Peach Cupcakes with Peach Buttercream

I really love planning a party!  I can find any excuse necessary to create a menu, pull out decorations, and make everything on my table match.  Don’t believe me?  Just last night I spent at least an hour considering throwing a FRIENDS party.  It’s only my all-time favorite tv show ever!

There is no good reason to throw a FRIENDS party.

There is no tv reunion happening.

The show has been in reruns for over a decade.

But I have friends!  And they’re great!  And I can’t think of any better reason to make Phoebe’s chocolate chip cookies, or Rachel’s Thanksgiving trifle (minus the beef sauteed with peas and onions).

But I digress…

I started planning Ivy’s first birthday party when she was 6 months old.  I couldn’t wait to throw her the sweetest, most beautiful, peachy party!  I spent months on Pinterest finding every peach idea possible and pinning every cute first birthday party photo idea I could find.  It was so much fun and worth every minute hour I spent. 🙂

I finally settled on these delicious peach cupcakes with peach buttercream, and I couldn’t have been more pleased!

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Is it too early to start planning for her second birthday party? 😉


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Peach Cupcakes with Peach Buttercream

(www.cathlincooks.blogspot.com)

Cupcakes
2-2 ½ cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup sugar
1 cup fresh peach puree
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar

Buttercream
¾ cup butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup peach puree
Vanilla, to taste

Cake
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin, or lightly grease and flour a 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar into a bowl. In a measuring cup, mix together the peach puree, oil and vanilla. Add the peach mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk together until combined. At this point, you may want to add some yellow and food colouring to achieve a peachier colour. When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. The batter will foam slightly where the baking soda and vinegar are reacting. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 20 minutes if making cupcakes, or 25 to 30 minutes it making cake. Allow to cool before glazing or frosting.

Peach Buttercream
Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined. Add peach puree and vanilla and beat again until smooth. You may want to add some yellow and red food colouring to achieve a peachier colour.
Can be piped or spread onto cakes.

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Ivy Turns 1!

Life moves incredibly fast.  And when you measure time in months, it seems to fly by before you have the chance to think twice.  A year ago this sweet little gem entered our world.

IMG_0651Life has been sweeter, more lovely, filled with much more laughter, and better than we could have ever imagined.  She’s fiesty, observant, and seriously on the move!  Try to stop her and you’ll be greeted with leg kicking and squeals, both of which we are working hard at getting a handle on. 😉

There are so many things we don’t know about her yet, and we are so excited to find out who she will be!  Here are the things we do know about her.

  • She loves her stuffed zebra, swinging, bath time, her dog, and any music she can dance to.
  • She loves olives, eggs, and eats cheese by the massive handfuls.
  • She has so many fun, colorful, noise-making toys, but still chooses the stairs, DVD shelf, and tupperware drawer every time.
  • She shrieks in excitement every time her daddy comes home from work.

This past weekend we celebrated her first birthday with those she loves most!

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It was perfect.  It was full of middle of May sunshine, bubbles, balloons, peaches, cake smashed between fingers, and loads of gifts.  Love this little girl and all she has brought into our lives!

*All photo credit goes to my amazing dad who shot pictures endlessly, capturing this day and her excitement beautifully.

Pink Donuts and the First Snow

Snow!  It happened.  This past weekend Bend, Oregon received its first snow of the season and it was lovely.  I love it when snow coincides with the weekend, making it that much easier to stay inside and enjoy the warmth of a fire with my family, all while watching the pretty white flakes fall from the sky.

This was Ivy’s first snow, and while we didn’t venture out to play in it (she was working hard at getting over a BIG cold!), she was incredibly fascinated as she watched out the window.  As we all huddled in front of the fire that morning, it just seemed an appropriate day to make some donuts…as if I needed an excuse to make the delicious circles of yum.

