Sunday, January 12, 2014

Almond Cupcakes

Tonight our family held a little cupcake war in our kitchen.  We only used one kind of cupcake, but the frosting was a free for all.  I found this recipe on allrecipes for our cupcakes.  For my frosting, I used a cool whip frosting, which I thought was delicious with the almond cupcake.  But the judges didn't agree with me.  I lost.  They preferred the frosting from the can that you buy at the store (and the 3D Christmas trees, over my abstract, modern art Christmas tree).  However, they are only 8, 6 and 4 and they seemed to be easily swayed by sprinkles and piled high frosting.  Go figure!

Almond Cupcake
adapted slightly from:

1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.  Add the eggs, almond extract and vanilla and mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.  Alternately add in the milk and flour mixture to the batter, mixing well after each addition.  Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tins (about 2/3 full).  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the cool whip frosting:

1 package vanilla pudding (the small box)
1 carton of cool whip (the small one)
1 c. milk
caramel syrup (ice cream topping)-optional

In a medium bowl, mix together the pudding and milk until combined.  Stir in the cool whip.  It will set up a little if you put it in the fridge for a few minutes.  Frost your cupcakes, then drizzle caramel syrup over the top.

*makes 12 cupcakes

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thai Chicken Vegetable Soup

Soups are very hit and miss with me, but this really hit the spot tonight.  It might be because we're all sick and just needed some comfort food, but it did not disappoint.  I will definitely be making this again.  This also marks the first time in my life I have happily eaten mushrooms, and if you know me, you understand what that means. They really worked well in this recipe!  I modified it just a little from this recipe, and I imagine you could substitute or add any number of other vegetables and it would still be delicious.

Thai Chicken Vegetable Soup

1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Carrots (I used about 8-10 baby carrots), sliced very thin - matchstick size
1 Red Pepper, sliced very thin
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms
4 cups Chicken Broth
Ginger, dashed
2 cups Shredded Chicken
1 can Coconut Milk
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat.  Add the carrots and peppers and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, chicken broth, and about 8-10 dashes of ginger.  Bring everything to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then turn down to a medium-low heat.  Add the shredded chicken and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and cook until it gets hot and bubbly, stirring frequently.  Just before you serve it, add the lime juice and fresh cilantro.