Cupcake wrappers – Free Silhouette Download!

IMG_0931

I realize I’ve been sitting here with all these files on my computer, and I haven’t bothered sharing them! I’ll be a little bit better about that in the future. ;) Here you go, two different kinds of cupcake wrappers! They’re sized to fit standard cupcakes. If you need them for larger or smaller cupcakes, you can resize.

Download Scalloped Cupcake Liner

Download Scalloped Lacey Liner

The big Facebook debate (and why aren’t people seeing my posts?)

Facebook is a fantastic way of monitoring blog fans, sharing posts with fans, and seeing posts from other blogs and businesses I like. Well, it used to be. Did you know that you’re not seeing tons of posts from pages that you’ve liked? How would you know that you’re not seeing them, you don’t even miss them!

Facebook has a handy little spot on each one of my pages to see who I’m reaching. The most recent post that I made on Facebook was only seen by 135 people. 135 out of the 1591 people who have liked my blog page. That’s less than 10 percent! Now what is the point of liking a page if you’re probably not going to see the posts. Most of the time that I “like” a page is when I’m reading through a blog and love it, so I click the “like” page on the side of the blog, so that I can see future posts. I then navigate away from the page, and there is a huge chance that I’m never going to see a post from them.

Now you might be wondering why Facebook is doing this. On my end, I can see it quite clearly. There is a big button that says “advertise this post”. It tells me how much I can spend, and how many people I will reach with each chunk of cash. I can advertise the post to people who haven’t like my page at all (yeah, that would be all the random businesses that show up in your newsfeed, and you think, hey, I didn’t like this page!) It seems to be about bringing in money. (A little off topic, but have you recently tried sending a message to someone not on your friends list? A notification pops up telling you that it will automatically go into their “other” folder unless you pay $1 for it to go into their inbox. Who checks their other folder?)

So far with all my googling, I haven’t found a fix for this. The best solution I have for you is this. Add my page to your “interests” list. Here’s how.

Go to my page. If you’re one of the lucky 8.5% of my readers, this post will pop up in your newsfeed and you can work from there. If not, just go to my Facebook page here. Hover over the name.

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 8.59.34 AM

Hover over “liked” and select “new list” (unless you already have a list, in which case you can add it to an existing list)

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 8.59.49 AM

Choose a name for your new list

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 8.59.57 AM

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 9.00.13 AM

And click done. This should now show up on the left side of your newsfeed, down near the bottom under “Interests”.

I have no idea if the pages you add to your interests actually show up in your newsfeed, but you can click on your list to see all the pages you add to it. I suggest going through all the pages you have liked (you can access that from your profile) and adding them to your interest list. That way on a daily or weekly basis, you can browse through all the new posts from all of your liked pages.

And if anyone has tips on getting these pages to show up in your newsfeed, PLEASE leave suggestions in the comments!

(also, whatever happened to the whole “subscribe” thing? I can’t seem to find an option to subscribe to posts from pages I already “like”)

Another way to see posts from me is to Follow me on Pinterest (the button is on the right side of my blog). I post all of my recipes to my “Crafty Mama Food” board, along with tons of other stuff! You can pick and choose which boards to follow, so that you don’t get weighed down with tons of things that you don’t want to see. Now, this is no substitute for seeing my posts in your newsfeed (especially if I’m only posting something random, like a did a few days ago, instead of a recipe that can be pinned). But I hope it helps!

Reese’s Ice cream cake

photo 2

For my birthday, I had my make a special cake, something that I don’t get to have every day. While digging through numerous recipes on Pinterest, I came across this ice cream cake. When it comes down to it, I really only used it for inspiration, and used other recipes.

For the cake, I used this recipe (but used a gluten free box mix so that my daughter could have some).

For the ice cream, I used Bryer’s Reese’s ice cream.

For the icing, I used this Peanut Butter Buttercream recipe.

