Saturday, May 28, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes

So when I decided to make cupcakes for Bunco I found my self thinking back to the blueberry vodka and lemonade cupcakes I made for my friend Billie.  They were my best cupcake EVER.  So...with that in mind, I decided to use it to my advantage and make a lime cupcake, with lime curd and tequila frosting!  Let's just say it worked.  A few dared to say these were even better.  I just know they were fantastic!

If you want to make these, go for it!  Use the recipes from my Blueberry Vodka and Lemonade Cupcakes post and substitute lime for the lemon juice and zest.  When you cut out the center, brush the inside and top of the cupcake with margarita or tequila, and fill with lime curd.  Put the top back on, brush with more prepared margarita or tequila.  Put as much as you like on it!  Then, when you are making the buttercream frosting, omit the vanilla and heavy cream.  Substitute more prepared margarita.  I use as much as I can manage with the frosting still holding it's shape.

Here are the desserts I had out for Bunco.  YUM!

Nutella Twix Bars

These are addicting and you cannot eat just one.  So if you plan to make it, plan to have company!  I came across this idea on a food blog called Savory Sweet Life.  I have been off the nutella for awhile.  It is just too good and I find it calling to me late at night.  I can eat it out of the jar without a second thought.  For that reason, I stopped buying it.  But this recipe tugged at my twix and nutella cravings!  

I did notice she had many more recipes with Nutella featured.  I had to turn away.  I'm going to baby step it back into my life.  I have no will power!

Here are the steps...they are really very easy to make! 

Unwrap 24 caramel squares and cut them in half.  Microwave them for about 20 seconds so that you can squish them together.

Place two honey-wheat pretzel sticks to the caramel.  She recommended the Rold Gold and they are really yummy!

Put the Nutella in a ziplock bag and snip the end.  Pipe a pea sized bead in between the pretzel sticks.

Melt dark chocolate and coat each bar evenly.  Set on parchment paper and allow to harden in the fridge or freezer.  (I put them in the freezer for 10 minutes).

Here is the finished product.  You have no idea how delicious these are!  Make them.  You will not be sorry.  

I think next time I will try a bead of peanut butter down the middle.  Recees twix bar sounds good to me.

Chocolate Caramel Nutella Twix Bars

By Savory Sweet Life 
Makes 12 bars

  • 24 – square caramel candies, cut in half
  • 24 – 4 inch honey-wheat pretzel sticks like Rold Gold or Trader Joes
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips or your favorite type of chocolate
  • optional: sea salt

  • Place caramel halves on a plate in a single layer. Microwave the caramels for 8 seconds, just until they are pliable but still firm. With two pretzels side by side in the palm on the hand, line four caramel halves along the pretzel from one end to another. Gently pushed the caramels down using a thumb and index finger to bind the caramel to the pretzels. Repeat this with all the pretzels and caramels. 
  • Spoon the Nutella into a sandwich bag and cut the tip off. Pipe a pea sized bead of Nutella on the non caramel side of the pretzels. Carefully spread the Nutella across the top surface with the back side of a utensil handle. 
  • Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe container and microwave for 1 minute and stir until smooth. If necessary, microwave for an additional 30 seconds to get the chocolate smooth. Place the pretzel (Nutella side up) on a fork and carefully dip the pretzels in the chocolate rocking the pretzels side to side to get the pretzel bars completely coated. Lift the bar from the chocolate and allow any excess chocolate to drip off. Place bars on a plate or board lined with parchment paper. 
  • Place the board in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or the freezer for 10 minutes to help harden the chocolate coating. 
If you prefer a more salted chocolate caramel candy bar, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt along the top of each chocolate bar after dipping them in chocolate and before placing them in the refrigerator to set.

Margarita Cookies for Bunco

I hosted Bunco this month...or Drunko Bunco as many women call it today.  It was a Mexican theme with taquitos, rice and beans, chicken fajitas, pork tacos, guacamole, fresh salsa, taco dip, fried plantains, veggies, margarita cupcakes, homemade twix & nutella bars and these super cute cookies.  Okay, even as I type it I know I over did it!  But I would do nothing less for the Bunco gals.  I love hanging out and rolling dice...the drinking parts not so bad either!  Margaritas, of course.

