Friday, August 6, 2010

The Past, The Present and Future of my Hairstyle(s)

Pardon me while I blog about non-food/cupcake related stuff for a hot minute :) After reading Ali's and Vicki's evolution of hair, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and looked through myspace/flickr/facebook pictures. Let's start with my teen years, before I had full control of what I can and can't do to my own hair.

1996 was the year I got out of the convent after living there for about 2 years. Prior to living there my mother didn't really let me grow my hair out but since she wasn't around to tell me what to do, I let it grow out. The year 2000 my hair was cut super short due to my mother's bright idea of perming my hair. I will not be posting a picture of that but you can see how short I had to cut it to get rid of the perm. It's ok though since I joined the U.S. Navy right after I graduated high school.

1996: God I was so skinny!

Right before I moved to the U.S.

Senior Portrait

We're going to skip a few years since from 2001 till 2004 my life, to include my hair was just not very...pleasant or really that note worthy. So let's jump onto 2005 shall we?

This was the height of my "party days" and I decided to be bold and go pink! It also glowed in the blacklight ;)

2006: I went from the bright pink streaks to light golden/copper color and then to red. Red is the hardest color to maintain!

Light Golden/Copper

Red streaks!

2007: My hair kinda changed color from dark to light. By this time I was hooked on layers...for some reason I just can't grow my hair out past my this day I'm still trying.

2008: I had my wonderful son that year. Which also meant I didn't have very much time or money to spend on a new hairstyle. I started working 4 months after I had my son. (around October)

2009-2010: This is the year I moved to where I live now. Tampa Bay area (to keep it simple) and have met my wonderful hairstylist (and friend) I feel like I haven't varied much haircut wise but I have played around with color some. I'm hoping to try and grow my hair out again but I just get so impatient. My hair is fine but I have a lot of it, it also doesn't like to stay curly and I don't particularly like "poofy" hair or a whole lot of "body" as others might call it. For summer 2010 I wanted to do pink again...this time a lil less streaky. It's faded out now though and I'm not sure what I'm going to do next...any ideas?

The End! Well, for now. Give me another month or two for a new style or color :D

Can a cupcake be sexy?

Some of you might know that this year I celebrated my birthday with my toddler. Our birthdays are only a week apart and since the venue where I wanted to have his birthday party at was only available on my birthday weekend...well I'm sure you see where I'm going. Anyway, my birthday weekend was full of baking craziness! I had to bake a batch of cupcakes for my son's birthday, my friend, Lauren's engagement party (which was later that same day of the party) and of course MY birthday cupcakes. I wanted to make something special for me...although, I wasn't too sure what. It kinda just happened. (that's what he said! lol) I honestly, don't remember how my thought process happen upon this concoction. I was as per usual using Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" chocolate cake and next thing i know i was on a quest for something... and Chocolate Caramel Seduction was born! The name just happened like today. It was nameless, and had been since it's creation back in may. I re-made these cuppies for a friend of mine's going away shindig and there was a collective "OMG" "goddamn" response on how awesome it was. I also made another batch for my classmates in my last portfolio review class. Honestly, out of all the cupcakes I've made, this is by far my favorite out of all of them. I'm sure you want the recipe right???

here it goes!

Chocolate Caramel Seduction

for the cake: I used Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" chocolate cake or you can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe. I used dark cocoa powder on mine (it's my favorite :)) I would also recommend not over filling your cups so you can easily drench it with the tres leches and it not spill over.

Tres Leches
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 can condensed milk
1 cup evaporated milk

*mix together in a bowl. set aside in the fridge till cupcakes are cool.

*After your cupcakes are cool poke holes on em. You can either use a kebab stick or a fork or even a small knife. Just poke a whole bunch of holes all over the top of it so that it can soak up the tres leches.

*after the poking ;) brush the tres leches over the cakes. Repeat this till your cake is soaking in milk (but not falling apart)it should feel a little heavier than normal. refrigerate it if you're not gonna frost it right away and eat it since it has milk.

Chocolate Ganache
1 package of Ghirardelli Bitter-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

*on a double-broiler (in my case a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water) pour chocolate chips and cream and stir till melted and mixed well. If it's too grainy/thick, add more cream 1 Tbsp. at a time. It should be in a creamy, spreadable consistency.

*let it stand for about 5 minutes. Then spread over the tops of your tres leches soaked cupcakes.

Caramel Drizzle
1 cup sugar (just regular white granulated sugar)
6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

**Before you start making the caramel make sure you have all the ingredients! You don't want to burn your sugar trying to scramble to get your ingredients.**

*Use a heavy, non-stick pan. on high heat pour the sugar on the pan stirring constantly till it melts and looks like molten glass. when sugar is completely melted lower the heat to medium and add the butter. It will bubble a lot so make sure you use a big enough pan as to avoid spillage. Stir and make sure it's mixed together.

*Count to 5. then take it off the heat and slowly add the cream while stirring. The caramel will be runny but it will thicken as it cools.

*Put caramel in another bowl and let cool. You want this to be cool before drizzling over your cupcakes or it will melt the frosting.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

**Depends on if you want vanilla or coffee flavored frosting, substitution is easy :)**

1 1/4 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
1 1/2 tsp. of Vanilla
1 Tbsp.instant coffee mixed in 1 1/2 tsp of hot water

*On a double boiler: place sugar and egg whites. mixed till sugar is melted about 7-10 minutes.

*pour sugar mixture onto your mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk on high till it's cool but not forming stiff peaks.

