Monthly Archives: October 2012

Chai Spiced Cupcakes

Thank you, glorious Pinterest, for helping me discover incredible recipes like this from the blog Eats Well With Others..

Chai Spiced Cupcakes, the epitome of fall dessert.

They make me want to shout from the rooftops, sing and dance in the streets, kiss a chipmunk, aa-…

What? Kiss a chipmunk. Too far?

I agree.

Chipmunk aside, these are some delightful little cupcakes that have just the right amount of chai-ness, if you will.

Grab your apron and let’s get baking.

Does anybody still wear an apron? Is that just me?

I took one too many tomato splatters to the shirt.

Here’s what you have to look forward to:

Mmm… I wish I had one right now. This particular batch I made for a wedding shower for my very, very dear friend, Micah.

We’ve been friends since Mrs. Reed’s 6th grade english class.

Hey butta, butta, butta…

Sorry, I’m watching the Cardinals play right now. Baseball lingo is inevitable.

This is 1/4 cup of…butta.

And this here is 1 cup of flour.

I tried and tried to think of something clever to say there… I came up short. My apologies.

Now for 1/4 cup o’ suga… times three. 3/4 cup o’ suga.

If there’s a baking party, these two know about it. It’s uncanny. They must have good connections.

1 tsp baking powder & 1/2 tsp baking soda

Ok, now just hang with me on this next part. Time for chai.

Yes, the rumors are all true. The chai flavor comes straight from tea bags.

I know. I was skeptical too. Won’t that be gritty? Will it be too strong? Will I walk around smiling with tea bits in my teeth and end up with my picture on one of those websites devoted to ‘fail’ pictures?!

Rest assured there was no fail picture involved… and the cupcakes are DELISH.

You’ll need 3 tablespoons of the tea which equals to about 9 tea bags.

So just take each little tea bag and cut it open…

… and this is what goes into the dough mixture. I know its looks coarse here but unless you have a texture aversion to this sort of thing, you won’t notice it.

If you would like to make it more fine, grind it a little in a food processor. Or do like I did on one occasion, and put it in a coffee grinder. Then the next day wonder why the heck your coffee tastes so weird and later on remember you had put chai tea in your coffee grinder.

Lesson learned.

Stir it all up until the butter is mixed in and it looks a little sandy.

In another bowl/cup/mixing unit, whisk one egg.

I took one year of French in high school and I will ALWAYS remember that “one egg” is un oeuf. (Pronounced: un-nuf… almost like ‘enough’.)

Crazy what random bits my memory carries with me through life.

In addition to un oeuf, add half cup of milk and…

… a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix that up and let’s add it to the dry ingredients.

Then sample the dough and pretend like nobody saw… even if they catch you licking your finger.

Grease the cupcake pan or use paper liners, whatever suits your fancy.

Fill up each cupcake about halfway. They are a little bit smaller than the average cupcake.

Here they are after their trip to the oven for 17-20 minutes.

Four little escapees. For photo purposes of course. ;)

While they’re baking, you can whip up the frosting.

I had to have frosting-making lessons from my mama to not have a waterfall of frosting running from the sides of the cupcakes. So my description will be off from the recipe.

Use at least two cups of powdered sugar to start off. The trick, as my mom explained, was to keep adding powdered sugar until you got a consistency that didn’t just run right off the top, down the sides, and to the basement.

Add three tablespoons of honey. I wanted to make sure you could pick up the honey taste through the powdered sugary taste.

Add a pinch of salt which helps neutralize the sugary taste and add just a pinch of milk to begin.

It was basically a balancing act between powdered sugar and milk to make it smooth enough to drizzle but not so runny it got all over the place.

Also helps to use a hand-held electric mixer to get the right texture.

The finished product. As you can see the frosting still ran a little but did not drip all the way down so you just have to use your judgement on how much sugar and milk to add.

I know you can do it! I believe in you!

Mmm-Mmm. Don’t you just love fall?

Happy baking!

Jordan

Ravioli with Bacon, Spinach, & Apple

One day at lunch last week I went scouring through recipes looking for easy recipes that would also interest my taste buds.

I’ve found that many times a recipe will be super duper easy but be super duper lacking in any kind of remotely interesting flavor.