Anyway, I made some other cookies too.

It is Bunco after all, so dice are a must!  Okay, for my over achieving mind it is a must.  They were cute though and easy to make.

I especially like the limes on the rim of the glass.

And the "salt" on the rim.  I know you are wondering, "how many pictures did she take?"  Well, I can take lots of pictures of cookies.  I have turned into a cookie monster of sorts.  Obsessed with cookie cutters and thinking of the next cookie I can create.  I's a sickness.  lol

One more for the road!  :)  You knew I would!

In case you are wondering, Jen Batey won Bunco.  She basically kicked our asses!  She won bunco and had most buncos too! 

Congrats Jen!  Have a Margarita on me!  :)

To see more cookies and baked goods go to

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Decorated Lingerie Cookies


Um yes, I did it.  I made lingerie cookies.  These would be great for a bachelor or bachelorette party!  My friend Jen emailed me some like this awhile ago and suggested I make them.  Couldn't resist, so here they are. 

Brasiers and thongs, what more do you need? 

You know they are super cute! 

Someone suggested the bra cookies with pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness.  I think that is a GREAT idea.  Now why didn't I think of that?

Croque Madame Sandwiches

This recipe came from the Everyday Food Magazine.  I love that little recipe book!  I need to subscribe already!  Anyway, It is delicious and easy.  You have to try it!  Here is where you find it:

In the book he left the sandwich bread square, but I thought it would look a little nicer for the Mother's Day Breakfast table if I cut them into circles.  So I used my large biscuit cutter to do just that. 

I cut the ham in the same way.

Add some thinly sliced Gruyere cheese and we are in business!  This is one of my most favorite cheeses!!  Yummy on just about everything and melts heavenly.

You butter the outside of the breads like you do for a grilled cheese sandwich.  I did these a day ahead since we were having them for breakfast the next day.  Put them on a sheet pan, covered them with press n seal, and into the fridge.

It gets baked in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes.  Flipped after five minutes and top it with a gooey fried egg. 

Potato and Bacon Cake

This picture does NOT do this justice.  I must say this is an excellent side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  I had it at the breakfast table and cut it into pie slices.  It's very YUMMY!  Here is where to find it:

First cook 3/4 of a pound of bacon into pieces.  YES, I used real bacon...I know, don't faint.

Peel and cube potatoes and boil them.  Then take them in batches and fry them in a skillet.

Layer first 1/3 of potato mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish and top with 1/3 of crumbled bacon. 

Drizzle with some of the bacon fat.

Continue with all 3 layers.  I put it in the fridge to bake the following morning for breakfast, but you could bake it at this point.  Set oven at 450 and bake for one hour (covered).  Then uncover and bake another 30 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

These are amazing!  I love all things Ina Garten and she definitely didn't disappoint on this one!  This recipe came from my Barfoot Contessa Family Style cookbook, but you can find it online by going to:  Trust me, you will be glad that you did!

The boys made sure they were right next to them at the breakfast table!  This is my son Nicholas.


Homemade Pita Chips and Hummus

I love pita chips and hummus!  When I buy pitas in a bag they are so salty and most of the time they are fried.  This is a healthier and tastier version.  You won't believe how easy it is to make your own.  And you can store them in an air tight container!

I found whole wheat pitas at Stracks.  They come 4 to a package for about $1.50.  This will make 48 chips per pack.  Cut them in half and then cut the halved pitas into thirds.  Open the triangles and pull them apart into two pieces.  

Line them on baking sheets with the inside facing up.  Brush with garlic oil.  I used pampered chef's garlic infused canola oil, but you can use olive oil and press fresh garlic into it to infuse your own.  Then sprinkle with salt.  I also used Greek Rub, but you can use any seasoning you like.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Check after 8 because you don't want them to burn!

Now for the hummus.  Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas (no salt added is best). Reserve  1/4 cup of the chickpea liquid. Add chickpeas, 2 garlic cloves, juice of one lemon (1/4 cup), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and three tablespoons of tahini to a food processor.  Blend and then add the reserved 1/4 cup of liquid.  Serve with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top.


