Category Archives: recipes

Churro Waffles with Chocolate Ganache

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In college, Cinco de Mayo was one of my favorite ‘holidays’ was kind of the last hurrah before everyone goes their separate ways for summer break. Even now I get excited about it even though, we don’t really do anything to celebrate..maybe a burrito bowl for dinner, maybe a margarita, but that’s about as far as we’ll go for the holiday these days (at least when it lands on a weekday). This year I decided I wanted to make something a little creative and fun, and so, the Churro Waffles were born!
Churro Waffles | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

My first thought was to brush the waffle in butter then dip in the cinnamon sugar, but that mostly just made a mess of the cinnamon sugar mixture and really didn’t stick all that well anyway. Turns out it was easiest to either just sprinkle a super generous amount on, orrrr you can sprinkle it all on when you add the batter to the waffle really can’t go wrong here! Either way you end up with a delicious cinnamon sugar concoction that although not a churro at all, it is quite reminiscent!

Churro Waffles | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

The chocolate sauce and whipped cream are MUSTS though! They definitely take these Churro Waffles out of the breakfast category and into dessert, but that’s just fine with me. Sometimes you need a little sugar to jump start your day 😉

Churro Waffles | Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Feel free to use any waffle recipe you want for your Churro Waffles, but I highly recommend this Yeasted Belgian Waffle recipe from King Arthur Flour. I have yet to find a waffle recipe that even comes close to the crisp outside that this one produces!

Churro Waffles

For waffles:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
½ cup granulated sugar
2 ts cinnamon

For Chocolate Ganache:
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup heavy cream

To make the waffles:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, that leaves room for the mixture to expand. It’s ok if mixture isn’t perfectly smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, at which point the mixture will have begun to bubble. Either cook the waffles at this point, or refrigerate the batter overnight to cook next day.
When ready to cook, preheat the waffle iron and spray with non-stick spray. Pour ⅔ to ¾ cup batter into the center of the iron and cook according to manufacturer instruction. I find 5 to 6 minutes is usually good.
Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200°F oven. Serve topped with a generous coating of cinnamon sugar, a drizzle of chocolate ganache, and whipped cream. Ice cream is never a bad idea, either.
Alternatively: Once pouring the batter into the waffle iron, sprinkle a generous amount of the cinnamon sugar over it before closing the lid and cooking as usual.

To make the chocolate ganache:
Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% or on defrost setting, removing to whisk every 30 seconds for approximately 1:30, or until it is smooth and all the chocolate is melted.

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Do you have anything excited planned for Cinco de Mayo? Or are you more excited for the Derby coming up this weekend?

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie definitely falls on my list of top 5 favorite pies, but it’s definitely an easy one to get wrong. Just a couple weeks ago we went to a restaurant that supposedly had some of the best in town. So imagine our surprise when we opened our to go box to find that it looked gelatinous and even a little green..yuck!!

Coconut Cream Pie from Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Some recipes online called for frozen “whipped topping”…but when the whipped cream layer is almost thicker than the pie, you definitely need the real thing! I made a few tweaks to the recipe from Add A Pinch, but it’s definitely perfection as is. It’s creamy and very coconut-y, and the thick layer of whipped cream on top really balances it all out so well. Seriously though, MAKE THIS PIE NOW! I accidentally burned the first pie crust, so I had to whip up this Easy Pie Crust from Chowhound, and I think it’s going to be my new go to.

Coconut Cream Pie from Life, Love, and Cupcakes

I would eat this every day for breakfast if I could!

Coconut Cream Pie

Adapted slightly from Add A Pinch

For the Coconut Custard:
1 can coconut milk (13.5oz)
1 cup half-and-half
5 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1½ teaspoons vanilla

For the Whipped Topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pie crust recipe
½ cup flaked, sweetened coconut (to top)

Blind bake your pie crust according to recipe (or instructions here)
Set over to 350º F. Spread coconut out on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until coconut is just beginning to brown. Set aside to cool.
Pour coconut milk and half-and-half into a bow, add egg yolks and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Put sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly add the egg and milk mixture to the sugar and cornstarch, stirring constantly.Bring custard mixture to a boil and continue to stir constantly for one minute with a heat proof spatula.Remove from heat and add butter, coconut, vanilla and salt. Let cool a bit for 15-20 minutes.
Spread custard into pie crust. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until set, about 30-45 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat the sugar and heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer just until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and whisk just until combined.
Spread whipped cream on top of coconut custard. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, top with toasted coconut.

