Saturday, September 29, 2012

Apple Pie Cupcakes With Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

I am soo excited for fall to be here. The weather hasn't really gotten the hint that it needs to change. 80-90F is not what I call "fall weather".
But nonetheless I'm excited to see the pumpkins, apples and fall leaves showing up everywhere. And these little bites of happiness will calm any "we-will-miss-the-fall-due-to-weather" anxieties you might have.
bakes some of these at home and your kitchen will smell like fall...guaranteed!
These Cupcakes are a version of the ever so loved pie. The cupcake is a simple, not overpowering vanilla based cupcake. hollowed out to provide room for a very simple cinnamon/sugar/apple mixture. Then this lovely delight is topped with a subtle cinnamon buttercream frosting. All the flavors complemented each other wonderfully.. The cupcake was not an overpowering sweet one, you could taste the individual flavors.
and of course the smell of apples and cinnamon just can't be beat!
I would love to say that pumpkin is a favorite as well but sadly this week I was sorely mistaken. i bought some glade room scent plugins. Eagerly wanting fall to be here, I opted for the maple/pumpkin smell...thinking it would make my house smell like pumpkin maple pie, in my mind you just couldn't go wrong with that combination...right???......WRONG!!! I had it plugged in for only 5 min and my to my dismay my house did NOT smell like wonderful fall smelled like a Chinese take out joint, like terriyaki sauce. Yuck EPIC FAIL! kinda wish i stuck with the simple yet perfectly paired apples and cinnamon. Oh well lesson've been warned.
But these will do the trick as well if not better.
Hope fall gets here soon! I'm dying to curl up next to my fireplace and sip some hot apple cider! mmmmmmm

Apple Pie Cupcakes 

Makes 24 cupcakes



  1. Preheat  oven to 350°. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. To make the apple filling, heat the butter a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples. Mix well. Cook until the apples partially tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. While the apple mixture is cooling, use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of the cupcake. Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture. To decorate, top each cupcake with a swirl of cinnamon buttercream.
Recipe adapted from Annie's eats.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 -4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.Beat on low 30 seconds.
  2. Add sugar about a cup at a time, beating on low between each addition.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat on medium 1 minute.
  4. Blend in up to 1 tablespoons of milk if frosting is too thick.
  5. Scrape frosting into a pastry bag and add a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake.
  6. Finnish off by adding a drizzle of caramel to the frosting.

My own recipe.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pinterest Tip - Grocery Bag Storage

Start by straitening and flattening out the grocery bags.

This is one of the best ideas ever!!! It's super easy, and gets rid of all the bulky bags stuffed in your cabinet or under the sink.
I used an old target wipe container to place the rolled up plastic bags in.

What You will need;
  • 24 used plastic grocery bags
  • An empty Clorox or wipe container

Fold each bag in half lengthwise.

lay bags on floor making sure the handles slightly overlap the previous bag.

Make sure the handles of the first bag are bend upwards. Then start rolling the bags up, making sure you press out any extra air in the bags and making sure you include the overlapping handles from the next bag.

It should look like this. Depending on the size of your container, you can add or subtract bags.

Isn't that just awesome???

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chubby Hubby Cupcakes

Ever heard of chubby hubby ice-cream? apparently it's made by Ben and Jerry's. I have never had the honor of trying it. But after finding these cupcakes on Annie's Eats, I was thoroughly intrigued. This cupcakes combines a malted vanilla cupcake with salted pretzels and dark chocolate ganache and oh we can't forget the smooth peanut butter frosting, now can we?!. Did I get your attention yet?
describing it to you is already playing tricks on my mind. Even though I made these cupcakes i was not able to try one, due to the enormous amount of points these babies conceal. It's not helping my midnight cravings at all...
So I guess I will leave you with the mouth watering description of chocolate/pretzel/peanut butter....your welcome!
Have an awesome night! I'm going to go and sit in a corner and cry with my water and grapes...cheers ;-)

This is a very rich and loaded cupcake. A malted vanilla cupcake is filled with dark chocolate ganache and a couple pretzel M&M's (use the pretzel M&M's instead of crushed pretzels because they keep their crunchiness) then this decadent dessert is frosted with a creamy but not overpowering peanut butter frosting and topped off with a chocolate drizzled mini pretzel.

  • The malted vanilla can be found at Publix in the tea and coffee aisle. I used the carnation vanilla malt powder. 
  • Use a couple of pretzel M&M's in the filling, they keep their crunch longer. 

chubby Hubby Cupcakes


To make cupcakes:

  •  preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  •  In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to blend and set aside. 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add in the sugar, about ¼ cup at a time, mixing for 1 minute after each addition. Blend in the malted milk powder. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl and mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make  ganache: 

  • place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Add the cream to a saucepan and bring to a simmer (or warm in the microwave). Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate; let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms. Whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated. Let stand at room temperature, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened.
To fill the cupcakes:
  • Use the cone method to fill the cupcakes part way with ganache. Top off each ganache center with some of the chopped pretzel pieces (or a few pretzel M&Ms). (You don’t need to replace the cake tops for these cupcakes but you can if you would like.)
To make the frosting:
  • Combine the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and salt. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the vanilla and cream just until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until light and very fluffy, about 4 minutes. 
  • Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Garnish with a chocolate drizzled pretzel.

Recipe adapted from Annie's eats

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Panera's Signature Macaroni And Cheese - Crave Worthy

So I have a confession to make...I am totally and completely, without a doubt hooked on Panera's Macaroni and Cheese. If I didn't have kids I would have never know it even existed. (ouch the thought alone!)
It's on the kids menu. A bit on the pricey side. But hey what can I say I'm hooked.
So you can imagine my extreme excitement when Panera posted their recipe on their site awhile back (Yes Panera does share quite a few amazing recipes on their main site, definitely worth a look if you are a regular there and are on a budget.)
This means that I can have my own Panera macaroni and cheese, not have to pay $10 for a small bowl, and I don't even have to leave the house....Bring it on!!!  I can make a full meal portion for a fraction of the price. You would think they used imported specialty cheeses in their dish for the price they make you pay!

Surprisingly I'm not a mac n cheese type of girl. I find the texture, taste and overall appearance lacking. The only good thing about mac n cheese dishes is the crispy buttery breadcrumb layer on the top.
I have failed miserably at each of my attempts to make a creamy, cheesy dish that does not separate or have a floury taste like I find most recipes do.

This recipe has none of those lacking qualities and where the other recipes fail, this one overly exceeds expectations. This macaroni and cheese dish is full of flavor decidedly creamy and lacks at nothing in my opinion. However...I do not advice doubling this recipe. Keep it simple and stick to one batch at a time. it's hard to keep the creaminess once doubled.
Also I was shocked at the secret ingredient they use to provide a zap to the sauce!

This dish doesn't even need a buttery crispy layer of toasted goodness. this dish chooses to go stag.

My kiddos are in bed being entertained by the bear himself "Winnie the pooh". although I think he's doing a horrible job. Pitter-patter of feet and giggles can be heard. hmmmm this needs some investigation.
I'm planning on busting my kids, making some tea and then sitting down and dreaming of eating this amazing mac n cheese....since the most devastating thing is that this creamy dish from heaven is off limits to me. With a whopping 27 points for one normal serving (or large serving at Panera the small kids version is 13 points for anyone interested.)
Enjoy your night and definitely give this a whirl it's a lot cheaper and oh so good. Comfort food done best!

Panera Bread’s Signature Macaroni & Cheese 


  • 1 (16-ounce) package of small shells pasta
  • ¼ cup butter 
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2½ cups 2% reduced fat milk (or half & half) 
  • 4 oz or 6 slices white American cheese, chopped (you can find this at the deli counter)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce 


  1.  Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2.  Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 11/2- 2 minutes until light golden brown, whisking constantly. 
  3. Gradually whisk in milk (or cream); cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  4. Add cheeses little by little stirring until just incorporated. Add mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until all the cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. 
  5. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated). 

Serves 4 to 6 

Recipe courtesy of Panera breadAdapted by Head Chef Dan Kish 

Kids Say The Darnest Things!!!! :-)

My awesome adorable sons, life is never boring with them ;-)

I'm sure you know this already, but two year olds can say the funniest things. And I think it's funnier because they dont really get why it's funny lol they just say them with a straight face as if it's the most normal thing to say.
Here are some examples from my now thee year old.

