S'mores Bars!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Here it is. The third and final item for my honors chorus bake sale! I have to put it out there right away: these were the best of the three. By miles. And miles and miles. I loved these.

I have proclaimed many times that I am not a chocolate fan. But when taken in moderation, and paired with other equally sized ingredients, it can be tolerable, if not yumm-o. And thus my weakness for the concept of s'mores is justified
. I adored the s'mores cupcakes from Martha Stewart and these are right up there with them.

These were an easy item for a bake sale as they were in bar form and so quick to make. However, they did get a tad melty as it was a hot weekend here in Pittsburgh. I would say the are perfect for anytime of the year. Like now, as I am writing this. I weant them.

These were so delicious and the perfect (and I mea

n perfect ) way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Assembling them was very fun because it was just like making a mega s'more!

Laying down the graham cracker base

Adding in the lovely chocolate layer

Spreading on the fluffy gooey marshmallow layer

Topping it off with the final graham cracker layer

S'more Cookie Bars
from Baked Perfection

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately 7 full graham crackers)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 super-sized (5 oz.) dark chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)

1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place chocolate bars over dough.

Spread marshmallow fluff evenly over the chocolate layer.

Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars

Banana and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I guess I really enjoyed my last whoopie pies that I just had to try them again! This time: banana and peanut butter! I saw this over at Daydreamer Desserts when I was still a "whoopie virgin" (see that play on words I did there? It works on many levels of funny) and was intrigued even then.

I made
these for our Honors Chorus bake sale alongside the chocolate chip cookies and the other mystery item you will soon learn about;) When I decided to make these I was so excited. For some reason I had it in my mind that these were going t
o be the greatest things ever! Can I honest? Not so much. And that's a lot coming from me. I am so much a peanut butter fan, that we can no longer keep peanut butter in the house. I'm not kidding. We do not buy peanut butter AT ALL because of the major self-control issues I have with it.

So like I said, I wasn't too impressed=/ The banana cookie was ni
ce on its own, but when paired with the peanut butter filling, it kinda flopped. I don't think it was either components fault; they just weren't a good match. Again, this seems odd because I am an advocate for peanut butter and banana sandwiches and why should this be any different? But it was. My one chorus director was even kind enough to tell me about how he assumed it was some sort of "regular cookie", but after taking a bite, he spit it out. Yupp, thanks...

So I mean I guess I recommend trying this? Maybe. If you're looking for an interesting new whoopie pie flavor to try, then go for it. I will say I actually did not use the peanut butter filling from below. I created my own and really enjoyed it. But I think I might keep it my little secret hehe. I will say that the banana cookies were VERY sticky and hard to hold in order to frost because they would stick to my fingers.

Banana Whoopie
found at Daydreamer Desserts
adapted from whoopie pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperatur
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line three baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.In a small bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, vegetable shortening, light brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes with the pa
ddle attachment, until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, and stir just until combined.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the mashed bananas. Stir to combine between each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Spoon one tablespoon of batter at a time onto a lined cookie sheet making sure they are at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes.

Salty Peanut Butter Whoopie Filling
adapted from whoopie pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell

3/4 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl beat together the peanut butter and unsalted butter on low speed until smooth and creamy.

Add the confectioners' sugar and salt, beat on low just until combined then increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Yepp. I'm making something with chocolate. And it's a cookie. My two least favorite things. But it's for a good cause. Remember that New York trip I told you about?
The one for my honors chorus to sing live at Carnegie Hall? Well we're having a major 12-hour bake sale simultaneously at two different locations. This is going to be huge. Our amazing choir director has created so many fundraisers for us, but she's a bit nervous about this one. She wants to make sure we don't run, and I can't blame her. So I plan on doing my darnedest to help out the best I can. I mean, you really don't have to beg me to bake!

When you make things for a bake sale, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration:

Mass appeal: You need to choose something that appeals to most people. A rhubarb galette would throw a lot of people off their horse and cause them to shrink away. Keep with chocolate and simple flavors, but that doesn't mean you can't get a little creative!

