Tag Archives: Recipes

Cupcakes For Everyone!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more cupcakes! I tend to cook more than I bake because I am more of an eye-baller (dash of this, pinch of that) than a careful and precise measurer. Typically, I find the best reason to bake is to lick the bowl. However, recently I was asked to make cupcakes for my friend’s surprise birthday party. I was thrilled because I believe a personal touch makes every event more special.

Since more of everything is always better, I decided to make two different flavors of cupcakes and frosting from scratch. While Betty Crocker is quite tasty, they were completely worth the little extra effort.

Festive Confetti Cupcakes with Creamy Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes

This recipe makes 24 mini-cupcakes or 12 full size, but easily doubles or triples!

½ cup butter

1 egg

2 yolks

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup sugar

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Line muffin tins with paper or foil liners

Allow the butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

In a small bowl, combine;


Baking powder


This was a serious job, so I pulled out the big gun: my Kitchen Aid, though you can certainly use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer.

Beat butter on medium high speed until lightly whipped, approximately 30-45 seconds



Beat for approximately 1 minute



Egg yolks


Beat until well blended, scraping the sides occasionally

Alternating between the two, add;

Flour mixture

Heavy whipping cream

Continue to alternate until you have used all of the flour mixture and the cream, and your batter is just combined.

Scoop equal amounts of the batter into the cups, approximately 2/3 or ¾ of the way full.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes for the mini’s and 20 for the full size, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.


Creamy Frosting

This recipe makes approximately 3 cups

1 cup shortening

2 tsp vanilla

4 cups of confectioners’ sugar

3-6 Tbsp milk

While I had the big old Kitchen Aid out, I decided to put it to work, though you can certainly use an electric hand mixer and a large mixing bowl.




Mix until well blended


2 cups confectioners’ sugar


2 Tbsp milk

Gradually, add the remaining confectioners’ sugar

Gradually add enough milk to make the frosting a nice and spreadable consistency

I wanted colorful frosting which was easy to accomplish by adding a few drops of food coloring.

A special event requires attention to detail, which is why I used my fancy frosting tips and a pastry bag to create a decorative pattern on top of each cupcake. You can pick up a basic set of tips at most grocery stores and fancier tips at your local craft stores. A formal pastry bag is hardly necessary; simply snip off the corner of a baggie, fill with frosting and you’re ready to create a masterpiece!

To create these festive confetti cupcakes, I grabbed food coloring, sprinkles and colorful canned frosting with built in tips to create the silly string effect. They were adorable!

Pretty Pastel Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

This recipe makes 48 mini’s or 24 generous cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes


¾ cup of butter

3 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups milk

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Line muffin tins with paper or foil liners

Allow the butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

In a medium bowl stir together;


Cocoa powder

Baking soda

Baking powder


Again, while I had the big old Kitchen Aid out, I decided to put it to work, though you can certainly use an electric hand mixer and a large mixing bowl.

Beat butter for 30-60 seconds, until nicely whipped


Sugar, ¼ cup at a time

Beat until combined and nice and fluffy


Eggs, one at a time

Beating until well combined



Alternately, add;

Flour mixture


Beat until fluffy

Fill muffin tins half-way to 2/3 full

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center is pulled out clean. Allow to cool on the wire racks until ready to frost.

Buttercream Frosting

1 ½ cups unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

6 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 Tbsp water or your favorite flavored liqueur

1 ½ tsp vanilla

Confectioners’ sugar

Allow butter to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

In a medium saucepan, combine;



Bring to a boil and remove from heat

Whisk half of the sugar mixture into the egg yolks

Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining sugar mixture in the saucepan

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat

Cook and stir for 2 minutes until smooth


Liqueur or water


Transfer the egg mixture to a bowl and place in ad ice bath to cool down

Continue to stir while maintaining a smooth consistency and cooling to room temperature


Placing butter in the mixing bowl, beat until creamy


egg mixture

Beat with a mixer until light and fluffy


If the frosting is too thin, you can add confectioners sugar to thicken it up to a nice, spreadable consistency


If you desire a punch of color, add some food coloring. Just remember that the frosting is already slightly tinted because of the butter. Once again, select your frosting tip and insert in a pastry bag, along with the frosting.


