Oh, what have the YouFrillMe gals been doing lately? Let’s see, at our house there’s been lots of swimming, sprinkler-playing, watermelon-eating, and fermenting!
Whaaa? Fermenting, you say?!
Yes, my friends. I am positively Frilled by a good FERMENT. This has so far been my summer of fermentation experimentation. It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while, just haven’t gotten brave and done it. Except for making kombucha, which I’ve been doing for several years now (store-bought kombucha is spendy, y’all, and I gotta fuel my habit affordably). I wish I had ventured in to the world of fermentation sooner. It’s one of my personal “final frontiers” of food transformation.
You may be wondering: Why, Frannie? Why play around with icky bacteria?
Well, bottom line is: BUGS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! Check out this article, or this TED talk, or my own past articles on probiotics here and here. I have been in bug love for a while now, so growing my own bugs and using them to turn ordinary foods into delicious, tangy, superfoods is a natural progression for me. Fermentation is also a traditional means of food preservation, one of the oldest we know about.
Kombucha, a traditionally fermented tea, was the Gateway Ferment for me. Kefir, or cultured milk, was the next step. Mostly I’ve been fermenting coconut milk and raw goat’s milk. My Littles love their kefir!
And I’ve been fermenting vegetables too: so far banana peppers, sauerkraut (cabbage), and cucumbers — usually anything I get too much of in my CSA farm share that I need to preserve longer than a week. (btw: lacto-fermented banana peppers on salads are amazing!)
Sprouting has also made it into my repertoire, in the form of sprouted beans and buckwheat. Soaking and sprouting increases the bioavailability of nutrients in foods like seeds, beans, and grains, and makes them more digestible. After you soak nuts, it’s easy to throw them in the blender to make healthy nut milks. Homemade walnut milk is creamy-delicious, but be careful to use or drink it promptly; it only keeps a day or two in the fridge.
If you’re interested in getting started with making kombucha, kefir, or cultured vegetables, Cultures For Health is a great resource. You don’t need any fancy gear to get started, just the cultures and some jars. I think it’s a good way to invest in your health, save money, and recycle pasta sauce jars
Recently I had a craving for cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes with cream filling and a milk chocolate icing. YUM. I bought a gluten free chocolate cupcake mix, and used a recipe for the cream filling that I can’t find now! I inserted the cream into the cupcakes using a large icing tip, and whipped up a batch of chocolate frosting. I added sprinkles for extra FRILLS. I ate a few (yes, a few), saved some for Lyle, and then gave the rest away so that I didn’t eat them for the next day’s breakfast, lunch and supper. So good!
Hi everyone! Happy Monday! Last week I posted a few snapshots of a recent baby shower I helped host. This week I wanted to give you the details on the chocolate cupcakes with orange cream cheese icing that I made. I made the daisy cupcake toppers out of water, powdered sugar and meringue powder. I piped out the shape of the flower on a Wilton flower nail and then let them harden for a few days. Go here for a good tutorial explaining the process if you are interested.
The chocolate cupcakes are a mix. I often make cupcakes from scratch, but I use a mix when baking simple flavors such as chocolate, white or yellow cakes. I have found that the boxed mixes are just as good and a lot more convenient in these cases.
I do, however, ALWAYS make my frostings from scratch. Interested in this recipe? Get it below!
Orange Cream Cheese Icing (Adapted from the Cake Mix Doctor)
Friends, full disclosure here. This is in no way healthy. This is in every way decadent, stick-to-your-hips, raise-your-blood-sugar, delicious. To make matters worse, it’s easy. Apologies in advance.
One day, shortly after T was born, I happened to be lounging, nursing her and watching PBS, which is pretty much the only TV we have, being as we went cable-free over 2 years ago (and never looked back). Well, P. Allen Smith’s show came on. And he was making this Orange Marmalade Cake, which instantly grabbed my attention. How could it not? It looked so delicious and simple and fresh and lovely and scrumptious. And it has lived in my mind ever since. Finally, an excuse came along to make it: to celebrate the visit of a dear cousin.
Yellow cake, plus layers of mascarpone cheese, cointreau-tinged marmalade, slivered almonds, and fresh clementines. Well, I will refrain from tempting you more. But if the opportunity arises, and you feel like a splurge of gooey sweetness is in order, look no further.
PS: I made this with a gluten-free cake mix and it was fairly magical.
This week, I needed some quick, easy, healthy and new recipes, so I headed over to Skinnytaste, which has been my go-to food blog since last summer when a good friend let me in on the secret! I love it because all the recipes I have tried so far have been tasty, the blog is easy to navigate and all of the nutritional information and weight watchers points are provided for every recipe. To top it all off, she also has plenty of options for people with dietary allergies or preferences, such as myself!
Here’s what I’m making this week. All photos are via the Skinnytaste blog:
I made this one already, and it was so easy and full of flavor. I used the leftovers to make delicious chicken sandwiches for lunch the next day! Yum!
I also made these already. Roasted veggies of any kind are my favorite so I knew these would be a win from the get-go!
