Batty Butterfinger Red Velvet Cupcakes


Halloween is around the corner, and every boy and ghoul has a sweet tooth right? I mean they eat sweets in the afterlife right?….Right?! Well anyway before I spook myself with the thought of never having a dessert ((shudders)) I decided to take a regular red velvet cupcake and throw a favorite Halloween treat, Butterfingers, into the mix.

For the cupcakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 large egg
2 teaspoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda & 1/2 teaspoon vinegar

*After the cupcake batter is made just smash a couple of bars of candy in the mix.  I used a 6 pack of mini Butterfingers.


For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter and sugar on medium for 2-3 minutes, until light in color and well combined. Beat in egg, food coloring, and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. In a small bowl combine baking soda and vinegar. Stir into batter.

Bake 15-17 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Serve warm or let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.


I decided I wanted to make my own frosting so I decided on a Chocolate Peanut Butter Powered Sugar Frosting.

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (optional)
Cream sugar, butter and vanilla. Add a small amount of milk (1 to 2 tablespoons). Add cocoa if desired and beat until fluffy. If frosting is too sweet add a little more milk.
shot_1414176186237 shot_1414176061771
shot_1414176845079 shot_1414176795462

 I wanted to make it a little fun so I decided to put a little food coloring in the frosting.


Overall I wish I had put in more Butterfingers and added more Buttermilk but overall they were yummy! Can’t go wrong with Red Velvet in any capacity! For the spider and spider webs I just bought some sugar sheets with Halloween decorations for baking.



Recipe adapted from Handle The Heat

Oreo Cheesecake with a Ginger Spice Cookie Crust

My sweet tooth kicked in yesterday (well errr it kicks in everyday but I digress) so I wanted to bake an Oreo Cheesecake.  When I saw these Peanut Butter Oreo cookies I couldn’t resist but to use them!  My mom had also been gifted with some Ginger Spice cookies, I believe from a co-worker, and she did not want them.  When I tasted the cookies the other day I just knew I had to use these cookies for my crust.




I also used some homemade salted caramel sauce I made the other day.


Adding the heavy cream


Letting the caramel cool down

Letting the caramel cool down

Ingredients (crust):

  • 15 Ginger Spice Cookies (or if you want to use just Oreos just a whole bag/28 Oreos)
  • 4 Tablespoons of melted butter

I combined both the Ginger Spice Cookies AND the Oreos for the crust aka someone ate a few Ginger cookies out the box so we didn’t have enough.

1. First, preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Spray a 9 x 2 1/2 inches (23 x 6 cm) springform pan with no-stick cooking spray or brush it with some vegetable oil.

2. Using a food processor, blender or rolling pin, crush cookies into crumbs. (I used my Ninja)

3. Place the crushed cookies in a bowl. Melt the butter and pour it over the Oreo/Ginger crumbs. Stir to coat all the cookie crumbs with butter.

4. Pour the Ginger/Oreo-butter mixture into the springform pan and press it into the pan to form the crust.

5. Bake the crust for about 7 minutes.

shot_1413821452850 shot_1413821647462


Ingredients (filling):

  • 24 ounces of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup of granulated white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 Oreo Cookies

6. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.

7. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined.  Crumble about 8 Oreo Cookies into the mixture.

shot_1413823043546 shot_1413822986861 shot_1413822916878

8.  Stir together and combine.  Pour the cheesecake mixture over the Ginger/Oreo crust.

9. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined.  Crumble about 8 Oreo Cookies into the mixture.

10.  Smoothen the batter and place in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the edges are set but the center is still slightly jiggly.  Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.




This recipe is adapted from Zoom Yummy!

Berry Crumble Cake

First I want to wish a Happy Birthday to my Dad who turns 56 today! Love you! My dad is a pretty simple guy and although we do have an amazing bakery we go to for family celebratory occasions such as birthdays, I decided this year I wanted to bake him a cake this year.  Just to refresh your memory, I started taking up baking earlier this year as a new mom.  I have found that cooking/baking releases my stress so I have been trying to practice my baking technique slowly but surely this year.  I wanted a recipe that wasn’t complicated and something I could easily follow and didn’t have to buy too many ingredients.  I searched furiously (aka 2 minutes) for a cake I could bake and just stumbled upon a simple berry pie.  I was intimidated into making my own pie crust so I decide just to go the much easier route and bake a cake.

