Kitchen creations, organizing, movies, cupcakes, priorities….Or, a typical weekend

Monday already, really?? I was so not ready for that alarm clock this morning, and I am SO not ready for another busy week at work. I had all these intentions of starting this week out on the “right foot” but I think I am a little confused as to which one that actually is. We have been going through a really great series at church this month about priorities and putting first things first. Yesterday our pastor talked about the importance of rest and rejuvenation (unfortunately the words massage and pedicure were not mentioned). Our pastor actually talked about the meaning behind the Jewish Sabbath and how the word “Sabbath” literally means “cease.” As in, cease whatever you are doing and rest. He then went on to explain how the Sabbath starts at night so that you can rest up for the next day. Rather than viewing rest or sleep as the time to recover from the previous day, they use rest/sleep to prepare themselves for the next day, so that they have the strength and energy to work hard and accomplish their goals. Interesting huh? I totally crash when I hit the bed at night and think about how busy I was and how I need this sleep to recover from the day. I want to try and change that focus. This morning? Not so good. I still got up well after the alarm actually went off and grudgingly made my way through my morning routine. Maybe tomorrow?

The rest of the weekend was pretty unexciting. We watched Ghost Writer, which was OK. I think I missed something at some point that made the whole movie kind of confusing. We also watched Toy Story 3 which was super cute and funny.

I cleaned out my closet and filled this entire box with stuff to donate….

I experimented a lot in the kitchen and made some yummy strawberry cupcakes. A co-worker brought in a cake last week and it was so good so I had to have the recipe so I could “healthify” it. Turns out it was a Paula Deen recipe, a/k/a elastic waist band required, but I was able to make some subs to make it more waist friendly and they turned out great! I also made them into cupcakes for instant portion control. Here is the recipe…

Strawberry Cupcakes (adapted from Paula Deen)

1 (18.25 oz) box white cake mix*
1 small box sugar-free strawberry Jello mix
1 (4 oz) jar baby food pears
4 egg whites**
1 (15 oz) package frozen strawberries in light syrup, thawed and pureed
1/4 cup water
Strawberry cream cheese icing:
1 (8 oz) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp strawberry extract (you can use vanilla, but strawberry gives it a good kick)
6-7 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffin tins with liners. Stir together cake mix and Jello in large mixing bowl. Add pears, egg whites, pureed strawberries and water and beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes until smooth. Pour batter evenly among the tins. Bake for about 18-20 minutes (check with toothpick). Cool completely.

For the frosting:
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in extract. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Frost cupcakes. I like to fill a large Ziploc bag with the frosting so I can pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. Much easier and less messy.

*It is hard to find a good cake mix that is dairy free. There are a couple yellow mixes at Whole Foods that I like, but no white mixes. After checking several places, I found one at Piggly Wiggly (their own brand) that had no milk ingredients listed.
**An egg substitute works (I used Ener-G); just follow directions on package to equal 4 eggs
I left my share of the cupcakes un-iced to make them totally dairy free, but loaded Matt’s half down:)

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