Monday, October 25, 2010

Kait is Married!

So onto the second half of my weekend: Kait's wedding! The ceremony was on Saturday at the UMD Chapel (jealous) and the ceremony was performed by Father Bill, miss him! Here is the married couple, Kait and Chris:

Everything was beautiful and since there was a bit of a lull between the ceremony and the reception, Christine and I decided to roam campus for a little while. Here is what happened:
View from the chapel:

Fall foliage self pic (yes, I look like a nut):

At the fountain on the mall:

Things went downhill from there. we stopped at the Union for refreshments and then headed back to Meredith's. Along the way we had to lose the heels and stockings, apparently we aren't quite the campus trekkers we used to be.

After a sweet nap and some hair repair came the reception. This was held at the UMUC Marriott. We settled into our singles table and crossed our fingers to (not) win the centerpiece Betta fish. After some rousing speeches and delicious food (crabcake=yum!!) came the dancing. Here are my pics from the wedding:

Such a great time, I was so glad I could make it to the wedding. Major thanks to Meredith for the housing this evening and for the car borrow so I could score some Bagel Place! Also major props to Steph for taking care of Baloo all weekend, he seems unfazed by my absence :)

LG Reunion Party in DC

This weekend I traveled to DC for a variety of wonderful reasons. 1) My amazing friend, Kait Baker, was getting married on the 23rd 2) Christine was going to be there and since her wedding we've been separated for the longest time since we met, a reunion was in order and 3) My favorite CRC lifeguards were having a long overdue reunion party! Obviously lots of fun to be had. I arrived at BWI around 9pm- just in time to see the Yankees blow the 5th inning (and subsequently the entire game) of their must-win ALCS game. Then Christine arrived and all was better! Wonderful Meredith picked us up from the airport and we were en route to DC. The party had already started at grace's apartment and I was super excited to see lots of long lost faces like Ron$, Liz, and Hannah Banana as well as the faithful reunion faces like Lindsey and Grace. Here are some pics from the subsequent shenanigans:

Loved seeing everyone! Thanks to Meredith for providing transportation and booze and to Grace for providing an air mattress, washer and dryer, and booze!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

JP's Birthday Cupcakes: White Russian Cupcakes

Today is one of my former roomies', JP's, birthday! A few of us went to Perry's Steakhouse and Grille to celebrate last night. Since we've all been doing birthdays for about 2 years now, we've hit up most of the usual spots in Clear Lake so, in order to change it up a bit, we went fancy for this birthday celebration. Perry's was super nice and the food was amazing. Our waiter was excellent, he even took back a pork chop that had been undercooked (without us asking I might add) and brought out a fresh one and the manager offered a free dessert for the wait. Excellent service! Here is the birthday boy and his pendulum of kabob (The Symphony Kabob):

And my meal (Sesame crusted Ahi Tuna):

This was super delicious, I love pan seared tuna and the sesame crust wasn't too bad. the wonton salad that is on top of the tuna was a perfect complement and had a light and tasty sauce. Very thrilled!

JP's bday dessert (Dessert Trio: Praline cheesecake, vanilla bean crème brulée, and a Grand Marnier truffle):

We decided (and by we I mean Ryan) that we were pretty stuffed after dinner and saved the cupcakes until we reached Club Haven. I hadn't told JP what kind they were and I thought that just the scent of the Kahlua in these bad boys would be a giveaway but everyone said the Kahlua wasn't as overpowering as I had feared. They got it once they tasted a bit but not from the scent alone, phew! I had been worried that they were a little much. Enjoy your White Russian Cupcakes, JP!

Recipe (adapted from Cookies & Candids and Here):

Cupcakes (makes about 20)
1c milk
2t vinegar
1c Kahlua
2/3c oil
1 1/2c sugar
6t vanilla
2 1/2c flour
4T cornstarch
1 1/2t baking powder
1t baking soda
1t salt

1/4c Kahlua
1/4c vanilla vodka

2c heavy whipping cream
4T powdered sugar
6T Kahlua

Preheat to 325F.

Add vinegar to milk and stir. Allow to sit for several minutes to curdle.

In a large bowl mix together Kahlua, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix in milk after siting time.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix until no lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes. Take out and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from Pan and place on cooling rack.

Mix together the glaze/topping. Poke deep holes in the cupcakes with a toothpick. Using a basting brush apply the glaze to the tops of the cupcakes while still somewhat warm. Allow the cupcakes to cool fully before frosting.

For the icing, place mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for a minute. Remove from freezer and pour whipping cream into the bowl. Whisk on high for about 2 minutes or until the cream has thickened. Add powdered sugar and Kahlua. Continue whisking on high until stiff peaks form (at least another minute). Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. I then grated some semi-sweet chocolate to garnish the cupcakes. *I also did a Kahlua buttercream icing but I think it was too sweet for these cupcakes- you can see it in the second picture.

