Cheesecake and More Snow

Phew! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of preparing for the holidays, traveling, and keeping up with everyday life. Christmas with Ryan was a great one... my dearest husband got me a Nikon D60 and a Making Memories Slice and I couldn't be happier! I have already shot hundreds of photos (mostly just playing around) and this camera is SO much better than anything I've had before.

We traveled to Maine for Christmas and hung out with my dad's family and then on to mom's house for a few days. I brought a Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cheesecake to my dad's... yum! It was a good recipe but the filling wasn't *quite* as firm as I usually like it and the Bailey's was a tad strong so I am going to reduce the Bailey's next time and kill two birds with one stone. Still, it was a great cheesecake:
And now it is New Year's Eve and I really think Mother Nature ONLY makes snow when we have plans. Another 6-8 inches today... so I guess we won't be driving the hour and a half to Amherst to meet with friends. New Year's Eve will be just another night in our house.

A Winter Wonderland

This was supposed to be a really fun and packed weekend for us but in typical New England fashion the weather had a little something to say about that. Friday night's office dinner party was cancelled. Sunday's Christmas family lunch was cancelled. And we barely made it to our Saturday night holiday party. The snow just kept coming! But it was cozy nonetheless, and we enjoyed finishing the wrapping and decorating and I managed to make the sugared pecans and some banana bread. Poor Ryan got stuck with the shoveling... perhaps this is why I still think the snow is beautiful!

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

I took a small break from the cupcakes for a while. Not that I ever get tired of them but sometimes I DO like to mix it up with cheesecake or cookies and the like. I made some terrific cranberry orange oatmeal cookies a few weeks ago and need to whip up a few batches of the top secret, famous, sugared pecans (the ones I don't even like but everyone says are the best...thanks mom!).

But back to the cupcakes! I have been trying to keep with the flavors of the season in my baking and decided to take on a more controversial flavor this round: peppermint. I say controversial only because I know some folks (including my husband) are not big fans of peppermint, but *I* am! So Mr. Fussypants got regular vanilla frosting on his... whatever.

I called these "double chocolate" only because I threw in a handful each of regular and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. They were what I had on hand that needed to get used. You can leave those out without any other changes in the recipe. Mr. Fussypants was consoled by this addition and I think it made up for me frosting most of them with the peppermint. :-)

End result: super moist cake and really delish peppermint flavor in the frosting. I love peppermint and I found these quite pleasing. If you like your peppermint more subtle just reduce the extract to 1/2 a teaspoon. I dyed mine pink and rimmed the edges with crushed candy canes but those are optional too!

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes about 15 (I made 12 regular and 9 minis)

1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 a bag of chocolate chips (of any size)

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Cream the butter till it is smooth. Add the sugar and beat about 3 minutes until it is mixed and fluffy
- Add eggs, one at a time, making sure they are well mixed
- Whisk together all dry ingredients in a bowl
- Mix the milk and vanilla
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk mixture. Dry, then half the milk, dry again, the other half of the milk, and then finishing with dry
- Stir in the chocolate chips
- Divide the batter into 15 cupcakes liners in pans
- Immediately turn your oven down to 350 degrees!
- Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Mine were done at 23 minutes

Peppermint Frosting
A variation on Magnolia's frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
red food coloring to desired color

- Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl.
- Add 2 cups of the sugar and then the milk and extract. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.
- Gradually add the remaining sugar beating well after each addition until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
- If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.)

Pink Paislee Rocks my World!

Today at A Cherry on Top my reveal for the new Pink Paislee Sweet Cakes line went live. I looked forward to this stuff arriving on my doorstep long before it even started shipping to stores from the manufacturer. This line is so drool worthy and SO ME! I had a blast playing with the gorgeous papers and coordinating products. Here are a few of my projects but you can view the full reveal at ACOT here!


After college my friends and I started an annual Thanksgiving tradition we like to call Friendsgiving. So many of us still trekked to our parent's homes for the Thanksgiving feast but we wanted a chance to celebrate together as friends as well. So Friendsgiving was born and I have hosted anywhere from eight to twenty three guests for turkey and all the fixings almost every year since we began the tradition.

This year there were only eight of us (sadly, we seem to move further apart from each other every year) but it was a lovely day. My brined turkey was *awesome* and we stuffed ourselves more than we should have. Throw in a little Wii playing and it's a party!

