Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Did someone say.... Pancakes?!

Two confessions here:

1.)I could live off of pancakes FOREVER.

2.) I used to ONLY use the pre-mixed just add water kind and not because I didn't know how to make pancakes from scratch but I was just one of those "too danged lazy and I need my carb fix NOW" kinda person.

Pancakes are forever attracted to my hips. They are best friends for life. It will be the one food I will never cut out of my life, ever.

I started to think about my food spending and how I could be a little more "thrifty." And at nearly three dollars a box and needing about two boxes a week to feed my troop and my cravings, I had to find something cheaper. It would be a cold day in hell before I gave up my beloved carbs and the cheap mixes are just that, cheap. I knew how to make them from scratch. Those who know me, know I am not an "up and at em" kind of gal in the morn. I could sleep in until noon if allowed, too bad I can't reprogram the kids and there's this darn thing called school that gets in the way. But this is now just as quick and even tastier than the pre-mixed kind!

Really basic but yummy recipe. I am sure you can find it just about any where on the interwebs.

Here's what you will need:

1 egg lightly beaten
1 to 1/4 cups of milk (Have extra on hand for thinning)
3 tablespoons of melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 and 1/2 cup of flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 and 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Here's what you do:
1.) Combine all dry ingredients. Set aside.
2.) Pour in butter, egg, milk and vanilla. Mix until most but not all lumps are gone.
3.) Add milk until runny enough to pour on to a hot griddle/pan. You want it pour-able, a little thicker than syrup but not too thick.
4.) Pour your desired size pancake on the pan, when you have bubbles on the sides and in the middle of the pancake batter, flip.
5.) Remove when other side of pancake is a dark golden brown, you may have to poke the center of the pancake to ensure it's cooked thoroughly.
6.) Repeat until all batter is used.

I get about 6-8 pancakes with this and it makes about 2 to 2.5 cups of batter. Also you may have to use cooking spray but I never do but that will depend on your cooking skill and the quality of the pans you are using.

Also now that I am exclusively only making them homemade, I don't even need to look at the recipe, I just start making them. That's how easy and quick they are!

Enjoy with your favorite butter and syrup!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mamma's Chili Spice mix. *gift idea*

This is pretty much a generic recipe/mix you can find it any where on the internet BUT that's because it's so good! I remember when I first used this, it had no instructions on how MUCH to add to your meat/meat sub when cooking. Let's just say I can still remember the heat on the back of my tongue years afterwards. But if you add and taste as you go, you will be fine. Remember when it comes to heat, less is more.

Really simple to throw together and you will say bye-bye to the packaged stuff you were buying!

Here's what you will need:

1/4 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon of dried minced onion
1 tablespoon of dried minced garlic
4 teaspoon of chili powder
2 teaspoon of white sugar
2 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 teaspoon of dried parsley
2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of dried crushed basil
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper


1.- Add to either a container you can seal or ziploc baggie and mix.
2.- When cooking add a little at a time until you get desired spice and flavor. Remember less is more when it comes to heat, unless you love heat!

Final note if you want to give as a gift:

If you want to make this as gift:
Multiply the above ingredients by 4 to get three Mason 8 oz jelly jars.
Multiply by 8 to get six mason 8oz jelly jars.
Multiply by 12 to get nine masons 80z jelly jars.
Multiply by 16 to get twelve mason 8oz jelly jars.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Closing the distance update. 11/17/11

102 days
2453 hours
147288 minutes....

Until M gets here.

Yep. Someone is excited! I mean I even know how many full moons there will be until he gets here...

So this will be the real solid start to our relationship. I think the plan is for his relatives in the States to meet me, approve of me and then introduce the idea of marriage to his parents back in Pakistan. They are well aware of M's plans to marry me.

Although I fear them not accepting me due to my divorce, the girls and my age. Even though everything is well justified, it's not the norm in their culture and I've accepted this. There's a chance where they wont approve of me, period. It's a reality that we've both come to accept. M has made it clear of his choice but I fear that he will choose his family over me anyways . We may end up doing things our way and that way isn't something that I want to happen. It would be much better if they accepted me and the girls into their family with open arms but that may be too much dreaming on my part. I don't want to be the one who causes a rift in the family and I am afraid that if we do the Nikah without their knowledge and consent that it will cause major problems. I don't want M to go through that stress but at the same time I do not want to lose him.

It leaves me feeling very selfish.

So it appears he will be here on a 90 day visit and then possibly extending that for a total of six months. Who know what could happen then but I know having to put him a plane home will kill me. So maybe he'll change his mind and stay. Wishful thinking once again.

M is going back to the embassy this week and I am sure we will talk more about this in detail some time this weekend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Writing adventures.

I've drifted back out into the world where I need to find my roots. To embrace the things that make me strong and strengthen the things that make me weak. I am out to reclaim who I was, the person that I lost so many years ago. The artistic, smart and driven women I once was. I'll find her and I will be ecstatic to be reunited with her so that I can finally feel whole and comfortable in my own skin. I've grown accustomed to seeing the shell of who I was once was and living with the emptiness I have known for so long. I will no longer be a ghost of the past. I can thank M for bringing me back to life and allowing this new found desire to grow and supporting me through this. M is truly a great man and it's because of him that I am writing again.

So in turn, I have several projects on the burner and I feel overwhelmed but excited. Something that I excel at apparently.

I will leave you with some excerpts because nothing is final yet and my blog has set long enough without attention. And yes, I will post a recipe here soon because I finally found my camera! I misplaced it and found it today while cleaning out the van... don't ask me how it got there.

I am currently writing and still researching my main piece for a project that I am doing on food hunger and food insecurity in America. Something that has already began to open my eyes and I haven't even began to start this experience but here is a little excerpt from what I have written.

We live in a country where one in every six people faces hunger every day. We are supposed to be a power nation, we are an industrialized and democratic nation, yet we cannot even feed our own people. Sure, there is the nationally funded food stamp program but it’s underfunded and only rarely helps fully prevent hunger and food insecurity. There are countless soup kitchens and food banks, but they still remain underfunded and in desperate need of food. How is it that we are leading nation; yet we remain in the bottom five for poverty rates? How is that even possible and even permissible? Have we become so blind to our nations own needs and troubles?

