Sunday, April 18, 2010

Patios, cookouts & wineries!

This week in the world of all things delicious and unbalanced...
Thursday night my class was cancelled (GLORIOUS!) so I was able to spend some much-needed time with friends. Carebear and I went to Metro! to meet up with a friend from work and enjoy Sushi Happy Hour. I had the Dragon Roll and the Philadelphia Roll (regular salmon, not smoked). Both were absolutely delicious! Since Happy Hour has now changed to UNhappy hour with no drink specials of note, Carrie and I hung around until 8 when Ladies Night began...$5 Hibiscus Kir Royale - Hibiscus Flower & Hibiscus juice generously topped with Champagne...YUM! Then my newest favorite bartender, Adam, came to enjoy the patio with us (he makes the absolute BEST French 75). It was a wonderful evening to not be stuck in class for 3 hours :)

Friday I was able to come home after work and relax for the first time in WEEKS, if not months. I had fresh-baked Rosemary Foccacia and a Greek Salad for dinner...springtime food is my favorite! Then I finished my Case Study that's due next week so I could fully enjoy my weekend.

Saturday was a cookout at my friend/classmate Donna's house in Blacksburg with some of the other girls from the Counselor Ed program and some of her friends from Tech. It was a lot of fun, we played cornhole and I brought Lola to play with all of the other dogs. Eventually we got to the FOOD - hamburgers, hot dogs, and dessert! I made fruit pizza and it was gone in NO TIME. So, for all of your spring and summer get together's, here's an easy dessert that everyone will love:

Fruit Pizza:
1 - 16 oz roll of Sugar Cookie Dough (I use pillsbury)
1 - 8 oz pkg cream cheese (at room temp)
1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Any fruit(s) of your choice: blueberry, strawberry, kiwi, etc.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Set aside.

Slice and chop all of your fruits, unless using blueberries (leave them whole). Set aside.

Roll out the sugar cookie dough on a cookie sheet into a rectangle until it is very thin (about 1/4 inch) then bake at 350 degrees for about 10 mintues. Take out of the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Frost the cookie with the cream cheese mixture, then top with the fruit and refrigerate. Cut into little squares and ENJOY!

makes about 2 dozen squares

Today my mom and I are headed to Valhalla Vineyards to enjoy a wine tasting and a little picnic overlooking the Roanoke Valley.

Overall, I consider this a weekend well-spent! I feel relaxed and refreshed and am so glad that this semester is winding down so that my homework load has decreased and I can enjoy these moments with family and friends. Until next time!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pink Champagne Cupcake Recipe

Well, everyone keeps asking for the recipe for the Champagne Cupcakes and I guess I will reveal:

Pink Champagne Cupcakes (the easy way)
1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist White cake mix
1 1/4 c Champagne (I used Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee, but you can use any type you like)
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 egg whites
4-5 drops food color (optional - I omitted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine Champagne and cake mix with a spoon. Then add oil and egg whites and beat with an electric mixer on medium for 2 minutes (don't cheat here, it should be fluffy!)

Place cupcake liners in cupcake tins. Fill mini or regular cupcake tins about 3/4 full (it will make about 2 doz regular cupcakes or 6 doz mini cupcakes)
Bake mini cupcakes 10-12 minutes or regular cupcakes for 17-22 minutes. They should be very pale on top because they continue to bake after you take them out of the oven - don't over bake these! Cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes in the cupcake tins, then remove and continue to cool for 20-30 minutes before frosting.

1/2 c butter, at room temp (get this out the night before and leave on counter - don't microwave)
3-4 cups of PURE CANE powdered sugar (this is important, I picked up the yellow box of Domino)
1/4 c champagne (I used the same as in the cake)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cream cheese, at room temp (get it out with the butter the night before!)
3-4 drops red food color (also optional, but it gives a delicate pink color to the frosting)

Beat the frosting alternating sugar and champagne so that you can get the right consistency. I of course used more champagne to achieve the taste and consistency that I like, but only a couple of tablespoons. Put frosting in a ziplok bag (or piping bag if you have one) and fill to one corner. Using scissors, snip the bottom corner (smaller is better b/c you can always make it larger) and pipe onto cupcakes. You can also just frost with a knife or scraping spatula for that messy look.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Break

Well, I thought it was fitting to begin my first blog with ...

What else?? Champagne and Cupcakes!
This blog will follow me on my constant search to find
and keep balance in my busy life. I consider
the ability to enjoy a glass of champagne while baking
Cupcakes to be a nice balance for me, and
one that I rarely have a chance to enjoy. So, while on Spring
Break (from work), I made a date for my mom and sister
to come over and enjoy a nice dinner and a
treat. The treat was as much for me as it was for them:
So, I enjoyed one day of fun and a bit of balance...I so enjoy
time for myself! I will enjoy it
while I can!
Until the next break...