Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday's Favorites: Cupcakes

I love desserts. You name it, I like it. Cakes, pies, cookies, bars, ice cream and anything chocolate. I grew up learning how to make all sorts of delicious desserts my mom, aunt and grandma would make. I could probably make chocolate chip cookies from memory by the age of 12. One of my favorite memories as a child involved the ritual of making cupcakes for my birthday. Each year I would request cupcakes, chocolate mostly, to take in to school for birthday treats. I would help my mom mix up the batter and I can still remember her pouring some of the batter into a cupcake liner for me to eat. The other day I was at Barnes and Noble and saw the February edition of Martha Stewart Living and it caught my eye because there on the front cover in the shape of a heart were the most delicious looking cupcakes.

I bought the magazine immediately.

I have been reading through it and have been amazed at some of the recipes it contains. Things like peanut butter cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and jelly. Have you ever heard of that? It sounds incredible! or Brownie heart cupcakes...brownie batter baked in cupcake liners that look like cupcakes with cut out brownie hearts on top of a buttercream icing. Wow!

So, I thought that for today's Friday's favorites I would share two of my favorite recipes I found in the magazine. In case you already have the February 2009 copy, you can find the recipes on page 148. If you don't own this copy, you may just want to run out and get yourself a copy!

(makes 36)
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
9 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs plus 3 large yolks, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
2. Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
3. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days, unless otherwise noted.

(makes 18)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth.
2. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks, and let cool. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

(makes about 4 cups)
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (after every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium-high). Add vanilla, and beat until buttercream is smooth. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)

Happy cupcake eating! Have a great Friday! See you all on Monday!
Take care,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lost recap

If you didn't get to watch Lost last night, look away! But please come back and share your thoughts once you have, ok?

I must say I'm having a hard time coming up with coherent sentences because I can't get over how dashingly handsome Desmond looked tonight! The jacket! The scarf! The sunglasses! Oh my! And how sweet was it that Desmond and Penny named their little guy Charlie?!

So, Whidmore was an Other back in the 50' many did he get off the island, why did he leave the island, why does he want to control the island? Which leads me to Faraday:

Why did Whidmore fund his research for 10 years? What's the connection between Whidmore and Faraday's mother? Could Penny and Faraday have the same mother? Who is Teresa and how did she end up in a vegetative state?

Great episode. I think I need some more time to process it. I'll watch it again next week and hopefully it will be a pop up version. I've actually grown to like the pop up version. They were a bit annoying at first, now I find they are quite helpful.

Can't wait for next week. What about you? Favorite moment or line or question or thoughts?
Take care,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Just a Friendly Reminder

Just wanted to remind you that LOST is on tonight at 9/8pm central. Not that you would forget or anything..... and yes, you can expect a recap post on Thursday!

Take care,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Too Much

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the love God has for me that I just can't stand it. It's too much and too good. Like I just want to push away from it because sometimes I just don't know how to handle it. And I'm not sure you ever do, know how to handle it that is. I think God's love is supposed to come in and just bowl me over and leave me feeling overwhelmed, a bit scared by the hugeness of it and grateful. At least that's the way I felt today.

Take care,

Monday, January 26, 2009


I was cleaning out one of my purses this weekend and came across a slip of paper where I had written a "poem". I use the word poem loosely since I'm not sure that this technically applies. I wrote it over the summer during a church service and I remember I had to stifle my giggles since I thought it was hilarious! (I know what you're thinking, "Why was she writing poems during church?" mind just kind of wanders at times, all times, and sometimes I just have to get my thoughts down on paper, regardless of where I am or what it is I am writing!)
Let me know what you think!

"Dude, your breath is killing me!" she spoke sharply
as he whispered softly the words, "I love you"
in her ear.

Happy Monday!
Take care,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday's Favorites: Silence

I know, I know, I wrote "Friday's Favorites" yet only named one thing in the title. I just wanted to be consistent with the title I've been using in the past and I figured it would be okay since this weeks favorite is truly worthy of its own title! (if you are new to my Friday's Favorites posts you can read about it here)

Yesterday was one of those rare days where I had the entire house to myself. All the kids were at school (my youngest goes two days a week), my husband was gone and lo and behold I wasn't signed up to do anything at the school like lunch duty or help with a bulletin board.

These days are rare and I love them. When they do occur I usually choose to spend the entire day at home, which I know may sound rather odd considering I am a stay-at-home mom and by definition means part of what I do is spend time at home. The difference, however, between the two is huge.

