Friday, January 4, 2013

Cupcakes. . . In a hurry!

Yesterday at 3:00pm I got a paniced phone call from my best friend.  Our local Costco had a fire and was closed.  As far as Di and I are concerned, Costco is the center of the universe, so this was quite a blow.  Her daughter's 18th birthday was yesterday and she was planning to just go to Costco to buy the cake, but her plans were dashed.  Her plan was that she would go home and make the cupcakes if I would come frost them because she is convinced that she can't do that type of thing.  I looked at the clock and knew it was hopeless.  Not because of her plan, but because her job is like a black hole with its own gravitational force.  (She is the receptionist at my husband's business!)  I told her not to worry- we would handle it.

My oldest son was lurking, so I set him loose making the cupcakes.  We used regular cake mixes, but my secret is to add an extra egg.  I think it makes the cupcakes a little richer AND helps me use the eggs that my chickens so graciously produce!  Our chocolate batter was really runny, so we added a 1/4 cup of flour and they came out perfect!

I love the pretty cupcake papers that you can find everywhere, but I have become somewhat disillusioned with them over the past year.  Some of them turn downright ugly after having a cupcake cooked in them and some just don't hold up very well.  I noticed that my local cupcake shop used souffle cups, so I had to have some.  I bought mine at Orson Gygi in Salt Lake City.

If you need 5000 (Are you nuts or do you have friends that want to share?) you can buy them here for about $.02 a piece.

Or you can buy 250 for $7.50 which is only $.03 a piece.  Even with shipping and handling these are WAY cheaper than the pretty ones in the grocery store.

Only fill the cups about 1/3 full- you want some head space when they are cooked.  We cooked the little critters for 15 minutes and they were great.

I made buttercream frosting.  I am one of those dump and pour cooks, so I can't give you my recipe, but I use butter, cream, vanilla, and confectioner's sugar. I tinted it purple with Wilson's gel.  I ALWAYS use a frosting bag and tip to frost cupcakes.

 I think it is easy and it sure looks more professional than slopping on some frosting with a knife.  I used a Wilton 1 M tip and a large 16" pastry bag. 

This bag is too big to drape over a glass, so I use a pitcher.  It is like having an assistant.  A good squeeze and a circular motion will give you great looking cupcakes.


At 4:20 I left my house to deliver the cupcakes.  Disaster averted!  Now . . . I hope Costco re-opens today.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Little at a Time

Do you ever feel like just throwing in the towel because there is just so much to do?  I know that I get overwhelmed sometimes (often) and don't make time to keep things orderly.  Then I get stressed because the house is a mess and I can't find anything!

One day my friend Joan taught me her trick for staying sane and keeping the house "a house of order."  It's so easy and yet, so hard!!!  But here is the rule:

One drawer a day.
I bet you thought it was going to be something glamourous, huh?  Nope.  Just take a few minutes every day to organize one drawer.  Or one cabinet.  Or one shelf in the cabinet.  The real point here is to just do a little.  If it takes you longer than 15 minutes, then it's probably too big a job because it will make you want to skip the next day.
The FlyLady wants us to declutter for 15 minutes a day.  Once you get truly decluttered then keeping the house clean is supposedly a snap.  I struggle with getting rid of things that I might need. . . someday.  I live by the mantra "When in doubt, throw it out," but we still have clutter.
The clutter I hate the most is my boys' schoolwork.  Right now my kitchen table is covered in piles of papers, notebooks, and sundry school supplies.  The end of the term is drawing near and the search is on for those assignments the knuckleheads didn't bother to pass in.  As soon as the term ends, the important papers (like reading logs, practice cards, etc.) will find a permanent home in our "school drawers" which is a plastic container with three drawers that hold 8.5 x 11 papers.  The rest of it will be put in folders in the closet in case we need them to study at the end of the year.
Anyway, one drawer a day.  While you are watching Rachel Ray. Or before you call it a day. 
Wow, I think I got carried away, but I really can't say. . . so. . .
Clean one drawer, OK?