5 Most Popular Cupcakes



By Chefadoo‘s Marissa Robb

There’s something about baked goods. When someone shows up at a party with still-warm cookies or a freshly baked cake, everyone crowds around to be the first sampler. When away from home, we enjoy that snack mix with the special ingredient that only Mom can make just right. And don’t even get me started on baked goods around Christmas time- there are too many good ones to list.

But the one baked good that I absolutely can’t resist is a perfectly decorated cupcake. With its moist center and perfectly placed frosting, the ideal cupcake almost looks too good to eat—ALMOST. I’m not biased either. I love chocolate, vanilla, cookies and cream, and many others. Although I’m not picky and love them all, what are the most popular cupcake flavors? According to TLC.com, they’re different than what you might think!

5. Lemon

With the perfect balance of just a little tartness mixed in with a mostly sweet cupcake and sugary frosting, this cupcake is sure to tame your cravings!



4. Peanut Butter

Although these cupcakes can be paired with a variety of frostings, making them extremely versatile. unexpected,



3. Carrot Cake

They taste exactly like Carrot Cake… need I say more?



2.  Red Velvet

The classic decadent cupcake. These cupcakes look classy and high-end no matter when or where you eat them.




1. Chocolate and Vanilla

Surprised?! Don’t be! They’re timeless. When you can’t decide between the chocolate or the vanilla, get a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. You won’t regret it.

Countering the Candy Calories


By Chefadoo’s Marissa Robb

With Halloween coming up, there’s bound to be candy any way you turn. Local supermarkets even have entire sections of their stores dedicated to the stuff! So, what is one to do when the temptation to eat that third Snickers bar is too much? I say, eat it! Then, follow these shameless tips to cutting calories listed below.

1.Be a stairmaster.

I know that this sounds like common sense, but climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator is such an easy way to get moving during the day.  According to one NY Times article, walking up the stairs burns approximately 5 calories a minute for a 120-pound person, 7 calories for a 150-pound person, and 9 for a 180-pound person! Taking the stairs takes no almost no extra time- after all, you don’t have to stand around and wait for the stairs to come to you!

2. Put down the Pumpkin Spice Latte and reach for the Americano.

Liquid calories are some of the biggest contributors to weight gain. Instead of grabbing a sugary drink to start your morning, grab a regular coffee or an Americano- a mixture of espresso and water.  Even if you add skim milk and sugar the calories aren’t anywhere near what is in a latte, let alone one with Pumpkin Spice syrup

3. Start with the top of the food pyramid and work your way down!

Before every meal, I try to eat some type of veggie (broccoli, carrots, salad- with low-fat dressing of course!). This gives me a chance to fill up on healthy foods and makes the main course even more enjoyable when I finish my vegetables.  Also, stay hydrated-  Fill up on calorie-less water!


4. Hit the snooze button (maybe just once!)

Most people don’t get anywhere near the amount of sleep as they should. The right amount is about seven to eight hours for adults and eight to nine for those under 25. Less sleep means more stress, ( and more stress eating).  Also being tired makes it harder to motivate yourself to hit the gym which makes it harder to lose weight. Get enough shut eye to make it easier on yourself!

Halloween only comes once a year and I know that I certainly don’t want to give up the candy! However, with just a little pre-thought, you have a pretty good chance of enjoying all the chocolatey goodness without seeing the impacts of all the calorie badness!

Caramel Apple Challenge

By Chefadoo’s Eva Dixon

October is national caramel month- which really isn’t a surprise with all of the caramel treats that appear  as the leaves start to fall!  Personally, I LOVE all of the popular flavors of autumn, especially caramel- and especially caramel apples.   Although I never survive a fall without eating at least one of these delicious treats, this year I decided l I would try to make some.

To start out, let me be very clear- I am not a chef.  Nor am I even what I would call a competent cook.  In fact, I usually stick to pasta and sauce from a jar or a PB and J.   With this in mind, I was extremely wary of the blogs, Pinterest posts, and recipes books that told me caramel apples were fool-proof.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to make “Easy and Simple Desserts!” only to forget to add the flour to a cookie recipe (yes, this actually happened) or to burn chocolate into a fragrant, black, grainy clay.

Anyway, I set out to make my caramel apples and (surprising) didn’t fail entirely.  I followed the simplest recipe I could find, which required granny smith apples, sticks and pre-packaged caramel and a little bit of milk. The entire recipe consisted of unwrapping the caramel, melting it and then dipping my apple-on-a-stick in the caramel.  Easy, right?

