Mama J., Queen Bee and a side of salted caramel

What a weekend!!!  It began with all of my friends uniting in Indiana…and me in Knoxville eating Papa John’s cramming for my test on Saturday morning. (I was seething with jealousy all night!)Finally I was done and could be shuttled up to Indiana to celebrate Mama J.  Everyone came to pick me up from the airport, which I love about my college friends, where we go one, we go all.  Then manis and pedis which is code for we are loud, take over the salon and the poor quiet Asian staff doesn’t know what to do with us.  We arrived at Mama J’s house where I began our evening with appetizers. Sarah’s Guacamole and Salsa Verde with cocktails and mocktails.  I then served up Bakin’ and Eggs ‘s Increduladas  We stuffed our faces and then piled on the huge couch. It was decided by Ruthie that we should watch:

I know you remember this movie. Sometimes it even plays on random TV networks like Lifetime. Ruthie is lately rekindling her obsession with Mark Wahlberg. While I don’t love the movie, I love watching movies with Queen Bee (Q.B. for short) She is my dear friend who lives in Seattle and cannot watch a suspenseful movie without talking. She yells hilarious things…which makes me laugh every time.

While listening to Q.B. yell at Reese Witherspoon about her dumb choices, we had dessert. What was dessert? Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes.

Hopefully you are impressed with me. #1. Because most of you know I am no baker. I can cook, but baking takes precision which is not my gift #2. I am skilled in the art of caramel drizzle. It’s all in the wrist. #3. They still looked like this when I got to Indiana. Amazing I know. I’ll share the recipe…and all of the tricks I learned the hard way with you below.

Sunday was a photo shoot. A photo shoot you say? Yes. We’re like the Real Housewives, we schedule photo sessions to share our beauty with the world. Really it was our surprise for Mama J., she loves photos. ( Which she demonstrated by giving us photo books during the weekend. We travel up to shower her with gifts and she gives us presents…she’s the best!) We went out to an old farm and took pictures in the freezing cold. There were some odd poses that included Ruthie’s hair getting nuzzled by a horse, jumping into the air and sitting on a dock together. I’m interested to see what the finished product looks like…

Sunday night we ate take out and watched a terrible movie:

Seriously, it’s awful. Don’t watch it. Ever.

The weekend ended with us brunching at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville.

It is this really great whimsical restaurant located in downtown. I highly recommend it. This is what I ate:

Frittata with cheese grits anda biscuit

Yes, the large thing at the top of the photo is a biscuit…huge I know. Don’t worry, I wasn’t intimidated enough not to eat it : ) It was delicious. We gathered there to celebrate Q.B. Her birthday is coming next week. I wish we could all teleport to Seattle to take her out, but alas we had to eat amazing food in Louisville instead.

As usual the weekend goes by too fast. We were all sad to leave Mama J. Hopefully she feels more prepared with washed and organized baby clothes, a freezer full of meals, a certificate for her baby photo shoot and book that we all recorded ourselves reading portions of to play for the baby. Parting is sad, but we always have plans to reunite again. I am seriously so blessed to have these women in my life. They are wonderful. They are hilarious. They know a lot of embarrassing stuff about me. I love them dearly.

Kate, over and out.

 

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Ingredients:

The recipe called for Martha Stewart’s from scratch chocolate cupcakes…abort. I made them and it was a disaster. Sticky, gross and they all fell in the middle.  Go and by a box of cake mix. I used Dark Chocolate Cake mix.

Salted Caramel

Ingredients:

2 1/2 c. Sugar

2/3 c. Water

1 Tblspn Light Corn Syrup

3/4 c. Whipping Cream

2 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

*** Candy Thermometer. This is crucial. Do not attempt without this.

Directions:

Heat Sugar with water and corn syrup in a heavy sauce pan over med-high heat, stirring occasionally. Clip on candy thermometer to side of the pan and stop stirring. Cook until syrup comes to a boil. Boil gently until mixture reaches 360 degrees. Swirl pot occasionally and use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash down the sides to keep the sugar from crusting there. The sugar will begin to get darker and darker. Remove from heat and slowly stir in cream with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt. Let cool for 15 mins. Cut 1/2 inch deep holes into the top of the cupcakes. I used a melon baller. Pour cooled caramel into the cupcakes.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

1 Stick of Salted Butter, softened

1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, softened

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp vanilla

3-4 c. Powdered Sugar

1/2 c. leftover Caramel

 

Directions:

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add caramel, which should only be slightly warm now. Beat on medium speed for a few minutes until completely mixed. Let refrigerate for a few minutes if you are going to pipe on frosting.

Store at room temperature.

 

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