Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Peach Cobbler Bundt Cake

A peach for my peach.

I'm officially 13 weeks pregnant and the baby is the size of a peach! To celebrate this milestone and the last week of my first trimester, I concocted not one but two iterations of a peach cobbler bundt cake. Still don't have it quite right- the cake is nice but the filling is missing that essential cobbler gooey-ness.

Exhibit A:

Cobbler cake with peach pie filling in the middle. This was a great combination and ooey-gooey, but a logistical nightmare. Suffice it to say, there was peach filling everywhere when I removed this from the pan. This poor fool landed in the trash after serving up a nice Saturday breakfast. The ooze would not have kept well.

Exhibit B:

Structurally, this was a winner. Using diced, jarred peaches kept the cake from collapse, but this was minus any gooey quality at all. *tear* And the parts with the peach are a bit soggy. I'm still eating this one- it's light and tasty, just not quite cobbler-y enough.

I think the winning combination would be this cake batter with a pumped up peach jam swirled into it. More flavor and just the right amount of goo.

Wonder what size the baby is going to be next week....perhaps another fruit cobbler cake will make it's appearance! After all, I've got to keep my strength up- I'm growing a person.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not so sloppy joes

I should start with a bit of an update. There's been a lot less crying around the Cupcakes household than I thought there would be.

Reason being...we didn't end up moving. Our house didn't sell and ultimately we're pretty happy about that. The other place was a steal and a great location, but it would have been more expensive and WAY less convenient.

We officially closed the book on this grand adventure on Friday and I've been celebrating by pulling all my crap out and making the house look I live in it again! Books stacked everywhere- check. Piles of mail- check. Dirty dishes in sink- check. Socks on the floor- check.

Ah- sweet relief. Keep this joint "company ready" 24/7 really blew.

And I just bought a new vacuum- a Hoover Sprint Quick Vac. Why I didn't buy this when I needed to keep the house super clean I don't know. Probably the same reason I let all the flowers we bought to "pretty" up the place die. My heart wasn't in it.

Now that I'm done tidying like June Cleaver, I have more time to blog. Hooray!

Enter- not so sloppy joes.

They're not so sloppy because I served them open faced. Feel free to get your hands dirty by putting those pieces o' toast together. Those beans will ooze all over you.

Exhibit A- sloppy.

Not So Sloppy Joes- vegetarian style

1 tbsp olive oil
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
28 oz. can of baked beans
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 squirts ketchup- roughly 2 tbsp
salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of bread per person, toasted
Cheddar cheese, for topping

Heat up the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the bell pepper and onion and saute until just starting to brown- 5-8 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp of salt to get those juice flowing. Add the garlic and stir well. Don't let the garlic burn. I'm serious, don't!

Add the chili powder and cumin to the pepper and onion mixture. Stir to combine. Dump in the baked beans and stir to combine and get all the good brown bits off the bottom. Add the mustard- stir extra well. You don't want to get a big bite of that- it will clear your sinuses. Squirt in the ketchup. Bring to a bubble and let cook about 2 minutes. Then reduce heat to low. Salt and pepper to taste. I probably added about 1/2-3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper.

Toast your bread. Arrange on a plate. Scoop on the sloppy joe and top with cheddar.

This whole meal came together in about 20 minutes- not too shabby for cafeteria food. As to whether these really taste like their Manwich counterparts, it's hard to say, although I think they're a close cousin. The husband never ate sloppy joes as a child and thus has only had my vegetarian renditions.

You be the judge!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crunch this

These pink converse took Nick and me to the Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, MA. It was a beautiful, warm Fall day, just ripe for apple picking.

The orchard came complete with a Sinatra-wannabe belting out old school karaoke classics. *love*

Goat tree house.

Candy apples and cider donuts are serious business.

Ladders = awesome/dangerous.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Salty sweet

It's been a wild week in the Cupcake household. We prepped for the "storm of the century" by:
  • buying 4 gallons of water
  • taking down the porch swing
  • baking two loaves of the best bread ever
  • doing laundry at 8 am today, in case the power went out
God help me if I'm ever in a real emergency. Perhaps I can barter some bread for a chainsaw and some Spaghetti-o's.

