Rainbow Cupcakes

Today I had a Bread Bash to go to for work, which is basically when the Panera crew meets together so we can try new things that are coming into the store and tell the customers about them when they ask about new products. That aside, a new thing my store is doing is having everyone bring something to the ‘bash’ to encourage “familyness”, haha. So Kathleen and I tackled one of my baking projects that I’ve had on my list for way too long: RAINBOW CUPCAKES. I purchased “The Baker’s Field Guide to Cupcakes” at the store the other day and fell in love. I used their white cupcake recipe for the batter and simply tinted it, and we made whipped cream frosting as I felt that anything sweet would be overkill with the colors and the batter.

I posted some of my favorites. To see more of the steps check out my flickr for some more photos!

My Mom and I split this one. The batter was actually very light and fluffy but satisfying at the same time. I had to triple the recipe so I could have enough for everyone at work, and some to share with Keith and so Kathleen could take some home. Doesn’t the cross section of the cupcake look awesome?!

And these are the completed cupcakes with the frosting. I just did a little dollop so it would resemble a cloud on top of a rainbow. Everyone at work seemed to really love them, and I’m so happy. Even my Dad, who is not a sweets person enjoyed them too!

Taco Dip: Raided from Mom’s Recipe Box

Make this awesome dip to go with drinks listed below (healthy drink recipes!), or just make it as a side with dinner one night. I’ve always loved Taco Dip, but the seven layer dip is so heavy and often is not the most healthy. Although it’s delicious, this dip that my Mom makes is perfect for summer get parties as it is much lighter, and also has lots of delicious veggies! Why not try this for Mother’s Day? Or Memorial Day? Memorial Day is only a couple of weeks away. =]

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning. Spread this mixture in a 9-inch (or a little larger) round serving dish. Top the mixture with lettuce, Cheddar cheese, tomatoes, bell pepper and black olives. Note: for a lighter version use fat free cream cheese, and fat free cheddar. Weight watchers makes a great Mexican blend of shredded cheddar!

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) container nonfat sour cream
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1/4 head iceberg lettuce – rinsed, dried, and shredded
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 chopped tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (2.25 ounce) can black olives, drained

This dip probably takes about 20 minutes AT MOST to make. Serve it with any kind of tortilla chip. I personally love Tostitos Scoops, it’s so much easier to dip and enjoy with them. Or, if you want to stay away from white tortilla chips, try blue corn or whole grain brands. Delicious and gives you a great crunch.

Also, Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mommas who come here! <3

Three Healthy Summer Drinks Made Even Healthier!

So, although it’s only April here in CT, the summer weather is definitely here, at least for now, which leads me to think of my favorite summer pastimes: PARTIES! There’s nothing like going to a summer get together or hosting a cookout at your house. Since Memorial Day is about a month away, why not start thinking of some healthy drinks you can serve or partake in when you attend a party? I did some searching and have managed to find some great healthy cocktails that are not too difficult to make.

Another great idea? In this economy invite every person who’s coming to bring something. Have a potluck style drink setting. Have each person bring some of their own personal favorite cocktails. This allows everyone at your party to have a choice, and your healthy drinks are still within reach. Above all else, have fun, enjoy the recipes, and don’t drive drunk!!

I loved the recipe for the Blueberry Lime Margarita. Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits, and lime always adds a light summer flavor for your drinks. Margaritas are a great summer drink, but can be loaded with sugar. The recipe below is much healthier and weights in at only 125 calories per serving, but shaving off some extra calories is easy. There is always a way to make healthy drinks even healthier with some improvising!

Blueberry Lime Margarita
Combine ice, blueberries, blueberry nectar, seltzer, limeade, lime juice and tequila, if using, in a blender and blend until smooth. Rub rim of 2 glasses with lime wedge and dip in salt. Divide the margarita between the prepared glasses and serve.

2 cups ice
1 cup frozen blueberries – (Swap out for fresh blueberries!!)
1 cup blueberry nectar – (Try sugar free blueberry syrup and slice the sugar/carbs!)
1/4 cup seltzer
2 tablespoons frozen limeade – (Concoct your own Limeade: Juice of one lime (about 2 Tbsp), 1 tsp Stevia, 8 oz. Water)
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 ounces tequila, optional
1 lime wedge
Coarse salt

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to makeover a recipe for drinks. Just by using diet syrups in place of fruit nectar, and making your own Limeade, you can cut the sugars in a drink almost in half, leaving you room for other things you may want to put on your plate without undoing your whole diet.

