D€bt & Cupcake$

FOOD | LIFE | MONEY

Boston Cream Cupcakes That’ll Rock Your World

Boston Cream Cupcakes on marble counter top

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I realize a lot of folks are uncomfortable around the word moist… I’m sorry about this, but these Boston cream cupcakes are MOIST!

The more I think about it, there isn’t another word to describe it… So, it’s time for some exposure therapy! Continue reading

How to Quickly Pay Off Your Student Loans

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Student loan debt has become a crisis… 44 million American’s carry the burden of over 1.4 trillion dollars You’re not alone in this fight, but you’re going to get out… quickly.

After leaving college you’re shoved out into the world with little knowledge or preparation on how to pay off your student loans quickly… Continue reading

Debt Free Valentine’s Day Gifts That Don’t Suck

Debt free valentine's day gift ideas

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Valentine’s Day has a habit of carrying a hefty price tag.  The worst part of Valentine’s Day is the debt that is accrued in the name of love!

A debt-free Valentine’s Day can be fun and cost effective.  Don’t fall for the sales pitches that every kiss begins with debt, or that you need to bring home a Range Rover with a 10 foot ribbon on top.  Seriously, who brings home a new vehicle as a gift??

That type of Valentine’s Day was created to break your bank account and ensure you rack up soul crushing debt.  That’s not what the day is about.

Valentine’s Day is supposed to get it’s name from St. Valentine.  He’s supposed to have been a priest in Rome.  Back then, Emperor Claudius II thought that marriage created weak men and worse soldiers.

So, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage.  St. Valentine wasn’t a fan of this idea and started marrying people in secret (awwww my heart).

St. Valentine was arrested, and sentenced to death (totally reasonable).  He was executed on February 14th, but before he was killed he sent a letter to his lover titled “From your Valentine”.

Who knows if that’s true… maybe it is… maybe it isn’t (shrug).  The point is, nowhere in that story did St. Valentine lease a Lexus for his lover.

Here are some pretty amazing ideas to ensure you enjoy a debt-free Valentine’s Day!

A Love Note

I can hear the cheese ball alarm going off now, but seriously… a sincere, well written love note is a thing of beauty.

Get creative with this one too.  Get yourself a deck of cards and create a 52 reasons why I love you gift.  Write a reason on each card.

My wife did this for me years ago, and I still have the deck in my desk.  She doesn’t know it but, I look at it often and it still makes me smile.

It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received and it didn’t cost more than a pack of playing cards… literally.

Don’t worry if you’re not a direct descendant of Shakespeare.  Just get your feelings and thoughts out on paper.  Create a rough draft and then go back in and fine tune it.

I promise you that your grammatical errors will be irrelevant.  The message is what’s important!!

Homemade Meal For Two

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I literally had no idea how much I enjoyed cooking with my wife, that was until we started creating some of our favorite restaurant meals at home.

You can avoid racking up credit card debt if you learn to cook your favorite dinner out meals at home.  Don’t let cooking intimidate you.  It’s actually fun, and surprisingly easy with the help of the inter-webs.

We learned to make sushi and some pretty kick ass pizzas at home.  Meals that used to cost us $20-$60, are now incredibly affordable when we make them at home.

Plan ahead a bit, and make sure you’ve got all the necessary ingredients.  The last thing you want to do is have to make a trip to the store in a hangry stupor looking for wasabi.

Homemade Valentine’s Gifts

There are a million homemade gift ideas and you can probably think of a specific item that your loved one enjoys.

Depending on your crafting and DIY abilities, the possibilities are endless.  Homemade gifts mean more than anything made in China and bought on Amazon…

Create a hand painted mug for your coffee lover, a vase for someone who loves to have flowers in the house, or maybe you want to paint them a picture that represents your love.

Get over the cheesy feeling that accompanies some of these ideas.  Sometimes a cheesy idea makes the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.

Pottery Painting Date Night

These pottery painting shops are popping up all over the place.  For under $30 you can have a pretty amazing Valentine’s date night.

