Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cupcakes in Motion

With my certification complete, I wanted to cook. I had to cook. I have been waiting 14 weeks to get back in the kitchen. Finally, the day was about to arrive!  The week prior, I spent time on the computer and with my nose in cookbooks looking for the perfect recipe to cook. I found it. I knew what I was to make. I found this recipe on a blog I follow, My Baking Addiction.

Mixing mixing mixing
Then, my roommate sent a heartbreaking sentence to my text message inbox: “My parents are coming this weekend to replace the counters and the sink in the kitchen.”
Don't get me wrong, I am excited about anything new for the kitchen. I think new counters and a sink with a faucet that doesn't leak is a splendid idea! I just wasn't excited about the timing.
So, I put the idea on hold for one more weekend. Surely, it would be okay. I have waited this long, right?

Then, the next week, we find out her boyfriend got a job in town (FINALLY!) and will be moving here. I get this text message: “Mike got the job! Can you take me to the airport on Friday? We're going to move all his stuff up over the weekend!” So, we have effectively gone from a two to a three-person household. I figured Saturday was the day. The only day I will be able to cook after the renovations are done and before our house is filled with unpacking we need to find a place for.

I went back to the recipe. What will I need? What do I have? I haven't cooked in so long, I don't even know if I have basics like sugar and flour. Do I even have eggs? Yes, I have eggs. They are simple to make and have been my dinner on more than one occasion during this course, one of my few healthy options.
Self-doubt set in a bit. I called my mom a couple times to ask questions I shouldn't have to ask. I paced a bit. I must have checked and double-checked to make sure the paddle was attached properly to my mixer. Was my oven on? I need to look again. Cooling towels. I need to set them up. Is the oven on? It's just been so long, I felt almost like a stranger to my own passion.
I remembered this feeling. It plagued me as I was starting out, not even two years ago. It is almost painful. It certainly is dizzying. There's a scary moment when, the only thing between you and something delicious is inadequacy. And I had more than a few of those moments on Saturday.
Overcome. I shall overcome. I moved through the feeling and began.
I don't know. Awkward.
It made me giggle.
Which felt good.

The process took over. My motions were swift, and I was moving onward, adding a cup of this and a teaspoon of that.
Oh. No.
I swear I had vegetable oil. In fact, I know I had some. I have used it before. It was right there on that shelf. Why isn't it there? What could have happened to it?
It's possible anything could have happened. I could have used the last of it last time I was cooking. I could have dumped it due to a suspiciously close expiration date. I could have moved it in our process of cleaning and reorganizing everything after getting new counters.
Begging for frosting!
But none of that matters. The point is, I was in the middle of mixing and cooking and my oven was on and I didn't have vegetable oil. What can you sub that out with? Olive oil? Can you? I was unsure. I know they are different weights, they smell different, but isn't oil, well, oil? (except motor oil...)
I decided to forge on with the olive oil, pretending with all my might that it is vegetable oil. And you know what? It totally worked! There isn't even a difference! However, olive oil being way more expensive than vegetable oil means that vegetable oil is at the top of my shopping list!
On to the frosting. Oh, how I love frosting. This was a flavored frosting, which I have never attempted before. I have made chocolate frosting and vanilla frosting. And that's the extent of my experience. But, orange frosting? Yep. Orange.
I tasted it after it was all mixed together and decided it wasn't orange-y enough. So I squeezed the juice from the orange in it and mixed it up again. There. Perfection.

Done! Delish! 
These were hands-down some of the best cupcakes I've made to date. I have shared them with several friends, family, and co-workers. If you get a chance, I highly recommend making them!

The lesson of my first trip back? Keep moving forward and don't let anything get in the way. My fear is all in my head. I continue to learn this in my life. The effects of fear can be two things: paralyzing or thought-provoking. Today I choose thought-provoking. My life has changed in more ways than I care to count since my last cooking weekend.  In good ways and bad ways.  In bad ways that will become good ways.  When I let fear overpower me, changes are not my friend, in fact, they are reasons to shut down and stop my life. And today, I refuse to stop. I refuse to let a feeling take over my life. I will live in motion.
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