July 24, 2013


Beasties show up in your life every day ~
each one carrying a message tailor-made just for you.
The phone rang and it was my son wondering what our lunch plans were?  There was delicious chaos everywhere I looked as we began to unpack and stage each room. The boys were still loading the moving van, but had reached a point to listen more to their hunger pangs than emptying out the townhome. So after a brief conversation, we decided that they would head over to the new home and we would go to a local deli for a lunch break. Before he hung up the phone, I said, "Do you know you have an Egret in your back yard? I am watching him from your deck and he is standing on a log in your lake?" His reply was, "yes, I have seen him our there! Pretty, isn't he?"
Throughout the day, as we continued to complete the move-in, we noticed this beautiful, majestic white bird show up from time to time out at the lake. Of course, it was in the high 90's, muggy and still. Here came the dark clouds and the skies opened up for one of those welcomed summer rain storms. We took a break from unpacking and sat at their kitchen table, just resting and staring out at that beautiful backyard. There was their Egret, sitting majestically in a tree, seemingly enjoying his rain bath. After about, twenty minutes, the rain lessened and he spread those stunningly beautiful wings and soared ever so gently down to the lake.   These are the moments that stay in my mind's eye all day.  Encouraging me, like a delightful secret.  Mine all mine, for surely this was just for me today?
How ironic I thought....they love the beach, exchanged their wedding vows in Florida during an August rain and lo and behold.....they ended their home search surrounded by a private lake with their very own Egret, which is so reminiscent of the gulf.
God's gifts can show up everyday in your life.....we are all connected I think. The gift of animals teach us something.....whispered secrets that make us smile. For me, it was the gift of horses in our neighbor's field when we lived in Texas the first time, then the gift of deer in our own woodlands in Maine.....and for them, it was the Egret......
Beasties and their helpful messages will come to you wherever you are. All you need to do is tune in.
I turned to Jenn and said, "I think we should name him, don't you? Perhaps, Edith or maybe Eddie!" Jenn said, "I was thinking the same thing.....Ed! Yes, that's it! We are going to call him Ed!" And so it was....... 
 Wowza! A gift of the incredible, edible cupcake!

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2  T. freshly brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
Now....here's the GOOD stuff!

The Coconut Frosting

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
4 extra-large egg yolks
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. pure almond extract
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 t. salt 

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with 14 or 15 paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In a third bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk and flour mixtures alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Don't overmix! Fold the batter a few times with a rubber spatula to be sure it's mixed.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. (I use a 2-inch ice cream scoop.) Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

The Coconut Frosting

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the evaporated milk, brown sugar, and egg yolks and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened. If the mixture looks a bit curdled, beat it vigorously with a whisk. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, almond extract, coconut, pecans, and salt. Allow to cool for about an hour. Frost the cupcakes with a knife or small metal spatula.

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