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.

a peanut sauce

My kids are out of school for the summer and I had lofty dreams about how much I could get done since I would not have to worry about drop-off and pick-up schedules and volunteer obligations. I somehow did not think about the fact that the kids would actually be at home WITH me as I was trying to cook, photograph, and write. It turns out that teenagers can be pretty demanding when they get hungry scholar leaders.

It was hard keeping my kids away from these beef satays as I was trying to style and photograph them. I can’t blame the kids though. The beef satays smelled divine as they were cooking. The marinade has all these great flavors going on – a little sweet, a little spicy, some salty. Do not be put off by the amount of chili-garlic sauce in the recipe. It adds just the right amount of heat.

And aren’t the marinade ingredients, so pretty together Shelves Display?

I know beef satay is usually served with a peanut sauce. I made a sauce to go with these but everyone really preferred the beef satay without it so I did not include a recipe for it. Honestly, the beef is so flavorful it hardly needs any accompaniment.

Usually, whatever I cook and photograph during the day becomes dinner later that evening. However, these beef satays were too good to wait and we had them for lunch. I have a feeling that may be happening a lot this summer Hong Kong company formation.

Eastern European

A few months ago I marched THBBF (The Hungry Babushka Boyfriend) off to the naturopath to try and get some answers to his tiredness and general run-down-ness.  Most women would agree that getting their man to go to the Dr is a task in itself.  I mean, their limb could be dangling off and they’d still try to convince you that all it needs is a bandaid.  So asking a man that has tried just about every form of “conventional” medicine to cough up over a thousand bucks to visit an alternative therapist is kind of like pissing in the wind vacuum cleaner.

Thankfully, my pissing in the wind eventually resulted in THBBF pissing in a cup (and being jabbed repeatedly with needles) only to come home with a rather shocking report card – my boyfriend, my soulmate, my trusty taste-tester had an intolerance to just about EVERY.  FOOD.  IMAGINABLE Piano.

I won’t bore you with the details (I mean, who doesn’t have a food intolerance these days) but we basically banished every single food from his diet.  When he got sick of eating lettuce for breakfast, lunch and dinner we threw the towel in and went back to normal eating.  Well, all except one thing – gluten.  I am the first person to admit that I’m not super strict on this (I stress THBBF is non-celiac gluten intolerant, so he won’t die – mainly gluten-laden things like wheat bread and pasta were given the flick) after all, how the hell does an Eastern European recipe developer give wheat marching orders?  As far as I am concerned life without puff pastry is a life not worth living designer brands for less.