I ate a 1/5 of this before even forming the cookies... That's a lie.
(In all seriousness though, it's the truth)

Weather enduring: This bake sale is in July. It's bound to be hot. So that means nothing that could spoil, melt easily, or anything like that.

Accessible: Example: blueberry cobbler. Not an easy th
ing to serve or cut into portions. Bars and cookies or loaf slices are some of your best options. However, it's always good to have whole pies stored away for those people who would like to buy one to them bring to an occasion to impress their friends.

So of the multiple items I hoped to make, I thought having one chocolate chip recipe would be a good idea to bring. Everyone loves 'em, right? I will set my foot down on one item: brownies. No. No. No. You will not see those coming out of my kitchen! Hehehe...
Also, since these are going to the bake sale, I can put in walnuts like a good chocolate chip cookie ought to have! Usually in my house it's my sister and dad who eat cookies, and neither of them will allow nuts in. They can be so small minded.

Round, dark, and crispy

Okay so these are a tad on the dark side. But I was working with someone else's oven and this is sadly what happened=( In fact I used the minimum suggestion time but found my best results were 3 minutes lower than that. So the 15- 20 minute suggestion was better at 12 minutes!

Ya burnt kid!

Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies (copy-cat recipe)
from How To Eat A Cupcake

2 sticks unsalted butter, cool but slightly softened
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs, straight from the fridge
2 3/4 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, mix together butter and sugar on low speed until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat on low speed until incorporated.

Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

Scoop cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 15-20 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the tops are just lightly browned. (For smaller cookies, of course you'll need to watch them because they'll bake much faster.) Cool completely on wire racks. Store airtight until you eat them all!

Blackberry Pie

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm kicking myself. I was kicking myself. I probably will continue to kick myself every time I read this post.

I made a pie. A darn good pie. A pie that I was apprehensive of, but realized it all came together wonderfully. I followed the easy
steps, remained patient and accepting, and was rewarded with the fruits of my labor. ;)

So, so flaky. Honestly, it was a perfect crust!

What do I have to show for it? Nothing really. I didn't make it at my house and I forgot my camera=((((( I immediately took pictures when I got home,
but it would have been great to show you the step by step process!

Mmmm... blackberry juices!

As I mentioned before, I have a job babysitting my two little cousins on certain weekdays. They are at the great age where they can amuse themselves all on their own. They don't need me to constantly watch them and play with them (thank goodness). However, a small downside is the fact that at least 4 neighborhood boys come ove
r to play daily. As much as I like hearing them call me "Miss Sherry", thus making me feel quite powerful, it can be a handful.

My aunt Nancy, the one who gave me this job, does allow me to have free reign of her kitchen while I'm there. Jackpot. So you could definitely say I ta
ke advantage of that. My aunt and I are on the same page when it comes to food. I love just having conversations with her about our latest baking or cooking adventures. She gives me great advice and ideas. She has more experience than me, and I enjoy learning from her. She has also gotten into bread baking and I'm, so jealous! She's helping me out a lot and is even letting me borrow her amazing bread baking book while she's on vacation! So expect some bread to show on here;)

Note: Reapply more whipped cream after every bite.

Back to pie. The pie dough tutorial I used was from
Joy the Baker. It is genius. And, it is a great chance to take step by step pictures.
But wait, I forgot my camera... yay...

I also used her
Blueberry Blackberry Pie recipe. I only used blackberries because that's what I had. Have I mentioned I love my neighbor Beth? She supplied
me with fresh blackberries from her mountain house.
This was my first "outside picture" ever. I kinda like it!
However, I get paranoid about neighbors watching me and thinking I'm crazy...

Making the filling was so easy. And extremely picture worthy... I just keep making myself feel worse and worse now=(

I made a mistake, however, I promised the neighborhood boys they could all have a slice. The pie itself took forever to cool! So I actually had to go home before they could have a slice. By this point I had a camera. Thank goodness!! It didn't c
ool until later that night where my mom and I swallowed down some pieces. My aunt also came over to grab a slice or two.

