Friday, September 16, 2011

Funfetti Whoopie Pies

Aren't those yummy looking! 

My friend Jessica is the Funfetti Queen.  If there is one thing that everybody knows about her, it's that she loves Funfetti cake, cupcakes...anything.  Her passion for funfetti runs so deep, that a layer of her wedding cake was funfetti with a raspberry filling....It was DELICIOUS!  So when I came across this recipe to make Funfetti Whoopie Pies, I knew immediately I needed to save these for a day when I could make them with Jess.

This day came last weekend when they had me over for dinner.  Before we got started we had to contend with the little lady you see below.

(picture not for the squeamish)

I want to apologize to all the animal rights people out there who even have a spot in their heart for spiders, but this was no lady, she was a fact we had reason t believe she was fully preggers.  We knew we couldn't knock her down and step on her, because there was a chance that thousands of little baby tramps would survive and spread like wildfire (no pun intended, in light of all the recent wildfires).  Jess' husband Devin sent our friend Brian on a mission to find some spray that would take care of her.  Devin bravely took care of the situation outside, so once she was handled we proceeded with our whoopie pie making.

This is my Funfetti Addict Accomplice and measuring Queen, Jess!

You can find the recipe for these yummy cookies over at Baked Perfection!  She has some amazing recipes on her should go check her out!

We used the boxed Funfetti Cake mix, but Risa at Baked Perfection changed the chemistry of the ingredients so that the dough comes out like a cookie dough instead of a cake mix... GENIUS!

In the oven these little beauties go!  8 minutes later.....

They come out looking perfect!

While the cookies cooled, we prepared the icing!

Tip:  Most bakers are probably aware of this, but always sift your confectioners sugar, so that it doesn't make your icing clumpy.

Spread the icing between the cookies, then roll the sides through the candies and....

....WA LA!

You have Funfetti Whoopie Pie Heaven!

Don't forget to check out all of Risa's great recipes at Baked Perfection.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Birthday Day Off

Today is my Birthday, so I am taking the day off!

Here is a little teaser for tomorrow's post!



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Zucchini Pie

While I was waiting on the stain to dry on my patio project, I decided to put some effort into making my lunch.  The weekend before was my annual girls weekend with some of my closest friends from college.  As I've mentioned before, I'm not one who dilly dally's in the kitchen too much, but my friends Candace and Lindsey LOVE it, so they did all of the cooking over the entire 3 day weekend.  What did I do?  I ATE myself stupid.

One of my favorite dishes that was made over the weekend was this super easy Zucchini Pie that Lindsey made.  She sent me the recipe from Real Simple while she was at the airport waiting to catch her flight back to Colorado.  Luckily I had all the ingredients needed at home except the Basil, so I left it out.  This dish is paired great with a salad for a light lunch.

Zucchini Pie
3 cups grated zucchini
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour (I subbed whole wheat flour)
1 cup grated provolone cheese
3 eggs, beaten (I subbed 1 egg and 3 egg whites)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all (reserve some Parmesan to sprinkle on top if you desire) ingredients in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly (don't be afraid to get your hands dirty). 

Pour/Spoon/Plop the mixture in a 10 inch pie pan (metal or glass), but don't forget to spray with vegetable cooking spray.  Spread evenly in pan.

Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown on top.  Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Patio Transformation: Staining Concrete

And.....I'm back.

I know it has been a while since my last post, but keeping up with this blog has been more of a challenge than I had anticipated.  With my work schedule and everything that has been going on socially, I have not found a lot of time or energy to put into this, but I want that to change.  So...Round 2!

I had a pretty productive weekend, what about you?

My neighborhood HOA (Home Owner's Association) was kind enough to hire people to come pressure wash our back patios over the past couple weeks.  In the 4 years that I have lived there I have only pressure-washed the patio once before and dang what a difference it makes.  I mean night and day!!  Some people in the neighborhood were not happy about the idea of someone coming in their back gate and washing their patio....I was all for it considering I'm paying $90 a month in association fees, so I want to get my money's worth.

When I found out they were coming to my house early last week I decided this would be a perfect time to spruce up the area.  Granted, it is a work in progress, but first things first.....stain and seal the concrete.

The hardest part of the entire project was picking out the color stain I wanted.  Because of the rules and by-laws in the neighborhood, I figured I better not get too crazy with my color selection, so I went with New England Slate, which from the picture below you can see is quite a bit darker than what I started with.

(Not sure why the upper right corner of this picture looks dirty, but it doesn't look like that in person..hmm)

As you can see the concrete lacks a lot to be desired.  It is pale and bland!

 Now look at the after...isn't that so much better.  Can you see the potential for this space?  I can.

It adds a little bit of life to the space and only took me about 4 hours all together to put 2 coats of stain and 2 coats of clear sealant, which I spread out over a 2 day period as you want the stain to completely dry.

Now, I need to find a way to hide that huge GIGANTIC air conditioner without restricting the air flow.
Do you have any ideas?  

The two chairs were a housewarming gift from my mother when I bought the place in March of 2007.  Thank goodness I didn't take any close-up pictures because they are looking pretty rough these days.  I have never treated or protected them from the elements...Sorry Mom!  They will probably end up getting a coat of white paint and shellac, along with recovering the cushions (which are tucked away in the outside storage because they are ugly hideous).


Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to Pick up a Lady

Why on earth would someone just throw away a table with such sexy legs?

I'm a bit cheap practical when it comes to purchasing furniture, so when I went for a jog in my neighborhood and saw this beauty sitting on the side of the road, waiting for the garbage man to pick her up, I was dumbfounded.  I would take this little lady (with legs like those, it has to be a lady) to Goodwill before leaving her for the garbage man to pick her up, who would not treat her in a respectful manner that she deserves.

I immediately sprinted for the house, grabbed my keys and went back to pick this pretty little thing up.

She needs some TLC (Tender Love from Candice) to give her back her glamour, but she deserves it.  The weather is supposed to be perfect this weekend, so her transformation may begin this weekend.  I'll keep you posted....

If you live in the Nashville area and you are considering throwing out some furniture...consult with me first.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trip Home to Paris and "Simply Hoppy" Inspiration

At the end of July I made a trip home to visit my family for a VERY special reason.  My beautiful niece turned 9 years old.  I missed her birthday party, but thanks to her Aunt Heather I was able to get a glimpse into her Justin Bieber themed party.

Check out her IPOD cake, that had Justin Bieber songs in the playlist.  Too cute and so is SHE!

Creek on brothers property.
While I was there, we decided to take the Mule out for a ride.  

Now, when I was telling this story to my boss, he literally thought we took a Mule(the animal) for a ride around the property....Not the case!  It is an ATV called a mule...just so we are clear!

Isn't the country pretty.

And how can you not take a picture of this nephew is such a handsome little dude.  He looks so rough and tough in this picture, but don't let it fool you...he is such a sweet boy!

And those cowlicks...some guys work forever to get the hair that this boy has naturally.

Look closely at this picture....something here may pop up in my bedroom one day.

Do you see it?

Remember in my very first post that I mentioned a hat that inspired my blog name?

Much to my delight my brother still has this hat.  So, while I was home I figured I would capture a few pictures to share with all of you.

My dad was part of the Blue Blazers during the Vietnam War.  He didn't talk about the War at me at least, so I don't have any stories to share from "Hoppy's" perspective.

But, I'm glad my brother still has this hat and I was able to share it on here.

On another not today is a special day.  It's my brothers birthday.  So happy birthday to the best brother a girl can ask for.....

Happy Birthday Scott!

I hope today treats you well and I love you very much!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes

Alright, as promised I decided I would post the recipe for my Delicious Carrot Cupcakes that I made a couple weeks ago during my baking adventures with Candace.  We wanted to take advantage of the pulp that was going to waste during my juice fast, so I decided to make these little beauties.

These babies are pretty savory and yummy!  Better yet, they are virtually GUILT FREE!  During my quest to find the perfect recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cakes, I found that many recipes required 4-6 different types of Flour in a single recipe. No thank you!

While shopping in Whole Foods one day I came across this....

