Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Applesauce 'n Cinnamon Cupcakes (Mupcakes?)

Uh..yummm! I have a quick recipe to share with y'all. With the cable/internet out and the washing machine dead, what's a girl to do?...Bake, duh. I used my new mini cupcake maker again, and decided to try a more savory cupcake..or so I thought. The cupcakes actually seemed more like a moist muffin than a cupcake as I decided not to frost them. I opted out of icing, as the mupcakes (muffin/cupcakes?) themselves were quite sweet. I chose to top them with a little pinch of granulated sugar, and they were delicious. The fun part about these is that they can be adapted greatly. I considered adding things such as chocolate chips, craisins instead of raisins, coconut, etc. Play around and see what you think. Enjoy! :)

Applesauce & Cinnamon Cupcakes
(Adapted from the book 500 Cupcakes)

1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used regular 2 percent and added about a tsp of white vinegar)
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (not sure if mine was unsweetened or not)
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 small red eating apple, thinly sliced for topping (optional)
granulated sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (or your mini cupcake maker!). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Place butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, and buttermilk in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and pale, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients inlucing applesauce, cinnamon, pecans, raisins, and any other mix-ins you want to try.

Spoon batter into the cups. Lay the apple slices if using on top and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Bake for 25-27 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes and cool on a rack. Serve warm.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Change of Plans...

Let me preface this post by sharing my deepest sympathy with those of you who are in the "back to school" boat (or bus?) with me. Eww. I must say, I simply adored spending time with my furbabies and hubby, as well as the visits from family and just overall slower pace of Christmas break. However...this is semester of grad school and I am happy to be nearing the end.

With that said, those of you who were following my blog last semester know that I was a big fan of freezer crockpot meals. While I am still a huge advocate for crockpotting/prepping/freezing and continue to use my beautiful crockpot frequently, I have to admit that I have missed cooking!! I still have a few frozen crockpot meals in the fridge for especially busy weeks, but I have come up with a new organizational meal planning system for this semester. I am finding it very easy, financially doable, healthy, satisfying (cooking cravings), and makes for a happy hubby. Here is what I'm doing:

I have created five weeks of meal plans, 7 days a week, 5 meals a day. Keep in mind that these meals are designed for me; my size, my appetite, etc...and that obviously my husband eats the same foods, but in different quantities. Please feel free to adjust based on your necessary caloric/nutrient intake. Below is week one. On the back of the paper, I have created categories such as Poultry, Produce, Canned Goods and created a grocery list. I also used color coded posted notes to add any household items I needed to the paper, placed the list in a plastic report cover, and to the wild world of Walmart I went (my mom will LOVE the alliteration here).

M - Light cheese and Clif bar (B1); Hot green tea and snack if necessary (B2); Salad with beans, cucumbers, carrots, parm. cheese, croutons, and low-cal dressing (L); non-fat greek yogurt and a banana (S); Grilled chicken with brown rice and steamed veggies (D).

T - Vanilla Soy Chai Shake (B1); Hot green tea and snack if necessary (B2); Salad with leftover grilled chicken and veggies (L); Kidney, garbanzo, and black beans with brown rice and fruit (D).

W - Green monster smoothie and light cheese stick (B1); Hot green tea and snack if necessary (B2); whole wheat veggie wrap with mustard and an apple (L); pistachios (S); Grilled chicken breasts, asparagus, and baked sweet potatoes (D).

Th - Non fat greek yogurt and a banana (B1); Hot green tea and snack if necessary (B2); reduced fat peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread and an apple (L); veggies (S); Chicken sausage over whole wheat penne and roasted red peppers (D).

F - Vanilla Soy Chai Shake (B1); Hot green tea and snack if necessary (B2); Three bean cold salad (L); sugar snap peas and baby carrots (S); grilled chicken with sprouts and brown rice

Sa - Oatmeal with cinnamon and honey (B1); Hot green tea and snack if necessary (B2); spinach salad with mushrooms, grilled chicken, veggies, balsamic vinegar (L); grapes, nonfat greek yogurt (S); eggs, center cut bacon, whole wheat toast with strawberry preserves (D).

S - Honey nut cheerios with reduced fat milk (B1); hot green tea and snack if necessary (B2); Moroccan chickpea salad (chickpeas, carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, feta, lemon, olive oil, spinach leaves) (L); apple and reduced fat peanut butter (S); Grilled chicken with black beans and salsa (D).

B1 = breakfast 1
B2 = breakfast 2
L = lunch
S = snack
D = dinner

So there you have it! A week of healthy food. I have night class on Monday and a long day on Tuesday, so I prep my dinners (and lunches since I eat leftovers) on Monday mornings. I also carefully plan how much of the snacky foods we are consuming as not to waste. As the week goes on, I keep adding leftover veggies, fruits, etc from meals to a basket in the fridge known as the "snack box". Hubby knows anything in there is up for grabs for snacking in between meals.

Hope this helps!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cupcake Craze

Hi friends! I hope y'all had a wonderful holiday season. We definitely did. We thoroughly enjoyed a visit to my lovely in-laws for Thanksgiving, a visit from my cousin Derrick, followed by a lengthier one from my parents :)

I happily spent the past two days with my good friend, Audra. It was so nice to get caught up and have some girl time. How often do we, as adults, just take time to paint our nails and chat? Not often enough I'm afraid. Anyway, we spent the afternoon playing with my new favorite toy....the Babycakes Cupcake Maker!!!

Not only did my mom and dad (although I'm sure mostly my mom) get me the cupcake maker, they also gifted me a Pampered Chef cupcake display stand, cupcake storage containers, and lots of other goodies. Audra and I decided to try mini-chocolate pies called chocolate tartlettes, as well as pineapple upside-down cupcakes. Here are a few pictures from our kitchen adventure. If you are into the cupcake craze like I am, I suggest you research the Babycakes Cupcake Maker and see what you think. :)