"One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other One"

This past weekend my dear friend DJ came to visit.

We went to a kind of antique place on Saturday....amongst the creepy parts I did find a cool picture for our AU room. J thinks its terrifying, and I explained that the eagle is not nearly as frightening as the dolls displayed below.....

Can you find the live human?

Brittany's Beans

Are beans even that pretty to look at?
1 Lb. Ground Beef - browned
1 Large Can Bush's Vegetarian Style Baked Beans
16 oz. Crushed Pineapple
1 Bell Pepper - Chopped
1C Brown Sugar

Cook the ground beef and dispose of excess fat. Mix the beef with remaining ingrediants.Warm the dish throughout on medium/high heat and serve hot.

Since Independance Day is one of the biggest days people grill on I wanted to share a perfect side dish for you. For the record I am not a huge baked (or any form really) bean fan. I like a few bites here and there and that's about it. However, the pineapple gives it a fantastic flavor. Try this instead of serving beans straight out of the can. Disclaimer: by adding meat to the vegetarian style bean makes the dish no longer vegetarian friendly. :)

Pepper Jelly Appetizer

1 Block of Cream Cheese (8 oz)
1/2 C Pepper Jelly

Set the cream cheese on a serving tray and spread jelly over the block. Serve with crackers such as Wheat Thins or Triscuits.

I feel like this appetizer is a typical Southern appetizer, but I really have no basis for that theory. This may be one of my favorite things to eat. No, it does not look pretty, but who doesn't love cream cheese with a hint of spice? The pepper jelly adds a mild hotness and did I mention how tasty it was? Plus, this is very easy to make so you can throw it together as people are pulling up to your house. It's that quick and easy. You may not want to have jelly oozing all over the plate as displayed in the picture as it can terrify those who are new to the pepper jelly appetizer concept.

Cherry Coke Cupcakes

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Horrible Picure.
Cherry Coke Cupcakes:
For the cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup sugar
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk
¾ cup Coca-Cola
¼ tsp. maraschino cherry juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Maraschino cherries, stemless

For topping:
2/3 cup heavy cream
3-4 tbsp. powdered sugar
Maraschino cherries

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners as my batch was extrememly messy and stickey! Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside. In a mixer, combine the sugar and butter. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg. Combine the buttermilk, Coke, maraschino cherry juice, and vanilla extract. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture  alternating with the liquid and dry ingredients. Pour the batter evenly into the liners and place 3 stemless maraschino cherries into each cupcake. You will need to push them down into the batter. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until done.

To make the whipped topping, add the heavy cream and whip with a mixer. Start adding the confectioners' sugar and continue to whip until well blended.

I also added some coke and cherry juice, which totally turned it into a sticky glaze instead of a nice fluffy topping. It was so very delicious, but as usual the overall look was not so pretty. I also made the cupcakes the night before and whipped up the topping the day of presentation. These cupcakes were SO yummy. They held the perfect mix of cherry, chocolate and coke. I had zero complaints from the cupcake eaters aside from the fact that I made them very sticky. :) This recipe came from Annie's Eats and her cupcakes are much prettier and actually have whipped frosting on top. I would absolutely make them again.