Ingredients (cake):

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups of fresh berries
  • ground cinnamon (optional)

This recipe can be used with any berries of your choice.  For me I love blueberries and always keep them frozen in the freezer (for smoothies) so I decided to use blueberries and blackberries for my cake (if using frozen berries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter).

Originally I had planned to use Vanilla Almond milk for a substitution, however Almond milk works fine in any recipe calling for plain milk, though one thing to keep in mind is that it’s very low in fat, so won’t offer the same richness as whole or 2% in baked goods.  So at the last minute I decided just to go with regular milk. (FYI depending on the end product you can also use coconut milk)

To make the crumble, combine in a large bowl the flour and sugar (brown and white) Melt about 1/4 of butter in the microwave and pour into flour/sugar mixture.  Mix with hands until crumbly.  I had cinnamon sticks and wanted to add some cinnamon to the crumble so I took my Ninja threw a few sticks in there and blended. BAM…ground cinnamon! I added that to the crumble and mix it again with my hands a bit.


  1. Preheat oven to 375° degrees.  In a blender or seperate bowl take the remaining crumble mixture (flour & sugar) along with eggs, baking powder and milk. Whisk/blend.
  2. Pour batter into a greased/buttered baking dish with berries and the crumble mixture on top
  3. Bake at 375° for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  4. Let cake cool for 15-20 minutes and serve

I forgot to add the crumble mixture on top before I put in oven (chasing my 1 year old around the house)  so I just added them afterwards (simple mistake but still came out yummy).  You can also add chopped nuts to the crumble mixture on top if you like a bit of a crunch! Of course like any other recipe you can adjust and revise the ingredients to your own liking!

shot_1413498685177 shot_1413498815325 shot_1413499509507



shot_1413500230088shot_1413500568852 20141016_182126





The Popcorn Bar

Mojito.  Cherry Limeade.  Coconut Curry.  Peanut Butter with Grape Jelly.  Dill Pickle.  Jalapeño Ranch.  Watermelon.  M&Ms.  These are just a few, out of an abundance, of flavors to choose from at The Popcorn Bar.  We happened to be in the area and I wanted to stop by.  I recently heard about The Popcorn Bar by coming across a Yelp review (go figure) and the various mouthwatering flavors sold there.  I was sold at Dill Pickle flavored popcorn! Could this be true?  So today happened to be the day my stomach and tastebuds have awaited for!

You can get quite lost finding the establishment, but its located right off Southwest Freeway in a small shopping center.  You wouldn’t know it was there unless you were looking for it.  It smelled heavenly as soon as I walked in the doors! It’s a small but lovely decorative shop.  Filled with celebratory and holiday decor, as well as gift packages filled with delicious popcorn!

I was greeted by a lovely young lady named Autoosa.  Not only did she not judge me on my school girl excitement and reaction (or the five bags of popcorn I bought), but we also bonded over food.  Loved her! What was even sweeter than the customer service was the popcorn itself.  Every single flavor I ordered was awesome and I would order again.

I had the following flavors:

  1. Strawberry Cheesecake & Oreo – I thought this would be my favorite but wasn’t, however still delicious
  2. Pina Colada – sweet and crunchy
  3. Buffalo Wings – Spicy, savory, delicious!
  4. Houston Style - I am a huge caramel popcorn lover and this mixes caramel & toffee together
  5. Dill Pickle – MY FAVORITE! By far was surprised how tasty this was. If you like pickles. GET THIS! If you don’t like pickles. GET THIS!

I ended up spending about $15 which isn’t bad for 5 bags of mini popcorn flavors (the ‘mini’ size is quite big in portion).  I’m shocked more people do not know about this place or that there are no more locations spread throughout the city.  Or maybe it likes to stay a hidden popcorn gem.  Now it’ll be my little hidden gem (and yours of course).  My new favorite place! Be sure to stop by for your Halloween goodies!

