Happy Easter!

It’s Easter Sunday. I should really be straightening my hair and picking out an outfit before we go to my in-laws’ for our adult Easter Egg hunt (there’s MONEY in those babies – don’t judge), and our dinner. I had a good week with lots of baking (which is not so healthy, but considering I shared it, or plan to share it later today, it’s not so bad), and a great trip to see the Bruins play in Boston! They played the Maple Leafs and ended up winning in the shootout. We had balcony seats right behind one of the nets, but we could still see the whole game and it was a great time. Dan wasn’t so good about sharing his $9 chicken and fries basket with me, so I didn’t share my $8.75 light beer with him. Hmmph. I think between that and all the running around before and after to get the train, it helped with my weight loss!

This was the Jumbotron as they were naming the MVPs after the win!

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I felt utterly exhausted on Tuesday, but I managed to drag myself to the gym for the first of my three nights of workouts this week. It would have been four, but I had a bad day on Thursday and ended up coming home to make cupcakes to share with my office. It’s kind of my tradition to bring a treat for them on the last work day before a holiday. While at the gym, I focused on the length of time I could actually run. I tried to do a half mile of running at a slow speed, and then a half mile or more of brisk walking. Luckily, the TV playing E had some entertaining stuff on (who doesn’t want to learn about Miley Cyrus or watch “He’s Just Not That Into You” while sweating on a treadmill), which made it easier to distract myself and keep from staring at the treadmill.

I admit, this running focus, because I can’t go very fast for very long, is making my weight loss more gradual lately. I seem to be fighting off the same few pounds that just won’t go completely away. However, with race day little more than a month off and me still with a lot of work to do, I’ve got to keep on working at it. Dan and I did some more jogging around our block and down to Starbucks the other day, since the weather was so nice, and he’s been going on his own after work while I’m down at my gym. We’re getting there!

I made us Mulligatawny soup for dinner at one point (Sunday night, I think), which is a healthy (and healthier still if you use light coconut milk) way to get a lot of veggies and great spices into a nice, thick soup. I may have gone a little too heavy on the fresh ginger, though, because that was the most prominent taste, but it was delicious and made a ton.

We also had Turkish Turkey Pizzas, which are a great way to use ground turkey in a healthy way (we often struggled with this pre-diet. Buying it usually meant taco night, which could get very calorie dense). This recipe from Cooking Light made four servings, which meant Dan could have the leftovers for his lunch the following day. I didn’t have the red bell pepper, so I subbed a very stalks of celery, some frozen buttternut squash, and a handful of fresh baby spinach. It was a spicy and delicious treat that I’m sure I’ll be asked to make again!

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For my office’s treat, I choose a recipe from a blog I love, Pastry Affair. The recipe was for Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes. I decided to make them in miniature, because there are 30 people in my office, which meant the recipe ended up making 54 (and I put a raspberry in the bottom of each one. Ha) weee cupcakes. I tinted the frosting with my new Wilton gel colors, and tested out some of my new WIlton tips. They came in around 100-120 calories each (only about 50 calories if you scraped off the frosting and just ate the cupcake base), which made the few I ate not as deadly as they could have been.

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With those done for the office, I had only to decide what to bring for Easter dessert (which I’m usually in charge of wherever I go). After a visit down the Cape yesterday morning with my visiting family, I had assembled the ingredients to make a beautiful Speckled Egg Cake. I had Sky Blue Wilton gel and most of the other ingredients on hand, so it seemed meant to be! I stumbled, by chance, onto a great white cake recipe, that mad enough in one shot to fill all four eight inch round cake pans. It did, unfortunately, cause me to use an entire DOZEN egg whites, the yolk companions of which I admit, I did not save.

I got my Kitchenaid, who I affectionately refer to as “Big Bertha” because she’s loud and pissed off when she’s running, cranking with four cakes’ worth of batter. The egg white beating was my least favorite part. I did that with my hand mixer and it took FOREVER, but I only have one bowl for the stand mixer and it was occupied with batter. I weighed each cake tin to make sure they were even, and then somehow arranged them in my oven all on one shelf. They were pretty darn full, and they sort of poofed out the tops and mooshed into one another, making them not perfectly round, but I ended up trimming their tops off for uniformity, anyway. The frosting recipe included as a link off the cake tutorial was another ordeal. I made it twice because it said it only made enough to fill and frost two eight inch rounds.

This took six sticks of butter, four pounds of confectioner’s sugar, and years off my life while I was tinting it. I did the interior layers pre-tinting, but didn’t use nearly enough for fear of running out (the purple ombre cake of last weekend made me totally paranoid). I tinted and tinted it all together so I wouldn’t have different shades among two bowls of buttercream, and it took a LOT to get that robin’s egg blue/green. FINALLY, when my arm was falling off, it was the right color. I did a crumb coat, and then another, and smoothed it out with a frosting spatula dipped in hot water and then dried. The vanilla extract/cocoa powder “paint” was fun to mix up, but my “paint brush,” aka my pastry brush that is a little dried out, wasn’t cooperating, so the whole speckling process took a lot longer than it should have and made a huge mess.

I had bought some malted chocolate Robins Eggs candies and some Hershey’s white chocolate Speckled Eggs, so I glued them on the top with some of the pound and a half of extra buttercream (which I am now saving in my fridge in case anything happens to the cake in transit to dinner today). I am pretty happy with the result. I wish I could’ve gotten it a little more squared off like the original, and a little more smoothly frosted, but it still came out well! So HAPPY EASTER to everyone. Hope you’re celebrating with friends and family and eating something delicious!

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