My only issue was the "Frankentable". It has come to my attention that we need to buy more sizes of extra tables. We only had "too small" and "too big" and so the resulting table was this odd mix of junk tables from the garage. Also, note to self: buy a tablecloth that fits the Frankentable because all I have are cloths to fit the table in its normal state. So yeah... nontradtional colors and a little mixing and matching gave us this:

And here is a shot some of the food before it was devoured:

Is there such a thing as breakfast cupcakes?

Because if there isn't, there should be! I decided that an ACOT crop was befitting of some cupcakes and concocted these Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes. If you are a cinnamon lover like I am you are going to want to make some of these!

They taste exactly like cinnamon buns in cupcake form.

Note: If you use as much cinnamon swirl as I did, and do not swirl it enough, you may get some crunchy cinnamon bites in your fully cooled cakes. If you like less cinnamon swirl in your baked goods you can cut the cinnamon sugar part in half, but I liked the crunch in there!

Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

For Cake:
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Swirl:
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the oven rack in the middle position. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake wrappers.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light colored and fluffy, about 3 minutes.Add the egg, egg yolks and vanilla and beat at medium speed until thoroughly incorporated.
- Add the sour cream and beat until incorporated.
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
- Add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
- Spoon half the mixture into the cupcake cups
- Spoon the cinnamon sugar mixture over the batter in the cups
- Spon the remaining batter on top of the cinnamon layer and use a toothpick or skewer to gently swirl the layers.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20-24 minutes.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can do all vanilla if you prefer)
2 - 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

- Cream the cream cheese and butter together for about 3 minutes
- Add the extract(s)
- Incorporate the confectioner's sugar slowly and mix till fluffy

Knee-deep in crop...

No, that wasn't a typo. :-) This coming weekend, the 14th-16th, there is another awesome fun-filled online crop at A Cherry On Top! I, and the rest of the Creative Team, have been hard at work planning all kinds of fun challenges, fast scraps, and games. You KNOW you want some points.

I have been a scrappin' fool lately with the ESE stuff, crop planning, and trying to get ready for teaching a December class at SparkCraft Studios in Somerville, MA. Maybe someday I will actually have time to scrap my own stuff again!

What a Weekend!

So last weekend was the Extreme Scrapbooking Event (ESE) hosted by The Button Farm in Manchester, NH. They weren't kidding when they said extreme! Picture one hundred women in one room scrapping fantastic mini album kits for two days straight. I was originally a little nervous about shelling out so much dough for one weekend without seeing the projects first, but it was SO worth it! Angela designs the most amazing, detailed kits and everything was very well organized. I highly recommend ESE for some fun and fab albums!

Here is the first one we did... I will be keeping it for myself!
More photos to come as I add pictures to the albums.

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Oh Lawd. Let me warn you now that these may cause you to confess, they are that sinful.

Just in time for Halloween is the debut of the Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake. The surprise inside is a single mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cup baked right into the cake. But the crowning glory of these cupcakes is the pillowy, light peanut butter frosting. These cupcakes are moist, and sweet (I could only eat one in a sitting) and are best served with a tall glass of cold milk.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Makes 15

Appox. 15 mini Reeses peanut butter cups
1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Cream the butter till it is smooth. Add the sugar and beat about 3 minutes until it is mixed and fluffy
- Add eggs, one at a time, making sure they are well mixed
- Whisk together all dry ingredients in a bowl
- Mix the milk and vanilla
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk mixture. Dry, then half the milk, dry again, the other half of the milk, and then finishing with dry
- Divide the batter into 15 cupcakes liners in pans
- Press one mini PB cup into the center of each cupcake until just the top is visible
- Immediately turn your oven down to 350 degrees!
- Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Mine were done at 23 minutes

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/4 plus 1/8 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
3/4 of a stick unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk

- cream the butter and peanut butter until smooth
- add the vanilla
- slowly add the confectioners sugar and milk and mix the frosting to the desired consistency

An October Update

I really NEED to get better about updating when it is not about cupcakes! This was, after all, supposed to be a scrapbooking blog and here I am pimping it out and bribing people to leave love with my baked goods. Naughty, naughty!

October is always one of my favorite months. The weather is crispy and the colors are gorgeous... plus: Halloween! Ryan and I have been raking leaves every single weekend in a vain attempt at staying on top of the eleventy billion that fall every year. So far we can still see the lawn, which counts as a win in my book!

We also made our yearly trip to King Richard's Faire a few weeks ago. Nothing beats faire food and men in armour. :-D Here was our not-so-valiant and fair knight this year, Don Idalgo:

Yeah, he was a little cranky.

Earlier in the month we got a chance to go apple picking and they had a measley amount of raspberries left so we picked some of those too. That apple raspberry pie was something good, let me tell you! Here's a LO I did from our afternoon there:

I have been staying really busy with Creative Team tasks for A Cherry on Top and getting ready for the November 14th-16th crop there. It is going to be a blast, as always!

Friday is Halloween and I am very much looking forward to that, being one of my favorite days of the year. Hooray for kids, candy, and costumes!

Breakfast for Dessert?

I finally got around to making the third choice in the ACOT cupcake poll: French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting. These taste *strikingly* like actual french toast and seriously made me crave bacon. They are very maple-y and sweet. I was quite happy with the moistness of the cake and felt there was no need for adapting this recipe! Love that!

French Toast Cupcakes
From Julie Hasson’s 125 Best Cupcake Recipes
Makes One Dozen Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and then cooled
2 eggs
1 tsp maple extract
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking pan with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Make sure the butter is cool first! Add maple extract.
3. Mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.
4. Alternate between whisking in flour mixture and milk. Make three additions of flour mix and two of milk. Beat until smooth.
5. Scoop batter into prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly touched.
6. Cool the cupcakes on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.

Maple Buttercream Frosting

2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp maple-flavored extract
pinch salt
milk as needed

1. Cream butter with maple syrup and maple extract and pinch of salt.
2. Add confectioner's sugar a cup at a time and mix until smooth.
3. Add very tiny amounts of milk to reach your desired consistency.

**NOTE** Surprisingly, I found Maple Extract very difficult to track down. I ended up getting it for a very reasonable $3.70 at Whole Foods. :-)

Oreo Cupcakes - The Final Battle

The Curse has been lifted! It had to have been the butter because my first frosting attempt with different butter was a success. But I am getting ahead of myself!

As I noted in my last post, I needed a heavier chocolate cake batter to hold the half an Oreo at the bottom of the liner. My third and final batch of these did the trick. The recipe was close to the last one I used but contained less liquid and therefore was thicker and heavier. The Oreos stayed perfectly in the bottom and sucked up some of the moisture from the batter, making them soft like the rest of the cake. Yum! These were as incredibly moist and delicious as the last batch.

The frosting is very, very sweet. It tastes strikingly like the center cream in the Oreo itself and makes a great compliment to the not-so-sweet chocolate cake. The crushed Oreos soften up in the frosting in the same way that the Oreo halves soften in the cake batter. Overall these are really fun and generally a crowd pleaser!

Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes
Makes 18

9 Oreos, twisted in half, 7-8 more crushed
1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the better the powder, the better the cakes!)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Place liners in the pan and place one half of an Oreo on the bottom of each cup, outside of the cookie faced down
- Cream the butter till it is smooth. Add the sugar and beat about 3 minutes until it is mixed and fluffy
- Add eggs, one at a time, making sure they are well mixed
- Whisk together all dry ingredients in a bowl
- Mix the milk and vanilla
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk mixture. Dry, then half the milk, dry again, the other half of the milk, and then finishing with dry
- Mix in the crushed Oreos
- Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full
- Immediately turn your over down to 350 degrees!
- Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Mine were done at 23 minutes.

Oreo Frosting

6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
5 1/2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 crushed Oreos

- Cream the butter
- Add 1 cup of the sugar until well mixed
- Add the milk and beat well
- Add the remaining sugar
- Add the vanilla
- Stir in the crushed Oreos and frost your cupcakes!

**note** You may want to add a tiny bit more milk or more powdered sugar to get to the consistency you prefer. I added a wee bit more milk because I used vanilla bean paste instead of liquid vanilla extract.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes: Take Two

I have discovered something.
Something horrible and frightening.
I have discovered that I am under a Frosting Curse!

Last weekend I made the second batch of Cookies and Cream Cupcakes according to the plan I laid out in my last post. The cakes were chocolate and this time I dropped half an Oreo in the bottom of the liner. The problem there was just that the chocolate cake batter I used is a very light batter and some of the cookies floated up instead of staying on the bottom. It didn't affect the taste but I was annoyed by it. Next time: a heavier batter to hold down that cookie! Although, the cakes themselves were SO moist and yummy and passed all taste tests with flying colors!

