Month: March 2018

Strawberry Cupcakes with a Balsamic Whipped Cream

Strawberry Cupcakes with a Balsamic Whipped Cream

A few weekends again, I met my friend for brunch downtown. I love all things pancakes and waffles, so when I saw the waffle bar I couldn’t resist (after I got my egg white omelette). The woman asked if I wanted Nutella whipped cream, regular whipped cream or a balsamic whipped cream on my waffle. I had to ask her, “Wait, what kind of whipped cream? You said balsamic?!” I decided to try it because after-all they wouldn’t have it out at this nice brunch spot if it wasn’t good.

I sat down, swiped my fork in the whipped cream to taste, and BABYYYYYYYY! I looked to the heavens and thanked the food gods for allowing me to taste something so divinely delicious. The dichotomous flavors of that whipped cream stayed with me, so I decided to give it a trial run on my strawberry cupcakes, and BABYYYYYYYY <fans self>.

I ran across a strawberry cupcake recipe and I immediately fell in love. Instead using chunks of fresh strawberries, I decided I wanted to blend them into the batter for a more even cake.

Ingredients

Strawberry cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup  raw sugar
  • eggs
  • egg white
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup  almond milk
  • 1 cup  blended strawberries

Balsamic Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups organic heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar or more, your preference
  • 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar add 1 Tablespoon if you wanted a stronger flavor

Instructions

  1. Cupcake Instructions
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place muffin liners in tray and set tray aside.
  3. In a mixer bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  4. Take your strawberries and blend them until smooth and put to the side.
  5. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Slowly add your raw sugar and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer to low and add the egg, egg whites, and your vanilla extract. Add your blended strawberries.
  6. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add the almond milk, mixing until just combined. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the blended strawberries.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer the muffin tin to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
  8. Whipped cream Instructions:
  9. Combine cream, sugar and vinegar in a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for about five minutes, until soft peaks form. Place in freezer until ready to serve. This was enough for 18 cupcakes.

If you make this, be sure to let me know by tagging me on Instagram to your photo using #simpleandhomemeade. I’d love to see how yours turn out.

Cheers,

Simple & Homemade

 

Spring Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing and Smoked Gouda

Spring Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing and Smoked Gouda

When I tell you this salad will make every tastebud in your mouth dance, I have never had so many delicious flavors in one bowl <wipes off drool from mouth>.

Spring is officially here, though if you live in Chicago like I do, the memo hasn’t yet been received. Regardless, it is never too late to have a good go-to salad for yourself, or for those summer potlucks you will be attending. I love a good salad, especially one like this because it has a little bit of everything – sweet candied pecans, savory smoked gouda cheese (I will provide a vegan alternative), tart dried cranberries, with crips slices of fresh apples. After this one you can say GOODBYE to those boring one dimensional salads. Your tastebuds will never be the same.

This is the type of salad to have on hand when you have to make something quick, but want to make it seem like you spent hours preparing. My secret, which isn’t much of a secret are the prepackaged salads which saves me a ton of time! I’m hoping this year to try growing salad again because last year’s mesclun greens ended up getting fed to our bunny.

Here is the recipe.

Substitution: for my vegan friends I recommend Miyoko’s Kitchen smoked mozzarella cheese which is non-dairy and has easily become one of my favorite vegan cheeses! Unfortunately, I can’t say that about most of those cheeses.

Course Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 bags of mixed greens
  • 2 Granny Smith apples or Gala apples
  • 1 handful of dried cranberries
  • 1 handful of candied pecans
  • Smoked Gouda or Miyoko's Kitchen Smoked Mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Empty your bags into a large salad bowl

  2. Slice your apples and add them to your salad

  3. Sprinkle your cranberries on top of your salad

  4. Add your candied pecans to your salad

  5. Grate your cheese and either add before you toss or after

  6. Toss thoroughly

Recipe Notes

You can make the strawberry vinaigrette dressing, or you can make your own AFTER you try with my dressing first. Trust me with the flavor. Also, if I'm not certain people will like the cranberries, or pecans you can always put them to the side for people to control how much they add to their salads. Lastly, you can either add your cheese at the beginning before your toss, or on each individual plate. 

P.S. My photo doesn’t include apple slices but my favorite version of this salad does contain them. Feel free to include them or leave them out.

Cheers!

Simple & Homemade

Homemade Strawberry Vinaigrette

Homemade Strawberry Vinaigrette

After you make this you will more than likely never want to buy your own dressing again. This dressing is super simple, rich and so creamy. People would never believe you actually made it. The part that will more than likely take up most of your time is cutting the tops off of the strawberries. After that, it’s smooth sailing with a simple toss in the blender.

Substitution: For my vegan friends, I did use honey but you can use Agave nectar which I ran out of as the sweetener. Poppy seeds are a great addition to be extra fancy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of strawberries cut up
  • 1 tsp of dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp of champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp of honey agave nectar for vegan
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. In a blender or small food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Adjust the sweetness if need be by adding a little bit of honey at a time.
  3. Keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Cheers to standing out at your next Friendsgiving or family potluck!

Simple & Homemade

 

    Roasted Chili Chickpeas

    Roasted Chili Chickpeas

    I am a snacker who never seems to has enough snacks for the day. Truth be told, ANY SNACKS! I need to have snacks hidden in my car, in my office, in my gym bag, in my purse, yet I never do. One of my “fit family members” from my gym posted making toasted chickpeas on her Instastories and she was kind to share her mother’s recipe when I asked. I did however end up losing it, so in the end I had to figure out how to make them and winged it. After all, I could always use extra snack ideas that I won’t pack and because this is yet another simple recipe, why not give it a try even if they didn’t turn out well?

    Chickpeas surprisingly have some pretty great nutritional qualities. They are high in fiber, are a great source of protein and are high in folate, manganese and are a decent source for iron. Because of their high fiber content, I should add a caution of warning and suggest you drink a lot of water while munching on these. I’m just sayin’. If you are the type of person who is satiated by a good crunch, these are definitely for you.

    Ingredients

    • 1 can of chickpeas
    • Splash of olive oil enough to cover the chickpeas
    • Chili powder to taste
    • Sea salt to taste
    • Garlic powder to taste
    • Onion powder to taste
    • Dash of smoked paprika
    • Pinch of cayenne pepper

    Instructions

    1. Preheat over to 450 degrees
    2. Drain and rinse chickpeas
    3. Dry off with towel and let them dry for about 10 minutes
    4. Place them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper
    5. Add seasonings
    6. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes
    7. Enjoy

    I try to add exact measurements, but I didn’t measure my seasonings for this batch of chickpeas. I don’t use a ton of salt, but you may like a bit more salt so I’m going to let you take the wheel on this one and drive. I highly suggest you let them dry out as much as possible. There is nothing worse than crunching on a few good ones, and then finding a chewy one. You don’t want that. You don’t!

    As I snacked on these I imagined these for future seasonings:

    • Ranch
    • Buffalo
    • Lemon Pepper
    • Maple with black sesame seeds
    • Cajun

    If you have more ideas, I would love to hear them. Seriously, you can do so much with these AND you can either eat them plain, or toss them in a salad.

    Cheers to this versatile snack!

    Simple & Homemade