What’s Up Cupcake: Not Just Another Cupcake Truck, Or How I Gained 5lbs In One Sitting


 

I had the pleasure of indulging in one of my favorite foodie pastimes recently: gourmet cupcakes. You crave the little delectable morsels the more you discover that there are wonders in Houston far beyond the bygone days of Betty Crocker cake mixes and foil cups. These are not your mom’s bake sale cupcakes. Houston’s What’s Up Cupcake takes their show on the road and what an incredible, edible, covered in sky-high frosting show it is!
I was on my way home with some takeout for dinner when I spotted their divine Airstream trailer as it glistened in the late afternoon sun just past the intersection of Pinemont and Antoine. Like some gleaming, irresistible sugary beacon, as though hypnotized I drove my car in to the parking lot of Itty Bitty Burger Barn where What’s Up Cupcake had set up shop.
I made small talk with the adorable gal, all red lipstick and vintage flair, running the truck that day, alternately asking about flavors and gushing about how there never seemed to be any foodtrucks in our area and “omg! a cupcake truck!” In the end I settled on 6 dainty cakes: Carrot Cake (with cream cheese frosting), Salted Caramel, Nutella, Bavarian Cream, Birthday Cake and Chocolate Ganache. Each cupcake was moist and fluffy and topped with a heap of buttercream frosting so delightfully melt-in-your-mouth I could turn it in to its own food group.

 

What’s Up Cupcake’s flavors are inspired and expertly executed, the dreamy creations tasting exactly as described (their online menu reads like a dessert-lover’s dream http://whatsupcupcake-houston.com/cupcakes.php) And yes, I begrudgingly shared them with my husband and sons (aged 6 & 7) but of course wish I hadn’t had to. The general consensus was that we’d collectively reached Cupcake Nirvana. I look forward to many more run-ins with the What’s Up Cupcake truck – so many flavors, so little time.
Current location and other details can be found on their site: http://whatsupcupcake-houston.com/index.php  
 Written by Nicole Nesson



 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nitrates and Nitrites…Oh My!

Taken from the EPA:
Nitrates and nitrites are chemicals used in fertilizers, in rodenticides (to kill rodents), and as food preservatives (1-5). Nitrates and nitrites come in various forms, but when dried are typically a white or crystalline powder. Nitrate (NO3-) and nitrite (NO2-) are also naturally-occurring compounds that are a metabolic product of microbial digestion of wastes containing nitrogen, for example, animal feces or nitrogen-based fertilizers (2, 4). Sodium and potassium nitrates are used as fumigants in canisters, which are placed underground in rodent dens and holes, and then ignited to explode and release gases that kill the rodents (1, 3). Sodium nitrite is a food additive that is used as a preservative (4, 5). 
YIKES!

Do Hot Dogs Cause Cancer?

There have been a lot of studies over the years. Some have found an association between cured meat consumption and certain types of cancers in adults, whereas others have found no link. But just this year, there was a study finding that kids who eat three or more hot dogs a week have a higher than normal rate of leukemia. Other studies found that eating hot dogs during pregnancy can increase the risk of brain tumors in the babies.

Understandably, there are now calls to ban the use of nitrites and nitrates in processed foods. But the truth is that unless you eat cold cuts at every single meal, cured meats are probably not the biggest source of nitrates and nitrites in your diet. You know what is? (You’re not going to believe this.) Vegetables account for most of the nitrates and nitrites in a typical diet.

That’s right: the more vegetables you eat, the higher your intake of nitrates and nitrites. Nevertheless, eating more vegetables reduces your risk of cancer. Obviously, it’s an over-simplification to say that these compounds cause cancer.

How Nitrites and Nitrates Become Harmful

Nitrates and nitrites are both naturally occurring substances found in food and water, and are produced by living cells. They’re involved in many important chemical reactions in the body. In fact, you could argue that nitrates and nitrites are essential to health.

However, they can also react with other compounds—either in a food or in your body—to form cancer-causing substances. These reactions are more likely to occur in the presence of protein. Meat is, of course, mostly protein.

But nitrites are much less likely to be converted into harmful chemicals in the presence of vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Nitrites are much less likely to be converted into harmful chemicals in the presence of vitamin C and other antioxidants.

In most of the studies that found a link between cured meats and cancer, the link was only observed in people who ate the most cured meat and the least vitamin C. People who ate a lot of cured meat but also got plenty of vitamin C had no increase in cancer rates.

Vegetables contain vitamin C. And that’s why eating a lot of vegetables doesn’t increase your risk of cancer, even though vegetables contain a lot of nitrates. In fact, eating vegetables lowers your cancer risk because of all the other cancer-fighting compounds they contain.

Are There Nitrates in Your Water?

For some people, the question is not what’s in your food but what’s in your water. Nitrates are used extensively as fertilizer in non-organic farming operations and the run-off often contaminates groundwater. If you live on or near a farm, you might want to have your water tested because that’s likely to be the most significant source of your nitrate exposure.

