Monday, September 29, 2008

Cupcake Hero September: Baker's Choice

Anyone watch Grey's Anatomy? More over does anyone remember the first season? Specifically Episode 8 (the cupcake episode to me, actually it's called "save me") Izzie: "Eight hours, 16 ounces of chocolate, and 32 cupcakes, and they still don't taste right." She finally breaks down and calls her Mom at the end of the episode and learns that her Mom puts in a little coconut extract and that's what makes them special. So when this month's Cupcake Hero challenge was Baker's Choice...I chose Cocoa and Liquor... and I named them "Dizzy Izzie Cupcakes" Izzie for the GA reference, and Dizzy since they have rum in them! (notice the cuppie is partially undressed...homage to Grey's b/c they are always sexin' it up) for the cupcakes (makes one dozen): line the cuptin and set the oven at 350 degrees 1 1/8 cup sr flour 3/4 cup sugar 2 t baking powder 1/4 t salt 1/4 c shortening 1/2 c milk 1 egg 3 T Coconut Rum 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate (melted) Combine dry ingredients, add wet, mix mix mix! Frosting (one of these days I promise I'll try to do exact measurements on the powdered sugar) 1/2 c shortening 2 T cocoa powder 1 t vanilla 1 t coconut flavoring 2-3 T milk 1/2 stick butter Powered sugar (somewhere around 4 cups I think) I beat this until it had a lovely really whipped consistancy.

Thoughts: Well..husby and I are trying to watch out for the sweet and the carbs, so we split one:

Husby says "WHY did you have to make those?!"(it was a good thing) it was hard for him to not go back for one full one of his own! He even liked the icing..and he doesn't normally do icing.

Me: I liked my 1/2...although it was more like a 1/4 of a cupcake..actually I had a good deal of the cupcake batter...it was irresistable. I'm hard pressed NOT to like it if it involved coconut and chocolate!

The rest of the Dizzy Izzie's got packed up. Some went to the inlaws, one stayed home for my Mom, and the rest came here to work where they are already being gobbled up!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Husby post

Husby made it, we loved it. So he told me "put it on your blog and make sure they know 'I' made it".

So here you go! But uh..what is it?

Local Italian sausage (cut into chunks) jar of spaghetti sauce can of diced tomatoes w/onion Into the oven at 350 for about 2 hours

Top with chunks of fresh mozzarella and broil until brown and bubbly.

Served with whole wheat penne.

So good! Well done, Honey!!

Chicken and a love-child

We're trying to watch our weight...so we're amping up the lean protein and the veggies. Below is a yummy meal we had recently. Chicken Tenders w/ cheddar and Pepper Butter over mixed italian veggies. Easy peasy to put together! Dredge your chicken tenders in flour and just pan fry them in a little olive oil. When they are golden on both sides (I did about 5 min each side) top with some pepper butter, and shredded cheddar, then top the pan so the cheese melts. My mixed veggies was actually a little steamer things that we got at the grocery, but it was JUST the right amount for the two of us... What's this Pepper Butter I'm talking about? It's like mustard and relish got together and had a spicy love child. I can it, and I'm not just talking...it's amazing. I'm working on getting some smaller jars to can some up in...but I'm very tempted to do a giveaway if someone is interested...hrmm? Am I tempting you? This stuff is good on about everything...pretzels, turkey sammies, pork roast, chicken (however you want to make it)...crackers. Seriously...the ultimate condiment (if you are already a mustard fan). I sell it at a local shop in my town and I'm hoping it will really take off!

Aspire to Inspire

Don't forget to vote! (Iron Cupcake Basil challenge)
and now..the post.
Mom's Raspberry layer cake w/Chocolate Cinnamon Frosting
(NOT as difficult as it sounds...read below)
Since I got on MY baking kick...those around me have too...and since Husby is trying to insist on a baking hiatus (we're both trying to lose weight)..other people take advantage of my NOT baking...to bake. About a month ago I guess I made some really yummy cupcakes. They tasted a great deal like those Hostess Orange cupcakes (yum!)..my Mom loved them. So she calls me and says "I took a page from your book and made a cake today". How'd I make the orange cupcakes? Well...white cake mix and a packet of Kool-Aid (I'll make them again w/pics and full recipe..although that kinda IS the full recipe..anyway...). Here's approximately what Mom did- White cake mix 'tub' of Crystal Light Raspberry Ice mix (by tub I mean the little foil top tub that makes 2 quarts of drink) make the cake according to the box directions, but add in the tub of stuff. Bake in two layers. Her frosting...well there is no exact recipe for Mom's frosting.. the standard 'shortening' frosting recipe..(shortening, a little butter, and a LOT of powdered sugar), plus cocoa powder and cinnamon. You'd be amazed what you can do with a cake mix and a drink flavor. It's quick and easy...and no..not really 'homemade'...but works in a pinch. Thoughts?: The raspberry cake w/ the choc/cin frosting is good. Like a Raspberry and hot fudge sundae almost!

Iron Cupcake Challenge: BASIL

Where I work I have a gourmet foodie that I like to throw ideas at...he's my Jeffery Steingarten of sorts (you know the cranky judge on Iron Chef?). When I told him the ingredient for this month's Iron Cupcake challenge, he told me I was being ridiculous. And once I brought in the cupcakes...he resinded that remark! I'll be the first to admit I was scared of this ingredient, but I was VERY pleased with how they came out! Buttermilk Pound Cupcakes w/Lemon Basil syrup cake: 1 1/4 c sugar 1/2 c shortening 1/8 t salt 3 eggs 1/3 t soda 1/2 T warm water 1/2 c buttermilk 1 1/2 c flour 1 t vanilla Oven at 325 degrees. Cream sugar, shortening and salt. Add eggs, one at a time. Dissolve soda in warm water, then add to mix. Add and beat in buttermilk and vanilla. And and beat in the flour. Since this is poundcake and not your typical fluffy riser cupcake, I filled 3/4s of the way full. Baked for about 25 minutes. (until toothpick test was clean) Let cool. Lemon Basil syrup 1 1/4 c sugar 1 1/2 c water 1/2 c lemon juice 8 springs basil Cook mixture in saucepan until sugar dissolves (don't let boil). Spoon syrup over cooled cupcakes. I poked holes in the tops of my cupcakes with a fork and applied the syrup liberally. Topped then with Fresh Whipped cream (heavy cream, 4 T of powdered sugar, and about a T of the lemon/basil syrup). It's up for a vote! And if I win, I get a bunch of cool prizes!! An awesome cupcake ring from Metal Sugar, a Cupcake Courier (I REALLY need one of these!!), a snazzy Jessie Steele apron, 2 new cookbooks (like you can ever have too many!) from Taste of Home and Hello, Cupcake, and some really cute Head Chefs from Fiesta products! To help me win go to The Cupcake Queen's site starting September 28th (through October 1st) and vote for me!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Just cause

can we tell I'm in an avoiding mood today? Can there be such a thing as an avoiding mood...well there is...even if I just made it up. I found the following little food survey on a random link I clicked from the Foodie Blogroll (click for original). Coke or Pepsi? whatever it is..I prefer Diet soda. In my lame attempt to count calories, I've become addicted to it. Thick crust or thin for your Pizza? Thin. I used to be a devoted 'pan' style gal, until I found out from a former PH employee they use 3 CUPS of oil per ONE medium pan style. gag. Rare or Well Done for you steak? Well-ish. Not Medium well...Well-ish. I don't want it to be leathery and really hard to chew, but I can't handle much pink at all. Hot Dogs or Hamburgers? Hamburger..well no..CHEESEburger. Ketchup or Mustard on your hot dog? When I do Hotdogs..I have to have Eckrich brand. Yes, I'm that picky (I'm Eckrich all the way on bologna too, and I"ll only eat it fried)-and um..I like Miracle Whip on my dogs. I'm not adverse to a good Hebrew National at a baseball game..and in that case..mustard and relish. Wow..did I even answer the question? Cake or Pie? Both. I can't lie...my baking roots started in Pie, but I do so love Cake as well. Brownies with a fine, glossy crust, or soft cake brownies? um, neither. I like chewy brownies. Nuts in the brownies? No, thank you. Vanilla or Chocolate ice cream? Vanilla soft serve, but Chocolate otherwise. I find that Vanilla that you buy at the store tends to get foamy quick (blech). I love a good homemade any flavor though. Blue cheese or ranch dressing with your Buffalo wings? Blue when I can get it. But Ranch will do in a pinch. Soup or Salad? Salads mostly. Depends greatly on the soup. At Olive Garden...I go all out and get both. I love their Zuppa Toscana. Butter on your Popcorn? Yes, please. I want it drenched. Pork or Beef barbecue? pulled pork/beef brisket. I'm a bbq fan. Coffee or tea? when I'm at work I'll drink a cup of coffee. I love herbal teas, but I'm really too lazy to make them. Beer from a can or a bottle? NOT a beer gal generally. Again..at a baseball game,but even then not usually. Oreos or Hydrox? Oreos...ALL the way...anything else is a faux-reo. Little Debbie or Hostess? yes please. LD's got it on the Oatmeal Creme Pies, but Hostess and their Orange Cupcakes...dang. Bacon or Sausage? I heart pork. Both..and plenty of it. Eggs Scrambled or Fried? Yes. Seriously..if I weren't so into baked good..I really could be a pro at the Adkin's diet. I'm tagging anyone that thinks it's fun enough to post it themselves.....