I haven’t tried this one yet, but the recipe looks so easy. Plus, I love anything with sautéed leeks. I have my brown rice spaghetti noodles ready to make this meal gluten free.
The main ingredient of this recipe is cauliflower! We eat cauliflower a lot of different ways around here (as a substitute for pasta, potatoes, etc.). Plus, I love any kind of citrus treat. I’ll let you know how this turns out!
What are your favorite food blogs? Have you tried anything from Skinnytaste before? Do you have any recommendations for us?
Mmm.. Yum. My husband’s birthday was last week (remember our post on iFly?) Every year he asks for either carrot cake or German chocolate cake, and since we had carrot cake last year, I decided to whip up a batch of gluten-free cupcakes and use his mom’s delicious icing recipe to make them extra special!
I’ve used this recipe before (on a Father-of-the-bride’s cake order for Cake Jubilee). That was when I first learned that German chocolate cakes are the hardest to ice EVER. Seriously. I remember freaking out on the first one thinking I was doomed. But somehow it always comes together.
I frilled up the cupcakes using coconut shavings and chocolate chips, and I also added pecans to the little 6 inch cake. But the icing on these treats is the star of the show. It is absolutely delicious; so much so, that I had to share the recipe! (Also, thanks to Aunt Cindy for my newest cupcake stand!)
Melinda’s German Chocolate Icing:
(I tend to cook it over the stove for about 15 minutes and then refrigerate it until it has reached the desired consistency.)
Just some glimpses of the cake I made for my sweet niece’s 2nd birthday recently:
A few weeks ago, Fran’s mom and I hosted a lovely tea party to celebrate the future arrival of my newest niece (come on Baby T.; we’re ready for ya!).
We served a variety of different teas, such as English breakfast tea, which was served in this beautiful silver tea service Fran and Lyle’s mom inherited from her mom years ago. We all sipped on tea, enjoyed cool weather and the company of fabulous women, and for a morning, allowed ourselves to feel a little more fancy than we usually are.
We decorated the table with fall decor: autumn-colored flowers and miniature pumpkins, and we served all kinds of little treats one might find at a tea. It was the ONLY weekend so far this fall where it was cold enough to wear a jacket. It was the perfect day for a tea party.
We had cucumber cream cheese as well as olive and nut tea sandwiches. Yum, YUM:
We had blueberry and lemon poppy seed scones with strawberry jam, and we even scoured the city to find traditional clotted cream:
We served grapes and a variety of sliced apples and cheeses:
We had lemon bars, too (recipe here):
I baked tea cakes from scratch using Paula Deen’s highly rated recipe. I even tasted a bite of one even though they weren’t gluten free. They were very tasty indeed:
A lady from Fran’s church brought this baby-carriage themed cake she whipped up! How sweet and thoughtful!
We had such a fun time planning a creative and beautiful celebration. Baby T. isn’t even here yet, but she sure is loved. Sometimes the small, but FRILLING extras in life can be the most gentlest reminders of love. I think we may start having tea parties more often. Stay tuned for more sneak peaks of the party planning!
This week has been an extra long one, so I’m absolutely FRILLED that it is finally Friday. I really haven’t had much time to stop and rest in the last 7 days, but I did take some time mid-week to do something sweet for myself.
Recently, I left work (did you know I work at J Crew now??) absolutely craving cake. Not just something sweet either – it had to be chocolate cake. I walked over to the Steeping Room (y’all know how much I love that place) because they often have freshly baked gluten free treats. However, the closest thing they had to what I wanted was carrot-cake cupcakes. Even though I generally love carrot cake, I went home empty handed because it was one of those its-chocolate-or-nothing kinda days.
I decided that if I wanted something done right, I was just going to have to do it myself. In fact, I realized that I had yet to make a full-fledged delicious gluten free cake since I went gluten free over a year ago. I couldn’t believe it! I mean, I have a reputation to protect (my niece does call me Cupcake, after all).
YUM. I can still taste it’s perfection. It was everything a proper cake should be: moist, fluffy, chocolate (obviously), mouthwatering, DELICIOUS. Later in the week, I shared some with friends. It’s gone now. I miss it.
Chocolate cake. The perfect example of how the little things in life are often the sweetest. They add up. They are the best. Happy Friday, y’all! Hope you have a FRILLING weekend!
For those interested, I used boxed mixes for the entire cake (what can I say? I’m a busy gal these days). The cake itself is Betty Crocker gluten free chocolate cake mix, and the frosting is a Naturally Nora Cheerful Chocolate mix. I cooked the cake in two 6 in. pans (as opposed to the sad 8 or 9 in. one layer suggestion on the box) and just kept an eye on the cake until I was certain it was done. After I iced and decorated it, I sprinkled powdered sugar on top, just for more FRILLS.
Here are three things I’m currently addicted to. Maybe you’ll love them too…
…fresh, in-season figs and pomegranate seeds, drizzled with honey…
…naturally scented Mediterranean Fig Candles by Pacifica…
…and crocheting little hearts to make a bunting for Tiny T’s room, based on this tutorial. I can’t stop making them. They’re so fun and quick!
Got any Frilling Addictions lately? Happy Weekend!