3829 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77027
(713) 621-7677

Appetite Deluxe Food Scale: 10         Overall Experience: 10








Compound Butter: 5 Easy Recipes

For you butter lovers out there like myself, I love a good compound butter to take my meal or snack to the next level!  A year or so ago a came across a couple of recipes from SheKnows to make various types of compound butter from Garlic Herb to Blue Cheese and Chive.  I wanted to share with you all these simple, yet tasty, recipes which can be spread on any bread/sandwich/wrap or added last-minute on any steak or seafood to take your taste buds to new heights just by adding a touch of your compound butter.  So let’s get started shall we!

Just a little reminder that I did this last-minute at home so we did not have all the ingredients, so just a reminder you can always substitute certain ingredients if you do not have on hand.  The first recipe I wanted to try was of course the Garlic Herb and a good example of substituting ingredients is we did not have heavy cream on hand.  So if you do not have heavy cream on hand you substitute ¾ cup milk and ¼ melted butter thoroughly mixed. It won’t whip but otherwise will work well in any recipe that calls for it.

Garlic Herb Butter Recipe:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Add all ingredients to a large glass or steel mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat all ingredients until well incorporated and fluffy. (If you do not have an electric hand mixer, you can do this by hand using a strong spoon, it will just take a bit more work.)
  2. Place a medium-size piece of plastic wrap onto a clean, flat surface. Using silicone spatulas, gather the butter together in the bowl, then spoon the butter mixture out of the bowl and onto the center of the plastic wrap.
  3. Grabbing the bottom portion of the plastic wrap, pull it up over the butter and begin forming the wrap around the butter, rolling and forming a log shape. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap and place butter in the fridge to set.

Extremely easy to prepare and make.  Again I did not have every supply required on hand so we ended up sticking the butter in a plastic bag and just labeled it.  Straightforward and no complications! Below are the ingredients to make compound butters for: Citrus Tarragon, Blue Cheese & Chive, Smoked Paprika Jalapeño, and a Spiced Brown Sugar Butter.  Directions are the same for all.  Enjoy!

*UPDATED: So Hubby and I decided to use the Garlic Herb to bake chicken tonight for dinner and it came out yummy! We also used the leftover rosemary and thyme! Delicious! I also saw a recipe for stuffed avocado with couscous that I think will go great with the chicken!

Citrus Tarragon Butter

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Zest from 4 clementines (or 1 large orange)
  • Juice from 2 clementines (or juice from 1/2 orange)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • Pinch of salt

Blue Cheese and Chive Butter

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons blue cheese (more or less depending on how strong the cheese is. I substituted with Applewood Smoked Blue Cheese and used 4 tbsp as called for)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
  • Pinch of salt

Smoked Paprika Jalapeño Butter

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, pulp and seeds removed, very finely diced
  • Pinch of salt

Spiced Brown Sugar Butter with Walnuts & Raisins

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins










Compound Butters via

Compound Butters via

Bernie’s Burger Bus

As an American, this country is well known for our burgers so I wanted to make a stop at the newest venture in town trying to make its mark on the industry, Bernie’s Burger Bus.  Serving as both a resrurant and food truck, this burger joint just recently opened back in 2010, by chef Justin Turner who has 18 years restaurant experience.  As their website proudly states (and our server mentioned this to us as well), everything that comes out of Bernie’s Burger Bus kitchen is made from scratch.  From the buns to the condiments, everything is homemade!

Now I am no burger girl by any means.  I like them but don’t have a love for them, however the loud buzz about this place was too big to ignore so I dragged my hubby with me and made him promise to hold off eating until Bernie’s opened.  I kid you not we were there 10 mins ( before they opened for lunch. And Bernie’s was every bit worth the wait for those long grueling 10 minutes!

Modern, cool and fresh, Bernie’s has the making to be the best after school spot ever! There is literally a school bus in the restaurant that serves as the scenery for the kitchen, as the staff works furiously to bring out the fresh burgers.  We opted to sit outside on the patio since it was a beautiful day!  The menu is cleverly disguised as a school notepad/notebook and burgers are named after your favorite people and places in school such as The Principal, Detention, Study Hall, The Cheerleader and The Bully.

