Sunday, May 31, 2009


Voting has opened for the Iron Cupcake:Savory contest this month!

Go vote for me! Remember you can vote for up to three entries at a time, so make sure to vote for both of mine. Make sure to check out the other entries, there are some really great ones. The egg roll cupcake is making my brain to back flips!

Here's a review of the two I made:

The Calzone Cuppie
Cupcake Vera Cruz

To vote, click on the Iron Cupcake logo on the right -------------------------->>>>>>

Scroll down to Vanessa Contessa on the right hand side of the voting, click my entries and hit submit!


Multitasking Nightmares

Something somewhere has gone horribly wrong.

I don't know where I made such a wrong turn. It could be that hour I spend playing word drop and mafia wars on facebook. Maybe it's that cumulative 30 minutes I just spend staring at Vivie's dimples and chasing her down for a kiss. Either way, I have officially lost track of using my time wisely throughout the day. This finally occurred to me when by the end of it, we had simply run out. And like a bat to the head, I knew we had entered the multitasking twilight zone when my kids were eating popcicles and taking their evening baths at the same time.

We've hit a new all time low here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Iron Cupcake Round Two: The Calzone Cuppie

After I made the first entry for this month's Iron Cupcake:Savory, I just couldn't stop brainstorming ideas. I wanted to come up with some kind of cupcake you really could eat for dinner and get away with it. Then, one morning I woke up from a dream with this cupcake idea. (Yes, that's right, I'm dreaming of cupcakes now. It has become that much of a problem.) The idea was a calzone cupcake. Really it all started when my hubby made cinnamon rolls from scratch (yes you read that right, too.) and let them rise and baked them in my muffin/cupcake tins. We started thinking about all the yeast dough possibilites and finally the calzone cupcake was mentioned. I didn't think any more about it until I had the dream, and then I became a crazy woman obsessed until I made them. So, here it is. Truly a cupcake for dinner:

The Calzone Cuppie
(makes 12 )


1 batch pizza dough***
2 cups tomato sauce (prepared or homemade)
2 cups mozzerella cheese or italian cheese blend
fresh basil (about 12 sprigs)

12 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

***About the pizza dough. Let me digress for a minute. If you can make this from scratch, GREAT! We make ours from scratch and love this recipe. Pizza dough is very simple to make, but is very time consuming. If you are not up to making your own, here are my two favorite suggestions.
1. Trader Joes ready made pizza dough. If you have a Trader Joe's in your area. GO GET THIS DOUGH! It's yummy, good, fresh, and a great price. Here it runs $1.29 a package. For this recipe I'd get two packages.
2. Find an independent family owned pizzeria in your area and purchase some of their dough. Most of them will let you do this. I was terrified the first time I tried this out and was sure they would laugh me out the door and I would have to leave with the shame and humility of being known as the crazy lady who can't make her own pizza dough. So, when I went, I made sure to get there first thing after they opened hoping to eliminate as many witnesses as possible to my upcoming moment of embarassement. To my shock and amazement, after I asked to purchase some dough, they just ran back to the kitchen, brought me back a bag and asked for five bucks. I was giddy! In fact, I pretty much threw the money at them and ran out before they could change their minds. I've gone countless times since and never once have I been told no or laughed at. So, my suggestion to you is, if you want to make pizza, but not the dough, try this.

Okay, back to the recipe.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Grease or spray muffin tin and set aside.

Now for the tricky part, the dough. At first I took my dough and rolled it out onto a well floured surface, planning to cut out perfect circles. For some reason, I just couldn't get it to work. In fact, I was so engrossed in my pizza dough I stopped shooting altogether. Finally, I figured out the best way to do this is to break off handful size pieces of the dough and then roll or stretch these out to the size you need to fill your muffin tin. It doesn't need to be perfect, you will be folding them over onto themselves later to seal them.

When you have stretched your dough, lay them into the muffin tin and place a tablespoon of sauce into the cupped dough. Top with a tablespoon of cheese, a fresh leaf of basil and a pepperoni. Layer with another teaspoon of sauce and then fold the dough over onto itself and seal as best as you can. Repeat with until you have filled the muffin tins.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Cups will become golden brown and some sauce and cheese will escape. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
While baking, prepare the topping. In your mixer, combine ricotta cheese, cream cheese, salt, parmesan and garlic. Beat with paddle mixer for about 2 minutes until well combined and creamy. Place in a pastry bag and pipe onto calzone cups. Garnish with chopped black olives, grape tomatoes and drizzle with more tomato sauce. Serve and enjoy!

Let me just tell you. These are beyond fantastic. In fact they are be-tastic! These were so delicious and yes, I actually served them for dinner! In fact, all the final pictures I shot while we were about to dig in! Jon said they were the best cupcakes I have ever made! I thought that was pretty funny, considering they are truly streching the definition. Hey, I'll take the compliments anywhere I can get them!!

