Archive for November, 2011

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

It is officially Christmastime! I’m so happy. I keep thinking back to when I was young, and the joy of the season was so thrilling that I would literally run around in circles in the living room while listening to my Christmas tapes. This excitement was fueled by my love for Christmas music, a healthy appreciation for presents, a major pre-teen crush on Bing Crosby, and the excitement of family coming over.

As a grownup, I still think I have a pretty good dose of Christmas spirit. Even as I write this, I’m listening to Andy Williams belting out “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and sipping hot chocolate! To be honest, I can hardly wait to watch White Christmas for the zillionth time, see Phil manipulate Bob, and make sure that Betty and Bob work out their misunderstandings.

But let’s not forget one of the very best things about this time – Christmas baking! I plunged right in this year with these Gingerbread Cupcakes, covered with cream cheese frosting and cinnamon M&Ms.

Can I just say – this cream cheese frosting was PERFECTION, and so simple! I’m so glad to have stumbled across this recipe on Food Network, and it will absolutely be my go-to cream cheese frosting recipe for now and ever more. I hope you enjoy it! Happy Christmastime!

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Adapted from

Serves 12


5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder*
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup hot milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the molasses, egg and egg yolk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture (be careful not to overmix).  Stir in the milk mixture.

Fill the tin with your batter, and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the top springs back lightly. Be careful not to overbake. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a few minutes in the tin and then transfer to a cooling rack.

*The original recipe called for Dutch process cocoa powder, but I used regular because that’s all I had. For thoughts on the differences, please see this really helpful post by David Lebovitz.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from


8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the powdered sugar. Beat in the vanilla extract.

*The recipe above is doubled from the original recipe posted on After frosting the 12 gingerbread cupcakes, I had about a cup of frosting left over.

Did you like this? Share it:

Eggnog Quinoa and Pineapple Spinach Smoothie

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

I have always liked Thursdays. For one thing, you know there is good TV on the way (hello Big Bang Theory/Parks and Rec!), and Friday is right around the bend. These days I have Thursdays off which makes them even better!

My aunt stopped by this morning, and I took the opportunity to ask her about a couple recipes she makes regularly. Both of these recipes include a respectable amount of healthy “super foods”. This is good if, like me, you are feeling the need to walk in righteousness for awhile during this post-Halloween-pre-Thanksgiving time…

The first recipe I tried was eggnog quinoa. My family has tried a couple variations on this dish, using both pasta and rice. However I have recently discovered quinoa and wanted to see what it would taste like. This dish is not altogether healthy, but quinoa is packed with protein and a smaller serving will keep you really full.

First things first – heat up some butter.

Add in the (cooked) quinoa, eggnog, raisins and spices. Simmer, then enjoy!

This was so good (and easy to make). It was sweet and warm, with a slight aroma of spice and holidays. I think it would be great as breakfast – it sort of reminded me of porridge or oatmeal.

Next up – Pineapple Spinach Smoothie! Just looking at this spinach makes me feel virtuous.

I’ve been putting spinach in my smoothies since I saw this blog post a month ago. However, I knew my aunt has been making one that turns out entirely green in color so I wanted to find out about it!

She has been making an adaptation on a recipe that came with her Vitamix blender. This smoothie contains spinach, Greek yogurt, pineapple, whey protein powder and a bit of ice. It blended into a gorgeous, creamy, light green.

This smoothie was so refreshing! I loved it. It’s a little bit tart, so if you don’t like that you can add some sweetener. I am going to start having this in the morning as well – a really clean, bright start to the day.

So there you go – two nutritious recipes! These were both so easy to make. Also, the measurements are really up to you – feel free to include more or less of the ingredients depending on what you like.

Have a happy Friday/weekend!

Eggnog Quinoa

Serves 2-3

1 Tbsp butter
2 cups cooked quinoa (follow directions on package for cooking)
3/4 cup eggnog
1/3 cup raisins
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon

Heat butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Toss in the cooked quinoa. Add in 1/2 cup eggnog, and keep adding until it reaches the consistency you want. Add in the vanilla, sugar, spices and raisins. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for a few minutes.

You can enjoy right away, or take it off the heat and let everything settle together for awhile.

Pineapple Spinach Smoothie

Inspired by Kelvin Wu’s Red Green Protein Smoothie and Vitamix’s Emerald Smoothie

Serves 2-3

2 cups baby spinach
12 oz Greek yogurt (vanilla or honey flavor)
1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple
2 scoops whey protein powder
ice, as needed
1 Tbsp agave nectar, or sweetener of your choice

Blend together. Enjoy!

Did you like this? Share it:
Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles