Very Berry Healthy Muffins

Story of my life....my eyes were bigger than my stomach when I was at the grocery store. I also can't pass up a good value. I found myself with 2 containers of blueberries, 2 pints of strawberries, and a bag of cherries with 2 days before leaving for Door County for the weekend. I decided to peruse the net for a good muffin recipe that I could freeze for a later date. I came across this Berry Almond Quick Bread recipe that worked beautifully. I had all the ingredients on hand (as long as I took advantage of the 'tips' within the recipe) and made it even healthier by substituting apple sauce for the canola oil. I only used cherries and blueberries because I had more than enough, but maybe next time I'll add some strawberries. These muffins also gave me the chance to try out my new crate and barrel muffin pans before my cupcake extravaganza the next day (I'll post about that shortly). I will definitely make these again as I have been enjoying them for breakfast (and snacks) all week. I still have half of them in the freezer, but will surely take them out for my guests that are coming to town this weekend. Oh, and I'll definitely be investing in a cherry pitter before the next time I make these. Disregard this last statement if you're not a family member or someone who knows my Uncle Jack, but my hands looked like I finished skinning a deer (imagine his sign language here) by the time I was done.

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Cinnamon Rolls

I'm not exactly sure how the tradition started, but ever since Katy, Carrie, and I graduated from college, pretty much whenever we visit each other we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I whole heartedly love Pillsbury grands cinnamon rolls, but now that I have this fancy dancy blog I thought I would try my hand at making some from scratch. Katy bought be a 'Simple Old Fashioned Baking' book for my birthday that had just what I needed. So not only did we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast during Katy's last visit, but she got to reap the benefits of her gift. I did modify some of the recipe, by using brown sugar in addition to granulated sugar and whipping up a quick cream cheese glaze. Next time I would use even more brown sugar and invest in a rolling pin to make the process a little easier. They also didn't get quite as golden as I had hoped, but they did taste scrumptious. Maybe I just need to bake them in a different pan, metal perhaps. Any suggestions for that?


2 C Flour
4 t Baking powder
1/4 C Butter, chilled
3/4 C Milk
2 T Sugar
2 T Brown Sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 C chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Sift flour, baking powder & 1/2 t salt in bowl.
2. Rub butter in with fingertips.
3. Add milk slowly & mix
4. Roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/2" thickness.
5. Spread with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll like jelly roll & cut 3/4"slices.
6. Bake 10-15 minutes.
7. In a small bowl cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Add in powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
8. Spread cream cheese glaze on top after removing from the oven. Enjoy!

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Carrot Cupcakes >{ / / / >

This will most likely be the first of many posts about cupcakes now that I am the proud owner of the Martha Stewart Cupcake Book.

I was so happy that the carrot cupcakes were so early on in the book because they were perfect to bring in for my boss' b-day! Once I got past the first step of finely grating 1lb of carrots these cupcakes came together pretty quickly. The cream cheese frosting was simple as well. However, it made about double the amount that I needed, and you better believe that I go pretty heavy on the frosting. Next time I will halve the recipe. I certainly enjoyed a few heaping spoonfuls over the course of a few days, but I can't be trusted around mass quantities of frosting. The above link has lesser quantities of the ingredients for the frosting so it may be okay. I decided to substitute the golden raisins for toasted pecans, which I think added a great flavor and texture. I also got fancy with the frosting and used a pastry bag to pipe it on, it's all about the details!

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Meet me in St. Louis

Over the 4th of July I took a trip to St. Louis to reconnect with my old friend Megabus and also to see my good friend Molly. We started out the weekend with a free Counting Crows concert under the Arch which did not disappoint. Between Adam Duritz being completely ridiculous, the sign language interpreters having great hip movements, and the middle aged ladies in front of us not having great hip movements but dancing anyway, it was a night to remember. and let's not forget the brief fireworks display ending to 'Closing Time'. The song left us in a bit of a funk, but it was nothing a little Imo's St. Louis style pizza couldn't fix. St. Louis pizza is a very thin crust with provel cheese, which can only be found in St. Louis. I don't discriminate against any pizza and am a firm believer that New York, Chicago, and now St. Louis pizza are so distinct that you really can't compare them to each other. As Stephen Stills sings, 'Love the One You're With' and I sure did!

The morning of the 4th was a little rainy, but that didn't keep us from venturing out to some parties. In order to prepare for the long day we needed some sustenance. Molly suggested we start the day at Pappy's and it was the best plan I have been a part of since my b-day brewery tours. We really got the Rock star treatment right from the start. While standing in line we sampled some ribs and got the inside scoop on the best sides to order (deep fried corn on the cob & sweet potato fries) between the two of us we complied. I ended up ordering the pulled pork, sweet potato fries, and applesauce. Molly went for the pulled pork, fried corn on the cob, and green beans. It was all delectable! We both preferred to smother our meat in Sweet Baby Jane sauce, but I tested the Pappy's original and Holly's Hot Sauce which were delish as well. We ended the night at The Gramphone to visit Molly's brother. This is a great bar with live music and a great beer selection, truly appreciated by this Wisconsin girl. I had a Fat Tire in honor of my Dad, it's his fav.

