Vanilla bean cupcakes with Nutella frosting.

This month's IronCupcake challenge was coffee. I never submitted a recipe, but I did create a cupcake & icing combo that worked really well. I'd say these are my best cupcakes to date.

Vanilla bean cupcakes with Nutella frosting!!

Here are the recipes:

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

* 1 vanilla bean
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup butter
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (good quality)
* 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 & 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 cup milk


0. Two days prior to making cupcakes, slice the vanilla bean open & scrape out all of the seeds. Keep the seeds in an airtight container, & place the bean in the 1 cup of sugar in another airtight container.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter and vanilla seeds. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake 30 minutes - Makes 12 cupcakes.

Adapted from:

Nutella frosting

* 1 cup confectioners sugar
* 1 cup Nutella
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* <1/4 cup brewed coffee

Place the confectioners sugar, Nutella, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Put cream into a 1/3 cup measuring cup & add enough coffee to fill the cup. Add the cream mixture and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Adapted from:


Don't let hurricanes hold you back.

Oh, Triathlon. You are like the girlfriend that I just can't quit.

Here I am.
At work.
Reading all about DC Tri Club.

Looking at their race calendars.
Ogling their pool options.
Dreaming about their NW chapter.

It's official. I'm swooning for Triathlon. All I want to do is swim, bike, run.

So, maybe I'll hit DC Tri Club? Sign up for the Patriots Half? After all, I do have all of the paperwork filled out.

Bossman was right - I'm not really quitting.

Speaking of which, time to get back to work.

Marathon relay.

Edit: I didn't run for 3 weeks prior to this race due to illness. I should note that I was pleased that I even finished.
On Sunday, I relayed a marathon with my friend Stacey & her friend Paul.

Initially, I was to race with Marlene & possibly Jen. Then, Marlene & I were looking for a 3rd. Stacey joined the team. Then, Marlene injured herself. Finally, we found Paul 3 days before the race.


Race morning, I tried to stop for a red light. We were cruising downhill so fast that we ended up in the middle of the intersection. "Oh, well," I said. & we continued through the red light. Nice.

When we arrived at the race, we decided that our name should be "The Red Light Runners". We registered, estimated our times for each other, & then Stacey was OFF!

Stacey did the 9.7 mile run. When she finished her portion & arrived at the relay corral (at her time estimate), she looked exuberant & like she pushed herself pretty hard. I gave her a quick hug, took the relay sash, & was OFF!

I did the 7.3 mile run. About 5 miles into the race, I wanted to start walking. The course was ALL HILLS. When I realized that I was almost to the relay corral, I was absolutely ecstatic. NO MORE HILLS!! I was tuckered by my finish, but I still did well. (Very close to my time goal.)

I handed off my sash to Paul, & he was OFF! Stacey & I drove to the race finish - hooting & cheering to the runners along the way. Some runners gave us "the marathon stare of death", which we ignored. We changed & ate Clif bars & used The Stick to roll out our muscles & waited for Paul. Right on schedule, Paul showed up to cross the finish line. Hugs for everyone!! We headed back to the race start, grabbed some greasy chili & foodstuffs, & proceeded to want naps very badly.

Later that evening, Stacey, Paul, & I hit Adams Morgan for beers & dancing. It was a whole heckuva lot of fun. My legs surely didn't want to dance, but I made them anyways. Go figure - the next day, my legs were *almost* fine.

So, that's the story, Morning Glory. Paul's got a picture of The Red Light Runners, but I have to get a hold of him to get it. I'll post when I get it.