Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cookie Dough Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

These are some of my favorite cupcakes that I make and they are always a hit with everyone b/c of the surprise on the inside! Enjoy :)

Ingredients

Cupcakes
24 paper liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2-inch size)
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 package (1 pound) frozen cookie dough - any kind will work, I like the break and bakes that come in a pack of 24

Chocolate Buttercream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 to 5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.

Place the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well blended. Spoon or scoop a heaping 1/4 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it two thirds of the way full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.)

Cut the frozen dough pieces in half to make 24 pieces. Place a frozen cookie dough piece on top of each cupcake. Place the pans in the oven.

Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 23 to 27 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for five minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting. They may sink a bit in the center.

While the cupcakes cook, prepare the Chocolate Buttercream.

Place the butter and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture is soft and well combined, 30 seconds.

Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar, three tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, one minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, one minute more. Add one to two tablespoons more milk if the frosting is too stiff.

Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread it out with a short metal spatula or a spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely. The cupcakes are ready to serve.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Flashback Friday

I have been reminiscing of my KSU years this week. I think it is because Laura's little brother just graduated recently, which is so hard to believe he is that old. Or maybe it is because life seemed so much easier but in reality it was the same worries and concerns but now when problems arise I can solve them with less worries b/c I know there are bigger things to worry about or they seem way more crucial b/c of all the changes that life can bring. Anyways, my time at KSU was amazing. I was so very fortunate to live with all best friends at one time or another.

This is one of my favorite pictures from a game day.

And this was from some random summer day on 2012 Poppy Court.

Amber, Audra, Laura & Megan are some of the best(est) friends a girl could ask for. I am very fortunate to have them each in my life and to see them develop into the amazing mothers that they are. They have given me so much strength and encouragement in my life and I don't know what I would do without them. If it weren't for them I probably would have gone insane from the boys I have had in my life, given up when school got hard or drown in my own vomit. Thanks for always being there to talk or just listen. I love you!

Snippy Snip

Well this week has been crazy, borderline insane. Just when I think everything is smooth sailing something comes along and sends me back to reality. But I have to remember that God will not give me anything that I can't handle. Luckily when I think I am at my peak of patience my friends are always there to calm me down. I don't know what I would have done with each one of them this week, you know who you are. Thank you so much for listening.



So I started to realize this week that I needed a change in life. I think I eat pretty healthy, no soda, limited fried foods, and lots of veggies I really didn't think I could alter my diet. I guess I could have given up alcohol but lets not get crazy here people! So the office manager is also a stylist and I asked her last week what she would do with my hair and she gave me all sorts of ideas. So today I let her cut it. I love it. Such a good new style for my California adventure. I have before and after pictures.


As bad as I thought this week has been I am comforted by all the loving people I have in my life. I am a very lucky girl, very lucky.





Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Palm Desert slideshow


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Sun City, Palm Desert



For Memorial Day weekend I was fortunate enough to get to spend it with my extended family. Tami, her mom (Aunt Diana), 3 sisters & my Aunt Peggy all spent the weekend in Palm Desert at Tami's neighbors 2nd home, I guess he is my neighbor too :) We went up on Friday and returned Monday. The weekend before it was 110 degrees! Of course dry heat so it isn't that bad right, whatev! But Memorial Day weekend was much different, I don't think it reached above 85 degrees. It was amazing.
For the most part we got up by 7 everyday, at breakfast, went to the pool where we had Jose & his crew delivering us pizza, salads & beer to us, b/c we were "the hot girls by the pool", then we would go home and have amazing dinners either at home or out on the town. I got to use my cooking skills by making my nearly famous spaghetti & meatballs (actually turkey).


Here is a picture of what I did for 2 whole days, nothing but sit on a pool chair read magazines & catch up with my family. It was kind of funny b/c we were staying in a community where to own a home there you have to be over 55 years old, hence why we were the hot girls at the pool.


One of the main reasons this trip was planned was to celebrate my Aunt Diana's birthday, I won't say how old but I really wish I look half as good as she does when I am her age! Oh and she could have owned a house for 5 years where we stayed if that helps figure it out. I was so excited to get to join along in the fun. Tami, Shannon & Stephanie are more than just cousins, they are double cousins... Remember I am from Kansas not Mississippi. So their dad and my dad are brothers and their mom and my mom are sisters. Actually my parents met at their wedding. It is pretty cool that we have all the same family. This is one of the reason's why Stephanie & I look so much alike, lots of the same genes. I feel as if we have always had a special something and always will. Thanks girls for letting me part-take in your girls weekend. I will always cherish it!


Below is a video of Stephanie & me being silly. I think you get the picture.


video

Monday, May 26, 2008

Amazing Power Generators

This weekend I traveled to San Diego and then to Palm Springs. More details of that to come but I wanted to share one of the most amazing sites on our way to the desert - the wind power generators. Here are some pictures and some random facts about them.
















Because the wind produces kinetic energy to produce electricity, there is no bi-product produced, which means no pollution. There is no fuel to purchase and maintain, just some wind to move a wind turbine. Wind powered generators can produce quite a large amount of energy as well, up to 3,000 watts and more.















