Monday, January 26, 2015

Funfetti Cupcakes

This is another one of those posts where you might end up thinking I'm weird. I'm okay with that.

Today is Colin O'Donoghue's 34th birthday and seeing as he is favorite actor/celebrity crush/tv crush/whatever you wanna call him, I decided to share some cupcakes with you today. Funfetti ones, because sprinkles are a requirement for any birthday.



In my world, you can't go wrong with angel food cake. It's light, fluffy, airy and absolutely delicious. And then add some cream cheese frosting on top and you have my idea of heaven. Actually toss in a strawberry and I'll love you forever. But back to the sprinkles. You can never go wrong with sprinkles. I might have 20 different kinds in my pantry. Maybe.

I did intend to find out what Colin's favorite dessert was and share that with you instead today, but if you hadn't noticed celebrities are a little hard to get a hold of. I can't bring myself to be one of those people who repeatedly tweets him during an #ask session, especially since I really just have one question I want to know the answer to, (his favorite dessert) and there aren't nearly enough ways to ask that question. I did scroll through some previous #ask sessions to see if I could find anything, but all I came up with is that he changes his favorite flavor of ice cream. :)

This could will absolutely get long so let's get to the recipe first and then if you're interested in my fangirl musings you can read on after that. Deal?



Funfetti Angel Food Cupcakes
Source: Cooking Classy
Servings: 20
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Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
    • 1/2 cup cake flour
    • 1/8 tsp. salt
    • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
    • 2 1/2 tbsp. warm water
    • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
    • 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
    • 3 1/2 tbsp. rainbow-colored sprinkles, plus more for decoration
    for the frosting:
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • 6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
Directions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 350. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Place sugar into your food processor and pulse until sugar is super fine, about 2 minutes. (Alternately, you could find super-fine sugar {or caster sugar} in the grocery store)
3. Sift the cake flour into a medium bowl with the salt. Sift in half of the sugar.
4. Combine the egg whites, water, vanilla and almond extract and cream of tartar together in the bowl of your stand mixer with a whisk. Turn on the mixer to medium speed and slowly add in the rest of the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to high or until medium peaks form. (Medium peaks are when a peak will form but is still loose, a similar consistency to whipped cream.)
5. Sprinkle a layer of the flour mixture on top of the egg whites and fold in gently with a wooden spoon. Repeat layers and folding until all of the flour is incorporated. Fold in the sprinkles.
6. Divide the batter into the paper liners and bake for 19-22 minutes or until lightly golden.
7. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
8. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer until soft peaks form. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese to the soft peaks of heavy cream along with the powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Start on low speed until the sugar has been incorporated then increase to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until cupcakes have cooled enough to frost.
9. Transfer icing to a plastic or piping bag fitted with your desired tip and pipe onto cupcakes. Add additional sprinkles on top of the frosting.



If you've ever had angel food cake or cream cheese frosting you can imagine what these little pillows of sugary heaven taste like. They do not disappoint. If you haven't had either of those things, what are you waiting for? The recipe is right there! :)



And back to the fangirling. Let's start at the beginning. For my entire life I was never big on having a bunch of celebrity crushes. I can count the number of them on one hand. Seriously. This is partly because I'm oblivious to famous people and partly because it's not just looks that leads me to have a celebrity crush. They have to be nice to their fans and just people in general. I refuse to even think they're attractive if they're totally rude. Yes, you have to meet specifications for me to like you.

So I was watching Awkward on MTV (don't judge me) and found myself thinking that the actor who plays Matty was pretty cute. Google informed me he is a few years younger than me. Not terrible but then I got the idea in my head that I should have a more age appropriate (read: older than me) celebrity crush. Thinking back to the shows I had watched recently, neon flashing lights went off in my head when I remembered Hook from Once Upon A Time.

In case you're not following, Colin O'Donoghue plays Captain Hook on ABC's Once Upon A Time. (This celebrity crush realization happened during the hiatus of Season 3) I had no idea who he was as an actor so I did what every does now and Google'd him. The more I found, the more I read, the more interested I became.

