Tim Mcgraw & Cupcakes.

The end of March is probably one of my favorite times of the year.

The flowers begin to bloom, the birds begin to sing their spring songs, and I can break out my flip-flops and wear a chambray top at the same time.

Oh that spring breeze…that’s my favorite.

Two of my most favorite people in the world have birthdays at the end of the month.

My really, really, ridiculously good friend Sanna, and my favorite cousin Morgan…shhhhh don’t tell any of my other cousins I said that, I will have a death warrant.

By coincidence, I won two tickets to a private Tim Mcgraw concert this past weekend that just so happened to fall of Morgan’s birthday.

She and I are the BIGGEST Tim Mcgraw fans you will ever meet.

When I got the email that I had won tickets to his concert, I sat there for 5 minutes, breathless, afraid of what might happened if I opened it.

Oh, and Morgan’s reaction was even better…she must be telepathic because when I called her and told her she wouldn’t believe what had just happened, she took a deeep, deep, deep breath and whispered…”Oh my god, we got the tickets.”

To which I screamed in a shrill of excitement…YES!

She immediately began asking me what she should wear to the concert as though she were planning on stealing Tim from Faith.

Don’t worry, Faith is our girl…we have mad respect for her.

Anyway, it was probably the best day of my life…and the best birthday Morgan has ever had…EVER!

As he came out on stage for the first time, we clutched hands so tight that I thought my pinky finger was going to fall off.

As I looked at my cousin, tears welled up in our eyes and we burst into laughter!

Die.Hard.Fans.

There was one thing we thought would prevent us from attending the concert…Morgan turned 20 that day and it said you had to be 21 to attend…we got all worked up and even borrowed my seester’s i.d. for this once in a lifetime chance for her.

And you know what?

They didn’t i.d. either of us!

God was on our side that night.

Me being 26 and all…I would just laugh is someone mistook me for a high schooler.

I didn’t get Morgan any cupcakes, but I did make Sanna some.

Hey, Tim Mcgraw was Morgan’s eye candy for the evening, if ya know what I mean.

Strawberries in yo’ banana cupcakes.

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I surprised Sanna at work with them.

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With each bite…sweet banana, tart/sweet strawberry…it’s the perfect combination.

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Then I added a goat cheese frosting on top…

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because you only live once.

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It’s more like, a creamy, tangy, goat cheese glaze.

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Did I mention the cake is ultra fluffy?

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Yep, that.

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It’s pretty much everything I ever wanted in a cupcake.

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Actually…I don’t ever think I’ve met a cupcake I didn’t like.

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Then again,

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I’m sure you’re not surprised.

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ūüėČ

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I just love birthday’s.

Strawberry Banana Cupcakes w/ Silky Goat Cheese Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Cupcake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A sweet, fluffy cupcake made w/ fresh strawberries & bananas & topped w/ a tangy maple goat cheese frosting. Gluten-free, paleo-ish, refined sugar-free.
Ingredients
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 10 fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped finely
  • 2 large, ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ c. coconut milk
  • ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ t. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ c. coconut sugar
  • ½ c. coconut flour
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • For the frosting:
  • 8 oz. fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ c. pure maple syrup
  • ½ t. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ c. coconut milk (plus more if you like a drizzle-like frosting)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and spray the liners w/ cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the bananas, coconut milk, evoo, eggs, vanilla, and sugar.
  3. Stir in the coconut flour, cinnamon, and baking soda.
  4. Fold in the strawberries.
  5. Fill each paper liner about ¾ full with the batter.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool while you make the frosting.
  8. In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the frosting ingredients until you get a smooth, even, creamy glaze that is somewhere between a thin frosting and a thick glaze. Add coconut milk by the tablespoon if you like the frosting a bit thinner.
  9. Place a tablespoon of frosting onto each cupcake and let it spread.
  10. Garnish w/ fresh sliced strawberries.

MANGIA!!!

Summer Loving.

Happy Thursday y’all!¬†
Yes, it’s almost Friday and tomorrow is going to be an extremely busy day for me! Moving day! So much to think about and so much to do. But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s talk about the approach of summer…much more fun, right? All I can think about are back yard barbecue’s with my family where the young kids sip on glasses of sweet ice tea, and the adults throw back a few…well, not iced teas, and we engage in good conversation while we tear into a full plate of juicy smoked pork ribs, tater salad, and the best part, a huge chunk of corn bread.¬†
Cornbread is the way to my heart, which is ironic, because I absolutely loathe corn, but serve me a huge chunk of cornbread with a nice slab of butter on top and I am sold! Give me a bowl of chili and I will probably take you to the alter and marry you…definitely. So, yesterday, as I was thinking about this looming cornbread situation in my head, I decided to put those thoughts to good use.¬†
These absolutely blew my mind. My mom was my first taste-tester and she was absolutely ate up with how good these babies are. Then, my cousin stopped buy and he has a tape worm living inside him so nothing gets past him. He said the bread needed to be sandwiched over some barbecue. Winner winner, cornbread dinner. I had one dilemma though…
this looks like cornbread muffin batter, no?
Well, they could definitely be cornbread muffins, that is…
if I didn’t have to go ahead and make a honey goat cheese and mascarpone frosting to go on top of them.
Oh, I totally did.
 Best move ever.
Tid-bit…they would have been vegan, all the way up until I slathered them with that creamy, tangy, yet sweet frosting.¬†
I’m not complaining.
¬†So, yea…I am calling them cupcakes. Oh, and I put a bit of mashed sweet potato in them.
¬†So, yes…sweet potato cornbread cupcakes…but you can call them muffins if you like.
If that makes you feel better. 
Just make sure you have a slab of pork ribs nearby and a bottle of barbecue sauce on hand. Maybe a glass of wine…or five. Maybe.
Almost Vegan Sweet Potato Cornbread Cupcakes with Honey Goat Cheese and Mascarpone Frosting (GF):
Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
1 small sweet potato
1 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. Greek yogurt
3/4 c. coconut milk (I used light, but full-fat would work as well)
4 T. melted Vegan butter (or regular butter)
1/2 c. almond milk

