kitchen super short

These spring herb cream cheese appetizer cups scream spring and are easy to make – they come together in minutes they are a stunning addition to any appetizer spread.

It seems like spring is the season for baby showers and wedding showers, doesn’t it? I’m always looking for a a quick and easy appetizer ideas that will please a wide range of people and keep my time in the kitchen super short. These spring herb cream cheese appetizer cups are the perfect thing. I adore using phyllo cups for quick and easy appetizers like these easy spinach artichoke phyllo bites. They also lend themselves perfectly to sweet treats such as mini patriotic fruit tarts (those have a fun secret ingredient), banana and chocolate pudding dessert bites, mini pumpkin parts (these are stupid easy), and cappuccino mousse cups. The possibilities are really endless and I love keeping a package in my freezer for those times when I need something in a pinch.

Today we are celebrating Joanne of Fifteen Spatulas and her brand new, beautiful baby boy. His name is James and he’s so sweet and perfect and he’s giving me baby fever, just like every other baby on the planet. But he’s especially cute, don’t you think?

I’m going to try to spend my time looking at all the great food Joanne’s friends created for her for this virtual baby shower and try my hardest to ignore the baby fever. For now.

These cream cheese appetizer cups use spreadable chive and onion cream cheese. This is a beautiful thing for two reasons.
No need to soften a brick of cream cheese. When you are looking for a quick appetizer idea, you don’t want to have to remember to soften cream cheese hours in advance.
Instant flavor! The cream cheese already has great flavor from the chive and onions and all you need to add are a couple fresh herbs to brighten it up and add some depth.
I stirred in sour cream to mellow the flavor out a little and also thin it down a bit more. The only thing left to do was top with some of my favorite go-to vegetables and fresh dill and they were ready to go! You guys are going to love these cream cheese appetizer cups and they are just perfect for a baby shower – virtual or not.

If you get a chance to head over to Joanne’s site and offer your congratulations, you’ll also find tons of amazing food. You won’t be sorry, that’s for sure.

everything extra fun


Anyone else excited about Victor Frankenstein coming out next month? James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe? Sign me up. I’m pretty sure the new Frankenstein’s monster won’t look anything like these marshmallow pops, but we’re going for classic kitsch here HKUE ENG.

These little monsters were a little more challenging than I anticipated when I saw the original recipe. I didn’t figure that candy melts would be quite so timely in their handling, but they are. Don’t let that prevent you from trying these out, though! The end results are totally worth it, especially for a Halloween party, where these will be transported this October 31st cloupor.

Plus, edible eyeballs make everything extra fun.

The trick here is to reheat the candy whenever it starts to harden even a little bit. I eventually got the hang of the smoothing process on the marshmallow, but just accepted that they may not end up perfect. No biggie since I’ll be making these in bulk anyway. Learn from me and these will be a cinch for you horizon!

Don’t miss the rest of the Halloween and fall recipes I’ve posted so far. So little time left of my favorite time of the year! Sob.

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Pack using your head and your heart

It’s not easy being practical when deciding what You beauty to pack and there is always that temptation to bring cherished personal belongings such as books, letters or fluffy toys. Whatever you bring, make sure that is will be something that IPS you think might help your chances of succeeding.

This includes practical items such as study materials IPS, old class notes, favorite textbooks or pens and even the contact details of previous teachers. It might also include some small luxuries such as study music or well-packaged snack foods. Items of sentimental value such as a flipbook with photographs of family and friends or a favorite item of clothing can help you feel closer to home IPS.

Hazelnut Chai Popsicles

These Hazelnut Chai Popsicles are perfect for summer and easy to make! They are made with hazelnut milk, which adds a light nutty taste. Warm up with the chai spices and cool off with the ice popsicles simultaneously california fitness. They are dairy free, gluten free and vegan.

One of my favorite Instagram accounts is Pip’s Original, a mini doughnut and chai shop in Portland. I stalk this account because it makes me drool, and for a food lover (or a little baby), drooling is a good thing! Just this week, Pip posted a photo of a chai popsicle and as expected, I drooled mask house.

