Window Shopping Wednesday – Bella Cupcake Couture

Well, spring is in the air and I don’t know about you but it definitely makes me want to get together with friends and spend some time outside in the gorgeous weather.  And, of course, spring is quickly followed by summer in this part of the world and summer means weddings so there will be lots of bridal showers coming up.  Oh, and I have pregnant friends so there are baby showers in the work too, plus birthdays and all sorts of other fun parties.  All in all, it means lots of special occasions and if you’re me, that means lots of reasons to cook for friends.  I love bringing homemade goodies to get togethers and if I can make them beautiful, then that’s even better!  So that’s why today we’re checking out Bella Cupcake Couture.

This weeks featured shop:  Bella Cupcake Couture

Cupcake Wrappers- Dark Purple

I love these purple polka-dotted cupcake wrappers, so much fun and perfect for ‘just because’ cupcakes.

hang tags baby blocks

These adorable baby tags are just too cute – they’d be a perfect addition to whatever party favors you’re giving out at a baby shower (oh, and there are matching cupcake liners too).

Paper Straws- Green and Blue Polka Dots

I’ve seen striped straws all over the place for a while now, but polkadot straws?  Awesome!!!

Cupcake wrappers - Hannah - Citrus

Aren’t these just bright and cheery?  They just make me happy.

Cupcake wrappers - Meisha- Bird & Blossom (Green)

These little birdie on a branch cupcake liners would be perfect for a bridal shower.

Cupcake wrappers - Jolene- Camouflage

Or what about pink camo for a little girls birthday party?

Keep in mind all of these guys are available in lots of different colors so if you’re dealing with boys, they have options in more boy-friendly colors.

Happy baking!

 

Recipe Review: Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice

Have you ever been to Benihana’s?  We LOVE their food… it’s so delicious!  However, they’re a tad pricey.  So, when I ran across this recipe for copy cat Benihana Chicken Fried Rice you know I had to give it a shot.

Please note that some changes to the original recipe were found here.

Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice (click photo to see source)

Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice (click photo to see source)

Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice

Serves:  2 as a side dish (we doubled the recipe and it made enough for 2 people as a main course with no sides)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ounces cooked chicken
  • 8 ounces steamed rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons carrot, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons green peas
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 6 pinches pepper
  • 6 pinches salt (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Scramble eggs and chop after cooking.
  2. Sauté chopped onion, green onion, seasoning and carrots in the oil until done and mix with chopped scrambled egg and chicken.
  3. Mix steamed rice with vegetable, egg and chicken.
  4. Add sesame seed, minced garlic, ginger, salt and pepper, stirring well.
  5. Add butter and soy sauce into the mixture, stirring well until done.

THOUGHTS

  • This dish was very tasty.  My husband would be happy if I made this weekly.
  • I actually baked one whole chicken breast the night before (about ½ lb) and used that (which resulted in more than 2oz of chicken)
  • I would have been happy with 3 cloves of garlic and only 2 Tablespoons of butter.  It was a smidge too buttery for Chinese food in my opinion.
  • I didn’t have any fresh ginger on hand and didn’t want to purchase some for just this one dish so instead, I used about 1/8 teaspoon of grated powdered ginger.
  • I did not add the optional salt

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Asian Spaghetti

I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time successfully cooking Asian food for some reason.  I have no idea why, but that ability eludes me frequently.  However, the other night I made this dish from Taste of Home and it was delicious.

asian spaghetti

Asian Spaghetti

Serves:  5 (haha, yeah right – more like 2 to 3 if you’re eating this as your only side like we did)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, snow peas, carrots and onions in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar and cayenne. Drain pasta. Add pasta and soy sauce mixture to skillet and toss to coat. Heat through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

THOUGHTS

  • I purchased presliced mushrooms and matchstick carrots which meant the only thing I had to chop was 4 scallions – this dish came together in a flash!  Great for a quick weeknight meal.  We served this with chicken marinated in a 30-minute Asian marinade I found near the salad dressings and BBQ sauce at our local grocery store.
  • This dish is a bit strong in the soy sauce department in my opinion but my husband disagrees.  I am not a huge lover of soy sauce like he is however.  I think next time I’ll use ½ soy sauce and ½ water or perhaps try tamari sauce which is supposedly a less salty, richer tasting type of soy sauce.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Baked Ricotta With Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes

I found this recipe in a Health magazine (or perhaps on their website, I can’t keep it all straight anymore).  I have no idea what drew me to it but it’s easy and pretty darn yummy. 

