Salted Caramel Cupcake Heaven….

I apologize for the lack of posts… the holidays have been so insanely busy and stressful. I enjoyed spending time with my family, but I’m relieved that it’s over.

I was working crazy hours at the grocery store because of the holidays and had extra hours. One day I had to work at the office 7 -3:30 and then work at the store 4 to midnight… never want to do that again!

My wonderful fiancee gave me a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas, so I’ve been baking up a storm! We were actually looking at the mixers at Kohl’s and he brought up the point that it’s just going to sit in the basement until we move out in six months and together we decided he wouldn’t get it for me, but he likes to surprise me, so he got it anyway. When we were at Kohl’s again to get his sister some perfume, he told me he had some Kohl’s cash and after he told me it was $75 in Kohl’s cash, I knew something was up and that he got me the stand mixer.

My parents also gave me lots of baking things like a cupcake tin/carrier with a stand, a cupcake filler, and a cupcake kit with liners… I was very busy on Wednesday!

I made two different cupcakes: Salted Caramel cupcakes and Rose-Scented Geranium cupcakes…

The Salted Caramel ones were quite the hit! The Rose-Scented Geranium ones were actually adapted from a recipe for raspberry cupcakes using raspberry jelly and I just substituted the rose-scented geranium jelly that my mom makes from her herb garden. I must say there is much work to be done to make that recipe jive… the jelly is really sweet on it’s own and using the same amount as the recipe called for was not the right call… and the cake part was less than satifying, more like dry and gross mess. But less about the failed experiment and more about awesome salted caramel heaven!

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Yes, you want to make these… like everyday!! Just don’t think about the calories because there is so much butter in them!

I was so excited to use my new stand mixer that I forgot to take more photos while I was making them! They are pretty easy to make, but they do take a good bit of time… they are so worth it though! I keep thinking about how delicious they were and I just want to make batches upon batches of them! I’m thinking for New Year’s Eve I will make a double batch!

I’m hanging out with my college friends Emily and Ashley on Monday, and Emily also just got a KitchenAid mixer! So we are going to have to make these together on Monday! I was planning on making these to take to Brian’s friend’s get-together, so a double batch would be very necessary!

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Brown Sugar Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line muffin tin with paper or foil liners. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each until fully incorporated. Mix in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with 1/2 of the buttermilk, stirring after each until everything is combined. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin until each liner is 3/4 full. Bake for around 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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This caramel sauce is just to die for… I can’t even stress this enough! I can’t believe how amazing this cupcake is, all three parts together and alone!

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Salted Caramel Filling

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over medium heat, whisking as it melts. When it turns a deep amber color, add the butter and stir until it is melted. Add the heavy cream and whisk until the caramel is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool. Using a large pastry tip or a paring knife, cut a small round piece out of the top of each cupcake. Pour in around 1-2 teaspoons of caramel.

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I think the frosting was the best part… mostly because of all the butter. So unhealthy, but you have to indulge sometimes!

And the pink frosting? That’s the Rose-Scented Geranium frosting on a salted caramel cupcake… I ran out of frosting for the salted caramel ones! oops! I think I loaded the other ones up a bit though!

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Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Fleur de sel for sprinkling (optional)

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat. Boil without stirring until it turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly pour in cream and vanilla, whisking until it is very smooth. Let cool for around 20 minutes, until it’s just barely warm and still pourable. Meanwhile, beat butter and salt together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Pour in the cooled caramel and beat on medium-high speed until light and airy (around 2 minutes). Spread or pipe onto filled cupcakes (if frosting is too runny, the caramel was too warm when added – refrigerate for around 15-20 minutes until frosting is stiffer). Sprinkle each cupcake with a small pinch of fleur de sel.

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My dad had to “inspect” things… I think he just wanted a cupcake….

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I took them to my Mary Kay meeting and they were a hit! All of the Salted Caramel ones were gone by the end of the night! Not the case with the rose-scented geranium ones, but hey, I learned…

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Confetti…

Life has just been insane and go-go-go lately, so here’s a confetti post… more of everything…

First, I have to start with some energy food…

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I’ve always been fascinated by the Australian yogurt, so I finally tried it. I must say it is very good… not what I’m used to with greek yogurt, but delicious nonetheless.

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I received a very special package from the one and only, Audrey Kitching… I was so stoked…

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If you don’t know, that’s Audrey… she’s kinda my idol… or at least my fashion inspiration.

 

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She wraps things so cute…

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I ordered a vintage jacket from her online through Threadflip.If you haven’t heard of that, it’s very awesome… especially for thrifting addicts like myself! Basically, you can buy or sell new or previously loved clothes and accessories! There are often designer or vintage items listed, but it also includes things from Forever 21 or Target… love it.

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Another shopping habit I’m addicted to is Ulta… sigh… Where do I even start with Ulta…. It’s a make-up and hair addict’s heaven. I bought some stuff online for friends and I got all these samples and even some full size products all in a make-up bag for spending a certain amount online. What’s not to love about that?

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That’s me in my Audrey Kitching-inspired outfit ready to go out.

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Sadly, I had to say goodbye to my pink hair….

