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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Ides of March

Known for the day in which Julius Caesar was assassinated, or as I call it the doldrums of winter.  This is the place in which you can taste spring, but it is just still winter.  This March was particularly difficult.  It has been a rough month in which many people I am close to lost those closest to them.  I think we get lost sometimes in life and forget to love on those we love because they surround us everyday.  When loss becomes real, it’s definite.  The loss of a loved one, the loss of a kid you knew so well, even the loss of motivation or a sense of purpose is like something empty dwelling inside.  But with any loss, I believe becomes the celebration of life and a renewed enthusiasm for what was once mundane.  So as we turn to April, let us be reminded that Spring is a chance for us to remember our past and jump into a new season of our lives.  Much like Christ gave his life for us, he has allowed us to not live in the past but focus on a beautiful future free of sin and pain.    

This entry has nothing to do with the recipe that follows, but it just came out and in my experience when you start you can’t stop or you lose a piece of yourself.  I made Cauliflower Pizza this week among other things posted below.  It was interesting to say the least.  It was neither good nor bad, but going forward I would suggest strictly for cheesy bread instead of for pizza.  Enjoy! 

Cauliflower Pizza
Yield: Makes one 9-12in pizza – 6 slices

2 cups shredded cauliflower

1 egg

1 cup finely shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt


1/2 cup pizza sauce or marinara sauce

1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
topping of choice

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. “Rice” or “shred” the cauliflower in a blender until it resembles small crumbled rice/pieces, but not pureed. Using a few pieces of paper towel, ring the excess water out of the cauliflower. Place the cauliflower crumbles in a mixing bowl and combine with egg, mozzarella, oregano, garlic powder, and salt. Mix with a spatula until well combined. Generously coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray (this crust is known to stick). Place the dough on the baking sheet and press into a 9 to 12-inch round crust. Lightly spray the crust with nonstick spray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat to broil. Spread the sauce on top of the baked crust, leaving a half inch border around the edge. Sprinkle mozzarella on top of the sauce. Add any extra toppings at this time. Place the pizza back in the oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove pizza from the oven. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Everyone's Irish on St. Patricks Day

Nothing drives me more crazy than being asked if I'm Irish.  Though, I must say that being in Southie on St. Patricks Day was amazing because I was among the most red-heads I've ever been around in once place ever!  Most people don't realize that being Irish you would mostly be brown hair, brown eyes.  Just because a Leprechaun has red hair and green eyes doesn't mean a girl's Irish!  Besides isn't everyone Irish on St. Patricks Day, so why are you asking anyway!?!?!   

For this week’s recipe I decided to make Guinness Stout Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting.  This is something that I have been wanting to make for awhile now and never had an excuse, enter St. Patties Day.  Thank goodness I was headed to a party because these little morsels of deliciousness are dangerous with a capital D!  What better snack to bring to a house party of a lot of drunken “Irish” people (ahem…including myself…ahem).  They were a hit and the small bite sized cakes were perfect party snackers.  Enjoy! 

Guinness Stout Chocolate Cupcakes with Bailey's Frosting

Prep time 30 mins   Cook time  18 mins  Total time  48 mins

 Yield: 18 (60 mini cupcakes)
    ¾ cup of unsweetened cocoa
    2 cups sugar
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    pinch of salt
    ½ cup (1 US stick) butter, melted and cooled
    1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    1 bottle of Guinness stout beer, room temperature (see note)
    3 large eggs
    ¾ cups sour cream

·   Preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin or line with cupcake liners.
·   In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
·   In another large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and vanilla. Whisking the liquids as you pour, slowly add the stout. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add sour cream and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the dry ingredients in 3-4 increments, stirring just to combine between each addition.
·   Fill the prepared pan so that each space is a bit more than ¾ full (this should make approximately 18 cupcakes). Bake until the cupcakes are just set, 16-18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking.

Recipe by Jami Schmidt and shared at Everyday Mom. NOTE: It is important that the Guinness and the melted butter both be at room temperature before combining them in order to create a cohesive, smooth liquid. If the Guinness is cold or the butter too warm, the butter will solidify into small pieces when combined.

Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting

Prep time 10 mins   Total time 10 mins

    3 sticks unsalted, softened to room temperature
    4 cups powdered sugar
    3 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur.  (I added two nips worth and all it did was intensify the Bailey’s taste, it gave the frosting a bit of a kick)

Cream butter until smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar a bit at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Add Bailey’s and beat until combined and smooth.