Monday, November 30, 2009

My faux Hostess Cupcake...

So I've seen recipes for homemade Hostess Cupcakes all over the place and just had to give it a shot myself. My thought pattern was along the lines of, "Gee... how tough could that be?"

Just so you know, in an ill equipped kitchen, it can be really tough.

First off is the cupcake recipe itself. I love this recipe! It makes the BEST chocolate cupcakes. However, the cupcakes came out with really domed tops. They were pretty, but harder to decorate that way.

Here's the recipe, straight from
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Put cupcake liners in pans.
2.In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
3.Bake about 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Now for the filling, I hit the blogs. As a result, I made a version of 7 Minute Frosting. This is really, really tough to do with a hand mixer that doesn't reach to the stove. You have to mix it as it cooks over boiling water. So, what that meant for me is that I would heat the water to boiling, then move the pot over to where my mixer could reach and beat until it cooled, then put the water back on the stove to heat it back up and do it again. So the 7 Minute Frosting was more like 15 Minute Frosting. And it was exhausting (even with Not-So-Ex jumping in to help). But it did turn out ok.

So, here's that recipe, which I found here.

Marshmallow, or Seven Minute Frosting

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine frosting ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Use frosting the day it is made.

Once the filling was done, I piped it into the middle of the cupcake. The goal is around a tablespoon but I just pipe till they start to explode.
Then the frosting is a chocolate ganache. This recipe also came from, but I used semi-sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet cause it's just too bitter for me (and I left out the liquor believe it or not).
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
1.Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum if desired.
2.Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.
Once they were ganached, I used the filling for the curlicues on top. I probably shoulda skipped this part cause, as those who know me can tell you, I have a really bad shake. So they weren't the prettiest. But I was ok with it.

The finished product was cool. But, next time I make them, I will wait for a really cold day and turn down the heat cause all that time spent with boiling water just killed me!

Vote for me!

So I entered Iron Cupcake for the first time last month and now it's time for the voting. My entry was the (IMO) awesome Appledoodle Cupcake.

If anyone would like to, please feel free to vote for me here! I have no chance of winning, being a small town upstart and all, but I like to think I could! LOL

You are such a fairy godmother...

This is one of those truly horrendous moments where a film was edited (badly) for content. The line is, "Hand me the keys you fucking cock sucker." But this is what we're left with...

To those of us in the film business (even just the hangers-on like me), this should be very, very scary. Or at least it should be once the insane laughter ends.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Call me Queen of the Date Night...

Before I even get into my date night story, I just had to say that I have re-entered the modern world since I now have BOTH internet and DVR at home. Woo hoo!

But back to my story...

So Not-So-Ex and I enjoy doing the whole date night thing as often as possible. We have two kids, so the opportunities don't really abound. Plus, with everything going on lately (new job, holidays, kids out of school, etc...), we've been slacking in the "us" time area. But I decided that should be remedied.

Not only did he (and we) deserve a date night, but I thought he deserved an extra special date night. So I came up with a plan, which we'll call "double secret date night."

You see, the day after Thanksgiving (Friday), I was off work and home with the kids while Not-So-Ex was busy slaving away at work. So I made arrangements ahead of time for the grandparents' to keep the kids Friday night. And the kids and I spent Friday morning cleaning and running errands and, in my case, cooking. As I've mentioned, Not-So-Ex is normally the one that does the food cooking, but I wanted something special so I made pot roast and mashed potatoes (my specialty), homemade fresh bread, and, for dessert, German Chocolate cupcakes (his fave).

I have to say I was pretty proud of myself. He came home from work and complimented me on how good the house looked and the food smelled awesome. It only took a few minutes before he asked why the kids were so quiet. And that was when I told him I thought we needed a date night.

We ended up staying in, eating our dinner, having a little wine, and watching tv on DVD. I gotta say that it was one of my better ideas!

Anyway, now he's getting the kiddos and I'm doing some more cooking. And trying to figure out this DVR. Wish me luck!

Now for the cupcake recipe...
I got the German Chocolate cupcake recipe from and used it exactly as it is, except for omitting the nuts.

4 (1 ounce) squares German sweet
1/2 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 egg whites

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cupcake pans with liners.
2.Microwave chocolate and water on high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir halfway through. Stir until all is melted and smooth.
3.In a medium bowl, mix together flour, soda and salt. Set aside.
4.In a large bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add 4 egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Beat after each addition until smooth.
5.In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Spoon into cupcake pan.
6.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.

