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!!!!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 2:15 PM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
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!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 9:57 PM
Thursday, November 20, 2008
UH OH! I'M Busted! The Mrs. found out!
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.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 8:35 PM
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!
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.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 8:29 PM
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
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...
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.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 7:32 PM
Sunday, October 19, 2008
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.
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 howtoeatacupcake.net. She has great ideas and is the superwoman of SMBC. I'm hoping to be one of her sidekicks in no time!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 6:24 PM
Saturday, August 30, 2008
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.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 9:46 PM
So, these pics are a couple of weeks old but still worthy of a post. My parents came out from the State of Corn around the middle of August to enjoy the show. We had a great visit with them and got to attend the airshow on Friday and watch it from our deck on Saturday and Sunday. We also got some great glimpses in when we were walking down the street, riding in the car and on public transportation. It's pretty difficult to miss airplines rushing by overhead at mach speed!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 9:42 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I was always a fan of lab in chemistry and biology. I wish I could rewind and go back to the lab to test my skills again. To mix, to waft, to put all things unknown into my crucible and boil and boil. Those were the days. Since I can't go back to school and frankly don't want to, I make my own experiments and they always occur in the kitchen. This weekend, it was an attempt to mix two of my favorite things, cheese and cupcakes. Sound gross? It's not. It's actually quite tasty and simple. Mix up a batch of cupcakes, lemon or vanilla are best. Then mix together ricotta, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Spoon the ricotta over the cake mix and bake. The ricotta sinks to the bottom of the cupcake and provides dense cheesy layer. Dust the cake with a bit of powdered sugar and you have a successful experiment!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 10:50 PM
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
So, after an extended weekend, I will be returning to work tomorrow. That means I will actually have to get up when my alarm goes off instead of rolling over and hitting snooze a bazillion times. It also means I will not have as much time to review my testing materials. While I can be a slacker studier at times, I typically have the best focus in the morning and will miss out on it for the next two days. It also means that I have two more short days to prepare for REG and well, I never feel like I am prepared. I think I could drink myself silly into a red bull high for the next two nights studying like a good little cpa candidate and still feel like a complete retard on Saturday at about noon. Not looking forward to it but will gladly suffer through it if it means it will soon be over! Good night everyone and if you don't hear from me anytime soon, rest assured I will be studying.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 10:06 PM
Monday, August 4, 2008
When I initially set up this blog, I did so because I was in the regular habit of baking frequently. I'm not sure if it is because it is now too hot to turn my oven on for extended periods of time or if I am too concerned with gaining some additional pounds but I haven't baked any cupcakes in (gasp) months! How can it be? Well, when you mix the summer weather with some good old Becker study books, the resulting combination is that there is no baking going on in the Chicago Cupcake lady's kitchen. Reluctantly, I have given up my hobby briefly in order to try to accomplish a personal and professional goal that has been in progress for quite some time and well needs significant attention.
Instead, I will share some of my favorite cupcakes to be purchased in Chicago. In honor of my Birthday, Mr. Cupcake took me to one of my favorites, Sweet Mandy B's. I had a cupcake for breakfast, yellow cake with buttercream frosting, and Mr. Cupcake had a homemade cinnamon roll. We then purchased a red velvet cupcake and chocolate with buttercream cupcakes to enjoy later. The picture below is of the chocolate with buttercream. The good thing is that Mr. Cupcake accepts the cakes from Sweet Mandy as a replacement for mine. Actually, based on his reaction I think he prefers them to mine. So, when I get around to baking again my first culinary goal will be to figure out the recipe behind these things. Trust me, you will be happy that I did when I make them for your next occasion!
Please enjoy the flowers as well and pay no attention to the permarings on my coffee table. I promise we regularly use coasters, it just doesn't look that way.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 6:12 PM
Saturday, August 2, 2008
For those of you who have stuck with me since the inception of this blog despite the length between posts, you may remember that I chronicled the planting of my flowers at the beginning of the summer. Well, I can assure you that I have a green thumb and that the combination of direct sunlight and lots of watering from Mr. Cupcake has allowed these flowers to bloom into beautiful reminders of life and growth.