DS: "daddy, go for walk?"
DH: "first we need to drop mommy off, then we can go for a walk"
DS: "oh no daddy!!!! Don't drop mommy, thats a booboo!"

Me: "bath time!"
DS: "No mommy, no bath...nooo shampoopy!"

DS: " mommy, I watch scobooboo?" (scoobydoo)

Me: "hey buddy, who's that on your toothbrush?"
DS: " Optical Crime..." (optimus prime-transformers)

Me: " wow, what did grandma get you? That looks fun!, who is it?"
DS: " BUD LITE!!!!" He yells excitedly (buzz lightyear)

DS: "mommy, mommy, mommy....butt sauce?"
Me: "Do you mean what's that? Lol"

DS: "daddy, go bead the bish?" (go feed the fish)

DS: singing "spidermam, spidermam, spidermaaaaaam, spidermaaam"

Our sons favorite place to play is the "nuggy slide" (chick fil a slide, they serve chicken nuggets lol)

DS: " mommy, mommy, daddy give me belly bart!"
Me: "daddy gave you a belly fart? Silly daddy!"

DS: "mommy, I watch beggietales?"

My sons favorite game at home is the "waterwiggle"

If my son is hungry these are some things he asks for:
Hamburgerger (hamburger)
Nuggies (chicken nuggets) NH
My cheese (mac n cheese)
Chowcolate sanwich (nutella sandwich)
Ceruls (cereals)
Jiuice (juice)

And of course there are tons more but I just can't remember them all. I guess I'll have to start writing then all down :-)

To be continued ;-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Calm My Anxious Heart - Week Uno

So as I have posted before, we have started our journey to being content and no longer anxious ( We are following the book above by Linda Dillow). Today marks the one week mark in our study. So far I'm loving it! It has been convicting, rich, encouraging, eye-opening and truthful. I appreciate the direct approach she uses. On the other hand, it's been embarrassing to always get the time of the bible study wrong...was late...AGAIN!!! nonetheless it has been a challenging study.
The back of the book houses a study guide filled with questions for each week. 
These are the questions for this week and my answers. Please note that these are my personal notes and by no means do they need to be accepted or copied by all.

Week 1 – “My Journey to Contentment” 

1. Memorize Philippians 4: 11-13. Write the verses on a card and go over them every day. Pray the verses back to God and ask Him to burn His truth into your heart.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I must confess I have it written down, but have not memorized it! 

2. Write a paraphrase of Philippians 4:11-13.

I like the way the message puts it 

Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.

Though God's strength I can be happy and content with much or with little. True happiness is being content with Him and what He chooses to give me. With him I can overcome and do anything be that poverty or rich abundance. I have learned to fully rely on Him. He is enough!

3. Reflect on Philippians 4:11-13 and what you have read in Chapter 1 (if following along in the book). Then write a definition of contentment.

"A soul sufficiency, a peace separate from our circumstances"

“An internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances”—Holman Bible Dictionary.

con·tent·ment           (kn-tntmnt)
1. The state of being contented; satisfaction.
2. A source of satisfaction: the contentments of a comfortable retirement.

Being content in God alone, not in this world or it's goods.

I like how Kelly (one of our leaders) commented on how Linda used the word "soul sufficiency" and not the oh so common "self sufficiency" , it takes the us out of the equation and puts it all on God. We are able through Him. We can't rely on ourselves.

4. Reflect upon Ella Spees’ (missionary with the pygmies in Africa for fifty-two years) five statements that made up her prescription for contentment: (pages 11-12) 
  • Never allow yourself to complain about anything- not even the weather. 
  • Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else. 
  • Never compare your lot with another’s. 
  • Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise. 
  • Never dwell on tomorrow- remember that is God’s, not ours.
Never is a very hard never complain is quite a task, one that I know I will have a hard time with. Complaining is one of the things I have a problem with. But then again we are reminded in the verse above that with God we have the strength to do anything! practice makes perfect comes to mind...

