Sunday, October 19, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
For my birthday (back in April) my WC Sis, Lindsey, sent me the cutest birthday package: a Sprinkles cupcake mix kit, rainbow sanding sugars, the cutest little cupcake cake tester, a beautiful dish towel with all of my favorite colors, and some personalized note cards. I'm so lucky to have been paired up with such an awesome Sis who quickly became my friend. What's even greater is that she's only located 1 big city and a train ride away. We've been fortunate enough to be able to meet up in person twice already, and we always have such a great time together, and for these things I am so thankful. It's so easy to form friendships and bonds with people over the internet. There's a certain anonymity that makes it easy to be yourself. But when you're able to carry those friendships over into real life so easily, it's special.
Anywho, back to my amazing and thoughtful birthday gift that I got like 6 months ago. The Sprinkles cupcake kit has been sitting on a shelf since then, just waiting for me to find the right opportunity to whip them up. I attribute the hold-off on not having butter in the house, or not wanting baked goods around. But last night at 11:00 pm I was home, bored and lonely while the hubs was working. I called him up and whined about how bored I was. One thing I tend to do when I'm bored is bake, so he helped me decide to bake up these cupcakes.
They were really simple to make, the baking time was spot on, and they came out of the oven looking like gorgeous golden mounds of awesomeness. I can't tell you when was the last time I made a successful batch of cupcakes. After finally buying an oven thermometer though, I attribute my many many failed attempts to improper oven temperature. I can certainly tell you how disappointing it is to pull out a tray of deflated cupcakes - I could go on for hours on the topic. But I was so happy that I didn't fail these cupcakes.
I decided to use store-bought icing - it's so much cheaper than making your own. And in these tough economic times, that's what I'm aiming for! (Oy vey, I can feel the agida creeping up - moving on!) Also, I just happened to buy some piping supplies for a breast cancer benefit I'm involved in for a friend and decided to test out my skills with these cupcakes since I'd never piped a piping of icing in my life! I have to admit, it was crazy-fun! I'm going to be piping whenever I get the chance! If I could manage having crazy amounts of cake and buttercream around the house, I might actually go take the Wilton cake decorating class - but really, that's the last thing I need.
The verdict: Now, I've never had an actual Sprinkles cupcake so I can't compare to the real life version, but I thought the texture and density of these cupcakes was perfect. I enjoy a fluffy, dense but not chewy cupcake. Seriously, if I could make cupcakes from scratch and achieve this texture I would be baking cupcakes a whole lot more frequently. I found it to be similar to America's Test Kitchen fluffy yellow cake, but not as dry. Like I said - PERFECT. But the taste seemed a little off. It could be because they sat on a shelf in my house for so long, but I did feel that the flavor in these were lacking. Was it so bad that I've decided not to shovel a few more cupcakes down the hatch? Certainly not. The hubs and I will be enjoying the few that are left after a little mishap in my kitchen whilst photographing these gorgeous kaleidoscopical gems. I thought I loved sanding sugars as much as any one person could - but after receiving the rainbow kind, oh my goodness, my love has grown.
Thanks again, SO MUCH for my birthday present Linds!! I'll light a candle in honor of our half-birthdays!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Fall is officially upon us! Not just by the calendar, but by the weather as well :) I love fall. I love the crispness in the air, wearing clothes without worrying about if I'm going to be sweating my arse off or not. I just love it.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I'm a follower of The Pioneer Woman's blog. This is the second recipe of hers that I actually tried. I've heard a lot of rave reviews about this chicken so I knew I would have to give it a shot. I'll regularly make regular fried chicken cutlets, varying it sometimes by adding parmesan cheese or crushed red pepper to the breading. Sometimes we just like it plain with a touch of salt. But I need new recipes for the blog! So this was it. The hubs thought it was a weird concept to dip the chicken into yogurt first, but he actually liked it. And as a healthy alternative it was really enjoyable. I served it with a side salad and this lemon spaghetti and now we're nice and full :)
CRISPY YOGURT CHICKEN
Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups non-fat plain yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tsp dried parsley
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups plain panko breadcrumbs
olive oil spray
1. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a cooling rack. Preheat ovent o 350 degrees.
2. Trim chicken of all fat and grossness, rinse and pat dry. Cut into pieces to whatever size you like (I cut each breast into about 4 pieces). Season with salt.
3. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and parsley.
4. In another bowl, mix together both types of breadcrumbs and season with salt.
5. Dip chicken pieces in yogurt, then in breading until thoroughly coated. Transfer to baking sheet.
6. Spray each piece with the olive oil spray.
7. Transfer baking sheet to oven; bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
8. If your chicken is not browned enough, switch on the broiler and broil until golden brown. You can also flip the chicken, spray the other side and broil until golden brown.