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Cupcake Monday: Yellow Cake Mix Two Ways

Posted Sep 26 2011 11:56pm

Yummy green and orange treats...you must read on to see how I made them both with yellow cake mix!

I know what you’re thinking. How is it already Monday…again? Oh, and how is it that the Sometimes Healthy Living Blog has only posted once since the last cupcake Monday.

Sadly, that little thing called a j-o-b has interfered a bit with my regular 3-4 posts/per week schedule. But, I’ll get back there as soon as things calm down. Until then, you can join my coworkers in looking forward to Mondays…because you get more cupcakes.

After all, that was the goal of Cupcake Monday originally- to give people a tiny little reason to look forward to the start of another hectic workweek. In my utopian vision, as my coworkers drifted off to sleep last night, they thought, “Ugh, I don’t know how I’ll make it through another crazy week in NYC.” But then, a little smile crept to their face just as they slipped into dream world and they thought, “Oh, but it’s Cupcake Monday…wonder what Jamie’s baking.”

(Either my baking is that good…or I like to think am delusional  optimistically!)

Over the weekend, I experienced a lot of a little thing called baking inspiration, and it resulted in double the amount of treats for my salivating (again exaggerating) coworkers…

A Baking Kind of Weekend

I had no intentions of baking 3 times this weekend, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re a little inspired AND your recipes rarely involve more than 10 minutes of prep work… take that Sandra Lee .

I decided to bake my first treats as I ran on the treadmill Saturday morning at the gym. 6 miles…slow. It felt amazing…oh and, it REALLY wasn’t easy. Guess comebacks aren’t exactly a walk in the park. I looked like a wet dog when I finished, but it’s the most I’ve run in weeks. I was a happy girl.

Reconnecting Over Sweet Treats

After the gym, I was supposed to go and meet a former coworker from Chicago, Jessica, who is having her first baby this Wednesday. Yes…THIS Wednesday. Poor Jessica just moved to New York a month ago with her husband, so she’s had a lot of changes at once.

Jessica’s also the girl that always baked cookies for our office back in the day. Well, Jess baked cookies for everyone in the world, actually. She even shipped her famous chocolate cookies to a friend who was serving in Iraq!

We worked together in my first real job out of college, and being slightly older than me, she became a mentor, both personally and professionally. We stayed in touch for a while, but our lives and jobs kept us busy and like most people, we just kind of lost touch after awhile.

That’s why I was so happy when she emailed and asked if I’d like to come visit her before the baby comes and her free time will all but disappear.

I already planned to bring her bagels and cream cheese, because I remembered how much she always said she loves New York bagels. But while I was running, I also remembered how much she baked for me.

So, I decided I’d return the favor with some cookies of my own…

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Two ingredients to create the perfect pumpkin bite!

I didn’t have a lot of time, as I was running late per usual. So, I mixed together 1 box of Betty Crocker Spice Cake Mix + 1 Can of Pumpkin and 3/4 cup water. Normally, for cupcakes, I would add 1 cup of water to the base, but wanted the base to be thicker for the cake cookies.

I only had enough cookie sheet space for 12  cookies and had enough batter for at least 18. So, I ended up making 12 cookies and 12 mini cupcakes. They were so cute!

The big Cake Cookies and their little mini counterparts...all packed away and ready to go!

Everything is adorable when it’s mini-fied. Oh, and it’s also devoid of all calories.

Good thing I burned a few mini cupcakes. I didn’t take pics. Because I ate them. Sorry for partying.

I was worried Jess would feel as if she had to eat them in front of me due to my hopeful, “Gee, I hope you like them face.” However, luckily, it appears the girl actually liked my Pumpkin Cake Cookies. Like everyone else, she couldn’t believe there were only 2 ingredients in the whole cupcakes!

Cake mixes are magical, my friends!

Do you believe in Cake Mix Aisle Magic?!

We talked for almost 5 hours (no pics – too busy talking) and caught up on everything from impending baby plans to Jess’ wedding a couple of years ago and of course my “trials and tribulations” in NYC. Within five minutes of seeing me, Jess said, “I am just so happy to see that you are EXACTLY the same as I left you.”

Funny, that’s what a few people told me at my high school reunion , too. Guess that’s a compliment.

Of, course, I talked nonstop about the Sometimes Healthy Living Blog AND how I’ve been neglecting it for work. As I described my “intricate” recipes, Jess offered up some of her own semi-homemade cookbooks that she thought might inspire me.

My loaned cookbooks - already read them cover-to-cover ;-)

I didn’t want to take them both, but she insisted, reminding me that she will have NO time to bake once baby comes (in two days!).

Oh, and she also told me about these interesting little cupcakes she whips up every now and then that always attract a crowd…

It's easy being green...when you taste this good.

Jess’ Pistachio Pudding Cupcakes

Kermit the Frog. The New York Jets. Split Pea Soup. All great things that are green. AND NOW…the cupcakes. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day year-round with these beautiful, green delights. Pistachio pudding mix is the  secret ingredient that makes these puppies light, creamy and fluffy all-in-one. Even those who aren’t a fan of pistachio will give em’ a rave review. Oh, and they can also be infused with green slime (vanilla pudding with green food coloring) for Halloween.

Prep Time: 6 minutes (ish)

Cook Time: 30 – 35 minutes

Just a few simple ingredients...and boom, you've got green cupcakes.

Ingredients(24 cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes):

  • 1 Box Betty Crocker Moist Supreme Yellow Cake
  • 2 packets JELL-O Pistachio Pudding (sugar free or regular)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cup egg beater (or 5 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce

Instructions

Just to prove how easy it is. Here ya go:

Mix the wet with the dry...does that sound...dirty?

And then it becomes all creamy and delicious. Is it weird that I find green cake batter beyond appetizing ?

Thick...green...and mouth-watering. Must.eat.now.please.

Maybe it was the smell…but I just couldn’t wait for these to come out of the oven.

In at 350...just try to wait 30 whole minutes to try. I opened at 25 and took one out just to make sure it wasn't "burnt."

I also whipped up some more Pumpkin Cake Cookies using an extra box of yellow cake that I had on hand with the same measurements mentioned above. Jess’ reaction told me they’d be a hit in the office, too.

Lots of treats for Cupcake Monday.

Monday = Happy Day

I’m proud to say that I think Cupcake Monday is finally catching on. Today, a few people even asked me when the cupcakes were coming! I had them sitting by my desk ready to go, but I like to put them on a nice platter with a sign explaining what they are (because I’m usually too busy to get into the details/in a meeting).

I had a few little worker bees buzzing around me just begging for a try, so I slipped them a couple of previews covertly.

Okay...fine, you can have a couple, but don't tell anyone else! The masterpieces aren't ready!

Finally, in the afternoon, I had a couple of minutes to set it all up (No, I do not go all Sandra Lee with my “deskscape” but I like it to look cute). Figured it would be the perfect Monday Afternoon Wall snack.

Pretty signs make the world go around...esp. if they are about cupcakes.

And it was.

Caught in the action...of savoring a delicious green cupcake. That was her second. OH YEAH.

These were happy faces…faces of pure joy. Faces of cupcake bliss. Faces of sheer and utter awe at the deliciousness of my baking. (Look at happy Lindsay )

My cupcakes make her run fast.

Some were deterred by the green factor (including my CEO who kindly stopped by to take a look), but those who tried were fans. And the Pumpkin Cookies disappeared within 30 minutes.

Anjelica likes everything I make. She ate tons of pumpkin cookies.

General consensus was that the pistachio flavor was very subtle, but created a nice, sweet flavor that made the cupcake yummy without frosting. But, I just HAPPENED to have a can of brand new Rainbow Chip frosting in my gym bag (because that’s normal and Sometimes Healthy).

Rainbow Chip Frosting + Running Shoes = Sometimes Healthy

So some people went to town with the frosting.

Frosting is fun.

Most of the conversation from my cube visitors centered around the disbelief that these cupcakes actually WERE healthified. I guess that means they were a success! 2-in-a-row!

What? These are really healthy?! PS - It is a freezer in le office.

I’ve got something quite interesting planned for next week’s Cupcake Monday so stay tuned!

Cupcakes and Marathons

Oh, and before I end this post, sending big hugs and congrats to Ali , who just finished her first marathon. Not gonna lie. I finished her recap post with a giant smile on my face. That girl always inspires me and makes me laugh every day, without fail! Congrats Ali, the marathon runner, who also raised more than $20,000 dollars for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Now that's a victory pose! She's dreaming of cupcakes right now!

Photo from Ali on the Run

Of course, after I finished her post I also though to myself, “Wow Jamie, you ran 6 miles, sweat profusely, nearly fell off the treadmill and then baked cupcakes all weekend…and Ali ran a marathon.” But, then I remembered Ali told me she really wanted to try my cupcakes last time we met up and it made me feel better. Ali, you know where I live. Come and get em’ girlfriend! I will deliver you cupcakes and fuel you through your NEXT marathon.

Must stop writing now, as I am still at the office. It’s one of the late nights (the first of many), but at least I have one last Pistachio Cupcake to re-energize my batteries and help me to be brilliant for another hour or so!

Come to me baby!

Later this week, I’ll be writing a post about my job and something I’m working on that I think you’ll find interesting. I can’t wait to share it with you – love it when two worlds combine!

Question:

What was the best part of your Monday?

Pistachios – love em’ or hate em?

If I make this pudding cupcake again, any ideas for another flavor to try?

Fave kind of frosting?

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