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Summer snacks!

June 19, 2012

Well, I hope you weren’t holding your breath for that Flag Day cupcake recipe but don’t worry, here it is!

These babies were incredibly delicious. I felt a little hesitant about using boxed cake mix, but when something tastes this good, it erases shame.

Don’t skip out on the frosting recipe though, it really makes a difference. It was so good that I took what was left home with me, to eat, sans cake.

These can be used for any occasion, it just depends on the dye you decide to use, but it’s not an accident I’m posting them in time for the 4th of July either.

I know that seems like it’s a little far away, so you should probably start testing (and tasting) the recipe now, right?

I got this recipe over at The Girl Who Ate Everything and true to it’s title, I ate every last crumb of these cupcakes. Thank god I had a dinner party to bring them to, or my roommates would have found me buried in wrappers.

Cupcakes:
1 white cake mix
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
 
Strawberries for garnish
Blueberries for garnish
 
Frosting:
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Up to 4 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream
¼ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
 
DIRECTIONS:
For Cupcakes: Combine all ingredients until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on med-high speed for 3 minutes.
 
Divide batter equally in half between two bowls.
 
Use red food coloring to color one bowl of batter to desired color of red and leave the other one white. Wilton brand gel colors have the brightest color and are good to use here.
 
To make flag striped cupcakes alternately place a spoonful of red batter and a spoonful of white batter in the cupcake holder. The batter is thick, so it won’t spread on its own. A great tip is to set out a little bowl of water where you’re working. Dip your finger in the water and then gently spread the batter out. The water will make it so the batter doesn’t stick to your fingers.
 
Bake cupcakes according to the cake mix package directions.
 
Frosting:
Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
 
Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting. Garnish with strawberry fans and blueberries.
 
Tip: To make strawberry fans for garnish just slice strawberry down to the stem without slicing all the way through.
 
Makes 18 cupcakes.
I will be the first to say that my cupcakes are not nearly as pretty as Christy’s, but it’s the taste that counts, right?
I didn’t hear any complaints from Poppy.
The cupcakes were accompanied with a good ol’ Flag day American favorite, burgers.
Homemade veggie burgers, that is. Jackie whipped these up earlier in the week and grilled up some patties while we sipped wine. Accompanied with Grace’s arugula, watermelon and feta salad, it was the perfect summer meal.
This little number was exactly what I needed to prepare for the weekend I had ahead.

Carrie’s Bachelorette Party.

More to come.

Flag Day!

June 14, 2012

You know, kids, it’s one of those days. My workload is expanding like a sponge. The weather is so-so, and what’s more? I have an awesome weekend on the horizon. I’m beginning to learn that nothing slows down a Thursday like the promise of an impending bachelorette weekend. Plus, it’s a holiday! What’s that? You didn’t realize it was Flag Day? Shouldn’t we have the day off or something?

So what do I do when I need to kickstart myself to plow through my  to-do list instead of my candy bowl?

I put on the old Pandora, blast a little country (patriotic!), and forbid myself from checking Facebook until at least ONE thing is crossed off the list. Anyone want to submit invoices for me? No?

Well, while I do that, feel free to take your own brain break today and check out the pics from my sister’s kickoff cookout for her new apartment. It has a deck. In New York, deck space is equivalent to gold.

And what better way to break-in your personal golden deck than to toast up some fish tacos and play a little charades?

Let’s celebrate this Flag Day by grilling vicariously, hope you enjoy!

The beautiful host!

Really makes you want to put a dent in those excel spreadsheets, huh? Happy almost weekend!

P.S. If you are getting tired of looking at pictures of me and my friends, don’t worry! I have a pretty spectacular Flag Day recipe coming your way.

Time Machine

June 12, 2012

I wish I had a time machine so I could slow down all of this:

And press repeat. It’s been an early summer full of wedding festivities (like a Bachelorette party in Boston, and a Bridal shower in Villanova), one graduation in Philly, three birthdays, two Broadway shows, and a partridge in a park tree.

It’s been full of days on the the grass, evenings on the roof, and lots of margaritas. The weather has been good, and the company has been pretty special too.

I even made it to the future motherland, San Francisco, and while I only have great things to report (how could there be room for complaint when this happened…)

I’m also painfully aware that it’s not only the city I’m leaving, but maybe most obviously (to everyone but me until recently) it’s the people. I may mourn over the lack of late-night restaurants, or curse the San Francisco transit, but I can’t help but feel that there are going to be few places where I have enough friends to pack an entire subway car with bikes for a trip to Coney Island.

Or where my sister and I can watch our favorite childhood movie acted out in front of us on stage.

I mean, how many places could there be where it’s cool to have a Clue themed birthday party and dress like Mr. Green?

We’ve had a good run here, and even though I’m excited for all the new people in my life, I can’t help but want to pause everyone and everything as it is, just right now, just for a little while.


Can you blame me?

Blog Heaven

June 7, 2012

What’s that, you say? You think I’ve died and gone to blog heaven?

You don’t remember the glorious faces of my friends? Or my monthly ode to french fries?

You’ve forgotten what it’s like to come to this page and feel anything but dour disappointment in me?

I don’t blame you.

