Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fun with Frosting Friday…Peep carrot cake cupcakes (gluten-free!)

These cupcakes unfortunately did not turn out quite as I’d hoped (see my notes of recommendation), but they were still yummy & a big hit at Easter last weekend.  My boyfriend’s mother is gluten-free, so everything you see below was gluten-free!

My inspiration:

How mine turned out: 

Ingredients: 

(For 24 cupcakes)
3 large free-range eggs
1/2 cup light vegetable oil or shortening (I used vegetable oil, but I’d really suggest you use butter or shortening instead!!)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup plain yogurt 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 tablespoon honey or agave (I used agave…use honey instead!)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Allspice
2 cups gluten-free pancake mix
3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups processed or finely grated carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
1/2 cup golden raisins or currants (I did not add these & all depends on if you like raisins in your cakes or not)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Cupcake Decoration Needs: candy-coated chocolate eggs, peeps, gluten-free macaroons.

Directions
(Recipe & Ingredients I modified from Gluten-Free Goddess):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)
In a mixing bowl: beat the eggs & add the oil, brown sugar, yogurt, vanilla, agave, cinnamon & Allspice until smooth.  
Add the pancake mix slowly while mixing in the mixer (or electric hand-held).
 
Grate carrots by hand with a grater or in a food processor & chop up the walnuts with a hammer in a plastic bag.
   With a wooden spoon (NOT with the mixer!), mix in the coconut, carrots & walnuts in with the mixture.
Lay cupcake cup liners in the cupcake pan or grease the cupcake pan well & pour in the mixture.
Cook for about 25 minutes or until golden brown & “springy” to the touch.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting (I ended up doubling this recipe & you probably will need to, too, for 24 cupcakes) : 
4 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons softened butter (NOT melted!!)
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar (or more if need to thicken)
Mix all the cream cheese & butter together with an electric mixer until almost fluffy, then add in the vanilla and powdered sugar.  Lastly, add in food dye.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, decorate them with peeps, macaroons & chocolate candy  eggs.  To create the nests, push in the middle of the macaroons slightly and place a little frosting inside for the eggs or peep to stick in the middle.
   Instead of doing 24 cupcakes, I made a small cake….

Here was my Easter table…

I’ll be posting how to do the rest of the things on the table next week!  
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Filed under Fun with Frosting Friday, Recipes (all), Recipes: Desserts

Quick Meals…Polenta with goat cheese and a tomato sauce

I hadn’t eaten Polenta in a while & my boyfriend had never had it, so I decided to create this meal a couple weeks ago.  I loved it, but turns out he’s unfortunately not crazy about Polenta.  Oh well.

                                                                                             

Ingredients (serves 3-4): 1 can diced organic tomatoes (preferably herbed), 1 roll Polenta (I bought San Gennaro’s Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic Polenta), goat cheese (you only need about 1/2 a roll/2 oz), spinach (thawed frozen or fresh), onions (diced), 2 cloves garlic (minced) & olive oil.  Optional add: chicken sausage (sliced)

Directions (takes about 20 minutes): 

First, I cut up, washed and sautéed the spinach in a medium-sized pan, then I added some garlic, the diced onions and the cut up sausage.
Next, I added the diced tomatoes to the veggie mixture.
Set the pan on low-medium and allow to simmer while you cook the polenta.  

Slice up the polenta roll into pieces just under a half an inch thick (make sure not too thin!) and place in a pan with a little bit of oil on medium-high heat.  For best results, grill the slices!  I put them in the oven for a few minutes after sautéing them to get them a little crispy around the edges.

Remove the tomato sauce from heat and scoop out into your serving dish or onto the plates.
Arrange the polenta on top of the tomato sauce. 

Add chunks of goat cheese on top of the tomato sauce & serve. 

Yum Yum!

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What to do this weekend…April 29-May 1

I don’t know about you, but I’m a planner.  I’m going to start posting my “what to do this weekend” on either Tues/Wed from now on (and try to be more consistent!), so you fellow planners can start plugging fun things into your calendar!

