Chicken Salad Pasta Shells

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When I saw Giada making these on TV I knew it would be a hit in my family. I never eat regular chicken salad or tuna salad because I strongly dislike mayonnaise and other processed condiments heavy in preservatives. This chicken salad is a genius concoction of fresh and flavorful ingredients such as  sun dried tomato, olives, lemon juice, fennel and parsley. The creaminess is imparted by the use of deliciously healthy avocados, olive oil, and feta cheese. Giada uses arugula in her original recipe but I opted for parsley to stick to the mediterranean flavors I was combining and I really like the earthy bite it adds. I also have made this with chopped baby spinach and fresh tomatoes which also tastes incredible! The lemon juice and spices bring this all together nicely. 

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You need some cooked chicken  breast, so you could use a roasted or rotisserie chicken, pan sear some chicken breast, or poach some breasts in a pot. I think its juicier and more flavorful when roasted. One time I made this with small chopped chicken tenderloins that I cooked in the pressure cooker with tomatoes and onions and that was quite juicy and quick! Your options are many. Just get some cooked chicken breast your favorite method.

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I first made these and served them at an afternoon tea party baby shower I threw for my sister, and these shells went like hot cakes and everyone was asking for more. Fortunately it is easy to make yourself at home and is the perfect thing to put together when you have left over rotisserie chicken that you do not know what to do with! (Am I the only one with that problem?) So here is the recipe, enjoy!

Chicken Salad Pasta Shells
A fresh and delicious chicken salad packed with mediterranean flavors perfect for entertaining!
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb pasta shells (about 30 shells)
  2. 2 lbs cooked chicken breast, cut into small cubes
  3. 2 avocados, cut into cubes
  4. 1/2 c sliced sun dried tomatoes
  5. 1-2 tsp minced garlic
  6. 2 c chopped parsley
  7. 1/2 c thinly sliced fennel
  8. 1/2 c sliced kalamata olives
  9. 1 c feta cheese
  10. 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  11. 1/4 c olive oil
  12. 1/2 tsp salt
  13. 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  14. 1/4 tsp cumin
  15. 1/4 tsp paprika
  16. radicchio leaves
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta shells according to directions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Be sure that none of the shells are inside one another as once it dries it will be difficult to separate.
  2. Line each pasta shell with a radicchio leaf.
  3. Combine all other ingredients and toss.
  4. Scoop a spoon of chicken salad into each shell.
  5. Serve on a platter.
Notes
  1. You could use arugula or spinach instead of parsley or along with the parsley; it will be a different flavor but it still works well with these ingredients!
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Afternoon Tea

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I love afternoon tea. It’s such an elegant form of appreciating food and socializing. A tea enthusiast myself, I really love to just sit back and sip tea leisurely refilling my teacup with various flavors.  I also love to try a little bit of everything which is why “afternoon tea” or “high tea” is perfect with the set-up of a variety of petite desserts and cute dainty sandwiches that give you a good sample of each and every flavor on the spread. 

So, needless to say, I jumped at the chance to throw a “Baby is Brewing” tea party baby shower for my sister who is currently expecting her first baby. The theme is a lot of fun to work with and the set up of tea cups, tea pots and flowers make for a gorgeous tablescape in it of itself. With the help of my sister’s  BFFs, my mother, and sister in law we were able to gather more than enough tea cups and saucers and a beautiful array of tea pots, tiered platters, and pitchers. An intimate gathering of close friends, good food, and silly games, this was a lovely baby affair to celebrate a beautiful mommy to be!

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We had such a yummy and gorgeous array of tea party treats:

Sandwiches: beef and mushroom mini baguettes, chicken salad stuffed pasta shells, cheese pies and spinach pies, and cucumber dill sandwiches (recipes coming soon!)

Desserts: French macarons, tea bag shaped shortbread cookies dipped in dark chocolate, rubber ducky cupcakes (my favorite!), scones (of course!), and a delicious variety of  petite desserts including eclairs, cookies, brownies, and mini pecan pie tarts! YUM!

