Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hooray for Fall!


     It's hard to believe that it is once again Tuesday! I thought the days went by quickly this summer, but now that the kids are back in school and I am working, it seems that someone has pressed the fast forward button.  What I need to do is press pause and find the time to enjoy my absolute favourite time of year~ Fall. I love everything about it; the cool crisp air, the cooler weather that calls for cozy sweaters, the beauty in the leaves that turn the most gorgeous shades of red, yellow and orange, and of course the glorious scents of fall baked goods. Apple and pumpkin desserts are my favourtie, both to bake and savour.  There is just something about the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg that brings warmth to my heart.  And of course, there is Thanksgiving... a time to show gratitude and become mindful of the good in our lives. 

      As you may know, I love to bake for others. The pleasure for me is in the giving.  This week, I am going to do my best to find that pause button and create some time to relish the delicious harvest of fall and create some delightful fall desserts.


  Let's celebrate this wonderful season!




Friday, September 27, 2013

Blissfully Exhausted...

     I must begin with an apology to all of my faithful readers, I am sorry it has been so long since I've written a decent post.  Trust me, it's not at all for the lack of blog worthy material!  The reason I've been missing in action is that I have taken on not one, but two part time jobs!  I've been Adjusting My Sails indeed!

      I've gone through some major changes over the past few years. Some have been difficult to overcome, but for the most part these changes have resulted in better things.  Though I couldn't have admitted this before now, these changes have been good for me. I have emerged as a stronger, more grateful person.  

    Just as I have evolved and changed over these last few years, so has my blog. When I first began writing  it was for myself alone.  I used it as an outlet, a way to express my thoughts and organize my recipes and baking ideas.  Thanks to the wonders of social media, my little baking blog found a niche and before long it had acquired a few followers.  I soon began to realize that I wasn't writing solely for myself any longer. People were actually reading what I wrote and possibly trying out my recipes!  I have to admit that this made me feel self conscious (and a bit embarrassed!). None the less, I kept on baking and writing about it and low and behold, this little blog landed me a job in a bakery! Who would have thought? Certainly not me!  

    Once again, I apologize for being absent from my writing and recipe posting.  Please know that it is never far from my thoughts. I often think to myself, I can't wait to blog about this, but when I return home, tired and spent, I enjoy the company of my family and a hot cup of tea (or more often a wonderful glass of wine) and just relish the fact that I am living a good life. I'm going to have to work on merging my new working life with my family life and find the time to keep up what started my transformation~ this blog. Please bear with me!  I may be worn out at  the end of the day, but I prefer to think of it as blissful exhaustion.

     Speaking of bliss, here is the recipe for the best combination of peanut butter and chocolate that I've yet to come across. Those who have tried it can attest to the fact that these might just be my best cupcakes so far! I hope you bake up a batch and savour the moment.


     

 Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2/3 cup water

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees and line muffin pans with paper liners
  • In a small bowl, whist together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
  • Beat in sour cream
  • On low, beat in half the flour mixture
  • Pour in 2/3 cup water and beat on low until blended, scraping down sides of bowl
  • On low, beat in remaining flour mixture
  • Fill cups 3/4 full and bake for 10-12 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Ganache:

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup chocolate chips  
  • Place peanut butter and chocolate in a small microwave proof bowl
  • Melt in the microwave for about 45 seconds and stir until smooth
  • Dip the tops of your cooled cupcake into the ganache, then turn right side up and let the ganache cool and set for about 15 minutes
Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp milk (more if needed)
3-4 cup powdered sugar
  • Beat butter, peanut butter and cocoa powder for 2 minutes
  • Scrape down bowl and add vanilla and milk
  • Slowly add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency
  • If it becomes too thick, add more milk, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar
  • Pipe over the ganache layer and top with chopped  peanut butter cups

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's Treat Tuesday!

  


     This Tuesday sure does feel like a treat.  I'm hosting my very first blog hop! I'm so excited to see the many delicious looking posts and have the opportunity to connect with other Bloggers. To celebrate I'm sharing this recipe for moist and delicious double chocolate zucchini bread.  It bakes up well and makes two loaves; one for you and one to share, what could be more perfect? Go ahead, treat yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, beat the sugar, applesauce, eggs and vanilla until well blended
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder
  • Gradually beat dry mixture into wet mixture until blended
  • Stir in zucchini and fold in chocolate chips
  • Transfer mixture into two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with non-stick cooking spray
  • Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean
  • Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely


*A special and heartfelt thank-you to Sinea over at 
Ducks 'n a Row
for her help getting me started on my first blog hop.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Treat Tuesday!

