Friday, May 29, 2009

Coconut Raspberry Ice Cream Cupcakes

While I was at JP Licks the other day, I grabbed margarita sorbet for the coconut margarita ice cream cupcakes, but the red raspberry fat free frozen yogurt also caught my eye. Boy do I miss ice cream and frozen yogurt. I had a little taste and this stuff is amazing. I decided raspberry would also go well with coconut, so I took a pint of that home as well.

Again, I made the two varieties of cupcake/ice cream configurations. And again both were great. The frozen yogurt is soft, so it does drip down the cupcake. This is definitely one you want to eat with a spoon.

This is my last ice cream cupcake for now. I hope to make some more dairy free ones once the kitchen is back in working order. The one thing I've learned is that a stiff frosting works best. I'd say cream cheese frosting is best for ice cream cupcakes.

I am submitting these cupcakes into the blogging event hosted by Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious. Be sure to check back to vote for their reader's choice cupcakes. Voting will be the first week in June.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla Ice Cream Cupcakes

As I mentioned yesterday, I had some leftover ganache in the fridge. Since I was trying to empty it out, I decided to make some cupcakes for Hubby too. These are just a variation on my dairy-free ice cream cupcakes.

I used the same cupcakes, but used regular ice cream and then topped with ganache. Once the ganache set, I drizzled the strawberry cream cheese glaze over the top.

And just for fun, I did that again. Hubby loved these little treats.

I am submitting these cupcakes into the blogging event hosted by Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious. Be sure to check back to vote for their reader's choice cupcakes. Voting will be the first week in June.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Coconut Margarita Ice Cream Cupcakes

There are going to be a few ice cream cupcake posts over the next couple of days. I need to get them all in by the 30th. Be sure to check out the ice cream cupcake roundup at the end of the month (link at end of post).

I made these cupcakes before we started the kitchen renovation (you can even see them in the freezer picture from the first day post). Because I was trying not to throw away any food when the renovation started, I made some really random foods. I had some coconut creme left from the coconut lime cupcakes, and everyone loved those cupcakes so I decided to whip up a batch. I ended up having enough creme to make 3/4 of a batch of cupcakes. I can't really say how many normal sized cupcakes that recipe would make because I made a variety of cupcakes. But don't worry I am sure I'll be making it again (I dipped some in leftover ganache for Hubby to take to work, the rest were used for these ice cream cupcakes).

Once the cupcakes were done, I just needed some ice cream to go with coconut. I headed up to the local JP Licks to see what flavors they had this month. It was my lucky day because they had "Fresh Margarita" Sorbet. As you all know, coconut and lime is one of my favorite flavor combos, so I got a pint without hesitation.

I decided to try a couple options with these cupcakes. For some of them, I did the same thing I did last year, where I had a layer of cupcake, then ice cream (sorbet in this case), then frosting (again, I used up some coconut cream cheese frosting I had in the fridge). For other cupcakes, I cut them in half and put the sorbet in the middle.

I liked the sandwich variety better because it wasn't so cold against my teeth biting into the cupcake. Hubby also preferred the sandwich variety. But they were all delicious no matter what. *Note* I didn't make these dairy free, but I did have to try one and they're REALLY good. If you can find margarita sorbet, I highly recommend this combo.

Coconut cream cheese frosting - from Hello! Cupcake
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixer bowl until light and fluffy.

Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream.

Beat in the salt, coconut flavoring, and vanilla extract.

Continue beating until mixture is smooth and spreadable.

Add additional confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting, or more cream to thin.

Fold in the shredded coconut.

I am submitting these cupcakes into the blogging event hosted by Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious. Be sure to check back to vote for their reader's choice cupcakes. Voting will be the first week in June.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dairy Free Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla Ice Cream Cupcakes

It's that time of year again. When the suns shows it's bright face for long hours and the temperature starts rising. That means it's time for Ice Cream. Now I know some people enjoy ice cream year round. Heck, think of the lines you see at JP Licks or at Graeters during the winter. It's somewhat crazy. To me summertime means ice cream time.

As many of you know, I'm lactose intolerant. This makes ice cream time (I mean summertime) very hard on me. Before I found out I was LI, I was a regular ice cream eater. My dad loves ice cream too and I think that's where I got it from.

I will admit that there are some dairy free ice creams out there, but in all honesty, they're just not the same. They lack the smooth creaminess of a great ice cream. So sometimes I splurge a little and eat ice cream during the summer. My stomach reminds me how bad of an idea it was, but it's always worth it.

When I saw the announcement about the Ice Cream Cupcake Blogging event again this year (check out the ice cream cupcakes I made last year), I knew I wanted to do at least one dairy free version. I went with a classic flavor combo - chocolate + vanilla + strawberry. YUM!

