Fireball Apple Whisky Cupcakes [Recipe]

So I tend to do desserts when it comes to Navy gatherings, and each time has been met with really good reception and success…but I didn’t doubt my capabilities to bake. So Devan’s 23rd birthday was coming up and she was asking people to bring food if they wanted and I figured I’d make a dessert…might as well make a cake or cupcakes for her party. Since it was country themed, what better to fit in than with Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. You know, I’m not quite sure how “country” it really is, but I tend to see people taking shots of it in country bars where I first encountered it. But I digress…here’s the recipe. 

I actually found it on Pinterest on If you give a Blonde a Kitchen – if you want to go full on Martha Stewart and bake everything from scratch, click that link…if you want the quick version…read below. 

The set up 

So instead of making the cake part from scratch, I took inventory of what it originally called for and it seemed really similar to Spice Cake mix you can buy at the store. I basically followed the directions on the box, but instead of water I used apple cider. For extra boozy goodness, you can use flat room temperature hard cider. 

 

From there I did make the apples and frosting from scratch.

Apples:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large (or 3 small) crisp apples peeled, cored, and diced (I used Gala apples)
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.  Cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and have released their juices.  (It will smell delicious!)
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the whiskey with cornstarch. Then add to the pan with the apples and cook for another 3 minutes, until the liquid thickens.  Set aside to cool.

Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons whiskey
  1. Cream the butter for a minute or two.  Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until creamy.
  2. Add the whiskey, start with one tablespoon and add more until you reach desired consistency (I ended up using 2 tablespoons).  Beat on high for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and whipped.

I cored the center of the cupcakes with a melon baller and filled it with a little of the apple mix and reserved a little for the top.

cored and filled cupcakes

You could probably shortcut the apples and frosting too. For the apples, use pre-made apple pie filling and stir in the Fireball. For the frosting, use whipped cream cheese, add cinnamon and whisky and re-whip with a mixer.

Here’s the final product:

Aww yiss

Big Things Are Happening

So the last actual post I made was my concern for needing to graduate and pass this semester, I didn’t really have time to post any sort of updates on what has been happening in my life. Well now that the semester is over, I can do just that.

  • I GRADUATED (officially)! - So I did it, I finally did it. I was fortunate enough to not have to take 4 classes and could drop the one I didn’t need after getting the correct information from my advisor. Two of the three left were make-ups from past failures and my German 202 class. I still had one grade forgiveness left so that definitely helped me with my GPA. I was at a 1.95 once my German grade came in (which doesn’t effect my major GPA – which was a C). I unfortunately had a crappy time the second time around in World Masterpieces, where I made a D…bringing my GPA in my major down to a 1.86. I was kinda freaking out at that time REALLY hoping that my last grade would bring it to a 2.0. I did a grade calculator and it showed that I needed an A in that class to get anywhere near that so I was freaking out. I ended up getting a B- in Romantic to Modern European Literature bringing my GPA up to a 2.06 — Hallelujah! I went today and bought some alumni apparel and some decals for my car. 
  • I’M ENGAGED! - Soooo, at my graduation dinner after we had ordered our food, Andy proposed to me. The wife of the owner brought out a little purple box on a silver plate and handed it to us and he got up to give a little speech about how much he has loved me and wanted to marry me, then he got down on one knee and asked. I obviously said yes and the ring is gorgeous! It’s definitely my style with the sapphires in it. 

Image

So I’ve pretty much accomplished two VERY BIG milestones in my life in just one night. I unfortunately have to wait 4-6 weeks to get my fancy piece of paper. Now I just get to plan a wedding and pay my college loans.

 

The One Who Wants To Be With You

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

The one who wants to be with you accepts you for you: your mind, your heart and the parts of your body you may feel are imperfections, the ones you criticize when you look in the mirror. They think every single inch of you is worthy of adoration and will spend all day, every single day (if necessary) proving to you how beautiful and sacred your body is. They will kiss your body slowly, part by part, just to prove to you that each one deserves to be loved and caressed. This may take some time, but they’re willing to do that. They will show you that you don’t need you to be perfect or to be Bond Girl Christmas Jones — a scientist who is also secretly a supermodel when she removes her glasses and ponytail. You don’t need to be some focus-grouped, whitewashed, photoshopped idea of…

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ReFashionista on Good Afternoon America!

nerdbaitplus3:

She’s my refashioning hero…heroine? Haha, Jillian is the best!

Originally posted on ReFashionista:

As most of you know by now, last Thursday I made an appearance on Good Afternoon America!

For those of you who missed the show or just have a hankering to watch me again, here ya go!

This was SUCH a fun experience!  The producers and staff were all delightful to work with, and they made it super-easy to make this refash happen (A special shoutout to Tracey!).

Here are some fun behind-the scenes pics!  Thanks to Larry for taking them!

