Even though my cupcake excursion almost ended in disaster I wasn’t about to give up. I spent two days stalking Dessert Stalker. I was glued to that sight. So many gorgeous pictures and recipes I couldn’t tear myself away from it. I also kept thinking that it was one more sight that would reject my pictures. HA! Lord knows how many recipes I’d bookmarked and I knew that I wouldn’t get back to half of them. Finally, I decide to work with the next cupcake recipe I landed on. The one I landed on is from Lick My Spoon
It’s a pretty good recipe. The only thing is that it dries out pretty quickly. The recipe did suggest that each cupcake be wrapped individually right away to retain moisture. I wrapped the first two batches as a whole but didn’t do the last one. Boy can you tell the difference! I’ve included the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting that accompanies the recipe even though I didn’t use it. I opted for a basic butter cream with a couple of tablespoons of chocolate pudding for added flavor. I also used my square muffin pan and had no problems with the cupcake lines crinkling. They also made for some pretty cute cakes.
Moist Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
3 cups all purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup whole milk (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tray with liners. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and cream with the butter for 7 minutes, scraping the bowl when needed (batter should be nearly white and fluffy). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Turn the speed to low and alternatively, add the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with flour until just mixed. Add vanilla until just mixed. Divide the batter into the cupcake liners until 2/3 full (I used an ice cream scoop which was the perfect amount to fill 1 cupcake). Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out just clean ( mine took about 22 minutes although the original recipe said 12-15 minutes). Cool for 5-10 minutes on a rack. Remove each cupcake from the tray and wrap in plastic wrap individually to seal in moisture. Cool on wire racks and frost when cold.
Wrapping Up the Story
OK, here goes. When the New You Revolution ended I was riding high. I was almost 20lbs down and feeling so good about myself. Being back on the fitness bandwagon felt wonderful and I was eager to get back into teaching. CNN was my catalyst for change. It was such an awesome feeling to know that they genuinely cared about my well-being and I vowed to spend the rest of my life doing the same thing for as many people as I could. At the time I just didn’t know how I was going to do it. I continued to work out at the Y and even looked into getting certified to teach for them. Certification meant traveling to a seminar about 70 miles away and possibly an overnight stay, plus it was a tad costly. In anticipation of my certification the Y let me teach a seniors class. For me this was like starting at ground zero. I was used to teaching high impact aerobics and facilitating the class the way I wanted. At the Y I was on probation. Bummer. I wanted more.
Even so I was willing to work my way up. However, my personal life was in dire straits. The best of marriages go through rocky periods and we were no exception. I’ve said before that with each weight loss the changes were not only with body size. Proving that I could change me physically was very empowering. My self confidence grew and I became more vocal about, well everything. At this point we had been married 29 years. In some ways it seemed like a short time and then again it sometimes felt like a hundred years. Once upon a time I was a very humble, meek and mild woman. Rather than rock the boat I’d go with the flow. Now mind you the flow wasn’t anything extreme, but it wasn’t always the direction I wanted to go in.
About the same time the Revolution ended, Casey came home from Iraq. We were ecstatic. Despite whatever else was going on, this was a joyous occasion. Our son was safe and sound, Praise God! This also meant, that Shanaan was going back home to his parents where he belonged. After their tour of duty ended, Casey and Theresa were going back to their previous duty station which was in Germany. After Iraq, Germany seemed like the town next door. I could call him anytime I wanted to and there weren’t any bombs or sirens going off. When Casey came home to get Shanaan I wasn’t as sad as I thought I‘d be. Each time he’d left before I dissolved into a fit of tears. This time was different. I took them to the airport, kissed them both and was on my merry way. What was up with that? That was the end of March 2005. Two weeks later all hell broke loose. I was determined to go ahead with my certification to teach at the Y despite the cost and any inconvenience to our family. My determination was met with lots of resistance. It was just one more thing we argued about. The arguments were frequent and often heated. Gabbi and Charisse had moved out and we were left, for the first time in 29 years to just deal with each other, no kids around. And we didn’t handle our alone-ness so well. On the morning of April 11, 2005 it all came to head. The morning dawned with an argument. It was also the day of my first class at the Y. My head and heart were not into that class at all. Nothing went well that day. It seemed to be a never ending stream of arguments and head butting.
By the time evening rolled around I’d had enough. I called my daughter home from work and told her to call her brothers. By the time she arrived I decided to run away. Literally, I ran away from home with only my cell phone and a kitchen towel in my hand. No ID, clothes, money, or my glasses. I ran across the street and between the houses. Charisse seen me leave and she picked me up a few blocks away. I jumped in her car and told her that no way was I going back to the house. By that time my other sons had arrived to find me gone. Wow, even recanting this now seems so strange. I’m the youngest in my family and the only girl and I reverted to little sister mode and called my brother. That night, he and I along with my children devised my get away plan.
I spent the night at our oldest son’s home and was set to leave early the next morning for Dallas to stay with our oldest daughter. Charisse took me to Walmart and bought me a change of clothes and reading glasses. Nothing seemed real at that point. It was shaping up to be the worst and best day of my life. The scene at the bus station the next morning was absolutely horrible. Gabbi was only six months old and I had been taking care of her since the day she was born. I was leaving Charisse and Gabbi high and dry. At this point she had no one else to take care of Gabbi while she worked. To this day that is something I still struggle with. Naturally she supported my decision but I know it was hard on her. Leaving them was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I cried the whole day. I was leaving the only life I’d known for 29 years. Inside I knew it was meant to be, but it was still hard. 29 hours on a Greyhound gives you lots of time to think. I didn’t have a clue what my future held and I was scared out of my wits
When I arrived at the bus station in Dallas my daughter was there waiting with open arms. She had a room ready for me, clothes and all the girly things I needed. I felt so care-free even though I missed Charisse and Gabbi something terrible. While in Dallas I continued to lose weight and exercised as much as I could. Dallas in the spring was much warmer than Michigan and I walked everyday. If this was where God planted me I intended to bloom. My mission was to become independent which meant I needed a job. My head was spinning, what had I gotten myself into? The final installment is next.