Monday, February 22, 2010

Gimme a break...


I'm taking a little break to re-focus.

I'm juggling a lot right now 
(and I don't even have kids yet!  YIKES!) 
and important things are kind of  
slipping to the wayside.
[in an effort to re-prioritize and run things smoothly]
I'm putting some stuff on hold 
[like, um... blogging
until I can figure out my  
In the  meantime, though, I'll still be checking out your blogs and seeing what's up.
And besides, if you really miss me, you can always reach me

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Fame... It's Going to My Head...

Um, so I know I'm no celebrity, but there's something about being asked for advice that makes me feel super important.  

Like I'm some sort of ZENITH of knowledge.

A wealth of information.

A source of all there is to know.

The end-all be-all of ---
OK, do you get the point yet?   
Can I let my big head deflate now?

Last week, Amber of Amber's Life sent me an email asking me if I had a good recipe for red velvet cupcakes.

Do I have a good recipe for red velvet cupcakes?


Does Gertie Rock?  Does doing taxes stink?  Are Reality TV shows overrated?
 [answers: yes, yes, and double yes]

You get my point.

 So yes, I had a recipe to share with her as well as my own recipe for cream cheese frosting.

Here's what she came up with:
Look at these little beauties!  
Look how RICH and RED they are!!

Ohhhhh... that's what a red velvet should look like...

Here they are iced:
Mmmm... word on the streets is that these suckers didn't last long...

Check out the sweet little sprinkles she found to put on top:

Thanks for petting my ego making my day, Amber!! 

(And hey, if any of you get a chance, go check out her blog Designs by Amber, too.  She's so talented!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm Really Loving It.

 It's Monday night, I'm watching Cake Boss, and I'm thinking over and over again how happy I am about my new job.

In case you haven't heard, I finally got a job and --as if that weren't great enough-- it's AT A BAKERY.


It's a sweet, family-run bakery where the owners are really invested in the  
of not only their customers but their employees, too.

Everyone works together as a team.

Everyone's having fun.

It can get really busy
(as was evidenced by the trial-by-fire I experienced this past Valentine's week)
but there's just something about helping people find
exactly what they're looking for
that makes for a really satisfying feeling.

Tomorrow begins Week 2.
I'll let you know how it goes!

Mustache Monday - Puss in 'Stache

Meet Gertie.
Gertie is a cat.

Gertie is Lauren's cat.

Good cat, Gertie.

See Gertie.

See Gertie play.
Play, Gertie, play!

Gertie is tired.

See Gertie snuggle.
 Snuggle, Gertie, snuggle!

Gertie has style.

Gertie sports a 'stache.
Sport that 'stache, Gertie, sport that 'stache.

Gertie rocks.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Kinda Love

In light of Valentine's Day coming up, 
I've been thinking a lot about LOVE

When we talk about love,
we're typically talking about the
{love between two people}

Between parent and child,

between siblings,

between husband and wife,

between friends...

But how often do we stop to think of the love that our furry friends have for us?

Look how happy this dog is that his master is home!

What a beautiful thing :)

Wouldn't you like to share

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I might actually have a future after all.

 I am SO tired.
But I am so happy.

I had such a great first day of work.

I think I found it, guys.

I think I found  
where I belong.

[[My dream job]]

I am so happy.

And just to think...
a mere two weeks ago,
this was me:

Me + Bakery =

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Valentine's Day Blind Date


Aside from munching on See's chocolates and snuggling with my honey, THIS is what I'm doing for Valentine's Day.

Yep, a Valentine's Day Gift Exchange!  
Thanks to Holly Noelle (the Domestic Dork)'s  amazing matching abilities, I got paired with Lauren of The Little Goat.  Lauren's this spunky, fun, eclectic blogger from NorCal who's got all sorts of fun stuff going on on her blog.

For example:

♥  She just got engaged...
  She has an Etsy shop...
  Every now and then, if you're lucky, you'll get to read a post by her fiance, Mick

Since I had only just met Lauren and didn't know much about her, I set out to reading some of her posts to get a better idea about who she is.

First, I found this post that she wrote about her new-found love of houndstooth.

"Hmm..." I thought, "That hat up there has a little heart on it... Would that make a good Valentine's Day gift...?"

It just wasn't quite right.

So I read on.

And I checked out her store.

And I saw this. 

"QUE????" I asked myself, before quickly reminding myself that I don't speak Spanish.

She likes mustaches??  This is awesome!  This is great!  I like her already!!
But then I couldn't find anything with mustaches on it that seemed appropriate for Valentine's Day.


