Sunday, March 20, 2011

Whoopie Pie Masterpiece

A friend of mine has been discussing her desire to make whoopie pies for her daughter’s first birthday party. Apparently they are the next “big” thing for baking (of course I’m partial to make cake pops), but I thought I’d give it a whirl and see what all the fuss is about. After all, how hard can it be?
I took to the internet to find instructions that would be stupid simple, caz I’m all about the easy way of baking! Something that doesn’t required ten thousand ingredients (those suckers can get expensive) and my entire day (fortunately I’m mastering my cake pops so that’s no longer the case). Here’s a recipe and instructions I located from with a little tweak I did to make the process that much simpler:
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package red velvet cake mix
  • 1 tub of cream cheese frosting
  • 2 muffin pans
  • Pam (cooking spray)
  1. To make the cakes: Prepare mix as directed on package. Drop batter onto greased muffin pan with an ice cream scoop (only 1/4 full). Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (about 20 minutes) and let cool.
  2. Once they have cooled, turn the little cakes over on their backs. Spoon a dollop of frosting onto half of the little cakes. Place the other half of the cakes on top of the filling to form sandwiches.
  3. And viola you have delicious whoopee pies!
*Please note you can create any combination you’d like, for example I think I might try lemon cake (b/c that’s a huge hit in my household) and lemon frosting or spice it up with strawberry! WHOA!
Here are some of the pictures of my creation…recognize that it was my first attempt so judging is strictly prohibited!

My little whoopie pie creations!

Look at all that frosting! YUM!!

Anyone want whoopie pies to go? :)
Lessons learned: I thought using a muffin pan would be easier so the whoopie pies would keep it's shape. I think next time I might try just using a baking pan & reducing the water to see how they'll form. Maybe it'll help form the perfect shape?!  Who knows...

I’m bringing these little guys into work tomorrow to show them off to my friend. Hopefully it’ll give her confidence about baking several dozen for her little angel’s b-day party.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kicks and Giggles

I’m happy to say that soccer season is about to start up once again. YAY! It’s been so long since I’ve played. Although I’ve kept in shape these last few months, kicking around the soccer ball in my first game will surely do a number on my body! Never realize what different muscles you use for different exercises. :)
The Virginia Beach Oceanfront during the Tournament
I’m super pumped to going back on the field and playing. This sport I love so much, that I’ve played since I was in elementary school, will be a part of my life forever!
In addition to the women’s season I’m about to start, this time of year means that the Sand Soccer Tournament at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront will be coming up soon! That truly is an amazing experience. Playing soccer, heck running in the sand is no easy task. It’s hard on your feed and legs. And heaven forbid that the sand be scorching hot as was the case a few years ago. (I’m no sissy, but if you can’t wear TWO pairs of socks and be comfortable because of the heat on the sand…it’s too dang hot!) I recall having to crawl to a near-bye blanket when I got hurt just to get off the sweltering sand. But it’s a great workout and a fantastic time with friends and family; especially since my family and I typically make a weekend of it by renting a hotel room at the boardwalk. 
So women’s season and sand soccer BEWARE! Caz this chick is ready to take it ALL ON!

Cupcake Delivery

Today we got a special delivery at work….CUPCAKES! In Hampton Roads there is a company called Twister Sister Cupcakes which travels to cities like Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and now Norfolk.  They can sell cupcakes out of their van or, like in Downtown Norfolk, do pre-oders (in ½ dozen increments). 
A couple of us got together to order a ½ dozen to get them out to our building. The flavors of choice were based on their current menu which was two Irish car bombs (in honor of St. Patty’s Day), two Elephant in the room (peanut butter flavor), one hostess with the mostess (chocolate lovers dream) and strawberry lemonade smash (lemon cake with strawberry frosting).  Here are a few pictures of our treats:
From top left to bottom: Hostess with the Mostess (looks like a ho ho), Elephant in the room
(one underneath), Irish Car Bombs (one underneath) and Strawberry Lemonade Smash

My treat loving friend Amanda taking her first bite!

Another treat loving friend taking a bite of her Irish Car Bom

My second round of trying their cupcake, renewed a little faith in the bakery...

I have to say the build up for these cupcakes were pretty momentous. But much like the phrase states “the anticipation is usually better than the actual event!”Unfortunately, this was the case with these cupcakes! While super cute, the flavors of the cake left something to be desired. It could be the frozen state of our cupcakes, but the cake itself was not moist. In addition, my lemon cupcake (which I waited two weeks to order) did NOT taste like lemon! (Insert heart breaking noise) I was crushed and so were my fellow treat loving fiends. However, I would like to state that we ordered an extra cupcake to make it to the ½ dozen pre-order requirement. That was the hostess with the mostess cupcake. Given my disappointment with mine (which I stopped eating after two bites), I ate this delicious cupcake. Chocolate it was with a delicious creamy filling. While great tasting, and renewed a little faith in this cupcake bakery, it sadly wasn’t spectacular enough to warrant the $3 price tag. 
If I’m in the mood for a treat, I know I always have the peanut butter cupcake at the Main Street Starbucks to tie me over. Smaller in size (less calories), smaller in price (only $1.50) and positively scrumptious! Sorry Twisted Sisters…I will try you again in the future, but just not anytime soon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Challenge…ME!