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25 Easter Brunch Recipes to Build a Menu From

I love any excuse for a good brunch and Easter is the BEST excuse! Last year was our first Easter in our house, so we decided to start a tradition of hosting Sunday Brunch for all our family. I’ve been sick this week, so I’m a little behind on the Easter menu, but thought I would share some of the awesome looking recipes I’ve found so far. I know I’ll be sticking to a similar formula for the menu as last year, by picking one thing from all, or most, of these categories to round out the meal. Of course, you can do more or fewer based off of how many people you have, but this is a great jumping off point!
Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

My other favorite part of planning a holiday get together is the decor! I love putting together a fun tablescape and switching it up each year, I’m not sure what the finished product with look like this year, but I’ll be sure to share more pictures after!


Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Sundried Tomato Quiche

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Sally’s Baking Addiction

Spinach and Cheese Strata

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Smitten Kitchen

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Neighborfood

Mushroom, Goat Cheese, and Herb Frittata

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Williams Sonoma


Crash Hot Potatoes

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Pioneer Woman

Skillet Hashbrowns

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Bon Appetit

Hasselback Potato Gratin

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Serious Eats


Baking Powder Biscuits

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via King Arthur Flour

Tiny Strawberry Cream Scones

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Joy the Baker

Hot Cross Buns

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via The Pioneer Woman

Braided Lemon Bread

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Smitten Kitchen

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

recipe from my blog


Green Bean Salad

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Honey Glazed Carrots

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Damn Delicious

Shaved Asparagus Salad

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Platings and Pairings

Sweet Mains:

Blueberry and Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Laughing Spatula

Cherry Almond Dutch Baby

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Smitten Kitchen

Savory Mains:

Honey and Rye Glazed Ham

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Bon Appetit

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Bon Appetit


Coconut Cream Pie

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Martha Stewart

Carrot Cupcakes

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Just A Taste

Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via A Cupcake for Love

Coconut Cake

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Sugar and Soul


Mimosa Bar

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via Design Love Fest

Sparkling Peach Sangria

Easter Brunch Menu | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

via The Kitchn

Do you have any favorite Easter traditions or recipes that you enjoy year to year?

Boozy Thin Mint Milkshake

Last week was a long week, and by Friday I knew that my husband and I needed a special little treat. For once, I really didn’t feel like baking anything so I started thinking about something else I could make that could be festive for St. Patrick’s Day. I still had some thin mints hiding in the back of the freezer, and we are both ice cream fiends, so the idea of a thin mint milk shake was born. I am obsessed with the peppermint chocolate combo, so I definitely made this EXTRA minty and it was SO good! Whatever you do, just don’t think about the calorie count when you enjoy this though 😉

Boozy Thin Mint Milkshake

Boozy Thin Mint Milkshake
Serves 2

1 pint vanilla ice cream (or mint)
1 cup milk
3 ts mint extract
2 oz silver rum
6 thin mints + 2 for garnish (or oreos)
Green food coloring
Whipped cream for garnish

Add ice cream, milk, mint extract, rum, and food coloring to blender and mix until smooth. Crush up 6 thin mints and add them in, blending enough to incorporate while still leaving some bits.
Serve immediately with whipped cream and extra thin mints on top.
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Red Sox Spring Training | Fort Myers Fun

There’s no question that Late Winter/Early Spring is the best time to be in Southwest Florida. That’s why Snowbirds, Tourists, and even Baseball Players all descend onto the area this time of year, clogging up our roads and causing hour long dinner waits starting around 4:30pm at all the area restaurants. Most full time residents choose to go into hiding during this time, but we love to get out and enjoy the area while the weather is a little less humid and maybe a teensy bit cooler. One of the things we look forward to most (or at least that my husband looks forward to most) is Red Sox Spring Training. As a born and raised Floridian, he has been going to the Spring Training games almost all his life and he still gets just as excited as when he was a kid and got to be batboy for a couple games. Sunday was our first game of the Season and was just about as perfect a day as we get here in Fort Myers.

Red Sox Spring Training | Live, Love, and Cupcakes

shirt-banana republic//shorts-vineyard vines//shoes-keds

We’ve sat pretty much all over Jet Blue Park, but this time we were inside the Green Monster. Although it might not be the best view in the park, the fact that you’re in the shade at all times, with a breeze and beer very close by, makes them some of my favorite seats in the park. We enjoyed some Del’s lemonade and hot dogs, had a few Wally spottings, and as usual had a great time!

