Rooting for Jim Larranaga for 2013 NCAA Tournament

It’s the eve of the NCAA tournament 2013 edition, and I realize I haven’t posted in a long while. Seeing that is Spring Break for me, I thought I should post who I am rooting for this March Madness. My heart is still with Bill Self and the Jayhawks, but this year I find myself rooting for Jim Larranaga and the Miami Hurricanes. Coach Larranaga is a basketball coach through and through, he’s a big practice guy and still comes from the “defense wins championships” mentality that I see lacking in a lot of basketball play over the past decade or so.

I’m a big fan of Larranaga’s scramble concepts and the teams that I’ve helped coached used all or part of them quite a bit. But it looks like this year, they are not so much forcing turnovers, but limiting opponent possessions (through great defensive rebounding) and keeping opponent FG% low. I haven’t had a chance to watch a lot of Miami games, but I would bet that his camouflage defense is more prominent this season with the longer athletic types he has this season.

But the best part of Larranaga’s coaching method is his attention to detail. To plan all the practice details and to prepare the way he does is really the secret to his success. He writes everything down, and keeps detailed notes of goals and what needs to be done.

Anyways, I hope everyone enjoys the tournament. I look forward to see which teams get to last to the Final Four.

Eggless Saffron Pistachio Cupcakes with Saffron Buttercream #festive #delicious

These Eggless Saffron Pistachio Cupcakes with Saffron Buttercream seem the perfect thing to celebrate the onset of the festive season. They come together in minutes, and the star is the frosting. saffron with pistachios adds luxury to these delicious cupcakes, the rose petals adding beauty.

The post Eggless Saffron Pistachio Cupcakes with Saffron Buttercream #festive #delicious appeared first on Passionate About Baking.

My Journey to Safer Living

Maya Angelou QuoteI’m catching up on some long overdue posts today and I wanted to write a little about my recent move to join Beautycounter as a consultant.

Over the last few years we have been on a journey to clean up potential toxins in our home. Most of us are aware of the way the food we eat impacts our bodies, (“you are what you eat”) but it was a big “ah-ha” moment when I realized that overall health can also be impacted by what I am putting on my body as well. Then I started to learn more about how personal care products are virtually unregulated and ingredients found in our personal care and beauty products can contain thousands of chemicals known to adversely affect health.

Get the rest of My Journey to Safer Living

© Bake Your Day, 2011-2018 All rights reserved. |
Permalink |

Post tags: , , ,

The post My Journey to Safer Living appeared first on Bake Your Day.

Halibut Fish and Chips

This easy Halibut Fish and Chips recipe makes perfectly crisp, flaky fish. It’s a great family-friendly meal to make any night of the week.  

halibut fish and chips in a white tin with parchment paper

We first tried fish and chips with halibut during a fishing trip to Alaska. The dish is lightly breaded with panko breadcrumbs and quickly fried for a golden crust over tender fish. On the side, don’t leave out the homemade “chips”, or thick-cut french fries. 

I’ve always loved the fish and chips at Market Street Grill, my family’s favorite local seafood restaurant. And I realized that a lot of that had to do with their delicious tartar sauce. So be sure to make your own homemade tartar sauce for dipping the fish and chips. 

Update: We’ve updated this post with tips to make fish and chips in an air fryer for a healthier twist on this classic recipe. Cheers!


The post Halibut Fish and Chips appeared first on Barbara Bakes™.

minecraft wolf birthday cake with handmade fondant topper

So my previous post was about the Minecraft pickaxe birthday cake that I made for my son’s 11th birthday. And here’s the cake that I made for his 12th birthday (which was 6 months ago 😂)! He wanted a Minecraft cake again, this time a Minecraft wolf birthday cake! I took the same approach to making the fondant topper – using a small square cutter to cut out various colors of fondant. Then I

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

I have lots of mini pumpkins around my kitchen during the Halloween and Thanksgiving baking seasons. I always get a variety of sizes and, while I bake the larger sugar pumpkins, I generally use them as centerpieces and they show up as props in the background of lots of my seasonal pictures. These delicious Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes make a fantastic centerpiece, but they make an even better dessert because they are completely edible!

The cupcakes start out as chocolate cupcakes and turning them into pumpkins is surprisingly easy, though I should let you know in advance that you’re probably going to end up with some frosting on your fingers as you work. Decorating is slightly messy whenever you’re working on a round cake, but it is well worth a few sticky fingers!

In addition to the base chocolate cupcakes, you’re going to need a relatively big batch of buttercream frosting. The frosting not only covers the cake to give it a pumpkin shape, but a small portion of it is dyed green to pipe a vine (for a bit of color) on top of the finished pumpkins. When frosting cakes like these, it is better to have extra frosting than not enough. You can always make more if you run out, but I err on the side of caution and simply bake more cupcakes to use up leftovers.

The fun of these Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes is all in how they are put together. The lids are cut off the cupcakes and the stumps are sandwiched together with a bit of buttercream. The two-tier cakes are then shaped, with the help of a pairing knife, into a more rounded pumpkin shape by cutting off the sharp top and bottom edges. A crumb coat is applied and the cupcakes are chilled. The crumb coat will hold all the chocolate cake crumbs in place when you apply the final coat of frosting. Don’t skip the crumb coat because it makes decorating easier!

