Guys, these computer problems are making me want to open my back door and throw this desktop out the door and smash it to pieces. I may have to bite the bullet and get a new one – it keeps shutting off for no reason, takes FOREVER to download pictures from my phone. It’s already past 11 in the morning and I am just getting to writing today’s post. Crazy! But I’ve realized that there are worse world problems out there, and have enjoyed a few cups of coffee with a nice breeze coming in the window beside my desk. It’s a cool 51 degrees and a bit overcast. And I have the day off today, so I need to stop bitching.
I had such a fun work weekend. Saturday was Lincoln Scared at the Lincoln Square Chopping Block location. When I got the email that I could dress up, I knew immediately that I could resurrect my Guy Fieri costume of 2011.
One of the managers also dressed up like him – and people were joking that it was two too many Guy Fieri’s in the world!
One of the retail sales associates, Laura, had the Diners, Drive-in and Dives sign on:”
There were so many people walking through – it ran from 11 – 2 p.m. and I think we went through 30 giant bags of Candy from Costco and lots of vodka for the Bloody Mary’s for the parents. It was kind of funny because adults would walk by, see a glass of tomato juice with an olive floating in it and asking “is there alcohol in that?!” Yep! That was a big hit.
I posted my picture on Instagram and I thought it was nice that Sunny Anderson commented!
I came home and made a pasta dish with a new marinara sauce using LOTS of veggies, but I am posting that recipe later this week, so stay tuned.
Sunday I was up bright and early to make it to work by 8:00 a.m. You all know how I hate being late, and I ended up being about 35 minutes early, so I had time to hit up Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. I had their veggie flatbread, and it was actually pretty good. 10 smart points though!
So it was my first boot camp to work at, so the set up was different. Usually we mis en place everything they would need, but this time we just set up all the equipment they would need and set up a pantry of ingredients for them to measure up all the ingredients themselves.
Um, there was a bit of butter necessary for these cupcakes!
I learned a lot yesterday, as you all know I am more of a cook than a baker. I can’t tell you how many times I made muffin recipes only to have the family try them and ask “did you remember to put sugar in these?!” Doh! Compliments of The Chopping Block, here are a few tips and tricks when baking cupcakes at home:
The Dos and Don’ts of Cupcakes
- Ingredients should always be room temperature, including eggs, butter and dairy (never boiled).
- Use proper measuring equipment for each ingredient: wet for wet, dry for dry.
- When creaming butter and sugar, the mixture should be fluffy like finished batter and be soft enough to spread like frosting.
- When whipping eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, the mixture should be as light in color as butter and should make a figure eight with the beaters that holds for several seconds.
- Alternating dry and wet is always in five steps: dry-wet-dry-wet-dry. In other words, divide the dries into three portions and the wet into two. Add to the batter starting and ending with dry.
- Overmixing is a big no-no, because it will result in a tougher, denser cake. Just mix the flour until incorporated.
- If you are using an electric mixer, do it on the lowest speed.
- Don’t overfill your tins. Each cup should be filled the same amount. Using a scoop with a release lever helps a great deal. Start a new tin if you have extra-don’t add, or you will have overflowing cupcakes.
- Don’t bang your tins on the table! You don’t want to get rid of all that air you just worked so hard to get in your cupcake.
- Convection vs. Conventional: Set a convection oven 25 degrees lower than conventional oven.
- Testing doneness: Don’t use a toothpick. A more reliable test is to make sure the middle of the cupcake springs back. If it stays depressed, they need to bake longer.
Out of all the cupcakes we made, I loved how the Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting turned out.
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 cup sweet potato puree (see note, below)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 batch Italian Meringue (recipe below)
- Italian Meringue
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 8 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Whip the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, and beat to soft peaks.
- Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepot. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to cook until it reads 235° (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove to a glass bowl.
- Gradually drizzle the sugar into the egg whites while beating. Continue to beat until cool, thick and satiny.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pureed sweet potato, eggs, water, grapeseed oil and maple syrup until smooth.
- Mix the wet ingredients In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Whisk to remove any lumps from the flour.into the dry, stirring until just combined.
- Use a scoop to fill the prepared muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes until the tops spring back when touched, 16 to 18 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and cool completely.
- Pipe Italian meringue on each cupcake, using a large star tip. Quickly brown the meringue with a torch or under a broiler.
- Note: For the sweet potato puree, bake a medium-size sweet potato, with the skin on, at 350° for 40 to 50 minutes, until very soft. Cool, and then remove the skin. Mash the flesh well with a potato masher, or puree with a food processor or ricer.
So even in the face of cupcakes all day, they didn’t tempt me at all. All I was dreaming about was a big burger!
I had 1/3 of a small potato left in my fridge, so Pam fried slices of potato and set them aside. My burger is 5 ounces raw ground sirloin (5), with a 2 ounce kaiser roll (5) 1 ounce of Cabot 50% reduced fat cheese (2) and two ounces of the sliced potato on top (2) oh, and with a tiny bit of jalapeno mustard! This was 14 smart points, but was totally worth it.
I have to share my niece Rachel’s Halloween costume this year – her office is dressing up today – can you guess who she is supposed to be?!
I am going to buy one small bag of candy on the off chance that I get any trick-or-treators which will be slim to none. It’s going to be overcast most of the day, but no chance of rain and high of 60, so maybe weather will play a factor in getting some kids to walk down my street. Fingers crossed! Tony used to make so much fun of me because I would sit by the front door for hours just waiting for anyone to walk by.
Hopefully my computer won’t crash again before I hit publish. Off to check some things off my to-do list! Make it a great day!