The Feastie Blog

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy (very belated) Birthday, K!!! These cupcakes were made for a friend's birthday - I wanted something special, something a little different. Cream cheese frosting is a favorite in my house - and adding salted caramel (to pretty much anything) never hurts. So I thought some salted caramel cream cheese frosting was in order - but what to slather it on? I've made chocolate cupcakes before, but never really been satisfied with the final product. They're usually either dry, dense, heavy, or too sweet. So I decided to go with a classic - Hershey's deep dark chocolate cake. I'd never made it before, and this is a crime. I'll definitely be making it again - this is a classic for a reason. For many reasons - it's rich, but not too sweet. It's moist, but not too dense. It's light and cakey and chocolatey and basically the perfect vehicle for your favorite frosting. The frosting is my mom's classic cream cheese frosting - it is the only cream cheese frosting I make, and the recipe card is written in my mom's handwriting, so I'm going with "mom's cream cheese frosting" on this one. I cheated and used Trader Joe's fleur de sel caramel - and I suggest you do, too. It makes an easy fun dessert even more easy - while the cupcakes cool you can whip up the frosting and then wham, bam, frost them and you're done. Enjoy with some friends, human and horsey alike!

Feastie Friday: 13 Recipes You Can Make With Soda Pop

We hope you had a great 4th of July celebration! A celebration filled with fun, family, friends, and, of course, FOOD. If you hosted a 4th of July bash this year you may find yourself with a few leftover 2 liter bottles of soda. It's a typical "day-after-the-party" situation - while the leftovers are fun to eat, the prospect of drinking your way through gallons of sugary soda just doesn't hold quite the same appeal. Especially if the bottles have already been opened - flat soda, anyone? In the interest of reducing food waste (and money), we've found a way for you to actually enjoy that leftover soda. We've rounded up 13 recipes that you can make with leftover soda - whether you're craving steak or pancakes, trust us, there is a way to use up that soda. And while we're on the subject - what's it called in your neck of the woods? Soda, soda pop, pop, cola, or Coke? 

1. Cinnamon Sugar Root Beer Bread from It Bakes Me Happy
Cinnamon Sugar Root Beer Bread from It Bakes Me Happy
Photo from It Bakes Me Happy

 

Grill Pan Pizza with Sauteed Zucchini

You've made pizza in the oven, maybe even on the grill - but have you made it on your stovetop? Like entirely on your stovetop? No ovens to heat, no charcoal to light or grills to fire up - just a grill pan. I did. It's easy and delish and you should try it. If you're asking, "Why bother when the oven and grill are just fine?" then you should know what led me to pursue this grill pan pizza. First of all - it's a zillion degrees outside. This week it's been in the 90s. Which in itself isn't the end of the world - unless there's 98% humidity and rain. Then it kind of is the end of the world. Turning my oven up to 500 degrees doesn't sound appealing - it literally turns my house into a sauna. Oh, and my trusty $5 pizza stone? Well it met an untimely and unfortunate demise a few months ago. And the rain - the rain! I wasn't willing to light our charcoal grill in the rain, so that left me with only one other option. Grill pan. Luckily the pizza masters over at Slice: Serious Eats have already figured this out for us - and the results are surprisingly good. This quick and dirty pizza is easy/fast enough for a weeknight meal - it's also great cut into bite sized pieces for appetizers. And of course the toppings are completely up to you - any combination of cheeses, veggies, meat, or sauce would be great on this. 

11 Hot Dinners You Can Make Without Turning on the Oven

It's 100 degrees outside, it's raining, and you're out of charcoal - sandwiches for dinner? Because turning on the oven, even if you're lucky enough to have central air conditioning, is not an attractive option in 100 degree heat. You know, "preheat to 400"..."cook for 25 minutes"...turn your house into a sauna...not ideal. If the idea of PB&J isn't making you jump for joy (although we do love a good sandwich), you can still whip up a fantastic hot dinner sans oven. Whether it's a stove-top steak or enchiladas, we've rounded up 11 dinners you can make without turning on the oven. Save that PB&J for your midnight snack.

