Monday, November 21, 2011

Halloween Mummy Cupcakes

I know this post is a little late, so I apologize profusely for that. I guess I was pretty busy right around Halloween and never got a chance to write about these cupcakes! I also made these the day before Halloween, so there was little chance of me posting before the holiday was over. Better late than never, right?

Margaret found the idea for these adorable cupcakes on Skinny Taste and shared them with me. Of course, I used my own recipes for the chocolate cupcakes and vanilla frosting, but the inspiration came from this blog. I made these to bring to work on Halloween to celebrate the holiday and my co-worker Amanda's last day before maternity leave. After I made these, I realized just how perfect this Halloween treat was for the occassion. Amanda LOVES Halloween (it's her favorite holiday) and she is about to be a mummy cupcakes were perfect! I was cracking up all day when I told people this! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Classic Banana Bread

Growing up, we only had one recipe for banana bread. It comes from the Good Housekeeping cookbook and it is phenomenal. Last December, I shared this recipe with all of you (you can read it right here). This year, I have a new recipe to share with you. My sister Erin found it from Cooking Light and likes it much more than our old recipe. I had to give it a shot because there is no harm in having a healthier version of something you love…especially a breakfast food. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Erin's Pumpkin Bars

Hello friends! Continuing the pumpkin kick that captures everyone’s attention in the fall, I bring you a classic family recipe. These are my sister Erin’s incredibly delicious Pumpkin Bars. They are the first treat I made for my new job, and they were definitely a hit. My coworkers loved them and I even had someone ask me when I was going to make them again. That always makes me feel great about my baking‼
I love the spiciness of the pumpkin cake paired with the creamy, sweetness of the cream cheese frosting. It is just a beautiful combination. Pumpkin and cream cheese goes so well together—oh gosh, have you ever had pumpkin cream cheese??? Divine‼

Friday, November 11, 2011

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

This blog post is coming out of order--but it's a really quick one! I made the Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie again this year, and I wanted to share it with all of you once more!

Here's the thing...if you read the blog around this time last year, you would know that I made a lot of pies (4 total) for Thanksgiving. One of them was this decadent treat. :) Now, since the recipe is already posted, I'm not going to give it out again. However, I thought it was important to tell you all about this year's pie making adventure because I actually remembered the milk chocolate layer! Last year I forgot about it, so it was really only a Double Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

As September came to a close, I felt the urge to bake all things pumpkin. The baking was easy enough, but blogging about it is so time-consuming! And then I started a new job where I sit at a desk with a computer all day, so I never want to come home and write.

Side note: WHOA. Hold the phone. I haven’t posted since September, so some of you might not know what’s been happening in my life. Long story short, I got into a car accident that totaled my car—it wasn’t my fault and I’m okay, but my little Nissan Sentra didn’t fare so well. Then my mentor and favorite professor from Saint Mary’s passed away so very suddenly. I went home for the services, which were wonderful and really helped me gain closure. The trip home was also good because it allowed me to lease a new car with the help of my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad, I love the Hyundai! :) Anyway, upon my return to San Diego, I got the call with a job offer! I started applying and interviewing for this position around the last time I blogged. And now I am a Student Advisor at California College San Diego. Woo hoo employment! I love my new job, my coworkers, and my paycheck! :)  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels

Up close and personal with sea salt. :)
Apparently I’m on a salted caramel kick this week. I came across this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker this week, but it was Foodie Bride who did it first. So, when I went to make them myself, I went to the original source. I was really nervous about making caramels, but I decided I owed it to the world to try since my Salted Caramel Brownies were so successful! :)

What really made want to try out this recipe were the vanilla beans. I’m sure that a normal kitchen does not have a stash of vanilla bean pods lying around, but that’s what makes me unique. Erin gave me vanilla beans last year for Christmas and it took me 9 months to find a recipe that was worthy of cracking them open! I think that you’ll agree this was a good one to start with. Erin had told me that when I use them, I need to make sure that the vanilla beans get to shine and be the star of the show. What that really means is that I probably shouldn’t waste them on something with chocolate.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies
Last week I had a wonderful birthday lunch in La Jolla with my friend Sapna. Sapna and I went to high school together, but we don’t get to see each other as often as either of us would like anymore. She was living in San Diego for college and med school, but is spending this year in NYC to do some research. Lucky for me, she’s in town for a week for a wedding and a conference and I get to hang out with her! She took me to Prepkitchen in La Jolla for lunch and wouldn’t let me pay on account that we were celebrating my birthday. Being the amazing person that she is, Sapna insisted on dessert and ordered the Salted Caramel Brownie. Oh. My. God. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever had. I can still taste the warm, fudgy brownie, the ooey gooey caramel, and the crunchy pecans. How amazing does that sound?? 

Anyway, a few days later I came down with strep throat and was lying miserably in bed (this was before I ended up in the hospital…long story). I decided that I needed something to cheer me up, so I started researching salted caramel brownies. Nothing fit the bill like the one from Prepkitchen. On a whim, I searched for the Prepkitchen recipe and FOUND it‼ By the grace of God, someone asked the San Diego Union-Tribune to coax the recipe out of Prepkitchen for these decadent brownies and the UT was successful.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mom's Fudge Brownies

There are some recipes that should not be tampered with. You know, in that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” sort of way. I believe that my Mom’s Fudge Brownies are just the sort. They are perfect in almost every way: that perfect combination of fudge and cake, dense and moist, delicious in every bite. That’s why I always, always have the ingredients to make these brownies on hand. You never know when you are going to need to whip up a perfect dessert.

Baking these brownies is easy and familiar, and reminds me of baking in parents’ kitchen back home. I remember making them as a kid for family gatherings, birthdays, and just because. I love them best when they are served warm with vanilla ice cream á la mode. Seriously, it’s the best. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

In honor of the 4th of July, I decided to make an All-American dessert. I could have made something festive with red and blue, like a fruit tart or this cherry cheesecake from Cooking Light that my sister shared with me, but I decided to go with something about little more simple and classic. Okay, realistically I didn’t want to leave the house today and there are only a few things I can make in a moments notice. So, I decided to make Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Now, I usually use the Tollhouse® recipe found on the back of the bag of chocolate chips. But today I wanted to venture outside my comfort zone and use someone else’s recipe. I really just did a simple search for “best chocolate chip cookie” and this amazing recipe came up as the third link on Yahoo! This helped me discover a brand new baking blog and opened me up to a quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. What makes a cookie perfect? Honestly, I don’t know. As long as a cookie isn’t over cooked and brunt, can you really go wrong? No, I don’t think you can. :) I’ve had some pretty amazing chocolate chip cookies in my life, so I’m determined to share as many of those recipes as I can get my hands on.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
Have I mentioned that I have a summer job? Well, I do. I'm working as an Executive Assistant for a social media marketing company in North Park. It's delightful because 1) I work with my friends, 2) I can walk to work, and 3) it's part-time. The best is probably #3 because I have free time to move to a new apartment, apply to jobs, and BAKE! I can imagine that all of you are most excited about the third one as well. :) My summer goal is post once a week, so let's see if I can do it!

After our staff meeting on Monday morning, I realized that these next few weeks are going to be really busy at work for my coworkers, so I have even more of a reason to bake. Baked goods make everything and everyone better, right? Right. So get ready for a lot more baking than these past few months have seen. :)

So, these delicious Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies are yet another Brown Eyed Baker creation that I discovered. I found them in May and couldn't wait to get to the kitchen to whip some up for myself. As any regular reader of this blog knows, I adore any combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Well, these brownies come a delicious, fudgy, dense brownie with an even more incredible, creamy, sweet peanut butter swirl. I love brownies, peanut butter, and anything with a marbled, swirly topping.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Club Med Pasta Salad

A few weeks ago, I discovered this delicious pasta salad at Vons. When I bought it, it didn’t have a name or even a price, but the guy at the deli counter let me buy it anyway. I was apparently the first person to ever try this pasta salad at this store, and it was incredible. I brought it home for dinner with Pam and Chris. We devoured it. I realized that it couldn’t be too difficult to recreate, so a week or two later, I tried it myself. Amazing‼

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

When I think of cake, I think of a true classic: buttery, yellow cake with a rich, chocolate frosting. It’s the epitome of birthday cake. Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, and Betty Crocker all know what I’m talking about, which is why you can find a million different box mixes in the grocery store to make such a cake. But what about those of us who want to make it on our own? Well, it’s tough because the boxes are just so easy, come out perfectly every time, and require no guesswork. But where’s the fun in that for a girl who loves to bake? Right, there is none. So, I am officially embarking on a quest for the perfect yellow cake recipe (as I already have a perfect chocolate frosting).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mexican Mocha Brownies

My Mexican Mocha Brownies <3
First of all, allow me to apologize for the delay in posts. I had no idea how busy the end of the school year would be! It didn't stop me from baking and cooking, but it did keep me from blogging. So my next couple of entries will be things I didn't have time to write about in the past few weeks. I apologize to all of my readers, especially those who are "reading for two" like my sister Erin! It is my goal this summer to bake and blog like crazy to make up for a slow spring!! So without further ado...a post for you!