Red Sox Spring Training | Live, Love, and Cupcakes
Our only disappointment of the day: A local chocolate shop used to sell their homemade gelato at the ballpark and we were VERY disappointed when they stopped doing so last year. So instead, we had to drown our sorrows in some Culver’s Concrete Mixers after the game…I guess it could have been worse 😉

Red Sox Spring Training | Live, Love, and Cupcakes


Blueberry Coconut Coffee Cake (Paleo, Gluten Free)

My husband came home with a huge haul of fresh produce last week, including TONS of fresh berries. Of course I immediately rinsed them and started shoving them all into my mouth, because…duh. But after I had gotten my fill of them I started thinking about what else I would do with them. I decided I wanted something similar to this Blueberry Coffee Cake and Coconut Bread, but that was closer to being Paleo.

Coconut Coffee Cake from

I’d say this coffee cake definitely hit the nail on the head! It’s moist and coconutty, and surprisingly filling! Perfect morning snack with a cup of coffee!

Coconut Coffee Cake from

Blueberry Coconut Coffee Cake
¾ cup coconut flour
1 cup almond flour
¼ ts salt
½ ts baking soda
3 eggs
½ cup coconut milk (full fat)
¼ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup honey
½ ts vanilla
½ cup shredded coconut
1 cup blueberries

½ cup coconut (shredded or flaked)
¼ cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup gluten free oats
⅛ cup coconut flour
dash of honey

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9 inch round cake or springform pan by greasing or lining with greased parchment paper.
Mix together all ingredients for the topping and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and coconut milk. Add in the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla and beat with a mixer until frothy.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and the shredded coconut and beat with a mixer until well combined.
Pour half the batter into the cake pan, then sprinkle with half the blueberries. Spread the rest of the batter, followed by the rest of the blueberries, then sprinkle the topping evenly over the entire cake.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until it is set in the middle and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

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Flank Steak with Chimichurri

I’m just going to preface this recipe by saying that I know there are a lot of people out there that do not like cilantro. I am definitely NOT one of those people though, not even a little bit, which is part of the reason I am obsessed with this Chimichurri. If you prefer, you can definitely leave out the cilantro and double up on parsley. Or you can do like me, and add more cilantro and then proceed to put Chimichurri on I won’t judge.

Flank Steak with Chimichurri | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

When we were doing Whole 30 in January I’m pretty sure we had Flank Steak with Chimichurri every single Sunday. It’s just one of those things that never gets old! Plus the sauce freezes very well, so if you have some in the freezer, this is a super simple recipe! Just make a big batch and freeze any extra in ice cube trays. Once frozen move to airtight baggies until ready to use.

Flank Steak with Chimichurri | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Adapted from Serious Eats

Flank Steak:
1/2 cup coconut aminos
1/2 cup lime juice from 6 to 8 limes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 ts cumin
2 ts freshly ground black pepper
1 Tb chili powder
3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 tb)
2 pounds trimmed skirt steak (about 1 whole steak)

Combine coconut aminos, lime juice, olive oil, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, and garlic in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Place steaks in a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag and add marinade. Seal bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Massage bag until meat is fully coated in marinade. Lay flat in the refrigerator, turning every couple of hours for at least 3 hours and up to 10. Make Chimichurri while steak is marinading.

When ready to cook, remove steaks from marinade, wipe off excess, and transfer to a large plate. Grill for approximately 8 minutes on each side, or until it reaches the desired degree of doneness-115 to 120°F for medium-rare or 125 to 130°F for medium. Transfer to a large plate, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Be sure to cut against the grain in thin slices for maximum tenderness.

1 ½ cups flat leaf parsley
1 ½ cups cilantro*
8 cloves garlic, minced
3⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
1 lemon wedge (juice of)
1 Tb diced red onion
1 ts dried oregano
1 ts black pepper
1⁄2 ts salt

Pulse parsley and cilantro in a food processor to chop, then add in all remaining ingredients and blend to desired consistency. I like it smooth, but not completely pureed. Serve over flank steak. Freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays and let thaw at room temperature or in the fridge when ready to use.

*If you’re not a fan of cilantro, just double up on the parsley.

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Whole 30 Prep: Week 1

My husband and I did Whole 30 last January and it was such a great way to kick off the new year. December is definitely a time for overindulgence and Whole 30 is such a great way to kick the serious sugar habit I always pick up around the holidays. Last year the habits we learned during Whole 30 stuck with us for most of the year, but as the year came to an end all of our good habits kinda fell by the wayside, so we figured the perfect way to start off the New Year was with a hard reset!


