Sabtu, 07 September 2013

Banana Pina Colada Cupcakes

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What You Need (for the cupcakes)
1 ½ cup granulated sugar 
1/4 cup butter (at room temperature)
1/4 cup coconut "cream" (see explanation below)
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
¾ tsp. Baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ c. coconut milk
1 c. mashed ripe bananas
1 sm. can crushed pineapple (drained)

What You Need (for the icing)
4 Egg whites
1 cup sugar
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) Unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1-2 Tbsp. Coconut Rum like Malibu
Special equipment:
Candy thermometer
Saucepan with about 1/2 inch water
Lemon juice or vinegar & paper towels  

Optional What You Need (for decoration)
Marachino cherries
Dried or "vaccuum fried" pineapple
Flaked coconut
Drink Umbrellas 

To Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. 
First, you need to separate the "cream" of the coconut. I just read about this in a magazine article recently, and wasn't sure if it would work. It totally did. It was awesome!

So, you DO NOT SHAKE the can of coconut milk as it recommends on the can. Open the can and pour off the top liquid - it should be relatively translucent compared to the white of usual coconut milk. What you then have on the bottom of the can is the "cream" of the coconut.

For this recipe, I combined 1/4 cup of the coconut cream with 1/4 cup softened butter with the 1 1/2 cup of sugar. Mix well.

Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, smash two bananas (about 1 cup), and add one can of drained crushed pineapple.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In yet another small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the remaining coconut milk (re-combine the liquid and the solids). Reserve 1/2 cup of this milk for the recipe. To that 1/2 cup, add 1 tsp. vanilla.

Add one-half of the flour mixture to the egg/butter mixture. Mix well.

Add banana/pineapple mixture. Mix well.
Add remaining flour. Mix well.
Add milk. Mix well.

Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into cupcake liners. (I use a scoop, but you can also use a 1/4 cup measure.)

Bake at 350 for 13-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean.
Remove to cooling rack to cool.

For the mini cupcakes, I use a smaller scoop that equals about 1-2 tsp.
They bake for about 10-13 minutes at 350.

To Make the Icing:
While the cupcakes cool, make the icing. I will give you a short version of the icing recipe. Please click the link to see the whole swiss meringue buttercream tutorial.

Begin by wiping down all of your equipment with a paper towel dampened with vinegar or lemon juice. (To remove any grease. Grease is the enemy of meringue.)

Heat the egg whites and sugar over a pot of simmering water, whisking constantly until they reach 160-degrees on a candy thermometer. (This usually takes 5-15 minutes depending on how hot the water is, how cold the egg whites are when you start, etc.)

When the mixture reaches 160-degrees, remove the bowl from the heat, and whip until stiff peaks form. On my stand mixer, this takes me about 4 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment (if using a stand mixer). Add the butter and the Malibu rum, and mix on high until the icing is a smooth consistency. (It will get soupy first, don't freak out. Then it will come back together. It takes about another 4 minutes of mixing.)

To Decorate the Cupcakes:
Load your icing into icing bag bullets and/or fill a piping bag fitted with tip #1M.

Make a swirl on the top of each cupcake by holding the bag straight up from the surface, starting on the outside edge, and piping the swirl about halfway on top of the previous line of icing.

Click the link to see my complete tutorial on making a cupcake swirl.

Drain the marachino cherries, and dry them on a paper towel.
Add the dried pineapple slices and the cherries.

Add flaked coconut, if desired. (I'm weird. I like coconut flavor, but not flaked coconut.)

Then, you can always add the little umbrellas, if you're feeling festive.

For the minis, I was unsure about the cherries. I kind of felt like they were too big on there. But they add so much color.

What other fru-fru drinks do you like? Do you think we could make them in cupcake form?? Let me know, maybe I can give it a shot.

Cooking Tips : 

Simple And Easy Ways To Cook Good Food

There are dozens of different ways that you need to know in order to become a terrific cook. This article will teach you to learn what you need to do to be an outstanding cook. Read on and take note of these tips so that you learn exactly what it takes to get cooking prowess.

If you are working on creating more home-cooked meals, go to the bookstore or library and get a cookbook of simple and basic recipes that appeal to you. Try some recipes until you develop your skills.

This helps to bring out the flavor of your food after you are done cooking.

Try adding cauliflower to your mashed potatoes to cut some calories and fat. The somewhat bland taste of cauliflower will blend seamlessly with the potatoes. Cauliflower is also the same texture and color of potatoes when mashed so it's a great way to add more veggies, so the dish will be transformed into one that has more vegetables and fewer calories.