  
 
Welcome to my very first
 link up party!
 

      I am excited to be your host for this weekly showcase of your most decadent desserts!  Please link up following the guidelines below. Spread the love and visit some of the other wonderful posts. 

 I can't wait to see what's baking in your kitchen!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

You had me at cupcake...


     
     Nothing says Sunday morning like homemade, warm and cinnamon dusted French Toast.  Unfortunately, in the midst of baseball playoffs, a sit down, home cooked big breakfast is out of the question.  I'm lucky if I can toss a toasted bagel at one of my anxious players on their way out the door to an early morning game.  To satisfy my constant craving for this weekend treat I decided to concoct a recipe that would bake it in a 'to-go' format.
 
     While not your traditional French Toast, these take-out tidbits pack in some wholesome flavour and good for you blueberries as well.  They even have cereal in them so technically they really are a breakfast food!  Whatever your reasoning, bake up a batch and you'll soon see what I mean.  These cupcakes hit it out of the ballpark.
 
Blueberry French Toast Cupcakes
 
For the cupcakes:

3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
¾ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream
1 French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with decorative cupcake liners (grease proof work best)
  • In a large bowl, gently combine eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla
  • Mix in sour cream
  • Add cake mix and cinnamon and mix until smooth
  • Fold in blueberries
  • Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  • Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing
  • Cool cupcakes completely before frosting



For the Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
2/3 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, powdered
(Crush the cereal by placing it in a resealable plastic bag and using the back of a spoon to flatten it into a fine powder) *you'll need extra for garnishing
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup blueberries, some for blending, some to garnish
  • Beat cream cheese and butter until combined and fluffy
  • Stir in Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal powder
  • Add vanilla
  • Mix in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time
  • Put a handful of blueberries into a blender and puree them until liquefied
  • Add blueberry liquid to frosting a few tablespoons at a time until you reach your desired colour and consistency
  • Adjust the consistency using a teaspoon or two of milk if it is too thick and a bit more icing sugar if it is too thin
  • Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with a sprinkle of Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder and extra blueberries
 
Grab & Go!




Thursday, August 22, 2013

Adjusting My Sails...




     If you are a follower of my blog then you know that I am a recent graduate of the Faculty of Education.  Going back to school at my age, with a husband, two teenage boys and a tween girl was hard I will admit, but my struggles are not yet over.  Now that I have that very expensive piece of paper that says I am a qualified teacher, I have the daunting task of finding employment.

     As is true in most provinces right now, teaching jobs are few and far between where I live. Since we are deeply rooted here in our little corner of southwestern Ontario, moving abroad is not an option for me. Fortunately, I've managed to secure a spot on the occasional list. Being on this list will ensure me sporadic work at best.  Now I, as well as 399 other teachers intent on obtaining a full time gig, lie in wait of a 6 am phone call. This means that I have to hope for a nasty bout of the stomach flu or a recurrence of the plague in order to get called in to supply teach.  Seeing as many of my friends are teachers, I feel a tad bit reprehensible for even thinking in such a way.

    That said, it became clear that I needed to adjust my sails. So, with resume in hand (actually it was in a cute cupcake folder, but I digress) I pounded the pavement.  Not surprisingly, I decided to narrow my search to local bakeries. After two years of emotional baking I've learned that baking not only makes me happy, it makes others happy too.  As I've mentioned before, one of the main reasons I love to bake is to see the simple pleasure it brings to others. I'd like to say that my baking is a selfless act, but that would be a lie.  The very act of baking soothes my mind and warms not only my kitchen, but my soul. Studies have shown that doing something that occupies one hundred percent of your attention while you are engaged in it will make you more motivated and focused. Both of these feelings are said to promote happiness. Baking equals happiness; this I already knew. So I figure if I can't land my dream teaching job, I can at least help to make ends meet by getting paid to do something else that I love... bake.

     Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Renee of Renee's Fine Cakes and Colleen from Sweet Revenge Bake Shop.  Not only did I enjoy a decadent and deliciously artful brownie and a mouthwateringly divine "hoppin' carrot" cupcake (did I mention that job hunting was hard?!), I also enjoyed talking with women who share my baking passion. It was evident by the ambiance of both of these sweet shops that these ladies love what they do.  It was delightful to meet you both and if nothing else, you have a new customer in me.  Life is sweet, stay the course.   