If you’re unfamiliar with these pottery painting shops, they are small stores full of different types of white, unfinished pottery.

The items range from small coffee cups to huge vases.  They have all of the paint, brushes, and equipment that you’ll need.

You simply walk in, pick out your pottery and paint, and start working on your masterpiece.  After you finish painting, they fire it and you can come pick it up in a few days.

Most shops allow you to bring in your own food and beverages.  Order a pizza, grab a bottle of wine, and enjoy some quality time with your loved one.

Just Some Quality Time Together

5 awesome valentine's day gift ideas

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We spend a lot of time getting ready for, going to, and being at work…  Actually, we spend the majority of our lives with people we really don’t like.

We carve out small increments of time for the ones who mean the most.  It’s incredibly backwards, and some quality time with your loved one is probably the best debt free Valentine’s Day gift you can give.

Get a sitter and just plan an evening out with your spouse.  Maybe you go visit a museum, walk around town, or have a picnic (assuming you don’t live in the North).

The gift or event is almost irrelevant.  The time you’re choosing to spend together is the real Valentine’s Day gift.  Don’t get caught up planning an expensive, extravagant date night.

Debt Free Valentine’s Day Final Word

Much like the average American, we spent the majority of our marriage in debt.  We were on this hamster wheel of paying off debt and then creating new credit card debt around the holiday season.

Whether it was Christmas gifts or Valentine’s Day gifts, we busted out the credit card and ignored rational thinking…

We didn’t start to make progress with our debt payoff plan until we understood that holidays weren’t opportunities for overspending.

Don’t let peer pressure or targeted advertisements cause you to accrue new debt and bills.  You don’t need that, no one does!

Remember what Valentine’s Day is about.  It’s about showing your partner how much you care about them, not how much you can spend on them.

Use Valentine’s Day as the kick off for your debt free life!

Let us know what other debt free Valentine’s Day ideas you have!!  We’d love to hear them.

K’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Buttercream Cupcakes

chocolate cupcakes buttercream frosting

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I love chocolate cupcakes, but who decided to turn peanut butter into frosting?!

Seriously, I want to meet this beautiful soul and explain to them how much they’ve changed my life. If it was digging into some PB snack packs and graham crackers during a midnight shift at the hospital, paired up with jelly when my cupboards are bare and I’m being stubborn about grocery shopping, or served up on a spoon to my dog…Peanut Butter is that sweet baby angel in your cupboard that never lets you down.

And then there’s chocolate. OM NOM NOM NOM! 😀

Chocolate knew this was something special when she met Peanut Butter. I imagine the dialogue went something like this:

Chocolate to Peanut Butter: “Did we just become best friends?!”

YEP!

step brothers gif

I love making cupcakes, but I have a confession. I HATE decorating them.

But you know who LOVES decorating them? Wait for it….my tall, manly, bearded husband.  I know, stay back ladies!  My cupcake-decorating hunk is not for sale 😉

These chocolate cupcakes are so delicious, and it really is worth the little bit of extra time required as compared to a box mix. Basic cupcake recipes are great since you can make so many different variations with garnishes and fillings.

I admit that I considered filling these with strawberry jelly before slapping some PB frosting on top, but I’m working on self-control for 2019… (heavy breathing)

Chocolate Cupcakes & Peanut Buttercream Tips:

  • Use an ice scream scoop with a little scoop “lift” to serve up the perfect amount of batter. Works for me every time!
  • Prepare to make a mess with the powdered sugar in the frosting. There is no avoiding this, so just embrace the chaos that will be your kitchen.
  • The frosting calls for softened butter. Reading this ingredient in a recipe is always followed with me groaning UGH! I never remember to take ingredients out to soften. The good news is you can simulate softened butter by microwaving the stick of butter in 5-second increments, rotating the butter after each interval. I found that a total of 20 seconds with a 5-second zap on each side of the butter did the trick.
  • When my husb-….errr, I mean when I frosted these cupcakes, I used a plastic piping bag. You could easily use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off. I do recommend if you decide to use a tip attachment, piping bags would be the best item to use!
  • He said his piping skills need some work, but this video is super helpful if you’re not an expert (and we aren’t either)!