The frosting... OHHHH the frosting! What is going on here?? I made a white buttercream recipe. It tasted weird. I was mad. Then I made a tried and true recipe that has never failed me. It failed me and tasted the same kind of weird as the first batch! I did some investigating and noticed that my husband accidentally bought salted butter instead of the unsalted butter that I always use for frosting. But the frosting batches didn't exactly taste like the problem was too much salt. So, even though the butter was new and smelled completely normal, I can only assume that the butter was BAD and I will not be using it again.

I ended up having to buy another can of the dreaded "frosting in a can" and doctoring it up with real vanilla and crushed oreos. I won't lie: it was really good! But I don't have it in me to abandon these cupcakes without them having the perfect homemade buttercream.

I'll get you next time, Frosting!!

Review of the Runner Up

The runner up in my ACOT cupcake poll was the Cookies and Cream Cupcake. I made a batch of these last Friday and was less than thrilled with the results.

To start the frosting recipe I used was a total BOMB! Yuck! And because I was in a hurry I ended up settling for store bought canned frosting, which frankly is just not my style! ;-)

The cake recipe was just sort of ehhh. It was a white cake based recipe and was quite dense. I felt they could have been a little lighter and more moist but they certainly were good enough for my friends to gobble down. I don't think I will make them again, however.

My new plan is to make the cupcake more like a Oreo overall by using a *chocolate* cake recipe with Oreos in it and making a vanilla Oreo buttercream frosting to be the "cream". I am almost certain this will be WAY more delicious!

So much for my plan to branch out from chocolate cakes!!

Mocha Cupcakes with Godiva Liqueur Chocolate Frosting

A recent ACOT poll decided which cupcakes I was to make next and the winner was these Mocha Cupcakes with Godiva Liqueur Chocolate Frosting. Oh WOW, did you ladies choose well!!

The cupcakes themselves are extremely moist and pillowy. The mocha flavor was there, but less obvious when the cakes were topped with the frosting. If you enjoy just a hint of the coffee flavor keep the recipe as is. If you prefer a more powerful coffee flavor I suggest adding a teaspoon of coffee flavored extract to the hot brewed coffee to make the 1/2 cup.

The frosting is TO DIE FOR. You probably need to like the flavor of the Godiva liqueur to enjoy this frosting. The amount of liqueur sounds like a lot but once it settles in with the other flavors it results in a really wonderful Godiva liqueur taste that doesn't overwhelm the chocolate.

Overall: two thumbs up from both Ryan and I!!!

Oh, and I topped them with chocolate covered espresso beans... you know... just for fun. :-)

Mocha Cupcakes
(from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski)
makes about 16 cupcakes

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 16 cups of a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

3. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and brewed coffee.

4. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.

5. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about ½ to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely.

Godiva Liqueur Chocolate Frosting
1/2 stick butter - room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 plus 1/8 cups cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
1/4 cup Godiva Liqueur

1. Sift together the sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl

2. Cream the butter and vanilla extract till fluffy

3. Aternate adding the dry mixture and the liqueur

4. If you need to make it thicker, add small amounts of additional confectioners sugar OR if you need to thin it a bit add a very small amount of milk

Scrappy News

Much has taken place since I last blogged (no surprise)! ACOT had another spectacular weekend crop the weekend of August 22nd-24th and as usual it was a total blast. I had the opportunity to teach a class on making an Exploding Box, which was truly fun! Many members have created their own versions from my instructions and they just look fantastic.

Here is my version of the Exploding Box:

And here is where you can find the tutorial on A Cherry On Top:

The Monday after the crop was indeed the cherry on top of my whole month. I was invited to be on the Creative Team for ACOT, which felt simultaneously like winning the lottery and getting a huge recognition of all my hard work. Either way, it felt amazing and caused me to do a little happy dance that morning!

So far I am having a great time being part of such an amazing and talented team of scrappers.... thanks ACOT!!

Boston Cream Cupcakes: Take One

Tonight I began my quest for the perfect Boston Cream Cupcakes. I used a new vanilla cake recipe and the verdict is that the flavor and texture were just ok. They are passable, but I doubt I will make that version again. I also used a vanilla pudding for the inner "cream" and although it had plenty of flavor I think next time I will make my own custard. The chocolate ganache was, again, just ok. Next time I will be adding some powered sugar into the ganache and making it more of a creamy ganache frosting rather than the glaze that this one was. Still... not a bad first attempt. They will definitely be consumed.

