Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices

cranberrycrumbbars

I’ve been waiting for months for fresh cranberries to be back in stores. As a few of you may remember, I used to contribute on Weddingbee (under the moniker, Mrs. Ballet Flat). Every year around this time, some of the bloggers exchange ornaments, making one of the giftee’s moniker. So, I have quite a few ballet flat ornaments on my tree that I truly cherish. :-) Last year, along with the ornament, I also got a few of these bars in the mail (an awesome surprise!). I was addicted….absolutely addicted.

After the holiday craziness, I went to the grocery stores to buy fresh cranberries to make these bars, since my exchange friend mentioned they were from Smitten Kitchen’s cookbook (which I had recently purchased). Well, all of the stores near me were sold out. Gone. No more cranberries. I promised myself that once they were back in the produce section, I was going to immediately make these bars. They’re just as good as I remembered…a subtle spiced crumb layer and cranberry filling with a hint of orange in it. It’s marvelous (as if I expected anything different from Deb of The Smitten Kitchen).

I brought these to my coworkers, thinking that cranberries are an iffy ingredient for some people…they probably wouldn’t go that fast. Um…these bars left faster than when I bring cupcakes to work! They were an absolute winner! If you’re looking for a festive holiday dessert that is a little different than the norm, give these a try. The recipe comes together fairly quickly, and any cranberry lover will probably go crazy over these. :-)

Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices
Source: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients:

For the crumb base:

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled (saving the wrappers to grease the pan)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 large egg

For the filling:

  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. orange juice
  • 3 cups (12-ounce bag) fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper and rubbing the butter remnants left on the inside of the butter wrappers on top of the parchment paper.
  2. In a large, wide bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices. Whisk the mixture well. Using a pastry blender or fork, work the chilled butter and egg into the dry flour mixture until the texture resembles a coarse meal. Pat half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of your prepared baking pan (note: the layer will be thin).
  3. In a food processor or blender, add the filling ingredients and pulse the mixture until the cranberries are coarsely chopped (but not pureed). Using a spatula or spoon, evenly spread the filling over the pressed crumb base. After the filling is evenly added, sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the berry mixture.
  4. Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes, or until just lightly brown on top. Allow the bars to cool completely before serving, cutting the bars into 36 small squares.

 

Cranberry Salsa

Cranberry Salsa

When I went to Fresh Summit, I was introduced to fruits taking on a more savory note in recipes. I really didn’t think I’d like it, but oh boy, it got the creative juices flowing. One thing I sampled was at the Ocean Spray booth…while I didn’t get to speak anyone there (the summit was super busy with 20k people there), I was immediately intrigued by their cranberry salsa recipe. They were handing out samples with tortilla chips, but when I tasted this, my first thought was TURKEY. How fabulous would this be on turkey instead of the normal cranberry sauce?!

So, when we smoked the turkey this past weekend, I also whipped up a batch of this cranberry salsa. It was fantastic on the turkey! In fact, my husband (who isn’t much of a cranberry fan), loved this salsa. :-) It’s definitely going to be a part of our holiday menu, and I think I’m going to bring a batch to my family’s Thanksgiving when we go. It was just SO good, and very simple to make.

Cranberry Salsa
Source: Ocean Spray

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 tbsp. chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 green onion, white and green parts, sliced
  • 1 tsp. lime juice

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized pot, add the water and sugar. Stir the mixture, and heat it on medium heat until it comes to a boil. Add the cranberries to the mixture, and return the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and gently boil the cranberry mixture for 10 minutes, being mindful not to stir during those 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the mixture into a medium heat-proof mixing bowl, and fold in the remaining ingredients. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, and cover with plastic wrap. It’s best served at room temperature, but you can refrigerate it overnight and serve the next day (it’s actually even better the next day, in my opinion).

