Upside Down Coffee Cake?

Some recipes just don’t turn out the way you expect. It would be nice right? However, some of those strange end-products end up being the best thing ever!

Enter the “Upside Down Coffee Cake”.

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It started out perfectly…a beautiful, simple batter.

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A yummy, crunchy streusel topping.

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And then…some kind of witchcraft happened in my oven. The streusel melted to the bottom of the pan!

I don’t know what happened, y’all. I did do a couple of things differently from the original recipe, and that was to not melt the butter in the batter. I used softened butter instead, and it was really soft! Also, instead of sour cream, I used the plain yogurt I had on hand.

No matter what this crazy cake looked like, it was DELISH. And I say WAS because, even though I made it yesterday, it’s gone. No mas. Hasta la vista, cakey.

My husband called me as I was on my way to take the kids to Wednesday night church just to tell me how good it was! Although, to be fair, he thought it was the best cornbread he had ever eaten, ha! Because there wasn’t streusel on top, y’all! But it WAS so so good.

There are tons of kitchen fails around here, but some fails end up being the tastiest thing my people have eaten in awhile…I’m not sure if that’s good or bad!!

So here is the recipe I used for this amazing cake…hopefully your streusel will stay put:

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Cinnamon Coffee Cake

  • 12cups all-purpose flour
  • 12teaspoons baking powder
  • 34cup sugar
  • 12cup butter, softened
  • 12cup plain yogurt/ sour cream
  • 12teaspoon salt
  • 1egg
  • 12cup milk
  • 1teaspoon vanilla
  • 12cup brown sugar
  • 2tablespoons butter
  • 2tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Batter: Sift 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat egg until frothy. Beat in sugar and butter until combined. Add milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture a little at a time and mix on low until combined. Do not over mix. If the batter is too stiff add a little more milk.
  2. Streusel topping: Combine last 4 ingredients (make sure your butter for the streusel is chilled) in a small bowl and mix together, then set aside.
  3. Put 1/2 the batter in a 8×8 – inch greased pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 streusel over batter. Repeat. Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. (My oven did not think this was enough time, so I had to bake mine for about 45 minutes.)

Enjoy your tasty mistakes!

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3 Reasons Why You Need to Wash Your Face

Y’all, my heart for this blog is to bring you budget-friendly foods and ideas, encouragement and taking care of yourself, and the craziness that is my life. And in the vein of taking care of and investing in yourself to be the best YOU you can be, I want to share the occasional skincare tip and some of my favorite products. This is something that I am passionate about because I was once so self-conscious about my skin, which affected my confidence in every other area of my life. Once I started taking better care of my skin, I noticed and so did others. “When you look good, you feel good,” is so true! 

As a makeup-hating teen, I still found it necessary to buy powders and creams to cover up my acne and *attempt* to cover up my freckles. I wear these angel kisses proudly now, thank you!

But no one ever shared with me the importance of taking your makeup off before bed. Sure, I knew I had to wash my face in the shower, but never before bed. So eyeliner and all, I slept in makeup until I was in college. And even then, I washed my face at night maybe 3 times a week at best.

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Y’all, I can’t sugar coat this one. It is an awful habit. Sleeping in makeup can cause all kinds of issues with your skin. Here are 3 reasons why you should NEVER sleep in your makeup:

  1. Sleeping in your makeup causes you to age 7 times faster. Yep, you read that correctly. Do you want to wake up with 7 times more wrinkly than when you went to bed? Then take your makeup off.
  2. Sleeping in makeup causes breakouts. This one seems pretty obvious, but it is true. Why risk any extra acne? Makeup traps bacteria and oil on your face, so when you don’t clean it off before bed, your skin can’t get the breathing room it needs.
  3. Sleeping in makeup causes pores to become larger. Did you know that gravity affects everything, including pores? Well, imagine what gravity paired with extra baggage (i.e. makeup) does to pores…it doesn’t paint a pretty picture does it?

