Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak Pasta

Most of you already know, I am temporarily a stay-at-home mom.  Let me say this, it is TEMPORARY.  I am currently in the process of jumping through hoops for the Florida Department of Health to renew my Massage Therapy License.  Let me also say that my hat goes off to ALL stay-at-home moms.  It is hard work, there is never a government regulated break after so many hours on the job and it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  I have learned a lot of things about my toddler.  He's way too smart, he climbs on everything, he can find Sharpie markers when I thought we had none and he has a very intricate filing system.  I did not know, until recently, that the couch stores Cheerios and my laundry basket stores everything else...but only in the very bottom.  On any given day, if a household item is missing, I have learned that it is most likely in the laundry basket.  Just this morning we found daddy's missing car remote, daddy's belt, mardi gras beads, daddy's work get the point. 

Staying at home has also given me the opportunity to cook more, craft more and relax more.  I still hate grocery shopping, so at 5:00pm yesterday, I realized I had NOTHING to make for dinner.  Well, almost nothing.  You see, this is where the most delicious meals are created...out of necessity or laziness.  I'll say necessity.  Vegetarians beware...this one is NOT FOR YOU!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stella Artois Chili

I've been making chili for a long time.  It's one of those dishes that you first learn how to make and then spend years trying to perfect.  I think I finally perfected mine this time, with a little help from my friend Stella.  You see, we had a friend visiting for our wedding a few weeks ago, and he loves Stella Artois.  He drank a few, giggled on the couch, fell asleep, and ultimately forgot that he shoved two behind the milk jug.  Oh lucky day.  I love beer, but I don't drink often.  So, there Stella sat...behind the milk jug for two weeks.  I consumed one when I was making my Chocolate Covered Turtles post.  Because, ya know, chocolate and beer go together so well.  The other went into the most mouth-watering, satisfying, crave-inducing chili I have EVER made.  EVER.  So, here's to the perfect batch of chili, laced with Ms. Stella Artois.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Simple Stromboli

Something about Sundays feels right to me.  I'm not talking about the running around helter-skelter type of Sunday where you're trying to figure out this week's meal plan while juggling laundry and getting the family ready for the week.  I'm talking about "Lazy Sundays".  The type of day where no one in the family gets out of their PJ's.  The one filled with good movies and family naps, if you're lucky (like me).  Yesterday was that type of day for us.  We just finished up a LONG, ridiculous week of work where we only got to see each other in passing.  Not cool.  So, yesterday was our day...nothing on the agenda except relaxation.  And stromboli.

We have a favorite restaurant in Montgomery called Mr. G's.  Every time we go, my husband orders the stromboli.  It's the size of Texas.  Yes, he eats the whole thing.  Anyway, I've had the intention to make stromboli for some time now, it's just never come to fruition...until yesterday.  I don't know why I didn't make it a million times before.  It was so simple and so good and the leftovers accompanied us to work today.  I suggest you don't follow my example and make a stromboli as a matter of fact.  Do it!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chocolate Covered Turtles

The day is finally here!! Today, I am a guest blogger on Frosting for the Cause.  This website is a gem among many, many charitable websites and causes.  I encourage everyone to make a donation to an organization, locally or nationally, that helps fund research for cancer.  Nearly every one I know has been affected in one way or another, losing a family member or someone close to them.  Please, reach out in your community and do what you can.  What you may consider a small donation, is a huge stepping stone in the future of cancer research.  It's not always about a monetary donation, volunteering is a great way to help out, too!  My post today is about Mrs. Sylvia Richardson.  Please, go read my post, donate if you can, and get out there and make a difference!  You can view my post at Frosting for the Cause.

Frosting for the Cause

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Baked Chicken Alfredo

I haven't posted in a while, over a month to be exact.  I promise, there is a good reason for this.  You see, there was this guy, a prince charming of sorts and he convinced me to marry him.  Being the type of woman that I am, I spent time fretting over details, tying up last minute ideas, and worrying over every possible thing imaginable. I did not spend much time cooking.  Terrible idea.  While I enjoyed the break from the dishes, I never enjoy a break from making a homemade meal.  We ate at lots of wonderful, delicious restaurants.  I did NO dishes. Yet, with all these delicious, care-free meals I still wanted to get back to normal.  Back to cooking.

On September 17th at 6:00 pm, I married my prince charming and continued on the journey to my happily ever after.  It was a beautiful day with LOTS of wonderful food and great times spent with family and friends.  It is a day that will forever remain bittersweet to me, a day that is precious, a day when I married the man who forever changed my life.

