Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

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So I have an announcement.  Oooo exciting!  Yesterday I was sworn in as an AmeriCorps Vista.  I am going to be spending the next year working with an inaugural Vista program helping build services and training for Holocaust survivors. This coming Tuesday is my first day on the job.  As I am sure you can guess, I’m excited, nervous, and trying out a bunch of different outfits to figure out what is the best.  Pretty normal I think.

And of course you know I’m baking something to celebrate.

Have you ever really wanted a chocolate chip cookie in cake form?  If you haven’t then you are missing out, because that is what these are, but also so so much more.  Buttery and soft and chocolatey… I found myself eating two a day! And, true confession, I ran out of icing before I ran out of cakes and I found I liked the un-iced ones better.  Simple and delicious cake.

Though I used the Chocolate Sour Cream icing and it was very good on these cakes.  I will never criticize you for wanting to go decadent!

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Baked Beans

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Can I call these Boston Baked Beans if I baked them in the Washington DC area? The end of summer seems to be rushing towards us, so my husband and I decided to have a big cookout with burgers and watermelon and baked beans.

About 7 years ago I started to notice symptoms which eventually resolved themselves into a food allergy for which I carry an Epi-pen and the whole nine yards.  I can’t consume nitrites.  The naturally occurring nitrate chemical in spinach and such are fine, but nitrites, found in processed meats, are forever off my table.  Which yes, means no bacon for me.  Or pepperoni.

‘Sad life’, as my sister would say.

But I have become more and more adept at substituting and avoiding and honestly, aside from a periodic craving for a delicious pepperoni pizza, I’m good.

One of the foods I have had trouble with is baked beans.  Bacon and baked beans just go too well together for most recipes to resist.  Thus I decided I would try to make my own.

It takes time, but luckily this is a recipe where the bulk of that time is very hands off so you can get a ton of other things done around the house.  A house that is steadily smelling better and better as the chores get done.  Who could want more!

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Shrimp Pasta

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Ok, so the Pioneer Woman calls this recipe “Penne Alla Betsy” but it has become simply Shrimp Pasta in my house.  And this is a very popular dish in the rotation at my house.

And why not?  It has tomatoes, cream, shrimp, and fresh basil.  It is delicious summer on a plate.

Well… delicious if not quite super healthy summer on a plate.

And the best part?  You can go from nothing to dinner in just under 30 minutes.

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Fridge Dill Pickles

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So I really really like the CSA we have joined!  It is a lot of fun and I do think we are eating healthier, or at least more veggies. But something happened about two weeks ago. I looked around my kitchen and realized that I had eight cucumbers.  Eight!

Now don’t get me wrong, I like cucumbers.  I enjoy them a lot but I had no idea what to do with eight cucumbers.

Luckily the Smitten Kitchen blog came to my rescue.  Apparently I am not the only one drowning in cucumbers this summer.  So what can we do with cucumbers… make pickles!

I have never made homemade pickles before.  I was actually a little afraid of making them.  But these were super-easy and turned out very very tasty.

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Sour Cream Chocolate Icing

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Guys, something amazing has happened!

No I’ve not won the lottery or a new car or anything like that.

And no, Kelsey, there are no babies in my futures.  You are never gonna get to be an Aunt, stop asking!

It is better!  I have finally found an icing that is homemade by me and works! Really!  As I have mentioned before, I have never had success with a homemade icing.  And there is something really sad about making a beautiful cake from scratch and then slathering on the canned stuff.  Not that there is anything really wrong with the canned stuff.  I have eaten gallons of it in my life.

But this is better.

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