Saturday, October 1, 2011

The best

It's Bretta's third birthday today! Happy Birthday to our first born!

And a little note about the human kiddo....
Today I have discovered what is and what I think will continue to be the best part of being a parent: Watching your child discover what they are capable of. Right now it's small but big things: realizing he can reach out and pick up a toy, or reach out and touch someone's face, I can't wait to see what's next.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Special Delivery!

Our expected due date was May 27 but my little cupcake had other plans!

Baby T arrived a full two weeks early, on Friday May 13 at 12:48am. He is beautiful and healthy and we are completely in love! Bretta has taken it as her personal mission to protect him at all times and doesn't seem jealous at all.

We are starting to get used to sleeping in short intervals and caring for an extra person, so far so good!


I promised pictures of our nursery progress. Then our hard drive crashed and I lost all of the "before" pictures. So, here are the afters!

We had Mr. T's Grandma's dresser that was a perfect size to use as a dresser and changing table. It used to have a sort of honey colored stain and some very retro handles on it. We perused the web for some inspiration and found Clara's nursery over on Young House Love and I really liked what they did with her dresser. So I made asked Mr. T to duplicate it. I love that we can wipe down anything on the dresser because of the protective coat. Below you can see the "finished" product as we were installing the drawer pulls.

The handles on the big drawers are some sweet elephants we found on super sale at Anthropology (the only way I can ever shop at that store!)

To ensure proper placement we called in an expert to supervise. (Don't mind the mess!)

My siblings bought us our crib which I love and is dark like the stain on the main portion of the dresser. Below you can see Mr. T hard at work:

We only had to move the crib 3 times before I decided where I wanted it!

And here you have the finished product:

I found the crib bedding on sale for less than 50% of retail on

My Mom got that rocking chair for $20!

Some things have changed since Baby T has arrived, the cradle is now in our room and we've added a lamp and changed the curtains. We're really happy with how it turned out! We had planned on having a few more decorations but Baby T made a surprise arrival before my parental leave from work started, so those will have to come later!

Monday, April 4, 2011

ABC's of me

10 things was clearly not enough...

A. Age: 25
B. Bed size: Queen
C. Chore you dislike: Dishes are the worst but I generally dislike all chores.
D. Dogs: Just Miss Bretta
E. Essential start to your day: A bowl of cereal and the news so that I can find out what the weather will be like.
F. Favorite color: Pink or Red
G. Gold or silver: Silver
H. Height: 5′8"
I. Instruments you play(ed): None
J. Job title: Registered Client Service Associate
K. Kids: One in the belly and our pup
L. Live for ______: Family
M. Most embarrassing moment: Ummm too many to pick just one. I'm a clutz and get nervous in new situations so they happen often.
N. Nicknames: They all involve my first name.
O. Overnight hospital stays: None yet.
P. Pet peeves:  Mouth breathing into the phone, chewing with your mouth open and talking to me with food in your mouth.
Q. Quote from a movie: I am serious and don't call me Shirley
S. Siblings: 6 brothers and 1 sister. 5 older, 2 younger.
T. Time you wake up: 5:30
U. University attended: None so far
V. Vegetables: My favorites are carrots, broccoli and green beans.
W. What makes you run late: Anything that is out of my normal routine. I am not well prepared for anything unscheduled. Should make having a baby interesting!
X. X-rays you’ve had:  Other than dental x-rays I've only had x-rays done on my back and hips for Scoliosis.
Y. Yummy food you make: Meatloaf, cupcakes. Cookies.
Z. Zoo animal favorites: The apes. But it makes me sad that they have to live in the zoo.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

10 things

10 Things you may not know about me:

1. I love to iron.

2. It annoys me when the back of someones pant leg gets tucked into the heel of their shoe and they don't fix it.

3. If a towel falls on the ground it is dirty. Whether it just fell out of the drier or not.

4. People that don't care if their socks match freak me out.

5. I always shake milk in a cardboard carton before pouring it.

6. I love the feel of new socks.

7. I get excited about new toothbrushes.

8. I hate mice. I don't know why anyone would want them as pets.

9. I met Mr. T a year before we ever actually spoke. We sat in the back seat of my BFF R's car for a whole mile next to each other while I talked about my loser boyfriend. He said nothing.

10. My BFF N was actually trying to set Mr. T up with another friend of ours when she re-introduced Mr. T and I at her birthday party. N told Mr. T to "speak french to" me and left us. He had me at Bonjour.

Added later: I'm realizing that this list could also be called "things that qualify me for obsessive compulsive disorder" go figure.

Friday, March 11, 2011

About that....

