Oh, how I’ve missed all of you. We just recently got back from a much needed vacation. It was great seeing family and old friends. We went to Florida and met our new nephew, and I can’t even begin to explain how lucky all of us are to have this precious boy in our lives. I am missing him like crazy!
Look at this face and try to tell me you wouldn’t miss it.
Along with spending time with family we were able to go to Disney World, Legoland, and best of all, a Tampa Bay Rays game. Here are a few pictures of our trip.
Of course you know these famous faces. Mickey was so much fun and gave us lots of kisses.
My kids at Legoland. We had such a great time here. Of course my son loved it most of all. He’s a big Lego fan and has tubs of them in his room. I think he might end up working here one day.
Here is my grandmother and myself getting ready to go into the Rays game. We had the best time here, even with the game going into 14 innings. Thankfully, my Rays won so it was worth staying till Midnight.
How cool is this Mickey?
No trip to Florida would be complete without seeing the beaches. We went to Siesta Key in my hometown, which by the way, was awarded the best beach in the United States.
Now we are back to the normal grind of everyday. So I should probably let you know all about these awesome muffins. If you like snickerdoodle cookies, you are going to LOVE these muffins. They taste exactly like the cookies, they are moist and you won’t be able to stop at one.
- 1 cup Butter, Softened
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 whole Eggs
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- 2-1/4 cups Flour
- 3/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 3/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
- 3/4 teaspoons Cream Of Tartar
- 1/2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- 1/4 cups Buttermilk
For the Topping:
- 2/3 cups Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a muffin tin with 12 liners. (I was able to squeeze out about 14 muffins)
- In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.
- Use an ice cream scooper and put a scoop of batter into the bowl with the sugar and cinnamon. Gently roll the batter in the sugar and cinnamon. Place the ball into the muffin liner.
- When you have completed all of the muffins, sprinkle the leftover cinnamon sugar onto the tops of all of the muffins.
- Bake the muffins for about 15-18 minutes or until they are golden on top and just baked through.
Source: Slightly adapted by Heather Christo via Tasty Kitchen
Happy Independence Day! Today is the day we celebrate our nations independence. I’m sure many of you will be out with family and friends celebrating. We are planning to go to my sister-in-laws house for swimming and of course food and fireworks. Earlier in the week I brainstormed on what I could bring that would showcase our nations colors. I started thinking about whoopie pies. I live in Pennsylvania and whoopie pies are a staple here. I decided that I could make a vanilla whoopie pie and dye the batter to make the blue and the red and have the frosting as the white. I was so happy that they turned out exactly like I had imagined.
Here are a few tips to create perfect looking whoopie pies
Start out drawing 2 1/4 inch circles on the parchment paper. I used a glass to trace the circles. Turn the paper over when you put it on your baking sheet. That way you don’t have traces of pencil getting on your batter.
Next you will pipe out the batter within the circles. I used a Wilton 2A tip.
They are now ready to go into the oven and get baked.
Red White and Blue Whoopie Pies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- Red and Blue gel food coloring. (I use Ameri-color and Wilton gel)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil, outline 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch circles spacing them a few inches apart.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar, till light and fluffy. Once combined; add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix till just combined.
- Add the flour to the wet ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Be gentle and do not overmix. Divide the batter into two bowls. In one bowl add the blue coloring, till desired color is reached, and mix till combined. Repeat with the red coloring in the other bowl.
- Place batter into a large piping bag (I used 16 inches) fitted with a large round tip. (I used Wilton 2A). Pipe the batter within the circles on the parchment paper.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the center is just firm. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
- Once the pies are cooled and ready; match up the pies and spread or pipe the icing on one side then sandwich with the matching piece.
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 TBS vanilla
- 4 cups Confectioners sugar
- In a bowl fitted with paddle attachment (or hand mixer), cream together the butter, milk, flour and vanilla. Add the confectioner sugar and beat together till light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
Source: slightly adapted by King Arthur Flour frosting from the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
This is the time of year for corn and we eat it at least once a week during the summer. Sometimes it’s nice to have corn in different ways other than right off the cob. This salsa tastes like the one from chiptole and you can pair it with the cilantro-lime rice I already posted about. You could also use this salsa to go with any grilled meats. It would be great with steak. I cooked the poblano chile pepper on the grill while I grilled chicken. But if you aren’t making this when you were planning to grill, you could easily put the pepper under the broiler. Just be to sure to turn the pepper every couple minutes and watch it closely so it does not burn.
- 1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears), or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Preheat a grill to medium high. Brush the poblano with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grill, skin-side down, until charred but still firm, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly; peel and finely chop.
- If using fresh corn, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes; drain. (You can use leftover corn and just cut it off the cob without having to re-heat it)
- Mix the corn (if using frozen, add it here), poblano, jalapeno, cilantro and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, the lime juice, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve and enjoy
Source: Food Network
If you have ever eaten at Chipotle’s you know all about their cilantro-lime rice. Awhile back I decided to attempt making homemade versions of these yummy burritos. In the next couple posts, I’ll be posting 3 of the main ingredients you need to make burritos like theirs.
