Tag Archives: cupcakes

The easiest Easter cupcakes ever!

Hiya, everybody! 😀 It’s Easter weekend!! The bunny is coming, and bringing sugar to small children that will make them bounce even further off the walls than normal! Friends are gathering, people are worshiping, and the flowers are blooming.

Thank goodness it’s finally spring…Cross fingers, anyway. It was 34 with a wind chill of 28 just four days ago here…*sigh* Four more weeks and I will be done with my degree! It’s so close I can taste it! And then I can blog all the time again! 😀 And have hobbies! And a life!

Anyway, my friend Dawn is having an Easter dinner tomorrow night, and I have volunteered to make dessert! Only because I found the most adorable recipe on Pinterest and *had* to make it, though! And, of course, I will be cheating a little bit just to make things easier. 🙂 The cupcakes will resemble teeny weeny egg nests, and I am *SOOOOOO* excited! I hope that people will eat them and enjoy them, and think they’re as cute as I do!

So what are we waiting for, let’s get started!

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First, get some cake mix. I grabbed yellow cake because it’s my favorite. 🙂 Next to carrot cake (but people probably wouldn’t want carrot cake for Easter). Then I cheated and got Easy Frost icing cans in chocolate (to be the brown nest!), and finally, some Robin Eggs.

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Mix the cake mix according to the package directions. Mine called for 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (I used canola), and 1 cup of water.

IMG_20140419_154958783Put your cute little cupcake liners in your pan and fill them ~1/2 way with the cake mix. As you see above, I didn’t have a ladle small enough so I used a gravy ladle. Heh. My mom used to use ice cream scoops. Use whatever works.

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Bake them for 12-17 minutes, until they are done and a toothpick comes out clean. The mix should make ~24 cupcakes. Cool them for 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 🙂

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In the middle of making the cupcakes, I decided that the ladle wasn’t working for me. My mom needed to go to the local mall for something, so I offered to drive her and we swung into Bed, Bath & Beyond for this little gem. EASIEST LADLING EVERRRRRRRR! Seriously, I don’t know why I waited so long for this.

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When the cupcakes had cooled completely, I went ahead and started with the icing. I’ve never used the canned stuff before, but it turns out to be pretty darn easy! 🙂 Press down, out it comes. Bonus! It has a star tip on it!

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Work the icing around the top of the cupcake like a bird’s nest, and then put two of your whopper Robin Eggs on top. Voila! 😀 Easy, quick, cute, affordable, and totally fun for Easter!!

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And there you have it! A nice little set of eggs nests, all ready for your Easter! And since I will be taking them somewhere, I bought this AWESOME cupcake transporter, that has its own separate little cupcake tower that you can use by itself, or keep in the carrier! Genius!!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! Happy Easter!

Happy-Easter-23

 

 

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Calories, Cat Food and Bake Offs, Oh My!

Yep, that sums up my post for the day. It is going to be a short one, as the Ryan and I are very tired. We started the pre-approval process on a mortgage loan today (holy crap, that means we’re becoming grown ups!! *gasp*) and have, in general, spent the day running around doing errands. I have plenty of leftover soup to feed us, so nothing new and exciting dinner-wise is really happening in my kitchen today.

That being said, the other day I made my chicken tortilla soup again. The Ryan and I bought a rotisserie chicken on our way home on Memorial Day, and I used the leftovers in the tortilla soup. Since I posted in my recipe entry that I’d work out the calories, I went ahead and did so this time and am providing them to you here per ingredient so you can get the per serving calorie count:

Enchilada Sauce (10 oz): 70 cal

Tomato Paste (6 oz): 150 cal

RoTel Diced Tomatoes and Jalapenos (10 oz): 63 cal

Goya Pinto Beans (I’m not sure if the calorie count includes the juices that I drained off the beans??? If so, the count will probably be much lower; 16 oz): 280 cal

1/2 Red Onion: 40 cal

1 ear of corn, kernels off the cob: 80 cal

6 cloves of garlic: 24 cal

4 thin sliced chicken breasts: 480 cal

Cumin: 13 cal

Mexican Oregano: 10 cal

Chili Powder: 12 cal

Pepper: 8 cal

Cayenne: 1.4 cal.

**Anything that was on my ingredient list but that has not been listed above can be assumed to be ZERO calories**

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All of this adds up to 1231.4 calories. In the pot, there were 42 oz of liquid. If you take 8 oz (one cup), that means there are 5.25 eight ounce servings per pot which works out to be approximately 234.5 calories per serving. So there you have it! If I have done my math wrong, please let me know. ^__^ The inclusion of the meat/beans/veggies may actually bring the count down since I only took the liquid in the pot into account.

