Monday, January 28, 2013

A Great Birthday Present

It's official that I'm officially going to learn how to decorate cakes via Wilton! My awesome husband surprised me this morning with a birthday present consisting of a tub of icing, a small box of icing colors, a gift card to Michaels, Course 1-4 student kits and a receipt letting me know that he paid for my classes. What a thoughtful and special gift this is!

I've been looking at cake decorating courses all year long and have dedicated this year to doing new things and going on on adventures from the perspective of Fun. I love to decorate cupcakes and confections but I've never really had any training and in a sense, it's made me a bit timid to go out and decorate cakes for others. For me, this is one way to boost my confidence in learning something new and I get to meet other people who are interested in learning this craft. I certainly look forward to sharing my designs and assignments with you.

Well, I'm off to spending the rest of my day with my man. Hopefully, I can update you all on my progress as the weeks go by. Have a great Monday!

See your local Michaels Arts & Crafts for Wilton certified cake decorating classes. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Baked Eggplant with Turmeric and Cumin

Photo courtesy of Samantha

Happy Friday Everyone! This recipe today comes from the kitchen of my sister Samantha. Seriously, she is one talented chick when it comes to all things crafty, sweet & savory. Now that she got an iPhone (about time, hehe) she has been texting me more and sending me video and pictures. Yesterday afternoon she sent me this picture of what looked like eggplant chips and I just had to post and bake some for myself. I'll probably try this on the weekend. Thank you, Sam for sharing this recipe!

Baked Eggplant with Turmeric and Cumin

3 Japanese or Chinese Eggplants
1/4 teaspoon of Cumin
1/8 teaspoon of Turmeric
3 tablespoons of Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
Olive Oil spray
2 Green Onions, chopped
Salt to taste
  • Preheat oven 450 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, mix eggplant with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until vegetable is well coated.
  • Add cumin, turmeric and salt.
  • Add bread crumbs and green onions. Mix well.
  • Spray pan with olive oil spray, place eggplant in a single layer and bake for 30 minutes or until slightly crispy. Garnish with extra chopped green onions.
Photo courtesy of Samantha

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dainty Lemon Cupcakes

Some days are just days when I give into my cravings and go with the flow of life. Today, life gave me lemons and I chose to turn it into what I call, "Dainty Lemon Cupcakes". I just had a lot of heavy things on my mind and it's amazing how a mental battle can take such a toll on you physically. Maybe that's why I turned to these delicious carbs? Maybe.

I call these cupcakes dainty because of the light & softness of the cake and the delicate sweetness of the Lemon Cream Cheese glaze, more like a cute hybrid of frosting and glaze...Fraze...or...Glost. I'll see which word I like best by the end of the day. Maybe I'll ask my husband what he thinks of this new term I came up with. But this glaze is really tasty and it can remain a bit gooey so if you are serving this, you might want to glaze the cupcakes ahead of time and keep them chilled in the fridge before serving. Now that I think of it, this would make a great treat for Afternoon Tea or a Summer Party. Chilled Dainty Lemon Cupcakes. Mmmmmm.

For the cake portion, I went easy and just used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme boxed cake. Bake according to instructions provided. At the bottom of the instructions there is an option for a lower fat content. Happy Baking!

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 package of Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup of Powdered Sugar
Zest of 1-2 lemons
3-4 tablespoons of fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
extra powdered sugar for thickness
  • Beat cream cheese until smooth, gradually add in powdered sugar.
  • Add zest and juice. Beat until all ingredients are blended. Adjust according to taste and consistency with powdered sugar. I prefer mine less sweet and more zesty creamy. 
  • Take a spoonful of Fraze/Glost and turn those cupcakes into a treat.

Monday, January 7, 2013

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria...Yes Please!

Pizza Margherita with Prosciutto & Anchovies
I have a confession to make. I craved so much carbs this month that I had pizza three evenings in a row! It was AMAZING but would I do it again? Probably not. However, there is a new pizzeria I just might have to visit from time to time when the craving calls. 

My husband is the one who loves pizza and not just any kind of pizza, neapolitan pizza. So since we've moved from DC, we've been looking for that special place we can call "our favorite pizza" spot, or "one of our fave" spots. I have to give him all the credit for venturing out and discovering 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria for us. 

What convinced us to pay a nice visit was reading their About page and watching their Vimeo presentation of who they are and what they do. I would like to confirm that they delivered. 

My husband ordered their Pizza Margherita with added Pepperoni and Prosciutto (below).
I ordered a Pizza Margherita with added Anchovies and Prosciutto. We also ordered a side of Broccolini, which was very delicious with a bit of a char on the chopped greens. I added some balsamic vinaigrette and the rest was history. 

Service was speedy and if you arrive a little earlier than 6pm, there wasn't much of a wait. But even if there was a wait, it was worth the trip. 

My only comment on the food would be that the middle of the pie was a bit soggy. Maybe I'll try a different pizza next time and see if that's a consistent thing. Other than that, I would recommend trying 800 Degrees at least once if you happen to be around UCLA area. Happy Eating!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy 2013!

Happy Day 2 of 2013!
It's a new year and I'm so glad that we have beginnings and endings and new beginnings.

This year, I'm taking my healthy habits of last year and continuing these habits into 2013. I'm going to finish what I started and reap the rewards of perseverance and commitment.

I've chosen a theme for the year and shared it with my husband. This year, I will seek to do anything and everything from the perspective of FUN.  I don't recall ever dedicating a year to a theme and especially the theme of "Fun". I'm looking forward to having a ton of fun this year!

So call it a New Year's resolution or statements, but having two for one year is enough for me. I hope you see your plans, resolutions or convictions through this year. Wishing you the best for a new beginning. Cheers!