Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cupcake Bouquet

 
 Today was Marshall's last day of school and I wanted to make something to bring his teachers to say thanks for all the hard work they put into this school year. I've seen cookie bouquets before, and recently I saw a cupcake bouquet in a metal pail. I thought it might be cuter in a flower pot and went with pink icing piped like hydrangeas. Michael's has a ton of cute flower pots to choose from now!
 
 Fill them with Styrofoam, stick toothpicks into it to secure the cupcakes, and place tissue paper around your flower cupcakes to fill in the gaps. 
 


Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's Raining Cats and Dogs

 I made these Iced Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies for a sweet little girl that was turning two. Her party was Hello Kitty themed, and these were the favors for her guests!
The cream cheese in the sugar cookie dough gives them a little hint of extra flavor and keeps the cookies really soft and delicious. The bows were my first try at royal icing transfers, and I was so pleased with the results!
 It's been a big weekend at our house! Here is the latest edition to our family:
Roux
we got her on Saturday and the kids are truly smitten
 best friends already!

 Here's what I'll be making this week:

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie with buttered corn        
   Gingered Toffee Pear Cake

Wednesday: Broccoli Cheese Soup and Garlic Bread

Friday: BBQ Spaghetti with a green salad

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hail Caesar!

I love a good salad, and growing up we had salad along side our meals almost every night. I have been experimenting lately trying to make indulgent things a little more healthy and using healthy swaps more often. Caesar dressing, Alfredo sauce, Carbonara and Fried Chicken all belong to the same "I really love you, but can't eat you without feeling immediately guilty" category for me. I never order them in restaurants and I never make them at home. 

I came across a recipe on foodgawker for Caesar dressing using tofu as the base and saved it and I'm so glad I did! The flavor is wonderful and it's so easy to make. I made mine in a small smoothie blender and have used it on salads and as a dip for celery and carrot sticks too. I think it could also be a great spread for a wrap or as the dressing for a pasta or potato salad.  

Tofu Caesar Dressing
recipe from Back to Her Roots
1/4 c. silken tofu
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. anchovy paste
4 T. grated parmesan cheese
2 T. mayonnaise
Dash Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small clove garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Let chill in refrigerator at least two hours for flavors to meld.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chocolate Kahlua Cookies

When I saw a recipe recently for frosting cookies, I saved it immediately. With all the baking I do I always have extra frosting, and this looked like a great way to use it up. The frosting I had was chocolate and I thought the kahlua would be a great combo with it. Who doesn't love coffee and chocolate together?!
Chocolate Kahlua Cookies
adapted from here
for cookies:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate frosting
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon homemade kahlua
1/4 cup sugar
for glaze:
4 teaspoon kahlua
1 teaspoon heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet or line with a silpat.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda.
In a separate bowl, mix the frosting, egg, kahlua, and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until well combined.
Drop cookies by large tablespoon fulls onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges of cookies are lightly browned.
In a small bowl combine kahlua, heavy cream and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
Allow cookies to cool for 15 minutes before glazing. 
Drizzle glaze liberally over cookies and allow to set 30 minutes before serving.

Here's what I'll be cooking up this week:
Monday: Chicken Enchiladas Verde with green salad

Wednesday: Low Fat Cheesy Stuffed Shells with Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Friday: Corn and Potato Chowder with Garlic Bread

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lego Star Wars

When a friend asked me to make a cake for her son's birthday I was thrilled. I was even more excited when she said it was a Lego Star Wars themed cake. My son is Lego obsessed and I think my family alone kept the company afloat through this recession, especially at Christmas.  I asked the absurdly photogenic birthday boy what his favorite thing was about Star War Legos........his answer was the Death Star. 
No familiar with The Death Star?
Well, neither was I so when I googled it and saw the thing in full force. I was so nervous and wanted it to be just right, realistic enough but still appropriate for a kid's cake and completely edible. I think you can tell by the excitement of his face below that he liked it. It was a vanilla butter cake with vanilla buttercream decorated with candy Legos and Lego Star War figurines. The lettering is fondant that I hand cut and painted with silver luster dust.
 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! 
Today I woke up to the sound of hissing........it kind of alarmed me and as I laid there I was going through my half asleep mind trying to figure out what the sound could possibly be.
Then I realized it's Mother's Day and that hissing sound I was hearing was my husband pushing around the steam mop.
Epic win!

