Taking A Little Break

I'm so glad to say that I'm spending the next week having a little
SISTER TIME.

I'm travelling to North Carolina to visit my sister and her family.







You can follow along with me on instagram for some of the sights, fun times and FOOD.




Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

I'm definitely on a cupcake kick this week.

My patient's are absolutely loving it.
I'm ALWAYS dieting so I make them, 
take a bite,
 and then my wonderful patients get to enjoy the sweets of my labor.



Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
(adapted from Annie's Eats)

Yield 2 dozen cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup coffee
4 extra-large eggs

For the frosting:

2 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

Garnish:

ground cinnamon
caramel sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and coffee.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-22 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  Let the cupcakes cool completely.

For the frosting:

Place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners' sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.




Enjoy,

Google+ Party--Link Up and Grow Your Circles

Hi Everyone,

I'm back co-hosting with Amanda for this week's Google+ Linky Party.


Are you looking to grow your circles on Google+?  Do you want better SEO and increased website exposure? Then this is the place to be!
Welcome to the mommy is coocoo Google+ Link Party HOP!
(Or, as I like to think of it mommy gets around.)
Pin It
If you want to GROW with us on Google+:

Turtle Cupcakes

One of my absolute favorite patients reached a milestone in her therapy and we celebrated with a cupcake party at work.
She chose chocolate and I chose Turtle cupcakes.

I'm really obsessed with caramel right now and I thought these would satisfy both of our appetites.



Decadent chocolate cake and caramel buttercream topped with caramel, chocolate sauce, and roasted chopped pecan.

YUM!!


Turtle Cupcakes
(adapted from Annie's Eats)

Printer Friendly

Yield 2 dozen cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

For the caramel:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

12 ounces cream cheese, cold
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 tablespoons caramel sauce
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
pinch of coarse salt

For the chocolate sauce:
(original recipe here)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toppings:

chocolate sauce
caramel sauce
chopped roasted pecans

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk until smooth.  In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk to blend.

Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until smooth.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pan about 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the caramel:

Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Place over medium-heat, watching carefully.  When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center.  Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted, taking care not to over stir.  Measure out the heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream.  Set aside.  Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat.  Carefully pour half of the heavy cream into the saucepan in a steady stream down the edge of the pan, whisking constantly.  The mixture will  steam and bubble violently.  Stir until the cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream.  Stir in the salt and the vanilla.  If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

To make the frosting:

Combine the cream cheese, butter, and caramel sauce in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the confectioners' sugar and salt at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.  Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag with a large round tip.  Pipe a swirl of frosting over the top of each cupcake.  Use the tip of a small offset spatula or a small spoon to scoop an indentation out of the center of the frosting.

To make the chocolate sauce:

Whisk together the sugar, water, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan.  Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently.  Remove the pan from the heat once the sugar has completely dissolved.  Add the chopped chocolate and set the pan aside for 1 minute, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the vanilla extract.  Transfer the sauce to a heatproof container and refrigerate until completely chilled.

Top the frosted cupcakes with another dollop of caramel, chocolate, and chopped pecans.


Enjoy,

Chipotle Chicken, Potato, and Corn Chowder

I tend to get so excited when I see a recipe using poblano peppers,
or chipotle peppers in adobo these days.

I don't know why??
Maybe because I've canned about 50 jars of them and still have about a million of them on the plants in my backyard.

(I honestly am running out of ideas for these little gems.)

I found this recipe on my one stop search--Pinterest.
Ok, who doesn't use pinterest to find everything??
It has to be one of the best ideas--wish I had thought of it.

So I was really wanting some type of soup or stew and I came across the idea for this recipe and I knew it was definitely meant to be.

I will definitely add this to my "must make again" file, 
because this chowder is amazing.

It is so flavorful and filling,
and very easy too.

The family loved it.
Even our "picky eater".



