Black Bottom Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling

“Don’t Think That Chocolate Is A Substitute For Love! Love Is A Substitute For Chocolate.” ~ Miranda Ingram

But with this recipe, you can have a little bit of both…

Let’s Blog Over Chocolate!

I know it’s Tuesday and all, but let’s just pretend it’s Friday. Yesterday I went to Target to get a thermometer for Aven’s science project, and as soon as I walked in I was immediately distracted by all the hearts, flowers and pink. Target was giving me a friendly reminder that love was in the air, and that I should probably be preparing for Valentine’s day.

Every year for the past 9 years I have had a date with Skylar & Aven for Valentine’s Day. I know… Cute right? I always bought bears, candy, make a nice breakfast, we have a picnic for lunch, and for dinner, we always mix it up. However, we have always, A L W A Y S ended the day with a cupcake! They’re a little older now, so the gift exchange doesn’t consist of teddy bears, and little carnations, but the Black Bottom Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Filling and topping is a favorite tradition of ours that I’m so happy I can say remain the same.

The cupcake itself is perfect for chocolate loves, moist with a full flavor. The filling is a sweet surprise that blends perfectly with the cupcake itself. Sometimes I add a light and fluffy icing on top just to give it that extra yumminess everyone loves.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

2 1/4 cups cold water

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

5 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For The Filling:

1 egg, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room
  temperature

1/2 tsp raspberry extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.

To make the filling- In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the egg, sugar and cream cheese, and extract on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Prop up a pastry bag in a sturdy glass or mug with the bags wide opening at the top. Fold the top of the pastry bag down over the glass. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the filling mixture into the pastry bag. Set the filled pastry bag aside.

Mix the liquids- In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the water, oil, vanilla and balsamic vinegar. You don’t have to stir these. Just put them together in the cup. Set aside.

To Make the batter-In a large bowl, using a whisk, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt until evenly blended. Slowly pour the water mixture into the flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth.

Pour in the batter- The cupcake batter will be quite runny. If your bowl has a spout, you can pour the batter directly into the muffin cups. Otherwise, it will be easiest to pour the batter into the liquid measuring cup and use it to fill the cups. Fill each lined muffin cup three-fourths full. Do not fill them any fuller than that or there will not be anywhere for the filling to go when the batter rises!

Add the filling- Pick up the pastry bag. Plugging the tip with one hand, twist the top of the bag to close it. Using one hand to guide the tip and the other to squeeze the top of the bag, insert the tip into the center of one of the cupcakes. Gently squeeze a small amount of the cream cheese filling into the batter. You will see the chocolate batter rise as the filling fills the middle.

Keeping in mind that you need to fill 24 cupcakes, squeeze a small amount into each one or just make more.

Bake the cupcakes-Sprinkle the top of each cupcake with the chocolate chips.

Put the muffin pans in the oven and bake until a thin skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean so about 26 to 28 minutes.

Put them on the cooling racks. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then lift out the cupcakes and put them directly on the racks. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Top them off with frosting if you’d like!

Riley

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Cravings | Gingerbread Cookies

“I Want To Take All Our Best Moments, Put Them In A Jar, And Take Them Out Like Cookies And Savor Each One Of Them Forever.” ~ C.W.

Let’s Blog Over Gingerbread Cookies…

Happy Friday!!! I hope everyone is having the best week! I’m so excited for this weekend. We have a lot of fun activities planned. I wanted to share a fun kid friendly activity with everyone just in case you needed some ideas on how to entertain the little ones this weekend. The activity just happens to be gingerbread cookies!!!

Everyone knows Christmas isn’t Christmas without baking some cookies, right??? I love baking cookies with the kids. We started doing this when they were very little. 2 and 3 to be exact. My best friend Trashon insisted on this tradition with Skylar and Aven. I, however, didn’t want to be left out, so I help out. Now it’s O U R tradition. Now that they are 10 and 12, they actually look forward to doing this every single year.

Trashon and I are very domestic, and most definitely know our way around a kitchen. We refuse to use store-bought dough (not that there is anything wrong with it), and decided we should come up with a recipe. After a lot of arguing, bickering, back and forth, and profanity (because we both think we know E V E R Y T H I N G, and H A T E to be wrong) I can say we finally have the best gingerbread cookie recipe.

This is a fun way to get creative with your family, children, and friends. I’d suggest making a big batch because these will most definitely go fast! Make sure all of your ingredients are room temp. before starting.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

All Purpose Flour 3 cups 

Baking Soda 1 teaspoon 

Ground Cinnamon 1 teaspoon 

Ground Ginger 1 teaspoon 

Pumpkin Pie Spice ½ teaspoon 

Salt ½ teaspoon 

Black Pepper ¼ teaspoon

Unsalted Butter Room Temp ¼ cup 

Shortening ¼ cup 

Light Brown Sugar ½ cup packed 

Molasses ⅔ cup 

Large Egg 1 

Vanilla Extract 1 tablespoon 

 

Directions:

Sift the flour with the baking soda and all of the spices and the salt and pepper, set aside. Cream the butter and shortening with the brown sugar until light and fluffy about 4-5 minutes. Add the molasses to the creamed butter mixture and mix well, scrape the sides of the bowl and then add the egg and vanilla extract. Add the sifted flour – spice mixture while blending on low-speed, mix until it is all incorporated evenly. Turn out the entire dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough tightly and press into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight before rolling. Once out of the fridge you must re-roll this dough. Mash it all together and knead it back together, then RE-roll on a floured work surface until it is pliable. Cut your shapes, and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F, you will bake for approximately 12-18 minutes or until light golden brown.  

Riley

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Christmas Traditions | Letters To Santa

“I Will Honor Christmas In My Heart, And Try To Keep It All The Year.” ~ Charles Dickens

Let’s Blog Over Letters To Santa!

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. When I was a little girl me and my brother would A L W A Y S write letters to Santa. Nothing was more exciting to me than getting a response, and then sitting by the tree with a huge cup of hot chocolate with giant marshmallows, and whipped cream topping trying to figure out what each gift was.

I kept this tradition going with Skylar and Aven. I’m a little more dramatic with it though. My Grandma lives in Alaska. In Alaska outside of Fairbanks there is the North Pole. North Pole, Alaska is wear Santa lives. You can actually go to Santa’s house and see reindeer, and elves, and the workshop, and it’s just about the most exciting thing ever. You can also send your Christmas letters.

We would write our Christmas letters, and I’d actually put the letters that we received back in the freezer until I was ready to give it to them to read. You have no idea how excited they got. I’m giggling just thinking about it right now. When they were busy, or it was nap time, I’d take the letters out of the freezer and sneak to the mailbox and hide it in the other mail. Then I’d run errands, or do something with them, but it always ended with us checking the mail.

Then I’d just say “OMG! Skylar and Aven you have mail! It’s from the North Pole!” Of course the letters were freezing, and of course when you’re a child the most thrilling phenomenon is receiving a letter from Santa! To see the glee on their faces filled my heart with such joy!

If you’d like to do this for your little one, you can check out Santa’s website here.

Riley

 

 

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Somewhere, Lately…

Mylo and Me

Happy Monday! It’s been a minute, but I’m still around and smiling! October has been a crazy month for me. My planner reminds me that I am overloaded every minute of every single day.  I’ve had so many events to attend that I haven’t been able to take a step back and breathe. The crazy part is that it’s going to get busier from here. With that being said…

Let’s Blog Over What I’ve Been Doing Lately…

Skylar and Aven are keeping me active. We’ve been having loads of fun.

Thursday I met up with some friends to do a little pumpkin carving. We had the B E S T time. It was Ralph’s first time carving a pumpkin. I guess you could say the rest of us were a little stunned that he had never participated in halloween festivities before. It got a little competitive at our table once we started carving. I don’t know how you turn competition free pumpkin carving into a competition. Ralph actually did a great job. By the way I had the best Pumpkinator beer by St. Arnolds. It was S O good. Afterwards we headed to a friends for a nightcap, and to try their homemade paleo recipe, and bourbon…

What a lovely face, right?

Friday there was tons of shopping to get done. The new place is more vast than the last one, and it’s been so crazy trying to fill it all in and make it home(y). We went to one of my favorite stores. Restoration Hardware. I love Restoration Hardware, and they had so many A M A Z I N G things. It’s hard not to go crazy in that store.

Don’t you just L O V E this?

Friday we met up with some friends and had a night in. We played Speak Out. That is literally one of my favorite games at the moment. It’s so funny. It was boys against girls. Girls won. By the time I got home, I was so tired… barely functioning.

I hosted a pumpkin carving party for the littles at my friend’s house. It was so much fun!!! They kids invited some friends over, we made some food, and let them do their thing.

Mr. Dimples. He’s my Angel Face!

Later I attended a birthday celebration for my friend Sahar. She is seriously one of the most amazing people I know. She is an incredible author, and she is so passionate about helping others find their voice. She is such an inspiration and a really good friend. I was so excited to celebrate with her. We had the best time. You can check out her website here.

Sunday I woke up to a thunderstorm. I mostly chilled all day, and then I went to the store so that I could make dinner. Lunch was Seabass. Dinner was Jamaican Curry Chicken. It was pretty much the bombest thing ever for a chilly day.

How has your month been? Preparing for Halloween? What are your plans?  I’d love to hear about what you’ve been up to lately.

-XoXo

Riley

Life Lessons Ft. Tim McGraw | A Letter to Skylar

“Daughters Like You Are Fairies. They Make Their Parents Lives Magical Like A Surreal Fairytale.” ~ Anonymous

Let’s Blog Over Sky Turning 12!

I can’t believe in a few days it will have been twelve years since Skylar has been part of my life. She’s stolen all of our hearts. She has been the biggest blessing. She has taught me so much about love, selflessness, patience, and kindness. My Girl absolutely brings out the best in everyone around her. She is so warm and gracious to every person she comes across. Skylar is growing into the most beautiful, kindest, smartest girl inside and out. I am proud to say the mini version of myself is way better than the original.

Now that she’s almost twelve, with the help of Tim McGraw, there are some valuable life lessons that I instill in/ and remind her of:

“You know there’s a light that glows by the front door? Don’t forget the key’s under the mat. When childhood stars shine, Always stay humble and kind.”

You’re at a pivotal stage in your life. You’re changing. Your friends are changing. This is also one of the most exciting times in your life. You’re learning and trying to figure out who you are. You’re able to do and experience new things. It’s a wonderful time to do so, but with everything that will come your way, know that you should always be good to people. Always take the high road. Always be smart. Be as responsible as you can.  Don’t judge others. Be there for your friends. Be there for your family. You will make mistakes. We all do, but you will always learn from them. Trust your instincts. Trust your gut, and always, always, A L W A Y S be yourself. Don’t try to fit in. Do what makes you happy. Don’t just be humble. Don’t just be kind. Be Awesome. Be Amazing. Be Great. Most importantly– Be You!

“Go to church ’cause your mamma says to. Visit grandpa every chance that you can. It won’t be wasted time. Always stay humble and kind.”

Never take spending time with your family, and elders for granted. It might not seem like it, but when you get older you learn to appreciate the time you spend with them. Not just with them, but with anyone dear to your heart. Always make time for people you love most. Even if you don’t want to. You’ll realize that it was well worth it in the long run. Always put G O D first. Say your prayers. Read your bible. Have Faith.  You will be blessed.

“Don’t expect a free ride from no one. Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why: Bitterness keeps you from flying. Always stay humble and kind.”

Nothing is handed to you. With success comes hard work. Anything worth having is absolutely worth working for. You have been blessed with the best family, and the amazing friends. Opportunity is everywhere for you. You will still have to put in that hard work. Being lazy is not an option. It won’t be easy, and sometimes you won’t win. You’ll have to pick up the pieces and try again, but don’t let failure stop you from going after your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re dreaming TOO big. Don’t let my expectations, or anyone else’s stop you from going after or doing what you love. Don’t let hate and anger brew in your heart. It will only keep you from going forward and experiencing the amazing things that are bound to come your way.

“Know the difference between sleeping with someone, and sleeping with someone you love. “I love you,” ain’t no pick-up line, so always stay humble and kind.”

Just… Wait on this… FOREVER. Just remember they’re lying. Okay?

“Hold the door, say “please”, say “thank you.” Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie. I know you got mountains to climb, but always stay humble and kind. When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you- When the work you put in is realized Let yourself feel the pride, but always stay humble and kind.”

Always mind your manners. Always remember what I tell about stealing, cheating, and lying. Life is hard, but it’s so enjoyable too! When things get hard, don’t let it change you for the worst. When you see all that hard work you’ve been putting in pay off, celebrate. You should absolutely celebrate your triumphs, but don’t let it get to your head. Your mommy will knock you down a few levels and humble you. B U T you should absolutely be proud of yourself!

“Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you. When you get where you’re going don’t forget to turn back around, and help the next one in line. Always stay humble and kind.”

Love is B E A U T I F U L. Life is B E A U T I F U L. Don’t forget you have been blessed, and to bless others as well. Do it out of the goodness of your heart. I know you will, because you have a heart of G O L D. If there existed a word to describe daughters like you, it would be the most beautiful word to ever be written. Happy Birthday, Kid!

 

~XoXo

Riley