Monday, January 28, 2013

Champagne Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting and A Giveaway!




Today I'm celebrating 2 years of blogging! It really does only seem like yesterday that I started. So much has happened the past two years.

Leaving the island life for mainland Oregon is one of the major events that has occurred.

With doing so, I know that I haven't posted as often as I did the first year of blogging. With the hustle and bustle of a move, definite loss of natural light for photos (have I mentioned that it rains in Oregon...... a lot!), and having to find the creativity to produce new and fresh ideas for recipes have all factored into that.

I'm so glad you continue to stop by here and take the time to check-out what I'm doing on this little ol' blog of mine. It means so much to me....

So to say thank you, I'm giving away three, $25 e-gift cards for your use at:






*This Giveaway Has Ended*

All you need to do is leave a comment telling me what you would use the Williams-Sonoma e-gift card on, should you win. 

Please leave an email address with your comment for me, if you do not have a blog with contact information, as I will need to contact you if you win. 

Rules

One entry per person, please.
This contest ends on Monday, February 4th at 8pm Pacific Time.
The winner will be selected randomly.

*This giveaway is sponsored by me, So Domesticated.

Good Luck!

Now, I decided to make cupcakes instead of a cake for this celebration, just 'cause I LOVE CUPCAKES! Honestly, I believe pretty much everyone loves cupcakes. If you don't, it kinda means you're a bad, bad person. 

Just kidding. Anyway...

To make these extra special I decided to use Prosecco in them.

Can you say YUM!?!

I wanted my girls to be able to eat them, so I made a vanilla bean frosting, as opposed to a champagne frosting. FABULOUS! 

I hope you'll make these the next time you have a celebration... you will LOVE them! 

I Promise.

Champagne Cupcakes

  • 2 1/4 Cups Cake Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Salted Butter, Softened
  • 1 1/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Egg Whites, Room Temperature
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Champagne or Prosecco, Room Temperature
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, powder, soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg whites. Add the vanilla and Champagne or Prosecco. Add the cake flour mixture a little at a time until just combined, scrapping down the sides of the bowl. Don't over mix. 

Evenly distribute the batter between two lined cupcake or muffin pans. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cupcakes are done. Makes 20-22 cupcakes. Cool completely on wire racks and frost.

Vanilla Bean Frosting
  • 1 Cup (2 Sticks) Salted Butter, Softened
  • 4 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream, Room Temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  • 1 Whole Vanilla Bean

In a large bowl, cream the butter, whipping cream, and vanilla until combined and fluffy, making sure to scrap the sides of the bowl down. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time. Mix until the frosting comes together. Take the vanilla bean and cut it lengthwise. Scrape as much of the vanilla seeds out as you can and add to the frosting mixture. Mix the frosting to disburse the seeds. Frosts 24 cupcakes. If piping, you may want to double the recipe, to be sure you have enough frosting.

So not to waste the vanilla bean, I scrape whatever seeds I've missed and mix it in with 1 cup of granulated sugar to make vanilla sugar. Throw in the vanilla bean, too. Store in an airtight container and use in tea or add to heavy whipping cream to make vanilla whipped cream to top your pies or ice cream with!

Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chocolate Trail Mix Lollipops...




Since moving from Hawaii to Oregon this past summer, we've settled in pretty well.

There still are a few things that we're getting used to.

Let me rattle them off to you...


  • Constantly seeing men & women wearing camouflage. 
  • Watching my neighbor pull into his driveway with his latest kill... a dead buck in his truck bed. 
  • Watching my neighbor hose down the back of his truck bed with the dead buck in the truck bed.
  • Realizing they have a Timber Festival (you know, with lumberjack competitions)..... and looking forward to taking the family.
  • Seeing deer roam. Like, everywhere. We really do get over-excited when we see them. Too excited.
  • Small town life....... it's quite nice, but can be a little restrictive in the way of shopping.
  • The rain.
  • The rain.
  • The rain.
  • Did I mention the rain?

Oregon is beautiful, and we definitely look forward to exploring more once the weather gets better. Sunshine is missed. Not gonna lie. 

I am grateful, however, that we, my girls especially, get to experience living in different states and seeing how people live in those states. Of course, for the most part, as Americans we share similarities, but there are some very unique differences. 

Something else I'm grateful for......

...... Chocolate...... and Trail Mix...... together.

A fabulous marriage, if you ask me. 

Salty and sweet = perfection

And they are on a lollipop stick. That makes them even more special. It really, truly does. 



Chocolate Trail Mix Lollipops

  • 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Morsels or Chunks
  • 1 Cup Milk Chocolate Morsels
  • Trail Mix
  • Lollipop Sticks
Prep your work area by pre-cutting a few large pieces of parchment paper and lay them down on the counter. Place the lollipop sticks and trail mix near by.

In a double boiler, melt the dark and milk chocolate until smooth. Carefully remove the heatproof bowl from the double boiler. Working quickly and one lollipop at a time, drop the chocolate by tablespoonful and shape into a circle using the back of the spoon. 

Take a lollipop stick and twirl it at the base of the circle to coat; leave it at the base of the chocolate circle. Place a small drop of the melted chocolate over the area where the lollipop stick is inserted in the base of the chocolate circle, just to secure. 

Sprinkle some trail mix over the chocolate. Allow about 2 hours for the lollipops to dry and set. Store covered. It's best to eat these within a few days of making them. Makes around 16 lollipops.

Enjoy!

I'm sharing this post on I'm Lovin' It.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chicken and Rice Meatball Soup...

 


Since it has been ridiculously cold where I am, I decided to make some soup. Soup has to be one of my favorite dishes to make.

I love that you can pretty much throw whatever ingredients you want into the soup pot. So, so, so easy!

Who doesn't love an easy recipe!?!

Creamy soups are what I'm drawn to, but since I'm trying to be all healthy, a brothy soup is really the best choice. Not to worry though.... it is still full of flavor. For me brothy soups are also very comforting.

There's nothing like a bowl of soup to make things better. Especially when it's freezing outside or raining constantly. Which in my case... are both!

This weather is sure making me miss Hawaii!


Chicken and Rice Meatball Soup

For the broth:

  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Carrots, Peeled and Diced
  • 4-6 Celery Stalks with the leaves, Cleaned and Diced
  • 1 Large White Onion, Diced
  • A Pinch, Salt
  • A Pinch, Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground or Rubbed Sage
  • 2 (32 oz.) Containers of Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth                                                          
For the Meatballs:

  • 1 Pound Ground Chicken
  • 1/4 Cup Uncooked Long Grain Rice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley Flakes
  • 2 (32 oz.) Containers of Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth                                                          

In a large Dutch Oven or soup pot, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the diced carrots, celery, onion, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and the sage. Cook until translucent, 5-8 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

In the meantime, in a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, uncooked rice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, and parsley flakes. Roll into 1 inch or so, sized meatballs. 

Once the chicken broth has come to a boil, carefully add the meatballs to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer the soup for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Adjust the seasonings if needed. Makes 6-8 cups.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chocolate Granola Squares...




Do I have a simple treat for you!

Only four ingredients....... FOUR, people! It can't get any easier than this.

I heart granola, but it can get a little boring eating your typical granola and yogurt. So, that's why I thought I'd dress it up a bit.

To do that, I mixed it with some melted chocolate.... walnuts.... coconut, too.

Now, I consider this treat somewhat healthy....... the granola...... am I right? Of course I am. Yes, it has some chocolate in it, but who cares right!?! It's all about moderation.

Want to make it even healthier? Use dark chocolate instead of the semi-sweet chocolate I used.

Please say you'll try this... I'm telling you, it will hit the spot...


Chocolate Granola Squares

  • 2 Cups Granola Mix (I used a Chocolate and Berry Mix)
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels 
Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the granola, walnuts, and coconut. Break up any large clusters of granola. 

In a heat proof bowl, melt the morsels in the microwave in two 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval. Once the morsels are melted and smooth, pour over the granola mixture and stir until well combined.

Spray a spatula with cooking spray (it will be sticky) and transfer the chocolate granola mix into the 8x8 pan, pressing it to cover the inside of the pan. Chill in the refrigerator for up to an hour or until set. Remove the chilled chocolate granola and cut into squares or break into pieces. Keep in the refrigerator to keep from melting.

Enjoy!

I'm linking this post over on I'm Lovin' It.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pineapple Mandarin Orange Smoothie...

 

Happy 2013 to all of you!

I know a lot of us have New Year Resolutions to eat healthy and exercise. So, I thought after posting all those sweets in December, I'd post a simple healthy recipe.

I love smoothies, because not only are they good for you, but they taste sweet, too. I want healthy without sacrificing flavor. Can't stand bland, good-for-you foods..... yuck!

The best way to stay eating healthy, is to not compromise the flavor of your healthier foods.

I've tried some real doozies in the past when it comes to diet plans, but the best way I've found to keep on track is eating less fattening foods, portion control, never depriving myself, and of course exercise.

I am sooo NOT a nutritional expert, but this is what works for me.

Even if you're not looking to lose weight, I hope you'll still try this smoothie. It tastes great either way!


Pineapple Mandarin Orange Smoothie

  • 1 Cup Pineapple, Cubed (Fresh or Frozen)
  • 1 Cup Mandarin Oranges, Drained
  • 6 oz. French Vanilla Bean or Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1/4- 1/2 Cups Reduced Fat or Skim Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Honey 

In a blender, blend the pineapple, mandarin oranges, yogurt, milk and honey together until smooth. The less milk used, the thicker the smoothie. Makes about 2 cups.

Enjoy!
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