Here is a chart of how many watts are needed to run most common appliances:
Device Typical Wattage Surge Wattage
Light bulb 60 watts 60 watts surge
Fan 75 watts 150 watts surge
Small black/white television 100 watts 150 watts surge
Color television 300 watts 400 watts surge
Home computer and monitor 400 watts 600 watts surge
Microwave oven 750 watts 1,000 watts surge
Furnace fan 750 watts 1,500 watts surge
Refrigerator 1,200 watts 2,400 watts surge
Well pump 2,400 watts 3,600 watts surge
Electric water heater 4,500 watts 4,500 watts surge
House A/C or heat pump 15,000 watts 30,000 watts surge

***These numbers are only estimates. They will vary based on the wattage rating of the appliance being used.



When looking online depending on if you want to purchase a "home" or "industrial" (which varies by size & output) you may pay $5,000 to $25,000+. And yes, you can purchase them on Ebay even!


It was an amazing thing to see. At times it looked as if it was a farm with daddy windmills, momma windmils and baby windmills. What an awesome idea to use a renewable resource for energy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Life's a beach

Just wanted to share some pictures of the Hermosa Beach with you all. Tami and I were lucky to get to enjoy some fun in the sun last Sunday. I will be getting plenty more of it this weekend in Palm Springs for my Aunt Diana's birthday.















There is a sail boating regatta going on





























Sunset over the Hermosa Beach Pier

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Go Dodgers!



Monday night I was fortunate to get to go to my first Dodgers game. We had amazing seats along the first base line and it was a perfect night for a baseball game. I got to experience my first Dodger dog, which was probably one of the best hot dogs I have ever had! The Reds came out strong but in the end the Dodgers pulled it off in the 9th inning. Thank goodness b/c I was tired and don't know if I could have made it through extra innings.
Me at the beginning of the game, this is before I got my new baseball cap :)

DODGERS WIN!
Dodgers 6 Reds 5

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I have been tagged

Amber Tagged me so here are my responses :)

Five things on my to do list for today:

  1. Run - check

  2. Go to beach - check

  3. Get a tan - check

  4. Laundry - in progress

  5. Blog - check

Four Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
  1. Pay off my debt & my parents'

  2. Move my family & friends to Heber Springs

  3. Buy a summer home in Hermosa Beach

  4. Open a high end practice

Three of my bad habits:

  1. Procrastination

  2. Striving for perfection

  3. Expecting everyone to be available when I want them to be

Five places I have lived:

  1. Concordia, KS

  2. Winfield, KS

  3. Manhattan, KS

  4. Memphis, TN

  5. Hermosa Beach, CA

Five jobs I have had:

  1. Sporting good clerk

  2. County appraiser

  3. Medical Tech

  4. Optician
  5. Optometrist!


Sunday Surprise

Me & Tami

Carl & Tami


Earlier this week I was a bit bummed because I was hoping to get to go up to see my new niece Celine but due to previous plans it wasn't going to work out. Of course I wanted to see her so bad, I do love me some baby and I was even more anxious because it was my first blood niece. So I figured that I would hopefully see her in a few week regardless.

So Sunday morning Tami & I woke up and ran to the wall and back (my 5K). Then afterwards she had made plans to meet up with some friends that live in the next beach over at one of my favorite places on the strand, Hennessey's bar, for brunch. So we got there and waited... and waited... and waited some more. Then finally Tami began waving to her friends. I turned around and much to my surprise it was Josh, Christiane and little Celine! I was so surprised to say the least. I couldn't wait for them to get her out of that stroller. Longest 5 minutes ever! We had a nice little brunch and then they had to leave to get back home. It was such an incredible idea that Josh wanted to surprise me and even more surprising, Tami kept it a secret.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Flashback Friday

Did anyone get a chance to check out NKOTB this a.m. on the Today show?


Thursday, May 15, 2008

For those with a "touch of glaucoma"

So I really haven't blogged about my new internship yet. Mainly because I have been pretty busy and trying to get my new schedule figured out. So I work Tuesday-Saturday typically 9-5 but on Thursday I work 2-8. My first day was just me getting in sync with the office and observing. The second day I observed in the morning and then saw patients in the afternoon. It is so nice to have patients that are "normal", aka not on 6 different medicines and have the trifecta - diabetes, high blood pressure & high cholesterol. The office is great! The staff is amazing and very light-hearted. And all the doctors are very willing to teach me and show me any and all things. I will be getting a whole lot more hard contact lens experience than I had ever dreamed of.

On Wednesday I went to lunch with Dr. V and his son, also an O.D. On our way back to the office we went by the "Farmacy" that is just around the corner of the office. It sells global organic medicines if you know what I mean? :) It is my hopes that I will be able to write an Rx for medicinal mj.


I will try to take some more pictures of the area. It is in a fairly nice area with UCLA just around the corner and the Fox theater just down the street. There are so many great places to get tea, coffee & food from, not to mention the vast amount of shopping I could do. I can't wait to try out all of them... If I have time.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blueberry Cobbler

I know I have told a few of you about this recipe. It has quickly become one of my favorites b/c it is so quick, easy and such a crowd pleaser.

BLUEBERRY COBBLER

1 stick butter
3 to 4 c. fresh blueberries (frozen work as well but use a little less water)
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. self-rising flour
3/4 c. milk
1 c. sugar

Melt the butter in an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Put blueberries in pan with water and 1 cup sugar. Leave on burner. Simmer while making crust. Mix the flour, milk and 1 cup sugar together. Mix well. Pour over blueberries. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Check all along to see if juice is cooking out. If so, add a little water to keep cobbler juicy. Serve with ice cream &/or cool whip.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The break is over

Well Tuesday is the big day. I will really feel like an adult when I get up at 6:30 and have to leave for the office by 7:45. I don't have to be to work until 9, so I hope that is enough time for me to get to the office. We made a dry run today. It is a very easy trip but the traffic is what will make it challenging. I know I will get used to the drive but will dread it for sure! Today I had a good day of sleeping in, getting around slowly, making the dry run, having lunch at Jerry's famous deli, getting a mani/pedi, having my car washed & vacuumed and then venturing out to Trader Joe's http://www.traderjoes.com (a favorite grocery store), then I went and ran on the strand by myself. My time wasn't probably all that great but I ran the distance I was wanting and that is what really matters right now. Sorry I am blogging about my boring day. I am sure I will have more stories for you tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My views

I figured you all were wondering where I live. It is spectacular. I still feel as if I have to pinch myself to remind me that this is really happening, I live in California! Went to my first farmers market on Saturday. It was great. The people were so nice and inviting and the produce... Out of this world! The strawberries were so ripe it was like they each had a teaspoon of sugar on them!

Below are pictures of the area I live at the beach. As awful as it sounds to drive to work an hour everyday, I have to remind myself that I will see the ocean everyday as I pull onto the street, not a bad life for a girl without a real job huh? Thank you Tami & Carl! I don't think I can say that enough. The top picture is of the Hermosa Beach pier. The second is of a really cool dog on the pier and the 3rd is a pic of the beach with some sail boats. Tam & I talked about me learning to surf today, that is a good aspiration of mine since I have already accomplished running/walking 4 miles (5K) to the 90210 beach house yesterday! Amazing, but my legs felt like jello :) More tmrw, it is my last day of laziness. I can't wait! Good night and sweet dreams.

Happy Mother's Day!

Just wanted to wish all moms a very happy mother's day! What a blessing children are and I am so happy that I have so many friends with babies of their own that I can love and spoil :)


A very special wish goes out to my mom. She is amazing and is always there when I call about real life stuff and during times when I just call because I need to hear a friendly voice. She has taught me so much I can't even begin to list. I love you mom!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

My first In & Out

Finally! Tami & I made it to Hermosa Beach about 8:30 PST. Tami drove most of the 2nd day, I think it was because she secretly loved to drive the Focus. LOl! It was a long trip but in hindsight wasn't all that bad but I am not really looking forward to doing it again in 4 months. Maybe I could just sell everything and buy a plane ticket back :)


So my first eating experience was at In & Out burger, what else did you think it would be? http://www.in-n-out.com/ Oh my goodness! It was the most amazing fast food burger I have ever had. I got a double double, which sounded like too much at the time but it was so delicious that I finished it none the less. What makes it so good you ask? It is a thin hamburger, cheese (real cheese not the stuff McDonald's uses), toasted bun, I opted for grilled onions, crisp cold lettuce & tomato. Seriously it was amazing! And as if it couldn't get any better the fries are from real potatoes & they are peeled & cut on site. Reminded me of my grandma & mom's homemade fries. Obviously I will not be able to eat it every day, week or month but when I do it will be a treat for sure! Check back soon for pictures of my new home.

Friday, May 9, 2008

On my way West

Tami & I set out on our road trip adventure Thursday morning, even though we were both fighting some awful hangovers... We forget sometimes when we are together that our liver isn't what it used to be. Thursday we drove about 700 miles and stopped in Albuquerque, NM for the night at a great hotel, Hotel Albuquerque. The worst part of the trip thus far has been the 100 miles on Texas that we went through. We basically had to breathe through our noses because the stench of the cows were more than we could handle.


Today we are breaking in Gallup, NM at a cute little coffee shop for lunch and a phone conference that Tami had at 11:00, yes she is still working. I have included a few pictures of the New Mexico landscape. There is plenty of it and it is spectacular. We plan to be in Hermosa Beach tonight by 7 or 8 PST. I can't wait to be out of the car for more than 9 hours. I miss everyone so much already and can't wait to hear from all of you!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Girls night is postponed!


Last Thursday I was able to have a last girls night with Megan & Julianne for a while. In the past we tried to get together once a week but with Meg being a Doctor, Jules becoming a Master and me with my whacked out schedule it was more like every 2 to 3 weeks. One of our favorite places is Old Venice Pizza Co where on Thursday night they have $2 wines :) How could it be bad, Italian food, cheap (but good) wine and the most amazing girls ever! We always have fun catching up on our lives, talking about our busy weeks and dreaming about our future. I will certainly miss girls night but I am sure there will be more to come. But for now we will catch up via phone, email and of course blogging :)