Champagne Cupcakes with Rose Hibiscus Buttercream


I want to introduce you all to a company called Wild Hibiscus. They recently sent me some of their products to try out and let me tell you, they are pretty awesome!


From cocktails to cupcakes these extracts and syrups not only add a beautiful rose and hibiscus flavor, but they add a beautiful color too.

wild hibiscus

I used the Rose Hibiscus Flower Extract in the buttercream that topped these champagne cupcakes. The flavor combination was out of this world. Let’s just say that if a cupcake was glamorous, then this would Marilyn Monroe.

cupcakes 2

The buttercream had a wonderfully soft rose flavor that complimented the champagne cupcake beautifully. I also added a sprinkle of Wild Hibiscus Flower Salt, that finished the cupcake off beautifully.

NYE cupcakes

I am seriously so impressed with this product line. I cannot wait to serve the syrup with edible hibiscus flowers in our New Year’s Eve cocktails! They add such a delicious WOW factor! I love that the b’Lure and the Flower Extracts use the color pigment and flavor from natural flowers,​ and that each flower in the Flowers in Syrup is hand packed into the jar to preserve their quality and shape. All of the natural vibrant color and flavor comes just from the flower!

wild hibiscus

If you have a foodie or cocktail connoisseur on your list this year, I highly recommend giving them something from the Wild Hibiscus line. These items would make a fabulous gift!!!!!

champagne cupcakes

These cupcakes are the perfect New Year’s Eve dessert. The champagne keeps them incredibly moist. Just make sure to really take your time folding in the egg whites. Use slow and gentle strokes to ensure that you do not break down the air in the stiff egg whites. Enjoy!

new years eve cupcakes

Champagne Cupcakes with Rose Hibiscus Meringue Buttercream


    Champagne Cupcakes
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup champagne
  • 6 egg whites
  • Rose Hibiscus Meringue Buttercream
  • 1¼ cups sugar, divided into 1 cup and ¼ cup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Rose Hibiscus Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with liners.
  2. Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer (or beaters), cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until soft and fluffy.
  4. Reducing your mixer speed to low, alternate adding flour mixer and champagne until just combined.
  5. Transfer batter to another large bowl and wash and dry thoroughly mixer bowl.
  6. In clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  7. Add 1/3 of stiff egg whites to cupcake batter folding in very gently. Repeat 2 more times.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with batter.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until a knife is inserted and when removed is clean.
  10. Cool completely before frosting.
  11. To make the Meringue combine 1 cup of sugar and water in a small sauce pan.
  12. Heat sugar and water on medium until boiling (you want large bubbles).
  13. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartare and sugar until frothy.
  14. Increase your mixer speed to high and beat egg whites until hard peaks form.
  15. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly and carefully pour hot sugar mixture into egg whites.
  16. Slowly increase the mixer speed again and beat until the mixture is no longer hot or warm and is fluffy (mixture needs to be as close to room temperature as possible before adding butter).
  17. With the mixer set at medium speed, slowly add butter pieces. Mix until smooth.
  18. Place into pipping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
  19. Garnish with sugar pearls and Hibiscus Flower Salt.


cupcake recipe slightly adapted from here:


Chocolate Almond Turtles #GoNutsForNuts #CollectiveBias

cocoa almond turtles

One of my favorite things during the holidays are all of the seasonal items that are released. We always stock up because we know that we will not see these items for 9 months! Planter’s Seasonal Nuts are at the top of our list! Between the Holiday Nut Crunch and these Cocoa Almonds, we are in nut heaven! We have found that Walmart has the largest selection of Planter’s Seasonal Nuts, FYI ;)


Beside just eating them, I love using these products in my holiday baking and candy making too! They add an extra depth of flavor.

homemade candy

These Cocoa Almond Turtles for example. The added cocoa coating on the nuts add an extra chocolate flavor…and who doesn’t love more chocolate! I topped the turtles off with some sea salt for a perfect salty sweet treat!


Speaking of sweet treats, have you tried out the new Blippar App? This thing is freaking cool! Simply scan that item you are looking at (i.e. Planter’s Nuts) and voila, games, recipe, selfies with Mr. Peanut, and gift giving guides will magically appear! I love this because sometimes I often find myself impulse buying then getting home and having no idea what to actually do with the item. Now, all I will have to do is scan it (provided they have the Blippar logo) and get fabulous new ideas!

quick candy

These were extremely easy to make and only took about 30 minutes (not including drying and cooling time), but they are absolutely delicious! This is a great treat for teacher’s, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

planters collage

If you need more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website. They have recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!

on the inside


Chocolate Almond Turtles #GoNutsForNuts #CollectiveBias

Yield: about 30 turtles


  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 Box Planter's Cocoa Almonds
  • 1 cup melting chocolate
  • Sea Salt


  1. In a large heavy bottomed pan, combine brown sugar, whipping cream, corn syrup, butter, and salt.
  2. Cook on medium low, stirring occasionally, until your candy thermometer reaches 247 degrees.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  4. Let caramel cool for about 5 minutes.
  5. Prepare 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. Add almonds to the caramel and stir to coat.
  7. Carefully spoon out about a 4-5 almond clump and place on the cookie sheet.
  8. Continue until you have used all of the almonds, and allow to cool for 1 hour.
  9. Once cooled, heat melting chocolate in a microwave safe dish for 1 minute the stir to smooth.
  10. Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate onto each almond caramel clump and garnish with a light sprinkle of sea salt.
  11. Cool until chocolate has hardened and store in an airtight container.

Raspberry Pomegranate Smoothies


Every year around this time, I began craving healthy. Considering I start my holiday post preparation and baking in early fall, I am ready for spring in the middle of december. After having gone through hundreds of pounds of butter and flour, I crave all things healthy and light. I have since filled my refrigerator with nothing but salad and smoothie ingredients!

cashew milk

I was so excited when I was contacted to review Silk’s new Cashewmilk. Personally, I am not a huge fan of milk and actually prefer nut milks, especially in my smoothies! Silk’s new Cashewmilk is a perfect dairy milk alternative! It has a subtle delicious cashew taste. Made with the special creaminess of cashews, NEW Silk Cashewmilk brings an irresistibly creamy taste that is perfect over cereal, in recipes or straight from the carton. It contains 50% more calcium than dairy milk with only 60 calories per serving (25% less than skim milk)* and is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D.

raspberry pomegranate smoothie

Because it so new to the market, it may be a bit difficult to find (I found it at Walmart). Sign up for their newsletter or Facebook page to find the latest news on where to find it. Also, follow the Cashewmilk Pinterest page for more delicious recipes! Finally, if you are like me and craving healthy, make this delicious smoothie to jump start your day!

Raspberry Pomegranate Smoothies


  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup Silk Cashew Milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup ice


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy immediately!

*Silk Original Cashewmilk: 60 cal/serv; skim dairy milk: 80 cal/serv. USDA National Nutrient Database
Standard Reference, Release 26. Data consistent with typical skim dairy milk.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Gluten Free Molasses Cookies

gf molasses cookies

As my previous posts suggest, I love giving homemade treats to people for the holidays. I have always said that baking is a labor of love. Homemade goodies are my personal way of showing people how much I care about them!

gluten free flour

Since I have quite a few friends who are gluten free, I always put aside a day just to bake for them. Up until this year, I always felt that the items were just meh. No matter what I did, they always had a grainy texture. Now I know that this is common in GF baked goods, but it is not my cup of tea!

molasses cookies

This year however I was sooooo excited to gift my Gluten-Free cookie platters because I was so impressed with the results!  Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour makes it easy to transform traditional recipes to gluten free. Simply follow your favorite baking recipe, replacing the wheat flour with this extraordinary blend. There was no residual graininess in the cookies and they were even chewy!

gluten free molasses cookies

It is perfectly formulated for baked goods with terrific taste and texture – no additional specialty ingredients or custom recipes required. This flour combines finely ground brown rice flour, sweet white rice flour, whole grain sorghum flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour with a touch of xanthan gum—just enough xanthan gum to create chewy cookies and springy muffins.

gf cookies

The protein in the sorghum flour helps give baked goods an almost wheat-like texture and aids in browning, for those times you need a perfectly golden brown chocolate chip cookie. Use this blend for cookies, cakes, brownies.


