The Winter Solstice falls on December 21st this year. This is a very special day in our home as we celebrate the seasonal shift and look forward to spring and a new growing season. I always like to celebrate with citrus-flavored treats – maybe it’s because they add a pop of color and sunshine to the shortest day of the year? Continue reading
Tag Archives: cupcakes
I can’t take credit for what you are about to witness. (That goes to Quick Feet, Good Eats and Smitten Kitchen.) But what self-respecting Irish woman would I be if I found something this wonderful right before St. Patrick’s Day and didn’t share it with you!?
OK, so I’m Italian. Whatevs. Kiss me anyway. (These cupcakes will make you want to, for sure.)
Actually, I owe the inspiration to my Mom, who happens to be celebrating her birthday today, and who also happens to have an affinity for Bailey’s Irish Cream. It was during my search for a fun recipe to make for the moms that I ran into this magnificence:
Fo sho, yo. As soon as I read the recipe title, it was ON. Continue reading
You come home from a long, tiring day at work, not feeling well and desperate for sleep. You have to cook dinner, get your toddler bathed and tucked into bed, and get everything ready for the next early morning. Then you remember with horror: you signed up to bring muffins to school tomorrow.
It happened to me, the night before my son’s first Halloween party. Why, oh why, didn’t I just sign up to bring juice boxes!? (This is my first child, so I’m still learning…)
I knew they had to be pumpkin, and they had to be cute. So I sat down to do some quick Googling and find something I could pull off by morning. That’s when I found it: the 2-ingredient pumpkin muffin recipe (visit Sweet Verbena for the post I found.)
Is it possible that I’m the last person in the world to know about this fabulous recipe? If so, color me humbled. If not, I hope you love it as much as I do!
Here’s what you do:
2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins
- 1 cake mix (white, yellow, spice or carrot)
- 1 15-oz. can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix both ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well blended (batter will be thick).
Line muffin pan with paper liners; fill liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20–25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes about 18 muffins.
That’s right – no eggs, no oil, nothing. You don’t add anything to the mix but the pumpkin. It’s ingenious, and it’s delicious. The perfect cross between a moist, dense muffin and a yummy cupcake – and you’ll still get to bed on time.
I knew I had to decorate these, and lately I’ve struggled with how to make things fun for kids without using tons of awful, yucky dyes. I’ve come up with a solution that seems like a good compromise to me (at least until I find affordable, natural dyes that actually work.)
I whipped up a quick batch of cream cheese icing with real ingredients (butter, 10x sugar, almond milk, cream cheese and pure vanilla.) I piped a small rosette on the top of each cupcake, then topped each with a mini Nutter Butter/Hershey’s Kiss acorn. (Thanks to the hubby for running to the store!) …and voila! A perfect little fall accent that can be eaten or popped off, depending on dietary preferences.
They received a resounding thumbs up from my coworkers (who affectionately nicknamed them “muffcakes” and the kids at school loved them. The director even texted me for the recipe! Now I just have to decide if I really want her to know how easy they were…
A few side notes:
- This recipe is a great way to add a healthy dose of nutrient-rich pumpkin to a fun treat, AND it’s easy enough that your toddler can help with the mixing!
- Depending on the price of the cake mix and pumpkin you find, these cupcakes are very affordable. (Mine were organic and worked out to .16 each before decorating.)
- It’s the perfect time of year to cook up some fresh pumpkin to store in the freezer. Just premeasure into 15 oz containers, and you’ll have a nice stash to whip up easy muffins all year long. (This is our plan, since we try to avoid cans whenever possible.)
- This also works with chocolate cake mix, although I haven’t tried that one yet. I hear it’s heavenly, though!
- These are especially good for folks like me, who use few eggs and little dairy and often don’t have them on hand.
- If you prefer to use an organic cake mix, you may have trouble finding a spice-flavored variety. If you choose to use white or yellow, add 1 Tbsp cinnamon and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice so you don’t miss out on that yummy, spicy pumpkin flavor.
Have you ever made 2-ingredient muffins?
We just finished our third week of daycare, and things are swimming right along beautifully!
(Can you tell we’ve been watching a lot of Nemo lately?)
I expect that there will still be bumps in the road, and yes, there is a lot of crying in the morning during the dropoff. But – and this is pretty dang amazing, if you ask me – the director of the daycare has been sending me a text message when little man settles down (which is usually about 5 minutes after I leave) and she’s even been sending me photos on my phone! I’ve been able to steal of glimpse of art projects, snack breaks, and big smiles throughout the day, and it’s made SUCH a difference in my adjustment (it’s harder for us than it is for them, right?)
For this mama who works 60 miles away from that daycare, a photo to calm my nerves midday is absolutely priceless!
But then, on Friday, I got a different kind of text message. It struck fear into my very soul.
“Project today is decorating cupcakes. We’re going to eat them at lunch. Wanted to check with you to see if its OK. We can take him into another room if you want.”
Oh dear. Ohdearohdearohdear. What do I DO!?
Well, I say NO of course! I tell her to take my son as far away from those evil things as she can. Wrap him up in bubble wrap and don’t even let him hear you say “cupcake”!
Yeah, right. If only. (I did NOT tell her that.) I chilled out for a moment, and thought about it, and ran it by my coworkers (One of whom called me a food freak and mocked over the cubicle wall in his best teacher voice “Oh no, little man, you go into the closet by yourself and play with a carrot.” Haha. )
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I go to pretty good lengths to make sure my family eats the most natural diet possible. We fall off the wagon once in a while, but when it comes to my son, I’m pretty vigilant. He gets his fair share of treats, but they’re always healthy, “real food” ones, and he really hasn’t had any cake other than on his first birthday, 11 months ago.
But it’s not the cupcake itself I have an issue with. Really. As I’ve explained to my mom a bunch of times – he can have cupcakes. And cookies. And ice cream. And all the good stuff that I sure as heck grew up with and loved. He just gets pure, natural versions of them.
THIS is my real fear:
I’ll admit: Cupcakes are happy food. Ingredients ending in “5 & 6″ are not.
And even though I knew (as my coworkers dutifully pointed out) that one cupcake never hurt anyone, there was one thought I just couldn’t escape: If you say you believe in something to your very core, what does it say about you if you buckle when that belief is challenged? Who are you, really, if you let that happen?
Can you guess what I did? Cupcake or no cupcake?
What would you do?
I just can’t get over how much I’m loving motherhood so far, and how much there is to learn! My sweet, funny little boy has really completed me, and I fall more and more in love with him every day! I even told him so in a letter, which has been sealed away in a birthday card, to be opened by him a long, long time from now.
Here’s a peek into our day…
A Harvest Spice cake with a simple organic vanilla buttercreme for the birthday boy…(I’ll be sharing the recipe in a post very soon…)
And here are the cupcakes I made for the adults, based on the ones I saw on the cover of this cupcake book.
They aren’t very bright because I used turmeric and a speck of carrot juice instead of yellow food dye, but aren’t they the cutest?
Look who crashed the duck party! It’s Boon Duck Bob! We love Bob! (Especially now that we’ve moved up to the big tub!)
Our new Boon duckie was joined by a set of blocks from Uncle Goose (they’re gorgeous!), a Wheelie Bee (recommended by Kim at The Girl is a Mom. Thanks, Kim!) a Green Toys dump truck, a sleepy donkey from Under the Nile, lots of books and more. It felt like Christmas! Even though it was low-key, there was a lot of excitement and no nap. But, true to form, our boy held up like a champ.
Where did the year go? It seems like just yesterday I met this new love…
Well, here’s to year 2! I can’t wait to see what it’s like to mother a toddler.
Oh, wait. I have one more surprise! Head on back to the One Whole Year main post and leave this comment: ”I read your ducky post” for one last bonus entry into the package giveaway!