Moving on, I also have “cat food” in my title. Why am I writing about cat food in my blog? Because humans aren’t the only ones that need good nutrition, and the Ryan and I are in the process of moving our cats over to a raw diet from kibble.

Dear god, why?

Well, for starters, our tiny black cat is a diva and likes to just generally be a jerk. This means that our surprise “treat” of wet food to the kitties resulted in Lestat basically refusing to eat his kibble from that point forward. Both cats, though, have had issues with diarrhea in the past, and wet food runs through them, well..like poop through a goose. In researching the plight of Lestat’s refusal to eat and “the runs” issue, the Ryan came across a few raw diet information sites for kitties, and we have truly learned a great deal about our furbabies and their anatomy and diet needs. For starters, kitties are obligate carnivores. That means they weren’t built to process grains and vegetal material found in cat foods today, especially dry kibble – they are only built to process meat. Their bodies lack the enzymes necessary to process vegetables and grains and are therefore not gaining essential nutrients in their diet. They additionally have a low thirst drive and in nature would receive their water through eating their prey. This is why a lot of vets recommend wet food for cats, as the wet food allows cats to consume a lot more liquid. Finally, cats need animal-based protein to derive the necessary amino acids that are beneficial to their health, and plants just don’t provide that to cats. Certainly, they eat grass to relieve some tension in their bellies, but if you own a cat that likes to chow down on grass, you will notice that they always throw up the pieces and they are never digested.

We also learned that Science Diet, which is the kind of kibble I have been feeding my cats (with lots and lots of fiber to help with the diarrhea) is actually not good food – instead, Science Diet pays vets (and vets get a lot of money) to recommend their brand. When the Ryan was explaining all of this to me, I was quite skeptical. So what did I do? I looked at the ingredients list on the bag of Science Diet I’ve been feeding our cats and I found rice, corn gluten meal, powdered cellulose, whole grain corn, soybean oil, and rosemary extract. All sorts of wonderful things our cats can’t digest. If they can’t digest it, what the hell is my business putting it in their system and what the hell is Science Diet’s business knowingly manufacturing this crap? Right on the bag at the bottom of the ingredients list, it says, “With all the goodness of whole grain, carefully prepared to promote healthy digestion.” Promote healthy digestion by feeding our cats a bunch of stuff they can’t digest? Up yours, Science Diet.

So long story short, after a lot of research, we have decided to make the transition to raw food, which entails weaning them off of dry kibble (which, come to find out, contains entirely too much fiber for a cat’s system, despite the fact that it helps diarrhea. Funny thing about why wet food gives them diarrhea – it doesn’t contain the same amount of fiber as dry kibble, so even the “right” amount of fiber is too little to a cat that has been on a kibble diet. Who knew, right?) and onto wet food, (supplementing fiber – good ol’ Metamucil – to make it less crazy on the kitties’ systems) and then slowly over to raw food. To solidify our decision, the other night when I was making my chicken noodle soup, I cut some of the chicken into tiny pieces and fed each cat a very small amount. They were both greatly enthusiastic and gobbled it right up. And, after they ate the chicken, they were both extraordinarily peppy and ran around like headless chickens in their glee. Decision? Raw diet.

The Ryan prepping new dinner for the furbabies. They are quite enthusiastic.

Now, you can’t just give your cats raw chicken and walk away. To give a cat a raw food diet, you basically have to reverse engineer a mouse – which means you have to fortify the food (which loses nutrients during processing at our hands anyway) with calcium, taurine, fiber, and all of the other important nutrients cats get from their prey in the wild. But it will promise to make kitty’s digestive tract much happier, kitty will be much healthier in the long run, and you are definitely saving yourself (and your cat) agony and vet bills in the future.

If you would like more information, visit these links:

Catinfo.org  – It is run by a Veterinarian who explains in great and thorough detail all about your kitty and her system.

Feline-Nutrition.org – Also run by a Veterinarian and advocate of raw diet, and she gives all the necessary information on supplements and reverse engineering a mouse.

Feline’s Pride – Offers pre-made raw food (which the Vet at Feline-Nutrition.org recommends) that is already fortified with essential nutrients for cats. This site also gives tips for feeding your cat and more information on their nutritional and dietary needs.

