Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Muffins

These muffins are a tasty stand-in. Moist and tender, studded with grated carrots and lightly spiced with ginger and cinnamon, they hold a tasty surprise within: a melting pool of sweetened cream cheese filling.

Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Muffins

Yield:    12 muffins


  • one 8-ounce package cream cheese or Neufch√Ętel cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • a few drops of Fiori di Sicilia flavor, optional but very tasty

  • 2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup grated carrots, lightly packed; about 2 medium-large carrots


1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-well muffin pan. Or line the pan with paper muffin cups, and grease the cups.

2) To make the filling: Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on low power for 40 seconds. Stir in the sugar and flavor. Set aside.

3) To make the muffin batter: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

4) In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, and oil.

5) Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

6) Fold in the grated carrots, stirring to combine.

7) Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here) into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom.

8) Dollop on a heaping tablespoon of filling; a level tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

9) Cover with enough batter to fill the muffin cups quite full. The batter will come to within about 1/4" to 3/8" of the top of each muffin cup. But don't try to use all the batter; unless you have particularly deep cups, you'll have abut 1/3 cup batter left over. Bake it in a separate custard cup, if desired.

10) Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted into the cake part of one (not into the cream cheese filling) comes out clean, about 20 minutes. The tops of the muffins will feel firm to the touch.

11) Remove the muffins from the oven, and as soon as you're able to handle them, transfer them to a rack. If you serve the muffins warm, the filling will be molten. If you wait for them to cool, it'll firm up.


via Recipes, Dinner Ideas, Healthy Recipes & Food Guide

Put the internet to work for you. via Personal Recipe 3453146

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Makes: 10 servings


  • 30 small gingersnap cookies, (about 7 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened (see Tip)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.
  2. To prepare crust: Combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and freeze the pie for up to 3 days. | Equipment: 9-inch deep-dish pie pan
Tip: To soften ice cream quickly, microwave on Medium-Low for 30 to 60 seconds.


via Recipes, Dinner Ideas, Healthy Recipes & Food Guide

Put the internet to work for you. via Personal Recipe 3453146

Lettuce Wrap Tacos

Had these for dinner tonight and we really enjoyed them. We'll definitely be having these again and again. It's not really a recipe, per se, more of an idea for you. Just take your favorite taco fillings and toppings and instead of using a shell or tortilla use a piece of lettuce. Then wrap them up and enjoy!

via Durfee Family Recipes

Put the internet to work for you. via Personal Recipe 3453199

Cinnamon Apple & Nut Winter Warmer Breakfast

This breakfast recipe has been a big favourite of mine the past few weeks. With the flavours of a de-constructed apple pie, but none of the extra calories, mornings are all the more enjoyable with this sweet treat.

Stay in bed those few extra minutes before braving the cold Wintery morning. This breakfast will take you less than five minutes to prepare, cook and assemble. 

What's more, there have been studies to suggest that apples are more effective than coffee in the morning. With their natural sugars your body gets that sudden burst of energy and the complex carbs mean your level of alertness is maintained for longer, unlike coffee which will cause you to crash not long after drinking it.

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200g Granny Smith Apple
5g Chopped Peanuts (P)
3g Slivered Almonds (P)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
100g Greek Yogurt (use soy or coconut milk yogurt to make this vegan)


Core the apples and peel if you so choose
Chop in halve and then into 5mm slices
Throw into a bowl and toss with some ground cinnamon
Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes
Top with the nuts and yogurt

Makes 1 serve


226 calories
11g protein
5g fat
34g carbs
26g sugar
7g fibre

via Stacie Michelle

Put the internet to work for you. via Personal Recipe 3493517

Sweet Finish: Dessert Croutons Recipe

Dessert Croutons

Recently, while making bread pudding, I found myself in posession of a unique problem: too many cubes of bread. The recipe I was using required about 5 cups of cubed day-old bread, and I had about 7 cups. It was a good bread, too: a loaf of Rubicon Bakery's cinnamon bread (something they make exclusively for Whole Foods, I just learned while looking at their website).

Homemade bread pudding

It's a very nice loaf of bread, so I didn't want to waste the cubes by throwing them out. But then again, it was too many cubes to use in the what to do?

Homemade bread pudding

That's when it hit me. I would exactly what I would if it were a non-sweet bread: I'd make croutons. Only since this bread was already sweet, I wouldn't try to make them savory croutons for salads--I'd make them sweet croutons, for dessert toppings.

Dessert Croutons! Are you not shivering with sweet anticipation right now?

I looked at a homemade crouton recipe as a reference, and then set to tailoring the recipe to work as a sweet dish.