I happened to have some strawberries left over from the student leadership retreat that desperately needed to be used, so I adapted my apple cider donuts to make strawberry donuts with a strawberry icing.  I substituted 1/2 cup of mashed strawberries for the apple cider, omitted the nutmeg, and decreased the cinnamon to 1/2 teaspoon. Instead of rolling them in cinnamon and sugar after they were out of the fryer, I let them sit on a paper towel to soak up some of that extra grease, and then used this delicious strawberry icing recipe to top them off, because the only thing better than a donut is a pink donut.  They were nothing short of divine!  I made a batch of gluten-free, and a batch of regular, because it wouldn’t be fair if I was left out. 😉

My beautiful, wonderful sister called me later that day to chat for awhile and suggested I make homemade donuts on the first snow of the season a new yearly tradition.  And since I love a good tradition as much as the next person, I agreed.  Now Ivy will look forward to the first snow of the year for more than just the opportunity to build a snowman!

Here’s to a snowy season!

Little Ones To Him Belong

Thankful.

Blessed.

Happy.

In Love.

This past weekend this happy little girl got dedicated to Jesus.  That’s why she’s so happy! 🙂 It was one of the sweetest moments I’ve lived so far.  Aaron and I are so thankful to have family and friends that are wonderful examples of who Jesus is.  Even sweeter is that she got to share this precious moment with her dear friend, Clara Louise.  These two are destined to be world changers!

Ivy Jayne, you belong to Jesus, and your daddy and I are so very thankful.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage…

Several months ago I received a funny little message on my facebook wall.  It went a little something like this…

“In your opinion, do people that have three-month old babies like to bake wedding cakes?”

My gut told me to reply with any of the following answers:

“Are you kidding?”

“Not this gal with a three-month old!”

“Absolutely not.”

But my heart made my fingers type,

“This gal with a three-month old would love to.”

The one who asked me that silly little question was my sweet friend Jessie.  We have been friends for the past four years, and have been through lots and lots and lots together.  As much as I knew it was going to be difficult to juggle baking 250 cupcakes for a wedding while taking care of a baby, I’m so very glad I said yes.

This past weekend we celebrated Miss Jessie Carpenter and Mr. Alan Dale as they became Mr. & Mrs. Dale. ♥  It was beautiful and sweet and I’m so thankful I got to be a part of it.

The Johnson Estate at the Metolius Headwaters

Best friends, Clara and Ivy!

Miss Ivy enjoys the wedding!

Mocha cupcakes and Champagne cupcakes

The girls eyes are glued to that bouquet!

Some of the girls I love most!

What a fun evening filled with friends, laughter, good food, great wine, beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, and lots of love. ♥ Congratulations Alan & Jessie!

Christmas Cocktails and lots of Cheer!

Some things you wait for all year long.  And this just happens to be one of them for me.

That’s me, right smack dab in the middle, beaming from ear to ear at the thought of having walked through another year with these people surrounding me.  Our annual Christmas Cocktail party hit #4 this year, and it’s one of my favorite events of the year!  So many of my favorite people in one place!  Eating good food, drinking lovely drinks, taking a much needed break from the busy Christmas season, and chatting and catching up on each others lives.

This was my date…

…so handsome is he, that I couldn’t take my eyes off of him…even for the picture. ♥

This year Christmas seems to have crept right up on me, and I didn’t have near the time to plan for this shindig as I usually do.  So Costco saved my dear life as I threw meatballs, cheese, crackers, candy, and dips into my cart.  I did, however, find the time to make these adorably delicious Christmas cupcakes!

I’m so sad to say that because of the overly busy season, and the fact that I haven’t felt top notch lately, I haven’t done near the baking that I so desperately wanted to.  But I found this recipe for Sugared Cranberry Vanilla Cupcakes weeks ago, and was determined to make them, no matter what!  I’m so thankful I was able to make them for this wonderful group of people!

It was a night full of fun, laughs, eating, drinking, and merriment to our heart’s content…and I’m already looking forward to Christmas Cocktails 2012!

A book sale, applesauce, and friends who play music

I’m so happy to say that Fall arrived in Bend, Oregon this weekend, thankfully just in time for the Fall Festival.  It was just the right mix of blustery and overcast that went perfectly with caramel apple cider and time with good friends.

Our weekend started off with the fastest high school football game ever.  It totally made up for last week’s, which was the longest high school football game in the history of high school football games.  So thankful that our weather hasn’t turned quite yet and most of these games have been spent in comfort with nothing more than a light jacket.  However, I do believe this may have been our last!

