It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I’ve updated and a lot has gone down, but at the same time not a lot has changed. So this is basically the last 4-ish months…aka a photo dump

I rang in the new year with my fave vintage elephant belt (and took an insanely stereotypical girl-in-a-bathroom-cell-phone-selfie).

Exhibit A:
IMG_1379I know what you’re thinking – SEXY tampon dispenser back there. Oh yes, I went there.

Oh, and this guy was there, too. Actually he was tending bar that evening, so I had a late-night gym date and then made my way over to the bar just before midnight. It only took a random stranger 5 tries to get this photo.

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Homemade NYE brunch is actually worth sharing. Baked cinnamon sugar french toast, made with Challah.

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Photos from my Instagram 

 

Part of my meal at Miso Izakaya. Unfortunately, Joe liked it more than I did. Insane decor in there, though. Definitely worth a second try.

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And here’s an ugly, unedited version Joe’s birthday cake. Funfetti…because he’s still a kid at heart…

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Also from my Instagram, a photo of sweet potato, goat cheese, and serrano chili ravioli. Yes, I hand-rolled pasta dough. No, I never thought that would ever happen. If you’re interested, the recipe came from here.


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OMG have you tried this?!? Amazeballs.

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Annnd another Instagram collage, this time of bacon cheddar scones. Made on a morning when I didn’t feel like schlepping the 3 whole blocks to Octane/Little Tart to get one.

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And finally, the snarkiest little post-it notes. I cannot get enough of them.


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Unpictured:

I am neck-deep in my law school application cycle. I’m still waiting on a few admissions decisions, but I’m trying to keep relaxed about it. Although, I would really like to know where we’ll be living in 5.5 months (so I can, you know, buy tickets for the Justin Timberlake/Jay Z tour…priorities).

 

 

Fall Wish List

Well, the bare table didn’t last long -

My mirrors might still be on the floor (mega fail) but the tablescape is coming together AND Joe adjusted the water heater so now I get my super hot showers (AND no more goosebumps while showering – YES).

And onto my fall/winter wish list:

  • I just cannot stop thinking about these boots. Or these and these. Pretty obsessed.
  • Just about everything from paper-source.com. I’m 90% sure that if I had an unlimited amount of free time I’d make handmade stationary on the reg. It’s just such classic and personal touch.
  • Getting back to CrossFit. I know that in the grand scheme of things taking some time away is best for my wallet (especially as I’m trying to save as much as possible), but I really do miss it.
  • I’m desperately curious to try my hand at these Bacon-Chocolate Cupcakes.
  • Wonderful cold-weather accessories, like this scarf and a snood? Whatever it is, it looks so cozy!
  • Art prints to decorate our place with. Such a priority, as the mirrors are still on the floor and all.

In other news I got my LSAT score back. I think I did well — not reward-myself-with-Yurman well, but enough to get into some good schools! In fact, I got a full-ride scholarship offer in my inbox via the LSAC’s Candidate Referral Service. It’s not a school that I would consider attending (for several reasons), but it’s always nice to have that Ego Boost.

Bones

If you ignore the broken-down boxes in the background, you’ll see that the bones of this place have officially been assembled.

Including a great (and my first, ever) dining room table. 

Although, you can see the mirrors are still not hung. Whomps.

Another thing – I have seriously been failing regarding decorating for fall/Halloween. Might as well hold out until Christmas at this point! I see a bunch of crafty and well-designed pieces that I really love…but either my craft-skill-level falls harrowingly short or it’s much too expensive.

UNfortunately the only decor decisions that Joe doesn’t let me make completely unilaterally are 1. bedding (and good god do we need new bedding- teething puppy + rogue permanent marker = we need new bedding) and 2. table top.
It really wouldn’t be too bad if everything I picked out wasn’t immediately deemed “too girly” (and it’s not like I have an uber-feminine aesthetic, either!)
It’s gotten to the point that I’ve threatened to have certain items “just appear”…which he has countered with “well, they might just DISappear”.

This is a cold war of sorts.

One major WIN for decorating our new place: I’ve finally framed a photo print that I modeled for during my freshman year of college for a friend’s art final.

She gave me a copy and it’s been sitting, unframed, for nearly 4 full years. It finally has a frame and I can’t wait to get the mirrors up so I can start playing around with some different configurations.

Final thought  - Lemon Sugar Cookies.

I’m Coming Back

It’s been a rough few months for me, but I finally feel like things are settling back to normal.

In no particular order, some interesting/big things that have happened since my last post:

1. I finally did an unassisted pull up. And then some more.

2. We moved almost a whole month ago to a great new place, I’m totally in love with it and I can’t wait to see how bad I am at decorating it (but it sure will be fun to at least try!)

3. May really sucked. My father passed away on May 14. We were estranged, and he was sick for a really long time, but it was still rough.

4. I’m more excited than ever to go back to school, and will hopefully attend the law school of my dreams this time next year.

5. Three words: Cable and Internet. CABLE. I can’t express how much I love having HBO.

See that? That’s a wonderful boyfriend right there.

Now that I’m back this blog will probably start to shift focus from food-centric to more of a lifestyle blog. I’m excited to start this again, and to keep moving forward.

What I’ve been up to

This is what I’ve been up to for the past two weeks

1. Making glitter loafers a regular part of my wardrobe. 

Please excuse the ugly dancer feet. Anyway, I scored these wonderful Pour La Victoire navy blue glitter loafers off of Amazon.com for less than $40 (including shipping) down from their original price of over $150. Yes, I’ll take the applause for being such a great shopper.
Two pairs of PLV shoes–let’s call it a growing collection…Especially because I’m already eyeing these (WOAH! To the price tag, I’ll wait until they hit the ‘zon… Broke post-grad problems.

2. Hanging out with this guy

Too bad that lil rascal also did this:
It’s true, that’s my beloved Moleskine torn to pieces. Luckily, the calendar part is mostly intact and I’m going to roll with it for the time being. There is almost nothing I dislike more than switching calendars/planners midway through the year. Serious nerdgirl pet peeve.

3. Picking up MY car. Obviously, it’s a “downgrade” from the super fancy CC that I was given as a loaner (because that loaner was worth more than twice what my car cost), but it’s MINE.

And then, not even 48 hours later, my dealer-issued, temporary license plate was stolen from my gated, manned apartment complex parking garage…2 spaces away from the security camera overhead. Yup, I’ve become that ghetto person with a paper “TAG APPLIED FOR” car zipping around the city. Worst of all, because of certain laws in Georgia I’m basically a sitting duck and can get pulled over…you know, whenever. In that case I’ll have to prove I lawfully own the car and explain the situation. Oh, and my complex has done not a damn thing. Not even pulled up the security video footage. RUDE.

4. I also got 4 stitches (my first stitches, ever) because I’m an idiot and hurt myself at CrossFit. I’ll spare you the photos, but let’s just say I learned that you should never fight your body’s instincts …especially, for example, when you hit the box during a box jump. Ouch.

5. I have watched a minimum of 6 episodes of law and order reruns tonight via the interwebs.

6. I start my LSAT prep class tomorrow, which means…well I don’t really know what it means, but I know it’s on my alma mater’s campus….about 600 feet from where I used to live. Can I just BE in grad school already?

Anyway, over and out.

The Luck…of Hard Work

I may not have had any green beer, car bombs, or anything else particularly Irish to commemorate St. Patty’s day.

I did, however, buy my first car. And that’s pretty cool…I guess that hard work pays off…
So I made some classic vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

I’d say that’s a good St. Patty’s day…

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Today I left work early cause my dad is back in the hospital.

We’re not close, but still.

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Having given up all sweets for Lent, the past few days have been really difficult because typically when I find out he’s back in the hospital I dive headfirst into some heavy duty baking and/or frosting-out-of-a-can eating. 

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Come back to me…Dealing with complicated emotions without that lil crutch is even more uncomfortable than the flipping emotions. Anyway, the point is that I’m all kinds of emotional–except sad–and Crossfit’s gonna kick my butt tomorrow. But, I’m okay with that because if I’m focusing on just plain surviving I won’t be thinking about the important question “5th heart attack? Or 2nd stroke?”

Bob Harper, please don’t hate me. 

S’mores Cupcakes, Round Two

Do you know when I made these?

Superbowl weekend.

Do you know why I haven’t hit “publish”? Um…let’s say I’m less than perfect.

Cheers to that.

Anyway, I’d previously made S’mores cupcakes with the same graham cracker cake, but then just layered melted chocolate and swirled marshmallow fluff on top. This time, however, I wanted to up the ante.

Graham Cracker Cupcakes
originally from Bon Appetite
makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup. butter
3/4 cup sugar (I used brown, but the original recipe calls for white)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup milk

Ganache Filling
2 oz. of dark chocolate
1/4 cup milk (technically you’re supposed to use heavy cream, but milk worked fine for me for this purpose)
1 tbsp. powdered sugar

Marshmallow Buttercream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 jar marshmallow fluff
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar


How It’s Done:
Cupcakes: 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cupcake pan.

2. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In another (smaller) bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, and baking powder, then set aside.

3. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Slowly add in the dry mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, until the dry mixture is fully incorporated.

5. Beat in the vanilla and milk.

6. Bake for 22 mins, approximately. Mine took 22 exactly to be perfect, but you might be different.

Ganache

1. Melt chocolate, stir in the heavy cream/milk.

2. Add the powdered sugar and place in the fridge to get a little thicker. You could also use an ice-bath, but whatever.

Marshmallow Buttercream

I’m not going to lie…this buttercream gave me a lot of problems…In the end it tasted great, but I was not at all happy with it. I would absolutely not try it again, however. I’d definitely just spend the extra time and make the marshmallow meringue instead.

2011 Goals: A late review

In June 2011 I posted this in a page at the top of my blog:

Goals for the Rest of 2011

Let’s review, shall we?

Focus on nutrition and curbing my crazy sweet tooth to a manageable extent– While I still love, love, love my sweets I’m becoming more mindful of what I put into my body & the effect it has on the performance I’m able to get out of it. Funny how simple it sounds, yet how complex it is to put into practic.

Find gainful employment accomplished, clearly

Pitch an article to a print magazine (local or national) – this hasn’t happened, but I’m working on a few ideas.

Be Marathon ready by 2012 **removed because I’ve changed my mind.

Bake something (at least) once-a-week – Yeah, this definitely hasn’t happened, but I have continued to experiment in the kitchen with sweet treats and real food alike. Thankfully, I’m no longer burn-the-house-down bad…more like…amateur hour decent…right…

Workout 5 times per week—focusing on lifting 2 times per week – obviously my favorite & most easily kept goal.

Go to Harry Potter World – BIG FAT FAIL :(

Half Marathon PR while 2:02:17 is still a good 27 minutes faster than my first half, I’m still gunning for that sub-2…and who knows…maybe sub 1:50? I could get used to massive PRs….

Coffee & Doughnuts Cake

So, basically I’m still playing catch up. Apologies.

In the last month I’ve gotten a dog with the Boyfriend and started Crossfit (I still love it, FYI). So, yes I’ve been busy and distracted. Then, last week, I was given (well…I asked for it…but it still counts) a promotion at work. Which has no extra money, but a lot of extra work and job duties. So, that was logical. Regardless I’m really happy with my decision to ask for the position and get more exposure into the career that I want.

Nearly a month ago the Boyfriend and I brought Porter the Dog home. But just three days before that I made him the best birthday cake he’s ever had.

A food photographer, I am not. And the dear, old iPhone is still my method of capturing life. But I still know it was the best birthday cake he’s ever had.
How do I know? He told me, of course.

The cake was supposed to be a complete surprise, but uhhh….that whole not-having-a-car thing put the ka-bosh on that one.

I was originally inspired by the Boyfriend’s new fancy espresso machine and this post from one of my most favorite bloggers. But, of course, I don’t have a mini doughnut pan (or any doughnut pan for that matter. Wah), so I improvised with Krispy Kreme chocolate glazed doughnuts.

The cake recipe is a very basic cake recipe that I’ve had written in a notebook for a while, I mixed around the liquid ratios to account for the large amount of coffee I wanted to include to make sure the “coffee and doughnuts” theme got across. The mocha buttercream is my favorite chocolate buttercream subbing coffee for the milk I’d normally use.

The entire cake took about 5 hours to bake, chill, assemble, and present to Mr. Birthday Boyfriend.

For the Cake:
makes a 4 layer 6-inch cake, as well as 3 cupcakes or two 8 inch layers

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup hot coffee
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract

How It’s Done:

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and spray your cake pans with non-stick spray and parchment paper rounds at the bottom of the pans (and dust in cocoa powder if you really want to get fancy)

2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.

3. In a stand mixer (or just with a hand mixer or a regular whisk if you really want to go old school), mix together the applesauce, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy (or as fluffy as the applesauce can get).

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients in, alternating with the milk 1/4 cup at a time.

5. Add the hot coffee and vanilla extract to the mix.

6. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each egg.

7. Divide evenly between your pans (I got to use my newly inherited–read: ancient–kitchen scale for the first time!) and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

For the Mocha Frosting:

3 sticks of butter, softened at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. coffee

How It’s Done:

1. Beat the room-temperature butter in a stand mixer until fluffy and light.

2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. I like to do this 1/2 cup at a time.

3. Add in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract.

4. Add in the coffee 1 tbsp. at a time, checking for consistency (aka if you need a thinner/thicker frosting, now’s the time to increase/lessen the liquid)

5. Fill and ice that darn cake.