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Halloween Cupcake Recipe

Halloween_cupcakes_with_orange,_black_and_white_sprinkles!Halloween is on the way and your home is undoubtedly bustling with costume preparations, large stocks of candy, and plans for trick-or-treat. The internet is bursting with last-minute costume inspirations, home decorating ideas, and recipes for everything ranging from homemade candy to spooky family treats. has several popular recipes designed to impress your guests and children, including cookies, cakes, candies and cupcakes. Here is a recipe for some simple, spooky Halloween cupcakes:

What You’ll Need:

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 50ml Mr Hugh’s rapeseed oil
  • 25g cornflower
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75ml of milk
  • 100ml of double cream
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 300ml self-raising flour, sifted

For the frosting:

  • 175g softened unsalted butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • Food colouring of choice (typically orange)

The site explains:

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4
Line a muffin tin with the cupcake cases of your choice.

Melt the butter on a low heat in a small pan, then remove from the heat and set aside. In a bowl add the sugar, rapeseed oil, cornflour and vanilla extract and beat in the butter that has just been melted until smooth and creamy.
Then whisk in the egg followed by the milk and cream and gently fold in the flour in batches trying not to over beat but ensuring all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Divide the mixture between the cases until the cases are two-thirds full. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until light and golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre of the cupcake should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream together the softened butter, food coloring and the icing sugar until combined. Spread the icing on the cooled cupcakes with a pallet knife or pipe the icing onto the cupcakes. To finish decorate each with Halloween theme cake toppers.


Stay tuned for more creepy recipes for the upcoming holiday!

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Government Shutdown Shuts Down Weddings

government shutdownThe government shutdown has impacted thousands of people in many ways – and some of these ways reach beyond the obvious financial burdens and hardships. This shutdown, the first since 1996, has included the closure of all National Parks and the need to turn away as many as 750,000 national park visitors each day.

While this is certainly depressing and frustrating for tourists – it’s even more so for those who had planned their weddings to take place at a National Park. And this is the experience that quite a few are facing right now.

Christopher Dunn, for instance, and his fiancé, Christy Nash, have been planning a dream wedding since February that would take place at Yosemite National Park in California. Since they can’t get married there at the moment, however, they have decided to postpone the big day until May of 2014. As Dunn explained, “We fell in love in Yosemite and that’s where we want to marry.”

Similarly, Zach Kouwe has been planning to wed Drake Lucas at the Awahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. And it is supposed to take place on October 13th. More than a year ago, Zach Kouwe, a PR consultant, and Lucas, a writer for Human Rights Watch, planned their perfect wedding.

Yosemite officials said that they would help to relocate the wedding to Tenaya Lodge outside of the park, but Zach Kouwe said that, “It’s definitely not the same – the Awahnee is a really gorgeous old hotel and the scenery there is beautiful.”

They hope to continue to have their wedding on the day they planned. As Lucas wrote, “At the end of the day, I will be married to someone I love, and that’s the thing I most look forward to.” Lucas had some advice for the government. As she wrote, “So, Congress, if I can just share a little of the advice I’ve been given during my engagement, I might be able to help us all out. It’s called compromise. I hear you have to do a lot of it in marriage, and it seems to me that you should have to do a lot of it in your job, too. You can’t just give up if you don’t get your way. And you have to pay your bills on time. Because we are in this for the long haul and there are enough real problems we will have to weather — there is no need to create ones you can prevent.”

Time will tell how these issues, and the many others created by the government shutdown, will be resolved.

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Popular Halloween Candy Savings Tips

USA Today’s Ways to Save with Mike Granite recently focused on trick-or-treating, the most popular types of candy, and ways to save when stocking up your trick-or-treat stash. What are you Halloween secrets?


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Blake Lively to Launch New Lifestyle Brand

blake livelyBlake Lively, the 26-year-old star of Gossip Girl, has announced her plans to launch a lifestyle brand in the upcoming months. Though many are drawing parallels between Lively’s new business and Gwyneth Paltrow’s newsletter “Goop”, the latter has earned a less-than-perfect reputation while Lively is off to a fresh start.

