Friday, March 30, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Pound Cake- Attempt One

Disclaimer: I am not entirely pleased with the outcome of this recipe. I decided to make plain lemonade pound cake and add fresh strawberries on the side. I like my lemon cake much more tart and pucker-y and this just didn’t do it for me. My middle son, however, loved it and said I had to post it just the way it was. :o)  (He’s such a great kid!)

So here it is… but be looking for the new and improved version sometime in the future.

1 boxed lemon cake mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup thawed frozen lemonade concentrate

1/3 cup oil

Mix well and pour into greased and sugared cake pan. Bake according to directions on box, or until pick comes out clean.

Remove from pan onto baking rack.

Make a glaze of 2 cups sifted powdered sugar and 1/4-1/3 cup lemonade concentrate. Pierce the cakes with a fork. Pour over cake while still warm.

Serve with sliced fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

lemon poundcake 01

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

So I took my new found love for cake and adapted several recipes and came up with this pretty pink and yellow cupcake for our church’s Girls’ Night sleepover… Lemon cake, pink lemonade buttercream frosting and a touch of lemon curd made them just the perfect combination of pucker-y and sweet!

lemon cupcake 01

Cake

1 lemon cake mix made according to the directions on the box.

*I filled mine with lemon curd (see recipe HERE) before baking.

Just cover the bottom of your muffin pan with cake batter. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd into each cupcake. Cover with remaining batter.

Bake according to the directions on the box.

*If I were to do it again, I would bake them first and then fill them with lemon curd using the same method I used with my Irish Chocolate Cupcakes. See the directions HERE. I like mine really lemon-y!!!

cupcake 01cupcake 03

Frosting

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

4 Tablespoons frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 drop of red food coloring (optional, but gives it a nice pale pink color)

Beat butter on medium high speed for 5 minutes. Scrape bowl occasionally. Gradually add powdered sugar until it is incorporated. Add lemonade and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

Frost filled cupcakes.

lemon cupcake 01

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Irish Chocolate Cupcakes

I know that St Patrick’s Day is over but I just needed these cupcakes today! And I have to tell you that they did the trick… I used to think I didn’t like cake, but I just wasn’t doing it right. Now, I’ve got it figured out! ;o)

cupcake 05 This recipe is a variation of the Irish Car Bomb cupcake from the BrownEyedBaker. I’m sure her recipe is even yummier, but I have to confess that my bad day needed something a little quicker.

The cupcake was so good that it may become the basis for many more recipes to come…

Cake:

1 devil’s food cake mix

1 cup Guinness stout

1/4 cup sour cream

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

Beat on medium high speed for two minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl, occasionally.

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes, or until pick comes out clean.

Let cool on wire rack.

Remove centers of cupcakes with an apple corer.

Eat the plugs… LOL

cupcake 01Filling:

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons Jameson Irish whiskey

Bring cream to simmer over medium heat. Pour over chocolate chips. Let stand 1 minute. Stir to combine. Add butter and whiskey. Stir well to mix.

Put in fridge and let it thicken enough to pipe into cupcakes. I do this by putting the ganache into a zipper bag and clipping the corner off. Works great and easy clean-up!

cupcake 03 

Frosting:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

3-4 Tablespoons of Irish cream

Beat butter on medium high speed for 5 minutes. Scrape bowl occasionally. Gradually add powdered sugar until it is incorporated. Add Irish cream and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

Frost filled cupcakes.

cupcake 04 Find friends to share them with because you can only eat ONE of these babies!

cupcake 05

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sautéed Cabbage

I will never eat cabbage that has been boiled ever again! I never like the way cabbage turns out when it is cooked along with my corned beef. This stuff was AMAZING!!!

1 head cabbage, cored and chopped thin

3 Tablespoons butter

salt & pepper, to taste

Melt butter in large skillet over high heat. Add cabbage and sauté until wilted and tender, about 10 minutes. You may need to add the cabbage in stages as it fills up a skillet pretty quickly before it begins to wilt.

Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

cabbage 01

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Irish Beef Stew

I have made this twice now and we really like it! The first time we ate it as stew, this time I made it into a shepherd’s pie. Both were that perfect comfort food for cold winter evenings!

2-3 pounds beef stew meat, chunks

1 small onion, chopped

3-4 large carrots, peeled & sliced

6-10 mushrooms, rough chopped

5-7 potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2-3 stalks celery, sliced

1 bottle Guinness stout beer

1 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup beef broth

1 teaspoon thyme

3 bay leaves

salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 cups cabbage, rough chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Brown stew meat in a bit of oil in a skillet.

Add meat and remaining ingredients, except for cabbage and parsley, to the crock pot. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low 8-10 hours, or until tender and bubbly.

Irish stew 06

Add cabbage last hour of cooking. Stir in parsley just before thickening.

Thicken with flour & water mixture and whisk in until smooth and stew is thick.

Here’s what you do if you want to make shepherd’s pie with it.

Leave out the potatoes when making the stew. Make them into mashed potatoes instead.

When the stew is done, spoon it into a glass baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. If you want, sprinkle the potatoes with shredded white cheddar cheese.

Irish stew 01Irish stew 03

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are a bit golden and cheese is melted.

Irish stew 04

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Banana Split Cream Pie

Today is Pi Day… You know, 3.14 (March 14th). Insert lame laugh here! I didn’t know it was Pi Day until I heard it on the radio on my way to the grocery store. It was much too late to make any kind of fancy pie (plus I don’t do pie crusts), and I couldn’t buy a frozen Sara Lee thing, so I just threw something together fast.

First I made a quickie banana cream pie with banana pudding in a graham cracker crust. Easy! Just follow the directions on the pudding box.

Then I whipped up 1 cup of whipping cream with 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon of instant clear gel, and spread it on top of my already set up pie.

Then I topped each piece of pie with fresh sliced strawberries and bananas and drizzled it with some leftover chocolate ganache I had in the fridge. But chocolate syrup would have worked just fine, too.

That’s it… A quick and easy pie for Pi Day!

banana pie 01

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cranberry Orange Shortbread

I took my favorite shortbread recipe and gave it some color with cranberries and orange. I thought they looked beautiful! My oldest son walked into the kitchen and asked, “What’s up with the meat cookies?” What??? They don’t look like they have meat in them and they certainly don’t taste like it. I promise! ;o) I dipped a few in dark chocolate just for fun, too!

shortbread 03 1 cup softened butter

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 tsp orange extract

grated zest from 1 orange

2 1/4 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Mix in flour and salt with hands or stand mixer. Mix in cranberries just before fully mixed. Mold into 1 log, wrap in wax paper and chill overnight. Slice about 1/4 inch.

shortbread 01

Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes. Just until edges begin to turn golden. Be very careful not to overbake these!

shortbread 02Remove from baking sheets immediately to keep them from baking further.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Best Banana Muffins

These banana muffins are a just about perfect. They are moist, sweet, tender, light, banana-y… With a cup of coffee in the morning, they can even brighten up a dull rainy day. Yeah, I really like these muffins! If only I could find the perfect blueberry muffin…

banana muffins 02 The first trick is that you want 2 cups of wet ingredients. I measure them into my 2 cup Pampered Chef measure-all cup.

These are the things you MUST have:

1/3 cup melted butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons water

Then add 2-3 mashed ripe bananas.

Fill the rest of the measuring cup with sour cream.

banana muffins 01

In a large mixing bowl add:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient in the bowl. Stir only until combined. (Think of it more as folding the ingredients into each other) You don’t want to overmix quick breads! Don’t worry if the batter isn’t smooth.

Grease and sugar muffin tins (about 15-18) or use muffin papers. Fill 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until pick comes out clean.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Apple Cracked Wheat

What’s better than hot breakfast on a cold winter morning? Hot breakfast waiting for you in your slow cooker!

This is a rather sweet and fruity way to enjoy cracked wheat, but is so lovely with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

This recipe makes 2-3 servings. I make it in my really small 1.5 quart crock pot. Cracked wheat is pretty filling, you don’t need much to fill you up!

1/3 cup apple, chopped

1/3 cup cracked wheat

1/8 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup apple juice

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon butter

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

splash of vanilla

Stir everything together in your crock pot. Turn it on low before going to bed. Do not cook longer than 8 hours. Give it a stir and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

apple cracked wheat 01