Monday, March 9, 2015

Tiffany Blue Mini Cupcakes

Hi dolls!

I made these adorable mini cupcakes for a family party this weekend. I really wanted to achieve a Tiffany Blue icing color, and was really happy with the results. I did a bit of research online, and found that many people had trouble creating this color. I am a big fan of lighter icing colors vs. super bold colors. I think if the icing color is too dark, it looks fake. Just my opinion! Anyway, I bring this up because I didn’t want to ruin my whole icing batch by trying to mix together different food coloring and getting too dark of a color. Here is what I used:

I made my usual Vanilla Buttercream icing:
• 3 cups of confectioner's sugar
• 3/4 stick of butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 tablespoons of milk

*This time, I doubled the above recipe just to make sure I had enough icing to play with! As I’ve said before, this simple icing recipe is GREAT for piping. I would highly suggest letting the icing sit in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before using it. You want it to harden up a little bit so the spiral holds its shape.

These are the colors I used to get the Tiffany Blue color:
• 1 part green food coloring
• 4 parts blue food coloring

And lastly, this is the vanilla mini cupcake recipe I always use. Everyone at the party loved them! They are amazing party food – you can just pop one in your mouth and not even use a plate! I sprinkled on some shiny heart sprinkles that I bought from Michael's. Recipe makes about 24 mini cupcakes. Recipe adapted from

You'll Need:
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup whole milk
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 large egg
• Mini muffin pan
• Mini cupcake wrappers
How To Make Mini Cupcakes:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir together milk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low, then add flour and milk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them two-thirds full, and bake until tops are pale golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in centers comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Invert cupcakes onto a rack and cool completely.

Thanks for reading! In addition to the Tiffany Blue, I also made a light pink icing by using 1 drop of red food coloring. Here they are together!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

TAO Restaurant - A Photo Tour of our Lunch

Hi All!

We had a new person join our team at work, so we decided to celebrate at TAO restaurant (Uptown location). We have all been there before, but it always amazes me how beautiful everything is each time.

There was 10 of us, so we sat next to the huge statue with the coy pond at the bottom. Our table was made of glass, with beautiful fresh rose petals and candles underneath:

I've just started to appreciate spicy food (with the help of my husband) so I got the Kung Pao chicken. It was so delicious. The portion size was generous, and I devoured the entire thing! I am not usually a fan of nuts in my chicken dish, but they married so nicely in this dish that I made an exception. It also came with a side of rice which I didn't end up touching - it was all about the chicken!

Our table shared a few desserts - banana pudding, a chocolate mousse, creme brulee and the molten chocolate cake (below). It was very tasty, but can a molten chocolate cake really ever be BAD? I don't think so.

Thanks for reading! Hope everyone is staying safe in yet another snowstorm! xo

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rustic Italian Bread

Hi friends! Greg and I made this Rustic Italian Bread as a fun weekend project! We were doing some stuff around the house and figured – why not? We had all the ingredients and had some free time. The bread needs to rest for an hour to an hour and a half each time, so there is definitely some waiting around time needed.

We used the recipe from our favorite cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen. We had previously made dinner rolls from this cookbook for Christmas Eve last year, and they were phenomenal! We’ve also made a Holiday Bread Wreath for 2 years now and it’s a family favorite! Recipe from Food Network Magazine (see post here). So we have a little bit of bread making experience.

In terms of appearance and presentation, this bread is impressive! It rose very nicely. I scored the X on top a little too big, i'll know better for next time. In terms of taste, it was just good. Not great. I think it was a little bit dry. We sliced some and tried it with some olive oil and cheese and it was great. Tasting it alone left a little to be desired. I'm not sure if it was the recipe or us, but it didn't give us the WOW factor that we were looking for.

Another thing was the parchment paper. We baked the bread on our pizza stone. The cookbook said to leave the bread on the parchment paper to bake. I even trimmed the paper so it didn't hang over the edge of the pizza stone and burn. However, when it came time to transfer the bread to the cooling rack, the parchment paper was completely baked onto the bottom of the bread! We just cut off the bottom and it was fine, but I don't think I will bake on the parchment paper next time.

All in all it's a fine bread, just not EXCELLENT. There are variations of this bread within the cookbook, so perhaps we will try one of those next - bread baked with rosemary, nuts, etc.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Thanks for reading!