Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Easy Champagne Cupcake

I found this recipe on Betty Crocker's web site and it turned out amazing. Best part it is really simple....since I needed to make several different kinds of cupcakes for an upcoming bridal shower. I used a 4.99 bottle of strawberry champagne. I bet it would also taste amazing as a cake. Something to try for next week :)

1 box of white cake mix
3 egg whites
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup champagne

Mix together cake mix and champagne. Then use a mixer to mix in the veggie oil and egg whites. Put in lined cupcake pan and bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes (until done).

Frost however you'd like. I haven't gotten to this part yet :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

I am not a big one on following recipes to a T. Usually I do my research, find a few that sound good and combine. I did that this week with chicken pot pie. It was good. But now I can't wait to make it again and tweak it so that it is fabulous!

High Life Lounge has the best chicken pot pie and that is what I was trying to recreate. I sauted my chicken in chicken broth with celery and onion. I added basil, parsley and Italian spices while it cooked. I used a bag of mixed veggies (the kind that has the lima beans). I mixed that with a can of cream of chicken soup. Once the chicken was done, I added about a 1/4 cup milk and 2 T of flour, mixed it with the veggie and soup and put into a deep baking dish. Then I took buttermilk biscuits (the kind from a tube), mashed them all togehter and rolled out a crust, and put it on top of the chicke and veggies. I baked it at 400 until it looked done.

The final outcome was good, but a little runny. Next time I will experiment with making a roux from milk and the chicken broth to make it thicker. I debated about putting in another can of soup next time, but my goal is to always try to keep it low calorie. Skim milk with some flour (and more spices) sounds way healthier!

Monday, July 18, 2011


One of my favorite stores is AllSpice, the new(er) spice store in the East Village (it is located where the Village Bean used to be). I always spend way too much money there but the spices are good/strong and reasonably priced. I also like the fact they have rubs and different combos of spice blends. I bought the blackened spice the last time and used it last week to season grilled chicken. I then added it to a salad. It was fabulous. Our other favorite blend is bourbon pepper. It is great on steak!

Make sure to check them out the next time you are in the East Village:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Trip to the Market

One of my new favorite places to go is Graziano's Market, which is an institution on the south. That I didn't know exsisted until recently. So yesterday over lunch my co-worker Denise and I decided to make the 1.3 mile trek across the river to do some shopping. Denise had never been there before.

We had a lovely time at Graziano's. If you have never been there, I would highly recommend. It's Italian and they only carry Italian food but they have a great selection. And in many cases, the prices are much better than in the chain grocery stores. The sausage is also fabulous. They have several different kinds. I have now tasted them all; I don't have a favorite as all of them are wonderful. They also taste great smoked!

Anyways, after we were done shopping and browsing we walked outside to find it dark and overcast. Several seconds later we feel raindrops and then, bam, downpour. So we run across the street to the gas station and call into work for a coworker to come get us. She said once it let up, she'd drive over. So while we were waiting, we watch this gray sedan pull up. Out steps my boyfriend's dad and his sister.

Talk about a small once the rain let up, we ran back across the street and hitched a ride back to work with him. (Thanks Dick for the ride!)

Next time we decide to walk to the market (which I know we will), we better check the rain forecast first.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Garden Update

Well, the hail a few weeks ago took a toll on a few garden items... and the rain did some more damage as roots started to rot. The hot dry weather the last few weeks has been helpful (except for the peas) in making the garden grow. Though, the downfall to that is I have to water the plants everyday. We have gotten some peas already and today I picked our first two green beans. The green beans took the hail the hardest, stripping the plant of its leaves and bending its stems over. Slowly, they have recovered and I feel I will get some this year, but it will just be a little later than normal. The hail also killed the spinach and the rain keeps rotting my cucumbers so the verdict is still out on that one. The onions aren't fairing so well either. But the squash and zucchini have a ton of flowers on them and I've seen a few green tomatoes popping up. And the peppers and popcorn are growing daily.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cupcake Decorating 101

So I've been fascinated with cupcakes and cupcake decoration. I've been studying different cupcake recipes, printing out ones I want. I even made Irish Stout Chocolate cupcakes for Father's Day.

I went to Hobby Lobby last night and got some cupcake decorating tools. I practiced tonight (using boxed cake mix and a container of frosting). For a first attempt it went quite well. It just amazed me how much more frosting is used compared to spreading it on with a knife.

I am hosting a bridal shower in August and I plan on making a varietyof cupcakes (all from scratch) and decorating them in the bride's colors.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wow. Almost 6,000 calories

Passed down from generation to generation family recipes are not healthy for you!!!! Jeremy had a food day at work this week and it was a picnic-themed food day so I told I would make macaroni salad for him. I found the recipe in the Manning quasicentennial cookbook and there it was. So we went to the store for ingredients.

I am usually a pretty healthy shopper, and I always buy the low-calorie/low-fat/free-free when available… But I know these lower versions can skew a recipe and since I had never done substitutions before I went with real mayo (Jeremy was almost out of his). I had never looked at the back of the jar of real mayo before (I always ALWAYS buy light). 100 calories for 1 TBSP. The recipe called for two cups!!!! According to the Internet the sweetened condensed milk (14 oz can) contains 1300 calories.

One bite of this macaroni salad is probably my daily calorie limit for the meal. BUT it is soo worth it J Next time though, when it is just for family, I plan on using the lower fat/calorie ingredients to see if it changes the taste. Because if it doesn’t, I will at least try to make it a bit healthier!

A great tool to figure out calories is You enter in all the ingredients and figure out the nutrition content. This recipe feeds a lot…as it should since it is almost 6,000 calories. Anyways, for those who are interested, here is the recipe:

1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
2 cups mayo
1 lb cooked macaroni noodles
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced peppers

Cook macaroni according to package (make sure to not overcook). Once it is finished cooking, remove from heat and drain with cold water. Combine sugar, mayo, vinegar, sweetened condensed milk in a separate bowl. Whisk. Put veggies into pasta. Once pasta is cool to touch, mix in sugar/mayo/vinegar/sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate overnight. (It does not taste good until the next day!)