Sunday, April 6, 2014

.fancied-up store bought spinach dip.


sometimes the most delicious dishes are the simplest. in this case, make your life easy and make your mouth happy with my fancied-up store bought spinach dip. 


buy your favorite store bought spinach dip and sure, it is delicious. i really have to pull my arm away every time i pass it myself so that i don't gorge weekly on the stuff.  but, this recipe will take that dip to a different level. you'll need some cheese (i prefer parmesan and mozzarella) and a little sriracha if you'll feeling daring. 


mix a handful of parmesan cheese and a slight splash of the sriacha sauce into the spinach dip. 


put your dip mix into a glass baking dish.


put a generous coating of mozzarella cheese on top. cover with foil and bake for about fifteen minutes at 350. 


then, remove the foil and broil until your top cheese is bubbly and toasty. 


serve with pita points, chips, hawaiin bread, your fingers...


enjoy!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

.thin mint cookie cupcakes.


once upon a time, in a magical minty land, lived a cookie so perfect that in its raw form, it would make grown people swoon. 
along came an evil wench who decided this most delicate cookie was not good enough. she was determined to smash it to smithereens and put it in the furnace of an oven in cupcake form. no one lived happily ever after. WAIT- that is not the right ending. 
in fact, everyone lived so much MORE happily after they tasted this thin mint cookie cupcake. 


bragging is not a pleasant trait. but hey, i've just got to this time. these cupcakes are freakishly delicious! they're like taking the perfection of a thin mint cookie and smashing it with the perfection of a cupcake until they explode into a firework display of bliss. ok, ok...that's a lot of theatrics and dramatics, but this thing is g. o. o. d. let me show you how to make your own. 


take a sleeve of girl scout thin mint cookies and pulverize them either with a food processor or by hand.   maybe the extra workout will burn some of the calories you're about to consume. maybe. 


sift together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder into the bowl of your stand mixer. 


toss in your thin mint crumbles and then mix to combine. 


go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. brew a fresh cup of coffee. not for lounging and sipping, silly.
in a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla. with the mixer on low, slowly pour this liquid mixture into your dry ingredients. 
now, pour in your fresh, hot cup of coffee. do not overmix. 


this is one of those batters that will look just wrong. if you're like me, you'll think it is WAY too liquidy to be finished. just trust me, it'll all come out fine after it bakes. fill each lined muffin well almost to the top. 


bake the cupcakes for 15-22 minutes. i always start low and check with a toothpick. actually, one of my muffin pans cooks quicker than the other; so, i remove them at different times. when your toothpick pulls out clean, you'll know you're done. 


while your two dozen chocolate thin mint cupcakes are baking (insert drool), whip up some buttercream frosting. cream 3 sticks of room temperature butter on high for about 5 minutes before adding the confectionary sugar.
now for sugar. keep adding sugar until it is fluffy is my motto. it'll take 2+ cups. then, add your vanilla and mint extracts. 


as an ode to my own days in the green girl scouts, i put in just a spot of this beautiful kelly green food coloring. trust me when i say our uniforms were a much greener green than this. but hey, i think this shade gives just the right hint that there's mint in these things. 


after your cupcakes bake, allow them to rest in the pans for 5-10 more minutes outside the oven. this is the perfect time to top each one with a thin mint cookie. then, allow them all to cool on a wire wrack. 
cool...mint...cool...mmmm


pipe or plop your frosting on top to hide the cookie surprise. 


if you're not convinced yet that you should make these, let me describe the experience you get when biting in...
imagine a delicate chocolate cake with hints of thin mint cookie nestled in the softness, topped with the crisp crunch of an actual thin mint cookie that is wearing a frosting hat so delicate and refreshing with just a hint of minty heaven. 

yeah, i went there. 
you should too. 


thin mint cookie cupcakes

what you need
for the cake...
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 sleeve thin mint cookies
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup freshly brewed coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

for the cookie...
girl scout thin mint cookies

for the frosting...
3 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
2+ cups confectionary sugar (keep adding sugar until the frosting gets fluffy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp mint extract
a smidgeon of kelly green food coloring (optional)

what you do
sift together your dry ingredients (minus the cookies) into the bowl of an electric mixer. in a food processor or by hand, crumble one sleeve of thin mint cookies and add to the mixer bowl. mix all ingredients together with the paddle attachment. 

