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Snickers Cupcakes

Easily one of the best cupcake recipes I've come across, these chocolate cupcakes have middles that are filled with bits of snickers covered in homemade caramel sauce. What, did your teeth just tell you to stay away from these? You may want to make a dentist appointment after eating them, but they're amazing and will charm the pants off of your everyone at your party when you bring them out!

Chocolate Dump Cake

It may not have the prettiest title, but this chocolate cake is so easy that you'll actually volunteer to bring it to family functions. No kidding! With a shockingly low amount of ingredients, this chocolate cake spans seasons. Need a quick dessert for dinner? Dump cake. Need to bring a cake into work when you don't care enough to bake something for people you don't even like? Dump cake.

Red Velvet Cupcakes + Cream Cheese Icing

You only turn 26 once, and when you do you should celebrate with Red Velvet! These cupcakes come with a long line of recommendations and will not disappoint. Scouts honor.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Upcycling, Pumpkin Pancakes & Potato Pancakes Or PANCAKES!!

As we all prepare to hunker down for the holidays and our long winter naps, there's been something that I've been thinking about and want to share it with you. I have two specific recipes to post today, recipes that originally come from something else - this basic idea of upcycling that I tossed around a few weeks ago. But how did we get to the point of using a word like upcycling?

Our culture is obsessed with recycling. Everything needs to be recycled. EVERYTHING. That shampoo bottle I pulled out of the trash could become a young child's teething ring some day. Hey, don't shoot the messenger - these are facts. We hover over our office trash receptacles thinking things like, "I bet Gary doesn't even know what single stream means. Plus, I heard he's getting divorced." Just like all of the other things in life, we latch onto one important issue and we have to shove it in every one's face. "Look, I'm using a recycled nalgene bottle!" "I reused rain water to wash my car!"

The obvious fact here is that I'm a crazy person and recycling is good. Growing up we didn't recycle, but I do now. I'm at this weird stage of my life where caring for people other than myself actually matters.

My point is that we use our culture and our obsessions to back up our crazy tendencies - like stalking through people's trash to remind them they need to recycle. Listen, I don't like to walk out of the house without a little eye liner on, but that's my dark lash passenger to deal with, and I don't blame that oddity on our culture. I have a tendency to prefer pants of the sweat variety during the week, but that's my deal. It's not our cultures fault that I like to dress like Roseanne between the hours of 8-2pm, that's me. My eye liner problem is mine, I don't go around telling people that Glamour magazine has given me a complex and now I must always look beautiful. While I did earlier admit that I'm probably crazy, I would never say that because anyone who has seen Glamour magazine knows all makeup is artfully applied through the beautiful wand of Photoshop.

So as we celebrate the holidays this year, regifting and giving people gifts that we've crafted in our own homes out of trash and other unpopular materials, let's remember that everyone can do their own thing. If you don't like to recycle, upcycle, upchuck, rechuck, trashpick or anything else that involves those three tiny arrows - that's your choice and I promise I won't chastise you for it - just as I hope you won't when I casually (and without noticing it) toss a water bottle in the trash. Pinky promise.

Upcycling rant now complete.

The recipes today are ways to reuse all of those leftovers you might have after you've cooked for hours this holiday season. The first recipe is an awesome way to reuse pumpkin pie. I'll give you the link for my pumpkin pie recipe, as well as the link for the pancake recipe, and you can use the leftovers to create pumpkin pie pancakes. A major hit at the Wells household.

The second recipe is for potato pancakes, an excellent way to reuse mashed potatoes. This mashed potato recipe is awesome, and you can throw the potatoes in the crock pot and just forget about it for the majority of the day. Mix the leftovers with a few new ingredients and you can have some Harvey's Lake style potato pancakes in no time. Seriously, a win-win.

1. Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Leftover pie. Looks gross huh?
Originally I made this pumpkin pie from Paula Deen for Thanksgiving (click here), I liked it because it wasn't just a can of pumpkin, it actually had a little substance. When I had over-fed my Thanksgiving day guests, everyone agreed to eat the pie later. And then they didn't.

My mom had a recipe for pumpkin pancakes and was obsessed with them, so we decided to use the leftover pumpkin pie for the filling it called for. The bonus here is that the Paula Deen pie had cream cheese and sugar and other Paula Deen-esq qualities (cough, butter, cough) so it went beyond the normal pumpkin pie filling the recipe required. You could definitely whip up the Deen pie and use it for pumpkin pie pancakes!

Pumpkin Pancakes, Courtesy of All Recipes
Link: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-pancakes/

2. One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is mashed potatoes, and not just the regular kind but potatoes that are smooth and garlicy. This recipe I used for Thanksgiving was great because I could use the crock pot, freeing up all of the burners for other delicacies. As a younger version of myself (who had no concept of time) would say, throw the potatoes in during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and start mashing them about 4 hours later right before everyone shows up for dinner.
Here's the recipe for the mashed potatoes (click here). It can be a little hard to follow in spots, but worth it.

So what do you do when you've got a bunch of mashed potatoes left over? My parents said use them for potato pancakes, so I gave that a try last night. Turns out, you can't just put the potatoes in the oil and call it a day. (No one ever said I was a culinary genius). So a little googling later, I found a recipe specifically for left over mashed potatoes, and aside from some pan sticking, it worked like a charm and tasted amazing. Here's the link for the left over mashed potato pancakes (click here).

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes, Courtesy of Food.com
Link: http://www.food.com/recipe/leftover-mashed-potato-pancakes-9054

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for you because they weren't the prettiest, there is no photo. Except for this one:

Ahh, I love you too potato.

Hope some of this can help you with all of your extra food! For those of you still looking for awesome Christmas cookie recipes, may I recommend my list from last year: 12 Days of Christmas Cookies

If we don't talk again before the big day, Happy Holiday wishes from the YIBT family to yours!


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