2015 Super Bowl Desserts

While 2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year in football with the brouhaha of DeflateGate (insert #shrinkage joke), not to mention booking Katy Perry as the Super Bowl halftime show, at least I have the commercials to look forward to! Additionally, I’m looking forward to the snacks (guacamole!!) and my personal tradition of baking desserts to represent the teams playing in the big game. Since New England and Seattle have both been to the Super Bowl in recent years, I’m trying to think outside of the box on desserts. Yes, Boston has its Boston Cream pie, so here a few spins on that:

2015 Super Bowl Desserts - Boston cream pie

Boston Cream Pie cookies, cupcakes, French toast, and the classic cake

Another popular New England dessert is Indian pudding. When I first heard about Indian pudding, I thought it would include curry or other spices from the Far East. Turns out, Indian pudding is a traditional New England Thanksgiving dessert, and the “Indian” refers to Native American cornmeal.

As for Seattle, my gut reaction is Starbucks and coffee. Though Seattle also has Molly Moon’s ice cream (with popular flavors like honey lavender and salted caramel) and so many wonderful fresh fruits and locally sourced ingredients. If we expand to the Pacific Northwest, there are hundreds of wineries and craft breweries in the region. And Oregon produces 99% of the U.S. hazelnut crop. As for drinks, the obvious choice for New England is Sam Adams. You could go classic with a Boston Lager, but I think their Thirteenth Hour stout sounds intriguing, especially since John and I have been enjoying stouts lately. And for Seattle I chose Pyramid Breweries. If you’re looking for something a little lighter and refreshing, how about their Apricot Ale? Maybe pair it with some apricot squares. Who do you want to win the Super Bowl? Or are you more a fan of the Puppy Bowl?

Chocolate Stout Brown Sugar Bacon Cupcakes

Hey there, January. While the rest of Internet is sharing uber-healthy recipes like an organic gluten-free kale cupcake (apparently that’s a real thing), I’m going to throw caution into the wind and tempt you with a cupcake from the opposite end of the New Year’s resolution spectrum. This cupcake is so good my coworkers said it was better than [redacted] and that they needed a cigarette after eating one. A present to you my chocolate imperial stout cupcake with brown sugar buttercream and bacon!

chocolate imperial stout bacon cupcakes

If necessity is the mother of invention, then a coworker’s birthday is the mother of recipe development. It was my coworker’s birthday earlier this week and I knew I needed to bake her something good. Three of her favorite things are chocolate, beer, and bacon. So I Googled “chocolate beer bacon cupcake”. With almost 1 million results, I knew I wasn’t crazy. The first result sounded delicious, but seemed a little too complex to bake on a Monday night after Monica went to sleep.

So I decided to cheat a little. Don’t tell the food blogger police, but I used a boxed cake mix as my starting point! Hopefully I redeemed myself by using beer instead of water. A local Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout to be exact. And to follow the lead of these brew-friendly cupcakes, I added two teaspoons of instant espresso to add some intensity and richness to the cake batter.

As for the frosting, maple buttercream was getting to be a bit over the top. I like maple syrup on my pancakes and French toast, but I’m not a big fan of maple elsewhere. After a little more research, I decided to go with a brown sugar buttercream because brown sugar still pairs really well with bacon. Or perhaps I was inspired after drinking a Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ (which should be read in the voice of Mick Jagger). Either way, the guy at work who claims he isn’t a big frosting person asked for the recipe.

And the bacon? Another guy at work was skeptical when I pitched the initial idea. But he’s sworn off desserts, so his vote didn’t really count. Those who did enjoy a boozy bacon birthday cupcake agreed that the bacon helped balance the sweetness with it’s salty, savory goodness. Plus, the crispiness added another texture to the overall cupcake experience.

