Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Cupcakes make me happy.  Cupcakes with chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream, Heath toffee bits and salted caramel make me even happier!  These were some of the best tasting box cake cupcakes I have ever made and I owe it all to Julie of  Joy's Hope.  I found Julie's wonderful blog a couple of weeks ago and printed out this recipe as soon as I found it.  The cupcakes were super easy to make and they taste fabulous! I used my go-to buttercream frosting recipe.  You can find the recipe here.  Make this recipe soon and see how happy cupcakes can make you too :)

 Salted Caramel Cupcakes
from Joy's Hope

One Box Chocolate Cake Mix and ingredients to make it
Sea Salt
4-5 Skor Bars, crushed (I used Heath Toffee Bits)
Hershey's Caramel Ice Cream Topping
Vanilla Buttercream Frosing
Squeeze Bottle

Bake cupcakes according to package directions.
When the cupcakes are almost done you will make the salted caramel.

Pour caramel into a measuring cup or bowl.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt per 8 oz. of caramel.
Warm in the microwave for one minute.  Stir.  Pour the warm salted caramel in to a squeeze bottle.

As soon as the cupcakes come out of the oven, inject caramel into each one.  Move them to a cooling rack.
At this point you can begin smashing your Skor bars.  Since I couldn't find them at my Wal-mart I just used the Heath Toffee bits.  After the cupcakes have cooled, frost them with buttercream frosting, sprinkle with the candy bits and then drizzle the salted caramel happiness on top.  Makes 24 delicious cupcakes.

Don't they look yummy!
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Luau Cupcakes

My girlfriends and I recently hosted a bridal shower for our friend Kristy.
We decided on a Luau theme and it was so fun!
I was in charge of the cupcakes, so I decided to frost them with her wedding colors of Kelly Green and Orange.  I added a few pink ones as well, because you know how I love pink!
I decorated them with little umbrellas for our luau theme.  Bekka's mom also brought us some hibiscus flowers to use, which really added a nice touch. 

My Go-To Buttercream Frosting Recipe

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 - 8 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 - 3 T milk or whipping cream

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. 
With an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes on medium speed.
Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition, until the frosting is a good spreading consistency.  Frosting can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Honey Wheat Zucchini Muffins

Have I mentioned how much I love zucchini?  I think I probably have a time or two on this little blog, but here I go again.  I love zucchini!  I was looking for a way to make my go-to zucchini muffin recipe a little healthier, so I broke out my Wondermill wheat grinder and ground some soft white wheat.  I feel healthier everytime I use that thing!  It grinds the wheat berries into a fine, warm flour that is so much better for you than store bought processed flour.  I've been trying to be good and use it a lot more often.  Anyway, the result was a delicious, healthier muffin that I will definitely make again and again.  I popped most of them in the freezer, so I can have them when I pack my lunch for work, cause I'm a planner like that :)  Enjoy!

Honey Wheat Zucchini Muffins

3 cups whole wheat flour (I used Soft White Wheat)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup organic honey
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and baking powder.  Stir in honey, zucchini, eggs and butter.  Mix together.  Scoop dough into paper-lined muffin tins (I used an ice cream scoop).  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lemon Lush

I had my first taste of Lemon Lush at a graduation party the beginning of summer and of course I had to ask for the recipe!  This light and refreshing dessert is perfect for any summer celebration.  The crunchy cookie crust, combined with the sweetened cream cheese and lemon layer is so yummy!  You can substitute the lemon pudding for your favorite flavor.  I think I'm going to try chocolate next.  Enjoy :)

Lemon Lush
adapted from a friends mom's recipe

1/2 pkg. Pecan Shortbread Cookies, crushed
3 T butter, melted

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup cool whip

Pudding Layer:
2 small packages of Instant Lemon Pudding
3 cups milk (I used 2%)

Top Layer:
Cool Whip

Mix crushed cookies and butter and press into an 8 x 11 glass Pyrex baking pan.
Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Cool.
While the crust is cooling, mix softened cream cheese with the confectioners sugar.  Fold in the cup of cool whip.  Spread over cooled crust and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
Mix lemon pudding with 3 cups of milk and spread over cream cheese layer.  I then refrigerate this layer for at least another 30 minutes before spreading the cool whip on top.

Tidy Mom
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Roasted Corn and Zucchini

During the summer we always raid my parent's garden whenever we stop by to visit. 
Really they don't mind - honest :) 
I asked Madison to find me some zucchini and this is what she brought me. I could probably make a thousand zucchini muffins with this thing!

My favorite quick and easy summer side dish is Roasted Corn & Zucchini.  It's super easy and good for you too.  Use fresh corn cut off the cob if you have it, but frozen works also.  I didn't have any red pepper when I made the recipe below, but it looks really pretty if you have one.

Roasted Corn & Zucchini

Zucchini, diced
1 cup corn, frozen or fresh cut off the cobb
1/2 onion, diced
red pepper, diced
olive oil
fresh ground salt & pepper

Combine zucchini, corn, onion and red pepper in a bowl and toss with olive oil.
Spread veggies out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with freshly ground salt and pepper.
Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.  Now isn't that easy!

Yes, I stole the zinnia's from their garden too :)