Monday, January 30, 2012

Superbowl Football Cupcakes

What are you doing this Sunday?  At 3:30pm PST?  Watching the Superbowl?  That’s what I thought.

You want to know what I’ll be doing this Sunday at 3:30pm?  I’ll be at the airport.  I will be one of the few people in the whole world not watching the football game on Superbowl Sunday.  But I’m okay with it.  My Chargers didn’t make it (again) this year, and I’ll be coming home from visiting a friend that I’m super excited to see.

And we all know it but don’t want to admit it, we don’t just watch the Superbowl for the football – It’s for the food, the gathering, the fun.  If you’re having a party this weekend, then you’re definitely going to want to make a Superbowl-themed dessert.  These football cupcakes are the perfect choice.

It’s a Chocolate Stout Cake, topped with Chocolate Buttercream and green shredded Coconut (to resemble grass), finished off with a homemade, football Chocolate Sugar Cookie.  

Beer, chocolate, and football all in one cupcake.  Yep, this is definitely it!  Make these for Superbowl Sunday and they’ll be the hit of the party. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Basic Biscuits

Last year we took a trip to Wilmington, North Carolina.  Steve’s brother is in the Marines and he was graduating from MARSOC (Marine Special Operations).  This was a pretty big deal, being that a very low percentage of Marines actually graduate from MARSOC – It’s pretty much the Navy Seals for Marines.  So, the whole family packed up and visited this small town on the coast of North Carolina.  

Wilmington was much better than I expected.  I thought it was going to be a sleepy town, but it was just the opposite.  It has a cute downtown with lots of great food up and down the main strip. 

Some of my favorite foods that I had in Wilmington was biscuits and grits.  I never truly experienced this type of southern food before this trip.  The biscuits were flaky and buttery, and the grits were creamy and flavorful – Every time I had them.  Ever since then I have this new love for biscuits and grits.

When I saw that the Daring Bakers challenge for this month was Basic Biscuits I was super excited.  I love trying new recipes for biscuits and it’s always good to have a basic go-to recipe on hand.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy biscuits to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

I was able to whip up these biscuits one morning without even breaking a sweat.  They took no more than 10 minutes to prepare the dough and get them in the oven.  After the scones came out of the oven, I slathered them in jam and took a big bite.  They were tender, flaky, and perfectly buttery.

This recipe is the perfect starting point to many more different flavors of biscuits.  Add cheese, herbs, fruit, nuts, and any others flavors you crave.  


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Raspberry Rosewater Cupcakes

And the Valentines Day dessert presentation has begun! 

Valentines Day is in a little less than 3 weeks away and I’ve got some great desserts lined up for you.  I’m super excited about these desserts because they are un-traditional.  The flavors are reminiscent of Valentines Day, but are presented in a way that is a little less expected.

The first dessert I have to show you are these Raspberry Rosewater Cupcakes.  They are my favorite fluffy white cake, flavored with Rosewater, and then topped with a Raspberry Buttercream.  Roses and raspberries pop up a lot around Valentines Day, and what’s better than incorporating these flavors into a cupcake!

Click here to view the recipe and make these cupcakes for your Valentines Day celebration!

Stay tuned these next few weeks because I’ve got more cupcakes {and Red Velvet desserts} to show you :).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here I give you the recipe for the cookie I eat and make the most.  

I know, I know, there is “healthy” in the title.  Why is one of my favorite cookies (I would even go as far as saying it’s my favorite cookie) healthy?  How could this be?

We’ll let me explain.  I am not the person who shy’s away from sugar.  I mean, come on, have you looked at my blog – 99% of my recipes are sugar-laden desserts.  But there are those days when I’m sugared out.  I want dessert, but I don’t want a rich, fudgy, creamy, thick, sugary dessert.  I just want something tasty and slightly sweet that satisfies my dessert craving without pushing me over my dessert limit.  This cookie is the answer.  It is now always the answer. 

And yes, a healthy cookie can be delicious.  They aren’t always tasteless and boring.  Make these cookies and you will see.

What makes these cookies healthy is the low sugar and fat content.  There are only 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of oil in one batch of cookies.  You also use whole wheat flour or oat flour as the base of the cookie.  I switch back and forth with which flour I use.  I think I prefer the oat flour, but then I make the cookies with wheat flour and I change my mind.  Try it both ways and you decide what flour you like best. (Just so you know, the pictures in this post are with the whole wheat flour, the oat flour will produce a lighter colored cookie.)