Here are my Little Miss Redhead picks for the Burlington, VT area & beyond:

Friday, April 29:

Restaurant Week begins (April 29-May 5)!  Woo hoo!  I’d suggest you call & make reservations at least a couple days ahead of time for any restaurant you hope to go to!
More info, events, participating restaurants & sample menus: vermontrestaurantweek


An Evening of Fine Wine Tasing 7pm-10pm at the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury Center.  Local benefit.  $50 per person, $90 per couple for food & wine: info

Rubblebucket (Afro-funk band) playing at Higher Ground Ballroom in South Burlington, doors open at 8:30pm, $12

Saturday, April 30:

Montbeerlier Festival @ Three Penny Tap Room
3pm-10pm
Sausages, live music & rare casks of beer- yum!
More info: 

Women Helping Battered Women’s 3rd Annaul Zumbathon at Higher Ground Ballroom in South Burlington 10am-12:30pm.  Great event put on to raise money for a great organization.  A friend of mine is teaching at this event & I just heard that it is SOLD OUT!  You can still show your support by donating!

Holistic Health & Wellness Expo with healthy cooking demos, facials, dance/yoga/Zumba classes every hour & more. 10am-4pm at the Alburgh Community Education Center, $2/$5 per family.

Everything Equine two-day event (Sat & Sun) at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction.  Anything & everything for the horse enthusiast.   $8-10. Info

Sunday, May 1:

Dairy Day at Shelburne Farms.  See cows in their natural habitat & visit the milking parlor.  $5 per car 1-4pm. Moooo.

Zack duPont Band (Indie Folk) at the Parima Acoustic Lounge in Burlington 7:30pm

Misc:
I read in 7Days about an exhibit going on right now at The Green and Blue Gallery in Stowe, VT on redheads.  The exhibit ends THIS Saturday, April 30th, but has been running since April 6th.  The exhibit is a collection of images by photographer Julia Baum from her ongoing photographic project called “A Rare Breed.”  There’s only a small percentage of us in the world, so come check out the photos while we still exist!  The Green and Blue Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 646 South Main Street, Stowe, VT.


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Fun with Frosting Friday…Easter Bunnies!

I am apologizing now for the horrible quality of the photos I posted below- these were taken a number of years ago!  These were actually one of my first attempts at decorative cupcakes!  Anyway, here were some Easter Bunny cupcakes I did for my family’s Easter celebration:

Ingredients (for 12): cupcake mix, container of white frosting, assorted Jelly Beans, a tube of pink Wilton’s frosting (or fill your own bag of white frosting dyed pink), 6 marshmallows,  Cadbury Mini Eggs

Note: When I made these cupcakes, they were carrot cupcakes w/cream cheese frosting!

Directions:

  • Bake cupcakes per instructions & set to cool to room temperature
  • Generously frost the cupcakes

  • Cut the marshmallows in 1/2 and place them on the tops of the cupcakes for the bunny’s ears (sticky side down)
  • Place the Jelly Beans below the marshmallows for the bunny’s eyes
  • Put the Mini Eggs below the Jelly Bean eyes, but leave enough room to decorate the bunny’s mouth
  • With the pink frosting, draw on the bunny’s mouth and add a little pink to the inside of the bunny’s ears on the lower section of the marshmallows

Happy Easter!


If cupcakes aren’t your thing, here is a healthier idea for your Easter celebration- a fun carrot made of carrots (and celery for the stalk)!  

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Filed under Fun with Frosting Friday, Recipes (all), Recipes: Desserts

Earth Day

Since today is Earth Day, here are 5 (easy) things you can do to help ensure that the World is a better place for future generations:

1. Compost

2. Reuse (buy second-hand clothes/furniture & reuse jars/plastic bags/containers) 

3. Buy & grow organic foods 

4. Walk or bike instead of driving, whenever possible

5. Buy/use energy efficient products (light bulbs, computers, appliances) & unplug electronics when they aren’t in use


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Decorations & Crafting…Easter ideas!

Easter is just a hop, skip & a jump away, so here are some fun Easter decoration and craft ideas for you: 


Bunny BagsEnvelope BunniesEgg Garland

Recycled craft ideas:

 Egg crate flowers


  

Sock Bunnies

Paint Chip Garland

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Crafting Fun…Knit yourself a car?

I came across this image/article while browsing the news on AOL…

Can you imagine- someone knit this!!

According to the article, it was knit by Tricia Porter and took 12 MILES of yarn to make this life-size Ferrari!

Click on the photo and you can see the article or HERE to take a video tour of it.  Amazing!

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