Now that we know these lovely facts, whatcha gonna do about it?

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Well, take your makeup off! Micellar water, cleansing cloths, baby shampoo…whatever works for your skin- DO IT. Your skin will start to look more vibrant and younger once you start regularly removing makeup!

I use Epielle Cleansing Cloths that I buy from Big Lots. I’ve tried Target’s, Kroger’s and Walmart’s cloths (because budget), but even the sensitive ones burned my eyes. Epielle doesn’t do that, so I will go out of my way to go to Big Lots for them!

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Hopefully this post was helpful! I will be co-hosting a “Take It All Off Challenge” in a few weeks to encourage women to take off their makeup each night. We have a ton of fun and there are prizes to be had! If you’d like to join us on Facebook for this challenge, email me- we’d love to have you!

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Brunch- The New Sunday Lunch

Sunday lunch. Honestly, it’s my meal nemesis of the week.

Easy dinners? Done. Breakfast? Have some cereal, kids. Saturday lunch? Grilled cheese or quesadillas baby! BUT SUNDAY LUNCH? Does anyone else get that feeling after church like, “Do I really have to go home and cook? I’m in my Sunday clothes!” Most Sundays, I beg the Mad Scientist to take me to CookOut for BBQ and hushpuppies (If y’all haven’t tried CookOut, then you MUST. BBQ. Milkshakes. Hushpuppies. The best, hands down.) but being the good steward of our finances, he usually doesn’t cave.

And honestly, we get out of church at 10:15, so technically I have plenty of time to cook lunch…I just don’t want to.

TODAY however, I had a plan. My precious friend, Ellyn, gave me bread starter and this past week I made a batch. Mind you, a batch is THREE loaves, but I made it. The only problem? I have ONE loaf pan.

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So I decided to make some “artisan” bread. (Read: Let the dough rise on a cookie sheet and hope for the best.) They were MASSIVE flat round loaves of bread.

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They’ve been sitting on the counter needing a purpose, so what better way to use them than in French Toast? Decision made. Today we would enjoy brunch after church. It also helped that Kroger had breakfast sausage links on mega sale. 

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How do you make your French Toast? I don’t measure a thing. I throw some eggs in and add milk. This, my friends, is where I USED to stop. That would be it. Bland, sad french toast. Somehow the Lord knew my family needed something a little tastier. The idea came out of nowhere…while watching the Food Network. There on the TV was a cooking show where the chef was adding cinnamon and vanilla to the egg wash.

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Y’all. LIFE CHANGING.

Vanilla adds depth and richness, and cinnamon adds happiness. Cinnamon adds happiness to everything. If I can put cinnamon in something, I will. I love cinnamon! French toast is now a favorite around these parts!

Not only that, but it uses some of the least expensive ingredients we have on hand! And we always have bread, milk and eggs on hand. You know, in case a snowstorm hits us. In September. And thanks to buying up $0.28/dz eggs at Aldi, we had enough for toast and a side!

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Voila! A cheap meal to fill tummies and leave me with minimal dishes! It’s a win-win!

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Yep. Burned the sausage. Mama would be proud!

For the recipe, I bank on 8 big pieces of bread for our family and use about 1 egg per 2 pieces. Then add about 1/2C milk, 2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp cinnamon, or more if you’re feelin’ spicy! Soak each piece and put on a griddle or in a pan and heat/flip until the egg is cooked on all sides of the bread.

What is your favorite French Toast recipe?

 

Push It…Push It Real Good!

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This taco headband is where it’s at.

Have you ever done something to push yourself? Have you ever really tested your limits- whether self-imposed or not?

Running every day (Oh heeeeey, it’s break day today! Gimme all the breads!) has pushed me in every way.

Every day I try to push myself a little farther, a little faster. I’ll run to that stop sign. OK, I didn’t die so I’ll run to that mailbox. Look, I made it! Maybe I’ll run to the next street. I tell myself, “Just a little more. You can give just a little more.” And every day I do. And every day I learn a little something about myself.

