Sep
25

Hi.

How was your week?

Mine was pretty fabulous, thanks for asking. (You’re just so nice, I knew you would).

I hope you are feeling fabulous too!

 

You know there is a story behind these cupcakes. But first let’s start with why I made them.

Well you know how I said I was fabulous, and you may just be wondering why that is. Let me tell you it seems that everything does happen for a reason.

The choices we make lead to the places we end up. For me, things are beginning to fall right into place.  It’s weird how that happens all of a sudden.

But they happen and you can only wonder why, but when you know things are good, it’s happiness.  And it’s been an explosion of happiness lately!

First of all, I got my first pumpkin spice latte of the season.  Put that on your Fall to-do list. ASAP. Top that baby with whip cream and sprinkle with cinnamon. Happy day ahead.

Besides that, I made risotto for the first time. Perhaps I’ll post that so you can enjoy too!

I’ve also have a lot of potential career changes coming up that I’m pretty excited about. Okay, that’s an understatment. I’ve been incredibly crazy happy! More details to come on this later friends.

Lastly, I’m going to start contributing to The Bakery Spot. I’ll be writing about all things bakery. Now come on, how perfect is that?  I hope you check it out!

Anyway, I was feeling pretty fabulous about all above the above. Of course you know that calls for a celebration with sinful sweets. Duh.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes 

…Topped with Raspberry Whip Cream

 

Read more.


Sep
21

How do you know when you are a grown up?

Is it when you start drinking coffee? Maybe it’s when you start doing your own laundry or when you move out of your parents house? How about when you learn to cook fancy meals?

But maybe you aren’t grown up until you get married? Maybe you have to get a big kid job in the city and own a ritzy car and house.

Who has the answer?

Even if you do, don’t tell me.  You’ll ruin my fun.

See I think I’m still a kid at heart and I’d like to remain that way for a while.  I’m happy making other people happy.  If that involves  making fancy pies and exotic banana bread, then great.  But I could always be happy with a giant bowl of tomato soup or a peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich.

Comfort food love. Kid style.

Confession: sometimes I put marshmallows in the microwave when I don’t have a fire.  This is entertaining only for about 10 seconds because they expand to look like balloons. However, they don’t have that crispy brown roast flavor like when you put them over a fire.

But it’s Fall now, so I can make s’mores that are perfectly golden and warm.

Plus, I was kinda feeling fancy and made Homemade Cinnamon Graham Crackers

But I felt like I wanted something a little more grown up than your typical s’more.

Read more.


Sep
18

There are so many wonderful things about Fall.  Most of them involve food.

Fall baking, Halloween, Thanksgiving, apple picking, pumpkin carving.  I can’t wait!

I highly suggest spending one day doing the following:

Throw on oversized sweatpants and a sweatshirt and cuddle up with a nice big mug of Mexican Hot Chocolate with lots of marshmallows.  Do not worry about hair or make up.  You’ll be watching chick flicks anyway from dawn until dusk.

You could get fancy and throw in a batch of Dark Chocolate Brownies.  If you get lonely and want friends over, then make Sea Salted Caramel Brownies. Also… you might want to peep in a mirror or take a shower.

Now it is Fall so you might want to consider baking Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Obviously bound to be a favorite.

… but since you are a great host (of course), you’ll need to make the perfect Fall meal first.

How about a Quick & Spicy Tomato Soup from Giada? Viola! Warm and delicious Italian.

But wait! You’ll need an appetizer to keep blood sugar levels stable and to keep friends happy.

And of course, what’s better than my Roasted Eggplant & Zucchini Bruschetta with Basil and Feta on toast?

The combination of all of the above makes a great meal for that relaxing Fall day, even if you aren’t watching The Notebook.

But seriously, invite me over if you are.

  Read more.


Sep
16

Has something you created ever started out as nothing special and turned out to be extraordinary?

Example: putting sea salt on chocolate and baking items.  Whoever started that was pure genius. Chocolate turned into sensational magic that becomes best friends with sea salt and dances with your tastebuds.

I need to start making some genius decisions that turn things into extraorinary magic like that.

Example: Dining with Shamu.

I went to Seaworld while in California, and you can actually dine with Shamu!

