Thursday, May 31, 2012

Weekly Totals Link Up; Saved 63% At Publix Today

Spent $33, Saved $58

When I first took this picture, I felt like this didn't seem like a lot of food for almost $35. But then I told myself that the couponer in me needed to realize that it's ok to deviate from the "super deals" list once and awhile to get things that we want and enjoy to make our meals with.

This week's trip included 4 bottles of good olive oil, two bags of baby spinach, apple slices, a dozen and a half eggs, almonds, granola and so much more. Proving once again that it is possible to save money on healthy and fresh food. I may not have saved 90% but that is something I am willing to trade for food we enjoy. And the butternut squash, tomato basil bisque I made tonight was so worth the extra few dollars from the grocery budget.

I didn't have a ton of coupons today but we did do something out of the ordinary and break our items down into two transactions. Justin took most of the items without coupons (mostly BOGO stuff) to his own lane and used a $5/$30 Winn Dixie coupon and I took the rest in mine and used a second $5/$30. We just barely made the $30 before coupons in each transaction but it really helped lower our totals. I don't like to do this when it's just me in one lane but since he was there to help I didn't feel too bad about it.

Even with my Target trip earlier this week, and a quick $5 trip out to the local market for last minute items for this weekend's Feta Dip, I still stayed right around $50 for the week. Not too bad if you ask me.

This Week's Target Trip: Spent $10, Saved $56.
Breakdown of today's (5/31) Publix trip:
Total retail value: $92.22
Total spent: $32.36
Total saved: $58.47
Percent saved: 63%

Breakdown of what I got with sale/coupon match ups:
  • 4 bottles of Filipo Berio Olive Oil, retails for $6.99 each, on sale for $3.99 each
  •  1 bag of Bare Naked Granola, retails for $4.49
    • Used a Publix coupon for a FREE Bare Naked product WYB three Kashi items
    • Made it FREE
  •  1 box of Kashi Crackers, retails for $3.29, on sale for $2.50
    • Used a $2 off coupon emailed to me by the man. for taking a survey
    • Made it .50 cents
  •  2 bags of Kashi Steam Meals, retails for $3.99 each, on sale for $3 each
    • Used two $1 off coupons from Facebook
    • Made them $2 each
  •  2 boxes of Barilla pasta, retails for $1.69 each
    • Used two $1 off coupons from the man. website (no longer available)
    • Made them .69 cents each
  •  2 cans of Blue Diamond Almonds, retails for $3.19 each, on sale BOGO ($1.59 each)
    • Used two .50 cents off printables from Coupon Network (out of prints I think)
    • Made them $1.09 each
  •  2 bags of Fresh Express Baby Spinach, retail for $3.99 each
    • On sale BOGO, made them $1.99 each
  •  18 count of Publix Eggs, retail for $2.55
    • On sale for $1.99
  •  1 loaf of Cuban Bread, $1.59
  • 2 tubs of DiGiorno Cheese, retails for $4.79 each
    • On sale BOGO, made them $2.39 each
  •  2 jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter, retails for $3.39 each
    • Still can't find the Summer Savings Booklet....
    • On sale BOGO, made them $1.70 each
  • 1 pound bag of baby carrots, retails for $1.79
    • On sale for $1.49
  •   1 box of V8 Butternut Squash Soup, $2.99
  • 1 bag of Apple Slices, retails for $3.29
    • On sale for $2.50
  •  Publix Half & Half, $1.60

How did you do this week? Inspire me (and everyone else) with your amazing savings and deals this week. Please link up directly to your specific post. Do not link up to your blog's home page, giveaways, or etsy shops please. You can now "like" Couponing & Cooking on Facebook too! I would love it if you would link back to this post or grab my button from the sidebar : )

Click below to link up your posts!

