I feel like I have been pretty busy recently (too busy to blog sometimes), yet I have had lots of opportunities to cook and bake some wonderful things.
It started on Super Bowl Sunday when I went home to my parent's house. I love their kitchen and I can never pass up the chance to make something in it. For a pre-game snack and after-dinner dessert, I made a salted butterscotch and pecan oatmeal cookie from Midwest Living Magazine. I had wanted to follow the original recipe and use caramel but couldn't find the caramel baking bits at the grocery store- I was so anxious to start baking that I didn't even try looking around at other stores.
I ended up splitting the dough in thirds, making them with butterscotch chips, chocolate chunks, and some with a mixture of both! I, of course, liked the combo of flavors that made a Salted Butterscotch Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookie!
For dinner while watching the Super Bowl, my parents and I passed over the traditional buffalo wings, pizza, and queso dip for a homemade jambalaya. This recipe came from Ina Garten's Foolproof Cookbook (which I am dying to have for myself) and it was a great success, like every Ina Garten recipe I have ever made.
This recipe was not the easiest to make, rather it was a multi-step, multi-hand job. Thank goodness I had my mom's help when it came to chopping, dicing, and mincing the multiple vegetables. As wonderful as this jambalaya was, it also was not cheap. With the chicken, sausage, shrimp, rice, and all the vegetables the price of ingredients was more than I would ever spend on any of my recipes, but when your parents are paying then you have to take full advantage! Ina Garten's cookbook said this jambalaya would serve 8 people, but I think she meant 8 small families! After serving ourselves large portions to eat while watching the game, we hadn't even made a dent in the pot. Even after I had portioned out my leftovers the pot was still over half-full! It was absolutely wonderful and I didn't mind eating it the next three nights.
I was sitting at home on Fat Tuesday watching unending episodes of Downton Abbey (I can't stop and I have no shame) and realized that I had to do something to celebrate Mardi Gras. I can't let a single holiday go by without baking something to go along with the special day! My best friends and I were also celebrating a special birthday and I had volunteered to make cupcakes.
I made a simple vanilla cupcake from Martha Stewart and divided the batter in half for a white cupcake with a basic vanilla buttercream for the birthday party and used the rest of the batter to make a King Cake Cupcake in honor of the day. Both turned out great and obviously were shared and eaten so quickly that I have no pictures of the final product to share.
I wish that I would have had a little, plastic baby to add to my cupcakes! I did add purple frosting to all my cupcakes, mostly because it is the birthday girl's favorite color.
The lucky girl got birthday cupcakes and a personalized cake and I was lucky to spend the evening celebrating with my best friends!
Off to the kitchen to prepare for Valentine's Day!