I am going to start with my favorite ingredient, the cilantro-lime rice. It was very easy to put together and would go great as a side dish to any grilled/roasted meat. I always cook the rice with 1/4 cup less water than what is normally recommended. I find it helps the rice not get too clumpy. I’ve included the difference in my recipe below.
- 1 cup Basmati white or brown rice
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 2 limes
- 3-4 tbs chopped cilantro
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- In a medium saucepan heat water to boiling. Stir in rice, juice of 1 lime, and pinch of salt. Cover and turn the heat to low and let simmer till rice is tender, about 15-18 minutes. (Can be cooked in a rice cooker)
- Remove from heat and transfer rice to bowl. Add the cilantro (as much as you like to taste), juice of second lime, (I recommend tasting after putting in half of the lime to see if it’s enough for you), vegetable oil, and salt to taste. Stir till combined and serve.
My family loves Chinese food and we do a good amount of take-out. I know we could lessen that and so I decided to begin to make my own version of our favorite things. The first step was fried rice. A long time ago we went to one place that put ginger in their fried rice. I loved it and haven’t found anyone else that does that. I knew that was a must ingredient to my homemade fried rice. I also love hoisin sauce and thought that might work in the rice too. I’m so glad I decided to add these two ingredients into the dish, the rice turned out to be some of the best I’ve ever had.
Making your own fried rice is really easy, but you do have to plan in advance. From what I’ve read, using cold cooked rice is the best way to get the right texture. I made the rice in the morning and put it in the fridge when it was done. If you don’t have time to do it in the morning, make it the night before. Either way, you must make your rice in advance.
Homemade Vegetable Fried Rice:
- 3 cups cooked long grain rice, white or brown, cold
- 3 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 small white onion, diced small
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 tsp finely minced fresh ginger or freshly grated ginger (using microplane)
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tbs low-sodium soy sauce (you can add more to taste)
- 2 tbs Hoisin Sauce
- Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a wok or 12 inch skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and 2 tbs of the ginger, cook until fragrant. Add half of the green onions, peas and carrots and cook until they are warmed, about 3 minutes.
- Push the vegetables to the side of the pan; making a hole in the center and add the remaining 2 tbs oil. Add the eggs to the center of the pan and whisk constantly till the eggs are just about cooked. Mix into the rest of the vegetables.
- Add the rice and break up the clumps stir everything together then flatten the rice out. Let sit untouched for about 2 minutes. Stir the rice and add the soy sauce, remaining 1 tbs of ginger, and hoisin sauce, continuing to break up any rice clumps. Add the remaining green onions and adjust seasonings, to taste. Enjoy!
Source: Gina Marie Original
If you are like my family when you go to a Mexican restaurant, you must order cheese dip with your chips. My kids are addicted to it. With Cinco de Mayo just a few days away, you can celebrate it by making a homemade version of the addicting cheese dip.
I’ve been seeing recipes popping up all over the blogosphere and decided to finally try it. The surprising ingredient is white American cheese. It melts wonderfully and gives it the taste that you get in the restaurants. When I went to the deli to get the cheese, I asked for a block of 3/4lb White American, un-sliced You can play around with the jalapenos and tomatoes and put in as little or as much as you would like. The recipe makes a large amount of dip, so this would be great to make with family and friends. Put it in a crock pot to keep it warm and enjoy!
Queso Blanco Dip:
- 1 Tbs Vegetable or Canola oil
- 1/4 cup white onion, diced
- 1 large jalapeno or serrano, seeds and stem removed; diced
- 12 oz white American cheese (I have the deli give 3/4lb block), shredded
- 4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup-2/3 cup cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
- 1 roma tomato, seeds removed and diced
- 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the onion and pepper until softened and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add the shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of the cream. Stir until mostly melted.
- Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and additional cream a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. (I needed to add a lot of cream to get it the right consistency, the cheese will thicken as it sits) Serve with chips
Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride
Grilling season is right around the corner. I’m more than ready to be enjoying the warmer weather and grilling on the back porch. We had a beautiful weekend so I decided to smoke a rack of ribs. I’m so glad I had the chance to be outside because this coming weekend we are expecting some snow. Blech!
Normally, I cook my ribs low and slow in the oven and then finish it off on the grill. But this time I wanted to do the entire cooking process in the smoker. I wanted to make a BBQ Sauce that would compliment the long time it takes to smoke ribs. Normally, it takes hours to make a really good BBQ Sauce. I wanted to find something that would be a little easier for everyone who wants homemade but doesn’t have hours to spare. This is it! It’s tangy and sweet, exactly what I was looking for.
Quick and Easy BBQ Sauce:
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tbs cider vinegar
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbs Dijon mustard
- 5 tbs molasses (I forgot to get some used a sugar free syrup)
- 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- In a food processor or a blender, process the onion and the water until pureed and the mixture resembles slush, about 30 seconds. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula to obtain 1/2 cup juice. Discard the solids.
- Whisk the onion juice, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, molasses, hot pepper sauce, black pepper, and liquid smoke (if using) together in a medium bowl.
- Heat the oil in a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the ketchup mixture and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, until the flavors meld and the sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes. Cool the sauce to room temperature before using.
Note – The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 week.