Vanilla Cupcakes, Vanilla Buttercream. Simple Mondays.

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Remember that one time I did that Wild Rose detox? I spent 12 days (ahem, actually 11 days, because I’m a normal human being & I was fed up) not eating any grains, dairy, sugar or natural sweeteners, avoiding some fruits, & was basically trying to purge my system from what I thought was an immense amount for grossness. I thought that after eating a few too many sweets around the holidays, that I would benefit from such a detox.Wild Rose Detox got great reviews, so I figured what the heck. Results? Didn’t feel much or a difference, except I still wanted a cookie. The first few days I could only see the sweets around me, but couldn’t have them, & that was fine with me. After about six days in, I was frustrated. These natural herbs I was taking were supposed to be “cleansing” me, but really it was just throwing my system off, & though I was eating meals full of veg & some protein, I was hungry an hour after the meal. Apple & almond butter was my savior during this time. On days 10 & 11, I was hoping to feel something different. I was hoping that “fresh” & “clean” & “full of this glowing light” would be the adjectives I would find in myself, but reality was that I felt like me. To be honest, I felt better when I was listening closely to my body & its cravings. Not giving into everything, of course, but if I wanted a cookie, I would eat a cookie. Or if I really wanted a burger, I would eat a burger, and simply even it out with a salad or a light meal. The past few months I have been really listening to my body & taking care of it, and I’ve been happy. In addition to that, we have been trying to eat a bit more whole & balanced here in the Davies family. No, we don’t boycott sugar or avoid going out to a place where we don’t know the name & heritage of the chicken we are going to eat. Our everyday diet consists of veggies, fruit, meat, some dairy, whole grains, some treats here and there, and we are pretty happy, healthy campers. Also, we enjoy tasty food like nobody’s business! As a bonus, I lost a few pounds, but that’s neither here nor there. No more listening to the latest “health expert” to tell me what I should & should not be eating (I should know better by now, right?). I know my body better than you do, thank you very much.

I will eat a salad & a cookie. I will have a burger, then have a smoothie.

Balance = happy. Enough said.

I will also indulge in a mini vanilla cupcake while preparing for a baby shower, because they are delicious. And on Mondays, we need something simple & delicious to be our small delight.

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I’m not too sure why I feel slightly melancholy as I tell you guys about these. Maybe it’s because The Mister sold his motorcycle, and I’m carrying around some bittersweetness on his behalf. Maybe because listening to “Frightened Rabbit” takes me to a place where my thoughts & emotions float to the top of consciousness. Maybe it’s because the Ukraine has been heavy on my heart, especially lately with all the protests & violence that is happening.Maybe it’s the effects of life, the joys and the sorrows, and I’m given a sunny moment to think & ponder & pray as I make these.

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Simple, these give you the chance to gaze at the sun shooting through the clouds while you think.Thanks for walking through life with me & allowing me to share moments of my life with you. I enjoy you all-really I do.

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Simple Vanilla Buttercream
makes 24 mini cupcakes + 2 regular sized cupcakes

for the cupcakes:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

for the icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but still holding its shape
2- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
wee pinch sea salt

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line a 24-cup mini cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract until well incorporated.

Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until almost incorporated. Add the milk. Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until almost incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula.

Divide the batter between the cupcake liners. Bake 16-22 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center on the cupcakes comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream. 

Clean your bowl & paddle attachment from your stand mixer, then replace it in your mixer. Beat butter for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

Scrape the butter form the sides of the bowl and add 1 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat on low, increasing to medium speed as the mixture combines. Add milk and vanilla extract. Beat on high for 1 minute.

Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add 1/2 cup more powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. If you’d like a thicker frosting, add a bit more powdered sugar, beating well (frosting will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days).

After the cupcakes are finished baking, 

remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Do not frost them until they are completely cooled! 

Pipe on frosting in whatever fashion you desire!

Source: adapted from the Joy the Baker cookbook
Listening to: “Swim Until You Can’t See Land,” Frightened Rabbit

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