Valentine Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

I’ve been making these cupcakes for a few years now, and my family and friends never grow tired of them.  They’re great any time, spring or summer, but there’s something about strawberries and red food coloring that scream Valentine’s Day.  A friend of mine has a birthday coming up, and we’re getting together this weekend, so I thought I’d surprise her with these cupcakes – she loves them.

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I can’t decide what the best part about this recipe is – the light, fluffy texture of the cake, the creamy frosting, the drool-inducing taste, or how easy these are to throw together.  Perfect for kids and kids-at-heart.  After all, who doesn’t love a cupcake?

You can find the recipe here on the Betty Crocker website.  If you’d like to decorate them like I did, you’ll need an additional container of frosting, a size 12 decorating tip, a frosting bag or Ziploc bag, and red sprinkles.  Happy cooking, and happy Heart Day!

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Fire up that stove – it’s time to cook!

Fall is finally here, bringing with it all the sights and sounds and smells that are so familiar but bring with it a quiet sense of surprise and joy every year.  At least for me.  It is my favorite season, so maybe I am a bit biased. 🙂

The one thing that those around my neck of the woods can count on every year is that when the weather starts to cool, I start to BAKE!  And cook.  I enjoy both.  But more than anything, I love to bake.  Cakes, cookies, breads, muffins, pies…the list could go on.  And I enjoy eating all of those  just as much as I enjoy making them.

Each cook has their own style, their own way of doing things that works for them.  To me, cooking is an art, and food is part of the creative process.  Cooking is to be enjoyed, and if I am in a state where I can’t enjoy it, I don’t do it.

Thankfully, life has slowed down a bit for me lately, and after a pathetic absence from my kitchen the past few months, I find myself enjoying cooking more again.  I’m making my old tried-and-true recipe favorites, and I’m looking for some new faves to add to that collection.

So, I thought I would ask you all: what are your favorite recipe sources?  Cookbooks?  Websites?  Blogs?  Fill my head with inspiration, and let’s cook together!

-Shannon

Homemade Granola

Hello all!  Today is a rainy day, and the weather has started to cool down here.  I thought I’d share an easy recipe with you, perfect for cooler weather.

Recently I made homemade granola for the first time…and I must say I am addicted.  The recipe is from one of my favorite blogs and can be found here.

I’m in a particular kick-it-into-fall kind of mood today and opted for an oatmeal cookie inspired variation.  Who doesn’t love a spiced-just-right oatmeal cookie with a glass of cold milk on a fall day?  This is the perfect way to start off the morning for me.

I followed Emma’s recipe to the letter and used:

  • maple syrup
  • chopped and whole pecans, and
  • dried cranberries

in order to use up what I had on hand.  If only you could smell this as it’s baking…(insert drooling noises here).

Next time I make this, I plan to cut the temp back to 325.  The whole pecans got a bit darker than I’d like, so I will probably only use chopped nuts in the future.  I plan to try many more variations – I’m thinking a peanut butter sandwich influenced variation for my PB-lovin’ hubby?  I’d love to hear your ideas – share them with me in the comments section!

This will be a great breakfast for several days to come…if I can keep hubby out of it first – he’s already snacking on it while it cools.  Happy baking!