Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gingerbread Cupcakes

1 box (18.25 ounces) French vanilla or yellow cake mix
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Bake as directed.

Then for the frosting, I just used the cream cheese frosting from the pumpkin bars that I posted earlier, because, as mentioned, I love it.

8 oz cream cheese
1 stick of butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups of powdered sugar
Beat until fluffy.

Then I just put it in a pastry bag with a big circle tip and piped it on. I'm a sucker for gingerbread, so I loved these ones, but I think they might have been even better as mini cupcakes. mmmm...I wish I had some left. :-) I got the recipe for these cupcakes from the book Hello Cupcake

Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

In a mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup (2 sticks) butter and 2 cups sugar. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Keep mixing on high until the batter becomes really light and fluffy. It will almost look like frosting it's so fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup milk and 1 tsp vanilla. In a bowl, sift together 3 cups flour, 1 Tbsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Spoon into the butter mixture while the mixer is on low speed. The finished product will be light and airy. It will look nothing like a cake mix batter. This will give you a wonderful buttery dense cake. Add 3 medium ripe bananas. Spoon into paper lined muffin pans. This will make 2 dozen cupcakes. Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Dump from the pan and put on cooling rack. While the cupcakes cool, make a box of banana pudding. Slice up a banana and add to chilled pudding. Put the pudding in the fridge and hold until you need it. Take a paring knife and carefully cut the cupcake top. Remove the top.Spoon some of the banana pudding into the cupcake. Pull off the cone part of the top and put the top back on. Put some graham crackers in a ziploc and smash, or put in the food processor. Make whipped cream. Put 1 cup COLD whipping cream in the mixing bowl. Begin whipping on medium speed. If you put it on super HIGH, you'll have cream all over your cabinets and self. When ribbons begin to form in the cream, add 1/4 cup sugar slowly. Kick up the speed to HIGH. When the cream is nice and stiff, add 1 tsp vanilla. You want a nice stiff whip because we will be piping this onto the cupcakes and you don't want it to just slide right off. Put the whipped cream in a piping bag with a large star tip. Pipe in a circular fashion making a nice peak. Sprinkle the top lightly with some of those crushed graham crackers and put a slice of banana on top. Eat immediately or keep in the fridge until serving. Recipe & pictures from creating post it notes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Taco Soup

My sister and I just made this soup for my mom's birthday party and it was absolutely delicious!  Enjoy.

Cut up 2 chicken breasts into small cubes (or more if you like more meat) and cook in a little olive oil.  Add seasonings.  (and remember to taste the soup during the process and add more seasoning if necessary)  

I use about:
1 Tbsp. chile powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
A little salt
Garlic powder

Toss the following into the blender and blend until fairly smooth:
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
2 large garlic cloves

In a stock pot, combine the following:
1 large (32 oz) can chicken broth
1 to 2 Tbsp. sugar (this reduces the acidity of the tomatoes and enhances flavor)
Blended mixture
Seasoned Chicken
1 can black beans (optional)
1 can corn (optional)
Salt to taste

Simmer for 20 minutes.

Place any or all of the following in your individual soup bowl and ladle hot soup over the top:
Tortilla chips
Monterey Jack cheese
Chopped cilantro
Chopped fresh tomato
Diced avocado
Chopped green onion
Sour cream
Chile sauce (like Tabasco, etc.)

Squeeze over the top:
Lime wedges (this is what really makes the soup, I think!)

Recipe courtesy of my sister, Katelyn Lowe

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wheatie Ranger Cookies

Yummy, easy, hearty. Another one I tweaked and made better--and better for you.

1 stick butter
1 egg white
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 cup quick oats
1 cup Wheaties or corn flakes
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 8 minutes