Wednesday, March 26, 2014

confetti cupcakes

Cupcakes & Sprinkles - that combo can make anyone happy - even a Wisconsinite who hasn't seen the sun in 5 months, who hasn't worn pants with a waist in weeks and who is ready to burn her down coat, huge winter boots and 5 million hats, just so she doesn't have to wear them for another day.

Yep, these cupcakes made me happy, however, they did not help me out at all with my pants problem.  

CUPCAKES (From Sally's Baking Addiction)

1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in sugar and chill in the refrigerator for 1 minute. Stir in egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick. Slowly stir in sprinkles, but do not over mix because the sprinkles will bleed their color.

Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners (or 24 mini) and bake for up to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake for 8-9 minutes if making mini cupcakes. Allow to cool.

For the frosting, I used my favorite buttercream recipe (It is always the same people!!)

Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
2 tsp almond extract
4-5 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
2-5 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Beat the butter and salt until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the almond and 2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream. Sift the sugar and then add cup by cup until you have reached the desired sweetness. Beat the frosting 15-20 minutes. Add more cream as needed.
Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Beet, Carrot, Apple and ginger juice

With our kitchen under construction I am limited to what I can make. So after enjoying pizza, burgers and beer all weekend I decided one thing I could do was make some juices! Jenny had been raving about a beet juice she had made and I thought I would give it a try. It was delicious and has been a great start to my day. Although the research is new on beet juice, some studies are showing it is an excellent source of antioxidants and nitrates helping to reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow throughout the body. This improves blood flow to your brain, muscles, heart and more. Yes Please!!

1 beat
1 green apple
3 whole carrots
1 tablespoon ginger *(optional)

Using a Juicer, juice above ingredients and enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

banana coconut muffins

Coconutty Heaven. 

My rotten bananas were turned into coconutty heaven.

That is all I am going to say except for MAKE THEM. 

Banana Coconut muffins

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (3/4 cup)
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup greek yogurt (I like use banana or coconut flavored)!!
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line muffin cups with liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together bananas, butter, sugar, egg, yogurt, vanilla, and 3/4 cup coconut in a large bowl until combined well, then fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened.

Divide batter among lined muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut. Bake until muffins are puffed and golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer muffins to a rack and cool slightly.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cauliflower Soup

Yep, still winter here in Wi.  Yep, still want to eat everything in the house to make myself feel warm and comforted.  Nope - pants with a waist are not my favorite right now.   

A healthy vegetable soup recipe that could solve all of my problems (well, maybe) - Yes, I'll try it! 
I  made this cauliflower soup recipe last night and it was delicious. Warm, creamy and packed full of veggies. I decided to puree the soup because my girls prefer to eat it smooth vs. chunky, but feel free to eat it either way!

Cauliflower Soup

1 & 1/2 medium heads of cauliflower, broken into florets
3 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups low-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, optional

In a large stock pot, combine the cauliflower, carrot, celery and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender (do not drain).
In another large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat. Stir in the cheese until melted. Add hot pepper sauce if desired. Stir into the cauliflower mixture.  Use a immersion blender and blend the mixture until smooth. Serve and enjoy! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring Party Favors

Dan was out of town 2 weekends ago, so I took the girls to Home Depot for their community kids workshop.  I had never been to one before and we had an absolute blast.  The girls (with mucho help from me!) used a hammer and screw driver to make a wooden bank! By the end of it we were covered in paint and in desperate need of a snack.  On our way out, I walked past the sparse garden department and some adorable mini-succulents caught my eye.  The girls were super close to melt-down mode, so I grabbed a flat, quickly selected 12 plants and got the heck out of there.

What to do with 12 adorable mini-succulent plants???  Use them as table decor and party favors!
I wrapped them in brown craft paper and tied them with jute twine, to dress-up the plastic pots.  I loved the way they looked on the table and it was nice to send our guests home with something at the end of the night!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

personalize a thrift store vase

I try to have fresh flowers every week. Nothing fancy (usually from the grocery store or Costco), but they make me super happy, especially this time of year, when spring seems like it is still years away.

I was getting tired of using my same old circular or cubed short vases, so the last time I went to St. Vinny's I grabbed a few cut glass vases for 60 cents a piece. I wanted these new (old) vases to have a rustic/glam look so I took some twisted jute twine, and my glue gun and got to work.

I secured one end of the jute twine to the glass with the glue gun, and wrapped the twine around the vase until I had the desired coverage.  I then used the glue gun to secure the loose end to the vase, so it wouldn't unravel. 

Ta-da! Instant vase makeover. You could get super crazy and use ribbon, ric-rack or even fabric.  The possibilities are endless and for 60 cents a vase, why not experiment?!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Healthy Waffles

The cold weather and snow in Denver has made me crave warm comfort food.  And with our kitchen demolition starting tomorrow, I tried to make the most of my last days of cooking and baking for a month. I was trying to use up all I could in our cabinets to cut down on the packing we had to do, making our favorites: granola and cookies. Saturday morning, before we starting the packing, in our last effort we made these delicious waffles. They are very filling and the perfect weekend treat topped with strawberries.  We only had almond milk in the refrigerator, which ended up being a tasty, must try substitution. Recipe adapted from wholeliving.

4 servings
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons flaxseed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon course salt
1 1/2 cups almond milk or low fat milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat waffle iron. Mix flour, flaxseed, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl mix milk oil, egg and vanilla. Combine two mixtures and mix until just combined. Pour in waffle maker and cook until golden brown.