Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chocolate Creamy Praline Cupcakes

This cupcake was inspired by March 2009 Iron Cupcake Earth. Again, I had great intention and thought with this creation, but failed in the posting process. I missed the deadline again.

Reality...its not about the contest. Is it about getting into the kitchen and creating, experimenting, and watching everyone participate in the tasting process.

This months theme was Nuts and Seeds. So many choices!! Nuts are a favorite food, second only to cheese. Pecans, walnuts, almonds!!! how do I choose?

The experiments began with a chocolate cupcake recipe. I used Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe. I choose three different fillings for the inside of the cupcake - caramel and pecans (store prepared), heath bar (the candy bar) and creamy pralines (homemade).

The carmel was too large of a chunk and fell to the bottom when baking. The heath bar chunks were too small and blended with the chocolate batter.

The most successful was the Chocolate Creamy Praline Cupcake. This was my first choice and attempted the other items as back up, so I was excited it was a success!! The pralines were just the right size, did not sink or melt too much. There were a nice creamy crunchy sweet gooeyness. I frosted with a Italian Buttercream Frosting, topped with creamy praline crumbs and drizzled with caramel sauce.

Recipes to follow!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

just a little tease...

I haven't abandoned the blog! I actually have more posts in DRAFT than posted!! I just cant seem to post. I am so far behind in processing photos. And, it is after all, all about the photos.

So, what do you do with caramel (not homemade), heath bar (half of a bar crumbled, the other half eaten), and creamy pralines (homemade!!)???

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring....welcome back

The excitement...the anticipation. I have been waiting for the day my tree blooms. I have been waiting for the time change. I have been waiting for a inkling of hope of more sunlight each day.

The time has been too long for the absence of color, the absence of sunshine, the absence of flowers, the absence of...


Okay, it call be ALL good, can it?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Devils Food Java Cake

This recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspans Baking: From my Home to Yours, Devils Food Cake. My adjustments were using coconut milk for regular milk, adding espresso powder to the boiling water. This halved recipe made approximately 24 mini cupcakes and 6 standard sized cupcakes, total. It would probably make 16 standard sized cupcakes.

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt and cool bittersweet chocolate. Add linings to cupcake pans.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In bowl of mixer, beat butter until light and creamy on medium speed. Add sugars and beat another 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating for approximately 1 minute after each. Add vanilla. Slowly add melted chocolate on low speed until fully incorporated.

Alternating with milk, add dry ingredients on low speed, mixing lightly, scraping bowl as needed. Mix espresso powder in boiling water, then add to mixture. Finally, mix in chopped chocolate.

Fill cupcake cups and bake approximately 16 minutes for mini cupcakes and 18-20 minutes for standard cupcakes.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Miso Soup with Chicken and Brussel Sprouts

This is very quick soup, it smells and tastes wonderful. Originally, I planned on using a different noodle, but these are the only noodles I had in the cupboard.

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 glove garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes to taste
1-1/2 tablespoons miso paste
1/4 teaspoon white of scallion
1/3 teaspoon sliced green of scallion
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon seaweed
1/4 cup brussel sprouts, finely shredded
1/2 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
noodles, such as harusame, ramen.

Cook noodles as directed. drain and cool while prepping soup.

Over medium-low heat, heat oils; saute garlic, ginger, chili flakes until heated. Sir in miso paste, warm slightly, then add chicken broth and soy sauce. Add brussel sprouts and seaweed and bring to slow boil. Reduce to simmer until vegetables are tender.

Add noodles to bowl and add soup. Top with cooked chicken and a few more scallion slices.

As winter continues....

I awoke this morning wanting spring. I bought tulips yesterday. I have buds and small flowers on my Bradford pear tree. I have moss on my maple tree.

Instead, I see this...a little snow. A thin white dusting.

Oh well...I guess I will have to create a few things...

Friday, February 27, 2009

YaYa Java Cupcake

This cupcake was inspired by Iron Cupcake Earth. The theme this month was Coffee and I couldn't think of a better creation than cupcake imitating life.

Step one...find a cup and saucer that is oven safe. This was not as easy as it sounds. If the bottom of a cup does NOT say oven safe, it probably is not. I found this one at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was on sale...less than 3 bucks.

Step two...choose an inspirational recipe for the coffee cupcake. My two favorite chocolate cupcake recipes are Martha's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes and Dorie's Devils Food Cake. I baked the cupcake and shaved (and ate) top to level surface.

Step three...What toppings look like milk foam and/or whipped cream that is NOT actually steamed milk or whipped cream? My first thought was Creme Brulee. I made Creme Brulee a few weeks ago (Daryl's favorite) and without an adjustment, it would be too yellow to mimic milk foam. My second thought was to use whipping cream, but it would absorb too quickly into the cupcake...sogginess. yuk. My final choice was Vanilla Panna Cotta. I prepped the Panna Cotta, excluding the vanilla bean. After congealing in refrigerator until slightly firm, I spooned on top of cooled cupcake.

