Friday, August 8, 2014

Chocolate Vanilla Cupcakes

Torn between chocolate or vanilla cupcakes? Go  with best of both worlds. These were made with my two favorite cupcake recipes which are basically doctored up boxed cake mixes. The vanilla frosting is an basic buttercream frosting while the chocolate is a rich cream cheese chocolate buttercream. Swirl these together and yum!

Two cupcake recipes makes a lot of cupcakes (approx 36 cupcakes). Therefore I had quit a bit of cupcake batter to play with. I went with making a pan of swirled / marbled vanilla and chocolate, a pan of plain vanilla, and a pan of plain chocolate. Then had fun decorating with different cake tips (Wilton Round 2A tip, Open Star 1M tip, and  French 4B tip)

Served up a mix  for a Saturday night teen girl sleepover. The girls loved them!
And there were even some leftover for the girls to bring home the next day.

Recipes for Cupcakes and Buttercream Frosting ...

Vanilla Cupcakes:
  • 1 Box white cake mix
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, gently combine oil, egg whites, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract.
  3. Sift in cake mix and stir.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until and inserted knife comes out clean.
Chocolate Cupcakes:
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate  cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and espresso water mixture. Beat on medium speed until well combined, approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Fill cupcake liners with about 3 tablespoons of batter.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched.
For Chocolate Vanilla Layered / Marbled Cupcakes: 

Fill each cupcake liner with 2 tablespoons of vanilla cupcake mix, then on top of each vanilla filled cupcake liner, add 2 tablespoons of chocolate cupcake mix. To make a marbled cupcake, lightly swirl the cupcakes with a knife. I chose not to swirl and just left them layered.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/4 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups (10 to 12 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons (1 to 2 ounces) milk
  1. Cream the butter and shortening until fluffy. Beat in the salt  and the vanilla. Add the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons of the milk, and mix well. (Don't over mix). Adjust the consistency of the frosting as needed by adding more confectioners' sugar or milk.  Yield: 2 1/2 cups. 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • milk if needed
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese until mixed well, about 2 or 3 minutes, scrape down bowl as needed. Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract and slowly add powdered sugar. If your buttercream becomes too thick, add 1 tablespoon of milk. .

To decorate cupcakes, frost or pipe buttercream onto cool cupcakes using your favorite cake tip(s). For a great tutorial on cupcake decorating tips and tricks head over to Glorious Treats.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

These spicy chicken burgers taste just like Buffalo wings! These burger deliver the bold flavors of Buffalo wings minus the mess and calories. Serve with additional hot sauce and blue dressing on the side.

Served these Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Red Robin Seasoned Fries & Campfire Sauce (yes, fries were from the grocery freezer section), Celery, and Fresh Cherries! Yum!

Buffalo Chicken Burgers ...

  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery (or 1 tsp dried celery flake)
  • 1/4 cup Frank's hot sauce
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 dash ground cumin
  • 1 dash chili powder
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 dash crushed red pepper
  1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together. Form into 4 patties. Cook on a hot skillet, grill pan, or outdoor grill, 5 minutes per side or until cooked through.
 Optional Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, chopped celery, hot sauce, blue cheese dressing


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Watermelon Granita

Hot summer days call for watermelon, and this icy treat makes the most of a juicy ripe watermelon. Watermelon Granita is the perfect ice cold refreshment for any hot summer day. Granita is just a fancy name for 'slushie'. 
It's super easy to make and you don't have to feel guilty eating this sweet frozen treat!

Watermelon Granita / Watermelon Shaved Ice ...

  • 8 cups seedless watermelon chunks, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 9x13 baking dish or other dish that can be put in the freezer
  • Blender, Food Processor, or *NutriBullet
  1. Place half of watermelon, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 tablespoon lime juice, in a food processor, blender or and process until smooth. Pour into a 9x13-inch glass baking dish.
  2. Repeat above step with remaining watermelon, honey and lime juice.
  3. Once you have poured all the watermelon puree into  the baking dish, stit until combined and place uncovered in the freezer. Freeze until ice begins to form around edges of pan, about 30 minutes. Rake with a fork or spoon to break up large ice clumps; return to freezer; continue stirring about every 30 minutes until all liquid is crystallized, about 3 hours total.

*NutriBullet Notes - if using a NutriBullet, you will need to do this in 4 batches using approximately 2 cups of watermelon in each batch.

Watermelon, Honey, Lime, NutriBullet (or Blender or Food Processor)
Chop Watermelon into 2 inch Chunks
Place Watermelon Chunks and Lime Juice into the NutriBullet blending Cup
Add some Honey, Blend until Smooth
Pour into a Glass Baking Dish (I used two 8x8 baking dishes, you can use one 9x13)
Stir, Place in Freezer uncovered
Scrape with spoon or fork. Serve and Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Garden Thyme Apron

A few weeks ago garden enthusiast, Garden Thyme with Diana, requested a garden apron using this orange garden shoe fabric, accented with a green and white gingham fabric. She wanted all the amenities of the traditional utility waist apron made by Punkie Pie's Boutique (big pockets, including a zipper pocket, and key fob) but also wanted a bib to keep her covered. I had just the apron style for her. I've made several full utility/ craft aprons for other customers and myself. I personally love the full apron for myself. I think it came out really cute and Diana just looks adorable in it while working at her potting bench!

