a.dash.of.sprinkles

cupcakes & wishes. my two favorite things.

Jumpin’ bacon cupcakes!

Over the last year or so, Liz and I were fortunate enough to work on a wish for adorable Milo. Originally his wish was for a sensory room, but it was changed to a SPRINGFREE trampoline, something that he could enjoy with his favorite person ever, big brother SAM!

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This was taken at the Springfree store in Issaquah. They invited Milo and his family to “test” the trampoline he would be getting!

Knowing how important sensory items were to Milo, his amazingly talented wish coordinator, Jessie, suggested we bring as many sensory items to Milo’s trampoline as possible. So to make his trampoline reveal extra special, we brought in as many things as we could – rope lights, an outdoor speaker (to enjoy his favorite jams!), and a pretty legit bubble machine.

Milo MAWWe decided to have a big trampoline reveal party with all of Milo’s friends and family last Sunday as a way to also celebrate his 8th birthday! And wouldn’tcha know it…Sunday was the ONLY day it rained in weeks. Of course, right?! None of the kids seemed to care. In fact, I’m not even sure some of the kids (ie: Magnolia) even noticed they were getting wet. 🙂

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IMG_8049There were other things we tried to do to make the day special for Milo. We made them custom “WISH” shirts. I’ve never used these before but they are AMAZING. Basically you print on the sheet and cut out the design perfectly. It prints on a white background and it’s the white background that sticks to the dark fabric to make your print out stand out. Well, I learned another trick and didn’t even need to print anything! I cut out letters using my Cricut and ironed them on and voila! It looked like they were silk screened onto the shirts! Waaaay better than regular iron-ons! Okay, I probably just got more excited about this whole process than normal people should be…*deep breaths* (Cort – this was my idea for the Walk shirts!)

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I also made Mom one of our famous tutu’s. She even wore it during her interview with Q13!

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At this point, I should also mention that Milo’s favorite food is BACON. Can you blame him?! Seeing as he shares his “favorite food” with both me and Liz, I decided we needed to have bacon cupcakes of some sort to celebrate his birthday wish day. Thankfully staff at the Make-A-Wish office were willing to be my taste testers. I tested a Maple Bacon cupcake, a French Toast cupcake, and a Chocolate Bacon cupcake with Nutella frosting. The Chocolate Bacon cupcake won, hands down. I pretty much followed this recipe, but made a small, kinda-gross-if-you-think-about-it (so don’t) adjustment…

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream Frosting

*Makes 12 cupcakes

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Kim, I totally stole your cupcake pic because I forgot to take pics as I was baking/frosting. 🙂

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 4-5 slices of chopped bacon (or more if you love bacon, like Milo)
  • *reserve 1/8 cup of the drippings after frying bacon
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used a double boiler)
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  •  1 tablespoon heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with baking cups.

2. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat. Drain and cool, reserving 1/8 cup of drippings. *I like to chop bacon before frying it. Seems easier to me, but you can cook slices of bacon and crumble afterwards if that’s easier for you.*

3. While the bacon is cooling, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the hot water, buttermilk, oil, drippings, vanilla, and egg. Stir until just combined. Fold in the bacon crumbles. Batter will be very runny. Spoon batter into baking cups.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack.

5. While the cupcakes are cooling, start making the frosting! Beat the butter and powdered sugar on low for 1 minute. Add the vanilla.

6. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. It should look very creamy.

7. Add the Nutella and heavy cream, then mix on medium to medium-high speed for about a minute.

8. Once the cupcakes have cooled, fill a pastry bag or Ziploc with the icing fitted with a star tip and make a pretty swirl. Garnish with bacon!

These were a winner. Lots of people loved them. Milo sure did. I saw him eat two of them. And he ate them both like this:

IMG_8098Little snafu’s happened throughout the wish – the rainy party, the unexpectedly early/late delivery of every single item, and 2 yards of playchips literally dumped in their driveway that we hustled and moved to the backyard in less than 20 minutes…it was all worth it for this very deserving family.  Milo, Kim, Eric, and Sam – it has been such a pleasure getting to know your family.  I can see why Liz was absolutely raving about your family even before the wish began. 🙂

To everyone else, please send happy thoughts Milo’s way.  He hasn’t been feeling well the last couple of days and could use all the wonderful sentiments! Milos family

 

**Photos posted with permission from the wish family.**

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Takin’ Requests

I’m pretty sure I have 2 maybe even 3 blog readers.  It’s a bit delayed, but this blog post is at the request of one of these two…HEE-SAN!  This is also in honor of her upcoming trip to Seattle this Fall.  Yup, I’m officially announcing it.  She told me this week that she’s planning to come up here, so I’m hoping that if its written down, it will actually happen. 🙂

I'm pretty sure both of you appreciate me posting this pic.

I’m pretty sure both of you appreciate me posting this pic.

She thinks that if she keeps sending me postcards from the paradise that she is lucky enough to call HOME, she can bribe me into visiting her.  Welp, its working.  If it wasn’t for that darn, pesky thing called MONEY, I’d totally be there.

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I have to say, we’ve had some adventures, both in Seattle and in Hawaii.

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Our Nihongo group. That basically meant us girls relied on the boys for the answers whenever we got called on.

ja9 & tiff up close    ja9 & tiff in waikiki

ja9 giving tiff a kiss

Weird crotch art. We thought it would be funny to take pics underneath it.

ja9, mitsuye, tiff @ waterfront  ja9 & tiff

Tiff suggested I make Chocolate Mint Cupcakes, so I decided to try it for Easter.  Pretty delish!  They tasted like thin mints!

