2012 has been a great year for me and my family! We built a new house and I built a baby. We actually moved into our new home and had the baby all in the same month. (For the record, I do NOT recommend moving when one is nine months pregnant.) We’re starting to feel pretty settled in here, but I still haven’t hung one picture on the wall. I do have quite a few framed and leaning against the walls close to spots I want to hang them… That is a start, right?!
Now that we are done with the home and baby building, I am looking forward to settling back into a routine in January. I have a lot of goals for 2013, many of which are common ones like getting into shape (god help me fit back into my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans), and de-clutter the house. Yes, despite moving into a home twice the size of my previous one, I still have boxes full of crap that I don’t know what to do with. A giant garage sale seems to be in order, but I’m simply too lazy. So instead I make practically weekly trips to Goodwill.
So instead of sharing the obvious goals with you, I thought I’d share some of my food-related goals for the year – this being a food blog and all!
1. Make a few things out of the book, Charcuterie. Up first – homemade bacon!
2. Bake more bread. There is noting quite like the smell and taste of homemade bread. Despite all the gluten-free trends out there, we’re carb-lovers in this house. One of my favorite inspirations for this task: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and the King Arthur Flour website.
3. Put a little more love into my other website, Seasonal Potluck. Betsy and I are so busy with our personal websites and that we have not put as much as we should into this one. It’s a great place to find and share recipes for seasonal recipes. If you want to do more cooking with seasonal ingredients, check it out!
4. Find more go-to slow-cooker recipes. Now that I am a mommy, I need to simplify my weeknight meals. What better month to start this one than January? There are so many delicious soups and stews that are easily made in the slow-cooker.
5. Incorporate our homebrew into more recipes. Now that we brew beer at home, I am much more inclined to reach for a brewski rather than pour myself a glass of wine. There are so many creative recipes with beer, I need to start being more creative with ours!
6. Make baby food! The little one will be starting solids in just a couple of months. OF COURSE I will be making his food. My friend Natalie gave me a baby food cookbook for Christmas. Can’t wait to try it out!
7. Use our smoker more often. This is more of a goal for The Husband…but I’ll be the recipe-finder/creator and he can be the muscle in this operation!
8. Make and EPIC cake for my sons first birthday. I know it’s not until August, but maybe I can convince my sister or sister-in-law to make a cake for one of my nieces’ birthdays so I can practice! Rosie is my inspiration.
9. Make an EPIC dessert table display. I just ordered a copy of Amy Atlas’ new book, Sweet Designs. Can’t wait to recreate one of her masterpieces!
10. Balance. I know that I just listed off a ton of high fat meats and desserts, but that doesn’t mean that is all I eat. I am a firm believer that you can enjoy all foods, as long as it’s in moderation. Life is too short not to try new things and enjoy the food you love. Food is also a way to show your love, so eat up! But in moderation.
Here’s a cheery recipe to get you in the New Year’s spirit. This would also be great with meyer lemons, which are in season right now!
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- one batch Easy Microwave Lemon Curd
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a 12-cup cupcake or muffin pan with paper liners.
To make the cupcakes: Place the following in the bowl of your mixer: the cake flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla. Add 1/3 cup of the buttermilk.
Blend the mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes. The mixture will be thick at first, but will smooth out as you mix.
Add the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly, if necessary.
Fill each well of the pan 2/3 full, and bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes, until they’re light golden brown on the edges. Remove them from the oven, and immediately transfer them from the pan to a rack. Cool completely.
Prepare the lemon curd according to the recipe, and set it aside to cool and thicken as the cupcakes cool.
Core each cooled cupcake, leaving a small well in the center of the cake. Fill to the brim with cooled lemon filling. Fill all cupcakes, then prepare the meringue.
To make the meringue: In a very clean work bowl, whip the egg whites and Bakewell Cream or cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the salt. Gradually add the sugar, increasing the whipping speed and continuing to whip until the mixture is light and billowy, and stiff peaks form.
Mound or pipe meringue onto each cupcake, then toast the meringue with a cook’s torch; or carefully broil until golden brown.
Yields 12 cupcakes