Thursday, May 28, 2009

Springtime Lemon Cupcakes

Last year I found these adorable flower cupcake liners that I intended to use for Springtime lemon cupcakes. I also found these really cute jumbo sprinkles at Walmart that I thought would match PERFECT. Love love the pastels!

I must say, these lemon cupcakes were exceedingly moist on the inside. And I love the yellow color!

And finally, here on display at my mom's house using her lovely cupcake stand. So cute!

Elaine's Lemon Supreme Cake
Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook

Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
Flour for dusting the pan
1 package (18.25 ounces) lemon cake mix
1 package (3 ounces) lemon gelatin (I used lemon pudding mix)
3/4 cup vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean, or sunflower
3/4 cup water
4 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease and flour a 13- by 9-inch baking pan or line a cupcake tray with paper liners

2. Place cake mix, gelatin or pudding, oil, water, and eggs in mixing bowl. Blend with mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop machine, scrape down sides of bowl.

3. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more. Scrape down sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined and thickened.Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

4. Bake the cake until it is light brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 35-40 minutes. OR for cupcakes 20-25 minutes.

5. Remove pans from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.
Run a dinner knife around edge of cake and invert it onto wire rack. Allow cake to cool completely, 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp.
1 stick of butter, softened
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Blend together the cream cheese and butter using an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the powdered sugar, a bit at a time, blending on low speed until well incorporated, about 1 minute.

3. Add the vanilla, then increase the mixer speed to medium and blend frosting until fluffy, 1 minute more. (You may need to add more sugar if you will be piping the frosting).

Monday, May 25, 2009

CamelBak Water Bottle

I am madly in love with this water bottle and it's PINK! It is completely leak- proof, BPA free and I love the blue bite valve. My hubby has one too, but in black so he thinks his is way cooler.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Wow. I can't even believe I haven't shared this recipe yet! It's so good I've made it twice so far in the last few months. I showed up with a crock pot full to one of our many family gatherings. We have a pretty large family and this always seems to go pretty far.

There are a lot of recipes for crock pot pulled pork, but I really liked this version from The Way The Cookie Crumbles. She used a spice rub recipe from Cooks Illustrated, so you pretty much can't go wrong with that. Another recipe I'd like to try soon is made with root beer. yum!

If you are using a smaller pork roast, which I did the first time, then I would recommend decreasing the amount of the spice mixture or it will be way to spicy. Also, I think there is too much pepper in the spice rub and will use less next time. Or use less chili powder. Either way, you can sort of play around with it until it is to your preference of spice level. I did not marinate the pork for 3 hours. I skipped this step all together and there was LOTS of flavor.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Spicy Chili Rub:
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground white pepper

1 (6-8 pound) bone-in pork roast (preferably shoulder or Boston butt)
½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce

1. Mix all spice rub ingredients in small bowl.

2. Massage spice rub all over meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

3. Unwrap roast and place it in a slow cooker. Add liquid smoke, if using, and ¼ cup water. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, until meat is fork-tender.

4. Transfer roast to cutting board and discard liquid. Shred the pork with two forks or your fingers. Discard fat.

5. Place the shredded meat back into the slow cooker; toss with 1 cup barbecue sauce, adding more to taste. Heat on low for 30-60 minutes or until ready to serve. Serve with additional barbecue sauce.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Restaurant-Style Hummus

I've always loved hummus, but this was actually my first time making it. It was so much easier than I thought, although at first I had a really hard time finding Joyva tahini. Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds and it gives hummus an authentic flavor. It is a must for home-made hummus. I eventually found it at a local health food store and then I started seeing it everywhere after that. Of course...that is what typically happens to me.

This was a very basic hummus, but in my opinion much better than the store bought brands I've tried. It was very creamy and had tons of flavor. Basically, you just throw all of the ingredients together into the food processor and...DONE!

Restaurant-Style Hummus
Cook's Illustrated

3 tablespoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons tahini , stirred well (see note)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas , drained and rinsed (see note)
1 small garlic clove , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley leaves

1. Combine lemon juice and water in small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside 2 tablespoons chickpeas for garnish.

2. Process remaining chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through feed tube. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute. With machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.

3. Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle reserved chickpeas and cilantro over surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.