I do hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend celebrating our Dads and father figures and that everyone took the time to thank our mighty menfolk for all of the things they've
- holding his tongue when my two sisters and I, in our 'know-it-all' phase as teenagers, rolled our eyes for the umpteenth time in a single day
- for teaching me how to drive a stick shift by taking me to a steep local hill to practice using the clutch properly. Even jumping out of the car to tell the people behind us 'You'd better just go around!" so I didn't bump them. (FYI: I can drive a stick quite well now!)
- for pushing me (even through my "I can't DO math!!" rants and tears) into taking Advanced Math throughout high school in order to help me get into University.
- for teaching me how to fish (and not teasing me for, at the age of 9, wearing rubber gloves to take the fish off the hook)
- for giving me a life-long love of northern Ontario. I still get excited when I see rock scattered with pines and blueberry bushes! There is no prettier place than the West Arm of Lake Nippissing or Tamagami!
- for letting me drive his sporty car to college
- for showing me the delicious wonder of bacon wrapped scallops at the age of 12 on our trip out East
- teaching me the importance of keeping in touch with friends and extended family (right on down to my 4th cousins!).
- for giving me one of my first jobs
- for instating 'traditions' for the grandkids at the cottage (ie. ice cream treat with Papa)
- for teaching me that if you catch a little fish and you blow it a kiss before you throw it back it will grow faster (this has never been proven otherwise!)
- for having his own verbiage that, until the past 10 years or so, I thought was common language that even Mr Webster would support (ie. narvies - nasty stuff, suck attack - meltdown ....)
- for having his very own salute at the cottage
- for not treating his three daughters as total princesses and teaching us how to fish, snowmobile, portage through knee-high mud ....
- for embracing my husband as a son as well as Brad's entire family
- teaching me to drive an outboard motor at the age of 10
- for never giving me a curfew
"When do I have to be home, Dad?"
"At a respectable time. I trust you'll make a good decision."
Apparently coming in at 2am at the age of 17 is NOT deemed an acceptable time. Duly noted Dad. Duly noted.
- for being the only person I know who can go to Florida or an ocean cruise and meet someone out of the blue who grew up with him in North Bay, Ont. I swear the man knows EVERYONE!!
- for taking us on a hardcore (for me) camping/portaging trip through the wilds of northern Ontario in my teens
- for always bringing chocolate bars on our ski trips so we had something to munch on while going up the ski lift
- for he and my mom driving 2 hours to bring me a full turkey dinner on my birthday while I was in 2nd year university
- for making me eat greasy bacon and runny scrambled eggs after a night of drinking and coming home too late (the lesson mentioned above about curfews had yet to be learned). This act helped me learn that I never wanted to feel that way again.
Note: I did do it again but not for a VERY long time. And I regretted it just as much that time ... and the time after that. :(
- surviving life with a houseful of women -- three daughters, a wife, a mother-in-law ... even the dog was female! That's a whole lotta estrogen!
- showing me that hard work will get you very far in life but a close family is the ultimate goal
- for being a very proud grandfather (he even put up a picture of each of his 10 grandchildren in his restaurants the day they were born). Note: my sisters and I weren't thrilled to be featured hours after giving birth but the sentiment still stands.
So to all those Dads/Grandads/Papas/Father Figures, THANKS!
Now, on to the recipe! Since we had the whole gang over at my parents' yesterday to celebrate the "Day of the Pere" I needed to bring a dessert that was free of both peanuts and eggs (my 2 year old nephew has an allergy to both and my oldest is anaphylactic to peanuts). No peanuts is second nature to me but dealing with no eggs is tricky.
So I hopped on the net and searched for a GREAT 'can't tell it's egg-free' cupcake recipe. I wanted to see my nephew's face light up at the sight of a great looking cupcake that he could safely eat.
Well, I found it! I even impressed my sister who said it's hard to find a moist egg-free cupcake recipe. Well, look no further . This was wonderfully moist and topped with my very own Orange Buttercream Frosting they were a hit! I liked them so much that I'll definitely make them again ... even if my nephew isn't here to visit! Enjoy!
Egg-Free Chocolate Cupcakes and Orange Buttercream Frosting
Recipe Inspired by: Allrecipes.com
Yield: 24 cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups milk
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two muffin tins or line with paper liners. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl), combine flour, salt, sugar, cocoa and baking soda. Mix well.
In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and mix, on low speed, until mixture resembles wet sand (or just moistened). Pour in milk and mix until batter is smooth. Batter will be quite runny.
Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and fill approximately 3/4 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
NOTE: The cupcake recipe can be made dairy-free as well. Just substitute dairy free carob chips for the chocolate chips and substitute water for the milk.
Orange Buttercream Frosting
As I mentioned in my Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting, finding peanut-free icing tints is very hard, if not impossible. This frosting uses Jell-O powder and orange juice concentrate for flavour and is wonderfully fresh and tastes great with chocolate cupcakes!
Loosely Inspired by: Wilton.com
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar, sifted (approximately 1lb)
4 tbsp orange juice concentrate
8 tbsp (or more) of orange Jell-O powder
1 tbsp milk
In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix shortening and butter on medium speed until mixed well. Add icing sugar, one cup at a time, to the shortening mixture and mix on LOW. Add orange juice concentrate, Jell-O powder and milk. Add a bit more milk, if needed, to get the desired consistency.
This frosting is a medium consistency which makes it perfect to use with the Wilton #21 icing tip. Frost completely cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with Cake Mate sprinkles (Cake Mate sprinkles are peanut and egg-free). Store frosted cupcakes in fridge if not eating soon after making. Enjoy!
Note: I believe, though haven't tried it, that freezing these cupcakes would work quite well. If you try freezing them please let me know how it turns out.