I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't supposed to be just a regular shmegular present.


So I went back to her blog.  And I read further.  And then...

...then, my friends...

I found this (on this post here):

Isn't it GLORIOUS!?  
Oh it's so fantastic I can't help myself -- I want it for ME!  

But sadly thankfully I had someone else to buy it for.  So I did.  I bought it for her.

And I hope she likes it.

And I think she will.

And I think you should go check her out, because, well, she's pretty neat.

She might even be worthy of a mustache ;)

No promises, though!

Monday, February 8, 2010


"Let's Eat Out" - Gil Elvgren, 1967
I am so, SO happy to be able to write this because this is something that  
I've wanted for so long...

[[Miss Dot]]
have a job...  

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed about working in a bakery.

When people get a baked treat, it's always something special.

That's why it's called a TREAT, silly!

To be a part of that [[something special]] seemed SO FANTASTIC to me.

Whether it be something as simple as the eclair that a lady decided to treat herself to at the end of a long workweek or the cookies a mom promised her kids in return for good behavior, being a part of the treat chain (as I like to call it) has long been something I've wanted to do.

It even goes further, though;
to get the chance to be part of someone's special day...
to help take the order for a birthday cake,
an anniversary cake,
a wedding cake...

I mean, think about it:  
When customers order from us, they have chosen (and entrusted!) this bakery (and, in essence, chosen me) for the task of ensuring that their celebration is perfect.  And what a task to be given!  I am just so excited to start and learn and begin helping people make their celebrations amazing.

I want to be that key piece that helps put everything together.

I want to hand them their cake and have them say:

or, even better:

I know there will be rough days and unsatisfied/unruly customers, but hopefully those will be few and far between and the pros will outweigh the cons.

Keep me in mind come Wednesday (my first day!) and I'll let you know how it goes :)


Lisa Leonard Designs Giveaway! 

Also, if you're in the Valentine's Day mood (either for yourself or a loved one), check out this giveaway hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Jenn of Living the Simple Life.

After checking out all of the beautiful jewelry on Lisa Leonard's site, I have to say that this is my favorite piece -- that is, if I have to choose just one.  She has such a unique style -- so clean, crisp, and classy!
Illuminate Necklace

What would YOU choose? 
Hurry, you only have until midnight Tuesday to enter!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mustache Monday - All in the Family

I have been asked 
(on more than one occasion):

What's with the mustaches,  you ask?

Well, it's simple.

Like John Marcum's silver dollars
mustaches are my 
calling cards.

But let's just get one thing straight:

The mustache ain't for everyone, folks.

It's a symbol of my appreciation.
It means that I think you're pretty neat.

It's a symbol of our friendship. 
 It means that you're counted among the people I call friends.

It's a symbol that you're worthy.
It means that I have chosen you as someone who is COOL enough to understand 
the awesomeness of the 'stache.

Basically, it means I like you.

Just like I like my sister Katie
Especially on her birthday.
[That's my sister on the left with her friend Catherine on the right]

And just like I like Megan
who chose some of her own friends to share the  
[[awesomeness of the 'stache]]
with on her birthday.
[There's Megan on the left with her worthy friends on the right]

That's right, people.  Not everyone is worthy of the 'stache.  But if I have deemed you cool enough, fun enough, and just downright awesome enough to sport the mustache, then you too might find yourself with a random mustache or two in your next batch of cupcakes.

The 'stache has spoken.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Burgers for Dinner: Catch and Release

If you can't tell by the little pitiful sick-looking troll doll duck dust bunny wad of grass creature in the post below, I've been kind of  
this week.

[Quick thanks to Mr. Dot for hopping online Sunday night and posting that for me so no one thought I drowned in cupcake batter]
[Another quick moment to think about how awesome it would be to drown in cupcake batter]

Death by Cupcake.

Bring it on.

Sunday, though, did not feel like "Death by Cupcake."  Sunday just felt like death.

Thanks to a [poorly cooked?] hamburger eaten the night before at a local joint down the street, I spent over 17 hours hugging the porcelain throne [of death].

Gracias, Altered Barbie

Though at the time I found nothing especially enlightening about the whole situation, now that I have regained my sea land-legs, I am trying to gain a fresh perspective.

Therefore, I'm actually thankful for the tainted  

•  I lost 4 pounds (which I may or may not have gained back since I've begun eating again) 
(read: since I've been able to keep more than a single Wheat Thin in my stomach)
•  I gained a personal, one-on-one relationship with the floor just under the sink ledge that I did not have before
(and have subsequently Swiffered, sprayed, and washed every inch of it thoroughly)
•  I am no longer tempted by the thought of eating burgers or fries
(at least, for the time being...)

For a while there, in fact, I actually considered that perhaps the  
["Vomit-Seven-Times-A-Day-And-Eat-Only-One-Wheat-Thin" Diet]
 was going to be the diet for me, but then I remembered one key thing:

I like food going down better than coming back up.

Ah well, can't win 'em all.


In the meantime, though -- keep your fingers crossed and do that praying thing again.  I had a second interview at a bakery down the street (not this cupcake place, though -- they're still not open!  Dunno what's going on there...) that I'm so excited about.  I've been trying to get my resume in there since we first moved up here and all of a sudden they started hiring just a couple weeks ago so the timing was perfect.  I should hear back sometime tomorrow or Saturday.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sick Day(s)

Miss Dot's feeling a little under the weather right now (food poisoning...ugh...), so it may be another day or two until her next post. Until then, use this to keep yourself occupied. Happy Monday.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cookies and... Beer?

Let's try some word association:
Peanut Butter?




All good things must come to an end, my friends, and it is with that that I bring to you our final

~•Recipe #5•~

Adapted from Carolyn Smagalski's recipe on BellaOnline 

Makes about 40 cookies

1/2 lb. butter
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. brown sugar 
1 egg 
1 T. molasses
3 T. stout
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
2 c. oats
3/4 c. dried cranberries

  1. HEAT oven to 375°F and lightly grease cookie sheets.
  2. SIFT together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Set aside. 
  3. CREAM butter until light and fluffy.  ADD sugars and beat until light and fluffy again.
  4. BLEND in egg, molasses, stout, and vanilla.  
  5. ALTERNATELY ADD flour mixture and oats, blending in between additions.
  6. FOLD in dried cranberries.
  7. DROP by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes or until done (mine took 8 minutes)
The site notes some health benefits at the bottom which I will relay to make myself feel better help you track your daily vitamin intake:
Health Benefit: Rich in fiber, calcium, vitamin B-complex vitamins, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper

There.  Feel better?

These cookies were pretty good.  I tried adding chocolate chips to the last couple sheets of cookies and I wasn't too into it.  They're definitely good and chewy but I'll admit, if I hadn't seen stout in the ingredients list, I wouldn't have known there was stout in them at all.  If you're looking for a recipe that really showcases stout, this is not it.  However, if you're looking for some good, spicy cookies and want to brag to your friends that there's beer in them, these are your best bet.

Then again, you may want to ask yourself why you're bragging to your friends that you have beer in your cookies.  


*shakes head*

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm a Changed Woman

I must admit -- I used to be an unbeliever.

I used to think that I couldn't bake brownies.

I used to think that it was...too difficult.

I would overbake them; I would underbake them; they would stick to my apparently unnecessarily-greased pan.

Bottom line:  

That is, until I met these little beauties.

Yep, you guessed it...

These little brownies behaved so well.

They baked for the amount of time they promised they'd bake.

They didn't stick to the pan.

They even had a toothpick test and guess what?  

I'm so pleased with these brownies.

They're everything a good brownie should be:

Moist, decadent, and fudgy.
there are chocolate chips on top.


If you like dark chocolate
(or are a fan of chocolate that isn't too sweet), 
these are definitely for you.

This recipe combines three different kinds of chocolate to create a rich, dark chocolate flavor that only serves to enhance the bold stout.

May I introduce you to:

~•Recipe #4•~

Adapted from Cookie Madness

Makes 15 Miss Dot-sized-brownies or 36 normal-person-brownies.  
Who knew?

1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t. salt
6 T. unsalted room temperature butter, cut into cubes
6 oz. dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. white chocolate chips
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 c. granulated sugar
10 oz. (1 1/4 c.) stout (she used Guinness Extra Stout) -- room temperature
3/4 t. vanilla
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/8 cup confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)

  1. HEAT oven to 375°F.  Line a 9"x13" baking pan with a nonstick foil like Reynolds Release *TIP: I didn't have nonstick foil so I just lined the pan with regular foil and then sprayed it with cooking spray.
  2. WHISK together flour, salt, and cocoa powder until combined.  Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, MELT butter, bittersweet chocolate, and white chocolate chips in a double boiler over very low heat, stirring constantly until melted.  Remove from heat.  Alternatively, you may do this in the microwave by microwaving on high and stirring every 30 seconds.
  4. In a separate bowl, BEAT eggs and sugar together on high until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  5. ADD melted chocolate mixture to sugar-egg mixture; beat until combined.
  6. BEAT flour mixture into chocolate mixture.
  7. WHISK in stout.
  8. POUR into prepared pan and drop semisweet chocolate chips on top of batter.  Some will sink in; this is fine.
  9. BAKE for 25-30 minutes on center rack in oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
  10. COOL; Dust with confectioners sugar before serving. 

