Family Time at Our House!

There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to have that proper family time we all deserve. With busy schedules of work, school, gymnastic, tournaments here and there, projects etc, being able to fit in some quality time can be a bit tricky but can be done.

We have found that for our family the best time is a weekend morning before the day becomes hectic. There are no electronic devices allowed at the breakfast table, everyone must be present the entire time and share whatever is on their minds.  I kind of like it because our daughter is always glued to her handy and this gives us a chance to catch up with her. Teens!!!!!

I decided to treat us to a more American breakfast than what we are use to at the table.  Most Germans eats pretty much the same things at breakfast everyday: cold cuts and bread.  I’m not talking sliced bread, but what is called ‘Brötchen’ meaning small bread.  It’s really more like a little loaf or large roll.  They add cheese and lettuce to the mix or have it with butter and marmalade.  Rarely there are eggs; and if there is it will be boiled.

So for breakfast I did the complete opposite. Instead of cold cuts I made warm turkey bacon. In place of regular boring bread, I made this awesome French toast with scrambled eggs. My husband requested I make those hash browns like I did last year. He thinks they are very American as he reminisced on when we ate at an IHOP in Georgia. He never really forgot those hash browns. 😊 They were awesome!

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We never really use syrup in our house.  My mother-in-law makes the best homemade marmalade.  So there is a never ending supply of the natural fresh goodness.  However, it would not be an authentic breakfast without syrup.  But I opted for Maple which we drizzled on the French toast.

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Threw in some fresh fruits, orange juice and good ole Earl Grey. During this time I was able to get the inside scoop of the latest gossip of the gymnastics team, who didn’t want to compete against who. I learned that my husband had a new colleague a work who smoked like a chimney. And, now all is well with the world. It was perfect!

The Ultimate Carrot Cake Cupcakes w/Mascarpone Frosting

What is Easter without carrot cake? Better yet cupcakes?

When I was growing up my aunt Bea always made the best carrot cakes. I use to watch so intensely to find out what was the secret to her moist masterpiece. Maybe it was the mysterious blend of spices she sprinkled in, or the ratio of cream cheese to butter she added in the frosting. Perhaps it wasn’t the ingredients at all. Could have been her singing while she sifted, mixed and blended with love. Whatever it was, it made for the perfect carrot cake.

So after many years of trial and error, I have come up with my best combination for the most splendid carrot cake.  It is foolproof and simple to make. I guarantee you will be satisfied.

Nothing tops a carrot cake like a creamy frosting. Normally there is no question as to what I whip up. It’s always going to be a cream cheese frosting.  On the other hand, why not try something slightly different. I was feeling a bit frisky. So I found a delightful twist using  Italian mascarpone cheese on a recipe from one of my favorite chefs Ina Garten in her latest book Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust.

To decorate, I made a few carrots out of fondant. Not necessary step.  Just a little something extra that the kids will enjoy and big kids like me too. Picsart2017-13-4--20-46-53

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups grated carrots
  •  ½ cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts, optional

Frosting

  • 12 oz Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; Line the cupcake pan with the cupcake molds.
  2. In the electronic stand mixing bowl, with the paddle attachment, mix oil and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and mix together.
  3. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. On low speed, add half the carrots to the wet mixture. Then add in the dry mixture. Now add the remaining carrots and walnuts. Blend well.
  4. Using a scooper, spoon batter into each cupcake molds. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 5 to 7 minutes. Then remove from pan, place on cooling rack until ready to frost (best to allow cupcakes to completely cool before frosting).

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Frosting

  1. Add all ingredients into a medium bowl or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat until fluffy. Gently spread frosting on top of each cupcake. Plate and serve.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

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Adapted from: My Aunt Bea 🙂

Madeleines with Love

Happy Monday!

Kid you not, I have always wondered about these Madeleines. Are they bite size cakes, are they cookies? Which side is up? Needless to say, I love them, whatever they are.

Madeleines are similar to sponge cake, but a tad bit lighter. These airy-buttery lemon flavored treats are great for breakfast, brunch, as a snack or a sweet addition to nightcap. Lightly dusted with powder sugar, I always have mine with a steaming hot cup of espresso.

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These little beauts are rather easy to make. A few simple ingredients, most of which you can find in you pantry. No really, nothing needed that will send you scrambling to the closest grocers mart.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of flour
  • ¹⁄3 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoon Agave syrup (maple will work too)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Lemon Zest
  • 7 tablespoons melted butter

Instruction

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat madeleine form with butter and flour. Shake off excess.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. With a stand mixer, whisk eggs, zest and sugar together 1 minute. Then add in syrup and water. Alternate between dry ingredients and melted butter, adding to mixture. Whisk for 5 minutes or until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Cover bowl with a cloth and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. In the prepared form using a spoon, fill each madeleine slot with batter. Be careful not to over fill. On the center rack, bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Dust with powder sugar and serve!

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