Thursday, May 31, 2012

Playing catch up!

Well, so much for good intentions. I was honestly going to try and blog while I was in Fort Worth.

It didn't work.


I DID go shopping and had a fabulous pedicure.

I had good company driving to Fort Worth.
And it was fast. Apparently the toll road speed limit has changed to 80. I love this state!!!
Even though I was only gone for 4 days this time it seemed like a long week. I was thankful to be home!!

We celebrated my birthday on Saturday with my parents at Grey Moss Inn. I haven't been there in years and it was a first visit for Preston. It was exactly like I remember it - but I think I appreciate it more now that I'm older. Preston read online that it's haunted. I think it kind of freaked him out - but we didn't see any ghosts so everything turned out OK.
Oh - and Preston got me an awesome birthday present. Definitely the best husband EVER.
So I have obviously been a little camera crazy all weekend. Obviously. It has a FOOD setting. And a PET setting. It's like heaven.
OK...I promise this is the last one.
For now.

Hugs & kisses....

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hot Pink Cupcakes - for Kaitlyn

She turned 9.

Preston almost cried. She is obviously still Daddy's little girl - which is awesome.

But she's 9.

And she very sassily told me "I think I'm a tween now".


I don't think so.

But almost.

Her birthday was at the end of April but we didn't see her until mid-May so I made her some really cute hot pink cupcakes. With chocolate frosting. With pink sprinkles. Yum.

All I did was make a vegan vanilla cupcake and added hot pink gel food coloring. Easy. And my chocolatey yummy vegan butter cream. They were a hit!!

Hugs & kisses!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Babies, Love and Strawberries

I honestly haven't been feeling like myself so I have had this post started since Sunday. That being said, I started it originally with "Happy Mother's Day" but it's a little late for that. Oops.

We celebrated Mother's Day on Saturday at The Gruene Door. It's a pretty little restaurant located in Gruene Lake Village less than 10 minutes from Gruene. We had a full table with my parents, Preston and myself, Sister, her husband and Baby O, my uncle and my grandmother. The staff was SUPER accommodating to all of our needs and the food was delicious! 
I have been eating VERY well all week and my plan was to continue through the weekend. I think I did pretty darn good. If you know me - and have read this blog before - you know I love (LOVE LOVE LOVE) wedge salads. I have an obsession. Seriously.
This is the Steak and Wedge. Super delicious. The steak was very tender and cooked perfectly (medium rare). I didn't realize it until someone asked but I haven't had beef for almost two months so this was a treat! I normally order blue cheese dressing on my wedge salads but the waiter suggested their Cabernet Vinaigrette so I tried it. It was creamier than any vinaigrette I have ever had and delicious. So my love for wedge salads continues....

We shopped a little after eating but Sister and I had our eyes on The Gruene Flour Cupcakery. Oh yes. Cupcakes.
And Baby O too. Cupcake love.
She obviously loved her Lemon Cupcake. I had the Root Beer Float cupcake, Preston had The Bostonian and Sister had the Wicked (chocolate/chocolate). They were good but Preston says mine are better. I love that man.

So after my cupcake indulgence I promptly passed out on the way home. Typical me.

What was NOT typical was that we got home around 3:45 and settled down on the couch and BOTH of us fell asleep. Until 7:05.

I'm so embarrassed. Sigh.

Sunday, however was extremely productive. My productivity included this super yummy Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake from A Spicy Perspective. I found this recipe on Pinterest several months ago and kept putting it off because there weren't any fresh strawberries. But now there are!!! YAY!! I added apple sauce instead of eggs and I think it messed with my cake. Meh. So if you're going to make it use the original recipe.

Here are my pictures though because they turned out so pretty. I love strawberries and how they are so colorful.
Bright yellow lemon zest.
OH!! I almost forgot. Notice the stuff that looks like it's brushed on the center of the pan?? It's magical no-stick coating for the pan. I swear. It's equal parts vegetable shortening, flour and canola oil. I used one tablespoon of each and it covered the bundt pan perfectly. What I read online is that you can mix up enough and keep it in a jar for future use. Genius. Thanks to my friend Irene for finding it!! Mwah!!
Here's my finished product complete with a scrumptious lemon/powdered sugar glaze.

This is what happened. My cake turned out thick. SUPER heavy. Not sure what happened. Preston says it tastes fine but I think it could have been better. I read online that you can substitute 1/4 cup of applesauce for every egg. So I did. Then I read later that it's 1 TABLESPOON per egg. Sigh. Too much applesauce apparently equals a heavy, dense cake. Oh well. What I'm learning my friends is that all of this "vegan baking" stuff is going to be trial and error sometimes. This time I was lucky enough that it was edible. HA!!

