Tagged: Treats

Blueberry Lemon Muffins: A “Practical Paleo” Recipe

As mentioned in my previous post, the boyfriend picked up a copy of “Practical Paleo” by Diane Sanfilippo a few months ago, when we decided to give the Paleo diet a try.

We have looked through a few Paleo books, but always found ourselves referring back to Practical Paleo, because of how useful the book is. Even though it’s seriously exploding with information, the writing style and lay out of the book, makes the whole concept of the Paleo lifestyle a lot easier to understand.
The thing I love the most about this book is the tear out shopping guides available at the back of the book and online.

When I go on weekly grocery runs, I always find myself wandering around aimlessly, throwing random items into my shopping cart because I didn’t know what to get. I’m a smarter shopper now that I have this handy guide. I would always refer to the shopping guide when I make my grocery list to ensure I always buy enough of all my necessities for the week.

There are many drool worthy recipes in the book, but what really caught my eye was this one: Blueberry Lemon Muffins. I have to say I was pretty excited when I found out there was such a thing as paleo friendly muffins, because I thought the paleo diet meant I had to say good bye to these delicious treats forever!

I have made these muffins MANY times, and they have consistently turned out great!

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Check out the blueberry goodness!

Did you guys pick up a copy of this amazing book yet? If so, what recipes have you tried?

Happy Baking! 🙂

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Who is MARSHMALLOW? (Cookie)

This is MARSHMALLOW.

Marshy Collage

Peekaboo! Can you see him in the background?

I was doing some thinking while commuting to the gym from work: why don’t I mash up my love for drawing with my passion for baking, and turn my drawings into an edible form of art! Brilliant right? That’s what I thought, until I realized cookie decorating is serious business, as you will soon see later in this post.

But please meet Marshmallow, my newest character to join Karen’s family of wacky cartoon characters. Because he is so new, all I have are these rough sketches, my apologies!

Personality wise, Marshmallow is a sweet, naive and innocent fellow, whose sole ambition in life is to give as many hugs, and to cuddle with as many people as possible. He is often seen wandering around, reminding those around him of their impending bedtime, so he can put himself to good use. As seen in the picture above, he likes to peek out shyly from behind doors to see if anyone could use a hug.

Although seemingly happy and care-free, Marshmallow has the tendency to become extremely anxious and worried if he doesn’t feel like he is being put to good use. He will hug his blanket, and pout until someone will come along to swoop him up for a big hug.

sad marshy

Apologies for the poor photo quality!

Did I mention that Marshmallow is not really a piece of candy? He is actually a fluffy king sized pillow!
The character and name, was actually thought of by the boyfriend, who said the pillows at our Seattle hotel resembled marshmallows: big, white and fluffy. Cute eh?

Now, onto the fun stuff:

If you are serious about learning how to bake/decorate sugar cookies, I highly recommend the blog “The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle“. Her blog is filled with useful tips and tricks, and her posts are informative without being too hard to understand. Even a cookie noob like me was able to follow it!
To get started, I had to read through a few of her posts to refresh my memory, because it has been too long since I baked or decorated sugar cookies. For this particular batch, I followed Sugarbelle’s basic cookie recipe which can be found here.

To recreate Marshmallow’s body, I did a quick sketch of him on paper, to use as a guide when I cut the dough into the shape of his body.

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Unbaked Marshmallow and his dinosaur friend

Baked the cookies for 7 minutes.

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Freshly baked Marshmallow! Doesn’t he look kind of like Wallace from Wallace and Gromit?

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Using the royal icing recipe from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle, I filled two bags with black and white icing. I didn’t keep track of how many squirts of black soft gel paste I used, but I played around with the icing until I felt it was dark enough. I am a beginner when it comes to cookie decorating so I don’t have very many icing tips on hand, but I used #3 for the outline and #5 for the body.

iced marshy

I didn’t realize how difficult it was to outline with icing! My hands kept shaking from nervousness, so I tried to hold my breath, hoping that would control the shakiness but it made it worse. I wish there was some kind of baking eraser to erase all of your cookie decorating mistakes. On the bright side, the flooding icing consistency turned out better than I expected. The body, as you can see, is relatively smooth which gives me a sense of relief, because this is only my third time using royal icing and my previous experiences have been extremely messy.

My original plan was to use icing for the eyes and mouth, but I decided to save my icing and coloring gels for future experiments so I cheated a little. If you guys have a pack of edible food markers handy, now is the time to whip them out!

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Marshmallow! Anybody want a hug? 🙂

And cookie Marshmallow is complete! I wanted to add some blushing cheeks to him, but I didn’t have any lustre dust on hand.
Hope you guys enjoyed this one! If you have any tips or tricks on decorating cookies feel free to comment below, or shoot me an email!

Happy Baking!

Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes

If you remember my first post, I had mentioned my plans to pair Nutella frosting with the chocolate cupcakes I had planned to bake for an early Christmas gathering with my friends. The results of that combination didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.

During my previous grocery run, I picked up a box of gluten free Betty Crocker chocolate flavored cake mix for the cupcakes. Normally, I prefer to bake things from scratch, just because I love the feeling of not knowing how my final product will turn out, but it has been a long time since I baked cupcakes, and knowing my friends will be tasting them, I had to take the safe route!

Chocolate cupcakes

Check out the chocolatey goodness!

The cupcakes turned out great, the problem was the frosting.

Using Gimme Some Oven‘s Nutella Cupcake recipe, I opted out of putting Nutella in my cupcakes, and used my jar for the frosting instead. Perhaps my tastes have changed, but before I have even finished adding half of the recommended four cups of powdered sugar, I already found the frosting to be way too sweet! Even a Nutella addict like myself couldn’t eat more than one bite of this stuff. Perhaps I should have made Nutella cupcakes instead, or nutella cookies? Those turned out pretty well the last time I made them. If anyone has tried making Nutella frosting, please let me know if I’m doing something wrong!

Happy Baking!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been bitten by the baking bug again!

My plan for this Friday is to bake some delicious chocolate cupcakes then top them with Nutella frosting, but I couldn’t wait, so now I am crouched on a chair in the kitchen, writing this post while waiting for my delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies to finish. I won’t lie, it has been a real challenge to stick to clean eating, especially during the Christmas season, where sweets and treats seem to be lurking in every corner. I was lucky enough though, to come across this easy cookie recipe from The Food Lovers Primal Palate. I normally don’t visit this website for grain free treats, but I have a feeling things might change very soon.

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Happy baking!