Then I began to write something loosely titled "The woman beneath the scarf." I don't think it will be a start and finish project but more of an on going thing that I will write about as I experience it. Here's a brief blurb from it.

To be frank, I kind of like wearing a Hijab but I also like the loose warm comfort of a scarf draped over my head that is now common place in Pakistan. When I wear a hijab, I feel in a sense that I am protecting my femininity and that I do not have to worry about superficial beauty. I feel safe. Oddly, society has taught me that hijabs are not a sign of safety but of oppression. I hate to say it but I do not find that to be true. But then again, I have yet to wear one out in public…

But I plan to and I will write about it.

I am not sure how my fiance will feel about this but there is something compelling me to experience this part of Islam and write about it. I think he fears that others will perceive him as being oppressive and it’s true, I think some will but how can I honestly know what I am writing about if I do not go out and experience it? How can I impact others thinking if I have no firm proof to back up my own opinions and thoughts?

I hope you will stick around as I write. Something that I so desperately want to get back too. This is part of who I am and this blog reflects this. So fingers to keys, I move forward with my new adventure of finding me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dreams I have and dreams I shouldn't have.

I tend to try to protect myself in my little "fairy tale dream bubble." I am a planner, through and through. It's not a "type A" kind of thing but more of a way to cling to all things positive. You see, I don't plan on the negatives but only for the positives. So I am less likely to rush out and buy life insurance then I am for something for our marriage (that God only knows when it will happen.) Yes, I am guilty as sin. I have bought stuff, already.

It's only one thing, does that get me off the hook?

I will talk marriage until I am blue in the face and you've died of boredom. Why? Because the idea of having something so positive in my life, makes the negative of the past and the present disappear. And every day I get closer, the future gets brighter and the past fades away. It's a start of a new life, one I oh so deserve.

Call it denial, call it being a coward but at least I know what I want and how I feel. Which is something that a lot of people can't even do.

So let me look at dresses, let me look at wedding details, let me have my dreams.

It's not like I am dreaming of mansions, maids, nannies and diamonds, goodness. I mean really who dreams of those kinds of things?

All I dream of is being beside a man who will love me for my faults, for my cracks, my dings through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, someone who will honor and cherish me all the days to come. It's the one day that I've never had and it cements our relationship forever.

What's not to love about that?

So if our wedding is a year from now or three years from now, I am going to dream these dreams. It does not mean I am being naive or impatient. Nor does it mean I am day dreaming, it's just my motivation. It gives me so much to work on, goals to set and reach, things to fix and improve and what's not great about that?

It's not like I am dreaming of perfect wedded bliss, that life will be perfect afterwards and some how everything will be right. I get that reality isn't quiet like that but I do intend to lay some foundations and a clear path for the future. I do not want a marriage that will end in divorce and I am pretty certain that it wont but being the wise planner I have certain things I need to have happen prior to marriage. Although, I am willing to compromise and allow for changes, there is a "list."

So some of my requirements (not set in stone) before marriage consist of:

  • We have dated for a minimal of six months in real life and in the same country but would prefer a year prior to marriage.
  • X amount of money in savings.
  • Both have gainful employment, either full or part time.
  • We both have working, in good condition cars with no loans.
  • We have a place that the rent/mortgage is well under what we can afford.
  • We have no excess debts, IE credit cards, etc.
  • We have a detailed and concise financial plan and back up.
  • X amount of student loans paid off.
  • We both have a monthly budget that has been in place for an x amount of months prior to marriage.
  • Pre-marriage workshops, communication, parenting, etc.
  • We have a clear knowledge of what each other needs and wants are.
  • We have no shreds of doubts, I wouldn't ask him to marry me or vice versa if there was even the tiniest amount of doubt.
  • We both have taken our health and mental wellness to where it needs to be.
  • There's many more but of a more private nature.

And you all thought I was rushing into this.... pssssssssssssssst. Yes folks, I do know what I am doing... for now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rice cooker Mac n cheese AKA "Mmmmmmm..."

You know that little dusty box, sitting some where hidden in your house that you got as a wedding/house warming/birthday/etc gift... You are going to want to go get that NOW. Or you can just buy one tomorrow, first thing in the morning because this is the ultimate comfort for your soul Mac N Cheese.

Ok, I knew I needed to buy one because M's food requires A LOT of rice and I have a lot of time to practice cooking South Asian food. Ironically, I haven't cooked rice in it at all. I've cooked Mac N Cheese in it more times than I can count and no I am not Mac N Cheesed out yet. Over my dead body will that ever happen...

So yes, this idea of cooking MNC in a rice cooker with so few ingredients scared me. But I put on my big girl apron and did it anyways. Now my oven will never see a casserole dish full of MAC. Sorry oven, you just don't do it for me anymore.

Simple, easy and yummy.

Here's what you will need:
16 oz (roughly two cups) of either chicken or vegetable stock.
2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cups of milk
2 cups of freshly shredded cheese. (DO NOT BUY PRE SHREDDED CHEESE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY! No really don't. It wont melt correctly. PLEASE don't. I used a mix of Monterrey Jack, Provolone and Mozzarella. You can use any combo you'd like.)

Here's how you do it.

1) Add in stock, elbow macaroni and salt and pepper. Cover and switch to cook setting for at least 15 minutes. Stirring about every five minutes.

2) Shred your cheese.

3) When noodles are al dente switch your rice cooker to the "warm" setting, then add in the milk. Then add your cheese in about a third at a time. Folding each batch in until melted making sure to lift from the bottoms and sides. Once all the cheese is in and melted, re-cover.

4) I let mine "cook" on warm stirring often allowing it to thicken and this also keeps the noodles cooking to the bottom of the pan.

5) Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New wedding pretties.

Save the date idea. Save the date idea. Save the date. Hand tying. Invites. Invites. Headband. Necklace. MehndiMehndiMehndiHair. HairHair. HairHair. Hair. Dupatta DupattaDupattaDupattaDupatta and bangles.Dupatta.Dupatta.

Inspirations for our American wedding. We are def doing the typical american wedding, with him in a tux but I am def throwing some Pakistani flare in to it. It will really show case who we are.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Closing the distance update. 10/9/11

This is a good news, bad news update. I was hoping for good news all around but it is what it is. So like having a splinter, it's best to pull it out before it festers and get infected.

