Mango Smoothie


This smoothie is about as simple as it gets and it’s my new favorite snack. If you need a little detox from the chocolate craziness of this week, this will work. It calls for fresh mangos, which is fine but frozen would be easier if you are in a hurry. My Trader Joe’s for some reason has stopped carrying frozen mangos, much to my disappointment.  You can also add in just about anything, the one pictured I had added some toasted flax seeds but found out too much flax seed is no good. So go lightly with your mix-ins at first. 

 I hope everyone had a good Valentine’s Day; ours was a simple family dinner out and a card exchange. Gator made some handmade gifts for my husband and me and was so proud to show them off, it was the cutest thing. Then she proceeded to eat all the candy out of mine, sigh…three year olds.

Mango Smoothie

 2 ripe mangos- peeled and sliced

1 ½ cups vanilla yogurt, Greek style

Ice (I use a couple handfuls)

 In a blender add vanilla yogurt, mango and ice; blend.  Makes 4 servings.

Adaptations: you can add nuts, flax seeds, substitute nonfat/lofat yogurt and use frozen mangos.

 Recipe from: the south beach diet book

Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes

This post has two recipes I made last year but I felt the ideas where too good not to share and they could both be perfect for Valentine’s  treats.  With Valentine’s day on a  Tuesday this week and the ‘plague’ going through Gattor’s school right now, things have been challenging. But I plan on making some cute sugar cookies tomorrow that I will do my best to share before Tuesday.

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Ok, up first a super easy recipe that is great to do with the kids; one bowl chocolate cupcakes. Gattor and I made these one weekend a few months ago because I had promised her we would make some cupcakes, so we whipped them up and took them around the neighborhood to share . I chose to do mini cupcakes just for fun and to make things easier for her to decorate, she did a great job and had a lot of fun. I think these are perfect for those nights when you need a simple but delicious recipe for your kids class the next day.

I was told, "I want pink frosting with sprinkles."

Happy girl.

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
  2. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, less if baking mini muffins (check them after 12), rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Recipe from: Martha Stewart Cupcakes

I made a simple American style vanilla buttercream. This is a very easy but very good recipe, the use of vanilla bean paste is what really makes it special but if you don’t have any that is OK, just be sure to pick some up the next time you are out. :)

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (add more until it reaches your preferred consistency)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (add more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon milk (you can also use heavy cream-yum)


Mix together sugar and butter until they are blended and creamed. Add in the  vanilla bean paste and milk and continue to beat for another minute. If you have not reached your desired consistency sift in more confectioners’ sugar to make it stiffer.
Recipe from: The Cupcake Project

Strawberry cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I made these cupcakes during the summer when strawberries were in season but you could easily use frozen with great results. I absolutely love this cake recipe and I have made it many times and everyone always loves it. Now the cake is great but the frosting, well that is another story entirely, in fact it really deserves its own post! It is one of the best frosting’s I have ever had and its pink, what could be better than that! The use of strawberry puree in the frosting is what makes it for me, it tastes so fresh and delicious, nothing fake or sugary about it. If this frosting seems intimidating, don’t worry, it really is reliable with some patience.

I have posted the recipe for the cake here.  You will need to adjust the cooking time, about 20 minutes for the cupcakes, this recipe also make a lot of cupcakes, about 36.

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Adapted from:  Martha Stewart Cupcakes

Yield Makes about 5 cups


  • 1 ½ cups strawberries (about 8 oz)
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Puree the strawberries until smooth and set aside.
  2. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips or gets to 140 degrees F ).
  3. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes. Set your timer, it makes life much simpler.
  4. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. If for some reason your frosting now resembles curdled milk, don’t freak out, just keep beating it; it will come back I promise. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla and the strawberry puree. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep butter cream at room temperature if using the same day. This frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated, if you do that, make sure you let it get to room temp before you re-beat it. If you are using the next day, simply take it out the refrigerator the night before and let it sit on the counter, it will be the perfect temperature to whip the next morning.

Diego Birthday Cake

This cake was so much fun. I had more than my usual amount of time to devote to decorating it and I really enjoyed the process. I went out and got the decorations, Diego, trees, rocks etc and then after a few internet searches for ideas, made myself a sketch and went to work. The birthday boy’s eyes really lit up when he saw it and that is always a good feeling.

As for the cake itself, I used my favorite strawberry cake with a Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream filling and a cream cheese frosting exterior. I think the combination worked although had I not had extra Swiss meringue butter cream from another project I probably would have made a strawberry cream cheese filling.  I used two 10 inch cake pans and that worked well for this recipe which makes three 8 inch cakes.

Strawberry Layer Cake

4 ½ cups cake flour

3 cups sugar

5 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cups pureed fresh or frozen strawberries

8 egg whites

2/3 cup milk

1 to 2 drops of red food coloring to make it more pink (in my case a tsp of red gel, because I wanted it red)


Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter or spray three 8 or 9 inch cake pans ( 1 used 2 10 inch). Line with parchment or waxed paper on the bottom and butter or spray the paper. This may seem like an unneeded extra step but I assure you, it’s the only failsafe way to know your cake will come out of the pan in one piece.

 Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt n a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

 In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and food coloring to blend. Add the egg white mixture to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the bowl as needed and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans.

 Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let them stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour. Once they have cooled, you can wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes; this will make assembling the cake much easier because the layers will be firm and not easily broken.

 Once you remove the cake from the freezer, place a tiny dollop of frosting on the cake board to act as glue for the cake, then put the first layer on your cake board (for a 10 inch cake I used a 12 inch cake board).  Add about 2/3 to 1 cups of frosting or filling and spread evenly. If you are using a filling that is different than your frosting, you will want to make a frosting “dam” around the outside of the cake layer to keep the filling from gushing out when you stack. I usually start out with a bit of my frosting in a pastry bag with a simple tip, to use for the dam.  One by one layer/stack your cake, in my case, since I used two 10 inch rounds, so I cut them into two, so I had four layers total. Once you have all your layers assembled, crumb coat the entire cake (put a thin layer of frosting) and then put it back in the freezer or fridge until firm. Once firm, frost the cake and decorate how you like.

Recipe from: Smitten Kitchen

Vanilla Bean Cream cheese frosting

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

 **If you are unsure of how to assemble or frost your cake look it up on UTube, there is a video for everything and it can really help the process when you can watch it being done.  I have watched many, many videos on there to get ideas or troubleshoot when I am stuck.


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