Sooo… via my quest, I came across this recipe from Women’s Day and, as I’m sure you’ve already noted, the title had an interesting combo of ingredients.

I decided to see if this recipe could prove itself.

Here’s the result:

With cheesy ravioli being the main ingredient, this recipe is probably not necessarily the healthiest but it sure is good comfort food after a crazy day.

To somewhat healthify it, I would watch portion size and add double the spinach & apple which we’ll get to in a bit.

Healthify? Please excuse my word creations, I can’t help myself.

Just follow the cooking instructions on the back of the ravioli package.

Ok, moving on…

Baaaaccccoooonnnn. The only ingredient people really care about. Or maybe that’s just me.

This is actually turkey bacon, which is another way you could cut some fat and calories.

Get that bacon sizzlin’ then remove it from the skillet/pan/whatever-you-want-to-use.

I think my brain was on a coffee break when I took this picture because, while a lovely little apple, I guess I forgot to show that it needs to be chopped. Whoops.

I chopped it moderately finely, if that makes any kind of sense. Let’s hope I have a glimpse of the apple in one of the next few pictures.

I would definitely chop at least two apples minimum. One didn’t quite cut it.

Using the same pan/pot/dish/skillet/grill saute some garlic in olive oil for just a minute or two.

Ah-ha! It’s the apple choplings! I knew I had a picture somewhere. Just chop ’em as fine as you like, never mind all that ‘moderately finely’ jargon mentioned earlier.

Mix up the garlic and apple, add a dash of salt and pepper, and let it sizzle for a minute or two.

Chop or tear up the bacon and throw it as well as some spinach leaves on the sizzling pile.

I would recommend more spinach than this.

Despite having a cooking blog, I have a measurement aversion because I just grabbed a handful of spinach and threw it on without checking the recipe… which I’m pretty sure calls for more than this.

I added more later.

And last but not least, besides moving this mixture to the ravioli, squeeze some lemon juice onto the pile and stir it around for a New York minute.

Ok, now throw it all together!

Like biting into one of those chocolates from a heart-shaped Valentine’s Day box, I really didn’t know what to expect on the first bite and was slightly hesitant.

Fortunately, it didn’t turn out like picking one of those funky chocolates whose filling you can’t identify.

In my opinion, it was a new and interesting salty/sweet combo I quite enjoyed.

Aaaand… it is husband approved. :)

I’m interested to see what other people think so please leave a comment and let me know!

I hope I didn’t scare you away with the chocolate box reference.

Print the full recipe here.

Hope you like it!

Jordan

Honey Mustard Chicken Bites

It doesn’t get easier than this… unless you have an Easy button.

Even if you did have an Easy button I don’t think these tasty chicken bites from Campbells Kitchen could reach a higher level of simplicity.

Walk with me and I’ll show you…

First, we must prep “the station” and set the oven at 400 degrees.

You’ll need some stuffing and/or seasoned bread crumbs. This stuffing could have been a little bit finer but I thought it would defeat the purpose of this easy recipe by adding an extra step.

I would suggest finding a smaller package of stuffing, if possible. I had enough stuffing left over for three Thanksgivings and a Christmas.

Next, a nice drizzling of honey mustard salad dressing goes in a separate bowl.

I mean what would a title be without the very ingredient it suggests?

That would be preposterous.

I simply cannot have preposterousness on my blog.

I give you… “the station.”

Remember how I said I can’t have preposterousness on my blog? Wellll… I take it back – I forgot to tell you about the chicken!

Which is also clearly stated in the title. Slap my wrist please.

All you need to do with the chicken is chop it into bite size pieces about an inch or so.

I hope you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

Dunk the chicken niblits into the honey mustard dressing…

… then into the bread crumbs and onto the pan.

Easy peasy.

Into the oven they go for 15 minutes.

Yep, that’s really all it takes. 15 minutes.

The same amount of extra sleep I wish for every morning. “Pleaseeee just 15 more minutes.”

And voila, ripe for the tasting.

Serve ’em as an appetizer, make ’em as a snack, or…

Throw ’em on a salad like I did! It made for a super easy weeknight dinner.

De-e-lish.

See the full recipe here.

Leave a comment with other ways to serve these!

Eat up,

Jordan