I wish I could give the ones at Pip’s a try, but until I make a trip to Portland, my imagination and these Hazelnut Chai Popsicles will have to hold me over.

These Hazelnut Chai Popsicles are spicy, sweet, icy and warming all at once. It makes you feel like you’re relaxing in front of a cozy fireplace in your robe and slippers, but at the same time, you’re cooling off by the pool with something ice cold California Fitness. It’s like being on a vacation and staycation at the same time. That blows my mind a little. I don’t know how that’s possible, but that’s what it did for me. So if you’re looking for that little paradoxical getaway towards the end of summer, give this a try!

battered tart tomatoes

Summer means a few things for me: summer break (now a thing of the past, since I went back to work last Friday), peaches that are so juicy you can hardly peel or eat them without getting covered in syrupy juice (recipe using those coming Saturday!), and tomatoes so perfectly soft and drippy that I’m happy to eat them off a plate, no seasoning required Beverly skin refining center. Tomato sandwiches (white bread, tomato, and mayonnaise) are a throwback to my childhood and BLTs, for a short time, become so much more about the tomatoes than about the bacon…and that’s saying something You beauty.

This year we planted a square foot garden. It takes out a lot of the work of traditional gardening, what with all the digging and the tilling, and it’s pretty simple. Four different kinds of tomatoes are growing in our front yard (the grape tomatoes have by far been the most prolific) and we apparently have mostly late-blooming tomato plants Medosan. We’ve only collected four or five ripe (or ready to ripen on the counter) tomatoes from the full-sized tomato plants, though many green tomatoes are waiting their turn.

A few years ago, I would have lamented my lot in life. Why all the green tomatoes? A few years ago I didn’t even like green tomatoes. Something changed, though I don’t remember what, and now fried green tomatoes are as much of a treat for me as the caprese salad I ate for lunch on Friday with my grape tomatoes, cubes of soft mozzarella, and basil julienne drenched in olive oil and red wine vinegar Red Wine Celler.

Now, traditional fried green tomatoes are usually dredged in a little cornmeal and fried up (similar to homestyle Southern fried okra) and I love them that way. However, my addiction to my homemade fried pickles made me think about how good that batter would be on green tomatoes. For some reason, it didn’t stick as well to the tomatoes as to the pickles…nothing a dredge in cornstarch couldn’t fix. A dipping sauce of white barbecue sauce-an Alabama tradition that I hadn’t tried until I made it recently to go with chicken-is a perfect foil to the crispy battered tart tomatoes.

How do you like your fried green tomatoes?

It’s a rather lengthy story

This very simple dish is one of my childhood favourites. I was pleasantly surprise how easy it was to cook it – it’s pretty much a one bowl meal (i.e. chuck it all on a heat-proof bowl and set it off to steam). You may be a little apprehensive with the fungus especially if you’ve never heard or seen it before. It’s also known as jelly fungus, black fungus and cloud ears fungus. The names are obviously  linked to its odd shape and colour. Nutritionally, this fungus is a bit of a super hero. It is rich in iron – believed to enrich blood and prevent iron deficiency. It may effectively reduce blood pressure, and thought to lower LDL cholesterol levels; it is also said to nourish the lungs, liver and stomach, alleviate dryness and promote circulation in the body.

You can read more about it here. Wood ear fungus is mainly sold in dried form so before using, you will need to soak it in water for about 15 – 20 minutes. It will expand two to three times its packaged size. Rinse the fungus and trim the hardy bits off, which are the stems. It’s a pretty versatile ingredient – which can be used in stews, soups, steamed dishes like this one, and stir-fries.

It’s a little crunchy in texture but it depends on how long it has been cooked. The longer it is on the stove, the softer it becomes. This dish also includes other super sexy foods like goji berries, dried Chinese mushrooms, sesame oil, ginger and a nice splash of ginger wine – all great for this frosty winter. Some day, remind me to explain the basics of Chinese nutrition. It’s a rather lengthy story.

a fluffier cupcake

My taste tester, aka my husband, loved them. They have a perfect hint of strawberry in them and when garnished with a sliver of strawberry on top it kicked it into a whole new level.

