Tag Archives: cupcakes

Healthy Brownies… well healthy-ish

Standard

Most of the time I’m pretty content with being a Chihuahua. I get carried around all day. I can fit in really small places like under the bed or in mi mama’s purse. I have a personal butler to clean up after me, like when I leave my toys out or “accidentally” drop a little turd on the rug. People always assume I’m much younger than I really am because of my teeny stature and I still get carded at PetsMart when trying to buy a bag of DogNip. When someone tries to tell me what to do or if I’m bored with what they are saying, I can pretend I don’t understand English and quickly scamper away without seeming rude. The list goes on but I think you get the point.

However, there are a few situations when being a small (albeit awesome) little pup is not completely wonderful. I came upon one of these instances this past weekend when mi papa was having some of his rugby friends over for dinner. I, of course, was in charge of all the preparations and dinner menu and already knew what I wanted to make for the occasion (Butternut Squash Lasagna). I even knew what I wanted to have prepared as a dessert (Carrot Cake Cupcakes). Unfortunately mi mama had a different plan and suggested I bake up some brownies for our guests instead. Brownies!!! No, not brownies!! Chocolate– my nemesis!!!

It’s not that I dislike the taste of brownies. Quite the opposite really. What I do dislike, however, is the massive diarrhea and convulsive vomiting that goes along with sampling a little bit of brownie. Oh the perils of being a dog, and not having the corresponding enzymes in my stomach to be able to properly digest chocolate… and grapes and raisins and walnuts… oh don’t even get me started on those evil bastards nuts.

Now I don’t like to disappoint mis padres, especially mi papa, so I sucked it up and agreed to make a batch of brownies for the occasion. And oh holy frijoles did they turn out delicioso!

Well on that note, I better be going. And speaking of notes, I need to go practice mine on the piano. I’ve got a jam session with Billy Joel later today and I’m determined to become the next Piano Man– er Piano Pup.

Bugs Bunny, eat your heart out

Standard

Once again, an important national holiday in the TeenyLittleSuperChef household has come and passed, and I was completely unaware of it even being in existence until just now. How could this possibly happen? Was anyone else aware that February 3rd was National Carrot Day? How could I have not known? Seriously! I am the ultimate carrot connoisseur. The master of all orange root vegetables. The supreme daucus carota officionato. If the carrot was a college, I would be the Dean. If the carrot was a country, I would be the President. If it was the best TV sitcom from the 1950’s, I would be the Desi Arnaz… I think you get my point. Carrots are the end-all, be-all of my existence and yet somehow, the one special day that is dedicated to my beloved little orange beauty came and passed as though it were just any other day. You would think someone would have sent me an e-mail or a card or at the very least, Facebook messaged me. What’s it take for a little guy to get Tweeted these days. I mean, come on.

Alas, while I should have been spending the 3rd of February celebrating the almighty carrot, instead I was nursing my post Super Bowl party hangover and preparing for what I thought was the next most important holiday, National Organ Donor’s Day. No offense, organ donors, but carrots take the cake when it comes to random things being honored.

Speaking of cake, is there anything more awesome than carrot cake? Well, other than carrot cake in cupcake form? I think not. So even though I’m over three weeks behind in celebrating this momentous occasion, I’ve decided it’s still better late than never to do my part. Therefore I’m declaring today, February 27th, as National TeenyLittleSuperCarrot Day. Yay!!! So crank up those ovens and get ready, because it’s carrot cake cupcake time.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten or 1/2 cup egg substitute

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large carrots, finely shredded (about 2 cups)

4 oz. Neufchatel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese), softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

walnuts, finely chopped, for garnish

Directions:

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl, combine the eggs, canola oil and brown sugar. Stir well. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots.

4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. Fold in the walnuts.

5) Pour the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6) To make the frosting: Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

7) Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining walnuts.

Enjoy!

Well compadres, I must be going now. I’ve got a whole plate of orange deliciousness waiting for me to devour, and only 6 more hours left in the day to do so.

Happy TeenyLittleSuperCarrot Day, mi amigos!

P.S. If you’d like to buy me or one of your loved ones a muy bonita present in celebration of this day, check out this delightful, authentic Louis Vuitton purse mi tia Marisa is selling on E-Bay! Perfect for taking a stroll through the dog park mall.

