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


All Click said...

Man I love me some milk duds!

I have seen about an hour of that Monty Python documentary. It's playing on the IFC channel I think, on cable and you can watch it in parts on demand. It's fascinating getting all their different view points on events.

Toronto realtor said...

Thanks for sharing the cupcakes recipe. I make cupcakes quite often, I don't know why but probably because they are easy and are quite popular in our home. However, last time I made them for Halloween. I tried recipe from internet using small skeletons inside the cupcakes. Everybody liked them and I'm sure it will be similar with yours.

Take care,

Jacque said...

I'm glad I got a minute (while eating my dinner of Stove Top ... mmm) to actually comment you on the list of things you're thankful for. I should do that, too. Sometimes, at the tail end of the 13-hour days while you're stuck on a train, it's hard to be thankful that you're lucky enough to be in that position in the first place.

Paige said...

All Click... My kids and I fight over the Milk Duds every single time! And I still can't get "Always look on the bright side of life" out of my head!

Toronto Realtor... Welcome! Hope you like the recipe!

Jacque... I think the things I'm thankful for is gonna stick around for a while. It's one of the best suggestions I've gotten in a while.