I saw this blog the other day from a friend of mine’s Facebook update, “I Challenge YOU!” and it asks some very important questions. Some, I’d like to take a moment and reflect upon and answer…
First question: Are you the best version of yourself that you could possibly be?
That’s a really hard hitting question. The answer is no….I’m not. But I would like to clarify that I don’t think anyone is really the BEST version of who they could be…I think it’s a continual process. I don’t know that in every instance, someone handles or deals with something the BEST way they should. Nor do I think that everyone, if they’re truly honest with themselves, has the BEST intentions all the time when they do something. Sometimes we’re selfish. I’m not stating that as an excuse. I think the question is meant to point out any improvements you can/should make to get yourself to that caliber. It’s a day by day process, being the best person you can possibly be. So often we succumb to human flaws such as judging others, lying or selfishness. I most certainly can improve in all those areas and do try to each day. Some days are better than others, but this blunt question definitely puts the focus in your mind!
Second question: Are there things you have been putting off that you know would get your closer to your goals?
This is an interesting question. I say so because I have many goals in my life. I am happy to state that I’m on track with my career goal. My goal was to become a manager before I turned thirty and I accomplished it! I had goals as far as meeting “the one” and I accomplished that, but now a new goal is in the future…starting a family. I had the goal of running in a half marathon and I’ve run in three! But now I feel compelled to set another physical fitness goal. It’s as though we accomplish goals and set new ones for ourselves (or at least I do).  There are goals I have now that I know I will accomplish, given time. Is there something I’m putting off that would get me closer to them? I guess I could only say that there is one recent goal (ready This Past Sunday blog) that I could definitely be making better strides to improve. And the only person stopping me there…is….me.
Third question: Most importantly, are you happy with how your life is going? Is there something within your grasp you could do to further maximize that happiness?
This question I have no problem answering…YES! Yes, yes, yes….a thousand times yes! Like Charlotte said in the Sex and The City movie when asked how often she was happy in her relationship, “Every day. Well, not all day every day but yes, every day.” That is how I feel.  I am happy in my relationship, my friendships, my family ties and most importantly myself. Circling back to question number one, there are things to improve upon, but I am happy. I consider myself very fortunate to have the life I have and thank God for it every night!
Does reading my answers to the questions make you think of your answers? If so, I’d love to hear them!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Lollipop Kids…

“We represent the Lollipop Guild, The Lollipop Guild, The Lollipop Guild..” Just kidding! But my friend and I did try our hand at making some homemade lollipops last night and it was TOO fun! :)
My dear friend, who I made the lollypops with, is just TOO creative! I mean it’s crazy all the things she is/has assembled for her wedding. The lollipops are for her candy buffet (too precious) and are a perfect representation of her….sweet & adorable! I must admit though, my first time around was not very successful. The sugar mixture poured out way too fast and they looked like giant blobs going in every which direction. Thankfully though, we picked up the best way to create them (let the sugar cool just a little bit longer) and the thicker batch allowed for more perfect circles. Here are a couple shots of how we created the lovely lollypops. 
Here are the lollipop sticks prepared for their tops

My lovely friend mixing up all the ingredients!

To make these handy-dandy little lollipops, here are the ingredients needed to make them and the instructions (really quiet simple). 
·         2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
·         1 cup of sugar
·         2-3 drops of food flavoring (we used raspberry and orange)
·         3-4 drops of food coloring (or however many to get your desired color)
·         ½ cup of water
·         Lollipop sticks (size is your choosing) 
  1. Spray baking sheet with Pam so the candy won’t stick
  2. Place the lollypop sticks on the pan and tape into place (you can also get a lollypop mold to make it easier)
  3. In a heavy duty saucepan combine sugar, water, and corn syrup, heat until sugar dissolves. Boil the syrup mixture until it reaches 305 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4.  Once it reaches that temp, take it off and put on ice inside the sink. Allow it to cool for about 10 seconds.
  5. Poor into a bowl and begin combining the food coloring and flavoring to your desired taste.
  6. Immediately begin pouring onto your lollipop sticks. The mixture will begin to cool quickly, so pour out as much as possible. (We free handed the circles-no mold-so we had to measure how quickly it was coming out to the size she wanted.)
  7. Let them cool for about 20 minutes and taken them off the pan. Viola! You have beautiful candy lollipops. You can put a little bag around them and seal with colored ribbon for the adorable effect that my friend was going for (see below). :)

Beautiful creation!!

Aren't they beautiful? Perfect favors! :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This Past Sunday

This past Sunday I went to Crosscurrent Church with a friend of mine. Remember, I had spoken about trying to go more regularly to revive my faith and jump start my passion for getting in the Word? Well, I haven't been as frequent as I'd like, but this Sunday I went....and boy am I glad I did.

It was like the sermon was speaking to me. God was certainly working to bring me to that church on Sunday and let me know that the topic was meant for my ears. The pastor spoke on forgiveness. And read the passages Matthew 18:21:25. Wes, the pastor, stated that we are to forgive our brothers. How many times? However many times it takes. You ALWAYS forgive. This is not optional. We each have been forgive by God for our sins. So how can we not forgive our brother if he sins against us?

That is hard for a lot of people, myself included, to hear. If your brother sins against you repeatedly it feels as though you are being walked on, taken advantage of, or just hurt over and over again. It's not a pleasant feeling and as humans it's hard not to fall into the trap of bitterness or holding grudges. But that's not right. We have been forgiven, no questions asked, by God for our sins. Who are we not to do the same for our brother? There is no limit to forgiveness, either, it is continuous. Be merciful as you  have been shown mercy by God.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
-Ephesians 4:32

As you read this, I hope that it sinks in as it did for me. I can almost guarantee that each one of us have not forgiven someone who has sinned against us, and why? Because what they did hurt? Because what they did was wrong? Yes, but our sins were forgiven. We were given a clean slate by God, doesn't our fellow brothers deserve the same?

I know several situations in my life where this is applicable to and it was very deep for me to witness this sermon at this particular juncture of my life. I plan to make amends within myself so that I can learn to forgive those who have sinned against me. Will you be doing the same?