cupcakes

MasterChef Junior: Aww Shucks!

Last week’s MasterChef Junior started with a challenge between Addison, Sam, and Jesse– the best dishes from the previous week.  Before them, 60 cupcakes.  Their task: to frost as many as possible.  In true, fun MasterChef Junior fashion, giant icing bags sit perched over the heads of the judges.

Addison frosts vanilla cupcakes to save Gordon from the vanilla frosting; Sam frosts chocolate cupcakes to save Graham from chocolate frosting; Jesse frosts pink cupcakes to save Christina from strawberry frosting.  The best part is there’s an adorable guest judge!  It’s my favorite MasterChef Junior title holder, Logan!

  • Logan counts up their perfectly frosted cupcakes.  Addison only has 10, thus Gordon is frosted first.
  • With 11, Jesse didn’t do much better.  I feel like frosting Christina is her true welcome to MasterChef Junior: this is a different show, Christina!
  • Sam gets 29 and saves Graham.  It’s worth mentioning, if Gordon were saved, the frosting still would’ve poured… either Gordon Ramsay is a really good sport or someone has decided it’s more enjoyable to watch him take all the punishment.  Still, the kids yell out frosting fight! so Graham can get a little messy.  Logan carts out buckets of sprinkles to complete the picture.

After a quick-change, it’s on to the main challenge.  Gordon demonstrates how to shuck live scallops.  Do these kids even know how lucky they are?  I’d like to try my hand at shucking one of these now.  The kids must shuck their own scallops and make a dish with them as the star ingredient.

Someone commented last week that the skill level of this crop of kids seems lower than previous seasons.  I agree on the two eliminated last week, and I agree on one account still in the MCJ kitchen.  “Ian is really feeling the pressure,” says Christina and Ian literally balls his eyes out in the kitchen.  I know this isn’t fair for me to say because he’s 8-years-old, and I’d probably be crying too with near 20 years on him.  Kind soul Gordon comes and shucks the scallops for him.  He also shucks Annabelle’s who, in contrast, calmly mentions that she’s having a tough time opening them.  She’s tested later after burning her initial haul and apparently shucks and cooks new ones in <5 minutes.

Here’s what we see the kids produce:

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L to R, T to B: Tae-Ho, Nate, Chad, Ian, Vivian, Derek, Kamilly, Amaya, Annabelle

Tae-Ho is announced the clear winner!

The four bottom dishes are called up to the front: Chad, Vivian, Kamilly, and Annabelle.  Kamilly and Annabelle are asked to step forward, then are announced safe.  Poor Chad and already crying Annabelle get sent home.  Chad really breaks my heart– he said something like, “I’m only 9-years-old, but I’m really creative,” while he cooked.  He inspired me to go eat a meatball (thanks to Nonna’s visit) while I watched.  I just feel like both of these kids had more finesse than a certain someone… but it’s in the taste!

I always cry watching this show!

And I always can’t wait for more!

Farewell February

I’m not going to lie, I’m super happy this month is over.  February was a lot of indoor living, slush and sadness.

This month has buried Boston in snow and everyone’s seasonal depression has gotten worse. I feel like I’ve been super productive lately, but all of my progress is overshadowed by the little annoyances that have crept in… I’m ready for some changes, and a new month sounds like a good way to start!

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(1) Cheering the Patriots to victory in the suburbs with a blanket of snow already on the ground. (2) And then the storms came. Here’s Juno! (3) Cupcakes + coffee, super healthy breakfast on a snow day. (4) …Did I mention we got a lot of snow in Boston? (5) Got my hair done and vowed to be blonde forever. (6) I spent Valentine’s Day watching the Pokémon VCG regionals in St. Louis! (7) Majora’s Mask 3D came out!  This is one of my favorite games ever, so it’s great to have it portable. (8) I ate all of these macarons in one day, oops!  I’d love to try to bake some soon. (9) After 5 PM and it’s still almost light?  This is progress.

Are you looking forward to March as much as I am?

Tell me something good that you just can’t wait for!

Au Revoir, October!

Happy Halloween!  Guys, October FLEW by!  It was such a great month, too.  Because it was such an awesome October, I had a hard time picking just 9 pictures for this post! Here are just some of the things that happened:

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[1] pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! [2] I attended the midnight release of Super Smash Brothers 3DS.  The game is amazing!  And you can see how excited I was about it. [3] I took in a lot of fall foliage!  Remember my hike of Blue Hills[4] Gillian Anderson’s first book, A Vision of Fire, came out!  I’m hoping to actually get some time to read next month… [5] I returned to my all-black-everything fashion sense and finally finished/got re-obsessed with American Horror Story: Coven.  That’s kept me obsessed and up-to-date with AHS season 4! [6] I made pumpkin cookies with my little pumpkin friend!  I’ve actually done a lot of cooking this month. [7] I’ve done a lot of eating too.  These are pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes for part of our October birthday celebration at work. [8] Boston College football!  I went to BC v. Clemson, and getting stuck in the Clemson section was okay because cheerleaders are fun. [9] And finally, my Philly trip to visit Stacie & Walker!  That post went up earlier this week.

You can always check my instagram for more photo updates!

Have a fun Halloweekend, everybody!

Cooking for Lazy People: Coconut Cupcakes

Welcome to Cooking for Lazy People, a new feature on my blog with almost coherent recipes that are almost certainly stolen from people I know.  Basically, I make things that look impressive but are quite easy to make.  Today: coconut cupcakes!

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My friend/coworker and I made these for another coworker’s late August birthday.  Birthday girl loves coconut, so we doubled-down for this “recipe.”  All the credit goes to formerly mentioned friend, as she is the true Betty Crocker.  I stood by and watched for most of this, mixed a little and jumped in to frost at the end.

Here’s what you need:

  • Boxed white cake mix – we used Duncan Hines which required the following three ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Canned white frosting
  • Coconut extract
  • Tender flake shredded coconut

 

Here’s what you do:

Follow the directions on the box.  Add 2 teaspoons of coconut extract to the batter and 1 cup of shredded coconut.  I know, this seems weird.  Is the consistency going to be all weird?  No. No, it’s not.  We used a hand mixer to get the consistency we wanted.  It is going to be slightly lumpy looking because of the flakes of coconut, though.

Bake as directed.

Prepare the icing as they cool.  We mixed a couple drops of the coconut extract into the icing, to taste.  Since the cakes were so coconut and the frosting already so sweet, we wanted a little bit of contrast.

Spread remaining shredded coconut flakes on a plate– not spread out finely, but piled.  Ice cupcakes and dip upside down into coconut flakes so the frosting picks up the flakes.

These cupcakes look super professional, taste absolutely delicious, and were ridiculously easy to make!  They were a big hit at the office, especially with the birthday girl!