If you’ve been meaning to bake some winter treats but think that you’re too late to the party, think again! Just because the holiday season has been and gone doesn’t mean that the cold snap is over, and we’re certainly in for some chilly weather for a while yet! So this January, who not try your hand at making some winter warmer cupcakes? Easy to bake and oh so satisfying to eat, we’re picked three of our favourite recipes – just follow the links for the full lists of ingredients and the methods. Firstly though, what makes a winter cupcake, well, wintery?
It’s all in the ingredients
For a winter cupcake recipe to be truly warming it usually contains certain spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice can all be found in cupcakes. Think of the flavours of a gingerbread biscuit or carrot cake and you’re on the right track. Speaking of carrots, you’ll often find a lot of fruits and vegetables in ‘winter’ cupcakes. Carrots, apples, berries and oranges are all popular – as they can hold their own against the strong spices.
Spiced Cupcakes with Coconut Icing
For our fist recipe, we’ve picked these scrumptious Spiced Cupcakes with Coconut Icing. For the spices, the chef has used cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and rather unusually – black pepper! They certainly give these delicious cakes a little bit of a kick – and they’re super easy to make too. They’re topped with a delicious coconut icing, which cuts through the richness of the spices. You don’t have to go with that though, we’re sure a normal plain butter cream would work just as well.
Spiced Apple Cupcakes
Second are the even more tempting Spiced Apple Cupcakes. These combine all the warmth of those spices but with another magic ingredient – apples! We all love a slice of hot apple crumble on a cold evening, and these cakes more than fulfil that craving. The addition of the apple means that they are amazingly moist and fluffy, with the maple frosting an indulgent finishing touch.
Mulled Wine Cupcakes
Last but certainly not least are these Mulled Wine Cupcakes. Devilishly delicious and definitely one for the grown ups, these contain red wine and mulled wine jam for those craving a fruity fix. Taking just 20 minutes to bake in the oven, they’re made even more delicious by a rich cream cheese icing. The perfect after dinner treat for busy mums and dads, these are cakes that are strictly for adults only! Forgo your evening glass of wine for one of these and you’ll be thanking us forever.
On your marks, get set, bake!
So there you have it – the three best winter warmer cupcake recipes out there! When it’s cold and wet outside, nothing is better than being indoors with the smell of some freshly baked cakes wafting through the house, and that’s before you’ve even started eating them! So why not give one of these recipes a go? They’re suitable for bakers of all skill levels, and you can even get your kids involved in the preparation of some of them. Whether you decide to share them after they have come out of the oven is up to you – we won’t tell if you don’t!
Eloise Durrant is the founder of The Gourmet Cupcake Company, Eloise and her team specializing in creating beautiful unique cakes for any occasion. Eloise fell in love with teaching her craft and now offers various baking courses.
2 large mixing bowls
Large sauce pan with lid
Whisk (can use a fork)
Wax paper or parchment paper
Storage Container (s)
2/3 cup popcorn kernels, popped
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup half and half
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
6-10 drops food coloring – depending how deep you want the color
Pour popped popcorn into two very large mixing bowls and set aside.
In a large saucepan whisk together sugar, half and half, corn syrup and salt.
Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved.
Heat mixture to 232 degrees, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat immediately and pour in vanilla and food coloring.
Drizzle mixture over popped popcorn.
Gently stir popcorn until mixture is evenly coated and coating begins to dry ( the popcorn kernels will start to separate).
Pour mixture onto waxed paper and allow to dry about 20 minutes.
Store any leftovers in air tight container.
Here is a thermometer that is inexpensive but works great!
When I was a kid we had macaroni and cheese a lot. Sometimes with cream of tomato soup and sometimes with a bacon sandwich. I loved it.
It’s funny, my grandkids always favored the kind that came in a blue box. I still like this the best.
Saucepan for the macaroni
3 Quart Shallow Baking Dish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Grease Baking Dish
7 ounces elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon brown mustard (spicy to your taste)
¾ cup bread crumbs
Cook macaroni according to the package.
While macaroni is cooking melt butter over low to medium heat in the large saucepan.
Stir in flour until smooth.
Gradually add both milks.
Bring mixture to boil over medium to high heat.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low
Add cheeses, mustard, salt and pepper.
Stir until the cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
Drain the macaroni and add to cheese sauce.
Stir to coat.
You have probably heard about the Raw Food Diet. There are a lot of different variations on the Raw Food Diet depending upon the person advocating it.
The basic and common feature of most raw food diets is that they all advocate eating food in their natural state – that is, uncooked, unprocessed, organic and unexposed to herbicides and pesticides.
All raw food diets include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Some include unprocessed nuts and uncooked grains.
Some raw food diets are a variation on veganism which shuns all animal-based food.
Other raw food diets include eggs, milk, cheese and raw fish (sushi and sashimi).
Then there is just the simple action of eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables to retain all their nutrients. One example of this is the juicing lifestyle, where fresh homemade juices are made from both vegetables and fruits are the mainstay of one’s daily intake.
The main purpose of most people who shift to a raw food diet is for weight loss. It is true – eating raw food will facilitate weight loss because eating raw food will mean that you won’t consume as much fat and calories as with a regular diet.
Another main purpose of most people who shift to a raw food diet is to fight what is referred to as lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases include hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes. These lifestyle diseases are often caused by eating food that is too high on fat, sugar and cholesterol.
Chemical Free Eating
Some who go on a raw food diet do so because they want to avoid the accumulation of harmful chemicals in their bodies from food that is exposed to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones.
Fruits and vegetables grown in commercial farms are usually treated with pesticides and herbicides to keep insects from feasting on the fruits and vegetables.
Livestock, pork and chicken grown commercially are treated with hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease and ensure optimal growth. Seedless fruit are sprayed with hormones as well.
Still some people who opt for a raw food diet emphasize a healthy lifestyle that will keep them looking young.
They believe that fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains boost the immune system which keeps infectious diseases at bay and it improves the body’s circulation and systemic functioning which gives them clear skin and radiant hair.
As with all diets, you must consult your doctor to see if you may shift to a raw food diet. And if you do shift to a raw food diet, perhaps it is best to do it gradually.
Start with juicing an assortment of fruits and vegetables to replace colas and desserts. Replace your regular cooked meals gradually with a wide assortment of salads and grains and nuts.
The most difficult thing about going on a raw food diet is sourcing raw, unprocessed and chemical-free food.
If you like going out to eat, you will find it difficult to find restaurants that serve only raw food.
The next difficult thing is in preparing the food—it is time consuming. It is easy enough to simply peel a banana or eat an apple for a snack but if you have to subsist on fruits and veggies, you will have to carry fresh fruits and vegetables with you throughout the day.
Another problem most people encounter with the raw food diet is that food grown organically is more expensive.
Also there is a real danger of malnutrition as there are nutrients and minerals which you cannot get from uncooked fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You will have to take a vitamin or food supplement for this.
You will have to eat fruits and vegetables that are unfamiliar to you. The texture of uncooked food may be difficult to get used to at first.
For those who advocate eating raw fish, eggs, milk and milk products, you might need to conquer your gag reflex first. There is also a real danger of food poisoning from food that is unpasteurized such as milk and milk products, so one needs to take care, though these days it is not as problematic since the there are many quality controls in place.
Shifting to a raw food diet requires a lifestyle change as well as a change in mindset. It will not work for everyone and some people can follow a raw food diet but not strictly. Ask your physician first.
There are so many benefits to eating raw food and one thing to keep in mind is that it need not be exclusive of other food, you can simply add more fresh, and raw fruits and vegetables to your diet on a daily basis and cut out processed foods. That alone is a huge step to improving your health, preventing disease and curtailing the effects of aging.
Do you have fresh blueberries and don’t know what to do with them? But want something easy that doesn’t need a recipe?