How to Minimize Your Cancer Risk

So, my advice about nitrites and nitrates is this: Don’t panic. Although there is cause for concern, you can minimize the health risks with these quick and dirty tips

  1. Be especially careful during pregnancy: Developing fetuses are by far the most vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects of nitrosamines. Avoid cured meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and ham during pregnancy. Also, if you live on or near a farm, be sure to have your water tested and/or drink bottled water during your pregnancy.

  2. Buy nitrite-free hot dogs, especially if your kids eat a lot of hot dogs: They taste just like regular hot dogs.

  3. Limit your consumption of cured meat: Don’t eat cured meats every day.

  4. Cook your bacon slowly: Cook your bacon slowly over low heat and be very careful not to burn it. When you cook bacon quickly over high heat, it produces tons of nitrosamines. When you cook it gently, it produces much less. You can also find nitrite-free bacon.

  5. Eat more vegetables: Eat your vegetables—especially when you are eating cured meats. The antioxidants in vegetables inhibit the conversion of nitrites into harmful compounds.

     

     

     

    Nitrite/Nitrate free options:

     

    Hormel® Natural Choice® Meats

    The great-tasting, all-natural products you can feel good about eating and serving. No preservatives, artificial ingredients or MSG. No nitrites or nitrates added. And they’re gluten free, too.

     

     Applegate Organics

    All of the meat, none of the mystery.




Sign up for $40 woth of manicure goodies for only a penny!

1. Follow this link to Julep.   
2. click on the box that says take the style quiz
3. after you have done that and you get your results click “sign me up”
4. once it takes you to your box click “add to bag”
5. at checkout use coupon code COLORS4ONE
6. after you choose your state it will take your total down to $.01 shipped!!!!!
7. People are saying it comes up as $1.91 until you choose your shipping state, then it is marked down to a penny
Now this is a monthly subscription so be sure and cancel for next month after your order comes if you don’t want to stay on as a subscriber. I just got my box (I paid $5 for it, you’re lucky to snag it for a penny!) and I LOVE the products!! I’m definitely staying on, I can’t wait to see what I get next month!!
If you choose not to receive another shipment, be sure to cancel, pause or skip a shipment by the 24th of May so you will not be charged for the May shipment. Just call 877.651.3292 Monday –Friday 9am-5pm PST to cancel

Heritage Falls Soy Candles!

2 Weeks ago I found some Cotton Candy scented soy candles at Target. They smelled amazing so I bought some, of course. After they burned up, too quickly, I googled cotton candy candle to see if I could find some more. During my online search I came across Heritage Falls candles in Nebraska.

About Heritage Falls Candles (from the website):
HAND-POURED FROM THE HEARTLAND—Heritage Falls has come full circle through our past 10 years of experience in the candle-making industry. We started creating our product with paraffin wax blends and had an excellent customer base. However, the switch to making our highly fragrant candles with 100% SOY wax has exploded our market! We do not blend our soy with paraffin wax, but rather produce our candles with 100% soy in order to maximize the clean burning benefits of candle burning.

We are committed to producing a quality product that “throws” a fragrance well and at the same time does not clutter your interior walls with black soot. Though the paraffin-soy debate is HOT right now, we believe we have developed a candle that enhances your home and work environment while supporting American agriculture, taking pride in our hand-made process. OUR WICKS ARE LEAD-FREE!!

I emailed them and asked if they would like to sponsor a giveaway, and lucky for you guys they did!

I had never seen a cotton candy scented candle before, and the candle from Target did smell awesome, but did not last as long I thought it should. The Spun Sugar candle I was sent from Heritage Falls is still going strong after 2 weeks of daily (1-2 hours) of use!

I also received some of their meltable soy Qubes (similar to Scentsy offerings) that smell exactly like my candle. The nightlight warmer is really cute and fit in with my home decor nicely.

The Qubes and candles are made with 100% American grown Soy wax. They are clean burning and smell amazing. The scent fills my home quickly and lasts!

One last awesome note, before we get to the giveaway, they offer fundraisers! You can earn 50% of your sales for your group/cause selling awesome candles that are much better for you and your home than traditional wax candles!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can you really just switch to organics?

I hate how articles like this one make it seem so easy to switch to organic foods.

Our family of five tries to stick to a food budget of $600 a month, including raw chicken for our four English Bull Terriers. It’s tough enough without buying everything organic! We stopped buying dairy milk, (here is some information on why) unless its from a local farm that sells raw milk. I prefer to buy our eggs there too, but a seperate trip to a farm for just milk and eggs isnt always in the cards. We drink coconut milk in our house, and besides the kids not liking it with cereal, no one misses the cows milk. Besides, cereal is realky only another junk food, so its a win/win in my opinion. I do buy cage free eggs in the grocery store, but not organic.

I buy all of the fruit and veggies that the kids will be eating, but organic strawberries can be as much as three times the price of regular. If its in the dirty dozen and i cant afford organic, i dont buy it.
I buy sanderson farms all natural chicken by the cartload on the days its marked down at HEB, for 50% to 75% off and spend the same or less than i would on traditional chicken. I even manage to score organic chicken the same way quite often. I have a small deep freezer in the garage that i bought on craigslist for $50 about 3 years ago. It has really helped us eat better and save money since I can stock up when I see deals like these.