Okay, so I have been avoiding this blog like the plague because I totally flaked out on my own promise. You may remember this post where I vowed to finish 52 Weeks of Deliciousness.

Then life happened. So, assuming that I don't get the urge to bake 25 different types of cupcakes in the next 2 weeks, its not happening folks. I'm sorry to disappoint but the truth is that I just haven't been feeling it. The events of the last few months have really put my slight baking obsession into perspective and there has just been a lot that is much more important than delicious cupcakes. I will continue posting cupcakes as I bake them but they will be sporadic as I find them. My lovely husband Mr. T has even agreed to guest posting about his cupcake baking experience so hopefully I'll get him to log in soon.

What is more important than delicious cupcakes anyways? Well, spending time with family, moving to a new fabulous house (with a full sized gas oven!!!) and keeping the little cupcake cooking happily in my belly.

I do plan to share some of what we've been working on lately, and nursery progress as it happens so hopefully you will all enjoy that. My deepest apologies for not giving you a full 52 cupcake experiences but hopefully you'll forgive me!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Goals in review

You May remember my "10 for 2010"  that I posted back in January of last year. If you're wondering how I did- here you go!

10 for 2010 (in review)
1. Go to Switzerland
Check! Mr. T and I went in February and it was an absolutely amazing trip. I still think about it all the time and can't wait to go back, especially with a baby T in tow.

2. Brush up on my Francais by speaking more of it at home with Mr. T
Hmmm... This didn't go so well. I did improve a bit with our trip to Switzerland but it didn't stick once we got home. Definitely going to be moving over to my 10 for 2011.

3. Get my state insurance licenses (also a work goal)
Check! Got licensed in June.

4. Take a sewing class in order to finish bub Jesse's quilt
I did take a sewing and quilting class. Finishing that quilt will commence shortly.

5. Exercise 3 times a week regularly. (baby steps!)
I did okay on this one. I didn't work out as hard as I would have liked to 3 days a week but for the most part I exercised at least 3 times a week which I felt pretty good about.

6. Work through my new recipes: Cupcakes from bff Mad, Mastering The Art of French Cooking from Mr. T and plenty of new ones from Pampered Chef.
Turns out I'm not going to be the next Julia and Julia, though I will use the recipes from MTAFC. I did try a bunch of my cupcake recipes and they were great. I didn't try any from Pampered Chef because most of their recipes use pre-made ingredients or are heavy on the salt/fat/sugar factor. I think I made the right choice there.

7. Be the best damn Sunday school teacher out there
I don't know that I was the best but I think I improved. I really miss those kids!

8. Post on the blog more!
Certainly did much better than the year before!

9. Teach Bretta the commands lay down, heel and play dead
She's got heel. Lay Down and Play Dead proved to be challenges that Mr. T and I just didn't care about overcoming! Needless to say you won't be seeing us taking over Caesar Millan's job anytime soon.

10. Take my Pampered Chef business to the next level!
Took it exactly where I wanted to, I placed my last order and no longer have the monkey on my back of an extra side business. Phew!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Raspberry Cupcakes with Pink Champagne Frosting

For my then future Sister-in-law's bridal shower I was planning on doing some type of mini apple pie "cupcake" to go with their country wedding theme. She surprised me by wanting something similar to the Pink Champagne cupcake we had tried while visiting my Grandparents at Sift Cupcakery. I found it ironic actually because Sift is part of the reason I got interested in baking cupcakes, their delicious cupcakes come at a price higher than my wallet would prefer and I thought I had to be able to make cupcakes that tasted that good for less. So far I've been successful in making them taste good, but not looking as good as theirs do, more on that later.

Surprisingly enough, raspberry cake recipes aren't that easy to come by, even with my old friend Google. I found the recipe I used on The Kitchn. It looked simple enough on the web site and sounded tasty.
Cupcake Recipe here. For the pink champagne frosting I used the same buttercream recipe used in the Mimosa Cupcakes and added a few raspberries to make the frosting pink.
 Cupcake Batter
 Bakers, a small tip: when going to bake at a non-bakers house, bring your own muffin tins or any other required tools. Even if it's your Mother's house and you can swear she had normal 12 cup muffin tins (and 2 of them) when you were growing up.

These cupcakes came out much brighter than I thought they would. Not particularly close to Sift's Pink Champagne cupcake but a tasty raspberry and pink champagne cupcake nonetheless.
Bretta was less than thrilled about not receiving a sample
Jasper just wanted to be left in peace (notice the peace signs on his collar)
At least the bride to be was happy!

Small hiatus

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in here since September. Other than 2 weddings, a bridal shower, and Holidays galore I actually had a major road block in baking. 'Morning' sickness. That's right folks, this baker is carrying around a little cupcake full time these days. Oddly enough, this little cupcake made entering the kitchen for a solid month and a half gag worthy, every single time. I do apologize for my absence and never fear, I will finish 52 weeks of deliciousness. I just have some catching up to do!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pineapple Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream

Do make these at home.

Way back when I had my Cupcake Challenge one of the reader's (The Mrs. to be exact) suggested a delightful combination: Pineapple (cupcake) with Brown Sugar Buttercream. I couldn't stop thinking about it! Just the sound of Brown Sugar Buttercream makes me feel all melty and warm.

Say it again: Brown Sugar Buttercream. Yum. It sounds like Heaven. Then again, it kinda looks like it too:

Sadly, The Mrs. did not win the contest so I had to go out and make them anyways. And send her some since they were her idea. And try not to eat 37. Good thing the recipe I found only made 24. Most of the cupcakes I made this year will probably not be on the top of my list when I need to make a dessert. These my friends, definitely will.

I hadn't ever made any sort of pineapple cake before so I just hunted around via Google search for a basic pineapple cake recipe. I found this one over on All Recipes and was a little worried that it would be too simple to really bring on the flavor, and might be too sweet. I didn't find the sugar to be over the top at all. Even paired with the buttercream.

For the buttercream I did another Google search and stumbled upon this beauty over at Epicurious. It certainly was a labor of love but NOT a wasted one. This is one Buttercream that delivered! My co-workers used the word wicked. Made me feel very hip.

I will warn you that you should read the directions for the meringue twice, so that you don't screw up your first batch and have to start a new one. Just a tip.

 But once you do get it right, you can't go wrong!

I also sent some of these via 2 day USPS mail over to The Mrs, look below in the comments section for her review.

Now that's she's gotten some left over peanut butter from the counter (see the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcake post) Bretta feels it's necessary to "over see," nevermind that she's only about a foot off the tile floor, my baking.

And just because I lost all sense of pride in a previous post and showed you my atrocious kitchen, here's what it looks like when it's set up to bake and not a complete disaster. And yes, my kitchen lighting really does leave something to be desired! Thank God for Mr. T's Dad installing those under the cabinet lights for us!

Yes, you're seeing it right, there are 4 cubes of butter out to get them to room temperature on my counter. And  a glass of water so that my arteries don't clog just from looking at the butter. I wonder if Paula Deen keeps a glass of water handy?

And because one Bretta picture is never enough, here she is pretending that she didn't just get dirty dog prints all over Mr. T's freshly mopped floor.

Things like this don't happen when you have 2-legged kids do they?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes!

Okay, these probably classify as muffins but you can ice them. If you really like tooth aches.

We had some bananas that were browning on the counter nicely and  I thought about making banana bread but then I got the ingenious idea of adding chocolate chips and counting them towards my little project. I'm smart like that.

So after some frustrating web searching I went over to tasty kitchen, closed my eyes and pointed at the screen. Okay, not really, but that's basically what this was since I had never made banana bread before now. I think. The recipe was nice and simple, plus very tasty! I will warn you though, one minute too long in the oven will give them that slightly charred taste on the outside, but if you're into that like my pal Sarah, go for the extra minute! Link to the recipe here

Mmmm Mashed Bananas!

Banana-y batter!


The first batch (slightly burnt) I saved this one for the office!

This week's cupcake reviewer will be Bella from Bella's Bistro, I hope she liked them!

I loved that this recipe was so quick and easy, made for more playtime with a certain someone:

Peek-a-boo! Now play with me and this half mangled wool frog!

Post #100 and Cupcake #26!

For my 100th post I thought I'd make it a big one.

I'm also halfway through the cupcake challenge (somewhere Mr. T is cheering because that means only 6 more months of cupcake dishes to wash for me.)

I asked you to guess and Schmoozie nailed it: peanut butter is involved.

Thanks to the lovely Bella from Bella's Bistro (check her out, she's an amazing cook!) I got my 26th cupcake recipe.

The recipe can be found over on Annie's Eats

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

My family has an annual camping trip that it is filled with delicious food. I never have had any responsibility other than to count some money or bring some junk food, so I figured that I would bring my A game with these cupcakes. Boy did I! They were a huge hit, lots of rave reviews were received. Even my Dad said they were on par with the German Chocolate Cupcakes!

These were really simple to make but the flavor is un-beatable. If you've ever had a buck eye (and if you haven't, please do!) The center tastes like one, add in the chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting and you'll pretty much be in cupcake heaven. I will definitely be making these again. And again, and again!

Thanks for sharing the recipe Bella!

