Sunday, April 19, 2009

Holidays in Review

Since I've not been very good about blogging recently, I left out a few of the major things that I have made for the past few holidays. I do have to say that the green river and the festivities of Chicago were much missed this year. I had a hard time finding anything St. Pat's related in my new home and thankfully still had some green sprinkles leftover to decorate my cupcakes!
So, here's a pictorial review of the past few holidays. Note, there is nothing for Valentines Day as I was flying through the sky on my way home from Korea at the time....

First up, and most recently, we were invited over to my BIL's Parents for Easter. I couldn't decide what to bring but was assigned dessert. After much deliberation, I settled on lemon bars and a Spring Fling cake. I failed to take pictures of the lemon bars but here is the Spring Fling cake. This picture was post glaze on the fruit....
From Easter

And this is pre-glaze. Yes, I am aware that the frosting job looks rather messy. One is not supposed to frost the side of this cake. I made a half attempt at trying to with the extra frosting I had. In retrospect, probably not a good move. But oh well.
From Easter

So, like I said, no lemon bar pictures, but here is one more shot of the cutie cake pops that I made....
From Easter

Continuing backward in the holiday tour, we have to make an un-holiday pit stop. We were invited to a fish fry sometime in March and were asked to bring dessert. Hmm, are you noticing a trend here? In response, I whipped together the Hershey chocolate cupcakes. We and I say we because my husband who is quite creative decided he wanted in on the decorating fun, frosted the wonderful chocolate cupcakes with chocolate dream-whip frosting and with vanilla buttercream. Of course, we only have shots of half of what we made, so here are the chocolate frosted cupcakes.
From Easter

Going back to oh, the 17th of March, for St. Patrick's Day, and to finish the un-celebrated culinary holidays on my blog, I bring you chocolate cupcakes with Bailey's Irish cream frosting...

From Easter

And, for those that maybe cannot have any liquor, I also whipped up some of the cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting. Much to my dismay, the stores here don't really think anyone celebrates St. Patty's day, so I have some very boring sprinkles on top to set the mood!

A SUPER DUPER close up:
From Easter

And, a few more with my unread pile of mail.
From Easter

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter to everyone!!

Once again, it has been a long time since I have updated my blog. I don't know why, I just haven't. However, a couple of my latest projects are too cute to not share.

From easter_baking

I got the idea from Bakerella and then put some of my own twists into the mix. These are cake. Yes, there is cake underneath all of that cuteness. Each and every one is entirely edible. And, according to my side kick, they taste good too! Bunnies, carrots and chicks. The definition of Spring!! At least to me.

From easter_baking

While I haven't updated my blog, I've still been baking away. I wish I could harness the energy and focus that I have for all things creative into taking a certain pesky test that I am still trying to pass. I know that if I could find a way to channel that energy my chances of passing would be much greater!
This is the inside of the cake pop. I used cherry chip cake cause that is what I had around the house. They are suprisingly moist.

From easter_baking

The cutest little bunny behinds!
From easter_baking

Don't you just want to squeeze this little cutie!
From easter_baking

I am blinded by the carrot!
From easter_baking

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Korean Impressions

I have not kept a daily journal on this trip to Seoul Korea like I did when I went to Russia. I have however collected my thoughts and reactions to what I have experienced here. I’ll cover as many as I can here:

Soju-This is a traditional Korean alcohol, that has a high alcohol content, somewhere in the 20%+ range. But it is smooth and goes great in a Hite or Max, 2 of the local beers in Seoul. I am bringing some home. The best part about it, it is SOOO cheap. A bottle costs less than $1USD. And no, that amount is not a typo nor is it missing a zero. Cheapest hang over I’ll ever get.

Heated toilet seats-this is something that the US should adopt. That’s right, sitting down to use the toilet and instead of being greeted by a freezing cold seat, there is a nicely warm but not too hot seat to rest your bum on. Makes me want to hang out in the bathroom for much longer than I should!

Fog-Out of the 13 days I was here, 12 of them were foggy and the one that wasn’t foggy was rainy. Pouring actually. I didn’t expect that.

Service-Service here is phenomenal. Everyone is very friendly and even if they cannot speak English, they will still attempt to help you.

Kimchi-Every meal has kimchi. That’s right, kimchi for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kimchi is pickled cabbage I think. I’m not sure to tell you the truth but whatever it is it is pickled and then steeped in chili paste.

Coffee, Not Tea- I was expecting tea to be the drink of choice and I was excited because I am a lover of tea. Not so much. Coffee is on every corner and is the standard for the working crowd.

Meal Sides- As I said above, kimchi comes with every meal. Along with kimchi there are typically other sides, sometimes it is bean sprouts with chili sauce, sometimes it is radish with chili sauce. The constant is chili sauce. I had an interesting “kimchi” offering while I was here. I ordered pasta one night (yes, I ordered Italian in Korea) and as a side to go along with my olive oil and basil pasta I got bread and butter pickle slices. Strange combo.

Markets-The markets have everything from bottled ginseng, to dried fish, and any knick knack that you can think of. You could get lost at them for hours or find every random treasure that your heart desires.

