Chocolate Cupcakes O’ Bliss

One of the things that I’ve missed since starting to struggle with food triggers is dessert. Sweet bliss, that sugary note that says that now, indeed, dinner is done.

So far, I’ve found sorbet, almond milk ice cream, Theo chocolate bars, raspberry chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s, and Enjoy Life chocolate. I can handle a bit of chocolate at a time, although not nearly as much as I’d like to eat (a common enough problem among all humans, or so I’ve been informed. 🙂 ) A wonderful local bakery makes a variety of allergen-free cupcakes, but a lot of them still use coconut products (a trigger for me, yipes!). And I LOVE cupcakes.

Enter brave friend with a kitchen and an adventurous spirit. I’ve tested out more food responses in her kitchen than I have almost anywhere else. It’s been amazing.

“1/3 cup oil!” I call. “On the shelves next to the stove,” she answered. I fished out a big container of vegetable oil and hesitated. “Vegetable oil” is one of the most deceptive phrases in cooking to me, rating right up there with “natural flavors.”

“Vegetable oil… let’s see, what vegetables you use… ah, soy.” We both paused. A few days ago I’d tried some hummus with soybean oil in it. Supposedly no one reacts to soybean oil. Those researchers had apparently never met me. As reactions go it was pretty tame – bit of a rash, a few mouth blisters – and Benadryl took care of it, no worries. But I wasn’t in a hurry to repeat the experience. Neither was she. She grinned. “There’s olive oil there too.”

We subbed out the canola for olive oil. Then because olive oil and honey go together in cooking to me, I suggested we use some of that. We chunked in about 1/3 of a cup of some local honey. She thought that we might need to disguise those flavors with something else, so she found a container of chocolate powder.

“Does this work?” I skimmed the label. “Yep!” I can handle a bit of chocolate powder.

We threw in a lot of chocolate powder. Then I got to lick the batter. Pure delight. It tasted sweet, it tasted like batter, it tasted like chocolate … at least stage one passed for dessert!

We made such massive cupcakes they overflowed the paper cups and had to be pried out of the tin with a knife. They were moist, delicious, and apparently a hit with more than just me. When I was leaving, her husband insisted that they keep one. 🙂

The base recipe was provided Jamie at For our chocolate variety, substitute olive oil for canola, add 1/3 cup of honey, and put in several tablespoons of chocolate powder.


Blooper Reel!


He’s laughing, open-mouthed. I swear.

We’ve all had it. Those wonderful pictures, perfectly lined up, all glowing light and smooth lines, and then abruptly SPLAT the silhouetted bird lets loose with a nice juicy one. Sometimes it’s photographer error, like the day I gleefully shot lovely macro photos at a rate that would have done an Olympic bobsled photographer proud. And sometimes, you just get … unlucky.

So here they are, for your amusement – Titanium Butterflies Bloopers!


Exit stage left



We have liftoff!



Too slow, Joe…






Nikon 5000, this is Cabbage White touching down on pad 1…

Skipper on Ironweed


DSC_0030There’s an inherent risk with bug photography.

The story behind these shots: I hadn’t been completely sure if I would be able to go out and take pictures the day these were taken. Busy day, strong winds, etc. But I brought my camera. What I forgot… bug spray.

I got a few shots of skippers and a blurred picture of a giant yellow swallowtail for the cost of over 60 bug bites. That’s the point when I stopped counting as I sprayed, creamed, and bandaged the worst of them before heading into class.


Do bug photography, prepare to get bitten.