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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Copycat Cracker Barrel Coca-Cola Cake

  If you're a Cracker Barrel fan like me, you're sure to love this oh-so addicting copycat Coca-Cola Cake!  It's absolutely phenomenal!  A melty, chocolate-saturated frosting atop a rich chocolate cake, both infused with Coca-Cola, then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!  It's heaven on a plate!
The hubby and I don't get to eat at Cracker Barrel often,  but when we do, we ALWAYS have to order the Coca-Cola Cake for dessert.  I like to call it "Crack Cake".  I was hooked at bite one, and basically all I could think about since was how I could go about making it for myself.

So I set out on a mission to create my own delicious version, and I'm pleased to present to you today, the winning recipe!  And winner it is!

It tastes just like the real deal, and that's an incredibly good thing.  :)  It resembles a Texas Sheet Cake, but the difference is the Coca-Cola add-in, in both the cake batter and the frosting, which adds a wonderful flavor!

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{COPYCAT CRACKER BARREL COCA-COLA CAKE}
Adapted from Just a Pinch and Food.com

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 c. Coca-Cola (not diet)
1 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbsp. baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 c. butter

Frosting:

1/2 c. butter
3 Tbsp. baking cocoa
6 Tbsp. Coca-Cola (not diet)
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar

For the cake, in the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda.  Heat butter (I sliced mine for easier melting), baking cocoa, and Coca-Cola in a small saucepan over stovetop to boiling while whisking.  Remove from heat immediately after it boils and pour onto flour mixture.  Mix.  Add buttermilk and vanilla and start the mixer on low while adding eggs, one at a time, until mixed.

Pour into a greased 9"x13" cake pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  About 5 minutes before the cake is done baking, begin making the frosting.  

For frosting, put powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  In a saucepan, combine butter (slice for quicker melting), baking cocoa and Coca-Cola.  Whisk while allowing it to come to a boil.  Immediately remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour over powdered sugar and mix well.  You can even add in chopped walnuts or pecans at this point.  Immediately frost the warm cake, because the frosting sets up quickly.  Serve the cake warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on each piece.  We warmed our pieces of cake in the microwave for about 12 seconds and then added the ice cream, because we couldn't serve it immediately.


We had dinner guests and made sure to tell them, before starting the main course, that there was a delicious dessert waiting for them.  They saved room, but even if they hadn't, there would always be more space in the belly for this delicious treat!  I would seriously eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if it were socially acceptable, and if my kids weren't watching.  :)

I had to wrap up the few remaining pieces and send them with the hubby to his "man game night", or I know I would have finished them off before the dawn of the next day.  I've learned not to trust myself around these sorts of things.  :)
If served at room temperature, it's nice and dense, and when warm, its texture lightens up by a lot.  Either way you prefer it, it's sinfully delightful!

Now I don't have to dream about and yearn for this cake any more, because I can partake any time I want!  That is, as long as I'm up for some baking, which is no problem, if Coca-Cola Cake is the outcome. 

Enjoy!

I'm off to bake up another pan, because I want, no I need, to re-live the deliciousness contained in these photos!


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Friday, May 22, 2015

S'mores Chocolate Chunk Cookies

What's better than a chocolate chunk cookie with graham cracker pieces and melty, gooey marshmallows?!  Not much, I'd venture to say!  Many think of S'mores just in the summer time, but these addicting treasures can certainly be enjoyed any time of the year!


The kitchen is truly the center of our home.  We tend to gather often around the food and the place where it is prepared.  Whether I'm throwing together an easy lunch, concocting a yummy dessert like today's spin on the traditional chocolate chip cookie, or getting dinner ready, my kids often shadow me, because they want to be where Mom is. I love that, and I will truly miss the day when they are not by my side there, even if it seems they are "in the way" at times.  Cooking takes double the time with kiddo "helpers", after all. :)

I have so many memories, growing up, of making bread, pies and other goodies with my mom.  We'd mix, knead, roll, talk and laugh and I'd learn the tricks-of-the-trade from someone whom I saw as "the expert".

Now that I'm a mother, I'd like the same for my children.  I want them to not only feel confident in the kitchen, but to have great experiences there that they can draw on and recall with fondness later in life.  I also like the fact that we can keep screen time in check while creating something worthwhile and yummy!
 
After much practice, my kids (ages 8 and 5) are getting quite adept at using measuring cups and spoons, cracking eggs, and letting me know how much of each ingredient the recipe calls for.  They get a kick out of bumping up the speed on the mixer, scraping the sides of the bowl, and of course sampling the product.  All the while, we have conversations about church, school, their friends, what they want to be when they grow up, or just their plans for having fun in the upcoming week.
Without a doubt, the most-requested recipe for us to make together is my basic chocolate chip cookie dough.  We like to switch it up each time by tossing in a myriad of add-ins.  The other day, it was graham cracker pieces, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chunks to yield "The best S'mores Cookies ever!", or at least the kiddos said so.  I had to agree.  
   
I mean, who can resist a soft, chewy cookie that resembles a favorite summer camp fire treat?  Not us.


The kids were there from the start of the process to the end where their little hands formed the dough into imperfect balls. 

And they were waiting at arms-length when the beauties came out of the oven.  Just when the cookies reached a safe enough temperature, and not a moment longer, they grabbed a few and ran outside to snack while playing.


{S'MORES CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES}

1 c. (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 c. packed light brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 cups, plus 3 T. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1 c. mini marshmallows
1 c. coarsely-chopped graham crackers

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs until well-combined.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda.  Add to wet mixture and mix until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chunks, marshmallows and graham crackers.  Roll into walnut-sized balls and place on a greased cookie sheet (because the marshmallows tend to stick when they melt).  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-11 minutes.  Be careful not to over-bake!  Let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.  Store in an air-tight container.

We took these cookies to a BBQ with friends and they literally disappeared in a snap!  So good!!!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Make Decorative Tissue Paper Flowers

Decorate a gift, a card, or whatever you can dream up with an inexpensive and pretty tissue paper flower!  You can easily coordinate them with any color scheme!
The other day when I made this Birthday in a Box, I wanted a little something to embellish the outside of the gift.  I didn't have any fabric flowers on hand, but I had a bunch of scrap tissue paper, so the wheels in my head started turning.  After a little bit of folding, snipping and gluing, the beautiful tissue paper flower was born!

I especially appreciate that it doesn't take much time to make, can be made with supplies you probably already have on hand, AND there are so many uses for it!  

Flowers are such a happy thing, don't you think?  They make me smile.  

{SUPPLIES}

Tissue paper
Cardstock
Glue Gun
Buttons
Scissors
Start by cutting a strip the entire length of your tissue paper.  How wide you make it will determine the width of your layers, but I made mine about 1 1/2". 
Cut a circle out of your cardstock.  I just traced the bottom of a kitchen cup.  This will be the form for your flower, so however large it is will determine the final size of your flower. 
Fold your tissue paper in half lengthwise.
Now begin folding it accordion-style, but keeping the layers in a fan shape.
When your folds start to not fan out nicely, cut at a diagonal.  Hot glue this piece onto the outer edge of your circle form, ensuring you cannot see the cardstock below.  Repeat with the remainder of your folded tissue paper strip, gluing the mini fans in between.  Cut another strip of tissue paper exactly the same size if you run out, and repeat the process. 
Continue layering and gluing your tissue paper fans side by side, beginning from the outside of the circle and spiraling your way in. 
My finished flower ended up having about three layers by the time I made it to the center. 
Now hot glue a cute button in the center, and you're done!
Make a bunch of flowers in coordinating colors of tissue paper, in a variety of sizes if you'd like, and use them to decorate gift boxes, gift bags, cards, banners, photo frames, art, or whatever else you can dream up!  They're so versatile and fun! 
They sure made a beautiful addition to my plain white gift box!  Sometimes a flower is all you need to give a project that special finished touch!

I hope you find a use for these simple yet elegant tissue paper flowers!  

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, and I'm more than happy to answer them. :)

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Indiana Jones Soda Pop Father's Day Gift with Free Printable

For all those Indiana Jones-obsessed or nostalgic dads out there, I've put together a free printable tag to go on any fun flavor of Jones Soda, for an easy and creative Father's Day Gift idea! 
My five-year-old son has gone through a few cute phases over the past year, including the Superhero craze, a LEGO-loving period, a Minecraft stage, Mario from Nintendo mania, Cat in the Hat frenzy, and now all he can think about is Indiana Jones!  He got to watch the movies with his dad and has been mimicking "Indy" ever since.  

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that he wore the same outfit every day last week just because it was Indiana Jones-like.  You know, the khaki pants and long-sleeve button-up shirt kind of a deal.  Don't think me a horrible mother...he was totally content and I did still make sure he bathed and changed his underwear every day. :)  He even worked hard to earn that symbolic hat so the outfit could be complete.

But you've got to agree that Indiana Jones is a pretty cool guy.  I mean, he can swing by a whip, dodge a bunch of blades, find treasure, and run on the top of a moving train while avoiding bad guys.  Heck, I want to be like him when I grow up! :)

So this Father's Day gift is in my son's honor, because I just love to watch him finding positive role models and doing his very best to be like them.

My hubby believes it's every father's responsibility to introduce his son to the Indiana Jones movies.  It's kind of like every dad loves to teach his little boy to throw a football and is proud to be the one to give him a razor and shaving cream when that first bit of facial fuzz manifests itself during the teenage years.  

This gift also works great for "Grandpops" too, though!  I'm just so thankful for all the wonderful male influences that my kids are lucky to have in their lives.
 Indiana Jones may have serious skills, but he could never measure up to the man I married and the father of my children.  :)  My kiddos just adore him and so do I.

I know he is going to love this simple gift, and I hope the fantastic fathers, fathers-in-law, and grandpas in your life will too! 


Download and print your free Indiana Jones Soda Pop free printable tags HERE.  

**Printables from I Dig Pinterest are for PERSONAL USE ONLY.  They are not made to sell.  If you'd like to post them on the internet, please use one image and credit with a link back to the specific post on I Dig Pinterest.  Please don't alter my images to be posted elsewhere.  Thanks so much for playing fair!

 I printed mine on Craft Brown Cardstock and then attached it to the Jones Soda with jute/twine to give it a rugged look that Indiana Jones would be proud of.   You could also take it a step further and distress the edges if you'd like.  Easy peasy!


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Don't miss these other great Father's Day Gift Ideas!

"Pop" Free Printables





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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Easy Raspberry Sauce

I am thrilled to introduce you to my first contributor here on I Dig Pinterest!  Kelley is fantastic and oh-so-talented, but I'll let her do a more formal introduction.  Anyway, I hope you'll show her some love and drop by her site!

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Hey I Dig Pinterest friends!  My name is Kelley and I have a foodie blog over at the Grant life.  I'm here today to share an super easy and totally delicious recipe with y'all!  Yes, I said y'all.  I'm from Texas.  I'm also a momma to two adorable and rambunctious kiddos, ages 4 and 5.  On top of my kids and my blog, I'm also a Texas REALTOR.
 Today I'm going to share an easy raspberry sauce.  Like way easy!  Only a few ingredients easy.  Oh and it's really good too.  Are you sold yet?  I love this time of year.  The weather is nice out and the fresh fruits and veggies from the farmers markets are the best.  I grabbed a little box of raspberries when we stopped a few weeks ago. How to make homemade raspberry sauce
 The one downfall of farm fresh produce is that it doesn't have preservatives to keep it fresh for long periods of time.  So after hitting the farmers market and then doing a little shopping, my berries weren't so pretty.  Tasty, but they had gotten soft in the car a bit.  (Insert sad face here.) Raspberry sauce recipe
 Then I realized that my little box of berries would be perfect for raspberry sauce.  So I fired up the stove and went to make some yummy sauce since I had everything else on hand.  All you need to make this raspberry sauce is: 1/2 cup of water 1 cup of sugar 1 cup of raspberries In a small saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a rolling boil.  Allow the sugar to dissolve completely.  Add in the raspberries and allow to boil for a few more minutes.  Using a potato masher, mash down the berries while boiling.  Remove from heat.  The sauce will thicken a bit.  Allow to cool, add to a jar with a tight seal and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Homemade raspberry sauce recipe
 If you want, you can strain out the raspberry seeds too.  We didn't, they don't bother us.  But if you want - go for it!  Thanks so much for having me today!  I hope y'all will stop by my site and say hello!  I have yummy recipes like: Grandmas pistachio dessert recipe
Grandma's pistachio dessert - a total family favorite!
Homemade fluffy pancake mix!  These pancakes cook up so fluffy and soft!
Fluffy pancake mix - so easy to toss together!

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Thanks so much for sharing this perfect-looking Raspberry Sauce recipe with us today, Kelley!  It looks amazing!  

And speaking of amazing, I'm drooling over these Salted Caramel Stuffed Pretzel Cookies from The Grant Life!  They look phenomenal!

Kelley has so many great recipes on her site.  I bet you'll thank yourself for checking them out!

 
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Friday, May 15, 2015

15+ Luscious Strawberry Desserts

I'm always looking for new recipes using in-season fruits, so today I'm sharing over 15 completely decadent, delicious strawberry dessert ideas from all over blog land!

Strawberries are my favorite fruit.  Well, they're tied with pineapple as my favorite.  

What's your favorite fruit?

I so look forward to the summertime because that means lots of fresh fruit is in season!  Oh how I love to snack on a juicy, just-cut chunk of pineapple or a fresh strawberry smoothie!

I also just can't help but include fruits in my desserts when the weather warms up.  Not only does it add color and an extra gorgeous factor to them, but they just taste that much better too.  There's just something extra refreshing about fruit in the summer.

I have fond memories of picking beautiful red cherries off the trees with my siblings and munching them by the handful, while spitting the pits in our field.  :)  I also cherish the days I spent peeling and canning fresh peaches from our trees with my mom.  We'd talk and snack on the juicy fruit all the while and somehow the work was not tedious at all.  

So without further ado, here are lots of Strawberry Dessert Ideas to get you through the warm months ahead!  I can't wait to make a bunch of them myself!

Strawberry Crumb Bars from The Baker Upstairs

Strawberry Limeade Bars from I Dig Pinterest

No-Bake Strawberry Ice Box Cake from So, How's It Taste?

Golden Oreo Strawberry Cheesecake Bars from This Silly Girl's Life via Sugar Bee Crafts
Strawberry Cupcakes from Deliciously Sprinkled

Fresh Strawberry Cake from Yellow Bliss Road

Deluxe Strawberry Banana Cream Pie from I Dig Pinterest

Cream Cheese Strawberry Cookies from OMG Chocolate Desserts


Dreamy Creamy Strawberry Ice Cream from Annie's Eats


Strawberry Cheesecake Lush from Kitchen Meets Girl

Strawberry Jello Poke Cake from Chef In Training


Frozen Strawberries and Cream Dessert from The Recipe Critic

Strawberry Pretzel Salad from Spicy Southern Kitchen

 Strawberry Salsa from Six Sisters' Stuff

Strawberry Trifle Dessert from Crafty Sisters

Glazed Strawberry Bread from Sally's Baking Addiction

Aren't they all so beautiful?!  Enjoy!

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