I was going to cover them with butter, but then I realized I had no butter. But I did have olive oil. I remember hearing a radio interview in which Alice Medrich gushes about the utter loveliness of olive oil on ice cream, so I thought...why not give this a try? If the dessert croutons are made with olive oil, maybe they'll work really nicely with ice cream. 

So, I preheated the oven then coated the cubes with some olive oil and gave them a gentle but thorough stir. Then, I dusted them with a little cinnamon sugar (why not?). 

Dessert Croutons

Then, I put them in a pan.

Dessert Croutons

Then, I baked 'em up, pausing to flip them over after about 8 minutes.

At about 16 minutes, I took them out. I let them cool for a while, then broke out the ice cream.

Dessert Croutons

Wait...I think I'll add some chocolate sauce, too. That never hurts anything. Plus, I reasoned, it would add a color contrast and help the croutons stick for a nice photo. I am, after all, a food blogger.

Dessert Croutons

Now let's add those croutons...

Dessert Croutons

YES! Just look at how the cinnamon swirl adds a pretty echoing color to the chocolate sauce. Look at how wonderfully golden and toasty they look. 

Upon tasing them, these croutons were proclaimed a rousing success. They're not as sweet as crumbled cookies or cake, but they act in the same manner as an ice cream topping: adding a little extra flavor and texture. The crunchiness was also more intense than that of a cookie or cake crumb, so it added a really nice contrast to the soft ice cream and chocolate sauce. The ideal moment was about 1/4 to 1/2 of the way in, when the croutons just started to become soft as they absorbed the ice cream and chocolate. Perfect. 

Dessert Croutons

The olive oil actually worked out excellently. It acted as a nice counterpart to the sweetness of the other toppings, and added a complexity to the other flavors--especially the chocolate. The glaze on the bread, too, contributed to the deliciousness: in the oven, it appeared to have melted into the bread, but upon crunching into one of the croutons, I learned that it actually formed a sort of sweet shellac all over them. It also made for a fascinating flavor combination with the olive oil.

While I am eager to try this again with butter, I have to say, I was really rewarded by the olive oil version. 

Dessert Croutons

Here's the recipe so you can try it out at home! Keep in mind since you're probably using this recipe with leftover bread, I am going to make it open ended for you. 

Dessert Croutons--a field guide (printable version here)


  • Cubed day old bread (at least a cup's worth, to make it worth your while)
  • Olive oil or melted butter--about 2 tablespoons per 1 cup of bread
  • Cinnamon and sugar, to taste 


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. While the oven preheats, put the cubed bread in a large bowl. Drizzle evenly with the olive oil or butter, stirring so that everything gets coated. You can add more if you feel that they're too dry. 
  3. Add cinnamon and sugar, if desired, and stir to coat.
  4. Transfer the cubes to a baking pan where they can lie in a single, flat layer. 
  5. Place in the preheated oven, and bake for anywhere between 15 and 25 minutes (it will vary depending on the bread you use). Turn the croutons about 8-10 minutes in, so that they will be browned evenly. You'll know they're done when they're golden and toasty.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool before using. Store leftovers in an airtight container. They'll keep very well for a few weeks.


via CakeSpy

Put the internet to work for you. via Personal Recipe 3493501

How To Make Chocolate Snowballs


3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
confectioners' sugar


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Shape into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7-8 minutes or until tops are crackled. Remove from baking sheets; immediately roll in confectioners' sugar. Cool completely. Roll again in confectioners' sugar.

via Tasty Chocolate Recipes

Put the internet to work for you. via Personal Recipe 3453208

cranberry & white chocolate cookies

Hands down, Subway cookies are the best. Like, the best.

Okay okay, I may be a little biased, but seriously. Who doesn't like cookies that are chewy, flavoursome and chunky?

I was searching for a recipe that was just that: chewy, flavoursome and chunky.  And while these didn't taste exactly like the real thing, they came pretty close! They're chewy and chunky - not as flavoursome as I'd hoped, but my family loved them. Another recipe to add to my books!

Here's my take on this recipe.

Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl using a beater, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in colour. Mix in egg and vanilla and scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix in flour, cornstarch and baking soda. Stir in white chocolate chips & dried cranberries. Chill dough (covered) for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C. Drop balls of dough (1.5 tablespoons each) onto baking tray. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Do NOT cook them longer than 9 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack.

via butter & jam

Put the internet to work for you. via Personal Recipe 3493555

Giveaway: Craft-A-Doodle Book

Guess what? Last year, I was asked to contribute to a book called Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists. Of course I was happy to do it. Basically, the idea was that 18 creative types like myself were to contribute idea prompts, to inspire the reader to get moving, creatively speaking. 

