Chili Powder


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There is nothing like finding a recipe you want to try, going out to the grocery store and buying all of the items you need and coming home to find that you don’t have the one item you ALWAYS have! That happened to me and it was a rainy day and I wasn’t about to go back out. Thanks to the powers of the internet, I learned that I could make my own substitute for Chili Powder. I make a lot of my own seasonings, but I had never thought to do this. This blend worked well and I had dinner prepped and ready to go in no time. Which meant my little one and I could snuggle in with some books instead of going back out there!

Chili Powder


  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Combine all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.


Every year growing up I had a Carvel Ice Cream cake for my birthday. The month of August was great because my brother had an ice cream cake two weeks after for his birthday too. When we moved from NY to SC that tradition died since there were no Carvels around and the grocery stores hadn’t started selling them.

When I went to college in Boston I found one of their football cakes in the store and immediately took that back to the dorm with me. You know the one I’m talking about, it’s covered with the Carvel crunchies on the outside and has them in the inside as well. I forced to eat the whole thing rather quickly since it wouldn’t fit in my mini-fridge freezer!

After using crushed chocolate wafers in another recipe and realizing these gems made up the wonderful crunchies I’ve been saying that I want to recreate my own cake for a while now and this year I have done it. Folks, I mean I really did it. This cake tastes so darn good. My husband, in-laws and I devoured it and decided that it was one of the best cakes I’ve made and it needs to go into the birthday cake rotation. My daughter proclaimed it, “The best cake EVER!” Everything is made from scratch so you definitely have the great taste with the ingredients alone, but the BEST part is it really tastes like a Carvel cake. Not one of those copycat recipes that kind of taste like the original. This did not last long in our house and I had to hurry to take a picture of it. The outside doesn’t look as pretty since I’m not used to writing on cakes and I don’t do flowers, but there is always the next birthday to perfect that!

If you’ve never had a Carvel Ice Cream cake, make this now and fall in love and if you have had a Carvel Ice Cream cake make it and love the fact that you now hold the secret!

I decided that since I was making a homemade cake I wanted everything to be made homemade. So, you’ll find everything from the ice cream, whipped cream topping, and Magic Shell are from scratch. If you don’t want to go that far, you can definitely use store bought ice cream, whipped topping, and Magic Shell.

Carvel Ice Cream Cake


Take a 9″ springform pan and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse the chocolate wafers until they are coarse crumbs. You don’t want big chunks, but fine crumbs will form big chunks of crunchies which you don’t want. Add the Magic Shell topping to the chocolate wafer crumbs and mix well. This will become your crunchies!

Pour your softened chocolate ice cream into the springform pan until you reach the halfway point on the pan. Then, place your crunchies on top of the chocolate ice cream. You will want to spread them out in an even layer and keeping them an inch away from the outer edge. Place the pan in the freezer and allow to set for at least one hour.

Remove the pan from the freezer and pour in your softened vanilla ice cream, taking care to create an even layer on top. Freeze for several hours or overnight.

Remove the pan from the freezer and open the springform pan. Take a knife of a cake spatula and slide it alongside the underneath of the cake to remove the bottom layer. Take some of your whipping cream and spread evenly over the entire cake. Place the cake in the freezer and allow to set for 30 minutes.

Take the cake out of the freezer and decorate the cake with the remaining whipped cream. Taking care to smooth it out nicely and pipe and decorate how you wish. Place the cake in the freezer to set until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve, remove the cake from the freezer and allow to thaw for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

For the Whipped Cream

  • 3 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 3 Tbsp cold water
  • 3 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • 9 Tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract

Put your mixing bowl and whipping attachment in the freezer and allow to cool.

Mix the cold water and gelatin in a small dish. Wait one minute and then heat the gelatin mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds to allow it to become liquid. You will use this to stabilize your whipped cream.

In the cold mixing bowl, beat the cream until peaks form. Start off slow and gradually increase the speed.

While the mixer is still on high speed, add the sugar. Next, add the heated gelatin. Finally, add the vanilla extract.

Source: Stabilized Whipped Cream from Baked Bree, Carvel Crunchies adapted from Our Best Bites

That’s right. You have read correctly. I’ve gone and made that tasty ice cream topping from scratch and now you can too! I haven’t had Magic Shell topping in ages, but when I needed it for another dessert I was making and you will soon see, I didn’t want to run out to the store simply to buy that one particular item. Plus, without even looking I knew there would probably be lots of ingredients I didn’t care to recognize! So, I hit the internet and found that making your own is very simple indeed. All you need is some coconut oil and chocolate. Granted, you may not have coconut oil in your pantry, but it comes in handy sometimes and is more useful than having a container of the store-bought Magic Shell!

As with anything, the higher quality chocolate you use, the better it will taste. If you want something really rich and decadent go for your favorite chocolate of choice, but if you want a simple treat using some semi-sweet morsels will work just fine! Word of caution, make sure whatever chocolate you are using does not contain alcohols. This will cause the chocolate to seize up.

Magic Shell Topping


  • 8 oz chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

Combine ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 20 second increments until melted. Stir and drizzle over ice cream.

To store in a container, in the refrigerator. When ready to use again, simply microwave and pour over ice cream.

Source: Our Best Bites, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


Southwestern Lime Chicken

When I first started dating my husband and was in charge of dinners I was always looking around for recipes. I call it my hunting and gathering period. I still have recipes that I gathered back then that I haven’t tried! This particular recipe I tried, we loved, and then it was shoved in a box with some index cards never to be seen again. Until I finally cleaned my recipes all out a few weeks ago! I’m not sure where this recipe came from. It appears that it was from a grocery store advertisement, but I can’t figure out which one.

Either way, it’s a nice change from the typical marinated chicken. It has familiar flavors, but the yogurt and lime add a fresh flavor. It has a much quicker marinade time, with only 10 minutes, which makes this a perfect last minute dinner option!

Southwestern Lime Chicken


  • 1 medium lime
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt, liquid drained
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin filets

Zest or grate lime and measure 1/2 tsp lime zest. Squeeze lime and measure 2 Tbsp lime juice. In a shallow pie plate, mix lime peel and juice with garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Flatten breasts to an even thickness and pat dry with a clean paper towel. With a large fork, poke each chicken breast 4 to 5 times. Add chicken to the yogurt mixture and coat all surfaces. Marinate for 10 minutes. I actually prefer to let it marinate for 30 minutes to get a stronger flavor.

Pre-heat grill or broiler. Place chicken on an oiled rack and grill or broil, 5 inches from the heat, for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until the  internal temperature reaches 165 F.

Source: Unknown