Tuesday, April 22, 2014

vanilla cupcakes

Sour Cream Vanilla Cupcakes via design. bake. run.

you know me. okay, maybe not really. but what i was going to say here was, i never like throwing any leftover ingredients out if it's still good and i know that i can make use of it. so as usual... you know, the typical mexican dinner night that calls for sour cream, well, there was a bunch leftover. so, what did i do with it? of course, bake with the leftovers!

what we have here is a super moist, waaaay delicious and perfectly sweetened vanilla cupcake; and nicely decorated for easter sunday (yes, this was our easter meal dessert – of course you can decorate it anyway you like for any occasion). i say you can skip the frosting if you want, because the cake out of the oven is seriously a yummy bite already. the sour cream in this recipe is superb. for sure better than your buttermilk or good ol' milk. the cake comes out perfectly baked and not dry at all. i love that the taste and texture stays true even a couple days later (yeah, sitting out on the counter... and so not in an airtight container! my bad).

this recipe is for sure a keeper in my opinion. if you’d like to see it for yourself, i say go ahead and give it a try. it's super simple to make. you can't mess up. i've made it two times in the last week and loved it every time. the only thing i wasn't too crazy about was that although the cake puffed up (rise) while baking in the oven, once you take it out and it cools, it falls back and dips just a tad. not totally crazy about that, but hey, i guess that's okay when it's so good. not too big of a deal especially if you're going to frost it. you won't be able to tell.

okay, enjoy! :)

Easter Cupcakes! via design. bake. run.

vanilla cupcakes
recipe from here

ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

directions:
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
  3. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting. For frosting ideas, you can check out these recipes.

makes 12 standard size cupcakes. enjoy and happy eating. :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

apple crumble granola

Apple Crumble Granola via design. bake. run.

hello there! it's been a good while and i finally got around to editing some food photos from a while back. i had actually meant to post this up about a month ago but i accidentally deleted the edited photos and had to re-edit them again. anyway, here's a recipe for a breakfast granola, apple crumble granola, that is. sounds pretty awesome, eh? i think so!

i've never made granola before and so this is for sure a first. how did it turn out? ahhhh... okay, i guess. i didn't know what to expect so i can't really say a whole lot. what i can say is that it's not really sweet. or as according to m, not at all! so if you like it a little sweeter, i recommend adding more honey or possibly even sprinkling in some brown sugar (note: i have not tried this). another thing was either i totally did this wrong, mine didn't clump together the way i thought granola should. you see, i found this recipe on some random sight online and from the pictures i saw, it came out perfectly fine. so maybe i did something wrong? who knows.

well, below's the recipe should you be interested. i'm sure you'll have better luck with it than me. regardless, i still thought it tasted alright. i do love the apple and cinnamon flavor that comes through. and what better way to dress up a bowl of non-fat greek yogurt in the morning than some granolas and fresh fruits?

Apple Crumble Granola via design. bake. run.

Apple Crumble Granola via design. bake. run.

apple crumble granola
recipe adapted from here

ingredients:
  • 300g (3-1/3 cups) oats
  • 1 apple (with or without skin)
  • 30g (2 tbsp) butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins

directions:
  1. preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. first, pour the oats into a mixing bowl, and grate the apple over the top. or for a chewier granola, finely dice the apple instead for large chunks. stir it into the oats quickly to prevent the apple from browning as it comes into contact with the air.
  3. pop the butter in a microwaveable dish and ping on a high heat for 20 seconds to melt. add the honey and cinnamon to the melted butter and stir through. pour into the oats and apple mixture, and stir well to coat lightly and evenly.
  4. lightly grease a baking tray or roasting tin (i actually just used a silpat on a baking sheet), and tip the oat mixture in. roughly even out with a spoon, but don't press down as you want it to clump together in chunks, not make a flapjack! pop it into the center of the oven at 30 minutes, removing to shake gently halfway through.
  5. allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. it will keep for a few weeks if stored in a cool dry place.

FOR VEGANS: replace the 30g of butter with around 40ml oil, and the honey with either sugar, golden syrup or agave nectar, whichever you prefer.

TO MAKE IT GO FURTHER: add half a handful of raisins, cranberries or other dried fruit to make it go further.

you can eat this slightly warmed up, or thrown into plain yogurt... pretty much anything. it's perfect for breakfast or as a snack anytime throughout the day.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

white chocolate biscotti

White Chocolate Biscotti via design. bake. run.

lent started yesterday. my MIL is giving up cookies for lent. as a little cookie send-off, i baked her some of her favorite cookies, biscotti, monday night and finished it tuesday morning; so she could eat the entire batch to her heart's content. hehehe ;)

i don't make biscottis very often. i've only made it a few times and always with the same recipe. but this time around i decided i'd try a different recipe. after a quick search online and going through multiple recipes, i settled on one from myrecipes. theirs seemed simple enough (and it was!).

as i said above, i've only made biscotti with one recipe in the past. this one from myrecipe was slightly different and uses no butter. i have never made biscotti without butter before (never even knew that traditional biscottis were made without butter!). anyway, these biscotti are so, so good. must be because they contain no butter, the way they should be made. this recipe produces the most super crunchy biscottis ever, especially if you eat it soon after they've cooled. i absolutely love the white chocolate-vanilla combo because it is like the perfect little bite of sweetness in your mouth. and the added lemon zest is a wonderful little surprise too. it's like a hint of freshness, refreshing and delicious.

so what are you waiting for? if you're a fan of biscotti, why not bake some today?!! and if you're not, you'll instantly become a fan. m doesn't care for biscotti, but he absolutely loves these. :)

White Chocolate Biscotti via design. bake. run.
this biscotti recipe is so simple to make and produces the most crunchiest biscotti ever.

