Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vacation Baking

In addition to making a stop at Georgetown Cupcake, I also did a bit of baking while I was home. My parents donated twice to my Great American Bake Sale, which earned them two sets of goodies. First I made these Cinnamon Bun Pie Pockets for breakfast on Saturday. They were ridiculously delicious. I think I ate about 4 of them just that morning. They’re definitely best warm but they save well. I got the recipe from Gimme Some Oven and pretty much followed it exactly. Here are some pics:

Here’s the recipe:

Cinnamon Bun Pie Pockets

2 refrigerated 9-inch pie crusts
1 brick (8 oz.) softened cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1/4c brown sugar, packed
1t. ground cinnamon (mounded 1/2t for filling, mounded 1/2t for topping)
1T sugar
2T butter, melted
1c powdered sugar
2T milk

Preheat oven to 350F.

Unroll both pie crusts and place onto a lightly floured surface (if you are using refrigerated dough they probably don’t need the flour). Using a 3″ round cookie cutter (I actually used the 3.5” Pampered Chef Cut-n-seal), cut rounds out of crust until all crust is used. You should get approximately 12 rounds per pie crust, re-rolling scraps if needed.

In a mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese, brown sugar and (1/2t.) cinnamon until well combined. Place half (12) of the rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese mixture onto the centers of the 12 crusts. Lightly brush water around outer edges of the filled dough then place remaining rounds on top of filled rounds. Gently press edges to seal (I sealed with the Pampered chef Cut-n-seal).

Place sugar and (1/2t.) cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to combine. Brush tops of pies with melted butter then sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops of pies are golden brown. Once pies are cooled, whisk powdered sugar and cream until mixed well and a desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over tops of pies. Serve warm.

Then, my mom had requested a mocha flavored treat so I made Espresso Fudge Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing (Cupcake 1 from Ming Makes Cupcakes). The cupcakes were ok, I think next time I will just make my dark chocolate cupcakes and add espresso to them. The icing, however, was an amazing flavor combination. I love cream cheese icing, but I’ve never thought to make it chocolate. So delicious! I’ll be looking to put that icing on, well, anything in the future. Here is a pic:

Here is the recipe:

Espresso Fudge Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients for cake:
1c flour
1/2c unsweetened cocoa
2t espresso
1/2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/4t salt
1/2c butter
1c sugar
1 egg
3/4c milk
1/2c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla and egg. Add milk and flour mixture alternating until all is mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Ingredients for icing:
1 brick (8oz) cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
1t vanilla
4c powdered sugar
2T cocoa

Mix cream cheese and vanilla at medium speed until creamy. While beating, add sugar and cocoa gradually. Spread on cooled cupcakes.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


My parents recently adopted a new dog after an about 7 year hiatus from their last dog, Fergie. Their new dog is a beagle/ basset hound mix named Gracie. I finally got to meet her this weekend and I’m totally in love! What a cutie! She loves to snuggle and go for walks. She’s a nice medium sized dog too so it’s not a big deal to share the couch with her. Here she is hunting something in the leaves:

And here she is with me:

Huuuuuge stamp of approval :)

Georgetown Cupcakes

After the graduation we went to Bethesda and visited Georgetown Cupcakes as well as some other stores before having some celebratory dinner. I’ve been dying to try these cupcakes after they were written up in Real Simple magazine and I heard that the 2 sisters that started the store are getting their own show. I looked into shipping them but the shipping cost was almost equal to the cost of a dozen cupcakes. Here is our dozen (everyone picked 3):

I personally tried the chocolate lava(top left corner), peanut butter chip(bottom left corner), and red velvet(bottom right corner). The chocolate lava was beyond amazing with chocolate cake surrounding a chocolate syrup center and vanilla buttercream icing topped with more chocolate swirl. The peanut butter chip was also really good but I had to lose about half the icing in order to eat it. The red velvet, I must say, was somewhat dry but the icing was delicious. My sister raved about her lemon blossom (the missing cupcake in the picture) and my Mom really liked the chocolate hazelnut(second from the left on the bottom). I’m sure my Dad loved them all. Check em out!

