Apparently my Christmas posts have made my parents feel a little guilty -- my dad for cursing putting up tree lights, and my mom for "Millenium Falconing" her sneaky son. I guess she really didn't give him the toy, and now she feels bad about it! As a joke we thought we would ebay it and see if we could get him one now to make up for that biggest disappointment of his childhood, but alas, they're a bit too pricey for a gag gift.
I didn't mean to make them feel guilty, though. I have the most wonderful memories of Christmas for as far back as I can remember. There's one story that I can't tell without Jim mocking me for sounding like I had some heiress-type childhood, and I so didn't. I get what he means though, because that story starts, "The year I was twelve we went to the Alps for Christmas. . ." Sure, it conjures Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous a little, but you have to visualize a battered green VW bus chugging its way up into the mountains! Still, VW or not, it was awesome. I can also say of that trip, "We went on a one-horse open sleigh ride for my birthday." That was as good as it sounds! That was our first [of not many] family ski trip. And when we got home to southern Italy, Santa had been there ahead of us!
And there was the year I got my dollhouse. I think I was eleven. My dad built it by hand and it is huge and amazing and is in the garage now awaiting a day when it can come live in the house - a house within a house - and get a new coat of paint and maybe a family to live in it. It's too big for our current house, though, and shall have to bide its time for its new life to begin.
There are many, many wonderful Christmas memories, and my parents shouldn't feel guilty about anything. (Well, mom, except maybe for exiling all our lovely hand-made elementary school ornaments! For shame. Don't you love us anymore?) (ha ha ha -- just kidding! Please, leave them in exile!)
As requested, here is that cupcake recipe. I didn't do any baking last night, as Alexandra and I went to my parents' house to arrange my mom's holiday "toy cupboard" which is like getting to do an old-fashioned toy store window display. But I forgot to bring the camera, so I'll take pictures of it later.
for the cupcakes:
1 c sweet butter, softened
1 c superfine flour
2 c self rising flour (or 2 c reg flour + 1 tbsp baking powder)
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp orange zest
1. Preheat to 350. Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.
2. Pour into paper baking cups in a muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick yadda yadda. (I used mini muffin cups and baked them for 12 minutes.)
3. Make frosting:
2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c sweet butter, softened
1/4 c sour cream
1-1/2 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp orange extract
Beat together until smooth and put on cooled cupcakes. If you're feeling spendy you can buy whole cardamom pods to put on top. That's that. Enjoy!