White Chocolate Biscotti via design. bake. run.
these are insanely good. i've never thought i'd love biscottis this much. i seriously ate 3 in a row.

White Chocolate Biscotti via design. bake. run.
i absolutely love how these contain only 55 calories in one serving. i could have 2 biscottis and not feel guilty at all!

white chocolate biscotti
recipe adapted from myrecipes.

ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (6-ounce) bar premium white chocolate, chopped or 1/2 bag of white chocolate baking chips

directions:
  1. preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until well blended. stir in chocolate.
  3. turn dough out onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. shape dough into 2 (12-inch-long) rolls; pat to 2 1/2-inch width.
  4. bake at 300° for 35 minutes. remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.
  5. cut rolls diagonally into 24 (1/2-inch) slices. place, cut sides down, on baking sheet. bake at 300° for 10 to 12 minutes. turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.


makes 24 (or however many depending on how thick/thin you slice it). these taste most delicious on the day they're baked, but will keep in an air-tight container for a few days.

55 calories per serving.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

observing lent and the no junk food challenge

being that tomorrow is lent, is anyone observing it? i'm not catholic but m & my MIL are and they'll be giving up something for lent. i've done it several years now with them. this year, i can't seem to think of what to give up so i've decided to add on. and in doing so, i'm hoping that it will help me give up or eliminate some things i really shouldn't be doing or eating.

this year i've decided that i will eat more fruits and vegetables. at least the daily recommended amount, which is 5 servings. you see, i don't get enough fruits and vegetables in my diet. i'll go days and days without eating a single serving of fruit. vegetables are easier to come by since we do eat a proper dinner at our house everyday. apart from that, it's pretty bad. of course, there will be times when i eat nothing but fruit. i'll go on a giant fruit binge and eat like a whole 1-lb thing of strawberries or a 6-oz thing of raspberry and some kiwis. there's even been times when i ate like 10 nectarines in one day (over the course of a few hours). i know, my fruit and veggies eating is all out of whack. i need to be better at it.

my trouble is that i don't care for your typical apples, oranges, pears, bananas, etc that you can can get just about any time of year. i like to think that the fruits i like are more tropical, seasonal… more exotic? hahaha, something like that. i love fruits that are crunchy with lots of hints of sour/tartness to them. yes, like super firm and crunchy nectarines or peaches. or very green mangoes. pineapples are good too, and for sure passionfruits but those are hard to find here. and all the berries you can think of is definitely a go too. but all of these are hard to come by sometimes, especially when they're out of season or just isn't readily available (or too expensive). regardless, i've told myself that price isn't the issue here and that i should just suck it up and eat more. so, starting tomorrow, we shall see!

also starting tomorrow is this new thing m and i are going to try. it's really 21 days but we've decided to cut it short to only 20 days since we're taking off to europe by that time. so what do you think? want to do it too? why not! no junk food for 21 days (or 20 days for us). i saw this on pinterest and decided to give it a go. :)

No Junk Food Challenge via design. bake. run.

Monday, March 3, 2014

motivational monday: one thing at a time

take care of your body

i wrote this long blog post last week thinking i'd post it, but i never did. what was it about? umm... about m and i, running for 30 days straight. actually, i think it was 32 straight since we started on january 26 and ended on february 26. yeah, pretty crazy, i know... and we actually did it too! we set out to run for a whole month with 1 mile being the bare minimum and we did it. like for real, no crazy excuses thrown in, nada, zilch, period. was it hard? you bet it was. it was insanely hard, especially during the first week. but as the days went on, it got a tad easier. i'm not saying it was easy towards the end or in the middle or at any point. every day we fought the urge to skip our daily runs. and each day the running won. we went out and ran. period.

