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Operaton Postcard for Beverly, and Dark Chocolate-Raspberry Cupcake Bites


Remember The Postcard Project?  Yeah, I sort of lost steam on it and forgot about it myself!

However, I received this message from my friend, Margaret, that revived my sense of purpose.

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I have a cousin that has a postcard project going for a lady that will be 90 years old her birthday. I think this would be a great project for the postcard group. She will let us know how many postcards she received and I will let you know. Thanks whether yes or no.

This is how I received it:

“You are invited to join Operation Postcard! The Regency Manor, where my Mother-in-law, Mrs. Beverly Harris, lives, has a map of the US and they mark each state a postcard comes from. Sadly, the map is not very full. Will you help me flood the map and Beverly’s mailbox with a postcard from your state? Please have your postcard sent by March 15, 2012. Also send an email to me (purpleisland@sio.midco.net) so I can keep a running total of postcards being sent.

Mrs Beverly Harris
3425 Dakota Ave, #32
South Sioux City NE 68776

Thank you in advance for helping in this very special display of appreciation for one great lady…Charlene Harris”

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OK, this makes me SUPER excited.  I’m so on this!  I already sent my postcard, and I told Margaret I’d spread the word  I hope many you will join me and that Mrs. Beverly will be able to mark every single state (and maybe even a few overseas countries) on that map!  I can just imagine her anticipation as the cards roll in each day and seeing her marking the map and later making a scrapbook with the cards.  I confirmed her address is a nursing home through a Google search, so just imagine the happiness all these cards will bring to this lady on her 90th birthday!

If you would like to get a card to her, please do it as soon as you can (by March 15th) and email her daughter, Charlene, at the email address she gave above.  Also, please put a return address label at the top if you don’t send a postcard featuring your state, that way she will know where it came from.  Thank you so much!

In the spirit of celebration, I thought I’d share this cupcake bite creation I made using leftovers from a Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake (the cake domes I sliced off, plus the leftover frosting).  If you like the combination of chocolate and raspberries, you’re going to love these!

To make them, just use the original cupcake bites instructions, using the cake and frosting recipe from my Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake.  Or, if you make the cake and want to use the leftovers for these, here is the “recipe.”

Dark Chocolate-Raspberry Cupcake Bites

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Cake domes leftover from a Dark Chocolate Cake
1-2 tablespoons leftover Raspberry Buttercream
4 ounces (2 rectangles) chocolate candy coating/almond bark
4 ounces pink candy melts
sprinkles for decoration

Crumble up the cake tops in a bowl with your hands, or in a food processor. Using your hands, mush in the frosting until well mixed. Roll the mixture into balls (I got ten but you might get more if you had really high domes on your cake) and place on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Melt the chocolate candy coating according to package directions, being careful not to overheat it. Spoon the melted coating into miniature peanut butter cup molds, filling about 1/3 full. As you fill each one, press a cake ball down into the chocolate until it comes up the sides to the top of the mold. Once the mold is full or you’ve done all the balls, place in the freezer while you melt the pink candy coating.

Melt the pink candy coating according to package directions. Add a little oil or shortening if your chocolate becomes too thick (Wilton is especially prone to this). Pop the cupcake bites out of the mold onto foil or waxed paper. Pick up one at a time by the chocolate bottoms and dip upside down into the pink candy coating, making sure it covers the whole cake ball. Gently shake off excess and set right-side-up on the foil/waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle with sprinkles and continue to dip and sprinkle until all cupcake bites are finished. Serve at room temperature. You don’t need to refrigerate unless they will be outside the fridge for more than three days.

Pumpkin Spice Bagels & Pumpkin Butter

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Dave from My Year on the Grill chose leftovers as this week’s “ingredient” for the Blogger Secret Ingredient contest (aka BSI).  Since I often make dishes with leftovers, I had a tough choice choosing which one I’ve made lately to post.  And since the things I made with 28 egg yolks leftover from my huge white birthday cake all included lemon, I chose to post something more season-appropriate.

Don’t you hate it when a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of pumpkin, or any other measurement other than the entire can?  Drives me crazy!  After using 1/2 cup for some yummy bagels, I decided to use the leftover to make pumpkin butter so I could smear that on the bagels with some cream cheese.  The bagels are good by themselves, but even better with the pumpkin butter!  And don’t worry,  your pumpkin bagels will not be as dark or flat because you will not mess up the recipe by adding so much water that you have to add in 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour to stiffen it back up, and you will not forget to put in half the yeast.  Although these mistakes made the bagels more dense than I would have liked, they were still quite tasty and I will definitely make them again.

Pumpkin Spice Bagels
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2/3 cup warm water 110°)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose)
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 egg white
1 tbsp cornmeal

In bread machine pan, place water, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, spices, flour and yeast in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into nine balls. Push thumb through centers to form a 1-in. hole. Stretch and shape dough to form an even ring. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Fill a Dutch oven two-thirds full with water; bring to a boil. Drop bagels, two at a time, into rapidly boiling water. Cook for 45 seconds; turn and cook 45 seconds longer. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Whisk egg white and remaining water; brush over bagels. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place bagels 2 in. apart on prepared pan. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 9 servings.

Nutrition Information (provided by a Taste of Home): 1 bagel equals 180 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 273 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein

Recipe source: Taste of Home Healthy Cooking, October/November 2010

You can see other spreads I made with leftovers in the background: lemon curd (made with leftover egg yolks) and apple butter (made with leftover applesauce)

Pumpkin Butter
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Leftover pumpkin (you should have a heaping cup)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Whisk together in small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced half.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

Nutrition information per tablespoon (calculated on Sparkrecipes.com): 19 calories, 0 g fat, 2.4 mg sodium, 36.8 mg potassium, 6 g carbohydrate, 5 g sugar, 0 protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

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