Monday, June 25, 2012

Birthday Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

So it was my birthday this week so I decided I would make cupcakes. In my department you always get your favorite cake for your birthday, but I wanted to be able to actually eat my birthday cake  and since no one around here makes almond or coconut flour cakes commercially, I decided to make my own. Luckily I enjoy cooking and baking of that would have been a sad birthday story (not sure why but people seem to be shocked that I made my own birthday cupcakes).

I actually came up with this recipe for my parent's 30th anniversary party a couple of weeks ago, pretty much on accident. The carrot cake cupcakes I made for the party didn't make enough and I really didn't feel like shredding anymore carrots so I needed something that was basically just throwing stuff in a bowl and mixing together. It worked out surprisingly well and I got rave reviews on them at the party.

Please forgive the lack of picture of a cupcake with frosting on it. I didn't frost them until right before we were going to eat them and I forgot to take pictures. I know its one of the big rules of food blogging, use actual measurements and take tons of pictures. I'm still learning :-)

Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk all of the wet ingredients together until combined. Next add in the remaining ingredients and stir until the lumps are gone. Next line a cupcake pan with liners (I highly recommend these, they do not stick to the cupcakes like conventional cupcake liners. I get mine at Whole Foods). Evenly distribute the batter and bake for 20 minutes. Oven temperatures may vary so check for doneness (yes I know this is made up word) with a toothpick. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 pint of heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (I usually let a little extra go over the side of the spoon, not an exact measurement)
Place the bowl you plan on using in the freezer for about 10 minutes. If using a hand mixer I  recommend a glass or metal bowl since plastic won't retain the cold very well. Once your bowl is nice and cold whip your cream and vanilla together until you get stiff peaks (almost over whipping is best, you want to get right to the point before you are making butter). Next place the whipped cream in another bowl while you whip the cream cheese and maple syrup. Once the cream cheese and syrup are combined and no longer lumpy add in the whipped cream. Stop at least once to scrape down the sides.
When whipped to your liking store in the fridge until ready to use. Can be made up to a day in advance. I like to keep it in a zip-lock baggie, then I will cut one of the corners off and pipe the frosting directly onto the cupcakes. Its cleaner than spreading it on and makes them look nice.

*Note: I would recommend not frosting the cupcakes until you are ready to eat them. If you frost in the morning but then don't eat them until the evening things might get soggy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Salad

I love chicken tacos, but since I don't eat traditional tortillas anymore and the primal wrap recipes out there look like more work than they are worth, I've decided to put the taco into a bowl. This is by far one of the easiest meals to throw together and the leftovers make a great lunch option. 

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Salad

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, halved & sliced
  • 1 cup of frozen Trader Joe's bell peppers
  • 16 oz jar of salsa (be sure to check the ingredients)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • Garnish: shredded cheese, sour cream and/or avocado
In a bowl, mix salsa and seasonings, stir to combine. Put the onions and peppers in the bottom of the Crock Pot and then place chicken breasts on top. Cover the chicken with the salsa and tomatoes. Cook on low for at least 8 hours, mine ran for over 10 hours and it turned out fine. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and stir everything together.

Serve over lettuce and garnish to your hearts content. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

I got the inspiration for this the other day at Crossfit (I know a weird place to be thinking about food) and I couldn't get the idea out of my head. These meatballs are really tasty and they come together really quickly, great for a busy week night and can even be made ahead of time.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Makes 16 meatballs
Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 2 ½ lbs ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp each: sea salt, pepper, onion powder & garlic powder*
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ ball of mozzarella, cut into 16 cubes
  • Jarred or homemade marinara sauce (if using jarred be sure to check for funky ingredients)
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and lining a large jellyroll pan with foil. In a large bowl add the beef, eggs and seasoning. Now here is the fun part, get in there with your hands and mash everything together until its evenly combined.

Now take some of the meat mixture and make a small patty like a hamburger. I didn't measure this part, just eyeballed it but it was just enough meat to fill my palm. Place a cube of cheese in the middle.
Push the edges of the patty together to form a ball making sure it is sealed to prevent any melty cheese accidents when cooking.
Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet and space evenly.
Put in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of baking start heating your marinara sauce, to be spooned over the meatballs.

When the meatballs are done, remove them from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Don't worry if you had some cheese explosions during cooking, they will still taste great.
Serve topped with marinara sauce and grated Parmesan cheese (which I didn't have when I made this, but have since rectified the situation, lesson learned)

*The spice container in the first picture at the top of the page labeled "SPOG" is filled with equal parts Himalayan Sea Salt, Pepper, Onion powder & Garlic powder. It is my go to seasoning for practically anything that isn't dessert. I highly recommend this setup, its a time saver for sure.