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Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Recovering from this cold did not stop the Valentine's Day/Birthday celebration at our house yesterday.  Preparing the cake and the meal were made slightly more difficult because we don't actually have a stove in this apartment; however, we have found that functioning without one is still quite doable.  The two burner hot plate and the convection toaster oven work just fine for us!  I would like to have a better refrigerator at some point.  One with a larger than a "travel trailer size" freezer would be nice; but hey.....it's my first taste of what it would be like to live in an Airstream.   I choose to view it as an adventure!
 Moving right along, we will start with dessert first as I had to get that going first thing yesterday morning.

There will be nothing but the finest for the love of my life on his birthday.   I'm the chocolate freak in this house so my choice always includes something ooey gooey...full of chocolate and maybe caramel....and something chunky.....likes bits of candy bars and/or brownies and/or cookie dough.....and topped with ice cream....or better yet, maybe just a carton of Ben and Jerry's "Everything But The..." and a spoon. 

This works just fine for me!
While that is one of David's favorite flavors, as well, one of his most favorite desserts is carrot cake.  Several years ago for his birthday, I decided that I would try to make my first cake from scratch.  We had watched an episode of Emeril Live where he made the most awesome looking carrot cake and I decided that I just needed to go big or go home and that carrot cake would be my first adventure in cake baking from scratch.   You can find the recipe here.  It did not disappoint. 

It was three layers of incredible goodness with just a few minor changes that I made.  Since that first cake, I didn't make it again until last year.  It was just too dangerous, ya know?  Last year,  we got a new Kitchenaid Professional stand mixer and between Thanksgiving and Super Bowl, we made 5 of them.  Don't judge...

So this year, I decided to not let a little matter like not having an oven stop me from this heavenly creation.  Besides, I hadn't shared this wonderful cake with any of you and it's just too good to not share with the people I love, right?   So here goes....

We started out with the basics to bring them to room temperature.  In case you aren't getting the full scope of the recipe from the photo, the cake and frosting together contain 5 sticks of butter, 2 packages of Cream Cheese and 4 large eggs. Oh yeah, this isn't healthy eating but it sure is good! 

What's carrot cake without freshly grated carrots?

Next we have toasted pecans.  I usually add toasted pecans to the cake and toasted pecans to the frosting.  I am in New England, however, where the supply of pecans is limited and extremely expensive so they were only added to the cake instead of the frosting. 

I think I am going to have to hit up my friends and family back home to hook me up with some good old Louisiana pecans before the holiday baking begins this year.  I have to admit that the extra pecans were not missed in the frosting since I made cupcakes instead of a layer cake.

Cream the butter, add the sugar and beat.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and add to the butter and sugar mixture,  a little at a time, alternating with the eggs and beating really well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix well.  Add the carrots and mix well.

Add the pecans and stir really well to combine.

Scoop into the muffin pans and bake.  This was x6 for me as this was the only muffin pan that I've been able to find since the move that fits my oven.  Each pan of these muffins took a good 30 minutes to bake.  This is a very dense cake batter.

The next star of the show is the cream cheese frosting.  That would be 2 packages of cream cheese, two sticks of butter, almost a full pound box of powdered sugar and pure vanilla....beaten really well.  This is the recipe that I use to frost a three layer cake and it makes way too much frosting for cupcakes.  I didn't stop to consider that before making it and now I'm going to have to find something else to frost.  I think it would make an incredible fruit dip or maybe just eaten off my finger or with a spoon.  I digress.....

The next time that I make cupcakes, I will cut this recipe in half. 

Last but not least is my addition to the recipe...

Toasted Coconut

Just for the record... we did not keep all of these cupcakes for ourselves. We shared with the in-laws....shared with the kids that live close by...and David took some over to share with our landlords.

With all of this sugar in the house, we would need to eat something else to balance it out.   Valentine's Day is a terrible time to try to go out for dinner anywhere.  You usually have to fight the crowds to get a mediocre, over-priced meal in any restaurant.  Because of that, I always try to plan a very special meal to prepare at home.  This year was no exception. 

One good thing about the blogosphere is that there is no shortage of good recipes to try.  One bad thing about the blogosphere, for me personally, is trying to decide which wonderfully, yummy recipe gets chosen as the one to grace our table.  I'm terrible at making decisions so this is a real challenge for me. 

I decided to try Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca that I saw on For the Love of Cooking.  You can find the recipe here.

The recipe called for 3 sage leaves on each piece of chicken.  My chicken pieces were pretty big after they were pounded and I wanted sage in every bite.  Since I had plenty of the leaves, I used more than 3 on each piece. 

