Tag Archives: cupcakes

Bake Sale for Beka – join the party!

UPDATE: The Bake Sale for Beka is closed. Thanks a million to Cindy C. who placed the winning bid on my dark chocolate cherry pecan cookies at $60. WOW – $60 for my cookies! I promise not to disappoint, Cindy! Thank you also to all who visited the bake sale and to those who helped raise funds more than $1,700 for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America and Camp Oasis. Great cause, great people and a great bake sale. Congrats, Megan & Beka!

My good friend Megan at CountryCleaver.com is hosting a Bake Sale this weekend in honor of her best buddy Beka. Proceeds will benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, Camp Oasis, and Beka’s first half-marathon where she’ll be racing for the cure. You can join the party by participating!

Megan will be joined by 25 of her blogging buddies (myself included) as we bake fabulous goodies for an on-line auction this Sunday & Monday. We’re talking good stuff like Pumpkin Peanut Butter Brownies, Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins, Coconut Oil Poundcake with Almonds & Lime, Chipotle Butter Toffee, Cheddar & Olive Biscuits, Coconut Maple Granola, Passionfruit Chili Pepper Palmiers, Neapolitan Cupcakes, Mud Hen Bars, Death By Chocolate Cookies and more!

I’ll be baking my Dark Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies for one lucky bidder. They’re gooey, they’re loaded with dried cherries & nuts, and they are sinful as H-E-doublehockeysticks. And the best part is four dozen of them can be YOURS if you place the winning bid. Did I mention they’re really delicious?

But wait! There’s more! In addition to this plethora of baked goods, the following sponsors have joined in to donate these incredible auction items:

Chobani – donated a party pack of good-for-you flavored yogurts

Kerrygold – donated one month’s worth of their high quality butter & cheese

Star Fine Foods – donated a basket of their olive oils & Mediterranean classics

Le Creuset – donated a 4.5 quart Dutch Oven in a lovely cassis color

America’s Test Kitchen – a copy of their new Quick Family Cookbook AND the new Cook’s Country Complete Series Cookbook

To see these fine products and read more about the Bake Sale for Beka, go to www.CountryCleaver.com. One look and you’ll see what we all see – that life is precious, cookies are delicious, and nothing beats the love and support of our friends and family. Now mark your calendar for Sunday, grab your wallet, and bid on something yummy! {please & thank you}

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Filed under Food & Recipes, Miscellaneous Thoughts

My Baby turned 29 last week

She'll always be our baby

I haven’t written about it yet because it has taken me a week to come to terms with the fact that my baby turned 29 last week. How did this happen? Where did the time go? I swear I remember taking her to her first day of kindergarten like it JUST HAPPENED. I can tell you exactly what she was wearing – a pale turquoise jumper with pink buttons and little pink sneakers. She had her hair in pigtails with pink ribbons. But now our baby is 29, and I’m gonna need a minute. {insert long pause here}

At her request, I made rainbow cupcakes for the occasion. If you were a reader last spring, you’ll remember that my big sister led a baking session when she, my baby sister, and our mother came to visit. We had a blast and the rainbow tie-dyed cupcakes were a hit. At that time, we used Big Sis’s scratch-made white cake recipe and the expensive Wilton food colorings. This time, I used white cake mix. Guess what? It worked! Two cake mixes made one dozen regular cupcakes and six jumbo-size cupcakes. For the mixes, I used whole eggs instead of eggs whites and dialed the amount of water back just slightly so the cupcakes would have better structure. I also added a teaspoon of almond extract, which added great flavor. With a basic set of Wilton food colors from the grocery store, I divided the batter into 6 bowls and colored each. For the regular cupcakes, I swirled the colorful batter; for the jumbo cupcakes, I layered it. Here’s how they turned out:

Unfrosted in 2 Sizes - Jumbo = 5" and Regular = 2"

A jumbo rainbow cupcake - frosted with sprinkles

Look out! She's going in for a bite!

Too tall for a normal approach, she had to turn it sideways.

She did it! And apparently, she liked it.

Happy birthday, honey. I’m so happy you loved your cupcakes, but I’m especially happy that you are our girl. Your dad and I are so very proud of you. And now that 29 is behind you, we’ve got 12 months to plan for next year – when you turn 30 and I turn 50. I’m pretty sure that requires a big blow-out of some kind, don’t you? I’m thinking Vegas (with bail money, of course).