Chipotle Chicken, Potato, and Corn Chowder
(Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Printer Friendly

1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small poblano peppers (or 1 large), seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk, warmed
2 cups chicken stock (low-sodium), warmed
6-8 small red potatoes, peeled and diced small)
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 (15 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 teaspoon parsley for garnish

Remove one chile from the can of chiles in adobo and mince it.  Remove 1 tablespoon of the adobosauce and set it aside to be used later.  (Save the remaining chiles and sauce for another use.)
Melt the butter in a large dutch oven of stock pot over medium heat.  Add the poblano peppers, red bell pepper, the chile from the can, cumin, thyme, oregano, and creole seasoning, and saute' for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the peppers become soft.  Add the garlic, stir and cook for an additional minute, or until fragrant. (Do not let the garlic burn.)

Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for 1 minutes, or until there is no longer any visible raw flour.  Slowly pour in the warmed milk and chicken broth, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir.

Add the potatoes, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife.

Finally, stir in the chicken, both cans of corn and the reserved adobo sauce.  Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the soup is completely heated through.  Serve immediately.



Enjoy,

Google+ Linky Party

Hi Everyone,

I'm back again inviting you to the mommyiscoocoo Google+ linky party.
If you want to increase your circles and find some really awesome bloggers out there, 
this is the place to be.



Are you looking to grow your circles on Google+?  Do you want better SEO and increased website exposure? Then this is the place to be!
Welcome to the mommy is coocoo Google+ Link Party HOP!
(Or, as I like to think of it mommy gets around.)
Pin It
If you want to GROW with us on Google+:

1. Add all of the cohost to one of your circles.
2. Link up your Google+ url NOT your blog url.
3. Share a post on Google+ and include the hashtag #mommyiscoocoo.
I personally will be sharing several posts.  Post with the #mommyiscoocoo hashtag were shared over and over again by our supportive group.  Thanks ya'll! 
4. Socialize - The more shares a website or blog post has the better chance it has of ranking well.
  • Add new friends to your circles.
  • Comment and share post you really enjoy!
  • Throughout the day +1 posts with the hashtag #mommyiscoocoo on Google+
*This is a weekly party!*
*If you want to grow your presence on Google+ email (me) Amanda at mommyiscoocoo(at)gmail(dot)com to cohost

 











Hope to see you all on Google+!!

Caramel Apple Toffee Blondies

I have this patient at my work that is a dream come true.
She is so much fun to work with.
She has the best personality and we have really connected.

The funny thing about her is that she gets really, really excited when I bring her a treat.
She told me that she really likes apple desserts,
 and I found this one and knew that I had to make it for her.




It was a success. 
We both loved them.
I'm always a sucker for fruit desserts.

Caramel Apple Toffee Blondies
(adapted from Dessert for Two)


Printer Friendly


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
2 small apples, peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup caramel bits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8x8 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.  Next, stir in the sugars, eggs, and vanilla into the melted butter.  Add the cinnamon, salt, and flour.  Mix well.  Finally add the apples bits.  Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan and top with the toffee bits and the caramel bits.

Bake for 28-34 minutes, or until the edges of the blondie start to pull away from the pan and the center is done.  Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.




Enjoy,

Sweet Links

Here are a few sites that I've been stalking lately...


The best Homemade Vanilla recipe I've seen.
I'm definitely making this, soon.

I think this is great... cocktails and cheese pairings.

More figs...I'm obsessed and loving them.

Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin-- and more pumpkin.



Polenta with Fontina, Parmesan,& Roasted Vegetables

Every weekend, 
I always try to make at least one really good meal.
I usually try to make something that we haven't had in a while,
or something new altogether.

This recipe falls in both categories.
We've definitely had polenta and roasted vegetables before, 
but not together.
And I have no ideas why we haven't.
It was delicious.


Polenta with Fontina, Parmesan, & Roasted Vegetables
(slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

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3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for pan
1 small eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 small zucchini, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 small yellow squash, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup stone-ground polenta
2 tablespoon butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Fontina cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  

In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, zucchini, squash, and red onion.  Drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil, season with salt and pepper, toss to combine.  Arrange in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. 



