Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherries and Cream Cheese Frosting

I had some cherries that I needed to use up.  I was already planning on baking some belated birthday cupcakes for a friend so I decided to add some cherries to the batter to see how they turned out.   I was sure that the cherries would sink to the bottom, but this batter is pretty thick so they baked up beautifully.   

The cake was tender and sweet and the cherries added a surprise pop of flavor.

I thought about trying these cupcakes again and adding a little cherry extract but a certain group of taste testers seemed to think that the cupcakes were good "as is".  I topped these cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting.   I like this one from Annie's Eats.  It is smooth, creamy and not too sweet.  The tang from the frosting complimented the cupcakes nicely.   I also must admit, I would be a huge fan of chocolate frosting on these cupcakes.

If you want to try this recipe for yourself- I will tell you a secret. I made these cupcakes using a boxed cake mix.   I doctor them up so they taste better, but when I don't have the time or energy, I have found that boxed cake mixes are the best.  Besides- yellow cake mix is my favorite and I have yet to find a made from scratch yellow cake that tastes as good as the boxed kind.  Not that I mind taste testing that theory- so send me some cake to try.

If you want to mix up a boxed cake mix. trying substituting one stick of melted butter for the oil.   Or try adding some sour cream or even an instant pudding mix.  You will find that your cake mix becomes thick and luscious (why yes- I did just use the word luscious).  You will never want to eat another runny cake mix again.  I also tend to favor Duncan Hines cake mixes.

Hope everyone is enjoying the cooler weather.  I, for one, am loving this fall preview.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gold Medal

The Olympics may be over.   But these two cuties win gold for sure!!! I know they certainly bring a smile to my face and melt my heart every time.   


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fair Food and Fun

The Ohio Sate Fair has come and gone.  Sadly,  it has come and gone a week or so ago and I am just getting around to doing this post because that is how I roll.   

This year's Fair experience did not disappoint.  The fun started in the parking lot- aka the grassy field- where J and I parked at.  We found an incredible spot close to the entrance.  Upon walking to the entrance I noticed the plethora of plaid shirts and jeans.  And I said out loud as I always do because my filter is off outside of work- "Why didn't anyone warn me that there was a dress code for the fair- plaid shirts and jeans".  J didn't know what to say as many people don't when randomness comes out of my mouth.  I did eventually learn why there were so many plaid shirted boys and girls running around.  It turns out that there was a country concert happening that night in the Crew Stadium.  Phew- I was dressed just fine for the fair.  However, I have duly noted that I should bust out a plaid shirt and jeans for my next country concert.  

But, back to the fair.  J and I went to eat. Yep you heard me right.  We went to eat.  And Eat we DID!  I was tempted to sample the KK donut Burger, but held myself back.  I was determined only to eat one fried item.  HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

J and I ate dinner first- I had a Schmidt's Bahama Mama and J had some healthy veggie thing.   My Bahama Mama was not healthy.  But it was GOOD!!
J wanted to try the fried snickers so we found the below booth.  You could order just about anything deep fried there- PB & J- yes, Oreos- check, BUCKEYES-yep, mac and cheese- mmhmm.   I had already tried a fried snickers before at a local restaurant.   But once I saw J's fried snickers I knew that I had been deceived.

It looked glorious.   And the dusting of powder sugar.  Help me now please!

Here is what the fried snickers looks like on the the inside.   The outside coating was tender and not too sweet.  The inside- AMAZING!!  I only had one bite as I was saving myself for a funnel cake.   But, next year I am all over this!

At the fair there are always foods you expect to see.  Like giant turkey legs.

And BBQ.   Note I do not have a BBQ picture here.   Fooled you huh??

Fair Fries.  Quite possibly a perfect food.  And full of potassium (an inside joke for all of my one friends who read my blog). Is one friend(s) even proper English?  Probably not.  Oh well.  Sorry Ms Davenporte!

I did stop for a moment to contemplate eating a bacon cinnamon roll.  But, again, my love for funnel cakes won out.  Perhaps another year.  Did anyone try these?  Let me know what you thought.

Okay okay.  I did not manage to consume only one fried item.   I was drawn into the donut line.  And I almost bought a bucket of donuts.  A bucket.  A bucket of 30 donuts.   I am not quite sure where my willpower came from.   But I did enjoy these beauties.  They were hot and melted in your mouth as you ate them.  And they were tender inside and sweet and sugary on the outside.   Perfection.   And they were just as good warmed up the next day for breakfast.  I am  SO getting the bucket next year!!!

Here it is.  Funnel Cake time.   I do not know why I adore funnel cakes so.   I just do.   And I don't care.   I guess I care enough about my hips that I only bought one funnel cake.   But it was worth it.

Of course, we had to take the Sky Ride back to the other side of the fair where we parked.   I had a moment of panic when a couple sat down ahead of us and rocked the entire sky ride.  Our seat rocked and the entire cable rocked as well.   J had to practically shove me into the seat.   We lived.  Obviously.

And I leave you with a parting shot of the fair.  I took this picture for my nephews.  I know nothing about tractors.  I know nothing about John Deere's.   I now know there is a country song about a big green tractor, but that is all I know.  But, I do know that somehow I ended up with three nephews who adore tractors.  So this picture is for you Doodles, Pie and Cake Butt.  Aunt CiCi loves you!

If you went to the fair, let me know what you ate.   Fair is Fair- I told you how much I consumed that day.   :)   Or at least tell me what you love about the fair.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Bittersweet July

July was a busy month.  And a stressful month.  And a sad month.  

I spent some time at the lake with this cutie.   This is his "monster" imitation.   I must say he is the cutest monster I have ever seen.  Don't you agree?

I went to the Farmer's Market.  The colors and smells at the local market are always amazing.

I also said goodbye to an old and dear friend.  Thumper had been a part of my life for thirteen years.  It is sad to say that sometimes you take for granted the moments and times you have with your loved ones.   I was able to shower my sweet one with love before she left me.   If you are reading this- give your family and loved ones a hug and kiss.   Be kind to others and count every moment as a blessing.

I have been taking it easy on the Jeni's.   I think my Jeni's consumption might be personally responsible for the button strain on my pants today.   I will tell you that this new flavor I tried- coffee- was out of this world amazing.  I think that I find a new favorite flavor every time I go there.

Nature has a way of calming me.  And spending time at the Lake house as amazing.  There was no beach in the plans for me this summer.  Instead, I was surrounded by nature and silence.   Peace for the soul.

 I also made The Pioneer Woman's Blackberry Cobbler.  I have made this several times before.   This time I did tinker with the recipe some.  I did reduce the amount of sugar used in the recipe.   Instead of a full cup- I used about a 1/4 cup less.  I also did not sprinkle more sugar on top.   AND..... I used a mix of blackberries and raspberries.   AMAZING.  Please go here and try out the recipe for yourself.   A note to all you fake cobblers out there with a pie crust masquerading as "cobbler" - this is a REAL cobbler.

As usual, my photos are lacking.   But this cobbler was amazing and I did not even darken my plate with ice cream.  This cobbler is tasty enough to stand alone.  But, if ice cream and cobbler is your thing- knock yourself out because it will be fabulous!

I leave you all with a quote that I found and loved.   It is a grainy image and I apologize for that, but it fits in with my I phone pictures.  I dedicate this quote to my friends- an amazing group of people who have always been there for me. 

I hope that August brings cooler weather, rain, and peace to me this year.  I hope that everyone had a great July.   Drop me a note and let me know what you were up to.