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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Derby Cupcakes

Saturday is the day for the "fastest 2 minutes in sports".  That's right it's Kentucky Derby Day. I haven't looked at any of the names of the horses this year, but I'm sure they will be creative.  I understand that there could be the first winner that has a woman trainer.  I'm sure they will talk about that in the 2 1/2 hours of "pregame" talk.  This recipe is an interesting twist to the Derby pie that is so popular at the Derby.  I hope you enjoy these cupcakes.  I know I will.

The recipe called for making some pie crust garnishes as well for the top but I chose not to do that.  I did think about making some chocolate horse shoes but ran out of time.  But if you would like to do that, they would be really cute on top.
I will admit I had to make a special trip for the buttermilk for this recipe.  Now I will have to find other recipes to use the rest of it.
Start with 2 sticks softened butter.
Add 2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
Mix until nice and fluffy.
Add 4 eggs, one at a time and mix well after each egg.
Add 3 cups of all purpose flour.  BUT add 1 1/2 cups at one time so you can alternate with the buttermilk.
I went ahead and added the 2 teaspoons baking powder and..
1/2 teaspoon salt to the first half of the flour.
Measure out 3/4 cup buttermilk.
Add the first half of the flour
And half the buttermilk.  Mix well.
Then add the second half of the flour
And buttermilk
1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Mix well.
Add 1.2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans.  I used the food processor to get them chopped small.
Mix well.
Scoop into prepared muffin pans.  Place in a preheated 325 oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  
While the cupcakes are cooling, mix up the icing.
Start with 8 oz softened cream cheese and 1 stick softened butter
Add 1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla.  I didn't worry about using the clear vanilla this time because the brown sugar will make the icing a beige color anyway.
Add 4 cups powdered sugar
Mix well.  If you need it thicker add a little more powdered sugar.
I used a star tip with a zip lock bag to pipe the cupcakes.
Add a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips
And the final touch is a whole pecan half in the middle.  Store in the fridge.

Derby Cupcakes Recipe

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter softened
2 1/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated 325 oven.

Icing
8 oz cream cheese softened
1 stick softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Finishing Touches

I haven't updated here in a while to the final little things we needed to finish around the house.  We had most of the big things finished when we had our open house in December.  These final things we waited on a while some because we just had to wait until spring.  I think you will like some of the new things we added to the house.

I didn't want to rush and try and schedule our back splash in the kitchen before the open house.  We had too many other things to take care of.  Then we waited because we just didn't want to schedule anything for a while.  Good thing with the winter weather.  I could see us scheduling and then having to cancel and reschedule so it was best to wait until spring.  The guy that came and installed it worked very quickly and did such a good job.  The first step was to set the tile in place.
This was suppose to be a two day job.  Work for a little bit one day to set the tile then come back the next day to grout the tile.  Well he asked if he could come back later this afternoon to finish up.  He left to finish a job in Decatur and then came back and it took about two hours to finish.
Don't you just love the little green spacers?
Here it is finished.  White subway tile and grey grout.

The pot filler is the only thing left.  You can see the pipe sticking out.  The tile had to be finished first.  It really looks good and gives it a finished look.
The plumber came Monday morning and finished the pot filler.
This is how it works.  You pull it out from the wall, turn the bottom knob on.
The turn the top knob on and water comes out.  Great for when you are making pasta or need to add a little water to the pot.  When I am making dinner and am making noodles I like to have the water boiling by the time my husband comes home so I can then throw in the pasta.  Well sometimes he gets detained leaving and the water starts boiling out and I have to add water.  This will make it much easier.
Now for outdoors.  Spring means time for new plants and flowers.  We found these two pot for the back patio.  We love the color and they were light weight too.  No it is not filled with dirt.  A handy trick to keep big pots from having a lot of dirt is to put plastic drink bottles in the bottom.  The bottles are light weight and take up space but water can still flow through.
We have two of these pots on either side of the patio doors. When that sweet potato vine starts to grow well it will be really pretty.
Remember when we poured our patio and we added the space on the side for herb pots.  Well it is now finished minus a couple herbs.  We found lava rocks to add in the space. That will help keep weeds down and it looks good too.  We have a couple of herbs planted.   There is rosemary there in the front.
Another view.  That is a bell pepper plant in the back.  There's a tomato plant somewhere too.
Here's another look. I will update when they are growing well.
Here is our wall, remember it.  The grass is growing well.  It's hard to see in this picture but there are 5 Yoshima cherry trees planted on the top.  Next spring we will have our little Cherry Blossom Festival just like DC.  Wonder if they will let us close our street for a parade?

All in a row.  Waiting for sod up here.  Trying to talk Joe into letting me plant some roses and things up here and make it a flower bed.  I haven't won that yet.
It will look really good when they are in bloom.

Hope you like the new touches we have added around the house.  The trees and flowers will be a nice addition for many years to come.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kentucky Derby Day

The Derby is coming up this weekend and you have to make some treats this year's Running of the Roses.  One of these days I want to find a big hat and go to the Derby.  It just looks like a lot of fun.  They have events all week long.  But I don't think it will be this year. My excuse will be that I haven't found the perfect hat.  But I will.
Try one of these Derby treats for your family as you wait to see who will be in the winner circle this year.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Loaded Baked Potato Rounds

I found this great side dish recipe the other day and couldn't wait to try it.  The weather is turning nice and grilling is a great way to enjoy these nice spring days.  This recipe is the perfect side dish to some grilled meat for dinner.  We grilled hamburger steaks this evening and had these little potato rounds with it.  One of the great things about this recipe is you can make as many or as few as you want.  I'm thinking this is going to be a great recipe for football season.
You can add your favorite potato topping.
 I ended up only using two of the potatoes, you can  make as many or as little as you need.  The directions are the same.
 Cut your potatoes into 1/2 inch rounds.  I liked the thicker ones my husband liked the thiner, crunchier ones.  This is also a good alternative to frying french fries too.
 Brush both sides of the slices with olive oil.
 Sprinkle with a little kosher or sea salt
 I added some pepper because we really like pepper.  Place in a preheated 400 oven.  Bake for 15 minutes.
 While they are baking chop up some green onions.
 After 15 minutes take out of the oven and turn over and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
 Cook some bacon and chop it while the potatoes are baking.
 Take the potatoes out of the oven and top with some cheese.  Use any cheese you like.  It will melt pretty good when you put it on top.
 Add some bacon and put back in the oven for a minute or two to let the cheese melt.
 Then top with green onions.
And a little sour cream.

Loaded Baked Potato Rounds Recipe

potatoes cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
olive oil
course salt
shredded cheese
cooked bacon
green onions or chives
sour cream

Preheat oven to 400.  Bake for 15 minutes, turn and bake for another 15 minutes.