Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Orange Blossom Cupcakes for @Cycle4Survival

As I previously posted, some of my food blogger friends and I are participating in an "Orange Inspiration" recipe challenge. We'll all post recipes featuring orange foods, in honor of Cycle for Survival's official color. There will be so much orange yumminess all week! At the end, I'll create a round-up of all the recipes.

Here's a guest post from my friend Beverley Hart Press, of Something About Cupcakes. We've never met in real life (yet!) but she is a true friend. And her creations are somehow as beautiful as they are tasty. 

You'll notice that Beverley is, as they say, "across the pond" so she's provided measurements for both UK and US readers.

Orange Blossom Cupcakes 

Makes 12-16 cupcakes, depending on the size of your cupcake cases/papers.

Adapted from the HummingBird Bake Days Recipe


Preheat the oven to 190C (160C fan-assisted oven) (375F) and fill a cupcake/muffin tin with your chosen cases.


  • 70g     2.5 oz   unsalted butter
  • 250g   9oz       caster sugar (a.k.a. superfine sugar)
  • 210g   7.5oz     plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 210ml  7.5 fl oz  whole milk
  • 1 tsp orange blossom extract


1. Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, orange  on a low speed until they have the texture of fine breadcrumbs. 

2. In a separate jug, combine the eggs and milk and whisk a little. 

3. Pour 3/4 of the milk/egg mix into the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine. Mix on a higher speed and add the remainder of the milk/egg mix. 

4. Fill case 2/3 full with batter and bake in a 190C oven (375F) for about 15-20 minutes. 

5. Cool on wire rack and ice when completely cool. 

Butter Cream
  • 660g icing sugar, sifted
  • 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 60ml whole milk
  • a couple of drops of orange extract (see note below)
  • orange food colouring


Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time.

Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.

Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

Put 1 cup of butter cream in a medium sized bowl and add a couple drops of orange food colouring.  Mix till well incorporated.  Fit your chosen piping tip into a piping bag.  Fill with orange butter cream and make sure it covers the side of the bag 3/4 the way up.  Take a spoon and open the piping bag to make it hollow in the middle then fill with the white butter cream.  Swirl on your cupcake and watch the magic begin.  

If you would like to donate to my Cycle for Survival ride to raise money for rare cancer research, please click here. Thanks for your support!

Check out the other participating blogs, who will post their respective Orange Inspiration recipes throughout this week:
*Sumptuous Spoonfuls *Something AboutCupcakes *Ally's Kitchen *Life Currents *An Affair from the Heart *The Fountain Avenue Kitchen *Who Moved my Coconut Oil *What's Cookin' Italian Cuisine *Upside Down Pear

Orange you looking forward to seeing all the different recipes?

This post contains affiliate links, so I make a small commission if you purchase through my links—which helps to keep this blog running. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Broiled Oranges w Goat Cheese & Pistachios for @cycle4Survival

As I posted yesterday, some of my food blogger friends and I will participate in an "Orange Inspiration" recipe challenge. We'll all post recipes featuring orange foods, in honor of Cycle for Survival's official color. I can't wait to see all the deliciousness my friends create!

I will share a few of my own recipes; I think this orange dish is a lovely kick-off. You'll notice that my oranges are a little...not-so-orange. That's because I used my favorite navels—Cara Cara—whose orange flesh is tinged pink. These babies are in season now and so incredibly sweet and delicious, I just had to use them. And, hey, they are oranges so I still think they're a fine fit for the challenge!

If you would like to donate to my ride to raise money for rare cancer research, please click here. Thanks for your support!

I'm not giving exact measurements for this recipe; you don't need them. Figure about one orange per person. The rest is up to you—use lots of honey if you want it very sweet, use loads of cheese if you want it more savory. If your kids want to just eat the broiled oranges without the cheese-and-nut paraphernalia, go for it! Use your taste buds to decide and it will end up glorious.

  • Cara Cara or other navel orange, about one per person
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • honey
  • goat cheese, crumbled
  • pistachios, chopped 
  • sea salt
  • freshly-ground pepper
  • about 1/4 fresh lemon per orange

Move the top rack in your oven up so it is close to the broiler element; preheat the broiler.

Cut the top and bottom off of each orange, so you can stand the fruit up without it wobbling. Using a sharp knife, cut off the outer rind and white pith, following the shape of the orange. 