Do you plan on cooking with the flavors of fresh basil? Take a large bunch of it and place it in a glass. Fill the glass with enough water to cover the stems. You could let it sit on your counter for weeks. The basil can actually grow roots if you keep the water regularly. You should also cut the basil so it grows even more.

Look through your recipes and decide which steps you can be completed beforehand. You can prepare a lot of food the cooking process by doing your prep work well in advance. This takes a lot of the stress out of even easier to cook complicated recipes and dishes.

Add some chicken broth to vegetables when cooking vegetables. Chicken broth adds flavor to your vegetables while keeping them from getting stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Oil or butter both have fat than necessary to your dishes. A god nonstick cooking spray is a wonderful substitute for the oils and is not as unhealthy.

You must read the product labels before purchasing ingredients for any given recipe. Most cooking supplies have hidden ingredients that are unhealthy. You want to ensure that anything you buy is not high in sugar or sodium.

If the recipe has called for water, switch it up by using a broth, juice, or juice when suitable. If your favorite recipes call for milk, try using buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. Using a variety of liquids can add nutritional content to certain dishes and even make it more nutritious.

Try making your own fresh tomatoes. You can do this by slicing your tomatoes about a half an inch thick, or by cutting Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise. Dried tomatoes may also be stored in a jar with fresh herbs and topped up with olive oil. The jar can be kept in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Use a generous amount of salt in the water when you are cooking pasta. This allows the most effective time to season pasta. Salting pasta after cooking will not be as effective in enhancing the same effect.

Save about one quarter cup of water and put it aside. When you are going to mix your pasta and sauce together, pour in some of the water. The pasta water's starch adds a "creaminess" to the starchy water will bulk up your sauce via amalgamation.

Buy good-quality knives for your kitchen. Dull blades are the cause more accidents than sharp ones.

When food is being sauteed, try to avoid filling the pan with oil. Make sure you saute foods on a low temperature as well.

Trussing is when you tie your turkey up with string. Trussing helps to keep the legs and wings next to the bird closely. If you don't tie down the limbs, the tips of its legs and wings can burn while the remainder of the bird cooks.

Don't tr out a new recipes when you are cooking for someone you want to impress. Whether you are cooking for your boss, family or employer, you still want to give off a good impression with your cooking. Impress these people with a meal that you already know you can prepare well.

You could also simply add bouillon cubes in the suggested amount of water. This gives the food while adding another level to the taste profile.

You can use leftover vegetables and meats to create a stir-fry or adding them to fried rice. Fry the meats and veggies in a bit of oil, then add the rice and season with soy sauce, soy sauce, soy sauce and other spices.

This will prevent you from having to go to the store in a mad search for an ingredient while your preparation. It is actually quicker to prepare everything in advance than it does to stop in the midst of cooking to search for that necessary ingredient.

While dark, dark greens are quite nutritious, it can be inconvenient to prepare them. Removing these stems can be tedious. Make it easier by folding the leaf lengthwise in half and then break out the stem. You will otherwise need to cut out the stem from the folded leaf using a knife.

Those who enjoy cooking fish dishes should try taking DIY to the next level and do some fishing to get their raw ingredients.

Learn how to use color in your cooking. Colorful foods are normally more healthy and tend to be very healthy. Be innovative in using color, and people will eat the food in no time.

When preparing mashed potatoes, your milk should be hot, non-boiling water prior to mashing them. This will give your potatoes that light and fluffier. Nobody really wants lumps in their mashed potatoes full of lumps.

It does take some learning to become a great chef, but it's well worth the effort. For some people it comes quite naturally, for other people, however, it takes a lot of studying and hard work. This article should provide you with the information necessary to become a better cook.

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes Recipe

Weight Loss Foods

Weight Loss Recipes

50 Amazing Weight Watchers Recipes

All about Weight Watchers Food Points

Finding The Best Weight Watchers Recipes

Margaritas. I like mine frozen and blended with strawberries, raspberries, even the occasional mango.

Now, everyone has her own opinion about what a margarita should taste like. So, please note that I give you many "ranges" for the flavors in this recipe. If you like it with less lime and more strawberry, by all means, add more strawberry, and less lime. If you get sick at the taste of tequila, skip it. They'll still be tasty. Make it your taste! (Just try to keep the total amount of liquid about the same.)

