Monthly Archives: May 2011

Blueberry Glazed Doughnut Muffins

One of my best friends came to visit me this past Memorial Day weekend so I decided to make him a delicious breakfast!  While I don’t eat doughnuts often, one of my favorites that I usually gravitate towards when I do eat them is a blueberry glazed doughnut.  There’s something about these doughnuts that is amazing… the blueberry flavor or the glaze frosting?  Recently, I saw a recipe for glazed doughnut muffins that looked fabulous, so I knew I had to make Blueberry Glazed Doughnut Muffins.  These muffins came out delicious especially with the addition of the glazed frosting.  I tried to make these muffins a bit more healthy by adding applesauce and whole wheat flour.  Definitely give these muffins a try if you’re having a good friend over for breakfast or if you just feel like eating 15 blueberry glazed doughnut muffins.  Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day!

In other news, I will be traveling for work and am always looking for guest bloggers.  If you’re interested, send me an email at


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pint blueberries, washed

For the Glaze:

  • 3 tbsp butter; melted
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp hot water

1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease 15 muffin tins.
2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, applesauce, and sugars till smooth.
3) Add the eggs and vanilla, beating to combine.
4) In another bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
5) Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.  Gently fold in the blueberries.
6) Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.
7) Bake the muffins for 15 -17 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
8.) In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and water. Whisk until smooth.
9.) When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden.
10.) Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Muffins will keep at room temperature for about a day.

*Makes 15 muffins

Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction



Filed under Baked Goods, Breakfast

Strawberry Spinach Salad & Bowling at the White House

Guess what I did tonight?  I went bowling at the White House!!!  My hubby and I were invited by a friend who is on detail there.  There were about 12 of us that went and it was definitely an amazing experience (a lot more fun than our usual Wii Bowling).  Check out some of my photos.

Bowling was definitely a cool experience… now on to the food!  Since strawberries are in season down here in the DC Metro Area, I decided to make this fresh and healthy Strawberry & Spinach Salad.  This salad is so simple to make and so beautiful as well.  I added a little red onion for extra flavor and some walnuts for crunch.  The vinaigrette I used is really simple; I just whisk olive oil with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper.  It’s simple, but that’s all you need for this flavorful and fresh salad.  Enjoy and have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!!


  • 4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, washed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, halved
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper for seasoning


  1. In a medium-sized serving bowl, lightly toss spinach, onion, walnuts, and strawberries and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper until combined.  Pour dressing over salad and lightly toss until coated.



Filed under Side Dishes, Soup & Salad

Baby Shower Neapolitan Cake

This past weekend, my sister had her 2nd baby shower back home in Syracuse. It was a wonderful weekend and the baby shower was so much fun! The food was delicious and my sister got a lot of really cute baby gifts. For this special occasion, my Mom and I baked my sister a 3-tiered baby shower cake with fondant. I’ve wanted to use fondant for a while now. I took a cake decorating class with my Mom and sister several years ago, but we never moved on to the fondant class.

To my surprise, working with fondant was not as difficult as I had imagined. Working with my Mom was definitely a huge help; she rolled out the fondant while I dirty frosted the cakes. I must say, store-bought fondant was really easy to use and I would highly recommend it for someone who wants to experiment with it for the first time or for someone who likes to bake these cakes every so often. I also found a package of baby shower fondant that came in pastel colors of yellow, blue, pink, and green. This was perfect to decorate the cake with, so I ordered some miniature baby cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the pastel fondant. Not only did the cake come out well, it tasted great too! We made Neapolitan flavors of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla – one for each layer. Here are some things that I learned from working with fondant for the first time:

  • Make a dense cake – I’ve heard of people mixing pound cake mix into their cake batter to make it heavier. Our cake was a bit crooked and we were nervous that it was going to implode. Next time, I will make the cake batter for the bottom layer heavier. Does anyone have any suggestions for this???
  • Don’t open fondant prematurely – My mom and I opened the packages of pastel colored fondant and then were trying to decide the finishing touches of our design. Fondant dries out fairly quickly and will start to crack. We should have had our design set and then opened one package at a time.

My sister loved her cake, and my Mom and I were happy that we finished it in time and that it actually looked pretty cute!!

Have you ever worked with fondant before? I’m definitely new at this, so any tips you have would be helpful!

My mom was at someone else’s baby shower who strung up a clothes line and hung baby onesies all over it. We thought this was so cute, so we decided to do the same for my sister. How cute are these onesies?


Filed under Desserts

Fruit and Nut Muesli

When I was doing graduate school work in Italy three years ago, I lived in a hotel for four weeks.  Normally, living out of a suitcase for that long would drive me crazy especially because it would mean that I couldn’t cook my own meals.  But in Italy, I had a lot of healthy and delicious meal options to choose from.  One of my favorite breakfast options was Fruit and Nut Muesli.  Muesli is so easy to make and so delicious.  Every morning I would mix it with different fresh fruits, nuts, and yogurt.  It’s not only delicious, but it’s filling as well.  Definitely give this recipe a try!


