Archive for September, 2008

Deliciousness

September 29, 2008

Haiku For Cupcakes:
Foul temptress with your
Inviting interior.
Could there be better?

After spilling my heart about my bakery dreams (and thanks everyone for your words and encouragement) I decided to put my mixer where my mouth is.

Well, really it’s my mom’s mixer, because I don’t have a mixer and she has a KitchenAid beauty. I went over to her house on Sunday afternoon to use her big kitchen (compared to mine, anyway) and baking tools. She wasn’t home, because she was off competing in a triathlon in Whitewater. Where she won the GOLD MEDAL in her age group! GO MOM!!!

WD showed me this recipe on Friday. I thought YUMMMMY and thought it didn’t look too difficult. So I decided to attempt it on Sunday. Annie’s Eats blog is full of incredible looking recipes, so check it out!

While there are more components to this recipe than a normal, standard cupcake, none of the steps were very difficult. I, shamefully, don’t make a lot of cakes or cupcakes from scratch. In fact, I don’t think I have ever made anything like that from scratch on my own. It was easy! I find that I overthink some things while baking and underthink others. I’ll mis-measure ingredients even though I think I’m being so careful! Fortunately, I haven’t made mistakes like that in a long time. You can’t rush baking, and once I accepted that, things have been a lot better! This did take me about three hours, from start to finish. And unlike something simple, like cookies, I was working pretty much that whole three hours.

The cupcake base recipe is so delicious. I will definitely use that again. In fact, I’ll probably make this whole thing again. I love the combination. I’m thinking it would be a fun dessert to take to my family’s Thanksgiving celebration or a Halloween Party, especially with a little orange tint to the buttercream.

If you like apple pie, you’ll love these. I had never made apple pie before either, and I was surprised by how easy this filling was. I thought there wouldn’t be enough butter in there to cook all the apples, but it was just fine. I used regular white sugar, but I think brown sugar would work well too. I found I didn’t need it because of the cinnamon. I could only find medium sized apples, and I used four of them. Well, four minus 2 slices, because I ate those.

Of course then I wished I hadn’t, because I ran a little low on the filling. The cupcake batter made 26 cupcakes for me, but I overfilled a couple of those. I probably could have gotten 28 cupcakes out of this. My advice: make more filling than you’ll need. You can always just eat the extra!

These delicious looking puppies are then topped with equally delicious vanilla buttercream. Yes, you may continue drooling. I have a small container of Maple Sugar at home. I think I will sprinkle some of that over the remaining cupcakes.

Oh, and if you have leftover buttercream and/or apple filling, you can do what I did. Put all your carved out “muffin tops” on a plate and eat them with the leftovers! I also recommend taking these leftovers to a peace rally and handing them out to friends as “Muffin-Tops for Peace!”

So yeah, try this recipe. It’s easy and delicious. I’ll leave you with some more impromptu poetry, inspired by the cupcake I just finished.

Ode to Cake and Buttercream:
Alas, with your tender crumb and sweet richness,
You would tempt many a hard-hearted soldier.
Your smooth texture is not only pleasing to the eye,
But heaven on the tongue.
The sugary taste lingers, and develops,
And soon all thoughts have flown from my mind.
Only thinking of cake and buttercream,
I am left in a hazy paradise,
Wanting, yearning for more.

:)

Dreams

September 25, 2008

First off, I’m not going to forget to do this. I was given my second blog award (I am totally lame and forgot to blog about the first one) by Ginesa.

I have to thank her, because if anyone’s blog is encouraging, it’s hers! We found each other, thanks to the internets, and have enjoyed cheering each other on in our weight loss journeys. She is doing GREAT! Not only is she losing weight, but she’s training for a race and doing a kickass job on her runs. Plus she has an adorable daughter who just turned one, and posts pictures often. Yay babies!!

Okay, now that I have remembered to write about that…

I had a dream a couple months ago about a bakery. I’m unclear as to whether I owned it, or was just a customer. It could best be described as a dessert bar. It was decked out in black and pink and had a modern, yet whimsical and a not-too-girly feeling to it. Kind Alice-in-Wonderland-ish. It was in a part of town that was part nightlife/part college area. Although it happened to look just like this street of gay bars that I visited in Thailand.