5. How do you think Ella Spees’ was able to have a “holy habit” of contentment?

"The secret is in the last statement. Her eye's were fixed on eternity. Her tomorrows belonged to God. She had given them to Him. And because all her tomorrows were nestled in God's strong arms, she was free to live today. One day at a time she could make the right choices and grow to possess the holy habit of contentment. Ella's focus was eternal, and her focus led to eternal contentment"

6. Read 1 Timothy 6:15. Look up the word sovereign in the dictionary. Write a paraphrase of the verse using what you learn about this word.

15 For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

sov·er·eign      (svr-n, svrn)
  1. A supreme ruler, esp. a monarch
  2. Possessing supreme or ultimate power: "the people's will is in theory sovereign".

God the almighty ruler of heaven and earth who has the supreme power over all and everything will come at just the right time, His time, and reveal Christ to all.

7. What difference would it make if you truly let God be the Blessed controller of your circumstances? Give a practical example.

I truly believe that I would be a happier, more peaceful and healthier version of myself. Like it said I would be blessed, I would be able to relax and be calm and know that God the sovereign Lord has it all under control. I can remember the promises He made to me. I picture a baby snuggling into his parents shoulder while slowly falling asleep, without a care in the world. He knows that he is safe in the loving arms of his parents. I would love to have that with God. the faith and trust to let go. I need to let go of all the stresses of the day (cleaning, kids, this blog...) I need to quiet down and concentrate on Him. 
I believe I would be a more involved and less stressed mom and wife. I would hope I could instill the peace of God into my kids, instead of the hectic life style I have now.
I would have more patience and I foresee myself being able to listen more to others instead of having my mind focused on my own problems. smiles would be present.
Finances are usually my stumbling block and my children's development chart. they tend to be my biggest struggle with trust. I know that I need to trust that God has it in control but I tend to get impatient and frustrated when things don't go according to my schedule (usually it's a timing issue).

8. Reread the story of the two monks on page 19.
a. which monk do you think describes you?

Mostly the second one, I pray but now looking back, I tend to tell God what to do and how I expect things to be done. "Lord please..." I don't think there is anything wrong in praying for specific things, actually He asks us to ask even though He already knows what we need. But I do believe it's a state of mind, understanding that God will work on His schedule and His timing. NOT ours. 

b. Do you think most women try to control or manipulate people and circumstances? if yes why?

I think know I do, I don't like being wrong. I like to be in control most all the time. I don't want it to seem that I go overboard but I do like having a say in my life.
I think it has something to do with how we as women live our lives anyways. We have the capacity to multitask and think of a hundred different things at once. I'm able to write this blog and somewhat plan my evening all in one, sometimes even more. Any mom of young kids can relate to that. We wear a lot of hats. I think it's hard to find the fine line between "organizing" our lives and "controlling". It's very hard to switch between the two, and most of the time not even noticing or meaning to do it. We as women have come so far in the past years we now have so many things we are 'required" by society to achieve as moms and women in general. We have the ability to provide for our family the same way our husbands do, by working (don't get me wrong I have absolutely no problem with working moms, I have a problem with the worlds expectations that go with it) but we are also suppose to be excellent mothers, wives, friends. We are looked down upon if anything in our lives does not correspond with the worlds views. For example; my son was born by an emergency c-section after being induced two weeks after his so said due date, I was unable to breast feed him. He is now three and still not anywhere close to being potty trained. I fed my son Cheetos today and gave him candy. The world tells me that I should have just waited and done things naturally. I was told I deprived my son of a healthy foundation by not feeding him myself. And I have definitely been looked down on for not successfully potty-training my child. I should not be feeding my son "dead" food. organic and homemade is the way to go (again I'm not downing the food choices. we follow a clean eating plan at home but i'm just not overly strict when it comes to fun snacks here and there). All I'm trying to say i there is a lot of stress out there for us women to perform to certain standards. I tend to find myself being controlling on matters like the potty training for instance because I feel stuck and things are not progressing on my/the worlds time line.I get frustrated and nervous and start worrying that something is wrong with my child and I take over the reigns in my life, and end up making an even bigger mess. C'est moi! 
(again please know that yes I believe that giving birth naturally is best but it's not what God granted me at the time, same with breast feeding, I wasn't able to and my sons health was more important at the time. I would love to be able to afford organic food all the time but right now we can't...and that's OK. So please know I have nothing against these things ;-)...)

