How to Make the Ugliest Best Tasting Vanilla Cupcake

I know, I KNOW!!! I’m on a cupcake kick right now!  Just enjoy it, it will pass.  I just had to share one of my all time favorite white cake recipes.  I love the taste of this cake and I triple-dipple love the texture.  I’ve made it maybe a dozen times and every time there is one teensey-weensy little issue.  While it’s baking in the oven the batter always lifts up to the sky, bubbles over the sides and falls leaving a crater in the center.  I’ve tried a few tricks like lightly slamming the batter filled cupcake pan on the counter top several times before placing it in the oven.  This is supposed to get any bubbles out but it doesn’t work. I’ve also messed with the amount of baking powder but to no avail.

Why oh why would I want to share my tragic cupcakes that turn out looking like this with you?

Inside this ugly duckling of a cupcake lays the best tasting vanilla cake

Inside this ugly duckling of a cupcake lies the best tasting vanilla cake eV-er!

Because, my dear readers, it is still a luscious tasting experience.  AND the last time I made them I added something that made them even better!  Remember the chocolate cupcakes that had the rich drop of ganache in the center?  Well now I’m doing something similar with these! » » »

Crispy Kale

Crispy kale chips seem to be spreading like a house-o-fire over the last year as a healthy tasty snack alternative.  At the grocery store a small bag goes for about $3!  As some of you have discovered it’s pretty durn easy to make and a heck of a lot cheaper than buying it at the store.

No matter the year we seem to have an over abundance of dark greens.  Mike can’t just plant one he plants many.  We end up eating mountains of the stuff, blanching more, and taking the extras to the food bank so it turns out to be a win-win.  This year is no different….

I head out to pick some kale.  Now this year I have two big change-up’s  for my crispy kale chips.  The first is to use ‘Dinosaur Kale’.

Dinosaur Kale from last years garden

Dinosaur kale from last year’s garden

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Makin’ Grandma Diane’s Fudge

I love dessert.  For years, I started my day with a little bit of chocolate and a hard boiled egg (AKA breakfast).  At three o’clock I like to have a chocolate chip cookie and after dinner, a little something sweet.  My daughter, Pistol used to make fudge with a friend’s grandmother a few years back.  Trying to keep up with the posting monkey I pulled this one out of the archives.  It’s amazing how much younger Pistol looked two years ago.  I don’t typically eat fudge but I do love it.

Ingredients

3 cups sugar-$.50

3/4 cup  (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine-$1.00

1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup) – $1.29

1-1/2 pkg.  (12 squares) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped- $4.00

1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Crème -$1.69

1 tsp. vanilla

 

The ingredients....

The ingredients...

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Creamy Pumpkin Soup

This is not any ordinary pumpkin soup, this is the best most spectacular pumpkin soup.  I was (am -Mike) a particular eater.  I blame it on my strange relationship to smells.  If food smells ‘off’ I won’t go near it.  Mike knows if he wants to introduce  a new food to me he needs to describe it to me.  Because on the other hand I am a sucker when it comes to great ‘sounding’ food!

Any-hoo!  On my weekly hike with my girlfriend Juliette she often describes her lastest experiments in the kitchen.  When she described this pumpkin soup I kept after her for the recipe.  She would get to describing the Parmesean croutons with ground hazelnuts floating on top of the soup and I was a goner.  She has that lilting Aussie accent with a bit of a sing-song to her voice that makes every thing sound better coming out of her mouth.  She could describe poop and make it sound good.

Juliette is a ‘dash here, sprinkle there’ kind of girl (something I do not understand in the least!) so she would repeat the recipe and then tell me to have Mike make it for me. » » »

Homemade Sausage Stuffer

sausage and stuffer

Making sausage is easy and delicious.  Making it yourself comes with all the advantages of any homemade food.  You know what’s going in to it (what do you think goes into industrial sausage?) and you can adjust the flavors to your taste.  It’s also relatively inexpensive even with high quality ingredients.  All you need to make sausage is meat, fat, spices and a knife.  That’s all anyone needed for centuries.  Everything else makes it more convenient but isn’t necessary.

A meat grinder will definitely make your life easier.  I use an attachment that goes on the front of our Kitchenaid mixer.  You can also get an inexpensive hand cranked one that does the job just fine. » » »

How to Make Steamed Buns

Steamed buns are delicious, Rea-LLy delicious.  When Molly’s cousin Corey and his girlfriend Terumi were out here this winter they showed us how to make steamed buns.  Molly’s sister Lise was visiting too and she got in on the action.  Molly shot a great video tutorial of Lise and Corey on how to make steamed buns.  We’ve got it down below after the recipes.  Don’t miss it.  It’s hilarious.

Bao in Hand » » »

St. Patrick’s Day and Hot Cocoa

Today we have Eileen from The Joy of Caking joining us.  She’s one of our favorite food bloggers and Molly’s been an avid follower of hers for several years.  (Could it be because she hooked Molly up with the genesis of the greatest Chocolate Chip Cookie eVeR recipe?)  After you read this go and check her out.  She does great stand-bys like her white cake recipe.  When she ventures into cooking she  makes yummy things like asparagus soup.

St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching and I although I’m not sure if I even have an ounce of Irish blood in my body I have always secretly wished I was Irish. » » »

Craisen Love Bars

Molly and I are super busy trying to launch a  new niche site.  As we hustle over the next couple weeks to put it together we’re going to pull out some oldie but goodies and lean on some friends for guest posts to fill in around the edges.   This one is a re-post from my first blog- Stuff I Made This Year.

I like Crasins fine, wouldn’t say I loooove them but we’ll get to that later. I didn’t plan on posting so much about food when I decided to start this blog.  I thought I’d be posting about machines and other constructed stuff.  It turns out that making food is a great way to scratch the project making itch for me. Cooking neatly contains all the components I want in a project:

Inspiration- I used to have an hour and twenty minute commute to work each way.  If I didn’t have podcasts to listen to I would go insane.  Lately,  most of my favorites are food related.  Often when I hear someone describing a recipe or dish that sounds delicious I jot it down to try later. » » »

How To Make Truffles

'Heart' by Dumpling

It’s not all black clouds and Eeyore-like over here.  Mike and I are pulling ourselves off of our niche internet keyword researching to have a little fun.  I start thinking about Valentine’s Day the week after Christmas!  I KNoW!  CrAZy, huh?!

I’m so crazy about Valentine’s Day we will be having a GIVEAWAY!  See the bottom of the post for details… » » »

Canning & Pickling

Having a large vegetable garden is great.  One problem that arises though is what to do with all that food.  It tends to come in all at once and as much as we love to eat our veggies we can’t eat them all.  We blanch and freeze our greens but who doesn’t love a shelf full of pickles?  Last week Mike shared his recipe for his scrumptious green tomato chutney.  You can freeze it but we chose to can it.  Today we will show you how to can the green tomato chutney and how to pickle cucumbers. » » »