Miami Vice Cupcakes

It’s my birthday!

Let’s celebrate with cupcakes!

If I had to pick my FAVORITE flavour of cupcake, and I’d only be able to eat that kind for the rest of my life, these would be it.  As much as I love the Irish car bomb cupcakes and the pina colada cupcakes, I’d rather eat these cupcakes.

And while I actually made these cupcakes a couple of weeks ago as a farewell to one of my coworkers who was leaving to go back to school, if I’d had time to make myself birthday cupcakes and wasn’t making Michael birthday cupcakes tomorrow, I’d have made another batch of these for myself.

Hands down best buttercream frosting ever!

I think one of the reasons I love these so much is because it was my favorite drink at the first Carribbean resort I stayed at.

I’d never even heard of a Miami Vice before, but I saw some people on my grad trip drinking them, and once I found out they were like a strawberry pina colada, I knew I had to try them.

Strawberry, pineapple, and coconut flavours?  You know I’m in!

When I found this recipe in the Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes, I was reminded of that delicious cocktail and it sealed the deal and convinced me to buy the book.  Did I need another cupcake cookbook?  No.  But I needed these cupcakes.

And they didn’t disappoint.

Miami Vice Cupcakes

(Slightly adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything, as found in Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes)

Makes 12 cupcakes

3/4 cups strawberries, hulled and cut in half (I’ve used both thawed frozen and fresh, either work)

1/4 cup lite coconut milk

3/4 tsp coconut extract

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup minus 2 tbsp flour

1 tsp baking powder

6 tbsp butter, softened

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp crushed pineapple, from a can, drained

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

Blend berries in a blender until smooth.  The puree should measure 1/2 cup.  If not, puree more berries.  Pour 1/3 of the puree into a small bowl and add coconut milk, coconut extract, and vanilla.  Stir.  Save the rest of the puree for later.

In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour and baking powder.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer for two minutes until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat well.  Then add a third of the flour mixture alternating with half of the berry mixture, mixing on low speed in between additions until just blended.  Once finished, stir in pineapple.

Scoop batter into prepared tin.  Bake 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Frost with Miami Vice Frosting.

Miami Vice Frosting

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup shortening

4 tbsp lite coconut milk

2 tbsp reserved strawberry puree

1 tsp coconut extract

1 tbsp pineapple juice

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups icing sugar

Beat together butter and shortening with an electric or stand mixer.  Add all other ingredients except sugar and mix to combine.  Add the sugar in two additions, mixing to combine.  Beat until light and fluffy.

You need these in your life!  I promise you won’t regret making them!

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Ever since the Olympics closing ceremony, I’ve been in love with One Direction!

Michael’s been going on about how awesome and popular they are with the masses for ages, because he listens to satellite radio and they discuss such things.  While I listen to poor people (free) radio.  Apparently, you’re more hip and up on current trends if you listen to rich people radio.

Anyways, point is… What Makes You Beautiful is my new favorite song, and it totally made my day when it was on the radio as I was driving to work on Saturday and I think I should start listening to it every day before work because it makes me happy.  I was singing it in my head all morning and my mood was greatly improved.

But how come the One Direction boys are so young?  I mean, they look like they’re fifteen.  When did I get so old?

But I’m glad the boy band is making a comeback.  Remember this?  Or this? Now there was a boy band.

The Backstreet Boys had dance moves.  Where are One Direction’s dance moves?

I regret not going back to Vegas last year to see NKOTBSB’s concert.

I did see BSB in concert once.  It was in 2010, so not in their hay day.  But still, it was a life goal accomplished.  I may have had chemo that day, but I didn’t let that, or my low white blood cell count stop me from seeing them.  I think my doctor and the nurses thought I was crazy.  They just didn’t understand.

Anyways, so after spending my Saturday night watching One Direction and Backstreet Boys music videos on Youtube, I’ve decided I need more boy bands in my life.  So I made a boy band playlist on Grooveshark and spent my Sunday blaring their soothing tunes from my laptop and dancing around as I did some baking.