1 1/4 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. almond flour
1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
For the frosting:
8 oz. container Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
4 oz. plain goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c. honey
Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap the sweet potato in foil and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or just until tender and can be pierced with a fork. Allow the sweet potato to cool completely.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the inside of the sweet potato. Mix in the vanilla extract, yogurt, coconut milk, butter, and almond milk. 
3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, almond flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
5. Lower the temperature on the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8 muffins cups with cupcake liners.
6. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full with the cupcake batter. 
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
8. To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone until creamy, stop the mixer and add the goat cheese, beat again until smooth. Then, add the honey, and beat again.
9. Frost each cupcake using a pastry bag or spatula. 
10. DEVOUR!
Makes 8 large cupcakes.
MANGIA!!!

Packing on the Pounds.

Let’s get fat together.

Not really. 

You know what I mean.

It’s Fat Tuesday, and you deserve it.¬†

You have worked really hard since Monday, and I bet you spent the entire weekend tossing multi-colored beads into the air while screaming “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” (Let the good times roll). You may have even eaten a Beignet…or two, to pre-game for Fat Tuesday. Or maybe you indulged in a big bowl of seafood gumbo.¬†

Whatever you do to celebrate, eat, mangia!¬†Eat a lot of good food, because, soon you may have to give it up, for Lent that is. I know that some of you are giving up your Friday night, and maybe Monday-Sunday night, desserts that involve everything from a thick slice of molten chocolate cake to a gallon of Blue Bell Homemade Ice Cream. Please, just do me this last favor, and…


eat these. 
Indulge
 without really indulging at all.

You can thank me later.

Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe adapted from Health Bent):


For the Cupcakes:
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/3 c. coconut flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
1/2 c. coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)
1 t. vanilla extract
2 brown, spotty bananas
3 T. granulated sugar


For the Chocolate Ganache:
1/3 c. dark chocolate chips
2 T. coconut milk


For the White Writing Glaze (just for kicks, and Optional):
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
1/4 c. or more of powdered sugar (you want the glaze to be a thick paste)


For the Toasted Coconut:
1/2 c. large flaked coconut


Instructions:


For the Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and place liners in a 12 c. muffin tin.
2. In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add vanilla, coconut milk, coconut oil, eggs, and yolks. Whisk everything together to combine.
3. Sift the coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking soda over the mixing bowl.
4. Portion out the batter into the muffin tins, about 2 tablespoons full for each cup.
5. Bake for approx. 20 minutes until the center of the cupcakes feel springy, not mushy.
6. Once the cupcakes are cool enough to handle, remove them from the muffin tin and let them chill in the refrigerator.


For the Ganache:
1. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and coconut milk. Microwave for 30 seconds, until the chocolate starts to look melty. Whisk well to combine.
2. Dunk the heads of the cupcakes into the ganache, twirling them around to get them nicely coated. Eat a.s.a.p. or refrigerate until the ganache firms up.


For the White Writing Glaze:
1. Whisk together the ingredients and shove into a pastry bag or zip-top bag, snip the tip off the corner of the bag. This glaze gets pretty hard, so you need to work quickly, before it becomes impossible to squeeze off.


For the toasted Coconut:
1. Spread the coconut out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2. Bake at 350 F for 6 minutes or until slightly golden brown.


Note: You can choose to decorate the cupcakes withe the glaze or the toasted coconut. I did both!


Don’t forget to Enter my CHOBANI GIVEAWAY! You have until tonight at 12 midnight Central Time to Enter! Enter Now!


MANGIA!!!

