A New Post? Whaaaaaa?!

So, it seems to me that I’ve been gone for a quick minute….almost. I’ve been so busy with school and work I haven’t had time to update my blog, BUTTTTTT I have been on Pinterest.

That could only mean one thing….come find me and follow me. I have over 15 thousand pins (I can safely admit I have a problem) and over 42 thousand followers. I have lots of cooking/baking boards as well as drink boards because every one loves a good beverage now and again. Plus there’s lots of other things I love!

Click the following link to check out my pinterest. If you have a pinterest you want me to check out comment below with the link. Also leave your personal pinterest and I’ll follow you ūüôā

Nicole’s Pinterst ūüôā¬†

[Healthy] Red Velvet Cupcakes

One of my absolute FAVORITE blog is Undressed Skeleton on Tumblr. It’s run by Taralynn McNitt¬†and she is absolutely fabulous. I’ve been following her blog for sometime now and it’s beyond wonderful. She’s a cupcake addict like myself, but everything does she put a healthy twist to it…I just like to eat it as it! However, I made these and they are so good. Head over to the recipe or check it out below:

Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups Whole Grain Flour
  • 3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Plain Fat Free Chobani
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Baking Stevia
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 Tbsp Red Food Coloring
Frosting:
  • 1 Cup Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • 1 Packet Sugar Free White Chocolate Pudding Mix
  • 3 Tbsp Whole Grain Flour
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp Baking Stevia
  • 1 Cup Sugar Free Cool Whip

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
  3. In a electric mixer combine Stevia, Chobani, applesauce, butter, almond milk, vanilla, egg whites, and food coloring.
  4. Slowing mix in the dry ingredients.
  5. Fill each cupcake liner up with 1/3 cup of batter.
  6. Bake 20 – 25 minutes.
Frosting Directions:
  1. In an electric mixer combine cream cheese, vanilla pudding mix and flour on high
  2. Turn the mixer to medium speed and add in Stevia, and cool whip until fluffy.
  3. Cover and cool in fridge for 30 minutes before adding to cupcakes
  4. Add 1/3 cup frosting to each cupcake.

Enjoy! xo

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

In honor of Thanksgiving fastly approaching, why not make a delicious pumpkin pie cupcake for all your holiday parties. This recipe comes from Une-Deux Senses. Head on over to her site and check out the recipe or you can see the recipe below:

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Yields: 15 cupcakes
Inspired by this; adapted from here and here.
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tbsn. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
For the graham cracker crust:
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsn. light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsn. unsalted butter, melted
For the pumpkin pie frosting:
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 can (16 oz.) pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tbsn. molasses
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsn. flour
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
Directions:
  • The “frosting” should be made first as it takes the longest to bake and needs to cool before using. Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a medium bowl, mix together all the filling ingredients until well combined. Pour the filling into a 9-inch round pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 F and continue cooking for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the filling comes out clean. Let cool completely before using.
  • To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with liners, set aside. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the butter and 1/4 cup of milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. In another bowl, blend the eggs, egg white, remaining 1/4 cup milk and vanilla. Add to the batter in 3 additions, mixing for 2 minutes on medium speed after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between additions. Set aside.
  • To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a medium bowl and mix well. Add 1 tbsn. of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner and bake for 5 minutes until the graham crackers are golden. Remove from the oven then fill about 1/2 full with the cake batter. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. To frost, scoop the pumpkin pie “frosting” into a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes.
Enjoy! xo

Grandma Betty’s Meatballs

Pasta. Sauce. Meatballs. It’s essential. Here is a recipe I came across on The Parsley Thief‘s blog. Not only do they give you their grandma’s recipe, but a homemade sauce recipe as well. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Makes 16 – 2″ meatballs, and enough sauce for 1 lb. of pasta

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 3/4 cups fresh¬†bread crumbs (3 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup¬†milk
  • 2 pounds¬†ground beef
  • 3/4 cups freshly grated¬†Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 large¬†eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped¬†flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon¬†sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (about 10 grinds)

For the Sauce:

  • 2 (28 ounce)¬†cans of whole, peeled tomatoes¬†(I like to use¬†San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 1 large clove¬†garlic,¬†smashed
  • 4 tablespoons¬†butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†sea salt,¬†or to taste

Directions:

  • Begin a double, modified batch of¬†Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter¬†{or your favorite Marinara Sauce recipe} by adding all of the ‘Sauce‘ ingredients listed above to a large, heavy saucepan, and bringing the mixture to a boil, over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Begin the meatballs by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Add the bread crumbs to a large mixing bowl, and pour in the milk. Toss to coat the bread crumbs, and let them soak for 10 minutes.
  • Add all of the remaining ‘Meatball‘ ingredients to the bread crumb mixture, and mix gently, using your hands. You want to mix just until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed, but¬†try to avoid over-mixing.
  • Using your hands, shape the mixture into 2″ balls, and lay them out on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then use tongs to transfer the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with your choice of pasta, topped with an extra sprinkle of grated Parmesan.


Some Notes/Options [Straight from The Parsley Thief]

  • Store-bought, dry bread crumbs can be used in a pinch, but making your own is worth the effort, whenever possible.To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, process sliced bread in a food processor until evenly ground. Or, you can cube fresh, or day-old bread {crusts removed} by hand. Any type of sandwich bread will do – you can even use whole wheat, if that’s your preference. I have given the proportion of bread crumbs by dry measure, and by weight, to make this easier.
  • ¬†For the sauce, I like to use a modified version of Marcella Hazan’s¬†Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter¬†because it’s the best tomato sauce I’ve ever tasted! I’ve modified it, ¬†because as written I find it to be too rich for serving with meatballs {but fantastic alone with pasta}. You can also substitute your favorite Marinara Sauce recipe, or even use your favorite jarred sauce –¬†I won’t judge, and have been known to do so myself on many a pressed-for-time, weeknight dinner occasion!¬†My most favorite jarred sauce is¬†‘Michael’s of Brooklyn’¬†Marinara – which is expensive, but worth every penny!
  • If you use extra-lean ground beef {i.e. ground sirloin, or 90% lean} you’ll need to line your baking sheet with parchment, or give it a quick coating of non-stick cooking spray, to prevent the meatballs from sticking.¬†
  • Over the years, I’ve made many a ‘fried’ meatball. Your Italian grandmother may tell you this is the only way to go, and there’s no question it’s delicious! But it also creates a big mess, and requires much more time standing over a hot stove. Not to mention, baking them is healthier.¬†However, if you’d prefer the frying method, simply follow the instructions as is, but to cook the meatballs¬†–¬†Heat¬†a tablespoon of oil¬†in a heavy skillet, over medium-high heat. Add some¬†flour¬†to a shallow plate, or bowl, and roll each formed meatball in the flour, tapping off any excess. Fry the meatballs in batches, until evenly browned on all sides. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate when done. Add the browned meatballs all at once to the sauce, and let them simmer until cooked through, about 30 minutes for 2″ meatballs.
Enjoy! xo

Happy Belated National Devil‚Äôs Food Cake Day!

(Okay, for those who actually care yesterday, the 19th, was actually National Devil’s Food Cake Day. But I love cake, so I don’t care!)

Devil's Food Cake

In lieu of ¬†Devil’s Food Cake day, here’s a recipe from The Skinny Chef. Make sure you check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Serves 10

Ingredients

1 cups ‚Äúwhite‚ÄĚ whole wheat flour, plus flour for dusting pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup low-fat 1% buttermilk
1 cup strong brewed coffee, chilled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
non-fat cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350¬į F. Coat a 9-inch cake or spring-form pan with non-stick spray. Dust with flour; shake off excess. Over a large mixing bowl, sift both types of flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk the brown sugar, buttermilk, coffee, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool completely before icing with¬†chocolate sour cream icing

Enjoy! xo

One Day I’ll Win The Lottery …

I’ve decided that once I win the lottery (that is once I start buying a lottery ticket) I’m going to insane with all my money … insane in my kitchen.

I’d live in a house like this:

Wrap around porch

But also have a second house like this:

Dream house

Where my kitchen would look like this:

love

And have this as the back splash behind the stove:

kitchen, chalkboard paint

My kitchen would be filled with these:

Kitchen Aid

Kitchen Aid mixer Kitchen Aid mixer Kitchen Aid mixer

(This one is my absolute favorite since I LOVE purple)

Make perfect muffins, round pancakes, and more without all the mess. Just add batter and press down top. Guides help you measure out the right amount, every time! Ideal for cookies and crepes, too, top-rack dishwasher-safe plastic dispenser features easy-to- read wrap-around measurement guides; holds about 2 1‚ĀĄ2" cups of batter (a standard muffin mix) $17.98

Decorating Pen Set $10

Wow.

Honestly, my wish list could go on and on … but I’ll end it right here. If you could have your dream kitchen; what would you want in it?

Grilled Pizza

pizza3

Since it is Pizza Sunday in our household why not share a great grill pizza recipe. Courtesy of Skip To My Lou, they give you their home made dough recipe as well as their sauce recipe. Make sure you check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Pizza Dough
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1  1/4 cups warm water
3 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions

  • Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Insert dough blade.¬† Place flour and salt into food processor. While machine is running, add liquid.¬† Process until dough forms a ball. Then process for 30 seconds to knead the dough. Dough may be slightly sticky. Oil hands and remove dough from processor and place in an oiled bag or bowl. Evenly coat dough with olive oil. Let rise for about 45 minutes.
  • Punch dough, divide into 8 equal balls. Form into 8 crusts about 1/4 inch thick.

Pre-heat the grill to medium high.¬† Brush the grill with olive oil.¬† Cook the crust for about 2 minutes¬† ‚ÄĒ- just until you see light golden grill marks. Flip the crust over and lightly grill¬† ‚ÄĒjust until the dough is set and crusts have puffed. You can add the toppings while the pizzas are on the grill, but we pre-cook all the crusts ahead of time and place a big stack of crusts next to the toppings.

Pizza Sauce
1 ‚Äď 16 ounce can tomato sauce
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 scant Tablespoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes.

After you’ve added the toppings;¬†Then we put the pizzas back on the grill (lid down) long enough to make the cheese melt and finish off cooking the crusts. We lower the grill temperature slightly to keep the crusts from browning(burning) before the cheese is melted.

pizza4

Enjoy! xo

Sweet-and-Sour Chicken Wings

This also comes from Martha Stewart’s site. Here is her¬†Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings from her gay day recipe collection. Check out the recipe below:

  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup sherry-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions

  1. Place chicken wings in a large resealable plastic bag or large bowl. In a medium bowl, mix together vinegar, oil, sugar, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper. Measure out 1/4 cup vinegar mixture and set aside. Pour remaining mixture over chicken; cover and transfer to refrigerator. Let marinate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet and bake, until juices run clear, about 30 minutes, basting with reserved marinade halfway through cooking. Remove chicken from oven and brush with any remaining marinade before serving.

Enjoy! xo