Tag Archives: cupcakes

Memorial Day Sweets

For those working today I hope getting up wasn’t too hard.   I took an extra day of vacation for some “me” time and to get some things done that I never seem to do.  Like making some doctors appointments, planning summer vacation, haircut and color, etc.

We hosted a BBQ for our neighborhood clan over the weekend.  It turned out great.  Everyone brought something; scrumptious appetizers and salads.  We furnished hamburgers, rib-eyes, drinks and dessert.  We even were called the hostess with the mostess as we were able to provide each person (8) a golf umbrella to use.  It rained some after dinner when we were sitting around the fire.  It was just like camping!

The sweet part is what I wanted to share with you today.  Simple, but tasty.

Smore Pops Titled

It is the time of year to make smores.  I realized too late in the day our skewers were missing.  I searched high and low but I couldn’t find them so I did the next best thing.  I had made a birthday bouquet with marshmallows for my nieces husband before so thought I would use the same concept.  It took five minutes and all you need is a bag of chocolate chips, a bag of marshmallows, graham crackers and lollipop sticks purchased at Michaels.  I had some on hand.

Stick the skewer in the marshmallow.  Dip into the melted chocolate, then into some crumbled graham cracker.  I measured a piece of craft foam and shoved into a red pot I head on hand ahead of time so I had somewhere to place the pops.  Then I just added some tissue paper for some pops of color.

close up close up 2

Smore Pops

I also made some cupcakes from a box mix (I think Pilsbury Strawberry) and grabbed some marshmallow whipped frosting which I put in a baggie and used a decorating tip to give the cupcake some swirl.  I already had the red, white and blue liners and the little flags for decoration.  I keep all the baking kind of stuff like this in a basket in the pantry.  It’s amazing how much I have collected from shopping the dollar aisles at places like  Michaels and Target.  The cupcakes were simple and they were delicious.

Cupcake 1

cupcake 2

Titled

Did you make any special patriotic decorated sweets for Memorial Day?  Have a good Tuesday.  Do you watch The Voice?  Who do you think is going home tonight?

-renee

BFF BBQ and Flower Bouquet

Evening all!  I posted a couple of days ago my high school BFF ladies and I were getting together over the weekend for the second time in 5 months.  I know that sounds like a long time in between but it really isn’t when you think we have all those mother/wife/daughter responsibilities too.  This time, we brought our husbands and we all had the best time (smile)!  We all wish M could of come but we understand and send our hugs.

Our host and hostess for the day were J and S.  Cute couple, don’t you think? Married 34 years.  Congratulations!

161-1 Sorry S for chopping off your head.  I never claim I know what I’m doing. In fact, I was using a cheapo camera and the batteries died.  I then started using my phone and my service sucks and I have been having trouble uploading the pics.  Big bummer!  Anyhow, again sorry S.  Maybe this one is better…..oh wait, the other pic, the one that was great is in my phone….can you hear me wine?  But hey, I added a couple of hearts for the 34 years of love.  J and S were the perfect hosts and their backyard ultra secluded, comfy and beautiful.

Here’s some flowers from my yard that I arranged fore the hostess.  They needed something extra so I added a bit of “lattenene”.  Look what a festive box and some colored tissue do.

146-1  151-1

Dahlias, Gladiola’s, lilies, cuttings of rosemary, thyme and peppermint and some sedum made up the bouquet.  Here’s a closer look.

150-1

I can’t share pics of everyone because of the camera with the dead battery and the sucky cell service, but here are some to justify we had a great time.

Cheers to life, love and friendship! Meet P (from New Jersey, J the hostess and K, the salon owner.  Where’s Mo? 

153-1 The silver fox (a.k.a B, Ps hubby also from New Jersey) is on BBQ duty.  Mission requires spirits!  And the Host S is sharing his handyman secrets on how to create a fantastic deck.

159-1 We had marinated steak, a big fruit salad, pasta salad (will steal and share the recipe soon), lots of drinks and appetizers and drinks and appetizers and drinks and…..Hubby and I brought the dessert.  Red Velvet cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting and crusher peppermint on top.  Yummmmmy!  Trust me, they tested much better then they looked.  And I’m giving a shout out to Duncan Hines.

152-1

OK, should not have looked at this picture, now craving something sweet!

latte-1 Lattenene

Monday Magazine Review – Family Circle July 2011 Issue

055 Hi everyone.  I checked out the July issue of Family Circle magazine.  This month I found some great recipes.

Side note before the recipes: I am an ice cream freak and I learned July 17 is National Ice Cream day!Yes!  In 1984, President Reagan designated it a holiday.  So mark your calendar for a family visit to Cold Stone, Baskin and Robbins, TCBY Yogurt or a store of your choice for a special treat.

Some new food ideas I might try below…..

BLUEBERRY KETCHUP – In a saucepan stir together  and bring to a boil 2 cups blueberries, a clove of minced garlic, 1 small minced shallot, 3 TBL brown sugar, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp ground coriander and 1/8 tsp ground ginger.  Simmer for 25 minutes.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.  (This is supposed to be good with grilled meat)

SAUTED ZUCHINI – I love zucchini and this side dish sounds simple and amazing.  In a large skillet on high heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add 1 pound of shredded zucchini.  Sauté for 1 minute.  Toss with 1/4 cup sliced almonds.  Add shaved parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

BLUEBERRY CUPCAKES

Blueberry Cupcakes

 

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar (optional)
 

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line one 12-cup cupcake pan with foil or paper cupcake liners.

2. Cupcakes. In medium-size bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. On low speed, add half the flour mixture. Beat in the milk and vanilla, followed by remaining flour mixture. Fold in fresh blueberries.