*switch to paddle attachement. Add butter 2 Tbsp. at a time mixing it well on low/medium speed.Mixture will be runny. When you've added all the butter, start mixing on high till the frosting starts to make that slapping sound. Scrape sides and add vanilla or coffee.

*Pipe frosting over your ganached cuppies and then drizzle with however much caramel you want. ENJOY!!!

Chocolate Caramel Seduction

Here are some folks enjoying said cupcake :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cake Pops and Truffles: yummy and pretty

Hello Dear Readers of mine :) Are you guys still out there? **is this thing on?** As I have mentioned in previous posts, I will have a few guest bloggers since my schedule (aka life) is a bit ridiculous and I figured that I can call onto my fellow bloggers/fabulous girl friends to help me. I'd say boy friends but guy has really volunteered, if you're out there dude, just shoot me an email and you can guest doesn't even have to be food related it can be anything "pretty" and that I believe is a broad enough topic...amirite?

You might ask who my guest blogger is today, well, her name is Sarah :) She's fabulous and I love her. I first met her thru twitter via her announcing that she has books to give away, for FREE! She even paid for the postage! So after a few days I received my awesome books (yes i said books, there were 4 or 5 I believe) and from there on out our virtual friendship began. Honestly, if she didn't live on the opposite side of the country I would love to be hanging out with her, but alas CA is kinda far from FL :( Let me just say that I have tasted her cake balls (hehehehe i said balls :P) She sent me some samples and it was DEE-LISH! No, really it was pretty freaking awesome. You can follow her tweets @sarahntastic and check out her blog She's quite sassy and I'm sure you will enjoy tweeting with her and reading her rants and raves just as much as I do. Okay, I'm going to shut-up now and let you read on and enjoy! (Thanks again, Sarah!)


Just like @colorMEcupck, I am a cupcake lover. I make them, I eat them, I review them, and sometimes I sell them. In looking for more fun things to create, I came across this Bakerella post, and clicked through to these step-by-step instructions for cake balls.

Overall the process is mostly easy, but extremely time consuming, especially if you're me and accept a first order of 100 pops! Instead of reviewing the process I've already linked to, I will list tips that make your cake pops easier to complete.

1. The texture and moisture should be more dry than you might think initially. Remember you will be expecting the cake to hold a stick as well as hold up to chocolate and candy coating dipping. I found that too much frosting means the cake is too wet and will not allow the stick to stay stuck! **always refrigerate pops after you make the balls, and again after you insert the sticks. They must be chilled in order to hold up to dipping!

2. The size of the ball should be fairly small, like a jacks bouncy ball, NOT a golf ball. Remember, again, you will be dipping these, so the size will increase, but you also need to keep the stick in place while you are dipping in hot candy.

3. I found it easiest to refrigerate for 5 minutes then put the tray in the freezer for 10 minutes, then back to refrigerator for final chilling before wrapping or serving.

4. Don't worry about tiny candy swirls, holes, or messiness. You can easily add drizzles and sprinkles to cover this, plus this makes them all the more pretty.

5. You will need sheet pans, waxed paper, sticks, and although some may say this is a waste, I absolutely need my Wilton chocolate/candy melts warmer. I purchased mine at Michael's using the weekly 40% off coupon, so it was fairly inexpensive. Microwaving burns real chocolate, which is expensive and not worth the waste.

6. Candy melts are much easier to use when melted than chocolate, but some recipes just taste better with real chocolate, like my chocolate raspberry cake pop!

7. Use box cakes and add-in flavor. Don't waste your flour, sugar, butter on these. The flavor of the cake isn't the primary thing here, it's the entire package, so a cake mix with tasty flavored frosting and add-ins like nuts, extracts, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, mint chips (my grasshopper was a huge hit), dried fruit is a better way to spend your money.

8. While these are time consuming, they are a huge hit. Remember one batch of cake makes dozens. Divide the batter and make several flavors. People love them.

Here are pics of my process & my favorite final cake pops!

Balls are formed, sticks inserted, dipping has begun!

This is a must have tool for me! Wilton melting pot.

Dipped, ready to refrigerate before drizzling!

Chilled after dipping, ready for decorating!

Drizzling is super easy! use a spoon or spatula & flick it over the dipped pops!

Contrasting drizzles!

Purple candy melts for easter, almonds for fun (marzipan cake)

Grasshoppers! Chocolate cake with mint chips, mint extract, chocolate dipped

Inexpensive cello bags from the Target $1 bins!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Monkey taste, monkey eat!

Before I say (type) anything else, let me apologize for not having a picture of the recipe I am about to post. It was eaten too quickly and I just got side-tracked that I forgot to take a picture. It will be remade again soon as I have some over-riped bananas again so don't fret :)

I know I haven't posted cupcake stuff but hang with me ok? This delicious "bread" can be paired with coffee or as dessert or your entire meal. I promise I won't judge. We all have had over-ripened bananas and it's so wasteful to just throw em out. This is a good alternative to that...or you can just buy bananas and purposely forget to eat it till it gets all black, that's fine too!

I'm a bit short on time so I won't say too much of an intro. The original recipe I adapted can be found here.

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread

* 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used a cup of dark chocolate chips instead)
* 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped (I used 1 cup of chopped walnuts; spread it out in a pan. toast in a pre-heated oven 350 degrees for about 7 mins)
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used 2 teaspoons)


Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl until blended. Combine chocolate chips and toasted walnuts in a small bowl; toss with 1 tablespoon flour.

Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture on low speed until blended. Spoon about one-third of the batter into buttered and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of chocolate chip-walnut mixture. Spoon another one-third of batter over the chocolate chip mixture. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chip-walnut mixture. Cover with remaining banana bread batter. Run knife through batter in zig-zag pattern.

Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan; turn out onto rack to cool completely.

Makes one 9x5x3-inch loaf of banana bread with chocolate chips and walnuts.

***Note before you start baking***

When you mix the chocolate chips and walnuts with the flour, I also tossed in about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. You don't have to do it if you don't like cinnamon but I love cinnamon and I think it gives the bread just a little bit of extra yum factor :) Happy Baking!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chocolate/Peanut Butter Birthday Spectacular!

**Hello Fabulous readers of this here blog :) As previously tweeted, I said that I will have some guest bloggers since my schedule as a single-mom, student, worker etc. has been quite demanding as of late. So, instead of just being silent and absent, I've decided to call to arms other bloggers who are equally (if not more) fabulous than me and love cupcakes, food and pretty lil things just like me!

Crowning Victoria is a friend of mine (by proxy to one of my RL (real life) friend, Alicia)
She's a wedding blogger and quite the electric slide dancer (if I may so add) Without further ado, I present, Crowning Victoria!


I am thrilled to be guest blogging for color*ME*cupcake for numerous reasons, namely cupcakes.
I really don't do recipes on my blog, and that's just 'cuz I hate upkeep (the same reason I don't do highlights).  This opportunity to share one of my rare cupcake successes (some might argue "fail") highlights my MONTH, never-mind week.
Shameless plug: Visit my wedding planning/ego boosting blog called Crowning Victoria.

In the recent past I baked an awesome batch of chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter centers for my fiancee's birthday.  It should be noted that on my list of most disliked flavor combos is PB and Choc.  I just CAN NOT do it.  The sweet and salty overwhelms me, which is what draws in most people.  My fiancee is most people; he loves anything with peanut butter and chocolate.

So naturally I made Good Housekeeping's recipe for Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cupcakes, because I honestly do trust anything with the Good Housekeeping seal of approval (even choc-PB things).   It just seems right.
One of the reasons I heart this recipe is because the ingredients are simple.  There was no need to run out and purchase last minute items to make it all happen.  However, it's not the timeliest recipe, so if you're not in-it-to-win-it, then start earlier so you can win it.
But here's my downfall when it comes to baking: attention to detail.  I sorta flake on that, a lot, especially if I'm drinking wine.  One would think I might put the bottle aside, but baking and wino-ing are just inseparable in my mind.  Just don't add baking powder instead of baking soda.  Pay attention, now.

Filling and Cupcakes:
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 10 tablespoon (1 1/4 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 (more or less) standard muffin-pan cups with paper liners.

Make the Filling: Mix confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until blended. This is hard without a Kitchen-Aide or fancypants blender.  Be patient, it will come together with a hand-held electric blender.
The recipe calls for 24 balls created by "heaping teaspoons."  I call shenanigans.
Dampen your hands first (or lightly apply olive oil to reduce stickiness).  Take quarter to nickle sized dollops into your hands and make something spherical.
Place balls on greased aluminum foil or a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; set aside IN FRIDGE. 

1.  The recipe calls for combining flour, cocoa, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt on waxed paper. Shenanigans. Put 'em in a bowl, it works just fine.
2.  In a GIANT (2-cup) liquid measuring cup, mix sour cream, milk, and remaining vanilla; set aside (don't loose it)
3.  In large bowl, beat granulated sugar and remaining 8 tablespoons butter just until blended (heart attack, maybe). 
4.  After a good mixin' add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well (like a naughty child) after each addition. 
5.  Beat 1 to 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy (unlike a naughty child)
6.  Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until ingredients are combined, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. 
However, I just mixed the bejesus out of everything.  

Getting Jiggy With It:

1.  Spoon 1 (to 1 1/2) heaping measuring tablespoon batter into each muffin-pan cup.  SERIOUSLY, you want more on the bottom so the PB balls in the middle don't dry out.

2.  Drop 1 peanut butter ball of yumminess in center of each cup and top with another mound of batter. 

3.  The recipe calls to bake cupcakes 25 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean.  Mine were done in 20 minutes flat.

Immediately remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack

For Butter Frosting: 
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter (no substitutions), softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (or more, as needed) milk
 When cupcakes are cool, prepare Butter Frosting: In large bowl, with mixer on medium-low speed, beat confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons milk until smooth and blended. Beat in additional milk as needed for easy spreading consistency. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until light and fluffy, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. Makes 1 1/2 cups frosting. Spread frosting on cupcakes. 
(I used store bought frosting because I was in-it-to-kind-of-win-it)


(Like I said, attention to detail when baking is NOT my forte, and yet a necessity when baking.  That is why only 2 cupcakes are frosted and decorated!)

Thanks this guest post, chica!
Don't forget to visit my non-cupcakes blog!

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Love is Pretty

    Don't have a conniption! I am totally making two (TWO) post in one week! Don't get too spoiled either ;) This entry has nothing to do with food or accesories or clothes or shoes. It has a lot to do with love and I think love is pretty. Yea, I'm a sap. I cry at movies (and books) that's just the kind of woman I am and I'm ok with that.