I love Bob’s Red Mill flours and use them daily. Their flours are made with quality and their business practices are those to be proud of…A family company that I personally want to help support! Oh and did I ever tell you that I actually met Bob at an expo? He is just as sweet in person as he looks on that packages!!! Make sure to stock up on the flours now- and use this coupon to save even more!

Gluten Free Molasses Cookies


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Extra sugar for rolling


  1. Using a beater or stand mixer, blend butter and sugar until combined.
  2. Add molasses and egg and beat until blended, scraping down the bowl at leaf once.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  4. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until just combined.
  5. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour before baking.
  6. Once cold, roll dough into 1 inch circle.
  7. Coat dough balls in sugar and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake cookies for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Cheesy Pepperoni Pull-a-part Bread #PepItUp #Collectivebias

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

hormel 5


We are going to take a quick break in the Homemade Holiday Series and talk tailgating and football food. Now, I am not a huge fan of football, but I am a huge fan of my husband. The best way to a man’s heart is through food, right? More specifically, pizza inspired food using Hormel Pepperoni!

hormel 4

My husband is constantly on the go completing projects around the house. Even after a 10 hour day at work, he always comes home and works for another couple of hours, then helps the kids with homework. Even though I love all that he does, I love to see him relax on game days, because he totally deserves it.

This is why I always make a special treat for him to enjoy while watching the game. A happy, relaxed, and full man is so much more enjoyable!

hormel 6

We are not too fond of the traditional frozen appetizers that are usually associated with tailgating, and always opt for something homemade. This past weekend I made this Cheesy Pepperoni Pull-a-part bread, and it was a huge hit! My husband, his friends, and the kids devoured it so quickly that I was immediately summoned back into the kitchen to make another one. However this time I was commanded to put double the Pepperoni! Thankfully this recipe is super easy and only takes about 10 minutes to put together!

hormel 7

To start, slice the bread lengthwise, only slicing 2/3 of the way down. Then, slice the bread across making little cubes, again only 2/3 of the way down.

hormel 8

Smother the bread with pizza sauce, trying to get into the crevices.

hormel pep

Cover the bread with mozzarella cheese, getting in between each cube. Finish it off with tons of Pepperoni, sticking pieces in between each and every little square and sprinkle with a bit more cheese.

hormel pep2

Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly, then serve! Delicious!!!!

hormel pep 8

For more great Hormel Pepperoni recipes make sure to visit their Facebook Page page. Print out this coupon the next time you purchase Hormel Pepperoni (which will be a lot after you make this :) )

Cheesy Pepperoni Pull-a-part Bread #PepItUp #Collectivebias


  • 1 loaf of bread
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 package Hormel Pepperoni


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Cut bread 2/3 of the way down into squares.
  3. Cover in tomato sauce.
  4. Stuff cheese and pepperoni in between squares.
  5. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese.
  6. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly about 18-20 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve warm.


Apple Butter

Apple Butter

There is nothing like a warm biscuit smothered fresh apple butter laden with winter spices. Like the Apple Cranberry Jam, this apple butter is a great gift for anyone. I paired it with some buttery biscuits, but it is also delightful on oatmeal, yogurt, and even ice cream!

biscuits and apple butter

Unlike the loads of delicious cookies you will receive this year, this apple butter is full of antioxidants! So it is a healthier alternative to the traditional Christmas cookies ;)

cooked apple butter

Although this recipe takes a while to make, it is mostly inactive time. Meaning, you can go about your day while the apples are cooking down into a glorious spread gracefully in the crockpot! To top it off, your house will smell AMAZING while it is cooking.

apple butter gift

This recipe requires a two step process, applesauce then apple butter. Each step takes about 6 hours in the crockpot. Once cooked, you can process the jars in a water bath for conservation, or refrigerate them for up to 3 weeks. Make sure to make extra for yourself! According to my kids, apple butter makes the BEST pb&j sandwiches!

apple butter gifts

For more incredibly delicious apple recipes, make sure to visit USApple Blog. Also, check out the other perfect foodie gifts in our Homemade Holiday Series below. To print out these labels, click here.

