Strawberry Cupcakes

Don’t worry–I’m not starting a baking blog. I steal too many recipes for that. I just made the most amazing strawberry cupcakes and strawberry icing, so I just thought I’d share:

Strawberry Cupcakes

This recipe for delicious strawberry cupcakes is from Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes.

The Martha Stewart Show, February Winter 2008  

  • Yield Makes 1 dozen
 

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

This frosting recipe is the perfect topper for Candace Nelson’s Strawberry Cupcakes.

 

  • Yield Makes enough for 1 dozen cupcakes

Strawberry Frosting

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.
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Chessie

Chessie, my very first kitty, was rescued from a hollow tree by Rhonda Stout when I was in either second or third grade. She was my birthday present from my very best friend, Anna. Chessie was my wild kitty. She didn’t like to be held or petted, and she would often hide under beds waiting for the random feet to pass so she could attack. Although she was a small mama, she could attack anything. She would leave lots of little gifts for us…little mice or birds waiting for us on the front stoop when we came home.

Over the past few years, Chessie has mellowed out. She started to jump on our laps, cuddling on her terms. I would catch her purring, and we were all really enjoying her in her old age. However, she stopped eating recently. She gradually stopped eating. My dad grilled steaks for her. She ate those at first, but then she wouldn’t eat anything. I saw her at Christmas, and I thought she was skinny, but it wasn’t too bad. I got home on Saturday and damn. She is nothing. You can see her ribs through her skin, and I feel really terrible touching her..I’m pretty sure that I’m going to hurt her. I’ve seen her eat maybe one or two bites of food in 5 days. She came into the house this morning, and she couldn’t even walk straight.

She’s at the vet this morning, and my dad is going to see what the vet says. If there is nothing that the vet can do, then my dad is going to put her down. I don’t know what’s going to happen to Chessie, but I love her anyway.

It’s the little things.

PS, a student with whom I have a very¬†temperamental relationship and have complained about numerous times, stayed after school with me. Until 5 pm. Doing make-up work. I know that I didn’t do this, but I am just so proud of her.

My Week in Review

Sunday night. On Sunday night, rumors were whirling that there was going to be a blizzard. A blizzard of a whole 4-8 inches of snow. Obviously, Memphis did not survive the Snowmaggedon of Washington, DC last year. However, I was a little bit excited. We all kept watching with anticipation. Then, almost as though the snow decided that it was going to start the MOMENT the weathermen announced it, the first flurries fell (like my use of alliteration there?!). Within an hour, the streets were covered, and I felt hope. I called my dad so that he could funnel his superintendent-school-canceling-powers to Kriner Cash, the MCS Superintendent. Apparently, it worked. Around 8 pm, they announced that Memphis City Schools would be closed. Now, I used to get all sorts of excited when we wouldn’t have school back in the day. It was nice that I wouldn’t have to go to school, but I would always have something else to do. Ms. Adkins would schedule a show choir rehearsal, or I would have indoor soccer practice, or I just hadn’t finished Mr. Smead’s essay yet. A snow day as a teacher, though…Well, that’s just addictive. I jumped up and down, nearly high with excitement. I ran over to Michelle’s, told her the good news, and jumped up and down some more. I drove (yes, drove. Just because Kriner Cash thought people shouldn’t drive didn’t mean he was right…I’ve driven in much worse) down to the Mapco station and bought Half Baked Ben and Jerry’s and Oreos. I rejoiced. I read Twilight until about 1am and then fell asleep.

Monday. Snow Day. Beautiful Day. Although my apartment feels like a refrigerator due to its ridiculously drafty windows and old cracks and crevices, I had a marvelous day. I did some independent reading, and I got ahead on my lesson plans. There was a chance of more snow, very cold temperatures, and the word every teacher throughout western Tennessee wanted to hear–ICE. I prepared for Tuesday, although fully thinking that we wouldn’t have school again. I mean, they canceled Monday over a dusting, why wouldn’t they cancel Tuesday? They canceled Shelby County Schools. DeSoto County. Every county around us. It was inevitable. The Channel 5 website said MCS wouldn’t make a decision until 4 am Tuesday. So, I set my alarm clock for 4 am and went to bed.

Tuesday. 4 am. Memphis City Schools is open on Tuesday. I moaned, updated my Facebook status (“Darn it all.”), and rolled back over. I overslept, and I woke up at 6:20. Considering it takes me at least 20 minutes to get ready in the morning, and another 20 minutes to drive to school, it was going to be a rush to get to school by 7:15. But I got there. The absences were horrible. Our absentee list was 3 pages, front and back. I am sure that the students (and, probably their parents) felt as though it should have been a snow day. Although I am a strict rule follower, I fully agreed with them. So, I proceeded with my lesson, knowing that I was probably going to have to reteach the students. I am shuddering to imagine their quiz scores this week.

Wednesday. More students arrived. I was teaching “The Rose that Grows from the Concrete.” I wrote up 7 students. I HATE writing up students, and I don’t feel as though it helps. However, MB called AB a “faggot,” and AB got so in a tizzy, that I just had to kick him out of class. I don’t blame AB for getting upset, but his reaction was to just start screaming and cursing at everyone. He just needed to leave the classroom to calm down. However, on his way out, he yelled at MB: “I’ll see you after school!” Meaning, we are going to fight after school. So, MB just decided to follow him out of the classroom. MB felt that he should just fight right then and there. 3 of my other students, DP, JH, and JS, ran after MB “to break up the fight.” In translation, they wanted to see it go down. Thankfully, one of our security guards and our assistant principal were outside, and so there was no fight. However, I wrote up all 5 of them, mostly because the head of security told me to, but also because you can’t just leave my classroom any time that you want. 5th period came around, and the infamous PS decided that she was going to walk out of the classroom because I wouldn’t let her pee. So, I wrote her up. Again, you can’t just walk out of the classroom. This isn’t college. Then, VH never came back from lunch. Wrote him up for class cutting. It was a rough day, and I’m sure my assistant principal thinks I’m crazy for writing so many referrals.

Thursday. Much better day. Calmer. My students got “Hope is the Thing with Feathers.” At least, most of them did.

Today. Can I just get through today? Then, I can have a 3-day weekend.

The Great 2011

I have convinced myself that 2011 will be my year.
I am healthy.
I am strong.
I am happy.
I am getting a little bit more fulfilled.

I know that I start each year out with a whole lot of optimism, and then eventually I get a little more down, until I am just like the previous year. I feel much differently now, though. I’m not sure what it is. Is it that I have decided to just give my life over to God? Is it that I have accepted who I am, and that I want to build upon that girl? Is it because I am beginning to branch out in Memphis? I suppose I can pinpoint the reason I feel strong and beautiful right now, but it is still fascinating.

Somehow, this week at school has been quite wonderful. Monday, we introduced our new Big Goal. We will get a class average of 6 on an End of Year Exam, based on the AP Literature Exam. It is insane. They freaked out. I am freaking out. I suppose. Mostly, though, I feel peace with it. If they don’t reach the goal, at least I had really high expectations of them. i don’t expect these kids to be able to pass an AP test yet, but perhaps one day. They just have to learn what other college-bound high schoolers are doing in life.

Tuesday, we started our poetry unit. I introduced poetry by showing some slam poetry, some Saul Williams, some KRS-One, and even some Taylor Mali. We also talked about Tupac, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, etc. We discussed sonnets, lyric poetry, ballads, epics, and dramatic poetry. We watched a short clip of Ethan Hawke’s version of the “To be or not to be” soliloquy. They seemed into it, excited even.

Wednesday was fun. We did some coding of poetry–ABAAB, etc. They got approximate rhyme, they got internal rhyme, they got free verse. It was great.

