Peanut Butter Cup Explosion Cake

Peanut Butter Cup Explosion Cake

Today I am interrupting my regularly scheduled posts on  gardening, homesteading and healthy recipes to bring you a recipe for a ridiculously rich...

32 ways to earn money from your homestead

32 Ways to Earn Money from Your Hom...

Maybe you are a 1 income family and could use a little supplement to your income. Maybe you are looking to become more self-sufficient and create ...

30 Uses for Calendula

30 Uses for Calendula

Calendula is a staple in my garden each year. The flowers are beautiful and colorful, plus they help with keeping some garden pests away, so we comp...

pesky pest

Keeping Pests Out of the Garden

  The garden is in full swing and so are pests! Do you know how to get rid of slugs? Keep worms off your cabbage? How about how to keep squash...

Recipes

Peanut Butter Cup Explosion Cake

Peanut Butter Cup Explosion Cake

Today I am interrupting my regularly scheduled posts on  gardening, homesteading and healthy recipes to bring you a recipe for a ridicul...

Homesteading

32 ways to earn money from your homestead

32 Ways to Earn Money from Your Homestead

Maybe you are a 1 income family and could use a little supplement to your income. Maybe you are ...

Gardening

pesky pest

Keeping Pests Out of the Garden

  The garden is in full swing and so are pests! Do you know how to get rid of slugs? Keep worms off your cabbage? How about how to k...

Peanut Butter Cup Explosion Cake

Peanut Butter Cup Explosion Cake

Today I am interrupting my regularly scheduled posts on  gardening, homesteading and healthy recipes to bring you a recipe for a ridiculously rich, full of sugar and junk cake! My first 3 kids- all boys- have birthdays within 5 days of each other in August. My 2nd born son is a chocoholic. He loves anything chocolate and he inherited my love for the peanut butter and chocolate combo. He is known for requesting cakes that put your senses into overload and send you straight into a sugar coma. And this year was no different. So without further ado I give you the Peanut Butter Cup Explosion Cake!

Peanut Butter Explosion Cake

Here is what you will need:

 

For the Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • ~1 cup chopped peanut butter cups

For the Icing:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)- softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ~3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • dash salt
  • More chopped peanut butter cups

For the Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • Chopped peanut butter cups- TONS of  them!

cake

To make the cake layers you will want to mix all the dry ingredients- flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well mixed. Add in all of the wet ingredients except for the hot water- eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Whisk until everything is well mixed together. Stir in the hot water. Pour your batter into 2 greased 9-in round pans and sprinkle the tops with about 1/2 cup of chopped peanut butter cups each. Place the pans in an oven preheated to 350. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the layers to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes before turning them out onto a rack or tray to cool completely.

peanut butter cake inside

When the layers are completely cool you are ready to start icing the cake. In a large mixing bowl, place the softened butter and the peanut butter. Beat for about 1 minute on medium speed. Add in your sugar (3-4 cups total, depending on how sweet and thick you want your frosting), salt, and the heavy cream. Turn your mixer on to high and allow to beat for about 2 minutes. Spread the frosting on the top of one of the cake layers and top with a good amount of chopped peanut butter cups!

peanut butter cake layers

Top with the second layer and frost the entire cake with your peanut butter icing. Don’t worry about making it really smooth or getting crumbs on the outside- it will be completely covered in ganache and peanut butter cups so any imperfections will be covered!

peanut butter cup cake icing

Once your cake is completely frosted, stick it in the refrigerator to chill before adding the ganache on top. We have a very warm and humid house (no A/C) so I allowed it to chill for about an hour before starting the ganache. To make the ganache, place 1 cup of heavy cream in a small saucepan and heat it on high until it is scalded- just before boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in 1 cup of chocolate chips. Allow the chocolate to sit in the cream for about 2 minutes to allow them to melt. Whisk the melting chocolate and cream until it is very smooth. Add in 1/2 cup of peanut butter and whisk again until smooth.  Allow the ganache to sit for a few minutes. If you allow it to cool a bit, it will be easier to pour over the cake and help it set up to hold the weight of the peanut butter cups.

Pour the ganache over the entire cake.

peanut butter cup cake ganache

This step is easiest done by pouring into the center of the cake and gently pushing it over the sides. Using a knife or icing spatula to gently spread it over the sides slowly to cover the entire surface. I like to place strips of parchment paper or foil around the edges to keep my serving platter clean. Just pull them off after the cake is fully decorated and the ganache is set.

Now it’s time for the candy. I used 2 large bags for the entire cake. I was really wishing mini peanut butter cups came already unwrapped!

peanut butter cup cake complete

With 2 bowls of chopped peanut butter cups, this step takes longer than you might expect. The top is easy, but the sides take some time to get all those peanut butter cups on and in place. You might have to press some in so that the peanut butter icing underneath helps to hold them on. Once it’s all covered in candy, stick it back in the fridge to completely solidify the ganache and prevent the candy from sliding off.

 

peanut butter cup cake

And it’s done! I will warn you that this cake is not for the weak! And when it comes time to serve- cut the pieces SMALL! But if you love the peanut butter and chocolate combo it is so, so good.

peanut butter cup cake inside

Cut, serve, and share! Then go and take a nap while you digest all that sugar!

This post is linked to Wonderful Food Wednesday, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Favorites, The Pin Junkie, Feed Me Friday, Create it Thursday

32 Ways to Earn Money from Your Homestead

32 ways to earn money from your homestead

Maybe you are a 1 income family and could use a little supplement to your income. Maybe you are looking to become more self-sufficient and create your own business and career and stop working for someone else.  A homesteading lifestyle leans itself nicely to work-from-home opportunities. There are a number of ways to continue living and doing what you love and earn an money too. Here are just some of the ways you can earn money from your homestead:

32 Ways to Earn Money from Your Homestead

When it comes to  making money on your own from your homestead all it takes is a little creativity. There are numerous ways- from products to services-to create an extra income stream!

Homestead Products to Market and Sell:

selling eggs

  •  Sell your chickens’ farm fresh eggs. We get $3.50 a dozen here in WNC…you can charge more or less depending on your area.
  • If you have a rooster, why not sell a few fertilized eggs for hatching!
  • Got old chickens? Sell them as stewing hens!
  • Raise and sell broilers.
  • Raise chickens to laying age and sell them as layers.
  • Sell the babies! Kids, lambs, calves, chicks. Become a breeder of whatever animals you happen to raise!
  • Raise and sell meat animals- rabbit, goat, cow, pig. If you raise meat animals for your self, raise a few extra-some for your freezer and a couple to sell.
  • If you raise sheep, angora goats, alpaca, etc you can sell raw fiber after shearing.
  • Plant extra in your garden and sell fresh produce at the local market or direct from home. This is one of the easiest ways to make extra money from your farm or homestead.
  • Start extra seeds in the spring and sell garden transplants for those who don’t start their own.
  • Collect heirloom seeds at the end of the season, package them up, and sell.
  • Sell dried herbs for use in things such as teas or salves.
  • Beekeeping is a satisfying pastime and you can sell honey and other byproducts such as beeswax.
  • Grow mushroom logs and sell homegrown mushrooms. This can be a big business, especially if you can market your product to local restaurants.
  • Rent your space- if you have large acreage you can rent it out for pasture, hay, or planting
  • Raise worms to sell for composting or bait.
  • Raise fish, such as tilapia or catfish. You can do this in a large indoor tank or greenhouse or in a pond if you have one.

 

Value-Added Products to Offer:

Value Added

  • Make homemade soap. Goat’s milk soap is particularly popular.
  • Turn your herbs into herbal lotions, creams, or salves
  • Take your fiber to the next step by cleaning and carding and sell fiber bats
  • Spin yarn from your fiber animals- lots of people who knit or crochet don’t spin their own yarn. The further you process your product the more customers you can reach.
  • Knit, crochet or felt your fiber into finished products.
  • Lots of yard birds have beautiful feathers. If you have peafowl, guineas or even chickens try making feather jewelry or selling the feathers themselves.
  • Are you a baker? Make homemade cookies, cakes, and breads to sell at the local market*
  • If you love to preserve use your berry harvest to make homemade jams, jellies, and preserves*

 

Services to Provide:

picking peaches

  • Start a CSA. Plant more in your garden and offer a few CSA shares to your community.
  • Begin a Farm School or offer how-to type classes.  Chickens 101? Soap Making? Making Cheese? Whatever you are knowledgeable and passionate about!
  • Open up a u-pick farm- plant a field of pumpkins, strawberries or a large u-pick garden.
  • Open up a home-based bakery* and offer catering services for special occasions.
  • Offer up stud services. Many people who raise animals such as goats, don’t want to keep a buck on hand and are looking for a male to provide stud service.
  • If you have a large home or land consider opening up a  Bed and Breakfast and give your guests the farm experience!
  • If you have the room, open up a corn maze in the fall. Agrotourism is big business!

Bonus #33- Write about it! Start a blog or submit article to sites like HubPages. Ads, such as Google Adsense, can help you earn money for your writing.

 

* Check your local state/county laws concerning home-based bakeries before selling food items as well as check to see if you need any other applicable licenses or permits.

 

This post has been linked to Simple Lives Thursday, From the Farm, Homestead Barn Hop,

30 Uses for Calendula

30 Uses for Calendula

Calendula is a staple in my garden each year. The flowers are beautiful and colorful, plus they help with keeping some garden pests away, so we companion plant with them throughout the entire garden. As I speak I have 5 trays of flower heads drying in my kitchen- plus a bag-full of already dried blossoms. Calendula is full of skin healing, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also very gentle on the skin so most people and animals can use it safely (see the full disclaimer at the bottom for those who should NOT use calendula). If you were to ask my family what I do with all of that dried calendula, they would tell you everything. Just about any ailment they come to me with I suggest using calendula (or coconut oil…or both).

30 Uses for Calendula

You can use calendula a number of ways- fresh, steeped in water for a tea or infused in oil. Below you will find just some of the uses for calendula!

In a Tea:

uses for calendula tea.jpg

To make a calendula tea,  you simple pour boiling water over your dried calendula blossoms and allow to steep for at least 15 minutes.  Strain off the flowers using a mesh strainer or cheese cloth. You can use the entire head or just the petals- about a tablespoon of petal to 1 cup water. Or a small handful of whole, dried flower heads. This water based tea has a short shelf life- and should be used within a day or 2 and kept in the fridge. A tea is one of the simplest ways to use dried calendula and it can be used for a number of conditions. Here are just 16 of the uses for calendula tea.

1. Drinking tea made from calendula can help in the treatment of urinary tract infections.

2. The healing and anti-inflammatory properties of calendula make it very soothing on the throat.  Use it as a gargle when your throat feels sore.

3. Rinsing with a calendula tea can also help with other inflammations of mouth, such as canker sores, ulcers or thrush. It can be very healing after dental work.

4. Calendula can help with digestion when taken internally by healing ulcers, calming the GI tract and stimulating the production of bile.

5. Use calendula in a sitz bath to help  soothe hemorrhoids, yeast infections and other swelling.

6.  Pour calendula tea into a spray bottle or use cotton balls to calm skin irritations such as diaper rash, insect bites or stings.

7. Using clean cloths or cotton pads to apply a compress to deeper wounds, injuries and burns to prevent infections, promote healing and reduce scarring*

8.  Calendula has anti-septic properties that can help skin conditions such as acne. Wash your face with calendula tea if you are prone to breakouts.

9. Many women find that drinking calendula tea regularly helps to regulate menstruation. It can also help with painful menstruation.

10. Add calendula tea to your homemade baby wipes solution to help alleviate and prevent diaper rash.

11. Use calendula tea as an eye rinse for itchy eyes due to allergies, dryness and viral pink-eye. My daughter had pink-eye last year and applying a calendula tea compress and wash to her eyes throughout the first 2 days, it was gone!

12. Soak your feet in calendula tea to help treat fungal conditions such as athlete’s foot.

13. Rinse your hair with calendula tea after washing to soothe itchy scalp conditions.

14. Calendula tea can help reduce fevers by causing a sweat- only 2-3 cups per day maximum.

15. Use cooled calendula tea as an astringent skin toner that is hydrating and healing.

16. Calendula tea can also be used on most non-pregnant animals- household or farm animal variety.  It can be used  for flea bites, scratches, scrapes, or to help clean and heal small wounds.

17. For dogs with itchy skin that often get hot spots or raw areas, calendula tea can be applied or sprayed on the area.

 

Fat-Based Salves or Creams

Sometimes you need something oil or fat-based to help sooth the skin along with your calendula. An oil infusion is easy to make- it is simply cover your dried calendula with oil and allow to infuse for a couple week (solar) or hours (using heat). The Herbal Academy of New England has a nice article on how to make infused oils. The combination of caledula and healing oils and butters can not be beat. Here are a few ideas on how to use your calendula oil, salve or cream:

18. To treat ring worm. Calendula cream or oil- especially when infused in coconut oil- works as an anti-fungal.

19. Calendula salve massaged into sunburn skin can help soothe and prevent peeling.

20. Calendula oil or cream can help reduce the appearance or existing scars or stretch marks- and prevent new scars from forming when used on healing skin.

21. Calendula infused creams can calm red, hot eczema patches on your skin

22. Calendula creams can help in treating varicose veins. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to improve circulation and strengthen capillary and vein walls.

23. Calendula infused oil makes a gentle eye make-up remover that soothes the sensitive skin.

24. Calendula oil can also be used to treat ear aches. Drop a few drops and massage into the ear. *

25. Salves or lotions made with calendula are wonderful for chapped hands and faces and can be especially soothing in the colder months.

26. If you have a dog with ear mites, try massaging in a bit of calendula oil to help kill the mites and soothe the area.

 

Fresh/Dried Flower Petals

dry calendula.jpg

You can also use your calendula petals fresh straight from the garden or dried straight from the jar. No infusions or steeping required.

27. Boiling the flowers can create a nice yellow color to dye fabric/wool. Don’t forget a fixative though!

28.  Add petals to salads to add both color and nutrition. Calendula is great source of Vitamin A- so add it to any number of dishes!

29. Throw it in the soup pot! It is called a  “pot marigold” for a reason!

30. Use it as a substitution for saffron in your favorite dishes.

 

*Calendula is generally considered safe for all ages when used externally on your skin. Take care when applying to open wounds- ask your doctor before using, especially if you are recovering from surgery. If you are allergic to plants in the daisy or aster family, including chrysanthemums and ragweed, may also have an allergic reaction to calendula.Test a small patch of skin on your arm before applying broadly. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use calendula. This article in not intended to diagnose or cure ailments and is for informational purposes only. Please contact your physician if you have any doubt.