A good friend and I went for a hike today, even though the trail is completely covered with snow and we had to balance along the part that had already been packed down by previous hikers. We, the city of Anchorage, did break out record for snowfall in one season this year. Did I mention that? We broke the record by just over an inch, which our local paper headlined as “In By An Inch”. Hehe, dirty. Anyway, back to the hike.
I have been friends with this lovely lady since high school and after a few years spending time working towards an art degree (she’s an amazing drawer, absolutely fantastic) she has decided her heart lies is in writing. So, naturally, us two writers struck up a conversation along the trail about our craft. She’s been big into writing fan fiction of some of her favorite stories while working on her own plot lines and characters for school work, but she mentioned having a hard time recently with coming up with her own ideas. I knew exactly what she meant: drawing blanks on what to write about is an issue I often have as well.
One of the great things about the writing classes I took in college was the prompts I walked away with to write about after each class. Now that I don’t even have a small writing group to work with (planning on changing that in the future…) and share prompts with, coming up with my own stories has proven difficult. Luckily I stumbled upon a great tool the other day. The group behind NaNoWriMo has another writing challenge called Script Frenzy, where you are challenged to write a 100 script in the month of April. I decided not to participate this year, as scripts are not my thing yet, but maybe in the future I will take up the challenge. What I did find great, though, was a small thing on the homepage called the Plot Machine. It creates, wacky, fun, and all together silly yet inspiring plots to get you going with writing.
I mentioned this wonderful machine to a few writing friends of mine, including the one I went on a hike with today, and am eager to try my hand at a few of the random plots I find. Up first: After suffering a heart attack, the entire cast of Riverdance goes on to try out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders team.
Let the writing begin!
To keep me going along the process I find it important to have a few things, including baked goods and good drinks. Ever since seeing Blue Moon Cupcakes on Pinterest, I knew I had to try my hand at them. They are delicious, velvety cupcakes with a hint of orange and wheat. The original recipe calls for a light meringue frosting, which I would love to try, but since my batch of cupcakes wouldn’t have been eaten up entirely in a few hours, I opted for a longer lasting orange cream cheese frosting. So get on up and make yourself a batch, they are worth it. And you’ll even get a little bit of leftover beer to enjoy while the cupcakes are baking!
Blue Moon Cupcakes
3/4 cup (a stick and 1/2) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 drops red food coloring*
10 drops yellow food coloring*
1/2 tsp. orange zest
1 cup Blue Moon beer
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 24 cupcake trays with liners. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar a little bit at a time, beating well. Once it’s all added beat for 2 more minutes.
Add eggs, beating after each.
Add vanilla, food coloring and orange zest and beat.
Mix beer and milk in a measuring cup. Alternatively add beer / milk mixture and flour mixture to butter mixture in the large bowl, beating after each. End on the flour mixture.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Once cool, frost each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting. Just before serving, garnish each with a small orange slice.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tsp. orange zest
juice of 1 orange
5 cups powdered sugar (plus more, if needed)
Beat the cream cheese in mixer until fluffy. Add in whipping cream and continue to beat on medium speed until cream in mixed in fully and has gotten slightly fluffed.
Add in orange zest and juice, continuing to beat on medium speed.
Slow mixer speed and add in powdered sugar a cup at a time, making sure sugar is incorporated fully before adding next cup. If you want your frosting stiffer add more powdered sugar, if you want your frosting thinner add more whipped cream.
Frost on top of cooled cupcakes.
*Instead of using liquid food coloring drops, I used a bit of orange gel food coloring.
Recipe adapted from: Miss Make