Sunday, September 29, 2013

postheadericon Sausage Caprese Bites


I was excited to try the SA Braii line of sausage, as I had seen them at my local farmer's market and had read about the line here, but I had yet to try them.  So when a blogger friend asked if I wanted to be a part of a fall recipe challenge for the brand, I jumped at the chance.

I picked up the sausages at the Wauwatosa Farmer's Market.  They came frozen, which was very convenient, as I didn't end up cooking them until later in the week.

The sausages are not precooked, so as I thought about how I might want to serve them, I did need to keep this in mind.  Being this was the case (and that it was pouring outside the evening I wanted to cook them), I decided to boil the sausages instead of grilling them.  

I was surprised at how little fat the sausages released while being boiled; I was excited to give them a try! 

I am constantly on the search for tasty, hearty and easy appetizer recipes.  I play in a tennis league where the home team hosts after-match treats for the opposing team.  I decided to make a variation of a caprese appetizer.  I really liked them (warm or chilled) and I think you will too!  






Sausage Caprese Bites
featuring SA Braii Sausage 

4-6 links of SA Braii Sausage, defrosted
2 cups beef broth (you could swap out the broth for beer if you would like)
water
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella
approximately 30 toothpicks

Place the sausage in a large sauce pan.  Add beef broth and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  

While the sausages are cooking, slice the mozzarella into bit sized pieces.  

Drain sausages and cut into slices (approximately 6-8 slices per sausage).  



Carefully stack a slice of sausage, mozzarella and cherry tomato.  Secure with a toothpick. This can be served warm or is equally as good if chilled and served the next day.  

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This post is sponsored by SA Braii Sausages, which is a Milwaukee-area, South African sausage company.  Although I was given sausage to try as part of this post, all opinions are my own.  



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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

postheadericon Kelley's Country Creamery (Wisconsin Cheese-cation Part II)

It is almost Labor Day here in Milwaukee.  I know we will have lots of visitors to Milwaukee given it is the 110th Anniversary Party of Harley-Davidson this weekend.  You know what would make a GREAT bike (motor bike, that is) ride from Milwaukee?  A trip to Fond du Lac to visit Kelley's Country Creamery!  

We visited Kelley's as a part of our Wisconsin Dairy tour sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.  I had never been there before (actually, I am not sure I had ever been to Fond du Lac before), but boy was I missing out!

I really like ice cream...it is one of my favorite desserts.  I especially like hard ice cream (custard is more popular here in Wisconsin, it seems), so Kelley's was a real treat.  


So many choices in the freezer.


Kelley's was fantastic!  I tried a flavor called Wedding Cake...it was vanilla ice cream, with chunks of white wedding cake AND a raspberry swirl.  





Usual?  Yes, but Kelley's is known for its unique flavors...more than 230 in all.  

And the best part?  You can look out the window and see the cows that were milked to make the ice cream!  It doesn't get much better than that, folks.  

So, if you are in Wisconsin this weekend or anytime in the near future, visit Kelley's Country Creamery...you will be so glad you did!  

I have one more post regarding my Cheese-cation...last installment coming soon!

Posting here:


Until next time,

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The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board sponsored my Wisconsin Cheese-cation.  All of the thoughts regarding the trip are my own!
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

postheadericon Wisconsin Cheese-cation (Part I)

Hello all,

As you know, I live and work in Wisconsin.  One of my favorite things to do is to combine travel and food and recently, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board gave me the opportunity to spend a weekend touring some of the best of Wisconsin's dairy producers.  Not only was it a great way to get to know my home state, I hope it will convince you to seek out Wisconsin dairy products wherever you may live or even consider visiting Wisconsin to take your own cheese-cation!



Our first stop was at one of Wisconsin's only urban cheese making ventures...Clock Shadow Creamery.  Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the creamery produces its own cheese and also serves as home to several local food producers; one being a local ice cream maker (Purple Door Creamery) and another being an award-winning pimento cheese maker (Martha's Pimento Cheese).  Things have gone so well that Purple Door just announced they are moving down the street to a larger facility..way to go!




