Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Holy Cannoli

Leave the gun..., originally uploaded by Bnice2mice.

I found this super cute canoli photo on Flickr. Bnicetomice has created an amazing set of crocheted items, many of which look like food. They are awesome!

I am actually blogging from the Flckr site right now!.. so I think I will try to do more of this. There are just so many gorgeous photos out here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

LA Valentine Cupcake Round-Up

I did everyone a favor and researched what was going on in the world of LA cupcakes for Valentine's Day. Here's what I found:

Sprinkles is doing their XOX box. It's a dozen cupcakes and includes four flavors: chocolate marshmallow (Belgian dark chocolate filled with vanilla marshmallow), red HOT velvet (red velvet cake with spicy cinnamon cream chease frosting), and their vanilla and chocolate cupcakes (in case you're feeling a little more ordinary). The price isn't on the webpage so I am guessing it is pretty steap.

Yummy Cupcakes has a bunch of stuff going on:

  • They've made 10 red and pink cupcake flavors/variations for the occasion.. they even put pink glitter sugar on one of them and another is in a heart shape NICE! Flavors include mostly vanilla bean.
  • A lovely dozen red velvets with pretty red roses on top.. all for the bargain price of $72.
  • For those who are into plastic, you can get six pretty ones in a nice plastic box with a red ribbon for $52.
  • Finally, for the more brown-bagging set, we've got a ganache dipped cuppy with strawberry buttercream and a groovy heart cut-out candy. At a down right cheap $5.50, this would be my pick. Moving on.

Leda's has stated that their cupcakes "will be decorated with beautiful fondant hearts". Now, this is super-sweet.: You can have a personalized message written with mini-cupcakes in your choice of flavors and colors! That's what I'm talkin' about!

I know this is literally a stretch but the Frosted Cupcakery in the LBC (Long Beach to be precise) proudly announces that the very pink flavor, strawberry, will be back on Februrary 1. Phew, so glad to hear it.

Now, the rest of the local places haven't posting anything on their site, at least not yet. I'll see if I have some time to call them and get the scoop... so check back.


Valentine Cupcake Inspiration

I did not make this cupcake. It was made by BlueEyes24 (on Flickr)

I't's that time again, kids. Time to redirect all the dissapointments of your love life (well, not mine : ) to, you guessed it SUGAR!!! But really, I have a whole new appreciation of holidays since I started making cupcakes. It just brings all the childhood-like fun into everything.

So... we must make Valentine cupcakes, right? But what should they look like? Feast your eyes on the sweet Flickr photo pool to the right and check 'em out ---------->

(Tip: Rollover the photo to scroll to more faster)

I realize the photos to the right kind of stink..I mean, only a couple are good. I am trying desparately folks to find a way to show more cool photos. In the mean time, go to this link for the most gorgeous Valentine cupcakes you'll ever see:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Le Cupcake Santa Monica shut down!!

Just a couple of weeks after I posted that Le Cupcake had the best cupcakes in Santa Monica, a friend tells me that she stopped by the mall and Le Cupcake is gone!! That's what I get for leaving that post in draft mode so long..

You can still go to their website . The business is actually based in D.C and I am guessing they are still making cupcakes there. Sorry L.A. folks!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Trick for Light Cheese Sauce!

Oh yeah!

This has really changed the way I see cheese sauce... no more Velveeta Light like Weight Watchers used to promote. I first saw this trick on an episode of Ellie Krieger, one of my favorite TV chefs on the food network. She makes healthy food delicious and simple. Just watching her episode with recipes made of 5 ingredients or less .. I was in love.

Anyway, what is this trick??? Drum roll.....


I know, crazy, huh?

So, to start out, here is Ellie's recipe for Macaroni with 4 cheeses (and squash). I haven't tried this recipe, but the takeaway here is that you can use this tasty squash (which is found with the little boxes of frozen veggies like chopped spinach) to add to any kind of cheese sauce when you're trying to cut calories and add nutrition.

