Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Attack of Sweet Tooth- Cake Mix and a Can of Soda

I'm not going to sit here and lie to you. This girl has a sweet tooth! Now granted, it only comes up now and again... but sometimes, desert is just a necessary evil!

Last night was one of those times. As I was watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,  browsing Pinterest-ing recipes, and organizing/reorganizing my craft closet (and of course, planning new crafts along the way!), I got an itch for something sweet. I vowed I was not going to get a Sonic Blast, and if I couldn't make something work with what was already in my pantry, I would be SOL.

Picturing my very bare pantry, I remembered my boyfriend's mom, Taryn, making a cake with a can of Diet Coke at Thanksgiving in Massachusetts. So i texted her.

"Can I really make a cake with a can of soda?"
"Yep! All you need is one can of soda and one box of cake mix. Dark soda with dark cake, light soda with vanilla or white cake."

Hmm. I had a box of Vanilla cake and a can of Cheerwine (a delicious cherry-flavored soda from the Carolinas.) I was going to run with it. I would figure out icing later.

At this point, I was optimistic. It would be a baking adventure!

Sticking with Taryn's instruction... I mixed.

Frothy and growing, I was a bit concerned, but trudged on... optimism still in check!

Filling my red and blue cupcake liners (Independence Day is next week, of course!), I resisted the urge to eat spoonfuls of batter. Okay, that's a lie. What!? There's no eggs in there! It was totally safe.

I popped 'em in the oven, following the directions on the box. This was entirely too easy!

Now, any woman knows that a cupcake just isn't a cupcake without great icing. Thankfully, I had cream cheese and powdered sugar. And thankfully, I am a pro when it came to last-minute homemade icing.

I threw together a stick of butter and a package of cream cheese (both softened), and mixed in powdered sugar. I would love to tell you how much... but just keep pouring. You'll know when it's right. A teaspoon of vanilla extract, and my icing was all ready!

Ding! Cupcakes out of the oven, my sweet tooth was so close to being quieted.

These cupcakes looked good. Really good. Not to mention, they were pink! I was nervous it would be too good to be true.

But alas! (drum roll...)

Of course, like any good little baker, I had to have a taste test!
My Cheerwine Cupcakes passed the test! Delicious, moist, and easy! Try them for yourself, and let me know what you think. You can literally do ANY soda, and ANY box of cake mix. I would love to hear the combinations you come up with.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Style a Wedding: Would you like a Marriage With That?

Yesterday, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.

Yep, there they are in all their purely eighties glory. Okay, they're pretty cute... but mom, really? Exactly what would you call the color of those bridesmaids dresses??

In my extremely up-to-date, fashionable, and oh-so wise mind (har har), this is what I like to imagine went on in my mother's mind in preparation for her joyous occasion:

"Ma'am... I need big sleeves. No, bigger! They're very flattering. A mesh neckline is all the rage, gotta have that... and a hat! Yes, a hat! Perfect excuse to fire the hairstylist!"

Apparently, these...fashions... were the style then, and I'm sure she had no idea that just 30 years later... her daughter would be chuckling at her wedding wardrobe.

Does this mean that 30 years from now, I will have a daughter rolling her eyes at whatever white dress I choose to walk down the aisle in? Surely, I would never pick something that could ever be considered out-dated! (Or maybe, in this world of revolving fashion, my mother's dress will pop back up in the pages of The Knot magazine, and I would actually consider stepping into it...)

Apparently, according to John Tesh and because of Kate Middleton, the days of princess tiaras and ridiculously large crinoline ball gowns are not only back in the wedding limelight, but far from-out-of-date in weddings from Wales to Wisconsin.

Spare me.

Sure, your wedding day is the perfect chance to show off your personal style, your handsome groom, and the aisle runner that only took 62 appointments to choose. (I'm sure people were just marveling over it...)

More than that though, (much more than that), it is the time to stand before the people you love and promise yourself to the person God created for you... arrive two and leave as one.

So whether you're adorned with pouffy sleeves, rhinestones, neckline up to your chin, or something the saleswoman promised you was "timeless," when you look back on the photo 30 years from then as your daughter is trying so hard to muffle her chuckles, if you're still gazing at the man you did so long ago, with an identical twinkle in your eye, I'd bargain to say you made the right choice. Bridesmaids dresses and all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Playing to Win

I'm just going to be frank: I am not a fan of sports. I can't really appreciate them, I don't understand the hype of them, and Lord knows I am much too uncoordinated to play them. When I think of my relationship with sports, I can't help but think of one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies, Steel Magnolias.  (If you haven't seen this movie- please. Watch it. You won't be dissappointed!)

Clairee: [discussing the color of the football uniforms] ... But I love the top - such a vibrant purple. Bob, would you call this color "grape" or "aubergine'?
Ouiser: SHUT UP! 
Clairee: What? 
Ouiser: You're makin' a fool outta yourself, Clairee. 
Clairee: I am not. 
Ouiser: This is football. All people care about are touchdowns and injuries. They don't give a damn about that grape shit!

Now, as I attempt to compose myself from the laughter that Clairee and Ouiser always cause me, allow me to continue on with my point.

My ever-loving Boyfriend/Sports Medicine Professional/Football Enthusiast/National Youth Football Champion of 1999 presented a very profound sports analogy to me that, to my surprise, I really loved.

He said, "There are two kind of players: those who play to win, and those who play not to lose. The ones who play to win are going to win so many more games then those just playing not to lose."

I have to be honest, this struck such a chord with me! I was amazed by the simple profundity of the statement. Am I playing to win, or just playing not to lose? Are my sights on the prize, on the glory and the gold? Or are they just set on the motions to get through my everyday operations? Although I can't personally attest to the reality of this on the field, I can certainly apply it to life and love. You can never get very far if your focus is on avoiding failure. It's like walking with your eyes fixed on the sidewalk... sure, you're not tripping- but you could be awaiting a face-plant into something bigger, or worse- missing the gorgeous view of everything around you.

So, today, my focus is on playing to win. Losing isn't even an option- so why make it a focus at all?