Monday, April 30, 2012

Cupcake Wars: Eating to World Peace

I am a gym rat.  I also bake a lot of high caloric foods.  Maybe that is why I am a gym rat.  Necessity.  The dichotomy is not really that blatant until I am at the gym watching Cupcake Wars as my machine reads that I have just finished a 900 calorie work out.  I would like to formally apologize to those at the gym with me who are stuck watching it.  I have no desire to change this behavior.  I like both activities. I like them simultaneously.  But if you ever run into someone who mentions that they go to the gym with some crazy who watches the Food Network while at the gym, you can go ahead and tell them I sometimes feel guilt about this (since they probably aren't reading this blog). 

Of all of the shows I watch on the Food Network while at the gym, Cupcake Wars is quickly becoming a favorite.  Who knew cupcaking could be an extreme sport?  Those cupcakers are kind of hard core and their contribution to society does not go unnoticed.  Cupcakes are so cute and cuddly.  It is hard to be mad at life with your mouth full of cupcake.  Try it.  Stop reading. Bake a batch of cupcakes.  Eat them and then mid-bite try to be mad about something.  Can't do it?  Just as I suspected.  I hypothesize that cupcakes are the answer to world peace.  Anyone want to sponsor my bakery so I can test this theory? Please and thank you. 

I got to have a little cupcake wars of my own this weekend.  Carrot cake cupcakes vs. devil's food cake cupcakes vs. cheesecake cupcakes. 

Contestant 1:
Contestant 2:

Contestant 3:

Oh wait.  The were all sugary therefore delicious therefore they all won.  Cupcake war over.  I guess its a good thing I am not a judge on the show. It would turn into the YMCA where everybody is a winner as long as they had fun.  I don't think you could produce a show on such principles.  They probably need some drama to make it enjoyable for the viewers. 

I might be a bad judge of cupcakes but I am a good judge of how much my kids have learned.  Yes, yes, yes we have standardized tests that show how much kids have learned from you but the most telling event happened for me today.  We were taking our district wide reading test and when my one of my students finished, she said, "Ms. A, that was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!"  I was elated. Not because she found the test easy (although that was a bonus) but because she quoted me.  I say that all the time.  I'm not sure what that says about America's future that I have a lot of mini-me's floating around out there calling things easy-peasy-lemon-sqeezy but I am gonna say I felt this I'm-a-rockstar sensation bubbling up from within.   Changing kids for the better is a pretty awesome job to have.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  The happiness that stems from these types of moments is priceless.  Whether it is the moments like biting into a melt-in-your-mouth-fresh cupcake or waking up and driving to do what you love, just do it.  Life is too short to not seek joy.  As they say in the book of James, life is but a mist.  Fill it and fill it well.  Where your passion is, where your heart is, there lies your meaning.  Fixate on these things; seeking purpose and finding that which spurs you on to leave a legacy of your own.  I wouldn't say that this task is so "easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy" but I would say it's the cream filling to your Hostess.  It's the good stuff. 

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Save the planet. Recycle your cakes!

Earth day was Sunday.  Yay Earth!  I spent the day riding my bike and reminding my skin that while I hang out with a lot of tan people, I am not a tan person.  My wardrobe today avoided the red hues as to not accentuate my lobster-like coloring.  Not gonna complain though.  Life on a bike is always better.  I appreciated the excuse to zoom around on two wheels and get an awesome hair-do from my helmet.  What I love about being a Coloradan is I went to church immediately after my ride, and my slightly flattened (and yes believe it or not my hair does have the ability to flatten) hair matched about half of the people there who had also been sporting about all day.
Being a Coloradan, recycling is also rampant.  In an effort to support our planet and save the earth, I decided cake recycling should also be practiced.  You know how you cut a cake, enjoy a cake and then want to enjoy it the next day and it has not held it's moist state and then you want to cry?  Well, recycle your cake instead.  Go green.  Do cake pops.  While some fools have been tricked into buying expensive cake pop machines that bake the cakes into cute little balls, they do not know what they are missing.  If you take the already baked cake and mix it up with the frosting and roll it into a meatball it is like heaven in your mouth.  Trust me, heaven is worth the few extra calories.  Then these cake-y meatballs are dipped in the melted goodness and rolled in cookie crumbs.  Oh yes.  Recycling can be delicious.  No more dry cake.  No more tears.  Just heaven in a spherical form.

Can you see all the moistness that is happening in the middle of that?  Cake pop makers you by at the store are a weak attempt at delicious in comparison.  They just bake cakes into spheres. Don't even waste your pantry space (which you know is precious).  I have been oogling over a lot of kitchen gadgets recently.  Kitchen stores are a dengerous place.  There are so many things to buy.  I mean, who doesn't need a special brownie pan that makes all edge pieces, a heart shaped donut pan, a blow torch or an icing gun?  Obviously those are necessities.  And since you are saving the Earth now by recycling your cakes, being a greater consumer of baking materials won't make a huge dent in the environment.  Everything balances out in my book. 