The filling before mixing

The filling after mixing

What the (uncooked) cupcake looks like before you add the top layer of cupcake batter

The first cupcake recipe that Bretta got to try some of. She was a very happy camper!

Unfrosted cupcakes on the seat of my Mom's camper, they kinda match huh?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The first 6 months

For those of you that have joined me a little later on my 52 weeks of deliciousness I thought I'd give you a direct list. Starting with my first week.

  1. Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes bomb is a very good description
  2. Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
  3. Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
  4. Ginger Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting
  5. Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (attempt 1, wasn't impressed)
  6. Apple Streusel Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes
  7. Kid Friendly Cupcakes
  8. Individual Coffee Cakes
  9. Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Icing
  10. Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
  11. Mocha Chip Cupcakes
  12. White Mountain Chocolate Cupcakes
  13. Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
  14. Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting
  15. Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
  16. Mini-Cheesecake Cupcakes (nothing mini about them!)
  17. Red, White and Blueberry Cupcakes
  18. Mimosa Cupcakes
  19. Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
  20. Muffins that taste like donuts
  21. Carrot Cake Cupcakes (attempt 2, the winner!)
  22. Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting (fail!)
  23. Individual Raspberry Cobblers
  24. Slider Cupcakes also the winner of my Cupcake Challenge
  25. German Chocolate Cupcakes
Any guesses what week 26 will bring?
Thanks for reading!

German Chocolate Cupcakes

I mentioned in my other post that I made German Chocolate cupcakes for my Dad. Originally, I had told him that he should enter into the cupcake challenge but when he tried to enter it told him that he had to be a member, he didn't want to be a member, and didn't really think that he should have to enter a contest for me to make him cupcakes. He had a point.

As you may have guessed, I'm a huge fan of sweets. Growing up, there were two days of the year that I didn't want an extra big slice of cake. Those two days would be February 25 and July 27, my Dad and older brother S's birthdays. Everyone knows that you get your favorite cake on your birthday and guess what both of them love? You got it, German Chocolate. Now, don't get me wrong, I still ate the cake, but it's definitely not my favorite.

Not my favorite, but still something I wanted to add to my cupcake repetoire so I spent some time searching out German Chocolate recipes via Google. And I ended up stumbling onto The Cupcake Project. How have I not found that before?! I swear, the longer I go on with my weekly cupcake-ing the less original I feel. Oh well! Anyway, there was a great recipe for German Chocolate cupcakes (not that I really know because I didn't actually eat any of them....) and a little education on the history of the German Chocolate Cake. Guess I'll have to stop telling my Dad "This isn't real German chocolate cake."

The condensed milk had me a little wary, just because I haven't used it before and generally I'm against dairy of any kind that doesn't require refrigeration, but it turned out fine.

We had a little bit of a cupcake disaster with this batch. The yield is supposed to be 30 but I lost 12 due to my mini oven. I was making these on Thursday night, we were going to leave Friday afternoon, for my family's annual camping trip. That Thursday it also happened to hit 107 degrees here, a rarity. It was still 80+ after 7pm when I finally dragged myself into the kitchen. Since I normally only make one tray of cupcakes at a time and this time I was making two different types I decided to put two of the trays in at a time. Big mistake. The tray on the top cooked fine, the bottom tray burnt on the outside and barely cooked in the center. I hate wasting food but was forced to toss out that whole tray.

This definitely was the messiest I have ever seen all 4.5 feet of my counter space:

Kinda entertaining though isn't it?

I had no space for an extra cooking rack! The cupcakes with the sunken centers were later dumped in the trash. Much to my Dad's dismay.

That's one gooey mess.

I decided there is no way to make these look pretty. So I went for butterfly papers.

I couldn't catch him taking a bite, here he is meticulously removing the paper.

Dad said they were great, so did my brother S and his family!

And by now, we all know how Bretta feels.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cupcake Challenge Winner: Mini-slider Cupcakes

I have to admit, after all these months of baking from scratch this felt an awful lot like cheating! Jess submitted the recipe from Bella's Bistro and I feeling a little nervous. Bella is a pastry-chef in training (literally) and makes delicious meals almost every night of the week (I'm not kidding, I see her weekly menus.) Her cupcakes looked great and already had great reviews.

The Materials

These cupcakes were simple to make and looked adorable (even if my lettuce doesn't look as good as Bella's!)

I had Sarah do a taste test before sending them out to Jess. Sarah thought they looked cute and tasted good.

Unfortunately these didn't make it to Jessica in good order, the food containers I sent them in opened up mid ship and they were ruined by the time they got to her :( I'm so sorry Jessica, I'll have to make it up to you!

As for Bretta, she's pretty tired of everyone else getting treats and isn't talking to me.