As of yesterday M can't not get a visit visa due to the circumstances between Pakistan and the US. *grumblegrumblegrumble*

This is where I would of shed tears because I had hoped that he'd be here for my birthday and while I was on break. I had almost a whole month off in December and I wanted so desperately to spend most of that with him. Now we have to wait until the end of October to see what will happen then. Because the only visit visas they are allowing are for "official business." Ha. Someone better tell the government that I AM "official business!"

When he reapplies for his visit visa he will then have up to 15 days to have his interview. Then after that it could take two to two and half months for him to be able to fly to the States. So he could be here at the end of Dec or towards the end of Jan.

It's not M's fault, this I know. But I am kind of sad because I had gotten my hopes up to see him sooner. I know nothing will keep us apart. I had just wished it was sooner because I know what awaits us when we are together. I can't wait and having to wait another month is some what testing my patience. Ok, it's not some what, it is testing my patience. I am not very patient and the saying "Good things come to those who wait." dose not apply to me. It's a flaw of mine and I've come to embrace it and work with it. Others learn quickly to embrace it too or I would to think that.

The good news, well I am not allowed to say anything about that just yet.

Hey don't get mad at me. It's M's fault. ;]

But I am looking forward to it. Because at this point, I am not going to let go or give up. I love M so much that I wont give up on him. I can't picture my life without him and if that means I have to go to Pakistan to marry him, then I will. Then I can bring him back as my husband and we can start our new life in the States. That's last resort and we both pray that it wont come down to that but I am not afraid to do that. As much as he will fight for me, I will fight for him. This love is real and if you could see and listen to us when we talk at night, it would be apparent to you. There is no doubt in our love. Our love is so strong that we wont allow 8k miles to keep us apart.

In the mean time I will try to keep busy by learning how to cook more South Asian food and learning more about Pakistani culture. It's hard when it's just you and you have no one to ask for advice. I have no one to taste my food, poor M. He's going to be a guinea pig when he gets here. I want to make him breakfast, lunch and dinner one of the days he is here. I want to blow him away with my cooking. I can't wait just to be able to look into his eyes and only have him a foot away from me. I cant wait to hear his heartbeat, to feel his breathing, to feel his touch and to feel his love.

If you know how to speed up time, please let me know because this going to kill me!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Your questions and our answers!

I've been asked some pretty common questions about our relationship and opinions. So instead of answering them individually for the both of us, I had M answer them as well. That it you get his view points as well as mine. I think we are pretty much on the same page. I also hope this answers some of the questions that people have.

So without hesitation here is the top 20!

Are you required to wear a Hijab?

S- No, I am not. I do not think that M would require me to wear a head covering unless deemed needed by tradition. There are certain times where I am required to wear a head scarf like if I were to pray, etc. I am sure M can elaborate more because I do not know all the times I am required too.

M- I will try to explain very briefly here. First of all why Hijab is required in Islam? It is said in Quran that “A woman’s best jewellery is her shyness.” Hijab is practiced to cover up the head and the body from a stranger man who may look with an evil eye and with bad intention towards a woman. Hijab isn’t obligatory unless you’re praying. It’s the time when you’re required to cover your head. Hijab is practiced when women go out in the markets and there are every kind of men who may look at them with bad intention, so just to avoid that condition Hijab is worn but of course it’s up to me here if I want S to wear that or not. With me, it’s totally okay, I don’t want her to wear a Hijab. I’m there to protect her! Nobody can dare look at her with bad intention when I’m around.

Are you forced to convert to Islam?

S- No. M has already stated that he loves me regardless of what I choose.

M- I’ve never forced S to convert to Islam. I always told her about it whenever the religion came up in our conversations and she always develops interest in knowing more about my religion and asks me about different things that we practice. I have accepted her the way she was.

What about Muslim traditions?

S-I will observe them when need be out of respect and love. I will not be able to partake in Ramadan due to my blood sugar issues. We will also follow dietary traditions unless M has other thoughts on this.

M- That’s alright S will not be able to partake in Ramadan because of obvious reasons, and that’s quite okay. I look forward to be following dietary traditions as much as possible. Eating ‘Pork meat’ is prohibited in Islam, so we’ll restrict ourselves. As far as other dietary traditions are concerned, they can be followed if possible provided means of availability is there. Otherwise it’s okay.

What about the girls? Will they be forced to convert and follow traditions?

S- We’ve had an in depth conversation on this subject. We will teach them about Islam and Muslim traditions. We will never force them to become something they do not want to be. Yes, I will have them follow traditions that we both approve out of respect. It will be used as tool for greater good and knowledge. If they want to convert or not when they are older, we would be supportive and loving either way.

M- No, certainly not. I would never force the girls to convert or follow traditions. However, I and S together will, from time to time, tell them about the culture and traditions and discuss religion with them. Rest is in their hands, as they grow up they will be able to see and choose what’s good for themselves.

Since we know you are planning on having more children, what about those children and Islam?

S- M wants them to be brought up in Islam. I do not have an issue with this. The girls have had years of other religions and cultures beneath them, so it would be more abrasive and alien to the girls and tarnish their opinions on Islam. By this time the girls should have had enough exposure to be OK with their step siblings being raised fully in Islam traditions. If our biological children decided to no longer accept Islam, then I will love them and supportive them no matter what because they are still my children.

M- Yes, we will be having children and I really want them to be brought up as Muslims with a positive and humble character, the way Islam truly teaches about. I would be upset if they decide to no longer accept Islam, this would mean my failure as a father. I want to choose the best for them when they’re growing up, so the best I could choose for them would be as Muslims - being pious, honest, and sincere and believers in Allah. This would benefit them in this life and the next. My success as a father would be when I make their faith strong in Allah and be good followers of Islam. I don’t want to force them to follow the religion, but my upbringing will be in such a manner where they will gladly accept Islam with all their heart and wouldn’t feel forced to accept it.

Will you force arrange marriages for your children?

S- S-No. I believe in love marriages. I hope to set a wonderful example for my children that you are free to love whom you chose. No matter their gender, race or religion. I do hope that they would respect my opinions but I will respect their choices because in the long run I want what is best for them.

M- Force arranged marriage is a strong term. I wouldn’t have them forced arrange marriages instead they will have the right to marry the person they love.