  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-2 medium apple, finely diced
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced
  • 1 cup sliced almonds


  1. Mix oats, milk, and vanilla extract in a large bowl.  Let it stand 5 minutes to soften oats.
  2. Whisk orange juice and honey in medium bowl.  Stir in apples, strawberries, and almonds.
  3. Stir fruit mixture into oat mixture, cover, and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


Filed under Breakfast

Rosemary and Potato Chip Chicken Tenders

A couple of weeks ago, Shawnda from Confections of  a Foodie Bride was having a giveaway for Jennifer Chandler’s Simply Suppers cookbook and guess what… I won!  I was so happy to win this cookbook because who wouldn’t love more delicious recipes that are easy to make and are perfect for a weeknight meal?!  This cookbook has loads of beautiful dishes that are simple and require few ingredients.  I love recipes like that especially for weeknight meals.  The first recipe I tried was for the Rosemary & Potato Chip Chicken Tenders.  These tenders came out tasting fantastic and were extremely easy.  To make the recipe a bit more healthy, I baked my tenders instead of frying them and I used low-salt potato chips instead of the full-on salted ones.  I added some fresh rosemary as well since I love the rosemary-and-potato combo.  I accompanied them with some sweet potato fries.  They came out tasting great – definitely give this recipe a try!


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 bag (11 oz) potato chips, crushed
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Place the flour in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Place the beaten eggs in another small bowl.  Leave the crushed potato chips in the bag.
  3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season each side with salt and pepper.  Dredge both sides of a tenderloin in the flour, shaking off the excess.  Dip the tenderloin into the egg wash and allow the excess to drip off.  Dredge the tenderloin into the crushed potato chip bag, coating both sides.  Place the tenderloin on the baking sheet and repeat this step until all tenderloins are coated with potato chips.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Serve with honey mustard, BBQ sauce, or my hubby’s favorite, ranch dressing.

*Adapted from Jennifer Chandler’s Simply Suppers


Filed under Main Course

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Hi guys!  For my Rhubarb Upside Down Cake recipe, check out my guest post at the Daring Kitchen Food Talk!!!


Filed under Baked Goods, Desserts

Toasted Coconut Cake

This past weekend, my sister-in-law graduated from college (yay!), so my hubby’s family was down here for the festivities.  My brother-in-law’s birthday is next week, so I decided to bake a Toasted Coconut Cake for him and my sister-in-law to enjoy.  I used organic, unsweetened coconut that my Aunt had given me.  I toasted the coconut which not only brings out the flavor, but also gives the cake a beautiful golden color.  I made three cakes and layered frosting in between.  This cake is awesome and definitely will make some tummies very happy.  Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Enjoy 🙂

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp cake flour
  • 12 ounces or 3 cups of sifted cake flour
  •  2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted


  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted


  1. To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 350 and lightly coat 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.  Dust pans with 1 tablespoon flour.
  2. On a baking sheet, spread out unsweetened coconut and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, 7-10 minutes.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Place 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 1/2 minutes or until well blended.  Note: I used a hand-held mixer since I wanted to use my stand mixer to beat the egg whites.
  5. Add flour mixture and coconut milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in vanilla and coconut.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 6 egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat).
  7. Carefully fold egg whites into batter and pour batter equally into prepared pans. Bake for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks and then remove from pans to cool completely on wire racks.

Frosting Directions:

  1. To prepare frosting, combine 4 egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of stand mixer and beat at high speed until foamy.  Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 250°.
  3. With mixer on low speed, pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites.  Gradually increase speed to high and beat 8 minutes or until thick and cool.  Stir in vanilla.
  4. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate and spread with 1 cup frosting.  Top with another cake layer.  Repeat procedure with 1 cup frosting and remaining cake layer, ending with cake layer on top.  Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.  Gently press shaved coconut onto top and sides of cake.  Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

*Adapted from Cooking Light


Filed under Desserts

Balsamic Portobello Burgers

I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms.  I actually like them raw with some sort of dip better than I like them cooked, except of course for Portobello mushrooms.  Portobellos are amazing in my opinion!  I saw them at the store and decided to make some Balsamic Portobello Burgers.  These burgers were fantastic and so hearty and healthy.  My hubby loved them and said that he didn’t even miss the meat.  This is good news for me since I try to cook as healthy as possible which means using ground turkey instead of ground beef, but now I’ll be using Portobellos more.  Portobellos are a wonderful substitute for ground turkey or beef because they are so hearty and healthy.  You truly forget that you’re eating a gigantic mushroom rather than a big slab of beef.  I grilled these guys on my grill pan, but obviously using a good old charcoal grill would make these mushrooms taste even better.  I had some poppy seed buns that I served them on along with a side of sweet potato fries.  This is the perfect meal to get your grill on and enjoy this beautiful weather!

 Do you enjoy Portobello mushrooms?  Do you think they’re a good substitute for meat? 

