Saturday, June 28, 2008


This week’s cupcake project was inspired by our VBS Outrigger Island. The theme was Truth set to the back drop of the Hawaiian Islands. On Wednesday, the church had a Luau. So I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try out some cupcake ideas. As I brainstormed ideas for cupcakes, I thought about the summer I lived on Oahu. What would best represent the Hawaiian people? Well two of the things that remind me most of my time there are seashells and pineapple.

For my first creation, I made banana chocolate cupcakes (see June 11) iced in vanilla. Then I rolled them in gram cracker crumbs to look like sand. Next, I melted white chocolate and dark chocolate in a boiler before drizzling them together in seashell candy molds. When the shells were completely cool, I placed them on top of the faux sand.

For my second creation, I wanted to create something like a pineapple upside down cake in cupcake form. Before I started baking, I did a little research on possible recipes. As I was surfing the web, I came across the site Coconut and Lime is a food site by food writer Rachel Rappaport. Her sight is filled with great recipes covering any flavor your pallet desires including my desire pineapple cupcakes. I knew as soon as I read her recipe that I had found my jumping off point for the week. Her recipe focused on the pineapple. I modified it a bit by adding a little vanilla and key lime to make more of a mixed island flavor. The icing was to die for so I left it alone other than adding a garnish. I attempted to use lime curls on top, but discovered that I stink at zesting so I sliced the key limes in halves instead.

Pineapple Paradise

2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ vegetable oil
2 eggs
20 oz. crushed pineapple in juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh key lime

Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add oil and eggs. Mix in pineapple in its own juice, vanilla, and key lime. Pour into cupcake tins. Bake at 350’F for 15 to 18 minutes.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz. cream Cheese softened
2 cups confection sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
4 key limes sliced in halves for garnish

Mix cream cheese, sugar, and pineapple juice in bowl. Ice cupcakes. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Words can not even big to express my love for In-n-Out. If you don’t know what In-n-Out is then you should hop a plane ASAP for California because you are missing out on one of life’s finest moments. Let me elaborate...first you need to know one very important fact about me. I do not eat fast food. I think that fast food is a sorry excuse for a meal. If you ever see a fast food restaurant on this site, then call the police because I have surely been kidnapped and something terrible tragic is going to happen to me like being force fed greasy fries and overcooked grade F meat…or my husband is trying to be funny and sneak a blog onto my food site. Anyway, moving on…now that you get that I do not eat fast food under any circumstance you need to know about my one exception…In-n-Out Burger…My mouth waters at the words as I think about their out of this world unbelievably delectable burgers. At first glance, they just look like any ordinary burger. But on closer examination you can’t help but to fall in love if you know the secret. See here’s the deal. In-n-Out has a very simple menu literally burger, fries, milkshake or at least it seems that way. They have a secret not really so secret menu. It’s not posted in the restaurant you have to just know about it (or look it up Here is a simple test…next time you meet someone who has been to Cali ask them if they have been to In-n-Out. If they answer yes in a balsa kind of way then they are boring and do not know of the secret menu. But if they answer with overwhelming enthusiasm then they are totally in. (the one exception would be my husband who’s taste buds have been deadened by years of fast food…yuck…JUST SAY NO TO FAST FOOD EXCEPT IN-N-OUT) Anyway, back to the secret menu…the most popular item on the secret menu is an animal style burger. Animal style means they coat your burger in mustard before cooking then top it with sautéed onions and a secret sauce (basically thousand island dressing with a kick) placing it on a toasted bun before serving it. Trust me try it even if you don’t like any of those ingredients you can’t help but to fall in love with the piece of heaven they serve you. This week I was in California visiting my best friend, Liz, who first introduced me to In-n-Out. We ate there everyday for lunch. It was the happiest my mouth has been in quite some time. So go and try it for yourself and you will see…YOU WILL LOVE IT!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cupcake Catastrophe!

Week one of my mini cupcake project I made these fabulous banana nut cupcakes. Feeling pretty good about my baking abilities I moved into week two with a dream of creating cupcakes inspired by Ben & Jerry’s Cherries Garcia Ice Cream. I wanted a rich cherry flavored cupcake with bits of dark chocolate and a splash of almond covered in dark fudge. As I researched recipes for cherry cake I noticed that there were very few as in none….ah I have found my niche I will be the one who creates the perfect cherry cake recipe…or so I thought. Silly me what I should of thought was there must be a good reason you can’t find a cake recipe using real cherries. Needless to say after many hours of mixing and baking my Cherry Garcia cupcake dreams turned into a nightmare. So for now I am putting my dream on the back burner while I explore other delicious ideas. That is all I have to say about that!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good Morning Cupcakes

By popular request, I am posting my recipe for Good Morning cupcakes. If your wondering how I came up with the name for my cupcakes well here it is. Food inspires my creations. People inspire my names. (I know its strange...some people name their children after their friends well I name my cupcakes after the people who inspire me.) When I was making these cupcakes, I couldn't help but to think of my teamate Alison. Quite often I stop at Starbucks after the gym to get coffee for myself and our other teammate Amanda. Alison, however, does not like coffee. (I know shocking!!!) Anyway, since she doesn't drink coffee I usually pick up her favorite morning treat a banana nut loaf. Upon receiving this treat, she smiles and says something to the affect its going to be a good morning. Therefore, I named these cupcakes "Good Morning" in her honor. So here 's to you Alison...thanks for being an amazing teammate and a great friend.