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Filed under Family Stuff

I’ll Have What She’s Having…

The lovely and talented Anne at From My Sweet Heart blog has been kind enough to give me this blogging award. In fact, it’s a cooking award, so I’m especially flattered. I don’t really consider myself a food blogger, since I tend to throw recipes and food reviews in with a bunch of random family and travel topics. As I’ve said before, my blog is a lot like my junk drawers. You never know what you’re going to find. And since I’ve started featuring The Complete Package’s recipes as well, I’m assuming I’ll have to share this award with him. Look, honey! We got a cooking award! Can you believe it? He’ll probably say that you’re all tuning in to see his recipes instead of mine. He may be right. If he is, free to keep that little nugget to yourself. I’m fragile. I can’t take that kind of rejection. It could break me, and no one wants to find me in the pantry drowning my sorrows in a pan of warm brownies. Trust me… it ain’t pretty.

In honor of Anne and her faith in my blog, here’s a rundown of some of the recipes TCP and I have posted over the past year. Click on any picture to see the full post. And Anne – thanks again. You made my day. Truly.

Posole - Mexican Stew

Mexican Martinis

Carnitas - Mexican Pulled Pork

Hidden Treasure Cupcakes

Muffaletta Sandwiches

"Chicken Bucket" Coleslaw

Crunchy Fried Chicken

Old family recipe - Sweet Pickles

Flank Steak Sandwiches

Mom's Adorable Little Piggy Buns

Smoked Pork Ribs

Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies

And in the spirit of sharing, here’s where I go to find culinary inspiration:

Comfortably Domestic
The Hill Country Cook
Jenna’s Everything Blog
A Sweet Pea Chef
Gingerbread Bagels
Brown Eyed Baker
Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Honey Sage

If you have time, click on the links above and visit these fine ladies. They are creative, inspirational and a lot of fun, and I love them all. And don’t forget to visit Anne at From My Sweet Heart. She’s a great example of the best thing about blogging – the new friends you make along the way. Have a great week!
-NB

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Filed under Food & Recipes

“NanaBread’s Head” Turns One Today

July 1st marks the one year birthday of my NanaBread blog. Can you believe it? Neither can I. While time seemed to fly by, it feels like we packed a lot into this first year. Favorite recipes, photos of the family, Ziggy’s adventures in… well, snoring. We even started highlighting some of the culinary creations of The Complete Package, my beloved husband. We’ve also seen the grandkids grow at an alarming rate, shared Hoegarden stories about our “ladies only” family weekends, thrown in a few crafts, and shared some of our travel pics. We’ve highlighted local products, spotlighted some of our favorite barbecue joints, and sprinkled in some of the things I love. I think this first year definitely lived up to my blog header in that it truly is a lot like my junk drawers. It’s happily filled with random tidbits, trash and treasures. Mission accomplished.

Overall, it has been a great year, and I couldn’t have done it without you. In fact, you are the reason I’m still here. Your comments and support are what keep this blog (and me) going, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I really do. I appreciate each visitor and value every comment, but those of you who return again and again are more than readers, you’re friends. And that is the gift I most value from my first year of blogging. You. Without you and my family, there would be no Inside NanaBread’s Head. I keep writing because you keep reading. I don’t always understand why, but I’m so happy that you do!

Here is a look back at a few of my favorite posts. Click on any title to see the full post and take a walk down memory lane.

My name is NanaBread and I’m a Peppermint Bath Product Junkie.
In this post, I got a chance to bare my soul and share my addiction – peppermint bath products. I’m not proud that I’m an addict, but if you’re going to get hooked on something, I suppose this one’s pretty harmless. Not cheap, but harmless. And it answered the burning question “Is there such a thing as too many peppermint bath products?” with a resounding “You’re joking, right?”

Menopause, you hateful bitch…
This post still makes me laugh. I was suffering from a particularly raging hot flash when I sat down and let it rip. I don’t rage often, but I let it fly with this one. I felt like life had lied to me by omission, and I didn’t want another woman to be taken by surprise ever again. This one was for the ladies, especially those in the inescapable grip of “the change” like me. It also confirmed for me that if menopause had a rubber wristband, it should be black like my mood swings.

Hidden Treasure Cupcakes: Mocha Fudge Cupcakes with Reese’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Inside
Of all the recipes I’ve posted, this is the one I personally enjoyed the most. I’ve never had an experimental recipe come out of the oven and make my eyes roll back in my head like this one did. Deep down in my soul, I’m a pie girl. But these cupcakes almost converted me. Dark chocolate, coffee and peanut butter? Seriously – it is probably the closest I’ll ever come to cupcake perfection.

Playing With Food: Big Sister’s Rainbow Tie-Dyed Cupcakes

Speaking of cupcakes, the prettiest cupcakes of the year (by far) were my Big Sister’s rainbow tie-dyed beauties. These were inspired by a food blogger I love, but Big Sis put her own spin on it by using one of our mother’s old white cake recipes and a frosting recipe she found on the Tasty Kitchen website. She brought all those elements together to make not only a gorgeous cupcake, but a tasty one. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s adaptable. You can substitute any white cake recipe or mix, and you could use any frosting recipe. But honestly, the one Big Sis found was awesome. For pure fun and beauty, these rocked my world and made me think outside the (cake) box.

Vacation Photos of Amsterdam: Let’s just say it was…interesting.
Of all the stories I’ve shared, this one continues to get regular weekly hits months after it was posted. Evidently, Amsterdam is a highly searched travel topic. Who knew? Maybe it’s the cheese; maybe it’s the weed; maybe it’s the waffles. It truly is a “whatever floats your boat” city. It was a great trip and an interesting place, and months after it was posted this story is still going strong.

“Buy Local” Spotlight: Salt Lick BBQ
This post will always be special to me because it was the first time one of my stories was selected as a FoodPress feature. It got attention from around the world, which seemed to open my blog up to an expanded global view. I received comments from exotic locales, and gained a few subscribers from far away places who visited and decided to stick around. For that, I am eternally grateful. It left me wondering if good BBQ might be one of the keys to world peace.

In Honor of Mother’s Day
This was by far my most read post of the year thanks to a feature on the WordPress “Freshly Pressed” homepage. I don’t know how they select stories to feature, but I was blown away that this one garnered their attention. It was highlighted on the Friday before Mother’s Day and left up the entire weekend. Because of that, it got over 8,000 hits in 3 days. Some bloggers hope that their blogs will hit the big time, but in all honesty this one made me a nervous wreck. That kind of attention brought a lot of spam and more than a little anxiety, but it also provided an opportunity for others from around the world to share memories of their mothers and siblings, or lack thereof. It was both an emotional and enlightening experience for me. It also provided my mother with more than 15 minutes of fame, which was fun for her. She deserved it.

In honor of my first blogging birthday, I’m extending the celebration to one lucky reader. That reader, selected randomly, will receive a gift box containing some of my favorite things from my first year. Gift box items include:

1 bottle of Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla bean paste
1 jar of Dickinson’s Black Raspberry preserves
1 jar of Salt Lick BBQ spice rub, not pictured
1 set of small Nordic Ware spatulas
1 set of colorful measuring spoons
1 set of colorful measuring cups
1 set of Le Creuset silicone measuring prep bowls
1 bar of Garden Botanika oatmeal & peppermint soap
2 boxes of Stash tea – Chai Spice & Black Currant (decaf)
1 ladies print kitchen apron, handmade by NanaBread

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED TO COMMENTS. THE WINNER OF THE DRAWING HAS BEEN NOTIFIED BY E-MAIL, AND WILL BE POSTED AS SOON AS I HAVE A CONFIRMED MAILING ADDRESS. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED.

CONGRATULATIONS TO SUSAN FROM FLORIDA. YOU’RE A WINNER! I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR GIFTS. -NB

Here are my rules:

1. Leave a comment on this post.

2. The selected reader will be notified by e-mail. Once I have a confirmed mailing address, I will announce the recipient of the gift box on my blog.

3. Participation is limited to residents of the United States.

4. One name will be randomly selected on Friday, July 8th at Noon (Central).

Disclaimer: All gift box items were purchased by me with my own money except for the apron, which was handmade by me. None of the products were donated or sponsored in any way, shape or form. They are simply items that I love, shared with one lucky reader.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a reader of my blog. Your support and friendship over the past 12 months has meant the world to me, and I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring.

Hugs & birthday kisses to you all,
NanaBread (Jeanne)

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Playing With Your Food, Recipe #3: My Big Sister’s Rainbow Tie-Dyed Cupcakes

Big Sis's Rainbow Cupcakes. I just drooled on myself.

Big Sis made these gorgeous Rainbow Cupcakes for our Hoegarden Weekend back in March. They were so awesome, I asked if she would share her recipe on my blog. Of course, she agreed. She’s a cake lover. A lover of cake. And it shows. The inspiration for these came from Andrea’s Can You Stay For Dinner blog. Substituting her own favorite white cake batter and frosting recipe, Big Sis created the perfect Rainbow Cupcake. And this week, during her visit to Casa NanaBread, she agreed to share them with you because you’re special and because we love cake. Did I say that already? I’m distracted by that photo. It’s hard to stay focused looking at that gorgeous cupcake. Here’s how she did it.

