Oh hey there, beautiful. I’ve been waiting for you my entire life. I want to stare into the depths of your chocolate-swirled beauty fooevaaaaa. And by stare I mean SHOVE IN MY FACE.
I know some of my readers are based in the lands of ice and snow, and I wish I could reach through the screen and offer up a condolence cupcake because California is lookin’ migghhhtttyy fine these past few weeks. I’m talking mid-70s to mid-80 degrees and nothing but sunshine. Spring is here! And you know what that means… I need to start preparing myself for all the healthy Spring produce that’s coming my way! With cupcakes! Because I wouldn’t want to be toooo healthy and a balanced diet for myself often includes a Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing in one hand and dessert in the other.
And yes yes yes, I know that strawberries are technically not quite in season yet, but can you blame me for wanting to spruce up a boring (albeit delicious) chocolate cupcake with some strawberry flair? They’re the food equivalent to sparkly sequins on a new dress. Who am I kidding. TOTALLY NECESSARY.
So let’s chat a bit more about these.
First, you start off with a decadent fudge brownie cupcake base that comes from the lovely Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Then, you cleverly make and separate a quick buttercream frosting, adding diced strawberries in one part and cocoa powder in the other. Now, STOP! Put that spoon down and try your hardest to not eat half of it. Don’t ask me how I know this.
Moving on to more good things!
Here comes the fun part. Grab a trusty piping bag and tip (which can be found in must grocery stores for a very reasonable price) and stuff those cupcakes with the strawberry frosting, top them with a gorgeous swirl of the chocolate buttercream, top them with a strawberry, and sift powdered sugar/cocoa powder for garnish. BOOM.
And voila! Share or save them all for yourself. No one will ever know .
Melt your butter in the microwave and mix in the brown sugar by hand or with a mixer. Stir in the vanilla and eggs.
In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and flour. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.
Fill muffin tins ⅔ of the way full and bake for around 9-10 minutes. Let cool.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting by combining the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and the cream. Separate half of the frosting and add in the diced strawberries to it, folding them in gently. In the other half, add in the 1½ tbsp cocoa powder until completely mixed in.
Using a knife, cut out a small hole in the center of each cupcake. Fill a piping bag with the strawberry buttercream and pipe into the hole. Cover the hole with the parts of the cupcake you cut out. Fill a separate piping bag with the chocolate frosting and pipe a swirl on top of the cupcake.
Garnish with a fresh strawberry and powdered sugar!
Someone please hold me as I pass out, because this is my kind of food.
The last few days have been nothing short of glorious. I finished my last final on Friday and am currently back at my parent’s house doing all my favorite things (read: photography, cooking, Netflix binge-watching, petting Kyle’s new puppy). Glorious, I tell ya. I know I’ve been MIA for the last week, but prepare to have recipes start to rain down on you. My goal for the next few months is to get 3 recipes up each week, along with more personal posts so I can add some more of myself into my little site.
Andddd here’s the first of the plethora of recipes coming! Meet my newest love, Peanut Butter Pretzel Fudge.
This recipe packs all my favorite things into a delectable bite-sized treat. With a fudgy chocolate base, thick peanut butter layer, and pretzels sprinkled with sea salt to lend the perfect crunch, this fudge has it all. Seriously, meander (and by that I mean RUN) to your kitchen and make this ASAP.
This recipe comes from Bake for the Border. One look at her mouthwatering photos, and I knew I had to try out the recipe for myself!
5 oz baker's dark chocolate (not chocolate chips!)
2 tbsps butter
150g peanut butter
Line a small baking tin with parchment paper.
Heat half of the condensed milk in a small-sized saucepan with 1 tablespoon of the butter and dark chocolate. Pour into the baking tin and let sit for a few minutes before placing a thin layer of pretzels on top.
In a separate sauce pan, heat the rest of the condensed milk, peanut butter, and the other tablespoon of butter together. Pour in the baking tin and smooth.
Once slightly cool, place another layer of pretzels on top of the peanut butter layer. Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight. Cut and enjoy!
It turns out that California has decided to completely skip out the “winter” part of the year and here on the coast of Santa Barbara, we have had almost nothing but sunshine and 70 degree weather. This translates to me wanting to post aalllll the warmer-weather food (fruit! salad! light & scrumptious combos!), but I’ve held back since I didn’t want to tempt all my readers who are still battling snow and cold with ginormous produce-filled photos like THIS.
*proceeds to swoon*
I know I’ve been a bit bad about posting this last week, but I promise I have good reason. I’m just ending the last of my finals (just have my genetics one at 8 am on tomorrow morning!) and then I’m FREEE! My lecture schedule for next quarter is insane in the best possible way, and I only have class on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Someone please pinch me . I have big plans on amping up my blogging, photography, and overall quality of recipes and posts on the blog during that time, so please bear with me as I give everything I have to this last final.
So on to the food! The credit for this recipe goes to my close friend and housemate, Darinne, who has adapted this dish from the one here mama gave to her when she left for college. Her mom used to make this salad for her when she was growing up and it was the ONLY salad she would eat. Darinne is a bit of a picky eater (we call her an alien because she doesn’t like chocolate ), so her mom wanted to make sure she had an emergency recipe to help her get her greens in. And let me tell ya, this is the perfect healthy and nutrient-packed recipe!