So, I did it! And now, a year later, the book is out! Hooray! You'll find some great creative prompts by myself, and other talented people. It was all put together by the lovely Jenny Doh.

So, I'll bet you're pretty interested in the book, yes? Want to win a copy?

OK! Let's do a giveaway, right here, right now. How do you enter? It's so easy.

To enter: All you have to do is leave a comment on this post (comment moderation is enabled, so if it does not pop up right away, don't panic) saying what gets YOU inspired. Is it dancing in your living room? Drawing stars on notebook paper? Drunk-texting ex boyfriends? (Wait...) Whatever it is that gets you inspired, get the rest of us inspired by letting us know! 

I'll choose a winner at random one week from today, on August 7, at 5pm PST, and announce it shortly thereafter. Because the publisher will be sending the book directly from their US warehouse, they have asked that only US entrants be eligible. Good luck!

Meantime, buy the book here: Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists

via CakeSpy

Put the internet to work for you. via Personal Recipe 3493501

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Celebrities With Bad Tattoos

For people with disposable incomes, money does not always buy them quality tattoos. Celebrities have some of the worst tattoos I've seen. Most of these celebrities live in Los Angeles, a city bursting with tattoo art and culture. Tattoo artists such as Grant Cobb, Mark Mahoney, Dan Smith and Kat Von D (to name a few) reside there, artists which are known around the world.

How, in this day and age, do people, specifically celebrities, end up with such awful tattoos?

Below is a list of celebrities who have some of the worst body art in the entertainment industry -

Harry Styles - Where do I start? It's probably easier just to say there's not much good about them. Shocking placement and the possibility that some aren't done by actual tattoo artists.

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Nick Lachey - A tribal armband and sun, filled in to cover his old 98 degrees tattoo. Tribal, need I say more?

Justin Bieber - There's just something a little off about the Jesus tattoo on his calf. He clearly made a bad choice of portrait artist.

Usher - Justin Bieber's mentor has his own name tattooed on his body. Is it there as a daily reminder or is he just that vain?

Angelina Jolie - Her infamous Billy Bob tattoo is another reminder of what a bad idea lover's name tattoo are. Gone is his names and the dragon below it, now covered with the geographical coordinates from where her children were born. Unfortunately for her, it's proof that laser removal doesn't have a 100% success rate, you can still faintly see the dragon beneath her new tattoo.

Megan Fox - As someone who always seemed so rebellious and often talked about tattoos in media interviews, it came as quite a surprise that she decided to get laser removal treatments to her Marilyn Monroe tattoo. A silly mistake so young has meant she'll spend ten times as much money trying to get rid of the ink.

Nick Carter - The Paris tattoo on his wrist may be long gone, covered with 'Old Habits Die Hard', but , with her dating history, who knows what long-term effects their short-lived relationship has had on his health.

Mike Tyson - Sadly, getting punched in the face a few more times won't get rid of Tyson's tribal facial tattoo, or the other horrible portrait tattoos he has on his body.

Pauly D - The Jersey Shore Guido has three large back tattoos, each as terrible as the next. A huge tribal piece across his shoulders, his skin 'ripped' to show his Italian flag flesh, then to top it off, his name written in Old English. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

Dave Navarro - I thought arm bands were bad enough, but one made up of dolphins? Hideous.

Jamie Foxx - Unless your body is completely covered, I'll never understand why someone would get their cranium tattooed. Jamie Foxx went one step further by getting a tramp stamp looking tribal piece on the back of his head. Not a good look on anyone.

Johnny Depp - Another victim of the dreaded lover's name tattoo. What once said 'Winona Forever' now reads 'Wino Forever'. It may look slightly different, but everyone knows what it really said.

Jordan - Why cover up or get laser removal of the tattoo of your ex-husband's name when you can tattoo a cross over it instead? Stay classy, Jordan.

Pamela Anderson - Not only does she sport a trashy-looking barbed wire armband tattoo, it was sharing a needle with her then husband, Tommy Lee which ended with her contracting the lifelong Hepatitis C blood disease. Lesson: never share needles and don't get tattooed by anyone who thinks otherwise.

You may try to deny it, but tattoo trends are often spurred on by celebrities themselves. People look up to celebrities and are inspired to get their own tattoos. This is why there are so many average people walking around with horrible ink. 

Perhaps celebrities could start a new tattoo trend: beautiful ones done by reputable and talented artists in safe and sterile environments.

via Stacie Michelle

Put the internet to work for you. via Personal Recipe 3493517
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