The final verdict? The birthday girl loved them! And that’s all that matters :)

chocolate brown sugar bacon cupcakes

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Bacon
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18-24 cupcakes
 
These cupcakes are so good my coworkers said they're better than [redacted] and they needed a cigarette after eating one ;) The frosting recipe is from Lemon Sugar.
Ingredients
Cupcakes:
  • 1 box of Devil’s Food cake mix (or other moist chocolate cake mix – I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil’s Food cake mix)
  • Vegetable oil per the cake mix instructions
  • Eggs per the cake mix instructions
  • Replace the water per the cake mix instructions with a dark beer like a stout or porter (I used one cup of imperial stout)
  • 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder
Frosting:
  • 1 and ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream (I used whole milk since that’s what we had in the fridge)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 3 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Prepare two cupcake pans with cupcake liners, and set aside.
  3. Prepare the cupcake batter following the instructions on the box.
  4. Fill each cupcake well about ⅔ full.
  5. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until just firm to the touch or a cake-tester comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  7. While your cupcakes are baking and cooling, start making your frosting.
  8. Beat the butter and brown sugar in a mixer with the whisk attachment until soft and fluffy.
  9. Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time), salt, and heavy cream.
  10. Beat on the lowest speed until just incorporated.
  11. Add vanilla, and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  12. Add additional powdered sugar or cream until desired consistency is met.
  13. Frost liberally and garnish with chopped up pieces of fried bacon :)
Notes
I used Medaglia D’Oro instant espresso powder, but you can also use a packet of dark roast Starbucks Via instant coffee.

 

 

New Year, New Beginnings

new beginnings for Fiscally Chic

Hi friends! How is your 2015 going? Did you have a good Christmas? I definitely enjoyed my time off with family. In lieu of a New Year’s resolutions blog post, I thought I would share some of my New Year’s reflections on blogging and the coming year.

As you may or may not have noticed, things have been feeling slow and perhaps a little forced with blogging. Yes, I needed to spend the last few months studying for the Series 65, but I couldn’t get myself to sit down and type up a blog post. What started as a creative outlet, started to feel like a chore. Additionally, I was having trouble meshing the somewhat separate realms of personal finance and personal/lifestyle blogging.

Just looking at my 2014 stats tells an interesting story. None of my top posts had anything to do with personal finance. Nine out of the top 10 posts were DIY related! And only one was published during 2014.

Sewing Curtains with a Hidden Tab Top
Hiding TV Cords and Cables
Nursery Update: Pom Poms and Lanterns
IKEA Vittsjo Entry Table Hack
Hiding a Cable Box and DVD Player
Blueberry Rhubarb Cobbler
Curtain Call
DIY Lace Embellished Top
Building an Upholstered Ottoman
Cleaning Granite Counters

So that got me thinking. I still want to share personal finance content, but I don’t think Fiscally Chic is the right place for it. I think it worked better in the past when I was sharing a piece of our journey of saving for a house and such. Going forward, I want to share more personal and creative posts on Fiscally Chic (though still with a personal finance flair). My personal finance content will be better served in the blog and newsletter for my financial planning business (more on that soon!).

In addition to this blogging mental block, I honestly didn’t like where I was writing. Our office is also my studio for the Etsy shop, crafting area, dumping zone to keep things out of Monica’s reach, laundry landing zone, and more. To add insult to injury, the right click button of our mouse recently stopped working. I finally bought a new wireless mouse and I already feel a little better working at this computer!

Back to the mental stress of our office. Even though I reactively manage the shop, it has started to feel like a physical and mental burden. I completed my annual inventory count and am a little disheartened at the amount of cash tied up in inventory. It feels like fabric is piling up and not moving out fast enough (even though I haven’t purchased new fabric in over a year).

As a wife and mom, there are only so many hours in the day and something needs to give. After 4+ years, I think it’s time to start shutting down my Etsy shop. I plan on selling the pillow covers I do have, and finish the ones I’ve started, but I also want to start selling off the excess fabric. In addition to making extra physical and mental room in my life, this can help finance my new business. Don’t worry, there will be a post to let you know when the sell-off starts!

To be honest, I really started to consider shutting down my Etsy shop after listening to Whitney English’s episode on The Lively Show. In a way, hearing her talk about closing her seven-figure stationery business gave me permission to close mine. And in the famous words of Frozen, I just needed to let it go.

I opened the shop to give it a try and to give me something to blog about. I’ve realized that I need to put in hours of work that I don’t have (or want to give up) to make it grow. I don’t feel like the benefits justify the effort it takes to grow and thrive. I’d much rather spend my time as a wife and mom. And I need the extra mental space to build my new business!

Cheers to the new year and new beginnings!

Christmas Ale bacon

Christmas Ale Bacon

Need to make a last ditch effort to get on Santa’s “nice” list? I have three words for you….Christmas Ale Bacon! As I mentioned last week, we enjoyed the world’s greatest bacon from Cleveland’s Pork Chop Shop over Thanksgiving. In addition to your standard pepper bacon and maple bacon; they have Cajun bacon and the best…

Read More »

new years eve with rent the runway

Celebrate in Style with Rent the Runway

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links. Thanks for supporting Fiscally Chic! Friends! I have fantastic news to share with you! I took the Series 65 exam yesterday and passed!! That means I’m one step closer to becoming a Registered Investment Adviser…

Read More »

December Collage

Life Lately: Series 65 Edition

Tap, tap….Is this thing on? Things have been a bit quiet on the blog, but not for lack of activity. As you can tell from the post title, things have been all Series 65 (or Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam), all the time. A good portion of my free time has been spent reading the…

Read More »

pirate ship

Are you ready to become a Pirate of Financial Freedom?

Fiscally Chic is partnering with the Pirates of Financial Freedom to share this post. Opinions are my own. With gift guides flooding the Internet, you’re probably more than aware that Christmas is only three weeks away. Earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune shared “Smart financial gifts for young adults” and the first item on their…

Read More »

Christmas picture outfit

Christmas Cards and Matching Outfits

This past weekend, John’s family got together to take pictures for Christmas cards. Admittedly, I fretted a bit too much about what our little family would wear. When you take photos, does everyone match? Or at least coordinate? I just purchased that Banana Republic plaid shirt; so I planned the outfits (in my head) around…

Read More »

my favorite marriage tip

My New Favorite Piece of Marriage Advice

Back in September, I heard a great interview with Mary DeTurris Poust on Relevant Radio. In it, she talked about marriage and the Catholic faith. Seeing as it’s the date of our anniversary (our anniversary is September 13) I want to share this wonderful piece of advice with you, as expanded up in her blog post Marriage: It’s…

Read More »

10 habits of rich people

Are You Practicing These 10 Habits of Rich People?

Last week, my friend Andy shared this post from MarketWatch on the “10 things rich people know that you don’t.” Naturally, I wanted to see if I knew these 10 things. Mom and Dad – I’m happy to report that your good financial habits rubbed off and I’m aware of all 10 habits. The bigger question…

Read More »

Fall 2014 Collage

Life Lately

Hi friends! How’s it going? Admittedly, things have been a little quiet in this part of the Internet. We’ve been busy making Fall memories: cheering for John’s sister in the Chicago Marathon, enjoying cupcakes in St. Louis after our friend’s wedding, going to the pumpkin patch, and obviously Halloween! Monica was a pineapple and yes,…

Read More »

Pool Safety Starts With Swim Lessons

Pool Safety Starts With Swim Lessons

Today I’m sharing a guest post from Kaitlin Gardner of An Apple Per Day. As a fellow former college swimmer, we both love the water and want to pass that on to our kids. At the same time, we want our family to be safe in and around the water. Kaitlin shares the “why” as well as how to…

Read More »

DIY Trick or Treat Tote

DIY Halloween Trick or Treat Bag

With Halloween two weeks away, I’m finally starting to get in the spirit of the season. Which is an improvement on last year when I made Monica’s dinosaur costume only a few days before the big day. And yes, this year’s costume is still a work in process. However, I found the time to sew…

Read More »