Monthly Archives: April 2012

Donating Sports Equipment to the People’s Resource Center #OdwallaCFK #CBias


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..donating more sports equipment to the People’s Resource Center! A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to be chosen to create a SIMPLE Service Project, a Game Day Challenge, for Champions for Kids; a fantastic organization that works to mobilize MILLIONS of people by providing training and resources to improve the lives of children in communities across American and beyond. It’s so cool that Odwalla (not only is their juice delicious, but it’s good for you too) supports their mission by sponsoring this Game Day Challenge.

In my own community, I have been a super fan of the People’s Resource Center for years. I love that they literally provide residents in DuPage County with the resources that they may need to feed, clothe and shelter their families, emergency financial assistance and the facilities to learn new skills to become more marketable as they search for employment.

Since we are a sports loving family, I knew organizing a drive to collect new or gently used sports equipment would be a wonderful way to offer our support to the People’s Resource Center this spring. For my children, playing sports has been a hugely positive contributing factor as they have developed into wonderful young adults. What a gift for us to be able to offer a little bit of that same experience to other children in our community.

Heading to our Walmart is always a treat. While there, I was able to check out all of the sporting goods to see how I would add to our Game Day Challenge sports equipment drive. No matter the sport, you can’t play if you don’t have the ball, so I snagged a variety of baseballs, golf balls and a soccer ball.

You can check out my entire shop on Google+

I was overwhelmed by the warm and generous response to my request for sports equipment. We collected golf clubs and shoes, baseball bats, gloves, pants, socks, balls and cleats, roller and hockey skates, track spikes and running shoes, basketball shoes and balls, a tennis racket, a little scooter and a pogo stick. It was a beautiful collection!

Our friends at the People’s Resource Center liked it too!

If you would like to learn more about Champions For Kids, please follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

More SIMPLE Service projects, more tasty Odwalla juice, more helping our community, more love of the game…….

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias. All ideas and experiences are my own!

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Cupcakes For Everyone!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more cupcakes! I tend to cook more than I bake because I am more of an eye-baller (dash of this, pinch of that) than a careful and precise measurer. Typically, I find the best reason to bake is to lick the bowl. However, recently I was asked to make cupcakes for my friend’s surprise birthday party. I was thrilled because I believe a personal touch makes every event more special.

Since more of everything is always better, I decided to make two different flavors of cupcakes and frosting from scratch. While Betty Crocker is quite tasty, they were completely worth the little extra effort.

Festive Confetti Cupcakes with Creamy Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes

This recipe makes 24 mini-cupcakes or 12 full size, but easily doubles or triples!

½ cup butter

1 egg

2 yolks

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup sugar

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Line muffin tins with paper or foil liners

Allow the butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

In a small bowl, combine;

Flour

Baking powder

Salt

This was a serious job, so I pulled out the big gun: my Kitchen Aid, though you can certainly use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer.

Beat butter on medium high speed until lightly whipped, approximately 30-45 seconds

Add;

Sugar

Beat for approximately 1 minute

Add;

Egg

Egg yolks

Vanilla

Beat until well blended, scraping the sides occasionally

Alternating between the two, add;

Flour mixture

Heavy whipping cream

Continue to alternate until you have used all of the flour mixture and the cream, and your batter is just combined.

Scoop equal amounts of the batter into the cups, approximately 2/3 or ¾ of the way full.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes for the mini’s and 20 for the full size, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

 

Creamy Frosting

This recipe makes approximately 3 cups

1 cup shortening

2 tsp vanilla

4 cups of confectioners’ sugar

3-6 Tbsp milk

While I had the big old Kitchen Aid out, I decided to put it to work, though you can certainly use an electric hand mixer and a large mixing bowl.

Combine;

Shortening

Vanilla

Mix until well blended

Add;

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Add;

2 Tbsp milk

Gradually, add the remaining confectioners’ sugar

Gradually add enough milk to make the frosting a nice and spreadable consistency

I wanted colorful frosting which was easy to accomplish by adding a few drops of food coloring.