Time Flies

Oops! A whole week has passed without an update. So much for keeping up with posting! This weekend was truly beautiful. For a while there I think I forgot what sunlight looked like. But the weather finally cooperated all Saturday *and* Sunday and Ryan and I managed to get outside to enjoy it too. Ryan had another session of acting like a kid at the park while I captured, I mean... photos:

Today I am working on some LOs I kitted up for last Thursday's crop that ended up being cancelled. It was a bummer that we didn't get to meet up but it sure has been nice to have kits ready to scrap from when I get the urge. Here is one using a photo from the wedding... what a bunch of goons!

Weekend Update

Happy Monday! Surprise: it's raining again. This weekend was largely spent watching Olympic events and running errands but we did have some fun going to garage sales on Saturday morning. Yesterday we had friends over for a BBQ and I made some much-loved Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.... yum!!

So far today I have had "fun" disassembling some monthly scrapbook kits and reorganizing my papers. I freed up a lot of room... I guess I need to do some shopping now! I am also currently working on a tutorial for an exploding box for ACOT. Next up: page kits for my crop day on Thursday.

A Taste of Summer

The other day I picked up a bag of key limes at Trader Joes with the intention of baking a Key Lime Pie. Key limes are smaller and thinner skinned than regular Persian limes and they are slightly more acidic and tart, which makes them perfect for adding into sweet desserts.

Well, being the cupcake freak that I am, I decided it would be even more fun to whip up some Key Lime Cupcakes with Vanilla Lime Buttercream. Here was the result:

Key Lime Cupcakes
(adapted from a Paula Deen cake recipe)

3/4 c. butter, softened
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 TBSP key lime zest
3 large eggs
1/4 c. fresh key lime juice
3 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For cupcakes, place 24 paper liners in a standard-size cupcake pan.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and lime zest at medium speed until creamy.
3. Beat in eggs, one at a time, being sure each one is incorporated before adding the next.
4. Beat in lime juice until combined.
5. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour and baking soda. Gradually add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
6. Pour evenly into prepared pans and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Let cool in pans for ten minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Vanilla Lime Buttercream Frosting

1 cup shortening
5 cups confectioners' sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (the best quality you can use)
3 fluid ounces heavy cream (milk will also work)
2 TBSP key lime juice

1. Cream shortening until fluffy. Add confectioner's sugar and continue creaming until well blended.
2. Add salt, vanilla, and whipping cream blend on low speed until moistened.
3. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy
4. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top for garnish

The result was a really light, moist, fresh cupcake and super pillowy, sweet frosting. They smell and taste like a bite of summer in the Florida Keys. The frosting recipe made WAY more than I needed, so you could easily cut it down (especially considering how sweet it is) and next time I will add a bit of lime zest to the frosting as well. Delish!!!

'Bout time

I have had this picture of Ryan, Kate, and I since the wedding and still hadn't scrapped it yet. It was about time to get it in the books and ACOT's July manufacturer challenge was a great chance to get 'er done. I used three random sheets of Crate Paper's New Garden line that had been sitting in the stash for quite a while. Naturally, I love it when I can make room for more paper!

In other news: the teriyaki kabobs from last night were out of this world!!

That hit the spot!

You always know it was a good dinner when you and your husband have a tug of war over who gets to lick the spoon. Tonight I made Gnocchi with Pesto Cream Sauce and it was SO good. Lately I have not been interested in food in the slightest. I think it is partly the heat and partly the lack of sleep that has been sapping the fun out of cooking. But tonight's dinner gave me a renewed interest.

Tomorrow: Teriyaki Marnated Chicken and Shrimp Kabobs!

Finn is too stinkin' cute

I can't help being a crazy cat lady. I think it is in my blood. Finn usually has his nose stuck all up in my business and it gets to be extremely annoying! He follows me around the house and insists on being in my lap, on my papers, and in my face. But when he curls up and sleeps he is the most angelic, sweet kitty on the planet. I LOVE this close up of his nose. I used mostly My Mind's Eye on this with some fun KI Memories lace cardstock thrown in.


And we are go for launch! Ok, maybe more like go for lunch. But there is no time like the present to start a new blog, right?

I figured if I wait until I feel completely inspired to write I will be waiting a heck of a long time. So here we are all fresh and new and with renewed hope that this time I will actually update once in a while.

I will likely be talking only to myself but I do that anyway. If by some chance you happen to come along and feel the urge to comment on my meanderings I would welcome them!