Perfect Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

These are the best cupcakes I have made so far! They had a rich pumpkin flavor, the cake was fluffy and SUPER moist, and the frosting was quite decadent.

For the cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 box Yellow Cake Mix
Eggs
Vegetable Oil
1 can Pumpkin Puree

Directions:
Make cake mix as directed on the box but do not add water! Instead add the can of pumpkin puree. Divide the batter into prepared muffin tins with liners and bake at 350 def F for about 18 minutes (Check them at 15 min to make sure).

For the frosting
(From Gina’s Skinny Recipes)

Ingredients:
8 oz softened cream cheese (don’t use fat free)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
5 tbsp packed brown sugar

Directions:
Mix together all ingredients until smooth. I would recommend heating the cream cheese to mix it because I just let it sit to room temperature to soften it and it did not smooth out as well as I wanted it to. It was still good though!

Decoupage Pumpkins

As part of my “12 by 2012”, getting 12 things done by December 31, I decided I wanted to make my own crafty decoration for Halloween. I found a great idea from Pocketful of Dreams for a decoupage pumpkin. I loved the idea so I tried it myself and made my own handout for it. I have never decoupaged anything before and it was so much fun, I will definitely be using my mod podge more in the future.

My 12by2012

Amazing Autumn

I love fall! It is by far my favorite season :) I’m starting off my fall posts with a few things I love about fall…
 

The holidays are coming up and it is definitely the best time of the year. I absolutely love Halloween through Valentines day, really. So far I have made a decoupage pumpkin and Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting- delicious!

Also, an update on my 12 by 2012– #1 and #2 are complete :)

1) Make a Halloween decoration

2) Find my nephew a cute birthday gift

Rainy Mood

Last night I was worried about something and I couldn’t relax or fall asleep. Then I remembered Rainymood.com which streams continuous sound of rain or rainstorms. Its very relaxing, especially if you love the sound of rain like me!

Rainy Mood by Leonid Afremov

Leonid Afremov  does wonderful things with color and brush technique. I thought this picture Rainy Mood was appropriate.

So if you can’t relax or need a nice background noise, grab a cup of tea and enjoy Rainymood.com :)

12 by 2012


While surfing Pinterest for craft and recipe ideas I stumbled onto The Small Things blog  which had a post on getting 12 things done by 2012. The idea came from Oh, Hello Friend. This is a great idea for me to get some things done that I have wanted to do for a while and feel good about starting the New Year :) 76 days!

My 12 by 2012

1) Make a Halloween decoration

2) Find my nephew a cute birthday gift

3) Reach my fitness and health goals (monthly)

4) Write in my journal 3 times a week

5) Make Chili for the first time

6) Go to the Zoo

7) Visit a State Park and go hiking

8) Organize my laundry room

9) Finish my Christmas shopping before December 20th

10) Make a Christmas decoration for my apartment

11) Finish a book for fun (not a book for school!)

12) Learn how to meditate

I tried to make these things I could measure and cross off my list, which is so satisfying, rather than general resolutions. I love this idea! And I’m excited to see how many I finish by December 31st :)

Chai Latte Cupcakes

If you like Chai tea and you like cupcakes you will love these. I love chai tea and I love cupcakes :) I thought these were amazing! They had a good Chai flavor and weren’t super sweet, which I liked.

The original recipe is from The Cupcake Bible but I included some of my modifications.

Cupcakes:
4 Chai tea bags
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 package white cake mix (about 18 oz)
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
24 muffin cups

Preheat oven to 350 deg f
Boil a little more than 1 1/2 cups of boiling water (some will evaporate). Turn off heat after boiling and allow the 4 tea bags to steep and cool while you prepare the cake mix.
Combine eggs, oil, and white cake mix and mix until almost well blended. Remove tea bags from water and add the chai tea to mix. Mix thoroughly. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.
Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool in pan (5-10minutes).

Icing
1 cup milk
3 Chai tea bags
2-3 cups of powdered sugar
~1 cup flour

Bring milk to a simmer over medium heat, then remove from heat. Add 3 tea bags and allow to steep until slightly cooled. Remove tea bags and add milk to 2 cups of powdered sugar. Whisk together, add remaining sugar to thicken. After you use about 3 cups, it still may not be thick enough, begin adding flour to get desired thickness. Do not add cornstarch! It won’t work with this amount of sugar.
I left my icing slightly runny and spooned it over the tops of the cupcakes (which I set on aluminum foil). It was kind of messy so next time I might keep thickening the icing with flour. They were still delicious! So ice them however you would prefer and enjoy!

How much stress are you experiencing?

I found an article about the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Click Here! Its about the long term effects of stress and it also measures your current level of stress and determines its long term impact.

I scored 164 (moderate), but I actually don’t feel that stressed.

I think the items on the scale offer a good perspective. You may think you’re stressed but when you look at those top, high scoring items (death, divorce, separation, etc) you realize your life may not be that stressful :)

Today I have the windows open on a cloudy day and I’m enjoying the breeze while trying to start on some reading for school! I have a lot to do, but I’m not worried. I’m just going to enjoy the day.