Monday, March 28, 2011

Cupcake Decorations...

I was in the weirdest mood yesterday starting after 7th period. Floopy. floopyfloopyfloopyfloopy. I taught my 8th period all the material...but I was sliding...literally sliding my feet across the floor instead of picking them up. During practice time...I sat in my rolly-chair and rolled to all my students.

Crazy me, crazy. 

But the bell rang, and I decided instead of doing the logical thing which is -- go home, let the poor dog out who hasn't been out to pee in 24 hours, make pizza, and eat most of it myself before Tyler gets home...I was going to go shopping...

To Michaels. To buy cake decorating stuff. I have to make some cupcakes for a late St. Patty's Day party I'm going I might as well get stuff to make them look pretty.

So I bought a bag of chips, went to Michaels.While nomming on my chips I realized I had no idea how to decorate cupcakes. So I whipped out my handy dandy phone and called my bestie S-...the queen of cupcakes. Surrrriously. She's the queen.

So here's what I learned: 

--You can pipe with a regular old ziplock bag if you buy the following:

--Pipping tips (99 cents at Michaels)
--Coupler Rings

Basically you just use the coupler rings in conjunction with the piping tips...and put the in a plastic bag that has a corner cut off...and it acts as a pipping bag! 

So after too many potato chips...I bought all the stuff I needed from Michaels, and you can see the product below!

Those are just my lime cupcakes...with green frosting on top...with green sprinkles and some coconut.

Ready for your close up?
My green goddesses
 Tasty goodness                                                                         

Aren't they pretty? Get the tips, they're worth it, and just practice. The first few came out looking...a little funny, but after that, beautiful -- next up: yellow with purple sprinkles on top of chocolate cupcakes! Hopefully these will look even prettier. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Title.

So basically the story goes as follows:

Cheesecake take 1:

1. I decided to make cheesecake on a whim.
2. I use a new cheesecake recipe..and read it incorrectly...(let's just say it called for 3 packages of cream cheese...I used one)
3. I mix all the ingredients together...and notice its a little water-y/eggy, think nothing of it.
4. Bake it.
5. Get impatient and burn hand while trying to check if its done. It's not.
6. Fail to put ice on hand, and get a blister while it's still baking.
7. Pull now done cheesecake out of the oven. It is not cheesecake. It is egg-omlette cake with a dash of cream cheese. It has very eggy sponginess to it, and Tyler eyes it like its the devil. Refuses to eat more than one.

Cheesecake take 2:
I actually add the right amount of everything...things are going beautifully! I start patting myself on the back...saying "whose da baker? YOU DA BAKER?!" "Why yes President Obama, I will bake a cheesecake for your birthday -- what the Queen will be there too?! Cheerio!"

I even go so far as to do a little dance for myself. During this dance, I drop the entire container of cinnamon in the cream cheese mixture.

Luckily it didn't all fall in, but that summarizes my general cooking/baking trials in the kitchen. I cook great, I bake well...but dammit, I'm clumsy as hell.

Oh yeah, the cheesecake turned out fantastic.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break + Chocolate Scones!

March 14th - March 18th -- Spring Break 2011. This may conjure up images of drunken beach parties, beach volleyball, uncommitted spring-flings, and overall tom-foolery. Now, picture it my way: best friends, Franzia, books upon books, no grading, no lesson planning, and lots of sleeping. Oh yeah, and a beach :-)

Spring Break 2011 marks another new and fantastic part of adulthood: Vacation with friends! T-, S- (the BFF), and I rented out a beach house in TX and spent the week there. The beach house was fantastic! It had a kitchen, living room, bathroom, two bedrooms, and an AMAZING view of the ocean. For the most part we just chilled -- either in the house, or on the beach with T- fully covered hoping desperately to not expose his unpigmented skin to the sun, S- doing the opposite hoping to get tanned, and me well, getting my butt sunburned. Literally, my tush-tush, and it hurts to burn your butt. I finished reading the Lisabeth Salander book series (the girl with the dragon tattoo, etc) which is FANTASTIC. If you haven't gotten it, GET IT. You will not be able to put it down. Seriously, it's a mystery/thriller page turner. They better making a kick-ass movie out of it. Anyways, the vacation was much needed and nice: we played, laid on the beach, read books, baked, and met someone named Ned. Overall: successful vacation. I'm sad to see it end.

Looks like I'm lesson planning? Nope.

Besties on the beach :-) 


First night! After a 12 hour drive for S-...

Magnificent dinner of homemade pizza, garlic bread, and salad!

But! We did make chocolate scones (modified from These scones turned out amazingly...and are excellent to-go snacks or quick morning breakfasts as you're running out the door. They're not super sweet, and the powdered sugar on top makes them prettier and adds a little extra sugary-ness. Excellent with coffee/tea :-)
Chocolate Scones

0.67 cup heavy whipping cream 
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1.75 cup all purpose flour
0.25 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2.5 baking powder
0.25 tsp salt
0.33 cup unsalted butter (cubed)

Scone Glaze
1 egg beaten
1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
More chocolate scones!

Preheat oven to 375.

Whisk together heavy whipping cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Then set aside

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the unsalted butter. Honestly -- it works best if it you use your hands to cut in the butter.

Then slowly mix in all the wet stuff and mix dough into a ball. Then knead dough gently a few times to glutenize the flour.