The prosciutto crisped so nicely on the outside of the chicken and the inside was so tasty and juicy.  It was absolutely delicious.  I made the lemon sauce to go on top and I'm not sure why I didn't get a photo of it.  It really didn't look like anything spectacular and I was a little concerned whether it was a good idea to make it or not.  I even considered not using that sauce and just de-glazing the pan with Marsala instead.  I'm glad that I went ahead and prepared the sauce.  It was delicious on the chicken.  David and I think it would be really good on a piece of fish, as well.  I'm going to keep that recipe around for a quick, easy and very tasty sauce.

The Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca recipe was the final decision that I made in planning this meal.  I knew that I wanted to prepare risotto and the chicken seemed like a good choice to go with it.  I didn't want to make just any risotto though.  I wanted to prepare an ah-mazing risotto that we've made a few times with great success.  It's originally a Giada de Laurentiis recipe that I got from the Food Network site about a year or so ago. You can view the recipe here.   The only changes that I made to the recipe are that I didn't use the porcini mushrooms or the peas.  I used regular white button mushrooms only and it worked just fine.  I was pretty limited in the ingredients that I could find when I lived in Louisiana.  I probably can find them easier here and if so, I will try it with the porcini mushrooms next time.  I'm sure it's delicious if you use them.

I originally meant to serve this with fresh asparagus; but I couldn't find any at the market on Saturday that looked very good.  I never made it to another market to try to find any before I prepared this meal.  David didn't miss the veggie and neither did I.  The asparagus would have been wonderful with it; but it was pretty spectacular on its own.  Oh yeah...I will be making this again and again.

The leftover risotto made a wonderful lunch today, as well.....

Paired with a salad of romaine lettuce, cilantro, tomato, yellow peppers, feta cheese and garlic wine vinegar.  Delicious!

And the cupcakes?

They were finger-licking good!

This wasn't the healthiest meal that I have made; but, it was made completely from scratch.   David came in and helped me prepare dinner.  We laughed and enjoyed our time together and made a wonderful memory in the process.  It was a really good day.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day with those you love.  Have a great week!

This post is linked up with Delectable Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesdays at the TableWhat's Cooking Wednesday,  Fat Camp Friday, and Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent.

Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays


  1. Looks like a great day, all the way around! Happy times, are good times!

  2. I am dying a slow death, here, reading every tantalizing word, being seduced by every luscious photo ... oh, if you only knew!!!

  3. Ditto Yenta Mary's comment! Drooling!


  4. Looks like an amazing meal! Husband cooked for me, which was so nice! We had our meal on Saturday since he had to leave town on Sunday

  5. Looks like a great dinner and a great day! Those cupcakes, yum! Carrot cake is a favorite here, too, but we'd never turn down Ben and Jerry's!

  6. Seeing your husband licking his fingers made me understand that this was a heck of a meal. the cupcakes look fantastic as well. All in all I am sure you had a great time!

  7. Looks absolutely yummy :) Thanks for stopping by my blog. ~Alana~

  8. Aren't you the best wife!!! Can I come over for cupcakes? Haha

  9. Wow, you cooked up a storm...a very delicious storm! Everything looks and sounds so yummy!

  10. CH would absolutely LOVE the cupcakes...all except for the coconut (he's allergic). Looks like you've been busy!

  11. WOW, WOW! Now this is a post full of good food. The cupcakes were so cute. To tell the truth I have never made carrot cake, I think I might have to try it with the cupcake idea. The chicken of course is a must try.

  12. Happy belated Birthday to your husband. Just looking at the picture fo the batter as was drooling and thinking that must taste good. But after seen the last pics it was confirmed that they were indeed good. :)

    Have a great day and hope you are feeling good now.


  13. I am happy your cold did not stop any of the Valentine's Day and birthday fun. I hope you feel better soon! I love chocolate, but my favorite dessert is carrot cake. This looks delicious! Have a great day my friend!

    Mama Hen

  14. Are you in my Nestwork? You should join and add your blog to the recipe category. You always have the greatest recipes! Have a great day!

    Mama Hen

  15. All looks great and the best thing about them... was a memory you shared between yourselves for a great day and the happiness you shared with us!
    linked from the Kings Court IV

  16. Wow, That chicken looks to die for!!! Wish I could reach through the screen and grab it, LOL.

  17. Ive been planning to make carrot cake cupcakes since I got a bunch of free carrots last week. This looks so good and decadent!
    I also want to try this mushroom risotto. Yum!

  18. Carrot cake is my favorite way to eat vegetables!

  19. Oh Candace, I can't wait to try your risotto, and those cupcakes look positively DIVINE! Thanks for sharing.


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