Having some blackberries spill out of your piece is perfectly normal.
In fact, it's a photography must!

So end result? I love pie. I love pie crust. I love blackberry pie. I loved this pie. I got soo many compliments about the crust. It was extremely flaky, which I think makes it all the better. I loved everything about this pie. So go make a pie this summer! I even think I'll be making another!

Blackberry Pie
from Joy the Baker
6 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar, and more for sprinkling the top
1/2 cup ap flour
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 a lemon juice of 1/2 a lemon 1/4 of bread crumbs or graham cracker crumbs 1 egg beaten for egg wash

Start off by making the Buttermilk Pie Crust. While the dough is resting in the fridge, make the berry pie filling.

To make the filling put the rinsed berries into a large bowl and gently stir in the sugar, flour, salt, zest and juice. Let sit for five minutes. Taste the filling and add more lemon if necessary. (I did)

Remove the chilled pie crust from the fridge and roll out on a well floured work surface. Drape one rolled out dough into the pie plate and trim, leaving about 1/2-inch of excess dough overhang.

Sprinkle bread crumbs or crumbled graham crackers into the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Scoop in the fruit mixture and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Moisten the edges of the pie dough with egg wash.

Drape the other rolled out pie dough over the pie. Trim to a 1/2-inch over hang. The egg wash will help the two stick together. Tuck the two pie crusts under a bit so the dough is flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp with your fingers or a fork to seal. Cut four vent holes into the top of the pie crust.

Place pie in the fridge while oven preheats.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a cookie sheet on the lowest shelf to catch any bubble over.

Coat the top and sides of the pie with egg wash. Sprinkle generously with granulated sugar. Bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes then reduce the oven to 375 degrees F and bake pie for another 30 minutes or until the crust is a beautiful golden brown and the filling is bubbling up through the slits. If the pie seems to be browning too quickly, make a loose foil tent for the pie while it bakes.

Transfer the pie to a rack and let it cool and settle for at least 30 minutes before serving. (I obviously waited much much longer for it to settle)

You MUST top your piece of pie with a TON of whipped cream!! Because it's good, that's why!

Zucchini Whoopie Pies!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Have you noticed a theme lately? I'll help you out a little with this one, it's zucchini. Neighbors are lovely, lovely people.

So whoopie pies... I don't think I've ever had one before to tell you
the truth. The only ones I have come in contact with (which haven't come from my kitchen) were all chocolate. Blech. Making zucchini whoopie pies was a great way to try them out and use a flavor I knew I would like. I was really excited to try this recipe!

Gourmet's website was laid out really nice for this recipe, which I liked. My only issue: what size do I make the cakes? They say to use a 1/4 cup a
mount, but I thought eye-balling it would be okay. I got some pretty huge pies in the beginning. I quickly learned to scale down the size or else no one would eat these monsters! (Well of course they'd still be eaten, but they'd be so intimidating looking!)

See the difference? On the left are the monsters, while on
the right I attempted some regular sized ones.

These were very tasty! I ended up eating many more than I originally intended. Isn't that always the case wi
th me?! I did give some to my neighbors; they loved them=) However, (and there's always a however it seems) I thought the cakes were a little tight? Like they weren't exactly as super soft or spongy as I would have liked. I think it was they amount of walnuts and the way I chopped them. I was sure if I was supposed to chop them super fine, or leave them in big chunks=/

For my first whoopie pie attempt, I'd say it was a success! Making them zucchini was a great choice (and a good excuse to make a cream cheese frosting).P.S.- I*'ve never used the word 'whoopie' as much as I have in this post.

These were the giant ones

Zucchini Whoopie Pies from Gourmet

For cakes

  • 2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (10 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup walnuts (4 ounces), chopped

For filling

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

Make cakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

  • Squeeze handfuls of zucchini wrapped in a kitchen towel to remove moisture.
  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt until combined. Whisk together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.
  • Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined well.
  • At low speed, mix in flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until smooth. Mix in zucchini and walnuts until just incorporated.

  • Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through, until tops are puffed and golden and spring back when touched, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer with a spatula to a rack to cool completely.

Make filling:

  • Beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Assemble pies:

  • Spread a rounded 2 Tbsp filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.
Whoopie pies keep, chilled in an airtight container, 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Garden Zucchini Bisque

Friday, July 23, 2010
I'm so behind on my blog posting, which saddens me as I'm sure it saddens you. Lots of things are happening and I'm slowly settling into a new summer routine.

At the beginning of summer, the month of June, I kept an uber-lazy schedule. Wake up whenever (which usually was still early-ish since I'm not much of a late sleeper), watch the Ellen Degeneres Show, check Facebook, read food blogs, blog, eat (and eat and eat), bake (some days), attempt my summer reading, ... and other lazy activities fo
llowed by possible plans with friends for the evening. Nothing real structured here people.

So after the crazy spurt of vacationing in early July, I've come back with somewhat of a scheduled summer.

6:45- Wake up and sleepily get ready for volleyball
7:05- Leave house for YMCA
7:30- Volleyball practice starts
9:30- Leave YMCA for home
OR (most days as of late)
9:30- Leave YMCA to go babysit at my aunt's
10:00- If at home, watch Ellen and eat breakfast
-If babysitting, watch shows on Hulu and eat breakfast
11:00- 3:00- Blog, read blogs, Facebook, settle disputes among little cousins and their neighborhood friends, BAKE
3:00 or 4:00- Return home and relax for a bit. Read
6:00- Plans with friends or nap time.
9:00- Read a bit and SLEEP. Waking up super early makes m
e especially tired.

Then throw in college visits, random Student Ambassador events (a society which I am the president of), and other stufffff.

So in spite of all this free time or lack there of, here are some unappetizing photos I took of a soup that was actually rather delicious. I would liken it to that mushroom soup you get at the beginning of your 50 course meal you receive at any Japanese steak house or place where they cook your food in front of you. However, this isn't that. It is zucchini, with a good deal of mushrooms mind you, and flavorful onions, that isn't anything ove
r the top, but simply delicious if you happen to have extra zucchini lying around. It can be made in a snap to. It's mostly all ingredients you should have on hand anyway.

Garden Zucchini Bisque
from Land O Lakes: Treasury of Country Recipes

Ingredients:2 tbsp butter
2 c sliced zucchini (1/8' thick)
1 c mushroom (1/4' thick)
1/2 c onion chopped
1/4 c chopped parsley
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
10 3/4 oz chicken broth3/4 c whipping cream
pinch of pepper

In a 3 quart saucepan, melt 2 tbsp butter; add zucchini, mushrooms, onion, and parsley. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisply tender (6 to 8 mins). Meanwhile, in a 2 quart saucepan melt 3 tbsp butter over medium heat; stir in flour until smooth and bubbly (1 min). Add chicken broth; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened (5 to 7 min). Stir in cream, pepper and zucchini mixture. Continue cooking until heated through (5 to 6 mins, I let mine go a little longer).

Zucchini & Onions with Mozzarella

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
So I'm back from vacation with a new lease on life. I've been doing some thinking and I realized I want to try to get back to cooking. At least cooking more. I have pretty much completely stopped cooking and it's pretty sad. I am obsessed with baking but it can't replace having nice home cooked meals. I need to eat a bit healthier instead of loading up on the sweets basically.

Where is this coming from? The wisest woman there is: Oprah. Haha I'm actually serious. While on vacation I read "O's Guide to Life". There were some pretty interesting stories and overall I really liked it. It is a sort of compilation of stories and articles from her magazine, with Dr. Phil and Howie Mandel making guest appearances. But there was one story I liked in particular and I wish I could find it online. It talks about this "Power of Three Technique". I know these things are really cheesy and it seems like anyone can come up with these things, but I really liked the idea of this one.