A special event requires attention to detail, which is why I used my fancy frosting tips and a pastry bag to create a decorative pattern on top of each cupcake. You can pick up a basic set of tips at most grocery stores and fancier tips at your local craft stores. A formal pastry bag is hardly necessary; simply snip off the corner of a baggie, fill with frosting and you’re ready to create a masterpiece!

To create these festive confetti cupcakes, I grabbed food coloring, sprinkles and colorful canned frosting with built in tips to create the silly string effect. They were adorable!

Pretty Pastel Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

This recipe makes 48 mini’s or 24 generous cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes

 

¾ cup of butter

3 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups milk

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Line muffin tins with paper or foil liners

Allow the butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

In a medium bowl stir together;

Flour

Cocoa powder

Baking soda

Baking powder

Salt

Again, while I had the big old Kitchen Aid out, I decided to put it to work, though you can certainly use an electric hand mixer and a large mixing bowl.

Beat butter for 30-60 seconds, until nicely whipped

Add;

Sugar, ¼ cup at a time

Beat until combined and nice and fluffy

Add;

Eggs, one at a time

Beating until well combined

Add;

Vanilla

Alternately, add;

Flour mixture

Milk

Beat until fluffy

Fill muffin tins half-way to 2/3 full

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center is pulled out clean. Allow to cool on the wire racks until ready to frost.

Buttercream Frosting

1 ½ cups unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

6 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 Tbsp water or your favorite flavored liqueur

1 ½ tsp vanilla

Confectioners’ sugar

Allow butter to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

In a medium saucepan, combine;

Sugar

Water

Bring to a boil and remove from heat

Whisk half of the sugar mixture into the egg yolks

Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining sugar mixture in the saucepan

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat

Cook and stir for 2 minutes until smooth

Add;

Liqueur or water

Vanilla

Transfer the egg mixture to a bowl and place in ad ice bath to cool down

Continue to stir while maintaining a smooth consistency and cooling to room temperature

 

Placing butter in the mixing bowl, beat until creamy

Add;

egg mixture

Beat with a mixer until light and fluffy

 

If the frosting is too thin, you can add confectioners sugar to thicken it up to a nice, spreadable consistency

 

If you desire a punch of color, add some food coloring. Just remember that the frosting is already slightly tinted because of the butter. Once again, select your frosting tip and insert in a pastry bag, along with the frosting.

 

I’ve never worked with fondant, which sounds pretty intimidating. I purchased fondant from the craft store, rolled it out on a confectioners’ sugar covered surface and, with a small cookie cutter, cut out sweet little flowers for each cupcake.

As you can see, using the pastry bag, I created a decorative swirl

Next, I added the fondant flower

I topped each flower with a dollop of the canned frosting in a contrasting color

After selecting a yellow floral sprinkle, I placed it on top of each dollop of frosting

The cupcakes were sweet, charming and delicious! More importantly, they were made for an adored friend with love.

More sweetness, more mini-cupcakes, more festive decorations, more meaningful moments…..

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Donate Your New, or Gently Used, Sports Equipment to Help a Child Today! #OdwallaCFK #CBias


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……offering more support to our community! While my motto is more of everything is always better, my children’s mantra is LIFE IS SPORTS! Between them, over the years they have pursued; soccer, softball, gymnastics, track & field, baseball, swimming, cross country, basketball, hockey and golf. We’ve never met a gym, field house, pool, track, diamond, course or ice rink that we didn’t like.

Recently, I was invited to participate in a “Game Day Challenge” sponsored by Odwalla Juice, which can be found at Walmart. As a Champion for Kids, my mission is to collect new or gently used sports equipment to benefit the children in my community.

One of my favorite local organizations is the People’s Resource Center, which offers enrichment services to help DuPage residents in need. Because sports have played such an important role in both Nick and Amanda’s development, I am excited about sharing this passion with other families.

