"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Save the Muffcakes!!

I feel like a battle hero. An epic warrior princess!

Well...actually the kind that screams like a banshee and runs away, and then - while shaking like crazy from an insane adrenaline surge coupled with panic - manages to eventually capture and destroy the unarmed enemy...who is waaaaay smaller than both her and her weapon of choice.

So maybe not so courageous after all when you look at the facts, but I still feel like a champion!

A bit of background information:
Earlier this week we had a Favorite Fall Recipe swap at church, so I mixed up a batch of my favorite Pumpkin Spice Muffcakes. I've made them pretty much every Fall since I found the delicious recipe hidden discretely on the narrow side of a store-brand cake mix several years ago. So soft and fluffy, yet moist, and just the right amount of pumpkin to make it festive without being over-kill. Yum! I always bake it in a muffin pan instead of as a bundt cake or in loaf pans because a single batch doesn't use up the whole can of pumpkin, so I usually double it and the cupcakes make for easy sharing and spreading of Fall cheer! Who doesn't love finding a plate of freshly-baked goodies on their doorstep? (Also, it only takes half as long to bake in a muffin tin as it does in a bundt or loaf pan so I can devour them sooner. Easy choice!) Sometimes I add chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts, or top them with whipped cream or rich cream cheese frosting, but I usually just leave them plain so I can bask in the glorious, uninterrupted, delicious goodness. Mmmmmmmmm.

My delightful muffcakes were all baked and sitting on the counter to cool long before I needed to leave for the activity (wahoo!), so I got on facebook for a bit to congratulate myself while I waited for Trevor to get home.

Then I heard a faint noise coming from near the door to the sunroom - just a few feet away from where I was sitting. I chose to ignore it. Our house frequently makes odd sounds - as did the house I grew up in - and I have a very vivid easy-to-spook worst-case-scenario imagination. It was probably nothing.

Then I heard it again. Still probably nothing...please? And again, but a little different. It's probably not a scary man in my sunroom...maybe Trevor randomly decided to walk around the house and through the back yard and check out the mold damage in the sunroom before coming home for dinner?

And then I heard some rustling right next to me, so I slowly peeked around the corner of the sewing table/computer desk and saw several long black legs clambering around on a plastic shopping bag of stuff sitting on the floor. Gah!! A monstrously huge cockroach! I snapped my eyes back to facebook. Much less frightening. I hate bugs!!!! Especially ones that are several inches long and are inside my house and on my stuff!

My panicked mind tried to calculate my chances for survival if I just ignored the roach until Trevor got home and could take care of it (wishful thinking). Now I'm not good at math, but my chances didn't seem all that great. I peeked cautiously around the corner again to size up the enemy, and the thing flew right at me! What?! Cockroaches are huge, ugly/scary, and they can FLY?!?! Who's terrible idea was that?!?!

I'll be honest; I screamed my head off. The neighbors probably thought I was dying. The cockroach probably went deaf - or at least would have if cockroaches had ears.

And then I ran away. So did the roach. As I was turning and running I saw it land and make a mad dash into the kitchen. My kitchen!! That nasty, scary, germ-breeding, icky, creepy-crawly, gross, huge, monster was going to run amok in there with my food and my dishes and my wonderful pumpkin spice muffcakes still sitting on the counters cooling?!?!

Heaven help me. I was too scared to go back and kill that thing, but too scared to leave it to run free in my kitchen. What's a poor girl to do but hide somewhere and start praying until Trevor came home to save me!

But then my inner warrior princess/motherly muffcake-protecting instincts came out and reminded me that my indoor spider-killing spray also kills roaches!! So I grabbed it and headed shakily for the kitchen. Sure enough, there it was, coming out from the bottom of the fridge and heading straight towards me. It could probably sense my complete and utter terror.

BAM! Right in the head with the roach poison :) But it kept coming towards me, and actually started moving faster. So I started spraying faster! It retreated and tried to sneak away under the fridge and the baseboards, but it was too big. Then it made a mad dash for the other side of the kitchen. Dang, cockroaches can run fast!!! But I could spray fast too, and I chased it the whole way across the kitchen leaving a soggy wet trail of poison. Then it scurried up the wall, almost all the way to the counter top! They can climb fast too?! Horrible horrible bugs!! So I sprayed down the wall from above to hopefully knock the roach down.

That worked well enough, and by this point the floor was so wet that the cockroach couldn't run as fast. In a moment of incredible courage, I grabbed a glass that happened to be out on the counter and successfully trapped the intruder as it was slogging through the obsessive amount of poison I had sprayed on the floor! Victory!!!! The encounter probably lasted no more than 3 minutes from the time I first saw the cockroach, but it sure felt like an eternity!

Just a small sampling of my spraying rampage. Please excuse my dirty kitchen floor.

The roach ran around like crazy in the glass for several minutes, but then the poison took effect and it eventually twitched it's last twitch and died. It was dead before Trevor even got home :) Why yes, I am awesome. Nevermind the fact that the kitchen floor was so covered in spray that I probably could have gone water-skiing.

Aaaaaand the muffcakes made it out safe and sound! The first thing I did after the beast had been contained was wash my hands very very very well and put those muffcakes away somewhere more safe! And then I ate one to congratulate myself on a job bravely (haha ok, maybe not so bravely) done. Sooooo good :)

(don't worry, the poison was all sprayed down and away from the muffcakes, which were safely up on the counters - and there weren't any on the counter that the roach started running up. And I promptly took a shower to make sure I got all the spray safely off of me :)

I would link to the original source for the recipe if I knew where to look, but I have never been successful in finding it online (believe me, I've tried many times through the years). As far as I can tell, the recipe is only available on the side of a box of Western Family brand Spice cake mix. So just know that this is not my recipe. It's Western Family's. And it is wonderful! :)

Super Easy Pumpkin Spice Muffcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin pan.

Mix together:
- 1 package Spice cake mix
- a 3.5 package instant vanilla pudding mix (dry)
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Add in:
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie filling!)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts and/or chocolate chips (optional)

Mix until thoroughly blended.

Pour batter into pan and bake at 350. Bake 50-55 minutes for a bundt pan, 55-60 for a loaf pans, or 25-30 minutes for muffin pans.

Serve with cream cheese frosting, whipped cream/coolwhip, or just enjoy them plain :)

ps, you may have noticed, these are dairy-free! (if you eat them without topping, and if whatever brand of cakemix you use doesn't have dairy - the Western Family brand doesn't)

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