Cranberry Apple Avocado Salad

cranberryappleavocadosalad

My goodness! Life has been fairly busy lately. Things were a little more relaxing once the house got repaired from the lightning mess, however, the past couple of weeks, the closer we get to the holidays (um, it’s exactly two months until Christmas), the busier things get! I sound like I’m complaining, but it has me so excited. :-)

I know that it’s too soon to talk about holiday stuff for the majority of people, but every year in October, I get the holiday fever. I put the Josh Groban’s “Noel” CD in my car, I start crafting like crazy for holiday gifts & I’ll linger around any aisle in a store with snowflakes and trees. I’m tempted to burn my holiday tree candle, but then I’ll want to put the tree up. I do have my limits…. :-P

When I attended Fresh Summit this past Sunday, I received a bag of this new (to me) variety of lettuce from Coastline Produce called Little Gems. They looked like baby romaine, but they are a hybrid of crispy romaine and sweet butter lettuce. I couldn’t wait to try it, so I went to the store with an idea of combining apple and cranberry in a salad with this lettuce, along with a vinaigrette recipe I’ve had my eyes on since last year. Then, when I got home, I found that I received the amazing prize (from the California Avocado Commission) that I won from Dine & Dish’s Avocado contest (STILL can’t believe I won it!!), and included in that prize was a bag of avocados. I couldn’t help but add this to the salad as well, because avocados are pretty darn awesome in any salad. :-) It was so so good! The crispness of the apple and lettuce, the creaminess of the avocado and the tartness from the cranberry just made this salad delightful! The salad dressing is a bright pink color, which I think makes it so pretty and colorful. In fact, looking at it while I’m in my holiday fever phase makes me think that this recipe would be PERFECT for the holidays. It’s red and green, after all. :-)

Cranberry Apple Avocado Salad
Source: dressing adapted from AllRecipes

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 1 head Little Gem lettuce (or lettuce of your choice), washed well and dried
  • 1 large apple (I used gala), cored and sliced thin
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. water

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients, blending until the dressing is very smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, add the lettuce, apple slices, avocado slices & dried cranberries. You can either serve it with the dressing on the side or tossing the salad with the dressing, a little at a time, until the salad is dressed to your preferences. Serve immediately.

Disclaimer: I received the lettuce at no cost to me from Coastline Produce, and the avocado was part of a prize pack from the California Avocado Commission.

 

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Pumpkin, Apple, Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Life is such a roller coaster. A couple of months ago, lightning hit our house and turned so much of our lives upside down. Then, we had some really terrible news in our family that just made me question how much worse things can get. (Don’t do that, by the way.) It was tough not to cry at random times, which was so embarrassing when it happened at work (especially since I work with guys, which was probably super uncomfortable for them…ahh, tech field). I tried to use the allergy excuse, but they knew what was going on. Things were just broken….our house, our hearts…I really had no idea when good things would happen again, but that was the only thing that kept me going. Good things had to come for us. Soon.

Now, we’re painting new sheet rock in our house. The house that we could have completely lost, but we didn’t. As tedious as painting is, I appreciate that we have walls to paint. We pulled out Halloween decorations, which were right next to where the fire started. I can’t look at the attic the same way again, but taking out these goofy decorations make me realize that we’re very lucky right now. We’re doing normal things again, like planting fall flowers, cutting grass that is still growing like a weed and loading dishes in the dishwasher. While those tasks aren’t really super fun, I take a step back and think that I didn’t have to replace those plates that I’m rinsing out, I didn’t have to walk through a house full of water/smoke/fire damage and just think about everything we lost. I’ve had those nightmares lately….multiple times, and waking up in my bed makes me smile and count my blessings.

We’re so lucky. I’m so lucky that I can blog about this baked oatmeal. I’m sitting in our living room, blogging, staring at my sofa full of clean clothes that I’ve yet to fold, and watching my dog attempt to steal a sock from the pile to rip to shreds. I’m so lucky.

Now, this baked oatmeal is simply fall. When it was baking in our kitchen, it just smelled amazing. Pumpkin, apples, cranberry, cinnamon….it’s a perfect fall breakfast. This is one of those dishes that make you want to curl up in a blanket, sip on a cup of coffee and just embrace the season.