What You Need:
For 20-24 Cupakes:
White or Vanilla Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk (whole milk preferred)
1/4 cup (half of a stick) melted butter 
1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen whole strawberries (divided)*
zest and juice from 1-2 limes
2-3 Tbsp. Tequila

For the Icing:
4 egg whites (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar (not powdered sugar)
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter (at room temperature)
1/3 cup Strawberry puree*
zest and juice of one lime
2-3 Tbsp. Tequila

Optional for decorating:
Pastry bag with Tip 1A (or 2A)
Sparkling sugar sprinkles 
Sliced fresh limes 
Sliced fresh strawberries

*Note: Defrost the strawberries. Strain about 1/4 cup of the juice. Puree the remaining strawberries and juice. Use 1/2-2/3 cup in the cupcakes, save the remaining 1/3 cup for the icing.

Make the Cupcakes

Begin with the strawberries. As noted above, you want to defrost the strawberries, drain off most of the juice, then puree them. You will use 1/2-2/3 cup of the puree in the cupcakes, and 1/3 cup in the icing.

I prefer using defrosted frozen strawberries for a few reasons:
- They are always available, and relatively inexpensive.
- They tend to puree better.
- They have a stronger flavor after you drain off the juice.

Next, you need to zest the limes. I used one lime each in the cupcakes and in the icing, that made for about 2 tsp. of zest in each recipe.
You can either use a microplane, a zester or even a vegetable peeler. The key is making sure you don't get any of that white "pith" under the zest. You only want the green parts. Then mince it up as tiny as possible. You don't want to bite into a big piece of zest!

After you've zested the lime, squeeze the juice in with your strawberry puree. Add the tequila. You want this total juice/puree/tequila mixture to measure between 3/4 and one cup of liquid. If you want to skip the tequila altogether, add more lime juice, or use that reserved strawberry juice.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the three eggs on medium speed until frothy. Add the remaining ingredients for the cupcakes.

Mix like you would any cake mix, 30 seconds on low, then scrape down the bowl. Then, two minutes on medium speed.

Scoop or spoon the batter into prepared cupcake liners. I recommend 1/4 cup of batter for each cupcake. I use a scoop, but you can also use a 1/4 cup measure.
*Please note that this scoop is not an ice cream scoop, those are usually closer to 1/2 cup. This is a dough scoop.

Bake at 350-degrees for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling grid.

Make the Icing
While the cupcakes bake and cool, work on your icing.

Begin by wiping down everything you need to use for the icing with a paper towel dampened with vinegar. (mixing bowl, whisk, beaters, candy thermometer) This helps ensure you will not have grease on anything. Grease will make it difficult for the meringue of your icing to get to a stiff peak.
If you've never made a "Swiss Meringue Buttercream" icing, Click the link to see my complete tutorial, which should help answer some questions. It is a bit fussy, but so, so, so  worth it!!

Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl). Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, and whisk slowly, but constantly until the mixture gets to 160-degrees. (This takes me usually 7-15 minutes, depending on how cold the egg whites were when I started, and how high my water is simmering.)

Let stand for about 5 minutes. Then whip on the highest speed possible until stiff peaks form. This usually takes me about 4-8 minutes in a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

(If necessary, switch to the paddle attachment of your mixer here.)
With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter, strawberry puree, lime juice, zest and tequila.
I, again, combined all of my liquid to make sure the total amount wasn't more than 1/2-3/4 cup. If you add too much liquid, you may make the icing get too soupy.
*I added 3 Tbsp. of tequila to the icing. I thought it was harder to taste it in the icing than in the cake batter. This surprised me.

Turn the mixer up to medium-high or high speed and mix until the icing is fluffy and somewhat stiff again. (This can take anywhere from 2-8 minutes, depending on how warm your mixture is, how soft your butter is, etc.)
*Please note!!! When you add the butter and other ingredients, your icing will immediately go from stiff peaks to liquid soup. This is normal! When you turn the mixer up and let it keep mixing... it will come together. If it doesn't, try putting it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, then mix it again. It may be too warm.

Decorate the Cupcakes

Using a pastry bag fitted with Tip 1A or Tip 2A, Pipe a swirl on the top of the cupcake.
(Click the link to see my tutorial: How to Make a Cupcake Swirl.)

If you want, you can roll the edge of the cupcake in clear sanding sugar. I really like the texture this gives the cupcake. It's like the sugar or salt on the edge of the glass.

Garnish on top with a lime wedge or slice of strawberry.

I added straws on some, too. But... I didn't like those as much.

These should be kept in the refrigerator. But you want to take them out of the fridge for about 30 minutes before eating. The icing gets softer when it warms up a little.

