Friday, April 30, 2010

April Showers Bring May Flowers: NO FAIL Sugar Cookies

As you all know...I love to bake. But just because one loves something, doesn't mean they are necessarily good at it. There is one realm of baking that for whatever reason really intimidates me....sugar cookies. For whatever reason I always mess them up (too dry, too get the idea). They are the simplest thing, but yet, they are still a work in progress for me. I think one major thing that factors into this is my lack of patience...I know, an impatient person who love to bake...its odd...

ANYWAYS!...What possessed me to attempt this daunting task yet again? I have all these poor cookie cutters that get no use...I thought now would be the time to get a little practice because I WANT to master them! In due time my friends.

I found a great sugar cookie recipe on, the "No Fail" part got my attention. Then I found a royal icing recipe from The Joy Of Baking. I had to use the egg white recipe as I couldn't find meringue powder ANYWHERE!

Umbrella and Flower No Fail Sugar Cookies


6 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
Royal Icing (recipe follows)


Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Mix dry ingredients and add to butter mixture.
Mix well.
Chill for 1 to 2 hours or see HINT below.
Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.
Bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.
HINT: Rolling out dough without the mess-rather than wait for the dough to chill, take freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper.
Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough with paper on a cookie sheet and pop it in the refrigerator.
Continue rolling dough between paper until you have used it all.
By the time you finish preparing the dough, the first batch will be chilled and ready to cut.
Reroll left over dough and repeat the process.
An added bonus is that you aren't adding any more flour to the cookies by rolling them out the old fashioned way.

Royal Icing


2 large (60 grams) egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups (330 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted


In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until combined. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Clearly, these are far from perfect, but I'm getting there. I was just playing around with different designs and colors and getting myself some practice and experience. If like me, you could use cookie decorating and technique tips go to She has some awesome ideas and tricks on that site. I think though that I am going to lay down...ate too many cookies...


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cupcake History

I was skimming through one of my cupcake books called "Crazy About Cupcakes" by Krystina Castella and came across a page with a little bit of cupcake history. I thought I would share it with you guys!

Cupcake Definition

A small, individual-sized fluffy cake that is baked in a cupcake or muffin pan. The cupcake mold can be lined with a crimped paper or foil cup, or greased and then the cupcake removed from the mold. It is then frosted and, if desired, decorated. Before eating, the paper or foil is simply peeled off. A cupcake canbe served on a plate and eaten with a fork, but most of the time the best way to savor a cupcake is to just break it apart and pop it in your mouth.

Cupcake History

The term "cupcake" is first mentioned in E. Leslies Receipts of 1828. Breaked with the tradition at this time of weighing ingredients, the ingredients began to be measured in cups. According to "Baking in America" by Greg Patent, this was revolutionary because of the tremendous time it saved in the kitchen. "The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America" explains that the cup name had a double meaning because of the practice of baking in small containers, including teacups.
Cups were convenient because hearth ovens took a long time to bake large cakes. Gem pans, early muffin tins, were common in households around the turn of the 20th century and cupcakes were baked in these.
Throughout the 1900s, cupcakes became popular kids' treats partly because of their ease in baking. In the early 1900s, Hostess introduced the snack cupcake, but it didn't become the Hostess Cupcake we know today until the 1950s.
Many people associate cupcakes with the popularity of homemaking of the 1950s and 1960s, but this is a myth. Cupcakes were no more popular during that time period than they are today. Most likely is that adults associate cupcakes with memories from their childhood. What is different today is that cupcakes have gone crazy! Traditionally, t hey were made for children in basic flavors. Today the cupcake has gone groumet, and is playful, hip, and glamorous. Over the past few years cupcake bakeries have opened around the country, with people waiting late at night in lines out the door. The craze is here to stay


Friday, April 23, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

I love birthdays...why? Because they give me an excuse to make my favorite thing in the world. I think it's rather clear by now what that is...but for those of you just tuning in, that would be cupcakes! It's one of my best friends in the entire worlds birthday this weekend. She was origionally planning on having a cookout but apparently it is going to rain. What a bummer, because I love cookouts! Anyway, she requested something fruity and even suggested something pineapple upside down-like. Luckily for me, I happened to have a recipe for pineapple upside down cupcakes!