See the pictures below for transformation from beginning to now:
So, the true point of my post, for those that know me well, is that I too am approaching another year of what I hope is aging gracefully. While I am no where close to being old, I'm also old enough that when I was a kid I thought that being my age meant old. And yes, my body is showing some signs of age that I am NOT going to share with everyone as I don't want to give away all of my secrets.
Let's just say I really enjoy attending the weekly yoga sessions in Millenium Park as it gives me the chance to stretch my body out. That's right picture about 100 people practicing yoga at 8am on Saturday morning in the splendor of downtown Chicago. This morning, we even chanted at the beginning and end of our session all in unison. It is fantastic. It attracts those who have aged gracefully and some that have not but all that are interested in finding a little time for themselves. Thank you Chicago park district for providing the opportunity.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 11:07 AM
Saturday, July 5, 2008
It is an age old American tradition to honor our freedom, the bbq and fireworks, on the 4th of July. Fortunately this year I had the opportunity to witness the most fireworks I have ever seen in my life. The location of our home and the perfect weather for the day afforded the brilliant scene. First, from our living room, we could see multiple shows, probably about 5 at once. Then, I stepped foot onto the deck and could see a few more. As the evening grew from dusk to night time, the Mr. and I grabbed the camera and headed to our building's roof top deck. Who would have thought that a building with 6 floors would have such a great view? The pictures that I am going to display below will not do the scene justice. We literally could see all fireworks shows to the North, West and South for what seemed like a 30 mile radius. It was amazing. Everywhere I looked on the horizon and up close in the city there were fireworks. Here are a few pictures of the sight. Again, no camera can "show" you what I got to see! Mark this fourth down in the memory book for me, as it was spectacular!
It's hard to distinguish a firework from a street lamp in this picture. However, if you look closely at the light bursts, those are all various fireworks that were going off simultaneously.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 8:49 PM
The Mr. and I started our day off early this morning. By 10am we had been to the farmers market, had our morning coffee and retrieved any remaining groceries that we needed for the week from the store. Since I've had a bit more time on my hands lately, I've spent some of that time looking for new ideas for things to cook. So, now you will be able to see the fruits of my search! At the market this morning we picked up green beans, cucumbers, snap peas, zucchini, yellow squash, tart cherries, flat parsley, rosemary and onions. It was a very productive visit to the market. Following our visit, I dug up some of the recipes that I had recently found to cook today. First we started off with a zucchini squash pizza. We modified it slightly by adding some grilled chicken to the mix. We finished our evening dinner with tart cherry crisp. I used my Aunt S's recipe for the cherry fruit filling and the crumbly crisp topping recipe came from one of the magazines I've had the pleasure to enjoy in the past few weeks. Both recipes are keepers that we will be adding to our rotation of things to cook.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 8:34 PM
Friday, July 4, 2008
It's been a few weeks since I've posted...since then we've had family in town, we have our first baby tomatoes on the vine, I've been to Dallas and back, we've seen our friend Sue's new fabulous home, and it's officially SUMMERTIME!
During our family visits we have had the chance to go on an extended eating tour of Chicago. While managing to roll around town, we saw many of the more touristy attractions-the art museum, Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory, Millenium Park and the Bean, Wrigley Field, Navy Pier, the Buckingham Fountain, Soldier Field, Michigan Avenue and the Hancock building. While this list may seem rather long to squeeze into four days, the truth is we hit these attractions and squeezed in some shopping, caught the tail end of the Pride Parade and managed to relax at home. It was Waynie's first visit to Chi-town and we therefore had no choice but to have no restraint!
In other news, our flower and tomato and herb garden are progressing quite splendidly. As I said earlier, we have the first signs of fruit on the tomato plant and I can already taste the fresh red, ripe goodness on my tongue. Nevermind that our garden consists of one pot of basil, one mint and 2 tomato plants. But, when you live an urban lifestyle and your patios are about 30 square feet each, this is an accomplishment. I don't set the bar very high when it comes to gardening-can you tell?
That's about all that has happened at the cupcake house over the past few weeks. I'll be posting something in honor of our freedom in the near future.
This first shot might give you the wrong impression. No, we are not in the Carribean. These crystal blue waters are Lake Michigan ala the John Hancock building.
