Rainbow Cupcakes

I’m sure you were worried, but no need to. Just because I took a few weeks off to move over to WordPress with this blog, I am still keeping up with my Monthly Cupcake from Food Network Magazine, January/February 2017 issue.

When I woke up the morning I made these, I was worried about having 2 ingredients. Lemons, which I was fairly certain I had and Cake Flour, which I was pretty sure I didn’t have. I did go to the pantry to see if I had cake flour and surprisingly I did. WHAT?!?! I guess I bought it for something else one day and had some left over. So… if you don’t have cake flour, not to fear! Make your own! Wait, what? Make your own cake flour. Yup! You read that right!

Cake flour:

1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tbsp (that is subtract 2tbsp of the ap flour). Then add in 2 tbsp corn starch. Use your handy dandy sifter and sift 5-6 times to incorporate the corn starch. Bam, your own homemade cake flour.

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Solstice quilt – Block 9

Hi, did you notice it’s been a while since you’ve seen a post? Did you notice that there are new digs around here? Please bear with me as I try to get everything sorted back out. Now what did I do? Well, I switched housing basically. The old blog was written on a website called blogger. Now I’m self-hosting my blog. Don’t ask me what any of that means, I’m not sure I could do it justice on explaining. I spent most of last month researching and switching over. I’ve also started a couple side businesses and been working on derriere off on them as well.

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve been able to work on this quilt. We are so far behind… haha! The first of those two weeks my grandma had to go to voting school. What?!?! She works the polls (wow, that could be read incorrectly… mind out of gutter please, this is my grandma after all!). They apparently have to go to class to learn how to help at the voting polls, even though she’s done this for years. I used to love to go to the polls to vote when I was younger because she’d usually give me a cookie or something. Anyway, that week I worked with my {step}daughter and tried teaching her to sew. She did an excellent job I may add. I should share her blocks. Now I’m trying to decide, since she’s with us so little, do I continue making hers after I get this one done, or do I just MAKE time in our hectic schedule to work on hers… decisions, decisions.

The second week, my grandma was out of town. One of my aunts lives in South Carolina and grandma went down to spend a week and a half or so with her. Typing that, I just realized none of my aunts live close. Like I always knew that, but never really thought about it. Not that it really matters. Just sharing useless information.

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Solstice Quilt – Block 5

To say this past week has been interesting would be an understatement. Yesterday only added to the craziness. My grandma has a busier schedule than I do. Monday’s tend to be the only day she isn’t busy so we have our date scheduled to work on this quilt. The thing is, I had a bunch of errands to run on Monday. My baby still wasn’t feeling well so I got a drs appointment for her, I needed to return the fertilizer spreader we rented over the weekend, I needed to pick up dry cleaning for my dad, and we wound up having to pick up medicine for baby girl. By the time I got through all of that, it was almost 5pm by the time I got to grandma’s house. Normally we work on 2 quilt patterns per Monday, but being so late, we only had time to work on one quilt block.

I mentioned on one of the other quilt pattern posts that I found all the blocks I had cut out of my husband’s old military uniforms. The day I did that, grandma and I talked about using stars and stripes with the ACU digital material for making his quilt. So the more I thought about it, the color I needed to pull from quilt block 4 to tie in quilt block 5 was blue, so why not use a piece of the ACU digital into this quilt? It has the blue tie in, but also adds some material that has meaning… a piece of hubby’s past. I was sold.

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Solstice Quilt – Block 3 & 4

I had so much fun making the first 2 quilt blocks that I couldn’t wait to get back to grandma’s to make more quilt blocks. Now truthfully, last Monday we could have made more than 2, but I was kind of crunched for time and I only printed off 2 sets of instructions, also 2 is a good number when trying to keep a toddler kid wrangled.

I really like bright, cheery colors so that’s kind of how I started last week, but I didn’t really have any ideas on what my theme was in fabrics. Truth be told, I kind of don’t like asymmetrical things. I prefer symmetrical things. They make me feel more at peace or something. In the end when this quilt gets pieced together, it will be very asymmetrical. I’m a little unnerved by that, but I’ll be okay too.😜

So I was trying to come up with a way for us to realize that all these different blocks really do go together. That’s when it came to me. My first quilt block was purple and green. The second picked up green and added pink. So I decided that block 3 needed to pick up pink and add a new color and then quilt block 4 needed to pick up that additional color and add a new one. So basically, if there are 2 colors, the second color needs to be picked up with a new color. Does that make sense?

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Strawberry Pie {National Strawberry Day, February 27}

I really wish I knew how I started in on finding out what national day it was… I spent a whole afternoon looking up dates here recently. It’s actually kind of fun to see all the weird, interesting, National day holidays. And today happens to be:
  • National Kahlua Day
  • National Polar Bear Day
  • and
  • National Strawberry Day

And then on a fun side note, this morning when I turned on tv, Mickey Mouse was helping the giant and he had a belly ache from eating “too many strawberries.” How fitting!

Yesterday we went to Sam’s and bought some beautiful strawberries. Fun fact about Strawberries and it’s not really a fun fact about strawberries but more so about strawberries involving me… When my mom was pregnant with me, there were 3 grocery stores in town. She craved strawberries and cool whip but felt guilty going every day to buy that, so she would bounce between the three grocery stores so they didn’t look at her every day and feel sorry for the poor pregnant lady. lol. They always joked they were surprised I didn’t come up red or with strawberry hair. Instead I came out purple but that’s another story for another day…..

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Banana Bread {National Banana Bread Day}

I would like to start out this post by stating that today is National Banana Bread Day. It is also National Toast Day. So if you Toast your banana bread, does that have you celebrating both holidays? Just a thought… Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

I was one of the lucky kids who grew up knowing not only my grandparents but also one set of my great grandparents. My great grandpa died in 1998, 10 days shy of his 108th birthday and my great grandma died in 2002. Both in November. Great Grandpa was the 13th and Great Grandma was the 1st. Some people make fun of me because I remember dates really well and I sometimes really wonder how I do it. But I can remember my great grandpas because of a story. In October of that year he asked my great grandma if November had a Friday the 13th. She told him no, she thought it was Saturday the 13th. Then the week before Friday November 13th, he asked her again if next Friday was the 13th. She said, yes I believe it is. His response was, That’s a good day. He passed away on Friday the 13th.

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Solstice Quilt – Blocks 1 & 2

A friend of mine is huge into quilting. Now, I was thinking about it the other day and I’ve made 2 quilts in my lifetime (I think) plus about 10 pieced together blankets that had fleece backing on them.

The other day I was asked if I could sew and I said, “No.” Okay, so technically, yes I can. But I don’t know how to sew buttons back on shirts, fix pockets, hem jeans, etc although I think I could hem jeans if I needed or wanted, the other, Nope. I’d be lost.

So back to this friend who is into quilting… last month she let me in on a quilt that she was working on. It’s with a lady named Pat Sloan and Pat gives out the weeks pattern every Wednesday. The more I thought about it, the more I decided I might like to do this. Now my grandma is also an avid quilter so I called Grandma up and asked if she’d be willing to make this quilt with me and my little one.

I thought it might be fun for my little one to have a quilt she made with her great grandma. I’m not real sure how we’ll actually quilt the top to the back once the quilt top is finished. Grandma hand quilts but I’m not sure I have the time nor the patience to do that… And I don’t know if you need a special machine to do machine quilting… Oh well… We’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you updated!

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Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes

If there is one thing they tell you to do, it’s try something new. While baking cupcakes isn’t a new concept for me, I’m not so good at it. It’s really always been a bit of a challenge for me, and I’m not really sure why. So when the January/February 2017 Food Network Magazine came out and they had a whole section devoted to cupcakes for each month, I just knew I had to partake… and at least try.

As we know, I messed up the January cupcakes just a bit… but it was more icing related issues than it was cupcake related issues. And the cupcakes themselves were excellent.

When I saw the cupcakes for this month, I was quite excited. While they don’t want them to be for a special occasion but say a random Tuesday, these cupcakes scream Valentine’s Day to me. No, I didn’t make them on Valentine’s Day or even for Valentine’s Day because I was busy getting ready to attend a wedding, but I knew I was going to make them no matter what.

This morning I had a few minutes so I went into the kitchen, gathered up all the ingredients and went about my way making Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes.

One of the ingredients it called for was instant espresso powder. Well, I didn’t have any and didn’t have much luck finding any at the store either, so I used instant coffee instead. Really other than the fact that it isn’t quite as strong of a flavor, they are easily swap-able with each other.

Other than that one swap, I followed the recipe to a T.

This month I was able to measure out the batter into 12 cupcakes compared to last month when I somehow only wound up with 11 cupcakes. So I’m making progress.

The cupcakes called for a glaze over the warm cupcakes of strawberry jam or jelly mixed with lemon juice. I used jelly. I have to point out that between the nice chocolate flavor with the flavor of the icing, I didn’t really taste the strawberry layer. I took my Mother-in-law over a cupcake this morning when I went to check on cows and she too didn’t really taste that strawberry jelly layer.

Unfortunately this isn’t the “right” time of year for strawberries. While I liked them, hubby thought they were a little under-ripe.

When I was making my frosting, or icing if you prefer, my white icing tasted great. The white chocolate melted up nicely, then mixed with the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla, it turned out to be a very good tasting icing. Not to sweet, but it was sweet enough, and I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate.

Sadly, my chocolate icing on the other hand, when added to the butter, then mixing in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk, something happened and it got chunky. I’m not exactly sure what I did incorrectly, but there were those chocolate chunks in my chocolate icing. Whoops. Why does it seem like I keep messing up the icing in these cupcakes?

Then… piping the icing on…. <sigh>. So I prepared my piping bag, it said to use a large circle tip. Well from my years in cake decorating classes, the teacher said to fit with a coupler and just use that. That’s what I proceeded to do… I placed my white icing in one side of the bag and the chocolate in the other just as the directions suggested. That’s when things went down hill fast. I started squeezing out to get both colors. Well this makes just enough icing for all 12 cupcakes.

In the end I was short icing so I had to spread it on with a spatula. So while they weren’t real pretty, they tasted pretty darn good, but hubby didn’t really agree. He wasn’t crazy about the different flavors together… but my mother-in-law on the other hand agreed with me. I’m not sure there needed to be the strawberry layer because it didn’t really shine through, but otherwise, the cupcakes were pretty good. I like the icing too, so I assume this might make a good cake some day…. never know….

Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes (via Food Network Magazine, Jan/Feb 2017, pg 59)
Ingredients:

  • For the Cupcakes
    • 1 c flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
    • 3/4 c whole milk
    • 1 c sugar
    • 3/4 c vegetable oil
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/4 c strawberry jam/jelly
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • For the Strawberries & Icing:
    • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 12 medium strawberries
    • 2 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temp
    • 2 pinches salt, separated
    • 2 tsp vanilla, separated
    • 2 tbsp whole milk, separated

Directions:
For the cupcake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners.
  2. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine the cocoa powder and espresso powder in a large bowl
  4. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot but not simmering; pour over the cocoa powder mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Let cool a few minutes, then add the granulated sugar and whisk until dissolved.
  6. Whisk in the vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla, then whisk in the flour mixture until combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
  8. Bake 20 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back when gently pressed.
  9. While the cupcakes are baking, mix together the strawberry jam/jelly with the lemon juice and brush on the warm cupcakes.
  10. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Chocolate covered strawberries

  1. Microwave 4oz semisweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring, until melted.
  2. Dip the strawberries in the chocolate; place on wax paper.
  3. Let set, 20-30 minutes.

For the Icing:

  1. Microwave the white chocolate and the remaining 2 oz semisweet chocolate in separate bowls, stirring each, until melted.
  2. Let cool.
  3. Beat 6 tbsp butter and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth.
  4. Beat in the melted white chocolate.
  5. Add 1 c confectioners sugar; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tbsp milk
  6. Set aside the white chocolate icing
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 with the semisweet chocolate to make semisweet chocolate icing.
  8. Spoon the white chocolate icing onto one side of a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Spoon the semisweet chocolate icing next to the white chocolate icing so the two flavors are side by side; pip swirled icing onto the cupcakes.
  9. Top each with a chocolate-dipped strawberry.
  10. Enjoy, especially on a random Tuesday.
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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I’ve been in the mood to make cookies. We’re talking 4 days of wanting to make cookies. I look at the oatmeal and think, I want oatmeal cookies. In fact, to be more specific I wanted the Buncha Crunch Oatmeal Cookies but I didn’t have a bag of Buncha Crunch.

So for a couple days I went back to the drawing board… trying to decide what I could use in place of those… for that light airy feel. Well… sadly I never came up with an option. So then I grabbed my Better Homes and Garden’s book. It had some oatmeal cookies that had chocolate chips in them. I thought, boy those could be good. But then I wanted the mini chocolate chips if I did that.

I went and dug in the freezer for mini chocolate chips and didn’t find any. Bummer again.

Then I grabbed a cookbook I put together with all kinds of recipes in it like 15 years ago or something. Maybe not quite that many… more like in college, so 10 years ago…. And there in all it’s glowing glory, Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. Now I’ll share the recipe with you after all this hype.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 c butter
  • 1/2 c sifted cocoa
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c skim milk
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c quick-cooking oats

Preheat oven 350˚F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream brown sugar and butter together. Add cocoa, vanilla, and milk. Mix well. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend into butter mixture. Stir in oats.
Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

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