While working on her apron, Diana pointed me to her blog. You have to check it out!! I love Diana's blog for it's beautiful gardens, recipes, and book reviews. Her gardens look amazing. You can see them in her Cabbage Patch photos album on Google+.  She also shares delicious looking  recipes, such as, Swiss Parsley Sandwich Puffs, Jello Cookies, and Stuffed Mushrooms (I have a stuffed mushroom fetish so these are top of my list to try).
If you interested in custom apron, such as this, please feel free to contact me
on Etsy and I will custom make one for you.

Punkie Pie's Boutique Full Utility / Craft aprons are quite versatile. 
They fit most sizes (small - extra large), and they can be worn 
while gardening, cooking, crafting, vending at a craft show or farmer's market, 
hosting a party, planning an event, or even working in a salon styling hair & makeup.

Full Size Utility / Craft Apron
available upon request at Punkie Pie's Boutique

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easter Sock Cupcakes

rolled making sure to keep the bottom flat (so that the cupcake stands upright). - See more at:

Looking for a guilt free sweet treat for your kids Easter basket? How about an adorable Easter Sock Cupcake. These are adorable treats are great for little ones, teens, and even grown ups. Easter Sock Cupcakes have a only a few ingredients and are easy to make. 

Easter Sock Cupcakes ...

  • Socks (1 pair of fuzzy socks, or 2-3 ankle socks)
  • Rubber band
  • Decorative Paper
  • Tape or Hot Glue
  • Clear Treat Bag (optional)

There's a great DIY step by step tutorial over on Seven Thirty Three's blog or you may follow my steps below (sorry no pictures).

For my cupcakes I used 3 pair of no-show ankle socks. You can use 1 pair of fuzzy socks or any socks of your choice.
making sure to keep the bottom flat (so that the cupcake stands upright). - See more at:
  1. Cut your decorative paper into a 12 x 12.5 inch strip. See steps at bottom of this post.
  2. Starting at the toe, roll the pair(s) of socks up making sure that each layer that forms is just slightly below the layer above it. This makes the 'cupcake frosting'.
  3. Once you are done rolling the socks, secure the rolled socks by placing a rubber band (or hair tie) around the bottom half of the rolled socks.
  4. Get your 12 x 2.5 inch decorative paper that you cut out. Wrap it around the bottom half of rolled socks and secure with tape a dab of hot glue. The socks should be sticking up out of the top so that they look like frosting.
  5. Place a wrapped chocolate Easter candy on top, or insert a lollipop through the center of the rolled socks (this will be your cherry on top so use whatever wrapped candy you would like)
  6. Now place the Sock Cupcake in a clear plastic treat bag and tie with coordinating ribbon and gift card. On the gift card write "This cupcake is not eat. It was 'baked' with love to warm your feet!"

These Sock Cupcakes are great gifts for children, teachers, moms, sisters, brothers for Easter, Valentine's Day, Christmas, Mother's Day, etc. Have fun and be creative with your cuppies!

Decorative Paper Strips for Cupcake Liners / Holders:

The decorative paper, printables and gift cards used here are from Anders Ruff's Easter Has Sprung design collection. You can purchase them here

Print the pink, green and/or blue gingham paper from the Easter Has Sprung collection (or purchase decorative paper from your favorite craft store). Cut each printed paper into 12 x 2.5 inch strips with or scissors. Using a paper punch cutter, punch a decorative border on one side - this will be the top of your cupcake holder.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tag Pic Pac Pasta

Happy First Day of Spring of Everyone!

I wish I could say it was a beautiful spring day here, but it is not unless you think cloudy, 40 degrees, flurries all day long is spring weather. But I'm going with it and believing it's here.

The first day of spring has inspired me to think about what I would like to grow in my garden this year and how to lighten up some of our favorite winter time meals. We eat a lot of pasta in our house. On a day like today I would love to be diving into a big plate of homemade spaghetti & meatballs. Why not, it's the best hearty meal in my opinion. But it can be a heavy meal, so this is the first meal I thought of' that can be replaced with something a bit lighter in the upcoming summer months. I grow basil and tomatoes in containers on my deck all summer long so a pasta with a lighter sauce using garden fresh tomatoes and basil would be a good replacement for this menu item in our house.

Tag Pic Pac Pasta, like at Carrabba's, is a perfect dish to make. Two summers ago while visiting an amusement park in Pennsylvania, we went to a Carrabba's for the first time. I had Tag Pic Pac Pasta made with fresh tagliarini topped with tomatoes & basil - oh my !! It was delish. Some time after our visit, I found they shared their recipe on their website. I've made it several times and we all love it (any time of year, but especially in the summer). This recipe really tastes as good as it does in the restaurant. Have a try! 

Note: This recipe uses canned tomatoes but could easily be replaced with garden fresh Roma tomatoes. 

Tag Pic Pac Pasta ...

Picchi Pacchiu Sauce

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (28 ounce) whole Roma tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound fresh tagliarinior fettuccine


  1. To make the sauce, heat the oil and garlic together in a small skillet over medium-low heat just enough so the garlic is soften and fragrant and the oil is very warm (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat and let stand to infuse the oil, about 30 minutes.
  2. Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl.  Squeeze the tomatoes through your fingers until they are coarsely crushed.  Stir in the garlic in its oil and the chopped basil.  Season with Kosher salt and pepper.  Let stand for 1 - 2 hours for the flavors to marry.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Add salt to taste.  Add the tagliarini and stir well to separate the strands.  Cook according to the manufacturer's directions until al dente.  Drain well.
  4. Return the tagliarini to it's cooking pot.  Add the sauce and mix well.  Cover and let stand for 1 minute.  Divide among 4 serving bowls and serve hot.