Sunday, July 22, 2012

A summertime favorite! Brushetta pasta!

One of my favorite summertime dishes is Brushetta. Brushetta pasta, Brushetta toast appetizers, or Brushetta on Brie (an amazing spin on the traditional appetizer), you get the idea I will put the Brushetta tomato mixture on just about anything. It is a very light and refreshing dish for the summer, plus it is the perfect season for great tomatoes.

Ingredients for Brushetta
6 or 7 ripe Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp equals 2 gloves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Steps for preparing the Brushetta
1. Chop the tomatoes into fine pieces.
2. Mix the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar. Add the basil and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Prepare angel hair pasta according to the package.
4. Serve pasta with tomato mixture over it.

Variations if you chose to serve it on toast as an appetizer
You will need 1 baguette of French bread and 1/4 cup olive oil
1. Cut baguette into 1/2 inch slices.
2. Brush one side with olive oil.
3. Place bread olive oil side down on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 450 for 5-7 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and scoop the tomato mixture on each bread slice (on olive oil side)
5. Serve and enjoy!

One more thing before I go, I chose to serve Brie cheese for an appetizer with this meal. I wanted something more than just Brie and crackers so took to searching for what I had in my pantry and that would go well with the Brie. I settled on honey and not just any honey, Savannah Bee Company cheese honey. My sister always brings me different honey from Savannah Bee Co. when I see her which was perfect for this appetizer, thanks sis! Now you need to come to Birmingham and try the Brie and cheese!
This appetizer was extremely easy, I use half of a Brie cheese wheel. I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and placed the Brie on the baking sheet and drizzled honey over the cheese and baked for about 7 minutes at 350. I sliced and served with crackers we got too excited to dig in I forgot to take a picture.

Brushetta pasta served with Texas Toast

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

If you've looked at other entries in my blog you know I love making cupcakes! And what better dessert to take into the office to share with everyone! Red velvet is one of my staples, it is easy to make and everyone seems to love it! What is your favorite cupcake recipe? Share it with me, I'm always looking to try something new! Happy Baking!

Ingredients for Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distiller white vinegar

Ingredients for the Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Steps for Cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
3. Combine cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.
4. With electric mixer, combine eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Beat on medium speed until well blended.
5. Mix in dry ingredients on low and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
6. Divide batter evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5-10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Steps for Icing
1. Combine cream cheese and butter with electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in vanilla extract. Gradually best in powdered sugar. Increase speed and beat until smooth.
2. I used a star tip to ice these cupcakes (if using a tip I would increase the frosting recipe to have plenty for all the cupcakes.)

Happy Baking!

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Celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks and cake

Are you looking for that perfect themed dessert for your Fourth of July cookout? While I know this post is a little too late for Fourth of July this year you can get a head start for next year or Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, or just a random Tuesday!
Amazing what you can find on Pinterest, a co-worker showed me a picture of this cake and I immediately went to Pinterest and found it in no time complete with the recipe! The end product of this recipe is when you cut into the cake it looks like the American flag! The original recipe comes from! I made a few changes to the original recipe, one being I used cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream because who doesn't love cream cheese frosting?! I also used a golden cake mix instead of a white cake mix but would consider making it red velvet next time. Some other things I will do differently next time I make this cake would be to alternate between red and white layers of cake instead of just using the frosting as the white layers, this was you can be assured the white stripes show! I did 7 layers of red cake and 6 layers of white icing! It may sound difficult but I promise you it really isn't! Ok, let's get to the recipe!

Ingredients for Cake
2 boxes white (golden) cake mix
1 1/2 bottles red food coloring
1/2 - 1 bottle blue food coloring
1 bottle white star sprinkles (Unfortunately did not include the stars this time but next time for sure!!)

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick of butter (softened)
1 pound powdered sugar
2 tsps vanilla

Steps for designing your Flag cake
1. Make one box cake mix according to directions, add 1 bottle red food coloring and separate into 2 10" round pans and bake according to the package.
2. Make the second box of cake mix according to the directions and reserve 3 cups of white mix, set aside. Color the remaining mix with the other 1/2 bottle of red food coloring. Color the reserved mix with the blue food coloring. If using the white star sprinkles gently fold them into the blue cake mix now.
3. In one 10" cake pan pour half of the red mix in. In the other pan place a 6" round cake pan in the center of the pan. In the 6" pan pour the blue mixture and on the outer pan pour the rest of the red cake mix. Note: If you do not have a smaller round pan do what I did, make your regular red and when you cut the final three layers(I will explain this in a minute) you will need to cut a hole in the center of each cake. I used a glass with a large diameter as my measurement. I also made the blue cake in a pan of its own and cut out from the center using the same glass as my measurement. Put the blue cake in the center of the red cake.
4. Once each cake has cooled you will divide it into half. You should have 4 whole red cakes before you begin dividing them. Do not divide the blue cake.
5. Alternate layers of red cake and cream cheese frosting If you end up using a white cake mix I would suggest doing a layer of red, frosting, a layer of white, frosting, repeat
6. Remember the final three red layers will have a hole in the center so you can place the blue inside. Once you have all the layers in place frost the complete cake.

Steps for Cream Cheese Frosting
I would suggest doubling the recipe to insure enough icing
1. Mix cream cheese and butter together.
2. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla.

Your flag cake is complete! You could add some red and blue decorations to the top but I chose to keep it simple so when they cut into it everyone would be surprised. I took this cake to work the week of Fourth of was killing me to wait for them to take the first piece and see the flag! Now for pictures! Happy Baking!

Cake Preparations

Final product! Happy Fourth of July!!

To show how amazing my mom is, she was visiting me the week of July 4th and surprised me with this for my breakfast that morning! Toast complete with blueberries, strawberries and bananas.

Vulcan celebrates the Fourth in style!!!!

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Well, that's just peachy!

Summer is the perfect time for Chilton County peaches! What better way to enjoy those peaches than by making peach cupcakes?! You know me, if I can make it into a cupcake the baking spree begins! At work these have been nominated by a few for the favorite cupcake flavor. On to the recipe, another fabulous Pinterest find!

Ingredients for the Cupcakes
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1.75 oz. (49 grams) freeze dried peaches, pulverized in a mini food processor. The original recipe suggested Archer Farms freeze dried peaches from Target but I used Sunmaid ones, probably more convenient to find! The package also helps you measure out how much is needed to make 49 grams.
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup puréed fresh peach Mix 1 peach pealed, pitted, & sliced and 1 tbsp water in a food processor
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350, line cupcake tins.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside until needed. Mix buttermilk, peach purée, and vanilla. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until pale (about 2 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Mix in the pulverized peaches.
4. Mix in the flour mixture in 3 segments, alternating with two batches of the buttermilk mixture, ending with the flour mixture.
5. Scoop into cupcake tins and bake until golden, 21 - 24 minutes. Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Ingredients for Peach Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1.75 oz. (49 grams) freeze dried peaches
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-5 cups of confectioners sugar

Steps for frosting
1. Beat butter until softened.
2. Mix in cream cheese and beat together.
3. Add vanilla extract and mix together.
4. Add pulverized peaches and mix.
5. Add 3 cups of sugar to the mixture, add more if necessary until it is creamy and spreadable.
6. Frost cupcakes! I added a fresh peach slice to top off the cupcake. Enjoy!

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