Our server Matthew was nice and very attentive.  Of course when I enter a new establishment I always ask my server for recommendations or the most popular items ordered. Matthew suggest I go with the Salted Caramel Apple Pie Milkshake with streusel crumble and whipped cream ($7.00).  He also suggested I order ‘Homeroom’ (Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, “tipsy” onions, chipotle aioli and topped with a Fried Egg $10.25).  My hubby ordered a pulled pork BBQ sandwich which I apologize I forgot the name! We decided to share an order of Truffle Laced Hand-Cut Fries with parmesan and green onions.

Everything I ate was amazing and beyond fulfilling! The truffle laced with parmesan was great with the perfectly cooked and cut fries.  I believe they would have been amazing with sweet potato fries but I’m not complaining! As far as the burgers go both were out of this world! Best burgers I have had in years! I would recommend the BBQ pulled pork sandwich the sauce is what makes Texas legendary for its BBQ. Sweet yet savory but can still get that smoked bbq taste from the sauce and pork. So gooooood!

Be sure to check out Bernie’s Burger Bus Food Truck which is roaming the streets (get their schedule on their website).

5407 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401  (713) 349-9400

Appetite Deluxe Food Scale: 9         Overall Experience: 9









Vanilla Cupcakes with Cookies N’ Cream Frosting

So last night I had the urge to bake cupcakes which come to think of it I never have before (don’t judge me)! I was browsing online and saw this simple Vanilla Cupcake Recipe so I decided to step my toe into the world of baking! Of course I was a ‘never goes by the rules’ type of gal so I always alternate and substitute ingredients in particular recipes.  I am not sure if thats so good in baking but I am learning and love trying different techniques and ingredients, hit or miss.

Naturally being the chocolate obsessed woman I am,  I was gearing more towards a chocolate mousse but plans always change, especially when I laid my eyes on this can of Hershey’s Cookies N ‘Cream Icing on sale for $1.00. SOLD! So I began to follow the simple recipe:

Servings: Makes 15 cupcakes

Ingredients for Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups cake flour or Canadian bleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil (vegetable or extra light olive oil also work)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cups cake flour (or Canadian flour), 1 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. Set flour mix aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 2 eggs with the whisk attachment on medium speed (15-20 seconds).

3. Add 3/4 cup sugar and continue to beat on medium speed (30 seconds).

4. Add vanilla and oil and beat on medium speed (1 minute)

5. Reduce mixer speed to medium/low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Add half of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mix and the rest of the milk. Beat until just combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl. The batter should be thin.

6. Pour batter into a lined muffin pan. Fill to about 1/2 full.

7. Bake for 12 -14 minutes at 350 degrees F. My oven takes 14 minutes. Let them cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then remove.

I had to bake mines for about 25 mins because I have one of those small conventional ovens (again don’t judge me).  But they still came out nice and fluffy.  Problem was the moistness and I am not quite sure if thats because I substituted the buttermilk for Almond Milk or I didn’t use a Canadian flour, however they were not gag worthy & they were pretty tasty! My hubby and mom liked it (whole tray gone by the end of the night)!






National Taco Day! Taco Nuts Food Truck

Houston is not the best city known for its abundance of food trucks roaming the city streets, but once I do see or spot one I’m always the first to try something new.  So to my great surprise (and just in the time for National Taco Day) my hubby and I saw a few at a wine festival.  If you haven’t known, for a few years my hubby and I have been brainstorming for a business idea for a food truck, so it never hurts to check out the competition!  We hadn’t had the biggest appetites by this time of the day so we decided to one truck so we went with Taco Nuts, created and owned by chef L.J. Wiley.  After spending a few years in New York City learning new and perfecting his old culinary techniques.  Wiley returned to Houston to create his own traveling kitchen, Taco Nuts. We ordered just at random so we went with the Chicken, Pork and Avocado tacos (3 for $10).  First the tacos were extremely small which would not be a major problem if the portion or even the flavor was up to par but unfortunately this time was not the case.  Disappointed would be an understatement, having lived in Spanish Harlem for awhile back in the day I have tasted way better quality and tasting tacos and being born and raised in Texas, this was no real tex-mex.  We walked away feeling a bit ripped off.  Not to mention we didn’t even get a glass of wine at the festival. Talk about a bust! Follow Taco Nuts on Twitter for its current location.