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I miss it already…

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This is right after I dyed it… “Light Burgundy Blonde”…..

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I wish I could say that my hair still looks great and is this pretty red, but all the color came out in the first wash… Now it’s this awful mix of brown/blonde with a pinkish purple tint…

I was so confused why my hair looked so terrible. I figured it was because of the bleach to get the pink out of my hair, but this is just terrible dye… I see another dye job in my immediate future!

Ruby, Ruby, Rubayyy

Today will be a little bit of everything… Just a warning….

I’m very excited to say that we have a kitten!! By “we” I mean my family, but it’s my sister’s responsibility… fine by me. I get to play with this cute little thing at work! She’s three months old and her name is Ruby! I recently watched the movie “Ruby Sparks,” which I highly recommend… it’s such a cute film and now I have my own little Ruby…

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Take your kitten to work every day! Well, at least every Tuesday…

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I was trying to send an email to a relative and she decided to plop down on my laptop…

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Oh, well. She’s so adorable.

I also wanted to share a delish recipe for Spinach Artichoke dip that I made last night.

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Ingredients:

• one or two packages of frozen spinach (it only called for one, but I blanked and thought there was supposed to be two… it worked out well though..)
• two packages of cream cheese
• one brick of mozzarella cheese
• one brick of monterey cheese
• three cloves of garlic
• black pepper to taste

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This is a crock pot recipe, so it’s super easy…. just chop everything up and throw it in the crock pot for an hour or so and it’s ready to eat with chips or pita or whatever you like.

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Well, I did have more to add, but I get to leave work soon… so I will add the rest in a future post! Tonight is girls night with the one and only, Jamie, aka Jemmye… and that is always an adventure.

It’s never easy to say goodbye

This won’t be easy. It never is.

Wednesday night we lost another classmate. I still can’t wrap my mind around it. I remember Wayne as a very cheerful person. He would come into the grocery store that I work at and talked to me and asked how I was doing.

I didn’t hang out with him, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I went to school with Wayne since elementary school. I feel a special bond with my classmates; we don’t have to keep in contact much, but I do wonder how everyone is doing six years later. When they have joys, I smile for them; when they have troubles, I feel for them.

From what I read on Facebook, he was found unresponsive at his home, which just breaks my heart even more. All I can think about is “why?” and I just wish he reached out to someone first.

This is the fourth classmate that we’ve lost and I still can’t believe how many were taken so young. My heart goes out to their families and closest friends. I can’t even imagine losing someone so close to me. It must be so difficult to move on with your life after your son, boyfriend, best friend dies. I just can’t even begin to imagine…

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Another guy I went to elementary through high school with said it so well… “If you can see this post, know that I am here and I truely care about you. All 600+ of you facebook friends. Some from skool, some from various jobs, some from games online. However I know you, if you’re my friend here, you’re my friend in my heart. Please feel free to reachout to me if you need. I can’t keep loosing people I care about. R.I.P. Wayne Wilson.”

Life is so precious and it’s sad that we are all reminded of this by tragedies like this. Take a moment in your day not only to appreciate people around you, but also make sure to express your love and gratitude.

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Anniversaries: Amani d’Oleire: 11/9/2006, Cassie Maas: 03/02/2007, Matt Collett: 12/9/2011, Wayne Wilson: 12/5/2012

May you all rest in peace and watch over us from heaven.

Before I Dye…

So, I’m guilty… I dyed my hair again… big surprise… except it kind of was.

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This is what I started with….

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Last time when I did purple highlights, I don’t think I bleached my hair long enough or the right way… I tried doing foils. That was a foil fail. But it’s safe to say the bleach worked really well this time!

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I was so shocked at the brightness even when my hair was wet… this was my moment of “omg, panic…”

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But I do like how it turned out.

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This is right after I blow-dried it… not straightened. A little poofy, but fun.

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All polished and ready to go out!

I have always wanted to dye my hair something crazy and fun, but I was always too afraid to do it and I cared too much about what other people would say. Now I’m more comfortable in my own skin and could care less what people think based on things like my hair or my clothes. I do get looks when I’m in public, but it’s kind of fun being the center of attention.

Of course my parents don’t care for it, but that’s okay. They know that I’m just having fun.

I’ve always wanted to be more gutsy, so I wanted to do something like this to my hair before I’m married and have a better job where I have to fall in line to look “normal.” I’m not sure what gutsy thing I want to do next, but when I think of something, I will make every effort to go through with it.

Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I do know that I want to get a meaningful tattoo. I don’t know what. I don’t know where. I was thinking something for my grandparents or just something that means something to me. I have plenty of time for that though. I have a fear of needles, so that is another thing I have to deal with too.

This is kind of turning into a bucket list… so here are some more things:

• be a mom

• have a 50th wedding anniversary

• go to a drive-in movie

dye hair crazy color

• have my grandparents at my wedding

• write a letter to myself and open in ten years

slow dance in the rain

• learn how to bartend

• change someone’s life

small tattoo

• have an art studio

• have a gypsy year

visit paris

• adopt an animal

• work in a coffee shop

die with no regrets