I know there are a ton of posts on Whole 30 prep, “What I Ate,” etc all over Pinterest and the different Whole 30 oriented blogs. I love planning out our meals for the week and seeing how other people handle planning and prepping for the week, so I thought I would share what I did to prepare for the first week. I always plan what will be eating on weekdays(with a little room for movement, of course) because I HATE having to go to the grocery store on my way home from work or realizing we forgot to take something out of the freezer. I try to get as much done on Sunday as possible, so it’s easier to throw meals together after work throughout the week. So without further ado, our Whole 30 Week One Sunday prep.

Here’s the menu for Week One:

Sunday: Flank Steak with Chimichurri and Broiled Zucchini with Cherry Tomatoes
Monday: Chicken Spaghetti
Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin with Broiled Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes
Wednesday: Aidell’s Apple Chicken Sausages with Caramelized Onion and Sweet Potato Mash
Thursday: Fajita-ish bowls with the leftover sweet potato mash, caramelized onions, and chicken + sauteed bell pepper and guacamole
Friday: TBD – see what we’re in the mood for as the week comes to a close, or use this as a “clear the fridge” mod podge kinda day.
Saturday: Stop at the fish market and see what catches our eye

Lunches: Chili, salad, or leftovers

Things I Prepped:

Baked chicken breasts – to be thrown on salads, eaten with veggies, and used as a part of meals on Monday and Thursday
Homemade Larabars-Coconut Cashew and Pecan
Roasted Spaghetti Squash for Chicken Spaghetti
Mushroom sauce for Chicken Spaghetti
Egg Casserole with ground pork and whatever veggies are on hand-reheat for breakfast everyday
Hardboiled Eggs-perfect for snacking, putting on salads, and so much more!
Sliced Bell Peppers-for salads, snacking, and cooking
Crockpot Sweet Potato Turkey Chili-for my lunches
Flank Steak for Sunday dinner-freeze extra Chimichurri, it thaws out very well!

It makes life SO much easier to prepare as much as possible in advance so you’re not stuck in the kitchen on weeknights. If it’s something that freezes well, make extra for next time, too!

And the closest I’ll get to a Margarita until February:




Tiramisu or ‘How to Win Over Your Husbands Italian Family with Dessert’

I know, I know, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted anything..a little over a year! But in my defense I’ve been busy getting married and making this tiramisu and such!


I made this for the first time last Christmas Eve for my Husband’s Italian family and it was decided that this would be “my thing” to make every Christmas. Luckily the recipe is actually quite easy, just make sure to give it plenty of time to set in the refrigerator, because it really makes a world of difference!


I have to say, I was never a big tiramisu fan before, but I’m a true believer now (and it’s even better with coffee the next day)!

6 egg yolks
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
4 tablespoons rum
2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form.
3. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.
4. Combine coffee and rum in a shallow bowl. Dunk each side of half of the ladyfingers in the mixture, then place in the bottom of a 7×11 inch dish.
5. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 to 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Adapted from

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Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie Bars

I’m a HUGE fan of pecan pie, so pecan pie bars were a total no brainer to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. These bring pecan pie to a whole new, ridiculously decadent, level. The shortbread crust is a little crumbly and oh so buttery, which is the perfect balance to the sweet chocolate caramel pecan topping. They even make an awesome breakfast treat with a cup of coffee..Just make sure to set aside a few for yourself because you won’t have leftovers otherwise!

Life, Love, and Cupcakes: Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie Bars

Even my fiancé, who claims to not like pecan pie, loved them! I recommend slicing them a little on the smaller side because they are sweet! I definitely plan on whipping up another batch or two of these for a couple holidays parties in the next couple weeks!

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie Bars
1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tb cornstarch
pinch of salt

8 oz pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup half and half
1 Tb vanilla extract
1/2 ts salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8 x 8in baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with coconut oil or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, use a pastry blender to combine all the crust ingredients. Once the butter has been blended, press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle the pecans onto the crust, followed by the chocolate chips and set aside.

Mix together the butter, brown sugar, half and half in a microwavable bowl and heat for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir until mixture is smooth, then return to microwave and heat for another minute. Whish in the vanilla and salt.

Pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and pecans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until caramel is bubbling around the edges. Move to a cooling rack to cool for a few hours before removing from the pan.

Recipe from Averie Cooks.