Recipe: #LOVEfest

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I’ve had a fondness for LOVE & HEARTS for a very long time.  I try to find images of them when I am out and about in the world.  I have taken numerous photos of things with the letters L-O-V-E and heart shapes, even in the most random of places.  A street sign or a maintenance vehicle are unlikely spots you think of when you think of love. Yet when I see them I get so excited . They are visual reminders!!  And I love it even more when it is foodie related.  An accidental heart shaped scone.  Or even an ‘on purpose’ heart shaped fried egg for a ‘breakfast in bed treat’ for a loved one.

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My LOVE & HEART affection has become contagious as my granddaughter now likes to get into the hunt and search.  She has helped me find hearts in loads of things such as a rock which we discovered on a walk this summer.  Nature is filled with an abundance of love if we just look for it!  Hubby has gotten into it as well and made me heart shaped toast for my birthday last year.

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When I started on my snapchat journey I kept with the tradition and would snap away at various things that had heart and love images.  Or else I would draw hearts on the snaps before I sent them to my story.  I love that aspect of snapchat!   Though I am defo not an artist, you can choose a color and write words or draw anything on top of the pic you snap.  My go to is always a HEART!  Some of my followers said they found my snaps to be heartwarming and enjoyed them.  So I decided to put together this competition so they too could join in the hunt and search.  I’ve done some competitions before for my snapchat followers, but this one has been by far the most loving contest ever.  It’s also longer.  I wanted to give people more time to spread the love!  It’s been going on this whole week and will culminate with the winner or winners being announced on Sunday 15/11/15 at 9 pm.

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There are three prizes, one for the first image sent to me.  The second prize is for the most images sent to me.  The third is for the best image.  The images must be of a heart, or the word LOVE, but could also be something that represents love (such as lovers holding hands or a baby and momma hugging) .  It is amazing to see how much love people are finding in their worlds.  And I believe this shift of focus, into something positive, lifts a person’s spirits!  Sometimes people only see the ugly things out there, and let’s face it, they are out there.  The contest started on Sunday evening, when people are usually grumpy about the weekend ending.  But this has put a little spark in the week.  For all of us involved.  I’ve been sending out snaps reminding them of LOVEfest week and thanking them for all the images they’ve sent.  I have noticed, people are very competitive and are totally taking this seriously!

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Of the several competitions I’ve done in the short time I’ve been on snapchat, this one has been the most fun for me.  I am blown away by not only the amount of snaps I am getting, but by the creativity of the entires.  It has been not only LOVEly but FabuLOVE!  While I can’t show any of the entrants images until we have a winner on Sunday, I will share some of the pics I have taken along the way.  As well I will share my red velvet cupcake recipe.  Though I bake up this recipe pretty regularly, I always make it for Christmas and Valentine’s.  But who says you need to wait until the holidays to share the love!?.

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Red Velvet Cake

For the cake:

60 g unsalted butter, room temperature

150g caster sugar

1 egg room temperature

10 g cocoa powder

20 ml red food colouring

½ tsp vanilla extract

120 ml buttermilk

150 g plain flour, sifted

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar

For the frosting:

300 g icing sugar

50 g unsalted butter, room temperature

125 g cream cheese

 

  1. Preheat oven to 170 C/325F/Gas mark 3
  1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy about 3-5 mins; add the egg slowly and beat until incorporated.
  1. In a separate bowl mix together the cocoa powder, red food coloring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined (make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed then add half the flour and mix until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until the buttermilk and flour have all been added. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn the mixer up and mix until it is smoother. Then turn mixer down and slowly add the salt, baking soda and the vinegar. Beat until well mixed.
  1. Fill prepared baking tins and bake until done, when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (15 – 20 mins for cupcakes). Put on a rack to cool in the tins.
  1. To make the frosting, beat together the icing sugar and butter until it has come together and is well mixed. Turn down speed and add the cream cheese all in one go and beat until incorporated. Turn up speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 mins. Then spread on cakes and add heart decorations. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes. Double if you are making a layer cake.

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In case you are wondering why I am so OTT with this LOVE business, it is quite simple.  My purpose in life is to share love.  My job may be in the food business, but I found I can spread love by adding it to my food (my special ingredient).  I can share it with my family and friends through not only saying the words, but by showing them through my loving behavior.  By being a support system, a listener, a cheerleader and a helper, they experience my love manifested.  I even like to shower love on my snapchat friends (most of whom I have never met in person) or strangers, such as a grocery store clerk.  Simply being kind, saying “Hello, how is your day going?” is a loving gesture.  Or taking the time to watch my followers’ snaps and sending them an encouraging note.  Love is a verb, which means, it is an action.  So a card, call, text, hug, kind word, freshly baked treat, are all actions to reflect the feelings in the heart.

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On a recent trip to Paris with Hubby I took this pic. It is on one of the famous bridges and has thousands of “love locks” on it!

All the so called “good things in life” can also be “too much of a good thing”. Too much good food and you get a sore tummy, too much good wine and you get a sore head, too much good dancing and you get sore feet.  But LOVE is the one thing you can never get too much of, and why?  Because your heart has the ability to stretch, allowing it to give more, and also to receive more.  But it can get worn out if it is only going in one direction.  Love needs to be two ways, reciprocal, for it to continue to flow properly.  So if your love isn’t getting received in one place, that is okay.  There are loads of other places just happily waiting to accept it. Trust me, I’ve experienced that scenario first hand!

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A Valentine is a love note we give on the 14th of February. But our hearts still beat the other 364 days! So they are welcomed all through the year!

If you are reading this right now, stop, and take a moment to look in your world for visual images (reminders) of LOVE!  It can be the letters L-O-V-E sewn on your throw pillow there on the sofa.  Or maybe your reminder is that heart shaped stone you found on the beach when you were on your hols and you keep it by your bedside.  Or if you are at your desk drinking out of your favorite mug, maybe there is a heart on the graphics that you might not have even noticed before now.  Send me a comment on here and tell me about it.  Why is it important to you and how do you see love in your world?  If you are on Twitter you can tweet it to me (@yankeedoodlepad) or to my instagram (@yankeedoodlepaddy).  You too can have a chance of winning one of three prizes for this contest.  There might just be one person who wins all three (first, most and best).  And there is a chance you’ll find that you’ve already won by playing in this competition.  You’re prize is getting back in touch with your heart.  It is the best navigational system in the world, which we are born fully equipped with folks!  Did you ever wonder why that is?   Because our GPS heart leads us to the one thing that makes us uniquely human,  LOVE.

Me love you long time!

YDP

P.S. As I was writing this my daughter found this image and emailed it to me…see what I mean, it is beautifully and eternally infectious, this search for visual reminders!  And this one is a good one! Thanks Heather! Love you! xo

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