He passed all of my requirements for being an acceptable celebrity crush. I hate to objectify him like this, but let's start with the obvious of how incredibly attractive he is. I'm not even going to attempt to put it into words, so here:


Then he's incredibly humble and very down to earth about this whole being a "hottie of the high seas" as he's been called. Like he actually blushes and gets embarrassed if people talk about how attractive he is. He also really, really seems to love his fans and seems genuinely surprised every day they show up to see him. I've read so many things saying that when fans are on set, he always comes over for pictures and autographs or waves to them or just even acknowledges that they are there. He's said many times in interviews that he's just happy people like him as Hook. Everyone who meets him talks about how nice he is. There's no conceitedness or snobbery or anything.

Then there's the fact that he's Irish and it's rather nice to listen to him talk. Even the Once cast teases him about how Irish he is. He married the woman he's been with since they were both 18 and one of my favorite things he's ever said is "my wife Helen is a teacher and she makes a real difference to kids" when talking about how actors can make differences in the lives of children. He's also said that she's the one who will tell him what people are saying about him online as Captain Hook and teases him about it.

If this wasn't enough for you, he can also sing and play guitar, and according to the cast, he's pretty much constantly playing guitar. There's an indie film coming out this year called The Dust Storm and he's the lead. I need this to be released in Maryland because I absolutely must see it.

As Captain Hook, he's this cocky, overly confident persona full of innuendos and salacious grins and smirks. The contrast between Colin as himself and Colin playing Killian Jones is fun to watch. There's times where his traits seep through into the character and vice versa. There are many scenes in Season 4 where an incredible amount of emotion needs to go into the character of Killian Jones and Colin is amazing at it. An actor who doesn't need to speak to express what the character is feeling to the audience is a damn good actor. Even if I had only previously thought of him as a pretty face, that would have changed instantly after watching this season.

His acting skills led me to do something I never do. Unfortunately, the movies he has been in are of the horror/thriller variety. I don't do those type of movies. Ever. However, I was so curious to see him as someone other than Captain Hook, I sucked up my fear of scary movies and watched them. I'll be honest, Storage 24 was a terrible movie but I wasn't watching it for the plot, I was watching it to see him act. Which despite the ridiculousness of the plot, was rather good. (And you get to hear him curse and watch him smoke, if that's your thing.) I really hesitated before watching The Rite because I knew it would be darker and scarier than the other, but I finally put myself through it and it wasn't that bad. Okay, fine I did look away from the screen a few times. And again, I was impressed with his acting. He's just really, really good.

I also need to issue an apology to Johnny Depp and anyone else I insulted back when Pirates of the Caribbean came out and I said "guys wearing eyeliner is like the creepiest thing ever." because Colin + eyeliner? Totally okay with that.

I'm pretty confident that I could hold my own while meeting famous people. You'd probably assume that being a food blogger, someone like Alton Brown or Bobby Flay or Anne Burrell would be terribly intimidating for me to meet, but that's not the case. I wish I could say that if ever given the chance to meet Colin, I'd have some awesome question or great line or something to actually say to him. But I am fairly certain, should Colin ever be in my presence, I'd be a speechless slack jawed mess. There might even be some hysterical laughter at the sheer absurdity that we could be in the same place at the same time. Pathetic, right? :) Also kind of terrifying for me since one of my goals is to go to Vancouver when they're filming one day.

So let's end on that note. Happy Birthday, Colin - the one person I'm sure I'd be a complete idiot in front of if I ever met.

I lied. One more thing. After typing up this post, I got on Tumblr and saw where someone was calling Colin this combination of adorable puppy dog and sex god. This lead to him being called a cupcake with the cake part equaling his adorableness and the frosting being the sex god part of him. So this post is now only more fitting. Colin = cupcake. And then because Colin is commonly photographed wearing plaid of some sort, it was too perfect not to put these cupcakes in plaid wrappers.

*Really, the last thing. That music video. Wow.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekly Menu 1/25- 1/29

Productivity appears to be my middle name this weekend. Last weekend I barely moved from the couch and made it halfway through the second season of Gilmore Girls. My one claim to productivity was reorganizing the pantry and getting rid of any foods we weren't going to eat. Somehow the pantry is still pretty full, but at least I can find things in there now.

Let's back up a little bit. We were supposed to have some ugly weather Friday night and then all day Saturday. I desperately needed an oil change and to maximize my limited amount of time with non-winter weather, I ended up grocery shopping Thursday night. Saturday I left work early and went to get an oil change, making it home with a picked up dinner right as the first wave of freezing rain started to hit. Tom went outside later on and said it was ugly and icy. I saw that it had started to snow from the window, but it wasn't sticking to the ground.

I woke up Saturday morning expecting to see some type of accumulation, but there was nothing. Apparently the snow went right on over us. Not like I'm complaining, but I'd much rather have snow Friday night into Saturday instead of Sunday into Monday like they're now talking about. Knowing I had a lot to do, I immediately made a check list and got to work.

In one crock pot went the pork shoulder for later on this week, in chicken went into the other crock pot. I thawed ground beef and formed the burger patties, keeping them in the fridge. The ground turkey I pulled out to make the kung pao meatballs never happened, so I made the meatballs then separated them and put that back in the freezer. A butternut squash was chopped up to make soup tomorrow and then I whipped up some cupcakes which I'll share with you tomorrow.

While the cupcakes were cooling and the dishwasher was running, I put away laundry, ate lunch, blogged and did some filing. The chicken was removed from the crock pot, the dishwasher emptied and then red velvet truffles were made. Still on a roll, I did some organizing of recipes before flopping on the couch with the intent not to move again for a while.

This morning I got some work done that I brought home, made prosciutto egg cups for breakfast and put the butternut squash into the crock pot to turn it into soup for lunch this week. On a whim, I decided to clean the refrigerator. Not clean it out, but actually take everything off the shelves and wash them down with soapy water.

I'm thinking all of this was made possible because of the checklist. There is something incredibly satisfying about putting a little check mark in a box. Should the checklist still work on me next week, I think I'll take to reorganizing my closet and seeing what summer clothes I have that still fit. I have no idea what the weather is going to be like in Florida when we go so I want to be prepared for everything.

But let's get onto the menu, yeah?


Sunday: turkey cutlets with baked sweet potatoes and green beans 

Monday: spicy jalapeno burgers with sweet potato fries and salad 

Tuesday: crock pot cashew chicken 

Wednesday: chipotle pulled pork with pineapple slaw

Thursday: bacon and eggs

For breakfast I'm having prosciutto egg cups and lunch will be a roasted butternut squash soup.

Don't forget to get your printable menu here! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

Right before Christmas I was lazily scrolling through Pinterest to see if any recipes stuck out to me that I could make when Tom's family came on the Saturday following Christmas. This one caught my eye because, as I mentioned previously, I hoard cranberries and this would be a great way to use them up.


Cranberry Jalapeno Dip
Source: Land O'Lakes
Servings: ~ 2 cups
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Ingredients:
    • 2 cups frozen cranberries
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 10 slices American cheese, chopped
    • 2 tbsp. jarred jalapenos, chopped
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the cranberries and sugar together. In another medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, American cheese and jalapenos until combined. Gently fold in the cranberries and transfer to a 1 quart baking dish.
3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with crackers, bread or veggies to dip in.

You know how much I love things all jalapeno popper flavored so I couldn't pass up making this dish. I had no idea what to expect it would taste like (especially with adding in American cheese) but I was pleasantly surprised. It's spicy from the jalapenos, tart from the cranberries and savory from the cheeses. You really can't go wrong with this combination. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

I am not a fan of the tradition version of chicken parmesan because of the breading so when I saw this recipe I added it to the menu right away. 



Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Source: Cook Like a Champion
Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients:
for the meatballs:
    • 1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken 
    • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 tbsp. onion powder
    • 1 tsp. parsley
    • 1 tsp. basil 
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper 
for the sauce:
    • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes, liquid reserved
    • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • pinch each of salt and pepper
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
to assemble:
    • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2-3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place a wire cooling rack on top and spray with non-stick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs together, gently as to not overwork the meat. Form into 20-24 evenly sized meatballs. Place the meatballs on the prepared rack.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, turning meatballs over halfway through, or until meatballs are cooked through.
4. Pour the tomatoes into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
5. Melt butter in a medium skillet then add in onions, cooking for 1-2 minutes or until softened. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the tomato sauce, crushed red pepper flake, salt and pepper until blended. Add the tomatoes from the blender and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream or half-and-half and set aside.
6. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Transfer tomato sauce to a baking dish and nestle meatballs within the sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan on top and bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with the chopped basil and serve.

I actually made the meatballs and sauce in advance and just added the cheese and baked according to the recipe after it had come up to room temperature. I froze half of the sauce and meatballs (prior to adding the cheese) as well. To cook those, thaw in the refrigerator and then add cheese and bake as directed.



Tom said these didn't have a very strong "chicken parmesan" flavor but it was still a really good dish. I thought it tasted like chicken parm so I'm not sure what's wrong with him. :)


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weekly Menu 1/18 - 1/22

I have no energy at all this week. I could probably sleep 12 hours each night if it weren't for hungry cats waking me up because of empty food bowls. I'm hoping I just need to actually remember to take my Vitamin D and that will bring back my energy but right now I'm in a vicious cycle of waking up tired and rushing out of the house without taking it. Figures, right?

This is a really easy week dinner wise because I happened to contact Juice from the Raw not too long ago and asked them if they ever offered a discount to bloggers who reviewed their products. Awesome people that they are, they said yes and sent on over a coupon code. Then Tom asked me to see if they would allow me to buy another juice for him.

Mr. I hate vegetables and all thing moderately healthy wants to do a three day juice cleanse. I find this hilarious, but he said he is going to do it simply because I don't think he can. (I tried asking him to do a Whole 30 for the same reason but he said that's too long. Lame.) We start the juice cleanse on Monday and are having relatively light dinners for Thursday and Friday. Saturday will be my last chance to eat anything unhealthy because after that the first Whole 30 begins. I'm rather cranky I ended up pushing it back by almost 2 weeks, but hopefully now that everything that would deter me from it is out of the way, it will go well.

I spent yesterday morning cleaning out the pantry and reorganizing it. There are quite a few snacks for Tom to eat now but I didn't want to throw stuff away that was perfectly good.

Sunday: chicken bacon ranch tater tot casserole 

Monday - Wednesday: juice cleanse 

Thursday: kung pao meatballs with rice and stir fry veggies

Friday: tacos 

Breakfast for Thursday and Friday will be eggs and fruit and lunches will most likely be salads.

Also, I mentioned it on my Facebook page, I've received a ton of new followers there. As of last count there were 21 new people in one week. That's insane! One told me that I'm showing up on the suggested pages which is awesome. I don't know why I'm there, but I surely don't mind.

I don't have a ton of stuff to share with you (the lighting is terrible by the time I get home and I've had a string of failed recipes) so there will be 3 or less posts per week for a while.

Even though I won't be able to eat it, I think I'm going to start baking again to clean out some of the baking ingredients I have amassed in the pantry. I can have Tom take it to work and feed his coworkers.

And now I give up on any amounts of productivity. I'm putting on pajamas and going to watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Improv Challenge: Sweet and Spicy Pork Stir Fry

How is it the middle of January already? This year is already going by very quickly and I am not a fan! I didn't even realize how close we were until the challenge date until it just happened to catch my eye on Facebook and I panicked for a moment.

I want to focus more on blogging this year and starting off the year by missing a challenge that I almost always participate in really wasn't the way to go. But it was Sunday morning four days before the challenge and I hadn't even looked at the improv ingredients yet. Luckily, they were not terribly difficult. Pork and rice.

I'll be honest with you, had I felt like actually getting off the couch and pausing my Gilmore Girls marathon on Netflix, I could have done my research and found a creative recipe and went out to the store to get the ingredients. However, I decided to make it a full on improv challenge. I decided I was going to create a recipe using those two ingredients and whatever was in my pantry.