There were big comfy couches and booths where groups of young adults picked off large trays of gourmet goodies. Fancy versions of youthful desserts like Oreos, Oatmeal Creme Pies, Twinkies, and other treats like cookies and cupcakes. It was like a cafe, where people could come in, hang out, study, work, chat, and eat delicious desserts. Or they could place orders to go. It was cool. And it was open late.

I awoke with the insane urge to open this place.

A couple days after this dream, a coworker talked to me about a thought she had about opening a “Wonka Bar.” She had just seem us perform in “Willy Wonka” and had this idea of opening a bar that served candy-themed drinks. It fit in perfectly with my dessert bar idea. It could be called the “Candy Bar” and could serve all kinds of delicious desserts along with yummy drinks.

Just a couple weeks ago, after dinner with my dad and sister for her 13th birthday, we wanted to go get dessert. I racked my brain for places to get dessert, near downtown. We had just come from a restaurant. We didn’t want to go into another one just to order dessert. Kopp’s custard was far away. We didn’t want to go to a grocery store to get cupcakes and eat them in the car. We settled for gelato from Whole Foods. But eating gelato in a car on the way home was not the perfect way to end the night (though close, because Whole Foods’ gelato is yummy).

I started thinking, does Milwaukee really not have a cool place to go get dessert? Shouldn’t we have one? We have plenty of awesome bakeries, but those require planning and forethought. What if I want to GO OUT for dessert, at 9:00 at night? The closest thing I can think of is at the InterContinental, where you can order up some chocolate truffles or petit fours at $2 a pop. Good, but not quite what I’m looking for.

So now I’ve had this thought, this dream, of opening up a “dessert bar” in Milwaukee. I’m not the best baker, but I would learn. I’m pretty good, and if I had the time, I think I could develop quite a nice talent. But running a bakery? I don’t know… It sounds like a good idea sometimes, but then I think about all the potential problems.

How would I get started? Where would I find money/space? Would I be able to sell stuff? What about equipment? What about health insurance? What about health codes and regulations? What about the potential of financial ruin? What if no one thinks it’s as cool as I do? And so on…

I keep thinking about working towards it, though. Maybe devote my weekends to baking. Learning about it and trying out new recipes. I have a couple friends who own theatres. Maybe they would let me sell some treats on show nights. Maybe I could develop a small following. Maybe I could start a by-order-only business, and then hope for it to grow. Maybe… what if… what about…

I don’t feel like I’m cut out for the 8-5 job that I’m in right now. My creativity is stifeled. I need more. I want more. I deserve more. I wish I could jump into this RIGHT NOW. But I have to step back and think. Maybe I can go to MATC and get my associates business degree. I hear that gives you some good entrepreneurial information, and it wouldn’t take half a lifetime to finish. Maybe in five years, I can really start something. Or maybe in five years I’ll think it’s even more foolish than I do now.

And it’s time for my favorite Disney quote. Belle, from Beauty and the Beast sings,

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere; I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned.”

Weekend Hangover

September 22, 2008

My weekend was a blast. Camping, Packer game, friends, fun, wilderness. Every last moment was filled to the brim with awesomeness. While fantastic, this has thrust me into Monday, completely unready. The past couple weekends have been the same. And next weekend does not look any more relaxing. (Though it will be FUN!)

I have to finish my costume for Clue tonight. Hopefully all the caffeine I’m ingesting will power me through just enough sewing to finish, and then will allow me to crash at the earliest possible moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if I were in bed before 9:00.

Something that has helped me get through this long day of work was winning this contest from the Solestruck blog! And therefore, winning these shoes:

 
HURRAY!!! I never thought I’d actually win. But I thought the shoes were cute, and so I commented to say so. And now, they will be mine! All mine!! <insert evil laugh here>

The only bad thing is that the brand is called Pastry. And now I want a pastry.