    Yesterday, despite how crazy my schedule is this week I managed to squeeze in an engagement photoshoot with my ex co-worker turned awesome bff, Lauren and her equally awesome fiance, Bryant. They actually got engaged a few months back and I told her then that I wanted to do a photoshoot with a gift :) Schedules and life makes it hard to just get up and do a photoshoot and I was glad we finally got to do it yesterday. I had originally wanted to do it at Florida Botanical Gardens but the couples' schedule and mine wouldn't make it before they closed. We decided to do it at their house first (which didn't work well as there were too many shadows)but then we headed out over to Howard Beach Park to get some sunset-y pictures...WIN! Despite that it was windy, and the light was ever changing, I've to say I captured some pretty nice moments. I've never been the "director" kind of photographer. I like to capture candid moments...real moments *not* moments made to look real. I would like to think that I was able to capture the love that was emanating from Lauren & Bryant. I would love to one day have that kind of love. The future husband and wife loved the pictures (and so does their family) and that's what matters :)

    Here are some of my favorite shots:

    P.S.If you want to see the rest of the Fleck-Haney Engagement Photos go here.

    P.P.S. I forgot to mention that Lauren asked me this week to be one of her bridesmaids :D Of course, I said yes!

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    I swear I'm not dead...yet!

    Hello? Is there anyone still out there? I know I have been MIA and I do apologize. I've had this freakin awesome ideas for blog entries but life keeps interrupting my blogging! There are a lot of things going on this weekend. First of all it's my 28th birthday (if anyone wants to buy me gift(s) feel free! ;)) Second, we're celebrating my son's 2nd (yes, SECOND as in 2!) birthday on my birthday, May 30th. Third, later that afternoon is one of my good friend's engagement party! I am booked solid this weekend and not to mention schoolwork that needs to be done.

    This lil guy is turning 2!!! I know I can't believe it either!

    I am planning on making a mini beach themed cake for Jordan (my son) and letting the kids decorate their own cupcakes. I'm also making grown-up cupcakes for me and my adult guest and another batch (or 2 or 3) of engagement cupcakes for my friend, Lauren. Super stoked but it's a helluva lot of work! I promise to post pictures when I get em done...and a recipe or 2 :)

    Sooo..what do I have for you guys today, you might ask? Well...since you guys have been so patient, i sposed I could give you a little cupcake ;) Last April, I had a house-warming party and it wouldn't be a party without cupcakes! The date of this party also fell on my friend, Derrick's birthday so I asked him what kind of cupcakes he would like. He said LEMON! Mind you, I'm a chocolate girl through and through so a lemon-y cake is not something I would've chosen but hey, I aim to please ;) Then the search began... 1 Google, 2 Google, 3 Google CLICK!

    I found Brown-Eyed Baker's Lemon Limoncello Cupcakes Her pictures made my mouth water! I didn't have the time to make my own limoncello and I wasn't about to spend money that I didn't really have to make some limoncello so I used lemon-flavored vodka mixed with corn syrup and a some lemon extract for extra lemon-y flavor.

    Lemon-Limoncello Cupcakes

    Yield: 1 dozen

    For the cupcakes:
    1½ cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 cup granulated sugar
    3 large eggs
    2 tablespoons limoncello
    ½ cup buttermilk
    ¼ cup lemon juice
    Zest of one lemon

    For the lemon curd:
    Zest of 2 lemons
    ½ cup lemon juice
    ¼ cup granulated sugar
    1 egg + 1 egg yolk

    For the cream cheese limoncello frosting:
    2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 tablespoon limoncello
    2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

    1. Prepare the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat an additional minute. On low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.

    2. Prepare the lemon curd. In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Whisk the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.

    3. Prepare the cream cheese limoncello frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.

    4. Assemble the cupcakes. Cut a hole into each cupcake with the large end of a melon baller or the back end of a large pastry tip. Fill each cavity with the lemon curd. Fill a pastry bag with a star tip (I used Wilton 1M) with the cream cheese limoncello frosting and pipe onto each cupcake. Decorate with lemon and berries, if desired.

    ***I double this recipe and got 2 dozen. Don't forget to double the custard recipe too. I used the cone method in filling the cupcakes. Cut a cone shape through the center of the cupcake and chop of the point part, fill with filling then top the hole with the round part of the cone (sans points) I did use a raspberry to decorate it but then I used melted (then hardened) sugar drizzle.

    How do you make sugar drizzle
    Put a cup of granulated sugar it non-stick pan on medium/low heat. Stir till sugar melts and turn to caramel. Be careful to not burn the sugar, it will not taste good! Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When sugar is all melted (work quickly) get a spoon and scoop some caramelized sugar and drizzle onto parchment paper. Be creative!

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    That's a good pig! (pork)

    It's a bit late so this post may be a bit incoherent or whatever but I feel bad that I haven't really posted much of anything in a good while so I figured I could sacrifice precious sleep time to post this. Life has a way of getting in the way of things that I'd rather be doing, like blogging and cooking and baking and stuff, but I can't complain too much. My life has some suckage at times but I am blessed.

    You're probably wondering what this post will be about, well it's gonna be about pork! Oink, oink, snort, snort. Unfortunately, it's not about bacon but we will get there eventually. I promise.