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal
Source: adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium apple, cored and cubed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray the inside with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and dried cranberries, and stir everything until combined. In another bowl, add the milk, pumpkin, melted butter, egg and vanilla, and whisk the mixture well.
  3. Add the wet mixture, as well as the chopped apples, to the dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the baking pan, and spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Bake the oatmeal for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and the liquid is absorbed.

Berry-Nana-Cado Smoothie

berrynanacado

I started running again this week, and I was SO shocked that I was able to do 10 minutes of running at a time. It has been way too long since I last hit the pavement, and it felt wonderful to get back to it. With working out, though, comes a mean appetite. I come home starving, even if I have something before my run. My favorite snack post-workout is a smoothie. Just throw the ingredients in, and let the blender do all the work. When you feel like collapsing on the sofa and staying there for hours after a hard workout, this is my kind of recipe.

I usually just go with a banana/protein powder combination, because it seriously tastes like a milkshake. I prefer to buy bananas super cheap at our local grocery store, when they’re overripe. 3 bunches of bananas for 99 cents? SCORE! I’ve been known to purchase 5-6 packs of bananas, and I just take a few minutes to quarter the bananas and place them in one layer in a freezer bag. Easy peasy. For this smoothie, I went protein powder-less, and tried something different: avocado.

Now, before you cringe, avocado is a fairly mild food. It’s not like I threw guacamole in the blender…avocado alone lends a creamy consistency to the smoothie. This recipe couldn’t be easier either…throw all of your ingredients in and blend away! You’d be surprised…seriously. It’s great, and it’s surprisingly filling, since there’s no protein powder in this recipe. :-)

Note: This post is my entry for the “Wake Up Breakfast with California Avocados” link-up/contest, being hosted by Dine and Dish & Cookin’ Canuck.

Berry-Nana-Cado Smoothie
Source: heavily adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a medium California avocado (pitted and flesh removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups low calorie orange juice (I used Trop50)
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (no sugar added)
  • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries (no sugar added)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 6-8 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Throw all ingredients in the blender, and blend until all ingredients are blended well. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Bananas Foster a la Mode Cups & A Giveaway!

bananasfosteralamode2

A couple of months ago, my husband and I went to a restaurant in New Orleans. When it came time for dessert, we decided to split something, but the problem with splitting with my husband is the dessert cannot contain any chocolate, caramel or peanut butter (he hates it all). I know…poor guy doesn’t know what he’s missing! Luckily, this particular restaurant had a bananas foster torte, so I knew we were set. It was absolutely delicious, indulgent and rich. In fact, I’m SO glad we split it, because there was no way I could eat the whole thing. Ever since then, bananas foster has been fresh on my mind. I had to make a fun recipe with this classic New Orleans favorite.

I’m thrilled to be working with Calphalon again to review their brand new Elite Nonstick cookware, which is sold exclusively at Williams-Sonoma. It’s currently for sale on their website, and will be in stores on September 27th. I’m sure you guys know that I love using nonstick cookware, but one of the biggest issues I’ve faced is being limited to wooden or silicone utensils. This line is safe for metal utensils (fork out your whisks!). Yep…I’m serious! This cookware also comes with a textured sear surface, which is awesome because you can get the sear that you usually get from stainless steel, but with the convenience (hello, easy clean-up) of a nonstick pan. This line of cookware is also dishwasher safe.

Calphalon sent me this 3 piece set to review, and asked me to create a modern twist on a classic recipe, using one of the pans. With that in mind, I grabbed the 10″ pan, some bananas and got to work! The end result is homemade bananas foster ice cream, topped with warm bananas foster, contained in a cinnamon sugar wonton cup. I hope you like bananas for this one, y’all, because there is plenty of sweet banana flavor in this recipe!

bananasfosteralamode

For the ice cream, I omitted the rum, because even though the alcohol cooks off, I didn’t want to chance the ice cream not setting up properly. I suggest making the ice cream one day before you plan on serving these desserts, so the ice cream can be a scoop-able consistency.