After a repeatedly delayed flight Wednesday night, I barely got any sleep!  I was soooo excited!  :)  I had to be ready to go at 8am!

On my way to the hotel lobby to meet a GAA producer! Eeep!

After talking with Tracey, a really nice producer for the show, we walked across the street to the studio.  I was immediately whisked away to get prettified!

Time…

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The Cult of Domesticity and Pinterest: Refashioning Traditional Values

So this is the paper I wrote for my American Literature class, albeit it is not perfect by any means, I would love to continue writing on the subject matter.

The Cult of Domesticity and Pinterest: Refashioning Traditional Values

Throughout the ages, women have been fashioned into well-educated objects on the subject of homemaking and domesticity. This became the most prevalent in the Victorian era or 19th century with the rise of self-help books commenting on how a lady should act and “work” in society. The views of this time were commonplace and in today’s society, it might be arguably laughed at with the large amount of feministic views and attitudes that are apparent, unless there was a way to refine these ideals into something that could be used by the women of the 21st century. Enter the ever-growing, interactive pinboard site Pinterest.com. Much like the ladies of the Victorian era who handcrafted scrapbooks with pictures of items they liked and to show others how to act appropriately, Pinterest has refashioned this idea for the virtual world. By examining these two ideas from two very different time periods, it is easy to see the pattern of domesticating women still in effect.

What is Pinterest after all? Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets the user organize and share all the beautiful things the users find on the web. Many users on the site use the pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their rooms, collect recipes, etc. On their website, the team says that their mission “is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people…” (Sciarra, Sharp, Silbermann, Pinterest / About). In the same way that scrapbooking works, users can upload, save, sort and manage the images on the site, known as “pins” into their own user-defined categories (See fig. 1). The main demographic is, to no surprise, mainly women between the ages of 20-40 years of age. Just like every fad that comes back in to play after a few years, it is easy to suggest that the ideals of womanhood are just the same.

Fig. 1: Examples of Pinboards on Pinterest.com

Going back about 2 centuries, the Cult of Domesticity and the ideas of True Womanhood were becoming very popular as women strove to attain a perfect livelihood and families. To understand the full nature of the times by defining “cult” and “domesticity” as it would apply to the subject. Cult meaning a craze or fad for something – with religious connotations of frenzy and morality. Domesticity meaning the act of being “domestic” – or “tamed” by the “household.” True Womanhood was founded on four beliefs, piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness. In piety, 19th century Americans believed that women were the new Eve working with God to bring the world out of sin and a salve for a potentially restless mind. (Lavender, True Womanhood). In purity, a woman must have no sexual relations before marriage and to protect oneself and one’s treasure. As Mrs. Eliza Farrar stated in The Young Woman’s Friend, “sit not with another in a place that is too narrow; read not out of the same book; let not your eagerness to see anything induce you to place your head close to another person’s.”(Lavender, True Womanhood). Large cases of hysteria come about this time, to women who suffered all kinds of ailment caused by the female uterus, which was a way to control women who might have been stepping out for suffrage. In submissiveness, this was the most feminine of virtues, as men were not to be seen as submissive since they were the doers in life. A key to keeping women in line with this virtue were their clothing, tight corsets that cut off air and pinched internal organs, as well as the weight of layers and undergarments. (Lavender, True Womanhood). Lastly in domesticity, since a woman’s place was within her home. Housework was seen as moral to upheld her piety and purity within herself and her family. The home was seen as a refuge for a man to get away from the competitiveness of the world and a woman to facilitate any needs of relaxation. (Lavender, True Womanhood).

Fig. 2: Cover illustration inside Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Many books were published in the Victorian era as education tools in the domestication of women, most notably,Godey’s Lady’s Book (See fig. 2). It was originally published in Philadelphia around the 1840s for 48 years by Louis A. Godey as a magazine marketed specifically towards women, in the same manner as gift books of his time. It was circulated in many circles in the period before the civil war, each issue containing poetry, articles, and engravings while trying to stay away from political agendas which men were more privy to. (Pattee, 392). The books was best known for tinted fashion plates at the beginning of each issue,which showed a steady progression in women’s dress over time. Every issue also contained a pattern with measurements to be sewn in the home and sheet music for piano with the latest musical trends. Due noted in his publications were the notions of morality and piety among women at the time and the standards they must strive to attain. The idea of a “white wedding” is credited to Queen Victoria at the time, as American women were following the styles of dress by the early queen. Godey’s wrote “Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yield to the chosen one.” (Flock, Washington Post). Aside from books instructing women on act and dress, a new ideology of sexual science was implemented to aide in making sure a woman’s place was within the home. It added assurance that women were much different in men, and thus their roles should be just as different.