Then I made a standard German Chocolate frosting, again from But, instead of just putting it on top, I also used it inside the cupcakes (with the coconut omitted).

1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white sugar
3 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1.In a large saucepan combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter, cornstarch, and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and cool.

Once cooled, use to fill the cupcakes with about 1 tsp of mixture per cupcake.

After cupcakes are filled, add the coconut (and pecans if you want) to the mixture and use to frost the cupcakes.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How appropriate!

So I realized just before dinner number 2 today (which was family visit number 3 for the day), that Not-So-Ex and I have been married exactly one month! It's just so incredibly appropriate that our one month anniversary is on a day for giving thanks! If I hadn't already been thinking how lucky I am, which I was, then remembering our little courthouse wedding definitely drove the point home!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving thanks a day early

What I'm most thankful for today is that I am loved by someone secure enough to KNOW that I love him back. This is a gift that I work every day to deserve. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The one thing I'll miss...

One of my gifts from my co-workers!

So I have 2 more days until I go to the new job! I'm so incredibly excited, but I have to say I'm really gonna miss my co-workers. They took me out to lunch today (at the Bridge Road Bistro which is absolutely amazing by the way) and even gave me presents!

It was so incredibly nice to just sit and joke with real friends. I needed it today in the worst way!

A little off...

Pardon me but I'm a bit off today. I didn't sleep well, due in part to nightmares, which really sucks cause I was exhausted after baking 8 dozen cupcakes in 2 days.

I also got some sad news yesterday since my favorite rehab girl (from the White film of course) is back in jail and has lost custody of her daughter, which she had been working for a year and a half to get.

I don't know the full details so I'm hopeful it's just a minor setback. But I am the optimistic type.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What I need for the new office...

I really think this would be perfect for my new desk in my new office! So, if anyone wants to pre-gift for Christmas, it's available at Target!

An extra post is necessary to contain this much awesomeness...

I had an email first thing this morning from the HR person at the new job asking me to contact her. I called and she informed me that not only was my boss incorrect about not being able to start until the new year, that I was all clear and could start on Dec 1!

I am so incredibly happy that I can't even express it! My co-workers were thrilled for me and broke into applause the second I hung up the phone. They are currently busy scheming to take me out to lunch as many times as possible before I leave!

So, new email, new office, new everything coming soon!

Geek Girl Weekend 2009!

I had such a blast this weekend! I've been pretty blunt about the fact that I have some Geek Girl tendencies, as does my daughter, but we got totally outgeeked this weekend. And in the best possible way.

My mother and sister-in-law are big time book geeks. If it's a book that could become a movie or series, they're totally on it! True Blood, check(although I was the one who brought the series to their attention)! Harry Potter, HUGE check! And, of course, Twilight, check!

So when they invited myself and Rena to go with them and my niece to see New Moon on Saturday, I was totally game. While I'm in no way a superfan, I am definitely always curious to see how a good book looks on screen (and yes, I liked New Moon and Twilight, although I didn't like all of the books). These are the same people who took me to a midnight book release party for the last Harry Potter book, despite the fact that I was her ex-daughter-in-law at the time.

When we got to the theater and got out of the car, I was face to face with true, glorious geekdom as I looked at my niece, mother, and sister-in-law in their matching Twilight sweatshirts. My m-i-l's shirt read I heart Carlisle Cullen. My s-i-l's read I heart Edward Cullen. And my little niece's read I heart Jacob. I laughed from the time I got out of the car until the time we walked into the theater!

And, just for the record, New Moon is much better than Twilight was. I feared for the worst. In the book, Bella was quite whiny and bordered on irritating. But she came off much better on screen. In the last film, the makeup drove me insane. It was like someone was let loose with white pancake makeup and red lip stain or something. Maybe it was because the vampire family had much less screen time in this film, but they definitely seemed to look better.

Anyway, that was the start of a generally lovely weekend! Friday evening was calm and snuggly. Saturday was time for fun with the fam. And then Sunday was cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes as I made 5 dozen for my daughter and Mom's classes. And, once I get home tonight, there will be more cupcaking since Hunter's class needs some as well!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Say it ain't so!!!!

New Balance releases the cutest Snoopy tennis shoes ever and they're only kid sizes! That's just plain mean! Of course there is the chance that, since my feet are kinda small, I could get away with wearing a boys' size...

But there should be more awesome Snoopy shoes. I'm looking at you Converse. Put Snoopy on a pair of Chuck's and I swear I'll wear them till they literally disintegrate. Cause God knows I need new ways to get more Snoopy and Woodstock on my feet!

