Cupcake Decorating: My fav new hobby

Tonight, I baked and decorated over 70 cupcakes – 50 mini, and 24 full size. Why? Because I felt like it. So tomorrow, my coworkers and matt’s coworkers are going to be very hopped up on sugar.

Easter Cupcakes!

I feel like I’ve stumbled on a lucky little pot of gold for myself – I used to hate baking, but I’ve come around to it, thanks to my cake decorating class. I spent two hours tonight just relaxing with a piping bag and frosting, listening to music and decorating cupcakes. It’s a good stress relief for me, but what’s even better about it is I pretty much have 0% temptation to eat any cupcakes! I’ll work one into my calorie counting every now and then, but what I love about making cupcakes isn’t eating them – it’s the process of making something pretty, and then sharing that creation with friends.

Marbled pastel buttercream

I’m also glad because I feel like I’ve been doing a good job keeping the creativity in my life the last few months. One of my goals for 2012 was to do more creative things, and this blog, cupcake decorating and a few other things have been great for nurturing my artistic side. You can do a lot with cupcakes – marbling, filling, piping, sprinkling… the sky is the limit. It’s kind of easy to fall in love with. The only thing I hate about making cupcakes is the clean up!

Tonight I played around with the SkinnyTaste Coconut Cupcakes recipe, and made a batch of straight chocolate cupcakes as well. I used peeps, cadbury eggs and shredded coconut on top of standard butter cream to decorate. My kitchen was trashed afterwards, but oh well – it was a good time, and in some small way I might brighten someone’s day tomorrow with a pretty cupcake!

Cupcake baking makes for a messy kitchen!

What hobby have you found that just takes you away for a little bit? Reading, cooking, running, painting, etc? I wanna know! I hope you’re having a great day!

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Post-BBQ Bulge

Helo my lovely bloggies! I hope those of you in the states had a great long weekend, and those of you outside the states had an equally lovely weekend. After 7 hours in the car on the I-5 (flat, devoid of any scenery), I was happy to be home last night at 8 pm. We drove up Friday evening to Petaluma, where Matt and my parents live. (What’s the correct grammar for that? Matt and Mine? Matt and I’s? Our parents? Someone chime in – Amy, I’m lookin’ at you.) Friday was a stressful day at work, and as I had hoped I would not do, I was tired, bitchy and stressed out Friday night so I picked up a $5 Little Caesar’s pizza. That was the first not-so-health-concious choice of the weekend.

The I-5 in all of its flat glory.

Saturday, I had delicious thai food for lunch… and then Saturday night, my in-laws prepared a BBQ feast of artichoke crostini, cheese burgers with bacon and avocado,(so simple, and so yum!) corn on the cob, potato salad, and chili. Dessert was a big old slab of apple pie covered with vanilla ice cream. I didn’t gorge but I definitely ate more than I should have, and regretted it that night as my stomach felt like an over-blown balloon. I’m spoiled to have awesome cooks on both sides of my family – and we’re super lucky that as a married couple, our parents get along and we eat, vacation and hang out together 🙂

Sunday was where the real damage was done! The daytime was fine, as me, Matt, my siblings and their significant others went to Lake Sonoma. Matt and I had Subway sandwiches, BBQ potato chips, and Hornsby Hard Ciders, but it’s hard to pig out when you’re swimming and laying in the sun.

Water Babies in Lake Sonoma

We returned to another BBQ feast at my parent’s house – this time of smoked and brined tri-trip, smoked turkey, potato salad, pasta salad and baked beans. My mom makes incredible potato salad – tossed with sour cream and mayonnaise to make it ultra cool and creamy. A few chopped eggs and lots of crisp celery makes it a total comfort food treat – I definitely had seconds. Dessert was homemade cheesecake (amazing – with a sourcream top, made by my father-in-law, Mike) and creme brulee (delicious, with a crackly sugar top) made by my dad.

My mom's amazing potato salad

 

To add to that, a bottle of Gewurtztraminer was cracked open and my sister had a “Cheese – Off”, in which we all tasted and chose our favorites in a blind taste test of Wisconsin Cheese vs. California Cheese. (I’ll write about that later!)

So, as you can tell, the food choices of the weekend were not “diet friendly”, but they were “family friendly” and I had a great time seeing all my loved ones. My goal is to be back on plan and tracking this week, and try and squeeze in some gym time. I’m already behind on that goal since it’s Tuesday night and I’m doing homework and now I have class the next two nights…but… I’ll catch up. I will, I will. When life gets busy and the food around you is so tempting, how you do stay on track? (At least I swam all the way across the lake on Saturday! That was definitely good cardio!)

The balance of good vs. evil…

I’m a Taurus, which means I’m ruled by the need for luxury, comfort and exquisite taste. When you add a crazy appetite to those lusty traits, my eating gets out of hand fairly quickly.

Salad, cranberries, and COOKIES (Beer and Butter provided for photographic artistry)

Yes, right there by those beautiful handmade salads are trays of homemade oatmeal cookies, courtesy of my bake-happy husband. (And you should taste them, hot holy damn…) My salad was delicious, peppered with chunks of kalmata olives and juicy tomatoes, but give any fat person the choice between a salad and homemade cookies and it’s pretty certain which they’d pick. So, I’m trying to be good, and have only scarfed two of them so far. BUT- if Matt were to disappear and the angel on my shoulder took a bathroom break, you can bet you’d find me with crumbs on my lips and an empty tray in front of me. He’s making them for our grandparents and the wedding guest who gave us a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, so most of them will vanish from the house by tomorrow morning, but still – TEMPTATION. The hedonistic side of me would rather suffer the torture of being fat than pass up a delicious homemade treat, and that’s why I need to work on my attitude.

A co-worker of mine reminds herself to stay in check with eating by saying “Candy won’t go out of business, Candy will be there next week if I need it, this isn’t the last time I’ll ever get to eat candy.” That motto kinda just doesn’t really work for me, cuz, uh, What if it’s NOT there next week?! What if I get hit by a bus tomorrow or lose my sense of taste? Yes, it certianly would be a tragedy should I die and sit on a cloud in heaven (or a chair in purgatory) and regret not eating just ONE MORE cookie. See? This is 25 years of f*ck-ed up psychology, people.

How do you keep yourself in check with temptation? I usually just give in.