Quark with Maple Syrup
Clock Shadow is really well known for reviving a traditional cheese called quark.  You haven't heard of quark?  Well neither had I until this trip.  It sounds like quark is a little like a high-quality ricotta; it can be used in sweet or savory dishes and seems to easily take the flavors of the ingredients in the dish. We didn't happen to try it, but I hear it is great!












My little catered breakfast from Braise...yum!




At Clock Shadow, we had the pleasure of having breakfast catered by Dave Swanson, the owner/chef of Braise, a Milwaukee restaurant in the popular Walker's Point area.  Breakfast was awesome and I enjoyed every bite.  Dave has been a part of the farm to table movement here for quite a while, so it was great to be able to talk in person.












Next we traveled about an hour to the north of Milwaukee to the small town of Theresa, Wisconsin.  This little village is home to the Widmer's Cheese Cellar.  We were able to speak with Joe Widmer, a third-generation cheese maker.


Master cheese maker Joe Widmer telling us about his cheese

Widmer's is well known for its traditional brick cheese.  I have to admit, I thought "brick" cheese just referred to the shape of the cheese.  I now know that traditionally, bricks were (and still are at Widmer's) used to press the cheese.  So I felt pretty silly not knowing that.


Traditional brick cheese in process at Widmer's


Widmer's sells its cheese throughout the US, so look for it in your neck of the woods!




We weren't done yet!  Next was another bus ride about 30 minutes north.  Waiting for us was the Gouda Girls food truck, which specializes in sandwiches featuring cheese.


Is that a cute name or what?!?

What do you think I ordered for lunch?  A mac & cheese stuffed grilled cheese, of course!  OMG it was great!  AND I realized that they are oftentimes stationed for lunch near my office...double score for me!


I must try and recreate this.  So good!


And the trip was just beginning!  We aren't even done with day one!  Can you believe it?  Stay tuned for the rest of my weekend featuring Wisconsin dairy and cheese!

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In full disclosure, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board generously hosted me on this trip, but all opinions are my own.





Sunday, July 21, 2013

postheadericon Quick Swedish Meatballs

Hello Everyone!  I went to the Madison Farmer's Market yesterday (more about this later) and bought these wonderful frozen, handmade meatballs.  They were precooked, so I knew all I needed to do was defrost and reheat them.  

I wanted to cook them tonight, so I thought, "why not cook Swedish meatballs?"  Here is the thing; many Swedish meatball recipes include mushrooms and Bill doesn't like mushrooms.  So I looked at a few recipes and came up with something that I hope would have some depth, but wouldn't include them.  

The resulting recipe was a hit, so I wanted to share it with you!




Quick Swedish Meatballs
by Milwaukee Kitchen

20-25 precooked meatballs, defrosted
1 14 ounce can of low-sodium beef broth
2 TBLS flour
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and peper, to taste
3/4 cup sour cream

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and cold water, set aside.  In a medium saute pan, heat the beef broth to a boil.  Whisk the flour mixture into the boiling broth; reduce heat.  Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Add the defrosted meatballs and allow them to heat in the broth mixture.  When the meatballs and heated, add the sour cream and stir to combine.  Reheat to taste.  

This meal took maybe 15 minutes and was good enough to serve to company.  Give it a try!



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Saturday, July 13, 2013

postheadericon Paris Wine Day Tour

Hello All!  Some of you know that I have been so fortunate to visit Paris the past two summers.  This year, I was able to visit Paris May 20 to 26 and wanted to share with you some of my adventures!

As I had been to Paris before, I really wanted to have some new experiences that would allow me to better understand french culture.  I also wanted to spend more time focused on food and wine this trip, which lead me to looking around Trip Advisor for wine tours near Paris.

I happened to stumble upon Paris Wine Day Tours, which provides English-speaking tourists an authentic wine experience in the Sancerre area of France.  Jean-Bernard is the owner and operator of the company and he seems to accompany all of the tours.  He is very knowledgeable and so sweet/funny...he immediately put me at ease and I didn't feel at all uncomfortable being the "party of one" in the tour.

Jean-Bernard met us at an easy to find bistro in Paris and we loaded up into the Paris WDT van.  Off we went to the south of Paris...even stopping for breakfast and a comfort break on the way!