Even though these ideas have since been forgotten and/or proved discreditable, these ideas are still being implemented for a new age mostly on the front of women being homemakers. There is no fuss over what the underlying ideas might be because they have been fashioned to meet the needs of a technology driven group. It is almost expected for women to have a Pinterest page full of ideas on what they could use around the house, an arsenal of recipes on the fly, being their own wedding planner, etc. These ideals that men have put women through the ages has just been polished with some flair – notice how the founders of Pinterest are all male. Comparing Pinterest and other sites that may emerge like it to Godey’s Lady’s Book is intriguing since there are a lot of similarities (See fig. 3 & 4). What is this to say about how the world views women, even after the Suffrage Movement and advances in the workplace?

Fig. 3: House example from Godey’s vs. home decor board on Pinterest.

Fig. 4: Lady’s dress pattern from Godey’s vs. Pinterest dress patterns online.

The ideals for women have not changed that much from the 19th to 21th centuries in how they are expected to act, dress, and think about themselves and the world around them. Of course, advantages have been made in the workplace, being able to vote, etc but there are still gender inequalities between men and women. Could it possibly be that women would like to hold to 19thcentury-esque ideals rather than deal with the competitiveness of the outside world with men? Or is this perpetuation just a habit that women can’t shake that has been passed down from mother to mother to mother and so on? Whatever the psychological and sociological reasoning for this phenomena of women being dutiful homemakers is, there is one thing for certain… women are going to keep on pinning.

I find this topic of refashioning ideas to a more modern audience fascinating and would love to look in to more Victorian homemakers books and scrapbooks of the time to find similarities to women of the 21st century.

To Sleep Perchance To Dream

Today is one of those days where you just want to crawl back under the covers of your boyfriend’s down comforter on his nice Tempurpedic bed, burrito-ing yourself into a nice cocoon of warmth. Sadly there is a 9am American Literature class and a tunnel in my way to getting back to Portsmouth.

*le sigh*

I’ll probably take a nap when I get back in to my apartment if I’m still feeling sleepy through this hour and a half class. I have a lot on my plate this weekend that I want/need to tackle for the day/week. Having my grandmother pass and then going to her funeral 2 weekends in a row, really threw off my schedule and my apartment is in need of organizing.
I’m debating going to Plato’s Closet to drop off some clothes to get some cash for clothes I don’t wear anymore, but I may have more clothes to drop off once I do my laundry – maybe I’ll just make two trips. What I hope to find at Plato’s is a pair of country boots so that I don’t look like a doof wearing flip-flops at Eagle’s Nest again (and maybe a few plaid shirts). I’m starting to embrace my inner redneck.

**The Cult of Domesticity and Pinterest** –> Side note in the middle of blogging in my American Lit class on my next paper since I’m so domesticated – as per 19th century terms (for the most part).

An update on my life after the depressing past two weeks – I’m getting better. I’m trying to get away from having panic/anxiety attacks which were results of my weeks being chaos. I’m back to getting my days planned out and classwork back on track. It’s not easy, but I’m pulling through it all. I did start planning a girls day with my besties from high school on going to a winery on July 7th – first choice is Château Morrisette Winery since they have a restaurant attached to their property. I need to look in to prices and such so we don’t spend too much money while we’re out. I’m excited!

Not Your Average Sappy Post

This week has been really hard for me, as per my last post, and I think I’m getting close to feeling “normal” again. Yesterday I’m not entirely sure what was going on, but I felt like I was having an anxiety attack all day. I felt out of body, restless, tightness in my chest, skin feeling like it was crawling…etc. It was really weird – it could have been the combo of not feeling well and not being able to sleep.

Putting that update aside, and really getting the the point of this post, I am so thankful and blessed to have the boyfriend I have right now. He’s been so supportive to me these past few days – not saying he isn’t like this any other time, but it’s helping a lot more right now. My parents called to see how I was doing yesterday after my meltdown on them on Monday. I explained I was doing better and that Andy really was helping me out. My mother wanted to note that, her and my dad, were really impressed with how he handled the situation he was thrown in to over the weekend with the passing of my grandmother. She said that really spoke a lot about his character and how much he cares about me. I think that when the day comes, whenever that is, they’re going to be okay with me and him getting married.

He has been sending me texts during the day to cheer me up – this morning being “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.” I inadvertently read “sunshine” as “submarine” and had to re-read it because that would have been something really odd to say. I’m a little sad (and himself as well) that he won’t be able to come up for the memorial service since he has a ceremony at work to attend and then his duty section afterwards. It would have been nice to have him there.

 

I Know What Death Smells Like

This weekend did not end how it was starting. Saturday the parents, myself, and Andy were getting situated in the car to go to the wine festival when my mother received a phone call about an emergency at my Mamaw’s house (that’s what I call my grandmother on my mother’s side). We thought that she may have fallen again and that my Aunt (Chrissy), who lives with her, should have made mention something was up instead of just randomly asking to watch her on Saturday. If you think something is wrong, tell us so we can take care of it, or we are just going to think that you want more time to hang out with your friends as always when your responsibilities are elsewhere – that is a story too long for this, but you get the point.

