Posts tagged ‘Birthday’

May 10, 2010

My Mom and Hostess Cupcakes

Hostess cupcakes aren’t simply a tempting treat. For me, they are a nostalgic reminder of childhood and of my mother. As a child, I was awakened each year on my birthdays at precisely 7:58 am with a Hostess cupcake and a festively burning birthday candle (she may have only done this a handful of times, but it’s etched in my memory now as if it were every year. It’s funny how children’s memories work). Because of this I gleaned three significant facts.  One – From an early age, I knew exactly what time I was born. Two – I knew that my birth was an important event to my mother. Three – A hostess cupcake for breakfast, I knew it was a very special day.

Growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s, we didn’t eat a lot of store bought sweets. In our family, there were huge gardens from which we produced much of our food. Hostess cupcakes were a major treat in our family. My mother did have a knack for procuring some of the best sweets when she was inclined. One such treat was the rare Orange Hostess Cupcake which was available (and still are) in limited quantities at significant times.

Hostess cupcakes are nostalgia food for me. They remind me of my early morning birthday surprises, and my mom teaching us to savor and celebrate special moments with special treats.

So…  For Mother’s Day this year, my goal was to duplicate those precious gems to reflect how precious and rare it is to have a Mother like I have.

First, I found an orange cupcake recipe….

Then, I made a filling ala Organic & Chic Filled the cupcakes…

Improvised an orange-flavored white chocolate ganache with white chocolate chips and orange juice concentrate…

Spread the ganache….

Used left over white chocolate chips to create the signature seven Hostess swirls…


Handmade cupcake cards from me and my creative boys, a new cake-carrier with a spiffy ribbon and…

It was a Happy Mother’s Day with lots of Hostess Cupcake LOVE!

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

 

 

May 2, 2010

Nana’s Cake

Poppies make my Nana’s heart sing so I made this sweet delight for her 84th birthday party! Organic & Chic continues to inspire…


June 13, 2009

Frugal Friday: Chocolate Cake

You're Special Today!

You're Special Today!

Over the years, our family has developed special birthday traditions and rituals. And each year, the boys get to decide what their special birthday meal will be and flavor of their cake. Earlier this week, we celebrated Colin’s 12th birthday and his cake of choice was this year was (drum roll please): CHOCOLATE! 

My personal definition of frugal living encompasses living inexpensively with an emphasis on nutrition and nurturing:

Frugal Living is an art form and a skill I wish to cultivate in my life and home. It’s not just about saving money, conserving resources and being green.  What makes it an art is combining frugal standards while creating a nurturing and pampering environment. In other words, your family feels spoiled and loved not neglected and deprived.

Hershey recipe

Click for recipe

Chocolate cake made from scratch may cost a bit more than a box of cake-mix (frankly I’ve never done the calculations) and it may take a little more time to prepare, but it is the ultimate in yumminess and pampering. Our family favorite recipe comes from Hershey Chocolate. This cake is decadently moist and the frosting is fudgy-good!

Happy Frugal Friday!

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

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April 10, 2009

Ina Strikes Again!

thumb_bcipMove over Martha, Ina Garten has invaded the Strong residence.  

I love cooking and baking when I’m inspired!  Personally, I think Martha Stewart is an absolute genius.  When I’m in a cooking slump, I just reach for a new Martha Stewart Living magazine.  Martha coaches me. She tells me “you can do!” and in very simple steps trains me in the proper techniques. Remember the amazing chocolate Easter egg truffles on the cover of her magazine a few years ago? With Martha’s help, I made them.  They were made in real egg shells and the process took days, but they were beautiful!  

(I used eggs from my parent’s organic, free-range flock.  My mother saved all the Araucana eggs for me because they lay lovely green and blue eggs, so I didn’t have to dye my eggs).

Now I have Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook (Thank you Gabriels for the birthday gift that keeps on giving).  She inspired my now famous Wench toast or Fraffles, if you like. After reading her cookbook cover to cover (am I the only one who reads cookbooks like novels?), I was inspired to create an enchanting gourmet French meal for my family:  Salmon en papillote & Chocolate mousse with pizelles (side note: pizelles are Italian cookies).

Graeme posing with his meal... what have I started?

Graeme posing with his meal... what have I started?

Forrest posing and Colin non-verbally expressing his opinion of my French cuisine.

Forrest posing and Colin non-verbally expressing his opinion of my French cuisine.

The salmon was moist, the veggies were crunchy and the rice was nearly perfect.

The salmon was moist, the veggies were crunchy and the rice was nearly perfect.

Dessert got rave reviews!

Dessert got rave reviews!

The kitchen just may have gotten a 5 star from food critic, Drake, that evening...

The kitchen just may have gotten a 5 star from food critic, Drake, that evening...

March 14, 2009

Quotes for My 40th!

At 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30 the wit; and at 40 the judgment. – Ben Franklin

The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age. – French Proverb

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age. – Robert Frost

To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and non the wiser. – Robert Louis Stevenson

There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents…and only one for birthday presents, you know.  – Lewis Carroll

When I passed forty I dropped pretense, ’cause men like women who got some sense. – Maya Angelou

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March 13, 2009

Auld Lang Syne in March

cake0011Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne ?

-Robert Burns

There are dedicated times in life for reflection.  On New Years Eve, we collectively take a day to reflect upon the year that’s ending as we anticipate the year to come.  Every year, it was a tradition in my family to have chicken on New Years Eve and pork with sour kraut on New Years Day.  In the Pennsylvanian Dutch tradition this is done because the chicken roots backwards and the pig roots forward.  They also believed serving pork and sour kraut as the first meal of the new year brought blessing to the family. New Years Eve is a time of reflection while New Years Day is a time for defining goals, aspirations and dreams.

I am turning 40 in a few days and the past few months have been like a long New Years Eve for me.  There is something about turning 40 that causes you to really reflect upon your life.  Some people will tell you that it is just a number, but I disagree.  What’s important is that we take time at critical junctures in our lives to pause and to ponder.  

In the book of Haggai, God commands not once but twice to consider your ways.  According to “David Guzik’s Commentary on the Bible”, this is a Hebrew figure of speech which literally means to put your heart on your roads.  This implies that we need to reflect upon where we’ve been and where we are going.  But by putting our heart to our roads (to where we’ve been and where we are going), we put our deeds and accomplishments to the fiery test of the heart.  Is this truly lasting? Does this have eternal or termporal significance? What is my purpose? Am I fulfilling my purpose? Am I a positive influence in the lives of others?  In the lives of the next generation? Am I truly serving God? Is my life bearing fruit? 

I would offer after 2 score years what the Psalmist said in Psalms 119:59:  I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws.  My desire is to be as it says in 2 Timothy 2:19 an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.