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Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria

>> May 28, 2012

What's better than a long holiday weekend? A long holiday weekend with Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria! I bet you saw that coming.

Anywho. Memorial Day is one of my most favorite holiday's because it's the kick off to summer! I also love it because I consider myself to be patriotic and I love what the holiday stands for.

And in true American fashion, the best way to celebrate our military and our freedom is to fire up the barbecue, sip a few drinks, and spend some quality time together with those we love!

What better way to celebrate Memorial Day than by watching a movie in the park! Our local park hosts "Movies in the Park" during the summer and they kicked off the summer series this Saturday with "We Bought a Zoo".

Nothing beats sitting under the stars, watching a cute movie, and sipping delicious sangria. My favorite part about sangria is the wine drenched fruit. It's so tasty and super refreshing on a summer night.

You should make this at your next summer party, or on a Tuesday night...whichever tickles your fancy.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria
Adapted from: Martha Stewart

1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
2 Rhubarb Stalks, Chopped in 1/2 inch chunks
2 Oranges
1 Pint of Strawberries, Hulled & Halved
1/2 Cup of Blueberries
4 Cups of Seltzer, chilled
1 Bottle of Prosecco, chilled 

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the syrup is boiling, add the rhubarb and remove from heat. Transfer the rhubarb mixture to a heat proof bowl and allow to cool completely. I used an ice bath because I'm super impatient, but the mixture should completely cool in 30 minutes.

In a pitcher, add the halved strawberries and the juice from one orange. Cut the remaining orange in half and then into 1/4 inch slices and add to the pitcher. 

Add the chilled rhubarb mixture, seltzer, and prosecco to the pitcher and stir to combine. Add the blueberries for a little pop of blue color!



One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Cloud Frosting

>> May 21, 2012

Gah, I love that it takes me roughly three months to write a new blog post. I know, I'm just #thatawesome. Actually it's legit been crazy busy around here. Since my last post this has happened: 
  • Josh moved back from his internship stint in Virginia
  • Josh graduated from Chiropractic School
  • I visited San Francisco
  • Holiday Inn hit 100,000 fans on Facebook
  • Josh completed his last board exam! #woot
  • My cousin's 1st Holy Communion
We've had family & friends in and out of town to celebrate the various goings on so we've been taking time to really hang back and enjoy life. Too often we, get caught up in trying to stick to a strict schedule, or participate in EVERYTHING going on around us. But lately it's been nice to sit back and relax for a little while. 

So these cupcakes were a celebration of all the things that we've accomplished as of late.

Oddly, this was the smallest batch of cupcakes that I've ever baked. The recipe made a grand total of nine. That's right...nine cupcakes. I should have known when I was reading through the recipe that the dimensions were all really small, but of course I didn't. The great thing is that the recipe can be easily multiplied without having to do "higher" math. Or you could just keep the recipe small and simple, as is.

I made these cupcakes to celebrate the Holiday Inn Facebook wall milestone of 100k fans. Which may seem odd, but seeing as I know the gal that manages the page, I think it's quite appropriate!

The great thing about these cupcakes is that they're beyond easy to make, and you can keep your dirty dishes down to a max of two mixing bowls. #score

The cake is super chocolate-y and moist thanks to the addition of brewed espresso in the batter and the frosting is exactly as it sounds. Nutella cloud goodness. You must try some. today.

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from: Sweetapolita

3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Cup Dark Cocoa Powder
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon Cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup Buttermilk
1/4 Cup Brewed Espresso (hot)
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Egg, room temp
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 350 and line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Sift all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl (if using a KitchenAid, use the paddle attachment) and stir together.
Add all remaining ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Pour batter into cupcake molds and bake for 15-17 minutes (I found 15 minutes to be the perfect time). Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then let them completely cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes.

Nutella Cloud Frosting

1 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Premium Bittersweet Chocolate, melted but cool (I used Scharffen Berger)
1/3 Cup Nutella
1 Tablespoon Milk
Pinch of Salt

Beat the powdered sugar and butter on low speed for 1 minute (if using a KitchenAid, use the paddle attachment).

Add vanilla, and beat on low until combined. Then slowly pour in the melted and cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about two minutes).

Add the Nutella, milk and salt and beat on medium-high for another minute.

Taste the know, just to make sure it's cupcake worth :)


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