Dealing with life is a piece of cake.

Posts tagged ‘fruit’

Practicing patience with a payoff of pie.

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Patience.

I don’t have it. Not really, anyway.

I have the patience for things like…

um…

…yeah, no patience.

It’s become very clear to me, more than ever, that life is full of trial and error. And because of this realization, it has also become very clear to me, more than ever, that I have a hard time being patient with that.

Today, I attempted making churros. I forgot the water. I was forced to add it after I already had the sugar and oil on the heat, to the point that it was smoking. Turns out it didn’t really matter, because once I added the flour everything seemed a-ok.

But then, when attempting to push the dough through a bag/star tip, it wouldn’t budge. I wasn’t strong enough, and I seriously did not want the dough exploding out of the bag and end up all over my hands, or worse, the floor.
I wonder if there’s some baker’s workout on Pinterest?

“Okay, no problem, I’ll just roll the dough into balls,” I thought to myself. Cool. I heated up the oil and began to fry. Everything seemed fine. Rolled them in the cinnamon-sugar mix, and took a sigh of relief. They looked great!

So I took a bite…and spit it right back out.

They had not cooked through. Ugh. I’ll have to do this again, another day. Keep an eye out for that post.

Behold, an unbaked churro. I don't recommend taking a bite of this...yuck.

Behold, an unbaked churro ball. I don’t recommend taking a bite of this. *shudder*

Everything is trial and error.

Waking up in the morning is a pretty good example.
Will my alarm clock be effective? No? Hmm…maybe I’ll set three for tomorrow.

Styling my hair is trial and error.
Okay, the fancy new volumizing shampoo I bought makes me look like Mufasa. Big fat error.

Dating. Dating is definitely trial and error. No italicized examples necessary.

Cleaning the fish bowl. Another example.
I’m pretty sure my roommate didn’t MEAN for the fish to fall down the sink drain…

All of this trying and error-ing becomes overwhelming, but you have two options:

1.) Try, try again.

2.) Surrender and abandon ship.

There are times when you just want to throw your hands in the air, throw in the towel, and throw other things around because apparently that’s the theme when giving up. But don’t! Learn to adapt. As Eric from Boy Meets World once said, “Life’s tough. Get a helmet.”

Option #2 is for quitters. We’re not quitters, we’re winners, dagnabbit! And I’ll be damned if I let some churro travesty kill my baking mojo, a crazy shampoo continue to make me look like a native to the Amazon, or let a few slightly more meaningful setbacks crush my spirit. On to bigger and better things, I say!

Things like…Key Lime Pie.

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I love Key Lime Pie. It’s such a refreshing change from chocolate, and gives my texturebuds (it’s a thing) a run for their money when I’m not putting cake or cookies in my mouth.

Initially when I made this, it didn’t set. I decided to have some patience, and let it chill. Boom. Key Lime Pie.

Lesson of the day? Patience gets you pie.

I think we could all practice patience for a result such as this, dontcha think?

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Key Lime Pie

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted
—-
1/2 cup lime juice
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp lime zest
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Crust:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine sugar and graham cracker crumbs in a small mixing bowl.

3. Add melted butter, and press into mixture with a fork until thoroughly combined.

4. Press into a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Filling:

1. Beat egg yolks, lime juice, vanilla and heavy cream until combined. Add zest and combine.

2. Add sweetened condensed milk until completely combined, and then on high for 5 minutes. The filling will begin the thicken.

3. Pour filling into prepared crust.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

5. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Top with whipped cream when cool. Visit the Fruit Tart Cupcakes for that recipe here.

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Bon appétit!

Summertime on Cloud Nine

Let’s play a game.

It’s called “Where Is This Blog Post Being Written?”

Here are the rules:

Guess where this blog post is being written. Complicated.

Don’t cheat. (If you do, that just means you’re a creepy stalker. I don’t think you want to live with that.)

I think you’ll do fine.

So, here goes.

I have a (free) mimosa in my hand.

Tiny ear buds are humming Frank Sinatra’s voice into my head.

I’m in a pretty comfortable leather seat.

I’m looking at tiny blips of white surrounded by large areas of green and brown thousands of miles beneath me.

There’s also a layer of mashed potatoes underneath me.

Not too far behind me is a small child, who initially decided to scream its head off, but then (smartly) ceased.

Where am I?

In the air!

If you guessed anything but an airplane, I’d like to know your answer and then pick at your brain.

I’m well on my way to Seattle, Washington to visit one of my very best friends in the world. Yay!

I feel like I’m on Cloud Nine right now. The past week at work was not only tolerable, but I generally had a good time. What?! Cray. I know.