Exciting Stuff

September 18, 2008

I am thisclose to getting to go to the Packer game on Sunday. They play the Cowboys. If anything, it should be an exciting game. My coworker’s brother has extra tickets, and I’m getting them, if she can get a hold of him and they’re still left. I’m completely on the edge of my seat about this. I’m trying not to have high hopes, because I got badly burned on some Packer tickets last year. But still, I’m really afraid that I’m going to be disappointed by the end of the day.

And if I’m not? I’ll probably be the happiest girl in the metro area. Even though I’ll pretty much have to eat Ramen Noodles for every meal until my next payday.

David and I are going to see the Brewers play on Wednesday, courtesy of my dad. We will be in the FIRST ROW on the 3rd base side. Hopefully the Brewers can come out of this slump they’ve been in!

I just placed a huge order on Barack Obama’s website. I ordered over 20 of these:

The Obama campaign offices are consistently out of the yard signs, and it was suggested we just order online. In order to make it a little more efficient, and save on costs and energy, I sent out notice to friends and family, asking if they’d like a sign. The response was overwhelming! I also ordered 8 bumper stickers and a couple other items.

There might  be something left over that I can give my youngest sister, as she, at the tender age of 13, likes Obama. It’s cute, and a little surprising since my family rarely talks politics and my parents have voted Republican for the last twenty years. Four years ago, during the Bush vs Kerry race, she decided she liked John Kerry. Where that came from, I have no idea, but that’s what happened. I guess they were doing a mock election to learn about politics in her elementary school, and she made the choice to vote for Kerry. I was shocked, since my parents’ large, prominent yard was host to an equally large, prominent sign for Bush. Her friends parents are mostly republican and so are her friends who, like myself in my teenage years, assume that they have the same views as their parents and choose to copy that. My little sister is so strange, in so many ways, but it’s things like this that give me faith that she’ll grow up to be a strong, healthy, smart person. NOT because she’s a 13-year-old democrat, but because she’s out there, thinking for herself.

And finally, David and I are going camping this weekend! We’re headed to the Kettle Moraine on Friday after work. We both come from major camping families, but this will be the first camping trip either of us have been on in years.  And our first one together. It will be a lot of fun, but it’s a little… interesting. Since we both have done a TON of camping with our families, we have very distinct ideas of what we need and how things should be done. Like his family never used bungee cords, whereas my family would get my dad bungee cords for his birthday! It’s silly little things like that; things that are so ingrained into us, that we can’t help but think that “my way” is the best way. It’s kind of funny when I step back and look at it. We’ve talked about this, and agreed not to kill each other and to just have fun this weekend. It’ll be an adventure, and we’ll be able to just hang out in nature and enjoy each other’s company. I’m so excited for that! Oh, and I’m extra excited to sit in front of a campfire with him while I make myself some s’mores. Only myself, since he doesn’t like s’mores. Who doesn’t like s’mores?!??!!! See what I mean…?

YES!

September 16, 2008

You know you want to

That’s less than two weeks away! Yikes! I should probably finish learning my lines and sewing my costume.

There Goes My Political Career

September 12, 2008

Not like I really wanted one.

As I’ve mentioned on here before, I’m part of The Warped Cast, which is kind of an offshoot of our local Rocky Horror Picture Show cast, Sensual Daydreams. If you’ve never seen Rocky Horror at the Oriental Theater at midnight, it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s called “shadow casting” and it involves a group of people “acting” out a movie while it’s playing on the big screen. Why? I don’t really know. Usually it’s done with ridiculous movies and it’s like a way to act out and mock all the dumb-ass-ery that the movie entails.

The cool thing is that it has introduced me to some crazy people that I now call my friends.


(Yes, I had been drinking.)

In our most recent production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I played the very boring, very lame Mrs. Bucket. While the Rocky Horror group is all about “screen accuracy,” we are more about making sure our audiences just have a great time. There aren’t “call back” lines for these movies like there are for Rocky Horror, so we have to make our own funnies.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the terrible, horrible, boring song “Cheer Up Charlie,” and if you’re not, it’s probably because you’re like 98% of the population who fast-forwarded that part of the movie when you watched it. Needless to say, we couldn’t have two minutes and thirty seconds of awfulness fill the theater during this part of the movie, so we all brainstormed ways to make it better.

It sure was better. Lets just say I did a sort of “special dance” while pretending to sing the song. Audiences went from chanting “fast forward” to cheering. It worked.

It’s on You Tube. I vaguely remember someone saying they recorded it, and I vaguely remember agreeing to allow it to be put on the internets. But today was the first time I thought to look for it, and the first time I saw myself acting a fool. I shook my head in shame, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh.

I’m not going to link it here, but if you’re truly curious, I have given you enough info to find it on your own. But then you can’t blame me for watching it. Okay, it’s really not that bad, and there’s no nudity or anything like that, so get your minds out of the gutter.

And on that note, come see our production of CLUE at midnight on September 26th or 27th.

Road Trip!

September 12, 2008

Today, after work, I’m picking up my little sister and we’re road tripping to Eau Claire to visit my sister Samantha. While I’m not looking forward to the four hour drive, I am looking forward to hanging out with my sisters all weekend!

I’m not sure yet what we’ll do on Saturday. We’ll either go “floating” on the Chippewa River, which apparently is simply floating down the river in an inner tube. If it’s not too cold, that would be really fun. If it is too chilly, we’ll probably go to the Mall of America, as Minneapolis is only a short drive away. That would be so much fun! I’m trying to pass the interminable hours at work by browsing the mall directory. I don’t have that much money to spend, but shopping with my sisters is something I haven’t done in ages. Plus, they have Bloomingdales, which I love.

I’ll never forget my first experience with Bloomingdale’s. My dad took me to New York after my junior year of high school, I think in August of 2002. He was going on a business trip, and I got to go with. I was SO thrilled. He gave me his cell phone, and a map, and set me loose on the city. What an adventure! He had meetings the whole first day, and I was on my own. I saw Jane Curtin in a matinee of Noises Off and bought us tickets to see Phantom of the Opera that night. I stepped foot in my first Sephora, and marvelled in the gloriousness of Times Square.

The next day, we went to Bloomingdales, where I spent 5 hours on ONE of the 9 floors. I tried on so many beautiful clothes, with labels that I had only read about in magazines. My dad was floored by the prices, but I somehow convinced him to buy me a beautiful Anna Sui blouse that ran well over $100. It was incredible. It threw me into a full blown love affair with the Big Apple. Maybe it’s silly to have those kinds of memories tied up in a department store, but I can’t help it. Everytime I think of Bloomingdales, those memories with my dad are not far behind.

I’ll have to find pictures of that trip and talk about all the fun I’ve had in NYC over the years. The shoes, the shopping, the shows… Oh, and can I mention that on that trip I saw Molly Ringwald and John Stamos perform in Cabaret, one of my most favorite musicals? ‘Cause I did. And I saw John Stamos’ butt (he was the Emcee). Yes, it was fantastic (the show and the butt).

Is it 5:00 yet?!

What Is Important

September 11, 2008

On this, the SEVEN year anniversary of the attack that brought down the twin towers, I can’t help but feel a little different. I can’t help but think about what I’m doing and what is truly important to me.

Also, I still can’t think about that day without losing my breath and tears forming in my eyes. I didn’t know anyone who was injured, or worse, that day, but my heart just breaks for those who were, and the families that are still reeling from the events.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget where I was when I found out, or how that day felt. I remember watching the coverage in the evening, sitting alone at the kitchen table, trying to do my math homework. I remember my mom keeping my (then 6-year old) little sister in the den, with the TV on PBS, because they were running the normal after-school cartoons. I remember feeling lucky and grateful that my dad’s flight to New York City was scheduled to leave at around noon that day, rather than the early morning flights he was usually on. I remember crying, a lot.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. If anything can be gained from this, let it be that the empathy and spirit of Americans can continue, and we can save and use the best parts of ourselves from those days. Patriotism is not liberal or conservative and neither is compassion. It’s human.

Confronted with our mortality, what is important to us? If we were to die tomorrow, would we be happy with what we’ve done and what we have?