I wish I could have had dinner with Shamu. As long as I wasn’t on the menu, it would have been one of those extraordinary genius decision things.

But, what about decisions to help you live better and be healthier?  That could be pretty genius, right?

Small decisions yield BIG results people.

Read more.


Sep
12

Sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile, I just got done visiting my grandparents.  It was an amazing trip.  I’ve picked a few highlights to share with all of you!

 Yoga at 10,000 feet on top of the Sandia mountains

This was the perfect day.  My grandpa drove my Mom and I to the Sandia mountains.  I packed my Grandpa a Ham & Swiss sandwich, which he loved of course.  Afterwards we went to a small thrift store, where I found some old cookbooks and random treasures.

Visiting a french pastry shop. Yum.

I found this place in Santa Fe.  It was absolutely fantastic! I think the best part of it were the amazing crepes. Blueberry, raspberry, and nutella too. Highly recommended.

Eating authentic Mexican street food

The best part of the southwest is the amazing Mexican food. I love spicy food, so of course I didn’t mind eating it everynight. Mmmm Sopapillas, tamales, and green chile!  My grandma gave me some of her recipes. Look for them soon!

riding the train to Santa Fe

This might have been my favorite day.  We took the train to Santa Fe and shopped in the plaza and in old town.  It was full of unique street vendors selling food, jewelry, and art.  It’s easy to fall in love with the culture.

The zoo with my Grandparents

 Look at these cuties! We got to spend the day at the zoo.  My grandpa even found a wild snake wandering around. He’s such a sly guy. I’ll miss them.

 

I wish vacations didn’t end… What would you do if they didn’t?

I’d eat waffles every morning. Maybe even for dinner.

Read more.


Sep
04

We had a solid two years together, but I think oatmeal and I are breaking up.

We spent nearly every morning together. Sometimes with peaches or bananas, but most of the time it was with cinnamon and blueberries.

I used to love waking up just so I could have it, but then I got bored.  And this girl can never be bored.  For reals.

This could be because I started thinking about all those remarkable breakfasts I had before oatmeal came into my life.  They were delightful and spontaneous.  They were fun.

…Crispy banana stuffed French toast, melt in your  mouth buttermilk Belgian waffles topped with peanut butter, and of course those oversized bagels that were completely heavenly when toasted.

Yep, it’s time to get back to that.

I’m going on a breakfast binge.  And I’m starting with this bread.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

I’ll keep it simple. This bread is extra delicious for those are fond of cinnamon rolls yet probably shouldn’t to eat one every morning. That’s me. The smell of cinnamon toast is an amazing way to start the morning. Yowza.

But watch out this bread is good. Too damn good.

Toast it to perfection and top with your choice of spreadable love. Do it now.

Read more.


Sep
01

My Grandma told my Grandpa when she was in 6th grade that she was going to marry him.  Now they’ve been married for almost 60 years.  How incredible is that?

I’m visiting them in New Mexico right now. The tumbleweeds are just as common as the Walmarts here.  Definitely not tropical.

I have been laughing non-stop since I got here though. For instance, my 76 year old Grandma does Zumba. I witnessed it today. Certainly was a sight.

Whatever she is doing though, it works. She woke up at 7am, did Zumba, and made me authentic Spanish rice.  Not many Grandmas pump it out to hip hop these days.  She puts spice into each day with her active lifestyle.

Thanks Grandma for being so sassy.  You inspire me to keep grooving.

But now, back to you.

Let’s get YOU groovy Like healthy delicious groovy.

Brown Bag ChallengeThe Food Netowork is teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

It’s easy and the Food Network has some great resources to help you stay on track including recipes, nutrition advice and a lot more!

I’ve thought 3 reasons why you should do this:

1. You can lose weight before all of the holidays and be really ridiculously good looking while you pile turkey in your mouth at Thanksgiving.  People will wonder how you do it.

2. If you’re single, you can attract a potential boy/girl with really delicious food that you will learn how to cook. If you’re attached, you can cook these meals together and both save money for a lovely evening of champagne poppin.

3. You can save about five dollars a day.  That’s 100 a month.  That’s a massage. Or clothes. Or some really expensive bubbly. Cha Ching.

Please excuse all the alcohol references, clearly I’m craving wine right now.

