One of my favorite DIY, culinary whizzes, creatively inspiring, and fabulous bloggers is The Fab Miss B. Her posts always make me envious and wishing 1) that I had more free time (ahem, ambition) to pursue creative, handmade endeavors and 2) that I lived in Hawaii. I was checking out Miss B's archives when I came across a post that linked to this great bakers' supply site, Fancy Flours. Here are a few of my favorite items. Be sure to check out both The Fab Miss B and Fancy Flours.
I am no stranger to the wonderful world of baking, which is why I should have known better when I attempted to satisfy a recent craving of mine by whipping up some from-scratch strawberry cupcakes with Nutella frosting. I've been salivating over the idea of these for awhile now. Keep in mind, I've never actually seen nor experienced such a heavenly mix, not outside of my dreams, that is. For help and inspiration, I turned to my good friend, Google, where I discovered two promising looking recipes (in other words, the first ones I happened to stumble upon).
The strawberry cupcake recipe I chose to use seemed promising. For one, it was from the Martha Stewart website, and from what I've heard, that woman knows her way around a kitchen. And secondly, it used strawberry puree, instead of flavored gelatin, which was a plus because I happened to have some strawberries on hand that were still good, but were looking a little less than appetizing. Here is the recipe. Please take a moment to scope it out so we're all on the same page.
Now, right away I was a tad perplexed by the inclusion of baking powder, being more familiar with recipes calling for baking soda, but hey, who was I to disagree with the Homemaker Queen? So I made my from-scratch cupcakes, merrily popped them in the oven and took them out five minutes less than the recommend time. They weren't pretty. I didn't expect them to be, knowing that fruit tends to brown when it's baked and that there wouldn't be even the slightest hint of the Easter egg pink color we've all come to associate with strawberry flavored foods. But still, they seemed a little off...
Whatever. Letting the cupcakes cool, I proceeded to wash the dishes and whip up some Nutella Cream Cheese frosting that I found at the blog, Tartelette. This frosting looked easy enough to make, and after a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some confectioner's sugar, I had everything on hand. I had no hesitations with this recipe. Unfortunately, it seems that despite the fact that I used my lovely new Kitchenaid to "whisk" the frosting together, and despite the fact that my ingredients had been sitting out since I started the cupcakes and the entire time I was at the grocery store, leading me to believe they were definitely "at room temperature", I still ended up with lumps in my frosting. And since I didn't want to mess around with piping bags and tips, I generously snipped off the corner of a Ziplock and went to town.
And this is what I ended up with:
Uh... yup! That's right folks! Dog shit cupcakes!
Tartelette insisted that the frosting recipe was enough to frost 12 cupcakes, but apparently she doesn't frost with the same heavy hand I do (or the same pregnancy cravings), so I ended up with some pretty skimpily frosted cupcakes towards the end.
But the real question is, how did they taste?
I'm going to be honest here, they weren't good. The frosting was to die for, but the cupcakes tasted like... wait for it... baking powder. They were gross. There was nothing cupcakey about them. They lacked sweetness, and most importantly, they lacked the real strawberry flavor I was looking for.
Needless to say, I think I'll be sticking with eating strawberries slathered in Nutella instead.
One of my favorite design bloggers, Elsie at A Beautiful Mess, does a recurring Sunday post, 10 Things I Love Sunday. Since becoming an avid reader of her blog, I have become so inspired by her sense of design. I'm also inspired to create my own "10 Things I Love" post. Enjoy!
1. Belly/Tummy Band/Sleeve
If I could, I would live in my Tummy Sleeve. I love this thing. It holds up my unbuttoned non-maternity pants, allows me to wear my shorter non-maternity tanks and tees, and overall smooths out any, um, bulges.
We've been trying to hit the gym once or twice a week where I can usually be found for a half hour on the elliptical machines. Obviously I'm not looking to get results from my gym trips. I go because it makes me feel good. I love going to the gym while pregnant because I don't feel any pressure to really work it; I can move at my own leisurely pace. Plus, it's funny to see the looks people give pregnant ladies at the gym.
3. A Body Pillow
I recently purchased a full body support pillow made specifically for pregnant ladies. I know regular pillows probably would have worked, but they take up too much precious bed space. Although I'm still trying to find the best set-up, I'm totally loving mine.
(left) The Boppy Total Body Pillow; available at Target $45 (right) the Snoogle Original; available at Target $55
4. A Stash of Sweets
I realize not every prego woman craves sweet things, but I do. Sweet, fruity things to be more specific. Which is why I try to always have fruit on hand (seriously, I can't walk through the produce section of a grocery store without salivating). I also have a small stash of fruit flavored candy, organic fruit flavored Greek yogurt and low-fat mintchocolate ice cream (for those times when my newly awakened sweet tooth takes me in a different direction).
5. A Cool Pair of Shades
Hey, if I'm going to be big and pregnant during the gorgeous, sunshiny seasons of Spring and Summer, I might as well have fun with my accessories, right?I picked up these cheerful sun glasses the other day and can't wait for the rain to clear so I can wear them.
I'm horrible about emailing and calling people, so when I want to update my family and friends about pregnancy happenings, I write a post on a blog specifically for this purpose. Granted, I'm not any better at blogging than I am emailing, but at least this way my news is in one central location that can be perused at their leisure and won't get lost in an overcrowded inbox.
7. An Etsy Wishlist
As if I need to explain this. Here are a few items currently on mine. (p.s. I am madly in love with Buttercup the bunny!)
8. A Supportive, Loving Man by Your Side Or woman. Or other supportive person. Whatever applies to your situation. I don't know that I could remain sane during all of this if it weren't for the support I have.And the pampering is pretty nice too.
9. Lounge Pants I have an awesome pair of maternity "active" pants that I wear for working out at the gym in, sleeping in, and lounging around the house after a long day at work.If I could wear them to work, I probably would.
10. Sunshine! My moods are greatly affected by theseasons and weather. Bright, sunshiny days cheer me up and pull me out of whatever funk I might be in, which is why I'm so glad my 2nd and 3rd trimesters are occurring during the sunniest times of year. I couldn't imagine having to be moody and uncomfortable during late fall and the long, depressing months of winter. Bring on the sun, Mother Nature, bring on the sun!
p.s. All of these opinions are mine. I was in no way compensated for writing good stuff about any of the above good products.
Let's be honest, while maternity clothing has come a looong way from our mother's prego-wear, and certainly from our grandmother's, there is still a lot left to be desired when it comes to maternity shopping. I, for one, am pretty fed-up with all the tent-like tops and less-than appealing elastic banded pants. My sense of style has always tended towards the relaxed, laid-back side. Thanks to Hollywood and the baby-bump craze, there are definitely fashionable baby-bump clothing out there for almost every style, however, unless you've got the pocketbook of a celebrity, it might be hard to find affordable clothing that best reflects you. I know I've been having a heck of a time trying to find maternity wear that fits my personal style. So I've been improvising.
I don't know if it's the additional female hormones in my body or if it's just my heart softening a bit, but I'm falling head over heels in love with some very girly outfits (something that I thought I would always be against). Check out some of the items that have recently caught my eye.