Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes… Yum!

Yesterday, March 8, was my birthday.  Traditionally my mom makes my favorite cake for me- angel food cake.  This year was the exception, so I decided to make my own birthday cupcakes!

I love baking, so I looked through one of my Betty Crocker cookbooks and found a recipe for chocolate cupcakes with chocolate orange icing.  I was so excited to bake completely homemade cupcakes…. with a little pizzaz.

Although I ran into some difficulties with the cupcake batter (I forgot to add the orange zest so I had to start all over again), the cupcakes were delicious!  I truly think that these are the best cupcakes that I have ever made.

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe:

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

 

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup hot water

2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

3/4 cup margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place paper baking cups in 24 regular size muffin cups.

2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.  In another bowl, mix hot water and cocoa until dissolved- set both bowls aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat margarine with electric mixer until smooth.  Gradually add sugar- 1/2 cup at a time (beat well after each addition).  Beat 2 minutes longer.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each.  Beat in vanilla and orange zest.  On a low speed, mix in cocoa mixture and flour mixture- alternate each.  Beat until well blended.

4.  Fill 24 cupcake cups 2/3 full.

5.  Bake for 20- 25 mins or until cupcakes are spongey.  Remove and cool.

Frosting Recipe:

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup margarine, softened

3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

3 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons orange juice (pulp free)

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1. In a large bowl, mix butter and melted chocolate until well blended.

2. Stir in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Beat in vanilla and orange juice until smooth.

3. Beat in orange zest until well blended.

4. Use spatula to put icing into a sealable sandwich bag, seal, and cut off corner.

5. Frost cupcakes using bag to create swirl and place small pieces of orange peel on top as garnish.

Grow, Business, Grow!

Once again, I have been neglecting the world of wordpress… I am guilty.  But, with good reason! I promise!  Besides all of my wedding planning craziness , I have also been trying to create more and get my pottery out there.  I do have my Etsy shop, Oak Leaf Crafts, but I also wanted to try to get my work in a real shop.  Guess what??  I did!! Keepin' It Local  Morganza, MD

Keepin’ It Local is a fun shop in Morganza in Southern Maryland.  I grew up in the area and passed the building that houses the local shop often.  However, it was not always a local goods and art shop.  The building was built in 1900 and was used as the local general store, bar, and post office all at the same time.  I personally remember it as an old abandoned building. I was so thrilled to see that someone purchased the old post office and made it into a local goods shop, keeping the history alive.  After visiting the shop and seeing that other local artists had their work in the shop, I had to try.  And they accepted!  Now some of my pottery is in the shop!  There are so many interesting things there and I highly recommend visiting if you are in the area!!

I have also made a page for Oak Leaf Crafts on Facebook (with the help from the fiance of course).  I am trying!!!  One day maybe I will be able to make even more work… who knows!

Some of my pottery :)

Some of my pottery🙂

My first Keepin' It Local paycheck!

My first Keepin’ It Local paycheck!

So I went back… again….

I posted before that I had visited the Orthopedic doctor for my back.  He spoke to me at length about my symptoms, he decided that we would not try physical therapy again because it did not work previously, and prescribed an MRI.  FINALLY.  I have wanted to get an MRI done for a long time now and hadn’t been able to get a doctor to agree with me that I needed it.

The dark gray disc towards the bottom of my spine is the herniated disc.

So on Monday I went in for my first MRI (which wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be) and got my scans there and then.  Of course that night I looked them over – the amazing radiologist that I am- and froze when I spotted a huge white blob next to my spine.  I was positive that I had a tumor/ cancer.  The following day I was a wreck.  My next Ortho appointment wasn’t until Thursday and it was only Tuesday.  It felt forever away to figure out my actual results… but then a co-worker told me that I could call the radiologist and request copies of my written results within 48 hours of my MRI.  Perfect.  I was scared, but I called and requested them.  I booked it over to the radiologist and picked up my results 30 mins before they closed.

I opened them.

I didn’t have cancer.

Thank you, God.

What it did say though was that I have two herniated and ruptured discs pressing against my spinal cord, affecting my nerves (Stenosis).  Well crap.  I was so happy that I didn’t have what I originally thought, but what is this??

Today was the official appointment with my Ortho doctor.  Basically what he said was that this will never go away.  My options at this point are all to just alleviate the pain and numbness.  Steroids, Cortisone shots, or surgery to remove the part of the disc that is pressing into my spinal cord.

I really do feel lucky and blessed to be spared from the big “C”.  I was so worried and, being the pessimistic person I am,  was POSITIVE that is what I had.  I can still hike, camp, throw, teach, etc- as long as the pain is gone.

So I finally went…

… To the back doctor.  Or Orthopedic doctor.
For those of you who are potters, artists, or teachers you probably know the feeling.  I have really been putting off going, but my back has gotten so bad that it is hard to do every day things.  Like getting dressed… or sleeping.  Or walking.  Or bending over to pick something up. Or…. the list goes on and on.
So, long story short, I have had back problems for quite some time now.  I went to the same doctor months ago and he prescribed physical therapy, but did not diagnose my issues.  So I went, but with no positive results.  Needless to say, I stopped going to PT and kind of forgot about going back to the doctor.  (Secretly I was hoping that this would all go away…
Now fast forward more than a few months and here I am.  Back is worse.  Pinching and numbness.  So what does he think now?  I have a pinched nerve.  Oh what joy.  Curse you, pottery!!  (Not really… I still love you.) So now I am going to get an MRI on Monday to confirm that is the correct diagnosis.
It sounds bad, but I am almost thankful that he figured out what was wrong.  I have been this way for so long that I thought that maybe it was all in my head- I was crazy.
So there will more than likely be an update next week as to what is going on.
WORD TO THE WISE- go to the doctor.  Don’t abuse your body.

Well… It’s been a while.

Hello again.

Yea, yea… I know.  I fail.  Again.  So just like last school year I am having problems posting on here.  A ton has been happening with wedding planning, school work, and attempts at selling things on Etsy.

Really at this point I want to promote my Etsy shop- Oak Leaf Crafts.  I have posted several new items and would LOVE for people to check them out! Stay tuned for more posts…. but for now…. SHOP!!

Eat Food. Series Bowls

Ceramic Tumblers Set

Small Cappuccino Bowls

Woof! Puppy Treats!

So you have probably figured out already that I love to bake… and cook…. and eat.  A while back (while I wasn’t spending time blogging…. whoops!) I wanted to make a yummy treat for Moose- my rescue.

I searched online and found this website which listed a great recipe for dog friendly cookies.  Moose loves peanut butter so this one was perfect… not to mention it is SUPER easy!

Here is what the recipe calls for:

Ingredients:

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)

1 cup milk

Fun Cookie Cutters

How To:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix well.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown.

Cool and Serve!!

**Note:  The cookies do burn easily, so I checked them often.  Also, the cookies mold quickly, so either share the love, or fatten your pup up quickly!!

New Wok= Stir Fry Time!

Today I met my friend, Kristen, at Ikea in College Park.  I tend to frequent Ikea, and I am a tad-bit obsessed with it (of course I had already blogged about Ikea in my Craft room post).  While she was looking for furniture for her new apartment, I had my eye set on a new wok!  I have been using a really large, deep frying pan to make stir fry, but I have always wanted a wok.  I am sure that she thought that I was crazy, but as soon as I saw it, I got super pumped.

Dan, of course, was also pumped (not really, but he did appreciate my stir fry that I made tonight).  My mom had given me a bunch of cook books for Christmas one year, so I decided to use the Taste of Home: Winning Recipes book for a stir fry recipe.  Of course I ended up changing things around a little bit, but it was DELICIOUS!  Here is the Taste of Home‘s recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 pound beef top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cauliflowerets
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • Hot cooked riceDirections
    • In a small bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients until smooth; set aside.
    • In a skillet or wok, stir-fry steak in oil for 3-5 minutes. Add broccoli, cauliflower, onion, carrots and soy sauce mixture; cover and cook for 8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice. Yield: 4 servings.**In my recipe I did not use the ginger, I marinated my sliced beef in Trader Joe’s Soyaki marinade, and I did not use cauliflower (I used canned baby corn, a diced portabella mushroom cap, and water chestnuts instead).

First Press- Apple Cider Festival

 One of the many exciting things happening during this Labor Day weekend is the “First Press” cider festival in Jefferson, MD outside of Frederick at Distillery Lane Ciderworks.  I tagged along with my journalist fiance while he covered the event yesterday.  Although it was quite the trek from Columbia, it was well worth the drive.

This was their third annual “first Press” festival.  The event was held on the actual farm and even had a few vendors, a local band playing (The Woo-Yeahs), food, cider tasting, and a bee keeper.  While talking to one of the owners, we found out that they had already entertained about 500 people so far and were expecting at least 1,000.

I personally enjoyed the bee keeper and the band the most.  The bee keeper was very personable and entertaining.  My dad had recently decided to pick up bee keeping, and so this was very interesting to me to talk to someone else that shares the love of it.  The Woo-Yeahs were also really entertaining.  They were an alternative type country band complete with a banjo.

 People were tasting hard cider and regular cider while we were there, purchasing bushels of apples, people were picking apples, and overall enjoying the day.  I don’t think that the farm could have asked for a better day to host their festival.  (Full Story)

About Me.

Oh hi.

My name is Allison.

I am an art teacher based in Maryland.

I enjoy art, ceramics, sketchbooking, dancing when no one is around, singing in the car, decorating.. and redecorating, cooking, people-watching, and random music.

I am engaged to the love of my life... I can't wait to be married to him.

I like learning about new things.

I find people to be interesting.

Receive notifications of new posts by email!

Join 666 other followers