Don’t you love a good challenge?

I knew you would.

Alright, time to get your dancing shoes on and play that salsa music, because I made a healthy little Mexican dish to knock your socks off!

Maybe even some pounds too…

Easy & Healthy Mexican Chicken Soup
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
An easy and healthy soup with chicken and mexican spices.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 pound of cooked shredded chicken breast
  • 1 can of corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 - 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, mince
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce or Hot salsa (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place a soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil.  Add onions, green pepper, red pepper, garlic, jalapenos and cook until just tender.
  2. Next add chicken broth, water, tomatoes, and red pepper; cook about 15 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  3. Add cooked chicken, corn, black beans, cumin, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and oregano. Add salt to taste and Tabasco sauce or salsa if you’d like it spicer.
  4. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with baked tortilla chips. Garnish with avocado, cilantro, low fat cheese, or low fat sour cream if desired.
  6. Makes about 6 servings.


Aug
28

Pancakes in the morning. Ice Cream every other Sunday from Dairy Queen. Animal humane society visits. After school reading. Nature walks. Kite flying. Watching scary movies together. Poking fun at Grandma. Doing math homework. Making sandwiches. Watching America’s Most Wanted. Cooking fried chicken. Going to the State Fair.

Those are some of my favorite memories with my Dad.

He was special. No, actually he was more than that…  He was extraordinary.

One of my favorite pictures, my Dad and I at the Minnesota State Fair

 

My Dad had bright blue eyes, a big smile, and a voice that could fill any room.

He was the type of person who loved getting up early in the morning, just so he could enjoy the day longer.  The type of person who knew to enjoy the sunlight and appreciate every hour, every moment.

In my eyes, he could do anything.  He could fix my brakes, paint my room, bake the best yellow cake, give advice on life, and even make me laugh in my worst moments.

 

Four years ago on August 29th, 2007, I lost my Dad.  A day that I never knew was coming until I got a phone call.  I’ll never forget it.

But, I’ll also never forget how much he influenced me and made me the person I am today.   How much he is still present in my life.

I think of him often and miss him.  I wish he could have seen me graduate college, begin my career, and even this blog.  I know he would have been proud.

And so I bake.  I bake for the memories. I bake for joy.  I bake to soothe my soul.

I bake for you Dad.

 

Dad always loved a classic yellow cake with chocolate.

Bake these. Say I love you with them. Say Happy Birthday with them. Say thank you with them.

They’re extraordinary cupcakes, for something or someone extraordinary.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Dad's Extraordinary Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Cupcake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A yellow cupcake made special by my Dad.
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup whole or 2% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh coffee
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. You can also double the recipe to make a 9 x 13 pan cake or 24 cupcakes.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Put aside for later.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
  4. Next add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until smooth. Pour batter into cupcake liners, do not fill more than halfway. You may have extra mix left over.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 23-27 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out nearly all the way clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Makes about 12 cupcakes.
  6. For the ganache: put the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and coffee in a microwavable bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time until melted. Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache.


Aug
25

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking about the title of this post.  But before I can explain it, I have to tell you something.

I’m completely jealous right now. Like green eyed full of envy jealousy.

The blogger that inspired me to create my own blog, Emily from SugarPlum, is doing something that food bloggers only dream about… She’s cooking with Giada De Laurentiis! Big congrats Emily, you deserve it!

I love Giada. She’s authentic, adorable and she puts Italian words into English conversation. Plus she’s an amazing chef.  I’ve been watching her religiously on the Food Network.  Ridiculously addicting.

The Food Network is taking over.

Sandwich King, Giada, Bobby Flay, Paula… oh and Cupcake Wars! What a great show. I even emailed the people from Cupcake Wars to see if I could compete on the show, but they said you need to have your own business. Well guess what, my ‘business’ is baking ridiculously amazing cupcakes. Just ask my mom, friends, or my dog.

What? Animals have rights. And Lucky loves cupcakes. Point is, the Food Network is missing out on my lovely cupcakes.

But this isn’t about cupcakes or Giada.

This is about potatoes. Sweet ones. With a little bit of spice. Okay, okay and everything nice. Just cause I made them for you. ha.

Spicy sweet potato fries.

Super easy, super healthy. And they are super super yummy. Wait, what? Super is a weird word.

But listen, if you want to eat healthy and you crave fries, these babies will welcome you with open arms.  Sweet potatoes have lower carbs and they are complex, meaning your body takes longer to digest them. That equates to you feeling fuller, longer.

That also means you won’t be going back for that second piece of pie… or third.  And I’m sure you like making healthy choices.

Or maybe you don’t?

If that’s case, we should become friends.  Because you’ll choose these over Mickey D’s fries any day.

 

Alright…  I’m getting to the blueberry part.

No silly it’s not tomato ketchup, it’s blueberry ketchup. It’s sweet, but salty… and it’s good.  

 

Spicy sweet potato fries and blueberry ketchup: A match made in heaven.

 

 

Where are your favorite french fries from? Do you make your own? Buy them? Are they from a restaurant/fastfood place? 

For Blueberry Ketchup, see recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spicy Sweet Potato Fries with Blueberry Ketchup
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Spicy sweet potato fries paired with a cooling delicious blueberry ketchup.
Ingredients
  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon of chili powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and spray pan with non stick cooking spray.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes to resemble French fries.
  3. Combine sweet potato strips, salt, olive oil, cumin, and chili powder in bowl. Toss with hands so sweet potatoes are fully coated.
  4. Place potato strips on pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and bake another 15 minutes or until fries are crispy and golden.
  6. Serves 4

Aug
22

 

How many times will you drive in your car, laugh at a joke, or hold someone’s hand?

How many sunsets will you watch, thank you notes will you write, or hot chocolates will you drink?

How many times will you fall in love, kiss a stranger, or dance in front of the mirror?

How many lattes will you order, glasses of wine will you drink, or pizza will you eat?

How many nights will you live to remember?

AND How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? Does anyone have the answer?

Truthfully, I always wondered as a kid how long it would take to get to the center. I think I tried it once but gave up after 100 licks and ate the pop in one bite. What delicious little tootsie roll pops they were though.

But really, do you ever wonder what life will be like in the future for you? What you’ll be doing? If you’ll have the same people in your life?  The same opinions? The same choices? Who you’ll meet? Where you’ll live? What you’ll be known and remembered for?

I do. 

Sometimes I think I should have gone to culinary school.  Yet sometimes I don’t want to cook at all. Sometimes I wonder if I’m making the right choices; choosing the right path for myself.  Sometimes I like going to movies and other times I like reading magazines.  Sometimes I feel like oatmeal instead of pie or red velvet cupcakes instead of broccoli. Sometimes I want to run, sometimes I prefer yoga.

But sometimes I really want ice cream.  Like big time cravings. It’s as though pints of ice cream dancing around my head.  It was like that for a weeks, so I ran to Target and bought an ice cream maker.  Now I’m content.  No more wondering.

In fact, I’ve learned that giving up something isn’t as hard as it seems.  Little changes create big results.  That goes for anything, really.

….that’s exactly why they make frozen yogurt, right?

Tastes just like ice cream, except you can have more and it’s healthy for you! Simple swap.

 

Ooo lala, I know you just fell head over heels in love. Or you will after you try this.

I made this using raspberries, fat free greek yogurt, honey, and dark chocolate chips.  It was creamy irresistible love at first bite.  I can’t get enough.  I’ll be making this again and again.

What’s your favorite ice cream/frozen yogurt flavor or brand?  Please share in the comments and like me on Facebook here.

 

Raspberry Greek Frozen Yogurt with Dark Chocolate
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Frozen Yogurt
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Delicious, refreshing frozen greek yogurt with raspberries and a drizzle of dark chocolate. Easy to make and healthy too!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of fat free Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 packet of sugar substitute such as Truvia
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
Instructions
  1. Blend yogurt, raspberries, and lemon juice in blender.
  2. Taste and add honey depending on how sweet you'd like your yogurt and blend. Next, add Truvia if desired.
  3. Pour in ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
  4. Once frozen yogurt is done, melt chocolate chips in microwave for 20 seconds. Stir. Melt for another 15 seconds or until melted. Stir again.
  5. Place frozen yogurt in bowl and add raspberries and spoon dark chocolate glaze over the top. Serves 4.

 
 
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