I had quite the birthday week last week! It was also a very special week for me and my fella so there was a lot of fun had and it was full of love!
There was a baseball game, a surprise birthday dinner from my friends (organized by my fella), a winery visit, an overnight trip, a downtown DC afternoon, complete with cupcakes! You can see some of the other highlights via my camera phone above. I loved my week and I couldn’t think of a better way to enter my new year!
I noticed after the last week that my body just doesn’t respond well to sugar anymore. At least, super sweet sugar. I can’t eat chocolate the same way for sure. This isn’t a bad thing. I just have to cut back how much I eat and the type I eat I think. It’s good that I noticed it though because it means I’m starting to listen to my body. See, a couple of times last week I had sugar and then just felt ill. Kinda queasy but not really, you know? But after I ate real food, I felt better. After this happening a couple of times, I looked at my eating patterns and realized sugar was the common denominator. So this week I’m starting to cut back on the sugar, which after last week…needs to happen anyway!
I’m linking up with Lauren for H54F.
1. A pink toes pedicure. It’s Pansy by Essie. That’s what summer is made for, yes?
2. A perfect hair day with a feel of a nautical outfit. (This may also be what summers are made for.)
3. Fro yo. (Definitely what summers are made for.) This one is Cake Batter with peanut butter cups, peanut butter, Reese’s Pieces, and rainbow sprinkles.
4. A healthier raspberry peach icebox cake. It’s currently chillin’ in my fridge waiting on dessert to be had. 🙂
5. I had a cupcake order to bake and deliver! Snickerdoodles and Cookies ‘n’ Cream. Mmm.
How has your week been?
This week I’m choosing to link up with Lauren for H54F. I’ve been reading hers and others posts every Friday for a while and it’s been a good week that can use some high fives. So why not?
Making Snickerdoodle cupcakes for friends.
Fun new jewelry to wear. My mom got me these and she knows me so well!
Fun surprises from my guy.
A pretty new bed set. It’s fluffy.
My trainer made me laugh by posting this on my wall after my workout this morning.
How has your week been?
I’m back. The monkeys are back. Crazy times, folks.
Last year I made monkey cupcakes for my niece’s birthday. This year I made more at her request. She also requested there be a Peppermint Patty inside so I placed one peppermint patty inside each chocolate cupcake batter before baking. I topped them with my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe but added a bit of mint extract and used regular cocoa instead of dark. Add a bit more liquid to make the icing more spreadable as opposed to pipe-able. 🙂 Delicious, I tell you.
Seriously, y’all, how have I not done a “What I Love Wednesday” post on cupcakes? What is wrong with me? It’s happening today. All of these photos are of cupcakes I’ve made.
I was hoping to have better pictures of these but I didn’t make these just like this again. See, the problem is that making them like a more traditional Boston Cream Pie is that they’re really messy and I can’t transport them to people who have ordered a dozen or so. So I had to try another technique. I decided I would pipe the frosting in. I thought about coring out the center then putting the top back on but then the ganache on top wouldn’t look so smooth. So I’m going to talk about the ones that are easier to transport but I’ll give you instructions for the more traditional way at the critical juncture.
The more traditional Boston Cream Pie look:
It’s ok though because you’ll want to make these asap and then you’ll see what I’m talking about.
The ones that I use to transport look like so:
Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
(adapted from Heck Fridays)
For the cupcakes:
2 c all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1 c skim milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract. Pour in dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Evenly distribute batter into prepared pans.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack.
For the cream filling:
1/2 (3.4 oz) box Vanilla instant pudding
3/4 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/8 c milk
1/4 c sour cream
Mix all of the ingredients with a mixer until soft peaks form. Fill piping bag with the mixture after fitting the bag with a tip that you can use to fill the cupcakes. Fill the cupcakes with the cream, be careful not to bust the cupcake.You can double this part of the recipe if you split the cupcakes and want to sandwich the cream in between. If you decide to split the cupcakes in two, remove the wrapper and cut the cupcake in half. Place a spoonful of cream on one of the cupcake sides (the bottom is easiest) and top with the other side, making a sandwich.
For the chocolate ganache:
3/4 c heavy whipping cream
3/4 bag of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat cream in a small saucepan until just boiling. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and stir until chocolate it melted. Spoon chocolate over the cupcakes. Chill cupcakes until ready to serve.
