Saturday, June 30

Oreo Celebration Cupcakes

Who doesn't love a great cupcake? Some of the best cupcakes incorporate everyday flavors, textures, and ingredients. One of my favortie cupcakes incorporates Oreo cookies into the batter. These cupcakes tend to be a little denser then the classic fluffy air filled cupcake, but the frosting in the middle of the cookie is worth it!

This will make 18 cupcakes
Full time: 1 hour (includes cooling and frosting)

You will need:

18 Oreo cookies
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tbsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

For topping:
2 cups chocolate frosting (store bought or homemade)
2-3 tbsp mixed colored sprinkles

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 325 (or your cupcake machine)

Place Oreos in a sandwich bag.

Gently crush cookies using a rolling pin. You want to crush them, but still have a slight bit of texture to them. Think large pieces not crumbs.

In a large bowl mix together eggs, milk, and vanilla.

Add in sugar, salt, and baking powder, stir just to incorporrate.

Add in flour and stir to form a thickened batter/dough.

Fold in 1 1/2 cups of the broken cookies and set aside the remaining .

Line your cupcake pan or machine with paper liners and fill 2/3 of the way high.
Bake in oven 12-15 minutes (10 minutes in machine) or until cupcakes test done in the middle when a toothpick is inserted.

Remove cupcakes from pan or machine and set on a board to cool for at least 20 minutes.
While these cool off.
Place remaning cookie pieces in a small bowl and stir in the sprinkles.

Place your frosting in a pasty bag or my favorite trick a large plastic bag and snip off the edge.
Once you are sure the cupcakes are cool enough let us frost them.

The trick here is to only lightly frost them. You are going to want part of the cupcake to show, so you can see the cookie bits. I would say only frost the middle 2/3 of the cupcake top.

Once they are all frosted, sprinkle over the cookie mixture generously.

Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, June 28

Gorgonzola Turkey Burgers

I love building homemade burgers, I love adding cheese to burgers, and I love making burgers that shine. Adding great full bold flavors to a lean meat is a great way to cut down on added fat and eat healthy.

Makes 6 burgers
Full time: 1 hour (includes rest time)

You will need:

1 pound ground turkey
3 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup dried chopped onion
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger

Let us begin:

Line a plate or cutting board with wax paper and set aside for a moment.

In a medium bowl combine chopped dried onion, black pepper, salt, and ginger.
 Add in the ground meat.

Work quickly and gently to fold the spices into the meat. I usually use gloves to help prevent heat transfer to the meat. The faster you work the better, handling the meat too much will make it tough.

Once spices are folded in, add in the cheese and mix for less then a minute.

Split meat into 6 equal parts and ball it up into a large meatball.

Lightly flatten the ball into a patty put it on the wax lined plate.

Once all patties are formed let the burgers rest in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Get grill preheated to medium high heat.
Gently place burgers on the grill and cook for 5-8 minutes.

Flip burgers over and grill for an additional 5-8 minutes or until burgers are cooked through.

Once burgers are cooked, remove grill to a plate to rest for 2-3 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 26


Product Review: I want to start by saying this is not a paid advertisement, I speak for myself only, no companies have given me anything for this review. My opinions are completely my own.

"Soda Stream" Overview: fantastic! Wouldn't want to be without it

Imagine its a hot summers day, you want a cool refreshing beverage, possibly a mixed drink. You go to your refrigerator but no mixer. Now, imagine you have last minutes guests and you don't have beverages on hand. In both cases you would be in a sticky situation, but if your lucky enough to own a Soda Stream this will never be a problem.

I have owned a Soda Stream for almost 10 years now. I bought mine at the BIG E in the better homes building and have never regretted the decision. There were a few people who questioned my decision to get one, thought it was another gadget doomed to fail and I would regret it. It's funny because, most of them have bought one now.

The Soda Stream is a great machine, it allows you to make soda and flavored seltzer waters right in your own home in less than a minute. It's probably one of the easiest machine to use and is highly convenient. Soda Stream Products taste just like name brand beverages and come in a wide variety. You can find everything from Cola to Energy drink. They even have a few fun different choices like Crystal Light Lemonade Sparkling Beverage, Sparkling Ice Tea, and Pepper". If I have counted right, it is roughly 70 flavors in all. Plus, 3 sparkling water flavors.

