Friday, November 2, 2012

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes


Are you ready for this? Maybe you should sit down. With a big glass of milk and a straw.


I made cupcakes. It has been months since I made cupcakes. How does that happen? I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it felt to be baking something that I love so much.

You know what’s sad? I made these for a reason and can’t even remember why right now. Does chocolate do that? Alter memory?


This is where the milk comes into play. We have a milk chocolate cupcake with fudge pudding inside to make it moist. Melted butter may or may not be involved as well. Then we top it with a chocolate cream cheese buttercream, chocolate sprinkles, and a Ghirardelli chocolate ganache drizzle.

And love. Lots of love was mixed into these little beauties.


The best news? It was really good. And not overwhelming in any realm. I purposely toned down the sweetness of the frosting so that it would balance nicely with the cupcake underneath.

I’m pretty sure that the frosting made my taste-testers cry. Maybe it’s because I sifted the cocoa and powdered sugar? My fingers are still feeling such work.


Have I mentioned how smooth and creamy everything was? The cake was perfect…the trick is to not over bake so that they stay nice and moist. Having an electric oven helps…I over baked a batch of cupcakes that I made for my family in a gas oven last summer. I still haven’t forgiven myself.

It was embarrassing. I vowed to never let it happen again.


I liked the liners and had them on-hand, but the dark chocolate really showed through after baking. So, for pictures, I put them in an extra unbaked liner to pretend that everything came out bright green!

Everybody does it, right? This is why I prefer brown grease-proof paper liners for all of my cupcake presentations.


They were a hit. And they didn’t last long. And it felt so wonderful to be back baking in the kitchen again! It’s funny how the little pleasures in life can make the greatest difference!

And yes…chocolate always helps, too!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What Can You Say About Monterey


This was the last trip of our busy week. We went to Tucson, and then to Atlanta for three days. Today’s trip was just a quick one up to Monterey for the day.


Gladys was all clean and ready to go. Our passengers showed up right on time for a 10:00 AM departure to the northern part of California. It’s going to be a great day…and a treat to escape the heat yet again!


There are pretty airplanes all over this pretty airport.


Wow, including this gorgeous visitor. Look at that neat paint job on the Gulfstream V!


We waited at the runway for about ten minutes for our turn to take off. That’s definitely the longest wait that we’ve ever experienced when leaving our home field. By the time we left, about seven jets were waiting in line behind us. I was amazed at how busy the morning rush was out of this place.

And rather grateful that we were first in line!


Even the little guys get precedence if they are filed on an IFR flight plan. All of us big jets had to wait for this guy to land, and another little guy to take off, before we could be cleared through the busy airspace.

That’s OK…we were all little guys at some point in time!


What a pretty Citation X was waiting across from us! We got out before him. Take that.


And we were finally cleared for takeoff! Look how busy our TCAS (Traffic Collision and Avoidance System) is for airplanes over Deer Valley Airport? I’m so glad that we aren’t based there.


Gladys climbed above all traffic as we headed west. Thanks for the active military airspace near Nevada, we had to go all the way to Palmdale before being able to turn towards the north to Monterey.


Cool. More volcanoes right outside of town. And it looks like people wanted to build their homes all around them! Fun!


Once we were past Deer Valley, we began our turn to intercept course for the departure procedure out of Phoenix airspace.


PMD is the Palmdale VOR. We have to get there before we can turn north. Military always gets priority when their airspace is active.


Here is Palmdale! Now let’s turn north!


I was excited for Monterey, though we would only be here for a few hours for a meeting. Then, we would turn around and come back home with a tailwind pushing us along this afternoon.


Typical of the coasts of northern California, there was a cloud bank covering the airport. We did a full ILS approach behind about six other airplanes today. It was a busy place, and we weren’t the first in line here…wop wop.


At about nine-hundred feet above the ground, we finally broke out of the clouds and had the runway in sight to land.


Then we taxied back to our FBO where a cab was awaiting our passengers.


After I got them on their way, I took some pictures of a pretty lady on the ramp in Monterey.


This is Del Monte Aviation, where we parked for our few hours here. It’s a great FBO, but most are these days.


Right away, I had the airplane fueled so that I could enjoy a few hours of down time. Eating lunch and taking leisurely walks around airports are much more fun when I’ve done everything to get Gladys ready long before passengers arrive.


Thanks to single-point refueling, we soon had plenty of fuel to make it back home. El Capitan brought his daughter for this trip, so they quickly left for a few hours at the aquarium. This let me prep Gladys alone for our return flight.

It was a beautiful day!


FedEx has a fleet of private jets to truck their corporate guys around. Did you know that? Even though this Challenger was fairly new, the old-school paint scheme made it look like it was right out of the seventies. Just like their company! Pretty cool.


And this beauty was parked on the ramp as well. I could handle this, if forced to do so. What a pretty plane! I think that it’s a Global Express. Correct me if I’m way off!


I paid for fuel and asked directions to the terminal to grab some lunch. It meant a lovely walk in perfect temperatures. I texted Hubby to let him know that he would love it here, and that I wish he was here to join me for lunch.

Curse him having a normal job!


I climbed up a hill on the way to lunch and got to admire the entire airport from a height of about two-hundred feet.


I was surprised to see that not only does Monterey have commercial airliner service, but three different airlines come into this little airport just south of San Jose and The Bay area.


The terminal was cute and little. But I had been told that it had good food upstairs. I am always up for eating at the airport! Airplanes are one of the most appetizing views while enjoying good food!


Monterey is home to the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, which probably explains why they named the restaurant The Golden Tee.


I thought that a club sandwich sounded good.


And it was. It had that thick-cut bacon which was out of this world.


Soon I was back at the FBO to catch up on logbook entries. I had a great view out the window of all arriving and departing airplanes. The windows were open so a light breeze could fill the room.

It was such a pretty day. Seventy-three is just about the perfect temperature in my book, folks.


Just a few short hours later, we were back in Gladys and headed home!


I loved the views of misty mountains as we left a cloudy northern California behind.


It’s a good thing that I cleaned her this morning…look at how Gladys sparkles under the late afternoon sunlight!


For about an hour of the flight home, this is the view. Desert, more desert, and to the left? Desert.


Soon we came back into view of our home sweet home. Phoenix was clear and beautiful today in the evening light.


In the foreground is Luke Air Force Base. We talked to Luke Approach as we trucked through their airspace before being handed over to Phoenix Approach Control.


Another pretty sunburst to enjoy on the flight home today.


Here is a view of downtown Phoenix and South Mountain.


And now we’re getting much closer to our home field.


What a perfect day to fly!


We landed and parked at our hangar’s ramp. One more airplane was coming home behind us, so we weren’t the last one for our line guys to handle tonight.


There were some big airplanes on the ramp doing some maintenance engines runs. What a gorgeous thing!


We buttoned Gladys up and left her for the weekend. What a great, busy week of flying. We have another day trip in just a few days on Monday, but now it’s time to spend the weekend with Hubby.

I’m rather looking forward to it!

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