Sunday, July 3, 2011

Iced Coffee

I am so late to things. Iced coffee (made at your house) is definitely where it's at and you should go make some now.  Especially if you live in a hot climate and especially if it is the afternoon.  Or morning. Or evening.

Super easy: 1/4 cup coffee grounds per 1 cup water (enough for a generous single serving). Put water and grounds in a cup and let it sit for a few minutes. Chase your toddler around the house, ask him if he needs to potty, and then come back to it.  Use a strainer with a paper towel inside and pour the water/coffee mix through the strainer and into your mug of choice.  Add just a bit of water, ice, and milk.  Add sugar if you want that, too, and maybe even a spoonful of coolwhip.

Spot on!  Here's what happened when I made this for the 1st time.  I wrapped 2 birthday presents (with help from a 3 yr. old), decorated 2 birthday cards, handled an incident with the dogs, took a phone call and dried my hair.  Guess what? Iced coffee withstands ALL that & it is still ready to drink!  Regular morning coffee can't make it much past 20 minutes and a trip to the microwave.  There ya have it: iced coffee is officially a mom's best friend.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Contessa's Cupcakes

In the world of celebrity chefs, there's a lot of choices.  Martha Stewart, of course, is a classic.  Her recipes...well, they're good pushing amazing, but they're also bit of trouble.  And sometimes hard to follow. Or they require special ingredients.  Now, that doesn't keep me from trying them over and over again.  I just have better luck with the Barefoot Contessa. Her recipes, for me, have been fail proof.  And that's what I need.  I'm a librarian; I work.  I have a family; time is short.  Cooking typically takes place during naptime or after bedtime & a full day's work. I'm almost never fully rested at either time and I'm prone to mistakes.  The Barefoot Contessa sees me through.  I still love Martha - hold her high, high in my kitchen's heart - but the Barefoot Contessa has seen me through some dark kitchen hours, and I love her, too.

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (incidentally with a forward by Ina's good friend Martha Stewart) was, really, one of the first cookbooks I fell in love with.  Any recipe I made was golden, and that's hard to forget.

These cupcakes are part normal cupcake and part Barefoot Contessa.  The cake itself is just a standard vanilla - you could even use a mix.  Go ahead, I don't judge & the icing will save it anyway.  The icing is the Barefoot Contessa's cream cheese icing- the one she puts on her coconut cupcakes. [Seriously, make these for your coworkers. They will love you forever and hold your baking skills in high esteem.]

Add some berries and voila - Happy Independence Day, everyone!
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