Delicious Rum Raisin Cupcakes

This past week was my parent’s Anniversary and I wanted to make something different for them. My father’s favorite ice cream flavor is Rum Raisin, and flowers just seem to be a staple for anniversaries. So, naturally I combined the two to come up with a Rum Raisin Cupcake Bouquet! Naturally!

I did use Bobby Flay’s Recipe for this and it is a phenomenal recipe. This will be making an appearance at Thanksgiving for sure!

 

Rum Raisin Cupcakes

 

Ingredients

Buttercream Icing:

1 1/2 Cups Golden Rum 8 Ounces Butter, Softened
1 Tablespoon Sugar 4 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
1 Cup Golden Raisins 8-9 Cups Confectioners Sugar
2 Teaspoons Rum Extract

Cupcakes:

2 1/2 Cups Cake Flour 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda 1 1/4 Sticks Butter, Melted
1/2 Teaspoon Salt 1 Cup Buttermilk, Room Temp
1 3/4 Cup Sugar 3 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Rum Extract 6 Egg Yolks, Room Temp
3 Egg Whites, Room Temp

Directions:

Buttercream

1. Bring rum and cane sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiled, remove it from the heat and add in the raisins. Set aside for 4 hours or more. I started the cupcakes at this point. 

2. Strain the raisins and finely chop them. Set the raisins aside for the cupcakes. Bring the strained rum to a boil in a small saucepan and reduce it to a 1/4 cup. Remove it from the heat and let it cool completely before you add it to the buttercream. 

3. Combine the butter and cream cheese in a mixer at medium speed with a whisk attachment until it is light and fluffy. Add 3 cups of confectioners sugar and continues whipping. Then add in 3 more cups of the powdered sugar. Add the cooled, reduced rum mixture and rum extract. Continue adding the powdered sugar until you achieve the texture and flavor you desire. The thicker, the easier to pipe and mold. 

Cupcakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1 1/2 cups cane sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg together. You can use a sifter to make the mix even lighter. In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter (cooled slightly), buttermilk, oil, vanilla, rum extract, and yolks in a medium sized bowl. 

2. In the mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs until they they are light and fluffy. Add in 1/4 cup of cane sugar and beat again until stiff peaks form. Set the egg whites aside. 

3. In a separate mixer bowl (or clean out the egg white bowl), add the flour mixture. Gradually add in the butter mix, while stirring at medium-low speed. 

4. Using a spatula, fold in the egg white mix. You will notice a drastic change in texture. Then fold in the cooled raisins. Spoon them into cupcake tins with liners. Fill the cupcakes 3/4 full and bake for about 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

5. Frost with the butter cream!

Rum Raisin Cupcake Steps

 

They came out fantastic! There are definitely a few steps to make these, but it’s worth it!

 

What is the craziest flavor of cupcake you have made?

Mount Washington Part 3

Just about two years ago, I wrote about our summiting of Mt. Washington for the 2nd time and mentioned that we aimed to do it every other year. Well…it was time.

The previous 2 times, we have climbed Tuckermans’ Ravine, which is one of the more popular trails. This year, I wanted to try something new. After a little research, we settled on the second most popular trails on the opposite side of the mountain. Ammonoosuc and Jewell. We climbed the Ammonoosuc Trail to the top and ventured down Jewell.

IMG_3502Jewell was an easier slope down and helped avoid the slippery rocks that you find on Ammonoosuc.

It is definitely a little intense looking up in the clouds and know that’s where you are walking to. You can’t even see the summit.

 

 

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The hike itself was absolutely beautiful. It was so scenic and kept you mesmerized the entire hike. The trail follows a beautiful waterfall up until you break the tree line.

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Bacon loved every time there was a little pool for him to jump in and cool off.

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If you can’t tell from the pictures, it was a steep slope and unlike Tuckermans, there weren’t nicely laid out stairs for you to walk up. It made you concentrate a lot more on where you were stepping. But the views were just incredible.

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Brent is TERRIFIED of heights, and would die if he knew what was behind him. He was hilarious to watch climb, simply because he wouldn’t turn around to look at the amazing views. Instead, I decided to snap pictures to show him after he “Was on solid, flat ground” as he described it.

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Just about half way, there is a larger hut that allowed you to warm up a little and take a seat to fuel up. In the picture above, you can see the post amongst the clouds that marks the summit. It is about 1.8 miles away. Not too bad right?!

Just after the hut, there is a really pretty lake…or perhaps an infinity pool??!

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Once we reached the clouds, pictures became impossible. Visibility was just about 10ft so unfortunately, we weren’t able to get any pictures of the views from top. We did grab a picture at the summit marker though.

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Literally, standing in a cloud. It’s cold, windy, and rainy. In case you were wondering. The weather at the summit was 42 degrees with a 20mph wind. So it felt like 32. Chilly.

Once we were at the bottom again, we had to snap a photo of where we just were. See those clouds??

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OOHHH YEAAA.

We are already talking about our next hiking/camping trip and maybe doing a smaller mountain. No need to do the highest peak on the east coast every time. But knowing us, go big or go home.

What’s your favorite hiking mountain??

 

Eggplant Parm Make Over

This weekend, Brent and I were sitting out on our porch talking about what foods we wanted to get for the week. After spending about a year with my parent’s, Brent picked up the love for Eggplant Parm. It’s become a running joke that it’s one of the only ways we can get him to willingly eat veggies.