Cooking Tips You Have To Know And Do

You will need to grow and develop skill in order to get better. Regardless of your motivation for learning to cook, it is great to have a skill for it. Here are some suggestions on your path to deliciousness.

It is extremely important to have sharp knives are always sharp. Dull knives can actually be dangerous and difficult to use.

You should never attempt to cook new or extravagant recipes that you enjoy. This will allow you feel less stressed when preparing your meal.

Do you enjoy preparing dishes that contain fresh basil in your dishes? Take some fresh basil and place it in a glass. Fill the glass with water so that the stems can absorb it. This will help to keep it from going bad for weeks! The basil can actually grow roots if you occasionally change the water. You should also cut the basil once in a while so that it keeps growing.

This type of seasoning is commonly used on various other foods besides meat.Try roasted potatoes or chickpeas. Everyone will be asking for your secret ingredient is!

Fresh ingredients can really enhance the flavor of your meal, and can turn out to be less expensive over time.

Look through your recipes and determine whether or not certain steps you can do in advance without worry of food spoilage. You can prepare a lot of food the cooking process by doing your prep work well in advance. This makes preparing even the most complicated recipes and fast.

This will keep fruits fresh throughout the year. This process also gives you easy access to fruits at times when they would not normally be available.

This will allow your food the maximum amount of flavor possible.

Always select fresh garlic for it. A good rule of thumb for garlic: Fresher means sweeter. Fresh garlic is firm skin and will not be bruised or soft to the touch.

Prepare things the day before to save time and headaches. Cut up veggies and make marinades or sauces before so you can save time. You will feel less stressed when you prepare the meal the next day.

Many popular veggies and herbs have a strong residual odor which tends to leave your cutting boards well after use. Use a permanent ink to mark so you know which side you are using.

You should discard your spices about twice a year.The flavors of spices diminishes if they sit around for too long. If you do not think you will use all of the spice within six months, give it as a gift to someone who will use it.

You should clean your dishes as you use them to cook.

Use a paper towels to blot your ground meat before cooking. It is always blot away moisture that is present on ground meat. Any moisture in left in meat will be released during cooking. The heat will start to sizzle and steam away when it hits the heat of the pan. This makes it unlikely that the meat to become steamed instead of seared as it should be.

One of the best cooking tip is just be flexible and creative; do your own thing. You need not follow a recipe to the "T". That makes a creative cook!

If you plan to prepare food outside for a cookout, it's a good idea to prepare your grill beforehand so that it's already ready for you when you need it. The grill should be prepared 30 minutes before your coals are hot enough to start grilling.The heat should be moderate and should be a little ashy. This is the right temperature to begin grilling.

There are a vast array of potato varieties, and they are not all the same.

The very high temperature in a microwave causes oil to leave the food. Baking slowly and consistently can reheat your whole dish and keep the ingredients more cohesive.

Bouillon cubes are a great way to add instant flavor when mixed with the appropriate amount of water will also work. This is a good way to moisten your food the required amount of moisture and it will also add flavor as well.

If you've been handling smelly ingredients like garlic, onions, or fish, and then wash with soap. You can do this on the side of a sink or use a stainless steel soap bar and it will lift the odors from your hands, or even a special steel "soap" in order to remove these smells.

Use cooking oil to measure sticky foods! Before you even measure, lightly coat the spoon with a cooking oil which has little flavor, such as canola, and the substance being measured will slide off the spoon easily, so that way you won't have any waste and cleaning up is easier. This works well for peanut butter too.

Make a flavored butter to add to your dinner rolls or corn for an exciting experience. Next, blend your butter with garlic, sauces or herbs to create a burst of new flavors. Some good things to add in are lemon juice, chipotles, chipotles or BBQ sauce.

Learn how to use color in your cooking. Colorful additions to your eyes and tend to be very healthy.If you are creative with the colors of your meals, people will want to eat your foods.

Avoid adding salt or garlic to dried beans that have not yet softened. Both garlic and salt can prevent the beans from getting softer while they cook.

There are ways that you can refurbish your defected pie crust. If your dough has been overworked it may crack. Try putting some cold water on cracks and then smoothing them out with your fingers to gently rub the affected area.If the cracks pop up on the top of the crust, put some milk and sugar there. This will give a glaze that hides cracks.

Now that you've had a chance to think about what you've read in this article, are you ready to give it a try? These tips can help you to accelerate your cooking skills. You will truly enjoy serving a dish to your family that you prepared yourself. You can't just learn to cook overnight. Now that you have learned the information presented, continue building on your cooking skills.