gallamore west

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Old Fashioned Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

When life gives you over-ripe bananas, make these Old Fashioned Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting!  These cupcakes are so fluffy and delicious, but without all of the hype and height of today's standard fancy cupcakes.  They are easy to make and just plain delicious.

Old Fashioned Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup mashed banana (3 ripe, medium sized bananas)
2 eggs
1 stick melted butter (salted)
1/2 cup buttermilk *
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

*To make mock buttermilk, pour 1 tablespoon white vinegar into a 1/2 cup measuring cup, then fill the rest of the measuring cup with milk.  Let it sit for 5 minutes and you've made sour milk, aka Mock Buttermilk.  It also works with lemon juice in lieu of the vinegar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill cupcake tins with paper liners. Combine sugar and butter in bowl of stand mixer and mix until well combined.  Add in eggs one at a time until well combined.  Add in bananas and vanilla extract.  Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl.  Slowly add in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, one half of each at a time (half the flour, then half of the milk, then the other half of the flour, finish with the other half of the buttermilk) and mix until combined.  Bake for 13 minutes, or until the middle of the cupcakes bounce back slightly when touched.  Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
3/4 block of softened cream cheese
1/4 stick butter, softened 
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk

Cream the butter and cream cheese together in stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Slowly add in powdered sugar until combined.  Add in vanilla extract and milk until well combined.  Frosting is soft set and works best when spread on cupcakes with a knife (no fancy piping skills needed for this recipe!) 

Need cupcake supplies?  I get mine on Amazon.  
(Affiliate links)

Hope you all have a wonderful week!  Most of our boys were under the weather for much of last week, and we are SO ready to get out of the house and back to regular life this week! xoxo 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Family Room Forts and Popcorn! #popsecretforts

Thank you to Pop Secret for sponsoring today's post.

Hope you all had a great weekend!  We sure did.  Our boys had been sick for a couple of weeks and finally this weekend they were all better and we were able to have some fun.  We went to the zoo, my husband and I went on a date {yippee!}, our older boys both had basketball games, and we enjoyed lots of quality family time together.  And, we made forts in the family room and had a little popcorn party!  

One of our boys very favorite things to do together is pull out all of their blankets and pillows, along with the couch cushions and make forts!  

I definitely remember lots of fun making forts with my siblings growing up, and I love watching my own kids have so much fun with such a simple, imaginative play activity.  

The boys love to get cozy in their pajamas, eat popcorn, and just go wild with their pillow fort creations.  This guy added an old soccer trophy for decorations, and even added a welcome mat to the "front porch" of his fort. 

The best things about fort building is that it's a perfect indoor activity on cold winter days (or hot summer days!), it's free, and it involves teamwork and imagination.  Plus it gave this little cutie a break from his non-stop scrapes and bruises from playing outside... seriously, this boy needs some bubble wrap! 

Looking for a fun, free activity for your kids?  Grab those pillows, blankets, couch cushions, and let their imaginations run wild with fort building... and don't forget to pop up some Pop Secret popcorn for them to snack on in their forts!  Here's a $1 off coupon for you.  Plus, you can share your fort building pictures there for a chance to win prizes! 

Hope you have a great week!  I'll be back this week with a sweet recipe on Wednesday and a Valentine's Day project on Friday! xoxo 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cinnamon Bear Scented Play Dough Valentines!

Welcome, friends!  If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, then you know that I LOVE Valentine's Day and I love to share simple, fun, inexpensive ideas for this day.  Valentine's Day is one of my very favorite days of the year so I'm thrilled to be a part of this huge Valentine's Blog Hop, put together by one of my favorite blogger friends, Abbey from The Cards We Drew. At the end of this post, you'll see the link to TONS more great ideas for Valentines to hand out! 

I love cinnamon bear candy, and the way that this Valentine let me use a cheesy Valentine's Day phrase that I remember using back when I was a little girl, so I was super excited to make up these Cinnamon Bear Scented Play Dough Valentines.

Have you ever made your own play dough?  I did once a long time ago and decided it wasn't really all that great, until I recently found an amazing EASY, no cook recipe and know I'm addicted to making homemade play dough.  In fact, I made like 25 of these little containers of play dough at Christmas time for my two little guys to hand out at preschool, to their cousins, and their little buddies (Candy Cane scented and glittered for the holidays, of course!) 

My recipe is based on this amazing recipe I found at The Imagination Tree.  I've changed mine slightly because I don't add glycerin, but I do add essential oils to scent it and I make it all super quickly in my KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  I tried using extract first, but it didn't scent the dough at all so I pulled out my essential oils and they work great.  My little guys used their Christmas Play Dough today- still soft and still very scented! 

Here's the oil that I use- 

Homemade No-Bake Play Dough Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons Cream of Tartar
Food coloring (I use Wilton gel coloring, about 1 teaspoon of red for this batch)
Essential Oil (about 20 drops, or 1/8 teaspoon)
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cup boiling water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, oil, and Cream of Tartar until well combined.  Add gel food coloring to boiling water and stir until any gel chunks are dissolved.  SLOWLY pour in the water with the mixer on low.  You may not need a full cup and a half of water.  Add enough so that your play dough is soft and pliable.  Add in essential oils and mix until well combined.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months! 

