Saturday, April 27, 2013

American Flag (Dark Chocolate) Cupcakes

 A few weeks ago a teacher at school asked me to make some cupcakes for her son who was deploying to Afghanistan. Since he's a soldier, she asked me to do some American Flag cupcakes.
I had recently stumbled across a new recipe for dark chocolate cupcakes and decided to try it (my old chocolate recipe just wasn't cutting it anymore). Trust me when I say these cupcakes are YUMMY! They are super moist and really, really good. One word of caution though...only fill the batter halfway because these suckers rise quickly!

I then filled the cupcakes with homemade Hostess Marshmallow Creme. After all, what good is a cupcake without a yummy filling.

Chocolate Cupcakes (original post)

  • 1 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder 
  • 1/2 cup regular Cocoa Powder
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
How to Make
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners
  3. In your stand mixer sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder together. Add in the sugar and salt.
  4. With your mixer on low speed add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla, water, vegetable oil and buttermilk.
  5. Mix on medium for 2 minutes until combined.
  6. Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes until set.
  7. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.
**I can get about 45 cupcakes from this because I only fill the batter halfway. Also, you can do 1 1/2 cups of the dark Cocoa Powder if you prefer them to be extra dark.**

Marshmallow Filling 

  • 1 cup of marshmallow fluff
  •  4 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping creme (or whole milk)
1. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Beat in confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and milk and beat until smooth.
3. Beat in the marshmallow creme.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easter Egg Hunt

First of all, let me just say how much I LOVE this time of the year. Winter coats get packed away, flip flops emerge from the bottom of the closet, and kids are able to run outside and play. Oh, I just love it! I wish Spring could happen all year (except for the pollen).

Ok, so on to the purpose of this post. This morning, Blakely and all her little friends had a belated Easter Egg hunt. We did this last year but with the busyness of the past month, we were unable to schedule it closer to Easter. So this morning, all the mommies and kids got together (all the daddies were working). We started the morning with a yummy brunch (complete with mimosas)! Afterwards, we hid eggs for the kids and then let them hunt.

They had a great time, especially eating the goodies that were inside!

We've decided that this will be an annual tradition. It's so fun to watch the kids together because they are all really close in age. They play so well together and always have a great time!
Jacob and his ladies!!
Trying to get into the candy!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Best Surprise Ever (Spring Break Part 3)

Yesterday was definitely the best day of this vacation so far!!
A few days ago while my mom and I were making our plans for the week, she told me that on Wednesday we had to go to the airport to pick up her friend Charma. Charma was a friend from church who didn't have any family in the Sioux Falls area. She had been out of town for a few days and needed a ride home from the airport. Being the wonderful person my mom is (not to mention I'm extremely gullible) I didn't question this at all.

Before I really tell my story, I should insert one short story here. On Tuesday night, I left the dinner table to go start a movie for Blakely in my parent's room. When I came back, my parents and sister Amy got real quiet. I said, "Are you all talking about me?" My mom hung her head and sheepishly said, "Yes." I really didn't care and asked, "Well, what are you saying?" She wouldn't tell me and my dad and Amy wouldn't look me in the face. I started to get kind of upset and then my mom told me what they were talking about. I don't even remember what it was but I knew it was a total lie. I decided not to push the issue any farther but went to bed a little upset that night. My mom is never one to talk about any of us when we're not around and will always tell us if there's something bothering her. I figured it must be pretty bad if she wouldn't tell me what she was saying.

So yesterday morning, I was still a little hurt but decided to just drop it. On the way to the airport, she started telling me more about Charma and mentioned that Charma thought it was so wonderful when people met you inside the airport rather than outside at the pick-up area. I've always loved having people come in to meet me (just ask my husband) so I thought that would be a sweet gesture and I once again didn't question it.

We were a little early so we went inside, got a snack, and then made our way to the pick-up area. While we were waiting, she continued to tell me about Charma. She was a gastroenterologist who had never married and had been away at a conference in Ohio. She lived in a very nice condo not far from the airport.
I just want to say here that my mother is a very good  liar story teller.

The flight finally landed and everybody from the flight started coming through the doors that led to the terminal. We waited a while and then she said, "Oh look, there she is." I couldn't see her face but I did notice that there was a little girl walking with her. My first thought was, "Charma has a daughter. Mom didn't mention that." Then I saw the woman's face and my jaw hit the floor. It was my Aunt Shirley from Atlanta and her daughter Bailey. I just stood there in total disbelief. (By the way, my second thought was "I wonder if mom knew Shirley was on Charma's flight.") I looked at my mom and said, "What????!!!" She was just smiling from ear to ear.
Shirley and Bailey came through the doors and I gave them the biggest hugs ever. My mom immediately apologized and said that the night before at the dinner table, they had been talking about Shirley coming. She didn't want to ruin the surprise so instead she told me that had been talking about me. She said it had bothered her ever since and she felt so bad. Of course, I forgave her!

It was such an awesome surprise to have them here since I don't see them often. Plus, we girls definitely don't get a lot of time together since we're all scattered across the country. What a wonderful surprise!!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Spring Break Part 2

Although the past few days have been fairly uneventful, we are still having loads of fun in South Dakota. Here's what we've been up to this week.

 On Sunday, we went to my parent's church for Easter. Blakely had a lot of fun playing in the nursery!

 She has LOVED playing with my parent's dog Loder. She will give him hugs and kisses (even when he doesn't want them) and chases him all around the house. They are definitely buddies!

 Granddaddy bought her a ball pit. Oh boy! Now she's definitely not going to want to go home.

 Her new favorite reading spot! She likes to sit on the fireplace and read the books my parents bought. She says, "Sheeps, say Baa Baa." It is so hilarious!

Little Miss Sassy! My mom put a curler in her hair and she got a hold of my mom's lip gloss. Of course, I think she licked it more than put it on her lips.

Waiting for Auntie Amy!
Today, my sister flew in from New York! She was hired by the University of Sioux Falls to do a workshop for a few days and coincidentally it happened to be the same week I was here. We are so excited to get to spend some time with her.

Eating popcorn with Grammie!
Helping Mommy with her exercises
We sure do miss Daddy but we are having so much fun with Grammie and Granddaddy! Blakely is loving her time here and is eating up all this undivided attention.