Friday, May 30, 2014

Food for Thought

Last year I made a spring/summer to-do list and completely forgot to do it this year!  So instead, I'm just making a summer list.

{Summer List 2014}

    It's not much, but it's something!
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    Thursday, May 29, 2014

    Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

    This past weekend, I didn't have anything planned for lunch so when I went to the Farmer's Market, I bought pasta from Lexington Pasta and some broccoli rabe from a local farmer to make a recipe I'd been dying to make from smitten kitchen.  I didn't get pictures because my hands were full of flowers and my god-dog that would not listen to me, but I'll be better about it in the future!

    Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
     {Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe}

    Pasta from Lexington Pasta and broccoli rabe from a local farmer
     {Pasta from Lexington Pasta and broccoli rabe from a local farmer}

    Heating garlic and pepper flakes
     {Heating garlic and pepper flakes}

    Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe with cheese
      {Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe with cheese}

    One year ago:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt

    Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
    from smitten kitchen

    Makes 4 servings

    1 pound pasta, whatever shape you like

    1 pound broccoli rabe, heavy stems removed, remaining stems and leaves cut into 1- to 2-inch sections
    1/2 cup olive oil
    5 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more or less to taste
    Parmesan cheese
    1. Bring a huge pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. 
    2. Drain rabe and pasta together and pour into serving bowl. 
    3. In the same pot or a tiny one, heat the olive oil with the garlic and pepper flakes over moderate heat, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes lightly golden. 
    4. Pour mixture over pasta and toss to evenly coat. 
    5. Shower with cheese and eat at once.
    If you don't have broccoli rabe, you can definitely substitute spinach for it!  The recipe would be just as delicious!  In fact, I might go try some this weekend!

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    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

    Springtime Fish

    During the spring, the hubby and I eat our weight in asparagus--literally!  I've also been trying to incorporate more fish in our lives, and this just came together over the weekend.  I was obsessed and made it twice!  I love that it was a one-pot meal so less clean up, and since it was baked, no standing in the kitchen! 

    Springtime Fish
     {Springtime Fish}

    Prepping fish for the oven
     {Prepping fish for the oven}

    Fish when it is done
     {Fish when it is done}

    Spring Fish top view
     {Spring Fish top view served with chili spiked rice}

     {Asparagus was bought from local farm, Blue Moon.  Pictured here is owner, Leo Keene.  My family has bought produce from him for years, especially his garlic  (which will be ready in about 4 weeks)!  So delicious!  They are at the Lexington Farmer's Market located on Saturdays in Cheapside Park next to the Courthouse.}

    One year ago:  Chicken Cordon Bleu

    Springtime Fish

    Makes 4 servings

    4 fish filets, white fish like cod or swai, cut in half
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    2 teaspoons sesame oil
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon ginger, minced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    3 green onions, chopped
    1 pound asparagus, hard ends trimmed
    2 tablespoons basil, chopped
    1. Preheat oven to 425.
    2. In a casserole dish, spray dish with non-stick spray.
    3. Place fish in the casserole dish.
    4. Mix soy sauce, oil, pepper, garlic, and ginger together until well-combined.
    5. Pour soy sauce mixture over fish.
    6. Top fish with green onions and asparagus.
    7. Cover dish with foil.
    8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fish is flaky.
    9. Top fish with basil.
    10. Serve.
    Swai is a fish that I have never heard of until my mother had some and made me try it.  I love it!  It's a lean white fish that will win over any non-seafood person (like my hubby); plus it's cheap!  And you buy local asparagus, green onions, and garlic?  Definitely awesome!

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    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    Grilled Buffalo Chicken

    I wasn't joking when I said I am obsessed with buffalo chicken anything!  If you want a healthy, cold salad see the recipe here, or if you prefer a dip (not very healthy but still delicious!) see the recipe here.  If you are up for a hot sandwich, the Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwich is a great alternative!  So it only makes sense to try it on the grill!

    Grilled Buffalo Chicken
     {Grilled Buffalo Chicken}

    Marinating the chicken with buffalo sauce
     {Marinating the chicken with buffalo sauce}

    Grilled Buffalo Chicken

    Makes 4 servings

    2 pounds chicken, boneless and skinless
    5 oz Frank's hot sauce
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    Ranch and/or blue cheese dressing, optional
    1. Place chicken in a container suitable for marinating.
    2. Mix hot sauce, garlic powder, pepper, and onion powder until well combined.
    3. Marinate overnight.
    4. Heat grill.
    5. Grill chicken until done (time will depend on the cut of chicken you use).
    6. Serve with ranch and.or blue cheese.
    I also have another recipe for vegetarians that I will be trying out soon!  I hope that you had a great holiday weekend, and here's to a short work week!

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    Friday, May 23, 2014

    Food for Thought

    {Leaf, Glacier Bay}

    The only thing that ever sat its way to success was a hen.  
    ~Sarah Brown

    I am already receiving praise at work for my awesomeness (aka crazy-fast learning capabilities, ability to think outside the box, and processes to improve efficiency and bring great service to customers), and yes, I plan to take over in a few years.  Don't tell them that though! 

    I am thoroughly enjoying my new position and company.  Yes, I will be raving about this for the next few weeks, but when you are happy, that's all you want to do!  So anyway, this quote fits me perfectly; I can barely sit down to relax.  LOL

    I hope that you have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!  I'll see you guys Tuesday!

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    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Sorghum Spice Cake

    After receiving a bottle of sorghum from my grandparents, I pondered what to do.  I had never heard of or used sorghum before so I did what any person would do--I googled recipes.  I found that sorghum can be used in the place of honey or molasses in most cases.  I knew when I came across this recipe for a spice cake with sorghum, I had to try it because my family and I LOVE spice cake (it doesn't even have to be fall).  Sure enough, I've made it twice for family dinners, and both times, I have went home with a slice or none at all!

    Sorghum Spice Cake
     {Sorghum Spice Cake}

    Sorghum--like smoked honeyKY ProudSorghum
     {I used KY Proud sorghum for this recipe.  I had to taste it just plain, and I can only liken it to smoked honey}
    adding sorghum to cake batter
     {Adding the sorghum to the cake batter}

    uncooked Sorghum Spice Cake
     {Getting ready to bake}

    Sorghum Spice Cake
     {The center was still jiggly when I pulled it out, but don't worry!  It will set up!}

    Sorghum Spice Cake attack
     {The poor cake was attacked before I could snap a picture!}

    One year ago:  Scones

    Sorghum Spice Cake
    from Epicurious

    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 50 minutes

    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
    2 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for pan
    1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 cup sorghum syrup
    2 large eggs
    1 cup buttermilk
    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. 
    2. Spray a spring-form pan with non-stick spray and add flour.   Rotate pan with flour in it until the bottom and sides are covered with flour.  Shake the excess out.
    3. Combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, rub together until mixture is crumbly; set topping aside. 
    4. Sift remaining 2 cups flour and remaining dry ingredients into a large bowl. 
    5. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat 1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, and sorghum in another large bowl, occasionally scraping down sides, until smooth, 2-3 minutes. 
    6. Add eggs; beat until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. 
    7. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. 
    8. Pour batter into prepared pan.
    9. Bake cake until top looks just set, about 30 minutes. 
    10. Immediately sprinkle topping over cake; bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, 25-30 minutes longer.  This cake didn't look done as the center still jiggled, but it is done if the tester comes out clean.
    11. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan. Remove pan sides. 
    12. Serve alone or with ice cream. 
    Do you try new ingredients either on purpose or by accident?  Hopefully, you get some ideas from this blog!  As always, if you have something you just don't know what to do with, send me an email (, and I will respond with some ideas!

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    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Traditional Pasta Salad

    It's a common scenario:  I accidentally made extra pasta so I have to do something with it.  I decided to make pasta salad so I rummaged the fridge and came up with this beauty!

    When the hubby goes to eat it--"Hmmm, this is actually pretty good" says the hubby.  Geez, can you at least pretend that most of what I make is good? was my response.  He said, "I've never really liked pasta salad, but this is delicious.  And yes, your food is mostly delicious, although sometimes you go a little crazy." 

    Traditional Pasta Salad
     {Traditional Pasta Salad}

    I also brought this to a family dinner, and everyone loved it too.  In fact, I am pretty sure the hubby stood guard over it to claim what was left to take home.  There wasn't much, but it made him happy.  LOL

    Traditional Pasta Salad
     {So colorful!}

    One year ago:  Cilantro Lime Chicken

    Traditional Pasta Salad

    Serves 12

    Prep time:  10 minutes
    Cook time: 30 minutes
    Assembly time: 10 minutes

    2 cup dried pasta
    1/2 cup green onion, sliced
    4 tomatoes, diced
    8 oz ham (4 hard-boiled eggs, diced if you want to make this vegetarian)
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1/4 cup sour cream
    2 teaspoon yellow mustard
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    1/2 cup parsley, chopped
    1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  When done, throw it ice the pasta to cool it quickly.
    2. Mix cooled pasta, onion, tomatoes, and ham/egg until combined.
    3. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients until combined.
    4. Add the mayo mixture to the pasta mixture and mix until well combined.
    5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    6. For best flavors, allow to sit overnight in the fridge, but it can be served immediately.
    How do you make your pasta salad?  Do you have more than one recipe?  I'm looking into different combinations, but I love this version as a more traditional pasta salad (hence the name LOL)

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    Monday, May 19, 2014

    Shaved Asparagus Pizza

    For Mother's Day I made my mom lunch.  I made her this pizza because it combines everything she loves--cheese, asparagus, and pizza.  This pizza was easy and so delicious!  We are already making plans to have this pizza again with different combinations of vegetables!

    Shaved Asparagus Pizza
     {Shaved Asparagus Pizza}

    Asparagus was courtesy of the Farmer's Market which I did not get a picture because my hands were full of bouncing puppy and flowers (I love getting flowers from the local market!).  I also apologize for the pictures.  I forgot my camera, and my god-dog ate my mom's so I used my phone's camera.

    Shaving asparagus
     {Shaving asparagus}

    Pile of shaved asparagus
     {Pile of shaved asparagus}

    Gathering toppings for pizza
     {Gathering toppings for pizza}

    Pizza before it was baked
     {Pizza before it was baked}

    One year ago:  Sweet and Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Salad

    Shaved Asparagus Pizza
    from smitten kitchen cookbook

    Makes 1-12 inch thin crust pizza

    Prep time: 40 minutes
    Assembly time: 8 minutes
    Cook time:  15 minutes

    1 recipe rush hour pizza dough
    1/2 pound asparagus spears (or other vegetables of your choice like spinach and mushroom)
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan
    8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
    2 cloves garlic, sliced
    1 green onion, thinly sliced
    1. Make pizza dough.
    2. Meanwhile, prepare asparagus.  Do not cut off the ends as these will be your "handles" as you peel the asparagus.  Holding a single spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board.  Use a vegetable peeler, create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the asparagus stalk.  Repeat with remaining stalks, and don't worry if they are not all even!
    3. Preheat oven to 500 with pizza stone inside the oven. 
    4. Roll out pizza dough.
    5. Take the pizza stone out once hot and sprinkle cornmeal on the stone to prevent the pizza from sticking.
    6. Transfer dough to the hot pizza stone.
    7. Working quickly, sprinkle Parmesan on top of dough followed by placing mozzarella on top of Parmesan.
    8. Sprinkle garlic over cheeses.
    9. Top everything with the shaved asparagus.
    10. Bake pizza for 10-15 minutes or until edges are browned, cheese is bubbly, and asparagus slightly charred.
    11. Sprinkle pizza with green onions and some grinds of pepper.
    12. Serve. 
    I am so happy to announce that the winner of the salt and pepper grinder giveaway is Michelle!  I have sent the winner a message so I can send them their wonderful prize!

    I want to thank everyone who has supported this blog by reading or helping be my food guinea pigs!!!  Here's to another year of blogging! <3

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    Gooey Cinnamon Squares

    I've been wanting to make these for a while.  I was going to make them for a friend's birthday in January, but they were overseas.  So I made them for my brother's wedding as an alternative to the Nutella Cupcakes.  Although no one really ate them at the wedding, so everyone took some home.  I was flooded with texts and calls that they loved them.  Plus, everyone at work loved them. 

    Gooey Cinnamon Squares
     {Gooey Cinnamon Squares}

    In fact, my mother loved them so much, she demanded I make her a batch for Mother's Day (yes-she really did demand, and she has the entire batch frozen, ready for her whims).  They are not too sweet, and the cinnamon sugar goodness on top will win anyone over.  They remind me of a snickerdoodle--buttery cookie goodness covered in a crunchy cinnamon sugar top.

    Cookie Base
     {Spreading out the cookie base}

    Spreading gooey layer
     {Spreading out the gooey layer}

    Cinnamon Sugar
     {Mixing cinnamon sugar and a view of the recipe}

    Top with Cinnamon Sugar
     {Top with cinnamon sugar}

    Gooey Cinnamon Squares
     {Cutting Gooey Cinnamon Squares}

    One year ago:  Bee Sting Cake (Bienenstich)

    Gooey Cinnamon Squares
    from smitten kitchen cookbook

    Makes 24 squares

    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Cook time: 30 minutes

    Cookie Base
    8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 1/2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 egg, room temperature
    1/4 milk. room temperature

    Gooey Layer
    14 tablespoons butter, room temperature
    1 1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup honey (KY Proud!)
    1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    1 egg, room temperature
    1 1/4 cups flour

    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Line a 9x13 casserole dish with parchment paper; grease parchment paper with non-stick spray.
    3. Cookie base:  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Meanwhile, whisk dry ingredients together in a small bowl.  Once butter and sugar are light and fluffy, add egg and milk, and beat until combined.  Scrape down sides and add dry ingredients mixing until just combined.  Spoon cookie base into prepared casserole dish and smooth with an offset spatula.  Set aside.
    4. Gooey layer:  Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Meanwhile, whisk honey, milk and vanilla together until well combined.  Once butter and sugar are light and fluffy, add egg and beat until combined.  Add 1/3 of flour and mix batter; then add 1/2 of honey mixture and mix batter.  Repeat again, and then add remaining flour.  Dollop gooey layer over cookie base and spread with an offset spatula.
    5. Topping:  Mix cinnamon and sugar together until well combined.
    6. Sprinkle topping over gooey layer.
    7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
    8. Cool completely before cutting.
    9. Serve.
    PS--Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway because today is the last day!!!  I will be announcing the winner tomorrow!

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    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Food for Thought

    {Redwoods, Bull Creek Flat, by Ansel Adams}

    You don't ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life.  It doesn't matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, [employer], childhood friend, or a new acquaintance--you don't have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small.  It's one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change, but if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.  

    ~Danielle Koepke

    I cannot even begin to describe how happy I am at Toyota Tsusho!  I am doing what I love (accounting--just accounting!), with others who care about their jobs and other employees (they really are family to each other and have been so kind and welcoming), and with such great respect from a corporation (benefits, etc).  I am just floored!  I have learned my hard-taught lesson, and I will pay more attention to benefits and such in the future.

    I hope that you are doing well, and that you have a safe, fun-filled weekend!

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    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    BBQ Meatballs

    I have a love/hate relationship with technology, and right now, I am in love.  I have figured out how to post from my phone so there shouldn't be any excuse for not posting!  YAY!!!

    For my brother's wedding, I also made my favorite BBQ meatballs.  We had a potluck, and I am obsessed with these meatballs.  In fact, I believe of the 4 pounds that I made, I only had about 8 meatballs left!  All the wedding guests just demolished them!