Big Sis’s “Sam Houston White Cake” batter (makes 18 cupcakes):
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
6 Wilton gel food colorings in vibrant colors, not pastel
(we used red, orange, yellow, green, blue & purple)
One package of paper cupcake liners
One recipe for awesome cake frosting (link below)
One jar of colorful sprinkles for garnish

Using a mixer, beat the butter until it is soft and creamy. Add the sugar gradually and beat until it’s nice and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, blend the flour and baking powder until well combined. You can sift it if you like, but it’s not necessary. In another bowl combine the milk, water and almond extract. Starting with the flour mixture, incorporate the dry and wet ingredients alternately into the butter/sugar mixture until it’s all combined, ending with the last of the dry ingredients. Line your cupcake pans with 18 paper liners and preheat your oven to 350F.

To color your cake mix, divide the cake batter evenly into 6 bowls. Big Sis likes to wear those disposable rubber gloves for this to keep the food coloring from staining her hands. An apron’s not a bad idea, either. Using a popsicle stick or plastic spoon because the food coloring gel really will stain EVERYTHING, add 1/8 teaspoon of coloring gel to each bowl. Beat to thoroughly combine each color so you don’t get streaks in your batter. You don’t want streaks in your batter. If the color looks too dull, add a little more food coloring.

Using a spoon, add approximately one tablespoon of purple batter to each cupcake liner. If you have leftover batter, divide it and distribute it until all the batter is used. Using a clean spoon, add the blue batter to each cupcake liner, then green, then yellow, then orange, then red. You don’t need to be dainty here, but you do want to keep your batter in blobs for the best results.

Once all colors have been distributed, it’s time to swirl your batter. Grab a toothpick, bamboo skewer or chopstick and insert it into the batter. Form a figure 8 swirl through the batter to create the tie-dyed effect.

Bake one pan at a time for 15-18 minutes (depending on your oven), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Keep an eye on them. You don’t want to overbake these. Promptly remove from the oven and allow them to cool on wire racks until completely cool, at least 3-4 hours.

For the frosting, Big Sis used the “That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had” recipe by MissyDew off the Tasty Kitchen portion of The Pioneer Woman‘s website. Let me tell you, folks. They’re not kidding. This really is tremendous frosting. Click on the link to see the recipe. Generously frost each cupcake. Big Sis used a pastry bag with a nice star tip so she could pile it high. Immediately cover it with colored sprinkles so the sprinkles will stick. If you wait, the frosting will dry slightly and the sprinkles will roll off. And nothing could be more tragic than a cupcake without sprinkles. I exaggerate. But it really does make them prettier.

And that’s it, my friends. Grab a glass of cold milk and dig in. You won’t regret it. Your hips might. Your thighs might. Your jiggly upper arms might. But ignore them. You only live once. And a life without cupcakes is a life without joy.

Thanks for sharing your recipe, Big Sis. I enjoyed watching you work. The world is a groovier place with your tie-dyed rainbow cupcakes in it. Like totally.

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Filed under Food & Recipes, Hoegarden Weekends

National Night Out & Cupcakes

Last night was “National Night Out” in my neck of the woods. This is the 27th year of this annual event. The goal is to get neighbors outside to meet and greet so we can all help watch out for one another. While our street doesn’t participate every year, we did have a nice little block party at the end of our cul-de-sac to celebrate unity on our street and get to know our neighbors better. In all, we probably had about 25 people. The men grilled hot dogs and bratwurst and the women brought chips, sodas and desserts. I offered to make cupcakes. Everyone loves cupcakes. It’s been a while since I made a big batch, and I had so much fun! I used a white and chocolate cake mix (the new lower sugar mixes) as a base, and made one large bowl of cream cheese buttercream frosting. From there, I split it all up and made variations. Here’s how it all shook out:

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes – white cake mix, Coco Lopez poured over them while they were hot (I poked holes first), topped with cream cheese buttercream and sprinkled with toasted coconut. These were a BIG hit with the grown-ups.

Strawberry Jam Cupcakes – white cake mix, a spoon full of strawberry jam in the middle (I scooped out a small divot on top and filled it with jam), topped with strawberry cream cheese buttercream and sprinkled with pink sanding sugar. These were the favorite of kids ages 2-12.

Chocolate Hershey Bar Cupcakes – chocolate cake mix with Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Syrup added to the batter, topped with a small Hershey Bar as soon as they came out of the oven. Pure and simple chocolate overload.

Peanut Butter Fudge Cupcakes – chocolate cake mix with Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Syrup added to the batter, topped with cream cheese chocolate fudge and salted, roasted peanuts dusted on top. This one was highly rated by the men in the crowd. As one so eloquently put it, “Holy cow…it’s like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cupcake!” I’ll take that as a compliment.

NanaBread's Cupcake Creations

Watch your back Crave, Sprinkles & Sugarbaby’s…I’m comin’ for ya.

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