Sunday, September 24, 2006

Scooby Snacks and Tots!

Kate and I

Wine Tasting with Eryn, Ariana and Paige


Hey Ladieeezzz.... Get Funkay!

This weekend some friends and I took a road trip to Portland to stay at the FANTASTIC McMennamins Edgefield for a night of fun, girly fun. Kate, Ariana, Eryn and I met up with Paige for some lunch before heading into downtown Portland to do some serious shopping. I was after two things- a wallet and a pair of Danskos. The Danskos won out, just because I had a GC to Nordstrom that was burning a hole in my pocket. The whole time we were shopping, we kept chanting "TAX FREE!!" as it helped justify the purchases that were piling up. Tax free is great and everything, but in the end, I spent more money than I would if I was in Seattle. C'est la vie.

The Edgefield is GREAT because it has two restaurants and MANY places to get a drink onsite. We did a little wine tasting in their cellar, headed up to their distillery for some mixed drinks and a little drunk dialing, then off to the Pub for some Tater Tots and Scooby Snacks (mini corn dogs!!) We had lots of fun, talking, laughing and drinking. It's awesome to have some great friends in which you can totally let loose and be silly with. The ride home was a little more calm than the ride down, a little case of the hangovers will do that to you. But it was a lot of fun, so it was worth it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

CrapCake Royale

Yes, I admit it. I'm a cake snob. Cake should be light. Cake should be tender. Cake should be GOOD. There is no reason to eat bad cake. In fact, it breaks my heart to see people settle for bad cake.

Tonight I found myself wandering into Cupcake Royale in Ballard. Yes, the very same Cupcake Royale that I have deemed "CrapCake Royale". I was waiting to pick up Jeremy from a team dinner he was attending at the Kathy Casey Studio and as it was after 8:30, most shops and coffee places in Ballard were closed or closing up for the evening. The only place that was inviting was Cupcake Royale. A bit annoyed, but desperate to kill some time with some coffee and maybe a newspaper, I walked in. It was crowded with hipsters of all ages- a table full of "Stitch-n-Bitchers", girlfriends sharing a table and some gossip, techies typing away on their Macs. In fact, it was so crowded I had trouble finding a spot to sit down with the coffee I had ordered. What was it about this place that had people coming in droves? Was it the free Wi-Fi? Tons of tables that people to could chill and listen to the beat of dance music? Or simply the fact that Starbucks and Tully's were closed? Whatever it was, I am sure it wasn't for the cupcakes.

Here is my very favorite chocolate cake recipe that makes very good, very light cupcakes. Pair it with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting or a mocha buttercream and man oh man you are in BIZNESS.

** Note: It's important when making cake from scratch that you start with your butter and eggs at room temp. No one told me this until I went through many trials and errors with cake. The more you know.


1 cup hot coffee
1 cup cocoa powder (and don't use Hershey's! Spend the extra dough and get the GOOD stuff. I prefer Schokinag)

Mix together until there are no lumps. Add to that:

1 cup cold water

Set aside.

Sift together and set aside:
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

In a bowl of an electric mixer; beat at high speed until light and fluffy (and I am talking PALE. Perhaps 4 or 5 minutes on high):

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar

Once the butter/sugar mix is nice and pale, add one at a time:

4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Add the dry ingredients alternately to the butter/egg mix with the cocoa/coffee mix; mixing until smooth. (BUT DO NOT OVERMIX) Make sure you scrape the sides and bottom so that all the butter/flour is incorporated.

If making cupcakes, fill lined cupcake pans 2/3 full with batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 17-18 minutes. If making a layer cake, line bottoms of 8 or 9 inch pan with a parchment paper round and bake for 25-27 minutes if using 9 inch round, 30-35 minutes if using 8 inch round. Do the ol' toothpick test to make sure.

If you want a frosting recipe, email me. I'm too hyped up on Crapcake Coffee to type any more.

I don't know if this recipe will help you take over the world, but together, we can rid the planet of bad cake.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Back from Montana. It was a good trip- a trip that was hard, soulful, joyous, and bittersweet all at the same time. Is that really possible? We made it out there on Monday and stayed all the way until Sunday. We spent time with Jeremy's Grandpa, not knowing when we would see him again. Jeremy had some quality time with him, taking the old '41 Chrysler for a wash to get it ready for the winter, they talked about his time growing up and going off to World War 2 and just spent time watching a football game on the couch. It wasn't a vacation trip- we didn't make it into Whitefish or go up to the Park, but that was just fine with us. We came to Montana to see Grandpa Ed and that was all.

I spent a lot of the week with Max, Grandpa's great big golden retriever. He is such a sweet dog, with big brown eyes that seem to know exactly what you are thinking. He understands you, especially when you say "Walk" or "Want to eat?". My favorite part about walking him in the mornings was how his gait picked up when I mentioned "Eat". He had kibble on the brain, that's for sure. He is regarded as the "Neighborhood Hero" on Pt. Caroline- last winter he woke Grandpa Ed up in the middle of the night when a fire had broken out in the cabin. All the neighbors love him and say hello when we would walk by. It was a nice feeling, walking in the shadow of a celebrity.

The lake was too cold to go swimming- so I settled for dangling my toes in the water while sitting on the dock and watching the fish swim underneath the water. The water is so clear at Flathead that you can see all the way to the bottom. Due to a lot of forest fires all over Montana and Idaho, smoke had settled into the Flathead Valley. Unfortunately it had placed a thin veil over the mountains on the Eastern shore of the lake, but produced the most beautiful sunrises as well. Jeremy and I would set the alarm for 7:00 am so we could be sure to catch the 7:30 am sunrise.

I took quite a few pictures, most of them are of Max. Jeremy took some pictures too, but that is for him to share.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Birthday Baccanal

Happy Birthday to meeeeeeee.... Happy Birthday to meeeeeeeeee.....

Yes this weekend was a fantastic flurry of birthday fun (that's an awesome sentence) and I had a great time. I wish I had some pictures to post, however I didn't even break out the camera once this weekend. I know lots of people took pictures, so if you have some, please send them my way.

How does it feel to be 30? Not that much different than 29. Although instead of dreading the day that I turn 30, I am coming to terms with it. A zen-like attitude has washed over me (is it due to the over-indulgence of birthday cake?) and I am starting to realize that this is my LIFE and I am no longer wondering what to do with it- I am doing whatever the hell I want with my life. That's what it's for. Living. So, instead of questioning it, I'm taking it on and enjoying it. It's kinda like riding a rollercoaster. At the beginning you are unsure of the safety of the ride, almost afraid if you open your mouth you might just throw up, nervous laughter masks the feeling that this is NOT a safe ride to be on despite the fact that there are tons of sticky-fingered little kids waiting in line. Halfway through the ride you chill out, realize it is pretty damn fun and scream like a crazy person who just had too much sugar. In a nutshell, it's pretty neato.

My niece called me on Saturday to ask what kind of cake I was making for the BBQ and she said in utmost sincerity "Tita, I don't think we are going to have enough candles to put on your cake". I then asked her how many candles she thought we would need and she said "I think A LOT". Thanks kiddo, I guess once you pass the age where you have to get two boxes of candles for your birthday cake, it's best to just stop counting.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Birthday Fun!

My friends at work were kind enough to decorate my cube with funny pictures yesterday. Then Jeremy took me to Tokyo Japanese Restaurant where I consumed too much tempura and katsu. Translation? Too much fried food. HURG.