Review and preview

This past weekend was Husby's best friends birthday, so we went out to celebrate. Twice. First we met them (and some of their family) at Westport Flea Market. It was good company and good food. Husby had a philly cheesesteak (he's on a huge kick of those lately), and I had the KC Famous Chicken Panini...carmelized onions, grilled chicken, red peppers, and gooey cheese all squished into some thin foccacia. Yum! The sammies were accompanied by curly fries..which we opted to put cheese on..b/c come on..cheese makes EVERYTHING better! That evening we reunited (sans babies) for a wine tasting at Wines by Jennifer. Oddly enough I had worked in Parkville at one point, but never really discovered how many quaint shops and such it had until later on. Where Husby, BF and wife opted for the wine tasting menu (6 wines from various French regions-2 whites/4 reds)-I went for a Riesling. To me it's like ordering Chicken Strips at a new restaurant-you know you'll like them, it's a safety pick. I know I like Riesling, and I was very happy with it indeed (I actually think it was a German one...). During the tasting we had some yummy treats-beef summer sausage, an assortment of 5 different cheeses (available there in the store, but from Osceola Cheese (which is heaven for me, btw...) black pepper cheddar, chocolate cheese (that's right..you read it right.), cranberry cheddar (my favorite of the plate), dill Havarti, and for the life of me I can't remember #5. We also had baked Brie...but it wasn't your ordinary...so good. Jennifer shared with us how she made it.... Pillsbury Cresent Roll dough slices of Brie spicy apricot spread lay out a triangle of dough, put some of the spread on, put the cheese in, and top with another triangle of dough...baked til golden. It was awesome!!! Yumm! Jennifer has a HUGE wine selection, cleverly separated into different regions by room (and decorated accordingly too)-cute wine themed shirts/hats, and a little food shop with cheese and other noms,it really is such a charming shop and experience! If you find yourself in the KC area and are into wine, it's a must stop! While Husby and I didn't take a bottle of wine home, we did take a bag of Pretzel Dippers home (the Onion Blossom Horseradish flavor...loved it!). They are from Robert Rothschild Farm (most of the stuff in her food shop is). And from the link I discovered he's also got gourmet cupcake mixes...might have to try that out! Coming up...Chicken Tenders...two ways!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nex time...food..I promise!

One more 'non' edible post real quick! A few months ago I was one of the lucky chosen in a contest held by CB where she was giving away two cupcake rhinestone iron-ons! After much deliberation (onesie for the babe, shirt for me, bag, towel, etc)...I put it on my apron! Now to be honest, I'm not really an apron wearer (gasp!)-but I don't think a kitchen is really complete with out one! So hanging, ever so sweetly on my baker's rack (how fitting) is my not so plain-ol apron anymore! Thanks CB!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Giddy with anticipation...

Yesterday I checked my email and had one of the "Amazon has shipped your order" messages. *giggles* And I know, I KNOW, you anti-mixers will boo me...but I'm so freaking excited for this book! When I have time (seriously, what IS that when you work full time and have a 5mo old?) I love to scratch bake..but in a pinch..I love the altered mixes. And honestly..I've NEVER scratch baked one that is as moist as a mix-baked. Sad but true. So don't hate me....but I'm sure I'll be sharing some of the recipes out of this cookbook with you! Maybe those of you who are (let's face it) smarter and more patient than I am-can figure out the scratch way around it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Check it out!

Notice anything new? well....except for the new 'cleaner' layout..I'm now a member of the Foodie Blogroll! Yay! I was seriously considering a baking hiatus...since April when my daughter made her debut..instead of LOSING the baby weight (well ok..I lost a good amount), I've picked up 6lbs that I don't need, and esp don't want! Boo! Along with my normal baking stuff, I'm also going to start posting general 'meals' and quick tips I've found along the way...so stay tuned!