In other news, this pineapple salsa is delicious!

Total fruit-in-my-food convert right here.  Fruit is not just for snacking people!  It’s great in salsa and on top of chicken.  That recipe is coming Friday.  Stay tuned folks!  It’s delicious!

But you can also eat this salsa with nachos.  I know I did.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

(from The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski)

1 pineapple, cored and sliced into 6 rings

1 red pepper, cut in half and seeded

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

1/4 red onion, diced

Handful cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Heat grill to medium.  Grill the pineapple rings and pepper halves about 4 minutes per side, until heated through and marked with grill lines.  Remove from grill and let cool.

Once cool enough to handle, dice the pineapple and pepper into small pieces.  Put everything in a bowl and stir to combine.

Let’s get a discussion going here people.  What’s your favorite Backstreet Boys’ song?  Mine is I Want It That Way.  Or More Than That.  We can also discuss your favorite Backstreet Boy.  Mine is Brian.  So jealous he’s married already.

Happy Monday!

Pineapple Mango Sunshine Smoothie

I’m still hearting hardcore on the Vitamix.  I think since I’ve got it, I’ve used it two or three times a day.  I love playing with my new toy blender.

I tried the bacon cheddar potato soup and turned out so creamy and delicious!  And it really did get steaming hot!  You just have to cook the potatoes first (which I did in the microwave).  I can’t wait for winter so I can eat soup straight out without having hot flashes…. wait that’s a lie.  I much prefer flip flop weather to soup season, but at least the thought of Vitamix soups will make future winters easier to bear.

For the past couple of years I’ve made a smoothie every morning with my breakfast.  Michael always makes them for me when I’m at his place.  That’s what got me started on the smoothie kick.  Then I started making them for myself in an attempt to increase my fruit intake.  Plus frozen fruit is a convenient and economical alternative to fresh fruit, and you don’t have to worry about eating it all up before it goes bad.

Usually the smoothie consists of vanilla yogurt, some sort of frozen fruit, and orange juice.  Occasionally I’ll mix it up by substituting pineapple juice for orange, and I’ve tried adding coconut milk before.  This concoction I had the other morning was my best switch up to date!

It’s a beautiful sunny yellow and tastes like sunshine in a glass.  A wonderful way to start the day!

Pineapple Mango Sunshine Smoothie
 
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks 
1/2 cup orange juice
2 large heaping spoonfuls of pineapple coconut banana yogurt (Source makes one in their Exotik collection)
 
Put all ingredients in blender and blend on high until smooth.
 

What a wonderful way to wake up your day!

If You Like Pina Colada (Cupcakes)

My sister had a birthday recently.  Not just any birthday… it was the big THREE – OH.

 

 

And saying goodbye to your twenties requires cupcakes.

 

 

She requested pina colada flavored ones.  Well, actually she requested the ones I made that time that I put the cherries on.  Which were the Grin and Bake It pina colada cupcakes with regular buttercream (see link below).  Since then, I’ve found this recipe for pina colada cupcakes and doctored up the buttercream.

These are WAY better.

 

 

Let’s just say I piped the left over frosting right from the bag into my mouth.

And the flavor combo plays right into my post-vacation obsession with things that remind me of Hawaii – like pineapple and coconut.

 

 

I don’t know what thirty will feel like (I’ll be there soon enough), but like my dad says, you’re only as old as you feel.  He says he feels like he’s twenty-five.  I still feel like I’m twenty-three.  That was a good year.  I think I’ll stay there.

So HAPPY THIRTIETH BIG SISTER!  I’m sorry we forgot to sing you “Happy Birthday.”

