Thursday, January 29, 2009

Double Chocolate Malt Shoppe Cupcakes with a Cherry-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


John & I were watching the "Ultimate Recipe Showdown" on the Food Network (we watch this too much, we're nerds) and this was the winning recipe for the cake portion. We were making cupcakes for Leland's birthday so we decided to check these out. They were very good! Especially good is that buttercream. I don't always love buttercreams, but this one had a lot of flavor and was a fun compliment to the chocolate. So if you're looking for a fun cupcake...there you go!

For cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour *I used cake flour, I like the lightness of it better.*
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup malted milk powder (recommended: Carnation brand) *look by hot cocoa*
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

For buttercream:

  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup tart cherry preserves *look by jams/jellys/etc*
  • Malted milk balls or maraschino cherries, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 regular 12-cup cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, malted milk powder, and espresso powder. Add the canola oil and eggs; whisk to blend. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until well combined. Stir in the miniature chocolate chips.

Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake tins, filling only halfway full. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 17 minutes, until they spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the buttercream. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and the butter on medium-low speed until well blended. Add the vanilla and whipping cream and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light, spreadable and fluffy. Beat in the cherry preserves until well incorporated.

When the cupcakes have finished baking, let sit in the pans for 2 minutes and then transfer the cupcakes to wire racks to cool for 10 minutes more.

While the cupcakes cool, transfer the buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Alternatively, you can frost the cupcakes with a knife or offset spatula. When the cupcakes have cooled, pipe the buttercream in decorative swirls on top of the cupcake (or swirl with a spatula). Garnish the top of each cupcake with a malted milk ball or cherry and serve.

A Birthday Par-tay!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Leland!

Dear Leland,

Happy Birthday! It was exactly one year ago today at 12:15 a.m. that you were born and changed mom and dad's life forever. Of course we rather wish you were here with us celebrating your birthday, but we're glad you're not suffering with T18 anymore. It's nice to have an angel that you know is all yours and no one else's. The other day we watched the video of when we were in the hospital together. When we watched the part where they weighed you, Mommy felt bad that we made you strip down to be weighed since you had no fat layer whatsoever, she felt like she was a mean mommy making you so cold when she herself hates being cold! But you were super cute, screaming at the top of your lungs, but sounding like a cute little birdie cry anyway. We are so happy you made it through your delivery, wow, what an amazing experience that too many T-18 mothers never have. Do you know how many T-18 pregnancies end before the mommies and daddies get to meet their babies? 50%! How strong you are, and how grateful we are to you for being such a little fighter. I'm sure it would have been easier on you to give up from all you were dealing with, but we appreciate it so much. Meeting you in this life was something we loved, and we'll never forget.

It's hard when we think we might have been throwing you your first birthday party, but instead we're only deciding how to remember you.
Sometimes it's hard when people take their own healthy children for granted, and for that matter, to see people assume pregnancy is something that always goes off as planned - but it's even harder when we hear about other mommies who found out the hard way that it's not always the case. Mommy's heart breaks for them too, because we know how it feels.
It's hard when people obviously try hard not to bring up your name, and assume we don't want to discuss you. I think sometimes people think they need to walk on egg shells around us, like maybe we'll explode into some emotional scene they can't handle if they touch on anything too sensitive.
Sometimes it's hard when people assume the answer to our problems is having a new baby, that we'll be okay once we move on. But Leland, mommy and daddy know that you can't be replaced.
It's also hard when people callously assume we should be over it by now. We will never be over you baby - You are not something we plan to recover from.

I think mommy and daddy are doing really well, and who knows? Maybe we have you to thank for that, maybe you're up there watching our backs! We are happy and healthy and when we think of you, we smile and sometimes laugh. (Once you had hiccups before you were born and daddy accused mommy of 'making' her stomach twitch, because it woke him up and he was being irrational. We laughed about it a lot later.)

So again son, have a happy birthday. Eat more than you should, be self indulgent in your attitude, behavior and with your time. Tell everyone you meet that it's your birthday as if it's an explanation and not a statement, and simply enjoy it to the fullest extent. You only turn 1 once, that's what everyone will tell you - I don't fully grasp that, but I hold that even if it's not true, heck, it's an excuse for going to excesses... and I like that. And, I heard this on a TV show when I was little, and I hope it's not too late for you to use this advice, but it was on "Random Thoughts" - If you're given a choice between regular heaven and pie heave, choose pie heaven... hey, it might be a trick, but if it's not, yay pie!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I was making dinner the other night when I realized the lights streaming into the house were incredible.
I went out to my parents porch to find this most beautiful sunset and
just had to run and grab the camera.