I bought Ball mason jars for these Valentines.  They were about a dollar a piece though, which I was fine with because we're only handing out a few of these.  

If you're making them for a whole class, the plastic containers I used at Christmas were perfect and so affordable.  They were at the Dollar Tree and came in a 4-pack.

I made this little Valentine tag in PicMonkey and printed out 9 to a page.

If you'd like to use it, you can right-click on it to download and print it.  I left it blank so your child can just write their name to say who it's from.

And because I have a sweet tooth... 

I put some actual cinnamon bears on top of the little jar so that I wouldn't eat all of the Cinnamon Bear candies in our house myself it would be cute and so our little friends can actually enjoy a sweet treat and have something to play with!  I sent our son over to a friend's house with one of these Valentines and when he came back home after playing and I asked him what they did, he said they ate the candies then played with the play dough.  And his friend is 8 years old- so yay, eight is not too old for play dough!  

What are you planning on handing out for Valentines this year?  I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments!  And if you like what you see here, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook, where I'm always sharing fun ideas.  And be sure to check out the other amazing Valentines ideas in our Blog Hop! xoxo 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Goldfish Crackers Cream Cheese Ranch Bites

 This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GoldfishMix #CollectiveBias

In our home, we love Goldfish crackers.  I'm always blown away at how quickly they disappear, although I can't blame our boys completely for this.  Goldfish crackers are pretty much the #1 "kid snack" that I can't resist myself.  Years ago a friend of mine made these amazing savory snacks for Book Club and since then I've made them a bunch of times.  These Goldfish cracker Cream Cheese Ranch Bites are always a hit with parents and kids alike. 

But first, THIS... how awesome is this huge fish bowl full of Goldfish crackers?  See, I'm telling you... we really do love our Goldfish crackers here!

Lucky us, because right now Goldfish crackers in the big 30 ounce cartons like the one below are on Rollback at Walmart.

I found them on the end of the Crackers & Cookies aisle in their own special Rollback section.

Back to the Goldfish crackers Cream Cheese Ranch Bites... here's the quick and easy recipe for you.  Just three simple ingredients!

1 cup Goldfish Cheddar Crackers
1 block cream cheese, softened
1 envelope of dry Ranch dip mix

Put Goldfish crackers in food processor until they become fine crumbs.  

Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Combine cream cheese and dry ranch mix in food processor.  Roll cream cheese mixture into 1 inch balls, then roll in crushed Goldfish crackers.

As you know if you've read some of my other recent blog posts, I am completely in love with paper straws and washi tape (especially together) in addition to my love for Goldfish crackers, so of course I made some little paper straw and washi tape flags for these little savory bites.

Hosting a football party soon?  These would be perfect! 

What's your favorite variety of Goldfish crackers?  I'm clearly an original Cheddar fan, but truth be told I haven't met a Goldfish cracker that I don't like. 

Check out Goldfish crackers on Facebook and Twitter.

Hope you have a great day!  I'll be back tomorrow with some Valentine's Day fun... can't wait to share! xoxo 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Treat Your Pup on Valentine's Day!

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TreatThePups #CollectiveBias

We love our sweet Charley girl!  She's our eleven year old Beagle that I've blogged about before.  She is definitely part of our family.  In fact, she has gifts under our tree at Christmas time just like our kids do.  So it's only natural that we think of her at Valentine's Day!  Today I'm sharing my simple, inexpensive ways that you can #TreatThePups with Valentine's Day treats too. 

Charley is definitely one of the most photogenic pups I've ever known.  When I pull out the camera, she literally stops and poses.  In many pictures, it even looks like she's smiling. 

Like this one... 

and this one...

I love to craft, so I bought some Pup-Peroni Dog Treats and some Mini Milkbones (aren't they so teeny and cute!) from Walmart in the Dog Treats aisle, along with a few simple crafts supplies.

Then I got to work making a special Valentine for Charley- I just painted the wooden frame red (purchased at Walmart for $1) and once it dried, I hot glued mini Milkbones all around the inner part of the frame, tied on a red & white polka dot ribbon, and put in my favorite picture of our sweet Charley girl! 

I love that picture because Charley looks so sweet, sitting there giving the camera her best "puppy eyes." And our sweet 4-year old son just LOVES Charley so we're going to put the frame in his room so he can always look at her cute face. 

I also picked up some of Charley's very favorite treats, Pup-Peroni Dog Treats.  Using a cute kraft box from my craft stash, I pulled off the ribbon that came with the box and added my red & white polka dot ribbon.  Inside, Charley will be thrilled to find a box full of Pup-Peroni Dog Treats all for her!  

This site has free printable Valentine's that I'll be printing to add to my Pup-Peroni Valentine that I know Charley will love.  

There you have it- sweet, simple ideas to #TreatThePups and show them that you love them  on Valentine's Day!  What about you?  Do you give your pet special gifts on holidays too?  I'd love to hear what you do for your furry friends- leave me a comment and let me know! xoxo 


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