Saturday, July 20, 2013

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Day at the Beach

I love it when days really feel like summer.  Growing up, Michigan always showed me a good time during the summer season and lately I've been missing being home, doing what I always did during this time of year.  I'd bake out in the sun, while away the afternoon floating around on pool noodles in my parents' pool, and eat pizza with lemonade while still drying off from being in the water. 

Since I'm living a little far away from my parents' place to just hop in my car and go swimming for the afternoon, I've been bugging Vince to take me to the beach one day.  He took a day off this week and we finally got to go!  Kelso is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from our place and it has easily taken place in my mind as my favorite summer spot.  It wasn't too crowded, there weren't any pesky seagulls stalking us for food, and it even had a food stand with popsicles!  What more could a girl want?  

We had so much fun laying out and reading our books.  We even had a little picnic brought from home. All in all, a really sweet little getaway date! 

[There she is!]


[A perfect day]


[So bright!]



Friday, July 6, 2012

Twisty Fun

I love baking interesting, out of the ordinary things.  A little while ago, I tried my hand at homemade pretzels.  Soft pretzels are on the top of the tasty list for me.  It's such a treat having one at the mall or at a ball game, so I thought it'd be fun to make some for my bible study group.  I made them two ways: salty and sweet.  The salty just had, well, coarse salt on them, but the sweet pretzels were brushed with butter and rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  They were so tasty while they were piping hot!  I used Alton Brown's recipe for them since he seems to have his act together and I figured he'd get them down just right.  All in all, they were really simple!  A basic dough, a basic shape, boiled first in water and baking soda, then baked to get that great dark color.  Try them out sometime!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Jazz Fest

Last Saturday, the boy and I met up with some friends to enjoy the Toronto Jazz Festival.  I'm not much of a Jazz lover, but I do love me some city! Especially the Distillery District.  It has so much charm and tons of people and stores to look through.  There were two main stages set up, and plenty of people lounging around and listening, or wandering through the different art galleries and shops.  I particularly enjoyed Shohei Yamaki, pictured below, who played some Jimi Hendrix covers.  Is it a coincidence that the music I liked at Jazz Fest wasn't jazz?  Probably not.



Friday, June 29, 2012

Instagram Love


MMMMMoustache

Yesterday, I got to bake again! I've been pretty good about not using my kitchen for evil (i.e. creating things that are too tasty to resist), so yesterday, I treated myself with a little baking R&R.  I made Velinka's famous sugar cookie recipe with my new moustache cookie cutters that Melissa bought for me.  They turned out so cute!! I put a vanilla glaze on them, then dipped them in some chocolate sprinkles to make it look like hair.  We had some fun with them, as you can see...



The pup even got a moustache!  We opted for a chocolate sprinkle-free cookie in case he jumped up and ate it... then died.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Playing Catch Up

It's kind of obvious that I took quite a long hiatus from my blog.  I got lazy/preoccupied/uninspired, but now I'm back! A lot has happened since the last time I posted.  The Boy and I got a puppy named Stan. He's been so much fun and such a pest and I love him to pieces! Stan is a mini golden doodle (but it turns out, he won't be all that mini after all) and is quite a character.  He is a fairly lazy little guy until about 5 o'clock where, like clockwork, he turns into a hyper goofball.  His favorite pastimes are:

1. Licking lotion off of legs, elbows, and feet
2. Ripping apart his stuffed animal giraffe named Greg
3. Taking a seat on walks to awkwardly stare at any human being
4. Rummaging through bathroom garbage cans and shredding tissues, cardboard toilet paper tubes, etc.
5. Chasing butterflies


The day we picked up our pup


Shhhhh... They're sleeping




During my blog hiatus, I also got into grad school at the University of Toronto!  I'll be going for Information studies to become a librarian.  I couldn't be more excited!  Every time I go into a drugstore, I have to pass through the school supply section where I tell myself over and over that first I have to sign up for classes before buying notebooks, pens, folders, and sticky notes.  I'm an uber-nerd when it comes to school supplies.  Growing up, my favorite time of the year was just before school started when my mom, my sisters, and I went to Office Max or Staples and come home with bags of all the back-to-school goodies.  It's gonna be a great day when I get to go to the university book store and stock up on all my textbooks and supplies.  I can't wait!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Henry










*sigh* I want a puppy, too.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

I'm a little bit obsessive about cupcake-making.  I love coming up with different combinations of flavors and seeing if they work out.  It seems like every time I have an excuse to bake, I end up making cupcakes.  Might be boring to some people, but I love figuring out what tastes great together and cupcakes are perfect for that.  Between the actual cake part, the icing, the fillings, and garnishes, you have an infinite amount of combinations.  This combination is so tasty [crazy yummy, if you will]!

