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Saturday, February 23, 2008


After eating all these great cupcakes in Chicago, I decided to try and make my own.. this recipe makes 4 cupcakes. Just enough for 2 people :)

Pretty good stuff..

2 T butter
1/2 c flour
1/4 c buttermilk
1/8 t baking soda
yolk of 1 large egg, room temp
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 c plus 2 T sugar
1/8 t salt

heat oven to 350 and place muffing cup liners in muffin pan.

combine buttermilk and baking soda in a small bowl, and stir to mix. Gently whisk in the egg yolk and vanilla.

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl and whisk to blend well. Add half of the buttermilk mixture. Beat on a low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat until the mixture is lightened and has slightly increased in volume about 45 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour in remaining buttermilk mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended 20 seconds.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake for 20-23 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 min. let cupcakes cool completely. Frost with your favorite frosting or:

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz cold cream cheese
2 T butter
3/4 c confectioners' sugar
1 t grated orange zest
1/2 t vanilla
1 T thawed frozen OJ concentrate (I used normal OJ and it tasted fine)

Mix cream chz and butter until blended. Add sugar, orange zest, and vanilla, beat to mix. Add OJ and beat until fluffy. Use right away or cover and let stand for up to 1 hr before using.

Birthday Boy!

Happy 25th Birthday Rich!

Sadly, he is under the weather for his birthday, but that didn't stop him from eating some cake!! This cake is actually made for only 2 people. They are baked in 14.5 oz cans (soup, fruit, vegetable cans) that are washed out and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Take a piece of parchment paper and cut it to fit the bottom of the can before pouring in the batter. It's a great way to eat cake and make sure there isn't any left over to snack on!!!

1/4 c plus 2 T all purpose flour
3 T buttermilk
yolk of 1 large egg
1/2 t vanilla
3 T butter, melted and cooled
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1/3 c sugar

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325.

Grease the insides of the cans and lightly dust with flour, tapping out the excess. Place the cans on a baking sheet.

Combine the buttermilk, egg yolk, & vanilla in a bowl, and whisk to mix. Gradually pour the melted butter into the buttermilk mixture, whisking constantly.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, & salt in a medium bowl. add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture and whisk just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon the batter into the cans, dividing evenly. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.

remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. run a thin sharp knife around the inside of the can and invert them to release the cakes. Turn the cakes right side up let cool completely.

To frost, cut each cake in half horizontally. Spread a layer of icing on one side of the cake, then stack the other half on top of it. Frost the sides and top of the cake.

Use your favorite icing recipe or...

Double Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting:

6 oz milk chocolate
3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/4 c plus 3 T sour cream (room temp)
1/2 t vanilla

Place chocolate in a medium microwave bowl and microwave on high 2 to 2 & 1/2 m.

Let chocolate mixture cool for 5 min; then add the sour cream, vanilla, salt and whisk to blend well. let frosting cool to room temp, stirring occasionally. spread on cake..

Warning: This is incredibly chocolate-y!

Check out this great book by Debby Maugans Nakos "Small Batch Baking"

Ice Storm!

So we had a crazy ice storm on Thursday. Everything was cancelled including NKU!! The driveway was like a skating ring. I stood at the top of the driveway and just slid right on down. It was really fun! Coming up was a problem, because it really was a sheet of ice and it was near impossible. It was very beautiful at night and here are some pictures.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Version 2

These are a little different from the cookies I posted over the holidays. They have an ingredient that I've never added in cookies before; instant vanilla pudding mix. They are very cake-y cookies, and quite delicious. I added both semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips. This recipe yields A LOT of cookies, you may want to half it... otherwise you'll end up with dozens of cookies.

Official Taste Tester Says: "Excellent, the pudding makes it worth the effort" (Amy adds: it's no more effort than regular cookies!!)

The Recipe:

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown. (Only bake for 12 minutes - they will be done!!)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Quick and Easy Potato Soup

Update: Okay, this soup is so good that I had to make more today! So, I made a whole new batch and made a couple of changes. First, I added just a bit of basil and then added in some parsley.. yum.. I used red onion instead of white or yellow. Also, I added the potatoes in the soup and let them heat with the broth for a couple of minutes before adding the half and half. So yummy!!!

Official Taste Tester Says: Really good. Some of the best soup I've had in a while.

This is such a great recipe! Rich and I even fought over who would eat the leftovers. My advice - make a double batch!!!

3 bacon strips, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil (** I halved this on the advice of others)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed (** you may want to bake in the oven, I found micro-waving made them a little gummy)
1 cup half-and-half cream (** I used fat-free half and half)
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (**I omitted)
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Minced fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. I actually used the George Foreman to do the bacon and did not save any drippings. Instead, I used olive oil for the next step.

Saute onion and garlic in the drippings (or Olive Oil) until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil. Garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Delicious Salmon in minutes!!

This is a great Biggest Loser recipe. It's so fast, easy, and yummy!!!

Balsamic Orange Salmon

Makes 2 Servings

Remove skin from 1 large or 2 small salmon fillets (total 12-16 ounces), if needed.
Cut large fillet in half. In a small bowl prepare glaze:
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Spoon glaze on top of salmon, spreading it evenly. Tuck any thin parts of fillet underneath for even cooking. Put glazed salmon in Ziploc Brand Zip 'n Steam™ bag, placing thicker portions toward outer edge of bag. Seal bag and place in microwave.

Cook on full power for 3 1/2 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily. If needed, continue microwaving at 30-second intervals until salmon is done. Allow bag to stand 1 minute before handling. Carefully open bag. Use spatula to remove cooked salmon from bag. Serve with dipping sauce and garnish with sliced green onions and orange slices, if desired.

Recipe for Dipping Sauce:
3 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
Pinch of salt (about 1/16 teaspoon)