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butterIMG_8007
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Buttercream Frosting

  • 8 Tbsp butter, room temperature (1 stick, 4 ounces)
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a muffin tin by lining it with cupcake liners.

IMG_8009Use a double boiler or add an inch or two of water to a medium sized saucepan and place a metal bowl over it, bringing the water to a simmer. Add butter (cut into chunks), chocolate, cocoa to the bowl. As the butter and chocolate melt, whisk until the ingredients are well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to touch.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the salt, the sugar, the mint extract and beat until well combined. Slowly add in the chocolate butter mixture and beat until combined.

Add in half of the sifted flour mixture, mix to combine. Mix in the sour cream. Mix in the remaining flour mixture.

Spoon the batter evenly into the lined muffin cups. Place in oven in middle rack. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Let cool in muffin tin on a rack for 15 minutes. Then gently remove cupcakes from the tin and let cool completely before frosting.

Mix all ingredients for frosting. Garnish with a little fresh mint.

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tiff & ja9 @ waterfront2

 

 

 

Hee-san, I can’t wait to see you this fall!  We have so much catching up to do!

 

 

 

 

P.S. In case you were wondering, this is why I only post dessert pictures. :)

P.S. In case you were wondering, this example of my dinner is why I only post dessert recipes. 🙂

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Go Hawks! (No I’m Not A Bandwagon Fan)

In case you didn’t know, I am NOT a football girl.  Baseball, yes.  Soccer, for SURE.

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However, my Dad goes on these weird kicks and he decided this year to be obsessed with the Seahawks.  It started even before their season started.  Unfortunately for him, I am the closest thing he has to a son, so I tried really hard to be excited whenever he talked about them.  I tried to pretend to be excited when he invited me over to watch the games and when he tried talking about players (I only knew of Wilson, Lynch, and Sherman because they were great wish-granters).  I didn’t really get into it until they made it to the playoffs.

Now before you jump down my throat and call me a bandwagon fan, let me tell you why I am NOT a bandwagon fan.  Even though they won the Super Bowl, I could still care less about football.  I think its a ridiculous game and if a 260 pound man was chasing me for a football, I’d happily hand it over to him.  However, I am PROUD of what the Seahawks have done for Seattle and for all they accomplished this year, even if I don’t understand it all.

My favorite part of the Super Bowl was the food…that’s a given right?  We sorta skipped Chinese New Year so we incorporated that into our Super Bowl food.

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Jello, spam musubi, roast, barbeque ribs, broccoli salad, chow mein, and cupcakes! What a feast!

I was in charge of the cupcakes.  And naturally I had to make them 12th man themed.  I was so into the theme, I even used blue and green baking utensils!  This is normally a red velvet recipe, but I substituted the red for green.  I don’t recommend blue.  It turns out a dark teal that is ugly.

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This is Earl Thomas IV with a 12th Man Cupcake!

12th Man Cupcakes (aka Green Velvet Cupcakes)
2 ½ C all-purpose flourIMG_7848
1 ½ C sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cocoa powder
1 ½ C vegetable oil
1 C buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 T green food coloring
1 t white distilled vinegar
1 t vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 lb. cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 t vanilla extract
4 C sifted confectioners’ sugar

IMG_7887Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled.  *In case you didn’t know, an ice-cream scooper is the most awesome trick to making sure the batter is evenly distributed in your cupcake liners!  Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

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For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

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Marissa has always been a sugar fiend, but I think its safe to say that the 12th Man Cupcakes were a “hit!” Har har har.

All in all, I’m proud of the Seahawks (although I’m still not a football fan) and I’m relieved the Super Bowl wasn’t a nail biter.  And I’m sure my Dad is glad he doesn’t have to explain the game to us anymore.  Let’s put it this way…my Mom’s favorite play of the Super Bowl was the “pitch” at the beginning that went over Manning’s head and when Harvin ran all the way to the “touchdown zone.”  I’m not even that bad.  I knew it was “hiked” over Manning’s head (which is still wrong, but at least I had the sport) and that Harvin ran it into the end zone.  I’m pretty sure I’ll forget it all by next year.  I’m ready for Spring.  Bring on the Sounders and Mariners!

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Whaaaat??

I’ve spent lots of time online looking up fun, new (mostly cupcake) recipes and sometimes it takes more than a few times until I find the perfect recipe, so I wanted to be able to share some of my delicious outside-the-box recipes!  I can’t cook, so you probably won’t find anything for dinner here, but I will have you covered for dessert.

Volunteering with the Alaska and Washington chapter of Make-A-Wish is also a passion for me.  I began my involvement as an intern, and then a volunteer.  After much persistence and many interviews, I have now been on staff for a couple of years.  However, being a wish granting volunteer is still a very important role to me and meeting wish families reminds me why I do what I do.  I’m frequently asked if its hard doing what I do and dealing with sick kids.  My answer is that I try not to think about them being sick.  I try my best to just plan something fun and exciting for each of my wish kids.  Most of the time, I can’t even tell that they look sick, because I don’t know what they looked like before they lost their hair or their face got puffy from their treatments.  Each of my wish kids holds a special place in my heart.  That being said, I have also spent many hours trying to come up with unique ways to make each of my wish kiddos feel special.  They might all wish to go meet Mickey at a Disney theme park, but I always try to do something special and different for each kiddo.  It’s safe to say that Make-A-Wish is truly one of my passions and I am thrilled to share all of my excitement with you!

My Make-A-Wish partner in crime. We love what we do.
P.S. The costumes were her idea. 🙂

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