Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

I love summer best of all, but pumpkin anything and holiday treats help me make it through fall and winter. This fall I am on a mission to find THE perfect pumpkin cupcake. I found several on the internet this weekend, but when I stumbled on one that was chocolate I knew I had to try that one first!

Mamma graciously agreed to be my sous chef and even assisted in gathering the ingredients for a photo!

Pumpkin Ale Cupcake ingredients

I admit I was a little dubious about this recipe at first. I love pumpkin and I love chocolate, but I wasn’t sure how they would be together. As pumpkin was my primary flavor objective, I decided to up the pumpkin on this recipe. Instead of just using the pumpkin ale, I also added 3/4 cup of pumpkin. I cut down the amount of sour cream to about 3 tablespoons.

I found the original recipe here.
I’ve never understood exactly what adding one egg at a time really does to enhance the recipe, but nevertheless, I followed the instructions. (This time anyway.)
Yep, there’s pumpkin beer in there! Yum!
And now it’s getting chocolatey!

True to the recipe instructions, the batter is very runny, but don’t worry!

And in we go!

As the batter is fairly thin and runny it is easy to drip where you don’t want it to. No matter, just scrap that off with your fingers (feel free to take a little taste!)

And now we bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I often find cooking times unreliable, but 25 minutes was right on the nose for this. The recipe does say this makes 24 cupcakes. Our batch actually made 30 cupcakes. I think the secret to pretty cupcakes is to not overfill each cupcake well. This also means more cupcakes, yah!

I think these cupcakes would be great with just a basic cream cheese icing, but the buttercream icing recipe is also quite yummy.

Pumpkin spice buttercream icing ingredients

We decided to cut the icing recipe in half and we had plenty to ice each yummy cuppycake!

Yum!!!

And now for the final touch.

Aren’t they beautiful?

This recipe turned out to be a lot of fun. The combination of rich dense chocolate flavor combined with the spicy pumpkin and pumpkin ale flavors was very unique. I would definitely make these again.

If you know of any pumpkin recipe I should try, please let me know!

Wine for dinner

I’m sure this never happens to my food blogger idols like the Pioneer Woman, but sometimes supper just doesn’t work out like you hoped it would. There are some nights you plan to go home and get into your pjs straight after work and have wine or perhaps a can of icing for supper, but some days it’s just a last resort.

My Dad (bless his heart) tried to make hamburgers in a basket for our supper tonight and it was a dismal failure. Perhaps dismal is too strong a word. It really wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t good but we are apparently food snobs in my family and refused to eat it. Hamburgers in a basket is sort of a 70’s fabulous dinner item that is an old favorite of ours. We haven’t had it in quite awhile and Daddy thought it was a good idea to break out an old favorite.

The recipe is simple. You put a hamburger patty in a packet made of tin foil and top it with sliced potatoes, onions, carrots and green pepper. Season it all well and put it in the oven for about an hour. The secret is in the seasoning. My Dad always accuses Mamma and me of over salting everything. The secret to the recipe really is in the seasoning though. You have to coat this stuff down with salt, pepper, seasoned salt and Worcestershire.

***We interrupt this blog post with a message from Mamma***

“Why are you putting that recipe in a blog. I’ve always hated that recipe. It’s not good. The potatoes don’t cook up crispy enough in that foil,” says Mamma.

Well, clearly after all these years Mom has decided to confess her hatred of hamburgers in a basket. I agree with her that the potatoes don’t get crispy. However, if it is seasoned correctly I still think this is a fast and easy weeknight menu item. One pot (or packet of foil, as the case may be) meals are always good for busy week nights.

Unfortunately, Daddy seems to have a seasoning phobia and failed to put enough salt, pepper, seasoned salt or even Worcestershire sauce on the burgers in a basket. Flavorless meat and veggies are just a major bummer. If you decide to try burgers in a basket, salt, pepper and season till your heart’s content. I promise it will be good. I think some Tony Cachere’s would be great on it! Maybe I’ll try that next time.

Sadly, tonight’s supper was a failure so we ended up eating cheese, crackers, olives and wine for supper.

Really the only downside to having large amounts of wine and cheese as a meal on a Tuesday night is that it may make you feel like crying at random commercials like the University Phoenix of Commercial. Are they really using Amazing Grace as the background music?