And this one is self explanatory. Home of Da' Bears!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 10:09 PM
Saturday, June 21, 2008
So, last weekend, when the weather was amazing, we set out to see the sights of Chicago in the eyes of one that does not reside here. Here are some of the sights we took in.... Of course, there is much more to see than what two people can squeeze into a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, so please, stay tuned for more in the future....
Welcome to Chicago!!
We toured Millenium Park, walked along Michigan Avenue, took pictures in the reflection of the bean, and admired the boats in the river.
And, this picture is the view from our deck. On one gorgeous night when we were enjoying mojitos with Greta!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 10:47 AM
Does this work? Can it be done?? Let's try it...
YES! We are successful.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 10:36 AM
Sunday, June 1, 2008
This weekend we visited one of our favorite places in Chicago. I happened to have some of these in my purse.....
And I thought I might need them. Fortunately, for me, I didn't. Even after enjoying the following.....Yes, we went to Hot Doug's. It's been almost a year since we have been here. While it is delicious, it is not the most healthy option for a Saturday lunch and well, it doesn't have the most accomodating hours for our schedule. Alas, we enjoyed a rib-eye (the green chimmichurri draped sausage on the left, blue cheese apple almond chicken and the white encased meat is the Harvey Korman- sundried tomato ala vodka sauce with borato cheese) And if those three weren't enough we gorged ourselves on duck fat fries. The perfect lunch that didn't require the rolaids I always carry in my purse. When you come to Chicago, we'll go to Hot Doug's. You won't regret it, I promise.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 3:32 PM
Monday, May 26, 2008
No, you are not looking at green boobs. And, not those are not upside down green nut cups either. Those are a tool that we have been using to make breakfast for weeks now. They are "poach pods."
After working on trying to perfect a free form poached egg, I gave up and purchased these two handy pods. You boil your water, float the pod, and break your egg in the pod. And wallaa, you have a perfectly poached egg every time. The best part is that for someone with limited storage space at their house, you don't have to purchase an egg poacher. You can utilize the tools that you already have. So, this morning, day three of the great weekend, A made me breakfast with these. Orange coffee, with poached egg and raisin toast! On the deck!
And yes, I am catching up on posts today. I will have more after we finish the cupcakes!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 3:59 PM
So, today we planted our flowers for the season! As usual, we purchased more flowers than we need, so we will have to find an extra place to put the basil and mint. We planted flowers, tomatoes of two varieties, basil and mint. We had decided to forego planting hanging baskets that rest on our railings and use the pots that we already had. That was, until I spotted one of our neighbors gorgeous hanging baskets on their deck. I am jealous and I am a flower whore. So, I'm going to "think" about getting hanging baskets and if I still feel the urge to add to our mini garden in a few weeks, well then, I just might have to. Here's a good idea of what some of our pots look like. We have 5 in total, without planting the basil and mint yet.
In other random events around our household, this is the first time in I seriously don't remember how long that I have not had to work on the weekend. Which, in and of itself is a huge cause for celebration. Nevermind that I worked late enough on Friday night for it to be considered working on the weekend! But alas, not only did I get TWO whole days to do as I please, I actually got THREE! Yes, a whole three days! And two and a half glorious days it has been. It's been great. Saturday we started the weekend with a trip to the farmers market. Our favorite market on Armitage street. With coffee in tow, we strolled the market and picked up some rhubarb and asparagus. We didn't see all of the vendors that were there last year and are hoping that the smaller turn out is due to it still being early in the season! Since we didn't spend as much time at the market as we thought, we decided to take a walk around the surrounding neighborhood. The neighborhood is the only place that I have heard my A say "If I could live anywhere in Chicago it would be here." Unfortunately for him, neither of us make that kind of money! But we can dream. Anyhow, our morning was followed up by flower shopping in the afternoon, a stop at our favorite fruit store, where we scored a case of strawberries for $2. Yes, that is right, $2 for more strawberries than two people can dream to eat. And we ventured back to our old neighborhood to one of its classics, the Paulina Meat Market. There we purchased some baby back ribs to bbq in celebration of Memorial Day! Saturday was chore day for us so we also stopped at Costco. We completed Saturday with some shrimp on the grill!