We're gonna have some fun, son!

So I've been working on something all week for my thesis, but didn't wanna blog about it until it was a done deal. And it became a done deal on Wed night but, of course, I spent Thurs in various doctor's offices so I couldn't blog at all.

To make a long story shorter, a year or so ago I had arranged for music for a friend's thesis by one of my favorite musicians, Mr. Greg Dulli. It turns out that Greg is a friend of a very dear friend of mine, my director from the White movie, and my director was more than happy to help me help my friend. Unfortunately, my friend's thesis fell through so it was all for naught.

Cut to a year later, when I am hard at work on my thesis. For the most part, my thesis is a very light, more poppy type of film but I've been working on the script for the last act and there are some darker elements that creep in. For example, I was scripting a montage where one character is trying to pull herself together and another character watches her constructed life crumble. As I worked, there was one song that just kept coming to the forefront. And, of course, it was by Greg Dulli.

When this song kept popping up, I was hesitant at first to contact my director for yet another favor when he worked so hard to help me before. But it wouldn't go away. So I emailed my director with my finger's crossed. And not only did he help, he contacted Dulli immediately to see if he could be convinced, then emailed me with Dulli's PERSONAL EMAIL ADDRESS!!!!!!!!!!

While I've met celebrities and such before, I've never been given the opportunity to personally email an idol. And it turned me into the silly pre-teen I occasionally revert to. As I wrote the email, the co-worker in the cubicle next to me found it hilarious as I repeatedly would ask how to spell this or that word and then say "that's what I thought but it didn't look right." Eventually I completed it, spell checked it twice, and sent it.

And then I had to wait.

But, luckily, it wasn't more than a few hours before I saw an email marked "GD" in my inbox. He was kind, witty, and gave me very clear directions on what to do next. So, now I am getting the paperwork together for his manager and trying to make sure I have everything in order.

So, while my director has decided that Dulli and I should run away and get married, I'm more than content with a personal email from one of my musical idols. And you can bet that it will be one email that will NEVER get deleted!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The lengths some people will go to...

I'm having a weird sorta day. I came in late to work (which will be explained a bit further down) and, when I got here, I had emails (not unusual), voicemails (more unusual), and even someone visiting my office looking for me (very rare). All this attention is unusual, especially since I emailed and let everyone know I was coming in late, so I checked in to see what was going on.

It turns out that my boss, who is rather evil on a good day, got my letter of resignation and decided to call personnel. She then informed me that personnel would not be signing anything until next year and she doesn't know why anyone would tell me differently. She also added a little jab and said "Congratulations on finally finding a job. I've heard you've been looking hard for quite a while."

I kept my cool as I talked to her. And I sent a quick email to the HR person associated with the new job to see if my start date was going to get pushed back.

But, in the end, this is what I have to remember. I may end up screwed and waiting till January 1 (or, God forbid, later), but I will still be leaving and going to a better paying and, hopefully, more fulfilling job. She, however, will still be that boss who mistreats and belittles her employees while misusing every last iota of the minuscule amount of power she has. And, while people will put up with a lot for a paycheck, her attitude and treatment of others will ensure that this building will always, at best, be a short pit stop for those good, talented employees that most organizations want to keep.

Anyway, in the meantime, I am still thankful. Especially for the following things:

1. New blog readers. I've had quite the spike in readers lately and I love it! Welcome to my little haven of cupcakes, goofiness, movies, and all things random. Stick around, leave some comments, and, most of all, enjoy!

2. Friends with huge hearts. I also recognize that some of my new readers have come by way of searches for Sam "Meuwl" Harshbarger, an incredible person who passed away much too soon. It has been beautiful to see just how many people, myself included, cared deeply for this talented and kind guy. I don't know what happened, nor do I intend to find out. However, I do intend to honor him the best way I know how.

3. Bread machines. I just rediscovered a bread machine that Not-So-Ex and I were given for our first wedding. I had forgotten just how much I loved the smell of bread baking. And how much fun it was to sit and pour over a cookbook thinking of all the wonderful, new treats I could create. I mean, even as I type this, bread is baking at home.

4. Fresh eyes and new ideas. I'm working on my thesis script (which is the first full script I've ever written) and had a meeting with my director yesterday. We were discussing a scene that was new in the last draft and he mentioned a thought that just completely clicked. With one little change, the entire scene began to fall into place in a way that was much smoother and more sensible.