Appetite Deluxe Food Scale: 5         Overall Experience: 5 shot_1412455000915 shot_1412454613622 shot_1412454323800 shot_1412454752798


Cacao & Cardamom

If you’re looking for the top luxury and gourmet chocolate shop in town than look no further that Cacao & Cardamom, located in the Galleria Area.  Inspired by ingredients and spices from around the world, Cacao & Cardamom brings a new twist on chocolate.  I got to visit the luxury chocolate shop for a ‘Chocolate 101 Class & Cocktail Reception’ hosted by the creator and owner of Cacao & Cardamom, Annie Rupani.  Annie proudly proclaims that each bon-bon is hand-crafted and hand painted in cocoa butter to express the flavors and originality of each piece of chocolate.  Cacao & Cardamom has various flavors such as Strawberry Bubble Gum, Five Spice Praline, Coco Curry, Blueberry Lime and Pineapple Fennel Caramel just to name a few.  They also make about 20 types of chocolate per day!

Fortunately for us we each got to partake in a personal lesson from Annie on how she makes her decadent chocolates. It was my first time taking a class on how to make chocolate and it was very entertaining mixing and mingling with the other guests, having fun, and looking a bit clueless, as to how to make our own chocolates.  Annie was more than personable and patient with her guests teaching us step-by-step her process for making her fabulous gourmet chocolates.

We were also treated to a champagne reception and got to sample some of the sweets.  Perhaps the best chocolate I have ever had! It is a bit pricey? Yes.  Is it worth it? Definitely yes! Each chocolate is like a work of art and you can really see the time and dedication she took for each single piece of chocolate that she hand crafted.  A beautiful decor shop with nicely arranged various chocolate syrups and spices on display for your viewing pleasure.  Not bad for a 24 year old former student who had originally went to school to become a lawyer.

Appetite Deluxe Food Scale: 10         Overall Experience: 8.5

5000 Westheimer Rd #602, Houston, TX 77056 (281) 501-3567

shot_1410994515281 shot_1410994756313-2 shot_1410994910377 shot_1410995034645 shot_1410997396842 shot_1410994943352

shot_1410995341147 shot_1410994935415shot_1410995363612-2


Owner, Annie Rupani

shot_1410994891866 shot_1410996775733 shot_1410996794628

Adair Kitchen

Adair Kitchen mixes a fresh food twist on classic American casual dishes.  Equipped with an Espresso/Coffee/Juice bar, Adair has a down home kitchen style feel and ambiance. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and I heard it can get pretty crowded so I decided to go on weekday for breakfast to beat the rush.  The service at Adair Kitchen is order at the front and sit down service, as the waiters bring the food to you.

I couldn’t decided between a few items so being the foodie I am I ordered everything that sounded appeasing to my taste buds.  Balsamic eggs was the first thing I wanted to try which consists of two poached eggs on grilled asparagus, baked parmesan tomato, and wheat toast.  A little too much balsamic glaze for my liking but I did enjoy the poached eggs.  Unfortunately thats all I really enjoyed from the meal.  The parmesan baked tomato was ok nothing special.

The next thing I ordered was the baked peaches and cottage cheese.  Cinnamon baked peaches served with cottage cheese.  I must admit I am not a fan of cottage cheese but wanted to try this dish.  It was a nice pleasant surprise it was yummy and my son actually ate it as well.

The stand out item for breakfast was the Banana multi-grain pancake.  It was delicious! In fact I didn’t even need butter or syrup it was moist and delicious on its own.  I would definitely recommend ordering the pancakes at Adair.  Overall I must say I wasn’t really impressed with my breakfast.  In total I spent about $22, which is not bad at all (I also ordered a small cappuccino).  I would come again to try their lunch and dinner menu options.

5161 San Felipe St, Houston, TX 77056
(713) 623-6100

Appetite Deluxe Food Scale: 6         Overall Experience: 8