Friday, September 27, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

What can you really say about Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcakes that hasn't already been said?

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
Makes 18 cupcakes
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 TBSP espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree 
1. Line cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and coffee. Stir to mix ingredients.
3. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Scrape sides when needed. Add eggs one at a time and beat to incorporate before adding another egg.
4.  Add 1/3 of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat on low speed to incorporate.  Add half of the milk, beat to incorporate. Repeat twice more, ending with the flour.  Do not over beat.
5. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until incorporated. You might have to mix it by hand to ensure it well incorporated.
6. Spoon batter into cupcake tins; fill 2/3’s full.  Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
7. When done, remove from oven, let cool in pan 15 minutes and remove to baking rack to complete cooling.
8. Top with real whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Garnish with a green straw if you're feeling sassy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Custom Fit Meals Review and Promo Code

As a Paleo practitioner for three-ish years, I've come across countless rounds of people who have told me they were going to give the Paleo lifestyle a try, only to throw in the towel a few days in because they couldn't keep up in the kitchen. And also because, like Lindsay Lohan, they just couldn't turn down an opportunity to get white girl drunk. Either way, they probably would have been a lot more likely to stick with their newfound healthy lifestyle if they had a live-in chef...or maybe just Custom Fit Meals.

Custom Fit Meals is a meal-order delivery service specializing in Paleo, Primal, and otherwise "clean" eating ready-to-eat meals. I've told you about another similar meal-order business before here, but this one is a bit different because you actually get to choose the meals you want as opposed to just getting whatever is provided from a pre-determined menu. Not only that, but they only use grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, pastured pork, and organic local produce! PLUS, they have breakfast!! I'm sure a lot of you are all like "breakfast is the easiest to take care of, lazy!" but SCREW YOU! I wanted to be able to order my breakfast just as I would my lunch or dinner, and with CFM I can, so suck it!

But none of that matters if the food isn't good, so I took one for the team and tried a few dishes for you. I've created a completely arbitrary rating system for basically no other purpose than to use my face as scale, so make of it what you will! 

First up, breakfast. 

This is Bacon, Eggs, and sweet muffins:
I'll say this--their presentation isn't necessarily gorgeous, but they do what they can I guess. Presentation aside though, this was DELICIOUS! The sweet muffins were more like sausage cups filled with sweet potato mash, which was great, just not what I expected. The eggs were fluffy and not the least bit overcooked or rubbery, which I was initially worried about. And even though they were covered in bell peppers (one of the only foods I truly hate), I still thought this was an excellent breakfast.
RATING: (out of 5 Melissa faces)

The Breakfast Bowl

Another breakfast, this time, plated on a dish which made for a much prettier meal:
Again, every bite of this was fantastic--the eggs perfectly cooked, the sausage excellently seasoned and a delicious gravy, which there sadly wasn't enough of IMO since it pretty much got absorbed by the sausage after I microwaved it. The thing that really impressed me about this (and every other meal I ate) was how well seasoned, without being salty, everything was. 


Sweet Potato Pancakes
Y'all, I was enjoying my meals so much that sometimes, I just forgot to take pictures with my good camera, so you'll have to settle for a few iPhone pics here. This was the breakfast I was looking forward to the most (Sweet Potato Pancakes?!?!?), but it was not at all what I was expecting. Maybe they mislabeled my meal, but the only sweet potatoes were in mash form, dotted with raisins. Delicious, yes, but pancakes? No.


Let's turn our attention to the lunches/dinners.

Chicken Pot Pie
I was highly skeptical of this before taking a bite. The chicken I was used to from the other meal delivery service was usually really dry, so I was expecting the same experience. I was happily surprised from bite one when the chicken was tender and moist and well seasoned throughout. Plus, the cinnamon sweet potato topping was a delicious accompaniment to the savory chicken filling! Winner, winner, chicken pot pie dinner!


Mango Chicken Salad On-the-Go
This was one of my favorites of the whole week! The chicken was perfectly cooked again, but the fruity and slightly sweet dressing on the salad was exactly what I was in the mood for that day for lunch. Plus, the fact that it's served chilled makes it easy to eat on-the-go. (Can you believe I only just now figured out that reference in the name...??)


Spaghetti Bolognese
I'm not a big spaghetti squash fan in general, which is why this is one of my all-time favorite recipes. But I do love a good bolognese and was eager to see how CFM's would be. Not even the spaghetti squash could slow me down eating this. Another perfectly seasoned dish and hearty portion to boot! Generally, I finish a meal with several good bites left and hand it to Kyle to eat my "trash," but there was nary a morsel left when I was finished, it was that good.


Buffalo Chicken Salad On-the-Go
Another iPhone shot of my half-eaten meal, another cold lunch. This time, it was a buffalo chicken salad served over a carrot and jicama slaw. The spicy/sweet combination was delish. I was also impressed with how well the slaw held up--it wasn't watery at all!

RATING:  and a half

This was by far the tastiest meal-order system I've ever tried, and given the--what I think is reasonable price because I shop almost exclusively at Whole Foods--price ($100 for 10 meals), it's a total no-brainer! The only thing you have to worry about is whether they deliver to your 'hood, which you can check here (make sure you're not using Google Chrome. I know...the one downside of the whole thing).

When I randomly met their VP of sales Scott in my apartment building, I immediately told him I had a blog with legions of fans (so I may have embellished...) and told him that if he wanted to give me some meals I'd try them and review them for all of you. He was generous enough to oblige and y'all get to be on the receiving end of my good fortune, because not only were ALL the meals entirely delicious--literally don't have a single complaint about any of the meals that I tried--he has also graciously extended a 10% discount on everyone's first week of orders! Use the code "CupcakesOMG" at check out. Then come back here and tell me what you ordered!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Not So Hidden Valley: Paleo Ranch Dressing

Let's not mince words: Ranch dressing is delicious. If you don't agree, might I point you here? I mean, don't get me wrong...I'm not of the "RANCH ALL THE THINGS!!!" camp, but I have been known to dip my Buffalo wings in a side of the stuff and I'm certainly not above pouring that shit all over a boring salad!!
Since adopting a paleo lifestyle though, Ranch dressing, even as a CONCEPT, has been off limits. Instead, I've had to get by on like, olive oil and balsamic crap or whatever else I can figure out to emulsify with vinegar (though this isn't bad a'tall). But salad dressing impersonators be damned! Because I've found a paleo Ranch dressing that is so good, I will never buy the bottled crap again!
I made this salad just so I could enjoy this dressing, btw.

Happy face lettuce leaf says "make this salad dressing...or the lady eats me!" (Spoiler alert: he's dead now.)

Paleo Ranch Dressing
By Paleo Table
  • 1 cup paleo mayonnaise
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk, shaken
  • 1-2 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced into a paste with a bit of Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Whisk all ingredients to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in the refrigerator for however long it doesn't go bad.

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