Instructions:

Bake 2 8-inch rounds. Let them cool, and then slice horizontally, so that you have 4 8-inch rounds.

photo 2 copy

Take your ice cream and peel the box away from it. Slice it about 1/4 inch thick.

photo 3 copy

Lay down a layer of cake onto your cake plate. Later 1/3 of the ice cream on top of it, following with the cake, until all of the cake and ice cream is gone.

photo 1 copy 2

photo 2 copy 2

Place it in the freezer while you make the icing.

photo 3 copy 2

This peanut butter icing recipe was awesome! But I think a nice chocolate buttercream would be pretty good, too.

photo 1 copy

Once your ice cream cake has frozen solid, ice it quickly so it doesn’t melt. Add some melted hot fudge on top and chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups, and pop it back in the freezer to chill.

Take out of the fridge 10-20 minutes before serving so it can soften enough to cut.

photo 4 photo 3

photo 1

White chocolate vanilla oatmeal cookies

Last night I was browsing Food Gawker, with no intent of baking. But then I came across these. Do I have the ingredients? Check. Okay, why am I still sitting here? They were incredibly easy to whip up (well, as easy as a basic cookie recipe, which takes a whopping 5 minutes). I used a large scoop for them (cookies seem to bake up so much better when you make them bigger!). The only change I made was leaving out the cayenne and adding about a tablespoon of cinnamon. I’m usually not a fan of white chocolate, but when it’s paired with the right flavors, it is soooo good!

photo

Blogging etiquette: sharing photos, recipes, and blog posts

cite

I would like to address an issue that most of us bloggers deal with. Having our photos stolen and improperly used. This is a huge issue among bloggers lately. Most of it is due to ignorance, laziness, or people just not caring. So I want to contribute to the cause and EDUCATE people on how to properly share a recipe or photo from a blog. I can almost hear my fellow bloggers saying “AMEN!”

I was once a new blogger myself. I remember posting a recipe to my blog, along with the instructions and my own photos. I later received a strongly worded e-mail from the originator of the recipe about me not giving her credit. At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing was incorrect, but I certainly started giving credit afterward! We all start somewhere, and we all make mistakes. The important part is righting our wrongs and changing our ways. Today I am taking a stand, and making my own efforts at educating people on how to give proper credit where credit is due.

Now, of course you must know, there’s a story behind this. In August I made a post about my camouflage cupcakes, along with step by step pictures on how to do it. I pinned it to Pinterest, posted it to Reddit, and before I knew it, it was huge. I’ve see my Camo cupcakes pinned all over pinterest! I love coming across one of my blog posts. Whenever someone links to my post, WordPress gives me a little notice that someone linked to it, and I can go check out their page. Unfortunately, when someone posts my photos, but no link back, I have no clue that they’ve done it. But thanks to some of my lovely followers, it was brought to my attention. Twice this week, I had someone e-mail me about my photo being shared with no link back, no mention of my name, nothing.

One was posted to the Duck Dynasty Facebook page. The person (who I will leave unnamed) posted my photo, along with pasting my entire blog post underneath. Plagiarism at it’s finest. I brushed it off, thinking it was just a little mistake, a case of someone not knowing how to properly share things. But then I saw that it had been shared nearly 34,000 times! Are you kidding me?! If she would have only posted the link to my page, rather than my photo, those 34,000 hits would have been to my page. Ouch.

But I understand, people don’t always understand proper etiquette for sharing.

The other incident was much less forgiving. A person (I will also leave her unnamed, but a large part of me wants to post a link straight to her page so she can receive all the anger I’m feeling right now!) took my photos, saved them to her computer, made a fancy little collage out of them, and then slapped her watermark on it. She then posted the edited photo, along with an exact copy of my recipe and instructions, to her facebook page. One of my valued readers brought it to my attention today. I messaged her, and informed her (in a rather strongly worded fashion, channeling my inner Bree VanDeKamp) that it is NOT okay to take someone’s photos and put your mark on them. I kindly asked her to remove them from her page. She replied in the most dramatic way, saying I was attacking her, it was an honest mistake, and then refusing to take them down and saying “she just doesn’t care”. REALLY?? I can understand making the mistake, I can understand feeling bad about it, but to then refuse to take it down? To not change your ways afterward? THIS IS NOT OKAY. And the sad thing, is that this is happening far too often! Not just with my photos, but tons of photos all over the place! So I will attempt to inform my dear readers, how to properly give credit, and what NOT to do.

What to do:

-If you are making someone else’s recipe, you state where you got it, and post a direct link to the recipe. To get the direct link, go to the post you want, right click on the title of the post, and select “copy link location”. Paste it somewhere in your post. It’s always polite to call the blog by name, but it’s also acceptable to just add the link to the original source.