Once you apply the final coat of icing, drag the tip of a knife through the frosting to create vertical lines, giving the pumpkins a more realistic finished look. Chill again, then finish the icing by coating it with orange sanding sugar. This not only gives the pumpkins a slightly sparkly loo, but it makes them much easier to handle. Chocolate stumps are added to the top of the cakes, along with swirling green vines.

Don’t throw out your cake scraps when working on these cakes! They are used to make edible “dirt” to surround the cakes when it is time to serve them, finishing the pumpkin patch look. These pumpkins are made with chocolate cake batter, but you can actually use almost any cupcake recipe to make them. That said, chocolate cake or spice cake will give you the best look for your “dirt” crumbs.

If you do want to dress up your mini pumpkins for a spookier look, you have a couple of options. First, you could color a bit of buttercream with black icing and pipe on a jack o’ lantern face. Alternatively, you could poke mini chocolate chips into the pumpkin for an even easier face design. Finally, you could simply add on some candy eyes to give the pumpkins a little personality.

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes
1/4 cup butter
2 oz dark chocolate (chocolate chips are fine), chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup hot coffee (or hot water)


1 cup butter, room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3-4 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
orange and green food coloring
1/2 cup orange sanding sugar
6 small chunks of chocolate (for the stems)
candy eyes (optional)

Make The Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together butter and dark chocolate until smooth. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter mixture, cocoa powder, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and buttermilk until smooth and well-combined. Add in flour, baking soda and salt and whisk to incorporate. Pour in hot coffee and whisk until batter is smooth. Divide evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until the cupcakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting

In a large bowl, beat butter until soft. Add in about half of the confectioners’ sugar, along with the milk and vanilla extract. Gradually blend in additional confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick and smooth. Set aside a small portion of the frosting to be dyed green for the vines. Use orange food coloring (approx 1/4 – 1/2 tsp gel coloring or 1/2 – 3/4 tsp liquid food coloring) to dye the rest of the icing bright orange.


Cut the tops off of two cupcakes and remove the wrappers. Place cupcake lids in a bowl for scraps.
Add a bit of frosting to the cut top of one cupcake and invert the second onto it, making an oblong cupcake. Using a paring knife, trim the top and bottom edges to round them off. Place trimmings into the scrap bowl. Repeat with remaining cupcakes to make 6 round cakes.
Carefully frost the round cakes with orange icing to make a crumb coat. Chill for 15 minutes.
Frost the cupcakes more generously to cover the crumb coat. If necessary, stick a skewer into the cupcake to hold it still while you frost. Use the tip of a knife to make ridges in the frosting and give it a more pumpkin-like shape. Chill for 20 minutes.
Coat pumpkins with sanding sugar, gently pressing it into the frosting and smoothing out any imperfections with your fingertips (chilling the cake should make them easy to handle).
Place a small piece of chocolate in the top of each cake to act as the stem, then pipe a swirl of green vine near the top for color. Add on candy eyes, if desired.

Take all the cake scraps and crumble them into small pieces. Make a pile of cake crumbs on a serving plate (or a small pile on each serving dish, if plating individually) and place the pumpkins on top of the “dirt” crumbs to serve.

Makes 6.

The post Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes appeared first on Baking Bites.

Sourdough Leaven for Bread, Gluten-Free

Once your gluten-free sourdough starter is up and running, is actively bubbling after each feeding, and has been maturing for at least 10 to 14 days, it’s ready for baking.  The starter is made up of living yeasts that need to be matured in order to make bread well.  Hooray!

You will need around 3 3/4 cups/885 ml (about 850 g) of starter for the Sourdough Boule recipe linked below.  Therefore, you will need to build up the starter before baking with it.

An easy way to do this is to create a leaven (or levain).  “Leaven” is technically another word for starter, but in the baking world it is a term often used for a part of the starter that you build up separately to bake with.  It allows you to create a bigger starter for baking without having to maintain a bigger starter for the long run.


1. At this point with either starter creation method, you will have about 1 1/2 cups/355 ml (300 g) of mature starter.  For the next feeding, stir well and pour all of the starter into the bigger container.  I use a 2 quart/1.9 l Cambro plastic bucket.  (clean and keep your smaller container to use again)

2. Add 1 1/2 cups/355ml (240 g) whole grain flour (brown rice, teff, or sweet white sorghum).

3. Add 1 1/2 cups/355ml (360 g) water.

4. Stir well and make sure there are no pockets of dry flour.  Cover with lid.  You will now have roughly 4 1/2 cups/1065 ml (900 g) of starter.

5. Let the leaven ferment for 3 to 8 hours or so–depending on the how active the yeast is.  How long it takes your leaven to become ready is based on your kitchen and your starter.

6.  Once the leaven is nice and bubbly and somewhat puffy on top–indicating active and happy yeast–it is ready to use in your bread dough.  Stir well and pour off around 1/2 cup/118 ml (100g) of the leaven back into your smaller starter jar to maintain as your starter.

7. Use the remaining leaven–which will be roughly 4 cups/946 ml (800 g)–for your Sourdough Boule.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2020 Jeanne Sauvage

The post Sourdough Leaven for Bread, Gluten-Free appeared first on Art of Gluten-Free Baking.