Apple Butter


  • 6 pounds of apples
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • Apple Butter
  • Applesauce
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • Honey Biscuits
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon. freshly ground pepper
  • 16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey


  1. Begin by peeling and coring apples.
  2. Slice apples into 8 sections and place in crockpot.
  3. Stir in brown sugar and apple juice.
  4. Cook on low for about 6 hours.
  5. Process apples in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  6. Apple Butter
  7. To make the apple butter, place all but 2 cups of applesauce into crock pot.
  8. Mix in sugar and spices.
  9. Cook apple butter on low for 6-8 hours stirring about every hour.
  10. Once done, place apple butter in jars (make sure they are hot and sanitized if canning).
  11. Process jars in water bath for 20 minutes if canning or refrigerate once at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
  12. Honey Biscuits
  13. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees f. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  14. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and mix.
  15. Cut butter into 8 slices per stick and add to flour mixture.
  16. With a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour until small clumps form.
  17. With a wooden spoon, gently stir in buttermilk and honey.
  18. Once all the liquid has mixed with the flour, gently knead the dough about 4 times. Do not over knead, you will be breaking down the gluten results in a biscuit rock.
  19. On a lightly floured surface, gently flatten dough out 2 inch thick circle.
  20. Using a large round cookie cutter, cut out circles and place on cookie sheet.
  21. Repeat until you have no dough left.
  22. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Bites #WaysToWow #CollectiveBias

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

town house crackers

So to continue on with our Homemade Holiday Series, I introduce you to these Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Bites. Festive and delicious, these little gems are perfect for gift giving and holiday entertaining! Not only that, they are extremely simple to make!

pb crackers

Creamy peanut butter filling is sandwiched between two salty and oh so buttery Town House Crackers, then generously dipped in milk chocolate and garnished with Christmas sprinkles. Like I said, simple and delicious.


I love using Townhouse crackers for these treats because of their slight saltiness. Combined with the peanut butter and chocolate, it is a salty sweet treat! These crackers are our go to box for everything. From snacking to dipping, they are fantastic! We are purists here and generally stick to the original flavor, however while at Target last week I branched out and bought the Townhouse Pita and Pretzel boxes. We may just have a new favorite on our hands!


I wanted to add a simpler treat to the Homemade Holiday Series. These are great because they can be made with the littles, made last minute, or made in advance!

townhouse collage


Make sure to pack some up for Santa!



Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Bites


  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 package Town House Crackers
  • 1 ½ cups melting chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter or crisco
  • Sprinkles


  1. Using a mixer, beat together peanut butter, powdered sugar, and softened butter until smooth.
  2. Place mixture in a Ziploc bag.
  3. Clip off the corner and pipe onto each cracker.
  4. Place second cracker on peanut butter filling and gently sandwich together.
  5. Freeze or refrigerate sandwiched crackers for at least 30 minutes.
  6. In a microwave safe bowl, heat melting chocolate for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from microwave and stir in coconut butter or Crisco until smooth.
  8. If chocolate still is not completely melted, return to microwave for 10 second increments, stirring in between.
  9. Carfully dip each cracker sandwich and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.
  10. Allow them to dry completely.
  11. Once dry, take the remainder of the chocolate (you may need to heat it again for 10 seconds) and place in a small Ziploc bag. Clip the corner and drizzle over chocolate covered crackers.
  12. Garnish with sprinkles.