I haven’t really been eating pasta all too often and wasn’t really feeling the heaviness of it. It’s not on my summer food loving list. Immediately, the idea was born. Spaghetti squash Eggplant Parm.

The recipe below is actually a combination of two that I have done before. Baked Eggplant and just a typical Spaghetti Squash.

Eggplant Parm Makeover

Ingredients:

1 Large Eggplant 3 Eggs
1 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs 1 16oz Jar Tomato Basil Red Sauce
2 Medium Sized Spaghetti Squash 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste 1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

Directions:

Spaghetti Squash:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut each squash in half and remove the seeds. Spread the olive oil over the inside of half and place them face down on a baking sheet. Bake them for 40 minutes or until the outside has become soft or wrinkly.

2. Let them cool off to the side for a few minutes. Then take a fork to the inside of them and scrape the squash from the inside. It will turn into strings. Place the squash in a bowl.

Eggplant:

1. Slice the eggplant in even slices with 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch width, depending on your preference. It’s more important to make them even.

2. In a flat dish with edges, whip up the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water until it is uniform. Place the bread crumbs on a separate plate. Take a slice of eggplant, place it in the eggs mixture until well covered, then transfer it to the bread crumb plate and cover it with the crumbs. Don’t forget to do the sides!

3. Put the eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Once all of the slices are finished, bake them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, flip them over and bake for another 15 minutes or until as crispy as you want.

4. To serve, top the squash with the eggplant and finish with some red sauce and mozzarella.

DONE! You can make the squash and the eggplant at the same time. So don’t wait for the squash to finish in the oven before starting the eggplant.

Eggplant Parm Make Over Steps

Brent took a bite of it and I quote, “This may be the best thing I have ever eaten.” Words like this are really rare because normally I get, “Yea, it’s good.” And it’s a plate of veggies!! This will be making another appearance.

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I used a new red sauce for this as well, and it was delicious. I would recommend you give it Rao’s Homemade Red Sauce a try. You could make this gluten free by just substituting gluten free bread crumbs.

Have you ever changed a favorite and had it turn out better?

 

Design-A-Bar

Just last week, I was contacted by Chairish to design a Bar space that was inspired by some of their bar stools. Initially, I was excited at the opportunity to get a bit creative and create a dream bar room, but quickly realized that designing rooms from scratch really isn’t the easiest thing. Especially when it’s not something I do on the norm.

Either way, when I first looked at their bar stools, this yellow bar stool really jumped out at me. I love bright and happy colors.

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When moving on from there, I decided to tone down the modern feel of them and bring out more of an outdoors, rustic feel. More my taste. So, when you throw it all together…this is what I came up with!

 

Chairish Collage

I also loved these two pieces as accents:

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Just to dive into it a little, I found the table here and absolutely loved the natural wood look of it. They do have a bar height to work well with the yellow chairs. I then spotted the blue mason jar hanging lights and that was the deciding factor for me.

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As a larger, storage piece for barware, bottles etc, this larger chest would do the trick. As well as this incredible, leather strap wine holder. I just LOVED the leather strap detail. The tall, vintage pots also added a nice country feel. I love that kind of pottery.

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Lastly, for some smaller items and to tie the room together, I added some glassware as well as cow hide rug. It’s not everyone’s taste but I love them for some reason. Not to forget the walls, these burst wall hangings just added another piece of texture to the room.

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All of the pieces, except for the bar table, were found on Chairish.com. It was quite fun looking through everything that had on their site. You can really find some interesting pieces that span just about any taste.

I had fun designing this bar room and I think it would be interesting to see what it would look like all set up.

How would you describe your taste and what would your ideal bar room look like?

A Happy, Throwback Running Playlist

Usually, when I’m running, I listen to Pandora and just select a radio station that I think will motivate me for the next 45 minutes. Pit Bull Radio is a favorite and recently it’s been Workout Radio. However happy and upbeat, or pumped up the song is, it’s rare that one will really get me excited about it.

Ergo…I’ve started back into the crazy world of making playlists. Considering I have just about no music on my iTunes (I lost all 5500 songs when my college computer died), I’ve been trying to be selective on which songs I actually download.

I made this playlist while looking for some motivating throwbacks. Songs that you don’t really hear on the radio today and songs that bring me back to training on teams in high school and college.

Running Playlist

Flashdance…What a Feeling: Irene Cara

Magic: B.o. B. (feat. Rivers Cuomo)

Gonna Make you Sweat: C + C Music Factory

All for You: Kate Ryan

I Wanna Dance With Somebody: Whitney Houston

Walking on Sunshine: Katrina and the Waves

Walking on Broken Glass: Annie Lennox

Hit Me WIth Your Best Shot: Pat Benatar

Let’s Hear it For the Boy: Deniece Williams

Barracuda: Heart

Call On Me: Eric Prydz

Heaven is a Place on Earth: Belinda Carlisle

Brent…thought this also made a great 5AM road trip playlist, so guess what we jammed to on our trip out to Michigan?! After that interesting car ride, I’m going to change it to an after 8AM playlist because I need my coffee before I listen to Brent belting out What a Feeling. It was a very enthusiastic rendition.

Barracuda, in this play list, was a great decision. I was just about sprinting when that song came on.

What is your favorite workout song??