Will you be forced to stay home or will you be allowed to work and continue your education?

S- We’ve discussed this. I am allowed to work and go to classes if I choose too. I will be a stay at home mom after our children are born until they are older and I will return to work or classes if need be. I feel that I need to be at home when they are young.

M-I would never force S to stay home. She will have my complete consent to work and continue her education. Only when the children are very young, I would want her to take care of them and be home because that’s when a mother’s role comes in. Other than that, I wouldn’t mind if S wants to work and continue her education.

What about gender roles and household duties?

S- Ha. M has already told me he plans to help me so that I do not have to carry this burden by myself since I have carried it so long on my own. It’s going to take some getting used to because honestly I am so independent. I do long to take care of him and our household and I would get a great sense of satisfaction in doing so.

M- I’ll be very co-operative and helpful when it comes to the gender roles and household duties, I guess that’s just how I am. I really look forward to helping and giving her S* a hand with the household duties since she has carried it so long on her own and now I need to play my role being with her.

What about food?

S- We will have an intercultural diet from all corners of the world. We will have South Asian food at least every week and during common traditions. It depends on if I can get my hands on traditional food and spices as well. I know that not all South Asian food is spicy but I will set aside portions for the girls where I can adjust the heat level. M has already told me that he’s going to love my cooking be it good or bad. Ha. There’s no bad food in my house!

M- Food?! :D Well, since she loves cooking, I already know there’s not going to be a problem with the food. Yes we will have an intercultural diet, for sure. S will really get hands well on the traditional food and spices plus I have no problems whether it’s American food she cooks or just the traditional food of my culture, I never have to complain about the food, because I know she will do that for me with all her devotion so I would love it anyhow.

What about American holidays?

S- Of course we will follow them! It’s deeply rooted in my traditions and something I look forward teaching the girls. We will be also incorporating Muslim traditions and South Asian food. Actually I can’t wait to dress M up in Halloween costumes and send him out with the girls to go trick or treating! Hehe.

M- Why not? We would celebrate all American holidays as well as the Muslim traditional holidays. It will be fun and I wonder how I will look like dressed up in a Halloween costume lol It will be fun though J

What about an intergenerational house hold?

S- I have openly welcomed the idea of having his parents and siblings living with us. I think it would be great for everyone. Yes, the house hold may be hectic as far as amount of people in the house. But I think it will be quite some time before this happens and by then with future planning in mind, everything will work out.

M- I don’t think S will have a problem with that. We have discussed that already and I know she will take care of it very well. She’s very caring and understanding. But it’s not going to be any sooner, it will be a long time till my parents might wish to come and start living at our place, and we can accommodate them and I look forward to it. Even if S’s mom wishes to stay with us, I have no issues. I would be glad that she will be living with us.

What about his/her parents?

S- I am actually excited to meet Amme (mom) and Abbu (dad)! I can’t wait to be part of their family and be openly accepted as their beyTi (daughter). I can’t wait to taste Amme’s cooking and learn how to cook South Asian cooking and household duties from her! I know many Gori (white and or American) girlfriends and wives who do not look forward to this or even like it. Not I! I think I will love it. I am excited to meet Abbu because he sounds so smart and open to teaching me how the household should be run from a man’s view point and see how they treat each other. I think they provided a great role model for M because he has turned out so great!

M- I am happy to meet her parents. I look forward to meeting them and make them feel content that I will take care of their daughter and love her always and she wouldn’t suffer anything like her past. I want to be with her for the rest of her life, loving her, being the father of her children, taking care of her and being the best husband. I am pretty sure I will make her parents proud.

Will you be staying in the states?

S- Yes. I am by law forced to stay here due to custody reasons and I could not imagine changing that. We will be visiting M’s homeland when we can and when it’s safe to travel there. M has family in Texas, so I imagine we will be spending a lot of time down there. When we are older and the kids are grown and married, who knows.

M- Yes we will be living in the States that’s what I want too. We will visit my homeland sometimes if we plan to, but since I have much family in Texas too, so we will definitely be spending time over there on holidays.

What is one thing that makes you nervous about Muslim/American traditions?

S- Offending someone by accident. I actually have mini panic attacks over this! I think after a year or so I should be ok. I am actually more curious what makes M nervous about American traditions!

M- I don’t know too much about American traditions, but there’s nothing I suppose that I will be nervous about when it comes to traditions as long as it doesn’t speak against my religion or devalues Islamic values and beliefs.

What is one thing you think you will have difficulty relationship wise in context of your cultural differences?

S- Conflict resolution in the beginning. I think there will be times where this will test our relationship. I am very forward and to the point. I typically will firmly make my point very loud and clear. I have realized through M that my “roughness” isn’t helpful. Ha. I blame it on my past because it wasn’t used as a resolution skill but more of a survival skill if you will. He is teaching me to be more gentle and calm with my words. I am adapting though because he respect me so much that he won’t retort with bad words or even in his tone of voice. He respects me so much out of love that the idea of just casually throwing words at him seems so impossible now.

M- I guess she already said it. I don’t know whether I should term it as a cultural difference, but I guess it’s more of a personality because I like to be polite and I like to be treated the same way. My anger, my emotions are always under my control if I realize it’s hurting the other person. I get over it instantly for the other person. S is very straight forward yet considerate and that’s her personality and I respect her for that. It’s better to be clear than being hideous and hiding feelings and keeping them in your heart because they come out in anger off and on and creates more complications. That’s why I find it good if she’s straightforward and tell me things honestly if she doesn’t like something I did, or what so ever. She is being gentle and polite with me and I know she is doing it for me, and I really love her for that! There’s nothing more I can ask for because I believe cruel words damage more than just actions themselves.

What is one thing that you didn’t expect to learn?

S- That even though there are deeply rooted stereotypes and racism, that there are open and loving people who accept you no matter what! I always was afraid of the stereotypes that were held against American women and especially divorced American women with children stereotypes. M threw all those stereotypes out the window because he loves me no matter what! His love for me will not be broken by anything! That my worth will never be devalued by what others think or say. I am so thankful for this!

M- It is how to treat an angry woman calmly and patiently J I learnt we need to give people some time if they need to get over their emotions when they are really upset about something.

How do you plan on teaching and protecting the girls form other’s ignorance when it comes to your relationship?

