Summer Berry Cupcakes

My neighbors have chickens.  They bring me fresh eggs, which I love.  But the other day I glanced in my fridge and realized I had three dozen eggs.  I began to sweat a bit.  What do I do with that many eggs?  The only solution is to bake.  Luckily, in our part of the woods, we’re getting ready for the Auntie’s Annual Mad-Hatter Tea Party.  So I have some recipes I’ve been trying out. I thought I’d show you a teaser of what’s to come for this years tea party:



The recipe is a simple one.  We’re talking cake mix simple here, with some extra ingredients added, of course.  (You know me.)  And with all of the pretty berries in season, why not use them to decorate cupcakes?  The sky is the limit, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, anything would look good…yep, anything.  Besides, I think they’re the prettiest little things I’ve made in a long time.  LiLi loved them.  She kept stealing them and then ran away to some remote corner of the house where she thought I wouldn’t find her.  Fortunately, she left a little trail of chocolate crumbs like a little Gretel.

Summer Berry Cupcakes:

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix
  • (3 oz.) package of chocolate instant pudding
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs

Yeild:  1 1/2 dozen (I’m guessing you could get around 2 dozen if you’re frugal)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line muffin tin with liners. In a large bowl combine all ingredients.  Mix for about two minutes.  Pour batter into individual cupcake liners.  (Tip: I like to put the batter in disposable icing bags, and pipe it into the cupcake liners, it’s an extra step, but the cupcakes are more uniform, and it cuts down on the scrubbing time when you’re cleaning out the muffin tin, there isn’t any baked cupcake to chip off.)  Bake for about 15 minutes.  Let cool for a minute or two in the muffin tin, and then transfer individual cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Frost with your favorite frosting. And top with the berry of your choice.

And don’t worry, I know I still owe you a blueberry muffin recipe.;)


Heartstrings: Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  It’s the ultimate comfort food: cookie + chocolate chips = perfection.  What more could you ask for?  I made some the other day.  And they made me happy.

They also made LiLi happy.  When they were cooling, she took tiny little bites out of a dozen of them and carefully placed them back on the cooling rack.  The stinker.  Here she is snatching one while I try and get a picture.

Hello, little blurred hand in my picture.

You like, Bugs?  I’ll take that as a “yes”.

Make some today (they make excellent Valentines, *wink*, *wink*).  Here’s the recipe:


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda (for Utah’s elevation, if somewhere near sea level, increase to 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup (1 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I use salted, because that’s the way I am)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (you can toast if you’re feeling ambitious)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, the baking soda, and the salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until smooth, about three minutes (don’t skip this step!  Do the entire time!).  Add the egg and the vanilla and mix well.  Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly.  Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.  Drop by rounded teaspoon fulls onto ungreased cookie sheet, leaving several inches between for expansion.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Cool the cookies on the sheet for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies

Cooking: Cashew Chicken

A few months ago my sister, Ashley, gave me a wok. It was bright yellow and she named it Sunshine. We name everything. It’s a quirky way of making something our own. It took me a few months to try it out, due to the fact that I only have a partial kitchen right now. We’re in the middle of remodeling it, and have been for the last half year, so it takes twice as long to make anything. But when I used my wok for the first time I was ecstatic! It was so fast, easy, and efficient, not to mention, healthy. Chop up some meat and veggies, add a kick-butt sauce, and serve over rice. Did I mention it was fast? Those Chinese and they’re ancient culture, they’re smart little cookies.

Anyway, I was telling Ashley all of this on the phone when she requested the recipe. So, without further ado, I give you…

Cashew Chicken

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 3 cups cubed uncooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 c. carrots
  • 1 1/2 c. zucchini
  • 1 1/3 c. cashews

Blend together water, soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic and pepper and set aside. Heat oil in wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, stir fry until cooked. Add veggies (feel free to use whatever floats your boat), and cook until tender. Add cashews and cook for one minute. Mix in soy sauce mixture until thickened. Serve over rice and enjoy!