Friday, August 5, 2011

Cupcakes and a new dress

A brand new pretty dress came in the mail yesterday and I fell in love with it so much that I felt like I had to go a little June Cleaver-y and bake something beautiful and delicious while wearing it (with an adorable apron, of course).  The best part about the dress, besides the color and the perfect fit?  It was free!  I entered maybe my second ever online blog giveaway on Kris' beautiful blog Young Married Chic and lo and behold, I won!  The dress is from Shabby Apple and I still can't believe how perfectly it fits.  I am so in love.  Thanks, Kris!

(I'll add pictures later.  Neither my cat or my puppy are very good photographers, so I'll have to wait until I have a human to aid me in this endeavor.)

My excitement about the dress, however, was overshadowed by the fact that my boss is out for a few days because she is had a masectomy yesterday morning.  She'd been cancer free for 7 years, but earlier this summer her doctors had cause for concern, so after a few tests and conferences with her doctors and family she decided to get rid of the offending breast.  She has been in remarkably amazing spirits through the entire thing and was ready to get it over with once and for all!  Even though she had been so calm and excited all week, I could definitely feel the emotions starting to well up when I told her goodbye on Wednesday and gave her a hug.  Fortunately the procedure went very well and she was home by 10:00 a.m.!  In honor of her and breast cancer survivors everywhere, I made pink lavender grapefruit cupcakes.  The last time I made a batch I gave some to her and she told me later that she had saved the last one until she could sit on her deck and eat it alone, and the lavender was so calming and soothing that she could just feel herself relax while eating it!  The recipe is from a 2006 article in the Lawrence Journal World.  Here it is:

Lavender Pink Grapefruit Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons lavender flowers (no stems)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pink grapefruit juice
1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup mild honey, preferably clover
2 large eggs

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the back of a spoon, crush lavender flowers and combine with flour mixture; mix well and set aside.

In a liquid measure, combine pink grapefruit juice and buttermilk; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy; scraping sides of bowl, as necessary. Add honey; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition.

 Add half of the reserved dry ingredients to the butter mixture; mix on low until just combined. With mixer running on low, slowly add the grapefruit mixture. Add remaining dry ingredients until just combined.

 Fill paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove to wire rack; cool. Frost with Pink Grapefruit Buttercream Frosting, if desired. Makes 12 to 14 cupcakes.

Pink grapefruit buttercream frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons mild honey, preferably clover
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 drops red food coloring (optional)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add grapefruit juice and honey; mix well. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until desired spreading consistency. For a darker pink color, add food coloring, if desired.
- AP recipe developed by Lisa Bishop, courtesy National Honey Board (<------- methinks I need to investigate this NHB...)
I love this recipe because a) I love lavender more than most things and b) there's no sugar in the cupcake recipe, in case you have friends who are weird like that and you want to make them a treat.  There is the slightest hint of citrus when you bite into one of these babies, making it just the tiniest bit tart, and the honey adds so much flavor you'll wonder why you even need sugar anywhere in your life.  (kidding!)  If you're not too sure about the flavor, wait a day or two and then try one again.  Like most good things, they get better with a little bit of time.

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