A Perfectly Huge Brownie!


A Hoppin' Carrot Cupcake


Ps- Thanks to author Allison Winn Scotch for the great quote!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Grateful Awareness

    


   Some days you never know what lies ahead of you when you wake up and get out of bed.  Perhaps that is a good thing.  If we knew what fate had in store for us there would be times that we'd choose to pull the covers over our head instead of rising up to face the day.  Today would have been a good day for me to choose to pull the covers up and nestle back into the warm embrace of my bed. 

    While it may not have been a stellar day, it certainly taught me something about myself and the resiliency of my family. It would seem that no matter how fortunate we are, we never seem to take the time to stop and give thanks. It's not until something dire happens that we actually pause and reflect on what we have and stand to lose. 

     I believe that in our daily lives we need to recognize that it is not being happy that makes us grateful, but being grateful that makes us happy.  Today I am very grateful for the health and happiness of my family. Throughout this tumultuous day I've been surprised by, and appreciative of the people around me; strangers willing to help, friends coming by for support and family just being there for each other.  For all of these things I am grateful.  It's something I need to try harder to do; pause and be mindful and thankful for what I have.  Each moment of grateful awareness reveals the wonders that surrounds us and gratitude turns what we have into enough.

      
Double Chocolate Zucchini "Muffins"
(I use the term "muffin" but in all honesty these could be cupcakes, they are that decadent!)

This recipe is dedicated to the friend who continues to supply me with fresh picked zucchini...
for that I am grateful.


Ingredients

1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded raw zucchini


Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Line muffin tin with 12 paper liners
  • Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium sized bowl, stir until well combined
  • Add in the chocolate chips and mix
  • In a separate, large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, both sugars, and vanilla until well combined then add in d in the zucchini and mix until combined
  • Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until just combined
  • Spoon evenly into the prepared muffin tin
  • Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the tin
  • Place muffins on a wire cooling rack to continue cooling

*Adapted recipe by For the Love of Cooking.net

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nothing to Snicker at...



    I kid you not, these cupcakes are to die for! Chocolate and peanut butter paired with peanuts and caramel ~ can there be a more perfect flavour combination? I think not.  Judging by how quickly they disappeared at my niece's going away party I think many agree.
 
     Since Sunday I have made 4 dozen of these epicurean delights, and aside from the few I stashed in the freezer for their own safety, they are all gone. Quite literally in the blink of an eye.  Whip up a batch and you'll soon see what I mean! 
 
     Be warned... I'll bet you can't eat just one!
 

 

Cupcake Ingredients:
 
1 box devil's food cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk (mix 1 tbsp vinegar with 1 cup milk, stir and let sit for 5 min.)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with decorative cupcake liners
  • Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside
  • In a large bowl, combine all other cake ingredients and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes)
  • Stir in cake mix
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  • Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing
  • Cool completely before frosting


Frosting Ingredients:
 
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk

*You will also need chopped peanuts, caramel sauce and sliced Snickers pieces to garnish. 
  • In a large bowl beat butter and peanut butter until creamy and well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed
  • Add vanilla and 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated
  • Continue to add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, to reach the right consistency
  • Add 1 tbsp of milk and mix until light and fluffy (if needed, add more milk to get the proper consistency, not too thick or too thin)
  • Increase mixer speed to medium high and whip about one minute until frosting becomes fluffy
  • Fill a piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes
  • Top with chopped peanuts, caramel sauce and coarsely chopped Snickers bars

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cheers to 20 Years!

 

    Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  Neither of us can fathom the idea that we have been married that long.  It truly seems like just yesterday that I walked down the aisle in a dress that I still adore and became the wife of the love of my life.  Since then we have added three wonderful children to our lives (two of which are now taller than me!) and have built a life together that is both comfortable and fulfilling. 
 
     To commemorate our milestone, I of course decided to bake some cupcakes.  After all, it has been said that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.  I must admit that these cupcakes, with the addition of the champagne and salted buttercream frosting, are not my usual fare. The flavour is unexpected, yet delightful; unpredictable, yet familiar.  Just as I hope our marriage continues to be.
 