Butternut Squash Tomato Basil Bisque


Justin and I went to a dinner party at my friend Liz's house last week. She served so much good food for appetizers that we could barely eat the main course. Everything was delicious but I was totally obsessed with her idea of serving a large bowl of tomato basil bisque with goat cheese and super cute bread wedges for the table to dip in it. We loved it so much that I decided to recreate it for dinner this week.

This soup is so simple yet there is something about the sweet and savoriness of the soup paired against the tanginess of the goat cheese melting in it that is unbeatable. I know it is summer and most people don't think of soup being served during summer but we paired this with a big spinach salad and some lightly toasted Cuban bread drizzled with olive oil and it was the perfectly light summer meal.

Once the goat cheese melts, you can stir it into the soup for an overall added creaminess!
Justin and I each had our own bowl of soup tonight but I love Liz's idea of setting a big bowl of it out for an appetizer with a big plate of toasted bread pieces for dipping. Are you catching on to my obsession with dipping things yet?

I am always weary of how long soups will take to make or how much of a mess they will make but this one is quick and easy with very little clean up. 

Look at the hunk of goat cheese!
Sunday after the party, I scoured the blogoshere and Pinterest for tomato basil bisque recipes but none of them seemed like what I was looking for. The final product is actually my own creation inspired by reading about 20 different soup recipes in a day. The butternut squash part may seem weird to you but it adds the most amazing undertones of flavor and it adds some heartiness to the soup too.


Butternut Squash Tomato Basil Bisque
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 box of V8 Butternut Squash Soup (or any other brand)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (I used fresh basil from our plant for garnish too)
  • salt and pepper to taste
1.) In a small saucepan, melt butter and saute onions and garlic until onions start to get translucent.


2.) Pour onion mixture into a blender and add in the butternut squash soup and the can of tomatoes. Blend until completely liquified.


3.) Pour mixture into a soup pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer on medium-low until soup has thickened and reached your desired temperature. Don't let it get too hot because soups with dairy in them can get chunky if they reach a boil.



4.) While soup is still hot, add small chunks of goat cheese to the bowl. The cheese will melt and add an amazing richness to the soup. It also tastes great when you get a chunk of goat cheese on your dipping bread. We also topped ours with some fresh basil from our herb garden.


Look at that melted goat cheese...
Can you tell we hated it?
Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.



***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

Click the Magic Button below for nutritional info!



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This Week's Publix Ad & My Favorite Deals 5/30

It's a smaller sale ad for Publix this week but there are some decent deals to grab. I need very little so I am going to pick up some produce, olive oil and some random items we need for a fun recipe I am making this week.



The Buy Theirs, Get Ours Free promotion is back this week with the above pictured items. The way these promotions work is you buy the specific name brand item and you get the Publix version for free. My Publix's have started doing a display table/area with the specific products. You can use coupons on the brand name items to make the deals even better.

Here are my favorite deals with match ups and you can always click the links below for the full sale ads with matchs. Be sure to come back tomorrow for my Weekly Totals post and link up to your shopping trips this week.

My favorites:
  • Fresh Express Salads, retails for $3.99 each
    • On sale BOGO, makes them $1.99 each
  • Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail, retails for $3.79 each
    • On sale BOGO, use the BOGO coupon from coupons.com (no longer available)
    • Makes it FREE
  • Peter Pan Peanut Butter, retails for $3.49 each, on sale BOGO ($1.74 each)
    • Use the $1/2 Publix coupon from the Summer Savings Booklet (still looking for it!)
    • Makes it $1.24 each
  • Speed Stick Deodorant, retails for $2.79 each, on sale BOGO ($1.39 each)
    • Use two $1 off coupons from the 5/20 SS
    • Makes them .39 cents each 
  • Filippo Berio Olive Oil, retails for $6.99 each, on sale for $3.99
    • Use a $1.50 off coupon from coupons.com (zip 90210)
    • Makes it $2.49
You can also visit Publix's website for the full ad from your area as well as some new printable Publix coupons as well. Visit HERE and HERE for my favorite sale/coupon match ups for this week's ad. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Light & Easy Feta Dip


I love dips. All kinds of dips. Specifically cheese dips. Have you checked out my Swiss Cheese Bread Dip? Talk about one seriously intense cheese dip. This Feta Dip is like Swiss Cheese Bread Dip's lighter, more refreshing and much less artery clogging cousin.