    BBQ Meatballs
     {BBQ Meatballs}

    I also inadvertently knocked out a monthly food challenge hosted by Farmersgirl Kitchen!  Woot! 

    pre-cooked, frozen meatballs
    {Save time and use pre-cooked, frozen meatballs}

    BBQ Meatballs
    {Done BBQ meatballs}

    One year ago: Blackened Chicken

    BBQ Meatballs

    Serves 20

    4 pound pre-cooked, frozen meatballs
    4 cups BBQ sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's)
    1. Crock-pot:  Place meatballs in crock-pot and pour sauce on top; stir with spoon until combined.  Cook on low for 6 hours or on high 4 hours.  Serve.
    2. Oven:  Preheat oven to 400.  Grease baking sheets (it'll take at least two, twice).  Place meatballs and sauce in a bowl and stir to until combined.  Pour onto baking sheets and bake until hot, about 25 minutes.  Serve.
    Do you have any go-to recipes for events?  I'd love to hear about them!

    PS--Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway!

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    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    Tuesday Tip: How to Frost or Decorate Cupcakes

    I will confess--I am no master baker!  I can get by though.  For my brother's wedding, I bit the bullet and took my time to decorate and frost cupcakes.  A first for me (since culinary school at least!).  I watched YouTube videos and everything!

    How to Frost or Decorate Cupcakes

    This is another first for me--I videotaped me decorating these cupcakes!  I know!  I'm moving up in this blogging world by leaps and bounds!  I didn't narrate, but I'll type out directions.

    Frosting Cupcakes

    I wanted a simple, flat frosting job for the base.  You start in the center and work your way out in a spiral.  To finish, dip your tip back into the frosting and pull off to the side.  Easy!

    Decorating Cupcakes

    These were chocolate overload so what was a little more chocolate drizzle?  No much.  Below you can see my drizzling technique.  Note--the best part is the chocolate paper!  Yes, I shamelessly ate the chocolate off the paper.  Don't judge.

    Sorry for being MIA, but I started a new job yesterday! Plus, I'm having to figure out a new posting schedule because Blogger, Facebook, and Pinterest are blocked at work! LOL It's a very small trade-off so I'll be figuring out how to post over the next few days so please be patient with me!

    PS--I'm really, really loving my new job!  They are in the midst of change and revamping so my organizational side is in overdrive!  YAY!!! 

    PPS--Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway!

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    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Giveaway! Salt and Pepper Grinders

    I am so excited to announce I am holding my very first giveaway!  I thought it was very fitting considering this month will mark my second year of blogging!  I wanted to give one of my readers a special gift as a thank-you for supporting me!

    I will be giving away one salt grinder and one pepper grinder.  I received these as part of my wedding gifts almost two years ago, and I am obsessed with them!  The hubby (who loves pepper) admits that he really can taste the difference between using the already ground pepper and the freshly ground pepper.  Let's say he prefers it freshly ground!

    salt and pepper grinder giveaway
     {Prize is one salt grinder and one pepper grinder!}

     {You can adjust the size of the grind}

     {To refill, you flip it over and unscrew the bottom!}

     {Mine sit on the back of my stove in easy reach!}

    Enter using the Rafflecopter below until Monday, May 19!  

    The winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 20!  (Only open to continental US)

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    Friday, May 9, 2014

    Food for Thought

    So last Mother's Day 2013, I talked about how I didn't appreciate my mother sometimes, and I have to work on all the years that I didn't really appreciate her (about 20 years).

    This last year, I have really noticed how much my mom is one of my best friends.  We hang out and do a lot together.  She has helped me through some tough times this last year (mainly with a bottle of wine!).  I really don't know where I would be without her!

    {My mom, me, and my brother}

    A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.

    ~Washington Irving

    I am also blessed with the sweetest grandmother who is such a blast!  True story--she tried to explain how to hashtag to my mother and brother!  She's so cute!

