Lemon Cupcakes topped with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

If you’re searching for a delicious dessert to make on Valentine’s Day, look no further. You have found it! These Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream are amazing and not too difficult. They are the perfect dessert to make for someone special. And you can’t beat the beautiful pink frosting topped with gold sprinkles. It’s impossible.

The key to this recipe is to make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature, especially the butter. Also, don’t be afraid of making your own buttercream. I had never done it before but it was so easy. I will never buy store-made icing again. The recipe also calls for a stand mixer but I don’t have one those so I used my electric hand mixer and it worked fine. I desperately want a stand mixer but I don’t bake enough to need one and let’s be honest, counter space is at a minimum.

Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Butter Cream
Clearly my frosting skills need work…

Yum. The lemon flavor really comes through in the cupcake and that strawberry buttercream is to die for. It’s a very sweet treat. I have another dessert up my sleeve that I plan to make on Valentine’s day, Red Velvet Brownies. I will be sure to report back on how these turned out. Happy Baking!!

Cookiegate

FunnySo do you all remember that post from Sunday? The one where I detailed the three different batches of homemade cookies I tirelessly baked? Well, a whole plate of them currently resides in the snow.

Last night I was relaxing on my couch with a glass of wine, our dinner order of macaroni and cheese placed and on its way. All was right in the world. Until my loving husband returned home holding up an empty plate that was supposed to be filled with cookies and living in its new owner’s kitchen.

Me: “What did you do?”
Jason: “I dropped them all in the snow. The good new is that the plate didn’t break!”
Me: “No.”

My rage eventually subsided, as did the visions of throwing things at his head (I would never really do that, come on people!) The macaroni and cheese helped.

Looks like I know what we will be doing on Saturday…oh well, can’t sweat the small stuff! At least we will be together 🙂

Three Holiday Cookies

Well, another weekend has come and gone. I’m happy to report that I have completed my holiday baking. I love to give cookies and baked good as gifts during the holidays. Especially to family and friends that you don’t get to spend the actual holiday with. I love to purchase a nice dessert plate and fill it up with goodies. It’s a great way to show people that you love them! This weekend was dedicated to baking, holiday parties and family. I feel very full and happy on this Sunday night :).

Shortbread prep

I stuck to the basics with my cookies this year. Oldies but goodies.
Toll house chocolate chip cookies, Magic Bars and Shortbread Cookies. Nothing is original, as I am not a baker by nature. I definitely need a recipe. The shortbread cookies are always my favorite. The perfect combination of flour, butter and sugar. There are very few ingredients but they come together in an amazing way. I normally drizzle melted chocolate over the top, but I didn’t have time this morning! The next batch will not be missing the chocolate drizzle.

Shortbread cookie

After this photograph, I realize that it might be time to retire this baking sheet…

Cookies

 

I must also confess that there is absolutely nothing healthy or low calorie about these cookies. They are a splurge. My tactic is to only taste one of each and then send them on their way to their new home!!

What is your favorite cookie to bake during the holidays?!

This week is going to be a busy one, but that won’t stop me from posting a super delicious and healthy recipe. Italian Stuffed Peppers… think about it.

Thanksgiving Menu

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all gearing up for a healthy and happy Thanksgiving tomorrow. The snow is really coming down here in the NY Metro area. While it’s beautiful, it is definitely creating some travel issues. We are heading up to Jason’s brother’s house tomorrow morning and I am praying that the roads are clear as I am the Thanksgiving cook this year. I am cooking for about 10-12 people and I am very excited to share with them a couple of tasty dishes that were always a staple at my family’s dinner table on Thanksgiving. I have a lot of prep happening today, especially because I am transporting all my groceries and pans (even a slow cooker) to someone else’s kitchen! Wish me luck!

Thanksgiving Menu

Roasted Turkey: I have never cooked a turkey before but I am a pro at roasting chickens, so it can’t be that different, right?!

Giblet Gravy: Not 100% confident in this one. My sauce game needs work. I bought an organic pre-made kind as a back-up.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes: These babies are filled with butter, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar!

Steamed and lightly sauteed green beans: Secret – I steam these in the microwave and quickly saute with a bit of butter and salt and pepper.

Grandma’s Cornbread Stuffing: This will hopefully steal the show. This is my favorite dish at Thanksgiving! Stay tuned later this week for a blog solely dedicated to this deliciousness.

Cranberry Sauce: I am borrowing a recipe from Gimme Some Oven! This sauce is made in a slow cooker, which cooks all day, while I work on other things…like drinking wine.

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/slow-cooker-cranberry-sauce-recipe/

French Coconut Pie: I previously blogged about this amazing pie and I cannot wait to share it with my family.

I am making the coconut pie today, as it’s one less ingredient list I have to keep track of. I am also making the cornbread for the cornbread stuffing today. It will eliminate having to use the oven for an additional item. Doing a couple prep items the day before really cuts down on all the work the day of. Hopefully everything goes smoothly!

And then there is this….

590x395_thanksgiving_cat

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

Sweet Potato Hash and French Coconut Pie

Happy Veteran’s Day! I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served our country. They are the reason we are able to freely live our lives and I am forever grateful.

I have the day off work which is really nice, as this is the first time I have actually had Veteran’s Day off. We started the day off with a delicious breakfast. This sweet potato hash was inspired by my favorite restaurant in Montclair, Le Salbuen.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Le-Salbuen-Cafe-Market/106728432786175

I love this restaurant SO much. It’s a very small European inspired cafe that is close to our apartment and it’s BYO which helps keep the cost down. The food is all organic and very delicious. I have never been disappointed with anything I have ordered. They have a wonderful sweet potato hash for brunch and I felt inspired to try this at home. It’s now a staple in our house. I make it for brunch and dinner. I usually add a spicy chicken sausage, but I didn’t have any on hand this morning.

Ingredients:
Two sweet potatoes, diced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced or diced
1 garlic clove
Chicken sausage, sliced (any spicy chicken sausage would be good, and it’s also optional)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 eggs
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, salt & pepper and saute until soft. Add just a couple drops of water and cover the pan to allow the potatoes to fully cook. It should only take about 10 minutes. Add chicken sausage, if using, and brown. If I add the sausage, I use fully cooked Jalapeno Chicken Sausage from Trader Joe’s. However, if I was using a sausage that wasn’t fully cooked, I would cook that first in the saute pan and set aside while I cook the vegetables. Divide sweet potato mixture into two bowls and if necessary add a little bit more coconut oil to the pan and fry both eggs, over easy. Serve egg on top of sweet potatoes and sausage.

You can see in the picture below that this time I left off the sausage and added a slice of bacon. I cooked the bacon first and then cleaned out the pan to prepare the rest of the meal.

sweet potato hash

The coconut oil adds to the sweetness of the potatoes and the spiciness of the sausage (when used) pairs perfectly. I highly recommend giving this one a try on a lazy Saturday or Sunday!

Okay, people. I love coconut. My favorite dessert in the whole world is my Grandma’s Coconut Cake. However, it’s a pretty involved multiple layer cake, which I just don’t have the time for right now. My goal today was to test out a simple Coconut Pie that I wanted to make for Thanksgiving this year. The picture and recipe looked sooooooo good! I found the recipe on Pinterest and it’s from Tasty Kitchen.

http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2011/04/step-by-step-french-coconut-pie/

This pie was so easy. All you do is mix all the ingredients together and pour it into a pre-made pie crust. Easy as pie!

coconut pie - whole

This pie is so good. I couldn’t be happier. I am very excited to share this with Jason’s family over Thanksgiving. And it really couldn’t be simpler. I was so eager to try it that I didn’t let it cool enough which resulted in the below picture. Sorry, not sorry.

Coconut pie - slice

What are you planning to cook for Thanksgiving this year? Trying anything new??