Step four...top with a little whipping cream. Its my cupcake and to continue cupcake imitating life, I love extra foam and a dollop of whipped cream on my latte. I sprinkled with espresso powder.

These photographs were taken as the sun was setting, light beaming in my french doors.

the test...

the taste...

the fun...

the finale...

Believe it or not...I didnt get a bite of this final piece. But, I did enough taste testing during the process!

Recipe for the cupcake...coming soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is a congealed dessert, Italian for cooked cream. It is smooth and sweet and can be flavored with all sorts of ingredients. I prefer vanilla bean...very simple. This is the first time have made it, and it was for a specific purpose...one of the components for my cupcake for entry in a cupcake contest. I will post it soon.

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup whole milk
1-1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 sup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

Sprinkle unflavored gelatin in 1/2 cup whole milk. Set aside. In saucepan, add sugar, vanilla and whipping cream. Stirring constantly, dissolving sugar. just before boiling remove from heat.

Add mixtures together, stirring to dissolve gelatin mixture. Strain mixture to remove and undissolved gelatin. Pour into ramekins. refrigerate until congealed.

This one is sprinkled with instant espresso powder.


Please, do your own search for Panna Cotta and let me know what you come up with!! I found one for peanut butter!! Is anyone up for it?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cream of Chicken and Artichoke Soup

The weather guys were wrong. I planned a cold Sunday afternoon with lots of baking with the big girls and little girls, and soup.

Soup is one of my favorite foods. But, I do NOT consider vegetable beef soup "the soup", just like I don't consider ankle pumps an exercise. Elaboration...ground beef, a can of tomato soup, two cans of veg all does NOT equal soup. It equals three bad ingredients in one pot. Legs extended and moving your ankles is not an exercise. But, these two things are the first thing mentioned when I say "soup", and "start your exercises." yuk.

This recipe is adapted from one I received from Karen.

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
2 can artichoke hearts, rinsed well, broken apart
1/2 cup butter
1 diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 cup fat free half and half
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
red (cayenne) pepper to taste

Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute 3 minutes until tender. Add bell peppers, garlic and artichokes. Saute 3-5 minutes until artichokes are tender. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until roux. Slowly add chicken stock, one cup at a time, stirring constantly. Bring to a low boil then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. remove from heat and slowly add cream. Add chicken, lemon juice, parsley and basil. Add dry seasonings to taste. Simmer 10 more minutes.

I have used other "milks" such as regular half and half, whole milk,fat free milk and a mixture of what I have on hand. I adjustments the original recipe by adding lemon, roasted red bell peppers and basil.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Its February 8th in middle Tennessee, Its 70 degrees outside. So, what do you do with a 2 year old and a 3 year old...OUTSIDE??

Tie-dye of course.

Kristen has really developed a creative sense about her. And now that she has a daughter of her own, she has someone to share it with. I haven't tie-dyed since the 70's. But, my daughter discovered these GREAT tie-dye kits at walmart!! I couldn't believe how great these look! We will be pursuing this craft much further in the coming weeks.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

what kind of creative are you?

I love these little quizes...you answer a few questions, choose a few images, and viola...they can tell you more about yourself than your own mother!!

What kind of creativity are you?

Monday, January 19, 2009


Sophie seems to be a lot like me...her YaYa. She loves to be right in the middle of things, taking the hands on approach.
Her most used item in the house is the little stool I use to reach the top and sometimes middle shelf in the kitchen. She doesn't hesitate to grab it and run to the nearest happening event.

So, it was no surprise when she climbed up onto the cabinet to watch me pour ingredients into the the kitchenaid. It wasn't long before she took over! She did very well, for a two year old.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


the evolution of technology.

I asked one of my patients last year, who was 104 years old at the time, what was the best invention he had seen over the years. He said, "Electricity; without it, we wouldn't have all this."

In the last year, we have disbanded, not repaired or replaced, tossed out and donated the following:

Two VCR's, one DVD player, one top of the line cassette player, a desktop computer from 1996, our home phones, our home phone line, a large projection screen television, two cell phones.

Now, we have this...

I was told to expect any new electronic device to last half as long as the previous one.

What do I think is the best invention in my life? There are too many to choose. I'm still waiting for my "Rosie". The electronic domestic goddess from the Jetsons.

I am sure there will be something new tomorrow.


define old...
aged, along in years, ancient, broken down, debilitated, decrepit, elderly, enfeebled, exhausted, experienced, fossil, geriatric, getting on, gray, gray-haired, grizzled, hoary, impaired, inactive, infirm, mature, matured, not young, olden, oldish, over the hill, past one’s prime, seasoned, senile, senior, skilled, superannuated, tired, venerable, versed, veteran, wasted.

We all have one thing in common with everyone else on the planet. We are all one day older today than we were yesterday. You are never alone, you always have this in common with everyone else.