Monthly Archives: May 2011

Lasts and Firsts – A Contemplation

I have been contemplative lately. I have been thinking about lasts and firsts.

It started with baking cookie for Easter. My mom, sister and I have done this for as long as I can remember. This year, when I woke up on baking day, I felt excited and sad at the same time. I was excited to be sharing this special tradition with them, but also sad that this would be the last time I would experience it without having Samuel split my attention. Then a couple of days later, Mike and I went to Costco for a few things and we ate pizza in the food court. It could be the hormones, but I teared up thinking that this little Costco outing might be our last time enjoying pizza together there without Samuel.

Each evening as Mike and I sit down for dinner, I wonder if that will be our last dinner together without Samuel. I know there will be times when Mike and I will get a sitter and go out together alone, but I am sure our minds will wander to Samuel, texting the sitter to make sure everything is ok, knowing he is fine but thinking that we should probably get home.  When I take my morning shower, I have been taking just a little longer, knowing it could be my last uninterrupted shower for a long time….funny that even now, Samuel invades my thoughts all the time. Seems like especially lately, I can’t go even a few minutes without thinking of him.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so looking forward to meeting our son (especially at 38 weeks,  feeling like a Gigantisaurus, waddling through my days). I can’t wait to hold him and kiss him and tell him how much I love him. But, I know when he decides to arrive our lives will be changed forever.

Although I feel emotional about the lasts, I am definitely looking forward to all of the firsts,  the first time I see him (Will he have hair? What color? Or will he be bald??), the first time I hold him (how much will he weigh?? Will he be skinny or a little chubster?), the first time I nurse him (Can I really do this??). I am looking forward to seeing the look on Mike’s face when he meets Samuel for the first time, looking forward to learning how to be parents, knowing we will make mistakes but praying that God’s grace covers our family.

Yes, I feel sad for the lasts, but overjoyed at the firsts we will experience. Maybe today will be the last day without our precious baby boy! I sure hope so!

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Butter Cream Filling and Perfectly Chocolate Frosting

So, I’ve been nesting. With every cookie, bread and cupcake I make, I wonder if Samuel knows I’m ready for him to come…who knows, maybe I will go into labor as I write this!

Let me start by warning you, if you have ever said that a dessert was too chocolaty or sweet, this is NOT the cupcake for you! 🙂 I personally don’t think I have ever said anything like that, so I think this cupcake is “Perfect!”

HERSHEY’S “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” Chocolate Cake (Halved Recipe)


1 cup sugar

¾ cup + 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons  HERSHEY’S Cocoa

¾ teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg

½ cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup boiling water


1. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. (I used silicone ones)  Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (I used a whisk).

Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).

Fill cups 2/3 full with batter.

3.  Bake 22 to 25 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. About 12-15 cupcakes. (Looks like I over filled them a bit! OOPS!)

For the buttercream filling:

This is not the recipe I used, but this looks much better than what my made-up recipe finished product looked like, so I would use this recipe next time! I found the original recipe at I would half it for the amount of cupcakes the above recipe makes.


A pint of strawberries

2 sticks of butter, softened

1/2 cup of shortening

3 cups of confectioners sugar


1. Prepare the buttercream frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. Begin by washing and hulling the strawberries.

2. Puree the strawberries in a food processor. Strain the puree.

3. Set aside. Beat the butter and shortening until combined and fluffy with a mixer at medium speed.

4. Add the sugar and mix at medium speed until light and fluffy. About 2 minutes. Add the strawberry puree slowly, and beat another minute until combined.

“PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING (Full Recipe) This makes double the amount of frosting you need for the 12 cupcakes but I like to make a whole batch…who doesn’t need a container of chocolate frosting in their fridge, right??


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Melt butter.

2. Stir in cocoa.

3. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.

4.  Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

To Fill Cupcakes:

1. Take a knife and cut a circle in the center of the cupcake, with the knife angled away from the center so you cut out a cone.

2. Cut off the end of the cone.

3. Spoon the Strawberry Butter Cream into the hole. Cover with top of cone.

4. Frost liberally with Chocolate Frosting. ENJOY!