The hardest thing for us to change in our house has been the snacks. We were never big on pop tarts, but god, i love me some little debbie! When i buy awful junk like this i usually try to keep it hidden from the kids and eat it after they have gone to bed. I have two ice cream makers so I make our own ice cream with raw milk and whatver fruit or nuts i have on hand.
Here are some home made, real food, alternatives to the over processed junk even I am guilty of buying.

Cheese crackers
Pop tarts
Chicken noodle soup
Chocolate truffles

Check out a whole list of Whole Foods recipes here.

In most cases its not the organic part that really matters. You should focus on cutting back as much on processed foods as you can. It does take more time and effort, but as you can see from the statistics below, it is well worth it.

TruKids Body Wash

TruKid creates natural and non-toxic kids skincare products. Each of the products has been designed to protects, sooth, cleans, condition, and treat sensitive skin. They are gentle, natural and organic products.
TruKid doesn’t stop with what’s in the bottle. The bottles themselves are green packaging, recycling friendly and are minimal to reduce waste.

My munchkins received a bottle of TruKid Bubbly Body Wash to review a couple of weeks ago. They are in love! It has an awesome scent that isn’t too strong. The Bubbly Body Wash has received awesome reviews on their website, it is a great choice for families trying to avoid unpronounceable chemical in their kids products. They are BPA, Phalate, and Gluten Free!

Description taken from website:
After a busy day of school or play, give your body a bubbly wash at the end of the day! Our Bubbly Body Wash has an uplifting aroma in a mild coconut derived cleanser. This is a mild, safe cleanser for skin that effectively removes surface oil, and dirt without stripping or drying sensitive skin. Bubble your way through the end of the day! 8oz. bottle.

We want our customers to have a positive experience with our products, but also know that we are all individuals with individual skin types and needs so we recommend for any new product you try: to first do a Patch Test. A Patch Test is a method used to determine if a specific substance causes allergic inflammation of the skin. Apply the product to a small patch of skin on your forearm. Wait 24 hours to see if there is any reaction to any of the ingredients. We highly recommend doing this if you or your children already have skin sensitivities or are pregnant. If you develop any inflammations, discontinue use.

Directions; One to two squirts of our Bubbly Body Wash in a washcloth or loofah will have you bubbling up some fun in the bath or shower! Use Bubbly Body Wash daily to get ready for play or to wash away the dirt of the day! Bubbly Body Wash offers safe, gentle and sudsy fun for all ages! Also doubles as a great bubble bath!

And now for the fun, a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My First Crayola Giveaway!

Who doesn’t love arts and crafts? Having such young kids in my household, it can sometimes turn into a disaster! I was thrilled to be chosen for the My First Crayola review and giveaway.

Check out some of the products in the new My First Crayola™ line!

Art Tools My First Crayola™ Washable Crayons, Markers and Stampers are designed to fit neatly in a toddler’s palm, and are just the right size and shape for a child to create their first artistic expression. For children age 12 mos +.

Triangular Crayons & Washable Markers My First Crayola™ art tools progress from easy-to-grasp washable crayons, marker holders and stampers, to triangular shaped crayons that guide a child’s hand into a proper writing grip. The shape also makes it easier for little ones to draw in a more purposeful and controlled way. For children age 24 mos +.

Mess-Free Activities Toddlers can have clean, colorful and creative fun with My First Crayola Mess-Free Marker & Paper and My First Crayola™ Mess-Free Fingerpaint and Paper. When used on magic mess-free paper, special markers and fingerpaints instantly reveal colorful patterns with no mess on skin, walls or fabric. Mess-Free Marker & Paper is recommended for children age 12 mos. + and Mess-Free Finger Paint for children 24 mos. +.

The supplies were perfect for my 18 month old and 3 year old. My 8 year old wasn’t too thrilled but participated anyway.

Now for the giveaway!

Enter below to win:
My First Crayola™ Washable Crayons
My First Crayola™ Washable Markers
My First Crayola™ Washable Stampers
My First Crayola™ Washable Dry-Erase Activity Mat
One specially marked box of original Cheerios® cereal

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Boogie Wipes Giveaway!

We absolutely love Boogie Wipes. They are a bit pricier than tissues, of course, but how can you put a price on the comfort of sick babies?
I received a pack of the simply unscented flavor ( I know the correct term is scent, but I like to say flavor…) to review. My husband actually used most of the pack because he has been sick a few times this spring and was happy he didn’t have to smell like a man grape at work. Me and the kids prefer the grape scent and I’m not too fond of the fresh scent. We have not tried the mint flavor. 
Taken from Boogie Wipes website:
Boogie Wipes are made with natural saline to dissolve boogies (mucus) caused by the common cold, allergies or otherwise booger-filled kid moments.
Extra soft, alcohol, phthalate and paraben free, Boogie Wipes are available in Great Grape, Fresh Scent, Minty Menthol and Simply Unscented. Recommended by pediatricians as a gentle, effective alternative to a dry tissue.
Boogie wipes has offered 1 lucky ready (2) 30 count packs of Boogie Wipes in a combination of flavors they will choose for you! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway