11.15.2012

Thank Goodness for Pink Sprinkles, Pizza, and my Pine Nut Salad

As I told you last week, my daughter only had one wish for her third birthday.
She wanted to make pink cupcakes.  Sounds like a good deal for a parent, right?


My little girl is three.
Well, it is for the dreamy Suzy Homemaker who can fry up the bacon and pop a gorgeous, all-natural, homemade cake in the oven at the same time. All while wearing designer jeans and heels, and this perfect Suzy still manages to have time to play Candy Land with the birthday girl while the cake bakes.
For the record, Suzy has me beat. I can’t fry or bake, nor do I play. I blog. 
The tried-and-true high-end designer jean brands seen in InStyle Magazine just don’t fit my over-40 curvy body, either. 
Wait! Does Suzy really exist?
Probably not, because all the real moms in the neighborhood probably killed her off, but you get the idea.  I’m no Suzy Homemaker and certainly not Martha Stewart, either.
Yes, I cook dinner at least six times a week, but I can count on my fingers how many times I’ve made baked goods in the past decade. 
My biggest talent is running to Whole Foods in ballet flats (What’s a heel when you’re over 40?) and getting a cosmic cake for $24.99.  It’s the best deal for an all-natural birthday cake out there.
But this year, my little girl’s wish was to make her own cupcakes.  Pink ones!


She just wanted to make cupcakes for her birthday!

I’ve made cupcakes before, and my own husband had the nerve to tell me that Duncan Hines was better.  Personally, I think he’s just smitten with that brand name.
So, I didn’t get all-natural on the cupcakes this time.  I got a little help from Mr. Hines. Not my husband, even though he cleaned the bowls.  I improved the mix recipe with a little help from the Cupcake Doctor book. 
The icing? Well, I refused to buy store-bought icing with things in it that I couldn’t pronounce.  So, maybe I do have a little Suzy in me these days.  I looked at Martha’s recipe for pink icing, but it looked too complicated because she made a meringue.  You had to separate eggs, and boil sugar while stirring for a long, long time.
I can barely spell meringue and certainly don’t have time to stir.  
I studied Martha’s pink way for a long time and decided to try to include strawberry jam in my buttercream recipe to turn my icing pink.  It seemed like a good idea. 
It didn’t work.  Apparently, I didn’t study enough.  Trust me, a tablespoon or two turns white buttercream into a dirty white with traces of strawberry seeds.   Martha used a cup and half of jam and less sugar.
But you know what?  The cupcakes the birthday girl made were delicious, and the smile on my little girl’s face while making her cupcakes was priceless.
Plus, I can tell everyone that a 3-year-old made them!  


Think Pink!
And, thank goodness for sprinkles!
Store-bought sprinkles turned those cupcakes pink, after all!  Why didn’t I just do that in the beginning?
My icing wasn't perfect, but my Italian Pine Nut Salad is always a winner.  It's easy, too! I served it with pizza delivery. 
Italian Pine Nut Salad


Italian Pine Nut Salad
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
Baby greens, about 8 cups (Gourmet salad bags at store)
2 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons of yellow raisins.
Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.  Toss lettuce, pine nuts, and raisins into salad bowl.   Add dressing, and toss. 
*This salad is from my Cooking with Friends Cookbook, circa 1995. My Joey burgers are still a family favorite. 
Have a great weekend! I"m taking it easy, and am not making any cupcakes.

I'll be back next week!  Have a great weekend!



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