I’ve never worked with fondant, which sounds pretty intimidating. I purchased fondant from the craft store, rolled it out on a confectioners’ sugar covered surface and, with a small cookie cutter, cut out sweet little flowers for each cupcake.

As you can see, using the pastry bag, I created a decorative swirl

Next, I added the fondant flower

I topped each flower with a dollop of the canned frosting in a contrasting color

After selecting a yellow floral sprinkle, I placed it on top of each dollop of frosting

The cupcakes were sweet, charming and delicious! More importantly, they were made for an adored friend with love.

More sweetness, more mini-cupcakes, more festive decorations, more meaningful moments…..

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Best Thing Since Sliced Bread; Ecce Panis Bake at Home Bread! #EasterMeals #CBias

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more leftover baguette bread! Between work, school and sports, we are a busy family; frequently living life on the fly. I have always found that the best way to stay one step ahead of the game is by being super organized, which is why I meal plan like crazy. There is nothing worse than the drive of shame…….heading through the Drive-Thru! Why eat out when you can plan a beautiful, healthy and delicious meal at home?

Recently, I learned about a great line of gourmet Artisan bread, Ecce Panis Bake at Home, which can be found at Walmart. We love fresh baked bread, but it’s such a hassle to get back to the grocery store during the week just to snag a fresh loaf. With Ecce Panis Bake at Home I have the option to bake it today, tomorrow or stock pile it in the freezer for a rainy day.

We had a wonderful surprise visit from my Nick this week. Since he’s been away at school, our household just isn’t the same without him. I decided to make his favorite dinner; spaghetti and meatballs! What’s better with pasta than fresh baked bread? So I decided to try the Ecce Panis Bake at Home, and it was delicious! Ecce Panis is made by Pepperidge Farm. Check them out on Facebook and become a fan http://www.facebook.com/PepperidgeFarm

With my eyes being bigger than my stomach (perhaps one loaf per person was too much, but I am the More is More Mom® after all), we had a little bit leftover. Since I hate for anything to go to waste, I planned a wonderful Sunday morning family breakfast; Baked French Toast. What a perfect way to start the day….

While I love a Praline Topping, my Nick is allergic to tree-nuts and I would HATE for him to go into anaphylactic shock. What a way to ruin a Sunday morning! So, I decided to make two smaller French Toast recipes; one with Praline Topping and one without.

Baked French Toast

Making a tasty meal is always a treat, but mornings are usually rushed. I love anything that can be prepped in advance, which is why this one is a total winner! Assemble it all and leave in the fridge overnight.

10” x 10” Pan serves 4-6, with approximately 18 slices of baguette bread

7” x 10” Pan serves 3-4, with approximately 12 slices of baguette bread

Generously butter the pan

Bake the Ecce Panis Bake at Home and slice into 1” thick pieces

The liquid mixture recipe covers one pan, so if you are making two pans, double the recipe.

In a mixing bowl, combine;

5 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

¾ cup of milk

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

Place the slices of bread snuggly in buttered pan

Pour mixture over bread

Cover and refrigerate over night

In the morning, pre-heat oven to 350°


Prepare the Topping:

1 stick softened butter

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup chopped pecans

2 Tbsp corn syrup

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

Spread over the 7” x 10” pan of bread

Whether with or without the topping, bake for approximately 35-45 minutes

Serve with powdered sugar, syrup and my family’s favorite….fresh sliced strawberries on the side!

This was so delicious, my family made a special request; please make this Easter morning! I can’t think of a better way to start a special day.

If you’d like to give Ecce Panis Bake at Home Bread a try, you can save $0.55 by linking to the coupon below:


To see more of my shopping trip to Walmart, please visit me at:


More homemade bread, more leftovers, more sweet breakfasts, more tasty family meals…..

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias. All experiences and ideas are my own.