I simply couldn't leave St. Louis without sampling some of the local sweets they have to offer. For lunch on Sunday we took a stroll to Ted Drewes for some frozen custard. We both went for the Dutchman Delight Concrete, it is the perfect blend of vanilla custard, chocolate sauce, butterscotch sauce, and pecans. It was gone before I knew it and all I had left was the memory and thoughts of what my order might be the next time around. My last stop before reuniting with the Megabus was to Gooey Louie's for a take home Gooey Butter Cake. Not only do they make a super scrumptious cake, but they have the cutest boxes for all occasions. I showed quite a bit of restraint by not tearing into the cake halfway through my trip back, but I definitely had it for breakfast the next morning. It is a very sweet dense cake, that is somewhere in between cheesecake and a coffee cake, perfect for a sweet tooth like myself for breakfast, the rest of you may have to wait until after lunch.

Thanks so much to Molly for being such a great hostess. The weekend was filled with a lot of fun, laughing, and of course some great food!

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Helpful Hint- eggs

This past weekend, I was racking the bakeologist's brain (my brother Gregory) about why my butterscotch thins were so tasty but just too delicate, thin, and un-cookie like. We deduced that it may be because I have been using egg beaters instead of real eggs in my baking. He informed me that anytime he tried to make anything more delicate and used egg beaters or the already separated cartons of egg whites they never quite turned out. So, I'm going to give those butterscotch thins another try with real eggs and if they turn out I guess I have to man up and just be much more careful on my jaunts home from the grocery store or make separate trips solely for eggs. I know this may sound dramatic to some of you, but for those of you that don't have a car and have to tote groceries home, even if just a few blocks, I'm sure you understand.

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Nutella Kiss Cookies

One of my favorite cookies has always been the peanut butter blossom, but since I try to stay away from peanut butter these days (due to the migraines they inflict) and I love nutella I thought I would try these cookies with a bit of a twist. They are also a pretty dense cookie so I thought they would travel well. I made a double batch (which ended up being 100 cookies, whoops!) and sent some off to the bike & builders, brought some into work, AND had extra to bring to Molly for the 4th of July in St. Louis. This ended up being a pretty wet dough, so it helped with the handling to place the dough in the refrigerator for a bit before forming the balls and rolling in the sprinkles (green and gold sprinkles to send my love the green bay way). I also used a mix of caramel kisses and regular milk chocolate for a bit of a twist. The caramel kisses are a little delicate and cracked on quite a few, so I might try rolos next time. I think these could also be really cute with the red/white peppermint kisses around the holidays. I found this great recipe at Food Network from Giada De Laurentiis.

-1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (I used world market's brand, super tasty!)
-1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup light brown sugar
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 cup orange sprinkles, or orange sugar
-1 (9-ounce) package of chocolate candy kisses (use any kind you like, i think they would all work)
1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2.In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3.In another medium bowl, place the chocolate hazelnut spread, butter, and both sugars. Using a hand mixer, cream the ingredients together, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and blend until incorporated.
4.Stir in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated.
5.Shape the cookie dough into walnut-sized balls. Rolls the balls in the sprinkles. Place the cookies on a heavy cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven. Quickly place a chocolate kiss in the middle of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake for another 2 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

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To: Alyssa Love, Martha

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake with Caramel Butter cream Frosting, go ahead, read on. I swear this will be my last post with a birthday recipe. Most people that know me well, know that I don't like my birthday, but this blog is really suggesting otherwise. I suppose I can change my birthday views if it means lots of delicious treats! I had an awesome weekend in Milwaukee which started with some much anticipated swimming at Gregory and Dino's place in the 'Dream Pool'. Once I was thoroughly pruned it was time to get baking. I had decided on Martha's Devil's food cake with a caramel butter cream frosting, YUM! This was another time consuming recipe, totally worth it, and not so tricky when you have the bakeologist at your side guiding the way. The hardest part of the cake was sifting all the flour, but Dino did most of that for me. I really need to look into some sort of electric sifter....

I was a little nervous about the frosting since it started with making caramel from scratch. It was pretty easy, you just really have to keep your eye on it. I was up for the challenge and was excited to use a recipe from my new Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book (Thanks Gregory!). The combination of the light chocolaty cake and the rich caramel frosting was to die for (the 6 sticks of butter probably didn't hurt either). Luckily it was a layer cake which means we had some excess cake from evening out the layers that we could taste test in the frosting. If not for that, you better believe there would have been some missing pieces before my parents arrived the next day for the b-day celebration!

I also have to take a second to give 2 thumbs up to the Riverwalk Brewery Tour. It was an extremely fun way to spend an afternoon with the fam, drinking some quality beer, cruising down the river, and learning a bit about the micro-brew process. I don't have a photo, but I think I was also the best 'Shirley' that Lakefront Brewery has ever seen. If you have ever done the tour you are familiar with the 'Laverne & Shirley' portion of the tour. If you want an idea check this out, pay close attention around 52 seconds.

The Trifecta

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