May 24, 2013

CTMH and Oklahoma Tornado Relief Effort

As most of the world knows a devastating Tornado ripped through the heart of Oklahoma on Monday.

The tornado was 3 miles from our home and while I am beyond grateful that my family is safe and sound my heart is breaking for the community that I call home.

While I have been helping in ways that I can, I am proud to say that Close to my Heart is making a new Autumn/Winter 2013 stamp set, A True Thank You M1029 ($2.95 retail), available immediately and will donate 100% of the profits from sales of the set from May 23 through June 30 to the American Red Cross.

If anyone would like to order this set please let me know.  You can also go to my website Shop here. Click on Shop and then look under Special Promotions for the set.

A little will go along way.


April 30, 2013

Pinterest Recipe Tuesday: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I love pumpkin and this past Fall there must have been hundreds if not thousands of pins with pumpkin in them showing up in my daily feed on Pinterest.

I pinned a few and this is the first one that I tried and not only was it easy, it was beyond delicious. In fact between my littles and hubby the first half dozen were gone as fast as I could ice them.

I got the recipe from here.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (if you have one, if not a mixing bowl and a hand mixer will do just fine), combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium until well combined. Slowly start to add the dry ingredients, and mix on low until smooth. Fold in pumpkin puree.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

And while she does provide a recipe for homemade caramel I chose to go with the alternative of using a favourite caramel sauce as I already had it on hand. Next time, I will try and make the Caramel Sauce from scratch.

Salted Caramel Buttercream


1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick salted butter

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups powdered sugar


In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth. Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable. Alternatively, you could use just under 1/2 cup of your favorite caramel sauce.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel. Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes). Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration. If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny. If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Needless to say they were a tasty treat and I plan making them again.

April 23, 2013

Pinterest Recipe Tuesday: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

While I am sure  most of you have a recipe for a go to Beef Stew (I know I do) I am always on the hunt for something new or just a little different from the tried, tested and true fail safe recipe when I stumbled on to this one. It is similar and just different enough that I thought I would try it out.

The recipe is from Movita Beaucoup. I aspire to be able to take food pictures the way they did one day. For now, I guess I only took one picture!


2 lbs of stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium sized onions, chopped into large pieces

2 ribs celery, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

about 20 mini-potatoes, cut large ones in half, leave smallest ones as is (I like to
use a mix of yellow, red and blue, no need to peel)

1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes (I use plum tomatoes)

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

3 cups sodium-reduced beef broth, divided

2 bay leaves

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cups all-purpose flour


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and then lightly brown the
meat in batches. Transfer browned beef to a plate and set aside.

Dump the tomatoes into the slow cooker (juice and all). Crush them with a potato
masher or the back of a spoon.

Add the onions, celery, carrots and potatoes. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the vegetables and then add the beef and any accumulated drippings.

Pour 2 1/2 cups of the beef broth over the beef and vegetables.

Give the mixture a quick stir. Add the bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.

About 20 minutes before serving, add the peas (no need to defrost first), salt and

 In a small bowl whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 cup of beef broth,
creating a smooth paste. Stir into the stew.

Replace the slow cooker cover and cook until thickened (about 15-20 minutes).

Remove the bay leaves before serving.


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