My Lawyer Lady

Another big graduation celebration took place this weekend form my friend Lindsey of Law of Cupcakes. She just graduated from Widener Law School in Delaware and her amazing mother threw her a huge graduation party. As an added bonus to seeing and celebrating Lindsey, I got to see my most favorite fellow UMD Biochemistry alum, Ashmo. She lives in Boston now after having completed her Masters in Biochemistry at Wisconsin and I haven’t seen her in 3 whole years!!! Needless to say the party was amazing and I even had time to run to Sugarhill Subs and grab me a quick chicken cheese steak before I left New Jersey. I wish I had photographed the mountains of food that Lindsey and her mom had prepared, they did a beyond amazing job on the provisions. I was slacking on the pictures but here is one of Ashmo, myself, and Lindsey after the party:

Reunited! Love you ladies! Congratulations Lindsey, so proud of you!!! And good luck on the BAR exam in July!

Jesse's Graduation

I have about a million posts to write about this weekend, but I’ll start with Jesse’s graduation. Little sister graduated from college this weekend with a B.S. in Architecture! Wooot, go Jesse! The rents, g-rents, and I attended the ceremony on Friday for the School of Architecture and did the massive photo op afterwards. Here are some pics:
The fam:

Three generations of UMD Alums:


Grandparents with the grad:

Congratulations, Jesse! So proud to have another UMD grad in the family!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Etsy Summer Baby Shower 2010 Gifts!

I participated in the Etsy Summer Baby Shower 2010 as a donating shop. I offered up 4 gifts and was assigned 4 babies (3 moms- twins!). I got 2 boys and 2 girls. I wanted to use this opportunity to try out new designs as you saw in my previous post with the corduroy conductor hat. Here are the other things I came up with:
For the twins I made the teal corduroy conductor hat and a hot pink angel wings onesie:

For the 5 week old boy from Alaska I made a Mini Ears Hat which can be bought at my store and a Hanky-style Drool bib with his name on it:

For the 2 month old girl I made another bigger pink angel wings onesie:

You can check out the other gifts that Etsy stores are donating on the Etsy Baby Shower Flickr Group. I hope the mommies and babies enjoy their gifts, let me know what you think!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Snuggle Down!

My Mom is going to a baby shower for her friend's new granddaughter (she was born early so she's already here) and asked me to make something for her to gift. I was told that the new mom was a little bit goth and was having a girl. So, I found this awesome jersey cotton fabric and decided to make a swaddler. Apparently babies love to be wrapped up like a burrito and cuddled. I used a suuuper soft fleece for the lining and no-snag Velcro to hold the flaps in their 'swaddle position'. I think it turned out extremely cute and I can't wait to make another. Hope it goes over well at the baby shower this weekend! Here are some pics:

Fold flap one

Secure flap two

Let me know what you think!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Comfort foods?

Now that it’s starting to be Summer I’ve started working on my “recipes I’d like to try” binder. It’s quite large and overflowing. Last night I made Congo Bars from a Bakerella recipe and Turkey Meatballs from a Real Simple Magazine recipe. I've never made meatballs before and I'm fairly certain I've never had meatballs before. Insanity, I know. But I stopped eating red meat in the 7th grade and my mom's spaghetti sauce always had the meat mixed in, not in meatball form. Anywho, both recipes turned out delicious. I changed a few things to my liking as always, so you can click on the links to see the original recipes or check out my versions below.

Congo Bars

2 3/4c all purpose flour
2 1/2t baking powder
1/2t salt
2/3c butter, softened
1 lb. dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1t vanilla
12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven at 350F
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition.
Add vanilla and mix.
Add flour and mix until combined.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Turkey Meatballs

4T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (28oz) can tomato puree
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 T sugar
1t cayenne pepper
1T Italian seasoning
1/2c grated Parmesan
2T chopped fresh oregano, divided
S & P
1 large egg
1lb ground turkey
16 saltine crackers, finely crushed (about 3⁄4 cup)
12 ounces spaghetti (3⁄4 box)

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and half the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and paste, sugar, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, half the Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the oregano, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1½ cups water. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the turkey, crackers, the remaining Parmesan, garlic, and oregano, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Shape the mixture into 12 meatballs (about 1½ inches each).
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the meatballs, turning occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to the sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cook the spaghetti (I used Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Spinach Spaghetti, gave it kind of a Christmas in May look haha) according to the package directions. Serve with the meatballs and sauce.