Pink Champagne Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
3 egg whites
1 1/4 cup pink champagne/sparkling wine (I used Yellow Tail Pink Bubbles)
1/3 cup oil
 4 drops red food coloring
 
  • Heat oven to 350 and line pans with cupcake liners
  • Beat cake mix, egg whites, champagne, oil and food colouring on low speed for 30 seconds until combined
  • Continue to beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally
  • Pour into liners
  • Bake for 18-23 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  • Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan
  • Cool completely before frosting


Salted Buttercream Frosting
 
1 cup butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon milk
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-6 drops of red food colouring 
  • In a medium bowl combine butter and salt
  • Beat until blended
  • Add sugar, 1 cup at a time and beat until combined
  • Add the milk, vanilla and food colouring and beat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until batter becomes smooth and creamy
  • Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with a fresh, ripe strawberry or garnish of your choice
  • I used edible pearls for this occasion
 

*Frosting recipe adapted from;

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sugar & Slice Sunday



It’s Sunday!
(actually it's Monday, but it's a holiday weekend here in Canada so today feels like a Sunday!)

Welcome to Sugar & Slice Sunday Link Party
The only place where you can party on a Sunday and feel fresh on a Monday! 

Join me over at Sweet 2 Eat Baking. You will surely find a recipe or two to try.  There are so many decadent desserts to be enjoyed! 

Sweet 2 Eat Baking - Decorated Cakes, Cupcakes, Cookies, Desserts & more!

Sweet 2 Eat Baking

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another Wonderful Wednesday!


Last week's blog hop made it to 227 links.
Wow!
I can hardly wait to see what's in store for us this week over at Ducks 'n a Row.I am sure you will find something among the many posts...recipes, crafts, DIY projects, organizing tips and family fun.


Welcome to this week'sWonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!
My post is #23

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Don't Get Your Knickers In A Twist!

     My niece is moving to London England in a few weeks and we are in the midst of planning a going away party that's fit for royalty.  This afternoon, as we surfed the world wide web for ideas, we got distracted by a website that offered a British slang directory.  Being that she will be living overseas for two years, her mother and I thought it would be wise for her become familiar with some common terminology.  We didn't expect to spend the next twenty minutes laughing hysterically! 
 
     Suffice it to say, I now have some new words to add to my lexicon. I can now say that I think what my niece is doing is the bee's knees (awesome) and that I am very chuffed (proud) to be her aunt.  I am gobsmacked (amazed) that she has the bollocks (nerve) to move 6000 kilometers away to teach in a different country.  It just proves that she knows her onions (is very knowledgeable) and is not all fur coat and no knickers (attractive but not really very interesting or smart).
 
     Well, Bob's your uncle (there you go). It's time I stop waffling about (talking unendingly) and give you what you've been waiting for, the recipe. Keep in mind though, this nosh (snack) is meant for afters (dessert)!
 
Cheerio!
(goodbye!)

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cupcakes
These really do take the biscuit!
 (are all that!)
 

For the chocolate cupcakes you will need:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2/3 cup water
12 small chocolate covered pretzels, chopped (it should equal 1/2 cup when chopped)

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees and line muffin pans with paper liners
  • In a small bowl, whist together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
  • Beat in sour cream
  • On low, beat in half the flour mixture
  • Pour in 2/3 cup water and beat on low until blended, scraping down sides of bowl
  • On low, beat in remaining flour mixture
  • Fold in chopped pretzels
  • Fill cups 3/4 full and bake for 19-22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean

For the chocolate ganache you will need:

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream



  • Place chocolate chips is a heat proof bowl and add heavy cream
  • Microwave for 20 seconds, remove and stir
  • Continue to microwave in small increments until mixture becomes smooth and creamy
  • Dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes into the ganache and let set while you make the frosting

 


For the frosting you will need:

3 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or use chocolate chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2-3 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp milk
chocolate covered pretzels to garnish

  • Melt chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring occasionally until smooth
  • Cool slightly
  • Beat butter until fluffy and add confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time alternating with milk
  • Beat in 2 tbsp of melted chocolate and mix until combined (You can use any remaining melted chocolate to drizzle over the top of the frosted cupcakes if you wish. To do so, simply transfer remaining chocolate to a resealable plastic bag.  Snip a small corner from bag and drizzle chocolate over cupcakes. Reheat if needed.)
  • Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with chocolate covered pretzels
 
 Happy Treat Tuesday!

