Archive | September, 2008

Longing for Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

30 Sep

We had a nice time on our trip to the sun for my birthday. Instead of a cake, I am holding out until we go to LA in a couple of weeks for — Sprinkles Lemon Coconut Cupcakes. To me — heaven on earth!

After searching I found a site that claims to have the Sprinkles recipe! I can’t wait to try it.

Here it is:

Great-Grandma’s Coconut Cupcakes
(From Sprinkles pastry chef Candace Nelson)

Makes 18 to 20

2 cups sifted cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup whole milk

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

2 large egg whites, plus 1 whole large egg

Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two greased standard muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and extracts. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg whites and the egg and mix until they are combined. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until it is combined. Gradually drizzle in all the milk mixture. Add the remaining dry mixture and mix carefully until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups (they should be two-thirds full) and bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.


Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

8 ounces cold cream cheese

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

1/2 cup sweetened coconut shavings

In the bowl of an electric mixer, slowly mix the cream cheese, butter and salt until fluffy and combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix in the extracts until incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Frost each cooled cupcake with about 2 tablespoons of frosting and immediately top with 1 teaspoon of sweetened coconut shavings.

Too Busy to Make Dinner Every Night?

23 Sep

Some girls in my neighborhood have gotten together and created a “frozen dinner group”. We meet once a month and make dinners that can be frozen. So when we’re in a hurry we can pop something in the oven and not worry about it.

I have been in a couple groups like this done a couple of different ways. The first way — you decide on an entry you want to make and then you make a certain number of those entries (depending on how many people are in your group — like 10 entries for 10 people). Then you meet and exchange the entries and go home with 10 DIFFERENT entries.

The second way — the group I am in works now is that we take turns being in charge of the group — monthly or yearly. When it is your turn you decide on what entries you want the group to make and then you buy the ingredients to make the meals. People in the group prepare some of the food — like cooking the pork in their crock pots or browning the ground beef. Then everyone meets, puts the meals together and pays you the amount that the food cost.

Then the next month, or 6 months or year it is someone elses turn and all you have to do is show up, make the food and pay the cost. It is pretty economical — I made 4 casseroles that will feed my family for 4 nights plus enough leftovers another 2 nights for $50.00.

It’s fun to get together and visit while you prepare the food and nice to have some meals that are easy to prepare when you are in a bind.

Today we made Pork Burritos, Cheese Manicotti and Chicken Divan. (I made 2 Pork Burritos and 2 Manicottis and no Chicken Divan — my kids won’t eat that one).

Here’s the recipe for Chicken Manicotti:

1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
16 uncooked manicotti shells
2 jars (26 ounces each) spaghetti sauce, divided
1 pound bulk Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup water

  1. Rub garlic powder over chicken; cut into 1-inch strips. Stuff chicken into the manicotti shells. Spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce in each of two greased 13 in. x 9 in. baking dishes.
  2. Place eight stuffed manicotti shells in each dish. Sprinkle with sausage and mushrooms. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over the top. Sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Drizzle water around the edge of each dish. Cover and bake one casserole at 375-degrees for 65-70 minutes or until chicken juices run clear and pasta is tender. Cover and freeze remaining casserole for up to 1 month.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake as directed.

I have some wonderful recipes that can be frozen — I can give them to you if you are interested.

I’m going out of town for my b-day so I might not be posting for a few days. Have a great day!!!

Fall Food

23 Sep

It’s been raining and colder today so I decided to experiment with a Mexican beef stew. It is very economical and perfect for a busy family.

Mexican Green Chili and Corn Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
1 onion, chopped
2(10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
4 cups beef broth
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
8-10 small, red potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 cups fresh corn from the cob, or frozen corn

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and brown the stew meat and the onions until onions are translucent; about 5 minutes
  2. Pour in the diced tomatoes, beef broth and chile peppers. Stir in the garlic salt and cumin. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add a little more beef broth or water if needed during simmering.
  4. Stir in cubed potatoes to the mixture and simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Add corn about 15 minutes before serving so it doesn’t overcook.

Accompanied by a recipe for breadsticks which was given to me from my mom. She used to make it when I was growing up – delicious!

ic Breadsticks
In a large bowl dissolve:
1 package yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water

1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Set it aside and let it foam (5 minutes) then add: 2 c. flour to yeast mixture.
Mix well. Add more flour (about 1 – 1 1/2 c). Make a kneadable dough. Knead 3 minutes then roll out with rolling pin into a rectangular shape about 1/2 inch thick.

With a pizza cutter, cut in half lengthwise, then cut across to make 1 1/2 inch strips. You will have about 2 dozen breadsticks. Melt 1 cube of butter. Pour butter onto a jellyroll pan. Roll each stip in butter and twist it. Lay them in rows on the pan. Sprinkle each strip with garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Let raise 30 minutes. Bake 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Take out of oven when edges are golden.

Enjoy! Have a great day!!!

