Fun and Easy Frosting

Frosting used to be a contentious topic in my house.

Yes, you heard that right. Frosting. Contentious.

In culinary school, I learned to make an Italian meringue buttercream that quickly became my favorite cake topping. My husband is a sucker for icing from a can. My son likes the frosting you get on birthday cakes from bakeries.

What’s a girl to do?

We like desserts in our house, easy ones that we can bake together and have on hand for a simple after-dinner treat. With a four-year-old, the simpler and more fun the better.

Cake and cupcakes are favorites, but what frosting will make all three of us happy? That’s where COOL WHIP Whipped Topping comes in.

I was in Michigan for  family wedding about ten years ago, and it coincided with my cousin’s birthday. My aunt made his favorite birthday cake, and the frosting! Smooth, creamy, flavorful but not sticky sweet… I had to have the recipe.

My aunt handed me a spiral bound community cookbook printed by the local Amish community, and there it was: COOL WHIP Frosting.

Recently, at a loss to find an easy, fun way to top a batch of cupcakes and please our finicky palates, I remembered my cousin’s birthday cake.

Now when I want a fun baking project to do with my son, I take out the recipe card she wrote out for me from that book, and Felix and I make an easy cake or cupcakes, and the only thing we argue about is who gets the last cupcake or slice:

COOL WHIP Frosting
Yields enough to generously frost a 9″ layer cake.

1 1oz. (4 serving) package of instant pudding mix, any flavor
1 c. milk
1 8oz. container  COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, defrosted

Blend the pudding mix and milk until the mixture begins to thicken. Fold in the COOL WHIP until fully incorporated. Frost your cake or cupcakes immediately.

This cake was quick, easy, and Felix could help with every step, including folding the COOL WHIP into the pudding mix and spreading the frosting.

This frosting should be refrigerated if you’re saving leftovers, but it holds up for a few hours at room temperature for parties. It works really for piped designs, and if you use vanilla or cheesecake or white chocolate flavored pudding mix, it takes color well (though standard vanilla will leave a yellowish cast).

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Daily Granola with Marian from runaway sentence

Today, I’m handing my space over my dear friend Marian who writes poetry and fiction at runaway sentence. Marian is a gift from the universe. We met in the comments of a mutual friend’s blog and soon discovered that we lived an hour and change apart. It was only a matter of weeks before we met, and well… love!

Now our kids play together when we hang out, and I’m giving her homeless recipes a place to lay their delicious heads here on the internets.

The recipe she’s sharing used to be on runaway sentence, but she overhauled her blog a while back, and it didn’t make the cut.

I make this granola a lot, and let me tell you, it’s sweet, salty, oaty addiction in a bowl.

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Hopeful Protein

high protein yogurt drink, home made Danimals SmoothieMy child would be a vegetarian, except for chicken nuggets and turkey pepperoni. I know I’m not alone in this, but still, it’s disheartening.

Why? Vegetarianism is good, right? Yes. If you still consume the correct amount of protein. Tofu! you cry. He won’t touch the stuff, and he can smell even the silkenest of tofu in his food a mile away. Beans! you extoll. Nope, excepting every once in while, he will eat hummus with his baby carrots. Nuts? you wonder (assuming he has no allergy, which is true). He doesn’t like nut butters, and only eats the occasional almond, as mood or whim might strike.

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The Small Boy’s Gingerbread Cottage, 2011

Last year, my Mom gave Felix a gingerbread house kit, and it kept him occupied for two hours, while he painstakingly directed me where to pipe icing, so he could place each of the hundreds of candies.

This year, she gave him another one, and we got to have her over to help with the decoration. With minimal stylistic guidance, and a little assist with the cutting of the walkway bricks and roof shingles, Felix has executed another masterpiece. Continue reading