Have fun making these cupcakes, and let us know what delicious variations you come up with (or if you decided to stuff them with jelly 😊 )!

K's Chocolate Peanut Butter Buttercream Cupcakes

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Chocolate cupcakes, peanut butter buttercream frosting
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Frosting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 24 Cupcakes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

PB Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy PB
  • 3 tbsp. milk (or more as needed)
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

Instructions

Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. 
  3. Mix the hot water and cocoa in a separate bowl until dissolved.
  4. In a larger bowl, beat the shortening on medium speed for approximately 30 seconds.  Gradually add the sugar to the shortening, beating well after each addition.  Beat 2 minutes longer after all of the sugar has been added. 
  5. Beat in the vanilla to the shortening and sugar, and then alternately add the flour mixture and dissolved cocoa to the batter.  Be sure to mix the ingredients until just combined.
  6. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full and bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan, and cool an additional 10 minutes on a wire rack before frosting! 

PB Butter Cream Frosting

  1. Beat the softened butter and creamy PB with an electric mixer. 
  2. Slowly mix in the sugar, and then add the milk to form a fluffy, spreadable frosting.  3 minutes is the magic number for mixing to achieve that delicious texture!
  3. Frost as desired on chocolate cupcakes...and garnish if you're feeling fancy!
  4. Enjoy alone to avoid judgement 😉
chocolate cupcakes peanut butter buttercream frosting

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Saying NO Is The Key To Debt Freedom

Saying NO is the secret to financial freedom

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Saying NO to a friend or family member can feel like a high wire exercise.  Will drawing a line in the sand break the relationship, or cause long lasting hurt feelings?

We cloak our fear with friendship and begrudgingly agree to do a lot of shit that is detrimental to our financial health.

Why do we do this?  Why can’t we say NO when we know that the key to debt freedom is declining these “opportunities”? Continue reading

3 Financial Fasting Challenges To Help You Become Debt Free

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Financial fasting or “no spend’ challenges are popping up all over social media.  From what I hear… all the cool kids are going days or even weeks without spending any money!  Whhaaattt??

Financial fasting isn’t a new concept.  If anything, the ridiculous spending habits we’ve developed have replaced the financially intelligent spending that our ancestors considered to be normal. Continue reading

Nanny’s Orange Drop Cookies

Orange drop cookies on a marble counter

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Do you have a favorite food that takes you back to a specific time in your life? Or makes you remember someone special?

These Orange Drop cookies give me those EXACT warm and fuzzies! My grandmother was an avid baker and cook that lived during a time when everything was homemade, and pre-packaged crescent roll dough was an urban legend. Continue reading

Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and How to Make Them Perfect

Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps why they aren't perfect

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Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps are synonymous with debt freedom.  The popularity is both earned and warranted by Dave himself.

Mr. Ramsey has branded himself well and, to his credit, has helped millions get their financial shit in order.

I love the motivation he exudes, but I loathe the strict program he keeps his “fans” on.  Without options, most quit. Continue reading

50/30/20 Budget Plan Is Stealing Your Money

50/30/20 budget plan is stealing your money

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The 50/30/20 budget plan is incredibly common.  You can’t search budget on Pinterest and not stumble upon a handful of pins touting its effectiveness.

If you blindly followed the masses you’d be swooned by the ease the 50/30/20 budget plan touts.  Does the fact it’s easy to use make it perfect? Continue reading

Quick and Delicious Baked Apple Cinnamon Donuts

glazed apple cinnamon donuts on a marble counter

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Apple Cinnamon Donuts, do-nuts, DO-nuts, do-NUTS…..donuts……

DONUTS!

It’s New Year’s Eve, and an emergency grocery trip has been called.  Sirens start screaming and the house enters a state of emergency.  Continue reading

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