Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Best Strawberry Cupcakes

I work from home. Most people think that means I get to lay around in my sweats all day. Not the case. I am up most days making my man breakfast and lunch for him to take out the door by 7am. After that I do lay down and do my writing. It is hard to say no to two cuddly chihuahuas that are in my bed begging for me to join them in snuggles. This is where I do most of my writing and editing. By 10am I am in the shower, by 11 I am at a local grocery store, or farmers market picking out what I will be making for dinner. By the time my Man is returning home, I am in a dress, hair curled, jewelry on. I try to show my Man that it is important to me that I look good for him. He appreciates it. He tells me all the time. I know I would love to come home to a my man looking and smelling nice and presenting me with a nice meal, so why wouldn't I do it for him?
Romantic Tip: Get fancy by dressing up and splurging on a loved one. It is a timeless way to tell someone you love them.
Now on to today's recipe!

I have been making these cupcakes for years. Every time I make them, I get so many raves from the people I share them with. This time I made them for my building manager and the maintenance guys. I also dropped two off at my friends loft who lives in my building. I got raves from all them saying they were the most delicious cupcakes. Why are they the best you ask? All organic ingredients, made from fresh local strawberries, natural raw sugar and free range eggs. It makes a difference. Don't believe me? Give it a try! 

The Best Strawberry Cupcakes
This recipe makes 9 cupcakes, Feel free to cut the recipe in half if you are only making them for you and your love. 

Preheat the oven to 350.
Prepare your muffin/cupcake tins by filling with paper liners.

In mixing bowl combine:
1 Cup Flour 
3/4 Cups Sugar 
1/4 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
Mix on low speed for 30 seconds then add:
6 TBSP Softened Butter
1/3 Cup Strawberry Puree
Mix to blend then beat to light and fluffy for about 3 minutes.
In another bowl whisk together:
2 Egg Whites
1/8 Cup Milk

In 2 separate additions add to cake batter. Blend after each addition until incorporated and wipe down sides of bowl.

Split batter into prepared cupcake tins
Bake for about 30 minutes.
Set aside to cool.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting 
With an electric mixer beat together equal parts: 
4 oz Cream Cheese 
1/8 cup strawberry puree
1/8 cup Sugar 
1/2 tsp Vanilla 

Beat until light and fluffy. 
Top with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekly Romance and Recipe Round-up

I hope all you have had a tremendous week! With out further ado, I bring to you all the recipes and romantic tips I brought to you this week:

Weekly Romance and Recipe Round-up

Romantic Tip: Create a little portable box with a bunch of your partner’s favorite things inside.

Spicy Chicken Sliders
Romantic Tip:  Send a love email every day.

Romantic Tip: Weekly dates. I recommend you have a date at least once a week with your partner. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but at least find some way to spend a couple hours time together. 

Romantic Tip: Be the Grocery Fairy. Most practical gift ever—surprise your love with a week’s worth of fresh groceries.

Romantic Tip: Do something special for your love for NO REASON! Don't wait for a birthday, or an anniversary. Those are just dates when you are expected to do something. Let them know their love is important to you every day, not just on a holiday. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spinach Artichoke Egg Rolls

If my husband and I had it our way, we would be together 24/7. Since we live in reality, and that is probably never going to happen. I like to give him things to remember me by. Especially when he has to go out of town or work late. I am working on creating a little box he can take with him. With pictures, his favorite music, his favorite treat, a love note. You can keep the love alive while you are away from each other too. 

Romantic Tip: Create a little portable box with a bunch of your partner’s favorite things inside.

Now on to today's recipe. This recipe is for a party, get together, book club... you know, all the events we get invited to where you are supposed to bring a dish. 
My husband and I love spinach artichoke dip. Problem is you have to sit next to the dip bowl if you are going to enjoy it, and you miss out on the party. My solution? I made an egg roll. These crispy rolls are filled with spinach artichoke dip. Grab and go enjoy the party! Don't be intimidated. These are simple to make. This recipe makes 12 large egg rolls for a party or get together. 

Spinach Artichoke Egg Rolls

Egg Roll Wrappers

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
2 small cans or jars of plain non marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese plus more to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus more to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus more to sprinkle on top
Canola Oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl, add; cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, spinach, artichokes, garlic salt, chili powder, mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan. 
Mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Lay out your egg roll wrappers and fill with 1/4 cup of the dip.

fold the bottom and sides around the dip.

Roll shut. Repeat until all 12 egg rolls are rolled. 

Heat up canola oil to 375 degrees. Fry each roll until golden brown.

You can store these in the fridge and reheat at 375 for 8 minutes to make them taste fresh and hot.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fried Chicken Sliders with Slaw and Spicy Mayo

I love getting anything in writing from my man. He is not much of a writer, so when he takes the time to write me, I feel extra special. I think everyone should take the time each day to send a little affirmation to their loved one. Send an email. Not just "hi how is your day?". Make it loving. Tell them how much they mean to you. It keeps the love alive until you are back in each other's arms. 

Romantic Tip:  Send a love email every day.

Now on to today's recipe. I always get super excited when my  Bon Appétit magazine comes. It means I get a lot of new recipe ideas. This bad boy was on the cover of my April issue. Instead of making one large sandwich, I made sliders. They were beyond amazing. I love love love this recipe.  Enjoy! 

Fried Chicken Sliders with Slaw and Spicy Mayo
adapted from Bon Appétit | April 2013

Spicy mayo and slaw:
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot pepper sauce
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 jalapeño, thinly sliced
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1/4 cup bread-and-butter pickle slices, plus 1/4 cup pickle juice
Fried chicken and assembly:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 8-ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 6 pieces.
Canola oil (for frying)
6 white dinner rolls
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For spicy mayo: Mix garlic, mayonnaise, and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl; cover and chill. 

For slaw: Toss onion, jalapeño, cabbage, pickles, and pickle juice in a large bowl to combine; cover and chill.

For fried chicken and assembly:
Whisk flour, pepper, and salt in a shallow bowl. Pour buttermilk into another shallow bowl.
 Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess. 
Dip in buttermilk, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

Pour oil into a large heavy skillet to a depth of 1/2". Prop deep fry thermometer in oil so bulb is submerged. Heat over medium heat until thermometer registers 350°F.

Fry chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. 
Transfer to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet; season with salt. Spread cut sides of rolls with butter. Heat another large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook rolls buttered side down until browned and crisp, about 1 minute.

Spread with spicy mayo. Build sandwiches with rolls, chicken, and cabbage slaw.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Soft Sourdough Bread Rolls

Time. It is something that gets away from us so easily. It would seem like we should easily be able to accomplish what we want in a 24 hour period. Somehow, we can never get everything done. So then we have to pick and choose what we will accomplish, and what we will let slide. Unfortunately  it is usually our relationships that we skimp on. I cannot stress enough that we need to flip that and make sure our relationship is put first. We do not go a week without a date. It is necessary. Time away from the computer, smart phone, outside conflicts. Just put it all away. Focus on just the two of you. 

Romantic Tip: Weekly dates. I recommend you have a date at least once a week with your partner. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but at least find some way to spend a couple hours time together. 

Now on to today's recipe. I have mentioned before that my husband and I go crazy for sourdough bread. Instead of only having it for sandwiches and toast, I wanted to make a basket full of rolls for us to enjoy at dinner. There are different styles of sourdough rolls. I wanted some soft ones. If you would like to make these crispy, then just take out of the oven 5 minutes before they are done and brush melted butter on them. Then put them back in the oven for 5 minutes and a nice crispy crust will form on the outside. 
This recipe makes approximately 12 rolls. I use the leftovers to make sliders. 

Soft Sourdough Bread Rolls
adapted from Food.com

1/2 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar 
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups flour

Recipe for the sourdough starter can be found here: http://pleaseyourmaninthekitchen.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-to-make-sourdough.html
Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl combine starter, water, yeast, salt, sugar and oil.
Stir in flour, adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is manageable.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well.
Place dough in a bowl and cover, set in a warm place to double in size.
When double, punch dough down and with lightly floured hands, form into rolls.
Place on prepared pan and let rise until doubled.
Bake 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

6 minute Fruit Tart

Romantic gestures are great. I love it whenever my husband thinks of me, and when he does something out of love it is the best gift ever. I used to call my husband the dishwasher fairy. He would empty my dishwasher for me every morning just to make the start to my day nice. It always made me smile. Since then I have taken that job over again. Mostly because I have several fragile dishes that I want handled extra careful. 

I wanted to do something for no reason for my hubby. Around here, we usually wait until the weekend to go to the grocery store for our big purchases. I walk to the store almost every day, but the weekend is when I pick up the heavy items like detergent, beverages, and anything heavy... like a bag of potatoes. Carrying those by myself for 6 blocks is not fun, even though I have done it many times. This last time I decided to go get them myself just as a nice gesture for my hubby. Eliminating one chore from anyone's day is always nice. 

Romantic Tip: Be the Grocery Fairy. Most practical gift ever—surprise your love with a week’s worth of fresh groceries.

Now on to today's recipe. Sometimes I just want to make something that has a cute presentation. These little mini fruit tarts are a great side dish and make any plate look pretty. Serve them on the side of your eggs, pancakes, lunches, or just serve as a snack. Easy to just pick up and eat, and even easier to make! 

6 minute Fruit Tart

Won Ton wrapper
Sliced banana

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
I only needed to make two of these. You can make as many as you want. For two it took 2 strawberries and a half a banana with 2 won ton wrappers. Adjust your ingredients according to how many you are making. 
Press your won ton wrappers into a cupcake, brownie, or muffin tin. 

Place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
While won tons are cooking, slice your fruit.

Once the won tons done. Add your sliced fruit. 
Easy Peasy, and oh so tasty!

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