Boxing Gloves on Motorcycles-Scooters and motorcycles are pretty common here and they all come affixed with gigantic gloves on the handlebars that resemble boxing gloves. I haven’t quite figured out what they are used for; warmth? Maybe. Protection? Maybe. To look tough? Maybe. They make me giggle every time I see them.

Reversing-Have you ever driven down a highway in the US and seen someone reversing down the shoulder of the road? Have you ever said to yourself what a dumbass, I hope they get hit? Well, I have found myself saying that when I see someone reversing down the shoulder as I’m driving 60 to 70 mph past them. I’ve also always found myself asking why one would ever put themselves at risk like that. Well, I’m not so proud to say that yesterday, while I was a PASSENGER in a car, a van actually, the driver missed the exit. Instead of proceeding to the next exit and turning around, what does he do? Pulls over to the shoulder and puts the van in reverse. Oh my God, one of my worst fears come true (and there wasn’t anything I could do).

Hazard Lights- Hazard lights are seldom used at home. Maybe you pop them on if you pull over into a fire zone to go grab a coffee or your dry cleaning just to let the next person know that you don’t plan to be there long. In my various rides around the greater Seoul area, I learned that hazards are used in another form here. When one slams on his/her brakes he/she subsequently turns on the hazard lights of the car to warn the cars behind him/her of the impending slow down and/or stop. I’ve never thought about using my hazards that way!

Mandu- And this is my own theory but so far has held true: when one wants to consume a mandu, which is sort of like a dumpling, the pinched mandu are savory and those that are smooth or unpinched are sweet-with bean paste in them. I couldn’t find a Korean to verify this theory for me but it held true for every mandu that I ate.

Juice-Aloe cures sunburns and is quite soothing. Did you know that it is a delicious juice too? I’m hooked and can’t wait to find some at home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Moon Crater

I along with the help of my Aunt L last night made homemade peppermint marshmallows. They were amazingly beautiful and had a wonderful texture. All we had to do was let them sit overnight and cut them today. This morning, they still looked just as amazing. I was so proud of myself and so excited that I made homemade marshmallows. Aunt L wanted to take some to one of her co-workers so we cut a few and admired our handi work. We decided to cut the rest this evening as they were quite sticky and we both needed to head to work. So, we decided that since Colorado is fairly dry, we should cover them to avoid them losing their marshmallowy puff. Unfortunately for us, we hadn't had enough coffee yet and we pulled out the saran wrap to cover them. Unfortunately for them, they are no longer beautiful marshmallows but resemble an elementary school experiment to replicate the surface of the moon. OOOPS!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's about time...

For me to get some updates on here.
First off, I was in Russia for a few weeks in November. It was an experience. I would go back, I just would want to stay in Moscow the WHOLE and I repeat the WHOLE time. And I'm not talking 10 or 15km outside of Moscow, in Moscow within walking distance of Red Square. I had a great time. I (gasP) purchased a silver fox fur hat that is incredibly warm. I drank the Russian standard vodka. I visited Red Square, St. Basil's, the Kremlin, went to the Izmaylov markets and got lost on the metro many times (darn cryllic alphabet). I ate some of the worst food I've had in my life. I frequently got yelled at for not giving exact change. And, I rode in a Russian lada.
I saw the most beautiful metro stations I've ever seen. They have mosaics and chandeliers in them. They also have the longest escalators I've ever seen since they were originally intended to double as bomb shelters.
I toured the history museum, drank a lot of coffee to stay warm and managed to catch a cold. All in all, it was a good trip! Here are some of the photos from my trip.....

This is a Russian Lada..however, this is not the one I rode in. The last thing I would want in Russia is to ride in this thing (and not because it is a Lada but because of what is printed on the side of it)
This is Red Square ..They were putting up an ice rink here-the blue on the right. The pic is facing the history museum with the wall of the Kremlin on the left and one of the Kremlin towers with the Red star on the left too.
This is one of the metro stations. Can you say museum quality?

This is quite possibly one of the worst things I've ever eaten, especially after 4 days of hardly any food. Please note the poppy seeds and I repeat poppy seeds on this traditional Russian sweet (gag). I should point out that it is not the poppy seeds that make it awful. It's the raisny creme junk combined with the fluffyish cake like substance when the packaging had a chocolate square and a butter cookie on the front. I call farce, MAJOR farce.

This is the history museum again. Just had to show you that the sun was out for at least a few hours of the trip.And, this is St. Basil's at night. Beautiful. It sits on the opposing side of the history museum in Red Square.

So, there will be no second in this post as it is long enough already. But I will post more, I have a lot to catch up on!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In Search Of: The Russian Cupcake (Pt. 3)

UH OH! I'M Busted! The Mrs. found out!

-Mr. Cupcake

I’ve learned that my blog has been hijacked, so you will be able to see these there, but not quite as timely. I am doing well and I hope that you all are too. I’m already looking forward to coming home :) Love you all!