Roast, tossing once, until the vegetables are caramelized, 20-25 minutes.  Set aside.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil over medium heat.  Stir the polenta constantly for about 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken.  Reduce the heat to low and stir frequently, until the polenta is soft, about 25 minutes.  Add the butter, parmesan, and fontina and stir until the cheese is melted.  Pour the polenta into a prepared baking dish and smooth the top.

Bake until the polenta begins to set, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top evenly with the roasted vegetables.  Continue to bake until the vegetables are heated through, about 15 minutes.  Serve the polenta directly from the dish.

(I served this with brown butter seared scallops.)




Enjoy,

Thirsty Thursday--Fig Thyme Pisco Cocktail

I'm going to rename this one..

MY LATE LATE SUMMER, EARLY FALL COCKTAIL.


It's pretty darn tasty.
This was my first time to ever try Pisco,
and I must say that I am a fan.

(I'm thinking there may be a few other Pisco cocktails coming this way soon.)

If you follow on here and instagram,
you know that my fig tree is finally producing.

I could not be more excited!!


I started off the week with a fig appetizer,
and bringing the work week to an end with a tasty fig cocktail.
A girl couldn't ask for more.

(Just look at that condensation--I know you want it!!)

Fig Thyme Pisco Cocktail

3 figs, cut in half
1/2 ounce thyme simple syrup*
juice from 1/2 lime
1 ounce Grand Marnier
2 ounces Pisco

In a cocktail shaker, place 2 1/2 fig halves and smash.  Add the simple syrup, lime juice, Grand Marnier, and Pisco.  Add ice and shake until well mixed.

Pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the other fig half and a sprig of thyme.

*Thyme Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
5 sprigs thyme

Bring all ingredients to a boil and boil for 5 minutes until starting to thicken.  Allow to cool completely. Transfer to a jar.  Will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.


Enjoy,

Google+ Party--Link Up and Grow Your Circles

Hi Everyone,

I'm so pleased to be a part of Amanda's Google+ Link Party today.
It's a great opportunity to grow your circles and increase your social media exposure.

So join up now!!!



Are you looking to grow your circles on Google+?  Do you want better SEO and increased website exposure? Then this is the place to be!
Welcome to the first ever mommy is coocoo Google+ Link Party HOP!
(Or, as I like to think of it mommy gets around.)

google+ link party http://www.mommyiscoocoo.com/
Pin It
If you want to get coocoo with us on Google+ you must:
1. Add all of the cohost to one of your circles.
2. Link up your Google+ url NOT your blog url.
3. Share a post on Google+ and include the hashtag #mommyiscoocoo.
4. Socialize - The more shares a website or blog post has the better chance it has of ranking well.
  • Add new friends to your circles.
  • Throughout the day +1 posts with the hashtag #mommyiscoocoo on Google+
*If you want to grow your presence on Google+ email (me) Amanda at mommyiscoocoo(at)gmail(dot)com to cohost




Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Gratin

I am really trying hard to not only make potatoes as side dishes.
It's really, really hard.
I love them so much.
(Like if I were stranded on a desert island, that is the food I would take with me, kind of love.
So while I'm probably sure that will not happen.
I might bring a potato along when crossing the ocean, just sayin' .)

I think that maybe this dish might help me overcome my addiction to potatoes and also ensure that my love of cheese remains strong.


Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Gratin

1 bulb garlic
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 4-5 cups)
olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt
pepper
1 cups milk, hot
6-7 dashes tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut the garlic in half and drizzle with olive oil on the exposed cloves. Wrap in foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the cloves are soft and lightly browned.  Once the garlic is roasted, squeeze it out into a small bowl and press with a fork until macerated.

Meanwhile, place the cauliflower florets on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Place in the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, until starting to lightly brown.  Remove from the oven and set aside.


Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.  Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Add the dijon mustard and roasted garlic and mix well.  Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour-mustard mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat, and add 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, tabasco, and nutmeg.  Add the cheddar cheese and stir until well combined.  Add the roasted cauliflower florets and combine.  Pour the cauliflower cheese mixture into a prepared baking dish.

Combine the parmesan cheese and the bread crumbs together and sprinkle over the cauliflower cheese mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.



Enjoy,
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