This recipe has been Swedish Chef-approved!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beer Bread Remix!

Sooooo this one time, I made some beer bread.  It was from a mix, it was from a Partylite party, and it was delicious.

Since then, I've done  
three [3] things:

[1] I researched beer bread recipes.

[2] After looking at a bunch of recipes and learning how easy beer bread is to make, I vowed to never buy beer bread mix again because it would be like oh, I don't know...buying a paper airplane kit (contents: 1 piece of paper).

[3] I chose a beer bread recipe and tried it.

I **know** I've posted about it before
(duh, I just put a link to it up there)
so, in order to avoid any unnecessary name-calling,
(i.e., cheater, lazy baker, un-original nincompoop)
I'm doing a little

Same recipe,

Let's try this recipe ONE MORE TIME, but this time, let's do it with {stout} 


 ~•Recipe #3•~

From Farmgirl Fare

Makes 1 loaf

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 T. baking powder

1 1/2 c. (12 oz.) stout beer

    1. HEAT oven to 375°F and grease 1 loaf pan.
    2. COMBINE flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
    3. STIR in beer slowly (dough will be thick and sticky) and spoon into loaf pan.
    4. BAKE for about 45 minutes or until toothpick stuck in center comes out clean
      Mine only took 35 minutes

    5. COOL in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
    6. REMOVE FROM PAN and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

      THIS is how beer bread, round two, came out.

      The cracks are kinda scary huh?  Like a monster?

      Let me help you out with that:
      See what I mean??


      Aside from its resemblance to something kids imagine comes from their closets, this was pretty darn good!

      I mean, look at this crust!
      Mmmmm craggly scraggly goodness...

      Aww... poor widdle bread.  Look at you.  You want some butter, don't you?  You're all warm and happy and you just want some butter.  Butty wutty wutter.  Wubby buddy wubber.  Bubbe--
      OK, I'm done.



    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Pancakes??? More like MANcakes!!!

    So the wife asked me do a guest post on this little blog thing she's got going...bear with me as I'm not what you'd call an avid blogger. In fact, I don't know that I've ever blogged. The closest I've been is updating my facebook status more than once a month. So here goes something...

    For those of you out there on the interwebs who don't know anything about me (which I'm pretty sure is like 98.4% of everyone reading this), I'm what most people would consider a man. And by that I mean I am a male of my species and have reached an age that allows me to do everything from buying lottery tickets to renting a car. So for quite a while, I also assumed I was a man. That was until I came across what is quite possibly the coolest website ever (besides this one of course). The Art of Manliness is like a guide to becoming the man that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were. With articles covering everything from manly skills to how to get a manly shave, it is a treasure chest of thoughts and tips on how to be a Man.

    While there are numerous articles that I could get into to show you how cool it is to be a Man, that's not why I'm here (plus I'm pretty sure that most of you reading this are of the female persuasion). My purpose today is to tell you about the delicious pancakes that I made. "What do pancakes have to do with a website about shaving and plumbing?" you may ask. Well let me enlighten you to the wonder that is the FREE Art of Manliness Man Cookbook. AoM put this together back in October 2008, but I just recently discovered it. It is a compilation of recipes by AoM readers (which is sometimes evident in the way the recipes are written) for Men and their female counterparts. And boy was I excited to try some of the recipes.

    Note: You did have to subscribe to AoM via RSS feed or email to get the FREE cookbook, but it's well worth it.

    I decided to give the Beer Batter Pancakes found on page 18 a try. The recipe is simple, but the pancakes are amazing. I attribute part of this to the fact that I had recently acquired a six pack of a friend of mine's home-brewed stout (that Miss Dot has been and will continue utilizing all week). While the recipe didn't call for such a flavorful brew, I really think that these flapjacks tasted just a little more manly with such a tasty base. For those of you without access to my secret stash, I think a dark beer like Guinness or a darker micro-brew would be great here as well.

    Well I'm sure you're wondering when I'm going to actually get to the recipe and all that fun stuff. Well you're in luck, because here it comes.

