Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes!

I cook as little as possible and bake even less.  But as a matter of pride, I need a handful of recipes that are easy and no-fail, so I can cheerfully offer “What can I bring?” when a friend hosts a dinner party.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes are easy!  Click here for the recipe at Chow.com, credited to Dave Lieberman.

My first try turned out great.  The only modifications I made:  I added Bailey’s to the frosting when it seemed too thick and my cupcakes were mini-size (tons of sugar in there!), baked for 12 minutes.

A fun conversation starter and perfect for any time even close to St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Fruit Dip

Easy, different and addictive.
Great for Thanksgiving or Fall parties.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • apple slices and/or gingersnaps

Or, to cut sweetness, increase cinnamon, decrease sugar and substitute pumpkin pie puree for pumpkin pie filling.

Directions:

  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add pie filling, cinnamon, and ginger, beating well.
  3. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Makes 3 cups.  Awesome with apple slices.  Delicious with gingersnaps, too, but a little too sweet (even for me, a certified sugar-aholic).  I found several versions of this recipe at food.com.

Back in Stock!

Makes for very happy kids at our house on Sunday mornings!

I Love Fast Food

When I’m trying to cram in a week’s worth of exercise and errands in the 2 hours and 50 minutes that my son’s in preschool.  When I reach towards the backseat and wonder whether goldfish or gummies are more effective against a hunger headache.  When I wish I could stomach anything at McDonalds other than a large Diet Coke.

$3.99 Summer Roll or $4.99 Avocado Salad Roll at Publix

If the grocery store is on my to-do list, I pick up one of these rolls in the Publix sushi department.  Sugar is more a concern for me, personally, than salt, so I skip the sweet, gooey sauce and use low-sodium soy sauce.

Starbucks Artisan Snack Plates, $4.95 each

Also convenient is Starbucks’ Protein plate, especially if there’s a drive-thru nearby.  A hard-boiled egg so perfect it looks fake, apples, grapes, white cheddar cheese slices and a bready-raisiny thing with peanut butter.  The Fruit, Nut & Cheese plate is good, too, but seems less like a meal, despite the higher calorie count.When I’m on top of things, I duplicate the Protein plate at home, substituting a Thomas’ whole wheat mini bagel for the meusli bread, and pack it all in a cooler for the car.  If I eat the apples and cheese slices together, I can almost imagine I’m in Napa overlooking a vineyard.

And then a Target shopping cart rolls into my minivan.

Homemade? Nuts!

For Teacher Appreciation Week at our school, the parents were asked to send in “homemade goodies” today.  I don’t bake.

But my mother-in-law gave me this easy recipe for “Cinnamon Sugar Pecans” that I pull out every time I need to pretend that I do.  The middle of March is probably too late for them (they make a great holiday treat), but they’re delicious and, well, my options are limited.

Ingredients
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water
1 pound bag of pecan halves (4 cups)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix egg white and water well.  Stir in pecan halves.  In another bowl, mix sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Stir in nuts to coat.  Spread out on cookie sheet (cover with tinfoil for easy clean-up).  Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

A very similar recipe is also here, on Allrecipes.com.

Now, if these don’t count as “homemade,” please don’t let me know.