Blueberry Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting

Last summer my friend, the other Megan, took a month long, whirlwind trip around Europe. She is a teacher & took the summer, with another teacher friend, to enjoy the history around some of the oldest cities in the world. She left on her birthday since she would be gone for her birthday I did what any friend would, & should, do.

Made cupcakes, filled with wine, & helped her weed through her suitcase.

Okay, honestly I probably was no help to her at all. I told her she needed to bring a few… okay, a lot… of things she never ended up wearing. Hey! I like to be prepared. And that’s a lot of pressure. What if she was out for a night & thought damn it, I really wish I had those strappy heels Megg told me not to bring. I would not be that girl!

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Anyway, truth be told the frosting was just not good & I have yet to go back to that recipe to figure out where I went wrong. But the other night I wanted to bake, & I had a lot of blueberries. So while blueberry muffins just sounded far too cliché, I thought I’d give it a shot to bake with blueberries again.

(Please note, I am sitting next to a 30 year old man who is holding his breathe until I get him one of these bad boys… literally. Make it stop!)

I thought what type of frosting can I make that will go good with blueberries & the obvious is cream cheese frosting. Hell I am from the tri-state area. We live on flavored bagels. But I hate cream cheese frosting more than almost anything in the world. Cream cheese I love. Cream cheese frosting is literally heinous. So I dug through my refrigerator & found some of my fabulous goat cheese medallions that I get at T.J.s. Umm yumm! Goat cheese frosting. Now just an FYI this frosting recipe actually makes enough for 12 cupcakes so if you are making a full batch no need to double the frosting recipe. Try it out & let me know what you think!

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IMG_2235 Makes 6 cupcakes
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup blueberries
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup milk

Goat Cheese Frosting
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz goat cheese
½ cup whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350⁰ and line your cupcake tin with baking cups.
2. In a large bowl beat together your egg and sugar until mixed thoroughly. Add in your blueberries, vanilla and melted butter and continue to mix.
3. In another bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients. Salt, flour and baking powder.
4. Add half of your dry ingredients to your wet and beat until mixed throughout. Add in milk while continuing to mix in mixer. Then add remaining dry ingredients. (I used my Kitchen Aid and just kept the mixer on as I added in the ingredients slowly.)
5. Distribute the batter amongst the cupcake tins and bake 18-20 minutes.
6. For the frosting, add all ingredients to a deep bowl. Mix on high, with an electric mixer, until you reach your desired texture. The longer you beat, the stiffer the frosting becomes.

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Last Minute Tips for a Successful 24 Hours in Las Vegas

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At the beginning of 2015 we made a pact that in 2015 we would focus on work. Chris & I both decided to put ourselves last & work on getting me getting a promotion & he taking classes to get certified in his field. Then December came around & we realized we hadn’t seen our friends as often as we would have liked, we had only been able to go visit Chris’s dad’s side of the family a few times & we hadn’t been to Connecticut to see my family since the year before. So although I got a promotion & Chris passed his certification test, we had no lives.

This year our “resolution” was to live life as hard as we work… So far we have been doing terribly. Chris has been working 10-11 hour days regularly & I have been working each weekend day since we’ve been back from Connecticut. So when I got one single Saturday off last week, we decided to get away & go to Vegas for a little night trip. And let me tell you, there is no better time of the year to go to Vegas last minute then in January when the high is in the 50s. Hotels are amazingly cheap!!

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So how did we fly a last minute weekend trip to one of the busiest cities in the country?

Check Out What Deals You Have Available

One of the reasons we decided to go to Vegas was our M Life points got us amazing deals at half the hotels on the strip. Signing up for M Life was one of the best things we have done in Vegas. We earn points at casinos, restaurants & pools associated with MGM Hotels & in turn we get discounted prices for … well … everything. It’s great. Look into it next time you’re in Vegas!!

Make Plans

Research what is going on while you will be in town. In Vegas there are always new shows, clubs & restaurants. For us we decided we wanted to have a relaxing, but fun weekend so we decided to skip out on the club life & check out a show that neither of us had seen before. Lucky for us, we were able to get gifted show tickets to see Jennifer Lopez’s new show. AMAZING!! Best show I have seen in a long time! She is not performing right now but she will be back for a few more mini-residencies. Go! You will not be disappointed!

Pack Light

Since we were only going for two nights, & we knew Saturday our night would be taken up by the J. Lo show at Planet Hollywood packing for us was pretty easy. All I needed was a casual outfit for Friday & one semi dressy outfits for Saturday. After throwing in a simple outfit to hang around the casinos in during the day, & one to drive home in, my weekend bag was packed and ready to go.