They could perhaps almost be qualified as a muffin. The added cake flour made for a fluffier cupcake since it allowed more air bubbles in the mixture. Once you get the frosting on top though there will be in no doubt they are a perfect healthier alternative to the traditional cupcake. Did I mention I have a deep, deep love for frosting? The sad part is it’s hard to adapt frosting without the sugar since be default it is literally sugar. But, I’ve found the cream cheese has been able to help with lowering the amount of sugar used to achieve the results needed.

Now, two things I must warn you about. First the frosting, it doesn’t handle the heat well. So, if you are making these for a outdoor event or if you are cheap on your A/C use like I am and the house is at 78 degrees, I’d advise you to keep these refrigerated till they are ready to eat. Second thing is with the slice of strawberry on top, they tend to have juices in the strawberries so I would advise not to garnish them until you are ready to serve. Otherwise the juices from the strawberry can mess with the frosting a little. Oh did I mention each cupcake WITH the frosting is 158 calories and literally HALF the sugar content as a normal size cupcake. Booya.

the traditional cupcake

Cupcakes!! I love cupcakes. Especially moist, fluffy cupcakes with a ton of cream cheese frosting. I mean a TON of frosting, more frosting than cupcake please! There is a bakery in my area that has these HUGE cupcakes, bigger than the size of your fist. They are good, but almost too much. I only needed to eat like a quarter of one to be satisfied. Now, after my journey I probably wouldn’t even walk into the store to be honest. Plus, they don’t have cream cheese frosting… tsk tsk. Discovering how to make cream cheese frosting  and that it existed was a defining moment for me. It all began back when I made homemade healthier cinnamon rolls.

My goal was to create a cupcake that was healthier with a lower-sugar content compared to the traditional cupcake.  I’ve been experimenting with beans in baked goods and created my Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites. Those turned out delicious so I figured why not try it in a cupcake? Don’t be afraid of beans in baked goods, you have no clue they are in there but they kick it into the healthier realm with the added fiber and protein in them. I used a little cake flour in order to get the fluffier, airier aspect of a cupcake and it worked FABULOUS.

breakfast is awesome

I would join breakfast committees. I would hold meetings in support of the day’s fairest meal. I would lobby for the advancement of breakfast.

Okay, maybe except instead of advancement, it would really be just wanting pancakes and sausages and stuff. So it would be more of a “in support of traditional breakfast” type thing, but also in support of every other breakfast, and maybe mandating that breakfast always happens. I don’t know. The details can be worked out later.

(On that note, anyone fellow bloggers want to form a breakfast club?)

One detail that doesn’t need to be worked out is that dessert for breakfast is awesome. Especially when it just tastes like a warm cinnamon bun, but is packed full of fruit and other deliciousness instead. Enter these Breakfast Raspberry Rolls, which fit the bill perfectly.

Baked in a skillet, drizzled with a warm vanilla glaze, and a light yet filling centre full of berries and a hint of lemon.

If you didn’t love breakfast before, you will now.

but no one noticed

It was a whirlwind of a weekend – we went on a quick getaway to Michigan with good friends to visit a favorite brewery, then returned Sunday morning to squeeze in a shoot before heading to a family dinner. I was set on making a strawberry-rhubarb pie, but could not find rhubarb anywhere. After three unsuccessful market attempts, I decided to use granny smith apples instead. I just wanted a combination of sweet & tart…wow…

The recipe was super easy to put together and due to lack of time & ingredients, I didn’t make my own pie crust. I also cut out a lot of the sugar that a lot of pie recipes call for, because the strawberries are plenty sweet on their own. My mom taught me that… and yes, I even used her secret ingredient like I did with her apple pie recipe from last year. It was delicious. I totally forgot the butter while juggling the baking and setting the stage, but no one noticed. No leftovers! Recipe success!

And, on a photography note, this was probably one of my best shoots so far… Feeling really excited about this one.