When I saw this dip on Pinterest via Cooking On Clover Lane, I was worried that compared to the cheese dips my family is use to (among others would be Swiss Cheese Bacon Dip and Velveeta Salsa, really light sounding huh?) this dip would be too bland or mild tasting. I was so wrong.


I was in a pinch for an appetizer to bring to a dinner party this weekend and the weather was so hot that I could not fathom turning on the oven or stove top. I also had lots of feta on hand from some great couponing sales so I decided to give it a try.

With only four main ingredients and about as many simple steps to making it, you can't mess this dip up. It was so light and refreshing and went perfectly with the summer weather and white wine. I took the original recipe creator's advice and made sure I used Cavender's Greek Seasoning and good fresh bread to serve it with and I really think it made all the difference.

What's so great about this dip is you can use the bread slices in a variety of ways. You could go the civilized route and use a utensil to nicely spread some of the dip on your bread slice. Or you could use our preferred method and use the bread slice much like you would a chip to scoop up dip or even fold it in half and use it to "grab" some of the dip. See demonstrated techniques below:

Pretending to be civilized.
The scoop and the grab methods respectively.

However you choose to eat it, this dip is something you will be making again and again throughout the summer and the rest of the year. It has only been three days since I first made it and Justin is already asking me when I am going to make it again.


Feta Dip
  • 1 package of crumbled Feta Cheese (I used Athenos traditional)
  • 1 large fresh tomato chopped/diced (I think you could used canned in a pinch)
  • A bunch of green onions chopped
  • Fresh or dried basil
  • Greek Seasoning (I stuck with the original Cavender's)
  • Olive Oil (I used extra virgin)
  • 1 fresh baguette 


This seasoning really does make a difference!
1.) Wet your serving dish with olive oil. You will want a light layer that completely covers the dish. Then add your chopped tomatoes, layer the chopped green onions and feta on top of that.


2. Lightly season with Cavender's and then gently combine everything with a fork making sure the olive oil is completely incorporated into the rest of the ingredients. I went light on the seasoning at first and then added more to taste.


3.) Top with fresh basil and some more chopped green onions for color and presentation. Serve with thinly sliced pieces of fresh bread.

Enjoy!



Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.


***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

Saved 85% At Target!

Spent $10, Saved $56.

Today's Target trip (5/28) was fun and stressful all at the same time. While I love my local Target, my trips there can be hit or miss in regards to the ease of using coupons.

Today's trip was for items that all had a Target coupon and many of them were for values lower than that of the coupons. I know that they coupon should be adjusted down to the value of the item (as Target coupons are not suppose to allow for overage)this did not happen automatically and my cashier did not know how to put them in as a lower value and she ended up just ringing them up as their full value which did create a very small amount of overage on some items.

 I really don't like getting around the coupon policy this way (I try to follow the rules so as not to abuse the system and cause problems) but after trying to get to her adjust down the coupons and her calling over a manager who also could not adjust down the coupons, they just rang them up as full value. I just wanted to put that out there : ) 

Many of my coupons also were printed before the wording "excludes trial sized" was added so I was able to get a few trial sized items for free too. I was very happy about the Zyrtec deal and only wish I had more of the $4 off any sized coupons left so I could go back and stock up on some more.

Almost all of my coupons came from Target.com which is a great examples of how you don't always need multiple newspaper subscriptions to get all the good deals. I managed to stay away from the clothing section and women's clearance racks so that really helped me keep my totals low too.

Make sure you come back on Thursday and link up your weekly totals posts!