9. Write in your journal: 
a. what did I learn about God this week? 

God is my ever present help in times of need, my comforter and sustainer . His Grace and love are ever present and He offers them freely. I'm worth more to Him that the birds in the air. He sustains my soul and helps me overcome myself. No judgement is passed and He stretches His arms and hands toward me, even when I have snatched mine away. He is enough to get me through, all other things fade away. He is patient.

b. What did I learn about myself?

I am self-ish, self-sufficient, self-absorbed, I tend to manipulate God because I don't think He can manage or fulfill my idea or plan. I will go to God last, He ends up being my last resort. Prayer is more for attaining and rectifying things than to converse with him just because. I lack the trust and faith. I can do nothing on my own. I am not enough. But I do have the willpower and desire to want to change, to soften my heart and to practice and work on my faith issues. And with His strength through me I am able to change. 

c. Write a prayer to remember what God has taught you.

My Father, 

Oh Lord of Lords how majestic is Your name in all the earth.Oh Lord I magnify Your name, Prince of Peace Mighty God, oh Lord God all Mighty.
You are my source of comfort and strength. You are the sustainer of all life. You have the power to give and take away. And yet You choose to accept me as Your child, You Love me with an agape love. No one can love me as You do. Your Grace abounds and is extended to me. You gave up Your son, so I could live. No greater love exists. 
And You offer all this to me even though my heart is hard and filled with doubt worry and anger. 
Father please forgive me for doubting You, for manipulating circumstances and prayers for being self absorbed and for pushing You away. Please restore unto me the joy of Your salvation and renew a right spirit within me. I pray You help me over come the worry and anxiety in my heart, conquer the tiredness and defeat lingering in my soul. May the ashes in my life be restored to beauty.
Restore Father. Let me taste of true life, abundant life. Let Your love and grace and light shine through me. Let the walls around my heart be torn down. May the strings of my life be tuned to make a beautiful sound in Your ears.  May You be omnipresent in my life.
May You be sufficient in my life. turn away anything that does not come from You. Mold this heart to be anxiety free. 
I love You Lord


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oh The Things You Will See!

"MOMMY, MOmmy, MoMMY!!!! Mommy go for walk????" How can you say no to an overly eager little boy that wants to go for a walk and throw rocks at random things???
Here are some things we found...

This is the smallest turtle I have ever seen!!!!

At the end of the walk my boys usually look something like this ;-)

LOOK MOMMY!!! Ider-eb!!!

We would stop just to let the boys throw rocks into the water 

yep...the joy of boys! 

Looking for the right stone to throw

found it! (his arm is not missing lol it's actually the stone he's trowing ;-)...)

Perfectly Girly Strawberry Cupcakes, fit for a Queen!

When Marie-Antoinette supposedly uttered the words "let them eat cake" (she didn't read more here) this would be the cake I would envision!
I think this is my utmost favorite cupcake of all time! far...I've got a lot more cupcakes variations up my sleeve!
But this cupcake so far tops them all!
I can definitely see Marie-Antoinette and her leading ladies holding one of these little delicate and dainty cakes, while playing chess on the lawn. (obviously I don't have a clue what they would be doing...)
But this is what I envision ;-)

These cupcakes have a vanilla cake base with chopped fresh strawberries mixed in. 
The frosting is a delicate yet extremely exquisitely tasting Swiss meringue buttercream, again mixed with pureed fresh strawberries. The texture is light and airy and reminds me of a strawberry milkshake. 
The cake is anything but overpowering, it's flavors combine just right. the strawberry pieces make the cake moist and flavorful. The process of making the frosting might seem a little overwhelming at first, just be patient and know that the end result is sooo overly worth it!
I made these quite awhile ago and have just been catching up to TONS of posts I could have done ages ago. I blame the mommy-brain!
I know strawberries are out of season now but definitely bookmark this one for next year OR I'm sure you could easily make these with frozen strawberries (just make sure you drain them well).
But do try them with fresh strawberries at least once and you will see what I was talking about...yum!  Check mate!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry 
Meringue Buttercream
Makes about 34 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries

For the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream:
  • 1½ cups fresh strawberries (about 8 ounces), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature

For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together both flours, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and egg white, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour in two batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the chopped strawberries by hand.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to pans to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes; turn out the cupcakes onto the rack and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers before frosting.

