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Finally. February is over, finally.
I don’t have much to say today, other than that I’m happy February is over. The house is no longer falling apart (though the fence is still in need of some attention, but it’s holding fine for now). The kittens are mostly over their colds – Mirin started sneezing last week, but she’s still fine and active, and Yuzu is pretty well over it now. I’ve lost five pounds in the last two weeks and hope to lose another eight or so by the end of this month.
The only dark cloud on the horizon is the sequestration. Geordie is a civilian working for the government. Fortunately, he’s not going to lose his job (that would be the absolute worst-case scenario and seems highly unlikely), but he probably will be furloughed. Details are still hazy. The most likely outcome is that Geordie will have a four-day work week for a certain amount of months. Not terrible, and we have managed our money pretty well so we’re financially stable at the moment. But losing a day a week is going to force us to tighten our belts a little bit more. Number-wise, we can do it, so we’re not that worried. It’s just that we’re going to have to be less frivolous and a little more thrifty.
So far, this is not affecting our TTC plans. We’re still planning on trying, and we’re still planning on trying starting this month. Which is terrifying in its own way. I don’t want to count on getting pregnant as easily as I did with Lauren, but if it did happen, I could be spending the rest of this year pregnant. I could be holding a baby – my own child – at the end of this year.
It’s what I’ve been wanting for so long now, but it’s a shock to think that it’s not just a plan now. It’s an action. I can stop saying “we’re planning to” or “we’re going to” or “we’re hoping to.” I can say, “We’re trying to have a baby.”
And now, here is a picture of a kitten sitting in a trash can.
This week, I finally saw the Duncan Hines Frosting Creations on sale in a supermarket. I was not exactly excited to try one of these pre-fabricated frostings, but I was intrigued by some of the flavors: cherry vanilla, cinnamon roll, orange creme, and white chocolate raspberry, for example. I thought they might be interesting. Upon coming across them in the baking aisle, Geordie and I consulted, and I decided to get the white chocolate raspberry flavor.
I started with a classic white cake base. I figured I didn’t want a cake with too much of its own flavor, something that would go with the frosting itself. The cake turned out well. The frosting? Not so much.
First, what you’re adding to the frosting base is just a packet of chemicals. It looks like chemicals, and it smells like chemicals. I began to re-think this idea. But, I had gone this far and I might as well go forward. It is a very easy, simple procedure. Dump chemicals into frosting container. Mix. Done.
Unfortunately, nothing about it was appetizing. It smelled liked chemicals. It was gooey and sticky and glossy and surprisingly runny. It was unmanageable. Worst, it tasted like chemicals. I used it anyway. I hoped that the cupcake would calm down the artificial taste that permeated this unnatural and unappetizing frosting.
So, now I had a batch of yucky cupcakes that I didn’t want to eat or give to anybody, which is what I had intended to make. And the cake part tasted perfectly fine – quite yummy, in fact. It was just the frosting that was bad. Because I felt bad about making a whole batch of cupcakes and not eating them, I just recycled these.
Yes, I scraped off all the nasty frosting and prepared to do something new with them. Well, not exactly new. I still wanted the white chocolate raspberry combination, so I looked into recreating the frosting from scratch. Unfortunately, white chocolate raspberry icings are universally made with raspberry extract, which I did not have. Instead, I cored the cupcakes and filled them with raspberry jam.
I made a pretty simple white chocolate buttercream to top it all off. (Typical buttercream with melted white chocolate folded in. Simple.) I’m not a big fan of white chocolate, but this turned out better than I’d hoped. Geordie felt it was all a little overly sweet, and he’s not wrong. It’s sweet. If I were to do it again, I’d use sugar-free jam and perhaps a little less powdered sugar in the frosting. But it’s definitely better than the artificial stuff.
Conclusion: the Frosting Creations certainly are easier and faster to make, but I’m not willing to sacrifice quality and taste. A good buttercream frosting really isn’t that difficult to throw together; I did mine by hand in ten minutes. And what I ended up with is something that I feel better about sharing with others.