Give me a shout if you ever try any of the recipes I share here with you! enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Etsy Baby Shower

I recently signed up to participate in the Etsy Baby Shower. Basically a bunch of expecting moms sign up to receive gifts from Etsy stores that carry baby products. Then Etsy stores sign up to donate gifts to these moms. Each mom gets 4 gifts (usually from 4 different stores) and each Etsy shop can sign up to give as many gifts as they want. I signed up to give 4 gifts and I got 3 moms (one set of boy/girl twins!!!). Throughout the process the Etsy Baby Shower organizers promote the shops participating kind of as a thank you for donating. Here is a Treasury that I’ve been featured in:

Last night I started working on my gifts. I bought this adorable baby hat pattern about a month ago and I finally gave it a try. I think it turned out adorable! The sizes from the pattern are a little large for a newborn, so I’m going to try and scale down the pattern for my gifts. I’ll post updates as I make the gifts for the cuties I’ve been assigned. Here’s a pic of the first hat I made:

I used corduroy for the outside, jersey cotton for the lining, and a scrap of suede for the argyle patch. Let me know what you think!

Margarita Cupcakes

My friend Todd's birthday was on Cinco de Mayo so I made him Margarita Cupcakes in celebration. I got the recipe from Baked by Joanna's blog. These cupcakes were suuuper delicious. They're basically lime cupcakes with a hint of tequila. Definitely a fresh alternative to chocolate and vanilla. The frosting recipe doesn't make a whole lot of frosting, but it's so strong you really shouldn't put more than a thin layer on each cupcake. Here are a few pics of mine (you can see really nicely done ones on Joanna's blog):

And now the recipe. I re-wrote some of it because it makes more sense to me when recipes are split up into batter and frosting:


2 sticks butter, softened
2c sugar
4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white
2T vegetable oil
2 3/4c flour
2 1/2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1t salt
3/4c plus 2T milk
2T lime juice
1/2t vanilla
Zest from 3 small limes

1 stick butter, softened
2T tequila (or more)
1/2t vanilla
1/4c minus the 2T from the batter lime juice
Zest from 3 small limes
1t salt
2 1/2c confectioners sugar (or more to reach desired consistency)
Sanding sugar for the edges

Cupcake Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 cupcake pans with baking liners.

2. Beat butter and the granulated sugar together until creamy. Then, beat in the eggs, egg white, and oil gradually.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk, lime juice, and vanilla extract. Alternate adding the milk mixture and then the flour mixture into the beaten butter until all has been incorporated.

4. Add the lime zest to the batter and mix.

5. Fill each baking liner about two-thirds full with batter, and bake for about 17 minutes (golden yellow). Once complete, set aside to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Directions:
1. To make the frosting, beat the butter until creamy; then add 1 cup confectioners' sugar and continue to mix. Once thoroughly combined, add the tequila, remaining lime juice, vanilla, lime zest and salt until smooth and creamy. Finish by beating in the remaining 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar a third at a time.

7. Lightly frost the cooled cupcakes and cover the sides with sanding sugar; similar to a ring of salt on the rim of a margarita glass.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Fun-filled Weekend

Super fun weekend! Started off on Friday with an Astros game and Friday night fireworks. The Astros lost (not surprising) to the Padres, but we won big with discount tickets and an awesome fireworks show. Side note: Yankees beat the Red Sox 10-3 Friday ;) Here are some pics from the evening:

Saturday was a win versus Hello Kitty in Gilruth soccer, followed by baking margarita cupcakes for the Todd's birthday celebration (recipe soon to follow). Lots of people gathered at the Flying Saucer for Todd's 10th anniversary of his 21st birthday. I haven't been to the saucer since July!! So happy to be back. I Had a delicious Dogfish Head Burton Baton added to my beer list. Then I headed back out to Clear Lake for some Spazmatics!! I haven't seen them in forever as well so that was loads of fun. Here are some pics from that gathering:

Wished my wonderful Mom a Happy Mother's Day on Sunday. Hope everyone had a great weekend! And now back to work :(

Friday, May 7, 2010

Baloo, so hansome

Baloo has been acting weird and clingy lately. I don't know if he knows we're moving or what's up with him. he climbed into our armchair with me the other day, which never happens. 80 pound dog+ 5'8" me in one chair is a little cozy to say the least. He cuddled with me until I go too hot sitting there and then he enjoyed the chair by himself. Here's a couple of pics of his cuteness:

Happy Friday!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bake for Hope

I know I promised to take pictures of the goodies I made to donate to the Bake for Hope bake sale, but I was so rushed that I forgot. Whoopsies. I made dark chocolate cupcakes, butterscotch blondies, and Oreo chunk chocolate chip cookies in case you're wondering. The bake sale was in League City led by Mandy Loeffler. The bake sale raised $220 for Bake for Hope. The money will go towards breast cancer research and all similar efforts as the Susan G. Komen society benefits. Here is a picture of the ladies running the bake sale and a few items that were available: