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I Bet You Can Guess Who Picked The Shirt


Mila Monster

When it comes to Halloween, I figure I get one shot. I get exactly one chance to pick out the most perfect costume for a kid. Once that second Halloween rolls around, kids have opinions and stuff. 

When Alexis was tiny, that one shot was spent on a Screamapillar costume.

It. Was. Perfect.

The little girl who loved to scream was absolutely the human version of the Screamapillar from The Simpsons. Adorable but screamy and particularily nightmarish after the sun went down. 

Then came Mila. I spent weeks pondering my one shot, but then learned something vital -- Alexis wanted to do something matchy matchy with her sister, and she was picking the theme.

So much for my one shot.

While I do looooooooove what Alexis settled on for herself and Mila, I kinda wanted to have a say. Just once, even if only for a single photo.

OK, I'm stalling.

It's just ... these photos. MAN.

For the record, I couldn't have figured out a more fitting costume for Mila if I had spent months thinking about it. She is Mila Monster, through and through.


Still stalling.

OK ...

(Yes, I made the hat.)

(The dress is from Ruum. It was a total coincidence that it matches. In other words, IT WAS MEANT TO BE.)

This time I mean it. Here's Mila Monster.




Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes

I have a confession to make.

Sit down for this, please.

You guys, I forgot how amazing Nutella is.

I KNOW! I don't know how it happened, but I discovered that I had completely stopped dipping everything in Nutella. I was Nutella-less. Devoid of happiness. Lacking the greatest things in life. It wasn't intentional. I had just sort of stopped visiting the alter of Nutella.

It took a request from the husband's co-workers to get me back on track. I'm there now, so all of the things involve Nutella.

As they should.

This is a variation of the Black Bottom Cupcakes that I have made over and over again for the past year or so. They're excellent as originally posted, but they are also fun to alter with new flavors. Like Nutella. Nutella is good.

Very good.

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes

(makes 80 mini cupcakes or 24 full-size cupcakes)

Cheesecake Filling
1 8-oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup Nutella
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. To make the filling, throw all of the things except for the chocolate chips in a bowl and grab your mixer. Give it a whirl for about 2 minutes, or until it's all sorts of creamy and lovely. Stir in the chocolate chips and set the filling aside for a minute while you make the rest of the batter.

Chocolate Cupcake Batter
3 cups flour
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and throw cupcake liners in a pan.

2. Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir it all up with a whisk.

3. Add the water, butter, vinegar, vanilla, and Nutella. Stir with a fork or whisk until the chunks are gone. It takes about two minutes.

4. Place the chocolate/Nutella cupcake mix in your cupcake liners, filling each one about 2/3 of the way.

5. Carefully add some cheesecake filling on top of the chocolate cupcakes. You want to fill the liner up nearly to the top. I promise these don't rise much, so it's safe.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 22 minutes for mini cupcakes or 25 minutes for full-sized cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1 sticks butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream 

1. Throw it all in a mixing bowl. Mix it at medium speed until well-blended and smooth.

2. Tah-dah! Go ahead and give your cupcakes some frosting love once they have cooled. You don't need to use much frosting on these, by the way. A thin layer will do the trick just fine.