S- Well I don’t think you can protect them from life. I think I can teach them what is truly important in life and show them this through my actions. They know that your skin color, religion, income, culture and gender is all the same when it comes to human rights. No one is better or less. All are equals. I will also teach them kindness and knowledge when it comes to them hearing and seeing stereotypes and racism. I can’t protect them from heartaches of life but I can at least lessen the blows and heal their wounds but my love and my actions.

M- I will be very careful in telling them things that will always keep them neutral so they can speak for themselves and for the right if people show ignorance towards them. They will be the speakers instead of listeners. They will know the right things they should know. I will do anything to protect them from other people’s ignorance and even from the heartaches as much as I can. S and I have seen life; we can share our experience and minimize the troubles that may come their way, so the girls can turn them away before it strikes them. Of course to some extent, they will learn from their mistakes too, but I believe it’s one of the responsibilities of the parents too to protect their children from difficulties by restricting them initially from things which they might think look attractive and beneficial for them but actually they are not, and I will not let them suffer, I will sit and make them understand but if they insist persistently, I will let them go thru it so they will realize parents’ have much experience they can learn from.

What is something that you are not looking forward too?

S- People’s ignorance to be frank. I know that we will always encounter it. I know that it will always exist. But I hope that the kindness in people’s hearts will allow them to change their thoughts when they see how great our relationship is. Our relationship will work out regardless of other’s opinions. We will prove that our race and cultures become transparent when it comes to love.

M- I agree with S completely. People’s ignorance will always be there, but I too hope that someday they might realize how stronger our love and bond is, and eventually they could get over it. Another thing that I don’t look forward to would be people’s discrimination. It would somewhat hurt me to go through it. I wouldn’t appreciate if people discriminate when it comes to treating our biological children because they should be like all other children – the way they should be treated.

What is something that you look forward too?

S- Well there are several things I look forward too. But the most prominent one is spend the rest of my life with M. It motivates me so much and I know that motivation will be continuing because I cannot picture a day without M in my life.

M- The only thing I look forward to is to get over unworthy conflicts and misunderstandings and things which would create distance b/w us. We just need to understand each other more and let go things that will only make us feel bad and upset. I always like to quickly get over conflicts and try to make things simpler and easier for both of us because our love is the root to this relationship and it must be strong no matter what. We have a long way to go if we stand by each other firmly. Last but not the least, can’t wait to be around my wifey any longer.

If you had to give someone one tip on intercultural relationship what would it be?

S- Well first and foremost, if you love someone nothing else will matter but what is in their heart. Secondly, you are your own being. You are in control of what you think and what you feel. No one else has the right to sway your feelings or make you feel a certain way. Love truly cannot be contained by what a group of people think is right for you. If you love someone, love them with all your heart. When you do nothing else matters.

M- I would write the same thing down here that S did. Agreed 100% with it J

Fabulous Fall Flavors: Spiced Cider Pumpkin Butter!

If you think I took the time to peel, cube, steam and puree an actual uncooked pumpkin to make this, you are crazy! It also helps that Pie Pumpkins haven't hit the stores yet! But this was easy to make and some what time consuming. For the effort, this is really yummy! I actually had to put it back in the fridge because I was eating spoonfuls of the stuff just by it's self!

To me this just screams fall flavors. While it was cooking my house was filled with the smells of a baking pumpkin pie and I was so impatient to taste this! I actually could see using this pumpkin butter in bread, pies and cake! Mmmmm cheese cake with this? Possibly!

This my favorite and my favorite to share with my loved ones!


1 29-oz can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup apple cider ( I used almost a whole cup of cider)
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp of mace or allspice
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg


1- In a medium to large sauce pan, add cider and spices. Heat to a low boil.

2- Add in the pumpkin and sugars. Mix well and reduce heat to low.

3- *WARNING* This will not boil like normal liquids. This will splatter when heated. To avoid burns, cover. When stirring lift lid up just high enough to slide spoon in and keep the lid on. Stir like this once stirred you can remove lid to stir but remember to recover.

4- When it's reduced and thickened, remove from heat. Use clean canning jars or any small containers. I prefer canning jars and I used the small quilted ones, I filled mine to the top but that's because I knew the extra would make the recipients happy! I wouldn't recommend doing so but it's up to you. Fill each jar with 3/4 to one cup of the pumpkin butter WHILE IT'S HOT! This will help the jars to self seal. I ended up with four jars filled to the top.

If you refrigerate this it will last up to a month or so in the fridge or you can freeze up to six months.

It took about 35-40 minutes to go from this:

To this:

I hope you enjoy this!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wedding ideas!

b&w ideasCute!Table runnersSO PRETTY! More table runners. Lighting.
THIS IS WHAT I WANT! Center piece ideasBouquet Cute I love this too!Walkway idea
Walkway ideaTable decorationCenterpiece ideaWalkway idea
American wedding ideas and inspiration!

So I know I said prior too that I had taken a cool down from our relationship but I found that to be too hard. I can't stay away from M, not even for a minute.

I thought I'd post some images of where I am pulling my inspiration from for our black and white themed wedding.

I am sure I will be adding to this!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Culture's bumps and bruises.

I had to listen to a sappy song and look at a slide show of his images before sitting down to write this. Gosh, I sound like a creeper. Heh.

M and I have been butting heads a lot lately. We are both very stubborn and passionate. This usually ends up with tears on both ends. It really came to a roaring boil the other day. Yes, this time it was my fault for not understanding. All I could pay attention to was the pain I felt from what he did. When all he was trying to do was protect our relationship and secure our future.

It still bothers me but I am trying so HARD to understand and accept this. It did hurt me when he hid our relationship from his family. Because I want his family to know how much I love him and how much I want to make him happy .

What is acceptable here isn't there. Period. No PDA's, no open show of affection on facebook profiles, nadda. And if the family starts to talk, then it's time to really put affection on lock down. I don't want to sneak around. I want to SHOUT it from the roof top. I am in love with this man and it's real and I can't openly profess it! It is so frustrating.

As much as I love to post on his profile, I also do not want to tarnish his reputation or harm his family's image. Because I love him THAT much.

But it makes me scared at the same time. He told me where he stood and it's sounds like it's firm but then again... I've been abandoned in the past and this relationship honestly scares me because I know what there is to be lost. I know what it would do to me, it would absolutely kill me.