1. One Dish Dinner Taco Skillet from Buns in my Oven
One Dish Dinner Taco Skillet from Buns in my Oven
Photo from Buns in my Oven

 

Cardamom Slice and Bake Cookies

Slice and bake cookies - the ultimate in convenience. You know, they come in a little plastic-wrapped tube in the refrigerated section, usually near the dairy - and are sugary and sweet and full of chocolate chips (and who knows what else). And I'll be the first to admit it - they're good. As a kid we always made cookies from scratch - unless we were camping or had a babysitter. Ah, the babysitter evenings - not only fun because we could manipulate the babysitter into letting us stay up late and watch MTV (you know, back when there were music videos), but because we got to eat junk food! There was a stash of frozen pizzas and slice and bake cookies for babysitter nights - those two things still remind me of babysitters. But back to the slice and bake cookies! How convenient is it to have a log o' dough and just cut off what you need, bake it, and stash the rest back in the fridge? Totally convenient. And how nice would it be to have a homemade version, something wholesome and preservative-free and full of real food ingredients? Very nice. I've made chocolate chip slice and bake cookies before, but when I saw these cardamom slice and bake cookies from Mele Cotte, I immediately went out and bought a jar of ground cardamom. I made these for a friend who absolutely adores cardamom, and we agreed that these are some majorly addictive, incredible cookies. They're light and delicate and flowery and spiced and buttery - so many good things all rolled into one cookie. They're kind of like a grown-up version of the slice and bake cookie - just enough sweetness and spice to be interesting, but not too spicy to mask the amazing buttery flavor and texture of the cookies. Yes you can store the unbaked log of dough in the fridge or freezer for the ultimate in convenience, but I have a feeling that these will go fast - they did in our house. 

11 Desserts You Can Make on a Grill

11 Desserts You Can Make on a Grill

If it's hot enough to cook your dinner on the grill outside, it's probably too hot to turn on your oven inside. But that doesn't mean you're stuck serving ice cream or store bought treats for dessert - grill your dessert. It may sound impossible, or weird, but grilled pie is neither impossible nor weird - we think it's pretty dang brilliant. Who knew you could make pie on your outdoor grill?! You can. And you can also make grilled cheesecake turnovers and grilled dessert pizzas - you'd be surprised at the deliciously creative grill desserts people have come up with. So now that it's too hot for us to turn on the oven, we'll be baking our pies outside! If you're looking for a healthier option, grilled fruit is always a good choice - perhaps not quite as exciting as grilled pie (but few things in life are), but equally delicious and a great way to enjoy all that summer fruit. So without further ado, here are 11 desserts (in no particular order) you can make on a grill. 

Spicy Tilapia Burgers with Guacamole

I regularly crave burgers - fortnightly, to be specific. Maybe even more often than that (no addictive chemicals needed). I don't eat red meat, but I do love a good turkey burger now and then. And salmon burgers - black bean burgers (coming soon, BTW - my all-time favorite black bean burger), even shrimp burgers - but I've never tried a tilapia burger before. I saw these tilapia burgers with watermelon salsa and avocado from How Sweet It Is, and since they sounded absolutely amazing but I didn't have any watermelon on hand, I decided to try a tilapia burger with straight guacamole. You see I'm madly obsessed with the Reduced Guilt Guacamole from Trader Joe's - and it has nothing to do with guilt. I'm digressing for a minute here. You know how they have yummy samples of food at TJ's? So you can try all of their highly addictive products? A few months ago they were giving out samples of their reduced guilt guacamole. I have absolutely ZERO guilt about eating regular guacamole on a fairly regular basis - avocados are full of good fats! They're good for you - no guilt! But hey, I was hungry, and I took a sample. OMG. This guacamole is amazing - far better than their "regular" guacamole. It's tangy and a little teensy bit spicy and just SO GOOD! It's zero guilt (the entire tub has like, 330 calories or something), and it comes in a handy dandy plastic tub. Genius. So I had this on hand, and needed a vehicle for the guacamole - I also happened to have frozen tilapia on hand. Hence these spicy tilapia burgers with guacamole were made and devoured. They're my new favorite alterna-burger. They're a quick and easy weeknight dinner, and you can even freeze leftover (uncooked) burgers - just defrost overnight in the fridge and cook as instructed. So, in other words, there's no reason not to have tilapia burgers on hand all the time! Eat all the burgers!!