Basically, at the beginning of every month you make three changes. If you can do something for 28 days, it becomes habit. So in this way, you can develop good habits. This does seem like a tricky thing since it can even be hard to do something for a week, but it's worth a try. So I began to think of three things I would like to change for this month of July (It could probably be considered cheating since it's halfway through the month now.) So what did I decide? Keep in mind, this is kind of a personal project. I might not reveal what I change each month but I'll try and stay open with you guys.

1) Make my bed everyday- It's pretty sad that I don't do this already, but it's something simple that I can start with.

2) Eat a piece of fruit everyday- I'm really happy about this one. It's been great trying to keep this one and it has allowed me to try a ton of fruit I never had before. Like peaches. I also have been eating raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and i just recently bought a mango which I can't wait to try. This is huge for me.

3) Make dinner during the week- This is kind of a vague one, but I didn't wan to give myself too many restrictions; that would only make it harder for me keep to it. So, whenever I can, I will make dinner more. Then I'll be able to post those recipes for you guys.

So I hoping to give this a try and see how it goes. So far so good, but I would really like to keep it going for many months and see what kinds of changes I can make to better myself. Anyway, now for my first "dinner" recipe. (Read the note at the bottom to see why dinner is in quotes)

When making this, I thought bread crumbs would be a good addition to the top to give it a bit of a crunch. I added them right at the end with a tinsy drizzle of butter over them. After having a bite, I found this was a GREAT idea and went back and added even more all over! So I put this addition into the recipe below. Also, if you'd like, bacon would be a good addition. I don't actually like bacon, but the rest of my family said they could see it in there.

Zucchini & Onions with Mozzarella
from Land O Lakes: Treasury of Country Cooking

3 tbsp butter
3 c sliced zucchini (1/8 inch thick)
1 c sliced onions (1/8 inch)
1/2 tsp basil leaves
1/4 tsp oregano
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 med ripe tomatoes cut into thin wedges
1 c shredded mozzarella
Handful, or four, of bread crumbs

In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients except tomato and cheese. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is crisply tender (7 to 10 min). Add tomato wedges; sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs. Cover; let stand 2 min. or until cheese is melted.

It's really that easy. This took no time to make and was really great.

Note: We had this as a main dish because no one was too hungry, but this is in no way a good main dish. It would be best served as a side, a delicious side that is.

So overall I really liked this dish and remembered why I love zucchini so much)

I'm Backkk!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I'm back my bloggie loves! I know it has been a terribly long time since I've posted but I can certainly explain myself. I had asked my sister to do some guest blogging for me while I was away, but I saw upon my return that she has failed me. What else is new? ;)

I went on a really great trip with one of my best friends (the commonly mentioned Maria) and her family. We spent time at their mountain house, then Washington D.C., then a whole week at Bethany Beach, Delaware! This was my first time going to the beach and I had such a great time. We had beautiful weather (most days) and stayed in a cute house. It was great having a pool you could return to after spending time at the beach as well.

I did try boogie boarding and riding some waves, but I wasn't a fan of being basically beat up by the waves. Oh, and the sand. Yeah, sand is nice, but not all up in your bathing suit. I did, however, enjoy tanning, laying out in the sun, getting some rays, etc. I happily returned nice and tan and sunburn free!

The day after returning from that vacation, I headed off to Cedar Point with my own family! My sister met some friends at the amusement park, while my mom, dad, and I headed to Soak City. I DO NOT do well at amusement parks. My stomach can not handle it AT ALL. I strongly emphasize this fact because it is really bad. Ever hear of Kennywood Park? It's a half hour from my house in Pittsburgh and my school has a picnic there every year. I go, I get sick, vow I'll never do it again, and then end up going the next year. I just don't seem to learn.

Soak City was really fun. I love love love water parks because I never get s
ick. I love the thrill of the slides, especially the enclosed ones! It was a three hour drive to Sandusky and I drove the whole way=) And, I continued to do all the driving while we remained there. However, I allowed my dad to drive us home. I need to do some hardcore texting, and you can't do that while driving of course!

