Hello, Cupcake

We’re living out of a hotel. Still. It’s been almost 3 weeks! The last time I cooked was almost 2 months ago and the last time I baked was on Thanksgiving Day, so bare with me while I post old recipes and reviews. The thing is… We bought a house. I feel like a grown up! Anyways, usually it takes about 90 days for a house to close, but the people have rushed it for us and we’re really hoping to move in before Christmas. Now, that would take a miracle! If we aren’t able to move in by the holiday, we should be in before the new year so there’s still a silver of hope. Even if we were to move in, no real cooking will be done since we still need to purchase a refrigerator and would need to call transportation to bring our goods!

Anyways, DH is on leave for 10 days and every day we drive to look at our house and then just explore the area. Today, we went out to Tacoma and checked out Hello, Cupcake before heading out to Puyallup to turn in some paperwork. The shop is so adorable! The decor is simple and cute. They have a small selection of cupcakes to choose from, which makes the decision making a lot easier. I went with a Carrot cupcake and a Mocha cupcake which DH has yet to eat!

The carrot cupcake was really good! A little too much frosting imo, but the cake itself was moist and every flavorful.

Hello, Cupcake
1740 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402

Confetti Cupcakes

I made these back in July for DH’s 28th birthday. The cupcake itself was moist and delicious, but the almond extract was a little overpowering, so I wouldn’t put as much as the recipe suggests.

Confetti Cupcakes
Original recipe from Gimme Some Oven

Cupcake Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
up to 4 Tbsp. milk or heavy cream

Method:

To Make Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 12 muffin cups with paper liners or cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir together until combined and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites to the bowl and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated. Fold in the sprinkles with a spatula.

Use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to fill each baking cup 2/3 full of batter. Bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Then frost if desired.

To Make Frosting:

In a large stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Gradually add 3 cups of powdered sugar on low speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

If your frosting is too thin, add remaining sugar. If your frosting is too thick, add a teaspoon of milk at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

La Patisserie

My husband recently was on a short business trip to Texas and I begged him to bring back some Macarons. Macarons are non-existent where I currently live and having him bring home a huge box was like him buying me the most exquisite diamond money can buy.

DH brought back a box of 12. The first night I ate about 2-3 and nibbled on 4 more. They’re pretty pricey at about $2.05 each. I couldn’t even identify some of the flavors, but my favorites were Rose, Caramel Fleur de Sel and Lavender. My least favorite was their Lemon, Vanilla and Chocolate.

La Patisserie
602 W Annie St
Austin, TX 78704

Website: La Patisserie

Red Curry Coconut Shrimp

I recently started a new job last Friday and on days I do work, I can’t seem to find the time to make anything delicious and when I’m off, I just want to laze around. On a lazy Thursday (last week), in sheer of desperation to make something delicious, I kind of played around with this recipe. In the end, it turned out pretty good, but a little too sweet and I wish we had a grill to grill up the shrimp instead.

Red Curry Coconut Shrimp

1 pound bag frozen shrimp, thawed, shelled and deveined (i used frozen)
3-4 scoops of red curry paste
1/2 can of coconut milk
1 TBsp brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together and let it marinade for about 30 minutes. Heat up a TBsp of canola oil til hot and cook the shrimp til opaque. Set aside. Pour rest of marinade into the same pan and heat it up. Add rest of coconut milk and more red curry paste if needed. Throw shrimp back into sauce for a minute. Serve with jasmine rice and garnish with green onions.

Broccoli and Sausage Pasta

Happy Mother’s Day! We had a low key day and took the pups out to Alexandria Bay. When dinner came around, I was feeling pretty lazy and remembered this recipe posted on TPW. This meal was quick, easy and healthy to boot!


Broccoli and Sausage Pasta
Original recipe from Good Life Eats

2 cups broccoli florets, cooked till tender crisp
3 links mild italian sausage
1 red onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, more if you like
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces Ronzoni garden delight radiatore pasta, cooked according to package instructions

In a large saute pan, drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Add the sausage, cooking until browned on all sides. Remove sausage and slice into rounds. Return to pan. Add onion to the sausage and saute until the onion is tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, making sure to scrape up all the browned bits. pasta, and broccoli. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with crushed red pepper. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

Roast Chicken with Potatoes in Creme Fraiche Chive Sauce

A simple dinner for a busy Wednesday night. The chicken was seasoned with salt and pepper than rubbed down with softened butter mixed with thyme and garlic paste. I stuffed the cavity with half a onion, lemon slices, thyme and 2 garlic cloves.