So, I love steak bombs and chicken bombs (subs made with meat, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and CHEESE). I decided to try to make a cheese sauce for this. Here's what happened:

Alexis' Squashy Bombs
(serves 2)

  • 2 whole grain wraps, like FlatOut Wraps
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 8 oz steak)
  • Onions, mushrooms and/or bell peppers, sliced and diced
  • 1 laughing cow cheese wedge
  • 1/3 cup low fat shredded cheese (not all mozzarella, a blend would be best)
  • 1/3 cup defrosted cooked squash
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  1. Cut up all your chicken and veggies into bite sized pieces and stir fry. Add salt and pepper to taste while you're cooking.
  2. While this is cooking, mix up all the cheeses and squash in a microwave safe bowl. Nuke this for a minute, take it out and stir, then nuke again until it's all melted and hot and combined well.
  3. Place your wraps over a flame or nuke them for 20 seconds. Spread the chicken/meat and veggies out on the wraps, then spread the cheese sauce on them (evenly between the two wraps, duh)
  4. Serve it up!! This makes a big, satisfying meal all by itself.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My New Knives

My mother, as always, was very generous for Christmas. She got me these wonderful new Furi knives with the Gusto grip by Rachael Ray. You know when you're watching the Food Network, or any other cooking show for that matter, and they're just slicing and dicing with an ease you've never experienced? Well, that's how I've always felt because I've never had good knives...up until now.

I just love using them.. they make cooking so much easier and enjoyable. I'd definately recommend them. Or, if nothing else, make sure you have a high quality SHARP chef's knife. It makes all the difference.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Salmon Burgers with Mango Salsa

Trader Joe is my friend. I found these amazing salmon burgers there. They are low in calories because they are really just big chunks of salmon pressed together, not all ground up like some burgers. But, you could use any salmon burger you can find for these.

For this recipe, the "salsa" is really like a salad, which is why there is a lot of it. Although you can serve these with or without bread, we had them open-faced on a slice of toasted whole wheat.

Another amazing product you must try is this fabulous salad dressing: Follow Your Heart Spicy Southwestern Ranch. It is so delicious, healthy, creamy and tasty.. yet so low in calories that I honestly have no idea how they do it. You can get it in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods. It is wonderful drizzled on top of this dish.

Now, you can adjust the amounts of these ingredients if you like, but this is basically what I did:

  • 4-5 salmon burgers
  • 1 fresh, ripe mango
  • 1 can black beans
  • 3/4 box of frozen corn
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • optional: fresh herbs like cilantro and/or mint (I didn't have any in the house and this still came out tasting amazing)
  • optional: mixed greens for accompaniment
  • optional: a tasty, Mexican inspired salad dressing like Follow Your Heart Southwestern Ranch (mentioned above)
  • optional: whole grain or other bread
  1. Dice your mango. If you don't know by now how to do this, watch this video. (Unfortunately, the dicing doesn't start until about 1:45 into this video) or just check out this web page.
  2. Mix the mango with everything except the dressing, bread, and salmon, in a bowl.
  3. That's pretty much it for the salsa. It tastes better the next day because all the flavors get a chance to mingle.
  4. Now, fry up your salmon burgers with some olive or canola oil.
  5. If desired, toast your bread.
  6. To serve, place the toasted bread on a plate, followed by your mixed greens, the salmon, a generous heap of salsa and then drizzle with the ranch dressing.

There you have it, a very healthy, delicious meal with plenty of leftovers!

Peppermint Cookies and Cream Brownies

I found another recipe using Trader Joe's Peppermint Jo Jo's cookies, so I had to link to it: Peppermint Cookies and Cream Brownies. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until next year to make them, since these cookies are only a seasonal treat. But, you could use Newman's Own peppermint cookies. If I had known how good the Jo Jo's were going to be, I would have bought a few more boxes. They're like Oreo cookies only the middles are soft and delicious and minty.. yum.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I want to EEEAT!!

Ok, I am on a diet. Yup, one of those old fashioned calorie-counting, vitamin-taking, water-drinking, exercising (some days) diet. It's been.. a week. It feels like a month. After looking through my fabulous blog it just makes me crave a cupcake! I think I want a PB chocolate cupcake from Sprinkles.. mmmmm.

*sigh* ah well. I guess the sugar free pudding I just ate will have to do for now.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Le Cupcake: Best Cupcakes in Santa Monica

I said it.

It's true. Don't be fooled by Le Cupcake's less than stellar location: Santa Monica Place (mall). Le Cupcake's frosting is the only one in the area with that real, buttery taste. I especially like the vanilla/vanilla combo with it's very faint taste of almond. The cakes are moist and they do a few (about 8, that's a few here in cupcake land) things right without trying too hard with a ton of crazy flavors. The chocolate/banana is also great.

Also, did I mention there is never a crazy long line like some places (Sprinkles)? AND, their boxes have special cupcake inserts so your $20 worth of cupcakes haven't wiped out by the time you get home, like with some places (Yummy). What's not to like?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Yoshinoya Beef Bowl is Gross

But, their website isn't. In fact, it's super cute:

Check it out!