Thursday, July 23, 2009

livin' la vida loca

I was recently invited to a friends house for dinner. It had been a while since I had seen these ladies and I was super excited to see them all! On the menu was margaritas and quesadillas so when I was asked to bring a dessert I thought this would be a perfect time to try out my recipe for tres leches cupcakes! Tres Leches is one of my favorite desserts, so I had high expectations for this recipe. I was a bit disappointed by the cake--a little too grainy and cornbread like for my taste--but overall I liked the recipe. The combination of evaporated milk, sweetened condenced milk, and half and half was a delicious glaze, and homemade whipped cream topped this cake off perfectly!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

don't stop believin'

I once vowed to never cover a cake in fondant. I love almost anything that has sugar as a main ingredient, but store-bought fondant never made the cut as far as I was concerned. I was intrigued however when I heard about marshmallow fondant. I didn't have a cake to bake, but I couldn't resist the urge to try this new recipe. The recipe was simple and only called for marshmallows, water, confectioners sugar and shortening (the latter of which was needed to grease your hands and work surface). It was easy and, due to its messiness, very fun to make! Melt the marshmallows, add the sugar, kneed into a dough and voila! It was also surprisingly good-for fondant of course. I am still not a complete fondant convert, but for that 'clean and smooth' look it is definitely the best contender that I have tasted.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

everyday america

July fourth has been one of my favorite holidays for as long as I can remember. It's a holiday strictly for enjoying life. There are no presents, no 'big expectations', no week long preparation; it is simply a time for friends, family, food and-the most important part ;)-fireworks! This year we had several friends over to celebrate with a day of relaxing (three of whom started the day with a 10k run-we were so proud!) With the help of our guests we had a smorgasbord of delicious food and wonderful company to share it with. A little time at the pool and a fabulous fireworks show (2 actually-lucky me!) made the day complete. This year we decided to do something a little different though. Since this is a holiday to celebrate our freedom, we decided to send a token of our appreciation to our men overseas. Let me take this time to tell you that I am friends with some of the most wonderful people you will ever meet. They completely floored me with the care they took to pick out items to donate to our soldiers and how much they gave! I am proud and thankful to have such amazing people as a part of my life. With their generosity, we were able to make small care packages for 18 soldiers!! These men and their families have sacrificed much of their own lives for us to continue with life as 'normal.' Hopefully these little bags will help to bring a smile to their faces and let them know that we appreciate all that they are doing. The holiday also gave me an opportunity to try out a few new recipes-something I'm always excited about! As I searched for recipes I happened upon a recipe for s'more bars-perfect! It doesn't get much more American than that (graham cracker+chocolate+marshmallow=yes please)! The recipe was easy to make (if you haven't noticed yet, that's a major factor in my cooking) and got rave reviews from guests! They tasted great, were less messy to eat than the original (although some may find that more of a con than pro), and saved well. They were the perfect treat for our all-American celebration.For an additional dessert I tried out a white chocolate cupcake and made a raspberry whipped cream frosting to go with it. The cake recipe was very good but quite sweet and the white chocolate flavor didn't come through as much as I had hoped. When I use this recipe in the future I think that I will omit the chocolate and use it as a white almond cake mix.

...That's how it goes in everyday America,
a little town and a great big life...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

sweet southern comfort

I was having some friends over and wanted to try out a new recipe. As most of my friends know, I'm a sucker for strawberry cake so when I found this recipe on ilovecuppycakes blog I had to try it. Instead of a strawberry flavored cake, this is a butter cake with real strawberries mixed into the batter. The result is delicious! I was a bit concerned about what it would be like to bite into a chunk of strawberry, but it was actually quite good! They weren't as sweet as most cupcakes, but almost like a mixture between a muffin and a cake. My trusty taste-tester gave it a 'DG'-translation- I will be using this recipe again ;)