-If you are making a craft or recipe from another blog, please, post your own photos, along with the recipe and instructions, and a link to where you found it. It’s great to share your own individual experience with the recipe, and note what changes you made or what you’d like to do different.

-If you are NOT making the recipe (or craft), but just want to share it, there are a couple options.

-If you’re sharing it in a blog post, you can post a photo from the original blog, along with a link on where to find the recipe. Please, do not post the photo, along with the recipe and directions. Because then people will come to your blog to get something that isn’t yours, and they have no reason to continue on to the original post. It also gives the impression that it is your own work, and you are sharing it with a LOT of people. Please, just point them in the direction of the original blog. Blog hits are a very important thing to some bloggers! Especially those who are making money off blogging.

-If you are sharing on Facebook or Twitter, post a link to the blog post (right click on the title of the post, and select “copy link location”). This will post a thumbnail of what they’re about to click on, along with the first few words of the post.

-When sharing a link to a specific post, make sure you’re actually in the blog post, not just the blog’s main page. If you share the main page, and someone comes to see the specific post that you thought you linked to, it will be buried under days, weeks, or months of other posts.

-No matter what you’re doing, or who you’re sharing it with, if you’re ever in doubt, post a link to the original post, along with the name of the blog. Trust me, bloggers REALLY appreciate it!

What NOT to do:

-Please, do not take a photo from someone else’s blog and repost without a link.

-Do not take a photo from a blog and post it along with the recipe. People will come to your blog and find the recipe, and they really have no reason to visit the original source after that. If you make the recipe or craft that you’re sharing, post your own photos, along with directions in your own words, sharing your specific experience with that particular craft or recipe. But please also include a link back to the original!

-Do NOT add your watermark to someone else’s photo. It doesn’t matter if you made a pretty little collage from their photos, they are NOT your photos. You have no claim to them, and you have no right to have your name tied to them.

-If you make a recipe or craft, and are inspired by someone else’s work, it’s always polite to link back to the original. It doesn’t matter if you made a few changes to it, it’s common courtesy! Please do not take someone else’s recipe and claim it for your own, especially when it is a unique recipe that you don’t see everywhere.

Bloggers and fellow Internet goers, please, learn from your mistakes! Make the extra effort to give credit to the people who are making these recipes, taking these photos, and sharing their craftiness. I cannot count the amount of times that I have clicked on a pin on Pinterest, only to have it take me to Tumbler or some other website, where there is NO source for the picture. It is maddening, I tell you! Do us all a favor and give credit where credit is due!

With all that said, I’m sure I’ve got plenty of mistakes in the past of my blog. I don’t have the time to go back through every post and track down who inspired it. I do try to give credit with every post, or at least link back to specific recipes. I’m only human, just like all the rest of you, and I’m sure there are times where I completely space out and forget to link back. Though when it is brought to my attention, I’m always happy to fix it.

 

Edit: I just wanted to add after a few comments I received, that you don’t need to worry about any of this if you stick to Pinterest! Pinterest is designed to take you to the original source, so when you pin or re-pin something on Pinterest, there’s no need to link back or to name the blog. Lots of blogs actually have it autofill the pin description with the post’s title and their blog name.

Wholly Guacamole! I mean, salsa.

20130315-231155.jpg

Have you tried any of the Wholly Guacamole products? A couple weeks ago my mother in law gave me a tub of salsa to try. It had Mango, Red peppers, and cilantro, and it was really sweet and spicy! I fell in love at first taste. But I couldn’t find it anywhere! I checked a couple of our local grocery stores, but no luck. Well, today I finally went to Kroger. Usually I don’t shop there, but I figured it was a last resort. And guess what? I found it! It was in the produce section, and it was half off because it was near expiration! I bought 3 tubs of it. And yeah, it may very well be GONE before it expires. It’s THAT good.

But apparently cilantro is an acquired taste. The first time I tasted it, I fell in love. The first time I put it in my cooking, my husband hated it. My daughter also hates it, along with my mother in law (hence the reason why she gave me this cilantro filled salsa). It stinks that I can’t share my love of cilantro (along with cilantro filled recipes) with my family, but hey, who am I to complain that I don’t have to share my salsa?