The origional recipe comes from that cupcake calendar I have from the book "500 Cupcakes". It suggests to serve it warm (which is delicious I'm sure) but I had these in mind with a cookout theme and therefore, that just isn't doable. I thought these cupcakes would be fantastic with whipped cream, but again, that is a little difficult considering I have to transport these and can't serve them right away as they should be (warm and with whipped cream). The recipe actually had NAKED cupcakes which I don't really believe in, so I settled for vanilla buttercream and a cherry on top (I just couldn't resist).

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcake

A vanilla cupcake with a pineapple topping. Also topped with vanilla frosting, sugar sprinkles and a cherry.


1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
Vanilla buttercream (recipe follows)
Maraschino cherries (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease to 12-cup muffin pans with butter and dust with a little flour, tapping out the excess. In the bottom of each cup, drizzle 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon pineapple, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar.

Place all the cupcake ingredients (butter, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla) in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and pale, about 2-3 minutes. Spoon the batter on top of the pineapple mixture in each cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove pans from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Turn out the cupcakes onto dessert plates, serve warm with heavy cream if desired.

Vanilla Buttercream


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Beat butter until creamy and smooth. Slowly add confectioners sugar in about 3 or 4 batches. When creamy, add vanilla and beat on medium-high about 1-2 minutes.

Top cupcakes with frosting and a cherry. Enjoy! :)

Pineapple Upsidedown Cake on FoodistaPineapple Upsidedown Cake


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reese Peanut Butter Cupcakes


CUPCAKES ARE BACK! So I had my week or two of healthy cooking and eating and it did not really do much good...the ice cream in the freezer kept calling my name at all hours of the night. I have been itching to make a batch of rich and delicious cupcakes! Lucky for me, a friend of mine volunteered my cupcake baking services to a coworker for covering a less-than ideal shift. She came over today and we came up with these delightful treats. We made a cupcake version of my favorite chocolate candy...a reese cup! I got the cake recipe from a book I have called  "Cupcakes" by Shelly Kaludunski. The filling and frosting were kind of my own little creations.

Reese Peanut Butter Cupcake

A chocolate cupcake filled with a peanut butter chocolate reese candy filling, topped with peanut butter frosting and half of a reese cup


2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I hate when they give you ounces! 3 oz is a little less than 1/2 cup. I used chocolate chips)
1/2 cup plus 3tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
peanut butter chocolate reese cup filling (recipe follows)
peanut butter frosting (recipe follows)
6 miniature reese cups, for topping


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan. Stir frequently until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, 10-15 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let it cool completely, about 1 hour.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Reese Cup Filling


3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped reese cups
about 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


In a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter and vanilla on low. Slowly add the powdered sugar. once incorporated, add in the chopped reese cups. Then add heavy whipping cream until you reach desired creaminess.

Peanut Butter Frosting


1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 lb confectioners sugar, sifted
3/4 cups smooth peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream


In a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth, on low. Slowly add in confectioners sugar, once incorporated, beat on medium for about a minute. Add in the peanut butter until creamy, then add in vanilla. Once incorporated, add in whipping cream until frosting reaches desired consistency. Beat on medium for about a minute. (scrape down the sides throughout as needed so that all of the ingredients are getting incorporated equally into the mixture).

To fill cupcakes, I used the hollowing technique (I prefer using a Wiltons 230 tip for filling, but the chocolate in the filling will clog the tip). To hollow a cupcake use a pairing knife inserted at an angle and gently saw a circle. You want to end up with a cone-shaped piece about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and about 1 inch deep. typically you discard (or eat) the cones, but I cut off half of the bottom and placed them on top of the filling. To frost the cupcakes, I went around the outline of the cone and frosted as I normally would with a wilton 1 m tip.

I am absolutely in love with these cupcakes. Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Also, if you can't tell already, I love cupcakes with surprises in the middle! Its kind of one of my things! :) Just a few sidenotes...this cake is kind of like a brownie, it has a crackle top and a moist center. This would be extra fabulous with a devils food cake; that was my origional plan but I didn't have all of the ingredients. Can't go wrong with any kind of chocolate cake though! Enjoy!

PS: I have named my new pride and joy (my beautiful pink kitchenaid mixer) Cynthia. She is definitely a Cynthia and she is my new best friend. We shall have many good times ahead of us together!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shrimp Linguine with Lemon Oil

I have a lot of favorite personalities from the Food Network. It's a given that I love all the cake guys and gals...but when it comes to cooking...I love Bobby Flays use of flavors and his style, I love Paula Deans at-home feel, Guy Fieri's cooking reminds me of my dad, Rachel Ray makes stuff that both me and my boyfriend LOVE and Giada appreciates simplicity of flavors. I wanted something light for dinner so I turned to my friend Giada. I trust her because everything I've made of hers has turned out wonderfully fabulous (I say "friend" only because I wish...haha).

I found this recipe on the I didn't have a few of the ingredients but it sounded like exactly what I was in the mood for and I had a few things that would substitute nicely. Instead of linguine I used spaghetti (whole wheat of course). I didn't have arugula (which would have been nice) so I used fresh spinach. Lastly, the only fresh herb I had on hand was thyme so I used that instead of parsely. It still turned out light and delicious but I would recommend doing it Giada's way so I'm posting the recipe as-is!

Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil


For the lemon oil:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zested

For the pasta:
1 pound linguine pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 ounces frozen shrimp
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces arugula (about 3 packed cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


For the lemon oil:
Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.

For the pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the arugula. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded. Add some of the cooking water to desired consistency. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Pancakes with a Berry Sauce

As I have said before.. I'm all about cooking healthier to balance out all of the sweets I indulge in. I saw this recipe on It's by Ellie Krieger. I've tried a few of her recipes (they are all pretty healthy) and might I say, they are wonderful. This recipe origionally had a strawberry sauce. All I had was a berry blend (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) so I used those. These are also supposed to be heart-shaped pancakes (which I love). I would have taken the time to make them into hearts but I'm always way too eager to eat in the morning and therefore patience is an issue :)

Whole Wheat Pancakes with a Berry Sauce


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Berry sauce, recipe follows
Confectioners' sugar, optional


Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In another medium bowl, beat together the eggs, nonfat milk, buttermilk, honey and vanilla.

Preheat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over a medium-low flame. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine them. The batter will be somewhat lumpy. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup pour the batter onto the griddle or skillet. Flip the pancake when the top is bubbling and it is golden brown on the bottom. Then cook until the other side is golden brown. Hold on an oven proof plate in the oven until the entire batch is ready. When all the pancakes are ready, cut them into heart shapes with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Ladle about 1/3 cup of the strawberry sauce onto each plate, place pancakes on top and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if using.

Berry Sauce:


16 ounces berries, fresh or frozen (unsweetened, thawed)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup


Puree berries in to a chunky puree. Heat them in a small saucepan over a low flame, until they are just warm. Stir in lemon juice and maple syrup.

Yield: 4 servings, serving size about 1/3 cup

These were so delicious and so filling and not only that but also good for you! Yay! I'm going to try to do these again with peaches somehow because that's my favorite fruit. I LOVE LOVE LOVE peaches. Maybe I can do a raspberry peach sauce? We'll see!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Little Miss Cuppycake Bakes Graphic

So I'm taking a Communications class focused on visual communication. We have to play around a lot with graphics and actually have to create a website. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to work on some stuff for my blog. Just thought I'd share an "About Me" graphic I made in class.

It needs a little work but thankfully we get to do a color version later in the quarter which I'm excited about because the kitchen I put myself in is pink! Maybe if its good I can use it as my header! :):):)


Monday, April 12, 2010

Fresh Spinach Salad with Mushrooms, Grape Tomatoes and a Balsamic Vinaigrette

I am a big fan of spinach. Not only is it good for you, but you can throw it in just about can make yummy dips, toss them in salads, make them with wraps, throw them in pasta...whatever you want! So sometimes I buy myself a big bag and use it throughout the week for different things. When me and Shawn went to the melting pot not long ago, I got a spinach and mushroom salad. I really liked it so I thought I would make my own version at home.

Fresh Spinach Salad with Mushrooms, Grape Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinaigrette

I made these in single servings for myself so I will try my best with measurements


1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup any kind of mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1/4 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon wheat germ (for a nutty crunch)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


In a small bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl toss together the fresh vegetables. Toss in the vinaigrette. Enjoy! (super easy, very fresh, really tasty!)

SUGGESTION: This would be really good if you sauted the mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil for about 8-10 minutes then put them on the salad. I ate mine fresh and it was tasty, but I think it would be good either way.


Sunshine Award!