I had some extra pumpkin puree from a batch of my favorite pumpkin cinnamon buns that I had made for a family brunch, so I decided to make some pumpkin cupcakes with the remainder of the can.  As I've said before, I love, love love pumpkin, so I definitely didn't mind using pumpkin in baking more than once in such a short amount of time.  For the frosting, I chose to use peanut butter.  I don't get it how people can not like peanut butter.  I love it. I love it on apples; I love it on celery; I love it in cupcakes; I love everywhere.  Pumpkin and peanut butter?  Oh yes.  So here they are: pumpkin cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream and a dark chocolate drizzle.


Pumpkin Cupcakes
[adapted from Smitten Kitchen]

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with 18 cupcake liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with brown and granulated sugars until fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice mix, and cinnamon.  In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and vanilla.

Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition.  Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixtures, starting and ending with the flour.  Beat in the pumpkin puree until smooth.  Spoon the batter into the prepared liners equally, so that they are all 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-23 minutes.  Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.


Peanut Butter Buttercream:
[Adapted from Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla Buttercream recipe]

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 lb icing sugar
1 Tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 Tablespoons peanut butter

In a stand mixer bowl, beat butter until smooth.  Add icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, and beat until sugar is incorporated.  Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.  Add peanut butter and beat on medium until fully blended.

Pipe frosting on cooled cupcakes and drizzle with chocolate syrup.



My kitchen is a disaster now.




Monday, February 13, 2012

Hey There, Little Guy

The other week, I found a complete set of Sherlock Holmes books for 50 cents.  They were just what I was looking for, so I scooped them right up.  Since then, I've been a bit hooked.  I love the writing, the stories, and the dry humour.  Every page is a delight.  To make these books even more charming, I found mysterious little numbers hidden on some pages close to the spine.  Fine, they're not so mysterious, but I loved finding them and taking a second to think about being a book-maker.  Wouldn't it be dreamy to spend your days making books?  Alright, alright... they're made by machines now-a-days, but a girl can dream, right?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mini Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes

I love it when the baking ban on my kitchen is lifted and I'm allowed to make something fun.  Baked goods are far too dangerous to be kept in our home to risk leisurely baking.  Yesterday, we went over to some friends' house for a party, so it was the perfect excuse to be able to bake.  I'm a relatively new addict of Pinterest and I found this recipe on there.  Ready?  ... Blueberry pancake cupcakes with maple buttercream.  WHOA.  I had to try them.  They turned out so good!  What made them especially cute was making them in a mini version.  Anything is cuter when it's mini, right? 

I didn't follow the recipe for the buttercream [partially because I was too lazy to go to the store for the cream cheese and maple extract that I didn't have], so I think the maple flavour in the frosting could have been more pronounced, but that's for next time.  



Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes


1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup sugar
3 eggs
2 egg whites
3 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Maple Buttercream:
½ cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons Mapleine  (maple flavoring)
4 cups powdered sugar
Milk, as needed

Directions:
 Preheat oven to 360 degrees and line mini muffin pans with cupcake liners (yields 72 mini cupcakes or 24 normal sized cupcakes)
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
On low speed, add eggs and egg whites one at a time until each in fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together.
Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the wet (milk, vanilla extract and sour cream).  Let each ingredient fully mix in before adding another, still be careful not to over mix.
      Fold in blueberries.
      Fill cupcake liners and bake for 13 to 15 minutes [18 minutes for regular sized cupcakes], or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
     

      Maple Buttercream: Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add maple flavoring and powdered sugar and let beat again.  If needed, add 1 tablespoon of milk to loosen. 
          Pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes and top with cinnamon sugar and berries. 

     Recipe from Your Cup of Cake
      **I used the Magnolia buttercream frosting recipe, but added maple and adjusted the powdered sugar to get the right consistency.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekend With My People

Last weekend, my lovely sister and papa came to visit.  The weekend was absolutely perfect.  They came Friday night and stayed till Sunday afternoon, and every day was packed with good conversations, a pleasant and fun atmosphere, and good food, of course!  I love it when my family comes to stay with us!  I get so giddy and want to make everything pretty and perfect for them.  It was a real treat!

[Almond biscotti baking, in anticipation of their arrival]
[Homemade eggs benedict. It was my first time making them and definitely not my last.  I loved making them!]
[Maja flipping through cookbooks at The Good Egg in Kensington.  What a treat!]
[Okay!]
[I took Maja to my secret reading spot in U of T, but the gate was locked.  BOOOOO]
[Let us in!!]
[Love you!]
[Cappuccinos and crepes at Crepes à GoGo in Yorkville]

While Maja and I were being wined and dined by Toronto on Saturday, Vince, my dad, and some guys went fishing and brought home dinner.  I'd take shopping with Maja any day over fishing [sorry, Dad!].
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