*Sigh* Justification is a glorious thing.  It allows me to get totally uneccessary baking tools, eat frozen yogurt by the pound in the name of "it's better for you than..." or drink massive amounts of caffeine because I am sure I can identify someone who has a worse addiction than me.  Justification allows for my zero calorie rules and my overly type-A-if-I-don't-do-it-who-will attitude.  This kind of justification however, while it excuses bad behaviors and character flaws is no comparison to the Jesus kind.

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," Romans 5:1

I can dig that. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wedding Cakes and Easy Bakes

It is official.  As my lease ends in September I have come to the glaring realization that my next residence needs nothing more than a kitchen.  I will have a bed that turns into a dining room table, or maybe not even have a bed, just buy more Rockstars and Starbucks.  I think this is a wise investment, as I spent Thursday afterschool pretending like my size-of-a-miniature-poodle kitchen was really a commercial size kitchen and proceeded to make a baseball hat carrot cake, a coconut baseball cake, chocolate cupcakes, an ice cream cake and 3 flavors of frosting.  Things got interesting. It is never a good idea to have dense carrot cakes that are sculpted into a baseball hat delicately balancing on your coffee maker with the prayer that it doesn't fall when the sculpted cake has reached the status of being called "my baby."  Its like trying to bake a wedding cake in an Easy Bake oven; it just shouldn't happen.

These cakes were then transported and my friends who helped in the transporting probably didn't realize that they put their lives on the line for coming to my aid because if they dropped one, I was prepared to make them pay ("end them" if you will).  Yeah, I get attached to my projects sometimes.  Character flaw? Probably.  But I have decided that instead of dealing with this unhealthy attachment to my baked goods, I should probably just move into a kitchen and mask the issue.  Logical.  Regardless, the cakes made it to their destination in one piece. 

See?  This is the cake.  At it's destination.  In one piece.  There was one smudge of black icing but I decided to spare my helper's life since it was a 98.4% success (which is a passing grade).  Smudged icing is still delicious icing.  In addition, the baseball cake in the background made it without a hitch.  Plus?  In Ace of Cakes people have commited greater errors in transportation and they still maintain their living and breathing status and even their jobs as cake gurus so I decided a little grace was in order.  Thank goodness I have Jesus to teach me how to be nice to people like this, eh? 

That is something that has been running through my mind a lot lately.  We all have these things that bring the carnal side of us out, the ugly parts of us that we would rather others not bare witness to.  The reality is there is a whole lot of my character that has been transformed by the grace of God.  This grace covers me and compells me to be a better me.  Though flaws are abundant, there is a clear mark left by my Maker who continually refines me and for that I praise.  I am compassionate and sweet not because I am massively sugared from all of my baking projects but because I am loved greatly by the greatest Lover of all time. 

"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dentures, depends and desserts.

Titles can be misleading.  Everyone has been recommending (and by everyone I mean random people on Pinterest I don't even know who have been deciding my most recent culinary endeavors) this recipe called "I want to marry you" cookies.  I have decided that the title is missing an important piece.  I am choosing to call these cookies "I want to marry you quick because pretty soon all of the butter in this recipe will go to my hips and then you won't want to marry me anymore" cookies.


The butter that left it's shiny trace on each fingertip was a gentle reminder that while these cookies contained oatmeal, they are a negative five on the health scale.  It is recipes like these that make me excited to get old because when I am old and retired with my own little bakery, I plan on eating whatever I want.  Ice cream for breakfast.  Everyday.  For lunch too.  Maybe dinner.  I deserve to celebrate each breath I continue to take, and I plan on celebrating with tons of the things I said no to while eating my greens in my 20's when it mattered.  I think I need a Pinboard reserved for the recipes I will make for myself when I am 80 and there is zero hope for me ever having a six pack.  I'm not going to say that I won't enjoy a salad or two when I am older, but my rigid diet will not be a priority.  I will eat what I want when I want and lick the plate when I finish.  I will make many much "I want to marry you" cookies drenched in butter and own at least 5 ice cream makers to ensure that I have a wealth of ice cream selections available to me at all times. 

Among the many things I dream about doing when I'm old like opening my own bakery and having brightly colored sweat suits for doing Jazzercize, I am excited to grow old with someone.  I may let go of nutrition and adopt ice cream as my sole nutrient but love is something that will not be relinquished.    Bouquets, letters and sweet moments walking hand in hand will crescendo into a beautiful symphony of romance as we get old and prune-y together.  It will be beautiful.  So, I wait for the days of my frozen dairy diet and watch God's plan unfold in the process, enjoy every rabbit meal I nibble at and smell the flowers delivered to me today with the scent bright promises. 

"And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."   Romans 8:28