After that, flatten the dough into a flat, thick (2-3'') disc. Cut it into triangles (6-8 depending on how big you want your scones, I do 8).

Then beat together the scone glazing and brush it on top of the unbaked scones, and pop them in the oven for 15 min.

After they come out, wait till they cool and then dust them with powdered sugar!

Tasty goodness :-)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Disgusted Response to Mr. McKinley

So the gist of this horrid story is that an 11-year-old girl was raped by a 18 guys between the ages of middle-school to 27 in east Texas for hours. That's it. It's awful, and that poor girl must have been so scared.

The title of my post is meant for two things: 1. The act itself is disgusting and 2. The way the article was written was fine up until the author chose to include the follow:

"Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said." 

I really would like to know why the author felt the need to include a paragraph that basically mitigated the disgusting-ness of this crime? Have we not come farther in women's right? "Oh this poor girl was raped. Well, she dressed like a whore, so she must have been asking for it a little" 

That's not what the author is saying explicitly, no, never. Let's break this down though: 

Quote: "Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailers stand -- known as the Quarters -- said the victim had been visiting various friends there for month." 

Translation: She went there a lot, who knows WHAT she could have been doing in those empty trailers.

Quote: "They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s." 

Translation: I'm not even sure what to say here...if you dress like you want it, then you want it? Oh yes, of course that makes perfect sense.

Quote: "She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said" 

Translation: Well, she might have been doing it before too. 

I suppose my argument is that the paragraph itself is totally unnecessary and does not serve any purpose in the article except to make the crime seem less disgusting, awful, and grotesque than it actually is. Is there a real difference between this happening to a little girl who dresses in little girl clothes, plays with dolls, and doesn't even think about sex and a girl who dresses like those she's seen around her and the women in the media, plays with teenage guys because she likes the attention, and thinks she understands sex, but doesn't really? The answer is simple -- no. We might want to think there's a difference because one girl is superficially more innocent than the other, but hey, news flash, they are both ELEVEN. 

I don't know if you've seen an eleven year old recently, but I work with teenagers, 15 year olds, and 16 year olds that I would have sworn were 12 and 13. And every day when I drive home, the middle school is letting out, and all the eleven year olds are walking home...they are babies. No matter how much make up you put on them, no matter how skimpy their clothes might be, no matter if they stuff their bras till their boobs are as big as Pamela Andersons (pre-implant removal)...they still look like babies. 

This paragraph is an affront to how far we should have come as a society for women's sexual rights. Though Mr. McKinley did not make the statements and was just paraphrasing the neighbors words, it's inclusion in the article was an unnecessary choice that is not only an intolerable insult to this little girl, but feeds into an awful stereotype that women have been fighting against for ages. Just in case you are confused, let me sum it up: no matter what we wear, no matter what kind of make-up we have on, no matter how high the heels we have on are or how short our skirts matter if we blow kisses at you, or dance up on you, no matter means no. 

Honestly -- Mr. McKinley and the nytimes editor that let this paragraph get through should be ashamed. As a journalist, you have a responsibility for what you put out there, and as an editor, you have a responsibility for how you let your journalists write. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My First Recipe! Lime Cupcakes with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Okay, so the title is a little bit of a lie. I didn't make the recipe, I modified a vanilla cupcake recipe from

I was bored of the sweet potato pie (that T- demanded I make every week with puppy dog eyes mixed with random growls -- honestly, I feared for my life), and I had done the crepes. So what next? Well, it's spring in Texas, so with the rain and the ominous waves of humidity that are creeping up on San Antonio, comes a strong desire for citrus...lemons, oranges, sweet lemons, clementines, tangerines, tangelos, and the long forgotten lime.

But I wanted cupcakes...I wanted citrus...and cupcakes...and citrus...and cupcakes, ergo...Lime Cupcakes! So I got some organic limes...zested them, juiced them...made some lime cupcakes with lime cream cheese!

Lime Cupcakes with the Lime Cream Cheese Frosting on the side

So before, there were twelve cupcakes...and now there are only five. I don't know how long they'll last. Me, T-, and his mother A- are going through them...and we gave the neighbor two of them...much to my chagrin. I'm planning to make them again for a St. Patty's Day party...and perhaps even add a little green dye? Who know...the possibilities are endless.

Lime Cupcakes: 

.75 cup of butter
.67 cup white granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1.5 cups of all purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
.25 tsp salt
.25 cup milk
Zest of two limes
Juice of 1 lime

Cream together the sugar and butter by hand or hand blender.
Then cream in one egg at a time.
Stir in the lime zest and add in vanilla extra.
Mix in the lime juice.
In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
Stir in the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
Put the batter into pre-greased cupcake pans, or pre-lined.
Put in oven at 350F, for 12-15, or until toothpick inserted into the middle of one comes out clean

Meanwhile, make the Lime Cream Cheese Frosting.

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese frosting
1.5 cup confectioner's sugar (this is malleable, depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 limes worth of lime juice
2 limes zested

Cream together butter and cream cheese.
Add in zest and lemon juice and vanilla.
Add in sugar to taste, and mix it all together!

Close up of the can see the zest flecks in the frosting

Frosting's really good to eat just with a spoon

And another cupcake picture
Trust me -- these go fast.