Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bridesmaid 101: Don't Turn Green

Duties: (Resource: Bridesmaid

bridesmaidAsk if the bride needs anything (food, water, etc) all the way up till the time she is walking down the aisle. She will really appreciate it!

bridesmaidHelp make sure the bride has privacy if she needs some quiet time before the ceremony.

bridesmaidTake some deep breaths and walk slow when you walk down the aisle since it is common to speed up. If a groomsman walks down the aisle with you, make him refrain from talking or fooling around.

bridesmaidAlways look for the unexpected since it is common for the most uncommon things to happen (i.e, something falling down at the alter). If you are close enough, fix what needs to be fixin so the bride, groom and their families can focus on the ceremony.

We are going to stop there, and I am going to talk about the "unexpected".  

Let me rewind, my baby sister finally got married last weekend after 8 years of dating her high school sweetheart. They shared their first kiss when he dropped to his knee and asked her to be his wife.   This wedding was both a monumental and long-awaited affair.  She is the last to be married off and leave my parents house.  As her big sister I have watched her grow into a godly young woman who has chased after God's own heart for many many years.  I think I was as excited to watch her walk down the aisle as she was....ok, maybe she was just a teensy bit more excited, but seriously, can you blame her?  

That's the look of joy my friends.

As one of her bridesmaid's I assumed all of the roles that typically come with it and I was thrilled to be able to be a part of her special day.  The day of the wedding was a perfect 82 degree day and the sanctuary was decked out and looked nothing short of lovely, thanks to my Mom and Aunt....they truly have a gift.    I made cupcakes several days ahead and then spent the morning of the wedding making sure they were all frosted, topped, and ready to be devoured.  Everything was moving along smoothly and seamlessly...I knew there had to be a catch.  Here is where the unexpected happens....

Let me back up again and set this story up.  

See, I am known for awkward red-in-the-face "moments".  Immediately my head is filled with shameful, run and hide kind of memories.  Like when I was walking through the halls of my high school and some how my backpack got caught on the door jam and flipped me over with such force that I lay on my back with the wind knocked out of me.  Or the time I had finished giving a speech for a woman's conference at my college, and as I was exiting down the side staircase I must have missed a major step and ended up piled in a heap at the bottom of the steps....nearly taking out the dessert table along the way.  Or the time I was giving a very serious speech during class and spent much of the speech gasping and giggling, red-faced with tears streaming down my face....all composure lost and never to be regained.  Can you say "unexpected" and completely awkward? And those are just the tips of the gigantic iceberg.  I suppose I could say I have a rare talent....let's just leave it at that.

So, back to the beautiful wedding day.....
The bride was ready.
The bridesmaids were ready....well, sort of.   It was about this time that I started to feel like this...
I know, I know...super highly attractive photo of myself.....I'm trying to prove a point here.

Thinking it was due to not eating enough or drinking enough water I began to stuff my face with ritz crackers, greek yogurt, string cheese and water.  Then before I knew it, it was show time! I began praying the queezy geezy feeling would pass. It didn't.

I made it through the slide show, down the aisle, and through most of the pastor's speech.....and then everything started getting a bit fuzzy.  I kept praying "Lord, DO NOT let me pass out or pass chunks."  I knew my reputation of making grand awkwardtastophies.....and this definitely was not the time nor place for that.  However, I just remember someone grabbing my arm and taking me out the side door of the church...where I immediately keeled over.  Just in the nick of time! 

Some fall flat on their faces, I am happy to say at least I made a dignified and somewhat graceful (if being escorted counts)exit off the stage before saying "hello" to the ground. Knowing my luck I would have done some sort of ridiculous flip off the stage and landed sprawled below. 

I will count my blessings.  

However, I am sad to say I missed the vows, the "kiss, the dinner, the cupcakes, and the farewell to the new bride and groom. :( Sad day for me.  But a very very joyful one for my sister and her now husband! They make an amazing couple who will bring much glory to the Kingdom of God. 

Congrats Shannon and Kris...glad I could make your day extra memorable....after all, isn't that part of being a bridesmaid? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So this is going to be a quick post, I have been wanting to post the chocolate cupcake as promised but some little mister has been giving me looks like this...
And this....
And when I get stared at by those big blue eyes everything else falls to the wayside.  He is still working on his two upper teethers, and although he is usually pleasant I can tell that he just feels a bit "off".  I don't blame him I would too. In fact, I totally sympathize with my punky-poo.

Several years ago I had one of my bottom wisdom teeth break through my gums, my whole left side of my jaw swelled up like a chubby chipmunk.  Lucky for me I worked for a dental office and they shot me up with some good ole numbing power to make it somewhat tolerable. So little buddy, I feel for ya.....unfortunately all I have is orajel and baby tylenol, which sometimes seems as if it is pointless.  If he was a bit older I would make him something extra special just for being the trooper that he is.  In fact, I might even make him something like this....

I took my all-time favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and paired it with cookies n' cream frosting...


I think the pic sums up the chocolate-y piece of advice, make sure you have a tall glass of ice cold milk in your other hand. You can't have oreo's without the milk, it just wouldn't be right....and I don't even like milk much. So here ya go!

Chocolate Cupcake with Cookies n' Cream Frosting:
Source: I don't remember where I got the cupcake recipe, the frosting is from Annie's Eats

2 C. Sugar
1 3/4 C Flour
3/4 C Unsweetened Cocoa
2 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 C. Buttermilk
1 C strong black coffee, or instant coffee with 1 C boiling water.
1/2 C Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla


Preheat oven to 350
In large bowl stir together first 6 ingredients.  Add in the remaining ingredients and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into prepared cupcake pans, and bake for 18-25 minutes.  For mini cupcakes bake for 9-11 minutes. Cool completely.

For the frosting:
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. whipping cream
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. Oreo cookie crumbs

In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.  Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks.  Gently fold in the cookie crumbs with a spatula.

Remember cupcake in one hand, milk in the other. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I SPY....

A new tooth! And boy am I happy that there is an explanation to the Mr. Crabster I have had on my hands this past week.  My usually sweet-as-apple-pie baby turned on me over night...and out came the fangs, literally.  I kept trying to see if a tooth was the culprit, but every time I tried he would stick out his tongue, bite my finger, or jerk his head in the opposite direction.  Finally, I got smart and tricked him by playing a game that I like to call "upside down baby" it always results in full on open-mouth laughter. As I dipped  him back and his cheeks dimpled up in a smile I saw "it" barely protruding through the skin.  Thank goodness.

But I have to say, I sure am going to miss that gummy grin, it melts my heart. 
I had plans of posting a bunch of updated photos of my little guy and our new temporary home, but apparently I have maxed out our computer's photo capacity....maybe if I wasn't so darn fond of this precious boy...
But then I would miss out on moments like this. And I can't have that.  So as soon as we make more room or get a new computer I will go baby crazy with pictures.

In the meantime...I might just go cupcake crazy.  I have several recipes I have been dying to post, but time has not been on my side lately.  So here ya go, these are Caley tested and approved.

The first one is a White Wedding Cupcake and let me first say that I do not like boxed cake mixes, and usually if a recipe calls for one I won't even give it a chance.  But I was running short on time and this one caught my eye. Plus, I was looking for a cupcake that would stay a pretty white and not brown on the edges. This one not only did just that, but also stayed light, fluffy and oh so moist.  It still had a wee bit of cake mix taste but I actually didn't mind it, and will definitely make them again.

So if you need a quick, easy, and guaranteed to work recipe this would be your best bet. Plus you make up for the time saved when making the frosting, but trust me it is SO worth it. I will share my Oreo Frosted cupcake with you tomorrow (or when I can squeeze in some more blogging time).

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Cupcake:

For the Cupcake
Source: Recipe Girl


1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites


1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans (you'll need approx. 36).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended.
3. Use ice cream scoop to fill prepared cupcake tins- fill about 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Frosting:
Source: Annie's Eats

1½ cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped*
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups sugar
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make the frosting, place the strawberries in a food processor or blender.  Puree until completely smooth.  Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer** fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer – don’t worry, it will come together!)  Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

The only thing these cupcakes were missing was a fresh strawberry filling, which I had every intention of making but ran out of time.   I think it would take them to a whole other level and really pull together the cake and frosting into one glorious union! If you have never made Swiss meringue frosting it is a MUST! It is seriously the prettiest and easiest to pipe frosting I have ever worked with.  ***Just a helpful hint, if you are like me and make it ahead of time (which can be done) don't freak out when you thaw it and the strawberries separate into a juicy mess. DON'T lay your head down and sob (not saying that's what I did...but I will say there were some tears and some blubbering words....and if I wasn't so pressed for time I just may have taken a long moment to actually lay my head down and offer up a good sob or two. Just sayin.) Instead of the latter, roll up your sleeves, grab your nearest hand mixer and whip the heck out of it until it resets back into the beautiful meringue it was made to be. Trust me it will come together. And you will fall in love all over again. That's all.***