Applesauce Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Applesauce Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield 12
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 cloves
3/4 cup applesauce

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine dry ingredients, add to creamed mixture, alternately with applesauce. Fill a lined muffin pan with batter 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 21-23 minutes. Cool ten minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Frost if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Makes 4 cups
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
12 ounces cream cheese, room temp
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 tsp vanilla

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and then vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Pipe onto muffins.


Spicy Avocado Cucumber Soup

Experimenting is great in cooking, because no matter what you do it can never really go wrong. While on my cruise in Europe, I enjoyed many chilled soups they had on the ship. When I got home, I figured it would be a great idea to come up with my own chilled soups. Here’s what I came up with:

Spicy Avocado Cucumber Soup
Serves 4

2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
4 avocados
1 green onion, chopped
2 tsp thai green curry paste
pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp gullah spice (found locally in South Carolina)
1 green onion, chopped (for garnish)
1/2 cucumber, chopped (for garnish)

Prep avocados, cucumbers, and green onion and place them in the food processor. Blend until it is a smooth puree. Then remaining ingredients. Blend again and serve with garnishes.

European Vacation: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Photo Credit: Lauren Anton
Dubrovnik, Croatia. Before the trip, I had never heard of Croatia in my life. It even sounded like a gross place, Croatia. But as soon as we arrived I realized I was completely wrong. Croatia was really a beautiful place; lots of flowers, houses with oranges rooves, and mountains. We saw this all through a cablecar going up the mountain.
Photo Credit: Lauren Anton
We also toured the “Old City”. We went through the doors into the enclosed city and found ourselves looking at the coastline. Cannons sat next to us from the war in previous years. We later passed by Rector’s Palace when we then got split up from our tour guide. So we decided to tour on our own by shopping and eating. It was really hot so I got something refreshing, mozzarella salad.

After I ate my mozzarella salad, I got some gelato. I talked to some guy at the gelato stand that was on his sixth cone.

Fun Fact: When the war destroyed everything in Croatia, they rebuilt all the houses and shops with orange rooves. Orange is Croatia’s national color for freedom and unity.

European Vacation: Pisa, Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa Photo Credit: Lauren Anton The Leaning Tower of Pisa has definitely been on my must-see list for as long as I can remember. Our shore excursion was six hours, one hour at the Leaning Tower and five at the nearby beach. I definitely wish we could’ve spent more time at the Leaning Tower because by the time we got pictures of ourselves holding up the tower, it was time to go.

The beach was so beautiful, other than the guys in speedos. The water was clear and the sand so soft, it was definitely relaxing. And because of the five hours given to us at the beach, we had time to go to a restaurant closeby! That’s always my favorite part.

We sat outside at the restaurant because the temperature was nice and we had a beautiful view of the sea. I ordered the Risotto Porcini which was probably one of my favorite foods in Europe.

I would love to visit Pisa again so I can tour the inside of the Leaning Tower. I guess that means I’ll just have to go back! Thanks for reading my post on Pisa, Italy. Watch for my next post tomorrow on Dubrovnik, Croatia!

Chocolate Drizzled Crepes

I got up early this morning; early meaning 8:30, to find out that I didn’t have to work today. So instead of going back to sleep, like my usual self would in the summertime, I got up and made my family some crepes. Let’s just say my skills were a bit rusty. It took me about a good six crepes being thrown away before I ended up with six good ones.

I had to complete this post for a fellow blogger of mine, Ilan, who asked me to make crepes about two months ago. It took me awhile to get around to it with exams and cupcake orders in my way. I finally got around to it Ilan, here’s my recipe:

Chocolate Drizzled Crepes
Serves 4-5

2/3 cup all purpose flour

pinch of salt

1 egg

2 tbsp superfine sugar

1 1/2 cup milk

scant 2 tbsp unsalted butter

confectioners’ sugar for dusting

chocolate syrup for drizzling

strawberries (optional) for garnish

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Beat the egg, sugar and half the milk together in a separate bowl, then pour the mixture into the dry ingredients. Beat the dry ingredients into the liquid, gradually drawing them in from the side, until a batter is formed. Gradually beat in remaining milk. Pour batter into a pitcher.

Heat a 7 inch/ 18 cm nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon butter. When the butter has melted, pour in enough batter to coat bottom of skillet. Swirl it around while tilting it so that you have a thin, even layer. Cook for 30 seconds and lift up the edge of the crepe to check if it is cooked. Loosen crepe with a spatula all the way around and create a P with your arm. By this I mean, go in straight and quickly lift up and come back down. Cook on the other side until golden brown.

Transfer to a plate and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with strawberries.

European Vacation: Marseilles, France

A cute cafe in Marseilles, France Photo Credit: Lauren Anton

Marseilles, France. Yes it was a pretty place; right on the coast with beautiful water. No one ever told me how much it would stink though. Marseilles was definitely the worst smelling place out of all the cities I visited in Europe. It reeked.

But besides that fact, it was a beautiful place. Little French cafes were scattered throughout the city. Lots of them sold crepes, which I wanted to try so bad. But we were on the lookout for a renowned bakery. It was famous for these long, thin biscuits which definitely had an aquired taste. Plus I’m pretty sure you are supposed to dip them in tea because it was like gnawing on a bone. Picture that, it was quite hilarious.

So we took our long detour of finding the bakery called Four des Navettes and I got some pictures of the place.

Outside the bakery

Inside “Four des Navettes”

The famous biscuits we bought

French Macarons

After we were done visiting the bakery, we passed by a grocery shop and outside they were selling produce. I wanted to get some pictures….

Photo Credit: Lauren Anton

Photo Credit: Lauren Anton

Thanks for reading about my stop in Marseilles! Look for a post on Pisa tomorrow!

Europe Vacation: Venice, Italy

Photo Credit: Lauren Anton
Because I went to so many different countries on my European vacation, I want to split up the posts by country. I want to show you not only the food, but the country as well which my sister photographed.

Venice was one of my favorite cities on the trip. I loved how different it was compared to everywhere else I’ve been. Can I share a fun fact that I didn’t know? Venice was built on 118 different islands. That is why there are no cars or streets. Pretty cool right?

I went on my vacation with my dad, stepmom, my twin sister, and my best friend, Kaylyn. Below we are taking a gondola in Venice. I have to say it was very pretty, but overpriced as our tourguide was on his cell phone and did not once sing. He pointed out a few places in Venice, like the first female prison and the schools.

We stumbled on a great little restauraunt in Venice. I decided to get the vegetarian pizza which was AMAZING!

Vegetarian Pizza

Of course, I split my food so I could try everyone else’s food as well. My friend got the pesto and my sister the ravioli. They were really good as well. We noticed however that the pasta is cooked very al dente compared to Americanized Italian.

Basil Pesto

Ravioli with Meat Sauce

While in Venice, we visited St. Mark’s square and toured Doge’s Palace. We also passed St. Mark’s Basilica.

Inside Doge’s Palace Photo Credit: Lauren Anton

St. Mark’s Square Photo Credit: Lauren Anton

I had a fabulous time while in Venice. My next post will be on Barcelona, Spain. Spain was my absolute favorite country and I plan on studying abroad there. I love the atmosphere of Barcelona and the food is wonderful. Watch for my next post on Barcelona tomorrow!