Check these ideas out:]]>
It’s strange, but the older I get the more I forget everyday things, but remember childhood memories. Making freezer jam with my Gramma Verschor (we called her Ma) is one of those memories. I was reading a facebook post about “You Pick Blueberries” and the strawberry jam memory came to me. Don’t ask me why. I am just grateful for the memory. I don’t have a lot of hand written recipes from Ma, but I managed to find this one my Mom gave me.
For a short period we lived next door to my grandparents. And they grew a lot of things. (Including snails….. yes, you heard me snails… guess you wouldn’t call them growing, maybe raising is more like it. ) But they had their own little plot and Ma would go out and harvest them now and then. She would boil them, and my Grandfather (Pa) would pull them out with a crochet hook and eat them. EWWWWWWWWW! This is a story for a different post.
Anyway, they had a small patch of strawberries. This was covered with a homemade “blanket” of weaved rope to keep the birds from getting them before Ma could pick them. Hey! It worked.
Then I would help her make the jam. I have to admit, at the time, I didn’t like helping out. I would rather be on my bike riding as far as I wanted to.
But my Mom made me do it. Even tho I really didn’t want to be there, I knew something was special just being with Ma. And now I have a memory of it.
Before I post the recipe.. a little about the above picture. YOU CAN DO THIS. This is a homemade biscuit (you can buy them and get the same effect). Whipped cream and jam. The “dripping” effect of the whipped cream is from it sitting and getting room temperature.
That’s it. This is a perfect “IMPRESS THE HECK” out of someone for breakfast, brunch or treat. Give me some time and I will find the recipe I used for the homemade biscuit. I am not really very organized. I got it on line sometime somewhere. But can’t find it now.
1 pt fresh strawberries, washed, drained and hulls removed
2 1/2 Cups fresh pineapple, peeled and finely chopped
7 Cups sugar
2 pkgs (1 3/4 oz) powdered pectin
1 Cup cold water
4 pt freezer containers with lids
Place strawberries in a large mixing bowl.
Crush the strawberries with a potato masher.
Measure out 2 1/2 C strawberries and place in a separate bowl.
Add the pineapple to the strawberries.
Slowly add the sugar and stir until well combined.
Place the cold water in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the pectin.
Stir continuously until water begins to boil.
Boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat.
Pour the water mixture into with the fruit.
Stir well to combine.
Continue stirring 4 minutes.
Pour into the pt freezer containers and cover.
Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
Freeze after 24 hours.
Jam will stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To use, remove from freezer and allow to come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
You can get the containers here:
This is an Amazon Affiliate link, and when purchases are made through this link, I do get a small commission.
But these jars are readily available in your grocery stores.
The International Trade Center notes that ‘coffee is the world’s most important agricultural crop in terms of trade volumes; it is exported by 60 countries and is one of the few major commodities grown predominantly by smallholder farmers’. Due to the rise in environmentally responsible coffee, it is possible to actually lower your carbon footprint and ‘go green’ by looking out for ‘certified’ coffee. Certification schemes aim to prevent farmers from using ‘slash and burn’ techniques that level rainforests for the purpose of clearing land and growing coffee beans. Here are three tips for buying ‘greener’ coffee in Australia.
Use A Green Business Directory
It’s easy to pick up certified coffee such as Fair Trade-branded coffee in your local supermarket or grocery store. According the Queensland government’s Office of Fair Trading, however, certified coffee is often sold at a significant mark-up. In other words, you can end up spending significantly more for store-bought coffee just because of its certification label. To avoid this, you could use a green business directory to help you find which stores sell certified coffee at a fair price. In Australia, the Greenfinder Green Business Directory has ‘the most comprehensive selection of green, eco, sustainable, Fair Trade and environmentally friendly companies, products and services’. Use this or similar eco directories to find stores that give you a good deal on certified brands of coffee.