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Positively Pretty Pork Tenderloin and Rich Risotto Cakes!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more easy, yet delicious, dinners for busy lives! The past few weeks have been an absolute blur; Nick was able to sneak home for a few days (it was a delightful visit), I have been invited back to the Arlington Design Center to present another Life Style & Entertaining program in March, and Chuck and I were hanging out in the city at the very trendy and cutting edge Kenmore Live Studio (it’s fun to ditch the sticks every now and again and pretend that we are cool).


While life may be crazy busy, it certainly doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice the quality of our meals. All it takes is a little planning and a great recipe!


Marinated Pork Tenderloin and Risotto Cakes (better than you’ll find in any restaurant for sure!)


Serves 4-6


Lemon and herbs always taste so fresh. Toss in a little garlic and you have me forever.

In a re-sealable bag, combine:

Lemon zest from one lemon, if you have one

¾ cup lemon juice, while hand squeezed juice from real lemons is nice, who has that kind of time? I always keep a great big bottle of lemon juice on the door of my refrigerator

½ cup olive oil

10 garlic cloves minced (keeps the vampires away….)

2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (while bottled juice is ok, there is just no substitute for fresh herbs)

1 Tbsp chopped thyme

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Generous sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper

Stir until well mixed

Add 2 pork tenderloins

Marinade over night


When ready for dinner, heat the grill to medium-high

Remove the tenderloins from the marinade

Grill for 20-25 minutes, turning every so often to allow the meat to brown on all sides

Once the internal temperature reaches 135°, remove and cover with foil

Allow to stand for 10 minutes or so before slicing


Risotto Cakes

Okay, these are to die for, and they are a fantastic alternative to a boring old bowl of rice.

Makes approximately 12 cakes

You’ll also need Arborio Rice and panko breadcrumbs (they are so nice and crunchy!)

In a mixing bowl, combine;

½ cup Greek yogurt

2 large eggs

3 Tbsp fresh chopped chives

2 cups Fontina cheese grated (or use what you have, maybe Parmesan Reggiano)

Generous sprinkling of kosher salt cracked black pepper

In a 4-quart pot, bring water to boil, add;

1 cup Arborio rice

A little salt

Reduce heat and cook the rice for 20 minutes or so, until the water is absorbed and the rice is nice a fluffy

Drain the rice in a colander (with extra small holes) and rinse with cold water

Add the rice to the yogurt mixture, stirring completely

Place in the refrigerator for several hours or over night

Once the rice mixture is firm, you can form the patties at any time prior to cooking, even over night


Pour ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish

Scoop rice mixture into a large spoon or ice cream scooper, then, in the palm of your hands, roll into 2” balls (just like meatballs)

Place on a cutting board or platter, press down on the ball until it forms a nice round patty

Dip each patty into the panko bread crumbs and set aside

You can cover the risotto cakes and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them


Once you are ready to roll, heat 3 Tbsp oil in a skillet

Place patties in the skillet and cook until golden, flip over, cooking on the second side until golden as well

Add more oil if needed, cooking until all of the cakes are prepared

Place pork tenderloin slices, risotto cake and your favorite veggie on a plate and enjoy…..


More fast but sophisticated dinners, more family meals, more tasty risotto, more of the other white meat…..


To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Cheeseburger in Paradise!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more cheeseburgers! While we love a fabulous gourmet meal, sometimes, nothing beats a great big burger. The secret is in how you prep the meat, and, of course, your choice of toppings.


I like to prep my patties the night before so the flavors have time to mingle.




In a bowl, combine;

1 ½ pounds ground beef

1 onion (I favor white), reserving 4 –  ¼” slices for grilling, then dice 3 tablespoons onion

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form patties

Refrigerate until ready to grill



Reserved onions – 4 slices

2 heads of romaine lettuce

Cheese slices

Tomatoes, sliced




Mayonnaise (I like to mix mine with a little pesto sauce)

Olive oil

Garlic salt

Cracked black pepper


Vertically slice the romaine lettuce

Drizzle olive oil over;



Then sprinkle both sides of the lettuce with garlic salt and cracked black pepper


Hamburger Buns:

We are partial to onion rolls. What makes this so delicious is the addition of the garlic butter!