Sunday morning came and we could finally brew some coffee in our french press. The press has been on the mend for over a week as the glass cylinder broke while being washed. As a part of our chores on Saturday, we picked up a new beaker and some orange coffee to boot!! Sunday morning A treated me to fresh orange coffee and we discussed what we were going to do with our strawberry loot from the day before. A immediately indicated that we must make more cupcakes. And, we all know how I can't resist a cupcake, so check that one on the list. We also decided to eat some strawberries fresh, combine some with the rhubarb into a compote, and freeze some to enjoy at a later date. So, to accompany the compote, I decided to try to make panna cotta. For this creme brulee loving girl, panna cotta was the right answer to enjoy the fresh garden tastes of the weekend. It serves as the perfect base. I researched strawberry cupcake recipes and we decided on two. Then we were off to shop. For those of you who are from Chicago, you can hit us over the head right now because where did we go? That's right, to Michigan Ave. And, yes, it was packed. Packed on the sidewalk but the stores were like ghost towns. We made our rounds on Michigan and headed to State St. as I am in desperate need of a purse, but having a hard time finding something that I want to spend my hard earned dollars on. Plus, I need some shoes to go with the dress that I am wearing (and recycling) to a party this Friday. I weighed my options for purses and A's comments consisted of "Can I buy you a motorcycle to go with that one?" or "Do you have to get black? That is boring." I scouted out a purse my sister and I had in mind for my Mom and his response was "It looks like a picnic basket" I didn't disagree so sorry Mom, but we left that one on the shelf this time. Anyhow, moral of the shopping story is that we came home empty handed. A did return the shirts that he mysteriously ordered in a quadruple extra large, that even he would swim in, but other than that our trip was unfruitful. On the way home, we stopped at the local store for any additional items we needed for the recipes that we researched. What grocery store does not carry cupcake papers? The one three blocks from my house. Clearly, the store manager doesn't know that I have moved into the neighborhood. We will have to change that.
So, that is the recap of our day. We spent the evening drinking wine and enjoying our ribs that had marinated all day!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 3:27 PM
Sunday, May 11, 2008
After mixing the batter and putting the cakes in the oven, lick your heart out...
A tribute to my wonderful mother who taught me everything I know about how to cook and bake. She continuously inspires me to learn more in the kitchen so that someday, my children will appreciate my creativity and delicious meals as much as what I have always looked forward to and enjoyed the time I've spent with my Mom in the kitchen, both eating and learning. I cannot thank her enough.
Happy Mother's Day!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 8:53 PM
Nope, I haven't gotten into an accident and now have some grotesque wound to show off. Quite the contrary, actually.
I introduce you to the liquid version of black and blue. Guinness meets Blue Moon. Yummy! This is actually my husband's favorite. I like to sip something a little lighter and often opt for a mix of Woodchuck Cider and Blue Moon. It kinda reminds me of my traveling days when I was a student in London and often sipped a Snakebite or a Shandy, depending on the pub. Double yum. You should try it.
So, after imbibing in a few cider blues, I decided that the curtains needed to be tied back so that the wind would quit whipping them around. Hmm, what to use, well, that is my belt. Yep, it works like a charm and actually I kind of like it.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 8:37 PM
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I recently found this duvet cover and sham set. I like it! But now, I'm going to take a poll to see who else likes it. I guess I had better tell people about my blog before I expect a response. So, let me know what you think.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 10:47 AM
Saturday, April 19, 2008
My husband took this picture of me a few weeks ago when I was cold. I was drinking some tea and had pulled my hood up for a little extra warmth. He lovingly refers to me as the UNIBLOGGER in this photo. To share his twisted humor and because I enjoyed a few laughs about it too, I thought I would share my new nickname and nemesis with all of you.
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 8:38 PM
Cupcakes happen to be some of my favorite things to bake. I love baking. It is some sort of a strange stress release for me. Really, I just think that it is so different than my day job that it feels incredibly refreshing to do something different. I'm up for trying new recipes. Lately, I've made chocolate with salted carmel frosting and coconut cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting, topped with fresh and toasted coconut. I dream that someday I can open a bakery. I had a friend say recently that she wanted to open a spa. I'll indulge all the customers with cupcakes and help them to gain the weight back that they just shed in their seaweed wrap!
Welcome to my random blog where I do promise to talk about more than just cupcakes and Chicago!
Posted by The Cupcake Lady at 8:26 PM