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Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins

nutellabananamuffins

It’s been a while since I’ve consistently lost weight. I’ve been hovering around the 70 lbs. lost mark for about 3 months now, and while it’s great to know that I can maintain the loss, I really miss that loose clothes feeling. :-) I started a new weight training program last week, and it made me forget just how amazing weights can be. Currently, I’m working out 4 days a week straight, with 3 rest days, which is how the program is outlined. For those four days, my weight dropped a little, but once those rest days hit, the scale had a huge drop.

Five pounds lost!

I was completely shocked to see a number like that, and it’s super motivating to get back on track. My original goal was to hit Onederland (199 lbs.) by Halloween, but I’m not sure at this point if that’s possible. We shall see, though. Last Halloween, I hit 50 lbs. lost. How perfect would 100 lbs. lost be? (even though I’d probably gain 2 back testing out candy for Trick or Treaters).

Since I was getting back on track, I wanted to bake up something that would be a quick, easy snack to share with coworkers. These muffins were perfect. I subbed applesauce for oil (1:1), which substitutes perfectly in quick breads and muffins (you won’t miss it!), and omitted the pecans, since I’m probably the only southern gal who thinks pecans are gross. (Back story: I ate one too many rotten ones off my Memaw’s tree as a kid and now I can’t stand them!) These muffins were fluffy, flavorful and my coworkers didn’t even realize there was applesauce in them! :-) You don’t even need to fork out the mixer for this one….two bowls and a spoon will work just fine. I love recipes like that. :-)

Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins
Source: mildly adapted from The Novice Chef

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened (no sugar added) applesauce
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • nutella

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
    2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until everything is well-mixed. Set this aside for later use.
    3. In a large bowl, mix together the bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Mix in the egg, applesauce and vanilla extract, and beat everything for about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, and slowly mix everything together until just mixed (don’t over-mix).
    4. Scoop the muffin batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each liner 3/4 of the way full. Add 1 tsp. of nutella to the top of each muffin, and use a toothpick to swirl the nutella into the muffin batter.
    5. Bake the muffins for 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Granola Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

granolacookies

Ever since I came home from Food Blog Forum, I’ve been having an itch to register for another food blog conference. I don’t think I realized how amazing the food blogger community was until the conference. Everyone was just so friendly and welcoming…it felt like so many of us had been friends for the longest time. Just awesome. I’m seriously on pins and needles about where BlogHer Food will be next year…I think I’m ready to take the plunge. :-)

Another thing I really didn’t account for were the goodies. Oh man….I brought my checked luggage bag as a precaution for souvenir shopping, but seriously needed the whole suitcase for the bag o’ swag, along with the food from a local food exchange. So much stuff LOL. I still haven’t gotten through it all! In my bag was a container of granola, and since I don’t eat granola very often (I may sprinkle some in yogurt for crunch), I searched in hopes that someone has already invented cookies that would use up some of this granola.

Luckily, I came across this recipe, and the results were SO good. The flavor reminded me of an oatmeal raisin cookie, but it definitely had more to it, with the addition of dried cranberries, nuts (from the granola) and chocolate chips. I had to get these out of the house!

Granola Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granola
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk the ingredients together until well-mixed.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, and mix until well-combined. Then, mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula and add in the dry ingredients. Mix on low until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.
  5. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, scoop each cookie two inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool the cookies completely on the cookie sheets and enjoy!

Pistachio Cranberry Energy Bars

Larabars

While I enjoy eating cookies, cupcakes and ice cream, I could eat fruit all-day, every day. Thank goodness..or this calorie counting thing wouldn’t be working out so well for me. Me and my sweet tooth! :-)

When I started calorie counting, I went to Whole Foods and went on an energy bar shopping spree. I wanted a bar that would carry me through my work-outs, but not feel too heavy after eating them. Most of the bars tasted really good, but the ones that stood out to me the most were Larabars. I won’t lie to y’all. I thought they would taste terrible, being that they only had a few ingredients in them, but I was surprised in how much I liked them. They’re so basic…usually a base of dates, mixed with other dried fruits and nuts. With my favorite combination in cookies (of course, it always goes back to cookies haha!) being pistachio and cranberry, I tried to throw some energy bars together on my own. I was shocked at how easy these were to make. There’s no baking, and your food processor does all the work (which for me, is just a mini chopper, so I did this in small batches).

