Tag Archives: food blog

Baking Cupcakes with Silicon Baking Cups

One of the benefits of blogging is that I often get asked to try products and share them with my readers. I don’t often accept these offers because I am very choosy about what I will endorse, and also I want to always provide my readers with relevant content that represents Homemaker Chic. Well recently I was approached by The New York Baking Company about trying out their silicon baking cups and seriously friends, these are SO cool.

I’ve seen these before in stores but never really considered trying them, but I’m so glad I finally gave them a shot!

They’re called Baking Buddies and they come in a set of 12 in four really bright and super cute colors. You don’t have to use paper cupcake wrappers or cooking spray at all. The cupcakes baked so evenly and perfectly and the best part is that the slipped right out of the cups without sticking.

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Well… the chocolate cake was more moist and did stick the slightest bit but not enough to bother me.

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I’m not sure I would use them as shown in the photos on the site. They show them being used as actual cupcake wrappers which I suppose you could do, but I would be worried people might throw them away.

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I like these cups for when you do not want a wrapper on a cupcake at all. For example I used them for making little petit-four cakes by slicing the rounded tops off the cupcakes, placing them upside down, slicing them in half to add a filling, and then piping some decorative frosting on the outside. The cups were great for this purpose because they yielded perfect little cakes with no need to peel off paper that takes half the cake with it!

Try them out. I know you’ll like them!

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How to Make Cocktail Sauce

Many years ago when I was a waitress I had to learn how to make cocktail sauce. I worked at a restaurant where we made cocktail sauce to order. At the time it was a nuisance having to stop during a busy shift between running food and refilling drinks to hand-make condiments, but I perfected the skill and learned to make it quickly with just the right ratio of ingredients. I have since become the token cocktail sauce maker in my family and now I will share the tricks of the trade with you fine folks. It is ridiculously easy to make and way cheaper than ready made. Here is the recipe:

You will need ketchup, a lemon, worcestershire sauce and horseradish.

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Start by squeezing about half of a fresh lemon into a bowl.

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Add about half a cup of ketchup, about 5-6 shakes of worcestershire, several tablespoons of horseradish (more or less depending on how spicy you like it.) Stir well and serve. Its so easy right? Now you never have an excuse to buy store-bought cocktail sauce again!

It tastes way better, and you will feel accomplished knowing there are no preservatives.

Tasty Meatloaf Basics

I was not one of those kids who grew up eating meatloaf. In fact, I was 21 the first time I ever tasted it. I always thought it would be horrible, but my mother gave me this recipe and after my first bite I was hooked. Though my recipe varies each time depending on what veggies I have on hand, the basic foundation of this dish remains the same. It is my handy-dandy Meatloaf Basics that create a moist and delicious family meal.

The first thing you need to know about Meatloaf is how to make it moist. Here’s how…

This recipe serves 4 (or two with leftovers for sandwiches tomorrow :D)

In a large mixing bowl combine:

2 eggs

1/4 c Ketchup (or more if you want)

1/4 c Milk

Several shakes of Worcestershire sauce

About 1 Tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning

About 1 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard

Garlic Salt and Pepper to Taste

About 1 Tbsp Garlic Paste or Crushed Garlic

Next tear the crusts off 2 slices of fresh bread (white or wheat doesn’t matter). Then tear into piece and mix into the bowl. The fresh bread instead of breadcrumbs will make a nice moist meatloaf.

You will end up with a really disgusting looking mush. This is perfect!

Fold in about a pound of beef. If you like to use a pork/beef combo that works well too. Usually just a good wooden spoon is enough to combine the mixture, but if you (or the kiddies) are so inclined, do get your hands in there to get everything nice and mixed.

At this point you can add whatever veggies you like. This is a great opportunity to sneak in vegetables for kids who will only eat meat, so the more vegetables the merrier. (This is how I trick my nephews… works like a charm. The best part is after they’ve gobbled it down, I tell them all the veggies they just ate and then I laugh as they run screaming to the bathroom to hurl. That didn’t really happen of course, I’m just saying.)

I often add about 1/4-1/2 cup each of grated carrots, tomatoes, multi-colored bell peppers (looks lovely in the finished loaf!), and onions. You could even throw in some greens if you like. I once made an italian Meatloaf with spinach and zucchini, topped with Marinara instead of ketchup but it tasted too much like a giant meatball.