 

 
Pina Colada Buttercream Frosting
(adapted from Grin and Bake It)
 
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
6 tbsp milk
1 tsp coconut extract
1/2 tsp rum extract
1 tsp pineapple juice
6 cups icing sugar
 
Beat shortening and butter in stand mixer.  Add milk, extracts, and juice and beat until smooth (about 2-3 minutes).  Add icing sugar in stages, about 1 cup at a time until incorporated.  Once all sugar is added, beat until fluffy.  Add food coloring if you want.
 
Pina Colada Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
(slightly adapted from Betty Crocker’s Big Book of Cupcakes)
 
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp rum extract
1 14 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice
1/4 cup milk
 
Preheat oven to 350º.  Prepare cupcake pan with liners.
 
Mix flour and baking powder in bowl and set aside.
 
Beat butter with electric mixer at medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Add sugar about 1/4 of a cup at a time, beating in between additions.  Once all added, beat another 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one.  Add extracts and mix. 
 
Drain pineapple, saving the juice.  Mix the milk with about 60ml (2 oz) of the juice.
 
Add flour mixture in thirds alternating with half of the milk/juice mixture, mixing at low speed until combined.  Stir in pineapple.
 
Scoop batter into prepared pan.  I use an ice cream scoop.
 
Bake about 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan about five minutes and then cool on rack. 
 
Make frosting while cupcakes cool. 
 
When cool, frost cupcakes with spatula or by piping.  I garnished mine with cherries, inspired by Grin and Bake It.
 
 

 

Yum yum yummy in my tummy!

 
 
 

The One With All The Flight Delays

Aloha!

I have made it across the country and back… barely.

I had a FABULOUS time and fell completely in LOVE with Hawaii!  I would even consider moving there, except for the fact it is probably unbearably hot in the summer, and there is the potential for many natural disasters (earthquakes, volcano eruption, hurricane, tsunami…)

The unfortunate part is that the already long journey was made even longer by flight delays… going both ways!  How does someone have rotten luck and end up getting delayed going and coming back?

On the way there, I was delayed twenty-three hours in San Francisco due to maintenance issues and ended up missing my first day in Waikiki and didn’t get to hike Diamond Head.  Boo.  I was not impressed with United Airlines and their customer service department.  Don’t lie and tell a whole plane that you have the part needed to fix the plane and it will be ready by 6:00 am if you don’t have the part until 7:00 am and it takes five hours to fix once you have the part.  Just sayin’.  Also, how is it possible for the airport catering services not to know about the flight and have the food onboard before the passengers get on the plane, when the flight’s been delayed for twenty hours already?

I always keep a travel journal, and these were some of my observations from those lost hours in the San Franco airport:

  • Always pack your carry-on properly!  You need more than just a change of underwear and a bathing suit.  Deodorant, toothbrush and paste, mouthwash, and face wash are important to feeling like a human being.
  • Business class (aka rich) people and those that make a fuss get better service, unfortunately.
  • It’s quite possible I turned into a zombie, as I couldn’t sleep once I finally got on the plane after being awake for almost forty hours.
  • I watched Breaking Dawn twice in two days and it gave me the will to carry on.
  • Sighting people reading The Hunger Games also kept me going.
  • How do people on The Amazing Race do it?  How could you fly half-way around the world and then go run a leg of the race?

On the way back, I was re-routed through Toronto with a ten hour delay, due to the lovely non-striking pilots of Air Canada who were “sick.”  Thanks a lot.

The good news is, all my planes landed safely, and that is the most important thing.

Then I went to see Brian Adams Sunday night.  Then I had to get up early Monday morning so I could make it back for work in time.  Maybe not the brightest idea I’ve ever had, but it was worth it to see the show!  I can now add Summer of ’69 to the list of my favorite bar songs I’ve seen performed by the original artist.

When I am less zombie-like, I will post more pics and tell you lovely things about my trip, I promise!

This is Happy Pineapple.  He is enjoying views from each of my hotel rooms.  Clockwise from top left: Outrigger Reef on the Beach, Waikiki, Oahu; Aston Islander on the Beach, Coconut Coast, Kauai; Royal Kona, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; Royal Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Maui.