A good Mexican Mocha is one of my favorite coffee drinks, mostly because it’s delicious but also because I have great memories of sharing them with my best friends. My first Mexican Mocha experience was in Cuernavaca, Mexico with my best friend Kelly. She was studying abroad for the spring of our sophomore year and I remember hearing all about these delicious blended coffee drinks that she was having all the time in Cuernavaca. I went to spend a long weekend with her during Lent and had given up chocolate and coffee that year…which was one of my worst ideas ever! Anyway, down there in Mexico with my best friend, I couldn’t resist this tasty treat. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Toffee Bars

If it weren’t for Facebook, most of the people who read my blog wouldn’t even know it exists. It would be living a sad little life with no followers, no readers, and no love. But, because of Facebook, my website has a life! It has readers! It gets love from all of you! Since Facebook plays such an important role in this website, I decided to share a little something my mom wrote on there, advertising my blog:

Need some happy time? A place where butter and sugar are not a sin and you will not only learn something, perhaps your rest-of-life favorite dessert, but you will enjoy the experience even if you never crack an egg. Miss Buttercup is not only an incredibly wonderful baker; she is also quite witty, with an easy reading style.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Update: Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake
Last night I went over to Sean and Jen's house for dinner. Jen's sister Amy is in town from Michigan with her husband Matt and adorable sons Luke and Gabe. I met the boys last year for the first time, and was fortunate to experience the youngest, Gabe, eat his first cake at just 1 year old. Naturally, I so excited to give him cake again this year.

Since I was baking for a purpose and knew my cousins love chocolate cake, I decided to stick with what I knew would be delicious. I stuck with the same Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake I made in January, but I made a two notable additions to it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Oatmeal Scotties…aka Breakfast Cookies!

Oatmeal Scotties...aka Breakfast Cookies! :)
I’ve been so excited for Spring Break. I get a week off, a chance to sleep in, to cook dinner, go out on a weekday, to stay up past 10pm…in short, it’s amazing. And if the weather would just clear up a bit, it would be even more spectacular!

Since April 1st was the last day before Spring Break, I decided to bring some cookies to work. How else were we expected to make it through what was sure to be the longest day of work ever?? The answer: with baked goods, always. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

I admit that this entry is long overdue. My sisters are going through BBB withdrawal, or so they tell me on Facebook. I know I haven’t posted since the beginning of the month. I also haven’t been baking. There were no birthdays for work and I was sick (baking while sick is frowned upon in my book). And let’s be real here: March has been a roller coaster month, hasn’t it? You know that saying, “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Well, I think it’s been true for more than just the weather this month. I am certainly glad that March is almost over because it means Spring Break is in sight! Just a few more days, then I finally get a break…a chance to live the life of leisure that I’d grown so accustomed to when I started this blog.

Last week was just one of those weeks, the kind that pushes almost over the edge. Recognizing that, I was out of the office on Thursday before 3:00pm. It was an absolute miracle given that I had stayed for 11 and 12 hours the past two days. I left work telling people that if I didn’t leave then, I was going to start hating my job. Okay, so I exaggerate, but I really needed some “me” time. And as you all know, that means I wanted to bake in peace. I wanted to bake for no other reason than because I had a recipe I was dying to try from Brown Eyed Baker. And here it is: Chocolate Dipped Macaroons.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mint Brownies

Birthdays are synonymous with cake, but I think I’ve overdone it on cake recently, as noted by the last two posts about cakes. So when we had another birthday in the office, I knew I had to come up with something different to bake. I LOVE brownies and believe that my Mom’s fudge brownies are the best in the world. I think I’ve mentioned them before they are the infamous “Breakfast Brownies” that some of my SMC Gaels know very well. If you know me or read this blog at all, you know that I also love chocolate and mint together. Bringing those two loves together, I have come up with this recipe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This delicious carrot cake was made for my principal’s 50th birthday. Yup, I had the privilege of baking the cake for a very important person’s milestone birthday. Talk about pressure! As per usual, I discovered the recipe on Brown Eyed Baker around Thanksgiving. Her cake fell apart and she made it into a trifle, which impressed me beyond belief. Prior to that, Erin made a carrot cake for Dan (my brother-in-law) back in October, but she said she wasn’t impressed with the recipe. So, when I offered to bake this birthday cake, I knew it had to be perfect. If successful, this would be a recipe I would use for a long time to come.