Slice the oranges to about 1/2" thick. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and honey, then sprinkle with some sea salt.

Broil until the orange slices start to caramelize and turn dark brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool a bit.

Arrange the slices on a plate or platter. Drizzle some more honey (if you choose), squeeze lemon juice, and sprinkle salt and pepper over all the oranges. Top with chopped pistachios and crumbled goat cheese. 

Isn't it gorgeous? Bright, sophisticated, nutritious and—perhaps best of all—so simple. Whether it's breakfast or dessert, this orange dish is sure to brighten your day.

Check out the other participating blogs, who will post their respective Orange Inspiration recipes throughout this week:
*Sumptuous Spoonfuls *Something AboutCupcakes *Ally's Kitchen *Life Currents *An Affair from the Heart *The Fountain Avenue Kitchen *Who Moved my Coconut Oil *What's Cookin' Italian Cuisine *Upside Down Pear

Orange you looking forward to seeing all the different recipes?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

#OrangeInspiration Recipes for @Cycle4Survival

It's orange season. Yes, citrus is in season. But orange is also the official color of Cycle for Survival—an event that's happening across the United States now. This powerful event brings people together for a spin relay to raise money for lifesaving rare cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). 

Has cancer affected your life? Probably. Most of us have friends or loved ones who've battled cancer; maybe you've fought it yourself. Has rare cancer affected your life? Again: probably. Despite the name, when you put all "rare" cancers together, they make up 50% of cases.

Such rare cancers include brain, pancreatic, cervical, stomach, thyroid and ovarian cancers, and all pediatric cancers. These cancers don't often attract research dollars needed for new therapies and treatments, so patients are left with limited options.

That's where Cycle for Survival comes in. This event raises money specifically for rare cancers, to do research and develop treatments at MSKCC—one of the best cancer treatment centers in the world. 

That's me on the right, with some of my awesome teammates!

This is my third year doing this inspiring event. In fact, I have a personal connection: my father is a survivor of sarcoma—the same rare cancer that killed the founder of this event when she was just 40 years old.

In honor of Cycle for Survival, I’ve asked some foodie friends to create recipes featuring orange foods—whether it’s carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or mango—any orange food that inspires them!  Not only does this celebrate Cycle for Survival, orange foods are gorgeous and delicious. They are chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients that are good for your skin, eyes and heart, and they may also decrease your risk of cancer. Orange-colored recipes just seem like a great fit for this cause!

Endive salad w clementines, raspberries and goat cheese

Participating bloggers will post their recipes throughout this week, March 2-6, leading up to my event on March 8 in New York City. I will share all their recipes, here and on our Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+, so stay tuned! In the meantime, go check out their wonderful blogs! 

*Sumptuous Spoonfuls *Something AboutCupcakes *Ally's Kitchen *Life Currents *An Affair from the Heart *The Fountain Avenue Kitchen *Who Moved my Coconut Oil *What's Cookin' Italian Cuisine *Upside Down Pear

Special thanks to all of them for their generosity of time, creativity, and spirit!

Cantaloupe, Bacon and Garlic Scape Salad

If you would like to support my ride, please go to my fundraising page.

All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of the funds donated for my ride will go directly to MSKCC to help patients around the world.

My team rides in honor or in memory of many different people by writing their names on our arms. When you make your donation, if you would like me to bike for someone, please send me his/her name and I will gladly ride for your loved one at the event.

Thanks for your support—and stay tuned for orange recipes from me and some other amazing bloggers, all this week!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Spicy Meatball Orzo Soup #FreakyFriday

My blogger buddy—Michaela, from the wonderful An Affair from the Heart—had this really fun idea: Freaky Friday! No, this doesn't involve Jodie Foster or Lindsay Lohan. But do you remember the premise of that movie? Mom and daughter switch bodies and get a taste of each other's life and learn valuable lessons. C'mon, you know you loved it.

For this Freaky Friday, a bunch of food bloggers are getting a taste of each other's recipes! And learning valuable lessons, maybe? We've each been randomly assigned to another participant's blog; from that blog we choose one recipe to make, taste, photograph, and write about. More fun than freaky, if I'm being honest.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to the fantastic PicNic. Nicole, the brain (and palate) behind the blog, is a New Zealander who loves fresh ingredients, limits processed foods, and creates food that is simple and tasty. I mean, were we separated at birth? A girl after my own heart, that's for sure.