Needless to say, I was worried about this “melting” thing- even if it was in the microwave.  Luckily, I quickly learned that caramel is far easier to work with than chocolate and is not nearly as touchy.  Without burning anything, I slowly softened my pre-wrapped caramel cubes into a smooth, creamy sugary paste.  It was awesome.

As the caramel neared ready, I turned my attention to my granny smith apples in preparation to add the sticks…that I apparently forgot to buy.  Without any sticks in the house (surprise, surprise) I decided to improvise and violently stabbed my apples with knives, instead.  Don’t worry!  These apples were intended for a mature audience.

With my apples-on-a-knife in hand, I began dipping them in the unburnt caramel mixture and was pleasantly surprised that it easily covered the surface like it was supposed to!  It was relatively unmessy and went on pretty evenly without much effort on my end.      Thank.      God.


However, as my caramel apples actually began to take shape and I felt like I had built a friendly rapport with this new sugary medium, I made the mistake of trying to get fancy.

I wanted sprinkles.

I happen to have some sprinkles on hand and I gently shook them onto the coated apples.  Not a good idea.  I have no idea how you are supposed to add sprinkles because my adorable, unimposing jimmies bounced off the caramel like birds hitting a window.  There would be no sprinkles for me and now there was pressing need to sweep the floor.

So sad.

I also tried dipping the apples in sprinkles but that just looked sad so I settled for plain caramel apples and was more than happy to!  They were really tasty and definitely a doable recipe, even for the cooking-challenged population.  If you’re interested in the recipe you can find it at allrecipes.com.  Also, note the picture they include of their beautiful, SPRINKLED caramel apples…*sigh*.

Go Go Kitchen Gadget: Indoor S’more Maker

By Chefadoo’s Eva Dixon

As the winter starts to roll in and warm evenings outdoors disappear, the only way to hold onto a night around a campfire is with an indoor s’more maker!  For the record, I have never used this version.  I did try one called “the scented candle” which really didn’t work well.  My marshmellows came out tasting slightly like lilacs and lilies.  However, this model from hammacher.com seems to be far superior to my method.

I particularly like the cubby holes for all of the ingredients.  This way you can only consume a certain number of s’mores before you run out of all the makings, keeping the calorie count down to an “extremely fattening” level and away from “astronomically damaging to your health”.    Plus, there are enough spots for the marshmellows, graham crackers, chocolate AND peanut butter cups.  If you haven’t tried s’mores with peanut butter cups you are missing out and should try it next time.  You’ll never go back to plain chocolate!

I also appreciate the flameless characteristic.  You don’t have to worry so much about kids and pets.  No matter how old the child or how big the dog they always seem to be flame-height when near a campfire!  Of course, when you tip over in a food coma it will also keep you from lighting the curtains on fire- always a plus.

Good Home Cooking

By Chefadoo’s Marissa Robb

Since going to college 500 miles away from home in Missouri, I find myself missing my mom’s cooking more and more each day. We all have a favorite meal that we miss while away from home that only Mom can make just right.

For me, my mom’s beef stew is a fall and winter classic that she makes every time I return home. It’s not just the fresh vegetables and tender meat that make up the main ingredients of the stew; it’s the memories that surround the meal. While eating it, I’m often flooded with memories of my brother, who is now living on his own in New York City, along with my parents and dogs crowded around the table for a Sunday meal. We’re all enjoying one another’s company as well as laughing and joking. I sometimes take a break to secretly slip some meat and potatoes under the table to my Golden Retriever, Sadie, who smiles up at me and begs for more.

For a lot of us, our favorite homemade meal isn’t just about the great taste or amazing smell; it’s about the memories we’ve attached to it over the years. Every time I eat my mom’s beef stew, I’m reminded of the great times we’ve had as a family, and I also look forward to the years together to come.

In case anyone is now craving some beef stew on this blustery day (at least in Minneapolis!), I’ve included a great recipe to satisfy your palate!

Easy Beef Stew:

5-7 lb. chuck roast
6-8 oz. frozen corn
6-8 oz. frozen peas
12-16 oz. carrot slices
1 can French cut green beans, drained
1 29 oz. can whole/diced canned potatoes
1 14.5 can Delmonte diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano: 14.5 oz. can
1 large white onion or 1/2 pkg. of pearl onions, finely chopped
1 beef stew seasoning packet
beef bouillon cubes (1 per 1 c. water added)
garlic salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
4-6 c. warm water

Add all ingredients to a Crock Pot and cook until meat is tender and enjoy!


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