Kim Becker {aka MommyKnows}

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Fresh Homemade Chocolate Brownie

Best Brownie Mix

in General

Betty Crocker Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix

Fresh Homemade Chocolate Brownie

Hands down this is the best brownie mix around and gets two thumbs up from EVERY single member of my household. That is saying something, because we very rarely ALL agree on anything!

The chocolate flavor is excellent, the brownies are moist. I really don’t need to say anymore, but I will mention that my youngest said, “they are better than the ones you usually make!” My friend said, “they taste homemade!”.

I myself like the deep chocolaty flavor and the dense texture. Chewy! Yum! They are perfect with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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pumpkin spice muffins

Quick & Easy Pumpkins Spice Muffins

in General, Real Food / Easy Meals

I’ve become the queen of cake mix hacks. Oh the goodness I’ve been creating. It’s so easy to turn a cake mix into tasty muffins, a loaf cake or even cookies. All with your very own twist.

I’ve blogged the family favourite on my LifeMadeDelicious Blog and I’m going to blog my favourite here today.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins:

Pumpkins Spice Muffins

Cake mix hacks fill all my quick, easy and inexpensive criteria. The last time I purchased Betty Crocker cake mixes they were $1.49 each and if I bought two, the third was free. That’s $1.00 each!

Ingredients:

1 Betty Crocker Golden Cake Mix
1 540ml can of pumpkin pie mix**
2 eggs
1/2 cup of oil
1 tsp each: cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves

* (see notes below)

Glaze:

1/2 cup of icing sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp of milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325f

Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Mix all ingredients together with a mixer. Mix 2-3 minutes on medium speed.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

Bake at 325f for 20 minutes.

Allow the muffins to cool. Make glaze. Drizzle over muffins.

Notes:

* 1 cup of raisins or nuts (or 1/2 cup of each) makes this recipe even better. In addition, they are just as good without the glaze and easier to pack in lunches without the sticky icing on top.

** I have made this recipe with canned pumpkin versus pumpkin pie filling. It’s great too, but you’ll have to adjust the spices if you go this route.

Enjoy!

Kim aka MommyKnows

1 comment
fibre1 cookie

A Yummy New Job

in Family, General, Product Reviews

Well it’s sort of a new job. It’s an old gig, that’s been renewed. I am both grateful and excited to be once again blogging for the folks at LifeMadeDelicious … my kids just call them the Betty Crocker People, which is cute, but they’re so much more. They’re the Cheerios people, the Pillsbury people (I love that little dough-boy), the Old El Paso people, the Green Giant People, the Yoplait people, the Nature Valley people … and more!

One of my tasks will be to review a product on a monthly basis. This month’s options included:

Life Made Delicious

Multi-Grain Cheerios (with Ancient Grains)
Old El Paso Chicken Tinga
Dunkeroos
Fibre1 Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nature Valley Lunch Box Bars in berry flavour

We’ve polished off everything except the Chicken Tinga, which promises to become a meal in the very near future.

The Cheerios received two thumbs up from my cereal crazy 14 son (aka No.3). I also made some bars, which will be featured on the blog soon.

The lunch box bars were devoured by the girls. We’ve packed them in lunches and for hikes since.

My favourite was the Fibre1 cookies. They were a the perfect compliment to my venti Latte during the afternoon school pick up.

Life Made Delicious

YUMMY!

Thanks for stopping by!

Kim {aka mommyknows}

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Giant Steps - Banff National Park

Giant Steps – Part 1

in General

The Giant Steps – Banff National Park

Giant Steps

There are places in the world world, where you stand and feel so very small and insignificant.

It seems easy to feel humbled, in all the vast greatness of the outdoors, especially the Canadian Rockies. I think it is expected. Even welcomed? It puts all your worries and fears and disappointments into perspective. They are minuscule …

Truth, but then not. On the sofa in my comfortable home, those thoughts and worries can seem overwhelming. The insignificance disappears and becomes overwhelming. Feelings no longer feel minuscule or unimportant, they are HUGE and heart wrenching.

We continually hear the phrase, ‘life isn’t fair’. We say it, but do we truly believe it? I don’t think I do. You reap what you sow. We talk about karma, it’s so distant, and obtuse.

Can the ideas ‘life isn’t fair’ and ‘karma’, even coexist? Maybe, you can lose the battle, but win the war? It doesn’t seem fair, but perhaps it’s just the second act and justice hasn’t yet been handed out?

I have, I think lost the battle. I feel duped, cheated, misunderstood. They are not who I thought they were. Perhaps I wasn’t duped, perhaps my judgement is/was flawed? I made bad decisions, based on false reality. He is not kind, generous or good to ME. Of that I am certain.

I long to tell my side of the story, but you can’t raise yourself up by casting a shadow on another. This is surely the truth, yet at the same time I believe I have a right to tell my story. How can I do this? Today, I don’t know, so I will call this Part 1. I am sure there is a way, telling the truth, weighing both sides…

I’ve always written for the enjoyment of it. Stories to make you laugh, stories to make me laugh. Novels because they are more fun to write, than they are to read. How to’s, because I love to create and if I can do it, anyone can do it. Product spiels, because I have to pay my bills and feed my kids. Photos so you can see what I see.

However, I am going to tell my story. For catharsis, yet carefully, truthfully, and with forgiveness.

17 comments
cinnamon roll waffle

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

in General, Real Food / Easy Meals

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

CRWaffle

I am Pillsbury fan, not long ago I happened upon a tweet with a photo of a waffle iron cooked Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll! My kids love waffles, they love cinnamon buns, and I love EASY! This looked like it would tick all of those boxes, but I was a little bit skeptical. I’ve tried a few other ‘waffle iron recipes’ that were flops.

I am happy to announce that this Pillsbury recipe worked. It was a hit!

Also I found that for my teens who are always rolling out the door late. It was also made a great, ‘good-to-go’ snack eaten cold.

They were also popular with the ski crew and so much easier than mixing up batter at 5:30 am on a weekend race morning.

Try them, you’ll love them!

Ingredients:

1 can Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

**Tips: Spray waffle iron before each round!

1. Heat waffle maker; spray with cooking spray. Remove cinnamon rolls from can; set icing aside.
2. For each waffle, place 1 cinnamon roll in center of waffle maker; close. Bake 3 to 4 minutes or until waffle is thoroughly cooked and golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together reserved icing, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until glaze is smooth.
4. Serve glaze over hot waffles.

1 comment
iphoneography

iPhoneography for Blogging

in General

I’m not sure if I remember what a blog post is! I’ve decided to start blogging from my iPad using images taken with my iPhone. I’m hoping taking away the need to edit raw images; and finding time to sit down at my desk top will alleviate some of the procrastination.

backpacking lake

It’s been an amazing summer, full of wonderful adventures. We’ve spent a ton of time in the mountains. I love the Canadian Rockies.

20130718-152918.jpg

This night spent around the fire was probably my favourite night of 2013. It was worth the 3000 foot climb to get there.

So what do you think, will iphoneography work for blogging?

12 comments

Spring time means tulips, and it’s definitely spring, so I thought tulip cupcakes would be in order. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful friend Gloria who is also the talent behind The Art of Cake.

Tulip Cupcakes

I won’t give you a tutorial on how to make and ice the perfect cupcake. This is about the decorative touches only –> The Tulip!

Tools:

Rolling pin
Shaping tool with a round ball on the end
Oval cutter (about 1″ wide and 1.25″ long approx.)
non-stick vegetable spray
cupcake pan

Ingredients:

1/2 cup total of modeling chocolate in the colours of your tulips, plus green for the leaves*
Chocolate melts (about 1/4 cup)

*If you prefer you could use gum-paste or fondant. Modeling chocolate is easy to work with and tastes great. Here are a couple of easy recipes:

recipe 1
recipe 2

12 frosted cupcakes in the flavour of your choice. I had a mix of vanilla/vanilla and strawberry/strawberry. Mmm…

Tulip Cupcakes

Roll out the modeling chocolate on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. You may need to work it in your hands for a minute until it is soft and easy to work with. About the consistency of play-dough.

Tulip Cupcakes

Using the oval cutter, cut out 5 ovals for each tulip. That means you will need 60 for your dozen cup cakes. I’d cut out a few extra just in case you damage one or two. (trust me… )

Tulip Cupcakes

The roll out your green modeling chocolate and using a sharp knife cut out long thin leaf-shapes by hand. You could buy a cutter for this, but why waste the money. You can do it, it’s easy. You’ll need 24 leaves.

Tulip Cupcakes

Now for the only tricky part. Shaping the tulip petals… Using the round ball tool (if you don’t have one use the edge of a spoon or even your hands), you need to flatten out just one edge of each tulip petal. Just to it thins out and starts to slightly curl. Don’t be intimidated, just take your time. You can always roll out a few more ovals, if you need some extra practice. Remember, that the odd minute tear won’t be noticed. Go easy on yourself.

Tulip Cupcakes

Tulip Cupcakes

Now thin out the edges of the leaves as well.

Tulip Cupcakes

Next you’ll want to spray the cupcake pan with non-stick vegetable spray.

Now melt your chocolate melts and put a small circle of chocolate in the bottom three or four cups of the cupcake tray (about 1″ round). Don’t do the whole tray or the chocolate will melt before you get a chance to get your petals into the chocolate. Slightly bend one end of the oval and set it into the chocolate, do that four more times for each tulip, each time keeping the ‘thinned-edge’ to the same side. slightly overlap each petal. There you have a tulip! Easy right?

Tulip Cupcakes

Tulip Cupcakes

Repeat this process 11 more times. Put the cupcake tray with your tulips in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Once hardened, gently remove from the cupcake tray. They should pop-out easily. Be gentle!

Tulip Cupcakes

Now press one tulip into each frosted cupcake. Set leaves on either side of tulip, just push into the frosting and gently bend the tips outward.

Tulip Cupcakes

Tulip cupcakes! WOW, right?

These cupcakes would make a lovely Mother’s Day treat or how about for a bridal shower?

I’d love to know what you think?

Kim

12 comments

You can’t plan far enough ahead. I’m already looking forward to next Valentines Day. If you’re like @MarthaStewart and Me, you’ll plant your cherry trees now!