So now I'm finally home after two full weeks of vacation and ironically I feel like I need a vacation from vacation! Just time to relax and unwind and make lists. I love making lists. To be honest, though, I have so much to catch up on because my school insisted on calling me and e-mailing me numerous times throughout my vacation. I was appointed president of this group at our school called Student Ambassadors. I won't bore you with descriptions.

Foodwise, I went to this amazing place called The Thirsty Pony. I had lobster bisque in a sourdough bread bowl. I loved how they put the bread bowl in a bowl and then drenched the bisque overtop, allowing it to get all mushy and gooood. For a dinner I went to a Perkins for the first time. Ehhh. Nothing special at all. I also went to a Denny's for the first time and loved it! They're french toast is awesome and they had nice yogurt and granola. Not to mention some fab pancake options. Also, I hit up the Hard Rock Cafe in DC and got the S.O.B. burger. It was money.

Now I've been dying to tell you guys something. But I think I'll do a separate post because this one is super long. Hint: DC Cupcakes.

So, will I be back to baking? If I am, it'll be slow. I'm a little busy but it should slow down soon. I still have some old posts in my back pocket to use in the meantime. What I can reveal is that I'm actually going to be doing some cooking. Gasp! I know I know, but I have to hold true to my blog title somehow!

Thank you if you were able to make it through this whole recap! Check in soon for some recipes!

CSN post

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
So it's no secret that I'm in love with my ice cream maker. I am so thankful for it and can't wait to continue tryin great new flavors! And I was lucky enough to win a bread maker recently, though it's taken me awhile to get it out of the package... But who can I thank for both of these amazing gifts? CSN stores! You've probably seen and heard about them all across the blog world at this point, but here goes another mention!

In addition to these lovely food related items, they sell things from a vanity to a bar stool, stuff for babies and kids, and a ton of furniture. Of course my favorites are everything they have related to food. Such as a cast iron skillet perhaps? A cast iron skillet seems like a basic everyone should have and I realize I'm lacking by not having one myself. So the lovely CSN store is willing to provide me with one! That's amazing! I hope now I can make some fabulous cornbreads and perfect dutch babies; the possibilities are endless!

Check back in soon to see how it goes when I try it out for the first time!

Fourth of July Cupcakes

Monday, July 5, 2010
Happy belated 4th of July!

My day was spent at the wave pool with my cousins, where we happened to find five dollars at the bottom of the pool! The tricky thing was the fact that the waves were going on as we were trying to catch it. So every time a wave came by the dollar would move and we would get washed over. It was really funny, but slightly aggravating...

We all then headed over to our cousins house for some grub and cupcakes. This was the first time I've baked something not in my own kitchen. It's interesting because you are using all new bowls, measuring equipment, mixers, and an oven that you aren't accustomed to. In the end, the cupcakes turned out wonderful! We were going to divide the batter into three and dye them red, white, and blue in true spirit, but that would have called for more dishes to clean up. Instead, we divided the icing into three and dyed them red, white, and blue. Yeah, I realize this is still using dishes, but it was done at my other aunt's house so the mess was more dispersed.

We left some cupcakes at my one aunt's house and these one's to my other
aunt's house. We were one short of an (almost) perfect flag!

We made these cupcakes especially for my cousin Jeffery. He recently had back surgery so he couldn't spend the day with us. We decided to surprise him and show up with cupcakes. We had a great evening and he said, I quote, "Those cupcakes were AWESOME!!!!!" That is very (unusual) high praise coming from him. We ended the evening with illegal fireworks in the backyard. =) Hehehe.

For the cupcakes I used Martha Stewart's vanilla buttermilk cupcakes with her fluffy vanilla frosting. You can find the recipe HERE. I'm actually completely in love with these cupcakes. I am a purist. I will pick vanilla over chocolate any day and everyday. Most people call me crazy for this, but I find it completely sane. So I have to say I just love these to death.