Creative Fridays: Giant Decoupaged Clothespins

19 Sep

Here’s a little project. These are giant clothespins that I decoupaged and embellished. I found them at a little store near my house but I think they might sell them at IKEA too. They are great to put on your counter and leave a note for your kids or use as a picture frame by clipping a picture to them . They also have a hole in the back that you can hang them upside down on your wall and display artwork or pictures of your kids/family!

Side view:

Example of hanging upside down:

Have a great day!

News of the Bizarre and Comfort Food

18 Sep
I spent my morning here:

With a body full of these (the kind without bees)

My mouth looked like this:

They put in me in this:

On one of these:

I received:

And three prescriptions for these:

As I sat in my hospital bed, I kicked myself for not bring this:

Now I am home and doing much better. The hives are going down and my face is almost back to normal. What an adventure! I was happy to come home and have some of this that Nick and I made last night (perfect for a Fall evening)!

(these are the first apples from our tree this year)

Best Apple Crisp Ever


  • 4 apples – peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a 9 inch square baking pan, mix sliced apples with brown sugar. In a large bowl, mix together flour, white sugar, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, beat together egg and melted butter. Stir into flour mixture. Spread evenly over apples.
  3. Take 2 tablespoons of cold butter and cut into small pices. Sprinkle butter over the top of apple mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated over for 30 to 40 minutes, or until topping is golden and crips.
  5. Enjoy!

Lunchbox Wanted: Inquire Within

17 Sep
Wanted: Lunchbox.
Must be cute (or will be left at home on purpose)
fit in a pink-sparkly backpack
keep ham sandwiches with NO condiments cold
have complicated compartments so nothing touches
and be indestructible.

Do you have any picky eaters? I have one daughter who is a finicky eater. I have been paying for school lunch every day for her, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she is not eating. Why?

  • Yesterday I asked her what was for lunch and she couldn’t remember….
  • She comes home ravenous…
  • She is the first kid out on the playground — EVERY DAY… (I know because I can see it from my backyard)

I looked around my house — I had one, ancient thermal lunchbox with a rip on the outside and something suspicious growing inside. So, I’m investigating the best way to get her to eat. She’s Nine and weighs 48 pounds. She basically lives on Eggo waffles and dry cereal.

I will probably run down to Target and pick out whatever is on sale, but maybe I will order one of these instead:

Chocolate Dots Retro Personalized Lunch Box

Melamine 3-layer lunchbox with trays

I think she might really like this hamburger lunch box.( Each level of the plastic burger lifts off, revealing itself to be a neat little tray for a different kind of food — everything goes in, nothing touches.)

Bento lunchbox with chopsticks

This one is really cool. It’s insulated, washable and unzips to be it’s own placemat.

This one is really cute — 2-tier bento panda lunchbox

And, I found a really fun recipe that I am going to try. I don’t know is she’ll eat it, but I think it looks great:


Good hot or cold; an ideal extra for the lunch box and something the children can help you make. They can help you eat them too!

for the basic dough
8oz (250g) strong white bread flour
Pinch caster sugar
Half tspn salt
Half tspn fast-action dried yeast
One tbspn olive oil
Quarter pt (150ml) warm water (approx)

for the filling
Half a red pepper
Four mushrooms
Two small tomatoes
Two shallots or one small onion
Fresh herbs to include oregano,
One clove garlic
Approx 2 oz (50g) grated cheese
Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season

  • Preheat the oven to medium hot

  • whisk the eggs and cream with the seasoning

  • melt the butter on top of the stove in a shallow 12′ pan which can go in the oven

  • add the potatoes

  • carefully spread the spinach and ricotta over the potatoes then sprinkle the pine nuts over the spinach and ricotta

  • pout the egg mixture over all of this and cook on top of the stove on medium heat until bubbling slightly on the edges.
  • place in the oven for 15-20 minuts until risen and slightly browned
  • Remove from oven and let it set for 5 minutes before serving

Have a wonderful day!

Prayers for Stephanie Today

16 Sep

Most of you know about Stephanie Nielson. I never knew her or anything about her until I heard about her tragic accident. Now it seems it is ALL I can think about. She is going in for some critical surgery today for skin grafting and since she has been burned on over 82% of her body — this could be a turning point in her recovery.

Please send Stephanie and her family your good wishes and thoughts today as they go through this hard time. Sending your prayers is the most important thing, but if you feel like you want to do more you can donate to help with the cost of their treatment and a sweet girl at Line Upon Line has made up the most darling cards with all proceeds going directly to the Nielson’s. This is what she says:

“Stephanie is known for her talent of making silhouettes. In our card Prayers for Nie Nie we used silhouettes of her and her husband. The balloon is a tribute to the Nielson family’s sweet tradition of sending balloons up into the sky with wishes inside. Since their accident, thousands of balloons have been released with prayers and wishes for their recovery. To us, the balloon in this design represents the Nielson Family receiving the grace of all those prayers and wishes.
All proceeds from the sale of this card will be donated to the Stephanie Nielson Fund.”

Thanks and have a great day!