Gluten-free is the new black

Standard

As promised, I’m back today to share with you the incredibly delicious cupcakes I baked for the birthday party I attended last night. I’ll spare you the details of the party, mostly out of respect for some of the attendees (i.e. mi mama). Let’s just say, some of us woke up with a sense of confusion and wonderment as to why a moustache had been drawn on their face with a Sharpie and their right hand was lying in a bowl of warm water. Thank goodness for rubber sheets…

Anyway, on to the cupcake recipe. I had been requested by the birthday girl to bake some gluten-free goodies since a number of the guests attending the party had either Celiac disease or some amount of gluten sensitivity. While we’re on the subject, I’d like to take a minute or two to talk about gluten, what exactly it is, and what this idea of gluten-sensitivity and/or intolerance actually is. By definition, gluten is the protein composite found in certain grains such as wheat, barley and rye. And while it may seem that by simply cutting out foods such as bread or baked goods containing these particular grains may eliminate gluten-consumption, gluten can actually be found in certain sauces like soy, cold cuts, salad dressings, alcoholic beverages, and even in the binders of some brands of multi-vitamin or nutritional supplements. People who have true gluten-intolerance suffer from a serious and possibly fatal condition called Celiac Disease. When a person with this disease consumes foods containing gluten, the lining of his/her stomach becomes damaged and prevents it from absorbing parts of food needed to stay healthy. Over time and if left untreated, this can lead to severe malnourishment, weight loss, and in the most extreme instances, death. The good news is, only around 1% of Americans actually suffer from this disease, and it can be treated properly by simply following a well-balanced and gluten-free diet.

Now the concept of gluten-sensitivity, on the other hand, is one that’s a little less unclear and harder to diagnose. This condition exists among people who test negative to Celiac Disease when given a blood test and don’t appear to have any damage in their intestines, yet still experience symptoms  common to Celiac such as stomach bloating and discomfort, chronic fatigue and severe headaches after consuming gluten. This condition has been reported in nearly 10% of the population and most have found that by simply following a diet similar to that prescribed for those with Celiac Disease, they are able to overcome the majority of their gastrointestinal issues.

One of the main misconceptions I think people have when it comes to following a gluten-free diet is that it is in someway more healthy and that the person will immediately lose a great deal of weight once they begin the diet. Unfortunately, this is not often the case and can actually cause a person to suffer from deficiencies in iron, vitamin B12, fiber, etc because they are avoiding breads, cereals and grains that are fortified and not replacing them with gluten-free foods containing these nutrients. Or they may over-compensate by eating only processed foods labeled “gluten-free.” This phrase doesn’t necessarily mean “fat-free” or “sugar-free” and can still contain ingredients that have no nutritional value and a high amount of calories. Therefore, extreme care must be taken when adopting a gluten-free diet so as to make sure to still get all the proper vitamins and nutrients. Gotta read your nutrition labels, people.

Whew, that was more information than I initially meant to spout out. Sorry to bore you if this type of thing does not interest you in the slightest. Mi mama’s eyes always glaze over whenever I try to share some nutritional knowledge with her. She’d rather just eat and not give it (or anything else) another thought… shocking.

Hmm, now where was I? Oh yes, my cupcake recipe. Because these are gluten-free, they contain some ingredients you’re probably not totally familiar with or do not buy on a regular basis. I assure you, though, that all these items can be purchased at any of your local grocery stores. So don’t be afraid when you see the words “xanthan gum” listed in the recipe.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup millet or fava bean flour

2 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

2 large eggs

1/2 cup light coconut milk

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup applesauce

2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cups.

2) Whisk all dry ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

3) Add wet ingredients and combine with a hand mixer on low for 1 minute until mixed evenly.

4) Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

5) Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

*If you want to make chocolate muffins, add in 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder with the dry ingredients. Follow same directions as stated above.

Vanilla Icing Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp softened butter or non-hydrogenated margarine

2-3 tbsp skim milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1) Mix all icing ingredients in a large bowl with hand mixer until thoroughly combined. If too thin, add more sugar. If too thick, add more milk.

2) Divide evenly among cupcakes and top with colored sprinkles (optional).

*If you want to make chocolate icing, add in 2 tbsp cocoa powder. Follow the same directions.

Seriously, these were a huge hit at the birthday party and not even a crumb was leftover to take home to mi papa… or so he thinks. I snuck one into my sombrero when no one was looking and plan on surprising him with it after dinner tonight. I just hope the imprint in the frosting from my head doesn’t turn him off from eating it…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must  be going. I bragged to a few people at the party that I was an expert pumpkin carver and I think they may have just brought over a few for me to carve.

Aye Chihuahua, that’s a lot of pumpkins!!!!