Friday, May 18, 2012

Midnight Strawberry Cupcakes





A lot of people like to read, take a bath, maybe watch some tv when they want to relax.  I like to bake.


It's therapy for me to focus on a recipe and get things the way I want them.  Sometimes though, I'm just not that picky.  Last night was one of those nights.


I had some strawberries left over that were on their last leg and I didn't want to waste them, so what better to do with them then make them into cupcakes?  A simple blitz with the submersion blender and these babies were ready to go.  I melted down some red and green candy melts and very unfussily piped some strawberries that came out looking like mutant radioactive carrots.  It's all good.


Stick those on with a drizzle of white chocolate and you got yourself some goods.






You can find the recipe for the cupcakes, which are from Sprinkles bakery, here.

The only modifications I made was upping the vanilla to 1 Tablespoon and adding a drop of pink food coloring.  I highly recommend adding it, as the cupcakes may turn out a bit gray otherwise.  Enjoy! 




Øystein hungry!  Øystein destroy!






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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day - Pineapple Mandarin Cream Cheese Pound Cakes with Strawberry Vanilla Bean Vodka Sauce



I whipped up a little something for myself for Mother's Day, but everyone else ate them of course.   These little guys take twenty minutes start to finish and are the perfect little dessert to make for your own Momma.
You can substitute whatever flavor cream cheese you like, or just use plain.

I hope all the Mommas out there have a lovely day!


Pineapple Mandarin Cream Cheese Pound Cake
recipe adapted from Dessert For Two

6 Tablespoons/85 grams Butter, room temp
2 oz/60 grams Pineapple Mandarin Cream Cheese, soft
1 Cup/200 grams Sugar
2 Eggs, room temp
1 Vanilla Pod, seeded
OR
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup/125 grams Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 350F/175C, grease 3, 6 tart pans or use something else such as a mini muffin pan, mini loaf pans, or full size muffin pan.

Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla seeds/extract and whip very well.
Combine flour and baking powder and combine with wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.

Spoon into greased tart/mini muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes.  If using full sized muffin or mini loaf pans, bake 20-30 minutes, just keep an eye on them.

While they are baking, prepare the sauce.


Strawberry Vodka Sauce

15 Strawberries, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Butter
Seeds of 1 Vanilla Pod
1/4 Cup plus a splash of Vodka

Melt the butter and add the strawberries, vanilla seeds and sugar.
Cook over low heat for about three minutes, just to get the juices out.
Add vodka and bring to a boil.
Cook 3-5 minutes and serve.
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Caramelized Balsamic Onion and Carrot Tart with Roasted Tomato, Bacon and Goat Cheese

I'll let the pictures do the talking for this one.











This was nothing short of beautiful.  I very much loved it.  It may be my best 'what can I make out of random shit in my kitchen' yet.

The tart recipe comes from the ever lovely Chocolate and Zucchini.  The only change I made was adding a teaspoon of herbs de provence.


Caramelized Balsamic Onion and Carrot Tart with Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese


Preheat oven to 400F/200C. 

In a bowl or food processor, combine 250g of flour, I used 100 grams of whole wheat and 150 grams of white.  Add in salt and herbs de provence and whiz it to combine.  While mixing, stream in 1/4 cup of olive oil, followed by 1/2 cup of water.  Mix just until it comes together then press into a lightly greased tart pan.  Prick the tart shell will a fork and let it rest in the fridge while you do everything else.

To roast the tomatoes, simple drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Stick them in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Set aside.

Using a mandolin or your awesome knife skills, slice the one large onion into very thin strips and julienne a large carrot.  Feel free to use two of each, I didn't have two so I didn't.  Two is much better than one in this case.  Set aside.

Fry up about four strips of bacon, cut into small pieces, until they are starting to get crispy.  Add in your onions and carrots and cook a minute or two until they start to soften.  Add about half a tablespoon of brown or demerara sugar and a healthy glug of balsamic vinegar.  Turn the heat to medium low, cover, and let them party for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.

After twenty minutes, season them with salt and pepper and take off the heat.

Remove the tart shell from the fridge and fill it up with the onion mixture.  Cut up a bunch of soft goat cheese and put it on top.  Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with a bit more herbs de provence  and enjoy!

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Soft and Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Otherwise known as OMNOMNOMNOMNOM.







Fluffy little pillows of chocolatey deliciousness.  These are easy to make and I got almost three dozen cookies out of the batch.  Good deal!  You can replace the shortening in the recipe with butter, just make sure its at a good temperature and you really whip it up good.  Enjoy!




Now what starts with the letter C? Cookie starts with C! Let's think of other things that starts with C...Uh... ahh who cares about the other things! C is for cookie that's good enough for me ooh cookie cookie cookie starts with C!
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Toasted Oat and Honey Scones

Sometimes I get a massive case of Susie Homemaker.  It's not often, but it does hit.  It's a serious illness not to be taken lightly.  Side effects include waking up early to prepare breakfast, cleaning, and putting away laundry.   


 My name is Susie today.  I dropped the Homemaker, cause there is no way in hell I am cleaning and I am most certainly not putting away laundry.  I did make breakfast though!




Today's breakfast was a plate of lovey toasted oat and honey scones with wild strawberry jam, sour cream and sliced bananas.  You really can't go wrong, unless you're me that is.  I ate one and coma'd almost instantly.  Oh well, I took one for the team.  There is only a teaspoon of sugar in these folks, so it's a testament to old saying that carbs'll kill ya.




These are moist, yet crumbly.  Naturally sweet from the honey and oats.  Loads of flavor.




They have a beautiful crumb that just soaked up the jam and a lovely golden top that's just begging to get cracked open.




If you prepare the ingredients the night before, these are on the table in 20 minutes flat.  That gives you enough time to get the little chitlins off to school, make lunches, make coffee, make the table and go pee if you remember.  Can't beat it.  Did I mention these are lactose free as well?  You can also make them gluten free by using oat flour or completely vegan by using a banana or flax in place of the egg and soy cream in place of the sour cream.  You can also make these full fat and super good using buttermilk and heavy cream in place of the oat milk and sour cream.  Enjoy and happy breakfasting.


Toasted Oat and Honey Scones
recipe adapted from Apt. 2B Baking Co.

1 1/2 Cups Oats (not quick oats)
 1/4 Cup Lactose Free Sour Cream
 1/4 C Oat Milk
 1/4 Cup Acacia Honey
 1 egg
 1 3/4 Cups/210g Flour
 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
 1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
 8 Tablespoons/140g  Butter, cold

Toast your oats in a pan on medium high heat, stirring regularly, for about five minutes until fragrant and nutty. Cool slightly before combining with other ingredients.

Preheat oven to 450F/230c

Combine the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together oat milk, honey, sour cream and egg.  Cut the butter into cubes and work into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or whatever method you prefer until the butter is well distributed and the mixture is mealy.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and combine just until it comes together. 

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface.  Pat into a flat circle and cut out rounds or slice into whatever shape you like.  Brush with a little oat milk mixed with honey and sprinkle with oats.  Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown on top.
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Bellamy's 9th Birthday!

A little late on this post, but hey, what's a week?  I'm a busy lady, I have a busy schedule that involves watching Dr. Phil re runs and crocheting.  I can't just make time for frivolous things like blogging.  Anywho!  Here is an ode to my crazy adorable, crazy silly, crazy brained child who in some way unbeknownst to me has just turned nine years old.  I coulda sworn she was born yesterday...





Bellamy's little impromptu cake.  I had about three hours to knock something out off the top of my head.  Chocolate cake in a donut pan, whipped cream frosting, black decorators icing, candy melts and a grass tip, go!  Wham bam thank you ma'am and we got a garden cake.  Go momma!













You've seen the cute.  Prepare yourself.


Disclaimer:  I assume no responsibility for the weirdness that you are about to encounter.  My child is in no way, shape or form like her mother.  In any way.  At all.  >.> 


I'm gonna show these to her boyfriends when she is 16.  She's going to hate me.













Oh sweet baby jesus, the chins.  Brings a tear to my eye.  I just don't even know.







Happy Birthday Bellamy!  Stay silly, it's much more fun.
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Monday, April 23, 2012

New Site!

Hey guys!  See that little link up there?  Crochet and Craftings?  Click on that and you will go to my new page that features all of my little diddlings with yarn and other fun stuff.  It's not much to look at yet, but trust me mores a'comin.  If you want to add things of your own to share, or make something I've posted please let me know!  You can shoot me a line with that other link up there called Contact.  It contacts me. Ooooh.

Happy Crafting!

And don't forget you can always submit food posts as well!  I love spreading the word and getting food out there, so if you have some recipes you're proud of and want somewhere to put it, let me know!
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Brother and Sister Cakes

Buggy insisted that her and her baby brother get a pink and blue cake.  Her cake had to be as pink as humanly possible.  His cake must be blue.  Well what Buggy wants Jenna gives her.  Pink and blue it is!
 
White Chocolate Pink Velvet with Cherry Cheesecake Filling and Pink Whipped Cream Frosting

Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake with Cookie Dough Filling and Blue Whipped Cream Frosting
















Happy Birthday!



White Chocolate Pink Velvet Cake
recipe adapted from Restless Chipotle

8 oz. White Chocolate, chopped 
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream 
2 1/4 Cups Flour 
2 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder 
1/4 teaspoon Salt 
150 grams Butter, room temperature 
1 1/3 cups Sugar 
4 large Eggs 
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
Rose or pink gel food coloring as desired for correct color

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C 
Grease and flour 2 or 3 8 inch round baking pans. 
Bring 1/4 cup cream to a simmer and add chocolate.
Remove from heat and stir until melted. Set aside.
Sift dry ingredients together. 
Mix together heavy cream and milk.
Beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar slowly, beating well .
Add eggs, one at a time
Add extracts and coloring and beat until well blended .
Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with milk/cream.
Stir in the melted chocolate.
Divide between pans and bake for 30 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. 
Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out of the pans to finish cooling.


Cheesecake Filling
500 g Cream Cheese
2/3 Cup Sugar 
4 eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Cherry Compote

Line an 8 inch pan with parchment and grease well.  Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
Beat cream cheese until smooth, add in sugar, vanilla and lemon juice.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
Pour batter into pan and drizzle with the compote.
Bake 20 - 30 minutes, cool completely.
Once cooled, whip until fluffy and keep in the fridge.



Whipped Cream Frosting
recipe adapted from All Recipes

8 oz/225g Cream Cheese
 1/2 cup Sugar
 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  3 cups Heavy Cream, separated
Blue and Pink Food Coloring

Whisk the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract until smooth.
As it's whisking, stream in 2 cups of the heavy cream.
Add coloring and continue to whip until it holds stiff peaks.
Whip remaining cup of cream with some food coloring seperately until stiff, fold into frosting.
Recipe makes ONE batch.  Make one for each cake.


Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake
recipe adapted from Foodess

2 Sugar
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
6 oz Chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon Salt
2 large Eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or substitute by putting 1 tbsp white vinegar in a cup then filling the rest up with milk; let stand 5 minutes until thickened)
1/2 cup Butter, melted
1 tablespoon Vanilla
1 cup Hot Coffee 


Preheat oven to 350F/175C
Grease, line and flour two 8 inch baking pans
Mix together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt.
Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, melted chocolate and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in hot coffee. 

Pour batter evenly between the two pans and bake on middle rack of oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until it tests clean. Allow to cool 5 minutes in pans then turn out and cool completely.


Cookie Dough Filling
recipe adapted from Always With Butter

1/4 Cup Butter, soft
6 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Water
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
5 oz Dark Chocolate, chopped finely

Cream butter and sugar, add water and vanilla and mix well.
Stir in flour and salt, then add the chocolate and mix.
Store in the fridge, covered, until you need it.





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Monday, March 26, 2012

I'm a Terrible Blogger...

But my cakes are pretty!





This cake was made for Aleksander, my good friend Mariana's hubster.  We threw him a little surprise party with some close friends and it turned out to be a great success.  His face was great, I think that is the first time I experienced an honest surprise at one of those.  


Everyone did a little something to contribute to the party, it was a bit of a pot luck.  I, of course, immediately grabbed the cake making part.  It wasn't easy though, I am finding that cakes are difficult to make when the question 'How do you want the cake?' is answered with, 'Chocolate'.  Damn, that narrows it down.  








But, after some prodding and interrogating, I came to find that he likes cookie dough and marble cake.  I can work with that!  The final product was this happy looking little cake.  


Two marble cake layers filled with cookie dough swiss meringue buttercream and coated with vanilla swiss meringue.  I poured over a layer of chocolate ganache, then coated the bottom in crushed cookies.  A little frosting border, some swirls, cookies and cookie dough balls pulled it all together.  It's a real shame I didn't get a picture of a slice, but I guess if you want to see that you will just be forced to make this cake yourself.  Poooor you. 


Glad you liked your cake Alek!









1-2-3-4 Marble Cake


1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Milk
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
3 Cups Flour**
4 Eggs
4 teaspoons Baking Powder


***The original recipe calls for Self Rising Flour.  If you have that available to you and want to use it, you MUST omit the salt and baking powder!!****


If using plain flour, combine with salt and baking powder and set aside.


Cream butter until fluffy, then add sugar and beat until pale and creamy.


Add eggs one at a time, beating well in between each egg.  Add Vanilla.


Alternate adding flour and milk, starting and ending with flour.  Flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.


Remove 2 cups of batter and add the cocoa powder to that. 


Add the batter to two greased and floured 8 inch pans.  Alternate between the chocolate and vanilla batters in a checkerboard pattering, layering colors one over the over.  You want three cups of batter in each pan.  Run a knife through it in a swirly pattern, in one direction and then the other.


Bake at 350F/175C for 25-35 minutes.  Remove from the pan immediately and cool completely.




Cookie Dough
from Always With Butter

1/4 Cup/56g Butter
6 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Water
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips


Cream the butter and sugar, then add the water and vanilla.  Beat in the flour and salt, then add the chocolate chips.  Chill in the fridge until you're ready to use it.




Chocolate Ganache


9 oz Chocolate
1 Cup Heavy Cream


*This recipe makes much more than you need, so feel free to halve it*


Bring cream just to a boil, then pour over chopped chocolate and stir until smooth.  Let it cool before you pour it over the cake.




My favorite go-to recipe for Swiss Meringue, as well as detailed instructions, can be found here.




Assembly 


Take your cookie dough and reserve 1/4 or so.  Mix the rest with about a cup of swiss meringue until smooth and well blended.  Fill cake, then crumb coat and chill for 15 minutes.  Frost the cake, but try to reserve a cup or so for piping.


Chill cake for a bit, then cover with ganache.  To get the drizzle effect on the sides, pour the ganace in the center of the cake and then twist and turn the cake to get the ganache to run over the sides. 


Once that sets a bit, crush up some chocolate chip cookies and press them into the bottom of the cake, brushing off all excess.  Pipe a line of frosting around the cookies to contain them if you like.


Once the ganache has partially set, pipe on swirls and top with remaining cookie dough rolled into little balls.  Finish it off with cookies, cut in half.


Enjoy!
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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gender Oriented Toys..Good or Bad? I Say...So-So.

No food here folks, if that's what you're looking for then scroll on down.  


Recently on Facebook there was a discussion about gender oriented toys, stemming from this article.

It specifically talks about Lego for Girls, which happens to be a product that Bellamy and I got to have fun with and evaluate through Buzzador.  Buzzador is a company that sends you products, toys, food etc to get market opinions.  You don't pay for anything and keep whatever you get, you are just required to submit opinion reports and pictures if possible, as well as spread the word.  Not a bad deal for free stuff I would say!  If anyone is interested in joining up with them, go for it!  Just remember to tell them Creuxx sent you ;)

Now, on to the topic of discussion.  Lego for Girls.

There have been 'girly' Lego for some time, but those are mainly marketed for the 2-5 age group.  I personally think it is both great and somewhat sad that they have come out with this product.  On one hand, it is great to see a Lego set that my daughter is interested in and appeals to her.  I mean seriously, 99.9 percent of Lego is Harry Potter, Robots, Star Wars, Animals etc.  All well and good and of course girls can play with them, but are they at all interesting to girls?  No, not really.

There is an argument from some parents saying 'Well why should girls have special Lego, that just says to boys that 'These are yours, and those are for the girls''.  Um, no it doesn't.  It says 'Here, you have 4 million choices, plus one more in case you want a pink house for Harry Potter!'.