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The last thing on my list of things to talk about today is A Lot On Your Plate’s Bake Off! It is her first ever bake off, and I am totally going to bake my heart out for it. It is a “use what you have in your house” type deal, so that works out killer well for me. I found a recipe the other day for vanilla cupcakes and I have all of the ingredients in my house to make them. I must make these cupcakes. I am on a cupcake binge lately – probably because I really need to use the cupcake wrappers I got for the Mother’s Day muffins. They keep falling off the pantry shelf. 😦 The only thing I did today was pick up a can of frosting while I was out because fun fact: I don’t always make my own frosting!! I am looking forward to her announcing the “category” of the bake off so I can get started. The Ryan’s co-workers will be pleased as well, I am sure, and it will be the first blog event I will have ever entered in, so I’m pretty pumped.

In the mean time, stay tuned and enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

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Coming up this week, potato wedges & feature.

So this upcoming week is going to be a bit hectic for me..Actually, the next two are. I am having surgery next Wednesday and will be down and out for the count for about a week – maybe a little more, maybe a little less. Depends on how much my body hates me.

Sadly, this means that I’m bogged down with double the homework and it’s a mad rush to do all of that PLUS my term paper by midnight next Tuesday.

That being said, there will be some cooking AND baking this week! I will be cooking a recipe my dear friend Mike inspired (we went back and forth over email about what I could cook for the blog this week) – and let’s just say that it’s a little Italian in its flare! 🙂 But I’m not telling what it is just yet! Look out for it Thursday Friday (sorry, homework > cooking this week..:( And the Ryan is off, so I can send him on grocery store recon..BWAHAHA). And Saturday, I am going to do a guest collaboration with the girl who has inspired me to get out and bake more, my lovely friend Jessica. She is an avid and obsessive baker, and as an early birthday gift, we’re going to pick her up some new, good-quality tips and bags for icing. And since we’re also going to be in the vicinity of not only a Whole Foods, but Sur La Table, Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrel, we are absolutely going to be putting together a giant baking collaboration of awesomness – all organic, and all from scratch! Look for that on Saturday!

In the mean time, remember how in my lemon sugar cookie post, I stated that I had about a quarter to a half cup of icing leftover? I decided to make a second batch of cookies to use the rest of that icing, and then send the Ryan to work with them. Many thanks to the Weis around the corner, as they are smart enough to carry cake flour – what a difference! I have not yet baked the dough (I’m letting my oven cool down from 450 degrees that I used for part of tonight’s dinner), but the quality, taste, and malleability of it is exquisite. These will definitely come out much nicer than my previous attempt. Very excited! Check out that pretty dough (sorry, only had camera phone..the Ryan likes to wander off with my digicam sometimes):

Cookies, 2nd time around - with cake flour!

And now for a FEATURE! Remember the avocado aioli? Remember the Mmmm, delicious potato wedges recipe I linked to it? Come to find out, the recipe was more for a different aioli as opposed to the potatoes AND aioli…so I improvised and made up my own recipe for potato wedges, which I baked (hence the 450 degree oven) tonight on my cast iron griddle. Mmm, they came out nice and crispy! And we used the aioli to dip them in. Yum, yum, YUMMY!!

Avocado aioli & potato wedges

So this feature got me thinking: if any of you, along the way, cook any of the recipes that I make, email me or leave me a comment and let me know! I will feature it each week (or more if it starts to become a trend) in one of my posts along with your name and what the recipe was. 🙂 If you made any changes, let me know that too! I love to learn about other peoples’ creative twists, and certainly the way I do it is not the only way.

And finally, a quick step by step on how I did my potato wedges (I don’t measure, so don’t laugh):

Preheat your oven to 450 and let it do its thing.

Next, clean two Russet potatoes and slice them into wedges. In a bowl, toss them with 2 tbls of olive oil to coat. I added garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, rosemary and a small dash of chipotle pepper (for the Ryan) and tossed to coat. Don’t ask me for measurements, I don’t measure. I just kind of dumped it all in there. I can tell you, however, that I dumped more garlic powder (for the Ryan as well) in there than anything else.

I then sprayed my cast iron griddle (that lives permanently in our oven – and is in constant need of re-seasoning 😦 ) with a little bit of oil and laid them on there for approximately half an hour. You may want to stop every 10 minutes and turn them, lest they get a little bit burnt on one side. Check them after the half hour and they should be nice and crispy. Leave them in longer if you have to, however. I had a second set of potatoes that didn’t fit onto the griddle that I put in an aluminum-foil lined bake pan, and they came out all grody after half an hour. So we just chucked them (yeah, I totally make mistakes in the kitchen!).

And voila! There you go. 🙂 Any questions, comments? Leave ’em below. Bon appetite!

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