Breakdown of today's trip:
Total retail value: $66.08
Total spent: $10.06
Total saved: $56.02
Percent saved: 85%

What I got with sale/coupon match ups:
  • 4 travel sized Degree deodorants, retails for .97 cents each
    • Used two $2/2 Target.com coupons (printed them before they added the "excludes trial sized wording")
    • Made them all FREE plus a total of .12 cents in overage 
  •  3 Revlon nail files, retails for $1.67 each
    • Used three $2 off Target.com coupons (these did automatically adjust down)
    • Made them all FREE
  •  2 travel sized bottles of Coppertone Waterbabies Sunscreen, retails for .97 cents each
    • Used two $1 off Target.com coupons (printed before trial sized wording added)
    • Made them both FREE plus .06 cents in overage
  •  2 travel sized bottles of Banana Boat sunscreen, retails for .97 cents each
    • Used two $1 off Target.com coupons (printed before travel sized wording added)
    • Made them both FREE plus .06 cents in overage 
  •  3 bottles of Up & Up ibuprofen, retails for .97 cents each
  • 3 Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balms, retails for $2.49 each
  • 3 bottles of Up & Up hand soap, retails for .97 cents each
  •  6 (five count) packages of Zyrtec, retails for $5.29, on sale for $4.76
    • Used six $4 off coupons from the 4/29 and 5/20 RP
    • Made them .76 cents for each (five count) package
  • 1 Axe shower detailer, retails for $3.99, on sale for $3.49
  •  1 package of Gold n Plump fresh chicken thighs, retails for $4.29, on sale for $3.74
    • Used a .75 cents off man. coupon from CommonKindness.com
    • Stacked with a $1 off Target mobile coupon
    • Made it $1.99
Have you found any good deals at Target lately? Let us know about them in the comments and/or come and link up to your savings posts this Thursday!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mealtime Monday Recipe Link Up Party & Features{#8}

Happy Memorial Day! I hope that everyone is enjoying a relaxing weekend with family and friends. We have had a very crazy last two weeks and after this afternoon I have now been to three graduations in seven days. I am so looking forward to school/work winding down and getting to enjoy a little slower paced lifestyle for a few months.

The theme of this week's features are things that I have been saying I want to make/make more of. It is so fun seeing what everyone links up each week and I love all the inspiration and great ideas I get from visiting each of your blogs! Sorry I was slacking on comments last week but I promise to get back to it this week!

My first feature is from Jessica at Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby. Her Kale Pesto With Feta looks amazing and I have been wanting to try kale but not sure if I was ready to jump right into eating it whole. I love pesto and feta so this looks like a perfect way to get my feet wet when it comes to kale.


We love pesto in our house. We actually started growing our own basil so that we could make fresh pesto more often. When I saw this recipe for Asparagus White Bean Pesto from Sumptuous Spoonfuls, I quickly added it to my list of new ways to try pesto. I love that there are some healthier and more substantial ingredients in here than in your normal pesto.


I am not sure if I need to make more flourless desserts in this house but after seeing these Flourless Fudgey Brownies from Louanne's Kitchen I think I might have too. I would probably leave the chopped nuts out because I am boring like that but they look like they would be delicious either way.


 Thank you all again for linking up! I love having lots of new menu ideas to add to our weekly rotations. I would love for you to spread this word about this link up by grabbing a button or by linking back. The more the merrier!

You can also check out my Pinterest board for Mealtime Monday Features where I will be pinning  the original links to the items featured here each week.

If you were featured you can feel free to grab a button from my sidebar. I am hoping to soon be fancy enough to include that in my posts and will hopefully be designing a Mealtime Monday and an "I was featured..." button in the not too distant future.

Can't wait to see what you have been up to lately and I love being inspired by all the delicious looking dishes you create.

I will be featuring my favorites next weekend and I will be pinning things to my Pinterest boards too. Make sure you check out my Link Ups page for lots more fun places to link up at too.

As I teacher, I enforce rules all day so I am going to call these my suggestions.