20130315-231203.jpg

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas, a little green for St. Patty’s Day!

20130315-194057

This is an old favorite of mine. I saw it a few years ago on Barefoot Contessa, and went out and made it. It’s REALLY good made with fresh basil. I’ve made it so many times that over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe. Lately I haven’t been too into posting full recipes (usually I just post a link to the recipe and a picture of my version), but today I’ll type out the recipe and directions since mine is a little different.

What You’ll Need:

A 12-16 ounce box of pasta (I like bowtie)
2-3 cups Basil leaves (you can use fresh, or you can buy it in a 4 oz. tube)
10 oz. of frozen spinach (defrosted and wrung dry)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove (or 1-2 tsp canned minced garlic)
1/2 cup of mayo
1/2 cup of parmasan cheese
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

20130315-194115

Cook your pasta, then rinse it under cold water to cool it.

In a food processor, puree the spinach, basil, mayo, oil, and garlic. Mix your basil mixture with your chilled pasta. Add the frozen peas and parmasan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Eat chilled.

If you’re a basil lover, you really need to try this recipe! It’s best made with fresh basil, if you can find a large amount of it for a cheap price! But the tube of basil works just fine if you want to cut out some of the work and cost (though if gives it a slightly different taste). How about that as a little green for your St. Patty’s Day!

Homemade carrot cake cream pies

20130315-182428

I came across this recipe last week on Pinterest. How have I never heard of these? They’re similar to the regular oatmeal cream pie, but it calls for CARROT CAKE cookies! SO GOOD! I love carrot cake, especially the cream cheese frosting. I made some today, and they’re fabulous. I seriously suggest making them, it’s just in time for Easter!

Homemade baked chicken nuggets (GF!)

img_9084

Chicken nuggets have been a staple in my kids’ lunches. They’re easy, and they’re tasty, and most of all, my picky toddler will eat them. I’m not such a huge fan of how greasy and processed they are though. Some brands have gross gray meat that barely resembles chicken. When we put my daughter Emma on a gluten free diet, chicken nuggets were a thing of the past. There’s no way I’m spending $8 for a tiny box for GF chicken nuggets! But then my mom brought to light a way around it. And thus became the baked chicken nugget.

If you look back in my blog, you can find the recipe for baked onion rings. This is pretty similar to that. You can make them either GF or regular, depending on your needs and what ingredients you have on hand.

What you’ll need:

3 chicken breasts (this will make enough for the entire family, or enough to throw in the freezer)
1 cup of milk
1-2 cups of GF flour, all purpose flour, or corn starch, seasoned with salt and pepper (and maybe garlic or other spices, use your imagination!)
3-4 eggs beaten
2-3 cups of chex (name brand is GF) crushed
2-4 Tbsp oil

Slice your chicken breasts to the desired size. I preferred to make nuggets, but you could also do strips (or if it’s more of a dinner type meal, you could do the entire breast). Throw the chicken pieces in a bowl with milk.

In another bowl, mix your flour or cornstarch and spices.

In another bowl, lightly beat your eggs.

In another bowl, crush your cereal.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add 2-4 tablespoons of oil to a sheet pan (one that has sides!) and put it in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the oil is hot. You may want to wait until most of your chicken is prepped before putting your sheet pan in the oven, you don’t want the oil to smoke.

Drain the excess milk from your chicken pieces. Take each piece and roll it in your seasoned flour, dunk it in the eggs, and then roll it in the cereal. Place each finished piece in a bowl. Once all of the chicken is prepped, take your sheet pan out of the oven (the oil should be good and hot!). Coat the pan with oil by tipping it side to side. Lay the chicken nuggets evenly across the sheet pan. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. It will greatly depend on what size your chicken pieces are as to what amount of time it takes to cook them! So make sure you either temp them or cut one open to check for done-ness. Flip your nuggets halfway through cooking so they can get browned on both sides.

Store in the freezer in an airtight container.

I prefer these way over regular chicken nuggets! The chex give them a nice crunch, even if your reheat them via microwave. I made a large batch and stored them in the freezer, and it’s not more difficult than reheating some store bought nuggets. I love that they’re healthier, and much less processed! And if you’re not a fan of the oil, you can always make them without. Enjoy!