    This recipe is pretty easy. Simple, delicious, easy, and healthy. I had some pork chops in my fridge that had been giving me a guilt trip and was just nagging me to make something good and not the usual way I make pork chops. I also got recently introduced to Quinoa which is a yummy, whole-grain that is a lot like my beloved rice only better for you. My plan was: cook pork and have quinoa as a side and make it healthy and delicious! Easy enough. After a little bit of internet research and a couple of polls as to what pork recipe to follow I picked Rosemary Pork Chop Skillet with Quinoa. Let me just say that making this recipe with all the fresh herbs made my house smell utterly delectable. If I could eat the air whilst I was cooking this I probably would have. I really do love the smell of fresh herbs. If you've never cooked with it before well this recipe is the perfect time to start (and I would never lie to you!) I found the recipe here. I always rinse the meat and pat it dry with a paper towel or clean dish towel before I season it. I rubbed it with sea salt and pepper and I recommend that if time permits and you can season the pork and just let it sit for at least an hour or so in the fridge to marinate some. Here's the recipe:

    Rosemary Pork Chop Skillet


    * 1 pound boneless pork sirloin chops, cut 1/2 inch thick (I had 4 decent size 1/2" thick pork chops)
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt (The S&P doesn't have to be exact, eyeball it to suit your taste, I did!)
    * 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    * 1 tablespoon olive oil
    * 2 cups peeled and cubed (1 inch) winter squash, such as butternut, banana, spaghetti, and/or acorn squash (I used butternut squash and I used a little over 2 cups cuz I love em!)
    * 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
    * 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary (again doesn't have to be exact)
    * 1/4 cup chicken broth (I doubled the broth and orange juice because I wanted to be able to drizzle some in my quinoa)
    * 1/4 cup orange juice (note above)
    * 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
    * 1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage


    1. Trim fat from pork. Sprinkle chops with the salt and pepper. In a 12-inch skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown chops about 4 minutes, turning once. Combine squash, onion, and rosemary; spoon squash mixture over chops. Pour broth and orange juice over squash mixture and chops. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

    2. Add zucchini and sage. Cook, covered, about 5 minutes more or until chops are done (160 degrees F). Using a slotted spoon, transfer chops and vegetables to a serving platter. Cover; keep warm.

    3. Bring reserved juices in skillet to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Spoon over chops and vegetables.

    ** I didn't have a big enough skillet to do this all in so what I did is cook the pork chops in my grilling skillet then transferred it over to a heated pan and finished cooking it in there.

    As for the quinoa. You can purchase this at your local supermarket (ie. Publix) or if you can't find it there they will have it at a health food store. Cook it according to package directions and when its done add about 1 Tbsp. of chopped basil per 1 cup of uncooked quinoa. The basil is not mandatory but it just gives it that extra notch of goodness.

    To serve this dish, I placed some quinoa on a plate then topped it with the pork chop, drizzled with some of the broth and surrounded it by beautiful, colorful, mouth-watering vegetables. Enjoy! (I sure did!)

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Turn "pretty" to hott!

    Heeeyyyy! How you doin??? I apologize for falling off the face of the earth, this thing called life kept getting in the way! I do have a new recipes I need to share with you but this post will not be it. I know, I know but hey, "pretty lil things" covers a broad subject area so deal with it ok?

    Moving on. I've made a few friends via twitter and even though I haven't met a lot (all) of them in person due to geographical differences, I am still glad to have "met" them. One of them being @sarahntastic She has sent me books and other baked yummy goodies and I totally love her for it! She also has her own blog and I highly recommend it. Anyway, via said blog I found out about this amazing product called Yummie Tummie.

    Yummie Tummie. What is it? Why do you (if you're a female that is) NEED this thing? Let me explain. Upon reading this in Sarah's blog I was intrigued. I mean really, shape wear that is comfortable, pretty and not some kind of torture device??? It can't be! So I did my research. I went to the website, I perused and read and contemplated...then I ebay-ed because I am not about to pay retail and then end up with crap since it's not exactly the cheapest. (that's how my brain works :P) Well a few days later I received my very own Yummie Tummie shape wear tanktop. IT. IS. FABULOUS! Granted I could have gotten a size smaller (I think) since I'm kind of an in between size right now but I really do love this thing. The material is soft, comfortable and wearable as a layering tank top. I will be getting some more at some point in the near future and build up on my wardrobe staples...yes, this product is a wardrobe staple!

    Some of you may know that I have a toddler, if not well now you do ;) I didn't gain much when I was pregnant but I was all belly, so my stomach was stretched beyond normal proportions and it's not like how it was pre-pregnancy. Although, I have lost all of my "baby weight" I still have a "pooch" the baby pooch which is really quite annoying and unfortunately for me I am not a celebrity with a dedicated plastic surgeon to do some nip and tuck on my problem area nor do I have a trainer and can train for 8 hours a day and get those amazing abs that they flaunt all the effin time! I have some other shape wear products that I have purchased before to go under certain dresses but they are not comfortable nor are they really meant to be seen by anyone else but the wearer but Yummie Tummie is totally different. I can't tell you how fairly amazed I am about this thing and if I could afford it I would buy more because I need these! You may ask well..."I've never had a kid so I don't need this" you are WRONG! If you have any kind of shape wear like Spanx, well you will want this and you will probably chuck your old one out. If you don't believe what I'm saying then I highly recommend that you locate a store near you and try one on. If you don't love it then you can come back here and tell me I'm wrong...which I know I'm not, just sayin' ;) Well, what are you waiting for? Go and try some on!

    unfortunately, I can't take my own before and after pictures but here it is one of their's.

    ok so I took a picture with my phone of me wearing it today. No "before" picture because my self-esteem is *not* that high lol

    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    Savor your Cheese and Herb Muffins

    MUFFINS!!! Most breakfast muffins are loaded with sugar and all sorts of deliciousness that really isn't all that good for your first meal of the day. But who really wants or thinks about being healthy first thing in the morning? I know I don't (and don't even lie!) You may "think" about eating something healthy but in the end whatever is easiest (and looks more appetizing) is what gets eaten.