5. Totally wicked references. So, while I was trying to get the job that I have now been offered, I had to get references from those I had worked with before. Most of them I called, emailed, or texted in advance so that they knew these people would be calling. My former producer on the White movie said he had told them, "you had: people skills - could talk street slang in order to obtain pills, reasoning skills - could trade two painies for three nervies, math skills - knew that two 50 mg xanex's were equivalent to one 100 mg xanybar. The total package you are." I couldn't help but laugh hysterically at that.

6. Adjusted time. I had this super busy, crazy day yesterday. I had to work in Huntington, get back, go straight to school, and then didn't get home until somewhere around 9:30. It was exhausting, but it also means that, since I worked over, I now have some extra time to play with during the rest of this week. Of course I used one hour right off the bat this morning so that I could lounge and be lazy!

7. Exes who act like (and probably are) grown ups. I ran into a guy I dated a long, long time ago yesterday. It was nice to be able to smile, hug, check up on each others' lives, show off pics of our kids, and then just go about our days. No drama at all. Luckily, most of my exes are like that.

8. The word "frak". In general, I am a huge fan of made up words. And I must say that I find "frak" to be the most fraking hilarious word in the whole fraking world. No, really, I'm serious as frak.

OK... I guess I'm gonna put an end to this fraking post now. Have a lovely frakin' day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunshiney thoughts (and a sunshiney recipe too)

It's getting closer to Thanksgiving and I just figured I'd use my current awesome mood to get a jump start on the holiday. So here's my current list of things that I am thankful for:

1. Being married to Mr. Fix-It. On Friday, Jake the Wonder Mutt managed to break one of the little panes of glass in our front door. It had been cracked for a while and we expected that it would eventually break, but I wasn't really expecting it Friday. So I came home in an awesome mood but worried that Not-So-Ex wouldn't be quite so happy after seeing the broken glass. But, nope, my fears were useless. Not only was he not pissed, he had it fixed (and with Plexiglas so that it won't happen again) by the next day!

2. Cupcake Hero and Iron Cupcake Earth. As we all know, I love my cupcakes. But if it wasn't for online competitions like these, it would be super easy to sit and make the same old stuff. I love to experiment and try new things and ideas, and now I have a venue to show off the successful ones. Plus the monthly themes and/or ingredients give my creativity some parameters in which to function, which is always helpful for someone like me!

3. Matinee movies with movie popcorn, Milk Duds, and my little heatherns. The kids, my aunt, my nephew, and I went to see "Where the Wild Things Are" on Saturday and, of course, had a blast. I enjoyed the movie, but it wasn't quite as good as I had hoped. Just as a side note, in case you're reading this Spike Jonze (even though I have your email so I could just send this to you... sorry... I think I just name dropped... LOL), please cut out the shaky camera stuff. It only works if we, as the audience, are led to believe that a main character is actually holding the camera and, even then, it only works for short periods. Oh, and my son wanted me to point out that you forgot to include the sea monster in the movie and he was disappointed.

4. My iPhone. We don't have internet at the house so my phone's been providing me with everything I need! It is so awesome! I'm seriously thinking about just leaving the internet off. With the exception of my downloading tv shows and such, I can do everything I need with my phone.

5. Goofy movies at home. I rented some movies yesterday, including Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut). I have a deep and abiding love for Python, especially John Cleese, Michael Palin, and Eric Idle and this has been running through my head ALL MORNING LONG!!!!!

6. Second chances. While I'm always thankful for these, I'm particularly thankful today. My entire life right now is courtesy of someone loving me enough to give me a second chance (and vice versa) and us both doing all the hard work required to make this chance different than the last. And I always try to give second chances to others. But I have also come to believe that the number of chances needs to be limited. The days of unquestioning loyalty are gone. And good riddance.

7. Fresh starts. This kinda goes along with the previous item, but I'm sooooooo glad to get the chance for a fresh start at a new job. I definitely am not where I need to be job-wise. I am idealistic, optimistic, and creative. None of those words work well with my current gig but, luckily, the current gig will be ending soon since I was offered a new job last Friday. And, as if the fresh start wasn't enough motivation, there's a pretty hefty pay raise too! Who could ask for more?

8. Family. I spent Sunday with my family. The better part of the early afternoon was spent with the in-laws, who I adore, and the early evening was spent visiting my parents and wishing my mom a happy birthday! A fun time was had by all!

The family time leads me to the recipe. I had been playing with the Appledoodle Cupcakes and ran out of eggs but wanted one more batch of cupcakes for all the family functions. So I modified a recipe that I already had that uses just egg whites (and I keep powdered egg whites around). And it turned out really well!

Creamsicle Cupcakes
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1/3 c. thawed frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
1/4 c. milk
food coloring (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with liners.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg whites and concentrate. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of milk, beating until just smooth. Add just enough food coloring to turn the batter a light shade of orange.

Scoop batter into liners (fill about three-fourths full). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting (see below).

I used one of my old faves for the frosting:
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 c butter
1 c powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate
2-3 c more powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese and butter till light and fluffy. Mix in 1 c powdered sugar. Add concentrate and then the rest of the powdered sugar and food coloring (if desired). Top cooled cupcakes.

So there ya go! I'm sure I'll be thinking of a gazillion things I forgot to list all day long but that's fine with me! LOL

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Appledoodle Cupcakes (My first Iron Cupcake!)

So this month is all about apples for Iron Cupcake Earth and I had a blast with it! I considered apples and caramel, then decided everyone would be doing that. Then I tried candy apples, but I had my little frosting disaster. The I had an inspired thought when I was looking at a cookbook and realized that Snickerdoodle Cupcakes would be great with apples. So I played with the recipe and this is what I came up with!

Appledoodle Cupcakes (based on Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodle Cupcake recipe)
Makes 24(ish)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
3/4 c brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
3/4 c condensed apple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Put milk and apple juice into one cup. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk/juice mixture, and beating until combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I cut a cone out of the center and put a heaping teaspoon of fried apples in the center. I would love to give you the recipe I used for the fried apples, but Not-So-Ex made them for me and he is not a recipe user. So, if you've never fried apples, we basically chopped up apples and put them in a skillet with sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Whenever they started to look dry, I added some apple juice. Once they're soft, they're done.

I used Martha Stewart's recomendation for frosting (7 Minute Frosting), but changed it so that it used brown sugar. And replaced some of the water with apple juice. If I was gonna make these again, I'd use a different frosting. The 7 Minute Frosting kinda tasted like molasses. The kids and Not-So-Ex liked it, but I didn't. But anyway, here's the recipe.

Brown Sugar 7 Minute Frosting
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup water (I used half juice and half water)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

I will warn everyone that this is not the recipe to make on a warm day. Between the cupcakes in the oven, the fried apples on the stove, and then the frosting on the stove, I was ready to pass out!

Anyway, this is my first ever entry for Iron Cupcake: Earth! I am super excited and these are the prizes I could possibly win:

Friday, November 13, 2009

I love Friday the 13th!

I just got a formal offer for a new job! Woo Hoo!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So you don't have to (probably episode 1)

So as I was standing over my mixer last night looking at a particularly sad little fail in my mixing bowl, it occurred to me that, in addition to sharing the recipes that I love, I should probably share the recipes that are disasters. That way, anyone who reads, won't ever have to fail with that particular recipe!

Last night's recipe is the perfect place to start. Iron Cupcake Earth (ICE)'s ingredient for this month is apple. My first thought was, as my son would say, easy peasy! And then I started looking for recipes. I had already done peanut butter and apple for Cupcake Hero, so that was out. My first instinct was caramel apple, so I searched and found that almost every apple recipe included caramel. So ICE will probably have a zillion versions of caramel and apple.

So I sat and pondered... what can I do... And the next thing that came to mind was candy apples. And I was just sure that was the ticket. So I looked for a cupcake recipe that could be more apple-y and less cinnamon-y or spicy. And I found it. And then I looked for a recipe for frosting that was candy apple-ish.

Here's where the plan goes bad. I generally only use recipes that I get from bloggers (cause they tell you exactly how things turn out) or places like (where there are comments and ratings and such). But I couldn't find anything in all the reputable places. So I just found this random recipe and it was rated decent, but there were no comments and even very little in the way of instructions. But it had the key ingredients for candy apples so I was determined to give it a try.

This is exactly what it said...
In top of double boiler, combine 1 egg white, 3/4 CUP sugar, 2 tablespoons red cinnamon candies, dash salt, 1/2 cup applesauce, and 1 teaspoon light corn syrup.
Beat 1 minute with electric or rotary beater.
Place over boiling water; beat till peaks form, about 4 minutes (don't overcook).
Remove from boiling water.
Beat till of spreading consistency.

And that's exactly what I did. At least till the beating part. I think I beat it about 10-15 minutes before I realized there would be no peaks, soft or otherwise. The result was a pan of pink, almost marshmallow creme like, goo that left little pieces of apple (from the applesauce) in your mouth once the rest dissolved and was gone.

So, just so you never have to go through it yourself, this recipe SUCKS! Consider that a half hour of your time that I just saved! No thanks necessary!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


To put it simply, I am plum wore out today. I didn't have the best of nights yesterday, and my sleep was anything but good, so it took considerable work to get myself going this morning.

Once I made it to work, I realized I was going to have to spend the day on the phone. And there is nothing that I find more taxing than my nice, overwhelmingly helpful telephone personality. But I got the job done so I guess that's a plus.

The only thing that's helped is knowing that tomorrow will be a holiday so I can sleep in a little and then get some much needed kid time. And hopefully there will be more cupcaking as well since Iron Cupcake Earth is all about apples and that is sooooooo right down my alley!

So everyone enjoy their holiday!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A new fave!!!!

So I have been seriously in need of a new, good cupcake recipe. I've been having a bit of a drought when it comes to original ideas that actually turn out to be decent!

But this weekend's recipe (which is definitely gonna be heading to Cupcake Hero) made up for all the crappy cupcake experiments!
Without further ado, I present the Peanut Butter Boston Cream Pie cupcake (which is in desperate need of a better name)...

First off, the cupcake itself comes from here, but I made a tiny change cause peanut butter just NEEDS at least a little brown sugar...

Amy Sedaris' Cupcakes

1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups of sugar (I used 1 cup sugar and 1/2 c brown sugar and that seemed good)

Beat well, then add:

Add 2 large eggs
2 Teaspoons of pure vanilla
½ teaspoon of salt
2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
2 ½ cups of flour
1 ¼ cups of milk

Beat well, fill cups, and bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes. You should get 24.

Now for the filling, which is my absolute favorite part! I modified a standard vanilla pudding recipe from

Peanut Butter Filling

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 c peanut butter
1.In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.
2.Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolk; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in butter, vanilla, and peanut butter.
3.Cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For the frosting, I knew I'd need some form of ganache, which I normally don't care for. But this ganache was to die for!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups chocolate chip morsels
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ cup smooth peanut butter
In a small saucepan, combine the cream, powdered sugar, chocolate chip morsels and butter over low heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add the peanut butter at the same time. Stir until smooth. Let cool.

Random Monday Musings...

I made it back to work on a very sleepy Monday morning. It was a rather busy weekend for a lazy little schmuck like myself and, now that I have some internet, I'm gonna fill everyone in.

1. I got my cupcake mojo back! Woo Hoo! I have had cupcake failure after cupcake failure the past couple weeks! But last Thursday held a successful cupcake experiment and the weekend held the discovery of one of my favorite recipes thus far (which will be posted later today).

2. I did my homework. I was approached by someone that works helping small businesses get off the ground about starting a cupcake bakery. I put off and put off doing the pricing but sat down this weekend and figured it all out. Shew!

3. I have had a few job interviews and one finally began checking my references last Friday. I have my fingers crossed big time!

4. I went to a concert with the family last Friday night and had a ball. It wasn't really my kind of music, but there's really nothing better than sitting there holding my daughter's hand while my son falls asleep on my shoulder and Not-So-Ex softly rubs my back. I do so love being a family.

5. I have a very clean bathroom. I sat down with the kiddos and arranged weekly chores and we cleaned big time on Saturday. They were reluctant at first but were really proud when they were finished.

6. I went to church and no one got smited. There was a special program and announcement at my parents' church Sunday and the kids and I went. It was tough to get moving on a day off, but it was definitely worth it. My beautiful son was up there on stage being his normal, calm, awesome self. My daughter, who used to inspire a hand-wringing, terrified version of momma when she was on stage, stood on stage with her classmates and looked absolutely and completely normal. There are no words to describe the tears or the gratitude I felt as I watched them both.

7. Not only did I not get smited, but the sermon was even applicable. The sermon on Sunday was about not obsessively worrying and just letting go. Couldn't have been more perfect.

8. I said goodbye to Sam. Sunday afternoon was the wake and funeral for Sam Harshbarger (Meuwl). I went to the wake and checked on my friends who were closer to him than I was. Gave my hugs. Caught up on their lives. I met his parents for the first time and told them just how wonderful he was. And that was when the tears started. I tried to calm myself and was somewhat successful. I glanced at the casket but that was about all. I will remember him the way he was; full of life, animated, and with big hair. He may not have realized it, but everyone who knew him, even for a short time (like me), was better for it.