Look For A Trusted, Certified Coffee Logo
According to an International Trade Center publication Trends in the Trade of Certified Coffees, the quantity of certified coffee sold in Australia has ‘increased rapidly at 50 percent per year in recent years’. The ITC notes that finding certified coffee is as easy as looking for logos, even on brand name coffee products. For instance, Rainforest Alliance has a memorable green frog on its logo, prominently displayed on the label of any coffee containing certified beans. The ITC points out that the commitment of multinational companies such as Nestle to ‘certify 80 percent of its coffee with the Rainforest Alliance by 2013’ has contributed to much of the growth of certified coffee brands. If you are already buying brand-name coffee such as Nestle, you may already be drinking certified coffee.
According to data from the Sustainable Agriculture Network, the bestdeals on certified coffee are to be found online. Buying certified coffee ensures that your money helps ‘stave off deforestation, protect the habitats of birds, preserve the livelihood of coffee farmers and encourage social equity and economic viability for workers’ according to the SAN. The cheapest way to do all this and more is to buy coffee online. Be sure to look for coffee websites who offer certified brands of coffee such as Rainforest Alliance coffee.
Buying certified coffee can help the world but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. These three tips should help anyone find certified coffee in Australia for the right price. Whether you are buying coffee for yourself, for a business or for your family, following these tips should help you find the greenest brands at the most reasonable prices. What do you think of our tips? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section below!
Author Bio: Danny Richards, the author of this article, is an employee at MyCuppa.com.au, online suppliers of fine coffee beans in Australia. In his spare time, Danny loves reading and is a massive fan of Stephen King.
It seems like most people typically use strawberries as the go-to item for dipping in chocolate. Sure they’re tasty, but they’re far from unique. Instead of serving up a treat that’s becoming a little too common, why not try something a bit different for your next party or gathering? Here are five fun foods you can cover in chocolate:
1. Potato chips
Chocolate-covered pretzels have been around for years, but there’s another way to get your sweet-and-salty fix. Pick up your favorite brand of plain potato chips, melt some chocolate chips or almond bark and dip away! Let the coating harden and you’ve got an insanely-addictive treat. Use potato chips with ridges and double dip them to maximize the chocolate build-up. Bet you can’t eat just one!
2. Hot peppers
If you know someone who has a sweet tooth and likes things on the spicy side, this is the perfect way to satisfy both cravings. Cayenne peppers and jalapenos dipped in chocolate are great choices to bring the heat and the sweet. For the true “chili heads,” you could even try some chocolate-covered habaneros or ghost peppers. Just be careful; the latter is considered by most experts to be the hottest pepper on the planet. You may want to think about using white chocolate since the intense sweetness and higher dairy content can help calm your fiery taste buds. No matter what type of pepper or chocolate you choose, these are sure to be a tongue-torching treat!
Almost everyone loves bacon. Almost everyone loves chocolate. Put the two together and you’ve got a sweet-and-savory dessert that will be the hit of any party. Just fry up some crispy strips, let them cool and dunk them in melted chocolate. Allow the chocolate to set and you’ve got some yummy “pig candy” to share with all the foodies in your life. It may sound like a strange pairing, but the unique union of bacon and chocolate somehow works beautifully. One bite and you’ll definitely be in favor of the marriage of this slightly odd couple!
4. Peanut butter and crackers
Peanut butter and crackers have always complemented each other. Likewise, peanut butter with chocolate is a tasty combination that has stood the test of time. It makes sense that merging all three elements would make for a tasty team. You can use your preferred brand of store-bought sandwich crackers or make your own. Saltines, club crackers and buttery rounds all work well. Spread your favorite kind with your choice of smooth or crunchy peanut butter and place another one on top. Then, dip the sandwiches in chocolate and let the coating harden. Whether you use sweet milk chocolate or bitter dark, your family and friends will love biting into a peanut buttery surprise!