I would love it if:

  1. You would link back to this post/blog. You can do so by grabbing my button (upper right hand corner), linking back to this post in your post, or by adding this blog to your list of places you link up to/party at on your Link Parties page. The more people who link up the better it is for all of us : )
  2. Please follow this blog through GFC, Linky Friends or Blog Lovin.
  3. Please only post directly to your recipe link. No giveaways, etsy shops or anything not family friendly. 
  4. Please do not link up to posts you have already linked up to before. Also, the recipe needs to be something you made with photos of your own and should give credit where credit is due : ) 
  5. Visit at least two new blogs and show them some love.
  6. Come back next Monday and link up!
Show me what you got!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fiber One Bites {2 WW Points+}


This week I found myself facing two small but never the less annoying problems. 1.) I never have time to sit down and eat breakfast/cereal. 2.) I still have six boxes of Fiber One cereal left over from a great money making deal on it awhile back.

In an effort to free up some space in our kitchen cabinets, I have been trying to find ways to use/eat Fiber One without actually sitting down and having a bowl for breakfast. Combine that with some inspiration from my No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bites and Fiber One Bites were born!

I was a little skeptical of my own idea to begin with but I was pleasantly surprised with how great these little guys came out. Don't get me wrong, Fiber One Cereal is great but I wouldn't consider it dessert. By incorporating it into the peanut butter and honey recipe, you lose the bland taste while keeping all of the vitamins, whole grains, and fiber.


These are just sweet enough without going over board and even though they look more like dessert since they only have 2 WW points+ each (according to the recipe builder tool) and lots of fiber to fill me up, I wouldn't feel too bad having a few of these for breakfast. They would make a great afternoon snack too.

I sprinkled a few mini chocolate chips on some to give them a fun little twist (2 WW Points+ is figured without the chocolate chips) but you could also add anything you like to them to give them your own personal flair. Some ideas: dried fruit, coconut, granola, oats, or anything else you like.



Fiber One Bites original recipe from Couponing & Cooking
Makes 24 pieces/servings, 2 WW Points+ each
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter (I used crunchy but you can use any kind of nut butter you like)
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 2 Tablespoons of Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows (helps it to stick together)
  • 3 cups of Fiber One Cereal (I used 2 cups of Honey Clusters and 1 cup of Caramel Delight)
  • Any other mix ins or toppings you would like
1.) In a sauce pot on medium heat, mix together peanut butter, oil and honey. Heat and stir until completely combined.

2.) Turn off heat and stir in marshmallows. They should start to breakdown after a minute or so. They don't have to be completely combined.


3.) Take of the burner and stir in cereals (and any other mix ins) until completely combined.

The two types of cereal I used.
All mixed up.
4.) Lightly grease a mini muffin tin (helps them to come out easier after they cool down). Using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop fill the mini muffin tin with the cereal mixture. You could also form it into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Top with mini chocolate chips or anything else you like while they are still warm and before you refrigerate.



5.) Refrigerate for two hours before removing them from the pan and/or eating them. I store mine in an airtight container in the fridge to keep them fresh and firm.


Enjoy!
On a side note: I am in no way affiliated with General Mills or Fiber One. I just happened to be able to get the cereal for free plus overage a few months ago and needed to start using it.

Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.


***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

Weekly Totals Link Up : Saved 73% At Publix This Week

Today's Publix Trip: Spent $23, Saved $60
Today's shopping trips is one of those trips that are the reason people think that couponers survive on a steady diet of salad dressing and soap. If you didn't know better or if you haven't seen what I have been buying in the last few weeks, you might be wondering what in this photo are we planning to eat for our meals this week. Thankfully, due to a stocked fridge/freezer/pantry, we didn't need any real groceries this week.

With the long, holiday weekend coming up and friends in town too, we won't be eating at home much this weekend. I will probably swing by the produce stand early next week to grab a few fresh items to supplement our stockpile for next week's meals.

I am hoping to hit up Target this weekend but if not we were able to stay way under budget this week. After a few full weeks of shopping, I am glad to have a lighter week so we can eat our way through the fresh/frozen items we have in the fridge and freezer.