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We hung some paper lanterns and made a banner that said ” A baby is brewing”. All the beautiful china we had set out on the table scape, with a few tea pots, tea cups, and pitchers filled with large blooms of hydrangeas and roses were enough to set the lovely and dainty decor. I found adorable little cake plates that looked like real porcelain plates from shopsweetlulu.com and matching “scrumptious” pink napkins. For the take home favors, which always need to be a functional and useful gift in my opinion, I found beautiful glass coasters with the design of a lace doily within it. Perfect! We scattered some rubber duckies and ABC block candles throughout the table to keep with the baby aspect of the theme. It all came together quite nicely without being too over the top with decor and departing from the usual balloons, banners, centerpieces, etc. 

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Tea bag cookie

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A baby is brewing! These personalized tea bag cookies were the perfect treats and favors for our afternoon tea themed baby shower. These cookies were so delicious and really added to the theme. I set them inside each tea cup or on the saucer, beside the tea cup. The tea bag label said the last name of the parent’s to be and the date, with the expected baby’s initials on the other side. These are so easy and fast to make and perfect to have with tea. The details and personalizing are what take some time and attention. The most time consuming part was cutting out the tea bag labels which I designed on the computer in MS Word, and threading the labels onto string and into the cookie.

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I used this great recipe for shortbread by Ina Garten. The key to getting a perfect dough is to use softened room temperature butter and to beat it until it is fluffy. If you do so and then slowly stir in the flour mixture, you will not have any issues with the mixture being too crumbly or dry. Another problem reviewers may have had is not measuring the flour properly. Flour should not be packed into the measuring cup, but scooped loosely by a spoon and into a cup for accurate measurement. If you have too much flour, the cookie will  be dry. I refrigerated the dough for about 30 minutes so that it is easier to work with and cut into the shape. 

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Be sure to cover with plastic wrap before refrigerating…

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You could cut the cookie into the tea bag shape by using a rectangular cookie cutter and cutting off the top 2 corners. 

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Sprinkle with some sugar…

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I used a large straw to poke out a hole at the top of each cookie, which you need to do BEFORE baking if you plan on getting a tea bag label through your cookie 😉 

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The cookies were still fairly soft after baking so I was able to cut the edges smaller and straighter if necessary to achieve the shape I wanted and to poke the straws through the hole again to define the opening (the dough puffs out and expands while baking). But this must be done while the cookie is still hot and malleable. Once the cookie cools, you cannot cut it without cracking the whole cookie. My husband and I had no problems dealing with all those scrap edges! Yum!

Once the cookie cooled, I melted some delicious dark chocolate in a double boiler ( a pyrex bowl sitting over a pot of simmering water does the trick) and dipped each cookie in and laid it on parchment paper to cool and harden overnight. The next day I threaded each cookie with its label.

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Rubber Ducky Cupcake

There are so many reasons to have a rubber ducky at your party. Maybe you’re having a Sesame Street birthday party (Ernie’s favorite toy!), maybe you are having a cute baby shower, or maybe you’re just having a pool party….regardless the reason, rubber ducky cupcakes are so cute, so fun, and easy to make. Oh and they will totally wow all of your guests- children and adults alike! These make such fun take home edible favors too!

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The cupcake design is inspired from the book, What’s New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Being on the cover of the book, this really is an impressive cupcake!

To build it you need:

cupcakes

donut holes (for the head)

marshmallows, cut in half diagonally (for the tails)

vanilla frosting (white)

yellow food coloring

mini m&ms ( I could not find mini anywhere! So I have giant dilated duckie eyes)

soft orange candy such as Airheads, Starburst, or Tootsie Rolls (cut or molded to shape the beak)

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Having all of your materials ready ahead of time is essential because once you dip your duck into the melted frosting, you have just a few moments before it starts hardening to add the eyes and beak. It is also absolutely necessary to REFRIGERATE the ducks after you attach the head and tail and let it harden. I did not do this step at first so every time I dunked the little ducks into the yellow melted frosting, my duckies became decapitated…no need for those pictures!

You will need a firm frosting to attach all the pieces of the duck’s body and to coat it in yellow. I whipped up this heavenly, fluffy, melt in your mouth vanilla bean frosting I make from scratch. Don’t worry. It’s very easy, and more importantly, so worth it. Seriously, it is amazing. Sure, you could always use store-bought frosting, but check out the ingredient list. It’s scary. Homemade is way better!

First, attach the donut hole as the duck’s head and the half marshmallow as the tail. Use plenty of frosting to get it stuck on well, and coat it up the sides of the pieces to “seal” it in. Set it into the freezer for 15 minutes so that it hardens and does not fall apart when you dunk it into the melted frosting later.

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Meanwhile, as the newly assembled ducks are cooling and hardening, stir some yellow food coloring into the remaining frosting and melt in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Do not overheat!

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Once they have hardened and the donut hole-head and marshmallow tail is secure, dip the ducks into the melted frosting. Rotate the cupcake carefully and slowly to fully cover all parts.

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Add on a dot of white frosting to stick on some eyes (m&ms) and the beak (the orange taffy candy).

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Best ever Pancakes (with Spinach!)

 

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Your other baker friends will be green with envy when they see and taste how fluffy and gorgeous these pancakes turn out! Not only because they are delicious, but because they are packed with spinach! The lovely green hue does little to the taste because the spinach is ground so fine in the Vitamix blender. All you are really getting is the healthy benefits, but the spinach itself is tasteless. Spinach is packed with more than the required daily value of vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, and folate and plenty of iron, anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. If you are struggling to get your kids to eat healthy spinach as I have been, then you will just LOVE this recipe. Not only is it full of spinach but it is made with whole wheat flour, less than 2 tbsp of sugar, and healthy vitamin D milk and eggs. I have little to protest in this recipe. You could use only 1 tbsp of sugar in the recipe if you plan to use syrup, but because I only topped it with fresh fruits and pureed raspberries, I added an extra dose of sugar. 

The green color is very vibrant and fun, and there are a TON of excuses to eat a fun green pancake! Use any of these reasons to get your kids excited about breakfast and a spinach packed pancake (tip: you don’t HAVE to tell them there is spinach): St. Patricks day, those MSU game fans (I’ll take BLUE thanks), Halloween, conjuring Incredible Hulk powers, make a “Very Hungry Caterpillar, or just a green monster kind of morning!

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This recipe yields one of the best pancakes I have ever tasted and it is adapted from allrecipes.com; find it here. I substituted the white flour for whole wheat flour and pureed the spinach with the milk to make a nice bright green spinach milk. I was thinking about how we add spinach to all of our smoothies because its flavor is so discrete, so I thought it would be a great addition to pancakes as it would not really alter the recipe. For the topping, simply puree fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries and add sliced bananas. It is the perfect balance of sweet and tart! So here it is! Enjoy!

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Best Ever Pancakes (with spinach!)
Serves 2
Healthy, fluffy, and delicious, this is the PERFECT pancake to feed your family!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  2. 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 2 tbsp sugar
  5. 1 1/4 c milk
  6. 2 c fresh baby spinach
  7. 1 egg (at room temperature)
  8. 3 tbsp melted butter
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries
Instructions
  1. Puree the baby spinach with milk in a blender until fine and milk is green and smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a larger bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Add the milk and melted butter.
  4. Gradually add in the flour mixture and whisk until well incorporated.
  5. Spray a griddle with butter and turn the heat to medium high. Drop a ladle full of batter on the pan to form circles. Allow it to cook until you see small bubbles form (about 1 minute). Flip the pancakes and cook for about another minute on the other side.
  6. Puree the raspberries until liquid.
  7. Serve with the pureed raspberries, your favorite syrup, or other fruit toppings.
Notes
  1. Omit the spinach to have regular colored and a classic fantastic tasting pancake!
Adapted from Dakota Kelly (allrecipes.com)
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Hummus