5. Various types of fruit
Why should strawberries get all the chocolate love? There are plenty of other fruits out there that look gorgeous and taste amazing when covered in chocolate. Cherries, raspberries and oranges are some other classic options. However, you can also think a little outside the box by dipping kiwi, mango, pineapple and more. Kids and adults alike will love chocolate-covered apples. You just can’t go wrong with a tart Granny Smith or a sweet Gala that’s been dipped in scrumptious chocolate coating. You could also dip bananas in chocolate and place them in the freezer for flavorful frozen confections. When it comes to chocolate-dipped fruit, the possibilities are limitless. Just visit the produce section of your local supermarket and let inspiration strike!
You’ll find chocolate-covered strawberries at almost any chocolate boutique. As a result, they’re becoming a bit overdone. Forget about that boring trend and start a food fad of your own. Any of the items on this list will be a delicious and unique dessert option for your next party or gathering. Give all of these suggestions a try to create tasty treats that are sure to impress your guests. Who knows? You just may start the next chocolate-covered craze!
There is a virtually endless array of uses of coconut, which has been called the “Tree of Life.” Coconut oil, for one, is used not only as a skin and hair care aid, but also as a wonderful cooking oil. This healthful oil, though, was long vilified and challenged by vegetable oil manufacturers before making a huge comeback to prove its beneficial properties.
Recipes infused with coconut – whether coconut oil, milk, meat, or powder form – are not ones to be missed. Serve them to the whole family, and you’ve got a whole feast going! Here are some of them.
Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut – Curry Sauce
Contributed by GaylaJ on Food.com
Prep time: 30 minutes
Baked Coconut Shrimp
Contributed by chia on Food.com
Prep time: 27 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
Contributed by quixoposto on Food.com
Prep time: 30 minutes
*You may substitute chicken with shrimp or scallops.
Miranda Furlong is a food and drink blogger who has a strong preference for coconut oil as her all-around cooking and beauty aid.]]>
Are you trying to find a way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your child’s life? Are you looking for some healthy, time-conscious snacks to whip up for an after-school treat? If so, these six recipes are sure to fit the bill!
1.) Yogurt and Fruit Parfaits
Put some plain yogurt in the bottom of a parfait glass, dessert glass, or bowl. Top it with some blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Sprinkle some granola on top (my family’s favorite is the Bear Naked vanilla almond, but you can use whatever you want.) Repeat the layers. Serve immediately. This snack is not only incredibly healthy, but it’s ready in mere minutes!
2.) Baked Zucchini Sticks
My kids have always loved zucchini sticks, but I’ve tried to serve them sparingly because they’re fried. After a bit of research, however, I found a recipe for baked zucchini sticks. Now I can make them without feeling guilty.
For a simple and healthy snack, chop 1 large tomato into tiny pieces. Combine it in a bowl with 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cut 6 slices of Italian or French bread in half so that there are 12 pieces of bread. Spoon 1 tablespoonful of the tomato mixture over the bread; top each with a slice of mozzarella cheese and remaining tomato mixture. Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. These snacks are great, either as an after-school treat or as an appetizer during an Italian night.
4.) Tomato Guacamole Dip
In a small bowl, mash 2 medium ripe avocados with 1 tablespoon lime juice. Stir in 1 chopped tomato, 3 tablespoons sour cream, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon minced garlic. Cover and refrigerate for a few minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. To make this tasty dip even more nutritious, serve it with blue tortilla chips. Your kids are sure to enjoy this tasty guac!
5.) Fruit Salsa
In a bowl, combine 2 cups chopped strawberries, 2 medium chopped, peeled apples, and 2 medium peeled and chopped kiwi. In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons apple jelly, and ¼ cup orange juice. Drizzle over the fruit and toss lightly to coat. You can serve this with graham crackers or cinnamon chips.
License: Creative Commons image source
6.) Nutella Banana Treats
Last but not least, this recipe from Real Simple is sure to delight! Spread 2 tablespoons of Nutella over a graham cracker. Top with banana slices. For more healthy, simple recipes like that one, check out Real Simple’s link.
Andrea Smith is a wife and mother of three. She enjoys finding creative ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into her kids’ lives.]]>