Breakdown of today's Publix trip:
Total retail value: $83.13
Total spent: $22.67
Total saved: $60.46
Percent saved: 73%

What I got with sale/coupon match ups:
  • 2 tubs of Sabra Humus, retails for $3.99 each, on sale BOGO ($1.99 each)
    • Used two $1 off printables from CommonKindness.com 
    • Stacked with two $1 off Publix coupons from the Spring Gatherings booklet
    • Made them both FREE
  • 2 tubs of Cool Whip, retails for $1.95, on sale BOGO (.97 cents each)
    • Used a .50/2 coupon from the 5/6 SS
    • Made them .47 cents each
  •  4 bottles of Lawry's 30 Minute Marinade, retails for $2.99 each, on sale BOGO ($1.49 each)
    • Used four $1 off coupons from the Publix Spring Gatherings Booklet
    • Made them .49 cents each
  •  2 bottles of Publix brand flavored Seltzer Water, retails for .91 cents each
    • On sale BOGO, made them .46 cents each
  •  2 bags of Mahatma Yellow Rice, retails for .89 cents each
    • On sale BOGO, made them .45 cents each
  •  4 packages of Vanity Fair napkins, retails for $2.29 each, on sale BOGO ($1.14 each)
    • Used four .55 cents off coupons from the 5/20 RP
    • Made them .59 cents each
  •  2 (four) packs of Dannon Light & Fit yogurt, retails for $2.19
    • Used a$1/2 Publix coupon from the Yellow Advantage flyer
    • Made them $1.69 each
  •  2 bottle of Filippo Berio Olive Oil, retails for $6.79 each, on sale for $3.99
    • Used two $1 off printable coupons (no longer available)
    • Made them $2.99 each
  •  4 bottles of Dial Hand Soap, retails for $1.49 each
    • Used one $2/4 coupons (no longer available to print)
    • Stacked with two $1/2 Target.com coupons
    • Made them .49 cents each
  •  2 avocados, retails for $1.50 each
    • On sale for $1 each
  •  2 packages of Simple Face Wipes, retails for $5.49, on sale (30% off) for $3.84)
    • Used two $1 off man. coupons from the 5/20 SS
    • Stacked with two $1 off Target coupons from the Spring Beauty Bag
    • Made them $1.84 each
  •  2 bottles of Garnier Fructis Shampoo/Conditioner, retails for $3.49 each, on sale for $2.99 each
    • Used two $1.25 off coupons (no longer available for print)
    • Stacked with two $1 off Target.com coupons
    • Made them .74 cents each
How did you do this week? Inspire me (and everyone else) with your amazing savings and deals this week. Please link up directly to your specific post. Do not link up to your blog's home page, giveaways, or etsy shops please. I would love it if you would link back to this post or grab my button from the sidebar : )

Click below to link up your posts!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This Week's Publix Ad & My Favorite Deals 5/23

This week's Publix ad is a pretty good one in my opinion. There are lots of fun Memorial Day sale items and great deals on BBQ stuff, grilling stuff and summer cookout items.

Here are my favorite deals with match ups and you can always click the links below for the full sale ads with matchs. Be sure to come back tomorrow for my Weekly Totals post and link up to your shopping trips this week.

My favorites:
  • Hefty EZ Foil Pans (my stores had about 6 different sizes at this price), .99 cents each
    • Use the $1 off coupon from the Publix Spring Gatherings Booklet
    • Makes them FREE
  • Lawry's 30 Minute Marinades, retails for $2.99, on sale BOGO ($1.49 each)
    • Use the $1 off coupon in the Publix Spring Gathering booklets makes them .49 cents each
  • Vanity Fair Premium Napkins, retails for $2.29 each, on sale BOGO ($1.14 each)
    • Use the $1/2 coupon from the 4/1 RP makes them .64 cents each
  • Sabra Hummus, retails for $3.99 each, on sale BOGO ($1.99 each)
    • Use the $1 off printable from CommonKindness.com 
    • Stacked with the $1 off Publix coupon from the Spring Gathering Booklets
    • Makes it FREE
You can also visit Publix's website for the full ad from your area as well as some new printable Publix coupons as well. Visit HERE and HERE for my favorite sale/coupon match ups for this week's ad. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