*I have also seen recipes that use 1/2c Kahlua and 1/2c vodka in the cake batter, this could be a good recipe alteration.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

King Arthur Flour Purchase and Fudge Brownies

I recently placed an order at the King Arthur Flour company- where all great ingredients come from. I've been miffed by this 'espresso powder' I see in tons of recipes but can never find in the grocery so I purchased some off KAF as well as some of their Double Dutch Dark Cocoa to make their Fudgy Brownie Recipe. I also browsed the site while I was there and picked out some cappuccino chips, a chocolate spatula thermometer, and a cube sponge for cleaning my cupcake pans. Here is my collective loot:

If you can't tell the cappuccino chips were completely melted into a blob when they arrived so that was a HUGE disappointment. No cute cappuccino chip cookies with those. I decided to chop up part of the blob and add it to the Fudgy Brownies I made last night. Here's the blob when I pulled it out of the bag:
Needless to say, very disappointed here. Always order meltables in winter, even if you're having a chilly fall, not everyone is apparently.

The Fudgy brownie recipe by King Arthur Flour has been popping up on a few blogs so as a self-professed box mix brownie lover I felt I had to try it out. Once I got the major ingredients in the mail (i.e. espresso powder and double dutch dark cocoa) I was ready to bake. The recipe was super easy and the end result was... AMAZING! I totally dropped the ball and had no ice cream in my apartment when they were hot and delicious, but they went fabulously with some skim milk mmmm. Here is a picture of them out of the pan:

Definitely try this recipe!

King Arthur Fudgy Brownies:

1c (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4c sugar
4 lg eggs
1 1/4c Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa
1t salt
1t baking powder
1t espresso powder
1t vanilla
1 1/2c King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I used regular flour)
2c chocolate chips (I used half semi-sweet chocolate chips and half cappuccino chips)

Preheat to 350F.

In a medium bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, cocoa, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. Add in butter mixture. Add in flour and mix until well combined. Stir in chips. Pour batter into a greased 13"x9" pan and bake for about 30 minutes. If you cut this recipe in half and use an 8"x8" pan bake for about 20 minutes (that's what I did).

You can pretty much add whatever chips/nuts/dried fruits you want at the end but if you don't want them to melt, make sure the batter is cool before you add them. Enjoy!


I took a couple of pictures of Baloo recently and I figured you all could use a dose of his handsome face:

Some of the pics are a teeny bit blurry, he's a wriggly bugger.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Random Assortment of Things

Here are some random updates: first, I recently received a new bowl for my Kitchen Aid mixer from my sister as a suuuper early Christmas present! I was beyond excited to open that baby up. Having two bowls for my mixer will allow me to do things like mix ingredients and then whip egg whites into a meringue to add to the previous ingredients without killing my hand. I also wanted a glass bowl so that I could just throw it in the dishwasher. Yes, I know you can put the stainless steel one in the dishwasher, but I prefer to not do that. Here is my most exciting new kitchen accessory:

In the mixer, and yes that stack of papers are my "To try" recipe pile:

Two bowls!:

Next is a super fun announcement from Etsy that I thought all my Houston readers would be especially interested in, a NASA crafting contest! The NASA & Etsy Space Craft Contest: To the Moon and Beyond is a contest where you create something that honors the Space Shuttle Program. You can read more details here: ETSY and read the official rules etc here: NASA. The deadline is November 2, 2010 so get crafting!

Finally, I've been working on another puff quilt via the HoneyBear Lane Tutorial and here is a sneak preview of the front of the quilt:

Only 13 days until Kait Baker's wedding! Yippee!

-Peace Out

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giants at Texans

The Giants came to Texas this weekend! And, since this rarely ever happens (at least to Houston) I made sure I was at the game. I went with my fellow Giants fan, Andrew and saw an awesome game. The Giants beat the Texans 34-10 and got 3 sacks on Schaub. Excellent game to make the giants 3-2 with a little bit of a streak started. Here are some pictures form the game:
Team Stretch:

Manning Warming Up:

Post Coin Toss:

Our View:

Andrew and I:

Game play:

Last Huddle of the Game:

Love these guys:

More Love:


Final Score:

So far I'm 2-0 on games attended, I should start going to more games...Yay GIANTS!

Friday, October 8, 2010

OMG Amazing Cupcakes!

This week I'd like to focus on another trend going around the blogosphere: baking things inside your cupcakes i.e. stuffed cupcakes. The site Bake It in a Cake has been baking things into cakes for awhile now and it has caught on with other bakers across the Internet. Here are a few of my favorites:

Go plain and simple like the Cupcake Queen (hailing form UMD wooot, GO TERPS!)with these cupcakes stuffed with icing:

The crazy savory option, throw some veggies in it like Ele of Kitchenist:

Getting a little more difficult with the cupcake baked inside a cupcake by Cakespy:

And now talk about high maintenance, the pumpkin pie inside a cupcake by the master, Bake It in a Cake:

I hope you're inspired by these totally amazing cupcakes! I know I am...