It feels good to give. Here’s how you can help too;

If your family is anything like ours, I am sure your garage is overflowing with cleats, mitts, bats, balls, rackets, clubs and bicycles that are in great shape, but collecting dust. Sports equipment can be very expensive. Why not give a child an opportunity to play a sport this season by donating your gently used equipment to the People’s Resource Center?

Please shoot me an email to make arrangements for your donation moreismoremom@aol.com

To learn more about Odwalla’s Game Day Challenge #OdwallaCFK, become a fan by checking them out on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

I had a very successful visit to Walmart to check out the Odwalla Juice, which you can also see by visiting the link below:

https://plus.google.com/photos/109747774870459280271/albums/5729573984003958273

More sportsmanship, more leadership, more active kids, more community support……

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias. All ideas and experiences are my own.

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Best Thing Since Sliced Bread; Ecce Panis Bake at Home Bread! #EasterMeals #CBias


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more leftover baguette bread! Between work, school and sports, we are a busy family; frequently living life on the fly. I have always found that the best way to stay one step ahead of the game is by being super organized, which is why I meal plan like crazy. There is nothing worse than the drive of shame…….heading through the Drive-Thru! Why eat out when you can plan a beautiful, healthy and delicious meal at home?

Recently, I learned about a great line of gourmet Artisan bread, Ecce Panis Bake at Home, which can be found at Walmart. We love fresh baked bread, but it’s such a hassle to get back to the grocery store during the week just to snag a fresh loaf. With Ecce Panis Bake at Home I have the option to bake it today, tomorrow or stock pile it in the freezer for a rainy day.

We had a wonderful surprise visit from my Nick this week. Since he’s been away at school, our household just isn’t the same without him. I decided to make his favorite dinner; spaghetti and meatballs! What’s better with pasta than fresh baked bread? So I decided to try the Ecce Panis Bake at Home, and it was delicious! Ecce Panis is made by Pepperidge Farm. Check them out on Facebook and become a fan http://www.facebook.com/PepperidgeFarm

With my eyes being bigger than my stomach (perhaps one loaf per person was too much, but I am the More is More Mom® after all), we had a little bit leftover. Since I hate for anything to go to waste, I planned a wonderful Sunday morning family breakfast; Baked French Toast. What a perfect way to start the day….

While I love a Praline Topping, my Nick is allergic to tree-nuts and I would HATE for him to go into anaphylactic shock. What a way to ruin a Sunday morning! So, I decided to make two smaller French Toast recipes; one with Praline Topping and one without.

Baked French Toast

Making a tasty meal is always a treat, but mornings are usually rushed. I love anything that can be prepped in advance, which is why this one is a total winner! Assemble it all and leave in the fridge overnight.

10” x 10” Pan serves 4-6, with approximately 18 slices of baguette bread

7” x 10” Pan serves 3-4, with approximately 12 slices of baguette bread

Generously butter the pan

Bake the Ecce Panis Bake at Home and slice into 1” thick pieces

The liquid mixture recipe covers one pan, so if you are making two pans, double the recipe.

In a mixing bowl, combine;

5 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

¾ cup of milk

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

Place the slices of bread snuggly in buttered pan

Pour mixture over bread

Cover and refrigerate over night

In the morning, pre-heat oven to 350°

 

Prepare the Topping:

1 stick softened butter

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup chopped pecans

2 Tbsp corn syrup

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

Spread over the 7” x 10” pan of bread

Whether with or without the topping, bake for approximately 35-45 minutes

Serve with powdered sugar, syrup and my family’s favorite….fresh sliced strawberries on the side!

This was so delicious, my family made a special request; please make this Easter morning! I can’t think of a better way to start a special day.

If you’d like to give Ecce Panis Bake at Home Bread a try, you can save $0.55 by linking to the coupon below:

http://bit.ly/EccePanisCoupon

To see more of my shopping trip to Walmart, please visit me at:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/109747774870459280271/posts

More homemade bread, more leftovers, more sweet breakfasts, more tasty family meals…..

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias. All experiences and ideas are my own.

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

Leave a comment

Filed under More is More Mom