Our first stop was at a local goat cheese producer, where we sampled different versions of the cheese to get a feel for how aging impacts a cheese.  We were also able to shop in a little shop of locally produced food products.


Tasting how the aging process impacts the taste of goat cheese.


Next we were on a way to one of two wineries in the area, where we met one of the wine makers and, importantly, sampled the wine!  It was great and Jean-Bernard was a great interpreter.


I look like a professional,  no?


In between the two wineries we had a traditional lunch at a local bistro and also spent time at a small (but very informational) wine museum in the small town in the area.


Overlooking the country side. 


 After more wine at the second winery, we were off in the van back to Paris.


Jean-Bernard (in yellow) listening to a wine maker educating us on his craft. 


What a day!  I can't speak highly enough about Jean-Bernard...he was kind, witty and even sent us some photos from our day to download after we got home.


Our group with one of the wine makers...every tour is small enough for you to ask questions, etc.

And most importantly, I learned quite a bit about modern wine making and the issues facing wine makers today.  Although the area we visited is not often times imported to the United States, I brought some wine home with me and continue to feel much more informed when ordering and buying french wines.

So, if you are headed to France, please make arrangements with Jean-Bernard to take a wine tour; you will not regret it!

PS...I used Trip Advisor quite a bit to help me plan my trip.  If you would like to follow me on Trip Advisor, my "handle" is MKEKitchen.

Until next time,

Sara


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Sunday, June 23, 2013

postheadericon Couscous Tabbouleh

Hello All!

Well it was a hot day here in Milwaukee, but I did manage to spend some time outside in the sunshine.  

This time of year is the perfect time for a cold salad.  I think I have told you, but I am in LOVE with Wini Moranville's cookbook, the Bonne Femme Cookbook.  It is just terrific and every dish I have made, Bill has said it is a keeper!  

Tomorrow is tennis and I needed to bring a treat/snack for after the match.  So I pulled out my trusty Bonne Femme Cookbook and found this great recipe for tabbouleh.  Although the original recipe calls for bulgur, I couldn't find it, so I had to mix it up and use couscous.  




Couscous Tabbouleh
Adapted from the Bonne Femme Cookbook

2 cups precooked couscous*
2 cups boiling water
2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1/4 cup diced green onions
3/4 cup diced parsley
3 Tbls fresh lemon juice
3 Tbls olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pour the boiling water into the measured couscous.  Cover and let come to room temperature.  This took about 30 minutes in my kitchen.  Fluff the couscous with a fork.  

Add the tomatoes, green onions and parsley and mix well.  Add the lemon juice and olive oil.  Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.  

This will taste better the next day, when all of the flavors can combine.  




* I found precooked couscous at my grocery store.  I am not sure it is any different than any other couscous; maybe someone will give me a shout out and let me know!

I think you will find this is an easy and refreshing salad for summer.  Enjoy it!  

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Until next time, 


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PS...there are affiliate links in this post.  
Sunday, June 9, 2013

postheadericon Peanut Butter Dessert Dip

Hello all!  I am back from vacation a few weeks ago...so back to the blog!  I play a great deal of tennis over the summers and one of the best parts of one of the tennis leagues I play in is that the home team provides snacks for after the game.

I always feel I am making something at the last minute (that isn't all that yummy), so this year I planned ahead and have been piling up potential "tennis appetizers" on a board on Pinterest!  You can take a look at the board here!

So tomorrow is our first home match, so I decided to bring out the big guns...this awesome sweet dessert dip!  It is a riff on a recipe by Shugary Sweets (who has a great blog of all sorts of yummy treats if you want to visit).  So here it is...a great choice for potluck or even a tennis party.  Enjoy!




Peanut Butter Dessert Dip
mildly adapted from Shugary Sweets

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces of miniature Reece's peanut butter cups

In a small sauce pan, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Allow the butter to melt and come to a boil; as soon as this occurs, remove the mixture from the heat and add the vanilla.  Set the sugar mixture aside and allow it to come to room temperature.

When the sugar mixture is ready, place the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl.  Mix for four minutes, until well blended and fluffy.  Add the sugar mixture and blend well.  Carefully add the peanut butter cups until combined.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.  Serve with Nilla wafers.  This is a great make ahead dish and I hope you give it a try!