In a small sauce pan, melt;

6 Tbsp butter

4-6 gloves of minced garlic

Slather melted garlic butter over the insides of each the top and the bottom buns


Prepare the grill to medium-high heat

Grill lettuce and onion rings on both sides until nicely charred

Remove, chop up the lettuce and set aside


Grill burgers to desired doneness. The kids and I like to live on the E-coli edge, as we take ours rare, while Chuck prefers the carcinogens of a well done burger.


When you add the cheese, toss the buns on the grill for a minute or two until they are nicely charred.

Because more of everything is always better, I like to layer my burger;

Cheese, pesto-mayo, ketchup, grilled lettuce, onion slices, pickles and tomato…..held together with a tooth pick!



Steak Fries:

As a total bonus, I made parmesan steak fries. They were to die for!


For planning purposes, I usually figure one potato per person, plus one extra.


Pre-heat oven to 375°


Scrub your baking potato then slice it in half vertically

Slice each half into spears (approximately 8 per half)

Then, trim each spear in half vertically so they make smaller matchsticks

In a bowl, drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper.

The magic was in the parmesan. Toss to coat with approximately 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese.

Spread evenly on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet covered with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook for approximately 40 minutes.


Serve your stacked burger with the parmesan steak fries, eat slowly and savor every-single-bite!


To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Sandwiches That is….)

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more birthday dinners! Last week, after our successful trip to the DMV, Amanda scooted out the door, with a set of car keys firmly in hand, to pal around with her best girlfriends. What a great way to celebrate turning 16! By the time she was pulling into the driveway, we were ready for 22 family members to join us for dinner. At Amanda’s request, I made homemade meatballs (my people are addicted to meatballs sandwiches. They claim mine are even better than they make at Potbelly’s), sauce and baked mostaccoli. All I can say is, “Dinner was umm, umm good!”


Because more of everything is always better, I made a triple batch of everything!


Marinara Sauce

Yields approximately 12 cups


3 Tbsp olive oil

3 cups of chopped onion (usually 1 large onion. I especially like white onions)

12 cloves of garlic, minced

1 ½ Tbsp sugar

2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil

1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 cups chicken broth

3 – 280z cans crushed tomatoes

Sprinkle of garlic salt



In a large stock pot, heat oil, and add;


Cook approximately 4 minutes








Cook for about a minute

Stir in vinegar





Garlic salt

Bring to a simmer

Reduce to low and cook for nearly an hour, stirring from time to time


Homemade Meatballs:

Yields approximately 36 – 2” meatballs


2 cups bread crumbs

½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

4 eggs, beaten

4 Tbsp milk

1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

Sprinkles of salt and pepper

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

Olive oil


In a large bowl, mix together;





Bread crumbs

Once well combined, add;

Ground beef

Ground pork

Knead together until well mixed


Put a large chopping board on the counter

Take a small amount of meat into your hand and roll meatballs about 2” in diameter

Place the meatballs on the board while you prepare the remainder of the meat


Prepare 13 x 9 baking dishes

In a large skillet, coat the pan with oil and heat over medium-high flame

Add meatballs and brown on all sides


Remove from the skillet and place in baking dishes


Pour prepared sauce over meatballs, cover and refrigerate overnight



Baked Mostaccoli:

Butter a 13 x 9 baking dish


1 – 16 oz box of tubular pasta (I prefer Barilla brand)

1 stick of butter

Shredded mozzarella



Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil

Cook pasta for 15 minutes or so, until nice and soft

Drain and coat with butter

Add a few cups of cheese, to desired cheesi-ness

Add marinara sauce until generously coated (so the pasta doesn’t get too dry)


Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook


Pre-heat oven to 350°

Cook meatballs and mostaccoli for approximately an hour


The meatballs can certainly be served on the side, but my family loves meatball sandwiches

I like sub rolls for their sandwiches

Pre-heat oven to broil

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil

Open sandwich rolls and toast for a few minutes, until lightly browned


Add meatballs and sauce to rolls, serve with a generous side of mostaccoli and enjoy!


More homemade dinners, more family celebrations, more favorite meals, more meatball sandwiches…..


To schedule an Interior Design appointment or a Life Style consultation, please send me an email at moreismoremom@aol.com

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