I ended it with M yesterday, I know it inflicted a wound on him. I hurt him and I hate myself because of it. I know I was wrong because I did it out of fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of the potential. Yes, I know. I was hurting, I was angry, I was scared and I was unaware of how serious the consequences would be if our actions were to affect and bring shame to his family.

I know.

I was the selfish one. I was the one in the wrong. Because if an American man did that here to his American girl it wouldn't fly. But in Pakistan our relationship is much more complicated then it is here.

I have to learn to respect this. I foresee A LOT of learning in the near future. I am trying, so hard. Because I love him.

I am his. He knows this. I am hesitant right now and he knows I will come back to him. I just need a little space and a slow down period. A cool down if you may. Let the emotions settle and the fear subside. He's more then ready to jump right back in, I think I'd just like to stare at him. To see what I really have been blessed with. To bask in his warmth and comfort. To be not so frightened. To be loved wholly by a man who loves my flaws, accepts my past and loves me no matter what. I love him so much for that.

We hit a culture speed bump and I tripped and fell flat on my face. I was not expecting that. So now I am learning to watch were I walk. Where and how I place my feet. M is holding my hand and protecting me from any more and he's watching out for us and myself.

As far as it matters we are still together. I will put a formal label on it when this mix of emotions has settled down. I want to be able to fully love him with out distractions because I owe him that. How fair is it to him to continue like this and fight often because that's my fear speaking? It's not. He's not leaving my side. He's right next to fighting with me. He's helping me wage war with my past and my inner demons. He's protecting me and bandaging my wounds and he's making me stronger.

If that doesn't speak volumes then I do not know what will. No cultural differences will ever be able to muffle that.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No, he's not a terrorist. Yes, I am still American.

I really never intended to make my blog a sounding board for my politically based rants... when it gets closer to the primaries, we'll see. No promises.



I.Can't.Bite.My. Tongue.Anymore.

M is from Pakistan. And apparently that automatically makes you a terrorist. And if you marry one you are now un-american. Really? REALLY?

Do you know what I've recently learned how to say?

"Mein ap say muhabat karti hoon."

It means "I love you" in Urdu.

But to me it also means:

I love you no matter your skin color
I love you no matter your religion
I love you no matter your culture
I love you enough to look past stereotypes
I love you enough to not get snared into ignorance
I love you enough to think and feel for myself

I love you so much that I will not let other's ignorance and fear change how I feel ONE bit.

M comes from a religion and a culture that is greatly misunderstood and "Salem-ized" by mass media post 9/11. With a heavy heart I think about the ten years that have passed and the lives that were lost that day and the days to come. While others mourn and the country reflects, I brace myself for the onslaught of ignorance in the days and years to come. My heart aches and yet my brain is angry. I am aching for the innocent souls who were lost in this unforgivable attack and I am angry for those who now suffer from the racism. Something that became so virulent and rampant in a country that is supposedly deeply rooted in human rights and equality.

The responses have been about 50/50. Either he isn't a terrorist or he is by association. Which astounds me. I wonder how far we really have progressed or are we yet still chained down by inhumanity and clouded by a lack of compassion and knowledge?

I will never hide the fact that M is Pakistani. Nor will I encourage our children to be ashamed because the rotten apples that stained the face of a beautiful county and a beautiful culture. A culture so deeply rooted in tradition and a high regard of family and mankind. Something our country deeply needs right now.

A little knowledge goes a long way.

On Sunday we pause, we reflect and we remember. But we must not forget our fellow humans. The ones who have a heart that beats just like yours and a life just as treasured as yours. We must look past skin color and see that every human is worthy no matter what.

We are all worthy and we must not forget this.

Must not forget.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wedding talk!

So I get to have two weddings. A traditional American wedding and a traditional Pakistani wedding.

An American wedding is pretty straight forward. One ceremony and a reception and bam you are husband and wife. Right? Standard.

An Pakistani wedding, whoa. Yeah. I know some about it but there is so MUCH that I don't. So busy, colorful, many ceremonies, traditions, rituals. Eek. I pretty much told M it's all on him to plan with his family, etc. I wouldn't know where to start. Plus it's so ELABORATE. So in your face. I am quite, mute and even possibly dull. I told M things that I liked and "suggested" that maybe we could tone it down, just a little.

Do not get me wrong I am in love with it but it kinda blew my "little, quiet and romantic wedding" idea out the window. I want to do this right not only for us but for his family, religion and his tradition.

But talking with M he feels that it isn't necessary to do all ceremonies because we will already had the American wedding. (I hope. No pray.) But it looks like we will only take part in a few of the major ceremonies. I do look forward to the Mehndi. I think it's so beautiful.

I think M has picked my dress out. I think. I know he has a date planned. I don't think I was suppose to know about this but I did find out. I am still not sure what's going on with that as his visa status and etc is still up in the air. So all I am allowed to do is look. I can't buy. I can't schedule. I can't do any thing but plan. So that is what I am doing for my American wedding.

Our theme for our American wedding is "Romantic Black & White."


Plenty of white candles every where, infusions of black and a lot of sparkly clear glass. White crisp table cloths, black table runners. Romantic but not in your face flowers and candle table center pieces. White covered chairs tied back with black satin.

Strings of little with lights and organza. Hanging lighted paper lanterns.

Can you picture it?

I can and I do every day. Taking our first dance as Man and Wife under all the sparkling lights. I see it. It motivates me.

I can't wait to be his wife.

I will post an album soon with my inspiration pictures. So you can "Ooohhh and Ahhhh" with me too.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An updated "About Me" post.

I have missed you blog world. A place where I could share what I need when I need too. A place where I could share what I do best: cook, eat and raise my children.

Things are changing in my world and I am happy to report for the better. Although people are assuming the wrong things about my judgement, I know in my heart and through out my soul, that I am doing what is correct. Now I just wait for all the good things I am meant to be blessed with.

So I thought I would update for those who may have fell behind on the going ons in my life. Although posting more regularly on my end would be a big help to you wouldn't it? I have committed a blogging sin and I repent for my lazy-ness.

I have added another player to our team. He's a great man and I know he'll make a great husband and father. It's one of those things where it began as friendship, I supported him through his storms and he was there through mine. Somewhere it had morphed into something romantic. It hit me that the man I was looking for was sitting right in front of me.

