Wednesday, April 26, 2006

MmMMmmMm Muffins!

What do you do when life gives you almost rotten bananas?? You make banana muffins! Yeah, I've been known to buy produce on more than one occassion, only to have it spoil before I finally decide on a use for it. Generally, I buy bananas in two's so that this doesn't happen, but last week I assured myself that a third banana would not go to waste - afterall I was craving them.

Two bananas eaten, one left to rot, I found myself making Donna Hay's Banana and Cinnamon Muffins. The recipe is easy, relatively healthy and yummy! I used fat free sour cream, and a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. I also sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top of the batter before baking for a delicious touch!

Freshly baked cinnamon banana muffins

Banana Cinnamon Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 brown sugar, packed
1 cup fat free sour cream
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 banana, mushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon together, then stir in sugars until combined.

Place sour cream, eggs, and oil in seperate bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir the sour cream mixture through the flour mixture until just combined. Gently stir in mashed banana, careful not to overmix.

Spray 12 medium muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray, fill 2/3 way full. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until tooth pick comes out clean.

Optional: Sprinkle muffin tops with a bit of cinnamon sugar before baking.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Tasty Dose of Sugar and Coffee

Hope wherever you are reading this from the weather is as beautiful as it is here. Just a few updates on some articles and recipes from yours truly that I hope you'll head over to WellFed and check out.

First off is this week's Sugar Savvy recipe for the totally delicious and super decadent hot fudge sauce a la Ben & Jerry's.

Ben & Jerry's Original Hot Fudge Sauce

Next up is a new recipe I whipped up this week for Devil's Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Coffee Buttercream Icing. These cupcakes could definitely win over more than a few of the java drinkers that frequent A Nice Cuppa, and hopefully they will win you over too - so go check em out!

Devils Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Coffee Buttercream

Have a great weekend! And if you try out these recipes, be sure to let me know what you think!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Southern Eggcellence..

Growing up in the south, egg custard pie is one of the things I loved. It's not like brownies, or chocolate chip cookies - something I eat on a pretty regular basis. But I think those infrequent occassions have always made it all the more delicious to me.

Last fall while participating in one of the Sugar High Friday events I made Custard Tartlets, which did not disappoint, but they weren't filled with that sweet southern charm. Close, but no cigar! Or in this case, slice of pie. I've found numerous custard & egg tart recipes, but none seem to be the egg custard that I know and love. And, sadly there has been no family recipe passed down to me. Well, after much searching and coming up empty handed, I found a true Egg Custard Pie recipe on of course!

I'm not the most experienced when it comes to making pie crust, Donna Hay's "Modern Classics 2" has a very easy and tasty shortcrust recipe I usually use. But I decided to try the 3-step Pastry recipe I found in one of my back issues of Kraft Food & Family magazine. I must say, much like the Donna Hay crust I usually make, this one is super easy and delicious.

Egg Custard Pie

3-step Pastry
(yields enough for double crust pie)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup(1 stick) butter
1/2 block (4ozs) cream cheese
1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Cut butter and cream cheese into cubes. Put all ingredients into food processor. Pulse until dough forms. Wrap dough & place chill 1 hour.

Roll half of dough on lightly floured surface. Place in 9 inch pie plate.

Egg Custard Pie

6 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups milk
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Then beat in vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Stir in milk. Pour into crust.

Bake in preheated 475 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temp to 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is set.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Whole Lotta Enchiladas!

If you would have showed up at our house the other night, you would have thought we were enchilada crazy. I've been wanting to make chicken enchiladas for a while, but as is often the case with me, for one reason or another I just never got around to it. Well, enough was finally enough. I was tired of just craving them, I was ready to actually make and eat them. So I found a recipe on, which seems to be my goto site when I'm craving something & don't have a recipe handy. While I was there I thought I'd look around for a recipe for something sorta easy & mexican-ish I could make for dessert. And what did I find?? Yup, you guessed it - a recipe for dessert enchiladas, Apple Enchiladas to be exact.

Chicken EnchiladasI took a short cut with the chicken for the Chicken Enchiladas. Harris Teeter has whole roasted chickens for $3.99 each every Sunday, so I figured that would be a good deal, save me lots of time considering I would have no chicken to clean, cook and then cool before actually starting my enchiladas. Overall, I thought they were really tasty & will probably use this recipe again. As I was making the filling, I found that it definitely didn't need the water that the recipe calls for. I used Velvetta, as I didn't have enough cheddar & it tasted fine, but that could possibly explain why I needed to omit the water. If you wanted to add some black or pinto beans to the filling, or maybe even some rice, that would probably be good. We had some leftover spanish rice from the night before, so I heated that up & served it on the side. Pretty tasty!

Apple EnchiladasThe Apple Enchiladas were super easy & made a nice ending our mexican feast. It wasn't a to die for recipe, but it will possibly make a repeat appearance, sometime when we decide to do another mexican night.

Chicken Enchiladas

4 cooked chicken breasts or 1 whole roasted chicken
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pint sour cream
8 oz Velvetta, cubed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 (12 ounce) jar taco sauce
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cube chicken & place in a medium skillet. Add the onion, sour cream, Velvetta, oregano and ground black pepper. Heat until cheese melts. Stir in salt, tomato sauce, chili powder, and green pepper.

Roll even amounts of the mixture in the tortillas. Arrange in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover with taco sauce and 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Apple Enchiladas

1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Spoon fruit evenly onto all tortillas, sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down on lightly greased 8x8 baking pan.

Bring margarine, sugars and water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.

Pour sauce evenly over tortillas; sprinkle with extra cinnamon on top if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Makes 6 large tortillas; may be cut in half to serve 12.

*As side note, I apologize to everyone for having to endure the horrible, awful photos that accompany this post. As I may have mentioned before, my camera is trying to punish me by dying it seems. If anyone is knowledgable about low to moderately priced digital cameras, shoot me an email. I would appreciate any help or suggestions anyone may have as I shop for a new one!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Puffs

I get the free Food & Family magazine from Kraft & have for years. I've found tons of great & super easy recipes, but honestly never really used many of them. I was flipping through some old issues a couple weeks ago looking for new & tasty ideas when I came across a recipe for "Cream Cheese Clouds", which were canned biscuits stuffed with a chunk of cream cheese that was dipped in cinnamon sugar. Sounded pretty tasty, not to mention easy, so I tried it. Except y'all know, me being me I had to put my own little twist on it.

Cream Cheese Puffs

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Puffs

1 can reduced fat cresent rolls
1/2 package (4oz) cream cheese, cut into 8 cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375. Combine cinnamon and sugar in small bowl. Seperate cresent rolls. Dip cream cheese cube in milk, then cinnamon sugar to coat evenly. Place in center of cresent, fold corners in and press edges together. Place on foil lined baking sheet. Repeat with all 8 cresents. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Mermaids & the Fabulous Four Year Old

It's been quite a while since I've posted any cake photos. Heck it seems like it's been ages since I've even made a cake. Now that I'm looking back over the photos I have to share, they aren't all that great, but my camera was giving me problems, so I'll have to make due with what I have since the cake is no more.

Anyway, my absolutely adorable niece turned 4 last week. She's developed this crazy love of mermaids. We can't quite figure out where it came from, but she just had to have a mermaid cake for her birthday. I missed out on the party, but from what I heard the cake was an over the top hit. I'm crossing my fingers that will score me a new client or two.

Mermaid Birthday Cake
Mermaid Birthday Cake
Mermaid Birthday Cake

It's a yellow cake, with buttercream. The mermaid's top is buttercream, her lower body is made of fondant, the shells on the side of the cake are also fondant. And the sand on the island is vanilla wafer crumbs.

With Me & FOOD, it was BOUND to happen!

Yes I know, I've been MIA for the better part of yet another week. You'll find no excuses for it, just the usual reason, as of late - work! If you can even call it work. I have a hard time labeling something I enjoy as work.

Oooh and guess what? I have another update for y'all and yes it involves WellFed! As y'all know I've been a writer for Sugar Savvy for a while now. Then about a month & a half ago I was blessed with the editorship of A Nice Cuppa, WellFed's coffee and tea blog. And by the way..I hope you're checking both of those blogs out regularly!! If not you're missing out on some great articles. Heck you should just check out all the WellFed blogs! lol

*Insert DRUM ROLL*

I've taken over as editor of Food Bound, WellFed's blog devoted to cookbooks and other food related books. I'm a total cookbook addict so, of course I jumped at the chance to do this. You want to hear the funny thing? I blingo'd "Food Bound" and guess what came up as the site description?? An excerpt from my bio on the site. Why my bio is Blingo's description for Food Bound I dunno, but hey..I thought it was

If anyone out there is writing a cookbook, or has anything to do with the writing/publishing/creation of cookbooks please drop me a quick email or comment. I would LOVE to talk with you & possibly set up an interview or something.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Giddy Like A School Girl

That's me, a giddy little school girl! I think the reason is pretty darn obvious. This sparkley and gorgeous new layout I've got! I have to give many many thanks to my wonderfully talented foodie friend Alicat of Something So Clever. Apparently the girl is not only a killer cook, she's got some skills with the whole web design thing. And she's speedy to boot! We started brainstorming ideas less than a week ago and already I've got an adorable new layout!! Ali's set up a site to promote her web design business, so check her out at Alley Cat Web Design.

Thanks bunches AliCat!!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Recipes By Request

Easter Cookies

First off, I want to say thank you to all my regulars. I love knowing that people check my blog regularly and are curious what's going on in my world - or atleast my kitchen. As y'all know I've been making quite a few sugar cookies as of late, and I've gotten a few requests for my recipes. I've tried more than a few different sugar cookie recipes, and this one is hands down my favorite. The flavor is good - buttery and sweet, but not too sweet. And it creates a nice firm cookie without being hard or chewy. The recipe can be found on

No Fail Sugar Cookies

6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below)

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.

HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess -- Rather than wait for your cookie dough to chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator. Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all. By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut. Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process! An added bonus is that you are not adding
any additional flour to your cookies.

Royal Icing
3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 lb.(4 cups) confectioners' sugar
6 Tablespoons warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer). Recipe makes 3 cups.

In case you aren't familiar with Meringue Powder - it can be found in craft stores such as Michael's in the cake decorating isle. Or you can purchase it from cake decorating supply stores. I always make my royal icing according to the recipe, but when you are using it to decorate cookies you will have to add additional water. I just eyeball it and keep adding until the icing is thinned out enough that when pours from a spoon back into the bowl it smooths out and blends with the rest of the icing without about 5 seconds or so. Usually when it almost seems too thin is when it's just perfect for me. I pipe using a #3 or #4 tip & I start along the outside, outline the border then I fill it in. No need to let it dry before filling it in.
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