Hit the Road

Okay, this may only really be the difference between life & well, wanting to run in front of a car, here in SoCal but making sure you leave to be Vegas bound is essential!! I have been stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in the middle of the dessert too many times!!! A few years ago there were two cars of us heading out there. My car left at 5pm and we got in 7 hours later!!! Chris’s car left at 10pm and he got there at 2am… How is this fair? We left at 9pm this time & were checked in by 1am. Just enough time for a drink at the hotel bar. Now go have fun!!! Enjoy Sin City!

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Travel Hacks for a Comfortable Cross Country Flight

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Taking a long flight isn’t always the most comfortable thing. Not all of us can sit in front of the curtain with chairs that lay back & drinks that are served to use in actual stemware. And long gone are the days where the stewardess knew each guest by name. Now it is all about sticking as many people onto a plane as possible & getting them to their destination.

I have had some wonderful flights, & then I have had some just straight terrible flights, where my planes have been delayed, my luggage was lost, I was stuck on the tarmac for hours before taking off for a flight from London. I even had to sleep on the floor of JFK airport on Christmas once. Flying isn’t always pretty. But taking a cross country, or even international, flight in coach doesn’t have to be all that bad. Especially if you follow some of these hacks to make sure your trip runs as smoothly as you can control.

Know where to sit
I used to love sitting at a window seat. It meant that I could lean up against the window & fall asleep without the scare of waking up on the chest of the stranger in the seat next to me. Lately, however, my feelings have changed. I feel claustrophobic in the window seat & want to constantly stretch my legs. My new favorite seat: the isle. Now I am able to get up as often as I want, even if the person in the middle is fast asleep. Know where you are the most comfortable. You are going to be there for a while, & it isn’t always possible to switch seats.

Wear the right gear
I need to be comfortable when I get on a plane. I am a jeans come off type of girl the second I get into my house so nothing is different about sitting in a seat for five hours. I always wear some sort of yoga pants or leggings on long flights. For a while my legs would even go numb while I was on planes, that’s where the proper footwear comes into play. Yes it’s easier to wear your heavy boots when packing, but don’t. Find a way to get them in the suitcase. Wear sneakers so your feet are supported and your blood flow keeps going.

Stay fueled
It’s easy while you are just sitting there to snack on the airplane chips & just have some soda they give you. Don’t! Always, always, always take the water they pass out. If you aren’t going to drink it now, you will later! Flying dehydrates your body, & replenishing your H2O can be a big time mood changer. Also, grab a sandwich or salad at one of the airport eateries for during your flight. It’s not fun when you land on a fun trip or vacation & all you can think about is needed to eat. Be prepared.

Have all your necessities at an arm’s reach
That book you may want to start for the fifth time, your tablet that has your latest Netflix binge on, & even your comfy sweater to keep you warm when the person next to you raises their air to full blast. Keep all of that under the chair in front of you so that no matter what you want, you can always grab it easily. The worst is being stuck on a plane with nothing to do.

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Buffalo Chicken Pasta

I am actually pretty excited about this Super Bowl this year. I am a Giants fan & Chris is a huge Steelers fan & even though both teams are out of the running, I am pretty excited to see the Broncos kick butt this Sunday. I’m not going to lie, I am a sucker for a Manning. I have actually probably watched more Broncos games this year than Giants, a fact I am not proud of.

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Anyway, I will be working Sunday night, & watching it via the NFL app updates as I am sure my store will be absolutely dead. But to get in the football spirit, I decided to watch some of my favorite football movies. A little Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights, & We Are Marshall marathon with some homemade Buffalo Chicken Pasta. Ummm… give me a nice, cold IPA & yes please!

I made this a few weeks ago for the first time & let me tell you, the first time was not the best. This time around… way better. Amazingly creamy & spicy. I cannot get enough. And best part… no messy fingers like when you eat Buffalo wings. That is literally the worst part of eating wings. I hate it!

Chris doesn’t love creamy pastas the way I do, so for this recipe I actually cut out a quarter of what I would have liked to put in of cream cheese. I suggest you put the entire amount in & indulge. After all… it’s Super Bowl! Day of football, food, & beer.

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1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 lb linguini
1 bunch of broccoli
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz cream cheese
2 14 oz cans of chicken broth
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ cup buffalo wing sauce

1. Boil chicken breast for 15-20 minutes in salted water or until chicken is cooked through.
2. When cooked completely, use two forks and shred chicken into small pieces.
3. Cut broccoli off stalk and clean thoroughly.
4. Boil pasta to time on box, 4 minutes before pasta is done cook broccoli in pasta water. Drain pasta and broccoli and set aside.
5. Add cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chicken broth, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to the pot. Simmer on medium high mixing regularly.
6. Once the block of cream cheese is completely melted down, mix in buffalo wing sauce.
7. Mix in pasta and broccoli and stir so all pasta is coated and enjoy.