This time I added the secret ingredient of 1/4 cup of Stovetop stuffing. I don’t personally eat cooked stovetop, but I love using the dry mix in lieu of breadcrumbs. Just a little bit helps hold the loaf together, and the bigger crumb pieces soften up and don’t dry out your meatloaf.

Bake the meatloaf for about 30-40 minutes in a 350 oven.

The second thing you need to know is how to make a good glaze. Sure just plain ketchup works fine but a glorious glaze will ensure lots of “oohs” and “ahhs.”

In a small saucepan combine:

about 1/4 c Ketchup

Several shakes of Worcestershire

1 Tbsp Whole grain mustard (do NOT under any circumstances use yellow mustard. Why? Because nothing so unnaturally neon yellow should be consumed by a human, that’s why!)

2-3 Tbsp Honey

2-3 Tbsp Whiskey (Jack Daniel’s is preferred)

Simmer until the alcohol is cooked out then pour over the hot Meatloaf when it has about 10 minutes left in the oven.

You will end up with a gorgeous looking glaze that will really add some delicious flavour to your already amazing Meatloaf. When its ready, slice and serve. Garnish with a drizzle of ketchup. Mmmm.

Whipped Coconut Milk Chocolate Mousse (or Pudding)

This is the story of how I mucked up yet another marvel Pinterest recipe. I am now in recovery.

Adam has a wee problem with ice cream. He eats ice cream or frozen yogurt at least five times a week. Pinterest strikes again! I’ve been trying to get him on a healthier alternative with less dairy and sugar, so when I found this Coconut Milk Chocolate Mousse recipe I thought it would be a great solution, plus I’ve been way into coconut milk lately.

I suppose it derives from the famous Sprinkles Cupcake Bakery who offers “frosting shots” made from this magical coconut mousse. The blog made it look super easy.

The main gist is that you open the can of coconut milk, let it chill in the fridge overnight so the milk part solidifies, then you whip it with a bit of sweetener and cocoa powder. Easy enough right?

Well the first attempt bombed big time. I wanted to make it for dinner guests, but I only let the cans chill for about 2 hours so it didn’t solidify enough. Also the original blog implied that you could include the coconut water that settles on the bottom, but I found this is not the case. When I tried to whip it up I ended up with a chocolate coconut soup. It ended up down the drain and our guests had frozen yogurt for dinner.

So I decided to give it another attempt. I read a few other recipes which all said do NOT use the water that separates on the bottom.


This time I did a clever little thing. I opened the can upside down so I could pour the coconut water off off, which worked perfectly.

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I then let the cans cool overnight and I ended up with nice thick white coconut solids.

I poured them into a bowl, add a little powdered sugar and began to whip.

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I wanted to make just plain coconut first before I added the cocoa. I whipped. I whipped and I whipped. For a good 20 minutes I whipped. It did thicken a bit, but looked more like a vanilla milkshake than anything.

So I started adding cocoa. It did thicken more, and finally after more whipping I got it to the thickness of a thin pudding. This was supposed to be a frosting alternative so I’m thinking it should have been MUCH thicker. Plus in the photos it was this glorious piped mouse.

This was nothing that I could pipe, no peaks at all. I figured this was another one of those Pinterest hoaxes that doesn’t really work. It did look like a great pudding and it tasted amazing, so I served it to Adam with chocolate chips and he devoured it! If I was trying to make a healthy coconut milk chocolate pudding this would have been a major success. So let’s just pretend that’s what I was doing. Tada! I give you healthy chocolate pudding!

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I still wanted to figure out this mousse business though. I kept thinking, I must be doing something wrong!

Okay so I admit, I may or may not have an aversion to actually reading directions. I normally just look at a picture, glance at the ingredients and decide I can make it better.

Well when I looked at the ingredients I realized that she used more than 1/4 cup of cocoa per can, and I used two cans! So where I used about 3-4 tablespoons, I was supposed to use more than a half a cup. Doh!