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Tuesday update:  This was a hit at the match, even if I lost my match - boo!  One of my teammates mentioned that this is gluten free, so if this is of interest, keep it in mind.  



Until next time,


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Monday, May 6, 2013

postheadericon Where is Sara?

Hi All! I know I have been out of touch lately.  Mostly because I have been working on my final project for a class I have been taking at Marquette.  It was my capstone class in digital storytelling and, God willing, I will graduate with a Certificate in Digital Storytelling in about two weeks!  

My final project was a documentary about Wisconsin Artisan Foods.  The topic was very interesting and although I don't anticipate posting the eight minute video documentary on this blog, I thought I would show you a few of the photos I used as part of my project.  


My project featured a wonderful Wisconsin artisan meat producer: Bolzano Artisan Meats.


Bolzano makes what is probably the BEST salami out there!  

My project also features Lori Fredrich, who is a wonderful food blogger and promoter of everything Wisconsin.  Her blog is the BURP! blog and she recently featured Bolzano Artisan Meat recipes in her blog.  If you are looking for a new blog to follow, I highly recommend Lori's blog.  

So thanks for being patient and know I will be back VERY soon!  I submitted my final paper today, so it's time to get cooking!  

Until next time, 

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

postheadericon Tuna Noodle Pot Pie

Happy Easter!  I am not necessarily known for my timing and this recipe is no different.  I probably should have shared this at the beginning of Lent, but instead am sharing it today!  No matter, this is the BEST tune noodle recipe I have tried.  Bill agrees!  It is easy and tasty!  




Tuna Noodle Pot Pie

3 small cans of tuna (or one big can and one small can)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups cooked small pasta (think rings, small elbows)
1 cup cooked green peas
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 roll of crescent rolls

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Cook the pasta and the peas.  While these items are cooking, mix the tuna, cream of mushroom soup and milk.  Add the garlic powder.  Drain pasta and peas and add them to the tuna mixture.  Add the cheese and mix until combined.  

Pour the tuna mixture into a shallow casserole dish.  Unroll the crescent rolls and lay each on top of the tuna mixture.  Cook in the oven for 25 minutes or until bubbling. 




I have been using garlic butter crescent rolls for this dish, but it is great any which way!  

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

postheadericon Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage



Hello!  Today is St. Patrick's Day, so we just HAD to make this for dinner tonight.  Not that this is that hard to do on the stove, but I wanted to see if I could do it in the slow cooker.  I am actually getting pretty good at modifying "regular" recipes for the slow cooker, so watch out; this could be the first of a series of new slow cooker ideas!

No photo...it pretty much looked just how it should look...let's face it, it isn't the prettiest meal.  I like to smoosh all of the veggies together and add a little butter on top.  Bill looked at me like I was crazy...not his style.  

Anyway you like it, this will taste great!  


Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage


4-5 medium potatoes, also cut into larger chunks
1/2 lb. of carrots, either cut into chunks or just use a bag of baby carrots :)
a larger slab of corned beef
4 cups beef broth
1 head of cabbage, cored and cut into large chunks

Place the slab of corned beef into a large slow cooker.  Cover the beef with potatoes and carrots.  Slowly pour the beef broth over the beef and vegetables.  If the veggies aren't covered by the broth, add water until they are.  Cook on HIGH for eight hours.  

After eight hours, open the cooker and add the cabbage.  Continue to cook for one additional hour.  

That's it!  It is so easy!  You might be able to find some corned beef really marked down this week, or set this aside to try next year.  

Thanks for visiting and see you next week!

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

postheadericon Banana Pudding Cups

You all know that I love bananas.  I really like to look for new banana recipes and I have a Pinterest board dedicated to my favorite fruit.  Take a look:




So I found this easy banana recipe on the Taste of Home website and had to try it...and it turned out great!  Give it a try and take a look at my banana board!


Best Banana Parfait
adapted from Taste of Home

1 cup skim milk
1 package sugar-free banana pudding
1 cup low-fat whipped topping
2 firm bananas, sliced
4 teaspoons graham cracker crumbs

This recipe makes four servings.  Combine the milk and pudding in a bowl and mix to combine.  Fold in the whipped topping and refrigerate for five minutes.