But guess what! While my poor little blog has been withering in negligence, I have been doing what this blog was made to record, I have been taking FULL advantage of the past couple of months. So much so, in fact, that by the time I’m done having all the fun I’m having…I’m asleep.

But this time, I’m back. For real. We are down to a month left in New York, people. ONE MONTH.

I may be taking a few side-trips out of here (Maine this weekend, ATLANTIC CITY next weekend) but I can promise you, I have been practically marinating in all my favorite New York juices.

Don’t believe me?

Don’t worry, I have been keeping half my promise, and have documented every minute of it.

I know you’re on the edge of your seats, but I’m at work here, so you’ll have to wait for tonight.

But I promise, only until tonight.

Homeward Bound

April 12, 2012

So the week has begun!

I know, it’s Wednesday but since Monday was spent in a bus next to the one person in line that I had previously pegged as a serial killer, and since Tuesday was spent running from meeting to meeting to meeting, today was the first day I was able to sit at my desk and answer all my emails. Whew.

Today was also the first time this week I was able to make it to the grocery store to make my lunch “for the week.” Thursday and Friday count as the week, right?

Most importantly, tonight is the first night that I have time to delight you with my Easter morning goodies!

Do you have traditions like this?

That, my friends, is Easter morning breakfast aka punchkies!

The dough is made by my aunt on Saturday. My aunt, 5 lbs of flour, and raisins. This little gem was introduced to my Dad’s family when he was a kid in D.C. His neighbor across the street, an elderly Polish woman, would whip these up for her family, and would bring any leftover to my Dad. Well, him and his 10 siblings. We may not be Polish, but we weren’t going to let these babies go, even if we do butcher the prononication of them a bit.

My Dad picks it up on Saturday night from his sister’s and brings it home where my Mom refrigerates it until Sunday morning.

When this happens.

And this

A few shakes in the ol’ paper bag full of confectionate sugar and…

Ta da!

Ah, home.

The rest of Easter dinner wasn’t too shabby either. Can you tell my vegetarian sister wasn’t in attendance? Lamb and ham?

Dinner was accompanied by my Mem singing “Harbor Lights” anytime there was a pause in conversation. She’s 91 and a class act.

Are you worried I only ate junk in Maine? Don’t worry.

PLUS I went to the gym.

Where they serve beer?

And I kept it light at breakfast.


But mostly, I slept, I read, and I barely made it out of the house (and my pajamas). Yep, the long weekend was just what I needed.

In case you’re keeping track, the big move to San Francisco that inspired this little blog is fast approaching. I have been so focused on work, and job hunting, and car rentals, and apartment listings, that my time in New York is moving faster than it took me to tear into those punchkies. I’m so aware of wrapping things up, and ending on a good note, that my weekends (and my blog!) have suffered. So, ok. This isn’t my first vow on this blog, and really, it’s just an iteration of the mission statement, but here’s to enjoying my last few months here. As the weather warms, and as the weekends melt away, I promise to make a greater effort to be present. To take a stroll at lunch and enjoy my favorite burger place’s outdoor seating. To spend even more time on my little roof without a view,  and to work as hard as I can, but to appreciate that I’m at a job where I’m still learning, and where nothing has become a routine.

It’s time to be present, folks, for my friends, for my co-workers, and for myself.

I guess it’s true what they say, there’s no place like home, for a good think, for some booze while you work out, and to remember what makes home so special, wherever it is.

The Sweet Spot

April 7, 2012

I’m home this weekend for a much needed pause, but I was lucky enough to get a little taste of Maine a week early, when Vanessa and her fiancé Peter came into town to catch a few shows and explore the city with me.

So what’s a girl to do when she’s hosting out-of-towners?

Brunch. Of course.

We started Saturday with brunch at Cafe Cortadito and it was exceptional. Although I wasn’t quite up for the full-sized steak and eggs Vanessa dared order, my French Toast literally melted in my mouth.


Wondering why I am suddenly masterful with the camera? I’m not. These lovely looks at the weekend are courtesy of Peter (thank you!). Peter is a real-life photographer and did a good job making my roof look like it’s cool…

And my face look like it’s photoshopped.

I’m not complaining.

He also attempted to make my friends look civilized.

And almost succeeded.

Despite the gray skies all weekend, we managed to keep busy, and it was a great distraction before a crazy week at work.

Tomorrow is Easter, and in my family, this means a very special morning surprise. No, not the Easter Bunny, but just as sweet.

Coming soon!

Refresh

March 25, 2012

So, remember all that roof drinking I’ve been doing? Well, it’s been catching up with me.

This weekend, Alex decided to hit the road to Montauk to visit her parents. Lupo is in Boston, and Liz, our only friend who is going to leave this city with a Master’s degree, had class and a few other commitments that kept her out of the house.

So, what have I been doing with all my free time and apartment space?

I’ve been catching up on some reading, of course.

I can appreciate a good Friday night cake-pop and cocktail as much as the next guy, especially when said cocktail also comes in the form of spiked jello oranges…

But there’s something about having the house to yourself on a quiet sunday morning.

The television is taking a nap, I’m up before 12:00 PM, and the Book Review is calling my name.

Happy Sunday.