Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

FRIENDS!

I’ve missed you! ::Gives big virtual hug::

I apologize for the impromptu hiatus. Things had been a bit busy, but they seem to have calmed down now.

So a few days after I shared my Poached Egg technique, I took off with the kids to California. We spent a week together with my mom and brother, and then were joined by my husband and brother in-law. The following week was filled with preparations for Eid, me fracturing my collar bone, and my brother’s engagement ceremony (!!!!!).

I had originally planned to prepare a dessert table for the occasion, but after the whole grown-ass-mom-breaking-her-bone situation, I reached out to my brother and sister in-law’s friends, and we all contributed a bit and were able to pull off a joint dessert table! It was so exciting to see what everyone made, and it made the whole occasion even more meaningful.

This is what everyone contributed- Nutella Brownies, Jalaibee, Cupcakes, Baklava Fingers, Russian Tea Cakes, Banana Pudding, Lemon Bars, and Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Thank you all!  Everything was so delicious, and most of all so thoughtful!

This is what everyone contributed- Nutella Brownies, Jalaibee, Cupcakes, Baklava Fingers, Russian Tea Cakes, Banana Pudding, Lemon Bars, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thank you all! Everything was so delicious, and most of all so thoughtful!

On the other side of the table, my sister in-law had the idea of putting together a Milk & Cookies Bar.  It was so adorable! The whole table came together wonderfully :)

On the other side of the table, my sister in-law had the idea of putting together a Milk & Cookies Bar. It was so adorable! The whole table came together wonderfully 🙂

My “submission” for the dessert table was a batch of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. The frosting was actually a joint effort on my husband and my part (can you imagine how that went? LOL!). Although we have more of an affinity towards whipped cream frosting, we went with buttercream because it would hold up at room temperature. After searching and searching for a buttercream frosting that not only holds its shape well, but also isn’t thick and cloyingly sweet (which is our main complaint about it), I stumbled upon this recipe from Annie’s Eats. The secret is in the addition of heavy cream! You see, adding the cream gives an otherwise heavy buttercream some lightness. It whips up and forms the most smooth and airy frosting, which pipes great and tastes wonderful!

 

VanillaButtercreamFrostingPic

 

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Yield: Enough To Frost 2 Dozen Cupcakes

Or a 2-Layer Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions:

Place butter in a large bowl, and using a whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and whip on low speed until completely incorporated. Add salt and whip on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add heavy whipping cream and vanilla and whip on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to high and whip until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, remembering to scrape the sides of the bowl along the way.

Use as needed.

Refrigerate leftovers.

Note: Frosting can be made and frozen in advance. To use, simply leave on the counter and bring to room temperature. The frosting may need to be whipped lightly to bring back to original consistency.

Strawberry Milkshakes

Our rental community has a garden in which plots are given out on a first-come-first-serve basis, and I was quick to snatch one up this past Spring. We planted cherry tomatoes and green onions in our little box, and so far both plants have been thriving (along with thriving weeds and two mystery plants). Thanks to the crazy Midwestern weather, when one day it is hot and humid and the next it’s thundering and raining, our baby plants have grown monstrous and our box looks like a miniature version of the Amazon.

Speaking of summer and its bountiful produce, I’m loving all of the ripe and sweet berries being sold at the grocery stores! My son loves strawberries, so almost every grocery trip results in a carton being brought home. He mostly noshes on them just the way they are, but sometimes I like to incorporate them into our diets in other ways.

Enter these totally indulgent strawberry milkshakes via our homeboy Emeril.

What sets these shakes apart from others is that this recipe calls for allowing the berries to macerate before blitzing. This small but crucial difference is what takes it over the top. Emeril, I’ve got to give it to you buddy, you really know what you’re doing. BAM!

 

StrawberryMilkshakePic

 

Strawberry Milkshakes

Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ½ cup milk

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, sugar, and vanilla. Set aside and allow berries to macerate for at least 30 minutes.

In the jar of a blender, combine berries, ice cream, and milk and blitz until smooth. Serve immediately.

Sundried Tomato Dip

Since becoming the owner/manager/parent of two Littles, I’ve come to realize that I am a big snacker. Like, huge. It might or might not have to do with the fact that I no longer have the time to sit down and enjoy a meal. Forget meals, even bathroom breaks are a luxury of the past. And showers? Pssh, ain’t nobody got time for that! (After rereading this, I realize that I must sound really disgusting, but this girl is just trying to keep things real 😉 )

Anyway, back to the topic at hand- snacks! I love having some kind of snack at the table when I have friends over, and dip is one of those things that everyone loves. Whether it be adults or children, everyone enjoys scooping their favorite veggie or chip into a bowl of their favorite dip.

Today’s recipe, a Sundried Tomato Dip, is a welcome departure from the usual salsa and sour cream and onion dip. It’s creamy, flavorful, and versatile enough that it could be delicious as a condiment in burgers, wraps, and sandwiches. In fact, I think I’ll be throwing together some chicken sandwiches with whatever leftover dip I have 🙂

(In some fun news, I’ve joined the talented team of ladies at Macaron And On, and this post comes from me as one of their food contributors.  For those who are coming over from Macaron And On, welcome! I hope to get to know you better and see you around more often 🙂 )

 

SundriedTomatoDipPic

 

Sundried Tomato Dip

Yield: Approximately 2 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes (approximately 8 tomatoes; either oil-packed or dry-packed may be used. If using oil-packed, blot dry. If using dry-packed, rehydrate by submerging in boiling water for one hour; blot dry and use as directed.)
  • 2 teaspoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions:

Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, tomatoes, hot sauce, salt, and black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on high speed until completely smooth, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl in between pulses. Fold in green onions.

Serve with choice of accompaniments. Dip may be made up to three days in advance and must be stored in the refrigerator.

Kulfi (Cheat Recipe!)

The days seem to be finally warming up in our parts, and we’ve been taking full advantage of it. We’ve been going for walks in our neighborhood and making regular trips to the park. The change in weather seems to bring about a change in our food preferences as well, where we’re opting for lighter and cooler meals. Enter this delicious Kulfi.

Kulfi is the South Asian Subcontinent’s equivalent of Western ice cream. Traditionally, sugar and milk is cooked over low heat until much of it has thickened and reduced. Although delicious, ain’t nobody got time for that! The recipe I’m sharing today was given to me by a good friend (Hi Reetu!), and cuts the time to a fraction. It’s quick to whip up, and always leaves behind a great impression. No one will know that it takes literally 5 minutes to throw together 😉

KulfiPic

 

 

Kulfi

Yield:  20-25 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 16 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • ½ cup ground unsalted nuts (almond or pistachio) (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined.  Pour into molds and freeze for at least 12 hours before serving.

Note:  Small disposable cups can be used as kulfi molds.  Cover cup with aluminum foil and insert a wood stick into the center.  The foil will help keep the stick in place.

Daring Cooks: Dressings/Vinaigrettes- Italian Style Vinaigrette

I joined Daring Cooks several months back, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to participate in any of the challenges.  When this month’s challenge was announced, creating homemade dressings/vinaigrettes, I was ready and raring for action!  I love salads, and I used to eat at least one everyday, but lately I’ve been putting it off.  I guess with the day-to-day craziness that I have going on, I’ve just been too lazy to want to peel, chop, and wash vegetables for a salad.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Daring Cooks is similar to Daring Bakers, which is a group of bloggers and non-bloggers who are assigned a “secret” challenge on the 17th of each month.  The 14th of each month is the “reveal” day, in which those who blog can write about their experiences and recipes for the challenge.

For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Ruth, Shelley, and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes.  I decided to start the month by whipping up homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.  The dressing was definitely easy to make, but something about the taste just wasn’t right.  I decided to try again, and I made this delicious homemade Italian Style Vinaigrette.  Needless to say, I’ve been back on track with salads at home (although now I cheat and buy premixed salads from the grocery store.  Sshhh! It’s our little secret 😉 )

I’m so excited that now I’m on the hunt for a reliable ranch and ceasar dressing! Wish me luck! 🙂

 

ItalianStyleVinaigrettePic

 

Italian Style Vinaigrette

Yield:  1 Cup

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl or bottle.  Whisk/shake well to combine.  Allow the dressing to sit for a few hours before serving so that the flavors have some time to blend.

Refrigerate leftovers.