Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gates Pond (nature walk)

Ok, it's been a while since I have posted any snapshots....and this weekend I (finally) got out to explore my new neighborhood.  I took a walk on the trail around Gates Pond, the reservoir that supplies Hudson's drinking water supply.  It was a blue sky breeezy day, and perfect.  Here are some pictures I took....

A 30th birthday cupcake!

So, it's been a few weeks since I posted (and baked!) and I wanted to catch up.  My posts have been mainly baked goods, so before you think that all I do is bake and eat sweets, I AM going to post pictures today too!  I hadn't snapped many pics lately, and this weekend I took a stroll around the local reservoir and experimented a bit with my trusty image catcher! 

But first - sweet deliciousness!  My sis-in-law (to be) turned 30 last weekend, and while she and my brother were away attending their first (of many) wedding of the season, I was the puppy-sitter for my adorable, furry, four-legged nephew. We walked, played, got into mischeif, and I managed to fit in some baking for them to come home to. 

I channeled my Great Grammy Conlon for this one. I used her from-scratch chocolate cake recipe.  Now Gram passed when I was a senior in high school, and at her services, the relatives made sure that everyone got a copy of Gram's chocolate cake recipe.  That's the thing in my family - recipes are our memories. Memories of cooking in someone's kitchen, laughing, getting flour everywhere.  Yeah, it sounds like a Lifetime movie, but these are our memories. See, my mom can sew and cook like no one's business, and my grandmother is an amazing craftwoman with a pair of knitting needles.  I feel badly that I never perfected either of these crafts.  Then a cousin said something to me - "Gram would be proud of you, you know? Keeping up with the baking...and gardening."  Then it hit me - that's what I am carrying down and passing on.  My Great Gram's love for baking and gardening.  And I am ok with that.

Ok, ok...without further adieu - Gram's Chocolate Cake recipe (in cupcake form) with espresso buttercream frosting.  Behold.....

The cake mix...secret ingredient: sour milk (milk + vinegar). Shhhhh...

I made them a little oversized.

Frosted, with espresso buttercream and ready for a little somethin'... a little decoration and some burgandy chunks. Yup. I'll eat 'em!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Sexy and I Know It - Bruce Springsteen & Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young

Possibly one of the funniest parodies. ever. I love that someone with the fame that Bruce has had for so long still doesn't take himself *too* seriously. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Joys of Easter!

One of the most vivid memories I have from my childhood is going to my grandparents' house on Easter and realizing that the Easter Bunny stopped there too!! Oh, the joy of devouring Peeps, jelly beans, chocolate eggs, and the list goes on! Part of the Easter celebration always included a Peep Cake, baked by my grandmother. She would make an angel food cake, frost the top with her homemade buttercream frosting, and LOADS of Peeps. Every variety and color was represented - along with many jelly beans, chocolate eggs, and any other confection that would send all of us kids into a sugar high for days.

This year, I made something similar - Peep cupcakes! I used Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix (I cheated, I know!) and Grammy's homemade buttercream frosting. Then, I topped each cupcake with a Peep (traditional yellow chicks and a more modern green bunny) and some jelly beans.

Little Peep Cakes

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

This explains so much.... why I could eat truck loads of super sharp cheddar, and than be riddled with guilt and a cheese "hangover" the next day. (Maybe I do need cheese rehab...) :) 

Culinarily Curious: Addicted to cheese? Here's why.