Saturday morning brought coffee with dear friends and their new little one, and a little bit of this…

Aaron and I have been going to the Friends of the Library book sales for years.  They put on four every year, and we look forward to each and every one.  We are members so we get in an hour earlier than the rest of the public, giving us the advantage in getting the best books available.  We are by far the youngest people in line as we map out our strategy of what section to hit first.  I love children’s books, so I always head there first.  I got the most delightful stack of children’s stories to add to my collection!  Best part about this stack?  That little book sandwiched in there titled “Garbage Can Cat”.  I’ve never seen this children’s book before, but I’m so happy to have found it, because it is as wonderful as it sounds.

The entirety of Saturday was spent turning 40 pounds of Gravenstein apples into delicious applesauce.  It made my house smell so lovely, and now we’re stocked for the next year so that we can enjoy Fall apples all year long.

We finished off our weekend with a little bit of this…

These guys played at the Fall Festival downtown this year, and it was a joy to spend Sunday afternoon standing around with friends, while listening to them.  We are completely blessed to call them our good friends.

Fall is here friends!

The biggest time waster ever…and how I plan to overcome it!

We are heading into our last true week of summer here in the Schrader household.  Aaron heads back to work next week, and we have the football scrimmage that will kick off the season at the end of this week.  The summer was fast, not long enough, and incredibly busy.  We spent loads of time with people that we love.  We took advantage of the fact that life is short and sometimes you just have to spend that extra bit of money, take an extra day off even when it hurts, stay up a little bit later even when you’ll feel it in the morning, or let things be undone in an attempt to really experience and enjoy life.

My summer has seen days of joy, and some moments of overcoming grief.  Where I’ve landed through all of it is that being angry is such a time waster.  And while knowing this should have changed my perspective on life’s circumstances, it didn’t.  Four months ago if I would have looked ahead to where my life would be in August 2011, this would not be it.  And at the very core of that statement is sadness and heartache and anger.  When I truly think about all of the implications of this, I am so thankful for a God that is merciful, full of grace, overwhelmingly loving, and incredibly patient with someone as stubborn and unchanging as me.

This past year I stumbled upon Shauna Niequist, a writer that has captured my heart with her honesty, transparency, and love for life amidst the pain.  I recently finished one of her books, “Cold Tangerines,” and have found that it has challenged me to find the extraordinary in everyday life.

I believe in a life of celebration.  I believe that the world we wake up to every day is filled to the brim with deep, aching love, and also with hatred and sadness.  And I know which of those I want to win in the end.  I want to celebrate in the face of despair, dance when all we see on the horizon is doom.  I know that Death knocks at our doors and comes far too early for far too many of us, but when he comes for me, I want to be full-tilt, wide-open, caught in the very act of life.  I think that’s what we’re here for, not for a passive, peaceful life, but to stand up in the face of all that lacks peace and demand more.

Some days I’m complacent, resistant, and heavyhearted.

Some days I demand more, I’m forward looking, I see glimpses of hope, and celebration wins.  Those are the days I am most thankful.  Thankful for hot days with iced coffee, finding a good book and not wanting to put it down, sleeping with the windows open, a Kenny Chesney song that never gets old, an M&M milkshake, a sun-kissed glow from spending the entire day at a car wash, dinner on a restaurant patio, and for friends that allow me to be painfully, brutally, ugly honest on the days that hurt.

Since being angry wastes my time, my heart is aching to celebrate any little thing I can find, even on the hard days.  And on the days where celebration is hard to come by, I’ll lean on grace.  This past weekend I joined with many others to celebrate our good friend, Pat Gonsoulin for his 65th birthday!  In his honor I baked his favorite cake!  Yellow cake with chocolate orange buttercream frosting.  This frosting was reason enough to celebrate to our hearts content!  It looked a little something like this…

With detail that looked a little something like this…

If you want to try this delightful celebration out, you can find the cake recipe here, and the frosting recipe here!  Enjoy and have fun finding something to celebrate today!