That I CAN make time to do this.

That I still got it.

That I may just hit this goal.

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In my previous life as a newly married, childless woman, I trained for a 10K. I was probably running around 7 miles a day, but I had the time to do it. It wasn’t difficult to make time when I could go to bed whenever and wake up whenever. I also didn’t need to watch my liquid intake as much. All you mamas feel me. My body was still young and hadn’t been through the stretching and pulling and sagging that comes along with growing humans. It was A LOT EASIER THEN.

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Pushing myself to hit this goal, this big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) of running a half in 2 months has been one of the toughest, most painful challenges I’ve given myself yet. This ol’ body needs extra love this go around. BUT taking this challenge on has given me some serious gumption, if you will.

I’ve written in my blog every day. I’ve been able to give better service to my customers. I’ve been a happier, more energized wife and mom.

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That’s the MOON behind me. Finished my run about 6:15am.

What I’m finding is that when you push yourself to reach a goal, whatever it is, it brings about this confidence that overflows into other areas of life. You CAN do the thing, so why couldn’t you do another thing? And pushing yourself somehow brings about more productivity and more energy. Laundry seems to get done a little quicker when I’ve got another goal to work for. Not to get too “woowoo” but your energy really affects everything. Or as the saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” So true.

So what are you working toward? How can you push yourself a little more? What motivates you?

 

How Do You Measure Progress?

I think it’s in my blood. The need to beat my PR. On anything.

Baking. Swimming. Running. The number of laundry loads I can complete before the end of the day- washed, dried, folded and put away. Don’t get too excited folks, that PR ain’t high. But the need is there.

And there is this funny thing about goals- you can set them, but if you don’t really care about that goal you are not going to work for it. You’ve got to feel so strongly about hitting the goal that nothing can stop you. Not a million “No’s”, not a cold, not a broken bone, not a schedule conflict…nothing will stop you.

But what if it takes you longer than you planned on to reach your goal?

Y’all, I used to struggle so hard with this. If I didn’t hit a goal, I would beat myself up. Negative thoughts and self-defeating language would flood my brain. Not only did that tear me down, it took my family down too. How could I preach kindness, mercy and selflessness to my boys when I wasn’t showing any of those things to myself, and in turn not showing those attributes to them? It affected my relationship with my husband too. I wasn’t worthy. I couldn’t live up to my own standards, so how could I live up to his?

When I was discussing this with my precious friend and mentor, she gave me this nugget of wisdom- celebrate each milestone.

Every step you take forward is a celebration! So you didn’t meet your goal, but you made progress! What did you learn along the way? Did you try harder than you did before? Did you make it farther than you thought you could? Then celebrate!

So I did…and it was life-changing.

Every little win was cause for a celebration. A pat on the back. A lovely thing to put in my jar. All you “Looking for Lovely” friends know what’s up. I was making progress. And with each celebration, with each moment of thanks for that win, the negativity slowly went away. I am naturally a glass-half-full kinda gal anyways, so living in this sad place was misery. Once I was able to find ways to find the joy and be thankful, I was able to find joy and thanksgiving in more and more. It’s the kind of cycle we need to be on. When that happens, it becomes habit and becomes how you see the world. Some days can be hard, but as a general rule it’s relatively easy to see the wins when you’ve had practice.

I want to encourage you to look for little wins along the way to your goal.

Have a weight loss goal? Every pound lost is a reason to celebrate!

Have a business goal? Every sale is a chance to give yourself a high five!

Have another super awesome goal? Find a win to celebrate!

For me, I have a goal to run a half marathon in November. Every time I run, I try to walk a little less. Or maybe run a little faster. Or go a little further. But every time I do one of those, I celebrate because I did better than before. I may not hit my goal of running the whole 13.1 miles, but I sure am going to try. And if I have to walk some it’s ok- I have never done this before and even being in a half-marathon is awesome. I will have made progress.

