Friday, September 28, 2012

Glimpses Week 38 | The Block Party


Here's a glimpse into our lives this week.  Tonight I took the kids to a church block party complete with carriage rides and a petting zoo!  Fortunately the horse, the llama, the alpaca and especially the goats, were unsuccessful in their attempts to eat my iPhone!  Note to self:  Next time I take the kids to a petting zoo, remove the green grass Lily Pulitzer iPhone case!




Sunday, September 23, 2012

Glimpses Week 37 | Team Spirit



One of the benefits of being being back on home turf - we are finally able to use our season tickets!
Of course, after fourteen years of waiting, we had to buy more tickets so that the whole family can attend!




Friday, September 21, 2012

Streusel Cupcakes


We had a monumental week.  My kids took the bus to school for the first time.  Ever.  I realize that this is a common, everyday occurrence in most households across America, but for me this was a first.  To help you understand just how monumental this event was in my life, you must know that I have driven the kids to school everyday for the past eleven years.  That's how long at least one of my four children has been attending school.  He's now a high school freshman.

The kids, of course, were fine.  They chatted, they read, they slept, they even did their homework!  They were the ones who had to peel back my tightly gripped fingers and say, "Mom, it's fine!"

So I've traded in my tight grip for more time.  During those extra three hours which I have spent driving the kids to and from their new school, I might even have more time for unpacking. And exercising. And blogging. And baking!  Like these Streusel cupcakes for the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club!


I'm late, of course, for posting these, which isn't always a bad thing.  I read Sweet Joan's comments on the cupcakes before I ventured into the assignment.  She thought the topping was good, but that the cupcake alone lacked flavor.  This was all the incentive I needed to pump them up! 


I added extra vanilla to the cupcakes and extra sugar and cinnamon to the streusel topping.


Then, instead of just putting the streusel on the top, I alternated layers of streusel and batter.



By layering, you get that delicious streusel flavor in every bite!


I also added vanilla to the milk glaze because vanilla just makes everything taste better.


You can drizzle the glaze on with a fork, or put it in a ziploc bag and snip the corner for a more controlled pour.  I like the latter technique because, even if I can't control my kids every second of every day, at least I can control the glaze.


The kids loved their after school snack!


Perfect for a crisp, fall day.

Kicked Up Streusel Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

Batter
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon course salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Streusel Topping

2 1/4 cups white, whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon course salt
1 1/2 sticks butter

Whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingertips.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.  

Milk Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together ingredients until smooth.  Use immediately.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Whisk together dry ingredients.  Cream together sugar and oil.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Stir in vanilla by hand.  Add dry ingredients and sour cream and stir until just combined.  Divide half of the batter among the cupcakes tins.  Sprinkle the batter with 1/2 of the streusel topping.  Divide the remaining batter among the cupcake tins and top with remaining streusel.

Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cool.  Drizzle glaze on top.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Glimpses Week 36 | The Story of Hiawatha


I made a point of going on the first field trip of the year at our new school.  Here, the second graders read Longfellow's poem, Hiawatha.  I was grateful to be able to spend some mommy time with Ella and even managed to avoid the muddy paths which, ironically, bordered the  dry river beds.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Glimpses Week 34 | First Day of School


The first day of second grade and the kids don't have to wear uniforms!  It's a bittersweet scenario as a mom, but the kids couldn't be more thrilled.  At last - she gets to wear pink shoes to school!  Linking up to Chic Critique!


Blackberry Cornmeal Cupcakes


After our long distance move from the deep south to the far north, this was the very first thing I baked.  Blackberry Cornmeal Cupcakes.  These muffin-like cupcakes were a great treat to have on hand during the early commotion days of our move. Unlike southern cornbread, this "cupcake" was deliciously sweet.  


The blackberries added an element of sweet and tart.


Here's the earthy, grainy batter.


The juicy blackberries are so big, you can only fit three in each tin.


The blackberries and cornbread are a successful combination.
On Martha's website, you can see it implemented in a cake!
I liked that idea and will try it next time!
You can find the RECIPE on Martha's website!

Thanks to my northern PEEPS for showing up for me and helping me unpack!
Janet, Sonja and Pam, I couldn't have set up my kitchen without you!!

xoxo
Rachel