A fellow food blogger gave me the sunshine award! :) that is so exciting!I found out about this blogger from and was immediately drawn to her blog. Perhaps it was the pomeranian? I've had 2 and I adore them! Anyways she can be found at The Unpolished Spoon, so check her out!

I am pretty new to the blogging community but apparently when one recieves a sunshine award, they then pick their favorite 12 blogs to read, link them to their post, and then you just let them know :)

1. Two Styles One City
2. Bakerella
3. The Art of Being Perfect
4. Once Upon a Cakestand
5. Cupcakes Take the Cake
6. Baked Perfection
7. 52 Cupcakes
8. Bella Cupcake Couture
9. Bittersweet
10. Dollie Mix Fits
11. Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
12. Sweetopia


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Made-Over Deep Dish Brownies

I have been absolutely DYING to use my new kitchenaid mixer. Naturally, I am itching to make cupcakes. But I am finally willing to admit that I have been VERY VERY BAD lately. I have been making tons of cupcakes and licking every bowl of batter and frosting clean. Not only that, but I have no self-control when it comes to food and I tend to help myself to multiple helpings. So I am taking a small break from cupcakes this week and decided to make either whole-wheat blueberry muffins or made-over deep dish brownies (they are healthIER than normal brownies). I have been craving a chocolately brownie and have discovered a new appreciation and interest in different kinds of dessert bars so...brownies it is! (the muffins will probably come around shortly as these brownies don't really fix my whole being bad thing, haha)

These brownies were surprisingly moist. They were rich and fudgy but weren't quite as fudgy as I like them, they were a tad bit more cakey but still very satisfying. In fact, I lost self-control and ate about 4 of them...ok 4 and a half. These are my go-to brownies for now...

It is funny because when I was younger I preferred the cake-like brownies and could never make them that way, and now the past couple times I have made brownies they haven't been as fudgy as I like...when I am ready to get back to my full-fat, 100% guilty indulgent baking...I will establish this. Anyway, I found this recipe on (I have made a couple of their "made-over" recipes and they have all been good, so I recommend them if you need to tone down the fat and calories in your diet a bit) The only things I changed in this recipe was ucing dark chocolate chips instead of semisweet and dark cocoa (I love me some dark chocolate)


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral tasting oil
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs, cold
1 tablespoon cold brewed coffee
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda


Position rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Use an 8by 8 silicon baking pan or line a similar sized metal or glass baking dish with foil or parchment paper so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch. Spray the prepared pan completely.

Put the butter, oil and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat at 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. (Alternatively put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, not touching, the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)

Stir the brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and coffee and beat vigorously until fully incorporated and the batter is thick and glossy. Add the cocoa, flour and baking soda and stir just until it disappears.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if not using silicon).

Cool the brownies in the pan on the counter. Lift brownies out of the pan by the foil, if needed. Peel off the foil and cut into 2-inch squares. Serve. Store extra brownies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Cooks Notes:

These brownies started with our HTBW originals. First we made these healthier by cutting out over half of the butter. To keep their fudgy quality, we added in a little canola oil. Then we reduced both eggs and sugar by half. But we still needed the richness and liquid that they were giving us. So we switched from unsweetened chocolate to a combination of semisweet and cocoa powder. We reduced some flour, and added coffee and more vanilla extract for rich flavor. We were still missing the texture that the eggs had given us, so we added in a little baking soda to get a better rise. Lastly, we switched from a lined and buttered baking pan to a silicon baking pan that didn't require any extra butter or spray. We came up with something that is still rich and fudgy with a gorgeous crackle top, but we feel much better about eating these!

Nutrition Facts:


Total fat
7 grams

Saturated fat
2.9 grams

23 grams

2.1 grams

0.7 grams

105 mg


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Dinner for Two

So neither my boyfriend (Shawn by the way) or I could make it home for Easter. So I decided to take it upon myself to whip up something special for the sake of the holiday. Because lets face it, there is nothing more I'd rather be doing on a beautiful sunday afternoon than cooking up a big meal in my kitchen with the windows open and with the Food Network on in the background (sometimes when I'm feeling extra cheery I'll put on some Joss Stone or Christina Aguilera to sing along to. But that's when I really know what I'm doing and am completely comfortable with it).

We collaborated on the menu and came up with what I thought to be very satisfying and a very home-cooked eastery type of meal. Instead of the traditional ham or lamb we both decided pot roast sounded IDEAL! Along with that we had a roasted potato salad, garden pea salad, homemade pretzel rolls, stuffing and of course Easter cupcakes!

Pot Roast (I combined two of Paula Deans Recipes for this and added a few vegetables in myself)

1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast
1 1/2 teaspoons House seasoning, recipe follows
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup beef stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 bag baby carrots
2-4 stalks of celery, chopped


Sprinkle roast on all sides with house seasoning. Using a skillet over high heat, sear roast until brown in oil. Place roast in a slow cooker, and layer onions, bay leaves, garlic, and cream of mushroom soup. Add the red wine, worcestershire and beef stock and cover with enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Cook on the low setting for 8 hours. (After about 2-3 hours throw in the vegetables and stir)

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months

SUGGESTION: There is a lot of liquid leftover so I made a gravy out of it. All you do is put the excess liquid in a saucepan and heat on medium. Then you mix in a bit of cornstarch mixed with water. Mix and stir slowly until you reach your desired thickness.

Roasted Potato Salad
(from Food Network)

This is a great potato salad when you want something different than your origional mayonnaise-based potato salad. The only change I made to the origional recipe is I used red potatoes instead of russet potatoes. I think they are taster and prettier :)


11 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Handful chopped fresh thyme and rosemary leaves
3 pounds red potatoes, cut into large dice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 cup chopped basil leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix 6 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. Add potatoes and toss. Spread out onto a baking sheet and bake for 55 minutes, stirring occasionally. When potatoes are golden brown remove the pan from the oven and let cool. When potatoes are cool, place them in a bowl and scrape the pan drippings into a measuring cup. Add enough oil to the drippings to measure 6 tablespoons of oil. Whisk the vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually add the oil and then mix in the shallots. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and combine. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Add chopped basil. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature. Serve.

Garden Pea Salad (This comes from Paula Dean...who else would I go to for home-cookin!?)


1 (15-ounce) can very young early peas (recommended: Lesueur)
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 boiled eggs, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Chopped pimento, optional


In a colander, drain peas very well. Place drained peas in a medium bowl. Add the onions, crumbled eggs, and mayonnaise, tossing to combine and coat peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add pimento, if using. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

Pretzel Rolls (I wanted to make pretzel rolls because at one of my favorite restaraunts called Tip Top they serve a pot roast sandwhich on a pretzel roll with swiss and mustard. I get it EVERYTIME and it is DELICIOUS! I wanted to do something similar, so I handmade these rolls and had Shawn bring over provalone cheese and a-1 sauce and we made our own pot roast sandwiches...yum! If only we had Tip Tops sweet potato fries with spicy mayo to go with! OH! also, I got the recipe from


1 1/3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons warm milk
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups all-purpose flour
kosher salt or pretzel salt
2 quarts cold water
1/2 cup baking soda


In a small bowl if using a bread machine, or in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix a 1/3 cup of the warm water (105-115 degrees) with the yeast and let stand until foamy.

Add the remaining cup of warm water along with milk, sugar & melted butter and swirl to dissolve the sugar. (If using a bread machine add mixture to bread machine at this point and continue). Add flour and mix on dough cycle or med-low speed. Remove dough from bread machine once it forms a nice a firm, pliable dough ball. Add more flour if necessary.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured table and knead for 2 minutes. Roll into a 2 foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces. Cover dough with plastic and a damp cloth and let sit for 10 minutes.

Pat dough into rolls or form knots and arrange on a lightly floured surface about an inch apart and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the pretzels rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets.

In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add baking soda.

Drop two rolls into the boiling water and boil for no more then 30 seconds, turning once. Carefully remove with tongs or slotted spoon and hold above pot and let drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

Arrange rolls on the oiled baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until browned all over; shift pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through, for even baking.

Let rolls cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

SIDENOTE: I know this recipe looks overwhelming (in fact, I was kind of terrified) but it is actually VERY easy. You feel a great sense of accomplishment when all is said and done and you have a decent roll!

The stuffing I made was some cranberry stovetop boxed stuffing that was actually pretty tasty and only took 5 minutes to make!

I already posted the Easter Cupcakes but linked them for convenience :)

Hope everyone had as good and as filling an Easter as I did!

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