We (when I say we, I mean my husband) are boiling 50 pounds of crawfish today and having some neighbors and friends over to join us. I am so excited, and I'm hoping there are tons of leftovers. All the posts on facebook about everyone in New Orleans going to Jazzfest is really making me jealous and I'm dying for some crawfish bread! I hope all you mamas out there have a fabulous day full of relaxation and being spoiled!

Above is a picture of the cake I made for my neighbor for her Mother's Day family get-together. She asked for a cake with a butterfly so this is what I came up with; a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, and a mound of purple and blue hydrangeas with a chocolate butterfly. On the side is chocolate raspberry cream cheese cake truffles in matching white and blue white chocolate.

Here's what's on the menu this week:
Monday: Chicken Pot Pie with Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits


Wednesday: Mexican Mac and Cheese with a green salad


Friday: New Orleans Style White Beans and Rice with Cornbread

Friday, May 6, 2011

Guilt Free Kahlua Chocolate Pudding

 Now that Easter has come and gone and your basket of candy has dwindled down, you are tired of chocolate and ready for a break, right?

Yeah, me neither

For some reason, with age my sweet tooth has grown. I can't remember really craving sweets- salty snacks were always more my speed. Until now. That really stinks considering metabolism slows down with age too, can someone figure out how to fix that? I like to have chocolate on a regular basis, and this is a perfect guilt free way to do it. Chocolate Pudding with a surprise base ingredient: Tofu!

No, that is not a typo

The kahlua that I made is finally ready and I thought this would be a great recipe to try it in. Next on the list: Kahlua Brownies....those may not be guilt free though.

Guilt Free Kahlua Chocolate Pudding 
adapted form here
1 (12.3-ounce) package silken tofu, drained
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp kahlua
1/4 cup sugar
¼  cup agave nectar

In a blender or food processor, puree the tofu until it is smooth.
Put the chocolate, cocoa powder, water and kahlua in a saucepan or heat-proof bowl fitted over a pot containing 1-inch barely simmering water. Stir frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Mix in sugar, a little at a time, until smooth.
Add the chocolate mixture and agave syrup to the tofu and puree until smooth and well blended. Spoon the mousse into serving dishes, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Strawberry Wine Coolers

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
This drink doesn't contain tequila or lime, but it's still very pretty and is so quick to put together. I really liked the idea of being able to make my own wine cooler and not have it loaded with sickly sweet corn syrup, fake colors, and additives. Pour yourself one of these and you'll find yourself wishing you were in a rocking-chair on a southern porch somewhere. 
This recipe is from The Lee Brothers
Their book Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor   showcases fresh southern cuisine and I can't wait to try more recipes from them soon!

Strawberry Wine Coolers
1 pound strawberries, cleaned and hulled
2 ounces vodka
pinch of kosher salt
2 750-mL bottles off-dry white wine
 
Combine the strawberries, vodka, salt, and 2 cups of the wine in a blender.
Puree on the highest setting until the mixture is frothy and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
Add the remaining wine to the pitcher, stir and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1-2 hours before serving.

 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes


One of the many things I love about spring is the abundance of berries available at stores and farmer's markets. Raspberries are one of my favorite things and combining them with chocolate just seems natural. While raspberry and dark chocolate is usually my first pick, recently I saw a recipe for white chocolate cake and thought how perfect they would be paired with raspberry. 
The White Chocolate Cake recipe is here
I baked it in cupcake liners, allowed them to cool and then filled the center with raspberry preserves. I topped them with a White chocolate Buttercream icing that was a delicious mistake. I went to make vanilla buttercream icing and had no heavy cream. What I did have was my white chocolate flavored coffee creamer, and it was an awesome substitute! I am already looking forward to checking out what other coffee creamer flavors I could use for icings........Irish cream, Amaretto or Caramel Cream anyone?

White Chocolate Buttercream
10 Tbsp room temperature un-salted butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp white chocolate flavored coffee creamer

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, sugar and salt and whip on medium speed until combined. Slowly drizzle coffee creamer into the mix and continue to beat on medium to medium high speed until fully incorporated, light and fluffy.
On the menu for this week:
Monday: Root Beer Glazed Shredded Pork with Mac and Cheese

Wednesday: Pizza Soup with Parmesan Pull Apart Rolls- pepperoni and Italian sausage with mushrooms and peppers in an Italian tomato broth

Friday: Chicken Marsala Pasta- Chicken, Mushroom and Sausage Pasta in a creamy Parmesan Marsala sauce