I used my favorite vegan chocolate cupcake recipe for these guys. I made the full sized. Then I used the cone method to remove a large cone from the cupcakes. I put a small scoop of Tofutti vanilla ice cream into each cupcake and then dropped in a frozen strawberry. I threw the cupcakes back into the freezer for a while to let them set while I made some strawberry cream cheese frosting (I just added about 1/2 cup of strawberries to a classic cream cheese frosting).

I wanted to have it be more like a glaze, so I thinned it out quite a bit. Looking back, I think thick cream cheese frosting would have done better on these cupcakes. I'd also use fresh strawberries in the cupcakes because the frozen ones were hard! After a quick zap in the microwave, they were perfect!

I am submitting these cupcakes into the blogging event hosted by Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious. Be sure to check back to vote for their reader's choice cupcakes. Voting will be the first week in June.

Friday, May 22, 2009

We have a *NEW* floor!

Ok, I've been getting quite a few questions asking where the next kitchen update is. Glad to see everyone is as excited as we are about this little project.

I'd also like to thank everyone for the kind words about my work in a tiny kitchen. I have to admit, that we also have a kitchen cart on wheels that is usually right next to the counterspace where the dishwasher is. That cart basically doubled the amount of counter space I had in the kitchen. Another trick I did was to keep 2 jelly roll pans on top of the burners so that the stovetop basically became even more counterspace. Basically, you have to get creative when you have a small kitchen.

I've also been asked by a number of people what the first thing I plan to bake in the new kitchen will be. I *surprisingly* haven't put much thought into it yet, but if anyone has suggestions, feel free to send them my way. I'd like it to be something I've never made and something challenging...

Back to the kitchen! We came home on Day 4 to find the tile laid in the kitchen. The grout hasn't been done yet, but the tiles are all in place! I had a hard time getting a good picture because we couldn't walk in there, so I was just poking my head through the plastic doorway. I forget the name of the tile. I think it was Chocolate or Mocha and it's from Home Depot for $2.09/sq-ft.

Another exciting thing happened on Day 4. We ordered all of our appliances and our sink! Very exciting.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rhubarb Rolls

My dad used to make these rhubarb rolls when I was young and I didn't really like them. I think I just didn't appreciate them. But I saw rhubarb in the grocery store the other day and immediately thought of making these rolls for Hubby. Growing up, we always had these for breakfast but they are sweet enough that they could be served for dessert as well. The rhubarb has a tangy tartness that balances out the sweetness of this recipe. We both really enjoyed them and Hubby even had two!

See that pink syrup on the plate. That's the key to the success of these rolls. It's the basting sauce mixed with the syrup in the pan while baking. Hubby thought it was weird to bake these rolls in so much "water" - I explained that it was a very sugary water that would make these rolls delicious. Be sure to pour some of this sauce over the rolls that you put on your plate! It's fantastic!

Rhubarb Rolls - from my Dad - makes 8 rolls
Syrup:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Biscuit Dough:
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cups milk - I used Soymilk

Filling:
3 Tbsp melted butter - I used Earth Balance
5 cups chopped rhubarb - divided into 2 c and 3 c - I cut the 3 cups for the filling smaller than the 2 cups for the sauce

Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup water

Combine 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water; boil 5 min. Pour into greased rectangular baking pan. (I used a 9x13 glass casserole dish).

Make biscuit dough by sifting flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add shortening and milk and stir lightly.

Knead on floured board. Roll into a 12 inch square ~1/3 inch thick.

Brush with melted butter. Spread dough with 3 cups of cut rhubarb and roll as for jelly rolls.

Cut into 1 1/2 inch slices and place in syrup in pan.

Bake at 400 for 40 min. Make sauce by boiling 2 cups cut rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/3 cup water. During baking, baste with sauce. (I baked the rolls for 10 minutes and then poured the sauce on and baked the remaining 30 minutes).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 2 - Electrical

Today when we came home, the changes were less obvious than day 1, but still evident. The electrician started doing his magic. He removed the old fuse box above the door and put in a circuit breaker panel. We also saw a bunch of holes in the walls and ceiling where he had threaded some wiring. Overall it looks like a lot got done again today. Our GC said that the electrician is going to take another day and then the tile guys would be in to tile the floor. Very exciting!!

This is where the stove was. There is a new cut-out in the subway tiling for a new outlet. Yay for getting things up to code!

See some of the holes in the ceiling. And now we have two outlets next to each other. I guess the older one will get covered up.

This is the corner the sink goes in. We were surprised at the water damage in the walls. Something is going to have to be done about that. Thank goodness we've kept it in our minds that things will go wrong! You can see the back of the panel there as well.