Divide half the pudding mixture between four parfait (or other fun) glasses.  Add the graham cracker crumbs and the sliced bananas.  Top with the remaining pudding.  Serve immediately.




Yummy!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

postheadericon Curried Coconut Carrot Soup

So as I mentioned in a recent post, we are trying to keep it healthy in this Milwaukee Kitchen!  Nothing too radical, just making better choices.  In the spirit of healthy eating, I made a new soup recipe Sunday night for dinner.  It turned out GREAT...nice flavor and came together quickly.  And, can I mention that it was inexpensive?  Not too shabby!  Here you are...




Curried Coconut Carrot Soup
adapted slightly from Women's Health Magazine

1 Tablespoon coconut oil **(see note)
1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped**(see note)
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups coconut water**(see note)
2 Tablespoon lime juice
3 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil.  Add carrots, sweet potato and onion.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften and brown slightly, about 10 minutes.  Add ginger, stir and cook for one minute.  Add broth, bring to a boil, partially cover, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. 

Transfer soup to a blender (or use a stick blender) and puree until smooth.  Add coconut water and blend to combine.  Return the soup to the saucepan, add lime juice, curry powder, and cardamom.  Stir, then heat through.  

***Cook's note: if you don't have or can't find coconut oil, you could use another neutral vegetable oil.  I do highly recommend using the coconut water, which isn't the same as coconut milk.  Lastly, I used my food processor to chop all of the vegetables, which make the prep very easy.  

Enjoy it!

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

postheadericon Greek Lasagna

Well it finally snowed for real here in Milwaukee this week.  We probably got about six inches of snow, but then today, it rained.  What a mess!  A good day to stay home and cook!  

Bill and I have been trying to eat a little more healthy these days.  This might mean fewer desserts featured on Milwaukee Kitchen, as it is hard for two people to eat a dozen cupcakes each week (not that we have been doing that or anything).  

So tonight I pulled out a trusty Weight Watchers cookbook.  If you have access to WW in your area, I highly recommend their cookbooks, even if you are not a WW member.  They are terrific and I have several.  

Tonight we tried a new recipe for me, Greek Lasagna.  It uses no boil noodles, which usually scares me, because I have had bad experiences using them and then having hard noodles for dinner.  Not so here!  Whether you are trying to lose a little weight or not, given this one a try!




Greek Lasagna
adapted from Veg Power!, a Weight Watchers cookbook

1 (15 ounce) container fat free ricotta cheese
1 (10 ounce) packaged chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded fat free mozzarella cheese
4 ounce low fat crumbled feta cheese 
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 jar (about 35 ounces total) fat free marinara sauce
9 no boil lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.  In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, one cup of the mozzarella, feta, spinach, egg and oregano.  Mix well.  

Spread 1/4 of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan,  Press three lasagna noodles in the pan.  Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles.  Spread 1/4 of the sauce on top of the cheese mixture.  Add three noodles.  Add the last of the cheese mixture.  Add 1/4 of the marinara sauce, then the remaining three noodles, then the remaining sauce.  Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. 

Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Let stand for five to ten minutes before cutting.  

Yum!  Enjoy it!

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

postheadericon Bananas Foster Cupcakes

I don't know about you, but bananas seem to multiply in our house.  So, when I was thinking about what recipe to share with you this week, I immediate thought, " how about a way to use some of these bananas?"  And I also thought, "could you make banana cupcakes?"  So I looked on Pinterest and found some banana cupcakes!  Between the cupcakes and the frosting, I used four bananas!  Heck, these things are practically healthy!  Enjoy these!  




Bananas Foster Cupcakes
adapted from Blissfully Delicious

2 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  In a larger mixing bow (I used my stand mixer), beat the butter and sugars.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Continue to beat at a low speed until combined.  

Next, add the flour mixture and milk, alternating each, starting and ending with the flour. 

Fill the cupcake pans (this makes at least a dozen) and bake approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. 

Frosting
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 ripe bananas
approximately 5 cups powdered sugar

Bring butter and bananas to room temperature.  Slowly add the sugar until the frosting at the desired consistency.  

Enjoy!  Please let me know what you think!  Sharing this recipe here: 

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Sara



Sara
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