As luck would have it, I intended to make chicken fried rice for my lunch this week so it wasn't a huge change to switch that up to pork, but pork fried rice was just too easy. Some more rummaging through the fridge and here's the dish I came up with.



Sweet and Spicy Pork Stir Fry
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 3
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Ingredients:
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
    • 3/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into bite sized pieces
    • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
    • 8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup sugar snap peas
    • 2 tbsp. garlic chile paste
    • 2 tbsp. sweet chile sauce
    • 1 tbsp. mirin
    • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 2 cups cooked rice 
Directions:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add pork and cook until browned, 8-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, stir together the garlic chile paste, sweet chile sauce, mirin and soy sauce.
3. Transfer the cooked pork to a large bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet then put in the red pepper, mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until softened.
4. Transfer vegetables to the bowl with the pork. Pour sauce over and toss to coat. Serve along with cooked rice.



Tom and I can never eat a full pork tenderloin for dinner by ourselves so the last time I bought pork, I went through and halved all of the tenderloins so we wouldn't have leftovers. Unfortunately this means that it is not enough food for me to eat for an entire week. I guess I probably should have left some of them alone!

(apologies in advance for the pictures. I portioned these out into lunch containers without even thinking I'd need to take a picture!)


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

French Onion Puff Pastry Bites

I would have never expected french onion soup to be one of my favorite soups, but it definitely is. I never had french onion soup as a kid and only tried it maybe once or twice in restaurants as an adult before deciding to make it myself.

I followed a Tyler Florence recipe aptly named Ultimate French Onion Soup and promptly fell in love. I believe in that blog post I mentioned wanting to either go swimming in the broth or take a bath in it. If that isn't a sign of truly loving a dish, I don't know what is.

I found this appetizer recipe on Pinterest and had it saved for a really long time before finally deciding to make it for my family on Christmas. The recipe is a little time consuming (but you'd already know that had you made french onion soup before) but these can be made in advance and frozen, which I highly suggest doing.



French Onion Puff Pastry Bites
Source: Miss-Recipe
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
for the filling:
    • 2 medium yellow onions, halved then thinly sliced
    • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. sea salt
    • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • 3 tbsp. beef broth
    for the puff pastry:
    • 1 box puff pastry (2 9x9 sheets), thawed
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 2 tbsp. whole grain mustard
    • 1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
Directions:
1. Add the butter and olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions and stir to coat. Allow onions to cook without stirring for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
2. Add the sea salt, thyme and pepper. Stir in and cover. Cook for 4 more minutes, then stir again. Continue to cook and stir in 5 minute intervals, reducing the heat if the onions brown to quickly. In 25-30 minutes total, the onions will have cooked down to an almost jam-like consistency.
3. Increase the heat to medium and add beef broth to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Cook on low until the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute then set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Roll out the puff pastry to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out 12 circles from one sheet of pastry. Cut out 12 more circles from the other sheet of pastry. Poke each pastry round 3-4 times with a fork.
6. Brush each puff pastry round with a beaten egg.
7. Top 12 of the pastry rounds with a small smear of the whole grain mustard. Put 1 teaspoon of the caramelized onions on top of the mustard. Put 1/2 teaspoon of shredded Gruyere cheese on top of the mushrooms.
8. Take the remaining 12 pastry rounds and flip over so they are egg-brushed side down on top of the mushroom/cheese topped pastry rounds. Press closed with your fingers, then use a fork to seal. Prick the top of each 4-5 times with a fork.
9. Brush the tops of the puff pastry with the remaining beaten egg then place on the prepared baking sheet.
10. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

*To freeze: follow directions through step 9 then put pastries into the freezer on the baking sheet for 1 hour. Once firm, transfer to a sealable bag. To cook, place frozen pastries on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 18-22 minutes.



Personally, I think you should keep at least 12 of these in your freezer at all times, especially around the holidays. Then if you ever have any guests drop by unexpectedly or you're just hungry for some snacks, you can have these ready in 20-ish minutes, plus the time it takes for your oven to preheat.