Last night I was lucky enough to enjoy a late-night after-work IHOP run with my darling boyfriend. I (shamelessly) scarfed down some blueberry pancakes. I was also told I have giant eyes. Whatever that means.

I woke up this morning, got dressed, put my face on, had a nice little conversation with a coworker, and headed to the airport. Did I mention I’m flying First Class?

Yeah, I’m flying First Class. I’ve never done it. The best part so far, aside from the complimentary mimosas the stewardess is throwing at me, is the line cutting! Mwahaha. I must have saved about an hour of waiting because of this “First Class” status.

When things like this excite me, does that mean I’m getting old? I mean, first I’m overly stoked about my new car having amazing gas mileage, and now I’m excited about short lines?

Stewardess! I need another mimosa. This is too much to handle. I’m not old…yet.

 

Speaking of getting old, my birthday is soon. Which, ehh, I’m not overly excited about. But it does make me think back to when I was a kid. Sleepovers, Back-to-School Nights, Poptarts for breakfast…ahh to be a child.

One thing I vividly remember as a child, is lemonade stands. My next-door neighbor and childhood BFF, Jessica, and I used to have one every year. I mean EVERY year. Tradition. It always seemed to be right after the gardeners overly trimmed the trees. I’m sure the majority of our sales came from our parents and other close neighbors, but it didn’t matter. It was fun. We were fun. We were cool kids.

Some smartypants friend of mine suggest Pink Lemonade Cupcakes to me a few weeks ago. GENIUS!

The cake has a slightly tart taste, and paired with the cream cheese frosting (infused with lemon-lime soda) and you’ve got yourself a lemonade stand in a cupcake wrapper. That can’t possibly be wrong, right?

Enjoy, my fellow childhood lemonade-standers. Reflect on the goofy memories. Smile.

In the meantime, I’ll be frolicking in Seattle, being fabulous as I take a huge bite of a much-anticipated Trophy Cupcake and laughing over God knows what with an amazing friend. “She’s good for your soul,” says my mom. I must agree.

MAKE THESE CUPCAKES!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour minus 6 tbsp
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1/2 cup sweetened instant pink lemonade

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and instant lemonade in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat butter until fluffy and pale.

4. Add sugar and beat until smooth.

5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

6. Add vanilla and strawberry cream cheese. Beat well.

7. Alternately add milk and flour mixture, beating well between each addition.

8. Bake for about 20 minutes and let cool before frosting.

Lemon-Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup lemon-lime soda
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1. Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.

2. Add vanilla and beat until well-combined.

3. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, until completely blended.

4. Add soda and lemon juice and beat until just combined.

5. Allow the frosting to set. It will initially be runny.

6. Frost them cupcakes! Then shamelessly shove it in your mouth.

For instructions on how to candy the lemons, see this recipe for Grapefruit Cupcakes and you’ll be all set. 🙂

Like what you see? Check out the Pink Cake Party Kit over at Event Blossom!

I think they complement these little beauties quite well. 😉

Bon appétit!

Blueberries: an essential part of a not-so-balanced breakfast.

I have something to say.

It’s very important.

Are you listening?!

Good…

I, Kate, the baketress of Irvine, California…am getting slightly cupcaked-out.

They’re still my favorite. It’s not getting old, at all. But this blog needs a little variety every once in a while. So maybe I should say Sugar Therapy is getting a little cupcaked-out. It really doesn’t matter how I say it, because…

I made cookies! (yay!)

Baking cookies baffles me. They’re so easy. How can something so delicious, so popular, and so sweatpants-stretching be this simple?! It’s a mystery I’ll never solve, I’m sure.

You can go ahead and file these under That’s it? or No no no, there must be more to it…, or…

Cookies for breakfast.

(You have some strange categories…but I like your style.)

These brown sugar blueberry cookies are perfectly acceptable for your morning meal. Why? Because these cookies are basically blueberry muffins in 3-bite form. (Or one bite if you’re feeling like an oinker…and you have a big mouth..)

The cookies are so simple that I’m pretty sure it took longer for me to get the ingredients out than it did to actually put them together. Let’s do some math:

11 ingredients + 1 bowl + 1 oven + maaaybe 45 minutes of your day = bomb.com breakfast/lunch/snack/dinner.

I should have been a math major.

Sometimes life gets complicated, and in a world of ups and downs, the best prescription is a simple recipe that will give you blueberry satisfaction in the blink of an eye. I looked at the ingredients in my cabinet, and voila! Best bfast evah.

Make these cookies and give them to everyone you know. That is, if you can manage not to eat them all before you reach the front door…

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies
makes about a dozen cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk
2/3 cup blueberries
2 tbsp granulated sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet.