Just think: vibrant and fresh spinach that just screams goodness, plumb and ripe strawberries, toasted almonds for that perfect crunch, and an amazing poppyseed dressing that is full of flavor. My mouth and heart are happy.
5.0 from 1 reviews
Best-Ever Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
As you might have gotten from my blog posts (or lack of posts…), I’ve been pretty busy lately. Between the constant bombardment of exams and essays that make up the fast-paced quarter system, setting up my tiny (but growing!) photography business, keeping up with Apple of My Eye, training for a half marathon, and trying to give myself time to spend with Kyle and my friends, I don’t have much spare time to get all that much cooking done outside of what I do for the blog. It’s funny because I think most people have this idea in their heads that I cook extravagant meals 24/7, which is absolutely the opposite of what I normally do. When I’m not cooking/baking for the blog, I usually stick to my favorite tried-and-true recipes like my Mom’s beef soup, Obachan’s lasagna, simple pasta dishes, takeout (oops), and deliciously simple chicken bakes like this!
I think I tend to gravitate to easier and fast recipes since I’m just so dang busy and want at least one aspect of my life to be simple. After a long day, there’s nothing I’d rather NOT do than stand up in the kitchen slaving away when I could be reclining on the couch with Netflix. Bonus points if the recipe makes a humongous amount of leftovers that I can eat for a week straight and is healthy for ya! I eat takeout more than I care to admit, so meals that I can make in bulk and refrigerate/freeze really help me stick to a healthy balance since I’m much less tempted to get fried rice or a cheeseburger when I can just grab something yummy, throw it in the microwave, and relax over a good meal.
This is the perfect fix for a busy college student like myself, and though it just involves cutting up a bunch of ingredients and baking them together, I thought I’d share it on the blog since it is pretty reflective of how I normally eat.
Question of the Day: What’s one easy recipe that you find yourself making on repeat?
1 extra large sweet potato, cut into 1-inch pieces
1½ cup roughly diced onion
1 lb raw chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 lb broccoli, steamed
½ cup parmesan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large baking dish, combine the olive oil, garlic, sweet potato, onion, chicken, carrots, and rosemary. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and bake for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are easily pierced with a fork.
Add in the steamed broccoli and mix in the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste!
MAKE THESE RIGHT NOW. NOW NOW NOW NOW. You need these. trust me.
I’m trying to make this into a more coherent post, but I can’t. All I want to do is somehow accurately describe these in a way that makes you understand how insanely good they are. I’ve been waiting for a dessert like this my entire life. And poof! Just like that, they’re here. Well, not anymore since they’ve officially been demolished, but they’re here in spirit through these photos. HELLO, my beauts. I miss you. Come back to meee.
I’m not sure if you can tell, but I really like these. I know it can be kinda hard since I’m playing coy with my feelings for them *stuffs ten in mouth*, but they’ll do juuuuust fine for satisfying my sweet tooth. In fact, you might even be able to say that this recipe is one of my all-time favorites! Decadent layersof chocolate that include a brownie base (made easier by using box mix!), caramel-stuffed chocolate chips (THESE ARE A THING EVERYONE STAY CALM), a dreamy coating of milk chocolate, and a sprinkle of roughly chopped chocolate shavings because why not. They’re unreal. To the point of being a little ridiculous. I didn’t even know things could taste this good .
Oftentimes, I think we associate mind-blowingly good recipes with being super complicated and involving a million and a half ingredients to make. This recipe is the exact opposite and only involves 4 – yes, you heard me right- ingredients, yet gives a big WOW factor. Any taste testers will think these came straight out of the display case at a fancy bakery and it’s truly love at first bite.
To make this recipe extra special, I used one of my new favorite ingredients: Nestle’s DelightFulls Filled Morsels! You may remember them making their first appearance on the blog with my recipe for Fudgy Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies back in December, where I used the mint-stuffed morsels. You guys. Get to the store ASAP and pick up a back or 20 of these. They come in a variety of flavors including cherry filled, mint filled, caramel filled, and peanut butter filled. I guess you could say they’re filled with a lot of joy . Also, I can’t even tell if that was a pun or not because it was such a bad attempt at a joke hahah. Sorry- currently on a bit of sugar high!
Now go forth and add a bit more chocolate and a lot more deliciousness into your life!
Prepare the brownie mix as written on the box, but bake for 5-10 minutes less than the allotted time so that the brownies are still gooey and soft.
Put the brownies in a stand mixer/bowl and break the brownie pieces up. Stir in the cream cheese until the mixture is smooth. Gently fold in the Nestle Toll House Caramel DelightFulls.
Roll the brownie mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and place in the freezer for an hour for them to harden.
Once hardened, melt the baker's chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals (stirring constantly and being very careful not to burn it) and dip the brownie balls in to coat completely. Sprinkle with extra roughly chopped DelightFulls chocolate chips before the chocolate coat hardens.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until the chocolate coat solidifies. Enjoy!
*Do not use regular chocolate chips to coat the balls because it will not harden. *Do not over-bake the brownies! You want them to still be gooey *Feel free to add in any mix-ins such as nuts, orange extract/zest, or anything else that strikes your fancy!