Thursday, February 16, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes's the color of life, love, and passion.  It's sexy. It's hot. It's dangerous and exciting. It's me, baby. I'm all that and a bag of chips. I'm totally kidding.  

Really now, there's only one dessert that I can think of that fits the bill for being sexy and hot. It's the sultry Red Velvet Cake (cupcake). What could sexier than a red velvet cupcake draped in an oh-so-flimsy and practically see-through wrapper? Well, maybe a beautiful woman in a red dress holding a red velvet cupcake right? I couldn't find a sexy model to hold my cupcake so you'll just have to settle for it sitting pretty by on a plate all by itself.

Since Valentine's Day was so close, I got a wild hair to bake something red.  I'd never made red velvet cake or cupcakes before and told myself that I was up for the challenge.  The whole cake idea seemed a bit too daunting to me so I opted to make cupcakes instead.  I searched and searched and finally decided to try the recipe on  The photographs are gorgeous and her recipe produced the red and delectable beauties I had been craving.  My cupcakes don't look as dark as hers because I kinda' ran out of red dye.  I used a little less than her recipe called for but the cupcakes were delicious.

Here is her recipe:
2-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz red food coloring (4 tbsp)*
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

* I followed her recipe exactly except for the amount of red food dye. As I mentioned earlier, I ran out of red food dye. I probably used about 3-1/2 tablespoons plus I could only find gel instead of the more liquid type dye.  This caused a problem when it came to mixing the dye with the cocoa powder.  If you're going to use a gel food coloring, you'll need to add a few water drops or maybe even some of the buttermilk to water it down so that the paste isn't too thick.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans (12-cup) with cupcake papers.  I used the paper and foil type.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a THIN paste without lumps. Set aside.  Remember, if you're using the gel type food dye, you're going to need to add a few drops of water, otherwise the mixture will be too dry and difficult to work with.  Rather than copy ALL of her directions, I'll give credit where credit is due, so please visit her website for the rest of the instructions okay? Click here.

Cream cheese frosting consists of sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and a Pitbull.  In my kitchen, I'm constantly supervised by Cali, who is a complete micro-manager. She's always hovering, and making sure that I mix all the ingredients properly. What a furry pain in the butt! 

What I didn't mention earlier is that I'm trying to lose weight.  When I first decided to make cupcakes, I searched specifically for low calorie recipes. Finally, I found one online that didn't look too complicated. After toiling away in the kitchen for hours (okay, I'm being a bit melodramatic) my baking adventure came to a disappointing end.  The cupcakes from the to-be-unnamed website I used were bland.  I couldn't even taste the chocolate flavor and if it weren't for the frosting, I could have used the cupcake as a sponge to clean the counter. lol  They were so incredibly bland that I literally threw them in the garbage. In twitter lingo I would refer to that baking adventure as an #EpicFail.

I knew that after all the work that it took to make them that I was not going to compromise on flavor so I hunted for a new recipe, just not one that was low calorie, and found the one I used here. I figured if I was going to spend lots of time baking something, it'd better taste good. I would just need to manage my calorie intake throughout the day so that I could indulge in a regular cupcake.

And you know what? It was worth it.  Once the cupcakes cooled off and I topped each one with cream cheese frosting, I wasn't disappointed.  They were chocolaty, moist, and just how I imagined a Red Velvet Cupcake would taste. Yum.

So, hey, what are you waiting for? Go bake some! 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Low Calorie Crock Pot Turkey Chili With Tomatillos

Ever notice that some low calorie foods are just kind of "eh?" That's pretty much been my experience.  The foods look good in the pictures but once you put a fork/spoon full of said low calorie food into your mouth, your taste buds question your sanity and your lips zip shut.  I have good news. This recipe is low calorie (approximately 250 calories per 1-1/3 cup) but TASTE and SPICINESS are not compromised.  As a matter of fact this chili has a bit of a kick to it due to the Pato sauce (shown below), which I love using when making salsa, taco meat, and sopa (Mexican soup).
You can find Pato sauce in the ethnic foods area of most grocery stores.


2 lbs ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
6 tomatillos, diced (remove husks & rinse before dicing)
1 can chicken broth (12-14 oz) 
2 (14-1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 can of Pato sauce (mexican hot sauce)
3 tbsp chili pepper (powder)
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or garlic salt) (or to taste)
1-1/2 tbsp sugar

Garnish with:
cilantro, finely chopped
green onions, chopped'
cheddar cheese

Coat a large nonstick frying pan with cooking spray.  Brown turkey, along with onions.  Add garlic salt and black pepper.  

Dice tomatillos.

Add cooked meat to crock pot (including juices), along with all the other ingredients.  Stir.  Cook on "high" for 4 hrs.

The chili is best served the same day but keeps well and is great to take to work for lunch!