So I added a lot more cocoa and what do you know, that stuff thickened right the heck up! Now, I will say it did not taste as good as its puddingly cousin. It was very rich and much too chocolatey for me (I’m not a huge chocolate fan anyway. Don’t hate.) Definitely add more sugar if you go this route because it gets more bitter with more cocoa.

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I preferred the taste of the first batch, but esthetically this version was much more pleasing, and the texture was nice and moussey. I can see why they serve it as little shots, a little goes a long way.

So the moral of the story is read the directions.

(unless you wanted pudding in the first place.)

The end.

Downtown Tampa Market and The Alligator Pear

One of my favourite things to do in the world is to visit festivals and outdoor markets. A few years ago I went to the Tampa Downtown Market and remembered the large selection of treats, wares, and farm fresh produce. Last Friday was their last open day for the season so I slapped on some SPF and headed downtown. I have to say I was ill-impressed. It’s really not like me to dog local events, because I love my city. I mean I totally put on for my city. I will allow that since it was the last day of the season, perhaps I was picking up on the dregs of a busy spring but, Tampa, we can do better. It was extremely hot (even for Floridians) and the location had moved from the park where I had attended before, to a blocked off Twiggs Street with no shade cover and plenty of brick to magnify the heat. Downtown markets are tough in the heat because the buildings block any would-be breeze.

Florida weather aside there was a small selection, too much jewelry, not enough food, and no produce at all. The few product booths they had were lame and over-prized, with the exception of a few choice vendors.

I stopped and chatted with the ladies from a cork jewelry booth. They were out of cards otherwise I would have mentioned them by name. Their stuff was really cool and they were super friendly! It looked expensive so I didn’t ask for prices since I only had about $20 on me, but if I were into that sort of thing I totally would have bought something.

The other booth worth mentioning was a Wine Slushie Booth. I know, I know. Listen, wine snobs, it wasn’t THAT bad. Okay, it was pretty bad. But a fun idea, and the guy was very nice! I’m sure people who drink white zinfandel would be big fans. (I keed!) At a price of $9 per unit, I skipped on the slushie mix (which was basically koolaid powder that you mix with wine and then freeze), but he did have a seasoning mix that smelled pretty good so I picked up a pack for four bucks which I plan to use for grilled chicken soon.

As far as food goes, nothing really jumped out at me until I noticed a large line forming in front of one lone stand. The Alligator Pear. I had no idea what sort of food it was or what they were serving but everyone seemed like they knew what they were doing so, for a brief moment..

I became a follower.

I watched husband and wife team Greg and Amanda Williams as they worked and sweated side by side serving customers quickly in a ballet that was efficient and cool. Though it was about a million degrees (maybe a million point two) and the line behind me had doubled in size, the Williams duo was in sync and never in the weeds. As I got closer I realized that 1- Alligator Pear is a clever entendre on an Avocado (cute! and also duh.) and 2- they serve a sort of asian fusion taco et cetera.

When I got up to the counter I asked her to serve me whatever the best was. What I received Half Thai Chicken and Half Korean Beef over rice both topped with a colorful crisp “raw-slaw” of cabbage and carrots. She topped the chicken with an avocado-cilantro sauce extra cilantro and crunchy peanuts and the beef with red onions a spicy and delicious sauce of je n’sais quoi.

What resulted was a surprising combination of obscure asian flavours, the perfect amount of heat, cooled by the crisp freshness of the slaw. It was DIVINE! I tasted a sample of the blueberry lemonade (out of a darling punch dispenser). It was sweet and tasty, but I was too hot for sugar so I opted for a water instead. This totally made my day and completely apologized for what would have otherwise been a waste of my $2.25 parking fee.

The Alligator Pear makes the rounds at various farmer’s markets around Florida and I cannot WAIT until they come back to town. I plan to visit them at the Hyde Park Fresh Market. I’m dying to try the Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Taco!

Rustic Chicken Linguine with White Wine Lemon Butter Sauce

Thursday night we invited our dear friends Erick and Kelly over for dinner. They are charming and fun, and we always have a blast when we get together. Last time they were over I made my brother’s recipe for Ginger Crusted Chicken. It was a hit, so I needed to outdo myself this time.

I hit the produce mother-lode at my mom’s house. She, for some, reason stocked up on fresh vegetables before leaving for vacation, so she loaded me up with a ton of goodies on Wednesday night before she left town.

