Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Easy. Delicious. Vanilla. Cupcakes.

Hi Everyone,
I apologize for not posting any new desserts let alone any crafts for the kiddos. As usual, work, son's school activities are always present in my daily life, but I still love to blog as it is my little getaway from the real world. I'm pretty much tucked away in the home office right now while my son, dog and hubby are busy watching television and playing with our dog.

Anyhow, My son's 7th birthday is coming up and I always find that buying a huge sheet cake always goes to waste after each party. I was thinking this year (next month is his birthday) that why don't I try to bake regular cupcakes from scratch and ditch the "semi-homemade" recipes for a bit.

Trust me, homemade is always the best as you can taste the difference from a store bought cake mix versus making your own, yes, it is time consuming, BUT the taste is so delicious!

I researched high and low for a really good standard vanilla cupcake recipe that both adults & children would like. I came across this one from a blog called Brown Eyed Baker. I've pasted the link below to the actual recipe. The cupcake recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated, but the frosting is from Brown Eyed Baker

The cake itself turned out really, really good according to my test panel which consisted of my hubby, son and a few of my co-workers! However, the butter cream frosting turned out overly sweet for my taste, but that can be easily adjusted to your sweetness (which I'll reflect in the measuring).

All in all, this recipe is a keeper! As my son's birthday approaches, I'll have to re-post some new pictures with the Disney Cars 2 cupcake rings and Checkered Flags on the cupcake.. so Stay Tuned!!


Yields: 12 Cupcakes


Vanilla Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg yolks , room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar  ( I changed this measurement from the original 2 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.

3. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

4. Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.

5. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
You can store any unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer before using.
Let the cupcakes cool on the wire rack for about 30 minutes before frosting.

YUM!!! I hope you try making the Vanilla Cupcakes for a party or simple dinner at home! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Kitchen: Family Time

I'm always in the kitchen, from the moment I come home from work until about after dinner is done. The kitchen to me is a special "hangout" where my hubby and our son, ok.. including our dog as well gather and talk about anything under the sun. It's a cozy spot in the house where we just ask each other ..." so, how was your day?" , that question turns into laughter, our eating nook turns into a place for homework and other crafts.

As I'm in the kitchen, my son loves to interact with me while I'm prepping food or even cooking. However, sometimes I get a little too distracted and I could be adding another cup or teaspoon of an ingredient and my whole dish/baking item would be all wrong.. so... I needed to find a way for him to be busy with something else BUT also still have him in the kitchen to keep me company.

I'd like to share this post I saw from this other blog

Below are some great ideas to still interact with your children while you are in the kitchen making meals!

1. Mini Snack Cabinet : I currently don't have this right now in my kitchen (as I'm lacking storage, but that's another blog post - haha) but I do have a huge basket full of goodies on top of my breakfast nook that my son peeks in there to grab a snack.

Snack Station
Let the kids cure their own snack attacks by placing some plastic dishes and snacks in a designated self-service area. Select the items together and put them in a lower cabinet or on a low shelf in the refrigerator so the kids can easily reach them. Add a few rules if you need to such as no eating an hour before dinner. And keep a cloth towel or a roll of paper towels down low as well for self-service cleanup.

2. Chalkboard Nook: I currently have one next to my pantry but it is a little high for my son to doodle and it's not a really big chalkboard, there's no room to draw big images if needed too, I might have to shop for a better one.
The Chalkboard Nook
Turn the side of a kitchen island or an open stretch of wall into a doodling nook by hanging a chalkboard at a child's height.While you're busy working, kids can draw or leave funny jokes and messages to one another.
Kid Touches in the Kitchen

Saturday, January 12, 2013

say what? Bol-go-ki ?

Happy New Year! My first post for 2013! Sorry I have been out of the loop lately. Still dealing with post christmas and new years celebration.

I would like say Hi to my new followers Josine and Laurie! (Waves) .. Thanks for following my small blog.

In today's post, I guarantee you this will be a super easy recipe that you can whip up in under an hour!
As described on the title of this post, your probably wondering, what word is "bolgoki"? (pronounced Bol-Go-Kee), it's actually a Korean dish that usually consists of grilled marinated beef, chicken or pork.
I, however will show you a faster way to make this dish without too much measuring, actually there's no measuring at all (my kind of recipes)!

As you know, I'm a working mom and scrabbling of what to put on the dinner table is always a hassle. One day, I was shopping at the grocery store and came upon this bottle named " Wonnie's Bolgoki Sauce". I stared at it and was thinking what can I do with this at home? so since I love Korean food, I ended up getting some chicken thighs or drumsticks (whichever you prefer).

So, basically here's this simple recipe. Pair this with newly cooked rice and kimchi on the side and your good to go! Trust me on this, it is super yummy, even your kids will love this.

1 bottle of Wonnie's Bolgoki Sauce (Beware, there is a SPICY one, don't get that unless you can handle it!), It is very spicy for me.
1-2 lbs of either drumstick, thighs or chicken breasts
1 13x9 baking dish
Mushrooms (optional)
Sweet onion (sliced into rings) - Optional
Green Onion, for garnish

1. Wash the chicken and pat dry with paper towel.
2. Place the chicken in a baking dish.
3. Open the Wonnie's Bolgoki Sauce, and pour the sauce over the chicken pieces. I love this sauce, as it has garlic, black/white sesame seeds and all the other goodness that makes this sauce so good!

4. Marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. After 15 mins in the ref, I usually turn the chicken pieces over so the other side also gets the sauce marinated as well.
5. In the meantime, while the chicken is in the refrigerator, I added mushrooms, just to give the dish some texture. Cook the mushroom until tender/soft for about 15 minutes. Set Aside. At this point, if you choose to add sweet onion, you can slice it and set aside.

5. 10 minutes to pulling out the chicken from the refrigerator, Preheat the oven to 375.
6. Pull out the chicken, and cover with foil. Place the marinated chicken (along with sauce) in the oven.
7. After about 35 minutes, add the cooked mushrooms and the sweet onions at this point. Cover again with Foil and bake again for another 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Please forgive me as I do not have a picture of the finished dish, my phone died!

Serve this with warm rice (white or brown rice will do) and a side of Kimchi! I hope one day you'll be able to try this recipe and also find the Bolgoki sauce at your local grocery store.