32-day nike plus running data

last month i personally covered 67 miles (see graphic above) – the most i've ran in a long time. i think if i look back at my nike+ history, there are definitely months that i've ran more than the 67 i did last month. but 67 miles last month was a big accomplishment for me, especially lately anyway. i haven't been running a whole lot the last several months so it's a big deal to me. i'm just so proud of myself for sticking it through and so thankful to have m around who inspires me everyday to keep at it and stay positive.

with a few days of rest out of the way, this week is the start of a new challenge. i look forward to conquering another fitness goal. i'm just hoping that my eating habits will be better and that the number on the scale will actually reflect that. okay, maybe not the scale entirely, but other areas such as loose clothing, etc. you get the point.

below is the new challenge i hope to conquer by the end of the month. feel free to pin it for later, do it now, or whatever you like. and here's to us all getting fit, being healthy(ier) in our own body, our way. :)

30-day plank challenge

i want my body

Friday, February 28, 2014

strawberry-banana cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting inspired by sprinkles cupcakes

Sprinkles-inspired Strawberry-Banana Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting via design. bake. run.

happy last day of february!

to close out the month, here are some (mini) strawberry-banana cupcakes with strawberry frosting. sometime last week we had a lone banana going brown. instead of making some banana muffins again or something else with banana i decided to do a take on a strawberry cupcake. i mean, add banana to it. a quick google search later, i landed on good old martha stewart's website. sprinkles strawberry cupcakes recipe, to be exact.

so here you have it. a take on their recipe, but with the pureed strawberries out for strawberry jam and some mashed bananas in, all topped off with a super simple strawberry buttercream frosting. you can't get any easier than this. no fancy blender required! this is my kind of recipe when it comes to using very minimal equipments. ;)

below's the recipe should you want to make some. it's quite good, i should say. you get both the strawberry and banana flavor in the cake. and the added strawberry buttercream frosting on top? that just makes it even better. i know the photos don't show much since you lose out the color once you mix the frosting together, etc... but the flavor is definitely there. i guess you can top it off with some strawberry and/or banana slices if you like. i personally couldn't be bothered to. so go ahead and make yourself some. enjoy and happy baking! :)

Strawberry-Banana Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting via design. bake. run.
strawberry and banana are two fruits that pair well together. the strawberry frosting really balances out the strong banana flavor in the cake and makes for one sweet bite.

Strawberry-Banana Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting via design. bake. run.
i love making one-bite cupcakes. these mini versions of a full-size cupcake gives you the same yummy taste and satisfaction of a standard size one, but for way less the calories.

strawberry banana cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting
inspired by sprinkles' strawberry cupcakes

ingredients

cupcake batter:
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam or preserves
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites

strawberry frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam or preserves
  • milk or cream as needed

directions

for the cupcake batter:
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. in a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, mashed bananas and strawberry jam; set aside.
  3. in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  4. with the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  5. divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes (or 15-16 minutes if making mini cupcakes). transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before frosting.

for the strawberry buttercream frosting:
  1. in a good size bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until somewhat combined.
  2. then add in the strawberry jam and mix until fully incorporated and resemble the right buttercream consistency. if it's too thick, add a tablespoon of milk to the mixture at a time and blend it some more until you've reach the right consistency. if it's too thin, add in more powdered sugar.
  3. frost the cupcakes and enjoy! :)


makes 12 regular size cupcakes or about 45 mini cupcakes.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

mini apple crumbles

Mini Apple Crumbles via design. bake. run.

i was going through my stacks and stacks of magazines sometime last week and ran across a recipe for mini apple crumbles. yes, i've got piles of shape, marie claire, better homes & gardens, 7x7 and ca home & design magazines just to name some that i've left it piled on (and some i have yet to go through them). i guess i'm still one of the few left who appreciates actual printed materials over those ebooks or e-zines. okay, going off topic here. yes, as i was going through one of my shape magazines from a few months back, i noticed a recipe for mini apple crumbles. i think it must have been shape's november 2013 issue. leafing through the pages and seeing that, a lightbulb went in my head. well, hello… we've got a bunch of oatmeal lying around, i could actually put some to use with this recipe! so off i went with it.

okay, i've actually adapted the recipe a bit because i didn't have any maple syrup on hand or couldn't be bothered with the spices that were in it. but overall, the recipe was pretty straight forward. so go ahead and bake some. these make for perfect little one-bite treats and are great for parties or any occasions. :)

One-Bite Mini Apple Crumbles via design. bake. run.
these one-bite mini apple crumbles make for the perfect little party treats and has only 95 calories.

Mini Apple Crumbles via design. bake. run.
this recipe is super simple to make. i love how you get many different kinds of texture, crunch and flavors from just one tiny bite.

mini apple crumbles
recipe from shape magazine's november 2013 issue

crumble topping:
cooking spray
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch kosher salt
1/3 c maple syrup
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

apple filling:
2 firm apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons maple syrup

directions:
preheat over to 350°F. lightly coat a 12-cup mini muffing pan with cooking spray and set aside.

to make the crumble topping, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. stir in maple syrup until well coated. use a fork to smash the butter pieces into the oat mixture until crumbly. Set aside.

to make the apple filling, add apples, maple syrup, and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan. cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. remove from heat and let cool slightly.

meanwhile, place 1 teaspoon of the oat mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup. see your fingers to gently press down to form  a solid crust. Place 1 tablespoon of the apple  mixture over each and top with remaining crumble distributing evenly among all muffin cups.

bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. remove from oven, let cool to room temperature, then use an offset spatula or a butter knife to gently remove from pan. serve at room temperature.

makes 12 mini apple crumbles. enjoy!

nutrition facts: 95 calories; 3 g fat; 18 g carbs; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 22 mg sodium; 20 mg calcium

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