When I think summer, I always think Raspberries. They’re delicious, packed with antioxidants, and they’re kind of cute looking too. I took this recipe for a Raspberry Wine Spritzer (spritzers are always a healthy option), and cut the sugar here too! This guy weighs in at 168 calories, and isn’t bad for you to indulge in. The best part about this drink is it can be made virgin for party guests who might not drink!!

Raspberry Spritzer
Combine seltzer, raspberries, mint and raspberry-flavored syrup (or Chambord) in a small pitcher. Pour over ice.

2 cups seltzer
2/3 cup frozen raspberries (again, always go with fresh fruit!)
2 sprigs fresh mint
3 ounces raspberry-flavored syrup or Chambord (if you’re making this nonalcoholic, make sure to use sugar free syrup and save tons of calories).
Ice cubes

Finally, I cannot get enough watermelon during the summer, and since I’ve turned into a Gin fan over the past year of be being legal, this combines them both, and doesn’t take much tweaking to make it a bit healthier (you’ll see!!) To make it virgin, simply omit the gin, and at only 158 calories, this is definitely a good pick! While this final drink does take a little more prep time (30-45 minutes), it’s definitely worth it. I recommend Bombay Sapphire for the gin, but we all have our preferences.

Watermelon Gin Fizz
1. Freeze 1 cup watermelon for garnish. Puree the remaining 4 cups watermelon. Strain; divide the juice among 4 ice-filled glasses.

2. Top each with 1 1/2 ounces gin, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/3 cup ginger ale. Garnish with the frozen watermelon and lime wedges.

5 cups diced watermelon, divided
6 ounces gin, divided
8 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1 1/3 cups ginger ale, divided (diet Ginger ale!! Easy peasy!)
Lime wedges for garnish

So, now that you know it is possible to make a healthy summer drink even HEALTHIER, why not try it out. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting in the kitchen, and if you want to keep your figure throughout the summer while still enjoying yourself, this is a great way to trim those extra calories. Now go on you party animal, start mixin’!

Chocolate Anginettes

I always love sharing recipes that have been in my family, or passed down from friends with other people. Today, during the snow storm (check flickr for the photos!), my Mom and I began our annual baking insanity. Today we made Butterballs (with and without nuts), Snickerdoodles, Struffoli, and last but not least, Chocolate Anginettes. We still have 10 more cookies to make, and we’ve already made over 400 cookies in total. It’s a tradition I love, and cannot wait to pass on one day!

So now, I share one of my favorite cookie recipes with you. If any of you make these cookies, I’d love to know how they turn out. Chocolate anginettes have a dark chocolate flavor with a little bit of spice, which I feel is great for the chilly Christmas season. Sprinkle them with red and green shots for a festive look! They’re easy to make, it’s a great batter to begin with if you usually don’t bake cookies from scratch, and they’re fun to make!


they should look shiny before you bake them.

Chocolate Anginettes – Bake @ 350 degrees (F) for 10-12 minutes
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup oil
1 cup water

Frosting
1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
add milk until you have a creamy consistency (I use skim!)

Mix dry ingredients (mix by hand!!) and add oil and water. You may need to knead the dough before rolling it. Roll in balls and bake. Frost when cool (about 10 minutes).

Above you can see the finished product. The spicy chocolate flavor makes a nice pairing with the sweet chocolate frosting. This recipe makes about 105 cookies per batch, so if you’re having a large crowd over, double it. Unlike some recipes, doubling this one works very well. You can also roll it into a load shape and slice on a slant for a different look, although I prefer the rolled style. Enjoy!

Freiselles – simple and delicious

Today I was in a baking mood so I decided to bake up some home made Freiselles (pronounced Friz-ales, hehe). They’re a simple pepper bread which are a traditional Italian food. You can dunk them in your coffee, serve them with meals, and even toast them up after baking and use them as home made croûtons for a nice peppery flavor.


This recipe has been in our family for a long time. Try it out and see how you like it.

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