I wasn't positive my family would like these but they devoured them. I didn't even have any left over to reheat the next day to get a better picture!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Every fall I have this problem when I go to the grocery store. It only gets worse as the season goes on. See, as soon as they put the cranberries out, I immediately buy a bag or two. I make and freeze my cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving pretty far in advance so one bag gets used up right away. But then I have that other bag in the freezer.

Then Thanksgiving is over and the cranberry rush is dwindling and the stores mark them down sometimes as low as $0.89 per bag and then I add three or four bags to my cart.

Sometime in December or early January, I'll open the freezer and find five or six bags of cranberries in there. So I start searching fro recipes that use up fresh cranberries.

I found this muffin recipe on Pinterest and was intrigued. I don't typically bake with cranberries because I find them sometimes still too tart. But this recipe also called for cream cheese and I also maybe kind of had the same issue with stocking up on cream cheese because they put it on sale for $0.79 for an 8 ounce brick. (There were 9 packages of cream cheese in the fridge!)



Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins
Source: Julie's Eats and Treats
Servings: 24 muffins
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Ingredients:
    • 2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 cups fresh cranberries (or thawed if frozen)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two muffin pans with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Beat together butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture in until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick but very smooth.
5. Stir in cranberries with a wooden spoon.
6. Fill each paper liner 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.



*Note: Muffins can be frozen for 2 weeks. Thaw in refrigerator then microwave if serving warm. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekly Menu 1/11 - 1/15

Sorry about the lack of posts last week. The space on my computer was almost completely full so we decided to move all of the photos I have on Google drive over to a separate hard drive and have them go there from now on. Yeah, that basically resulted in me restarting my computer twenty times and giving up on Sunday because not one picture had come over yet. A bunch of uninstalling and re-installing later, I have pictures for the current month to edit for blogging. That didn't end up being complete until middle of last week and prior to it working properly it was rather impossible to edit photos.

The real kicker of all of this, it didn't appear to clear up as much free space on my computer as it should have. :Sigh::

Let's get onto the food though.


Sunday: cranberry jalapeno burgers with fries 

Monday: BBQ, bacon, cheddar grilled chicken with fries and green beans 

Tuesday: gingered cranberry pork, seasoned rice, corn 

Wednesday: Grandma's beef and vegetable soup 

Thursday: grilled cheese and tomato soup 

For breakfast this week I'm having prosciutto egg cups and a pork stir fry for lunch.

The Whole30 was supposed to begin today but I am receiving another juice on Thursday so I didn't want to start only to have to stop again. The juicing will be done Monday - Wednesday of next week and then the Whole30 will start in full force.

Side note: Tom is trying the juice with me. I am SO curious to see how this is going to go.

Get your printable weekly menu here

Monday, January 5, 2015

Frozen Wine Soaked Sugared Grapes

I saw an image on Pinterest for frozen grapes coated in sugar. Looking into it a bit further, I found that they were first soaked in wine.

How simple. How genius!

My family has a bit of a thing with soaking ingredients in alcohol. For my bridal shower my aunt soaked cherry tomatoes in vodka. For another party I think we spiked some watermelon. There may have even been something else. Let's just say it's a pretty popular theme we have going on here. I wanted to add my own recipe to the pile.

This recipe is so simple it's not really even a recipe, but for the sake of blogging it to share with you, I've done my best. I really should have gotten this post ready before the new year so it could have been made as part of a new years appetizer, but I just ran out of time. Forgive me?



Frozen Wine Soaked Sugared Grapes
Source: Thursday Night Smack Down 
Yield: 1 lb. grapes
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Ingredients:
    • 1 lb. green grapes, washed and removed from vines
    • 750 ml bottle of white wine (I went with a $5 bottle of Moscato)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
Directions:
1. Place grapes in a seal top bag. Pour wine on over them. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until chilled.
2. Transfer to the freezer. Freeze overnight or for at least 12 hours.
3. Remove slushy wine from grapes. (Discard wine or return to the bottle for drinking. Entirely up to you.)
4. Put sugar in a large bowl. Toss grapes to coat.
5. Serve chilled.



Really, that's it. How easy is that? And can you imagine how delicious these little buggers would taste on a hot summer day sitting at the pool or on the beach? Amazing.