9. I have dreamed Hip-Hop all weekend. I apparently have a very active subconscious and, since Sam has been on the brain, I have had dream after dream about the Hip-Hop Boot Camp. Sometimes, when there is a death that touches me, I have terrible dreams. But, this time, the dreams have been happy and funny. It was only when I woke up that there was sadness and, even then, it was mostly replaced with gratitude for the time that I had.

10. I have a few kid-less days ahead of me! Hunt is staying with one grandmother and Rena is with the other! So Not-So-Ex and I are gonna get some time to just snuggle in and be together. I can hardly wait!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pears and Caramel

So my grandparents gave me some fresh pears last week so I just had to make some cupcakes out of them. I found a great recipe here for apple cupcakes with caramel frosting and just changed them to pear. They were really good, but I'd love to find some way to really amp up the pear taste. A lot of the people who tried them didn't realize they were pear.

Pear Cupcakes
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 cups peeled, chopped pears
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the brown and white sugars; toss with the apples and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Stir the melted butter into the apple mixture. Beat in the eggs. Beat in the flour mixture just until combined. Add extracts.

Pour batter into cupcake pan and bake until cake tests done (around 20 min). Allow to cool before frosting.

Caramel Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup milk

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add brown sugar and milk. Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Cool.

Beat confectioners’ sugar into milk mixture until smooth. If the frosting seems too thick, add a little more milk, or cream, a little at a time until the frosting is of a good, spreadable consistency.

I made a mistake and put my frosting in the fridge for a bit after it was finished because it seemed a little liquidy. Then it became the consistency of fudge. So I had to remix it and add more milk but, in the end, it turned out fine.


Someone that I considered a friend passed away yesterday. He was young, vibrant, insanely talented, and possessed a large, kind heart. His death is saddening and shocking, but I wanted to use this little bit of space to remember him.

He was a rapper that went by Meuwl, a graffiti artist that went by Psst, and a really wonderful person that went by Sam Harshbarger.

The easiest way to try to explain the type of relationship I had with Sam is to say that, even when I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him out of frustration (which happened a couple times), I still had to hug him the second I saw him. And those who know me really well know that I don't hug unless I mean it. And I always meant it.

I didn't get to see Sam often but I remember the last time I saw him. I went to the closing ceremonies for the Hip-Hop Boot Camp this past summer. I didn't know Sam was going to be teaching, but was just thrilled to see him. I hugged him and said "God I've missed you!" I then proceeded to tease him about showing up the one year I couldn't be there.

I'm so glad I saw him that day. I had no idea it would be the last time but wouldn't have changed a thing even if I did. I feel for his family, both his biological family and his musical family. He was loved by many and will be remembered with as much laughter as there are tears.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I hate math and why that effects cupcaking...

So this is gonna be a quickie cause it's what is going through my mind right this second...

I had a guy who works with people to begin small businesses contact me about working towards starting my own cupcake bakery. I was super psyched, intimidated, and hesitant all at the same time. I expressed to him that I'd love to own my own bakery but that the idea of beginning my own bakery is scary. I was also blunt about my (non-existent) finances. And, for reasons unknown to me, he didn't then say "oh nevermind then." LOL

So my homework tonight is to figure out the cost of a batch of cupcakes so that I can come up with a reasonable cost for my cupcakes if I decide to sell them.

I probably shoulda paid more attention in math. LOL

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ooh! One more thing!

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not exactly what anyone would call religious. And, in general, I'm good with that. While I would like to get more in touch with my spirituality, which was muted for quite a while, I'm not a big fan of organized religion. However, I come from a very religious family and, while I may not share their precise beliefs, I have incredible respect for those beliefs.

Those who know me also find it strange that I send my kids to a Christian school. While I may not necessarily believe, I want my kids to be raised with some sense of God and values and, when they're older, they can choose what religion they feel most comfortable with. Also, the school they attend is incredible academically and, since my mom teaches there as well, there is a very strong family vibe.

I've mentioned before that my daughter has faced some difficulty, mostly social, in the school setting. In the past few years, she has made huge, no... strike that... HUGE advances! While we're all thrilled, we've also been incredibly nervous about what comes next since she is in 6th grade this year. Her last attempt at public school was disastrous and the prospect of middle school is scary.

Between myself, Not-So-Ex, and my parents there's been a lot of prayer about what to do. I know I've personally just expressed my fear and asked to be shown what the next step should be. And an incredibly clear sign came yesterday when we received a letter from her school saying that they are starting a 7th Grade next year. And an 8th Grade the next.

So my beautiful, slowly blooming Geek girl gets two more years to come into herself before she has to face the cold, cruel world of public school! And her momma gets a few more years to prepare too! Woo Hoo!

Exhaustion and blessed assistance

So I've been remarried for one whole week and it's so funny how quickly one forgets what a marriage entails. While Not-So-Ex moved into my place a few months ago, the sharing of chores and bills and the pocket change that's left (hopefully) after bills is something that has still not become a normal process for us. And, as a person who is generally easily overwhelmed, the last couple days have been overwhelming.

I don't mean for that to sound negative, cause it's really not. I have so many incredibly wonderful things going on in my life right now. But the wonderful can overwhelm too.

And I have to say that this morning reminded me how lucky I am to have someone to truly share my life with. I had a rough night last night when I desperately needed a calm, relaxing one. The largest chunk of my thesis script was due last night and I had spent hours upon hours pondering it and then more hours upon hours typing, checking, and reworking it. I had hoped that, once I dropped that section of my script off, that I would just be able to collapse and relax. Instead I found myself laying on the couch at 11:30 fighting with a hyper puppy and watching Harry Potter.

This morning I woke up before the alarm and laid in bed thinking about my day. I generally have to take my son to school, then rush back home to get ready for work. Even thinking about it this morning stressed me out. So I asked Not-So-Ex if he could handle getting Hunt to school. And he was kind enough to say yes.

It felt so indulgent to spend my morning trying to catch up on laundry... fixing myself cinnamon toast for breakfast and actually being able to sit down and eat... taking a long hot shower... I still barely made it to work on time but, trust me, my employer should be thankful I show up at all (but they aren't of course)!

My life has been in chaos for so long that I sometimes have to remind myself that I'm not there anymore. And I'm so glad that I remembered this morning that I don't have to go it alone. I have a partner to help me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just a little update...

As I mentioned before, I am internetless at home so any blogging has to come from work. Generally that's a good thing as I love anything I can do to spend work time on other things. But, between being out with a sick kiddo last week and due dates for assignments this week, I haven't been writing much. So I thought I'd just post a quickie to update everyone on my life, both the important and the incredibly random parts.
  1. Still married. So far so good. LOL
  2. While the filmmaking community in Charleston is small, we're a tight knit group and, every once in a while, something really cool and fun comes up. In my case, that happened last weekend when I got to help film an interview with Sam Trammel from True Blood. He was absolutely the awesomest guy ever (and called me sweet!), so make sure and support one of our hometown stars and watch the show!
  3. My cupcaking skills are seriously sucking these days. I've thrown away more cupcakes than have been eaten. I have decided to blame at least part of it on my crappy oven.
  4. Lemon Curd is really hard to make just right. I made two batches over the weekend and both were terrible in their own special way.
  5. If you're not careful when mixing Angel Food Cake batter, the cake won't rise and you'll get little cupcakes that look rather like marshmallows. They'll taste ok, but be ugly. Just an FYI.
  6. I have broken another mixer. After my I Love Lucy-like episode in the kitchen, dough got into the part that turns the beaters. I tried to clean it out but when I went to put what I thought were the correct clean beaters back in, they wouldn't go. So I messed for a while and then handed them to Not-So-Ex. Just after he finally forced the beaters into place, I found the beaters that ACTUALLY went with the mixer. But, alas, Not-So-Ex did such a great job forcing the beaters into place that they will now not come out. *sigh*
  7. My grandmother turned 80 yesterday AND she and my grandpa celebrated 62 years of marriage. How awesome is that!
  8. I'm working on my script for my thesis. I just finished revisions to Act I, which I am pretty happy with right this second, but the deadline for Act II is looming so I gotta get busy!
  9. I went to Mountain Stage last night with friends and saw a chick from Kuala Lampur that sounded like Lilly Allen and was smaller than her huge acoustic guitar and a guy who was described by the loud drunk guy beside us as a cross between Bob Dylan and Danzig. While I don't think that's exactly true, it was awesome to really hear someone "plug in." Anyway, it was fun.
  10. I found the perfect song for the closing credits of my thesis film. I don't know if I can get it, but I'm gonna try. And it will be a surprising choice to anyone that knows me!
Ok... I was aiming for an even 10 so there ya go! Hopefully I'll be writing more soon!