For the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream:
  1. Puree the strawberries in a food process or blender; set aside.
  2. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
  3. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  4.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, scrap down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add the strawberry puree and beat until combined. Stir the frosting with a rubber spatula until the frosting is smooth. Keep the buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
  5. Spread or pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Recipe courtesy of Brown Eyed baker who got it from Martha Stewart Cupcakes

Monday, September 10, 2012

Calm My Anxious Heart-The Start of a New Journey

Ever Have oodles to say but just can't seem to get it on paper or screen? ... Yep, that would be me!
I've even had dreams of writing blogs or books or whatever...I was just writing, freely without one hiccup or pause, just pure thoughts pouring out...and then I wake up, and NADA just me, staring at a very blank page/screen. fingers clam up, not sure what they are to do. My mind starts racing a 100 miles a minute, going nowhere.  
Hi , my name is Maria and I have writers block, and I'm not even a writer.

There have been so many good moments, thoughts, verses, scripture, book quotes, posts and blog entries this week. So much to say and share. but my mind just can't seem to remember them all and now again my mind is playing tricks on me and my fingers are slowly clamming up...grrrrr blasted fingers!

Anyways it's Monday the most dreaded day of the week. To me Monday is a welcomed day, it's the start of a new week. A new endless list has been made of things that need to get done (but never will).
Mondays usually start pretty good, I'm up early, cup of tea and bible in hand and ready to tackle the day.
By the end of Monday I'm ready for Sunday to roll around so that I can magically get the "Monday" energy all over again ;-)

This fall (and might I add that I am soooo thankful for the cooler weather and pumpkin everything ;-)...) is going to be a good one.
I'm excited for the new bible studies that are starting. Sunday night the church has started their "Life-school" programs. I eagerly signed up for the woman's class "Calm My Anxious Heart". we will be following a book called...yep you guessed it... "Calm My Anxious Heart" written by linda Dillow  (click on the link for the book).
This past Sunday was the first meeting...and...I Darn naps! but thankfully the leaders are also leading this study online! lucky me!

Today's homework:

  • Read chapter 1
  • Write Philippians 4:11-13 on a card and go over it everyday. Pray it. Praise God with it. Memorize it. 

Philippians 4:11-13

New International Version (NIV)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:11-13

New Living Translation (NLT)
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.

What an awesome verse! and what a great reminder to know that God gives us all we need (not what we think we need) but what we need. 
It also reminds me of the verse in 

Matthew 6:26 
"Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?"

What an awesome God we serve! I need to remember to smile more to be content. lately when I start getting worried or anxious I think about the sparrows and pray for God's peace. lately I have been doing a lot better in the worry department. all thanks to God's strength.
It's so important to wake up and spend the first couple of minutes of the day with God, what a huge difference in my countenance when I take the time to read and thank Him for all He does! 

My thoughts on chapter 1:

I am such a Meredith! My mindset definitely follows this pattern "Finally, Maria, whatever is not true, whatever is not noble, whatever is not right, whatever is impure, whatever is unlovely, whatever is not admirable—if there is anything not excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
My negative thoughts tend to take over. ME ME ME Me and MOI!!!
ugh what a convicting thing to read in the first chapter alone...this is gonna be good!

  • Never allow myself to complain about anything -  not even the weather!
  • Never Picture yourself in any other circumstance or someplace different.
  • Never compare your lot with another's
  • Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
  • Never dwell on tomorrow-remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours.

Such good reminders, they seem very hard but again our verse above tells us that With God's strength we can accomplish all these things!
I love how she puts it: "He infuses our lives with His strength. I love tea. I drink it every morning. Now I have an awesome image to think of when my tea bag drops into the boiling water and infuses the tastes and flavors into the water. What an awesome Picture of God's strength being infused into our lives!

Paul knew what it meant to be content. If he can write such a thought provoking verse in prison in chains then I should have no problem being content in my own life! but yet i find I'm not!

May my life, an alabaster box, be broken in front of you. may Your fragrance and strength be infused in my life May they linger and never die or fade.
May I be content in only You...You are enough!