I had a great selection of ingredients to work with! Oh how I love fresh vegetables! I ended up with several pickling cucumbers, 3 bell peppers, 3 roma tomatoes, a whole carton of baby bella mushrooms, 3 leeks, some spinach, romaine lettuce, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The nice thing about having a professional chef for a brother is that anytime I need to impress friends I can call him up and he’s always game for a recipe challenge. (Not that the perfectly stocked pantry I possessed was much of a challenge!) Together we decided on a Chicken saute’ with Mushrooms, leeks, and red pepper in a white wine, lemon, butter sauce over linguine. I also served a fresh summer salad of peppers, cucumber and tomato on the side.

No one was home so I invited Billie Holiday over, poured a glass of wine, and started chopping my vegetables. This is one of the best most cathartic parts of my day. Nothing but me and my food. It is a glorious moment to be kinetic with everything I’m about to devour! It is so very human.

“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.” -Julia Child

For the salad I chopped the pickling cucumbers, orange bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and tomatoes into uniform pieces. I added about 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar, a little olive oil, minced garlic, salt & pepper, and a bit of sugar to cut the acidity of the vinegar. Put them in the fridge for at least an hour and this will sort of pickle the salad. It is really delicious!

For the main dish I cubed 4 chicken breasts and sauteed with a bit of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. 4 breasts are really too much for 4 people so I set a little bit aside and stored in the fridge to use in a chicken salad for lunch another day.

Once your chicken is cooked through add one diced red bell pepper, LOTS of sliced mushrooms, and 2 sliced leeks.

Also add about a cup of white wine, salt & pepper, garlic, lots of lemon juice, and about 3 Tbsp of butter. Let this cook down for a good 30min-1 hour. After it has cooked down add about 2/3 cup of milk and let is reduce a little. You want it to be all stewy and amazing.

 

 

 

 

When it is ready it will like like this… —->

Prepare your linguine, drain, and then pour all this stewy goodness right over the pasta and stir.

Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Since all the big kids had wine and lime-a-ritas… as a special little treat I made Kelly a Pregnancy Cocktail. She is having a little girl in September 🙂 The cocktail consisted of strawberries and blueberries dropped into a champagne flute. A little cranberry juice, peach sparkling cider, and lime juice. She loved it!

How Twitter Changed My Life (sortof)

Every year after the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival (I can say that now since its two years running!) I feel rejuvenated, replenished, and inspired. It must be the leisurely pace at which only Georgians can move. The city of Atlanta is rustic and charming and reminds me of who I want to be.

Last year my appetite for greatness was satiated when I joined the cast of season two on Food, Drinks, and Rock n’ Roll starring my brother Chef Nathan Lippy. I loved each week getting to taste and try new flavour combinations and communicate with the foodie fans who loyally watched the show.

After the season ended I ended up in a food lull until early this year when I finally did what I’d been telling myself I’d do for years… I started a blog! It was a big step for me because it meant I believed I had something important to say, something perhaps someone else would want to hear [read]. I’ve so loved these last few months of sharing my ideas, inspiration, and obsessions with you. So I decided it was time to take this little blog thing to the next level.

As with most things utterly profound, the next part of this story begins on a Tuesday- last tuesday. 7 days ago. It is my belief that all great things begin on Tuesdays.

One week ago today I decided to open a Twitter account.

I began following foodies, and chefs whom I admired. I followed wine people, cake people, beer people and bourbon people. I read silly ancedotes, and excellent recipe ideas. I joined #foodiechats and met tons of other bloggers, foodies, and chefs! I clicked on link after link until suddenly this huge world was opening before my eyes! There are people, just like me, who love food, and write about it. Where have you been all my life? Then this miraculous thing happened. People began to follow MOI! One hundred and sixty three people who did not know me last week, now know me and have access to each and every glorious word I write! At the same time my world opened up, I realized that the world is actually quite small after all.

I know it must sound like I’ve been in a hole for the past 5 years, but I had no idea Twitter could be so cool!

So to all my new friends, I’m so excited to do this blogging thing with you. I have this feeling that something big is going to happen here, at these keys. Something big indeed.