Category Archives: Holidays

Happy St. Paddys’ Day 2013: Green Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I hope you all have had a great St. Patrick’s Day weekend this year!  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I ran the Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon (my 10th half!).  The next race I’ll be participating in is the Rock ‘n Roll Nashville Half Marathon in April.  I can’t wait to spend the weekend with some of my girlfriends (who live near and far), including these two awesome bloggers: Becky and Lianne.  If you have any Nashville suggestions for us, please send them my way!  Anyone running this race?

Earlier this week we had some friends over for dinner, and although we made Mexican for the main dish- I thought we needed a something green to brighten up the dessert.  Of course, Pinterest inspired me to try a new cupcake recipe, and fortunately it turned out delicious and green!

Today’s celebration included Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner.  We topped it off with a small dessert- the last 2 green cupcakes to celebrate another great St. Paddy’s Day weekend.

Green Cupcake

Green Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Inspired & Adapted from: She Wears Many Hats & AllRecipes.com
Serving: 24 mini-cupcakes

For this recipe, I used the same frosting (just smaller amount) as I used on the Banana & Chocolate Chip Cake.

Cupcakes
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 package of Jell-o Pistachio Instant Pudding mix

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a stand mixer cream together sugar and butter.  Then stir in the eggs, one at a time; then add a vanilla and baking powder.  Stir in the flour and mix well.  Next, add in the milk, and mix until the batter is smooth.  Lastly, add in the Jell-o Pistachio Instant Pudding mix, combine well.

Spray the cupcake tin with cooking spray.  Then fill in each cupcake compartment halfway with batter.

I used the mini-cupcake tins, so I baked the cupcakes for 15 minutes.  If you’re using a different sized tin, add additional time.  The best way to check for doneness is to insert a toothpick into the center for the dough, if it comes out clean- it is done.  After they are done baking, take them out of the oven.  Allow them to cool before taking them out of the tin or decorating with frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a stand mixer.  Finally, add in the powdered sugar, a little at a time (otherwise it’ll make a mess).

Happy Pi Day!

It’s March 14th, and you know what that means?  It’s Pi Day!  (3.141592)

This is actually one of Sam’s favorite numbers, so we had to have a little celebration.  We’ve made a number of pie’s over the years, but our favorite is Sam’s speciality, the Rhubarb-Blueberry Pie!  We’re enjoying a piece right now and hope you are too!

Rhubarb Blueberry Pie

We’ve also made a Tart Cherry Pie, it was delicious and should be on your list to try this spring!

For other ideas check out The Kitchn for some sweet and savory pies.

Happy Birthday: Banana & Chocolate Chip Cake

I’m not a huge cake person, and I have extremely high standards for them.  Because of this, we didn’t even have a cake at our wedding.  Instead we had fruit tarts- yes, the mini versions of my annual Birthday Fruit Tart for my birthday.

Since I am a bit picky, it was hard to choose the cake for Ben’s (Sam’s brother) birthday.  We had a little get together last Saturday, a couple of days before his actual birthday, and I wanted to make a little treat.

Ben's Birthday Cake

While Sam made a wonderful dinner for Ben and some friends with our new grill, I attempted a cake.  Lucky for me, I was impressed- this turned out great.  The best part of it was that it continued to taste equally delicious (moist, fluffy) days after it came out of the oven.  This cake has the flavor and texture of a banana bread, although a bit more moist, with the addition of chocolate chips and a cream cheese frosting.

Ben's Birthday Cake 2

Banana & Chocolate Chip Cake
Adapted from: Bakers Royale

I’m not a huge fan of frosting, so I don’t use as much.  If you are a frosting-lover, I would double the recipe.

Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup buttermilk
12 oz mini chocolate chips (1 bag)

Frosting
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

In a stand mixer, beat together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until it’s fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time while mixing.  Then mix in the bananas, baking soda and salt, continue mixing.  Next, add in the flour and buttermilk, alternating the two ingredients as you’re pouring it in, continue mixing on low.  Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.

Grease a baking pan with a little bit of butter, then lightly flour it.  If you have two 8-inch round baking pans, divide the batter between them.  If not, pour half of the batter into the pan, bake the first one.  Allow the first to cool and take it out, then bake the second half of the batter.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  Double check to make sure a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.  If it does, then remove the cake from the oven, and allow to cool.  Repeat with the second batter if necessary.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a stand mixer.  Finally, add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time (otherwise it’ll make a mess).

Once the cake has cooled, add some icing in between the two layers.  Then frost the outside and top of the cake.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013

Tune in tomorrow for some exciting news!  Until then, enjoy some chocolates & wine tonight!

Valentine's Day

Need last minute Valentine’s Day dinner ideas?  Check these out:

Appetizers:
Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey
Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Sides:
Shirmp ‘n Grits
Butternut Squash & Pomegranate Panzanella Salad

Main:
Filet Mignon with Bourbon Sauce
Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza
Vegetable Coq au Vin
Brazilian Fish & Shrimp Stew
Green Pea & Pancetta Linguine
Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese
Mac ‘n Cheese with Peas & Prosciutto
Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs & Blue Cheese
Clams and Linguine with White Wine Sauce
Eggplant & Broccolini Pasta Salad

Dessert:
Baklava
Blackberry Coconut Tart
Blueberry-Rhubarb Crumble
Chocolate Mini Lavas
Fruit Tart

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Thai Curry

Do you have Thanksgiving turkey leftovers?  If so, this is the perfect recipe to make a delicious meal this weekend.  I actually made this recipe a week ago, using chicken- but it will taste equally delicious using the turkey leftovers many of you have in the fridge!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving- a wonderful evening with family and friends!  Sam and I, along with his brother enjoyed our dinner at Hill Country BBQ- we had a relaxing, football-watching afternoon!

Are any of you venturing out for Black Friday sales?  I have never done it, and will probably never start my shopping that early.  I prefer to start of my post-Thanksgiving Day with a nice run- especially with the beautiful DC weather today.

Chicken Thai Curry
Adapted from: Cooking Light (Nov 2011)

If you’re not a spicy eater, definitely skip the chili’s (or use less).  Although I used chicken in this recipe, feel free to swap for leftovers turkey or tofu, or skip meat all together.  More veggies are always delicious- so don’t hesitate to add extra’s if you have them in the fridge!

1 cup of basmati rice
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
5 Thai chilies (or less/more)
rind from 1 lime
15 cilantro sprigs
5 garlic cloves
1 inch of ginger, grated
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp olive oil
5 carrots, peeled & grated
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
2 zucchini, coarsely chopped
2-3 cups cooked chicken or turkey (optional)

Cook 1 cup of rice per package instructions.

Combine coriander, cumin, Thai chilies, lime rind, cilantro sprigs, garlic and ginger into a food processor.  Process until all ingredients are finely chopped.  Then add the coconut milk, process until smooth.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add in the carrots and onions, cook and stir occasionally  for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Then add in the coconut mixture, the salt and pepper.  Stirring frequently, increase the heat to high, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture reduces and begins to brown.  Reduce the heat to medium, add in the broth.  Bring to a boil, then stir in the half of the zucchini.  Then simmer for 45 minutes, when the zucchini is tender.

After the zucchini is well cooked, add in the rest of the zucchini and the chicken, cook for about 5 minutes until the meat is thoroughly heated.  Add in the rice, then divide and serve.