Friday, April 18, 2014

Carrot Cupcakes

Does it get any cuter than these?  Chocolate cupcakes with an orange buttercream carrot tucked inside!!!  Seriously these are off the cuteness factor chart.

They look a little tricky to make but they're really pretty simple.
Start by baking a batch of your favorite chocolate cupcake mix.  (I used my chocolate mocha cake recipe.)

 Use a small knife to cut a cone out of the center of each cooled cupcake.

 Use chocolate buttercream to coat the outside circle of the top of the cupcake.

 Dip the top of the cupcake in crushed oreos.

 Tint some buttercream orange and scoop it into a pastry bag fitted with a #5 tip.

Pipe buttercream into the center of each cupcake until it fills and slightly overflows the cone shaped hole. 

Tint a small amount of buttercream green and scoop it into a pastry bag fitted with a #67 tip.

Pipe leaves on top of carrots.

But wait - you haven't even seen the best part yet.  Slice your cupcake in half to reveal the hidden carrot.

Who could resist a cupcake like this on Easter Sunday?  I love these.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Grilled Brown Sugar Mustard Chicken

Grilled chicken is a staple in our house.  (We eat it at LEAST once a week.)  Normally, I marinate my chicken for several hours to give it lots of flavor before I throw it on the grill.  I will admit though that there are days when there is just no time for marinating.  Those days, I'm lucky just to get dinner on the table - let alone take an extra 10 minutes to prepare a marinade.  (Do you think my life may be too busy if I can't find 10 extra minutes in my day to marinate?) I ran across this recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Mustard Chicken in Taste of Home that is perfect for those "way to busy to marinate" days.  It is super simple and it had lots of flavor.

Grilled Brown Sugar Mustard Chicken
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch red pepper flakes
4 chicken breasts

Mix mustard, brown sugar, allspice and red pepper flakes.

Remove 1/4 cup mixture for serving.  Brush chicken with sauce and grill until temperature reaches 165.

Remove from grill and brush with reserved sauce.

Well, the kids both scraped all of the sauce off of the chicken before they ate it but I guess that's the beauty of a sauce that is brushed on.  I thought Courtney might like this chicken because it reminded me of a honey mustard glaze but she wiped off the sauce and dipped her chicken in ranch dressing instead. (Oh well.)

Ben and I both liked the chicken this way.  It had a little bit of a kick from the red pepper and Dijon mustard but it was really tasty. 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Veggies

I think I might need to rename my Big Green Egg, the Big Yellow Egg - the pine pollen in Atlanta is relentless.  If you've never experienced the yellow pollen that coats absolutely everything in it's path in early Spring, consider yourself lucky.  The house, the porches, my car, my dog - everything is yellow!

Despite the fact that I'm seeing yellow - I am so thankful for this beautiful Spring weather.  I took advantage and fired up my Big Yellow Egg last week and grilled up a Pork Tenderloin for dinner.  This recipe made it's appearance on our dinner table compliments of the latest edition of Taste of Home magazine. 

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 pork tenderloins

2 small zucchini
2 small carrots
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
fresh herbs
drizzle of oil
salt and pepper

Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a ziploc bag.  Add pork and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Remove from marinade and place pork on a heated grill until internal temperature reaches 145.  Remove from heat, cover with foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.

While the pork rests, prepare the vegetables.  I sliced my veggies on a mandolin to get them nice and thin.  Then I went to my herb pot and cut some fresh herbs.  I added them to my veggies along with a drizzle of oil and some salt and pepper.

I put the vegetables in a grill basket on the hot grill for about 10 minutes until they were charred but still crispy. 

Once the vegetables are done, slice the pork thinly or in thick slices - whichever you prefer.

 Serve the veggies and pork with a side of basmati rice and voila - a delicious meal. 

We all really enjoyed this meal.  The pork was really flavorful and the vegetables were extraordinary.  I can hardly wait until I can start picking vegetables from my own garden to grill.   Anyone else ready for fresh summer produce already?