I know that I am not ready to leave this earth. I still have a lot of life to live and a lot to figure out, but I do know that I feel confident in what I’m trying to do and where my priorities are.

  1. Love
    It wasn’t hard for me to realize that love is the single most important thing to me. And because of this, I am SO happy and SO grateful that I have the most amazing person to love, and to love me back. As long as I have that, life can never be too terrible.
  2. Family
    My family is extremely important to me. I’m so happy that we’re all so close. As I grow, I feel their love and support behind me even more. I’m not totally and completely 100% sold on having a family of my own. But I think I will, and the idea really excites me.
  3. Career
    Here’s where I’m stuck. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I was foolish for not finishing college when the opportunity was practically handed to me on a silver platter. As a result, I sometimes feel hopeless. I have a good, steady job that pays the bills, but it’s not where I see myself forever. But I don’t know where I see myself forever. I love theater, but am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I’m just not good enough to make a living of it out there. That hurts, but I have to be honest and realistic. I love photography and I love baking, but I don’t think I know enough about either to run with the idea at this point in time. Going back to school for a degree in business would be the easiest option, but all I can do with that degree would be to hope to end up somewhere, and doing something, that I love. At 23, I know I have plenty of time to figure things out, but I’m frustrated in not having any great ideas at the moment.
  4. Money
    Let’s face it, money is important to most people. I can’t live without money. I would like to have more money. I would like to be able to pay off my debt and go to college and travel and have a wedding and a house and kids… but I would not trade money for any of the first three items on my list, and especially not the first two. As long as I have those, I know I’ll be okay.
  5. Cake
    While not a traditional basic need, as long as there is cake in this world, there is good in this world. I speak the truth.

If anything else is gained from the memory of this date, I hope it is that everyone can be reminded of what really matters.

Retail Therapy

September 10, 2008

I was a mess by the time I left work yesterday. I was tired and cranky and stressed out. David and I stopped by Target after work to pick up a birthday present for my little sister, who turns 13 TODAY!!! David was nice enough to be patient while I looked through clothing (and found NOTHING worth trying on) and shoes. Oh, shoes.

It’s been a while since I’ve bought Target shoes, because the quality is really not there. Sometimes they look nice, but they’re either uncomfortable or unflattering once they’re on your feet. I have big feet, and when a shoe can make it look small and dainty, I will pull out my credit card on the spot. There were several shoes I tried on that made my feet look like elephant hooves. UGH.

I’ve been digging the menswear trend that’s been around for a while, especially in shoes. I never thought I’d find something worthy at Target. But I did! I walked around in these shoes for a while. I’m not 100% sure I’ll keep them, because they’re not the most comfortable, but for now, I own them. And buying shoes is the best cure to a bad day. Oh, and when you add shoe-buying to a hot Caramel Macchiato and an evening on the couch watching Heroes while cuddled up with your fiance… well then you have a mood-enhancing combination strong enough to make you face the next day.

So, they’re not really all that practical, but I can’t help but like them. They were only $30, and that might be worth it to keep them. Plus, they’d be perfect for a potential Halloween costume.

Can’t Stop Eating

September 9, 2008

Ever have one of those days where you just never feel full? I’m having that right now. My tuna-with-lettuce lunch did not sound good to me. So instead I have consumed half a bag of cheese curds and the better part of a package of Anna’s Ginger Thins. I suppose, of all the things I could be stuffing my face with, these aren’t the worst items. But if moderation is key, then I just lost it.

I don’t know what is up with me today. I’m trying not to get too upset or beat myself up over it. Especially considering I’m restarting my South Beach diet and going back on Phase One on Monday. I let the summer get the best of me and I haven’t lost a pound in about a month. Time to change that. One day of overeating is not going to ruin me forever, but this binge session was a little frightening. It doesn’t help that work just got CRAZY this afternoon. Seriously, there’s about 15 times more stuff in our inbox right now than any other average afternoon. WTF?

Hopefully I will soon experience one of those days where I’m just not hungry at all. Because this is downright annoying. Or maybe that’s “was” annoying. I think writing about it helped me out. I just looked at my cheese curds and wanted to barf. There’s a pretty combination.


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