Here is the front of the panel in our hallway. We're going to have to get some artwork or something to put over it. Notice the difference natural light makes!?! These pics were all taken within a few minutes of each other, but our hallway has absolutely no natural light.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our kitchen got TORN UP!

And now some pictures of what the kitchen looked like when we got home...

This is where the sink and dishwasher used to be. Well the dishwasher is still there, but you know what I mean. The subway tiling there is nasty!

No more stove, working counter-space or anything.

The fridge used to be where the broom is now standing. We couldn't get over the fact that the floor was completely out and leveled in just one day. The space looks so BIG with nothing in there...

You can't tell from this picture, but the floor is LEVEL!!! Amazing!

They put this plastic up in the doorway into the hallway. I had to take a picture of it because it has a zipper down the middle, so you can get in and out of the kitchen and the plastic stays in tact.

Demo Day is FINALLY here!!

Hubby and I have been talking about renovating our kitchen since we moved into our tiny Boston condo two years ago. We've gone through tons of ideas, 3 kitchen designers, and interviewed multiple contractors.

Finally, we can actually talk about real work getting done on our kitchen. We came up with a design that wouldn't break the bank too bad and ordered the cabinets and counter tops two weeks ago.

Today our contractor came to start the job. We knew they'd be able to make great progress on the demolition today since it's such a small space (~150 sq-ft), but we had no idea they'd get as far as they did.

Just a bit of background about our kitchen. It's small and a very unique space. The kitchen is actually two rooms, a dining room and a kitchen in one. Kind of "L" shaped. The building is very old, so the pipes are old. As is the electrical system. We have a fuse box above the door in the kitchen. The kicker is that only one of the 5 corners is 90 degrees...

This is my main working space. About 30 inches of countertop next to the stove. Before we emptied the kitchen out, my KitchenAid mixer was on the right near the window. And yes, we decided to stop cleaning the stove a few months ago since we knew we were getting rid of it soon.

This is the other set of cabinets. Looking into the kitchen from the back hallway.

A shot showing some of the obstacles - a radiator under the windows, and a fridge in front of the window. I guess you make do when you have such a small place.

Here's another angle looking from the hallway door. The room to the back is the dining room portion of the kitchen. You can't really tell from the picture, but the floor back by that picture from slopes down a couple inches. It's definitely not level.

Another view from the hallway. We got a little ambitious last year and decided to start ripping up the floor in the dining room. It was enlightening to learn how many layers of floor there were!

As many obstacles as there are in our kitchen, the charming thing is the original subway tiling around the entire room. We knew we wanted to keep that in tact.

Here's a sketch of the kitchen floorplan to give you an idea about how it looks. We currently have very little counter-space and cabinet space. There is basically 30 inches of working counter-space next to the stove. The space above the dishwasher was used primarily for drying clean dishes.

In preparation for this renovation, I've been making freezer meals. We have a small freezer in our living room packed to the gills and a microwave in the bedroom. We're hoping to not have to eat out every meal during this process, and I think all this hard work will pay off. I made some turkey chili, crockpot pulled pork, turkey burgers, and some butternut squash lasagna.

Stay tuned later for some pictures of what the kitchen looked like when we got home.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

This past weekend, Hubby and I participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer as part of the crew. Last year, we had participated in a cheering station and I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved in this walk this year. The Avon walk is a 2-day event where walkers walk a marathon on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday, totally nearly 40 miles walked.

My sister and I had talked extensively about walking in it, but she was in a wedding this weekend, so she couldn't (congrats Erica!). So instead, Hubby and I decided to crew. The crew signs up for the entire weekend. You don't just voluteer for a few hours, you're there to help make the weekend a sucess for the entire weekend.

We were assigned to Quick Stop A. Quick stops provide walkers with water, gatorade, and porta-potties. We were the first quick stop, so we had to be there at 4:30AM on Saturday! I was the first to sign the Avon Walk tower. It was pitch dark and the breakfast tent wasn't even set up yet at that point.

Check out the lines for the porta-potties at around 8AM on Saturday at our quick stop!! After working hard and cheering on walkers all day Saturday, we camped out at the Wellness Village. We were up and on our way again at 6AM Sunday. We had a blast getting to know our teammates throughout the weekend and we even signed up for next year's event while we were there.

Check out some of the other pictures I captured over the weekend.

This is all the gear waiting to be picked up. The entire event was very well organized!

It was SO windy on Saturday - a bunch of the tents kept getting blown over.

These people are walking or crewing all nine walks this year! Can you imagine?!?

The youth crew was awesome! They were so energetic and helpful.

The Wellness Village was located at the Reebok headquarters in Canton, MA. What a beautiful campus!!

Walking back to the sea of tents to head for bed.

There was a backup at the finish line on Sunday.

This was the line of crew members leading into the closing ceremony. It was a great weekend that was truly inspirational.

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