Yesterday, Thursday, we started on “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. While 3 of my classes really understood what was going on, and they understood the symbolism and metaphor there, my 5th period was unable to get it. I honestly don’t understand where they missed such important lessons as looking further into a text, or not taking things so literally. I wonder if they understand sarcasm or double meanings or even tact. I am really going to have to take steps to ensure that they can analyze that text.

Today, we are took their quiz, and we are watching a movie.

Life is good.
It truly, truly is.

Vocab words of the week

lunchin’: v. joking/kidding, and sometimes it means lying. Example: “Ms. Curry, don’t listen to CR; she be lunchin’.”

neck: exclamation. This is yelled in a very annoying way when someone believes a lie that someone has told them.

I am thinking that I really want to do some sort of linguistic study on my students. I’m not sure that I will actually be allowed to do that, but I have been doing a lot of observation.

For example, a lot of my kids, and the adults also, say “on tomorrow” where I would say “tomorrow.” Example: “The test is on tomorrow.” I was thinking that I wanted to explore who said this and what sort of social/linguistic boundaries were drawn when they used it.

Also, a lot of my kids do not invert their verbs when questioning. Example: “Ms. Curry, what time it is?”

And, like all AAVE speakers, my kids do not know how to conjugate “be.” For example, “Ms. Curry be teaching us about inferences today.” When I say “don’t know how,” I just don’t think they know when it is appropriate to conjugate this. I see “be” in inappropriate places in their essays. I have tried to correct this ALL the time, but it’s not really working.

Anywho, not that anyone reads this, but if any Georgetown student wanted to come do a sociolinguistic study on my kids in Memphis, I would totally allow it.

The Week from Hell.

This has been the worst week ever.

The air conditioning is off at the school. They have turned the heat on at the school.¬†Which means the students don’t want to listen to me, and the students don’t want to do any work. As Ms. K said, apparently 72 degree weather means they think it is cold enough to turn the heat on. I mean, it is Memphis and it is hotter than I’m used to, but 72 degrees is too hot, nevertheless.

I have been sick. I ate some sort of bad chicken, and so I was throwing up for the rest of the entire weekend. It was miserable. Monday was not good. Not good at all. It was miserable. Kids were miserable. I was miserable. We worked out of workbooks. I absolutely hate workbooks, but I had them do worksheets, while I counted down the minutes until 2:15, when I could go home.

Yesterday, in the hallway, I see this kid sprinting down the hallway with what looked like a music stand (turned out it was part of a fan that he had stolen from a teacher’s room). He started beating another kid with it. Turns out he got 127 days suspension (not sure why 127….I guess that’s the rest of the school year?) My kids rushed into the hallway, as did the kids of every single classroom. I really don’t know why we are so attracted to violence in this country…Personally, I never want to take part in a fight, nor do I want to see one. Ok, who am I kidding. I do want to see one. However, my kids’ amazement at the fight was just disgusting. When I finally got them to come back into the classroom and chill out, I had to have a little lecture with them that went something like this: “Is a 180 REALLY worth the mp3 player that the fight was really about?” Someone then called someone else a faggot, and I had to have this lecture:

Me: “Hey PS, how would you like it if I called you the n-word?”
PS: “I wouldn’t. You’re not allowed to call me that.”
Me: “Well, faggot is like the n-word. Unless you are an actual homosexual, you are not allowed to use it.”

I know that’s not the real explanation, and I know that I wish I could give them some sort of lesson about the n-word, but that’s a fight for a stronger teacher. I can’t change the way that they talk, I can just give them a little something to think about.

Then, yesterday, my principal came up to me and sent me down to the Technology Training Center for a Reading Plus workshop. I actually think that it would have been extremely useful. However, when I got down there, I received the notification that the training was not that day, but the next day. So, my principal got me a sub, I left my 6th period (my rowdy, noisy, and highly annoying 6th period) to go to a training that was not that day.

And it’s only Wednesday.