Cardamom Pear Muffins

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After I moved into my new home last year, my friend gifted me with a box of last Harry & David Royal Riveria Pears. I used the very last one to make these muffins and took them with me on a bus trip up to New York City, where I attended the Coffee & Tea Festival with her.

These muffins are extremely straightforward to put together. Unlike some recipes, they do require creaming together butter and sugar, but even with that step, the batter comes together in about 6 minutes. Buttermilk keeps the crumb moist and helps to offset the earthy flavors. To further balance the cardamom, which can be strong, especially if you grind it straight from the pod, I added just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.

The muffins are light and tender of crumb and a bite that marries the pear with cardamom has a sweet, fruity, lightly spiced flavor. They make a great breakfast that won’t send you crashing from a sugar high, and pair nicely with green tea.

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Green Velvet Graduation Cupcakes

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Graduating college is a big deal! It’s tradition for me to make cupcakes or cookies for my sister’s graduation (high school, associates degree, undergraduate, and soon to be graduate!). Her schools colors are green and yellow so I opted for a “green velvet” cake and my tried and true cream cheese frosting.

Velvet cakes, I’ve found, are actually a pretty good crowd pleaser. It’s not a vanilla cake, and not quite chocolate. And these were even more awesome because I made some edible graduation caps to go on top. I was inspired by this post and used colored candy melts with my brownie bite pan and candy cup mold. And yes, I sorted out all the green colored mini M&Ms and cut the green out of strips of rainbow sour belt, but I was determined to have a super cute graduation cap and tassle!

The cupcakes were a hit and we surprised my sister at an end of the year Girl Scout event with a mini party in our hotel room.

Egg Salad & Carrot Cake Cupcake Bento

It’s been a while since a lunch post appeared!

Have you ever boiled a bunch of eggs and wondered what to do with them? Easter, Labor Day, and other holidays come to mind. This egg salad is a basic recipe that substitutes the celery for green peppers and is on pumpernickel/rye swirl bread . Going with the Easter theme (only 5 months late, right?), this lunch was packed in a Miffy sandwich box with a carrot cake cupcake, some edamame, and a fruit cup.

The cupcake packed above was from my “mother-in-law”. It’s a coincidence because I made a bunch of carrot cake cupcakes too! I stopped by a local cake supply store and got some sugar carrots as decoration, but other than that, this recipe is simple and timeless.

I used the extra batter to bake mini-cupcakes. I mixed a little green food coloring and some shaved coconut to make some “easter grass”, then decorated them with jelly beans for eggs. An ice cube tray was a perfect vessel for transport.

This past April I went to my parents’ for Easter. We had some Hawai’ian bread, sweet potatoes, ham, scalloped potatoes, bacon baked beans, and corn. I’m not religious, though my parents are a bit. They know I just come for the food ^_^ I tried to propose a lamb or rabbit for Easter dinner next year but that didn’t seem to fly. It was hard enough to get them to try a different turkey last Thanksgiving!