Exactly what I needed....Thank you Namaste Foods!!

Not only was it much easier to use, but it saved me lots of $$$$

One of the advantages of just coming off a juice fast, was that I was well stocked on carrots and a few carrots goes a long way when it comes to juicing.  They produce the highest yield of juice of any fruit or veggie that I have come across.

Well, enough Chit it is and ENJOY!

Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes by Candice

1/2 Cup light Agave Nectar
1/3 Vegetable Oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons of Namaste Perfect Four Flour Blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (I used fresh ginger to add a little spice)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups carrots (Pulp from Juicer)
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Oil or line a standard muffin pan with cupcake papers.

Juice Carrots in Juicer or you can grate then on the large holes on a box grater or food processor.  Set aside.

Whisk agave, vegetable oil, orange juice, vanilla and eggs together in a large bowl until mixed well.  In a separate bowl, mix baking soda, baking powder, salt, and gluten-free baking mix. (NOTE: If you use ground allspice mix with dry ingredients.  If you use fresh ginger mix with wet ingredients.)

Dump entire contents of dry ingredients into wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Fold in carrots and pecans.

Spoon even amounts into cupcake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpicks inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove cupcakes from baking tins immediately or the bottoms will become soggy.

Instead of icing I drizzled fresh local honey on top of my cupcakes...SO Delicious!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to Reality

I know it has been a week since my last post, but I have had little time to think about what I'm going to post about next, much less get any rest.  After a whirl wind weekend in the beautiful Hilton Head, I'm EXHAUSTED!  I got to hang out with some of my best friends from Nashville and made some new friends as well.  Please be patient while I get back into my daily groove and things slow down at my day job.

Wouldn't life be grand if we were able to vacation after our vacation to recoup...even for just one day!?!?!

I leave you with some pictures from my weekend.....

The view from the Bridal Suite!

Our Beautiful Flowers!

The flower and feather details on Jenn's Dress were so sweet!

Groom's Cake!

Lemon Wedding Cake! Yummy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gluten-Free and Full Baking with Candace

Baking is a hobby that has never really peaked my interest.  The last time I baked something that didn’t come out of a box, was when I was in college.  I attempted to make my Aunt Kay’s Homemade Biscuits, which I will never do again because I was sadly mistaken to think that I could actually recreate their delightfulness.  I had a few somewhat successful OK batches, but good batches started to elude me and I soon became defeated by the idea of ever being as good of a baker as my Aunt Kay...unless of course it comes out of a box.

In my quest to spend time with my friend Candace (who has a natural knack for cooking/baking), we decided we were going to spend the day Sunday baking sweet cupcakes and savory breads.  The whole idea came to fruition while I was on my juice fast.  You see, when you juice fruits and vegetables, you get loads and loads of YUMMY pulp that for the most part sadly gets thrown out. Ideally, I would compost all my pulp for my imaginary garden.

Anyway, we decided that we were going to put some of this pulp to good use and bake delicious treats for ourselves.

Measuring out Carrot Pulp and enjoying my juice! :)
Candace in her cute apron!
Oh, and how can I forget this little tidbit of information?  Not only did I take on the feat of baking from scratch with pulp, but for some crazy reason I decided I was going to make Gluten Free cupcakes and bread.  Upon my research of looking up recipes I found out that this would not be an easy task, since most recipes call for 3 or 4 different types of flour.  I didn’t even know there were as many types of flours as there are out there on the market these days.  I nearly gave up, but on one of my many weekly trips to Whole Foods I decided to scope out their baking section.  Not only are there tons of options, but some of the stuff was incredibly expensive.  I couldn’t justify spending $15 on a bag of Xanthan Gum when I only needed ½ teaspoon.  Crazy!  Lucky for me, this was only an experiment and I’m not Gluten intolerant.  While at WF’s I came across a Gluten Free premixed flour that is good for all types of baking…Thank You Namaste Foods for making my day of baking so much easier and far cheaper, had I bought everything separately.