Baked Ricotta With Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes

Baked Ricotta With Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes

Serves:  4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 of a sourdough loaf
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 6 ounces part-skim ricotta
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Slice sourdough loaf into batons, brush with 2 teaspoons olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake 8-9 minutes.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small cast iron pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic to pan and cook until bubbling and fragrant, about one minute more.
  5. Place ricotta in the pan, transfer to oven, and bake until bubbly (9-10 minutes).
  6. Remove.
  7. Toss cubed tomatoes with crushed red pepper; spoon over ricotta.
  8. Sprinkle with basil leaves and serve with toasted bread.

THOUGHTS

  • I served this the other night for girls night and the ladies seemed to quite enjoy it.  I thought it was rather tasty myself.
  • If you want to add the variety of color that you see in the photos you need to use different kinds of heirloom tomatoes.  Or, you can be plain and boring like me and just use red ones.  Haha.
  • This dish doesn’t reheat particularly well so I’d serve it in a setting where you think all of it will be eaten. 
  • I think 2 Tablespoons of oil is a bit much.  When I make this next time I might cut that in half. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Yep, another soup recipe.  This time, with quinoa.  Aren’t you excited???  Come on, look at that picture!  Doesn’t it look delicious?!?!

vegetable-quinoa-soup

Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Serves: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here

THOUGHTS

  • This soup has soooo many good for you things in it.  In fact, there’s not one single solitary unhealthy item in it. 
  • I thought this soup was a little on the bland side unfortunately so for me, it needs some tweaking.  I think instead of plain diced tomatoes next time I’ll used the basil, garlic and oregano ones.  In addition, I like to top mine with a bit of mozzarella cheese. 
  • Serve this with some crusty bread or a turkey sandwich and you’ve got a delicious healthy meal. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Window Shopping Wednesday

Alright my friends… we’re continuing on with our trip through West Elm.  If you remember, last week we looked at their furniture and this week we’re going to look at linens.

This weeks featured shop:  West Elm Bedding, Rugs, Curtains and Bath Linens

They offer this pintuck duvet cover in several colors but this one (slate) is my favorite (although I do love the color ‘sea’ as well).

Organic Cotton Pintuck Duvet Cover + Shams - Slate

This ikat set would look fantastic in a teenage girls room.

Organic Winter Ikat Duvet Cover

This striped duvet cover screams ‘bachelor’ to me – but in a well dressed, swanky sort of way. 

Rivulet Stripe Duvet Cover + Shams

I think this sort of southwestern look is coming back, and I have to say… I kinda like it… which I find strange because it’s not really ‘my look’ at all. 

Kew Wool Dhurrie

I don’t know if it is or not but this rug just looks so soft and plush.  The pattern rocks too.

Rif Wool Rug

This line of curtains is called ‘luxe’ and I have to say… they definitely live up to their name.

Luxe Window Panel – Ivory

I love the woodgrain texture of these towels.  It’s a great way to add a bit of detailing in a usually overlooked area of the bathroom.

Organic Woodgrain Towel

These hand towels just make me smile and think of a lake or beach house.  I love that they’re monogramable too. 

Hammam Stripe Hand Towel

Thanks for shopping with me today!!!

Recipe Review: Orange-Chicken Rice Bowl

I think I’ve mentioned before that I stink at making Chinese food.  Sometimes, however, I stumble across a recipe that does most of the work for me, like this one

orange-chicken rice bowl

Orange-Chicken Rice Bowl

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • ¼ cup Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 cups frozen stir-fry vegetables
  • 3 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
  • ¼ cup chopped salted peanuts

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; stir-fry 5 to 7 min. or until done.
  2. Stir in dressing and juice. Bring to boil. Add vegetables; cook 5 to 7 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve over rice; top with nuts.

THOUGHTS

  • The flavor of this dish is great, but I prefer mine with more sauce so I think next time I’ll double the sauce contents (the dressing and orange juice). 
  • I’m not an enormously huge fan of broccoli in my Chinese food and most frozen stir-fry mixes are at least 50% broccoli.  I think next time I’ll use half a bag of stir-fry mix and half a bag of frozen bell peppers and onions. 
  • This is definitely a quick and easy weeknight meal. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Nutella Dip

Like most other people, I’m a huge lover of Nutella.  I’m relatively certain that one of the ingredients of Nutella is crack.  I made this recipe the other night for girls night and oh goodness, it was a hit.  I served it with strawberries, bananas, pretzels and graham cracker sticks.  Delish!

Nutella Dip

Nutella Dip

Serves: not listed but it easily will serve 8 people

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here

THOUGHTS

  • The recipe calls for ¼ cup of Nutella but all I could taste was the cream cheese so I added another ¼ cup for a total of a ½ cup.  This seemed much more balanced.  Next time, I may even try ¾ of a cup. 
  • As I mentioned above, I served this for dessert with strawberries, bananas, pretzels and graham cracker sticks… what other dippers can you think of? 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.