The best part of these cookies is the feeling you get when your eating them.  
You don’t feel guilty. 
You don’t feel weighed down. 
You don’t feel like you have to eat healthier the next day so you can eat these cookies. 
You can actually enjoy the cookies and have complete satisfaction while doing it. 
You can also eat more than just one because their healthy!  I know it do.  I had 4 of these cookies last night :).

Please, please, please don’t shy away from this recipe because it's a healthy dessert.  Trust me on this one.  This cookie is good!  My husband even likes them!  I actually put white chocolate chips in his batch and he loves them even more.  

You can also make these cookies gluten free by using Gluten Free Oat Flour, or even All Purpose Gluten Free Flour. 


Friday, January 20, 2012

Lavender Blueberry Cupcakes

I’m the ultimate girly-girl.  I love pink, I love fashion, I love baking, I love chick flicks, I love flowers, and I love chocolate.  I’m not the kind-of girl that you’ll catch playing video games or watching action movies.  It’s just not me.  But if you want to go shopping, or watch Sex and the City all day, I’m there!

One thing that I really enjoy doing is incorporating some of my girly tendencies into my baking.  I love pink and sparkly desserts, and treats that appeal to most woman.  This is one of those desserts.  They are Blueberry Cupcakes topped with a Lavender Buttercream. 

The starting point of these cupcakes is the blueberry flavor.  Blueberries are heated up in the microwave before being incorporated into the cupcake batter; this allows the cupcakes to turn a bluish/purple color.   The cupcakes are then topped with a lavender buttercream, where dried French Lavender buds are scattered throughout the sweet buttercream.   

Of course not just woman will enjoy these cupcakes.  Everyone will love the sweet and aromatic flavor of these delicious cupcakes!

To view the recipe, click here.  You can also view the printable recipe here.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Whole Wheat Burger Buns

Something uncommon happened last week.

See, I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but I’m a vegetarian, or actually a pescatarian because I eat fish.  I don’t eat meat because my body doesn’t crave it.  My palette has also changed and I really don’t like the taste of meat – any type of meat, chicken, red meat, turkey – anymore.  This has been a recent change, and, despite what people may think, I feel healthy and energized.   

Because of this change, my husband doesn’t eat that much meat anymore either.  When I cook dinner, I mainly cook vegetarian entrees.  However, to satisfy my husband’s meat cravings, I often make chicken or turkey on the side.  He has actually told me that he doesn’t crave meat that much anymore and there are many dishes that I make where he doesn’t miss that extra piece of chicken or turkey.

We’ll last week my husband requested burgers for dinner.  When he said this, I thought he wanted turkey burgers.  But I was wrong – He was requesting my veggie burgers.  Yep, your heard me right!  My baseball-playing, working-out-all-the-time, 6’2” 205-pounds-husband, wanted vegetables over meat.  It was a good day.

Along with making my favorite Veggie {Bean} Patties, I made these Whole Wheat Buns.  These buns were the perfect compliment to the delicious burgers.  They really rounded out the whole burger.

They are light and fluffy, and not dense at all.  Most buns are so heavy that you feel as if your eating all bun, and no patty, while you eating your burger.  But it is not the case with these burger buns – They are soft and flavorful, and the perfect starting point to your favorite burger.

The best part about this recipe is that it can be used for more than just burger buns.  You can bake it as a loaf {like this Honey Oat Wheat Bread}, as dinner rolls, and also to make other types of sandwiches.

Bonus – Their healthier for you too!  Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Quick Tomato Sauce

I’m the first one to say it – I got my cooking skills from mom.  I grew up with my mom cooking dinner for us every night.   And it wasn’t gross, I’ll-only-eat-it-because-I-am-forced food.  It was homemade pasta with meatballs, chicken stir-fry, and homemade enchiladas – Real, down-to-earth, delicious food.

Because I saw my mom cook dinner every night, I knew that when I grew up I wanted to do the same.  And that’s exactly what I did.

I cook for my husband every night.  And when we have kids, the cooking will not stop.  They will get to see their mom cook homemade meals every day, just like I did.  And hopefully they will grow up and want to cook as well.