2. Beat butter, sugar, and egg until combined.

3. Add vanilla and combine.

4. Add flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and milk and beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined.

5. Gently fold in blueberries.

6. Put the dough in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to chill.

7. Once the cookie balls are on the sheet, sprinkle with granulated sugar.

8. Bake cookies for 10-13 minutes, and let cool on a wire rack.

9. Eat.

Bon appétit!

Girls just wanna have…Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes!

I love wearing high heels. Something about them makes me feel more…womanly…and girly…all at the same time. If the opportunity presents itself, you can bet that I’ll be sliding on 4 1/2 inch heels in some obnoxious color. My favorites? A ridiculously gaudy pair — glittery pink, with a chrome-looking heel and base.

There’s also a big obnoxious glittery pink bow.

I. Love. These. Shoes.

Seriously. It might be an issue. (An..Ish-shoe..if you will…*badum tish*)

Allow me to inform you that I’m not the girliest girl out there. I’ll choose my favorite pair of black jeans before ever even glancing at a skirt. Eight times out of ten, you’ll see me in flip-flops and a tank top. Oh, and a cardigan. I can’t possibly talk about my wardrobe without at least one mention of a cardigan.

What am I getting at? I’m glad you asked!

Sometimes, regardless of what kind of girl you are — sporty, punk, all-American, indie, sexpot, trendy, goth, hobo, dirty, closet-blind — there is a little voice inside all of us that craves a spark of girly-ness.

It’s fun, and you know it. (I’m talking to you, hobo-dresser!) Embrace it.

Barbie was never my doll of choice. Some chick-flicks bore the crapola out of me. I can’t even fathom the thought of pulling a Paris Hilton and carrying a tiny dog in my purse. Pink? Yeah, not my favorite color. But there is no denying the inner diva that lurks somewhere between category “Converse All-Stars” and category “Prom Dress.” She loves high heels and dresses. And I love her for loving them.

It’s this diva that reminds me why I love being a girl. Cyndi Lauper was on the right track…yes, we do just wanna have fun. But don’t forget, Ms. Lauper, that we also want to kick butt at work, nab a prince charming, and invent a way to eat a chocolate cake without having to yank and squeeze our way into skinny jeans…all while looking fab.u.lous. *snaps*

Okay, so maybe I got a little too girls-rule-and-boys-drool there. But I mean it! (Maybe minus the snap…that was a little embarrassing.)

That same diva wants me to me introduce you to this very feminine Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake. She’s beautiful on the outside — an airy strawberry buttercream on top of a yellow butter cake. And of course, a dollop of whipped cream. When you bite into her, she surprises you with…what? Oh yeah, strawberry jam! BOOM BABY.

Girls rule. Boys don’t really drool. Well some of them might…and I highly suggest you stay away from them.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp butter flavoring

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat butter on high until smooth and pale.

4. Add granulated sugar and beat until fluffy.

5. Add brown sugar, beat until combined.

6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla.

7. Alternately, add the milk and the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined between each addition.

8. Add butter flavoring and beat until incorporated.

9. Fill cups 1/2 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Strawberry Buttercream

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 cups strawberries (measure strawberries before you puree)
1 tsp vanilla

1. Puree strawberries using a food processor or blender. Strain berries so there are no seeds.

2. Beat butter until pale.

3. Add one cup of sugar at a time, being sure to combine well between each addition.

4. Add vanilla and strawberries. Beat well.

If the consistency is not to your liking, add more sugar

5. Let set in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

Filling the cupcakes

1. Using a cupcake corer or small knife, cut a hole into the center of each cupcake.

2. Place jam in a pastry bag (for more control, and also, it’s neater) and fill each cupcake until jam is just below the surface.

P.S. Be sure and check out Kim’s latest post about the Girl Baby Shower Party Kits which you may purchase by clicking HERE! Aww, so sweet! (pun intended)

Bon appétit!

Courtesy cupcakes and well-mannered meringue.

I often think about how I would act in front of the Queen of England.

The term “lady-like” does not come to mind when I think of myself — I hate sitting with my ankles crossed. It’s not natural! Or curtsying? Yikes…I don’t know about that one either — I don’t think I’m coordinated enough to lightly shake her fragile hand and do a half-pliet at the same time. Also, what the heck do you talk to her about? Do you talk to her at all? Am I supposed to dance for her? Make balloon animals? Perform my rendition of Broadway’s “Cats”? That’s a lot of pressure. She might prefer The Lion King…

In my fantasy world, the Queen and I would be sitting in two giant comfy chairs in her extravagant living room, where there is a faint background hum of subtle classical music. While she tells me story after story of her past romantic affairs that no one knows about, we sip tea and coffee out of tiny delicate gold-trimmed cups that sit beside some scones that I made for her. She loves them. She ate six. It turns out that she finds me so charming and charismatic that she wants me to move to England for the sole purpose of our weekly afternoon gossip sessions. I do this. Life is cool.

