Monday, November 29, 2010

I have a sad story to tell you and it's something I know you can relate to.  Here it is.  After a great, long weekend I had to go back to work today.  Tragic, manic Monday.  But I won't complain about it.  I'll be strong.  To help me cope I think I'll go find something good to eat.  Oh and speaking of good to eat, I forgot to share my last hurrah (in the form of a cupcake), my goodbye to the 4 day weekend: Strawberry Jam Cakes.  Martha Stewart told me about them and so I figured I'd give them a try. 

Everybody, meet my new cake stand.  Cake stand, everybody (thanks Mom!!!)
STRAWBERRY-JAM TEA CAKES (from Martha Stewart's cupcakes)
       ( Makes 16)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp. plus more for tins
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 4 large eggs, separated and at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup strawberry jam or preserves
  • Citrus Glaze (made with orange juice and zest)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.  Brush standard muffin tins with butter and dust with flour, tapping out the excess ( do not try to use liners as they will stick)Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, sugar and zest until pale and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated,scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until just combined after each.
  3. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites to soft peaks; gently fold into batter.  Spoon 2 tbsp batter into each prepared cup. Make an indentation in the middle of each; fill with 1 tbsp jam.  Top with additional 2 tablespoons batter, covering jam completely.
  4. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in centers of top layers comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Run a small offset spatula around the edges and turn out cakes onto wire racks and let cool completely.
  5. To finish, drizzle cakes evenly with the glaze, let set around 30 minutes.  Glazed cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days in a single layer at room temp. in airtight containers.
P.S.  I would use about 1/2 tbsp of the jam.  1 tbsp of the jam makes it way too sweet!

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated citrus zest
  • 3 tbsp fresh citrus juice, plus more if needed
Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.  If necessary add more sugar to thicken or more juice to thin the glaze.  Use immediately.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

If at first you don't succeed....

     take it as a hint that it may not be in your best interest to continue (maybe?)  So...I went snowboarding for the second time yesterday.  I'll admit it,  I was feeling pretty confident (cocky is probably more like it).  After all, my first day hadn't gone bad at all.  True, I was sore the day after, but it was nothing I couldn't handle.  We even faced the crowds on "Black Friday" and bought me and my little-board-that-could some new bindings (the old ones caused me to have a temper tantrum like no one should ever see...except Aaron 'cause we're married and that's one of the joys).  Anyway, I was excited to speed down the hill with my new goods.  I was ready to show everyone how well I could manuever down the hill!!  So we get to the park and meet up with friends.  I look around and "survey" the hill.  It looks good.  I strap on my board and notice while I'm doing it just how easy my new bindings make it. I am on top of the world - or at least the hill- and feeling great!!  I stand up (after a lot of effort mind you) and start to glide down the hill.  I think I may have moved a foot but then took a sliding crash close to a tree (it scared me so I bailed.)  After that it was all a blur.  My day ended up in a series of  ultra-crappy runs (more like tumbles with a side of face plants and whiplash) down the hill.  One crash made me wonder what the blazes I was doing out there and wondering just how much damage I'd done. But I kept trying and trying and ended up with one "good" run.  ONE. And the peasants rejoice.

     The moral of the story is: I'm not so sure about this whole snowboarding thing.  I hear it's a lot of fun once you get the hang of it, but I'm not sure if I'm patient enough to work towards the point where I'm good at it.  I'm also not sure if my body is going to support me on this journey ( I feel I should let you know that as I type this I can only move my neck so far in one direction and I have some nasty bruises that hurt every time I touch them.  Even my hair hurts. Ouch.  I just touched a bruise.)
     To be continued?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Did someone say Margarita cupcakes?!!

Right-ee-oo, I did.  First off, let me start you off with a brief history of Whitney and the cupcake.  I am clinically obsessed with cupcakes.  OBSESSED.  I have more than 5 cookbooks dedicated to cupcakes (one of my co-workers was shocked to know that there were indeed cupcake cookbooks and that there were so many recipes to choose from) and can't seem to stop buying them or accepting them as gifts.  I wasn't always like this, but with age comes change and one of those changes is cupcake mania.  But I digress.  Let me share with you one of my new favorite cupcake recipes.  Behold, the Margarita Cupcake!!
Margarita Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes (one for you 23 for me)
  • 1 package (about 18 oz) white cake mix
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp margarita mix, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp grated lime peel, divided 
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp tequila or lime juice
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp sparkling or granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt (optional)
  • green food coloring
  • lime peel strips (optional)       
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 24 standard (2 1/2 inch) muffin cups with paper baking cups.
  2. Combine cake mix, 3/4 cup margarita mix, eggs, oil, water, 1 tsp lime peel and lime juice in a large bowl.  Whisk 2 minutes or until well blended.  Spoon batter evenly into prepared cups.
  3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.  Remove cupcakes to wire racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  4. Combine tequila, remaining 2 tbsp margarita mix and 2 tsp lime peel in medium bowl. Whisk in powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached ( I like mine thicker)  Spread glaze over the cupcakes.  Combine the granulated sugar and salt in a small bowl.  Add food coloring one drop at a time until the desired shade of green is reached.  Dip cupcake edges in sugar/salt mixture.  Garnish with a lime peel.
 P.S.  For the most part I don't really like mixes so I just used a recipe for white or vanilla cupcakes as the base.  If you choose to make your cupcakes from scratch, you would only need to add the margarita mix, lime juice and peels to the batter you've made from scratch (no additional ingredients such as the egg or oil.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Someone bring me a muscle relaxer

.....and some warm muscle rub and a hot toddy and a wheelchair.....I went snowboarding today (the first time in roughly 4 years.)  Yes, it's true.  Me. On a board.  Not simply on a board, but strapped onto a board.  Where I can't move my feet.  That goes down hill.  But all things considered, it could've been worse (and it coulda been a lot better too.)  I agreed to give this snowboarding thing one last try and see if it magically clicks this time.  So far, I'm not ready to quit yet and I actually plan on trying again tomorrow.  We'll see how it goes.....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"The time has come,"...

  ......the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

Finally I decided to embark on this little-blogging-side-project of mine.  I enjoy many things (cooking, sewing, scrapping, decorating, travel, and like to have documented evidence of doing all of these things I say I like to do.  I hope you'll  travel with me through my rambling words and pictures as I hope to share a little part of me with you ( if there are any yous out there...)