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This Middle Eastern staple has made its way all around the world and is a huge hit! This perfectly flavored chickpea puree provides fiber, protein, and healthy omega 3 fats that are filling, satisfying, and perfectly low in calories. Chickpeas are quite high in fiber, protein, folic acid, magnesium , and zinc and are great for reducing cholesterol and blood sugar.  Hummus makes an excellent spread in sandwiches or a dip for veggies, which makes it a filling snack but lower in fat than mayo, ranch dressings, and other less healthy options.  No wonder this dip is so popular! I love my hummus extra lemony and garlicky, and that’s the beauty of making this easy dish at home- you can add as much or as little flavor as you want. You can vary the flavor, color, and texture by including preferred vegetables such as parsley, beets, roasted red peppers, carrots, or my favorite:  cilantro with jalapeño! Hummus is traditionally prepared with tahini paste, which is basically sesame seed butter. 

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As with all of my recipes, I do not use any canned products here, and try to keep everything as natural and homemade as possible. Nothing is more satisfying than enjoying something perfectly concocted in your kitchen and knowing exactly everything that is inside.

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I start with 1/2 cup of dried garbanzo beans or chickpeas. These should be sorted for stones or dirt and washed. Many people need to soak the beans overnight before boiling the next day, but if you use a pressure cooker like I do, no need for that hassle! Simple toss the chickpeas into your pressure cooker, cover with water, add a quarter of an onion, and cook on high pressure for 1 hour. Do not add salt in the pressure cooker as it inhibits cooking. Once the peas are cooked, its as simple as pureeing the little gems with tahini paste in your blender with your favorite spices and flavors! The basics that I must include are salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Its important to reserve some of the water the chickpeas cooked in or have fresh water on hand to thin out the hummus as needed. I forgot about the water at first and had a very THICK dip to start with (it happens!). But no worries,  this is something you can vary depending on how thick or thin your prefer your hummus to be. This dish is really fool proof! When in doubt, start with a little and add more as needed 🙂 I make my hummus in a flash with my trusty Vitamix blender, which does require at least 1/4 cup of water in order to pull all the ingredients downward into its funnel of fury shredding every ingredient into a silky smooth dip!

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Hummus
Serves 4
A delicious and healthy chickpea puree dip with sesame paste, lemon and garlic
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c dried chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans)
  2. 3/4 c water
  3. 1 small onion, quartered
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1/4 tsp pepper
  6. 1/4 tsp cumin
  7. 1/4 tsp paprika
  8. Juice of 2 lemons
  9. 4-6 cloves of garlic
  10. 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp for drizzling
  11. 2 tbsp of tahini paste (sesame seed butter)
  12. parsley for garnish
Instructions
  1. Sort the chick peas for dirt, stones, or old pieces and wash well. Place chickpeas into pressure cooker and cover with water, about 1 inch above the peas. Add 1 quarter of an onion and cook over high pressure for 1 hour. Do not add salt until after the beans cook. Once done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally.
  2. Strain the chickpeas and reserve some of the liquid for thinning out the puree (or you could use fresh water).
  3. Pour 1/4 c water or cooking liquid from the chickpeas to a Vitamix blender or food processor. Reserve some whole chickpeas for garnish and add the rest into the blender.
  4. Add Tahini paste, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and garlic cloves. Pulse to combine all ingredients, then puree on high until the mixture is smooth. If using a Vitamix, it is helpful to use the patented push stick to move everything downward into the blades. Add more water if needed to thin it out. Add the olive oil at the end and pulse again until well combined. Taste and add more lemon or garlic to your preference. I usually have at least 6 garlic cloves in mine because we love the taste!
  5. Spoon the hummus onto a serving platter, carve lines into the top with a fork or butter knife and drizzle olive oil on top. The oil will settle into the lines. Sprinkle paprika, chopped parsley, and arrange the reserved whole chickpeas in the center to garnish.
  6. Serve with cucumbers, or any favorite veggies, pita bread, crackers, or spread onto sandwiches!
Notes
  1. While the chickpeas are cooking, roast a red pepper in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and add to the blender to make roasted red pepper hummus. Or you could add 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and half a jalapeño pepper to make a zesty, spicy green hummus!
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Baba Ghanouj (Eggplant Dip)

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This dip is SO flavorful, zesty, and delicious! Roasted eggplant, fresh garlic, lemon juice and a dash of tahini sauce are what make up this delicious spread. Traditionally the eggplant is charred or grilled first to impart a smoky flavor, and some people use some of the roasted and charred skin to infuse more smokiness to this dip. But I do not prefer the smoky flavor so completely omitted the charring step. If this is something you like, you could easily do this step first by charring on a grill or resting over the flame of a gas range. Baba Ghanouj is usually mashed, with some texture to it. I love mine smooth and velvety and how my Vitamix completely incinerates the seeds (which have healthful enzymes!),  but you could reserve some of the eggplant flesh and mash it into the puree at the end to leave some texture, if you prefer. Drizzle with olive oil and paprika powder and serve with pita bread.

 

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Baba Ghanouj (Eggplant Dip)
A healthy and flavorful combination of roasted eggplant, garlic, lemon, and special spices make this the perfect dip or spread on sandwiches!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large eggplant
  2. 1 lemon, juiced
  3. 1 1/2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. pinch of pepper
  6. 1/4 tsp cumin
  7. 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  8. pinch of cayenne (optional)
  9. 4 large cloves of garlic (or more!)
Instructions
  1. Wash the eggplant, cut a slit down the side, and place on a pan to roast in the oven. Place in middle rack of the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Eggplant will begin to collapse and shrivel. Remove once a knife easily slides into the flesh and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  2. With a large spoon, scrape out all the flesh and scoop into a blender or processor. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and optional cayenne pepper.
  3. Pulse to incorporate all ingredients, then puree for about 45 seconds on high (this way you do not encounter any seeds). If you prefer a chunkier texture, first puree the garlic, seasoning and tahini until smooth then pulse in the eggplant to desired consistency.
  4. Spoon onto a serving platter, smoothing the top. Use a butter knife to draw a line down the center or in a circular swirl, depending on desired pattern and shape of the serving dish. Drizzle olive oil on top and it will settle where you "carved" a line into the dip. Sprinkle some paprika, and garnish with parsley.
  5. Serve with pita bread and enjoy!
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/
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Best Guacamole Ever

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This is my all time favorite snack! I became addicted when we lived in Miami and had avocados in abundance, and it was served in many dishes. I use guacamole as an appetizer when entertaining almost every time, as a snack for my kids, and as a snack or salad for myself! Avocados are excellent sources of healthy mono-saturated fats, which are essential for keeping healthy cholesterol levels, improving blood pressure, and preventing heart disease. Avocados are also rich in potassium, vitamin K, vitamin B, vitamin C, and folate. Avocados are also one of the few foods rich in both insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is essential because it helps cleanse your body and will aid in the prevention of colo-rectal cancer as it flushes out and cleanses the colon quite well. Soluble fiber is great for your body because it remains in your body and make you feel fuller longer, preventing a person from eating more unnecessary calories and fats. Avocados have also been shown to significantly increase the body’s absorption of lycopene and beta carotene, so go ahead and add them to your salads and sandwiches!

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With all of that said, I could eat this guacamole every day. And its a good thing it is extremely easy to make! Please, don’t bother buying it from a store! Please! A fresh avocado tastes SO much better and you will be so happy to see how easy it is to prepare. Sometimes I make it with only tomato and lime if I am missing the other ingredients and it still tastes just as wonderful! My general flavoring ratio is 1 lime and 1/2 tomato  per avocado, and optionally, 1 tbsp of chopped onion per avocado. Any more onion or tomato and it will be too liquified and saucy, which still tastes great as a salsa or dip, but will lack that nice, thick, and creamy texture of guacamole. The cilantro just gives it that perfect kick and flavor, so I always make sure to add it if I have it! I usually omit or limit the jalapeño if I have the kids eating with me, because that can get quite spicy for them!

To pick an avocado, touch and press it gently, if it yields to your touch and is still firm, it is probably not ripe yet. And on the contrary if it is quite soft, has indentations, or is smushy it will be overly ripe or spoiled! You want it to be soft enough to give way a little bit under your fingers but still have firmness. You could also pull off the stump of the stem and check for a nice yellowish green color. Check out this useful post I pinned on Pinterest to help me pick avocados. 

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Guacamole
Serves 4
A delicious and healthy dip bursting with fresh flavor and nutrition!
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 ripe avocados, sliced open, seed removed
  2. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  3. 1 tomato
  4. 1/2 c cilantro
  5. 2 limes, juiced
  6. 2 tbsp onion, chopped
  7. 1-2 tsp chopped jalapeño (optional)
  8. 1 tsp cumin
  9. 1/2 tsp paprika
  10. 1/2 tsp salt
  11. pinch of pepper
Instructions
  1. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado and combine all ingredients into a blender. Pulse gently until you reach desired consistency.
  2. Serve with chips, pita, tacos, quesadillas, or burritos!
Notes
  1. Depending on your blender or food processor, you might want to pulse the tomato and onion first so that it is chopped finely, before you add the already soft avocado. This way you can avoid making the dip too fine and liquified.
  2. * I love to add roasted corn if I have it on hand; just roast the corn on the cob over the grill or a fire and slice the kernels off.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Strawberries and Cream Cupcake

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 Some red and pink cupcakes were in order for Valentines Day, and even though we never really celebrated the day, my perfectly “pinkalicious” cupcake obsessed three year old was really excited about pink+ strawberries+sprinkles+hearts+cupcakes. So this baking extravaganza and a princesses in tutus cupcake playdate was the result! These cupcakes were such a hit with my family and friends, it will definitely be used in a few future parties! Try this for any pink, girly themed parties! Strawberry Shortcake obsessed kids? This will be the perfect treat for their next birthday party!

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I made a strawberry-raspberry cupcake from scratch topped with an amazingly fluffy strawberries and cream frosting that melts in your mouth! For the cake, I use pureed raspberries or strawberries (you can frozen or fresh) as well as some freeze dried strawberries, which you can find at specialty food stores such as Whole Foods. The freeze dried strawberries are essential for getting that pure, concentrated strawberry flavor, and you will also need it for the frosting. The strawberry scent and flavor is so natural and intense in each bite, you might think you are really biting into a strawberry! So the dried strawberries are really necessary! 

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(Clockwise from top left) Powdered sugar, granulated sugar, freeze-dried strawberries, vanilla yogurt, olive oil, cake flour and almond flour mixture, eggs, and frozen berries (before pureeing).

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First beat the eggs with the sugars and oil.

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Then add the pureed raspberries or strawberries.

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Sift all your dry ingredients together (flour, almond flour, baking powder, ground dried strawberries, and salt) and gradually add to the wet part of the batter.

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These cupcakes bake up nice and moist from the almond flour, olive oil, milk, and yogurt used, and are so fluffy and berry delicious!

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For the frosting, I basically use my vanilla bean frosting and add some of the freeze dried strawberries ground into a powder. The strawberry flavor is so intense, and combined with the creamy vanilla it makes for the perfect strawberry and cream topping!

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I’m no piping expert, but to make the task of frosting your cupcakes a cinch, fold over a pastry bag or plastic zip bag over a cup, as shown below, and fill the cup with frosting. 

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Seal the bag, push all the frosting down to one corner and snip off a 1/2 inch from the corner to pipe out the frosting.