“I have so many passions outside of acting and things that I grew up being good at and that I don’t utilize when acting,” she said in an interview. “Acting was something that my family did so I just kind of got into it by default, but there was so much that I cultivated, thinking that I wouldn’t be an actor.”

“The main element of it is that it’s about storytelling and it’s about living a very one-of-a-kind, curated life, and how to achieve that,” Lively explained.”
She also discussed her decision to take a break from her acting career. “A lot has changed for me in the last year. I got married, I finished ‘Gossip Girl’ after six years, I had my first break in a while and I’ve been working on this company … it has been nice to have a separation from my show.”
Lively has already begun to cultivate her new lifestyle reputation by showing off her cooking skills at the Bedford Post Inn kitchen. She shared that she has also worked at the upscale restaurant Per Se, where she impressed the other professionals.
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Doral Bank Executive Receives Award

The Advisory Committee for Urban Revitalization Equity (ACURE) gave Steve Borhoft, marketing director of Doral Bank in Florida, a community service award. ACURE – a Panama City civil-rights organization – recognized Bornhoft for his volunteer work with schools and charities, putting deserving causes in the public eye through his work as a freelance journalist, and being a mentor to a middle-school student.   As one ACURE executive committee Valerie Mincey pointed out, “Steve is an incredible asset to our community. His volunteer work supports the development of children, helps the health and well-being of the vulnerable, and promotes the goals of our community focused organization.”  Bornhoft is also Chairman of the Bay AIDS Service and Information Coalition (BASIC) board of directors (where Mincey is CEO and President).

Of his mentoring work, ACURE executive committee member and middle school principal Charlotte Marshall said, “we need people like Steve to take the time to work with kids who need just a little bit more support. Over the course of his time with one student, Steve went beyond the call of duty. He provided the support that the student needed to believe that he could succeed and instilled confidence and a sense of responsibility in this student, directly impacting his school performance.”

Doral makes volunteer opportunities a priority.  Indeed, the corporation has promised to “always give back to the communities in which we are privileged to do business.”  The New Chapter Program at Doral, Florida, is all about preparing children to be self-sufficient adults.  Through “early education, literacy and lifelong learning” by making financial contributions, Doral serves its customers and community by being “actively interested and involved in the lives of both.”

With this ACURE award, Steve Bornhoft is putting the volunteer endeavors of Doral Bank into practice.

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Inspirational Speakers: Michelle Aguilar, Rabbi Tully Bryks, John Bul Dau

Michelle Aguilar

Michelle Aguilar

Whether you’re looking for someone to discuss health, religion, education or parenting, motivational speakers and group panels are a wonderful way to encourage dialogue and inspire people in any setting. Schools, churches, rehab centers and numerous other organizations have guests come to speak about overcoming all kinds of challenges.

Michelle Aguilar, Winner of The Biggest Loser: Season 6, is an author and inspirational speaker based in Texas. For years, Aguilar struggled with her health and weight, while distancing herself completely from her mother. In an effort to reboot her life, she lost 100lbs and revived her relationship with her estranged mother. Now, she travels across the United States in hopes of encouraging others to take action and improve their own lives.

Wildomar, who attended one of her speeches in California, said: “I was very touched with what you shared with us from the stage. You speak from your heart and what you shared about your heart transformation during your body transformation is such an inspiration to me. Thank you so much for sharing the more personal side of your experience.”

Spiritual leaders like Rabbi Tully Bryks also travel to speak at schools, synagogues and temples. A former captain of his varsity basketball team who once had his own spiritual questions, Rabbi Bryks inspires students from all backgrounds with his passion for spiritual knowledge.

International speakers are also often invited to share their experiences. John Bul Dau, for example, a “Lost Boy” of Sudan, travels from New York to discuss motivation, leadership, overcoming adversity, international issues, social activism and the importance of philanthropy. He explains: “I think people refuse to try things because they fear failure. There have been many impossible situations in my life, but I keep trying. My family in Sudan thought I was dead and I feared they were dead, but years later we were reunited. You can’t give up.”

A student from Syracuse University said: “Mr. Dau is a true leader, inspiration, a real star. I have never been so moved by a speaker. I feel inspired to make a difference in the world.”

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