Advertisement

army life

Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

Marie Callender’s Comforts from Home

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marie Callender’s. The opinions and text are all mine.

Being a military family, we can’t plant our roots in one place and call it home.  We move every few years and our home becomes wherever the military takes us.  Thankfully, we’re able to bring the Comforts from Home where ever we live and the USO helps us do that.Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

Most American’s have probably heard of the USO, but many don’t really understand what the organization does for military service members and their families.  Millions of times each year at hundreds of locations around the world, the USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families. (from the USO website)

Personally, my family has been able to utilize the services of the USO the most here in Germany.  While my husband has used the USO in several airports across the world and on military bases while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, it wasn’t until we were stationed in Germany that we were able to experience all the USO has to offer as a family.

Twice a week, our local USO located on USAG Bavaria – Grafenwoehr, Germany, USO Grafenwoehr, offers “Dinner for Soldiers”, a program that provides a free, home cooked meal to military service members and their families.  My family attends these dinners 3-4 times a month, most weeks actually.  The USO provides us a much-needed break from our busy life by preparing us a meal and giving us a bit of comfort from home.

This week, I wanted to share one of my favorite comforts from home by baking the soldiers & families my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars!

Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

Over 140 people attended “Dinner for Soldiers” and were able to enjoy a variety of sandwiches including oven-roasted turkey breast and succulent honey ham paired with sharp cheddar cheese. These sandwiches were placed upon fresh-cut bread from the German bakery with various toppings for selection. USO Grafenwoehr volunteers prepared homemade cheesecake and salsa with a variety of chips, topped off with my cookie bars!

Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

A big THANK YOU to the awesome USO volunteers who made the dinner happen!

Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

Not only were single soldiers able to enjoy a home cooked meal, but families and friends did as well.  The USO does an amazing job at providing an inviting, warm place for everyone in the USAG Grafenwoehr community to enjoy.   For our family, home is at the USO.

Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

And as recently as this month, the USO Rome in conjunction with the The Chaplain’s Office of the US Army Europe provided my husband and I a once in a lifetime all-expenses paid opportunity to attend a life changing spiritual resiliency pilgrimage throughout Rome and the Vatican.  Without the support of the USO, this opportunity would not have been possible.

To learn more about this USO sponsored journey, read my blog post here!

A Life Changing Pilgrimage to Rome and the Vatican | JavaCupcake.com

Want to Support the USO?
Marie Calender's Comforts from Home Program helps to support USO Operation Celebration. Share your comforts of home and support the USO! | JavaCupcake.com #comfortsfromhome

Purchase Participating Marie Callender’s Products
This fall, Marie Callender’s is gearing up to re-launch the Comforts from Home Project by bringing the comforts of home to those who protect America’s homes every day: the brave men and women of the U.S. Military.  Additionally, Marie’s is teaming up with the USO to support USO Operation Celebration™, a program that shares a bit of home with our troops and helps them celebrate the holidays year round.

Every time you enter a code from specially-marked packages of Marie Callender’s meals or desserts, Marie Callender’s will make a donation to the USO to support USO Operation Celebration™. Visit Submit a photo on Facebook to learn more about how you can join Marie Callender’s in helping to bring a little bit of home sweet home to our U.S. service men and women overseas.

Post a Photo to the Food Network’s Facebook Contest Page
Additionally, Marie Calender’s wants to know what your comforts from home are.   Submit a photo on Facebook in support of the USO, using hashtag #comfortsfromhome and show us what home means to you.  Is it a tradition? A family activities?  Favorite meal or recipe?  For each photo received, $1.00 will be donated to the USO! Also, your photo could be featured on air for the following shows:

  • Kitchen Crashers on DIYNetwork & HGTV – Airing 11/9 and 11/14
  • Hello/Goodbye on Travel Channel – Airing 11/10
  • Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network & Cooking Channel — Airing 12/14 and 12/19

Two simple ways you can support the USO and provide people like me the chance to enjoy comforts from home!

Visit www.ComfortsfromHome.com to join Marie Callender’s in helping to bring a little bit of home sweet home to our U.S. service men and women overseas.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marie Callender’s. The opinions and text are all mine.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

Easy Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com #recipe #lemon #strawberry #cupcakes #easy

Easy Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Need a quick cupcake that is not only delicious, but will impress? Try these Easy Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes made with box cake mix, strawberry jam and a simple frosting recipe! Perfect for Spring!

Easy Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com #recipe #lemon #strawberry #cupcakes #easy

Tonight is my first Troop FRG Meeting as the FRG Leader.  Though out the deployment we had Squadron meetings which I was just an attendee… not running.  So it’s a big night for me!  If you’re not farmiliar with the FRG, it stands for Family Readiness Group.  Basically, the FRG supports the families of the soldiers in the unit.  We provide support in many ways from providing community information and unit information to hosting social events and fundraisers.  We also provide resources for spouses, children and parents of our soldiers.

The picture below was taken earlier this week at the 2/2 CR Volunteer Recognition Reception where all of the lovely ladies here (including me!) were recognized for their service to the unit during our recent deployment. A fabulous group of women doing all kinds of amazing things for the soldiers and their families.  A true honor to be able to know & serve with them.

Fox Troop, 2/2 CR FRG Volunteers 2013-2014

I’ve been the FRG Leader in every unit that Dave has been in since we’ve been married and the first meeting is always a big deal for me.  It’s my introduction to the soldiers and their families and I always like to make a great impression with them! What better way to make a good impress than with cupcakes?

I didn’t want to spend hours on a difficult recipe, so I used a box cake mix for the cupcakes (can’t get much easier than that!), a jar of my favorite strawberry jam for the filling and whipped up a lemon frosting that required little work to make!

Easy Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com #recipe #lemon #strawberry #cupcakes #easy

What makes a simple-to-bake cupcake impressive?  Presentation! To make these Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes special, I used yellow quarterfoil grease-proof liners from Sweets & Treats Boutiqe to bake the cupcakes in.  This created a super cute base for the cupcakes, plus it set the color theme for the cupcakes!

Next, I used a Wilton 1M piping tip to pipe the frosting onto the cupcake.  This is my favorite way to decorate the cupcakes with little work but great impact!  Perfect swirls every time with this piping tip. Finally, I sprinkled the top of the cupcakes with sugar balls in yellow.

Easy Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com #recipe #lemon #strawberry #cupcakes #easy

A little bit of work creates a super delicious cupcake!  I’m sure everyone at the meeting will enjoy these tonight!

Happy Baking!

Easy Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Easy Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 box Vanilla/White Cake Mix + ingredients on box

Filling

  • 1 jar of your favorite strawberry jam

Lemon Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, soft
  • 2lbs powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (plus up to 1/4 cup more)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 drops Wilton yellow food gel coloring
  • yellow sugar candies, for garnish

Instructions

Cupcakes

  1. Prepare the cake batter as instructed on the box. Bake as cupcakes according to the box directions.
  2. Cool completely before filling & frosting.

Filling

  1. Core cooled cupcakes & fill with your favorite strawberry jam.

Lemon Frosting

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
  2. Add half the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
  3. Mix in the lemon extract and half the heavy cream and beat until smooth.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and salt and mix until incorporated.
  5. Beat on high for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the rest of the heavy cream, food gel coloring and beat for 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add more heavy cream if you want a thinner, softer frosting.
  7. Using a Wilton 1M tip attached to a piping bag, fill the bag with frosting then pipe swirls of frosting onto each filled cupcake. Top with yellow sugar candies for garnish.

 

Peanut Butter Oreo Cupcakes

Mini Peanut Butter Oreo Cupcakes by JavaCupcake.com

Decadent chocolate cake, creamy peanut butter frosting and amazingly good peanut butter Oreos make these cupcakes out-of-this-world delicious!

Dave & Betsy - JavaCupcake.com

So my husbands unit is deploying.   *sigh*  I know.  I don’t like saying it.  I can’t really even say it out loud… typing it is just as hard.  It will be our third deployment together… but the first in Germany and the first with a new baby.  Most of the friends I made here have moved away to new duty stations… so I find myself stuck, alone… with out a support system in place to get me though.

Fox Troop BBQ - JavaCupcake.com

And so yesterday at his Troops pre-deployment BBQ, I thought maybe I could meet a few spouses and make some new friends.  I also thought I might be able to win them over with cupcakes.   Cupcakes + Army Wives + Army Brats + Soldiers = FUN!

Fox Troop BBQ  - JavaCupcake.comFox Troop BBQ - JavaCupcake.com

The single soldiers manned the grill, drank beer and played football.  The babies stole the balls from the single soldiers and ran around with them- the dad’s chased after.   The big kids played with the parachute and on the playground and the Mom’s relaxed and chatted with new and old friends.  It was a fun afternoon!

Fox Troop BBQ - JavaCupcake.com

Oh… and there were cupcakes! 5 dozen mini Peanut Butter Oreo Cupcakes to be exact!

Mini Peanut Butter Oreo Cupcakes by JavaCupcake.com

Fox Troop BBQ - JavaCupcake.com

I think I may have a slight obsession with the peanut butter chocolate combination. Okay… maybe it’s more than a slight obsession… maybe it’s a pretty HUGE one. Ha!  As I was making these cupcakes for this bbq, I kept thinking of all the recipes I had made that included chocolate and peanut butter.   And let me tell you… there are A LOT!

Fox Troop BBQ - JavaCupcake.com

But that didn’t seem to bother this guy… he ate the top off the cupcake before taking the wrapper off.

Fox Troop BBQ -  JavaCupcake.comOr this little darling girl… she really liked the frosting.  I mean – seriously, she’s doing it right.  Big giant lick of peanut butter frosting?  Yes, please!

Fox Troop BBQ - JavaCupcake.com

I think shoving my cupcakes in your mouth all at once was a general theme… I saw this all afternoon (well more like about an hour – cause that’s how long the cupcakes lasted before they were gone!).  SGT Zaleuke just shoved the entire cupcake in his mouth! Yes!

Fox Troop BBQ - JavaCupcake.com

Okay, okay… one last picture of cute kids eating my cupcakes.  Aren’t these sisters the CUTEST… like EVER!

And I suppose you want some of the details about the cupcakes now, right?  Ok ok ok ok… I’m gonna be honest with you.  I’ve made these before.  I bazzzzillllion times.  (You can see those recipes HERE, HERE, HERE or HERE … okay so that’s only 4… but I got lazy and didn’t want to link ALL of them lol)   I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe but added crushed Peanut Butter OREOs to the batter and topped them with my favorite peanut butter buttercream and added more crushed PB OREOs to the BC! Oh… and topped them all off with another PB OREO!

Peanut Butter Oreo Cupcakes by JavaCupcake.com

I mean my chocolate peanut butter cupcakes are soooo yummy by themselves… but the addition of the Peanut Butter OREOs really add a the creamy peanut butter flavor to the cake and a bit of a crunch to the buttercream.  So. Good.

So… if you’re like me and you have a peanut butter chocolate obsession… you should make this.  Like, STAT.  Now.   ASAP.

Enjoy!

Love those chevron liners?  You can get them at Sweets & Treats Boutique!

Peanut Butter Oreo Cupcakes

Yield: 6 dozen mini cupcakes

Ingredients

Peanut Butter OREO Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used HERSHEY's Special Dark cocoa)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 Peanut Butter OREO sandwich cookies, finely crushed

Peanut Butter OREO Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I used JIF Creamy)
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 10 Peanut Butter OREO sandwich cookies, finely crushed

Instructions

Peanut Butter OREO Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pans with mini cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter.
  3. Add the coffee, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream and the eggs.
  6. SLOWLY add a few tablespoons of the chocolate mixture to the sour cream mixture. Whisk to combine. In a slow stream, whisk in the remaining chocolate mixture until combined completely.
  7. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in wet. Using a whisk, stir until no more lumps remain.
  8. Fold in the crushed Peanut Butter OREO sandwich cookies.
  9. Scoop batter into baking cups 2/3 full. Bake 17-19 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool in pans before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Butter OREO Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter and butter for 2 minutes.
  2. Scrape the sides of the bowl several times.
  3. Add the powdered sugar and mix on medium until combined.
  4. Add the salt and heavy cream, mix until smooth. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes or until fluffy and the color has lightened.
  5. Fold in the crushed Peanut Butter OREO sandwich cookies.

Assembly

  1. Using a Wilton 1M tip on a disposable bag, pipe mini swirls of frosting onto each cupcake.
  2. Top with a piece of Peanut Butter OREO cookie.

Notes

I used Wilton Nut & Party Cups instead of mini cupcake liners. The package says "not intended for baking" but I have had no issues baking with them. You could use regular mini liners instead of these cups, but you'll use less batter and this recipe will yield more cupcakes.

I’ve added a new feature to my blog posts! I’ll now be featuring links to where you can get the products and supplies I used to make the cupcakes and other baked yummies I share with you on JavaCupcake!

www.cheapauthenticjordans.co/Air-Jordan-11-32145 www.bestshoesmeme.com/nike-air-mens-56146 https://www.viva-awa.com/