American Flag Cupcakes



Hello, hello! It's good to be back. Did you miss me? I finally got back into town at 1:00 this morning and needless to say that 6am work alarm was no fun. The good news is it's a three day weekend (or at least it is for me) so this school week should fly by!

In honor of the long weekend (as well as those who have served our country), I am loving these American Flag Cupcakes. I have made them before for Memorial Day and 4th of July but this specific batch was made for my students who took the AP Government test. I figured that if they have to take a 3 hour long exam the least I can do is make them some cute brain food.


I love how simple these are to make but they look like you spent tons of time and effort on them. I am a huge failure at making straight lines with icing so when I saw Martha Stewarts's idea for using Twizzler Pull 'n' Peels for the strips in her Cupcakes Book, I couldn't wait to try it.

The cupcake itself is an awesome short cut I got from the Hello, Cupcake! Cookbook . Can you tell that I have a slight addiction to buying cupcake themed cookbooks?


I personally hate using box mixes for cupcakes. I feel like I am cheating when I use them. But there are some nights when you just have to go with the easy way out. By swapping a few ingrediants this recipe makes box cupcakes taste like they are from scratch. It is the perfect happy medium for those of you who cringe at the thought of box mixes but don't feel like dealing with the time/effort/mess that scratch cupcakes take/make.

I used a cream cheese icing from Hello, Cupcake! that was just sweet enough to pair perfectly with the buttermilk box mix cupcakes. I ended up making mine with extra large muffin top liners since I wanted a big enough space to work with in creating my flags.

Hopefully the overwhelming cuteness and the patriotism of these cupcakes motivated my students to get straight 5's on their AP tests but if nothing else they will make a great addition to your Memorial Day or 4th of July picnic or BBQ.



 Buttermilk Box Mix American Flag Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 4 eggs
4 simple ingredients.

1.) Mix together all the ingredients with an electric or handheld mixer. Beat until well combined and fluffy but not longer than 3 minutes.


 2.) Scoop into muffin liners or greased tin of your choice and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until tops are springy to the touch and starting to brown slightly.

I used muffin top liners from Ikea.
3.) Set aside to cool while you make the icing.

Icing Ingredients:
  • 8oz package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 box of powdered sugar (16oz)
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
1.) Cream butter and cream cheese together with an electric or handheld mixer. Beat until light and fluffy.

2.) Add in milk and vanilla and then slowly add in powdered sugar until completely combined. If icing is too thick add a little more milk.

3.) Set aside half a cup of icing in a small bowl for the stars.

Assembly:
  • Twizzler Pull 'n' Peels
  • Blue food coloring or Wilton Gel
  • Toothpick
 1.) Ice completely cooled cupcakes with plain cream cheese frosting. Try to make the tops as smooth as possible.


2.) Cut sections of the Pull 'n' Peels into 1 1/2 inch sections. Cut some of those sections in half. I found it was easier to cut them into the right sizes before peeling them apart.


3.) Peel the individual pieces apart to make the "stripes" of the flag.


4.) Starting at the bottom of the cupcake lay three of the longer "stripes" down evenly spaced from each other. Then place three smaller "stripes" equally spaced apart on the upper right hand corner above the first three stripes.


5.) Using the icing you set aside and the blue food coloring, mix up a small batch of blue icing for your "stars". You can use a small piping bag and tip to create the stars but I have found that you can use a toothpick just as easily to make nine small dots to represent the stars.



6.) Now go out and impress people with your mind blowing cupcake decorating skills! Enjoy!

All ready for my students to enjoy during their testing break.
Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.


***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

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