Chocolate Makes Everything Better

Oh hey there my loves! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yes, just in case you missed the memo, and by memo I mean all the red, heart shaped boxes filled with Russel Stover chocolate and the gi-gant-a-size plush Polar Bear holding a heart that reads “Be Mine,” lining the aisles of your local grocery store, it’s Valentine’s Day. For me, Valentine’s Day is looking a little uneventful. I am working my fragrance gig at Macy’s today and won’t get off until this evening, at which point I may hurry home, change into my little black dress, glitter high heels, and give my hair a touch up, to ¬†run to meet my boyfriend at the most romantic restaurant in town. One problem. No boyfriend. No problem. So, I kind of had this plan to make a lemon cake…

until this happened. Epic. Fail.
That people is what occurs when you don’t have the patience to let your cake cool completely, combined with anxiety about the sun setting before getting that perfect light shot that you need for your blog.¬†

So, what do I do? I fix my problems with powdered sugar, icing that is. 
Well, Blood Orange Icing, to be exact. It’s pink. Festive. Valentine’s Day, duh!
Then I make a batch of Flourless Chocolate Citrus Cupcakes
I could have used blood orange in the title, but citrus just sounds so much better. It just rolls off the tongue. Just like butter. 
Back to the no boyfriend drama. Instead of being wined and dined by my bf, I will most likely rush home to my dinner of leftover chicken and veggies, turn on my fave t.v. show, and eat these cupcakes…

one
 by one
 no biggie

In conclusion, (because sometimes it feels good to write as if I am in my high school English lit. class and the topic is “How I spent my summer”), sometimes you make mistakes in life, but they can all be fixed with chocolate. Maybe. To all of you single guys and gals, hopeless romantics, married couples, etc. etc., Happy Valentine’s Day! Involve Chocolate. Maybe these cupcakes. Maybe.¬†

HOW ARE YOU SPENDING VALENTINE’S DAY?¬†

Flourless Chocolate Citrus Cupcakes with Blood Orange Icing

For the cupcakes:

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 c. almond butter
1 c. agave nectar
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt
zest of 1 blood orange
3 to 4 oz. dark chocolate (I used 73% cocoa), chopped, or 1/2 c. chocolate chips of your choosing

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 10 cups in a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Using an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, almond butter, and agave until smooth.
3. Beat in the cocoa powder, baking soda, vanilla, salt, and orange zest. 
4. Fold in the chocolate. Spoon 1.5 to 2 tablespoons full into each lined cup.
5. Bake for 22-25 minutes.
6. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing.

For the Blood Orange Icing:

Ingredients:
1 c. powdered sugar
juice of one blood orange

Instructions:
1. In a medium bowl, mix together both ingredients until smooth.
2. Spread the icing onto the cooled cupcakes using a spatula.

MANGIA!!!

Happy Birthday To Me!

Happy Thursday all!


You know what is soooooooo great about today? It’s my birthday! Yes, today I am 24 years of age…o my goodness I think I just had a little panic attack. I can’t believe I am 24! I mean, yesterday I was practically running around in my backyard with no shoes on, my hair thrown up into a messy ponytail, playing tag with my cousins, and my mom screaming at us to come “blow out the candles, and sing the Happy Birthday” song. Yes, I definitely miss my birthday parties as a kid, they were always filled with family fun, backyard barbecuing, and of course, cake.¬†

Speaking of cake, yesterday I made myself some birthday cupcakes, because what is a birthday without cake? Or ummmm cupcakes in this case. Anyway, they were ahhhhhh-mazing. I have been pretty obsessed with my new bff toasted coconut. Not like the “omg I have a crush on my high school flame obsessed and feel the need to stalk his Facebook page every chance I get (don’t worry, never happened),” more of the “I still jam N’Sync and Backstreet boys tunes in my car, fist pumping hard” obsessed. That totally happened. Anyway, I made some awesome cupcakes, that were more like muffins before I topped them with this…

Holy Toasted Coconut Frosting Batman!
They were ordinary Coconut Cupcakes at first…
then they transformed into
the best Coconut Birthday Cupcakes, ever!

I pre-gamed with one of these cupcakes before dinner last night. It was definitely worth it. Especially, since my meal consisted of bland baked chicken. Fail. Anyway, these are definitely breakfast cupcakes, because who says you can’t have cupcakes for breakfast? I mean they are kind of like donuts, and we eat donuts for breakfast, right? Don’t worry about calories, they don’t count on my birthday. Coconut Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Frosting for all! So, get into the kitchen and whip these babies up, and have one for breakfast, and for my birthday!¬†

HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BIRTHDAY DESSERT?

Coconut Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Frosting:

Coconut Cupcakes (recipe courtesy of Elana’s Pantry):

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. agave nectar
1/2 c. coconut flour
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 10 cups in a cupcake tin with paper liners.
2. Using a blender, or a food processor, blend eggs, coconut oil, and agave nectar.
3. Pulse in coconut flour, salt, baking soda, and shredded coconut.
4. Allow the batter to sit and thicken for a bit.
5. Spoon 1/4 c. of batter into each prepared cupcake liner. 
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
7. Remove cupcakes and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Toasted Coconut Frosting:

Ingredients:
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 c. powdered sugar
water, as needed

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Spread coconut out evenly over the prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake coconut for 6 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.
4. Pour coconut into a bowl and allow to cool.
5. In a small bowl, add powdered sugar and just enough water so that the powdered sugar turns into a thick paste, around 1 to 2 tablespoons.
6. Stir in the toasted coconut.
7. Frost each cupcake.

HAVE YOU ENTERED MY LARABAR GIVEAWAY? You have until tonight at 12 p.m. Central Time to Enter. I will announce the winner tomorrow, at 8 a.m. Central Time.

MANGIA!!!