Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Apple Cupcakes

Good morning! I'm soaking up the last month of my favorite season! I love everything fall! The trees, the leaves, the orchards, the weather, the hoodies, the campfires. It's so fun! And not to mention the  fall themed food that go right along with this season, all things caramel, cinnamon, apple, cider, nutmeg, and pumpkin. It's literally all my favorite things.

So in celebration of my favorite season, I made some fall treats for my husband's work. His coworkers do this tradition called a friendship plate. The staff is divided up into list and each list gets cute dish which the first person must fill with sweet treats and then pass to another person on your list. After you enjoy your treats, you fill up the plate with sweets and pass it on to someone else. By the end of the year everyone has been gifted a dish of goodies. Isn't that so sweet?

In honor of fall I made snickerdoodle blondies, which were heavenly to say the least. Yes, I did try some of the scraps before wrapping up the rest of them and yes, I will post the recipe soon. And I made cupcakes shaped like apples. This is so easy and so cute, I had to share how to make your own apple cupcakes on here. 

 The cupcakes can be homemade, box, whatever. I happened to get a caramel apple box mix on sale for 88 cent last week so I cheated this time. I added cinnamon and caramel extract to help it out. Then choose your favorite icing and simply spread it on evenly to make a nice dome shape. 

Now here's the fun part. Take white sugar and put it in a ziploc bag. Add a few drops of red gel food coloring. Zip the bag and smush! Knead the sugar, toss the sugar. Just keep mixing it until all the dye has been well mixed into the sugar and the sugar is now completely red.  
Then pour the sugar in a small, shallow bowl (I used a coffee cup) and dip the frosted cupcake in upside down, paying attention to fully cover all the icing with red sugar. 

When you are done insert a popsicle and add a green mini m+m for decoration and there you go.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stuffed Shells

My poor hubby had to have a procedure last week, and any of you who have had one know that you can not eat for 24 hours before most procedures. My husband basically thought this was the end of the world.  "Umm...No food for how long?" was all he could talk about. Gatorade, Italian ice, and broth were not acceptable forms of food for Robert. So he kept "reminding me" me that he would loooove stuffed shells as a reward for going through his difficult time. Well what could I say? Of course, I made him stuffed shells for dinner that night.

1 box large shell pasta
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
2 lb ricotta cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped
2 eggs
3/4 cup Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 lb mozzarella, shredded and divided

1. Boil shells until slightly undercooked, or al dente. Drain and set aside. Don't worry! They will bake in the oven and finish cooking later.

2. Set aside some mozzarella cheese for topping. Stir ground beef into sauce.

3. Mix ricotta, eggs, parsley, most of the mozzarella, pecorino, salt and pepper in a large bowl to blend.
Using a spoon, open the shell and fill with cheese mixture.

4. Pour a tiny bit of sauce to coat bottom of large glass baking pan. Place stuffed shells opening up into baking dish and continue until all shells are filled.

5. Pour sauce over the tray full of shells and top with mozzarella.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!