3. Spoon batter into pan, a scant 1/3 cup in each indent. Bake at 375 degrees F for 23 to 25 minutes, turning pan once. Cool in pan on wire rack, then remove cakes from pan to cool completely.

4. Prepare Topping. In large bowl, combine cream and granulated sugar. Beat until medium-stiff peaks are formed. Spoon onto cooled cupcakes, about 1/4 cup on each. Scatter 6 or 7 blueberries over each cupcake, and dust with a little confectioners sugar, if desired. Serve immediately or keep cool until serving.

MIXED BERRY COBBLER

Mixed Berry cobbler

Ingredients

  • Filling:
  • 3-1/2 cups blackberries (2 packages, about 6 ounces each)
  • 2 cups blueberries (2 packages, 4.4 ounces each)
  • 1-1/2 cups raspberries (6-ounce package)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur or orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cook tapioca
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Whipped cream, optional
1. Heat oven to 350 degree. Coat a 6-cup oval baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Filling: In a large bowl, gently mix blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, sugar, walnuts, orange liqueur and tapioca. Spoon into prepared dish.

3. Topping: In a large bowl, whisk flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the baking soda and salt. Mix together milk, sour cream and butter. Add to the flour mixture and stir until a batter forms.

4. Dollop batter over the fruit. Sprinkle batter with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake at 350 degree for 35 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned.

5. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, if desired.

Please make these recipes and let me know how they taste.  I’m on a diet and I’m really afraid to bake for fear I have a weak moment! 😦

Happy Monday,

latte Lattenene

Monday Magazine Review – 2 for 1

I made it through two magazines this week; Martha Stewart Living, and Better Homes and Garden, both the May 2011 editions.

Mag Monday-Yard Work 5-23-11 002

First of all, Martha’s magazine cover this month just makes me happy and gives me a glimmer of hope that flowers will soon be blooming.  I picked up some really good planting tips.

  • If you want to have good blooms next year for lilacs, rhododendrons or any other bush that happens to bloom make sure you prune them after the blooms are done.  That said, looks like I will be spending some time on these when the blooms start to fade.

Mag Monday-Yard Work 5-23-11 013

  • The best time to mow your lawn is in the afternoon or evening.  Our front lawn is finally starting to fill in, our back lawn has a ways to go before it looks good.

Mag Monday-Yard Work 5-23-11 004

Mag Monday-Yard Work 5-23-11 021

  • Plant your warn season vegetables when the temperature becomes higher that 50 degrees and there is no longer a chance there will be a frost.

Here’s more from Martha.  For you dog lovers out there Martha’s pooches have their own website where they post daily messages.  See Here, it’s really cute.  Well, it makes me smile but then I have the pretty cute pooch myself.  For those of you that may be reading Cup of Chat for the first time, meet Divot…

Mag Monday-Yard Work 5-23-11 026

Mag Monday-Yard Work 5-23-11 028

Mag Monday-Yard Work 5-23-11 051   Whenever I paint a wall I save the paint card and also put a splash of color on the paint can lid.  Martha has a better idea and it makes so much sense.  Save a paint stick with the color and label it.  So simple, so makes perfect sense and I never thought of it.Paint sticks

On to Better Homes and Garden…..

Mag Monday-Yard Work 5-23-11 001

Take a look at the picture for these yummy looking Raspberry Bars.

Raspberry bars

I can’t wait to make these.  Go to the link Here online for the recipe.  If you make them first let me know how they are.  You can also use blackberries or blueberries.  I wonder how it would taste with all 3 together?

There was definitely a baking theme going on this month at BHG.  There was a feature on 2 sisters who left the corporate world to open a business making and selling cupcakes.  A simple tip is to make the cupcake simple and the frosting extra extra special.  Sophie and Katherine offer 5 tips for baking cupcakes which you can find Here and I’ve also listed them below.

1. Good ingredients truly equal good taste. When your teeth sink into a cupcake, your taste buds should register nothing but bliss. To send them straight to cupcake heaven, consider splurging on top tier ingredients, say the sisters. Gourmet flavors are highlighted in something as small as a cupcake, so make those 3-4 bites count. “We use Plugra butter, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and Valrhona cocoa, and they make a huge difference in taste,” says LaMontagne.

2. Never, never over-bake a cupcake. “We always recommend erring on the side of under-baking,” says Kallinis. “If you over-bake a cupcake, there’s no way to save it. And it won’t be moist on the inside.” Georgetown Cupcake’s team of bakers even set two timers to ensure the cakes make it out of the oven on time. For even better results, check your oven’s heat with an oven thermometer, to determine it’s true temperature. You’re doing it right when your cupcakes look slightly sunken, rather than peaked, says LaMontagne. Test them with a toothpick if you’re unsure — if no batter clings to the pick, they’re done.

3. Mix your batter with a light hand. If there’s one thing we’ve learned as bakers, it’s to simply be more gentle, says LaMontagne. “Baking fluffy, moist cupcakes is all about creating air bubbles in your batter that expand in the oven,” she says. “If you over-mix your batter, you collapse those bubbles and end up with a brick-like cake.” To avoid this, always mix on a low speed, stopping just as all ingredients blend.

4. Let all ingredients come to room temperature before baking. Take it from a pro: All ingredients incorporate into batter much more easily if they’re at similar temperatures, says Kallinis. Sure, it requires a bit more planning to set out eggs, butter, and other refrigerated ingredients 15-20 minutes before you set to work, but for a perfect cupcake, it’s worth it. (And as far as baking tips go, this one ranks among the easiest!)

5. Baking in advance? Freeze your creations. “If you’ve baked them to eat right away, we recommend storing cupcakes at room temperature,” says LaMontagne. “But if they’re for tomorrow, freezing them will retain their moisture much better than leaving them on a countertop overnight.”

Hope you found something useful.  Have a good one!

latte

 

Lattenene