    In my quest for a muffin that is not your usual run of the mill muffin, I found a recipe for these savory Cheese and Herb Muffins from Healthy Cooking For Your Kids cookbook that I got on sale at Barnes & Noble for a wonderful sale price of $6.98 (I love great bargains!) This book has some great pictures that accompany the recipes and most of them are pretty easy and really not just for kids. The muffins, contain no sugar and I actually added a drizzle of honey on each cooked muffins to give it just a hint of sweet (cuz dammit I need some kind of sweet in the morning) My 20 month old toddler gobbled it up no problem and so did my co-workers. Seriously, this cheese and herb muffins (no, not that kind of herb) are mighty tasty. I recommend baking this at night and letting it sit till the morning to give the honey some time to permeate the muffins. Ok so onto the recipe!

    Cheese & Herb Muffins (this is my edited version of the recipe)


    1 salad package of baby spinach (or 2 1/8 cups)
    5 1/2 Tbsp of butter
    1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (or more if you want :))
    1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, chive or tarragon. I used tarragon)
    3/4 cup all purpose flour
    3/4 cup whole wheat flour
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    pinch of salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 large egg
    1 cup buttermilk


    • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Line muffin tin. (You can either use a regular size or mini size muffin tins. I used 24 count mini muffin tins and 6 regular size ones. The decision is up to you!)

    • Put spinach in a colander and pour boiling water on it to wilt them. Let cool, then squeeze all the liquid out till spinach is very dry. (I did this using paper towels or you can be all environmentally friendly and use a kitchen towel, just wring it out) Mince.

    • Melt butter in a small pan on low heat (do NOT burn the butter!) then let cool. Mix the herbs, flours, baking soda, salt and baking powder together in a bowl, then stir in spinach. (You will *not* be using a mixer in this recipe. A spatula is all you need)

    • Whisk the melted butter with the egg and buttermilk in a pitcher, pour into the dry ingredients. Stir briefly to combine. Do *not* over mix - the batter should still be a little lumpy.

    • Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake for 10-12 minutes.

    • Once out of the oven, poke tops of muffins with fork several times then drizzle with honey. (amount is again, up to you) leave overnight. Re-heat it in the micro for about 5-10 seconds before eating if you want to serve it warm.

    Voila! Breakfast is served!

    Cheese & Herb Muffins

    Friday, January 22, 2010

    Picture Me This

    Who loved reading picture books growing up? I did! My imagination was always pretty vivid but hey, it's nice to see some pretty pictures and illustrations. Pictures are even better on cookbooks better yet baking cookbooks. Why you may ask? Well, if you're a self-taught baker like myself, you've learned what you know now by following recipes, google and numerous food/baking blogs out there that share their passion with everyone and are usually pretty helpful but sometimes that's not enough.

    When I first got into baking, I was pretty intimidated. I've always just used a box mix of whatever and the only thing I've tried to make from scratch are brownies and nobody can really eff up a brownie. (Okay maybe you can burn it but I never did so :P) So, my first try at baking something from scratch was cupcakes then sweet breads and then breads. The one thing I haven't really tried to make are pastries, such as a "frou frou" pastry like danish or the "I need people to eat this" pie. As much as I love to bake, I can't exactly eat everything that I make so there in lies my problem. But I digress.

    Last week whilst looking for a silicone wire whisk at Beall's Outlet (which they were out of sadly :() I decided to peruse the book section. You can always find cheap books/cookbooks at this store (also Ross) Low and behold I found this pretty lil baking cookbook!


    I haven't actually made anything from this cookbook yet but let me tell ya, I paid $7.99 for this wonderful book and it retails on for way more than I paid for. This cookbook is pretty amazing! The photographs are fantastic and really helps a novice baker like me who can't exactly afford to pay the big bucks to go to culinary school. For a self-taught baker like myself, sometimes you see terms or descriptions that you're not exactly sure what it's supposed to look like or even what it means! Google is always helpful but you can't always be next to your computers or laptops. This book is great for those occasions :) The recipes are simple and seemingly delicious (I was drooling a bit looking at the pictures in this book) and every step has a picture to guide you. How awesome is that? Pretty freakin awesome!

    Watch out for some deliciousness that will be gracing this blog because this cookbook. If like myself, you like (love) to collect all sorts of cookbooks I highly recommend perusing your discount stores (even thrift stores) for some great and cheap finds. You never know what you may find

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Bears like Salmon. I guess I'm a bear?

    I know that you know that eating fish is good for you. But let's be honest here, there are only so many ways you can cook a fish and majority of us don't exactly like the fishy smell afterward. (get your mind out of the gutter's not there? ok well, then maybe it's just me in the gutter :P)

    As I've said in the previous post, I'm on a fish kick at the moment, in my attempts to eat healthy and all that jazz. Mainly, so I can eat more cupcakes and stuff without feeling so guilty. This salmon is delicious! It's a little bit sweet and tangy and just the right amount of kick (if you add the crushed red peppers that is) It's packed with flavor yet super simple, quick and easy to make. The marinade can also be used for chicken or tofu, it's very much an Asian flavor (to me anyway without all the grease and MSG that comes from ordering take-out Chinese) So, without further ado, I present you with Honey Lemon Soy marinated Salmon!

    Honey Lemon Soy marinated Salmon

    Here's the recipe:


    Salmon (skinned. I used about 1lb)
    1 Tbsp honey
    1 Tbsp roasted garlic oil or canola/vegetable oil
    2 tsp lemon juice
    1/4 cup of soy sauce
    2 tsp minced garlic (or more if you want it extra garlic-y)
    1/2 - 1 tsp salt and pepper
    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional but just to add a little kick)


    • Rub salt on Salmon. Place on a deep dish plate or tray.
    • In a small bowl, combine honey, oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, salt & pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well and pour over fish making sure that it coats every spot.
    • Marinate for at least 30 minutes. The longer (a few hours to over night) the better.
    • Heat up a non-stick pan drizzle some garlic oil or whatever oil you may have handy. Make sure pan and oil is hot enough before putting the fish in.
    • Cook each side of the fish about 4-5 minutes. Longer depending on how thick the cut of fish you have.

    I served (ate) this with jasmine rice and broccoli slaw sauteed in garlic oil, salt & pepper to taste.

    You can serve this with whatever you feel like. I'm Asian and I love to eat rice with everything...really everything. I love chocolate rice porridge (champorado) but I digress that's for another time and another post.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Gimme S'more Of That!

    So, I am cheating a little bit on this post. This is an old post from my old lj (livejournal) just edited.

    My go-to chocolate cake recipe is always Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" chocolate cake it's moist, chocolate-y and yummy! Usually I substitute the cocoa powder with dark cocoa powder and it's Deeh Vine! You can use whatever chocolate cake or even graham cake recipe you want but this is what I used. It yields about 24-32 cupcakes

    These bad boys have a graham crust bottom. What kind of s'more will it be without graham crackers?!

    Graham Cracker Crust
    2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
    1/2 cup Melted Butter

    • Mix butter and Graham Cracker crust till the graham crackers soaked-up the butter.

    • Scoop a spoonful of the crust into each cupcake wrapper and press down with either a spoon or the bottom of a shot glass. Once all the cupcake liners have graham crusts, pour in batter filling 2/3 up. Don't over fill!

    • Crush some graham cracker (not the crumbs) and sprinkle on top. Bake cake as directed in recipe.

    Marshmallow Frosting
    1 1/4 cup sugar
    4 egg whites
    1-2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

    • Combine sugar and egg whites over double broiler, whisk constantly till sugar is melted (160 degrees)

    • Pour on mixer with whisk attachment, whisk on medium high till u reach stiff peaks. adding vanilla a teaspoon at a time.

    • Pipe over cooled cupcakes. Then "roast" the marshmallow frosting and add a piece of Hershey's chocolate as garnish.

    One of the things I love about making this cupcake is the fact that I get to break out my culinary torch! It's the best part of this whole thing! (I think so anyways lol)

    *If you have left over marshmallow frosting, you can pipe it into a baking pan lined with parchment paper, bake at 350 degrees till brown and cracking. Yummy meringue!

    Psuedo Smores

    Psuedo Smores

    Psuedo Smores

    Impromptu Dinner Get Together

    Last week I got a DM (direct message) from @LoveMyPhilly asking for my e-mail because they have a "special opportunity" for some of their followers, so of course I said sure! Soon after I responded I got an email, it contained a recipe that they would like me to try and review and in exchange they told me that I they would send me a paperback cookbook as well as coupons. (Which I already received :)) I'm a sucker for new recipes and what a great excuse to have some friends over! I had two of my girl friends who lived close by come over for dinner a couple of days later to help me critique the recipe and of course have some girl talk. Let me tell you girl talk is always fabulous when it's accompanied by good food and wine :)

    As I was making the main dish which was Creamy Tomato-Basil Pasta with Chicken I served some Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus mind you this appetizer is super easy to make and is always a hit whenever I've made it. Besides, who doesn't like bacon? Everybody loves bacon! Well...except for maybe vegetarians but I bet you they loved bacon too before they decided to not eat Babe anymore ;)

    Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

    Fresh Asparagus (amount is up to you depending on how many people you're having)
    Maple Bacon
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Sea (or rock) Salt & Pepper

    •pre-heat oven to broil.
    •cut the asparagus so you have about 3-4" left from the tips
    •put asparagus in mixing bowl and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Make sure every spear is coated.
    •take 3-4 pieces (depending on size)of asparagus spears and wrap it in bacon. repeat till all asparagus are gone
    •place bacon-wrapped asparagus in a roasting/broiling tray and broil for 10-15 mins. Ovens vary so check at about 10 mins and see how the bacon is cooking, once its golden take it out and let cool then transfer to a serving plate.

    *You can use whatever kind of bacon you like. I use maple bacon because the maple flavor in the bacon gives the entire thing a nice variety in taste.

    Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

    Ok, now let's move on to the main star of this entry! This is the recipe that Philly emailed me.

    Creamy Tomato-Basil Pasta with Chicken

    Prep: 30 minutes
    Makes: 4 servings

    3 cups penne pasta, uncooked (I used whole wheat penne pasta for a healthy alternative)
    ¼ cup KRAFT sun-dried tomato dressing, divided (you can find this in the salad dressing aisle)
    4 small boneless skinless Chicken Breasts
    1 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
    ½ tsp. each garlic powder & black pepper
    4 oz (1/2 package) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed (which is 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese)
    2 cups grape tomatoes
    ½ cup KRAFT shredded parmesan cheese
    8 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

    •Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken, cover. Cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done (165ยบ F). Remove chicken from skillet, cover to keep warm. Carefully wipe out skillet with paper towel.