We make our way to the house as fast as we can and arrive on a scene of police officiers, paramedics, neighbors, and Chrissy completely a wreck (she was devastated and felt like she was to blame for not being at the house when it happened). No sign of my Mamaw. My parents tell me to stay in the car with Andy as they walk up to the house, my mother getting inside the house first and my father being stopped by a neighbor. It was if things were going in slow motion as I watched the conversation between Diane and my father through the window… I already knew what was going on even though no one had said a thing to me yet – she was gone.

Feeling anxious in those short seconds made me leave the car because instinctively I knew something was wrong, very wrong. My aunt’s best friend Debbie had cut me off getting on the porch to relay the news to me and to why my dad wanted me to stay in the car. I had to walk away. I couldn’t really believe what was being said to me. I collapsed on the back of my parent’s SUV as I tried to fight the tears – Andy being there to comfort me.

I regained my composure as I was being called by my sobbing Aunt Chrissy to the porch to come inside the house, amidst waves of “I’m so sorry” as I walked into the house, past everyone who was there to my mother and father standing inside talking to police officers and paramedics. They were explaining what was the most probable cause of death – either another stroke or a heart attack (to which doctors did warn us of the high possibility of another 2 years ago with her first). Though what I remember most about walking in to the house was the smell. I can’t really describe it, but I can only assume it is what death would smell like. I could see her body down the hallway, covered only in a blanket, lying on the ground lifeless – I couldn’t look away any time I passed around in the house and even when the coroners took her away, I kept finding myself staring at the hallway. I close my eyes to sleep and that is all I see.

Saturday was like everything you see on tv or in movies when someone passes away and the family makes their way to the house. Seeing my Aunt Linda arrive from Stafford with my two other cousins while Debbie walked up to tell her the news before she got too close to the house – the look of anguish in her face, the pleading that it wasn’t true…just everything about it didn’t seem real – like we were all in a bad episode of a daytime soap opera. My other cousin and her children arrived as well, but the worst one in that group was Aisha – my Mamaw was practically her best friend, even though she was her grandmother. Aisha was practically raised in that house by her mother and my Mamaw (or Nunny as she called her). Devastation could only describe how she felt – she was so sick that night.

I didn’t really cry too much the rest of the day and Sunday, as Andy and I had to keep an eye on my aunt (who had to be taken to the hospital the previous night due to a spike in blood pressure that could have been harmful and she needed something to sedate her). Robin, a friend of my mother’s and to our family, came by the house to help us take care of her – who was not handling this situation very well. My parents and my Aunt Linda went to the airport to pick up my mother’s other sister, Aunt Lisa and her kids Megan and Kevin. I’m thankful the police officer on the job yesterday came back to see how Chrissy was doing and the family, as well as the neighbors. It helped get Chrissy’s mind off of the sadness and think more of fond memories. We finally got her to eat and she finally got some form of sleep in the afternoon right before Lisa and the kids arrived. By 5pm, I had to get back on the road to Norfolk to for classes today (which due to events last night I skipped).

I guess being strong for everyone was what kept me together back home, but the drive back to Norfolk was the worse. I would hear a song on the radio and just start to cry. I made it back to Andy’s house to sleep for the night because I didn’t want to be alone and cried. We decided to go to bed and as I was laying down to sleep, I couldn’t help by just cry. I broke down. I could be so strong in front of others, but being by myself is when I am vulnerable. I knew Andy had duty the next day, but I couldn’t help the sobbing and convulsing that followed my every breath. He laid there next to me,my body wrapped around his, stroking my hair to calm me to sleep. I’m not sure when I finally stopped crying and fell asleep (thanks to a sleep pill he gave me just in case I couldn’t sleep) – it was good to have him there for me.

I’ll be going back to Woodbridge on Thursday after my American Lit. class for the memorial service. I will be reading scripture for it. My Mamaw is going to be cremated – since I’m assuming we got the okay for her body to be donated to science (which is what she wanted because she said “she had so many different problems” and they might look at what Dementia does to the brain). As slightly morbid as it sounds, cause I don’t know how others think of this sort of thing, but we’re getting cremation necklaces for her ashes. I’m getting one myself to be a constant reminder of her strength and hard working attitude in life, among other things.

Here’s to teaching me many things, including my first cuss word – dammit (cause that’s what you say when you can’t put on your socks).

I love you Mamaw and I know you’ll always be with us.
Our loss, Heaven’s gain.

I saw this rainbow as I was driving back to Norfolk. It wasn’t until a friend pointed it out, but it’s a double rainbow too. Guess she was trying to make me smile when I didn’t feel like it.