“Good Morning” Cupcakes aka Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cup flour
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 cup of chocolate chips
chocolate fudge icing
dried banana chips
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease cupcake pan. Blend the butter and the sugar into a cream. Add eggs and sour cream. Stir until smooth. Mix in flour and baking soda. Add mashed bananas. Mix in vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon to taste. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into muffin tins and ¾ way full. Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool (if you can wait that long) ice with chocolate fudge icing. Top with a banana chip.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

San Antonio Taco Company

You must be a Nashvillian if you have ever eaten at SATCO. If not then we need to talk. SATCO is one of the ultimate "let's meet and eat" kinda places. The restaurant is all about cheap eats. They have everything Mexican from tacos to burritos. But they are best known for their refillable baskets of warm chips. In college, we use to pile in the car and head down to SATCO for a cheap night out. Our tickets always read the same: chips with cheese dip, beans, ranch, and guacamole with some crazy made up name at the top. A dozen baskets later, we were done chatting and all of life's major worries had been solved. Last night as I met up with one of my college friends, I looked around to find a similar sight. Tables filled with people sharing baskets of warm chips and their adventures of life. So if your in the mood for good Mexican and a long talk, I highly recommend grabbing your buddies and heading toward 21st Avenue for a basket of chips.

Monday, June 9, 2008


One of my favorite places in Portland was Saint Cupcake. The cupcake shop makes the most delicious cupcakes in all sorts of interesting flavors. We sampled toasted coconut cream, lemon berry, vanilla with vanilla butter cream, and the fat Elvis. My favorite ended up being the toasted coconut cream. It was perfect just the way it was...buttery vanilla cake with cream cheese icing covered in toasted coconut. Now, the fat Elvis really enticed me. This cupcake consisted of a semi-sweet banana chocolate chip cake with a peanut butter chocolate icing topped off with a banana chip. With all of that you would think that it has to be pretty close to perfect. While it was delicious, I found myself thinking of all the things that I would do to make it better. Throughout the week I kept day dreaming of fun combinations of cupcakes that I could make.

Once we returned, I decided that I was going to create my own banana chocolate chip cupcake. So I googled cupcakes finding a plathera of cupcake blogs. Apparently, I am not the only cupcake crazy person out there! One of my favorite sites is Cupcake Project. The cupcake project was started by a lady who was making cupcakes for her friends' wedding. In preparation, she worked to master the art of cupcakes by creating a new tempting treat every week. Along the way she blogged about the things she discovered, the recipes she created, and the feed back from her friends. The project began as a nine month adventure... (You must read this!), but continues today as a passion for creating delicious treats. Her site is full of great ideas if your in the mood for cupcakes.

After searching blogs and recipe sites, I had million ideas floating around in my head. So I decided to start my own mini summer cupcake project. This weekend I created my first cupcake "Good Morning" which is a close cousin to the fat Elvis. Good Morning consist of a sweet moist banana-nut cake with chocolate chucks covered in a chocolate fudge icing. I topped my cupcake with a banana chip in honor of my original inspiration Saint Cupcake. If I do say so myself, they are pretty fabulous. I have several ideas in mind for June inspired by Ben & Jerry's and fresh fruit??? I bet your mind is turning....if you have any inpiring flavor combinations let me know and perhaps I'll turn your cupcake dreams into a mouth watering reality!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"Nashville Originals" Must Eats

If you haven't tried these local eats, I suggest you grab your nearest and dearest for a great meal with unique flare.

1. Germantown Café – Sunday Brunch

2. Baja Burrito – Chicken Taco Salad with Chipolata Honey Mustard

3. Portland Brew – Chai with Caramel Sauce

4. Bistro 215 – Crab Cakes with Petite Salad

5. Christopher Tennessee Pizza Company – The Pepperoli

6. Sunset Grill – Dessert Trio

7. Midtown café – Traditional Ruben

8. Phat Bites – Roasted Red Pepper or Spinach Feta Hummus

9. Finezza Trattoria – Seafood tossed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Fettuccini

10. Hickory Brothers Barbeque – Smoked Turkey with Baked Beans