It's called silence.

I can be at home alone and get completely lost in my thoughts or blog or read the newspaper or take a nap without any interruptions or noise. I'm not barraged with demands for food or games or missing shoes or lost toys or any of the other millions of requests the kids make when they are at home.

Days like this give me the sanity boost I need to make it through the other days of endless noise. We all know you can't put a price tag on that. What about you? Any favorite things you like to do when you have some time alone? Let me know. I'd love to read about them.
Take care,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's all LOST

Spoiler Alert: Alright people this post is all LOST, so if you are one of those who were unable to watch last night, consider yourselves warned!

Where do I even begin?

Let's talk about Hurley since he had me rolling with laughter!
1. How about his yellow "I heart shih tzu's" t-shirt? Too funny.
2. Favorite quote of his to Sayid: "Maybe if you ate more comfort food you wouldn't have to go around killing people!"
3. Loved the coversation between Hurley and his dad about Sayid:
Hurley, "he was shot with a dart."
His dad, "Where were you, the zoo?"

Let's talk about Jack and Ben:
1. Since when does Ben care enough about Jack to help get him sober by flushing his pills down the toilet? Loved Jack's response, "Yeah, I was just going to to that."

1. Who was Jill (from the barber shop)?
2. Is Miles dad the guy in the Dharma initiative videos?
3. What's up with Charlotte? Is she pregnant? Or is she going to die just like the guy on the boat who we saw when Desmond met him on the freighter? Remember him? He went crazy and then died.
4. Is Daniel Faraday's mom the lady with the white hair we saw Ben talking to?
5. What is the significance of the 70 hours Ben has to get everyone to the island?
6. When we saw Daniel Faraday down in the orchid station, when was that? Was it during his two hours he was gone getting his backpack or was it some other time entirely?
7. Are the people left on the island representing some sort of hell? And, will Locke be their "Messiah" since he was told he would have to die in order to save the island and get Jack and the others to come back?

Let me just say, I am so happy to have LOST back. I can't wait to see how this will all play out. I read somewhere that last night was the last time we will see Jack's yucky beard! I also read that next week's show I believe does not include any of the oceanic 6.

What about you? Favorite moments or quotes or thoughts? I'd love to hear them!
Take care,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not that I am excited or anything

It's finally here. After 8 long, agonizing months the day is here. I have been counting down for awhile.

To say I am excited would be slightly understating things.

LOST premieres tonight 7pm CST!

I just might have to update and countdown throughout the day as it gets closer! Anyone else eagerly awaiting tonight like me? My husband said to me the other day as I was talking about LOST, "You sound a little addicted to the show!"

Spoken like a true non-LOST fan.
Somethings just can't be understood by another!

Take care,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

School Lunches

I mentioned the other day that I am reading Anne Lamott's "Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life". (In case you have never read it, I will say it again, this is a great book...go read it if you have not!) In the book she talks about her writing classes. She tells how inevitably after she's given a writing assignment to her class they come to her in a panic-unable to write. She tells them to take a minute, switch gears and start writing about the school lunches they ate as kids. She goes more in depth about what that exercise uncovers, things like where you went to school, when you were in school and what you ate. The point was that after the students took a break and started writing about lunches,(something so universal) it removed much of the stress and made it easier to go back to the writing assignment. But it made me think about school lunches when I was a kid.

When I think about school lunches, the first thing I remember is a girl in my second grade class, named Edie. One day during lunch she threw up on the table and the vomit ended up looking exactly like a pyramid. Why that's the first memory I have about school lunches after 30 years is beyond me. I am sure it probably has some sort of significance. Either that, or I am just weird. More than likely, it is the latter.

I loved school lunches. Macaroni and cheese and the Friday pizza with its mystery gray meat I am assuming was supposed to be sausage were my favorites. Oh yeah, and don't let us forget the chocolate milk, nothing quite like it.

Fast forward 20 years to my first year teaching 6th grade here in Texas. (we lived here for one year back in the late 90's then moved away and came back to Texas 3 years ago) Thursday was enchilida day at my school and it was just a known fact that our school had the best enchilidas. I kid you not, I looked forward each week to Enchilida Thursday partly because it was one day out of the week I didn't have to pack a lunch, but mostly because I couldn't wait to eat the school lunch. $1.35- can not be beat.

