So: super sweet

It was super sweet of Lifebeam to nominate me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award (and I love the cupcake visuals). It’s wonderful to be recognized by the excellent writers I’ve “met” through SowSewSo and it definitely prods me to the keyboard on those days when I’d rather be baking (or in my case, digging in the dirt, gaining a lovely farmer’s tan).

Without getting too gooey, thank you, Lifebeam, for including me in your baker’s dozen of noteworthy blogs and I appreciate the reference. I’ve enjoyed reading Lifebeam‘s posts and love the “one picture, one positive thought” philosophy that drives each post. Do check it out if you haven’t visited there yet.

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Here are the deliciously straight-forward set of rules for Super Sweet Blogging Award:

  1. Give credit to the person who chooses to nominate you. (DONE!)
  2. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions
  3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (I imagine that one must also let each know of their nomination)

My answers to the Super Sweet Questions:

  1. Cookies or cake? Neither. Cupcakes!
  2. Chocolate or vanilla? If it’s a cupcake, it should be vanilla with vanilla frosting. Maybe a few sprinkles on top just for fun. Or red velvet with cream cheese frosting.
  3. What is your favorite sweet treat, cheesecake or frozen yogurt? You can’t tempt me with cheesecake, but I do love fro-yo despite nearly OD-ing on it in college. You CAL friends might remember a little place called Yogurt Park…
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most? At work!
  5. If you had a sweet nickname what would it be? Petit Gâteau (aka Cupcake, see a pattern yet?)

Here is my yummy baker’s dozen of my blogging delights (and yes, you may notice repeats from sharing other awards but that’s because I really, really like those blogs):

1. TurtleandRobot.com

2. Lesley Carter

3. The Daily Golden

4. cupcaketravels

5. Winebbler

6. Expressions of my life – an evolution of art

7. The Grammar Belle

8. Ps & Qs & Ws

9. Three Hundred Sixty-Five

10. Daily Echo

11. Seth snap

12. Gnawing the Bone

13. leafandtwig

And there you have it. Check out the lucky 13 blogs and see if you find something new and fun to sweeten up your day.

Thank you again to Lifebeam for the nomination!

So: stupid Hallmark holiday

Woman holding heart, close upIn the Mortroski Midcentury, we’re not big fans of today’s Hallmark holiday. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s cards only between us.

That doesn’t mean we don’t share the love with a whole lot of other people.

For me, it’s not a party without cupcakes. And if you check out my LinkedIn profile, my coworkers expect me to show up with them. So holidays mean cupcake baking the night before the “party” (and when I say party, realize that it’s a bunch of art directors and writers with beers and snacks, nothing fancy).

So, I got to work:

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I spent part of last evening with Duncan and some friends…

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(my secret to fluffy white cupcakes is high speed mixing for exactly 2 minutes)

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(my other secret weapon: a cupcake portioner so I get the 24 cupcakes out of the batter that I need)

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getting baked

Bruce was also busy last night. Because of our other projects around the house, we didn’t get the wine bag we needed to get done started or finished last weekend. So Bruce decided to take on that task and it wasn’t very easy (Bravo, Bruce!):

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Bruce had lots of supervision: Godiva (brown), George (yellow), Guinness (black)

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Cursing at Morty and the fabric

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the final product — a bag of wine from the 3G Network for their pal Tracy (isn’t it pretty?)

Meanwhile, I got the cupcakes out of the oven so they could cool off.

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24 plain old white cupcakes. boring!

And iced them up, knowing they would disappear in mere moments.

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festive sprinkling and finished product. fun!

Today’s creative department Anti V-D Gathering was a smashing success. However, unlike some parties we have had or attended, no cupcakes were thrown or actually smashed. Most were in fact eaten as everyone complained about the stupid Hallmark holiday and all the chocolate around the office that was causing them to break their New Year’s resolutions and/or Lenten sacrifices.

After all of that frivolity, what’s on the schedule for tonight? An elegant dinner of leftover chili with a side of festive home projects! The ordered online curtain rod arrived today so perhaps we will have a Valentine’s Day curtain rod hanging! Or maybe a Valentine’s Day fireplace caulking! Yeeeeeeehaaaaawwwww!

In the Mortroski Midcentury, we do Hallmark holidays right!

Sow: cupcake tree

Ok, there’s no such thing, but believe me, if there was I’d certainly add it to the collection of plants in the Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm. Baking’s always been something that I love to do. However, I find that as the years march on, eating the stuff I make is no longer all that appealing to me. And I don’t have as much time as I’d like to make more elaborate desserts. How nice it would be to head outside cupcake carrier in hand and pluck the number needed fresh from the tree. Hopefully they’d have a grafted version with vanilla, red velvet, coconut, and chocolate all growing together.

white cupcakes, decorated and ready to go

white cupcakes, decorated and ready to go

Since my dream tree doesn’t exist, last night my old friend Duncan gave me a hand. He and I have been pals since I was old enough to use the mixer and turn on the oven. Betty plays second fiddle to Duncan when it’s cupcake time. What?!? I don’t grab a Barefoot Contessa/Nigella Lawson/Martha Stewart/other famous baker’s cookbook and start from scratch?

Hell no.

I’ve done it. And when it comes to cupcakes, Duncan Hinds is what everyone wants despite Sprinkles’ success. Why? Because eating a cupcake makes you feel like you’re 6 years old again when that cupcake was HUGE and you were so excited it was all yours. (By the way, that’s my theory for the size of the Sprinkles ones too. They are huge even by adult standards.) Unless your mom is Martha Stewart, Mom’s cupcakes were probably lovingly made by taking a box of cake mix made by Duncan Hinds or Betty Crocker, mixing it up with eggs, oil and water, pouring it into the cute little papers and baking them up.

My mom always made homemade icing, which I love, but over the years I’ve found that over the years my dear coworkers on either side of the border don’t really notice it’s homemade. They are too busy devouring every last crumb in seconds. So Duncan to the rescue again with his wide selection of frostings in cans.

devil's food cupcakes

devil’s food cupcakes pre-frosting

cupcakes pre-frosting

white cupcakes pre-frosting

Last night I made white and devil’s food cupcakes. 36 to be exact. Frosted and sprinkled, just like many moms made for class birthday celebrations when I was a kid. They’re for our department’s January birthday celebration and even though there are more than there are people attending the celebration, I guarantee they’ll all be gone. First of all, they’re free food and second of all, Creatives love to hit the ‘way back machine and remember their childhood.

Cupcakes also take me back across the border. My friend Reesa and I made cupcakes for occasions of all sorts: bridal showers, dinner parties, any holiday you can think of, birthdays, you name it, we’d make a cupcake for it. Usually the baking was accompanied by several glasses of wine, but always there was copious amounts of laughter and plenty of catching up.

my "helpers" are supervising

my “helpers” are supervising, surprisingly Guinness is actually in the kitchen, George and Godiva are handing back

Lest you wonder what the exhausted hounds were doing while I was up to the elbows in dishes and cake mix, all three of the 3G Network were curious about  what was going on in the kitchen. George was an especially good helper once I spilled a small bottle of sprinkles and most landed on the floor. We should have called him Hoover.

packed up and ready to head to the office

packed up and ready to head to the office

PS: If you have any doubt about my love of baking, check out my linked in profile. Not sure if potential employers consider baking an asset, but if they do, they’ll be pleased to know that it comes highly recommended by former coworkers.