Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Chambord Cream Cheese Icing

So I don't talk about my day job often on here, but I work for a mortgage company. We have a few social outings to try to keep stress levels down like many employers, and one of those involves having cake or cupcakes on a team member's birthday. One month, someone requested red velvet cupcakes. I had a new idea that I had been meaning to try, and I thought it would pair well with red velvet cupcakes...so I volunteered to make cupcakes. My idea: incorporating Chambord into my cream cheese icing recipe to add a little fruity flavoring. And hey, everyone could benefit from a little boozy cupcake at work, right?


2 1/2 C. self-rising flour
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 C. buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 T. red food coloring
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract  
NOTE: It's best for cohesive mixing to wait for the buttermilk and eggs to become room temperature before continuing with the recipe.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 lb. cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 C. sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4 C. Chambord liquor


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a hand-held electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. (I like to use an ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop to make sure each cupcake is the same size.) Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick to see if baked through. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. 

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add Chambord and beat on slow speed. Add the sugar and continue to beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Heart Healthy Hints

Reader requested post: living heart healthy!
This lifestyle change can be difficult for some people, so start with these few hints:

To control the amount and kind of fat, saturated fatty acids, and dietary cholesterol you eat:
  • Eat no more than 6 ounces (cooked) per day of lean meat, fish, and skinless poultry.
  • Try main dishes featuring pasta, rice, beans, and/or vegetables. Or create "low meat" dishes by mixing these foods with small amounts of lean meat, poultry, or fish.
  • The approximately 5 to 8 teaspoon servings of fats and oils per day may be used for cooking and baking, and in salad dressings and spreads.
  • Use cooking methods that require little or no fat: boil, broil, bake, roast, poach, steam, saute, stir-fry, or microwave.
  • Trim off the fat you can see before cooking meat and poultry. Drain off all fat after browning. Chill soups and stews after cooking so you can remove the hardened fat from the top.
  • The 3 to 4 egg yolks per week included in your eating plan may be used alone or in cooking and baking (including store-bought products).
  • Limit your use of organ meats such as liver, brains, chitterlings, kidneys, heart, gizzard, sweetbreads, and pork maws.
  • Choose skim or 1% fat milk and nonfat or lowfat yogurt and cheeses.
To round out the rest of your eating plan:
  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits or vegetables per day.
  • Eat 6 or more servings of breads, cereals, or grains per day.

Health information brought to you by the Franklin Institute 

It's football time...

in Tennessee! and everywhere else in the country, but that's not what John Ward said ;) 

This wonderful Labor Day weekend will be spent finally finishing and publishing the SEVERAL blog drafts I have accumulated over the past few months (of course while watching football!). So if you're a follower, I apologize for all the emails that will soon be blowing up your inbox ;)

Some of you may know a bit about the history of this blog, but if you don't, here's a briefing. While studying at the University of Tennessee, I took a managing media web sites class. In the class, we were encouraged to have a blog to supplement a news story assignment. Our professor was wicked cool and let us choose our own topics, as we would be researching and working with them all semester. I knew mine had to be food related to keep my attention that long, and it was a fall semester course...so my mind jumped to tailgating because I love football. So how did I turn that into an assignment piece? A news (ish) story about tailgating recipes and ideas. 

To commemorate the season, and the whole reason why I started this blog in the first place, I wanted to re-share this with you guys: Tailgating recipes revamped
The completed news story for the Tennessee Journalist, published in fall 2009. Thankfully, tailgating hasn't evolved too much. Happy eating, and I'll have some more tailgating ideas for you throughout this football season. 

For the record: I'm a Tennessee Volunteer for life and an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.