My favorite packed lunch used to be a scrambled egg sandwich with ketchup on white bread wrapped in foil so it would still be mildly warm at lunch. Wonder what that lunch says about me?! :)

What about you? Any memories of school lunch? What kind of lunch box did you carry? What did you pack in your lunch? I would love to hear.

Take care,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

This is Where I Blame the Treadmill

Well, uh...hello?
Anyone out there?
I am here.
In case you haven't noticed, I seem to be suffering from a lack of posting this year. Believe me I have had good, no great intentions. Heck, I even wrote in my last post about resolutions and how much I love them (still do), and then I went and disappeared for a while.

I blame it on the treadmill.

On most evenings after getting the kids to bed I would do one of two things; write or watch TV and sometimes I would write and watch TV. Every now and then I might get a burst of energy and do something crazy like pay the bills or pack the kids lunches, you know, wild stuff. But mostly I sat on my rear flipping through the stations and getting caught up on things like "Dog the Bounty Hunter". Important, life changing stuff.

But, then I got this great idea I pitched to my husband at Christmas time. I said, "Love, what do you think about getting a treadmill? I mean think of all the calories I could burn while watching TV. Because, let's get real at this pace we're already acting like old folks and is this the future we want to have for the next 50 years?"

Apparently I am pretty persuasive. My husband agreed and so we bought a treadmill. One I can hook my ipod to and then to top it all off the snowball affect kicked in and we decided that since we were putting the treadmill in the toy room where we had no TV that we should get a TV and if we're going to the trouble of creating a "work out" area then we need a good TV and Hey, why not get a flat screen TV? So, there you have it. We are now the proud owners of a treadmill with a flat screen TV to boot. Now my evenings are spent watching mindless TV while working out on the treadmill. But, let me clarify...not all TV is mindless considering LOST is premiering in 82 hours as I am writing. Can you imagine how many calories I can burn while walking on the treadmill during the 3 hours LOST is on this week? I just may evaporate into thin air at the end of the season.

But all this walking has cut into my writing time. I wish I was coordinated enough to walk and type at the same time, but unfortunately that is just not the case. So, now I am left to resort to writing when I can and so far I am not disciplined enough to get up earlier to write. I could probably try but my posts would more than likely end up consisting of phrases like, "I am sooo tired." and "What do you think we should have for breakfast?" Not very creative.

I will not give up though. I will eventually find my writing groove and get going. I am ever the optimist you know. I have been reading an amazing book, though. One I have had on my "must read" list for a while. It's Anne Lamott's "Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life" Have you read it? My, oh my. She's been one of my favorite authors for awhile but now, I like her even more. Her wisdom and wit are it.

The other night I watched the movie, "Lars and the real girl". Anyone out there see it? I loved it and thought it was hilarious. It's along the lines of Juno or Little Miss Sunshine or Napoleon Dynamite, three of my favorites as well.

I am doing the scripture memory challenge from the Living Proof blog. Anyone else? Basically you post a verse you are memorizing on their post on the 1st and 15th of the month. Write your verse down on a spiral and then next year you'll have 24 verses memorized and ready to use. I am excited to do this. I don't know about you but scripture memory and prayer are two areas I tend to always say I am working on. I like this challenge.

Take care,

Monday, January 5, 2009


The kids are back at school today, the decorations are almost all put away and I am settling into the new year. I love January! Really I love all the months for different reasons but I am a sucker for the new year and new year's resolutions. I go for it each year. I may not write a list of resolutions, but I have them in my head. My husband on the other hand, doesn't go for the whole resolutions thing. His philosophy is "be consistent throughout the year so drastic measures aren't needed come January." I see the value and truth in that, but it has never stopped me from making a list. More than anything what I like about new year's resolutions is that they give me a chance each year to make a do-over, make some something different, try something new or make self improvements. I like that. I need that. I don't have to be stuck in a rut or a role forever. I guess more importantly new years resolutions give me hope...I CAN change. So even if I don't lose 20 pounds or learn to speak spanish fluently or travel to Europe in 2009, I can do something...dream. You know what? Surprisingly, little by little those new years resolutions from years past DO get accomplished, maybe just not in the time frame of a year.

What about you? Any new year's resolutions? I would love to hear about them.
Happy New Year!
Take care,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hey there!

Just checking in to say "Happy New Year!" I pray that this year will be full of love and hope. May God's blessings be on you and yours this next year. We were gone in Iowa for ten days and just settling back in. I am going to take the weekend and then get going again with blogging. Lots of good stories and pictures to tell and show.

Take care,