Monday, February 21, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

My first German Chocolate Cake!
Back in September, I made my first German Chocolate Cake. It was the second cake I’d ever made from scratch and it was a serious process. At the time, I didn’t have this baking blog, but I did post pictures of my “Baking Adventures” on Facebook. Actually, posting all of those pictures prompted the creation of this blog/website. Anyway, I made my first German Chocolate Cake since my cousin Shannon loves it and it was right around her birthday. But this cake joins the blog today because I made it for my friend Chanel’s birthday at the beginning of February. It’s a great birthday cake because there is so much time and love that goes into making it. :) Okay, that’s cheesy, but it really is true!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Peanut Butter Cup Bars
This blog is long overdue, but it’s such a delicious recipe that it is worth the wait. I’ve had writer’s block for a few weeks. Okay, it could also just be exhaustion and lack of desire to sit in front of a computer any longer.

As most of you probably know, I started working full time as a middle school counselor on January 31st. Hooray for me! I absolutely love my job and all of the people I have the privilege of working with. The downside to my amazing job is that it became available to me because the head counselor at this school moved to LA with her husband. Now this woman, S, is an incredible counselor. In the days and weeks I got to work with her prior to her departure, I was awestruck. S has this way of making everyone feel valued and important, and she never loses sight of the “big picture.” I really learned a lot from her and was just as sad as anyone else at the school to see her go. So it has been a very bittersweet transition into this new job.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

Allow me to introduce my sous chefs: Miss Molly and Miss Caitlin. :)
Warning: this is probably going to be the most adorable post ever.

Back in January, we had a joint birthday and going away party for my cousins Molly and Caitlin and my uncle Sean. Molly just turned 5, Caitlin will be 7 soon, and Sean is heading out on deployment soon. Naturally, I volunteered to make the cake for the occasion. I babysat the girls on Saturday night and got their help to make this extra special cake. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Megan's Pesto

My sweet little basil plant!
When I was in graduate school, I was OBSESSED with pesto. I mean, seriously obsessed. I had two basil plants in my room because it was more cost-effective than buying basil every time I wanted it…which was often. Anyway, I love pesto so much that when my friend and former boss Matt returned from Florence recently, he brought back some authentic Italian pesto. I can’t wait to try it!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Crazy Nut Bread

Crazy Nut Bread!
I need to give a huge shout-out to my older sister Erin. I think I’ve officially decided that she is my editor. (I have my own website; I think I’m entitled to an editor.) Anyway, Erin is the first person I call when I have an idea about something I want to make and need help finding a jumping off point. She tastefully points out any spelling errors that I may have and calls me with comments, rather than posting them because she doesn’t want anything to sound overly critical. Just today, she asked me to text her when I post so she can be the first to read it. Obviously, she loves me and this blog, so why not give her title, right?

So when I needed a name for this recipe, who did I ask? Yup, Erin.

It started out as Orange Craisin Walnut Loaves. Very descriptive, very literal—you know exactly what you are eating with that name. But Erin is clever one…and came up with a few other suggestions/tag lines for this dish (some of which may be in poor taste…haha…poor taste.) Here they are:
  • Mental Illness Bread…because Orange=strange, Craisin=crazy, Walnuts=nuts. Strange, crazy, and nuts…I think you get the idea.
  • California Bread…because it’s the land of fruits and nuts.
  • Orange You Glad I Didn’t Use Lemon…because the recipe I adapted it from had lemon.
  • One Loaf Over the Cuckoo’s Nest…again because of the whole crazy thing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies

First of all, I want to share how excited I am to be writing my first post of 2011 AND my first post at this web address. A big thank you to my parents for giving me this domain name—what an amazing Christmas present! And thank you to Josh, my friend Vanessa’s boyfriend, for letting me know that I could redirect my original blog to this web address. It’s all so very exciting. I can tell that 2011 is going to be an incredible year and I’m so excited to share it with all of you! My goal for this blog is post on some regular basis (that is still to be determined) and to create some of my own recipes. I think that’s pretty good for this year. :)

Now, back to the cookies…Once upon a time, someone made mint chocolate morsels. I think it was Hershey’s, but maybe it was Nestlé. But it really doesn’t matter because I can’t find them in any stores. Luckily, we wrote down this recipe from the back of the package and it will be forever saved in our family recipe books, and now on my website. I adore these cookies. Some of my former USD coworkers think that these are the best things I make. Seriously, what’s not to love? Chocolate and mint is another one of those almost unbeatable combinations for me. It rivals chocolate and peanut butter and that is really saying something.

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