    ~•Recipe #2•~

    Beer Batter Pancakes
    By Steve from MKE (with some additions by me)

    from The Art of Manliness Man Cookbook

    1 cup all purpose flour
    1/4 cup sugar
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 egg, beaten
    1 cup beer
    2 tablespoons melted butter

    Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl

    Pour 1/4 cup of batter on whatever surface you normally make pancakes on

    Wait until bubbles appear


    Cover in warm maple syrup


    So there you have it. Not only did I make delicious pancakes, but I also successfully wrote a delicious blog post for the wife. I'm sure you have lots of great comments to leave me now, so go ahead and get to it. Thanks for letting me stop by for a few minutes.

    Until next time...

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    It's like college all over again!

    brought to you by spamberly's Etsy shop

    Welcome to my second un-Mustache Monday in a row.

    •[sad face]•

    I know you're getting that déjà vu kinda feeling, but I'm doing this little thing on my other blog that I wanna share with you.

    I'm having a BEER WEEK.

    Yep, that's right, a Beer Week.

    Week full o' beer.

    Una semana de cerveza.
    (That's what I get for living so close to the Mexican border)

    So let me begin this fun by telling you about this one night.

    That one night, I was feeling persnickety.

    But I was missing something:
     I was missing one special
    secret ingredient that I needed from a friend.

    One that I needed for a new cupcake recipe.

    Well, guess what?



    Strong, dark, robust, home-brewed 

    Now, if you'll recall, I actually don't drink, so for me to really enjoy this beer and its bold, roasted malt flavor, I had to come up with some recipes that would showcase just that.

    Thankfully, my husband joined in on the fun, too, and we've come up with a glorious week of  
    [[stout-tastic]] bliss.

    Let's start the fun then, shall we?

    ~•Recipe #1•~

    From "Martha Stewart's Cupcakes"

    Makes 24-30 cupcakes

    3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
    1/2 t. plus 1/8 t. baking soda
    1 3/4 t. baking powder
    1 1/4 t. salt
    1 T. ground cinnamon
    1 1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
    1 1/4 c. vegetable oil
    1 1/4 c. unsulfured molasses
    1/2 c. plus 1 T. packed light-brown sugar
    2 large whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
    1 T. plus 1 t. finely grated orange zest
    1 1/4 c. (10 oz.) stout beer, such as Guinness, poured and settled
    Stout Glaze (recipe follows)

    1. HEAT oven to 350°F and line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
    2. WHISK together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
    3. BEAT together oil, molasses, brown sugar, whole eggs, yolk, zest, and stout on medium-low speed until combined.
    4. ADD flour mixture; beat until just combined.
    5. DIVIDE batter among cups, filling each three-quarters full.  
    6. BAKE, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean (about 20 minutes).
    7. COOL on wire racks. 

      Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.

    8.  To finish, place cupcakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet; spoon glaze over cupcakes and let set.  Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
    STOUT GLAZE: Whisk together 2 c. confectioner's sugar, sifted, and 1/4 c. stout beer, such as Guinness, poured and settled.  Use immediately.  **NOTE** I found that this was barely enough to drizzle over my cupcakes.  Maybe it's because I'm such a frosting nut anyway that glaze doesn't really do it for me, but I could barely get a full tablespoon on each cupcake, and I only made 24 cupcakes!  

    Since I only had enough room for two cupcake tins in my oven, I filled those both and used the remaining batter to make a little double layer 6-inch round cake.  I iced it with a lemon buttercream on top and cream cheese frosting in the middle.  That way, I still got my frosting fix.  Silly glazes -- who uses those, anyway??  Pfft... glaze is like frosting for wimps.  If you can't stand the sugar, get out of the kitchen!*

    This recipe is just great.  Those little cupcakes are packed with such a rich, spicy flavor that I had a hard time keeping Mr. Dot's grubby little mitts off 'em.  They taste like a spice cake -- a moist, dark, spice cake with a little zing of orange.  I definitely recommend you give this one a try!


    *Just as a side note before I start getting hate mail, I am fully aware of the dangers associated with mass sugar consumption.  As the daughter of a diabetic father, niece of three diabetic uncles, and reformed overweight child myself, I genuinely appreciate the idea of sugar in moderation.  However, I also genuinely appreciate frosting.  It's a vicious life I lead.

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Raintime Blues

    I'm having kind of a *blah* day.

    This is what it looks like outside:

    Though I usually like rain, I feel less like this:

    and more like this:

    No, wait, that's too dramatic.  Like this:

    Actually, maybe a mixture between the two.  Can you picture that?  K good.

    So I'm bundled up inside, watching the rain fall outside, and letting the *blah* run its course.

    In the meantime, though,