There are staple recipes that I learned from my mom that I will make forever.  One of them is this Quick Tomato Sauce.  When there isn’t enough time to cook a tomato sauce that needs to simmer for hours, you can make this easy tomato sauce.  It requires few ingredients and the recipe couldn’t be simpler.

I normally allow the sauce to simmer for about 30 minutes, however, if your super short on time, you can cook the sauce for just 5 minutes and it still tastes fantastic.  I’ve done this multiple times and I could barely taste the difference.

Serve this sauce over pasta, on top of homemade pizza crust, in your favorite chicken dish, or even as a dipping sauce.  It’s so versatile and can be used in many different ways.

I always make a big batch of this sauce and keep it in the refrigerator.  It keeps well and it’s always great to have extra tomato sauce on hand.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

I’m not sure if most of you know this, but my husband and I lived in New York this summer.  I’ve mentioned before that my husband plays Professional Baseball.  {If you already know this, you can skim the next part of the explanation.  I don’t want to sound like a broken record.} This means that during the baseball season, which is 6 months out of the year, we are on the road traveling from team-to-team.  Last season we started out in Florida for Spring Training and then drove up to New York for the remainder of the season.  This means that for about 3 months, we rented an apartment in Brooklyn.  We quickly got accustomed to the New York lifestyle – staying up late and eating good food.

One night when we were getting pizza from Lomardi’s Pizza {Oh Lombardi’s how I miss your delicious thin crust delicious pizza}, we noticed this really modern looking dessert shop.  We walked inside and quickly realized it was a Rice Pudding Shop, called Rice to Riches.  They have a huge bar filled with different flavors of Rice Pudding – Cookies and Cream, Strawberry, Rocky Road, Tiramisu, and much more.

Only in New York can you go to a whole shop dedicated to rice pudding.

Ever since that moment, my love for rice pudding has grew even larger.  It’s a decadent dessert that we don’t have often, but when we do, it is a true treat.

Earlier this week, my husband had a huge craving for Rice Pudding.  But instead of making the rice pudding with milk or cream, I thought I would try it out with Coconut Milk.  The outcome was much greater than I ever could have thought.  It’s just as creamy and decadent, and extremely delicious.

And don’t worry if you don’t like coconut, you don’t taste the coconut flavor at all.  Not one hint.

I added vanilla beans, vanilla extract, and cinnamon into the rice pudding, but feel free to add any type of flavorings you like.  Enjoy!

Bonus -- This is naturally Gluten Free & Vegan.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gluten Free Chive Quick Bread {No Yeast}

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I have quite a few Gluten-Free items on this blog.  Of course the majority are desserts filled with flour.  I mean, come on, I buy All Purpose Flour in bulk – One 50 pound bag at a time.  There is no question I live and breath in a flour-filled world.

However, I know that many people out there are Gluten-Free {Including a few of my family members}, so I am often creating new recipes for desserts and baked goods with no gluten.  

My newest Gluten-Free creation that I’m really proud of is this No Yeast Quick Bread.  This bread is made up of Rice Flour, Oat Flour, and Tapioca Starch, and requires no yeast.  Making the dough is just as quick as whipping up the batter for cupcakes or brownies.  

The most important thing about this recipe is making sure you have the correct ingredients on hand and you measure exactly.  Baking is precise, but Gluten-Free baking is even more precise.  

The texture of this bread is crumbly, moist, and slightly dense.  It's dense enough to hold it's shape, but not too dense that it's tough and tasteless.  This bread works great in many different shapes and forms.
I added chives into this bread to add extra flavor, but you can omit those or add any herb you like, such as rosemary or thyme.  You can also play around with the vessel that you bake the bread in.  The dough for this bread is very sticky; it doesn’t really hold its shape.  This means that whichever pan you bake it in, that will be the shape of the bread – And it rises, but not immensely.  

My favorite pan to bake this bread in is a tart pan.  It holds the shape of the dough well and isn’t too tall or too deep.  You can also bake this bread in a cupcake pan to create rolls, or a shallow loaf pan to create a short sandwich style bread.  Feel free to play around with the shape of your bread.  Have fun with it :).

I also created an amazing yeast bread recipe off of this recipe.  It has a lighter texture and works really great as hamburger buns, rolls, and sandwich bread.  Can’t wait to share that recipe with you.  It will be coming soon!


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