We've been back home for a little over a week now, and I wasted no time getting back into the kitchen...with new gadgets, no less.    So here is my apology for being gone so long.  I made you one of my family favorites, Baked Chicken Alfredo.  I hope you forgive me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mushroom and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts

All you mushroom haters go ahead...say it...Yuck, gross, ewwwwwwwww.  Feel better?  Ok, for the rest of us "normal" folks, let's control our urges to lick the computer screen.  I wasn't always a mushroom lover but now it seems I can't get enough.  I want to put them on everything. 

My family had quite an adventurous outing yesterday with wedding shopping.  On the way home, with the mini me quietly snoozing in the back, I got a familiar craving.  Mushrooms.  And Cheese.  Like, I've said before, my family is only a few chicken dinners away from growing feathers and clucking, so it was only natural for me to want to pair this insatiable craving for mushrooms and cheese with some chicken.  Don't anyone dare to tell me it's "too cheesy" or I will put you in a straight jacket myself.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bacon Parmesan Asparagus

Not many things shock me anymore.  I've either seen it, heard it, or done it.  We sat down last night to a lovely dinner of Chicken Florentine Quesadillas and Asparagus.  It was a typical night in a small apartment.  My husband on the couch and me on the floor with my plate on the coffee table.  This is the way we prefer to eat...not conventional, I know.  But, hey, we're not a conventional family.  My toddler, who had already eaten his dinner, was happily playing with the Shrek 3 DVD box.  As I was eating, this darling child came over and helped himself to my asparagus.  I was already sticking out my hand for what I knew would follow, I call this the "ick, yuck, and spit it out" response.  However, the exact opposite happened!  He looked at it, stuck it in his mouth, chewed and...wait for it, wait for it....SWALLOWED!  The most shocking part of it all?  He reached for more.  Yes, my friends, I DO BELIEVE there is a vegetable GOD out there.  Last night, he smiled on me.  Glory!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Firecracker Fried Shrimp

As a child, we can't wait to get older so we can drive, date, get married and have children.  Then, we wake up one day, and realize that we have achieved most of what we set out to do.  Some of us complain about getting older, and reminisce about being younger.  Some of us long for those carefree days when all we had to worry about was what to wear to school tomorrow.

Well, I guess I'm a little different, because getting older has been treating me well so far.  Of course, I could certainly do without some things, like bills.  Overall though, the most enjoyable thing about getting older is finding newness in established relationships.  My little sister is visiting.  The same "little girl" that laughed til she couldn't breathe when I walked in the room.  The same little girl who was terrified of frogs and police sirens.

That "little girl" is 17 now and we still laugh together like we did when she was 2.  The conversations have changed a bit, but the relationship is deeper and more profound.  She's no doubt related to me, she carries the same sarcasm and quick-wit that I consider some of my most enjoyable qualities.  Yet, when I'm around her, I feel a little more than sisterly-love...she has quickly become one of my best friends.  This, is absolutely one of the most beautiful things about growing older.  Tonight, we shared one of my favorite meals, and she vows to make it when she gets back home.  She has a love for cooking and baking that is quickly growing, and I couldn't be happier.  She's always asking for someone to write a blog about her.  Little sister-friend, this is all for YOU.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Very Strawberry Cupcakes

I like to do things the hard way.  I know at least one person who is currently agreeing whole-heartedly with this statement, but I'm sure he's smart enough to keep it a silent opinion.  So, when these little beauties were in the brainstorm stage, I was thinking of every way to make it harder than it really had to be.  I knew one thing for sure...I had a pint of strawberries that I really needed use.  Then I remembered that Duncan Hines makes a Strawberry Supreme cake mix, and the rest is cupcake history.  So, if you're interested in death by strawberries, I encourage you to indulge.  I'm eating one now and thinking about the 4,557 sit-ups I'm going to have to do to burn it off.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Caramel Coffee Cupcakes

Coffee used to be part of my morning ritual, everyday.  I have really cut back in the last few years, but every now and then I get a craving for Caramel Macchiato which can only be satisfied by waiting in line at StarBucks.  One particular day, as I was growing more and more impatient ( I know, what you're thinking...sweet innocent me being impatient?  No way, not this angel.) I got the urge to combine coffee with cupcakes.  Lucky me, StarBucks had a special on their Caramel Via packets.  Now, fast forward about 6 months (Me...procrastinate?  Not in a million years.).  Husband?  Out of town.  Baby?  Fast asleep.  Dog?  Upside down and drooling on the couch.  Mama?  Battling a sweet tooth from the underworld.  This, my friends, is when I remembered that glorious purchase 6 months ago.  I love me for thinking ahead.  Almost as much as I love cupcakes.....almost.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Easy Peach Cobbler

Peach cobbler.  It's a beautiful thing.  It makes me happy in the warm and...follow me here...ooey gooey inside kind of way.  You know, that true happiness that emanates from some place deep inside you.  The type of happy that makes you smile stupidly at passers-by and skip around humming sickeningly annoying songs.  The type of happy that I need on some days, like days when I feel like ripping the heads off of pretty pink stuffed bunnies.  No, don't hide your children from me,  just use this recipe and make me some peach cobbler.  I'll be hearing blue jays singing in no time.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chicken Tostadas with Fresh Pico de Gallo

What a glorious weekend we had.  Saturday morning, we woke up and headed over to a festival in Gulf Shores, AL.  I've always said that "If I ever see a Foo Fighters Show, I can die a happy woman."  Well, I guess I can cross that wish off my bucket list. Oh....gush....I heart Dave Grohl.  It was amazing.  Hot as hell, but amazing.  The drive home was ridiculous...bumper to bumper traffic for an hour and a half.  Ugh.  Please explain this hold up to my protesting stomach.  By the time we got home, we were way too tired to eat.  I decided that Sunday we deserved a fabulous (yet easy) dinner.  These turned out way better than I expected and the fresh Pico de Gallo was delish!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I'm sure everyone has noticed that I haven't posted much lately.  I promise, my friends, there is a good reason for this.  I have been having migraines for 3 weeks now and cooking has kind of been one of the last things on my aching mind.  I've made one E.R. visit and have spent many hours in bed or in the shower holding my throbbing head in agony.  Yesterday was the first day in 3 weeks that I've not had a headache.  I am hoping I am  on the other side of this now.  Last night, I was back in the kitchen...with fervor.  I was happy to be there, creating and cooking.  What made me even happier, was sitting down with my love and eating this delicious bowl full of comfort food.  A tummy "bear-hug" if you will.  I felt pain-free, full, and happy.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sweet Southern Cheese Muffins

Like most southerners, we love good barbecue.  Also, like most southerners, we know that good barbecue must be accompanied by a good piece of bread.  It can be garlic bread, texas toast...or, as my dad says, "a piece of light bread."  These mini sweet muffins are perfect for "sopping" up that extra barbecue sauce that's lingering on your plate.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brownie Trifle

Oh.My.Goodness.  This was absolutely delicious and ridiculously easy to make.  A combination of brownies, chocolate pudding, sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream, with a little toffee bar in the layers....hello?  Can you say yum?  Better yet, don't say anything...just grab a spoon and stuff your face.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stuffed Shells

This is one of the first meals I learned to cook by myself.  It has certainly evolved a little over the years, but the  simplicity and comfort of this meal easily makes it one of my favorites.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chicken Florentine Quesadillas

I love the weekends.  I enjoy having nothing on my agenda except doing exactly what I want.  In my house, that usually involves some  quite a bit of cooking.  These little beauties came about one particular Saturday before my grocery run.  I must say, that I am glad we were running low on everything else, because these were absolutely fabulous and have become one of our favorite weekend lunches.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Vanilla Cherry Cola Cupcakes with Cherry Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I think my favorite treat in this vast universe is Cherry Coke.  I love the stuff.  I can just imagine myself in a 1950's diner sipping a REAL cherry coke.  The kind from the fountain with coke and cherry syrup and REAL cherries.  Yes, I can see it, just sitting there a pink poodle skirt with a sideways ponytail and saddle shoes.  Ahhh....hey, I can dream, can't I?  So fast forward a bit...I'm in my a mess, PJ's still on, and the cutest little kitchen helper ever babbling "ma-ma" at my feet.  I'm elbows deep in cake batter and happy as a lark.  Yes, I believe I AM dreaming.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BBQ Chicken Twice Baked Potatoes

 Ok, so it's no secret.  I make a lot a heaping number of dishes with chicken.  In fact, my family may be only a few chicken dinners away from growing feathers and clucking.  I like chicken, but I don't want to be one.  And if I were one, this is how I'd want to have my last hurrah.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cheeseburger Casserole

Monday nights are a bit hectic around my house.  Last night was no exception. Everyone is tired from a long day at work and school.  I think the only one who gets rest on a Monday is the dog.  She seems oblivious to what's going on around her except when it comes to dinner time.  She stands happily at my feet hoping that I'll get a little overzealous and drop some food on the floor.  She knows me well.  If your Mondays are anything like my Mondays, please don't go overboard on the dinner menu.  Make it simple, but make it good.  My family loves cheeseburger casserole, it's an old time favorite and it's still delicious....every single time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bacon Ranch Chicken

After a long (but great) weekend, the last thing I wanted to do on Sunday night was go to the grocery store to pick up dinner.  So, I stood in front of the refrigerator...thinking....
Huge bottle of ranch dressing...check
Chicken breasts....Check
I can do this.  And, who doesn't like bacon and ranch and chicken.  If you don't, there's something wrong...just kidding.  No, seriously.  Who doesn't?  Especially when it turns out like this.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Think Pigs-In-A-Blanket...on steroids.  If you are trying to obey a heart healthy diet then you should run far, far away from this recipe.  However, if you're up for some gluttony, read on.  One of our favorite restaurants in town makes these and they are delicious!  There is nothing better than sitting in a local dig downtown eating some good grub.  While I am sure that this doesn't come close to their recipe, it's still pretty damn good.  Now, have a pep talk with your heart...tell it that this meal isn't a regular thing and that it is not necessary to cough repeatedly.  I am still coming up with something you should tell your thighs though.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Stop buying refrigerated cookie dough...PLEASE?  It's simple to make your own and it tastes sooooo much better.  It freezes nicely if you make too much (like I always do).  Your family (and your tummy) will thank you for this!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

I don't like mainstream pizza.  It's greasy, overpriced, and boring.  Making pizza at home is easy, delicious, and very budget friendly without the buckets of grease.  Chicken alfredo on a pizza?  Mmmmmhmmmm......

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Skillet BBQ Chicken

I heart BBQ Chicken!  Living in an apartment and not being allowed to have a personal grill....stinks!  So, last Sunday when the craving hit hard, I broke down and made it inside.  Please don't tell master-grillers this, but it was actually some of the best damn BBQ Chicken I've ever made.  Please feel free to use any cut of chicken you want...I used thighs because they lend extra flavor to the dish!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cream Cheese Muffins

These are, by far, the BEST muffins I've ever tasted.  Moist, sweet, and loaded with cream cheese.  Yeah, baby...these are delicious!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sour Cream Pound Cake

This is my mom's favorite...she always asks for one on her birthday and I'm always happy to make her one.  It's so easy and so yummy that I ALWAYS make one for my house too!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ham and Asparagus Gratin

I love one-dish meals, especially during the week.  They make my life easier...and anything that makes my life easier is a GOOD thing!!  The gooey deliciousness of this meal is hard to resist!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Tempted to lick the screen?  Yeah, me too.  Refrain and go buy the ingredients for this dessert, then get your ass in the kitchen!

What you'll need:
3 cups heavy whipping cream
10 ounces white chocolate
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
8 egg yolks
1 loaf French bread, torn into pieces and dried in the oven

For the sauce:
8 ounces white chocolate
3 ounces of heavy cream

Heat the cream in a double boiler and add the white chocolate; when the chocolate is melted, remove from heat.

In a double boiler, heat the milk, sugar, eggs and egg yolks until warm (do not let it come to a boil).  Blend the egg mixture into the cream and chocolate mixture.

Place the bread in a 9x13 baking pan.  Pour 1/2 the mixture over the bread and let settle for a while, making sure the bread soaks up all the mixture.  Top with the rest of mixture.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 275° for 1 hr and 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Top with white chocolate sauce.  Serve warm.

To make the chocolate sauce:

Gently melt the white chocolate in a double boiler.  Remove from heat and mix in heavy cream.  Spoon over bread pudding.

**Adapted from recipe at**

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reese Cup Cheesecake

Wow, wow, wow.  When my honey asked me for a Reese's Cheesecake, I was more than happy to oblige.  Honestly, I didn't expect it to be THIS GOOD!  This recipe was adapted from the recipe for the Ruggle's Reese Cup Cheesecake.

What you'll need:

For the crust:
4 1/2 cups oreo cookies (crushed)
1/2 cup butter melted

For the filling:
2 lbs cream cheese (softened)
5 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup of smooth creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures (broken into pieces, divided)

2 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar

**This is a plan-ahead dessert....cheesecake will need to chill for 4 hours prior to serving**

Preheat oven to 275°.

Make the Crust:

1.  Combine Oreo cookies (I crushed mine using a food processor) and melted butter.  Stir until the cookie crumbs are completely coated.
2.  Pat mixture into bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch spring form pan.

Make the Filling

1.  Beat room temperature cream cheese in bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.
2.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3.  Add sugar, peanut butter, and cream.  Mix until smooth.
4.  Stir in vanilla.
5.  Fold in peanut butter cups with a rubber spatula.
6.  Pour filling into spring form pan that has been prepared with crust.
7.  Place spring form pan into a larger, deeper baking pan.
8.  Pour HOT water into bottom pan, until it reaches 1 inch up the sides of the spring form pan.
9.  Bake at 275° for 1 hr and 45 minutes or until firm and lightly browned.
10.  Spread topping mixture over the cake and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
11.  Turn off the oven and allow cake to cool IN THE OVEN for 1 hour.  (This prevents cracking)

To Make the Topping:

1.  Combine sour cream and granulated sugar and mix well.


When the cake has completely cooled, remove it from the oven and top it with remaining chopped peanut butter cups.  Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Squash Casserole

Southern cooks rock.  My number one reason for saying this?  Because we can get our families to eat vegetables!!! Yes, we may add butter and cheese and such...but they've got their mouths full of what would be otherwise untouched vegetables.

What you'll need:

3-4 large fresh yellow "summer" squash (washed) and sliced 1 inch thick
1 large white onion (roughly chopped)
1 cup mild cheddar cheese
2 oz cream cheese (cut into pieces)**optional**
12 TownHouse crackers (crushed)
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray 8x8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

1.  Slice squash 1 inch thick.  Chop onion.  Boil for 8-10 minutes or until squash is tender and onion is transparent.  Drain and transfer to baking dish.
2.  Top squash and onion mixture with dollops of cream cheese.
3.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
4.  Top with crushed crackers and drizzle with melted butter.
5.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated all the way through and the cheese & crackers are lightly browned.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Asian Chicken Salad

I'm not a salad lover, but just the thought of this salad is enough to make my mouth water.  It pairs perfectly with eggrolls and it only takes 30 minutes to make!

What you'll need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Fresh Baby Spinach
Chow Mein Noodles
Roasted Sliced Almonds
Kraft Toasted Asian Sesame Dressing (or you can make your own)

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray an 8x8 glass dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2.  Place chicken breasts in dish and pour about 2 tablespoons of dressing over the chicken.  (If you remember, which I never do, you can also marinate the chicken in the dressing overnight.)
3.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 30 minutes.  Shred chicken and set aside.
4.  Heat a small skillet on medium-low.  Add a handful of Chow Mein Noodles and roasted sliced almonds.  Cook until lightly browned.  Remove from heat.
5.  Place 1-2 handfuls of spinach on a plate.  
6.  Top with shredded chicken, chow mein noodles, and almonds.
7.  Serve with Asian Sesame Dressing.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Blondies with Maple Butter Sauce

Oh my dear goodness!  These are the definition of goodness.  They didn't last very long in my house!!!

What you'll need:

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butterscotch chips (I also threw in a handful of chocolate chips)

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly butter and flour an 8x8 pan.  Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl.
2.  Add the egg and vanilla extract.  Whisk together.
3.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Mix it all together.  Add the butterscotch chips and any other items you may want to add (chocolate chips, walnuts, etc.)
4.  Pour into the pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool and cut into squares.

Makes about 8 blondies

Maple Butter Sauce

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar

Melt butter over medium-low heat.  Add maple syrup and whisk together.  Add brown sugar and whisk until melted.  Spoon over blondie and serve.

Catalina Green Beans

These ROCK!!!  If you have trouble getting your family to eat vegetables, give these a whirl!!

Banana Pudding Cupcakes

Hello Beautiful.  I'm pretty certain that cupcakes are a god-send.  Perfectly portioned and at least a million varieties...yes, it seems they qualify as food of the gods.  So, it seemed fitting that my first post should be about cupcakes, the delectable little bits of heaven that they are.  These Banana Pudding Cupcakes certainly fit the bill.

What you'll need:
15-20 Nilla Wafers (crushed fine and divided)
1 box instant banana pudding mix (unprepared)
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon banana extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with paper cups.

1.  Whisk together flour, pudding mix, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
2.  Cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.
3.  Add vanilla and banana extracts.
4.  Alternate adding flour mixture and milk.  Beginning and ending with flour mixture.
5.  Cover bottoms of muffin cups or paper liners with crushed vanilla wafers.  Remember to save some for garnish.
6.  Fill cups 2/3 full with cupcake batter.

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Allow to cool before icing.  (I suggest Banana Cream Cheese Icing)

Makes 12 cupcakes

**Option**I stuffed my cupcakes with vanilla pudding.  To do this, prepare 1 package vanilla pudding mix according to directions.  Use melon baller to scoop out a portion of cooled cupcake.  Fill with vanilla pudding, then apply icing.  

Banana Cream Cheese Icing

4 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
3-4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon banana extract

1.  Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.
2.  Add confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.
3.  Add vanilla and banana extracts.

Store any unused icing in the refrigerator.