Candace didn’t experiment with Gluten-Free like I did, because she is a Gluten Loving Soul (per her brother).  Take a glimpse at the yumminess that she made using Coconut Pulp (Why Candace?) for her Strawberry Coconut Cupcakes and Zucchini pulp for her Zucchini Bread that had Roasted Tomatoes & Feta in it.  Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of Candace's Bread, but DANG was it delectable.

Strawberry Coconut Cupcakes
I didn’t get her recipes before she left.  If you would like to have them, let me know and I’ll forward them along to you.

I chose to make Healthy Carrot Cupcakes using Carrot Pulp.  I didn’t use any pulp in my bread…slacker, I know.  My bread was a Rosemary and Olive Loaf.

Healthy Carrot Cupcakes drizzled with Local Honey
Olive Rosemary Bread
If you want any of the recipes, please contact me.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tempting Tuesday - Farmer's Market and Ace's Intro to Juicing

Trips to the Farmers Market are unfortunately, few and far between for me.  They are also extremely under-rated by the general public...this HAS to change!  If you have never been to the Nashville Farmer's Market then you, my friend, are missing out.  Not only are you supporting local farmers and their communities, but the produce is so much more vibrant and succulent than what you buy at the grocery store.  I'll admit I exude a bit of pride when I bite into a locally grown Apple or Peach, or make a dish with Eggplant that was grown 50 miles away from Nashville in my home state.  Find a Farmer's Market in your area and won't regret it.

I wish my pictures would have turned out better, but this is the best I could do with my camera phone.

Unfortunately, I am going out of town this weekend, so I didn't want to pick up too much produce and allow the beautiful stuff to go to waste.

FORTUNATELY though, I'll be headed to Hilton Head, SC to support one my best girlfriends, as she marries her best friend.

Congratulations Jennifer and Jesse!!!

This past weekend I spent some much needed time with one of my best friends friends from college, ACE!  I call her Ace, because her name is Candace (like me), just spelled different.  It gets a little confusing around our mutual friends at times, so when we are together people will typically say Candice/ace and then follow with just ACE or ICE, so we know which one they are talking too....true story!

Anyway, we went to the farmers market on Saturday morning to gather items that we needed for our bake-off we were having on Sunday (more on that tomorrow), then we had lunch at Cafe Coco, which happens to be one of my favorite places to go for breakfast.  Candace had to head into work later that afternoon, so before she headed in, we decided to swing by Province to grab some Coffee (for Ace), Tea(for me, Ice), and a cookie.  Needless to say it was an eventful, but thoroughly enjoyable morning!

Candace has a passion for cooking that I lack, but while we were spending time together I wanted to introduce her to a new passion of mine...juicing!

I know, I know!  That seems to be a topic of many of my posts, but I can't deny the yumminess that is fresh vegetable and fruit juice.  Lucky for Candace she picked a good day to come over, because my fridge was well stocked with beautiful produce.

My fridge never looked so good.....

To start our day of baking off right, I wanted to make a juice that was bright and happy.  Well, I think I was successful.

This is what I came up with:

3 Gala Apples
1 Granny Smith Apple
1/2 Beet
3 Small Oranges
2 Large Carrots
Good Size Chunk o' Ginger
(Serves 2 or ME)

Delicious doesn't even describe how good this juice was.  We were going to come up with a name for it, but got busy baking all of our goodies that we kind of forgot.

Any Suggestions???


Monday, August 8, 2011

Makeover Monday: Jewelry Box Makeover

Last fall...lets just say I had a tiny fascination addiction.

You couldn't separate me and a can of spray paint for more than a couple days without me having some sort of withdrawal.  I was convinced that many of the things I had around the house needed a facelift.  Rightfully so they did, but soon I found myself scavenging thrift stores and Habitat for Humanity stores looking for anything that needed to be gussied up.

While at the Habitat Restore in Brentwood one day, I snagged this little beauty for $8.

I did not have a jewelry armoire to store my jewelry in at the time and while I knew this wouldn't hold much, I figured it would be a start....and also provide me a spray paint Fix.

You might remember me mentioning the other day, that I am on a kick with all things white. 

Well things weren't much different a year ago.

Isn't she so much prettier with a fresh coat of white spray paint??