They got two thumbs up from my girls. Well make that two fingers and two thumbs up. We will make these again and again and I'm actually planning a party now where these are the main course and THEN just to keep everyone even more confused, I'll end the night with a dessert pizza!

Again, the voting will open soon for this month's cupcakes and I'll let you know when to go vote. The winners of Iron Cupcake this month will be awarded with these prizes:

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS,, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson,, JESSIE STEELE APRONS; TASTE OF HOME books,; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, .

I hope you like them and don't forget to vote!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Fairy Tale

For mother's day this year, Sydney (with the help of her daddy) wrote me my very own book. It's so awesome. She made the story up herself and Jon helped her with creating the images and writing some of the longer parts. She even let Vivie help with all the coloring (so if you see crayon anywhere, it's the evil genius contribution.) So read the story of me. Oh yeah, I'm the princess dressed in ALL BLACK in every single picture. See, I told you, awesome.

(That's me, sleeping in a bed made for a giant)

(And that's me about to be trampled by wish granting unicorn)

(Um, yeah I do!)


(Nice book choice. And once again, I totally love my goth dress.)

(Look how hot I look in this car!)

(I totally belong with the Cullens, don't you think?)

(I look pretty bad-A as a wizard, too. So it's a hard call...)

(My chef hat rocks.)

(That's actually about the proportional size of my camera)

(Yeah, long story...)

(Awww... and I really like how my goth look is catching.)

It's totally true. They are the best treasure I could ever have.
Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Iron Cupcake Savory Round 1

I must be a glutton for punishment. The last two months I have had either the most votes or the second most votes in the competition, only to not win the prize pack due to random number generation. It makes me further believe that machines are really out to get me. Terminator, anyone? Just kidding! What would you all do without my Iron Cupcake entries? Besides, I need an obsession or I just get snarky.

No, seriously, even before I knew the outcome I had started working on this cupcake and I knew I would enter it regardless. Iron Cupcake is too much fun! I'm not the only Iron Cupcake baker that was bit by the Cinco de Mayo bug, there's something so satisfying about these type of flavors so I'm not surprised. I wanted sweet and smokey and herby all at the same time, but I also wanted something that would bite back a bit. One thing I knew I ABSOLUTELY had to try was Alton Brown's avocado buttercream recipe (have I ever mentioned my slight obsession with Good Eats?) Anyway, moving on, here's my take on a sweet and savory treat with south of the border flavors.

Cupcake Vera Cruz
A sweet corn and cilantro cupcake with a hot pepper mousse and an avocado buttercream, garnished with a lime wedge red salt crystals.

2 cups flour
1 cup maseca
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen (thawed and dried)
2 tsp salt
2 TBS plus on Tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
2 cups milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, maseca, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Add eggs, corn, honey, milk, oil and vanilla and mix to combine. Chop cilantro very fine and mix in gently. Line muffin cups with liners and fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Hot Pepper Filling
1 cup room temperature cream cheese
1 tsp cumin
1/2 cup hot pepper jelly ( I used jalapeno jelly)

Combine all three and whip until fluffy.
Core out top of cupcakes and pipe filling into the center, replacing the top.

Avocado buttercream
(Inspired by Alton Brown and tweaked just a bit)

3/4 cup mashed avocado
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp lime juice
zest of one lime
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
1 -2 TBS heavy cream

Place the avocado and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment along with the lime juice and beat until lightened in color, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat until smooth. Add the lime zest and mix to combine. If not using right away, store in the refrigerator.

Pipe onto cupcakes. Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprinkle of margarita salt or red salt. Makes 24.

Overall these are VERY YUMMY! I don't know if I would serve them necessarily as a dessert, but I would have no hesitation serving them along side a grilled main meat dish with the same flavors, like a Salmon Vera Cruz or a grilled Chipotle Chicken. However, a good friend of mine tasted one and said it's totally dessert worthy (but she also happens to not like overly sweet things.) Either way, I will definitely make these again.

This is the first entry for this month, I have ideas for one or two more savory cupcakes, so keep your eyes peeled. I'll let you know when the voting opens. The winner of this month gets these great prizes:

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS,, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson,, JESSIE STEELE APRONS; TASTE OF HOME books,; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, .

The cupcake ID bracelet is insanely adorable and of course I've been coveting a Jesse Steele apron for as long as I can remember. So when the time comes, vote!


Congrats to Coco Bean for their winning entry in Iron Cupcake: Soda Pop!

and thanks to everyone who voted for me! I'm working on my first savory entry for this month and hope to post it later today. Here's your hint: Cinco de Mayo anyone?