    My mother-in-law is great too!  She is always willing to listen and lend a helping hand when I need it.  I always look forward to seeing her!

    I have a great range of women I can call mother.  I just hope that I show them how much they mean to me and pay them back for all they have done because a mother's unconditional love is truly a great gift.

    Happy Mother's Day!!!

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    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    Nutella Cupcakes

    I volunteered to make the wedding cupcakes for my brother's wedding last weekend.  He wanted Nutella Cupcakes, and so I used trusty Google to get some ideas, when I stumbled across Cannella Vita's version of the cupcakes.  They were so beautiful, I knew that I had to make them!

    My family has an obsession with Nutella.  My brother and I have had it our entire lives, and we are only just now getting into Nutella-based desserts.  I blame it on my mom; she's not a baker.  That's okay because I am!  (Still love you mom!)

    Nutella Cupcakes
     {Nutella Cupcakes}

     {You use two (2)--yes really 2--full jars of Nutella!}

    Cupcake HolesNutella Cupcakes
     {Use a melon baller or spoon, scoop out some of the cupcake center to make cupcake holes you can snack on while making these cupcakes!}

    how to fill a piping bag
    {Real world solution to only having two hands}

    Nutella CupcakesNutella Cupcakes
     {Nutella-filled cupcakes (left) topped with Nutella Buttercream Frosting (right)}

    Nutella CupcakesNutella Cupcakes
     {Drizzle with melted chocolate (left) and then top with a star of vanilla buttercream to keep the candy on top (right)}

    Nutella CupcakesNutella Cupcakes
     {Completed cupcakes and chocolate paper (left)!}

    Note--I am not the best at frosting and decorating cakes so I was very nervous about what I got myself into, but it was much easier than I thought!  See the tutorial here!  I'm itching to make and frost more cupcakes LOL

    Tower of Nutella Cupcakes
    {Tower of Nutella Cupcakes at the wedding}

    Nutella Cupcakes
    adapted from Cannella Vita

    Makes 24 cupcakes

    A double batch of chocolate cupcakes baked with yogurt
    1 stick butter, room temperature
    1/2 cup vegetable shortening
    12 oz powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    pinch of salt
    6-8 tablespoons heavy cream
    2-13 oz jar Nutella
    4 oz bar semi-sweet baking chocolate
    12 Ferrero Rocher candies, cut in half
    1. Bake cupcakes and allow to cool overnight before assembling.
    2. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out a small section from the top of the cupcakes.  Set aside for another use or as a snack.
    3. Fill a piping bag with one whole jar of Nutella (yes seriously).
    4. Fill the small sections of cupcakes with Nutella (about 1 teaspoon each cupcake).
    5. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
    6. Add powdered sugar in about 6 batches, making sure to whip frosting until smooth each time!  If it looks lumpy, I promise it will smooth out!
    7. Add salt, vanilla, and about 3 tablespoons of heavy cream; beat carefully.
    8. If you need to add more cream to get the desired consistency, please do so.  I wanted a firmer frosting so I used about 6 tablespoons.
    9. Once you have the consistency, beat the frosting on high for another 5 minutes, or until smooth.
    10. Set aside 1/3 of frosting; this will be vanilla buttercream.
    11. Add the second jar (yes--the entire jar) to the remaining frosting and beat on high until combined, about 3 minutes.
    12. Prepare a piping bag with a large round tip for the Nutella buttercream frosting.
    13. Place cupcakes on wax paper, parchment paper, or cookie sheets (something easy to clean up!).
    14. Carefully create the frosting base by piping in the center and spiraling outwards (tutorial coming next week!).
    15. Melt baking chocolate in a microwave until smooth. 
    16. Using a spoon, drizzle each frosted cupcake with chocolate.
    17. Perpare a piping bag with a large star tip for the vanilla buttercream frosting.
    18. Pipe a star over the melted chocolate.
    19. Top each star with a halved candy.
    20. Serve!
    They are a bit of work, but everyone fawned over how delicious and beautiful they were!  Music to my ears!

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