The potatoes in Creme Fraiche Chive sauce was so good!! I misread the recipe and added a whole container of creme fraiche instead of 1/4 cup. Overall, still delicious and it went fabulously with the chicken.

Creme Fraiche Chive Sauce
Original recipe from Mycookinghut

1 lb. petite idaho potatoes
1 cup crème fraîche
1/2 fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp minced chives
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on their size (test doneness with a fork).

2. When the potatoes are done, drain all the water and let them sit in the pot for five minutes to steam and dry.

3. Whisk together the crème fraîche, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and chives in a small bowl until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Halve or quarter the potatoes, if large and toss with the crème fraiche mixture.

Chipotle Inspired Rice Bowl

I love Chipotle and I think the one in Syracuse is closed :( I was lucky to find Gina’s recipe for her Fiesta Lime Rice. The components were just like the rice bowl I use to get at Chipotle so I added a little more lime juice than the recipe called for, topped it with salsa and mashed avocado (seasoned with salt&pepper to taste and a lime juice). And it tastes exactly like Chipotle’s rice bowl!

Chipotle Inspired Rice Bowl
Original Recipe from Gina

2 cups cooked long grain rice
1 can black beans, rinsed and heated
1 cup corn, heated
1 large tomato, diced
1 large scallion, diced fine
2-4 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 fresh squeezed lime juice
salt to taste

Mix everything in a bowl! Top with homemade or pre-made salsa and guacamole (or mashed avocado).

Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

DH has staff duty tonight and I really needed a simple yet portable dish to bring him and Gina had the perfect dish, Asian Peanut Noodles. One of the best things about this dish is that you can eat it at room temperature or even cold the next day for lunch.

Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken
Original recipe from Gina

Peanut Sauce:

* 1 1/2 cups fat free chicken broth
* 6 tbsp peanut butter
* 1 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce
* 2 tbsp honey
* 2 tbsp soy sauce
* 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Chicken:

* 16 oz chicken breast, cut into thin strips
* salt and pepper (to taste)
* 1 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce (more or less to taste)
* juice of 1/2 lime
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
* 1 tbsp soy sauce
* 8 oz rice noodles (I used rice stick noodles)

Veggies:

* 3/4 cup green onion, chopped
* 1 1/4 cups shredded carrots
* 1 1/4 cups cup shredded broccoli slaw
* 2 tbsp chopped peanuts
* 1 lime, sliced
* cilantro for garnish (optional)

For the peanut sauce: Combine 1 1/2 cup chicken broth, peanut butter, sriracha, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat stirring occasionally until sauce becomes smooth and well blended, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

Boil water for the noodles cook pasta according to package instructions.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, sriracha, lime, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.

Heat a large skillet or wok until hot. Add oil and sauté chicken on high heat until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes; remove from heat and set aside. Add 2 cloves crushed garlic, scallions, carrots, broccoli slaw and/or bean sprouts and salt, sauté until tender crisp, about 1-2 minutes.

Mix everything together in a large bowl.

Festive Easter Cupcakes

I hope everyone had a great Easter whether you celebrate it or not. We don’t celebrate, but the FRG held an Easter potluck on Friday for the families and I brought 4 dozen cupcakes. 2 dozen was Vanilla Bean Confetti Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting, some decorated with sprinkles. And the other 2 dozen was just a white cake mix and I layered it with Easter colors with pre-made Fluffy White frosting decorated with pastel candy corn and speckled m&m’s.

The cupcakes at the potluck were not a hit mainly because just about everyone that came after me brought cupcakes! The next day my friend invited me to an Easter dinner and the cupcakes were a huge hit with the kids! The confetti cupcakes went very well with the adults. Then again, I did bring S’more Cookies :)

Vanilla Bean Cupcake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

For the cupcakes:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (you can use vanilla extract)
1 cup milk
Sprinkles (optional for the Confetti)

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp. heavy cream

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla bean paste. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Coconut Pork with Apricot Sauce

This was so good. SO GOOD! The original recipe called for chicken and I mistakenly overlooked that and was so sure it said pork. This was the last family meal I made before my brother-in-law left the following day and to me it was a huge hit!

Coconut Pork with Apricot Sauce
Original Recipe from Pennis on a Platter

1 egg
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 boneless pork scaloppini
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly beat the egg in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix the coconut, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip the chicken in the bowl with the beaten egg and then coat with the coconut mixture. Place on the baking sheet. Once all chicken breasts are coated and on the baking sheet, evenly drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping once halfway.

To prepare the apricot sauce, mix the apricot preserves and the Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.