Thursday, March 4, 2010

Proud Moments

Today was the first time I felt that my son may actually like me. Why am I so obsessed with having a 6-week-old baby love me?! Don't answer that, it's a rhetorical question. Anyhow, until today B would only turn to me for sustenance, accompanied by high-pitched, heart-wrenching cries. I was seriously beginning to wonder if this kid and I would ever get along, when all of a sudden we had a breakthrough. When I got up this morning (or was it the middle of the night? I've lost track of time) to B's waking up noises emanating from his crib, I got myself ready for another bout of incessant crying. Instead, God gave me another little miracle (first one being B himself). As I smiled sleepily at B, whispering "good morning sweetheart", I got a huge smile in return! It wasn't even one of those funny, reflex smiles that babies have in the first few weeks. This one was real, because it was accompanied by lots of happy gurgling, almost laughing sounds, and so much adorable toothless smiling - I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! *sigh* So yes, dear readers, I'm having a good day today. Because my baby showed me that he loves me, even if it's just a tiny wee bit right now. I couldn't be more proud!

Speaking of proud moments, there's another special someone in my life who is making everyone who knows her really really proud. Her name is Tazeen Qayyum, and most of us can only wish we were half as talented as she is. A fellow Pakistani/Canadian, she is an artist whose work was featured in Vancouver during these Winter Olympics. That's big, folks. I've known her all my life, and seeing her career shine brighter every year has been pretty exciting. Her art is unique, arresting and best of all, relevant and meaningful to all of us. I wish I could own all her pieces, but since I can't afford them, I like to admire them from afar and emotionally blackmail her into gifting one to me every year for my birthday. You see, she also happens to be my sister-in-law.
One of my fav works by her. "Use Only As Intended" 2006. Opaque watercolor, photo transfer, entomology pins and labels on wasli.

Hah! Oh yes I did. Shamelessly promoting family members, you say?! Well, duh, it is my blog. But I'm really doing this because I think it's super-cool that she was one of the handful of Canadian artists whose work was chosen to be displayed at the Winter Olympics in such a unique way! Check out her interview in this online magazine.

Another proud moment for me was when I tasted these new cupcakes I made. I had a feeling these would be good, but I didn't know they'd be this good. They actually taste even better than they look, which is saying something, because they look absolutely darling, no?!
Dreamy Blackberry-Vanilla Cupcakes (thanks to that Irish cutie over at The Good Mood Food Blog)
Makes 12 regular or 34 mini cupcakes

Click here for printable recipe

For the cupcakes:
1 cup AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup blackberry coulis (recipe below)

For the frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1.5 cups confectioners' sugar
3-4 tbsp blackberry coulis

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line your cupcake mold with paper liners.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix again, remembering to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and blackberry coulis. Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl of the mixer and mix on low speed until just combined. Pour in the blackberry coulis-milk mixture. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients until just incorporated.

4. Divide the batter evenly in your cupcake pan. Bake 12-15 mins (10-11 for mini cupcakes). Allow to cool in the pan for 15 mins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
You could serve and eat these babies without the frosting - look at the unbelievable mauve color! So in love with them!

5. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and blackberry coulis in the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and well-blended. Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired, then pop one into your gaping maw. Swoon. Grab another.
Into the fridge you go, my pretties.

To make the Blackberry Coulis: Take 6 oz blackberries, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 mins. Once cool, puree in a blender. Then strain to remove the seeds. Makes 1 cup.
Oh crap. I used a wooden spoon for the coulis. That's gonna stain. Learn from my mistakes people!

Verdict: I gave some of these away to my neighbors and got rave reviews. DH enjoyed them so much, he begged me to make them again. And I think they are precious jewels in the pantheon of cupcake varieties, with those love shades of amethyst. Oh you can bet your bouncing baby that I'll be making these many times. I can't wait for B to grow up and start enjoying this kind of stuff! Uh oh, fat baby alert. I'll have to curb my own sweet tooth if I want my son to have a healthy lifestyle. But these are so tiny and cute and wittle itty bitty numnums! *sigh* There is no hope for me, is there?
I'd never seen a purple cupcake, folks, but there you have it, in all its glory!