I can never wait to plate it.  I LOVE this!


Strawberry Cupcakes

On my last trip to Costco I got a huge container of strawberries.  They looked delicious and I couldn't resist!  I don't think I have ever made strawberry cupcakes, so I figured now is the perfect time to try.  

I used my Martha Stewart Cupcakes cookbook for the recipe for the cupcakes, and for the frosting I used a quick vanilla buttercream frosting recipe that I printed out ages ago by Gale Gand.  I just added strawberry preserves to it to make the frosting pink and taste like strawberries.

My favorite way to fill the cupcake liners is to use a large scoop.  It scoops an even amount into each cup, allowing them to bake evenly.  Cool them on a cooling rack.

For the complete recipe go to:

For my favorite frosting recipe go to:
add strawberry preserves to it.


All-American Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

I found this recipe in my Curtis Stone cookbook (sigh).  You all know what I think of Curtis (swoon). But his hotness aside...he is an amazing Chef!  This recipe does take a long time, but it is so worth it.  And making your own barbecue sauce is well worth the effort as well.   Our family gobbled it right up!

You make the rub and let it set on the meat for an hour.  Then you cook it for an hour. 

Add the sauce and let it set another hour.

Cook it uncovered for 30 minutes.  Yes, you will have to pick a day that you plan on being home awhile.  It is so yummy!

Here is the recipe:


from Curtis Stone's cookbook:  Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone

Serves 4

1 teaspoon Cajun or creole seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
2 1/2 pounds meaty baby back pork ribs (about 2 large racks)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cups beef broth
2 cups ketchup
1 cup distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce

1. Mix the Cajun seasoning, oregano, cumin, and paprika in a small bowl to blend, and rub the mixture all over the ribs. Wrap the ribs in heavy-duty foil, encasing them completely, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the wrapped ribs on a heavy baking sheet and bake in the foil for about an hour, or until the meat is very tend. Unwrap the ribs and let them cool.

3. Meanwhile make the barbecue sauce: Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Mix in the beef broth and all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly.

4. Coat the ribs with half of the sauce and marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature or for up to 1 day in the refrigerator. Reserve the remaining barbecue sauce.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the ribs on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast, uncovered basting often with some of the remaining barbecue sauce, for about 25 minutes, or until the ribs are heated through. Rewarm the remaining sauce and serve it alongside the ribs.

NOTE: You'll want to begin preparing the ribs well in advance (even up to two days ahead) to make sure they have time to marinate.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Cookie Bouquet

I made these for my mom and grandmother for Mother's Day, along with breakfast.  I just had to share them with you.  

Hope you are having a wonderful Mother's Day!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Apple Cookies for Teacher Appreciation Week

This year I told the PTO I would make an apple cookie for all of the teachers at the school.  I think they turned out super cute.  I know teachers are sick of apples, but it's a cookie!!!  So hopefully they won't mind. They will be put in the teachers mailboxes this week along with a thank you note.  :)

 Like I said, I think they turned out cute.  HOWEVER, I will not be coloring anything red for awhile...what a pain!  lol

Here is how I packaged them.  Use a cellophane bag and then put a cute "thank you" on the back!  Feel free to steal it!  

Thank you to all of you who are teachers!  We appreciate all that you do for our children.  Keep in mind there are  many parents more than willing to help, so when you need it, simply ask!

Marcus wanted me to make sure and take a picture of the apple for his kindergarten teacher, Miss Blimm.  She has taken over for Mrs. Mulder since she left to have her baby girl.  She is a great teacher and Marcus loves learning from her each day!  THANK YOU, MISS BLIMM for everything you do!

Mr. Meyer is my son Nicholas' fourth grade teacher.  I must say I think he is the best teacher Nicholas has ever had.  Not only is he a great male role model for Nicholas, he takes the time to understand his students and work with them to help them lean in a fun way.  Nicholas loves science and Mr. Meyer is always having them do experiments.  (Although I could have done without the crayfish Nicholas got to take home when the class was done with them.  lol)  THANK YOU, MR. MEYER for being such a great teacher!