Sunday Dinner

Our menu for tonight’s dinner promises to be very exciting. We are trying several new recipes shared with us by friends and making up a few recipes of our own. It’s really a joint effort between myself, my boyfriend and my mom. I confess, they are doing most of the work. I’m more the idea person! (Teehee)

The pork loin was rescued from the freezer and we searched various cookbooks and the internet for a recipe before finally deciding to make up our recipe. A friend of ours makes a fantastic dry rubbed pork loin and we used his seasonings. Unfortunately, we didn’t exactly have the measurements so we pulled some spices out of the spice drawer and started dumping stuff in the bowl!
Spice line up for our dry rub
The spices in our dry rub are kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, hot paprika, dry mustard and course ground pepper. Dump desired amount into bowl and mix together then smash it into your meat (I made boyfriend do that part!)
Yummy spiced up pork loin all ready for the grill!

The pork loin should be cooked on low heat for a long time! Meat should have an internal temperature of 170 when done. Hey, I told y’all this wasn’t one of those detailed food blogs. 🙂

 Our next menu item was recommended by a family friend. This recipe combines a vegetable with one of our all-time favorite ingredients. . .bacon! Cut a cabbage head into four quarters, sprinkle with salt, pepper and seasoned salt. Wrap with two strips of bacon. Wrap bacon-wrapped cabbage quarters tightly in foil and cook on the grill for 45 minutes to an hour. The bacon wasn’t quite crispy enough for us so we unwrapped them and put them in the oven on broil for about 5 minutes. YumEE!
We need a fun name for these!
Our sweet cousins brought us a whole bunch of jonagold apples that they picked straight from an orchard in Ohio. We just had to incorporate these beauties into our meal. We threw in a pan with a stick of butter, brown sugar, white sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It’s fruit! It’s good for you. Yum!
Yummy Fried Apples

So just to recap, we had grilled pork loin, bacon wrapped grilled cabbage, twice baked potatoes and cinnamon apples. We were all pretty much stuffed by the time we finished eating, but it was all delicious!
Our decadent Sunday dinner
Close shot of the pork loin. Yum!

Many thanks to Mamma and Morgan (that’s my boyfriend;) who helped (ok, did most of the work) put this meal together. Yum!

Cheers and Pork!

Steak and pumpkin cake

Our annual Pumpkin Festival is this weekend and I volunteered to bake some pumpkin goodies for a charity bake sale. I really wanted to try to bake these pumpkin nutella muffins, but I decided instead on this pumpkin pound cake recipe.

Pumpkin Pound Cake

I thought the overall flavor of the cake was nice, although it could have been more pumpkiny (is that a word?) The cake called for a glaze, but frankly, I’m just not a glaze kinda girl. Since it was for a charity bake sale I also thought it would be less messy without any icing. If I make this recipe again, I would definitely ice it with a cream cheese frosting.

When fall arrives, I become a pumpkin junkie! If you know of any other great pumpkin recipes I should try, please let me know! And now on to my other culinary adventures of the evening. . .

Tonight for dinner we had one of my all time favorite meals ever, steak, baked potato and salad. Sadly, I have realized that I am actually quite content to just eat steak and potato and forget the salad. Oh, yes, and garlic bread. I do adore garlic bread! Yum!

Steak, Salad, Wine & Garlic Bread. Yum! Yum!

Since we are such good friends, I will share my secret steak recipe with you. If you are a steak purist, like my boyfriend, you may not care for this, but if you like a steak with a little kick, you will love it! I put a small splash of olive oil in a deep pan and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, then I lay the steak in the pan. I prefer a t-bone, preferably one with a large filet side! I sprinkle both sides of the steak with an unflavored meat tenderizer, white pepper (you know it’s my favorite!) and garlic powder. Then I coat the entire thing in Tony Cachere’s creole seasoning. I adore creole seasoning! I think I could actually just eat this stuff right out of the container. Ok, maybe not, but it is yummy! After I put the creole seasoning on the meat, I sprinkle a few more dashes of Worcestershire. I like to let this marinate for a few hours, but even if I don’t have time for all that, I still use this same method and it makes the steak very flavorful. A few minutes before putting on the steak on the grill, I add a sprinkle of kosher salt to the meat. This steak is so good I actually lick the bone when I’m through! YumEE!

I always like to serve a nice hearty red wine with steak. In the above photo is a bottle of Castle Rock Petit Verdot that I bought at the beach this summer. (I confess this was taking awhile back as I was too intent on chowing down to actually take any pictures tonight.) Tonight we had Cupcake Malbec, which was excellent!

Cheers!