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Strawberries and Cream Cupcake
Yields 2
So full of strawberry deliciousness, these moist fluffy strawberry cupcakes topped with the creamiest melt in your mouth frosting will have you addicted!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
33 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
33 min
For the cupcake
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  3. 1 1/3 c sugar
  4. 1/4 c powdered sugar
  5. 1/2 c olive oil
  6. 1/4 c vanilla or plain yogurt
  7. 1 1/2 c cake flour
  8. 1/2 c almond flour
  9. 4 tsp baking powder
  10. 1/2 tsp salt
  11. 1/2 c pureed strawberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  12. 2 tbsp milk
  13. 1/2 c freeze dried strawberries
For the Frosting
  1. 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  2. 3/4 c unsalted butter ( 1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  3. 3/4 c heavy cream
  4. 3 tbsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 vanilla bean
  6. 1/2 c freeze dried strawberries
  7. red food coloring (if desired)
For the cupcakes
  1. In a large bowl,whisk the eggs with vanilla extract. Add the sugars and whisk for about 1 minute until frothy.
  2. Add the oil, the the pureed berries to the egg mixture.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift and combine the cake flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Grind the freeze dried strawberries in a blender or by crushing against a sieve and combine with the dry ingredients. Gradually add the dry mixture into the wet mixture in the larger bowl.
  4. Add the yogurt and milk and combine well, but be careful to not over mix.
  5. Pour into cupcake pans and bake for 16-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean. Do not open the oven before 15 minutes of cook time, or cupcakes with collapse in the center.
For the Frosting
  1. Pour the cream into a small pot over medium- low heat. Slice open the vanilla bean vertically down the length of the bean, and use a knife to scrape out all the beans and add to the cream. Add the remainder of the bean pod to the cream. Simmer for only 5 minutes until fragrant and do not allow to boil or evaporate. Remove the bean pod and strain the cream with a fine sieve if necessary to remove any woody strands from the cream. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Whip the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla extract. Whip at medium then high speed for 1 minute.
  4. Sift the powdered sugar once or twice to remove any clumps and to aerate.
  5. Add the sifted powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well.
  6. Add the vanilla bean infused cream and stir well.
  7. Grind the freeze dried strawberries in a food processor, blender, or by crushing against a sieve and blend into the frosting. Add red food coloring if deeper pink color is desired.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Vanilla Bean Frosting

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This is fluffy, delicious, melts in your mouth, and perfectly vanilla! This makes enough frosting for about 3 dozen cupcakes (with generous and lofty peaks of frosting!) or a double layer 9 inch cake.

This easy recipe involves slicing open a real vanilla bean pod, scraping up all the lovely vanilla specks and simmering them in some cream. Your kitchen will smell AMAZING.

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Meanwhile,  whip the butter until it is pale and fluffy!

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When you whip the heavenly vanilla infused cream into the butter and sugar, you will have one amazing vanilla frosting to top your cakes with! 

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TEA PARTYsugarandgarlic2013-20

Vanilla Bean Frosting
So creamy, so vanilly, this frosting melts in your mouth and is the perfect go to recipe for frosting!
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  2. 3/4 c unsalted butter ( 1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  3. 3/4 c heavy cream
  4. 3 tbsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 vanilla bean
Instructions
  1. Pour the cream into a small pot over medium- low heat. Slice open the vanilla bean vertically down the length of the bean, and use a knife to scrape out all the beans and add to the cream. Add the remainder of the bean pod to the cream. Simmer for only 5 minutes until fragrant and do not allow to boil or evaporate. Remove the bean pod and strain the cream with a fine sieve if necessary to remove any woody strands from the cream. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Whip the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla extract. Whip at medium then high speed for 1 minute.
  4. Sift the powdered sugar once or twice to remove any clumps and to aerate.
  5. Add the sifted powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well.
  6. Add the vanilla bean infused cream and stir well.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/
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