Thursday, June 30, 2011


Ah! I'm going to Europe next week!! I'll be there for 12 days with my best friend and one of her friends. We randomly booked it a couple weeks ago. We'll be visiting London, Dublin, Paris and Brussels. CAN'T WAIT! 

pic of the day

Just because I love it...
then I stumbled across Inslee's blog. Her sketches are adorable! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

feeling crafty?

SO many adorable craft ideas I would LOVE to make! If only if I was motivated..
found: pinterest
found: Cape 27
found: flickr

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

I made these for a work BBQ, and I figured they'd be perfect because they are so summer-y. I also have been dying to try the two-tone frosting so I went for it! It was a lot harder than I expected and I ran out of icing, so next time I'll probably double the icing. 
Taste: The cupcake has a perfect hint of orange, and the icing tastes EXACTLY like a creamsicle! They are amazing together
Texture: Mine were a little overbaked, but they would be great if they weren't. 
Would I make this again?: Yea, they are SO good!
Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
found: Amanda's Cookin'

Orange Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons orange extract
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk

Orange Cream Frosting
1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Orange food coloring

Heat oven to 350 F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. 
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, 1 cup of sugar, the baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended. In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat eggs, orange zest, vanilla, and orange extract until blended. Beat in 1 cup vanilla sugar. Beat in oil, then buttermilk, until blended. On low speed, beat in flour mixture just until blended. 

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup.Bake about 16-18 minutes? (The recipe said 25, but I checked them around 18 and they were completely overbaked already). So bake them until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting (you might want to make a double batch if you are piping the icing, I ran out)Beat cream cheese, vanilla, orange extract and orange zest in a medium bowl with mixer on low speed to blend. Add confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time and beat until fluffy. Take out half the icing, and beat in orange food coloring to the other half. You could refrigerate a little if the icing is too runny (but I didn't). 

I used this method from Good Life Eats to pipe the two-tone frosting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

4th of July collage

It's really hot out there. Time to get in the summer spirit, and what better way to kick off summer with the 4th of July?! 
or check out my collage from last year here.

Note: I like to center the collage and have a corresponding color in the background like this:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vanilla Pudding Oreo Cookies

The original recipe I used had chocolate chips in it, but I decided to mix it up and put in Oreos. And it worked out great!! 
Taste: Very vanilla-y with a great oreo taste
Texture: Really moist
Would I make this again?: Yes! They are delicious and easy. 

Vanilla Pudding Oreo Cookies
Adapted from: Two Peas and Their Pod

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3.4 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 crushed oreos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and set aside.

Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add in pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the oreo pieces.

Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slight golden and set. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Friday, June 10, 2011

weekend wishes

wooo it's Friday! Hope you have fun plans. 
found: pinterest

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Double White Chocolate and Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies with Sea Salt

This recipe was created and featured on Picky Palate based on a peanut butter from Spread. I read the post awhile ago and immediately ordered the peanut butter and 3 other varieties. I meant to blog about them, but completely forgot. They were freaking delicious though!! So I thought it was only fitting to make the cookies too! 
Taste: Sweet and salty, the perfect combination! 
Texture: Soft with a little crunch from the pretzels.
Would I make this again?: Peanut butter is not my FAV flavor, but I would def make them if someone requested them again. These were a huge hit with friends and coworkers! 
Double White Chocolate and Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies…with Sea Salt
Found: Picky Palate

1 stick softened butter, 8 tablespoons
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup white chocolate chips, to melt
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter (reserve 2 tablespoons to add to melting white chips)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup broken pretzel pieces
1 Cup additional white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Melt white chocolate chips and 2 Tablespoons peanut butter over a double boiler until melted. Add melted chocolate chips and remaining peanut butter to beaten butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Place flour, baking soda and salt in bowl; mix to combine. Add to wet ingredients until just combined then pour in pretzels and additional white chocolate chips. With a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. With the palms of your hand, gently press down each cookie to about 1/2 inch in thickness. Sprinkle each cookie with a touch of sea salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges become golden and slightly crisp. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet before removing.

3 dozen cookies

Friday, June 3, 2011

weekend wishes

Hope you have fun plans this weekend! I'll be hanging out with one of my best friends who is coming into town including a BBQ tonight and the Kenny Chesney with Zac Brown concert tomorrow. Can't wait! :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Samoa Cupcakes (Chocolate Coconut with Carmel Buttercream)

Ever since I tried the new Starbucks Coconut Mocha, and drinking out of a real coconut in the Bahamas, I have a new obsession. These cupcakes were the perfect solution to my coconut addiction. They are crafted like the famous Girl Scout cookie: Samoas. And they taste just as delicious as the cookie! 
Taste: Chocolate cupcake with more than a hint of coconut. The caramel frosting was amazing! Put together = SO good. 
Texture: Moist cupcake, toasted coconut, creamy frosting, melted chocolate = YUM.
Would I make this again?: Yes, whenever my coconut urge hits! 

Samoa Cupcakes (Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream)
Found: Sweet Little Details 
Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes
2 cups flour
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk

Caramel Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup prepared caramel
3 Tablespoons milk
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and coconut extract until fluffy and light, at least 3-4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the milk beating just until combined.

Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Tilt each cupcake in the muffin pan so it sits at an angle. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan at this angle for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add vanilla, salt, caramel syrup, milk until combine. Begin adding in the sugar slowly and mixing thoroughly after each addition. Beat for about 4 minutes until smooth.

To toast the coconut, spread the coconut onto a rimmed sheet pan. Toast in a 350°F oven, stirring frequently, until the coconut is an even brown color, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe a spiral of frosting, beginning at the outer edge and working inward.

Heat chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave for about 30 seconds or until drizzling consistency. G
arnish the frosted cupcakes with toasted coconut and drizzle with melted chocolate.
UPDATE: This was featured on The Cupcake Blog! Yayyyy, see the post here

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle's Corn Salsa + Avocado Crema

The sis and I made this for dinner last week and it was AMAZING. It was really easy and quick to make and SO delicious!! We made the Chipotle corn salsa, and the avocado crema separately, and decided to mix them into one delicious creamy salsa to top the shrimp. 
Taste: The salsa tasted exactly like Chipotle, and the avacado crema added a nice creaminess. 
Texture: The shrimp was crispy and perfect against the crunchiness of the corn and onions in the salsa.
Would I make this again?: Yes! YUM. 

Crispy Shrimp Tacos
Found: My BFF Madeleine at What a Big To Do (adapted from How Sweet It Is)

1/2 pound raw, deveined shrimp (tails removed)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 corn or flour tortillas

Make sure shrimp is clean and completely dry. Combine salt, pepper, garlic and cumin and sprinkle it over the shrimp. Add the flour to a small bowl, and dredge the shrimp through the flour to get a very light coating on it. Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shrimp and brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp and let drain on a paper towel.

Chipotle Corn Salsa / Avocado Crema
Adapted From: Food Network Magazine Almost-Famous Chipotle Corn Salsa

1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears), or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 avocado, pitted
1-2 Tbs plain yogurt
1 Tbs sour cream
juice of 1/2 lime
hot sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a grill to medium high. Brush the poblano with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grill, skin-side down, until charred but still firm, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly; peel and finely chop.

If using fresh corn, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes; drain.

Use a fork to mash the avocado in a medium bowl. Add the yogurt, sour cream, hot sauce, and lime, and continue mashing to form a smooth sauce. Add more yogurt or sour cream to achieve your desired consistency, and season with salt and hot sauce. Mix the corn (if using frozen, add it here), poblano, jalapeno, cilantro and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, the lime juice, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.