Fine! You got me… I made these for this past Valentine’s Day (it was only a week ago!), but I wouldn’t want to post them on-time. That would just be smart, organised and all together too on-the-ball for me. I’m Mommyknows not Mommysorganised.

Let’s get on with it shall we? If you want to say, “I love you!” with a cherry pie, then this post is for you.

Ingredients:

Pie Crust
Cherry Pie Filling
2 TBSP of milk
1-2 tsp of sugar

I bought the Pillsbury Pie crusts, they come in a box in butter/eggs section of your grocers. They taste great and they’re easy to work with. As the grand-daughter of two prize-winning-pie-makers, I ought to know. If you prefer to make your own pie crust or filling for that matter, well then, knock yourself out! I just want to say, “I love you!”, not “Will you marry me and give me babies?”.

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 f.

Mini Cherry Pies

Roll out pie crusts and cut into heart shapes (you’ll need pairs of course).

Mini Cherry Pies

Put a dollop of pie filling in the center, of just half of the hearts. Try to stay in the middle of the heart, you don’t want a leaky, sticky mess (we’re being loving folks!).

Mini Cherry Pies

Cover with extra hearts, and seal edges using a fork.

Mini Cherry Pies

Brush each heart with a touch of milk and sprinkle with sugar. I then cut an ‘x’ shaped vent in the top of each. Like a wee kiss!

Bake for 20 minutes (this time is for 1.5″ hearts), if you use a different sized cut-out you may need to adjust the cooking time. No worries, just keep and eye on them!

Mini Cherry Pies

Enjoy!

MK xo

Disclaimer: I am a Life Made Delicious blogger. They compensate me to write for them at LifeMadeDelicious.ca.

11 comments

Carter's at Sears Canada

BIG NEWS this week for Sears Canada, they are announcing the arrival of Carter’s and OshKosh!

oshkosh at sears canada

Two fabulous, quality brands we’re all familiar with, use, love! From my Hayley to my our wee baby Brian, we’ve used and loved both brands. Their newest lines are absolutely adorable, soft, comfy, affordable! Wow!

Georgia is a Carter’s Pajama enthusiast, so she was so thrilled to get a bunch of new ‘jammies this week.

Carter's Oshkosh

This cute little polka-dot penguin nightie was my favourite, but Georgia was in love with these footie zebra jammies! She said, “it’s like having stuffies on my feet!” So easy to please. Size 7 … who knew?

Carter's Oshkosh

She was home sick in this picture, so forgive her not-so-happy expression.

Carter's Oshkosh

Brian received a sweet new wardrobe, of course he didn’t care, but mommy was happy!

oshkosh at sears canada

You can win a Carter’s / OshKosh Gift Basket too! How? Just comment below, telling me your favourite Oshkosh or Carters product and you’ll be entered to win. You may earn extra entries by sharing on Facebook and / or Twitter and letting me know in the comments below.

Giveaway closes Friday, February 22 at 10 pm MST. I will then pick a random winner (the old fashioned way). Winner must reply to winning email by February 24th or new winner will be drawn. Open to Canadian residents.

Good Luck :)

MK xo

27 comments
searsreg6

Sears Baby Registry

in General

This month Sears the Baby’s Room challenge was to create a ‘Baby Registry’. Something I have mostly fond memories of creating in the past. I do LOVE baby stuff!

With our baby Brian just celebrating his 1st birthday in January, it’s been a while since I’ve had to think about Baby Registries. With temps hitting -42 Celsius this past few weeks and 3 super busy older children, the thought of going into the city and creating a registry was just too much for this busy mom.

Internet to the rescue! Did you know you could create your Sears Baby Registry Online in just a few minutes! It’s easy, you’ll stay warm and the coffee pot is always handy.

Make your way to: Sears Baby Registry page

sears baby gift registry

Follow the simple instructions and prompts:

searsreg2

Step 5 is where you are going to decide whether to in-store, online or by catalog #.

searsreg5

I decided to add items to my registry, while shopping through the online store. If you’d like to do the same, click the ‘add items from Sears.ca’ text that I’ve circled in red in the image above.

Shop the Sears.ca site, locating the items you’d like. Choose options like colour, size and quantity and then click the ‘add to registry’ text as circled in the image below.

searsreg6

If you’ve added the item correctly, you’ll see a pop-up like the one below. You can choose to either view your registry or continue to shop.

searsreg7

HOW EASY WAS THAT? All from the comfort of home.

Once you’ve created your registry, don’t forget about ‘The Waiting Game Contest‘.

Sears Canada’s Baby Registry also has the unique “Waiting Game” contest. If you haven’t heard of this awesome contest, it’s an amazing opportunity to win the value of everything on your registry! Parents need to create a registry and register for items, and then correctly guess their baby’s arrival date! The date can be changed up to two times, at least 60 days prior to the “guesstimated” original date. If the baby does indeed arrive on the guessed date, the winners will be awarded coupons equivalent to the net amount of items purchased off of the registry.

MK xo

Disclosure: I am part of the Sears – The Baby’s RoomAmbassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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