Only problem: He's nearly 8000 miles away from me.

I shall call him M. He's in his early 20's and he's educated, supportive, smart, talented, a great friend, loving, honest, mature, non-judgmental and very handsome. AND he's coming here for me! Of course to finish his education but he's coming here to MARRY ME! Take that! Ha. I am giddy when we talk about it. Trust me it seems like it's rushing to you but the legal processes to get him here and then hoops we'd have jump through gives us plenty of time. We don't know dates because so many things are up in the air. We'll get this figured out as time goes on.

We pretty much want and need the same things in a relationship. I am more traditional then what it appears. *GASP* I know right? My friend told me that he didn't see me becoming a stay at home mom. Well the only reason I am not is because I am forced too. I still have my dreams and M is very supportive and I love him so much for this. I have a treasure and I refuse to lose it or damage it. I absolutely refuse too.

He's from Pakistan.

This is where you shed your ignorance or get out of my life. Pretty simple eh?

He's not what ignorant mass media portrays. He's a man. He's made out skin, muscle, blood and tissue. He's heart beats and bleeds just like yours. His lunges exhale just like yours dose. He's an equal to any american man I could love. You don't love a human being based on their skin color, their religion or any other thing.

He makes me hold my breath, my soul quakes, my heart skips beats every time he whispers "I love you." I look excitedly to what our future brings us.

With marriage comes pitter patter of little feet. Yes, little feet. Yes, they will be planned. We will be adding to the brood. Not surprised are you? Heh.

There's so much I could post about him and us but I must update on the other girls as well!

A- Is doing well. She keeps bragging to me about how old she will be. As if I had no idea how old she will be turning and when her birthday is. Sorry kid, I must of missed your birth at this rate. She's going to be nine and I am about ready to cry. She's getting so big and so smart. Too smart. She will be taking English horse back ridding lessons and yoga this fall. She's looking forward to this. I can tell it's something she loves and I am going to support her in these quests of hers. She wants to be home schooled because she's been teased so badly lately. She's so shy but very passionate. She isn't old enough to see how this will benefit her.

H- Energetic, little, impish H. She's such a tomboy and so sporty. I am glad she's in love with ballet. She has her rough and tumble side but it's nearly perfectly balanced with her girly side. She loves dirt, yet she loves nail polish. She's ready for school. She love the kids and I think she may end up being popular at this rate. I am fine with this as long as she maintains the things I think are important with it comes to treating others. This fall she starts ballet full time and already is talking about her first performance and it hasn't even started yet!

L- She's her own being. Stubborn but loving. She'll put up a good fight when life gets rough for her. This I am thankful for because she gets this from momma. She starts school for the first time in a little over a week. She is over the moon with this idea. I just hope she can cope with this, we still are waiting from the IEP team to contact us but I am sure with a little tough love and new coping skills she should do ok. I hope. She also starts soccer this fall. A good way to get her active and interacting with other kids, something she so desperately needs.

Little L- She is making my ovaries ache. She's growing up so soon! She's still not potty trained yet. We are working on it but it's seems she's opting for the easy way out. Luckily, I've been through this a few times. She is starting to talk more. Oddly when we got the TV she started stringing words together and using more words then before. Who said TV was a bad thing? I was thinking about putting her into a private preschool but the idea of germs is starting to sway my opinion. This last winter was a good one. She only had one bout of penuomia and bronchitis. I'd kinda like to keep it this way. No matter how many times you've been in the PICU, you never like being there. I am enjoying all the extra time with her and looking forward to only having her this school year at home. Although I am sure it will drive me crazy not having a full house but at the same time, I am going to enjoy it!

Me- I am doing good. My graduation date has been pushed back another year and a semester. I plan on graduating there with my AS in science and then working part time while going to a four year college. Although this may be up in the air as it depends on my plans with M. I'd be happy not going back to school and I'd be happy staying in school. I started working out and dieting again, well, ok somewhat. I am trying. It's just so odd for me to eat more then one meal a day! It's a mind over matter issue. But I am super happy thanks to M. I really am. I hope people see this and support me because of it!

I will update as things progress and I will be posting wedding things etc. I already have a few ideas. I am happy. So very much happy and I only want to share this pureness with those around me.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Lentil soup diet.

*This isn't intended as medical advice and I can not be liable for any outcomes from said diet. You should always consult with a doctor prior to weight loss. Eat at your own risk.*

Who likes those warnings? But there's always that group of idiots who take things too far.

No, this isn't a fad diet or a quick fix. It's a nice substitution diet for when you need to lose a few pounds or you want to detox and help your GI track. Either way it's shown that eating plenty of fiber and foods that are good for you will actually help you lose weight, have proper bowel movements, improve your health and over all well being.

I eat this sometimes when my IBD is flaring because of the veggies and the fiber, it tends to settle things down a little. I pureed mine more then you will but it also depends on the texture you are looking for. Sometimes I like mine a little more coarse but my last batch I made was smooth.

Why it's good for you:

High in fiber, nutrients, low in calories and good for you. Do you think I am going to list out why it's good for you? Do you know how long of a list that would be?! Omgosh, I really don't have that kind of time!

How about you look at these links for yourself, k?

Red pepper

Don't forget those spices!

Ground black pepper

Seriously people, it's good for you! How does this compare to fad diets? You are getting benefits that affect you from head to toe in just one bowl! Now imagine how you are going to feel if you have two bowls a day?! You are going to feel great!

How it works:

You are going to wake up and a sensible breakfast.

Whole oats and a boiled egg with either fresh fruit or a glass of juice but not both. And a dairy, either cheese, milk or yogurt.

1 protein item : Egg, cheese, nuts, lean white meat, fish, chicken, turkey and peanut butter, etc.


1 portion of fresh fruits


1 serving of any raw or fresh veggie.

Lunch and dinner:

Depending on your weight:

160lbs or less 1 cup to 1.5 cups of lentil soup and a protein and half a serving of fruit.

160lbs or more 1.5 cups to 2 cups of lentil soup and a protein and half a serving of fruit.

So here's how it goes:

Protein snack

Off limits food:
Pop, soda, processed food, fried foods, high salt foods, processed sugars and flours. Limit coffee, try teas instead.

