Let’s talk about cupcakes. Stuffed cupcakes to be specific. Great way to start Monday morning, huh? We got the Cooking Channel, so now I have not one, but two, choices for quality food programming 24 hours a day. If you consider endless reruns of Chopped to be “quality”–I don’t, so I guess I’ll modify my previous statement…”18 hours a day”? Something like that. When I was watching our new channel in my illness last week, Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes (good thing they specialize in cupcakes, not web design) in Nutley, New Jersey was featured on Unique Eats and I was practically salivating. The owner/cupcake chef looks like a bad@$$ Harley rider, but there he is tenderly mixing fluffy cupcake dough with his hands in small batches, so they end up super fluffy and light, because every single flavor must have room for filling! Yes, they pipe filling into every single one of their hundred or so different flavors. Despite their humble logo and location, people have scouted these superior cakes, and they said on the show that Oprah ordered 15,000 of them for an event. Oprah endorsement = instant product fame = I’m sold.
Fast forward a couple days, and what does Steve show up with after coming home from one of his technology location things in Jersey–stuffed cupcakes! Pretty sure I’m the luckiest woman ever. Not only did he actually listen to my cupcake ranting, he actually went out of his geographical way to pick some up after working a Saturday. #truelove
I realize not everyone can make it to this place, but I had to share. We finished four cupcakes (cookie dough, red velvet, strawberry alarm, and some chocolate one) in two days, and now I barely even remember what Crumbs is. What? I don’t have to endure a dry crumbly 750 calorie cupcake just because I want a pretty looking baked good? Who knew.
With my cupcake feast behind me, we’re on to dinner this week! I’m still far from perfecting how to balance and time real life cooking with blog cooking and photography. Since I need to give myself a lot of time for recipe creation and photography, it’s usually best not to plan on eating that day’s blog cooking (if any–because, no, that’s not my life all day every day) for dinner the same day, so I still need easy dinners that don’t take a ton of time. Freezer and pantry staples to the rescue. I had a big bag of cooked white beans and about 10 ice cube molds of pesto in the freezer, enough to use each in two totally different meals. The first is Monday’s white bean pesto puree (a twist on a recipe from my old blog), the second is a winter minestrone soup from Ina’s Foolproof cookbook. If you don’t have these items in the freezer, they’re common pantry items, easy to grab when you’re out shopping.
Here are those double hitter meals, plus the rest of this week’s menu:
- Monday: White bean pesto puree, vegetarian sausage, braised leeks
- Tuesday: Leftover spaghetti squash pie, lemon and shallot green beans
- Wednesday: Spiced lentil taco salad, chips and homemade salsa
- Thursday: Winter minestrone soup and garlic bruschetta
- Friday: Wild rice broccoli cheddar bake or out for date night
I’m doing a little Pinterest rearranging, so you can find pins of these weekly posts plus many of my favorite weeknight recipes on this board.
Pictured with the menu board are the vegetarian sausages we’re trying tonight. I found them at Whole Foods, and the ingredients were really similar to something I tried at Food Evolution (in Ridgefield, CT–a new plant-based restaurant favorite). They do contain wheat but are not strictly a processed fake meat product, also including potatoes and apples to achieve what I think will be a very meat-like consistency. All without the gross mystery casing–you cut them out of the plastic and throw them on the stove, grill, or in the oven. The price was about the same as a package of “artisan” chicken sausages at $5.99; not too bad since meat and fake meat are only a once or twice a week deal in my house. I’ll report back with details next week!
For those of you who read these plans every week, it’s on my radar to start getting you some plans which are still free but also include recipes and shopping lists, similar to my eBook and old blog (use the link for access to those plans and resources). I always got a little frustrated reading weekly dinner menus on other blogs when they don’t give me the tools to execute the same menu, so if you were thinking that, I hear you! Stick with me–helping everyone at every cooking level get a homemade dinner on the table is one of the reasons I love food and food blogging, and I haven’t lost sight of that. Just trying to put my all into every project I tackle, and there have been quite a few lately!