Also, stop by Steph’s Bite By Bite this Friday, May 13th for her Online Bake Sale! Steph is raising money to help in the fight against Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkin’s Disease, and Myeloma. A lot of great bloggers are donating their baked goods to help Steph support this wonderful cause. I’m donating my Peanut Butter Banana Bread, so be sure to stop by and bid on some baked goodies!


  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper for seasoning
  • 4 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 4 slices of Mozzarella cheese
  • 4 round rolls (I used poppy seed
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Several pieces of lettuce


  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill or preheat a stovetop grill pan.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Brush both sides of the mushrooms with the oil mixture.
  3. Place the mushrooms, stem side up, on the grill and cook until nicely grill-marked, about 4 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and cook until tender, about 4 minutes more.
  4. 1 minute before Portobellos are done, place cheese slices on top and cook until melted.
  5. Place burger on bun and top with lettuce and slice of tomato.


Filed under Main Course

Baby Shower

This is the first time that I’ve officially mentioned on my blog that my older sister is having a baby!!! It’s our family’s first baby, so everyone is extremely excited for this little bundle of joy to arrive. My sister is doing extremely well and she looks fabulous – she’s 29 weeks pregnant in this photo, but you could never tell she’s that far along!!

This shower is actually #1 of 2 baby showers that my Mom and I are throwing for her. This first one was thrown at her house down here in NOVA for her friends in the area. The second one will be at a restaurant up in Syracuse for our family and family friends. Since this was the smaller shower of the two, my Mom and I still went to work with designing the perfect brunch menu that my sister would love. I baked several goodies including my Strawberry Banana Muffins, Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread, and these guys: Chocolate Chip Toffee Muffins. They were super delicious. I actually baked them a week before the shower and froze them. Then I left them out at room temperature the day before; they defrosted beautifully and tasted amazing! I was actually worried about freezing muffins because I’d never done it before and was scared that you would get some of that nasty freezer-burn taste. None of that here though 🙂

In addtion to the breads and baked goods, we made my Mom’s infamous Sausage & Egg Casserole. My Mom has been making this egg dish for Christmas brunch every year for as long as I can remember. But she only makes it for Christmas brunch and since my sis loves it, we decided to break with tradition and make it. Instead of making the casserole in a 13×9 inch pan, we made individual muffin cups of the casserole. They came out really cute and the muffin-sized portions were easier to serve to the lovely ladies. We also made some tasty homefries to go along with the egg and sausage dish. For drinks, I made Strawberry Agua Fresca via Jenna of Eat, Live, Run. This drink is fabulous! It’s so easy to make, but tastes so refreshing and healthy. We left them non-alcoholic, but adding some Prosecco would make this drink even better.

Last, my Mom made her Baby Pacifier Candies. This is another treat that my Mom has made for numerous baby showers. They’re so easy to make, but make such cute treats for each of the ladies to take home. They’re made out of a peppermint patty, a jelly bean, and a mint and chocolate holds them all together. Super cute right?

We had such a great time throwing my sister this baby shower! She (and baby) got some wonderful gifts as well. We were also happy that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were able to attend as well. Stay tuned for details about the baby shower coming up in Syracuse; my Mom and I have some more creative treats in store!

Have you ever thrown a baby shower or attended one? What cute/unique treats have you seen before?

Also, stop by Steph’s Bite By Bite this Friday, May 13th for her Online Bake Sale! Steph is raising money to help in the fight against Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkin’s Disease, and Myeloma. A lot of great bloggers are donating their baked goods to help Steph support this wonderful cause. I’m donating my Peanut Butter Banana Bread, so be sure to stop by and bid on some baked goodies!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Muffins


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toffee bits


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease 24 mini muffin tins with cooking spray or paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the butter mix. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips and toffee chips with a spatula until distributed evenly.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, fill each muffin cup level with the rim.
  6. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.
  8. Serve at room temperature or freeze for future use.


Filed under Appetizers, Baked Goods, Bread, Breakfast, Desserts

Queso Fundido & Top 10 Restaurants

My hubby loves tortilla chips and queso dip – it is definitely his go-to snack of choice.  This past weekend, I decided to greet him at the door with some homemade Queso Fundido based on Rick Bayless’ recipe.  Many of you have probably heard of Rick Bayless before; he has been dubbed the godfather of authentic Mexican cuisine.  One of his restaurants, Frontera Grill, is located in Chicago, IL and is definitely one of the restaurants that I want to eat at before I die.  Yes, I have a long list of restaurants from around the world that I would absolutely love to dine at.  When I mean dine, I mean spend 3 hours eating the 5-course tasting menu with wine pairings (i.e. the works).  I can dream right?  Here’s my top 10 list in alphabetical order.  I have so many more restaurants I could’ve added, but here are the big papas!
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium tomato—cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tbsp tequila
  • 8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Warm corn tortillas or corn chips, for serving


  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the diced tomato, minced jalapeño, diced onion and a large pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour in the tequila and cook, stirring frequently, until the skillet looks nearly dry, about 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low. Add the cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until fully melted, about 30 seconds.
  4. Quickly transfer the queso fundido to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately, with tortillas or chips.

*Adapted from Rick Bayless


Filed under Appetizers