I have been a bit preocupied with “life” since the holidays but I did have the opportunity th whip p sme delicious Pink Champagne cupcakes for my awesome sister-in-law for a meeting. I truly love baking and cooking and making these was no exception.
I hope they were enjoyed by all.
The recipe for these gems is in the post below this one. I used a little less pink food gel with these to give them a lighter more delicate hugh.
Other than these cupcakes my weekend has been very uneventful. The cold is starting to really get to me although yesterday I was able to sit outside for a short time in the sun I did have to bundle up a bit though. Today is cold and rainy as have been many days this year so far. There has been no bike riding walks or hikes due to weather mostly. I’ve been fighting off “the blues” lately but they got the bes of me today.
My Father has been dealing with issues due to his COPD and my son has gone down to Florida to spend some time helping out his grandfather, I will be leaving Friday afternoon headed down for a week myself. He has a list of things already he wants me to cook when I get there.
I will be sure to blog as much as I can while I’m there.
I need to get back into the swing of blogging my delicious cfreations although after the holidays and the winter weight gain that I’ve experienced the recipes are probably boing to be a little more healthy and lean. I will of course still blog my cupcake and other baking endevours too. More to come on this in my next post.


Every month my beautiful sister-in-law and several of our wonderful friends get together for a GNO. We frequent the Panted Clay Studio for a night of fun, lots of laughs, A little vino and let the artistic juices flow. Or lovely hostess with he mostess, Liz, makes the night even more enjoyable with her quick wit, helpful artistic advise, trivia and prizes.

There is always a little pot luck Smorgasbord we graze on throughout the night and last night I brought my little version of pink champagne cupcakes. They were very tasty and of course I am sharing the recipe with you so you can enjoy them too. I did put pink gel color in the cupcake portion. I am going to try them without it next time.


½ cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kitchen salt
½ cup sour cream
½ cup of champagne for the cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your mini cupcake or regular cupcake pan with liners. In your stand mixer on medium speed cream butter and sugar until light a fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then add the eggs one at a time incorporating well after each addition. Add Vanilla and blend well. In a separate bowl whisk flour baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In another medium bowl whisk together sour cream and champagne, mixture will be a bit bubbly but will cream together nicely. Add flour and champagne mixture to butter, sugar and vanilla alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Batter will be thick. Fill cups 2/3 full and bake. For mini cupcakes 11-13 minutes, for full size cupcakes 18-22 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.


1 cup plus 1 Tbsp champagne
2 sticks of butter softened (1cup)
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a small sauce pan simmer 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp champagne over medium high heat until reduced to 2 Tbsp. Let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile cream butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the 2 Tbsp of reduced champagne plus, add 1 Tbsp of champagne from the bottle and incorporate well. Add confection sugar a little at a time until well mixed and has a firm consultancy. Frost cupcakes with your favorite icing tip and technique, add white pearl candies for bubble affect if desired.

This evening we enjoyed a special night out with friends and family to celebrate my wonderful sister-in-laws birthday and our good friend Ashley’s promotion.  We went to a local Japanese steakhouse and enjoyed hibachi, sake, good food and great company. 
For this occasion I was asked to come up with a carrot cake cupcake with a filling.  Of course I was excited about such a challenge.  Last year I created a carrot cake wedding cake accompanied by chocolate and vanilla rose cupcakes and the cake was a true crowd pleaser.  Even the skeptical non-carrot cake eaters were quick to compliment this one.  So I decided to resurrect the recipe once more.  

The recipe comes from Country Living with several variations found online. This end impressive cake has a robust aroma before during and after cooking. I have made this with light and dark sugars and oils and both are very pleasing. It can be made as a cake loaf or cupcakes with a variation of icings also.

I feel for Easter mini loaves with a powdered sugar, cream and cinnamon glaze would be perfect.

For being such a dense cake with many ingredients it isn’t difficult to put together and bake at all. I plan on making it regularly for gatherings. I think I may try some variation of the nuts and dried fruits also.


3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup(s) sugar
½ cup(s) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon(s) baking soda
2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon(s) salt
1 ½ teaspoon(s) cinnamon
1 teaspoon(s) freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon(s) allspice
3 cup(s) grated carrots
1 ½ cup(s) chopped dried apricots
1 ½ cup(s) chopped pistachios
4 large eggs
1 ½ cup(s) olive oil
½ cup(s) milk
2 tablespoon(s) pure vanilla extract

To make the batter: Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in a large bowl. Toss the carrots, chopped apricots, and nuts in the flour mixture and set aside. Whisk together the eggs, olive oil, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl then add to the flour mixture. Stir until all ingredients are moistened and well incorporated. Pour about 3 ½ cups of batter to each cake pan.
2 Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean – about 45 minutes for cakes (20 minutes for cupcakes, 30 minutes for mini loaves). Cool cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Release cakes from pans and cool completely on the rack. If freezing, skip to Step 2. Frost with a cream cheese, cinnamon butter cream of glazed icing.

Raspberry Apple Muffins

Another of my treasures while out shopping with my friend the other day was a lovely little book by Dot Vartan called Mad about Muffins that has started me on a short but enjoyable muffin binge and the illustration of this cookbook is beautifully done by Shelly Reeves Smith.
I love apples, they are my favorite fruit and I had just purchased a rather large container of raspberries at the local grocer so I found a recipe for raspberry apple muffins and whipped them up straight away. And they turned our absolutely delicious. The fresh raspberries popped in your mouth and the muffins were so flavorful. I topped them with a powdered sugar and heavy cream drizzle.

First small dinner party of 2015

The holidays seem to have been just a flash before my eyes and now we are saying goodbye to another year. As I look back on 2014 at all of the wonderful events that have happened and things I have experienced and accomplished I cannot help but feel truly blessed. Our family has made it through the year with good health which is truly most important. I have learned and grown as a person and strived farther toward my goals. I have reached a higher comfort level regarding my cooking and baking, and I am so excited that I have started this blog as an outlet for my passion. I know I will be learning and growing even more in all facets of my life in the upcoming year. I am excited about 2015 with the joys it will bring, the friends I will make and experiences I will have. So, here is to the past year and all its blessing and to the new year of 2015 and all the great things to come. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

With all the traveling and excitement over the holidays we took the opportunity this weekend to have a quite casual dinner with my son. so, while out shopping with a friend this week I came across a collection of amazing cookbooks I simply had to have. We were at a second hand store looking for treasures when I came across these vintage wonders.

I chose a recipe for chicken breast in tarragon crumbs. A variation from The Best of food and Wine copyright 1986, which turned out fabulous. Accompanying this I choose potato fans with Romano cheese with a crumbly bread crumb topping and a yellow squash and sweet corn au gratin, that once he tried it, my husband loved. He is one that always frowns when any squash is put on the table. The salad was a simple red leaf lettuce with cherry tomatoes, pecan halves, dried cherries and bacon pieces. For the dressing we had a creamy apple vinaigrette.

For the chicken: 3 – 4 oz. chicken breasts, 2 eggs, 1 cup of dry plan bread crumbs, 1 tbs tarragon, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 4 tbs olive or grape seed oil, 4 tbs unsalted butter, 2 limes cut into wedges

for the chicken: Rinse chicken breasts with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. In a shallow dish mix bread crumbs tarragon salt and pepper. In another shallow dish beat eggs until well blended.
Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture coating completely, then into the bread crumbs coating completely. Place on a wire rack and refrigerate, uncovered, for an hour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add butter. when butter is almost smoking add cutlets, saute on both sides 3-5 minutes,depending on thickness, until crisp and golden brown. Do not overcook. let rest on paper towels to remove excess oils.
Serve hot with lime wedges.

For the potato fans: 3 baking potatoes cleaned, 1 tbs sea salt, ½ tsp cracked black pepper, 1/3 cup grated romano cheese, 3 tbs plain bread crumbs, 3 tbs melted butter.

to make the potato fans: clean potatoes well and pat dry with a paper towel. make slices from side to side ¾ of the way through the potato like an accordion. put into greased glass baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper then drizzle with melted butter, 1 tbs each potato, bake for 30 minutes at 425. Then sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs, drizzle with pan drippings and bake for another 25 minutes until wooden skewer inserts easily. Serve with greek yogurt or sour cream.

I may have found a way to get my finicky husband to eat squash.

For the yellow squash and corn au gratin: 2 – 3 yellow squash, sliced. 1 cup sweet corn, frozen 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded. ½ cup heavy cream. Salt and pepper to taste.

To Make the yellow squash and corn au gratin: Grease a glass casserole dish, slice squash and layer the bottom of fish with squash, sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese and corn, continue to layer like this. top with cheese and pour cream over entire dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 425, Remove foil and bake 7 to 10 more minutes to brown the top.

Practicing my photography

Sitting in my mothers kitchen this morning looking at the cloudy sky out the window as I drink my coffee, I noticed the lighting was amazing. So, I decided to get out the camera and practice my photography. I do not get here as often as I’d like and visiting is my first priority so I have not done any baking (yet). Oh, I would like to thank pillsbury for the lovely cinnamon rolls this morning also.

sipping my coffee until this photo uploads…..

The lighting was just right, I would still like to try it with some reflective light and cinnamon rolls I’ve made myself but this was an amazing test of natural lighting for me.

Tomorrow, for Christmas Breakfast buttermilk pancakes…

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting

In my experience adding a rich flavorful coffee to a chocolate cupcake recipe added a delicious flavor. Even for non-coffee drinkers.

I use this chocolate cupcake recipe and one other that uses a stout beer. I LOVE chocolate and coffee but even if coffee is not your forte you will still enjoy these decadent cakes.

The batter has a much more liquid consistency and may drip when scooping into your cups but this provides a moist and spongy cake.

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

3 oz. Bitter sweet chocolate finely chopped
1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
¾ cup of hot coffee
¾ cup bread flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for the frosting:

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temp.
3 cups of confection sugar
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 piece vanilla bean


Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Scoop batter evenly into cups. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool the in the pan for about 3 to 5 minutes then transfer from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.
Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the pure vanilla and scrapings from inside the 1/3 vanilla bean, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

(cupcake recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, frosting recipe is a Random Krumbs creation)

Key Lime Cupcakes

Today is going to be my “catch-up on blogging” day since it is only day 2 of my Holiday vacation and I am nursing a cold. I’m am trying very hard to get rid of it since we are planning to visit family for the holidays and I do not want to be ill and have to cancel.
I have just about finished all my holiday gift crafting except a couple and I am waiting on the baking of cookies of course, until I am better. I have some absolutely wonderful cookie recipes planned and even a couple of “sugar free” recipes for my Father-in-law whom is diabetic. I will share all this as soon as I possibly can.
But, on to the recipe at hand, without further hesitation here are the photos (a photo) etc. for these absolutely tantalizing and sweetly tart Key Lime Cupcakes.

This lime curd recipe is absolutely amazing. When I first came across the recipe years ago I made many different decadent desserts using it. I will revisit many of the for this blog.

For the lime curd:
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
¼ cup fresh Key lime juice (from about 8 Key limes)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon grated Key lime zest (from about 2 Key limes)
Pinch of salt

Note: there will be small clumps so do be sure to strain your curd well.

For the cupcakes:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated Key lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice (from about 4 Key limes)
1/3 cup buttermilk

For the frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice
Pinch of salt
Key lime slices for topping

Making the lime curd:
Combine sugar, egg and egg yolk, lime juice and cornstarch in a small pan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking, Until it thickens enough to unstick from the bottom of the pan when stirred, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, until well incorporated. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then stir in the lime zest and salt. pour into a glass bowl with lid or Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface; refrigerate while making cupcakes.

Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl sift or whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. Combine 10 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low; beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla, lime zest and juice and beat until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Increase the speed to medium high and mix until smooth and fluffy.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters of the way. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in pan before removing to a rack; let cool completely.

Once cooled remove small center portion of the cupcakes (I use an apple corer) then put chilled lime curd into a pastry bag or baggie and snip the end. pipe the curd into the center of each cupcake just to fill.

To make the lime frosting, using a whisk attachment whip butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar. Once well incorporated increase the speed to medium high; add the sour cream, lime juice and salt and beat until fluffy, 2 more minutes. I also added a few drops of green gel coloring to give it a bit of vibrant color contrast. Once frosting is well blended and stiff enough scoop into a pastry bag with your choice of frosting tip to create a beautiful design. Garnish with small lime slices for that extra appeal.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

I am up very early this morning because it is going to be an extremely busy day. I have already been as busy as a nesting bird make presents, wrapping, baking and preparing for our travels over the holiday. This morning we are attending a very special Christmas event and the evening we will be touring some of the more hidden treasures of our beautiful city of Nashville for dinner and some entertainment. All this is in celebration of our wedding anniversary and I could not be more excited.

With my busy schedule I still took time out to bake of course and I was feeling like something extremely decadent this time. I had made a version of this cupcake a few months ago for a charity bake sale and they were a huge success. I have had many requests since then for them.

The recipe is a rich red velvet cake recipe made with a rich cocoa paste and a deep red food coloring. the cheesecake filling is a very simple recipe for no-bake cheesecake that I find to be light and fluffy yet still has a healthy consistency with just the right amount of tangy sweetness. For the icing I stayed with my traditional cream cheese recipe. I have tried to stray away from my use of Philadelphia Cream Cheese in these recipes but I have found that to get the richest creamiest taste and texture I use their brand.

whipping up the cupcake batter is done in 3 steps, the first is to blend the butter, eggs and sugar until creamed and slightly fluffy. then in another bowl blend cocoa, vanilla extract and red food coloring into a smooth paste. Here I prefer to us the bottled liquid food coloring instead of the food coloring paste because it gives the cocoa paste a much better texture.

Makes 12 cupcakes, prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes and total time is 35 minutes.

For the Cupcakes:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the cheesecake center:

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoons lemon juice

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners or cut 5 1/2” X 5 1/2” squares of parchment paper. Press the parchment into the cupcake pan with a cup or glass.
2. Using standing mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
5. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners (an ice cream scoop works very well here) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.
7. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

8. With the whisk attachment whip softened cream cheese lemon, vanilla and sugar until smooth, add whipping cream, blend until light and fluffy. I use an apple corer to punch out the center of the cupcake. Using a pastery page with the end snipped add enough of the cheesecake filling to be even with the top of the cupcake.

8. To make the frosting you will be using the whisk attachment in your standing mixer again, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.

*Note: This recipe can be doubled to make an 8 or 9-inch layer cake.

(Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

Taco chili

It’s time for flannel shirts and fuzzy socks again. Sitting curled up on the sofa with a warm blanket and a delicious bowl of chili. I’ve been in the mood for a hearty one dish meal so as I perused the grocery store on Sunday looking for something to beckon me to cook it for dinner I came across a perfect recipe idea.
There is nothing like a generous pot of chili simmering on the stove, filling your home with its sweet spicy essence. This recipe combines not only the traditional chili seasonings but also introduces a taco base, blending both to create a mouthwatering yet mildly spicy one dish meal. Dress this with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream and chips of your choice and not only will your tummy be satisfied but clean-up won’t be time consuming. You’ll be able to get cozy and enjoy the evening with loved ones.
This recipe has been added to “popular weeknight recipes” in my home not only because it is delicious but also easy. I hope you all Enjoy!

1 ½ lb ground beef (I did a mixture of ground chuck and pork)
2 (10-oz) cans diced tomatoes with chiles, undrained
1 can chili beans in sauce (15–16 oz), undrained
1 can red kidney beans (15–16 oz), undrained
1 (15.25-oz) can Southwestern corn with peppers, drained
1 (15.5-oz) can hominy, drained
1 (10-oz) can mild enchilada sauce
1 packet taco seasoning mix or 1 oz. of homemade taco seasoning

Preheat large, Dutch oven on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place beef in pan (wash hands); brown 5–7 minutes, stirring to crumble meat, or until no pink remains. Stir in taco seasoning;
Combine remaining ingredients in Dutch oven; stir to blend well. Cover and cook on medium low simmering for 30 minutes.
**You can also make this in the slow cooker with the following instructions.
Slow Cooker Steps
Preheat large, nonstick sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place beef in pan (wash hands); brown 5–7 minutes, stirring to crumble meat, or until no pink remains. Stir in taco seasoning; remove meat from pan.
Combine remaining ingredients in slow cooker; stir in meat. Cover and cook on HIGH 3–4 hours or LOW 6–8 hours. Serve.