Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Ok, so I will tell you up front that I am not the biggest sweet potato fan. Never liked them. However, I was recently inspired by Homemade Iowa Life (a blog I discovered) to try out a recipe for them for Thanksgiving.

Oh. My. God.

These things are absolutely delicious. No amount of description could possibly convey how amazing these are. They are the perfect blend of flavors and spices, without being overly sweet. Definitely a new holiday favorite.

-2 cups all purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
-3 eggs
-1 15 oz. can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-small marshmallows, if desired


1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 standard size cupcake/muffin cups with paper cups and set aside.

2.) In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

3.) In a large mixing bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds.

4.) Add sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes.

5.) Add in eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until combined.

6.) Add sweet potato and vanilla, beating until combined.

7.) Add in dry ingredients and continue beating until all ingredients are combined. The batter will be thick.

8.) Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes.

9.) Remove cupcakes from the oven and sprinkle with granulated sugar while they are still warm.

The cupcakes were absolutely delicious and perfect at this point, but since it was Thanksgiving and all I thought I would add some marshmallows. If you wish to add marshmallows, pile a few on top of each cupcake and stick the whole pan under the broiler until the marshmallows are nicely toasted.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I have had many many many requests for my Cream of Broccoli Soup recipe. The trouble is, that it's not in a cookbook, it's in my head. So, this evening when I made this soup for dinner, I took the time to write down the ingredients and steps.


-1 white onion
-2 celery stalks
-1 medium carrot
-2-3 cloves garlic
-16 oz. frozen broccoli flowerets, thawed and chopped into 1" pieces
-32 oz. vegetable stock
-4 tbsp. butter
-4 tbsp. flour
-1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
-1/2 teaspoon Lawry's salt or regular salt
-1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper or regular pepper
-Dash of ground nutmeg (optional)
-Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Chop onion, celery stalks, and carrot and set aside in a bowl with 2-3 cloves minced garlic.

2. Make a roux out of 4 tbsp butter and 4 tbsp flour.

3. As the roux begins to thicken and bubble, slowly stir in 32 oz. of vegetable stock and bring to a boil.

4. Add in your onion, carrot, celery and minced garlic and boil over medium-high heat for approximately 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Mmmmmmm... I guarantee you it smells delicious at this point.

5. Add in broccoli, salt, and nutmeg. Continue to boil until broccoli is tender and cooked through.

6. Stir in 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream and simmer over low heat for an additional 5 minutes, or until hot.

7. Garnish with cheese if desired.

This soup is deliciously thick and hearty... perfect for chilly winter nights.


Dear Bougainvillea

Dear Bougainvillea,

Because it's Monday. And because I'm feeling silly. A haiku in your honor:

Dear Bougainvillea
I love you for your beauty
But not for your thorns.

I had completely lost all memory of what a thorny beast this pretty plant can be. That is until I had to trim some out-of-control vines by our front door the other day. Hopefully the fact that it is "winter" will keep those crazy vines at bay for a little while.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My New Best Friend

For those of you not familiar with Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) you should really check out her blog. It's a lot like mine...only better...and way more people read it.

Anyway, shortly after arriving in Arizona, I discovered that Ree would be holding a book signing for her newly released cookbook at a bookstore in Tempe.

I had to go.

I did have a couple of questions about the book signing, so I decided to send her an e-mail...and she actually e-mailed me back!! I'll edit it down to the important parts for you:

Can you believe it?? She's looking forward to seeing me! She wants to be best friends... I just know it. ;)

So, me and about 500 of Ree's other closest friends all flocked to the Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe with the hope of getting our cookbooks signed.

I waited around for about 2.5 hours for my turn to get my book signed, and they weren't even halfway through the group at that point. Sadly, I did not get to meet Ree. I really wanted to take a picture with her, but I will have to settle for this fuzzy-picture-taken-from-across-the-room.

Fortunately, I was able to leave my book to be signed by her at a later time. Here's what she wrote:

I will enjoy! I can't wait to get started on some of her fantastic recipes.