So how do YOU measure progress?

 

Meal Planning- Know Thy Budget

Uuuuuugh. Budgets. Nobody likes to budget their money. It would be so much more fun to throw it at all the fun things! But as we know, that’s not being a good steward of the gifts God has given us.

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Therefore, we budget. The beauty of a budget is that it’s YOURS. You get to decide how much money goes where. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else’s budget is (if they even have one), your budget has to fit your income and lifestyle. Don’t forget, it needs to be agreed upon by both you and your spouse.

Let me just be honest- budgeting has not always been a “passion” of mine. It still isn’t, but I’m getting better at it! In fact, when the Mad Scientist and I got married, we combined our resources and then I got whacked with a budget. I’d NEVER had one before. I knew not to overdraft my checking account, but that was about as far as I got. So this whole budgeting deal was a foreign and icky concept. Fast forward 10 years and because of our budgeting and my side hustle, I was able to stay home with my babies and the budget became even MORE important. We set aside a certain amount for groceries, and it was my job to come in at or below that amount every month.

I Mary Poppins’ed that bad boy. I turned that job into a game!

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I got creative with our menus.

I made a point to use up everything in our pantry that I possibly could before going to the grocery store again.

I shopped the sales- meat not on sale? Vegetarian week! Only ground beef? You’d be surprised at what you can whip up! Chicken on mega sale? So. many. one pan meals.

I only shopped at one store on “Double Ad Wednesdays”.

The best part? We still ate well (and mostly healthy) and it was a fun, creative outlet for me.

But what kept me on track? Writing it out.

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MEAL PLANNING, Y’ALL!

Meal planning can play a HUGE part in helping you stick to your grocery budget! When you write out what you plan to cook, you can see what ingredients you actually need versus what you think you need. Then you end up with 4 boxes of spaghetti noodles and no sauce. (Again, not that that has ever happened…)

Writing out a simple plan for the week/month can save your budget and save you so much time and stress.

Can’t wait to hear your favorite meal planning and grocery budgeting tips!

Meal Planning- Know Thy Family

Cooking for your family is easy, right? Everyone loves the same thing, nobody complains about how a food looks or tastes…we’re all on the same page, right?

If you said “Of course we are!” to the above, I’m gonna need you to email me your secrets, ok?

Combining different people with different personalities and different tastes at the dinner table is always an experience. It’s hard to please everyone, even on Taco Tuesday!

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Along with different tastes, a family also has different schedules. Y’all. Ball season is no joke. In this season of life, we have somewhere to be EVERY NIGHT, which means meals tend to be simpler, and in some cases, portable.

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So taking all of this into consideration, the best thing is to:

KNOW THY FAMILY.

Schedule, tastes, and all. And writing it all out (or putting into a digital calendar app) is crucial to keeping ME sane and my guys fed. Create a list of your family’s favorite meals and put them in a rotation. Maybe throw a curveball new recipe every once in awhile, but sometimes doing what works can be a huge stress-saver.

And as far as scheduling- are you a paper calendar gal? Print out weekly or monthly calendars and fill them in! Are you in the digital age? Fill that app out and set reminders! Do you carry around a notebook for lists? Write that menu out, girl! Again, the meals don’t HAVE to be fancy. They simply need to be something that works for your family and fits into the schedule.

The week’s schedule is set so you have an idea of what your time allotment will be for dinners each night. It can help to prepare the night before- chopping vegetables, cutting up meat, etc. You might be tired after a long day, but I bet you won’t have that last minute rushing around the next morning. Leaving the house peacefully (as often as you can, right?) makes such a positive impact on the day. Get out your InstantPot, CrockPot or whatever appliance works best for you. Premake a casserole and stick it in the fridge to be popped into the oven when you get home.

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Knowing my people- what they’ll eat and what their schedule is- has been a huge help in getting our meal plans to work for us.

What are your favorite time-saving tips for making dinners quick?