Day 3 evening

We had our first good meal tonight. By Russian standards, we went to a fancy restaurant, a steakhouse. I have to admit that this was the first decent meal that I’ve had since being in Russia. Everything worked out quite well. The ride in to the restaurant was about 25 minutes as we were heading into the city against traffic. We ate, drank and truly enjoyed each other’s company. We had a bit of confusion as our waiter did not speak Russian, but using hand gestures, we worked it out quite well. We weren’t quite ready for our taxi cab and apparently as we found out today from the Accounting Manager, they were running late too. They had called her because they were running late so she was very concerned this morning that everything went smoothly. Little does she know that this is the smoothest anything has gone for us since we have arrived.

[Read More...]

In Search Of: The Russian Cupcake (Pt. 2)

Mr. Cupcake here... I have moved the main posts of the 'In Search Of' series to my new blog. So when you click the 'Read More' link, you will be redirected to the full post on my Blog. Day 2 is by far the funniest... Enjoy!

-Mr. Cupcake

Rest of Day 2-Monday November 11

So, today at work went fine. I talked to one of the payroll ladies and while it was somewhat difficult to understand her we made due. We later learned that the head guy here, who sounds like he is from Texas, has lived here for the past 14 years and speaks perfect Russian. I would have never guessed.

Alex, our interpreter/resource, recommended a few restaurants for us to try and a larger grocery store for us to shop at. So, off we went. It was about a 15 minute walk to the Ichiban. Yes, you read correctly, Ichiban. Apparently, sushi is very popular here, so we thought we’d give it a try. It was eh. Not horrible but not fantastic either. It certainly didn’t come anywhere close to my favorite or any of my favorites for that matter. And I don’t have a desire to go back. The more interesting part about the afternoon and dinner was that we were joined by another co-worker who is not in our group but works for the company and works on some of the same type of things. Her name is Dagmar and she is German. As one of my co-worker started to say tonight “so there are four americans here and people always think that the reputation of americans are spoiled, loud and ungracious” and I finished it with “until you met a German.” Which isn’t what he was going to say but was a perfect ending.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Search Of: The Russian Cupcake (Pt. 1)

Mrs. Cupcake is currently in Moscow, Russia for her new gig. So Mr. Cupcake (that would be ME) has decided to share the hilarious emails I've been getting from the Mrs. since they seem to revolve around food and electrical fires... I hope you enjoy the following as much as I did...

-Mr. Cupcake

We are currently staying in an apartment that is attached to the same building that the office is in, so we are avoiding any kind of cold walk early in the morning, which is just fine with me. :) We will be staying in the apartments the first 10 days that we are here and then will be moving to a Marriott that is downtown Moscow.

We went out yesterday after we arrived to pick up a few groceries and get something to eat. The 'store” we thought was the grocery store, was actually a health club. English is hardly spoken by anyone. We did not encounter anyone who spoke English until we arrived at the office this morning-which made yesterday even more interesting.

[Read More...]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

In Pursuit of ....

I'll let you fill in the blank but perfection wasn't what I was thinking. I tried for the first time today a new kind of frosting-swiss meringue buttercream. It is fabulous. Silky smooth, not too sweet and easy to pipe on cupcakes. Today's flavor was chocolate and the frosting was vanilla, with sprinkles.

I'm just practicing for my Dad's birthday which is coming up VERY soon. I will see him shortly after his B-Day and will be able to bake some treats for him. His choice, of course.

And, I'm trying to clean out my pantry. We are in the process of moving. Moving so far away that the title of my blog just might need to change. I've already received some suggestions for the new name: MileHigh, Rocky Mountain (thankfully Trot was not a suggestion for this particular change)!!!
I did get to develop this week's creation in some new clothes. My Mother In Law fabricated an awesome new apron for me. As my husband will attest and probably pleaded with my MIL to make me an apron, I am M-E-S-S-Y in the kitchen when I bake, with capital letters. So, I now have a new apron to sport to protect my well not so fabulous weekend duds.

I used the Martha Stewart one bowl chocolate cupcakes for this recipe, in case you are interested. The recipe is very easy to make and turns out quite runny. I quickly jumped back onto the internet after mixing the batter to see if anyone else shared the same sentiments as me. Turns out, it is a common thought but does not hinder the texture or flavor of the cupcakes.

Now, I need to concentrate on yet another section of the exam and filling my mouth full of tasty food from Chicago that is well, hard to get when you live 1200 miles away.

One last final note, I owe my newfound frosting talents to She has great ideas and is the superwoman of SMBC. I'm hoping to be one of her sidekicks in no time!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"These are your best yet!"

I heard those words today from a rather tall man that I know quite well. Nevermind that his mouth was full of vanilla cupcake and chocolate frosting! That's right, I finally baked more cupcakes and started to work on perfecting frosting as this seems to be my weak area. Tonight I started off with a white cake which included pudding and a little bit of sprite. The combo of the two really makes for a great textured cake with a nice crumb. Then I decided I would mix up a batch of chocolate and regular buttercream frosting. But, after mixing the chocolate, I realized that I had enough to generously cover all of the cakes, so I decided that one kind was enough.