There is one argument in the article that I completely agree with.  The figures are NOT Lego!  They are practically Barbie dolls.  They have breasts!  They are dressed like teenage girls, not girls in the 6-12 yr age bracket it is marketed to.  I hate that the mascots are designed like real girls and not little brick girls.  I hate that they have perfect hair and makeup.  I hate that because it is girls, they have to look that way.  There is not one single Lego product that is marketed towards boys that has anything remotely close to a human boy on it.  They are all little brick people, they all have brick hair.  I find it sickening that Lego has fed in to the fad that girls HAVE to look pretty, they have to be thin and perfect.  Lego girls should be bricks too!  So shame on you Lego for falling into a trend trap.  

Now, having said my piece about that, I will move on to the toy itself.  What Bellamy received is this:



It is very cute, and it comes with tons of things to put together.  Unfortunately, 85% is accessory pieces i.e: flowers, animals, bugs, etc.  The actual amount of Lego is lacking quite a bit.  Because of this, Bellamy got bored very quickly as there wasn't so much 'building' as 'decorating'.



But, we pressed on and got it done. We buildorated that thing.







She did the majority of the building herself.








The directions were clear and simple to understand with picture examples.  Like an Ikea manual.








She probably could have been done here, once she had the doll together that was much more interesting than anything else.  I really have a problem with her tits and stylish hair cut.





Getting there!







Had to encourage her to finish at this point, she was getting tired of the million little pieces.








Annndd......








We're done! Finally.




Final verdict:


Pros: Cute, girl friendly, something to do together that interests them.

Cons: Overly sexualized characters, too many accessories and not enough actual Lego, not 'Lego'.  

It's a playset with the Lego name on it.  If you put this next to the Harry Potter or Star Wars set it's a very, very big shame.  This is very much a marketing ploy and a sad one at that.  They can do much better than this.


While it was fun to put together with Bellamy and we did enjoy it, she has not really paid much attention to it since, and I believe the age range should be adjusted.  I can't imagine a 12 year old playing with this, nor can I imagine a 6 year old sitting still long enough to put it together.  


Nice try Lego, but you kind of missed the mark on this one.
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Been A Long Time...Shouldn't Have Left You..

Without some good shit to stuff down your pie hole.  Not the real lyrics, but close enough in my book.  I've been slacking like hell lately, I know!  I've cooked tons of food and made loads of different things but you know how life goes sometimes.  And ya see, that's the thing.  I got a life.

I know!  A real life?  Seriously!  It's true peeps.  I got friends and physical therapy and hospital appointments and doctor appointments and bowling and crocheting to do now.  I miss blogging though and I miss sharing all my food, so today is your lucky day.  It just so happens that one of my new time suckers has requested I share a recipe for something I made this morning.  I apologize for the shitty picture in advance, it was spur of the moment and not at all planned...pretty much like everything else I do.

So here ya go Marinne...Marianne...Mariana.  Just for you.




Orange and Dark Chocolate One Hour Cinnamon Rolls
with an orange sugar glaze

3 Cups/375g  Flour
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/4 Cup Skim Milk
8 Tablespoons/1/2 Cup/113g Butter, melted

For the filling:

1 Tablespoon Butter, Melted
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Orange Zest
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
Dark Chocolate, chopped

For the glaze:

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
Generous squeeze of fresh orange juice
Splash of Milk
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


Preheat oven to 435F/220C.  Grease pan you will be using and set aside

Combine the dry ingredients for the dough, then add in the wet and mix until combined.  If the dough is too wet, add flour as needed to get a tacky, manageable dough.  Flatten or roll out into a large 1/2 inch thick rectangle.

For the filling, combine the vanilla and melted butter.  Spread completely over the dough.  Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and orange zest and spread completely over the dough as well. Spread the dark chocolate pieces evenly over the dough. Roll up into a large tube and cut as big or small pieces as you like.  Line in the greased pan an inch or so apart.

Bake 15 - 20 minutes until light golden brown.

For the glaze, mix together all ingredients and pour half over the rolls fresh out of the oven.  Use the rest before serving.



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