food isn't any good unless you have some fun!

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes are just perfect when you're looking for a fine-crumbed, delicate-but-not-too-delicate, delicious cake base. The batter comes together beautifully and they bake up into pale-golden beauties. You can ice/frost them however you like, this time I went with vanilla frosting so that my mom could decorate them as a thank-you gift to our realtors- the cupcakes ended up so cute! Let's get on to that recipe and those pictures, eh?

Here's the batter all mixed up

And the tins filled halfway

And the cupcakes all baked up!

Vanilla Cupcakes
-3/4 cup butter
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-2 eggs
-2 egg whites
-2 teaspoons vanilla
-1 3/4 cups flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup milk
Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs, egg whites, and vanilla until uniform. Mix in the dry ingredients and the milk, alternately.
Fill greased or papered cupcake tins half full with batter.
Bake at 350 F for 18 minutes (you can test with a toothpick!)

I didn't take any pictures of the frosting, because it's a pretty ordinary confectioner's sugar frosting. Just cream together 1/2 stick butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and some confectioner's sugar, adding milk/cream and sugar until you get the right consistency.

Here are the cupcakes just frosted...

And here they are all decorated- my mom used the colors of the company and spelled out their name- super cute, no? I heard they were super excited to receive a homemade thank-you gift!

I hope you try this recipe- it's easy and delicious and you can take it in almost any direction- add things in, try different frostings, make as a cake instead of cupcakes- do whatever you like!

Savor it!
love, rue

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Crunchy M&M Cookies

My mother and sister are big fans of crunchy and crispy cookies, whereas I'm more of a chewy kind of gal. So for these cookies, I decided to make them crispy and crunchy to satisfy their heart's content. As an added bonus, I used dark chocolate M&Ms, which my mom loves. These are easy to whip up and are the perfect cookie for all you crunchy people out there, or just for a change of pace. I hope you try them!

Here's the beautiful M&M-flecked dough...

And the cookies ready for the oven...

And the cookies all crispy-crunchy-baked up!

Crunchy M&M Cookies
-1 cup butter
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-2 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 cups flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 1/2 cups M&Ms
-3 cups rice krispies
Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients then the rice krispies and M&Ms.
Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 350 F for 10-11 minutes

Enjoy! These are colorful and delicious and perfect!

Savor it!
love, rue

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

These bars are absolutely delicious! I came across a recipe for a softer sugar cookie and decided to tweak it and give it a shot. However, I was too tired to go through the work of rolling the cookies out, using cookie cutters, etc., so I decided to just press them into the pan and bake it up and frost it all in one, and they turned out fabulous!! These taste just like nice soft sugar cookies with classic icing, and I can pretty much guarantee you'll be hooked- these disappeared in my house very fast!

Here's the dough all mixed up...

And the dough all patted out into the pan.

Here's the cookie bars all baked up so you can see how they should look!

And here's the icing, I decided on blue and added sprinkles on top!

Soft Sugar Cookies
-1 cup butter, softened
-2 cups white sugar
-3 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (I used low-fat)
-5-6 cups flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs, vanilla, and yogurt. Add 5 cups of flour and the other dry ingredients, then add more flour a 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Pat dough into a greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 F (or roll to 1/4 inch thick and cut out and bake for 7-8 minutes).

Classic Confectioner Sugar's Frosting
-1 cup butter, softened
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-4 cups confectioner's sugar
-about 6 tablespoons heavy cream
-food coloring
Cream all ingredients together, adjusting the level of heavy cream for desired consistency, then Frost away! Sprinkles are optional.

Here are the bars all frosted up...

And ready to be eaten- I hope you try this and enjoy!

Savor it!
love, rue

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I came across the idea for this recipe on the internet (as most things!) and was inspired by its use of avocados to make a sort of pesto-cream sauce for the pasta. This is a great summer dish, and is best fresh- it's super simple to make and can be whipped up in the amount of time it takes to boil a pot of pasta- an excellent quality in my opinion.

The avocados, basil, and garlic speak for themselves, but the can't-do-without ingredient is the lemon zest on top- it gives the dish that little kick it needs to put it over the edge. And don't forget to season well with salt and pepper too!

Here are your simple ingredients...

And your super simple sauce that's packed with flavor (and good for you!)

Creamy Avocado Pasta
-1 lb pasta, any kind you like (I used penne, but little shells would work great too, I think)
-2 avocados
-1 lemon, juice and zest
-3 garlic cloves
-1/2 cup fresh basil
-1/4 cup olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
Boil pasta according to package directions. Puree everything else except the lemon zest in your food processor, then pour over the pasta. Top with lemon zest and salt and pepper, and enjoy!

And here's your finished pasta- the lemon zest puts it over the edge!

Savor it!
love, rue

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fat Girl Pie

This recipe came to me via one of my closest friends and my former housemate, the amazing Helena Thompson. Her wonderful mother (hi Mama T!) gave her this recipe when she was in a bit of a time crunch once, and it's been a runaway success with all of our friends since. I now make this pie fairly often, because of its extreme simplicity and deliciousness. It's especially great in the summer because it's a nice cool frozen pie. Let's get on to the recipe and pictures!!

Here are the ingredients- so simple it blows your socks off!

Fat Girl Pie
-1 8oz. container Cool Whip (or similar), can be fat free etc.
-1 can sweetened condensed milk
-1 packet unsweetened lemonade mix
-1 graham cracker crust
Mix the first three ingredients until uniform (or almost, a few pieces of cool whip is nothing to worry about). Pour into the graham cracker crust, and freeze for a few hours. Then enjoy!

Easy, huh? It's fabulous. Let me show you...

Mix the first three ingredients...

And you get this!

Then pour into the crust and freeze- so easy!

Savor this one and major thanks to Helena and Mama T!
love, rue

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stuffed Shells

This is just my kind of recipe- easy to make and absolutely delicious! It whips up so fast, then bakes in the oven to give you some time to relax- with a cocktail perhaps! Whoops, it seems I'm on a rhyming kick!

Anyway, these shells are delicious, and feel free to play around with the recipe as much as you'd like- use different sauce or make your own, play around with the cheeses and the herbs, and you could even add veggies- there are tons of options with this dish!

Here's the sauce I used- obviously not homemade- use your favorite or make your own!

And here's the cheese/herb mixture- try not to just eat it with a spoon- it's delicious!

Here are the shells all stuffed with cheesy-goodness.

And here are the shells covered in sauce and all baked up- try putting cheese on top, or breadcrumbs for a different take!

Stuffed Shells
-25-30 jumbo pasta shells (about 1 lb.)
-15 oz. ricotta cheese
-1 egg
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup grated mozzarella
-1/2 cup herbs, minced (I used basil and parsley)
-Sauce, homemade or not!
Grease a 9x13'' pan and pour in 1/3 of the sauce. If baking immediately, preheat oven to 350 F.
Boil the pasta until al-dente, and don't overdo it or they can rip during stuffing.
Mix up all ingredients except sauce and pasta, this will be your stuffing.
Once pasta has cooled enough to work with it, stuff each shell with the cheese mixture and place on top of the sauce in the pan. Repeat until there isn't any room left in the pan.
Top with the remaining sauce.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes covered with foil, then 15 minutes uncovered.

This recipe works great to make ahead and just bake before dinner!


Savor it!
love, rue

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

I came across a recipe recently that stood out to me for one big reason- it was almost identical to my Grandmother's Peanut Butter Balls recipe, except in bar form- big win! What a good idea- take that delicious dessert and make it quicker and easier to make so you can have it year round- I was quite pleased with the idea! The one difference is that these squares have the addition of graham cracker crumbs to add some more substance to the peanut butter mixture.

So I quickly stepped into the kitchen and whipped these up in a matter of minutes using my trusty microwave- basing the recipe on the peanut butter balls but adding in graham cracker crumbs and they came out delicious! I hope you try these soon...

Here are the simple ingredients...

And the quick-to-mix-up dough!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
-1 1/2 cups butter, divided
-4 cups confectioner's sugar
-2 cups peanut butter
-1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
-1 cup chocolate chips
Melt one cup of the butter in a glass bowl in the microwave. Stir in the sugar, peanut butter, and graham cracker crumbs until mixture is uniform. Pat out into a pan (9'' x 13'' for a full recipe, I made a 1/2 a recipe here). Melt the chocolate chips and remaining butter together, then pour over the peanut butter mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares and enjoying!

Pat the dough out into a pan...

Then pour chocolate on top!

Savor it!
love, rue