Feastie Friday: Top 5 Muffins

There has been much debate over what differentiates muffins from cupcakes. Also - do you know what a "scuffin" is? We won't weigh in on the debate, since we think all three are equally wonderful. But this week we're sharing the top 5 muffin recipes with you - muffin, cupcake, or scuffin? You decide. We've got a few sweet, a few savory, some healthy, some indulgent - all delicious. Muffins are the ultimate convenience breakfast - you can literally eat it on your way out the door. They've got built-in portion control, and they're easy to transport - what's not to love? If you're interested in upping the "cute factor" for any of these muffins, try them as minis - mini muffins are always a good time. Get out your muffin tin and get baking.  

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Balsamic Muffins from Olive Tomato
Strawberry Greek Yogurt Balsamic Muffins from Olive Tomato
Photo from Olive Tomato

 

{Healthier} Glazed Lemon Yogurt Bread

You know how sometimes you get a really random craving for something, and no matter what you do, nothing will satisfy that craving until you just give up and eat it? Yeah. That was me with some lemon bread last week (and again today). I've made lemon bread once before - but for some reason, I got it in my head that I really, really wanted a piece. But not a sugary, over-the-top, fatty, tooth-achingly-sweet store-bought slice - I wanted something warm and citrusy, healthy-ish, homemade, a not-too-sweet, lemon-scented, perfectly glazed, thickly-cut piece of lemon bread. And I had to have it. I decided against making the same loaf that I'd previously enjoyed because, well, hey, isn't that my job? To try out new recipes for you guys? :) I can't leave well enough alone, and I have accepted that. So I came across this whole wheat lemon yogurt bread from The Realistic Nutritionist and my mouth started watering the second I saw her gorgeous photos. THIS IS IT. This is what I wanted to eat. Since the ingredients are basic fridge and pantry staples, I had everything I needed - so I wasted no time in making a loaf. By the time the loaf came out of the oven, I was drooling. My entire house smelled like lemons. But of course I had to wait for the loaf to cool before I could glaze it - let's just call the next hour or so agonizing. I could not WAIT TO EAT IT! But I did - I did wait, just so I could glaze it all prettily and take pictures of my beautiful lemon bread for you all. And then I dug-in and ate two slices before wrapping a few for friends and promising myself that I would NOT eat the whole loaf. So I shared some with friends, gave a few pieces to The Mr., and by the next afternoon, it was gone. So fast forward a few weeks and I made it again - but this time I didn't wait for it to cool all the way before glazing. No worries - it tasted just as good as the first loaf! Not quite as beautiful, but just as delicious. This is PERFECT for a tea party - serving this with some tea and fruit would be stellar as a snack. This also doubles as a breakfast bread (hey, it's made with yogurt, right?!), dessert, or just an any-old-time snack. It's super simple to make, easy to transport, and it's guaranteed to make everyone giddy with delight - I mean, it's glazed lemon yogurt bread. C'mon. 

Feastie Friday: Peanut Butter

It has its own song. It's the main ingredient of the 2nd most popular sandwich in the United States. An average American citizen will consume 3 lbs of it over the course of the year. Peanut butter! Loved by children and adults alike, peanut butter is a huge staple in the American diet. Besides being utterly scrumptious, peanut butter can be good for you! If you choose a natural, unprocessed peanut butter you're doing yourself a favor - high in protein and full of healthy monounsaturated fats, peanut butter can even be considered *gasp* a health food! Those are just the health benefits of peanut butter - the fact that peanut butter happens to be delicious is an added bonus. Think beyond the peanut butter sandwiches peanut butter cookies and get creative - peanut butter is good in just about everything (even savory dishes). We've rounded up the top 5 peanut butter recipes on the web this week - some healthy, some decadent, all peanutty. 

Nutella-Swirled Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies from Ambitious Kitchen
Nutella-Swirled Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies No Butter Flourless Gluten-Free from Ambitious Kitchen
Photo from Ambitious Kitchen

 

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Will blog for food.
The Founder of Feastie.