the baker upstairs: May 2017

5.24.2017

Quick and Easy Pizza Pockets

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These quick and easy pizza pockets are so delicious and easy to make. Perfect for a simple lunch or a quick dinner, and they're freezer-friendly too!

These quick and easy pizza pockets are so delicious and easy to make. Perfect for a simple lunch or a quick dinner, and they're freezer-friendly too!

Okay, I have to ask: how often does your family eat pizza? I'll confess that my family probably eats pizza at least once a week. I try to keep things a little healthier by serving homemade pizza most of the time, but we also have a few favorite local pizza places that we can't get enough of. Pizza is definitely one of my husband's favorite foods, and it's probably at least in my top ten (I just happen to love lots of different foods!). My kids can't get enough pizza either! 

If you, like our family, love pizza, then you will love these quick and easy pizza pockets. They're like mini-calzones, and perfect for a quick lunch or easy dinner. I like to make a double batch and keep them in the freezer so I can pull them out as needed. My kids love these and could eat them every day. They are definitely a family favorite! 

These quick and easy pizza pockets are so delicious and easy to make. Perfect for a simple lunch or a quick dinner, and they're freezer-friendly too!
Quick and Easy Pizza Pockets

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup pizza sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
18 slices pepperoni
3/4 cup cooked and crumbled sausage
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit five minutes, or until bubbly. Add the flour, oil, and salt, and mix until a dough forms. Knead gently, adding more flour as needed, to form a soft dough. Allow to rise for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a circle. Spread two tablespoons of pizza sauce on one side of each piece of dough. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese, top with three slices of pepperoni, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons crumbled sausage. Pull the other half of the dough over the top of filling and seal the edges closed. Using a fork, pierce the top of the pockets once or twice to allow steam to escape. Brush the tops of the pockets with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
These quick and easy pizza pockets are so delicious and easy to make. Perfect for a simple lunch or a quick dinner, and they're freezer-friendly too!

5.22.2017

Giant Donut Cake

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This giant donut cake is super easy to make, and so fun, too! Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

This giant donut cake is super easy to make, and so fun, too! Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

I know, right?!? A cake that looks like a giant donut! It doesn't get much better than that! I made this gorgeous cake for my daughter Abby's family birthday party a few weeks ago, and it was a huge hit. I asked her what kind of cake she wanted in the days leading up to her birthday, and she was having a really hard time making a choice. We saw this super fun cake on Pinterest, and her mind was made up immediately. We as a family are kind of obsessed with The Simpsons, so Abby was thrilled to have her own "Homer donut" cake for her birthday. It was really easy to make, and I'm so happy with the way it turned out!

The key to making this cake look like a donut is the ring pan. I bought this one on Amazon, and it was good quality and very sturdy. The cake is just a variation of my never fail cake recipe (you can find other examples here, here, and here), and I just made a simple glaze to spread over the top. Add sprinkles, and you're all set! It was so much easier than many of my previous cake endeavors (like this rainbow cake that took me all night to bake), and such a fun cake!

This giant donut cake is super easy to make, and so fun, too! Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

Giant Donut Cake

for the cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cold
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream or greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sprinkles

for the frosting:
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons half and half or milk
2-3 drops pink food coloring
2 tablespoons sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 10 inch ring pan. In a large bowl or a the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Grate the cold butter into the bowl, and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the sour cream and vanilla in a measuring cup, and add about half of the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture. Beat until well blended and smooth. Add the other half of the sour cream mixture, and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the sprinkles. Pour the batter into the ring pan, and spread into an even layer. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for a few minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and powdered sugar. Add enough half and half to make a thick glaze that is about the consistency of honey. Add the food coloring and whisk to combine. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cooled cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Add the sprinkles on top, and enjoy!
This giant donut cake is super easy to make, and so fun, too! Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

Just for fun, here's a picture of my sweet birthday girl with her cake. She loved it!

This giant donut cake is super easy to make, and so fun, too! Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

5.19.2017

Homemade Chick Fil A Sandwiches

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These homemade Chick Fil A sandwiches are so savory and delicious! They're baked, not fried, but just as tasty as the original!

These homemade Chick Fil A sandwiches are so savory and delicious! They're baked, not fried, but just as tasty as the original!

Who else loves Chick Fil A? When we lived in Salt Lake, there was a Chick Fil A with a drive-through a few miles away from us, and it was one of my favorite places to go when I didn't feel like cooking. Now that we're in Portland, the closest Chick Fil A is about twenty minutes away. It's still pretty new, and insanely popular, and sometimes the line for the drive through is 30-45 minutes long! That means it can be more than an hour, round trip, just to get a chicken sandwich. Ain't nobody got time for that. The only solution in sight was to make my own at home! These homemade Chick Fil A sandwiches aren't necessarily going to save me any time, per se, but I don't have to change out of my pajama pants, or load the kids in the car, so they will definitely save me on frustration! Also, they're definitely a little more wallet-friendly than the drive through, and they're baked instead of fried, so they're a little healthier, too. I wouldn't say they taste EXACTLY like Chick Fil A, but they're a pretty great substitute. They have a few slightly weird ingredients (pickle juice and powdered sugar), but trust me, they turn out delicious!
Homemade Chick Fil A Sandwiches

3 large chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness and cut in half
1 cup pickle juice
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
cooking spray
6 hamburger buns (I used these homemade buns)
butter
pickle slices
cheese (if desired)

Add the prepared chicken breasts to a plastic bag and pour the pickle juice over the top. Marinate at least three hours, or up to overnight. After the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 450. Prepare a cooking sheet by lining with foil, and spray a wire rack with cooking spray. Place the wire rack on the cookie sheet. Whisk together the egg and milk in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, whisk together the flour, paprika, salt, pepper, powdered sugar, baking soda, and ground mustard. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture. Spray both sides of the chicken with cooking spray and place on top of the wire rack. Bake 12 minutes, flip, then bake another 15 minutes, or until the chicken is 160 degrees. Slice the hamburger buns and butter both sides. Broil 2-3 minutes, or until the buns are crisp. Assemble the sandwiches by adding two pickles, a chicken breast piece, and a slice of cheese. Serve hot with waffle fries on the side.
These homemade Chick Fil A sandwiches are so savory and delicious! They're baked, not fried, but just as tasty as the original!

5.18.2017

Popcorn and Movie Birthday Party

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This popcorn and movie birthday party is perfect for tweens and teens! Simple and easy decorations, food, and fun!

This popcorn and movie birthday party is perfect for tweens and teens! Simple and easy decorations, food, and fun!

I'm excited to share all the details from Abby's friend party today! At ten years old, she's in that weird stage where she can't decide if she wants to be a kid or a grown up, and so we had a bit of a challenge thinking up a party theme for her. I was totally on board with the idea of a Harry Potter party, but she told me that several of her friends don't like Harry Potter (gasp! shocking!). We browsed Pinterest for ideas, and together we came up with the idea of a movie and popcorn party! It was simple to put together, low key, and super fun for all of Abby's tween friends.

I whipped up some simple invitations in photoshop, and she was excited to hand them out to some friends at school. She chose to keep the party to just six friends, since she has anxiety at times, and can get a little overwhelmed in big groups.

This popcorn and movie birthday party is perfect for tweens and teens! Simple and easy decorations, food, and fun!

As far as food goes, I just made these fun popcorn cupcakes (get the recipe here!) and then we picked up pizza for dinner. I can't believe it took me this long to realize how much easier it is to throw a party when you don't have to cook all the food! :) 

This popcorn and movie birthday party is perfect for tweens and teens! Simple and easy decorations, food, and fun!

We also had a station set up so the kids could make their own movie snack mix. I got the cute sprinkle cups at Target, and Abby chose all of her favorite movie snacks. I made our favorite movie theater popcorn to go along with it too.

This popcorn and movie birthday party is perfect for tweens and teens! Simple and easy decorations, food, and fun!

I found some cute party decorations and balloons at Target, and made a birthday banner with some letters I printed out onto card stock. So simple and easy, and it only took a few minutes to set up!

This popcorn and movie birthday party is perfect for tweens and teens! Simple and easy decorations, food, and fun!

For drinks, we made Italian sodas with flavored Torani syrup, ice, Sprite, and half and half. They're so simple to make, but my kids love them!

This popcorn and movie birthday party is perfect for tweens and teens! Simple and easy decorations, food, and fun!

Abby chose Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for the movie, and everyone had a great time, eating pizza and watching together.

This popcorn and movie birthday party is perfect for tweens and teens! Simple and easy decorations, food, and fun!

It was the perfect way to celebrate our favorite ten year old!

This popcorn and movie birthday party is perfect for tweens and teens! Simple and easy decorations, food, and fun!

5.15.2017

Popcorn Cupcakes

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These popcorn cupcakes are so adorable and fun, and so easy to make!

These popcorn cupcakes are so adorable and fun, and so easy to make!

I mentioned last Monday that it was my daughter Abby's tenth birthday, and we had her birthday party over the weekend! As much as I love planning parties and getting everything ready, the whole party experience is a little exhausting to me. I'm a total introvert by nature, so it's hard to spend hours with people I don't know. I always need a long nap after a party to reset myself! :) Abby asked for a movie and popcorn party, and I'll share all the fun details from her party on Wednesday. Today, though, I'm excited to share these fun popcorn cupcakes!

Abby saw these cupcakes on Pinterest and immediately fell in love. I love that they're so easy to make, but still fun and unique. The "popcorn" is made from marshmallows that are cut up a little to give them more of a popcorn shape, and the little popcorn cups are just printable wrappers that I found on one of my favorite blogs. I made mine with regular mini marshmallows, and just painted a little yellow food coloring on top, but you could also use the yellow mini marshmallows that come in the multicolor package. I used my trusty vanilla cupcake recipe, and made and decorated the whole batch in about 90 minutes total. Super quick and super easy!

These popcorn cupcakes are so adorable and fun, and so easy to make!

Popcorn Cupcakes

12 cupcakes, baked and cooled (I used these vanilla bean cupcakes)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons half and half or milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
yellow food coloring
3-4 cups mini marshmallows
printable popcorn cupcake wrappers

To make the frosting, beat the butter and powdered sugar until combined. Add the vanilla and enough half and half to make a smooth, easy to spread frosting. Add 1-2 drops of yellow food coloring and beat until light and fluffy. To make the popcorn pieces for the top of the cupcakes, cut a T-shape on the top of each mini marshmallow without cutting all the way through. (I found it helpful to use clean kitchen shears, and rinsed them frequently in hot water when they got sticky).

Spread the frosting on the cupcakes in an even layer. Place the marshmallow pieces on top of each cupcake, covering the top. Add a few tablespoons of water to a small bowl, and add a drop of yellow food coloring to the bowl. Using a clean paint brush, lightly paint the top of the marshmallows with the yellow coloring. Wrap the cupcakes in the printable cupcake wrappers, and secure with tape.
These popcorn cupcakes are so adorable and fun, and so easy to make!

5.12.2017

Strawberry Honey Butter

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This sweet and tangy homemade strawberry honey butter is the perfect topping for bagels, toast, pancakes, you name it! Only four ingredients and so easy to make!

This sweet and tangy homemade strawberry honey butter is the perfect topping for bagels, toast, pancakes, you name it! Only four ingredients and so easy to make!

Okay, so I've been posting a lot of strawberry recipes lately. (See here, here, here, and here.) I can't help it, though... I'm obsessed! All winter long I yearn for the days when I can buy giant boxes of strawberries at Costco without going bankrupt, and that time is here! I'm just going to basking in the sweet strawberry goodness all summer long, and I hope you'll join me. :) This strawberry honey butter is the perfect solution for those times when you buy way too many strawberries (like I did a few weeks ago, when I bought 8 pounds of strawberries in the same week...) and need to use them up fast! It's even great for when those strawberries are teetering on the edge, threatening to go bad. 

I'm warning you, though, once you make this strawberry honey butter, you will want to put it on EVERYTHING. Fresh baked breads and rolls, morning toast and bagels, biscuits, pancakes and waffles, you name it! I'm guessing it would even taste great on cardboard. :) It has an amazing fresh strawberry flavor, and you won't be able to get enough!

This sweet and tangy homemade strawberry honey butter is the perfect topping for bagels, toast, pancakes, you name it! Only four ingredients and so easy to make!
Strawberry Honey Butter

1 pound strawberries, stems removed
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup butter, at room temperature

Puree the strawberries in a food processor and push through a mesh strainer into a saucepan. Add the honey and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Boil about three minutes, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Cool to room temperature. After it has cooled, in a bowl or a stand mixer cream together the butter and strawberry mixture (I used my Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment). Let stand one hour (if you can wait that long) to allow the flavors to blend. Refrigerate any leftover butter and use within 1-2 weeks. Bring to room temperature again before using.
This sweet and tangy homemade strawberry honey butter is the perfect topping for bagels, toast, pancakes, you name it! Only four ingredients and so easy to make!

5.10.2017

Father's Day Barbecue Party Plan

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Monthly Holiday Meal Plan - your one stop shop for holiday recipes, from appetizers to main dishes to desserts, plus printables and decor ideas!

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!

Can you believe Father's Day is right around the corner? It has been so rainy in Portland this year that I haven't been sure whether it will ever be summer again. I can hardly remember what the sun looks like. :) Father's Day is a great holiday to celebrate not only Dad, but also the beginning of summer and grilling season! This month we are sharing some outdoor fun with our Summer Barbecue Meal Plan for Father's Day! We've got tons of great ideas to celebrate Dad this Father's Day, and any of these recipes would be great for a backyard barbecue this summer!


Hot Beer Cheese Dip from Honey & Birch

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!

Pimento Cheese Dip from Sweet C's

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!


Hawaiian Macaroni Salad from Yellow Bliss Road

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!

Basic Potato Salad from The Baker Upstairs

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!


Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Beef Brisket from Your Homebased Mom

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!

Asian Steak Kabobs from Julie's Eats and Treats

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!


Best Ever German Chocolate Cake from A Dash of Sanity

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!

Mini S'mores Pies from Tidy Mom

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!

Banana Cream Pie from The Reluctant Entertainer

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!


"Dad, You're All That" from Eighteen25 Girls

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!

Printable Questionnaire for Dad from Balancing Home

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!

Al Fresco Dinner Party from Celebrations at Home

This Father's Day barbecue party plan has everything you need to make it a spectacular day for Dad! From recipes to printables and decor, we've got you covered!

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Be sure to join us next month when we’ll be sharing our favorite FOURTH OF JULY PARTY food, printables and decorating ideas. Don’t forget to pin this post so you can use all of the ideas for impress your family on Father's Day or any day this summer!

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