I leave you with one more picture. At least it LOOKS delicious.

Hugs & kisses!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rainbow Tie Dye

I love weekends. Honestly.

I know you're asking yourself "who doesn't??" - but I truly love them. Of course I never get enough rest during the weekend because I'm always finding stuff to do. Except today. I slept for almost 4 hours. I honestly must have needed it but I felt like my afternoon was wasted.

Yesterday, however, was not wasted.

I spent the day with my friend Jackie in San Marcos shopping at the outlets malls.
We found great deals at the Williams Sonoma outlet and cute stuff at Crate & Barrel. Lots of new stuff to add to my baking collection. Exciting!!! I even found some cute leopard print cupcake cups - my favorite brand - Cupcake Creations. These are awesome because you don't have to use a pan for the cups - just put them directly on a cookie sheet and bake!
I found these adorable plates at Pottery Barn on clearance for Thanksgiving. Cute melamine plates for the kids! Yay!!

A few weeks ago I had a genius moment after spending an afternoon on Pinterest. I wanted to make rainbow cupcakes. I have seen cupcakes and cakes and cakes in a mason jar - all rainbow. And I thought why not?? We had a church picnic today so I thought they would be cute to take to the picnic.
I used white cake mix.
And gel food colors.
A lot of work but they were SO worth it. The box says it makes 24 cupcakes but I ended up using 2 boxes to make 24 cupcakes. My cupcakes had "muffin tops" but I think that's OK. More cupcake and it made sure all of the colors were in them. So because they are SO simple I will just post a lot of pictures!

I wanted these to be Rainbow Cupcakes but Preston renamed them Rainbow Tie-Dye Cupcakes. I'm cool with that. I made my basic white buttercream and it was perfect.
Look at those gorgeous colors! Thank you Americolor!! Their colors are awesome.

Hugs & kisses....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Love and Margarita Cupcakes

First, I have the best husband in the world.

Lack of sleep. Rough week. He showed up with flowers. And a card.

I swear HE is the angel from God, not the other way around.

I love you P.

So I'm sitting at work the other day and decided I needed to make some special cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo. I know, at work. But hey, I get some of my best ideas while I'm there!! Don't hate.

I toyed with the idea of a cinnamon cupcake with some kind of caramel frosting. Or possibly a tres leches cupcake but wasn't sure what kind of frosting. So I consulted with my work "mom" and good friend Irene. "What about those margarita cupcakes?". Oh heck YEAH.

One problem - I don't have tequila.

Yeah buddy - now I do. Thanks friend!!

Not only did I decide to make these fabulous cupcakes but I decided to make them completely vegan. Totally. And I did.

First I had to make vegan buttermilk. Yes people - it can be done!! The secret, from the things I have read, is protein. The milk you use has to have protein so that means that although I love almond milk I can't use it. However, soy milk will work.

And lemons.
It's 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for a cup of soy milk.
Since I only needed 3/4 of a cup I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice. I mixed this before I started the cupcakes and let it sit and "curdle". You know that word just sounds gross. UGH. Anyway - let it sit.

Margarita Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan butter
1 cup sugar or 1 cup Splenda
4 oz So Delicious coconut yogurt - plain
zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes
2 tablespoons tequila
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegan buttermilk

This recipe makes 12 and I wanted 18 so I multiplied the recipe. I got 18 beautiful cupcakes!!

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and then sift.
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the yogurt and mix thoroughly.
Add the lime zest, lime, vanilla and tequila.
The mixture looks a little "curdled" (there's that word again - ugh). But it will start to look better - I promise!
Alternately, starting with the flour mixture, add the flour, then half of the buttermilk, flour, buttermilk and flour.
See how the soy milk looks a little curdled?
Pretty batter.
Pretty batter makes pretty cupcakes. And yummy cupcakes. They need frosting.
Before frosting the cupcakes brush the cupcakes with a little tequila. A little.

Lime Margarita Frosting

1 cup vegetable shortening
3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila

Creams the shortening and powdered sugar. Add the lime juice and tequila. I added a very tiny drop of lime green coloring gel. It gave the frost that light lime color. Beautiful.

The cupcakes turned out a little dense. But they were SO good. I sprinkled them with some large sugar crystals and a little wedge of lime. Cute!!

So Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

Hugs & kisses.....