Monday, February 29, 2016

Sharing Is Fun

This past week held a wonderful surprise for both Emily and I. As you know if you have been following my blog, we've been spending time practicing our recipes for the 16th Annual Chocolate Lovers Bake Off sponsored by our local library. So with breath held and hopes high, this past Monday we took our entries and waited as the judges sampled all the offerings. They judged the children's table first and to our great joy we heard them call Emily's name as first place winner for her strawberry filled chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting. 

Before hand I reminded Emily that win or lose we both had a wonderful time baking together and that was what was important. But I would be lying if I said my heart didn't thump with delight at the sound of her name being pronounced as winner.

Next they announced the winner of the cookie table, and I won second place for my chocolate chocolate chunk cookies. I was pleased, but it was nothing compared to the happiness I felt for my offspring. Next they announced the winners from the dessert table which I had  not entered. Following was to come the cake entries, and after looking at all the beautiful cakes, I was fairly sure I was not going to win anything for my chocolate peanut butter cup cupcakes. So, you can imagine my surprise when I was announced as the first place winner of cakes.

The rest of the week passed in the normal manner with home school lessons completed, choir practice for Emily, house cleaning, and time spent enjoying the numerous squirrels frolicking in our yard. I love squirrels with their wiggly tails and cute faces. Even when they try to climb my shepherd's hook to steal bird seed from the feeders, I can't help but laugh at their antics.

So out of the pile on my bookshelf, I snagged a book about squirrels which had caught my eye at the library due to it's beautiful cover. It was called Mine, All Mine and the title suggested there just might be a lesson in there somewhere. Of course there was a lesson about sharing, but it was told subtly and there was even a glittery snowflake to follow. A perfect book for four to eight year old children to take in; and if they are like me, they will definitely take time to feel that glittery snowflake on every page too!

I also read The Tale of Pip and Squeak which happened to be another book about sharing. This was totally coincidental of course, but worked out perfectly. Pip and Squeak are brothers who don't really like to be in the same room and don't really like to share the spotlight. But one day that all changes and they realize it's okay to work together and share the admiration of those around. This is an older book, but it is worth seeing if your library has a copy or searching for a used copy as it was considered good enough to be added to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. 

And since all these books happen to be about sharing, I would feel totally remiss if I didn't share the recipe for Emily's award winning cupcakes with you. So here it is and I  hope you enjoy.

Strawberry Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups sugar                                                                2 eggs
1 ¾ cups unbleached flour                                           1 cup milk
¾ cup baking cocoa                                                    ½ cup light olive oil
1 ½ tsp baking powder                                                 2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp baking soda                                                     1 cup boiling water
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin tins with paper liners. Stir together dry ingredients in bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer, beat sugar, oil, eggs and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about two minutes. Stir in boiling water. (Batter will be thin) Pour batter into tins filling about 2/3 full. There will be some leftover batter as this recipe makes about thirty cupcakes. Bake about twenty minutes and check centers to see if toothpick comes out cleanly. Remove from pan and cool on racks.

1 container strawberries (diced)
½ cup sugar
1/8 cup cornstarch
½ cup water
In a pan combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat stirring frequently. Mixture will begin to thicken like jelly. When it gets to this point, remove from heat and allow to cool. Core cupcakes (we used an apple corer) and fill with cooled strawberry mixture.

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting:
1 ½ cups softened salted butter
1 cup baking cocoa
5 cups powdered sugar
½ cup milk
1 TBS vanilla extract

In stand mixer, add five cups of powdered sugar and cocoa and beat on low until combined. Add butter, vanilla, and one TBS of milk and beat. Continue to add milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Drop by the Literacy Musings Monday blog hop where you will find other great literary blogs. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequels, Return To Fern Valley,  and Cooking In Fern Valley, along with my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.


  1. How exciting to win in those categories! Thanks for sharing the cupcake recipe. Just looking at the picture and reading the ingredients makes my mouth water. :) Those two children's books look delightful! I'm visiting from #LMMLinkup!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ms. Gayl. Let me how the cupcakes turn out if you decide to make some :0)

  2. Hi, Aileen, I love this sweet post too. I selected it as my favorite for the week for the #LMMLinkup. You will be featured tomorrow on my site. :)

  3. Those cupcakes look awesome!

    Thanks so much for linking up at the #BloggerSpotlight party! I pinned this to our group board. Don’t forget to come link up again tonight and see the featured posts!