Sunday, September 29, 2013

minion cupcakes

I had a pretty great time in preschool.  I was born with a natural gift for making play-dough snowmen and I had these sick-nasty Digimon goggles that I wore every single day.


Despite the fact that I was clearly living it up,  I (like all preschoolers) had my fair share of worries.  Those "first-day jitters," the trauma of sharing at "Show-And-Tell" on Fridays, and the fear of being abandoned on the playground. 


To deal with all these little predicaments, my mom and I had a special daily ritual. 

Every morning before she dropped me off, she promised to come back to pick me up with a Twinkie.  Sure enough, every day I saw her cherry-red Toyota station wagon pull up to the preschool.  Sure enough, she always had a Twinkie. 

This little daily ritual made the traumas of preschool a little more manageable.   It also taught me that I am very easily motivated by food. 

Even now, my mom and I joke about our little "Twinkie" ritual whenever she drops me off somewhere.


This brings me to the recipe of the day: minion cupcakes!

These mischievous little minions are made out of Twinkies -- and they are almost too cute too eat.  Emphasis on the almost.

If you don't know what minions are, they're these little, impulsive, bean-shaped creatures who are quite talented singers and have a contagious laugh.  (If you haven't heard the Banana and Potato Song and want to smile, click here). I had almost too much fun giving each of my minions a different facial expression. 


So what are you waiting for?  Whip up you're own entourage of minions today!

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
  1. 24 frosted cupcakes of your choice (I made funfetti with blue buttercream!)
  2. 12 Twinkies
  3. 1 bag Ready-Made Candy Eyes
  4. Brown sprinkles
  5. Black writing icing
Cut each of your twinkies in half and squeeze two dots of black icing onto the backs of the Candy Eyes to act as glue.  Stick them onto your Twinkie (note some minions only have one eye).   Draw on a mouth and goggles using the black writing icing.  Stick a few brown sprinkles in the minion's head for hair.  Gently press your minions cut side down on top of your frosted cupcakes!



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Thursday, September 19, 2013

everyday vita: back to the basics


It's that awkward time between summer and fall.  It's too early bake up a cinnamon-spicy loaf of chocolate chip pumpkin bread and it's too late to wear jean shorts and waste away those summer afternoons.

banana bread!

I am not the best with transitions.   When I "do summer" I do it wholeheartedly -- wearing my Rainbow flip-flops for days and eating a whole watermelon for lunch.  I totally forget that in a few months, all of the leaves will fall off.  When fall comes around,  I'm furiously spray-painting chevron pumpkins and mulling cider like it's nobody's business.  When winter rolls around, I feel like someone yanked a pumpkin spice latte out of my hands and threw it on the floor (tbh I hate pumpkin spice lattes, but that was a nice analogy, don't ya think?).  But then I start baking Christmas cookies and I'm fine.

What keeps me grounded during these times of transition are those little things that are always awesome, no matter what season it is -- little things like a good magazine, banana bread baking in the oven, stretchy beaded bracelets, sparkly blush and my favorite perfume.


the morning routine never changes
I am absolutely loving this new lifestyle magazine from the U.K. called The Simple Things -- I want to cut out all of the pictures and frame them on my walls.

My banana bread recipe is by far the most popular recipe on Cannella Vita.  Probably because banana bread is always awesome no matter what season it is.  Mine can be made in one bowl with a singular fork.  I threw some chocolate chips into the batter, because chocolate chips are always a good idea. In the other loaf, I swirled some Nutella into the batter (because Nutella is always a better idea).  It all sunk to the bottom, so it wasn't to pretty, but it was yummy nonetheless.  So we ate it all anyways. 
 
I love these little stretchy beaded bracelets because they're absolutely addicting to play with.  They also transition nicely from my easy summer stack to a more studious stack (i.e. wearing a watch again). 

The smell of Dolce Gabbana Light Blue reminds me that no matter what, right now, there is an ocean breeze blowing somewhere in the world.

the "stack"
The changing of seasons (and their awkward transitions) are an inevitable part of life.  Although it's a little sad that I have homework now and can't wear my flip-flops anymore, this week gives me the opportunity to wear knit sweaters with shorts.   That's kind of exciting. :)


With love,
Erica


© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Monday, September 16, 2013

bourbon peach crostata

I'm really sorry for disappearing for the past few weeks.  School started the Tuesday after Labor Day, and since then things have gotten truly insane.


There is so much hype about junior year.  It seems like when my classmates used to talk about The Bachelor and the scary new P.E. teacher, they now talk about AP classes and college apps.
 
All of this hype freaked me out a little bit.  My label-maker went into overdrive, I felt as though my life was scheduled down to the minute, I was constantly writing myself illegible notes on my phone,  I had calenders solely dedicated to keeping track of my other calenders. 


Then I took a step back.  I realized that while jamming my label-maker and staring down at my bi-weekly calender, I was missing a heck of a lot.   Things were just passing right by me.   The air started smelling like fall, Carly got a haircut, and I desperately needed a manicure... and I didn't even notice.  Missing out is a scary thing.  I realized that sometimes, I need to get my face out of my agendas.  Sometimes, it's absolutely necessary to do something "pointless."


I did a dryer load of fuzzy socks, so I could put them on when they're still warm.

I painted my nails this electric peachy pink color.

I went on a long walk blasting "Don't Drop That Thun Thun" and looking at the trees. Then I started noticing things again and how beautiful everything was.  I noticed how the light reflects of the wavy windows in my neighborhood, how birds manage to nestle into precarious little crevices of brick walls without falling down, and how simply tilting my chin can give me a whole new perspective on my neighborhood. I wondered what the world would look like if I were 6 feet tall, or what it looks like to Carly.  Before I knew it, I was eighteen blocks away from home.


Most of the time, I bake for a purpose (bake sales, birthdays, sports games), and I absolutely love my classic cookie/blondie/brownie repertoire (i.e. things that can be eaten with one hand on the way to English class or on the sidelines).  But I think that sometimes, it's important to make something impractical and crumbly.

Like this crostata.  It's not particularly ridiculous like some of the other things I make.  It doesn't have the "wow" factor of a triple-decker Nutella cake or oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies.

It's a little crumbly, a little rustic, and the dough looks a little like a six-year-old's play-dough creation.

But it's really delicious.  It's one of my favorite things to make.  It's pretty simple and great for sharing.  Perhaps some would say that it's a little "pointless."  But maybe "pointless" isn't such a bad thing after all.

With love,
Erica


Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
11 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
1 small jar of peach jam (mine had a hint of smoky bourbon in it)
1 peach
raw cane sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 F and grease a 9" tart pan.
Place flour in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the center and add the eggs. Using either your hands or a fork, incorporate the eggs into the flour. Work the butter into the dough until it forms clumps.
Add the sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Keep working the dough until is it very crumbly and slightly sticky.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a couple of times, then take off about 1/3 of the dough (for the lattice pattern on top). 
With a rolling pin, roll out the bigger piece of dough into about a nine inch circle and press into the tart pan. Prick a few times with a fork, then spread the jam evenly on top.Break off little pieces of the small piece of dough and roll them between your hands into long strips. Place the strips over the jam, pressing lightly at the edges so they stick to the crust.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.