Do you ever feel like you need some “me” time?
I don’t mean me time, as in, time with me specifically. Although I’d be delighted to get together sometime.
I mean you time. You have you time, I have me time. Our time. But not spent together…
This is getting mildly complicated.
I do my best thinking during “me time.” And since I hardly ever get any, I value these little dates I have with myself. Don’t forget, I’m an only child, and therefore I hold this precious solitude near and dear to my heart. I do love spending time with the people most important to me. Margaritas and sarcastic banter with my boyfriend definitely top the list. And of course gossip and soul-searching with my best friend make any day better. But occasionally, I absolutely, positively, no doubt about it, need some time to myself.
I don’t really plan this time. And I usually end up doing something random that I don’t think any one else would enjoy participating in.
The activities that occur during “me time” include (but are not limited to):
– Watching dumb TV
– Reading Fifty Shades of Grey (at least that’s the case lately…)
– Writing for funzies
– Browsing cooking stores like Sur la Table or Williams-Sonoma, and ultimately buying a hot pink spatula because it’s freaking adorable. (this happened last week…)
– Painting my nails
– Going for a run
– Busting out a Grammy-worthy a cappella solo of “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble’
– Playing fetch with Kitten
– Venturing on the ever-so-dangerous Amazon.com
– Driving down Pacific Coast Hwy
These things seem a little mundane, but my “me time” isn’t about extremes. I’ll save the base jumping and fire-swallowing for another time. My inner diva wants to unwind, and if watching Friends reruns and throwing together a batch of chocolate chip cookies makes her happy, I can’t (and won’t!) contest.
I strongly urge you to pencil yourself in for some “me”..err…”you” time. Times are getting tough? Breathe. Take a moment to realize that no matter what, the sun is still coming up tomorrow.
My mom always tells me that. It’s smart.
Browse a magazine. Go for a hike. Be a trendy hipster and sit in a Starbucks and write your Nobel-Prize-winning novel while sipping a cappuccino. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy it, and make sure that it is what you want to do, not necessarily what you need to do. There’s a difference.
As for myself, as the title of this blog implies, baking is my main source of “me” time. And this week, I reeeeally enjoyed myself. I made chocolate mousse filled cupcakes.
I made an angel food cake, filled it with chocolate mousse, and topped it with a white chocolate buttercream. It felt so wrong, yet so, so right.
Chocolate Mousse Filled Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream
I had never made mousse before, so I got the recipe from the Joy of Baking and made a few minor tweaks.
8 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
10 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1. In a double-boiler or a saucepan with simmering water and a heatproof bowl on top, medium heat, melt the chocolate. Stir occasionally at first, then continually. Once the chocolate has completely melted, set aside to cool to room temperature.
2. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.
3. Gradually add 5 tbsp of sugar, beating the egg mixture until soft peaks form and it look glossy. You don’t want it to get dry.
4. In another bowl, beat the whipping cream, remaining sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form.
5. Add a few dollops of chocolate into the egg mixture to lighten, and then transfer the egg whites to the chocolate bowl. FOLD the two together. FOLD in the whipped cream.
Make sure to fold — not stir, not beat. Fold. This will keep the mousse airy.
6. When everything is completely combined, transfer the mousse to an airtight container and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
Angel Food Cake Cupcakes
10 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1. Set oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.
2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in medium bowl. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.
4. Gradually add sugar, and beat until fluffy. The mixture should look glossy.
5. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Beat until combined.
6. Gradually add flour mixture to the egg mixture. Beat until just combined. Do not over mix.
7. Fill cupcake wrappers 1/2 full and bake for 15-18 minutes.
White Chocolate Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
10 oz (1 bag) of white chocolate chips
1. In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with simmering water, melt the white chocolate. Set aside to cool.
2. In a separate bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy.
3. Gradually beat in powdered sugar to desired consistency.
4. Beat in vanilla.
5. Add melted chocolate and beat thoroughly.
I can’t imagine guests would be disappointed with cupcakes like these in these adorable wrappers…
Enjoy YOUR “me” time! We’ll get together soon.