Pistachio Cranberry Energy Bars
Source: inspired by Use Real Butter

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. pouch of pitted dates
  • 5 oz. pouch of dried cranberries
  • 6 oz. pouch of shelled pistachios (roasted and salted)
  • honey, if needed (depending on how wet the mixture is)

Directions:

  1. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper (making sure some is sticking out above the sides to pull the bars out easily) and set aside.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor, except for the honey, and puree the mixture. If you have a mini-chopper food processor like me, do this in small batches.
  3. Check the mixture to see if any honey is needed to help bind the ingredients together better. You want the mixture to be easy to roll into a ball without falling apart.
  4. Once you have your bars at the desired consistency, spread the energy bars out evenly onto the 8×8 pan. Then, cut them into bars and individually wrap.

 

 

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

strawberrymargaritacupcakes

I was a huge *NSYNC fan back in the day, and every year, I get a real kick out of the “It’s Gonna Be May” meme. Seeing it 2390859 times on Facebook this week made me watch the video again, and it reminded me of the days when I would get to drive my Mom’s minivan and would blast *NSYNC’s “Pop” CD in the old Discman (with the cassette tape attachment), since the minivan only had a cassette player. Ahh…how times have changed, y’all!

(Please tell me someone else attached their Discman to the car stereo with the cassette tape adapter…)

Anyway…it’s May (whoa..). And well, since it’s May, Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner. Usually the tex-mex places appeal to me with their food and margarita specials for the day, but lately, I’m not that much of a drinker since I started calorie counting. Give me ice cream over a 1,000 calorie cocktail. I know…I’m weird. We actually purchased alcohol on our cruise in December, and this is the first time I opened the tequila we bought there. We’re kind of boring in this house. :-P

I’ve been wanting to make these cupcakes for a while, but the boozy aspect is what got to me. I can’t exactly do my usual baking routine of baking a recipe and bringing it to coworkers. I’m pretty sure HR would be at my desk within 2 hours, so I’ve never made them. However, these are for a celebration for a good friend of mine, and since she’s a big fan of everything tex-mex, I thought these would be the perfect cupcake to celebrate. :-)

I ended up adapting a strawberry cupcake recipe by adding lime juice and zest, as well as brushing the tops of the cupcakes with tequila (which I found this idea on another blog). The frosting is a simple buttercream with strained strawberry puree, lime zest and of course, tequila. The combination of these flavors are just awesome. I hope she enjoys these! :-)

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes
Source: cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, technique from Confections of a Foodie Bride, frosting is a Nifty Foodie Original

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 10 oz. strawberries, hulled and diced finely
  • 1/4 cup tequila

For the buttercream:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3-4 cups of confectioners sugar, divided
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 tbsp. tequila
  • 1/4 cup strained strawberry puree (puree in a blender, put in a sieve over a bowl to let excess liquid drain for appx. 30 minutes)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prepare 2 cupcake pans by lining them with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the two flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer (using the paddle attachment), beat the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, and beat in the eggs one at a time, until well-mixed. Add in the vanilla, as well as the lime juice/zest, and mix until just combined. Put the mixer on low speed, and add 1/3 of the flour mixture (mixing until combined) and then 1/3 of the milk (also mixing until combined), repeating until everything is in the batter. Fold in the strawberries.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake the cupcakes, rotating the pan halfway through baking (at the 10 minute mark), for 20 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean). Immediately brush the cupcake tops with tequila (using a pastry brush), and then transfer the pans to a cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes, and then remove the cupcakes from the pan to finish cooling on the wire racks.
  5. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Cream the butter for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in 3 cups of confectioners sugar, and beat well until the mixture is sort of crumbly. Add the lime zest, tequila and strawberry puree, and beat the mixture for 2 minutes. If the buttercream appears to be too wet for piping, add more confectioners sugar (1/4 cup at a time), beating for about a minute after each addition.
  6. To serve, pipe or spread the buttercream on completely cooled cupcakes. Enjoy!