Sounds reasonable. I’m sure this happens. It’s…casual.

I’ve made a list. A list of behavioral faux pas I’ve observed over the past few weeks. Imagine if we all had the courtesy and politeness required when interacting with Her Majesty?

Okay, I agree, that’d be a bit much, and pretty boring, but really all I’m talking about is common courtesy, people. Basic manners. Simple things that seem like common sense, but for some reason, I’ve noticed that apparently, they’re not. Taking a general interest in someone’s life, when they are constantly interested in yours, is common courtesy. Smiling when you see someone instead of frowning or having a scowling look…common courtesy. Asking how someone’s day was…common courtesy!

THINGS YOU SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT DO WHEN YOU ARE A FUNCTIONAL MEMBER OF SOCIETY

1. Saying “hello” to the person behind the counter before starting to speak – GOOD

2. Not reciprocating a “How are you” question – BAD

3. Holding the door open for someone, even if its your dog (especially if its your dog) – GOOD

4. Holding the door open for someone, only to let go at the last possible second to make it completely awkward and unmanageable for the person about to walk through, resulting in pain. – BAD (was that too specific?)

5. Remembering names – GOOD

6. Forgetting names – BAD

7. Using “please” and “thank you” on a regular basis – VERY GOOD

8. Interrupting someone when they talk – VERY BAD

9. Asking how someone’s day was – GOOD

10. Chewing with your mouth closed – GOOD

11. Batting someone’s face when they’re sleeping – BAD (I think it might just be Kitten that does this, but if you do it…stop it. Weirdo.)

12. Complimenting someone – GOOD

13. Telling someone they look like Jane of the Jungle because they’re having an “off” hair day – BAD

14. Giving (welcomed) hugs – GOOD

15. Answering phone calls or texts in the middle of a deep face-to-face conversation – BAD

16. Referring to someone’s hobby as “stupid” to their face – VERY BAD

17. Asking about someone’s hobby because you really care – VERY GOOD

18. Baking lemon cupcakes – GOOD

19. Pairing the cupcakes with a blueberry compote – GREAT

20. Topping the cupcakes with an airy meringue – EXCELLENT!

There are a lot more where that came from. But these are truths. Necessary truths. Specifically the last three…and number seven. And eleven…

These cupcakes came together better than I imagined. I got home from work, took off my blazer, and got to baking. There was no recipe written down anywhere, and I never even tried to look up suggestions on how to make a perfect compote. I simply looked at the recipe for my mom’s favorite lemon cookies and made it into a super moist, fresh, lemon cake. The flavor is perfect. The texture? Lighter than freaking air.

Mama was happy. And we all know that when Mama is happy…say it with me…everyone is happy!

I topped it with a perfectly sweetened blueberry compote, and whipped up some meringue. And as you can see, I had a little bit of pyro fun with a small torch. 🙂

The Event Blossom theme this week is Something Blue. Adorable! These cupcakes with the blue wrappers are a perfect pair for a summer engagement party. Make sure to take a peek at what Kim did with this kit on her blog!

Perhaps the Queen might enjoy them too…I’ll consider making them for her for next week’s afternoon tea.

Now, please, try these cupcakes.

Come on…I said please!

Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Compote and Meringue

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup non-fat half and half
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon zest
juice of two fresh lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pan with papers.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and pale.

4. Add eggs, beat well on high.

5. Add vanilla, beat well.

6. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat for about 30 seconds.

7. Add half and half, lemon juice, and zest until evenly distributed. Do not over mix.

8. Fill cups 1/2 full and bake for 18 minutes.

Note: These rise a LOT. I was not expecting this. So you’ll notice that this says to fill the cups 1/2 full instead of 3/4 full. There’s a reason for that. Do as I say. (Please..)

Blueberry Compote

2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp water

1. Simmer all ingredients in a small saucepan for about 8 minutes. The blueberries should start to pop and the mixture will begin to thicken. Stir occasionally.

2. Remove from heat and let cool. If it is not thick enough, add 1 tbsp corn starch and place back on the heat for another couple of minutes. Let cool completely before using on cupcakes.

Meringue

6 egg whites
5 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla

1. Beat egg whites until frothy.

2. Add sugar until stiff peaks form.

3. Add vanilla, continue to beat on high.

4. To test if the meringue is ready, you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down for 30 seconds. Yes, 30 nerve-racking seconds.

Bon appétit!