    •Add remaining dressing, broth, and seasonings to skillet; cook 3 to 4 min. or until heated through. Add Neufchatel; cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until Neufchatel is melted. Stir in tomatoes, cook 3 min.

    •Drain pasta. Add to ingredients in skillet with Parmesan and basil, mix well. Serve topped with chicken.

    *This dish was pretty easy to make. Although, I would recommend marinating the chicken in the sun-dried tomato dressing over night or at least for a few hours so that it can really soak up the flavor. I did as directed and the chicken was alright but it could have been more flavorful had I marinated it. Next time I make this dish again I would also use sun-dried tomatoes as opposed to grape tomatoes, again for additional flavor/taste. Overall, the dish was tasty and hearty. Even someone who isn't all too familiar in the kitchen can surely make this dish :)

    Creamy Tomato-Basil Pasta with Chicken

    Thank you to @LoveMyPhilly for giving me the opportunity to try this recipe and also for my goodies! That was very awesome of you (and swift too!)

    A cupcake entry will be following this post. I promise! Really, I do!

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Here Fishy, fishy!

    I love cupcakes, really love em but as much as I wish I could live off of just cupcakes alone (though some of you would probably disagree with my statement lol)I can't. Before going live with this blog I had told a few friends about it and that I would be sharing recipes too. I was cooking way before I was baking and I love doing both almost equally.

    So, back to the topic. Fish.

    Fish...pretty lil things, what's the connection? I was recently having a conversation with my neighbor, Arnie (who is a local personal trainer) in regards to eating healthy. Most people think that eating healthy equals having to eat bland tasting, boring looking foods. I beg to differ! We talked about fish and it inspired me to make something and prove the cynics wrong. Mind you, I haven't really cooked fish in a while just because I don't like the smell but when I made this dish my apartment did NOT smell like fish, it smelled delicious!

    I found the recipe here. I altered it a bit though (like I usually do with all recipes I find)

    6 5-ounce po striped bass, halibut or any flaky white fish ( I used about 1/2 lb. of cod that I cut into 4 pieces)

    6 1/4-inch-t peeled fresh ginger (I just eyeballed the peeled ginger and put the biggest fish on the thickest/biggest fish)

    1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger i love ginger so I used just a little bit more.

    1/4 cup chopped garlic

    1/4 cup sesame seeds

    2 tablespoon grapeseed oil, or canola oil

    2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

    1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

    2-3 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

    *my addition*
    1 Tbsp of Honey
    1/2 Tbsp of sugar

    Step 1
    To prepare fish: Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a pot large enough to hold a two-tier bamboo steamer. (If you don’t have a steamer, improvise by setting mugs upside down in a large pot and resting a large heatproof plate on top.) Put a heatproof plate in each of the steamer baskets. Place 3 portions of fish on each plate with a slice of fresh ginger on top. Stack the baskets, cover and set over the boiling water. Steam the fish for 7 minutes per inch of thickness.

    Step 2
    To prepare sauce: Meanwhile, combine minced ginger, garlic and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Heat grapeseed (or canola) oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger mixture and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add sesame oil; allow the mixture to get hot. Add soy sauce (be careful, it will splatter a bit) and sugar and honey and cook for 1 minute more or till sugar is dissolved.

    Step 3
    Transfer the fish to a deep platter. Discard the ginger slices. Pour the sauce over the fish and garnish with scallions.

    Voila! Easy Peasy! I'm sure that you would want something else to go with this simple but oh so flavorful dish, am I right? I served mine with some jasmine rice (brown rice would be ok too but I love the flavor and smell of jasmine rice and it really accentuates the flavors of the fish) and steamed stir-fry vegetables seasoned with just a dash of salt and pepper.

    The "pretty" part is in the presentation :) Go ahead and dig in!

    Post Holidaze

    I know that the holidays are over but I can't resist posting my holiday themed cuppy creation. The inspiration came about whilst I was drinking some delicious coffee with amaretto flavored creamer and a splash of chambord. If you've never tried chambord on your coffee, you have no idea what you're missing! Seriously, it's delicious. (I wouldn't lie to you... not always ;))

    I scoured the interwebz to find a chocolate chambord cake recipe. I found one, I read it and had a bad feeling about it but I tried it was a FAIL of epic proportions! So I did some major tweaking, the cake tasted better but I had craters instead of cupcakes. What do I mean by craters? The batter spread out and was sunken in the middle hence craters. But HEY it tasted better! I jsut had to adjust the baking soda/powder proportions and baking temperature. Finally, third time is a charm :) and my Chocolate Chambord Cupcakes was a reality! I topped this tasty, moist chocolate-y-chambord-y cake with an Amaretto Chambord Swiss meringue butter cream, a mini candy cane and a sprinkling of Christmas colored sugar crystals for a dash of pretty.

    May I present Chocolate Chambord Cupcakes!

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Happy New Year!

    Hello :) I figured I'd post a real quick hi before I edit some pictures that would be making it's way out here shortly.

    I wanted to start this blog so I can share my love for cupcakes, baking and cooking, shoes and other pretty lil things. I'm always either making or trying new recipes and my guinea pig is my son, Jordan who is just a few months shy of 2 years old.

    With that said, I will be back later and will be posting a cupcake recipe as well as a dinner recipe.