And now on to the tag from Kaja...

Five Names You Go By:
1. Christie
2. Chris
3. Sis
4. Punkin
5. Crispie

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. Hoodie
2. Running Shoes
3. Heywood Family Reunion T-Shirt (Yes, I'm about to jog, GASP!)

Two Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment:
1. A Job
2. A Little Debbie's Marshmallow Star thingy....

Two People Who Will Probably Fill This Out:
1. They have.
2. They don't care.

Two Things You Did Last Night:
1. Went to Walmart.
2. Watched "The Rocker" at Reed's.

Two Things You Ate Today:
1. Fiber One -Oats and Caramel
2. Peaches and Cottage Cheese

Two People You Last Talked To On The Phone:
1. Some lady I was hoping would give me a job.... (She didn't).
2. The nurse from the endocrinologists office. (I'm more hypo than we thought evidently.)

Two Things You Are Going To Do Tomorrow:
1. Run again.
2. What is tomorrow? Wednesday? Uh, hang out w/ John!

Two Of Your Favorite Beverages:
1. Dr. Pepper (off limits as I get extremely addicted.)
2. Hot Chocolate w/ hazelnut coffemate.

Friday, January 16, 2009

All Quiet on the Western Front

This little monkey...

And this little monkey...

...Had been staying with Grandma, thus upstairs from where we're living, for the last 10 days or so. Well now it's quiter, sure, but they sure can be entertaining in their terror. For example: I was holding Caden and he grabbed my face between his two little chubby hands, pulled my face right next to his so we're nose to nose. I'm thinking this is so cute, he's going to give me a little kiss, and this is rare cuz he's usually too busy for this sort of thing. So we're sitting there in this tender moment, eyeball to eyeball... then he oinks in my face and squirms his way out of my arms. Oh well...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shiver Me Timbers!

A Pirate walks into a bar...

Bartender: "Excuse me sir, but is that a steering wheel down your pants?"
Pirate: "Arrrrrr, it's driving me nuts!

Happy 23rd Birthday Andrew... I mean, matey.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Driftwood Manor Reunion

First, a little self indulgent explanation: "Driftwood" is a house in down town Logan, and basically a group of people who are very important to myself and John as a couple for the reasons I will outline. As our friend Dallon (tan beanie below) points out frequently and in jest, 'he's the reason John and I are married'. And while it's sort of a joke, it IS also actually a factor. (Good thing he doesn't read blogs, I don't want it going to his head. - Dallon was the person who first decided their should be a Driftwood, and compiled and harrassed a random group of his friends, some from good ole BEHS, some from the mish, etc, to come live with him in the sweet mess of a house.)

A few of you know how I met John - the short story is 'through friends'... these friend. The just slightly longer version is that I ended up hanging out with some girls from work, who took me to a party, at a house where I found out I actually also worked with a bunch of the guys who lived there and were throwing it. About 3 toilet paperings later we somehow started hanging out with these same guys regularly... (T.P., the true way to guys hearts). Well if you think you've figured it out, no, John didn't live there at the time. He lived in Cedar City. In fact, by the first time I met John I'd been hanging around "Driftwood" for probably 6+ months. I met John at Driftwood at a New Year's Eve party, but I really don't think we spoke, and the next day we all went snowboarding, and we only very briefly spoke then. By March of the next year Tree (blonde, blue coat below) and I were considered 'honorary residents' because we hung out so much.

That's why we got invited on spring break trip '04 with
3 of the guys who currently lived at Driftwood, and
1 friend
2 of them had from High School they were picking up, living in Cedar City... John.
Sparks flew...yada yada :) ...

John moved to "Driftwood" for a summer
1 1/2 months later and we started dating,
5 years later we've been married
4 and had
1 child.

Sadly the last remnants of the people we knew from Driftwood have moved out, many have moved away, but a couple of the guys have planned holiday-ish parties/reunions the last few years. A few of these people we still see regularly, some not so much anymore, and some moved in after John and I moved away - but the party was a lot of fun. Thanks for hosting Reed!

The people who aren't losers, and could make it.

We played a game called 'Dirty Minds' - some good reactions.

Reed's white elephant loot.


Torturing Dallon... a Driftwood classic.