preheat oven to 350.

in a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla. slowly pour it into the dry ingredients with the mixer on low. then, add the coffee.

before you scoop your batter into your lined muffin wells, be aware that the batter will be very liquidy. do scrape the bottom of the bowl with your spatula before scooping.  you should be able to make 2 dozen cupcakes. bake for 15-22 minutes.

while the cupcakes are baking, make your frosting by creaming your butter in your electric stand mixer. slowly add in the confectionary sugar and then the vanilla and mint. if you are coloring yours, put in a little dab of your color. mix on high speed until fluffy. continue to add confectionary sugar

when the cupcakes are done, a toothpick should pull clean. let them stand in the pan for 5-10 minutes before allowing to cool on a wire rack. 

place a thin mint cookie on the top of each cupcake. when the cakes are completely cooled, frost them. now...

enjoy!





Thursday, March 27, 2014

.zucchini muffins.


i made my own little muffin some really healthy blueberry muffins not too long ago and she gobbled them up.  i figured i could get her to fall in love all over again with a green twist. 



does hiding vegetables in a muffin make me a conniving mom? 


 nah. it's for her own good. plus, my little one year old luckily likes plenty of veggies without the muffin costume.


raisins, nuts, berries, chocolate...? ok, i may have gone a little overboard with the chocolate. but, any of the other options give these muffins some extra dimension. 


these bad boys, er, good boys are yum. i wouldn't categorize them as "healthy" because of the sugar and such, but they do sneak in vegetables to an otherwise sweet treat. hope you take them for a spin around your kitchen.



zucchini muffins

what you need
3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cup melted butter, unsalted
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup raisins

what you do
in a large bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar.  then, stir in the grated zucchini and melted butter. 
in a separate bowl, stir together all your remaining dry ingredients (excluding raisins). 
preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
stir your dry ingredients into the wet ones. now, mix in your raisins if you so choose to add them. i prefer golden raisins. 
either butter your muffin pan or use muffin liners. 
give each of the 12 muffin wells a generous heaping of the batter. 
bake for 20-30 minutes. i checked my muffins with a toothpick after 20 minutes and they needed another 5. 

enjoy!




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

.bag o' sensory paint.


i have always thought these sensory bags have looked pinteresting. so, babycakes and i put our hands in on it to see what we'd think. it is our spring break and we are one rain drop away from renaming our neighborhood to puddleville. if you'd like an inside activity to try, here's how. 


load a plastic sealing bag with paint. we did one spoonful each of yellow, green and blue finger paint.


then, take some painter's tape and adhere it to a window. 


this is where the fun begins. it is a great medium with which to trace shapes, write words, or just...


SMOOSH!


ok, full disclosure here. i think mommy had more fun playing with it than babycakes at first.
 she was fascinated with her new bracelet (a.k.a. the painter's tape roll). but, about two hours later when i was fiddling around in the kitchen,  i sneaked a peak and little miss was swirling and whirling her hand with her new sensory bag. success!


i give this cheap and easy project a high five!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

.200.

 happy two-hundreth post to shortcake and shoes! here's to all the sweet things...
 ...to the savory side of life...
....and also to making things just because you can!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

.charming treat.


i have a super-easy st. patrick's day treat for you to make. heck, we could all use a little charm any time of year. follow my rainbow...


get yourself some lucky charms. this has always been one of my most magically delicious breakfast cereals that i go to for a treat.


measure out six cups worth. 


throw 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 10-14 oz of marshmallows in a pan over medium heat. if you like traditional rice krispie treats, use about 10 oz of marshamallows. if you'd prefer a more gooey pull when you bite into your charming treats, add the extra ounces. 


once your butter and marshmallows are melded together to an ooey gooey consistency, toss in the cereal and remove from the heat.


press your mixture into a sprayed 9 X 13 pan and press until it is near level. 


after a couple of well-occupied hours, (if you're not busy, you are going to be way too tempted to dig in before they're ready), spray or butter a knife and cut your lucky charm treats into squares.
they are perfect in their naked form. full of luck, actually.


however, if you're like me and can't leave well enough alone, take them to another level. use some candy melts to dip your treats into and then sprinkle on some extra green for more good luck. 
enjoy!