy metal key chain attachment, which I never used, but if you like that it’s there. And I LOVED the tiny built in light just inside the main compartment. For those darkly lit times when you can’t find something on the bottom of the bag!

The whole point of this Travel bag is the ANTI THEFT features.

  • Travelon.com's  Anti Theft Bag cross body bag is my favorite travel bag doubles as a camera case! Slash-proof locking main and front compartments
  • Cut-proof shoulder strap attaches to chair or post
  • RFID blocking card slots
  • Front slash pocket and zip rear pocket
  • 2 mesh expansion pockets hold water bottle & umbrella
  • Removable LED light

 

I can’t say I ‘tested’ the anti-theft features out. NO THANKS! But I DID travel to Europe and back and walked and walked and WALKED around with this bag and I still have it… So?

Travelon over shoulder bucket bag goodncrazy trip to SpainIt really is VERY sturdy. I highly recommend this bag as a travel bag or a camera bag (or both!). And it would make a great gift for the travel lover on your birthday/holiday list.

—Here I am walking in Toledo, Spain with my Travelon Cross Shoulder Bucket Bag. Talk about functional meets it’s match. Camera bag, travel bag, easy to wear over shoulder bag… all there. Exactly what I needed in Spain!

 

Cost: $60
Material:
  900 D. Polyester
Size:  14 x 10 x 4 inches
Strap Drop Length:  13 – 25
Disclosure: I received the Travelon Classic Bucket Bag at no charge to test and share my honest opinion. I wore it on 4 air travel trips, several road trips and all over the Charlotte area. Travelon had no idea how much I was in need of a camera bag doubling as a travel bag.

 

3 Best Summer Salads | Friends Will Be Thrilled!

2014 July 21

 

Lime Cilantro Avocado Shrimp—
Broccoli Salad—
Chinese Chicken Cabbage—

Are you looking for the best summer salads? Because…  I found them!
Choose your favorite style: Shrimp, Chicken or Vegetarian. When you show up to the local block party or Labor Day gathering… your salad will win. I promise.

*Lime Cilantro Avocado Shrimp Salad

 

lime cilantro avocado shrimp saladYou had me at Avocado! I LOVE avocado in anything, everything and simply plain right out of the shell with a spoon. I rarely use shrimp and I have no real idea how to cook it. Mainly I just eat it in restaurants? STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE cuz baby this salad is AHHMAZING.

DRESSING:

  • ½ Cup Red Onions Chopped Small
  • Cilantro: fresh or dried, 1 or 2 TBLSpoons fresh chopped or 1 Teaspoon dried and rubbed in the palm of your hand first
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

 

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

  • Pre-Cooked Shrimp, chopped loosely: About 15 Total

{HINT: I bought the smaller batch of cooked shrimp at Costco and ate the extra shrimp on the spot.}

  • 2 or 3 Medium Avocados, perfectly ripe… you know what I mean? Barely beginning to soften but not over soft so the chunks will keep their form in the salad.
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Corn Kernels, thawed
  • 1 Jalapeño, de-seeded and chopped very small (I usually use half of the pepper cuz I’m a baby) Keep the seeds if you like it hot and kids won’t be eating this?

First mix the Dressing Ingredients in a small bowl and let sit while you prepare the Salad Ingredients. Chop the shrimp and vegetables and place in a pretty serving bowl. Then pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently. If you aren’t serving immediately (and WHY WOULDN’T YOU?!) refrigerate immediately.

lime cilantro avocado shrimp salad carissa rogers goodncrazy

 

*Broccoli Salad

Sweet and tangy dressing drizzled over raw broccoli combined with add ins of your choice make this a favorite at any summer gathering. Family dinner or BBQ with friends… consider making a double portion of this salad, you’ll need it!

INGREDIENTS:

2 or 3 large bunches of broccoli—more if you want a huge salad!

{HINT: BUY whole fresh broccoli with the longest stems you can find. JUST TRUST ME.}

MIX-IN OPTIONS: —amount to fit your salad

  • Craisins or Raisins—1/2 Cup or more or less
  • Sunflower Seeds or Salted Cashew Pieces—1/2 Cup or more or less
  • Chunks of Mozzarella or Shredded Cheddar—1 Cup or more or less
  • Onions: White, Purple or Scallions—1/4 Cup or more or less
  • Bacon Crumbles—toss in a handful!

DRESSING:

  • ½ Cup Vinegar (I use seasoned rice wine vinegar but white or cider will totally work)
  • 1 or 2 TBLSpoons of white sugar—depending on how sweet you want your salad, start with one and see if that works?
  • Start with ½ cup Mayonnaise (I NEVER use Miracle Whip.. GROSS.) I usually have to add more mayo once the salad is mixed up…

Cut your broccoli florets into bite sized ‘trees’. SAVING the large flower-less stalk. Take a sharp small knife and carefully slice away the tough outer skin of the stalk as well as slicing a bit off the bottom of the stalk. Then slice the inner ‘core’ of the broccoli stem. Taste one. It will surprise you. Crunchy texture and reminds me of a radish without the radish flavor. Throw the sliced core pieces into the salad bowl with the florets. People will ask if you added water chestnuts to the salad.

Add the optional mix-ins of choice. I use Craisins, sunflower seeds, sliced string cheese (I know, don’t judge—it’s yummy!) and chopped red onions. I don’t always use bacon but if I’ve got it I do!

In a small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients together. I adjust as I go along, if there is more broccoli (or if I’m not serving it within an hour) I make a bit more dressing. The broccoli will wilt a bit and soak up the dressing if you store it overnight first. Add more mayo before serving in that case.

 

 

*GoodNCrazy Chinese Chicken Cabbage Salad

GoodNCrazy Chinese Salad 2I make a complete double batch of this salad because my kids devour it in the most adorable eat-more-than-I-do way. But I only mix half of the toppings and dressing into half of the greens and store the salad separate from the leftover topping/dressing for the next day.

INGREDIENTS:

  • SALAD: Can buy bagged shredded cabbage and lettuce OR 1 whole napa cabbage, shredded; 1/2 head of lettuce (any type) shredded; 4-6 scallions (green onions), slice all of the white and 2/3rd of the green
  • Store-Bought Roasted Chicken: deboned and chopped bite size
  • TOPPING: 2 tablespoons butter; 1 package chicken ramen noodles (remove packet, set aside and crush noodles);1 small package sliced almonds, 1 container sesame seeds
  • DRESSING: 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar; 1/4 cup vegetable, canola, or olive oil; 2 tablespoons white sugar; 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl, and set aside. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the almonds, crushed ramen noodles, and sesame seeds, continue cooking and stirring for 2 minutes or until golden.

Remove toppings from heat and let cool.

In a separate bowl, add all the dressing ingredients and whisk until combined. Add the reserved Ramen packet to the dressing at this point whisk again.

Dress the salad with the dressing, half of the chicken and the toppings; toss and serve.
(Save the rest of the chicken for another meal.) OR, serve the toppings and dressing alongside the salad, allowing people to help themselves.

{NOTE: If salad is not served dressed, refrigerate leftover salad, chicken, toppings, and dressing in separate containers for up to 2 days.}

Optional ideas: I really like sautéing green and red peppers with red onions and then adding the chopped chicken to the pan and heat up. Add the chicken and pepper mixture to the salad already dressed with the toppings and dressing, or serve on the side. Peppers and onions like that make me happy for almost any meal, why not this one!

 

Do you make salads like these? If so what’s your favorite recipe? If not… which one are you gonna try now??

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