Friday, July 26, 2013

"YOLO"

    As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm searching for the remote control of life; I've even looked for it under the sofa cushions.  My guess is that it's not meant to be found. In the meantime, I find myself conciously trying to take it all in.  Perhaps it is my impending birthday that has me so retrospective. Whatever the reason, I am relishing life.  I recently saw this quote that pretty much sums it up:

"Life is short.
Time is fast.
No replay, no rewind.
So enjoy every moment
as it comes."
 
     That said, here is the recipe for my truly decadent Rolo cupcakes.  As the saying goes, you only live once, you might as well enjoy it.  As my kids would say #YOLO. It's no coincidence that YOLO and ROLO rhyme,  I believe that it's a match that was meant to be! 
 


For the Cupcakes:
 
1 Box Devil's Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk 
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners (the prettier the better!)
  •  Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside
  •  In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract
  •  Add cake mix and stir until smooth
  •  Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  • Allow cupcakes to cool before going on to the next step
 
 
 For the Filling:
  • Using a large frosting tip, scoop out the centre of each cupcake
  • Simply push down and twist to remove cake from middle
  • Use a toothpick to remove middle from tip
  • Don't throw out those middles! You can either crumble them up and use them as a garnish over the caramel sauce or let your children eat them as I did
  • Fill each hole with a rolo placed upside down


 
For the Chocolate Frosting:
 
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar
Rolos for decoration 
 
  • Beat butter until light and fluffy
  • Add cocoa, 2 tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla extract
  • Beat again until all ingredients combine
  • Slowly add in powered sugar, 1 cup at  time,  until you reach your desired consistency, add more milk of needed
  •  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes covering the hole with with the Rolo in it
  • Drizzle caramel sauce over the top and finish with a Rolo (I used President's Choice Caramel Syrup)



  •  
     
     


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Treat Tuesday!


   It's Treat Tuesday once again!  This summer sure is flying by.  While I am enjoying these relaxing summer days at home with my children I really need to press pause.  So much will be changing come September.  The kids will be returning to school; which means I will officially have two boys in high school!  My daughter isn't too far behind.  She's so anxious to become a teenager that she somehow talked me into celebrating her 'half' birthday this week.  "Only one and a half birthdays until I'm a teenager Mom!" - Yikes! 

    Seriously, where is the remote control of life? I need to do more than press pause I need to hit record! I don't want to forget a moment of this time we are so fortunate to be sharing. I recently read a book called The Gift of an Ordinary Day; A Mother's Memoir by Katrina Kenison. It spoke volumes to me, particularly in terms of my thoughts.  Here is a quote that altogether encompasses how I've been feeling as of late:  


 “I know I can't make time slow down, can't hold our life as it is in a freeze frame or slow my children's inexorable journeys into adulthood and lives of their own. But I can celebrate those journeys by bearing witness to them, by paying attention, and, perhaps most of all, by carrying on with my own growth and becoming. Now it dawns on me that the only way I can figure out what I'm meant to be doing is to try to understand who I'm meant to be...I will not waste this life, not one hour, not one minute. I will not take for granted the blessing of our being here...I will give thanks...” 
          ~Katrina Kenison

    This book really made me realize that I need to stop and smell the cupcakes. That said here is my Tuesday recipe. Treat yourself by baking up a batch of these succulent summer cupcakes. They will have you pausing at least long enough to say "Yum!"  Savour the moment. 

 

Cupcakes:

1 box white cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 C. oil
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 C. lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C. milk
1/2 C. sour cream 
  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners
  •  Sift cake mix into a separate bowl breaking up any lumps, and set aside
  •  In a large bowl whisk together eggs, oil, zest, lemon juice, vanilla, milk and sour cream until smooth
  •  Stir in cake mix and blend until combined
  •  Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
Lemon Glaze: 
zest of half of a lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  •  Combine all ingredients in a small glass bowl and whisk together with a fork until a smooth paste forms
  • When cupcakes have cooled spoon glaze over tops and let set (about 10 minutes should do it)
Blackberry Buttercream Frosting: 
1 cup butter, softened
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup blackberry puree (Simply toss a handful or two of fresh blackberries into the blender and puree.   Be sure to run the puree through a strainer to remove seeds before incorporating them into your frosting.)
  • Beat butter until smooth
  • Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, enough to make the frosting stiff
  • Slowly add in blackberry puree 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency
  • When lemon glaze is firm, pipe frosting on top and garnish with a fresh blackberry
*Thanks to YourCupOfCake for inspiring this recipe.