I’ve been chugging along, trimming down, losing some weight (finally!), eating healthy, working out. Then all of a sudden my way of working out was put to a halt. I like circuit workouts and workouts that let me really feel my muscles work. Without getting in to details, I’ve had to to stop moving my right shoulder around too much. That means no upper body workouts…unless I want to be lopsided. I’ve just had to change my way of working out of the last month. I’ve really struggled with it because it feels like I’m taking steps back and I’m being lazy. Even though I’m not and even if I were lazy, I have a justified reason (sometimes). But when you’ve worked out a certain way for so long and you’ve made strides in your strength, ability, endurance, etc., it’s really hard to be forced to stop. It’s hard to change gears.
What this change has led to is a lot more walks in my neighborhood. This is good because walking is so good for you plus the walks really let me unwind my brain. Some of the walks are short and end after 2 miles, others are longer and end after 4 to 4.5 miles. But as nice as the walks are, I get kind of grumpy because I still want to feel my muscles work and unless I’m climbing a hill, I don’t often feel that.
You know what else is hard? Finding the motivation on a week night! I work out at Curves on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. I go there straight from work. It’s become so routine that even when I don’t work, I go at 5:30 if I can. Now? I come home after work. I have to tell myself not to sit down, not to flip through the mail too long, or stare in the kitchen thinking about dinner for too long. Otherwise, it may not happen. I come home and immediately change in to workout clothes. That doesn’t solve it completely because well, I live in workout clothes when I’m not at work. (Bless my future husband for having to put up with that.) I have to immediately put tennis shoes on, too, or I may not make it out the door. I’ll feel really dumb if I put tennis shoes on and then don’t at least take a small walk before taking them off. That’s the trick for me. I have to tell myself all the way home through traffic and up my stairs that I’m changing and walking right back out the door.
But the motivation eating monster doesn’t stop once I’m out the door. If I’ve planned to take a longer walk, I can easily talk myself into a shorter one once I’m moving. The way our neighborhood trails are set up, I can take a lot of paths to get back to my house sooner than I may have planned. Sometimes, I give in and try again tomorrow. Other times I have to practically run away from the shortcut path.
With all of that said, I’m fortunate to live somewhere that my alternative is so easy. I’m also fortunate to have a roommate who will push me out the door on some of those days the motivation just isn’t sticking. But it does take some planning nonetheless. I think from here on out, I’ll have a plan for an alternative fitness routine, when my normal fitness routine is put on hold.
Because this blog is about balancing my love of baking with a healthy lifestyle, I leave you with this picture:
That is a Boston Creme Pie Cupcake. I’m sorry it’s so grainy but it was taken with my phone. I’ll be sharing the recipe (and better pictures) on Monday. And yes, that cupcake is on a pile of pillows because my couch is usually a pile of pillows.
The past two days I’ve been baking cupcakes and I think I’m making more tomorrow night but they’ll just be a repeat of yesterday. The first kind I made are Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes…my first attempt at gluten free. They were a huge success. I made them after seeing this recipe on Chocolate and Carrots. The secret ingredient is black beans. Yeah. Really. Now, go try them immediately because they’re awesome.
Then I just made Snickerdoodle Cupcakes and played with the decorating for spring. FUN!
Ok, y’all, I have made the best cupcake ever. In my opinion at least. It involves this:
That, my friends, is peanut butter buttercream. That stuff is the best thing in the world. Then only thing that made me happier than that when I was making it was what you see in this picture.
Yes, wine. I had to tell myself that even though I’m a 30 year old woman and can eat peanut butter buttercream and wine for dinner doesn’t mean I should. I did promptly make myself chicken and potatoes so I didn’t make myself sick.
The bottom of the yellow cake looked like this:
That is a Tagalong cookie. I’ll say this, it’s a good thing I can only get those babies once a year because this could become extremely dangerous.
I’m not going to provide a yellow cake mix recipe because mine is nothing special and let’s be honest, you can just make a box mix. But what you should do is make peanut butter buttercream from scratch.
Peanut Butter Buttercream
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Cream butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Add vanilla as the butter and peanut butter are mixing. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency. Let the icing whip 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. This is more important in this particular buttercream than a basic vanilla buttercream.
Then try not to eat all the buttercream before making them look like this: