Homemade Pesto

If you’re anything like me, you love Pesto but have always been afraid to make it on your own.
I used store bought for years and finally caved and bought a basil plant a few weeks ago in an attempt to keep it growing and finally make Pesto from scratch.

It is incredibly easy and cheaper than store bought and you can even substitute the pine nuts for chopped walnuts since pine nuts aren’t very easy to find.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (No stems)
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese in a food processor or food chopper.

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Once everything is blended and combined, add salt & pepper to your liking.

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Store in jars and seal tight and keep in the fridge if you are storing for later or use as sauce for pastas, flatbreads, pizza, or toss in pasta!

With love,

-R. Vargas

Vanilla-Frosted Cupcakes

The most delicious and basic cupcake recipe you will ever make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sprinkles (if desired)

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Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
    (I had to make 24 cupcakes so I doubled up on the ingredients since the ingredients listed only called for 12 cupcakes.)

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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Put 12 cupcake liners in a muffin pan or 12 double-layer cupcake liners on a baking sheet.

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Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.

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Gradually beat in the eggs, sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in with the milk.

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Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

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To make the frosting, put the butter and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until pale and soft. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating well after each addition.

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Spoon the frosting into a large pastry bag or squeeze bottle with a design tip if you have any, or simply frost the cupcakes the old fashioned way.
(I added in a few drops of food coloring to change the frosting into a rose pink color, and used a squeeze bottle to decorate the cupcakes.)

Here was my final product:

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Let me know how your cupcakes turn out!

Enjoy!

Xoxo,

-R. Vargas

Homemade Meatballs

Simple and easy meatballs to serve as an appetizer or to serve with Spaghetti!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1/2 cup  Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg

You can add in or substitute different ingredients, or seasonings for a different type of flavor. I myself added in a pinch of Italian Seasoning.

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Directions:

Heat oven to 400°F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix all ingredients. (The Italian Bread Crumbs gives the mixture a wonderful smell!)

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Shape mixture into 20 to 24 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Place 1 inch apart in pan.

Bake uncovered 18 to 22 minutes or until no longer pink in center and enjoy!

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Enjoy!
Xoxo
– R. Vargas

Cooking Party

Every year I, along with the help of my mother, host a party for both of my nieces. It’s not a cause for any celebration, we just give them a party and invite over all the ones in the family.

This year we hosted a, “Cooking,” themed party. We planned out a menu and decided that the little ones would make all their own food with the help of an adult of course, we would all bake our own desserts, and we would play cooking or food related games, have prizes, etc.

Candy bag prepping.

Candy bag prepping.

Aprons & Spatula's for the little ones.

Aprons & Spatula’s for the little ones.

Table decor.

Table decor.

Sparkling Cider

Sparkling Cider

Prepping to make meatballs from scratch.

Prepping to make meatballs from scratch.

Taking turns mixing.

Taking turns mixing.

More meatballs.

Rolling the meatballs.

Finishing our tray.

Placing them on our first tray.

Placing meatballs on the tray.

Placing meatballs on the second tray.

Prepping a salad.

Prepping a salad.

Making our second batch of meatballs.

Making our second batch of meatballs.

Kitchen crew.

Head chef making spaghetti.

Head chef making spaghetti.

Out of the oven.

Out of the oven.

Posing with their "champagne," bottles.

Posing with their “champagne,” bottles.

Popping bottles!

Popping bottles!

The girls think it's really champagne.

The girls think it’s really champagne.

Final result!

Final result!

Touch sense game.

Touch sense game.

Smelling sense game.

Smelling sense game.

Taste sense game.

Taste sense game.

Girls & their prizes.

Girls & their prizes.

Baking time!

Baking time!

Taking turns mixing the batter.

Taking turns mixing the batter.

Girls & their spatulas.

Girls & their spatulas.

Scooping the batter to make cupcakes.

Scooping the batter to make cupcakes.

Best friend helping the girls.

Best friend helping the girls.

Fresh out the oven.

Fresh out the oven.

Frosting & decorating.

Frosting & decorating.

Displaying their creations.

Displaying their creations.

Chocolate covered strawberries.

Chocolate covered strawberries.

Recipe cards we put in the candy bags for each girl to take home.

Recipe cards we put in the candy bags for each girl to take home.

My mom & the girls.

My mom & the girls.

My favorite part of the night I would have to say was when we all sat at the table to eat and when my youngest niece told everyone to bow their head for a prayer. I was about to say the prayer aloud until I heard her speak up and give it instead. I was so proud!

If you didn’t notice in the pictures, the girls had a great night!

Xoxo

-R. Vargas