Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

Today is a good day to just stay inside. It's too cold and rainy outside. I have a long list of things I should be doing but, as usual, I opted to bake instead. I swore last time I baked that I wouldn't bake for a month. I caved! I think that means that I have a problem!  Hi...I'm Vicki...I'm a bake-aholic ........
Oh well, at least I'm not eating all this stuff that I bake. Then I really would have a problem. ( I made red velvet cream cheese brownies too!)
Anyways, the chocolate cupcake recipe is from:
I got the idea for the rest of this cupcake from:

For the icing I used stabilized whipped cream.
To dip the cupcakes into chocolate icing, I used store bought icing, put into the microwave for about 25 seconds. What a neat trick! I thought about making chocolate ganache to dip the cupcakes into but this was much easier. It looked really nice too.
I would definitely make this cupcake again!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Super Fast and Easy Peanut Butter Pie

Last night my son called to say he and his girlfriend would be over in, "about and hour or so." I let him know to come hungry that I would make dinner. Well, that meant that I had about an hour to whip something up! So, I made a lasagna, a tossed salad, dinner rolls and a peanut butter pie for dessert.
It's a super easy, fast and yummy  dessert to throw together.

Peanut Butter Pie

1- 8 ounce pkg. of cream cheese
Mix until smooth.

Add 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
Mix until combined.

Add 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Mix until combined.

Add 1 small container of Cool Whip
Mix very well, until fluffy.

I already had in my cupboard a pre-made graham cracker crust shell that I put a layer of store bought fudge topping onto the bottom of the crust.
Now, smooth out the peanut butter filling on top of the fudge layer.

To garnish the pie I used fluffy cream cheese icing and piped rosettes around the edge of the pie and then sprinkled milk chocolate shavings onto the rosettes. Chill for about an hour.

Let me tell you,  I was moving like lightning in the kitchen to get dinner AND a dessert made in a little less than an hour!

Blueberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Butter Cream Icing

Doesn't this make you think of spring? I just love the way this cupcake tastes and looks! The recipe for this came from: /
This recipe called for pureed freeze-dried blueberries, which I did not have, so I had to add a little blue and red food coloring gel to the batter for a light purple hue. The cupcake still tastes very much like blueberries with the fresh blueberry puree added to the batter. The icing, same as with the batter, I did not have freeze-dried blueberries so I just made cream cheese butter cream icing and tinted it with blue and red food coloring gel. Next time I make these I will definitely use freeze-dried blueberries, for a more rich, natural color and taste.
For the flower on top, I used white chocolate modeling clay and a dot of pink chocolate.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dreaming about Boothbay Harbor, Maine.....


As soon as my eyes opened this morning, (from a pretty good nights sleep) I went to my window in anticipation of the weather prediction for northeast Ohio last night... 5-8 inches of snow fall overnight. Well, we did get snow but only 3-4 inches. I'm grateful for that! 
I am a Maine freak! I absolutely love, love, love Maine. So, this is what I did this morning...check out the link to Boothbay Harbor web cam to see what the weather is like there. Who does that!!  Last year my daughter and I took a trip to Boothbay Harbor in March. It was the first time that I have went during the wintertime and let me tell you I LOVED it! Everything you see is like a living Thomas Kinkade painting but with snow! 
If you notice the time stamp on this photo, how early in the morning this was taken. My daughter and I were just driving around taking in the sights... when we saw this from afar and had to stop, zoom in my camera and take a picture. On a Wednesday morning, by himself, this older gentleman was ice skating. How serene is that?
My husband asked me last night, "If you could go anywhere in the world, what would be your dream vacation?" I thought about it for a second and said to him, "Maine!"
I think that confirms how I feel about Maine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes with a lemon curd center
cupcake recipe adapted from:
lemon curd recipe from:
Lemon cupcake with lemon curd filling

I made the cupcakes without the limoncello and they're still pretty lemony. The cupcakes taste really good but I'm not sure about the texture. I had the cupcakes in the refrigerator over night so I'm not sure if the cupcake is firm from being refrigerated or it's the cake itself. I originally made the lemon curd from the cupcake site that I listed and in my opinion  the consistency wasn't right. So, I went back to the recipe I usually use from Martha Stewart. Which, of course, always turns out just right. For the icing I used fluffy cream cheese frosting and I topped it with a white chocolate covered maraschino cherry and a white chocolate decoration.
The cupcake looks good but the verdict is out on the taste of this one until I get my family to taste them. Hmmm... I will find out later if it passes!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Swine Creek Reservation

Yesterday it was absolutely beautiful here in this part of Ohio. It was sunny and about 45 degrees. Not bad for January 8th! My husband and I went to Swine Creek Reservation / and to the End of the Commons General Store Since Scott and I first met we have been going to Swine Creek for hikes and then to the general store after wards for snacks at least once or twice a year. My favorite time of the year to go to Swine Creek is in March, when the sap is flowing and the sugar house is in operation making maple syrup. You can actually go into the sugar house, watch the production of the maple syrup and (my favorite part) sample the maple syrup! 
This wooden Amish buggy and horse is in front of End of the Commons General store.

End of the Commons General Store.

This is beside the general store building.

The sugar house at Swine Creek.

Us playing

My husband and I walking the trail that we had walked together when we were teenagers.
We took our daughter Sarah and her boyfriend with us yesterday. We hiked, climbed monster hills, walked the creek and played like we were kids again with our stick swords. It was a great day!

Strawberry & Chocolate Cupcakes

I saw this on  a few days ago and couldn't wait to make these! My husband and I ran around all weekend so today we are staying home and just relaxing. I made these cupcakes this morning just for fun. My family is pretty much baked out (from Christmas) so I'm going to have to find a home for these. Hmmm...maybe I will stop by neighbors with a surprise!
I once again used the chocolate cupcake recipe at . It's a great recipe for chocolate cake. I piped strawberry buttercream on top, dipped it into dark chocolate, topped it with a strawberry fan and heart sprinkles. I think it makes a great Valentine's Day cupcake.
Strawberry Chocolate Cupcake

Monday, January 2, 2012

Living In The Snowbelt!

2011 has been a crazy year for weather around here. It's a new year now and NOW we are getting snow. Yes!!! It looks like the weatherman's prediction is going to be right on too. The snow started falling last night, through the night and through today, ending tomorrow early afternoon. Total amounts to fall during that time frame is supposed to be around 2 feet. So far it looks like we've gotten around 5-6 inches. I have to work today but as soon as I get off of work, get a cup of coffee first, I'm going to grab my camera and take lots of pictures of the snow on my walk this evening. I can't wait!