Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Butterflies

Honestly, sometimes I don't know why I bother. Tonight I didn't have all the ingredients to make the pasta dish I wanted to try, and I had a bunch of odds and ends in the fridge that were soon destined for the garbage. So I threw them all together into a dish with some pasta. Tyler declared it one of my best pasta creations.

This is everything that went in: roasted vegetable sauce, crushed tomatoes, slow cooker tex-mex chicken, a half a grilled sausage, a handful of cheddar cheese, 2 spoonfuls cottage cheese, thawed frozen spinach, and a third of a brick of cream cheese. Oh, and a splash of milk. So random, but it was actually really good.

The rando-pasta is not the recipe I am sharing with you today (plus, that's pretty much it above). I am sharing the cupcakes I made for my manager's birthday, which are far more impressive. You gotta put in a little extra effort for your boss, right? I spotted a tutorial on how to make chocolate butterflies on a blog. Those would look really pretty on Martha Stewart's multi-coloured cupcakes. Yes, it was all coming together, I just had to find the right cupcake recipe.

Joy the Baker had posted a recipe for a dozen cupcakes- with frosting- made with just one stick of butter. I know, amazing right!?! Usually there is double that in just the batter alone. And of course, they taste great too. You wouldn't expect any less from me and Joy the Baker (my blog idol), right?

from Joy the Baker 
Or 24 mini cupcakes; bake for 5-10 minutes less if making them mini like I did

from Everything Old
Her butterflies look way better than mine. Make sure to cut the TINIEST hole in the bag so you get more delicate butterflies. My butterflies obviously at too many cupcakes. Or bacon.

  • Divide your icing into two bowls. Starting with one bowl, add 4-5 drops of food colouring- I started with blue. Stir well with a rubber spatula. Frost some cupcakes. 
  • Add a few drops of red food colouring to the blue icing, stirring well. Frost some more cupcakes.
  • Add some more blue and some more red to make a really vibrant purple. Frost a few more cupcakes.
  • Repeat process with 2nd bowl of icing. I used red and yellow for mine to make pink, peach, and orange.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Creamy Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Creamy Chicken Salad Sandwich with Sweet Potato Wedges
I have a confession. Sometimes I am super cheap. You know how No Frills makes you put in a quarter to get the grocery cart and then you get it back when you return the cart? Sometimes I look for a cart that hasn't been returned so that I can get a free quarter. There, it feels better now that I've admitted it.

This probably isn't news to anybody else, but did you know you can take flyers from other stores to Wal-Mart and they match all the sales? I'm telling you, this is the best thing since sliced bread. My stepmom used to go to four different stores in a week to hit up the sales. I've never had that dedication. We went to Wal-Mart armed with the flyers from every other grocery store and saved almost $15! It's like free money!

The best deal was on chicken. Food Basics had a whole chicken for $5. The same chicken was $10.78 at Wal-Mart. Price match it up, baby! That bargain chicken gave us two meals, one of which being these chicken salad sandwiches.

This is seriously the best chicken salad I've ever had. I never thought I'd say this, but the blue cheese dressing makes the sandwich. I really try to like blue cheese, but I just can't do it. It tastes like moldy feet. But just a little squeeze here makes all the difference. Plus, I got a certain someone to eat avocado without even knowing it. Way to go Tyler! (You thought I was going to say Parker, the 2 year old, right? He loves avocado- he'll eat a whole one for a snack if I let him).

One Year Ago: Panini Bar + Summer BBQ Menu

Serves 4
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, low fat or regular 
  • 1/2 an avocado, mashed
  • 1 tbsp blue cheese dressing
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 buns, toasted
  • handful baby spinach
Mix all ingredients but buns and spinach in a bowl. Divide mixture evenly between buns, top with some baby spinach. 

Friday, July 13, 2012


I just got a Digital SLR camera. I'm super stoked about it. And over whelmed. I do not want to use it as a an automatic- I already have one of those. I want to play with the settings and take beautiful photos that my point and shoot can't do. But it's been a long time since I used a manual camera. My dad had one in the 80's (and it was still going strong throughout the 90's too), but he's now been using a digital camera for years too. Enter our friend Google.

I searched "food blog photography" and down the rabbit hole I went. I can't tell you how I ended up finding this post on food styling. The author takes a dish of unappetizing curried lentils and makes it look delicious, documenting the drab to fab process. Have a look, even if you are not into food photography- any artistic soul will be drawn in.