Stick to raw and fresh foods.

If you must eat bread, eat whole grain dark breads. Eat whole wheat or grain cereals.

Drink PLENTY of water! You need to flush your system and cleanse your colon and you can't do that without water.

No more then THREE portions of dairy a day. You are trying to be kind to your GI tract. Not to mention that dairy is loaded with calories and fat.

*If you get that gnawing sensation that you are hungry and you can't wait to your next meal, eat a 1/2 portion from the snack list to tide you over*

Your stomach and your brain are going to try to convince you that this isn't enough, well it is. Eventually and hopefully all the fiber will fill you up and you shouldn't have hunger issues. It's purely a mind over body issue. We eat to large of portions so this is going to seem like so little when really it's enough.

If you have a sweet tooth, you will notice a withdraw stage or an increased craving for sugar. That's ok, just nip in the bud with a handful of grapes or an apple. Eventually, it will go away.

I don't do this longer then a week. You'll get bored out of your mind with the lentil soup and never want to see it again if you did it longer then this. What it is intended to do is get you on the right track.

So I am going to eat this for a week and the week afterwards rotate it in my meals. Then later on do another week.

You can't just eat this and lose weight, I am sure you could but that's not the point. You have to get off your butt and be active, you will lose even more weight then you if you just sat on your butt. For real people, I did say this isn't a quick fix.

I've lost any where from three to eight pounds in one week on this diet, so it is indeed possible!

2 tbls of EVVO
2 cups red lentils
3 carrots chopped
3 celery chopped
1 onion or 1/4 of a large onion
3-5 cloves of garlic chopped
1 bunch of spinach
1 red pepper chopped
1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of dried basil
1/2 tsp of dried thyme
1/2 tsp of cumin
dash of red pepper flakes
2 boxes of low sodium veg broth

*you can always add more veggies to this, just add them in with the rest of the veggies.*


1) In a hot soup pan add in oil and carrots, onions, celery, pepper and garlic. Saute until onions are transparent.

2) Add in lentils, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Cumin, Red pepper flakes, ground pepper and veggie broth. Taste and season until it taste good to you. Some like theirs on the bland side and some like it on the spicy side, it's up to you. If it needs more seasoning, add some, wait five minutes and taste again. Keep doing so until it taste good to you.

3) Bring to a boil for ten minutes, stir often.

4) Simmer on medium-low for an hour.

5) Cool and add into blender and puree until you get a consistency you desire. Refrigerate.

Enjoy and be healthy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A close encounter with a Creamcicle Cupcake.

Ok, so most of you remember what it's like to eat those yummy orange ice cream bars with the creamy white filling. Well I tired to combine this into a cup cake. Yes, a cupcake. Although it doesn't taste EXACTLY like one, it's still pretty darn good and it has some of the exact flavorings. It's a new media for the standard cup cake. I took three recipes and combined it into one because all three either needed help or improvement. And Viola! We have the Creamcicle Cupcake!


For the cupcakes:

1 box of Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake mix
1 small box of instant pudding
1 cup milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup orange juice

1 small box of orange jello
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup cold water

For the frosting*:
2 cups or one pint of whipping cream
1 table spoon of vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 cup of powdered sugar

*You can freeze or refrigerate your bowl in advance to help speed up the process. I didn't.

1- In your bowl add the cake mix, eggs, oil, milk, pudding and oj. Mix well. Add about 1 to 1/2 tablespoons of batter into each cupcake liner and bake at 325 degrees until done about 16-20 minutes.

2- While cupcakes are baking, in a clean cold bowl add in the whipping cream and 1/2 cup powdered sugar and slowly mix with your mixture. Then increase the speed and keep whisking until the cream is thick and fluffy. You may add in more sugar depending on how sweet you want it. I felt it needed more sugar. Store in fridge until needed.

3- When cupcakes are cool, poke holes into the top of each cupcake. Then in a small bowl place the orange jello, hot and cold water and mix until dissolved. Then spoon a small amount into the holes, being careful not to overflow the cupcake.

4- Top with a dollop of the whip cream and there you go, the closest form of a creamcicle cup cake you'll ever get.

Final note- These are made with homemade whipped cream. There is a BIG difference in taste. Do not take the easy route out and buy the frozen or canned junk. Once you have homemade, you never go back!

Also the topping will melt, so don't top these until you need them but they will last about an hour or so. What I do is make the cupcakes, place them in a ziplock bag and then top them as needed with the topping that I keep in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy these!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Death by cupcake.

If I am going to return from the dead, might as well do it with a cupcake, not just any ol' cup cake will revive me. Better make it a triple hitter. Chocolate cupcake with a chocolate ganache filling, topped with a chocolate frosting and dusted with coco powdered, then sprinkled with chocolate shavings.

This is partially home made. I wasn't feeling up to making the cake batter from scratch. I'll repent later.

Who says chocolate doesn't make everything better?


1 box cake mix, chocolate fudge (make sure you have eggs and oil as the box call for.)
1 bottle of coke.
8 oz of good baking chocolate
1 cup cream
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
9 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup of shaved chocolate (optional)


For the cupcakes:

1.) Pick a box of chocolate cake mix, which ever flavor or brand you like. Add in the eggs and oil as recommended BUT use the coke in EXCHANGE for the WATER.

2.) Put about 2 tablespoons of batter in each cup cake paper. Cook until done and let cool.

3.) While cupcakes are cooling, in a microwave bowl break up the chocolate and place in microwave. Cooking ONE minute at a time and stirring until evenly melted.

For the Ganache:

1.) In a microwave bowl cook the cream until very hot about two to three minutes.

2.) Pour the cream over the melted chocolate and stir until well incorporated. Add in the butter one table spoon at a time and mix until well incorporated.

3.) Cover ganache mixture and place in fridge to cool, stirring every five minutes.

4.) Once no longer runny and slightly thickened, take the ganache and place into a piping bag with a thin writing tip. Then poke and fill each cup cake until some start to come out.
Cut a small circle out and put some of the ganache into the hole. Then remove some of the cut cake top and replace.

For the frosting:

1.) Cream the butter, add in vanilla and rotate the con sugar and cocoa powder. Adding in milk until you get the texture you desire.

2.) Then frost your cupcakes and top with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings.