Back in December, Annie of Annie’s Eats inspired me to make strawberry cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. In the past few years, I’ve been trying to cultivate a family tradition of eating lots of strawberries on Valentine’s Day. February marks the start of strawberry season in Florida, so they were readily available to me. In fact, Plant City was maybe a two hour drive south of Gainesville — and the labels usually indicated that’s about as far as they traveled to get to my home. So a recipe calling for lots of strawberries jumped right out at me. I love strawberries. Brian loves strawberries. Our children love strawberries. This was the perfect sweet treat for our “strawberry fest.”
I used Annie’s strawberry cupcake recipe from last December. Instead of milk, I used heavy cream because for some reason that’s what I thought her recipe called for while writing the shopping list. Also, I pureed the strawberries before mixing them into the batter. Finally, I added 5 drops of red food coloring to bring out that pink color I was looking for. For the frosting, I selected her original strawberry cupcake frosting recipe. Again, I tweaked it — I can’t help it, it’s in my nature to experiment in the kitchen! I increased the pureed strawberries to one whole cup, and I whipped in a cup of heavy cream to increase the volume. (Okay, and because I love fluffy whipped frosting!) Overall, these cupcakes have been a big hit. Thank you Annie for the recipes and the inspiration!
I know what you’re thinking. Wasn’t she looking forward to winter? Didn’t she say she missed the snow? Yes and yes — you’re absolutely right. I did say that. I was excited for sweater and scarf weather. I was excited for snow. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I embraced the fact that it was more than I had enjoyed in several years. However, the sunshine, fresh air, and 60 degree weather has invited me to lounge by the window, send the kids out into the backyard to play, and even head outdoors myself. This weather brings planting season, which means I can start a fruit and vegetable garden in the backyard with my family. I would greatly appreciate going into the yard to pluck delicious, fresh food to feed to my family. Smelling the fresh mountain air has done wonders for my outlook on life as of late. I’ll admit this move has taken quite a toll on my psyche, and I’m more than ready for a change of pace. This weather has offered me that. Spring might not be technically due until next month, but I can tell that it’s here to stay in Northwest Georgia.
Do you remember my gratitude series? Do you remember my lists? That’s right, I’m going to make a list today.
1. I’m thankful for the eBook by Ashley Ambirge, You Don’t Need A Job, You Need Guts. I’m on a journey to learn as much as I can in order to make this — my endeavors to become my own boss — work.
2. I’m thankful for the concept behind Letter.ly. While I doubt I’m even remotely ready to create my own paid subscription, it’s nice to know that I’ve got the option later down the line.
3. I’m thankful for L’Oreal Paris Collagen Micro-Pulse Eye. Seriously? Absolutely worth the amount I paid for it. I can’t say for certain if it’s helped rid me of dark under eye circles or if that’s simply because I’m back to taking my vitamins and iron pills, but I can say it makes my eyes feel so relaxed and refreshed. (Nope, not being paid to say this — but I’ll gladly accept compensation from L’Oreal if they feel so inclined.)
As this evening comes to a close, the fire burning in the fireplace begins to die down, and the satisfaction of hot chocolate and chocolate pudding still lingers on my tongue, I’m reminded that I have much more to be thankful for than I sometimes choose to admit.