In addition to stocking our survival kit, we also decided to buy a house. And sell ours, duh.

We currently live in a beautiful bungalow. I love this house. Really. Like, crying actual tears when I picture moving day kind o' love. This house is the first place I'd lived in longer than a year since I was 13. This house is more than just a few walls- we've grown up here.

The husband has poured countless hours, blood, sweat, swear words, and gallons of paint into this house. We went bought it , it was sea foam green- he spent the entire summer perched on a ladder, listening to the Red Sox, painting it a much more palatable shade of blue. He took a sad, rental kitchen and turned it into a gourmet's paradise.

Plus, I'm a house person. I get crazy attached to living spaces. The day I found out my childhood home was bulldozed to make room for a McMansion, I sobbed hysterically. I was gonna buy that house (in 20 years)!

The new house is great and will be ours as soon, hopefully. It's small, too, but on a huge piece of property with a deck, dog run, basketball court (say what?!), and hot tub. We'll make lots of great memories in that house and maybe even a baby or two.

So, it's only fitting, that after a weekend of rain and wind and cleaning and packing and dusting and sorting (OMG we have a lot of crap), that I have a taste of something salty sweet on Sunday night. Something that packages my emotions so neatly into a 1 inch square of chocolate.

Salazon Chocolate Co. Organic Dark Chocolate with Natural Sea Salt and Newman's Own Organics Mocha Milk Chocolate.

Probably going to need to stock up on a few more bars- there's a whole lot of crying and country music headed my way over the next few months.

I'm such a sap.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Pasta Salad

I have a confession to make.

Last year, I did not go to a single farmer's market.

I know! For shame! It was a weird summer- I started a new job and just didn't have a spare minute. I should've found one on the weekends to go to, but I was lame and didn't. Boo to that.

This summer is better! I've been to a few (Hingham has a great one- shout out to Freitas Farm for stellar blueberries and excellent customer service) and the husband has hit our town's farmer's market a few times. He even made blueberry jam (best.husband.ever).

Flashback to the 4th of July- Stowe, Vermont has an especially vibrant farmer's market that has more than just raw veggies.

Steamed veggie dumpling, bean dumpling, and a shrimp eggroll.

Fresh ice cream!

Maple cone!

Not sure what this guy was selling, but you can see the resemblance between Arthur and his sign.

With all the goodies, whipping up a satisfying pasta salad at our campsite was a breeze.

Start a pot of water on your Coleman stove and bring it to a boil. Add one pound of rotini. You could also use farfalle- I think bite-size pasta is a better choice for a pasta salad. Makes it easier to eat!

Start with fresh from the ground radishes- dirt included! Just give them a good wash. Don't they remind you of the Mandrakes from Harry Potter? Nerd alert!

Slice them thinly and add to a large bowl.

Wash your fresh basil and rip it into small pieces. Add to the radishes.

Wash and chop your fresh zucchini- add it to the pasta in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking- cooks them just enough but keeps them crunchy.

Chop up some cheddar. Funny story- I bought this at home and drove it all the way back to Vermont for this dish. Some serious food miles for such a small piece of cheese.

Here, in spirit, is some red onion. Chop it up and add to the bowl o' veggies.

Once the pasta and zucchini is cooked, drain it and put it back in the hot pan. Add the radishes, basil, red onion, and cheddar to the pasta and zucchini and toss to coat. The cheese will melt slightly and coat everything. Instant dressing!

Serve alongside some foccacia and dig in!

Summer Pasta Salad

1 pound short pasta- whatever makes your skirt fly up
2-3 cups chopped fresh summer veg- experiment with squash, peas, beets, tomato- whatever looks good at the farmers market. Note- not all of these veggies will need to cook with the pasta.
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 large bunch of fresh basil, ripped
8 oz. cheese- other option include goat, feta, Gouda, Gruyere, Swiss
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a handful of salt and toss in pasta.

While the pasta cooks, chop up veggies. For any veggies that need slight cooking, add them to the pasta in the last 2-3 minutes of boiling. Once pasta and veggies are al dente, drain and return to the hot pot. Do not return pan to heat.

Add other veggies, herbs, and cheese to the pasta/veggie mixture in the hot pot. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, if you have some on hand.