There were lots of recipes that were calling my name: the Chili Chicken Pita Pizzas looked like a wonderful weeknight meal. These divine Triple Chocolate Cookies would certainly thrill my son and husband, who are both chocolate chip cookie fiends.

And then...I saw the Spiced Beef Risoni Soup. Now, this is my kind of recipe. Hearty and spicy, simple and satisfying—a perfect meal for a cold winter's night. Plus, my husband loves meatballs even more than he loves chocolate chip cookies!

I'm always on the lookout for meals for my clients. This would be a fantastic postpartum meal, in those weeks recovering from childbirth. This soup is loaded with protein and carbs—for energy and satiety—as well as iron and Vitamin C, so crucial in healing. It's a great meal for rebuilding your body's strength.

For the record, I slightly altered the name of the recipe for my readers, the majority of whom are in the United States—maybe it's a U.S. versus New Zealand thing but I never hear anyone call this rice-shaped pasta risoni ("big rice" in Italian). It did make me wonder how orzo became the name of choice in the U.S. for this pasta...but that's neither here nor there.

  • about 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red chili or bell pepper, chopped
  • cayenne pepper
  • 2 16-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup orzo/risoni
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef stock
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and half of the chopped garlic. Form into teaspoon-sized meatballs.

Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high with a bit of oil. Brown the meatballs, then add the rest of the garlic, as well as the chili (or bell pepper). Cook for a few minutes, then add the cayenne.

Add the tomatoes, orzo, stock, and sriracha. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes. The meatballs should be cooked through and the orzo should be tender.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce. Serve in big bowls with bread on the side (I served it with garlic naan).


And go check out the deliciousness at all the other Freaky Friday blogs!
*A Dish Of Daily Life *An Affair from the Heart *Aunt Bee’s Recipes *Big Rigs ‘n Lil Cookies *Café Terra Blog *Honey & Birch *Life Currents *Simply Sated *Stephie Cooks *The Foodie Affair *Who Needs A Cape?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Almond Joy Cowboy Cookies

Anybody know where Cowboy Cookies got their name? Loaded with oats, chocolate, coconut, and pecans, these cookies are hearty and big and...macho? Tough? Mustachioed? Even Martha Stewart says "the origin of the name is unclear." I was never able to figure it out. And then someone told me the cookies got their name because they, like cowboys, have nuts. Ahem.

The great news is: I love nuts. Ahem. (Shall I keep winking every time I say "nuts" so you get the double entendre? Or can I just pretend to be a grown-up from here on out?)

Anyway, I've had nuts on the brain (seriously, stop laughing, you guys!) because Nuts.com asked me to come up with an almond-centric recipe for them to share. I love almonds and use them all the time in my baking, swapping out half the flour for almond flour; my son also takes an almond butter-and-jelly sandwich to school most days. 

What's so awesome about almonds? They provide monounsaturated fats that may help reduce the risk of heart disease; protein for energy; calcium for healthy bones; and magnesium, which aids a healthy metabolism. Did I mention that almonds are delicious and versatile? So, instead of the traditional pecans, these cowboy cookies feature almonds in two ways: chopped and as flour (available at Nuts.com, naturally).

These cookies were inspired by one of the yummiest, most underrated candy bars around. Of course, these are much healthier than a supermarket candy bar. You're welcome.

yields about two dozen cookies
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped sliced almonds
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate (about 2.5 oz)
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Note: If you don't have the whole wheat or almond flours, you can use all-purpose to replace them. Want to use all dark chocolate or all chocolate chips? Go for it. Want to use 1/2 cup butter instead of butter + coconut oil? Sure! You can substitute a lot of these ingredients or just play around to see what you like best.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use your hands to get everything fully incorporated. You will think it's not going to come together, but—patience, friends!—it will. 

Roll the dough in your palms, pressing into about 1 1/2 to 2" balls. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake 11-13 minutes.

Remove cookie sheets from the oven and place on wire racks to cool for about five minutes. Then transfer the cookies from the sheets to cooling racks so they can cool completely.

I hope you enjoy these hearty, chewy cookies as much as I did. Would love to hear what you think!

More in the mood for candy than cookies? Try my Almond Joy Bites!

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