The machine is simple to use. Fill the include soda bottle with water, either from your tap or whatever you prefer. The bottle is both recyclable and extremely easy to wash. Which makes is nice "green" machine. You don't need dozens of bottles of soda, just a few empty Soda Stream Machines.

Now just twist the bottle into place on the machine. Its like screwing a large cap on and off. Push down on the carbonating button a few times. This is the main element of the machine. Its really just a CO2 tank that has been made easy to use by compacting it into a small area, which is light.

Then add a cap full of flavor syrup, each bottle of syrup will make 12 liters of soda. Which is 6-2 liter bottles. Each syrup bottle retails for $4.99 and $9.99 for the 3 pack of water mixes (these make more though). That means each 2 liter bottle is roughly 83 cents and waters are 17 cents each.

Here comes the fun part, you get to shake the bottle. Seriously, you get to shake it up and have fun doing it. Mix it up a few times and let it sit on your counter for a few minutes. Then just open the bottle and pour yourself a nice glass of whatever you have chosen.

The best part of the machine is how space saving and money saving it is. You don't need to keep dozen of cans or bottles of soda around. You don't need to have a bunch of different types in the house, just the flavor syrups which take up not even half the space. And don't forget how environmentally good it is to, using recyclable bottles on hand will take 5 2-liters or 50-cans out of the landfill.

Suppli-Italian Fried Rice Balls

One of the best uses for left over rice is Suppli or Italian Fried rice balls. These yummy Roman treats make a great appetizer, snack, or side dish. I enjoy having one or two for a midday meal and goes great alongside some tomato sauce for dipping.

This will make 8 fried rice balls
Full time: 30-40 minutes (does not include rice cooking time)

You will need:

3 eggs
2-3 ounces mozzarella cheese, I like using the little balls
2 cups cooked white rice, I usually use short grain
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs, or homemade fine breadcrumbs seasoned lightly

Vegetable oil for frying

Let us begin:

*Just a little hint, I use glove when doing this, rice tends to get sticky
Line a plate with wax paper and set to the side.

In a large bowl mix one egg into the cooked and cooled rice. Make sure you can handle it but, don't let it get too cold or it won't stick. But not to hot, don't want to cook your egg.
Divide and shape rice into 8 balls.

Using your fingers gently make a hole in the center of a ball.

Drop mozzarella into the hole you just created, if using the little balls you'll want to drop two or three in.
Carefully close the ball up around the cheese.
Set ball aside and finish the rest.

Once your all stuffed. Beat remaining eggs in a small bowl and place the bread crumbs in another.

Gently dip ball into egg then roll around in bread crumb to coat.
Let these sit in a refrigerator for 10 minutes to set.

While these set, get 2" of oil heating in a pan over medium high heat.

Carefully ease  balls into the oil and fry for 3 minutes or until golden.

Flip over and fry additional 3 minutes or until golden.

Remove from oil and let sit on paper towel lined dish until all balls are cooked.
Transfer to serving plate and enjoy!

Sunday, June 24

Sweet Potato Latkes

Potato latkes are a popular dish that can be found in many cuisines through out the world. Most often found in Polish, Czech, Hungary, German, and Russia, these tasty treats can also be found in Ireland, India, and Swiss cuisines. Although all are yummy and similar in ingredients it is the texture and cooking method that really set the different latkes apart. Mine tend to lean more toward the Polish or Czech style. I originally learn this using white potatoes and only recently adapted for sweet potatoes. I find the flavor more pleasing and it is a slightly healthier alternative. You can easily make white potato latkes from the same recipe just substitute white or Yukon potatoes for the sweet.

This will make 12 latkes
Full time: 40-50 minutes
You will need:

4 medium/large sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp onion powder

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 400 and lightly coat one large or two medium baking trays with cooking spray

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder, and all spices

Using a mandolin or food processor shred sweet potatoes into fine pieces. You want to end up with 4 cups shredded potato

Add this mixture into the egg mixture bowl

This is one of those times where hands will work the best for mixing, really mix thins around to fully incorporate sweet potato and egg mixture together. It should lightly bind to itself but not be a sticky clump

Place small meatball size clumps of mixture onto the baking sheet (roughly 1/4 cup each)

Press down lightly with palm of hand to flatten

Bake in oven for 15 minutes, then rotate tray 180' and if baking two sheets switch cooking racks

Bake additional 10 minutes and then carefully flip latkes over with a spatula
Bake additional 10 minutes or until edges begin to crisp and brown. Serve hot with sour cream or apple sauce and enjoy!