Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Praline Pony

I needed a brown sugar buttercream to match the color of my niece Katie's favorite plush pony, so I went searching on the good old answer box. Sure enough, the Cupcake Queen at came through with a "Pecan Praline Frosting" that was the perfect recipe!

The frosting smooths out easily, frosts like a dream, and tastes divine! Happy Birthday to beautiful Katie Bug!!

The mane is chocolate buttercream and melted dark chocolate (and some black sprinkles) to match her pony, and the sunflower cupcakes are inspired by the book "Hello Cupcake."
Praline Frosting (adapted from
1 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. butter
1 Tbs. vanilla
3 c. confectioners sugar

Put brown sugar and heavy cream in saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside to cool so that is still warm, but do not stir while it is cooling.

Pour frosting into a mixing bowl, add powdered sugar, about a 1/2 cup at a time, until you have spreading consistency. You can also add chopped pecans to the frosting, or on top. Use your offset spatula dipped in hot water, to smooth out the frosting.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen

Strawberry Rocket Salad (Arugula, sliced strawberries, ground Flax (3 Tbs.), and apple cider syrup, olive oil, balsamic, and S&P.) Madeline loved helping (and LOVES Rocket)!

Chocolate Jello Instant Pudding divided between two quart-sized Ziplocs for "mixing" - fridged for 30 mins while reading stories, then "Voila!" dessert!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No way...

For obvious reasons, I've not attempted this recipe... really - Chocolate-Dipped Kettle Chips???

Two of my greatest eating-healthy weaknesses (OK, dark chocolate is slightly healthy), but leave it to Rachel to come up with the temptation!

Maybe they'd be horrible? Yeah, I know. Not bloody likely. Hence, the not trying of them...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Three Minutes, Flat.

With some new sea life cookie cutters from Sur La Table, this fun bento lunch took three minutes, start to finish.

While the Octo-dogs were in the microwave (cut one hot dog in half, then cut eight "legs" in the bottom of each half-dog, toss them into hot water and microwave for about 2 mins or until legs curl), I cut out the cheese shapes, layered with "Rocket" (Arugula) "seaweed" and tossed in a handful of washed cherries. Rinsed the dogs in cold water when done and added them to the box. Done!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tasty Shrimp, and nearly perfect Vanilla Cake

Karen and I had her favorite Bonefish Grill appetizer last week, and it was pretty good. It wasn't as tasty as when it was a regular on their menu, she said, but I tracked down the recipe so we could make it (tastier) at home. I also found an excellent — not-too-sweet, moist and light, vanilla cake recipe this week that I used for my birthday cupcakes. Yum!
Saucy Shrimp appetizer (or dinner - great with a Rocket salad!)

1/2 c. rough-chopped sun-dried tomatoes (dry, rehydrated are best)
1/4 c. lemon juice
Juice of 2 fresh-squeezed limes
1/4 c. fresh chopped or pressed garlic
1/2 c. white wine (optional)
5 Tbs. sugar (or agave syrup)
1 c. whole milk or half-and-half (the recipe calls for heavy cream, but not tried it that way yet)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper (or to taste, optional)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter cut in small pieces (the recipe calls for 1/4 pound of butter, but... yikes)
1 1/4 pounds small gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined (50/60 count optimal)
24 (or more, to taste) kalamata olives
Olive oil for pan
3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
Italian Parsley for garnish

To make lime garlic sauce, place sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic, wine, sugar, salt, and white pepper in saucepan. Place on medium heat and reduce by half. Add half-and-half or milk, reducing mixture until thick and bubbly. On medium to low heat, slowly add butter until incorporated. Keep warm.

To prepare shrimp, pour a little olive oil into saute pan, coating entire surface. Saute shrimp and olives together until shrimp are tender; remove from heat. Add 2 cups lime tomato garlic sauce. Stir the sauce in with shrimp thoroughly; do not put back on heat. Pour all ingredients onto a large round serving platter. Top with feta crumbled evenly over dish, and garnish with parsley. Yield: 4-6 servings. Source: Bonefish Grill

Simple White Cake (adapted from

1 c. organic sugar
1 cube butter (softened)
2 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan or line muffin tins with paper liners.

Use your Kitchenaid to cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add and mix well. Last, add the milk and blend to make a smooth batter. Scoop batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or 20-25 minutes for cupcakes. Frost and enjoy!


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