Baking

Award Winning Pumpkin Coconut Cupcakes

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This recipe belongs to Paula Deen. I’ve made it many times as pumpkin bars. I adapted it just a bit for pumpkin cupcakes. You can find the original recipe here.

For the pumpkin cupcakes, you will need the following ingredients:

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line up your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. This batch made 30 cupcakes.

1. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and pumpkin until light and fluffy.

2. Stir together the flour (don’t forget to sift the flour, very important!), baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.

4. Fill cupcake liners about halfway. Bake for 20 minutes. Let completely cool before frosting.

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Ingredients for the icing:
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin cupcakes.

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Ingredients for the topping:

7 oz. of sweetened shredded coconut.

To make the topping, lightly toast the coconut: Spread coconut in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently in between.

Top the cupcakes with toasted coconut and enjoy!

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I entered these cupcakes in a Halloween cupcake contest and it won first prize! That’s why I call them Award Winning Pumpkin Coconut Cupcakes.

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Feeling coco-nutty…

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My Gratitude Journal

An Awesome Harvest Kind of Day

What an awesome day. Today we had a Harvest Festival where I work. We have one every year. It usually involves costume contests and food contests. This year we had a costume contest, pumpkin decorating contest and cupcake contest. Our unit, which consists of almost 45 people (three units combined) decided to do a group costume. We do a group costume almost every year now.  We love to celebrate Halloween and almost every year, we win in the contests of costume or food, or both. 

This year we won first place at the cupcake contest, first place for group costume and first place for individual costume. What a bunch of winners we are! 

I was especially happy because I was the one who won first place in the cupcake contest! I made pumpkin coconut cupcakes. I decorated each of them with a spider on top. Nothing fancy, but I guess the judges liked the combination and taste of the pumpkin and toasted coconut. 

This year, we dressed as Disney characters. I was Peter Pan and with me, I had a Captain Hook. We had a Cruella De Ville and with her, she had 3 dalmations. We had an Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and the 3 little fairies along with Maleficent. We had an Alice (in Wonderland) and the Queen of Hearts with a couple of cards. We had a Snow White and we had 7 drawfs.  We had a Beauty and her Beast .We had a Mary Poppins. We had Elsa and Olaf. And of course, we wouldn’t be complete without a Mickey!

Here we are as Disney characters!

It’s hard to get work done on a Harvest Festival day. We managed to get a little done. But, a bunch of us took a little breather in the morning and made our way down to the lunch room to take a look at the pumpkin contest. There were about 6 of us in the elevator and everybody forgot to press 1 for the first floor. We ended up going all the way up to the 5th floor by accident. The elevator door opened and a security guard was sitting at a desk looking at us. Did we surprise him! For one thing, we were all dressed up as Disney characters. And for another,  it was not even Halloween yet. The expression on his face was priceless. We were laughing so hard that I’m sure everyone could hear us as we moved down the floors in the elevator. After we were done in the lunch room, we all headed back up. I had the crazy idea to head back up to the 5th floor to shock the security guard again. This time, there were about 11 of us, which meant even more Disney characters. We made our way back to the 5th floor and this time, as the door opened, we were waving and saying hi to him. The look on his face again was priceless. We were roaring with laughter, even louder than the first time.

We had a costume parade in the afternoon. That’s when we won first prize. Yay! October and Harvest Festival time is an awesome time of the year! Always a good time with friends, making memories and sharing smiles. 

My Gratitude Journal

Colors, Cupcakes and Love

Today was a sensational Saturday. I started it off by listing all my favorite things that I am grateful for:

Today I am grateful for:
Morning hugs
Birds chirping
Sun shining
Summer/Fall fusion weather ( it’s Fall but it feels like summer)
October (my favorite month)
And of course, my kids.

Josh and I got dressed and headed to his school for the Color-a-thon. He was happy to see his friends on a Saturday, which has been our usual routine with all the August and September birthday parties. He was also excited. He had been waiting for this day all week. He was prepared to run the 10 laps around the field. Josh and his friends warmed up before the race by chasing each other with excitement of being together again. The kids headed to the start line ( which was actually the finish line- I like that, positive thinking). It was happy, loud and wild. Nobody was paying attention to the announcements. But once the kids realized the race was about to start… it got serious.

All lined up at the starting line and ready to go!

The kids got in their racing positions and they were off! Josh was focused as he ran each lap. I was very impressed. I later told him how focused he was with his running and he told me it was because he wanted to get to the next station as fast as he could so he could get more color thrown on him. How motivated!

The 10 laps were over and everybody gathered in the middle of the field for the color party. What a rainbow of colors!

A rainbow of colors!!!

We headed home and straight to the shower. Josh had fun watching the colors of the rainbow in the bathtub. I had fun scrubbing the bathtub when he was done…not.

Then Sabrina came home from college to visit for the weekend. I enjoyed hearing her updates on school, roommates and apartment life. Then, we had a cupcake party! French vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and toasted coconut on top.

She looks so adorable holding those cupcakes… look at that smile!

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”
Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm

Saturday… Color… Cupcakes… And love…The best…