Archive for ‘Things I Adore’

December 15, 2010

National Cupcake Day

by Emily Grace

This brings so many smiles to my face. This is all the inspiration I need.

 

Happy National Cupcake Day! What a fabulous excuse to enjoy a delicious treat.

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June 20, 2010

{Holidays}: The day that no other dads can compete.

by Emily Grace

My Captain. My Teacher. My Confidant. My Sailing Buddy. My Chef. My Dry Cleaner. My Chauffeur. My Parole Officer. My Pitcher. My Goalie. My Photographer. My Hurricane Supporter. My Nagger. My Support System. My Hero. My Biggest Fan. My Best Friend. My Dad.

There are few people in the world that I hold in higher esteem and that I brag about more than my father. He is someone who I rub in the faces of married women to let them know that my mom married a man of perfection. He is the principal that every teacher wishes to work for. He’s the one that irons our clothes an makes sure we look polished before leaving the house. He’s the man who super glued bows to my hair for a dance recital because he couldn’t figure out how the darn thing worked. He’s someone who would show up early and stay late at my softball practice to ensure I recovered from knee surgery and persevered to become the athlete I wanted to be. He’s someone who will fly the hurricane storm flags at our house for every Miami game and take fault for losses because he forgot to raise the flags. He’s someone who I look up to immensely and someone I judge every man against.

In my eyes, my father is perfect, to my mother, I’m sure she probably has some gripes, but at then end of the day, she knows that she got lucky. I hope that someday I will be as lucky as my mother and marry a man that is more than just a hard worker, a housekeeper, an incredible father, the most awesome cook, but also someone who continues to excite me after more than 30 years together.

Today is your day dad. I love you more than the world. Happy fathers day to all the dads, I hope they realize that they will never ever be able to compare to mine.

May 9, 2010

{Holidays}: The most amazing woman I know!

by Emily Grace

Why my mom is the most amazing woman:

 


She lets us lick the beaters of the mixer (unless it was mashed potatoes), and she even turned the mixer off first. (Thanks greeting card writers, you are genius!)

When she took 2 years off work, she perfected chocolate chocolate chip cookies for us, and on the days she didn’t make cookies, she cooked cinnamon on the stove so the house smelled like she cooked something yummy.

She throws the best themed birthday parties—complete with craft projects! Think cow party with spotted t-shirts and homemade ice cream activity or handmade Queen of Hearts invitations for Alice in Wonderland.

No matter how many annoying students she had to deal with that day at work, she would still help us with our math homework or read our books out loud to us while we were hanging upside down or falling asleep in her lap.

She makes the BEST sports video montages!

She learned to text message when I was in college so that I had no excuse to not talk to her.

She never hogs all the strawberries or raw cookie dough to herself, but is always willing to share with my sisters and me.

She never tells me that I shouldn’t buy another pair of jeans because she realizes how incredibly practical they are.

Mom would always let us take turns with our head on her lap so she would play with our hair or tickle our back, no matter how old we were.

No matter how early it is in the morning, she’s still willing to give me a wake up call for catching a cab to the airport or getting out of bed to go to the gym. (Unless its her spring break.)

She sends the world’s greatest care packages in my opinion, and the world’s weirdest packages in the opinions of my friends.

She knows all of my favorite kinds of candy, and knows its ok to spoil me with them.

She’ll still watch movies with us, even though she knows that she’ll fall asleep after the first 30 minutes.

She learned how to french braid hair at the softball field because that’s how I wanted to wear my hair in my games.

My mom makes the BEST homemade icing.

She supports me no matter what random goal I’ve decided to set my sites on… this week.

My mom is great for more reasons that I can ever list. She is the person I turn to with the most exciting news in the world or when I feel like the world is against me. She has inspired me to follow my dreams and pushed me to become someone that I never thought I could. She has no problem transferring all of her brainpower to my sisters and myself before tests, running out last minute to make sure we’re fully stocked with Ticonderoga pencils, and she is never lacking in creative ideas for projects. My mother is someone that I will always look up to, always treasure as a friend, and someone that I respect more than anyone else in the world. I am truly blessed to have such a great mom.

My sisters and I realize that when she tells us to suck it up when we scrape our knee, that she’s only making us tougher. We know that she loves us despite how many times we ask her if the angel is made out of glass or when we track dog poop through the house for the 20th time. We know that if something were wrong, she’d be the first to be by our side and the last to leave. My mom will always be my biggest fan, and she has raised three pretty decent girls that will always know that they have a lot to live up to.

We're not sure why our Dad puts up with us.

Thank you mom for all that you do and all that you are. Happy Mother’s Day!

March 2, 2010

Sinful Potatoes

by Emily Grace

Sometimes it takes losing someone to realize how special they really are to you. This has been a tough week for me and my family because we lost an incredible woman. As my sisters and I pull our favorite memories of Dad’s mother we are reminded of the wonderfully witty woman that will always remain a part of us. My older sister Meghan not only looks the most like our Granny, but also has her love for shelling. My younger sister Sarah definitely got her sense of humor and wittiness–no one compares with Sarah’s humor. As for me, I received her love for shopping and affinity for nice things (don’t know if that’s really a good thing), and also her passion for cooking (though I’m not as adventurous as she was). Our Granny will always be remembered as an incredibly loving and inspiring woman, and I know that whenever I cook up one of her delicious concoctions it will be a pleasant reminder of how she in a ways has shaped me into the person I am today.

I have included one of my favorite things my Granny used to make. My mom included this recipe in a cookbook that she made for me and my sisters for Christmas and with a fun story/explanation on the name of the recipe. I hope you enjoy! I hope that this is something we’ll be eating when I go home this weekend. It will surely provide a little comfort to me… and my stomach.

The Famous Bettie Lou!

Granny’s Sinful Potatoes

The Sinful Potato casserole was always a favorite covered dish prepared by Granny. The name originates from the sinful amounts of Velveeta cheese and bacon that are mixed with the frozen potato cubes. This dish goes well with ham or makes a hearty offering for a covered dish breakfast. I like to double the amount of bacon when I make the dish to double the sin.

1 Bag of Ore Ida Cubed Hash Browns
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1lb of Bacon (this is the doubled amount)
1 lb block of Velveeta Cheese

1)    Cook bacon and then crunch into bits.
2)    Cut the Velveeta into small cubes.
3)    Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4)    Place in a 9 x 13 glass pan.
5)    Cook in oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. The top of the casserole will turn golden brown. Check by tasting potatoes for softness.

I hope you make this recipe and share it with all of your friends. It’s exactly what my Granny would have wanted… spreading the deliciousness of this sinful dish to all.

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February 16, 2010

Pancakes Alive

by Emily Grace

Happy National Pancake Week!

I love pancakes. I really do. I love when my dad makes me pancakes. Growing up my dad would usually make us pancakes on Saturday mornings. Whether you were rolling out of bed at 8, 9, 10, or 11 am, you just knew that you could get your hands on some delicious pancakes and the smell of bacon (sometimes you had to make sure you were up early to actually get a slice of the bacon, we tend to devour it in our house). Sundays were usually reserved for waffles or french toast, both of which I love, but I loved that I could count on having Saturday morning pancakes.

Yums in my Tums!

I always liked to wake up early so that I could have the first batch off the griddle. This meant they were cooked in the fresh bacon grease, and that makes them even tastier. They get a nice crunchy edge around them. Yums in my tums. I eat mine with just butter or with a little dribble of syrup. It doesn’t take much. The best part though, is getting to share them at the breakfast table with my family. Even if we are too groggy to talk to each other, just eating meals with my family is something to be excited about.

I’m sad that I don’t get pancakes every Saturday anymore. I make them occasionally, but they never taste as good as my dad’s. However, this week is National Pancake Week, February 14th-20th, that is just super exciting to me. I wish that meant that I could wake up to a wonderful stack of fluffy pancakes each morning, but then again I’d be 500 lbs. Perhaps I’ll treat myself sometime this week.

Here’s the recipe we use:

The basic pancake recipe uses 2 cups of Bisquick mix, 2 eggs (beaten), and 1 cup of milk. Simply beat all the ingredients together until well blended and then pour approximately ¼ cup portions onto a sizzling hot greased (we like bacon grease) or nonstick griddle. Cook until the edges begin to dry and a lot of bubbles appear in the batter and they are golden brown on the bottom, then flip and continue cooking until that side is golden brown, as well. Serve hot with butter and syrup and watch them disappear. You can also serve them with jam or fresh fruit or add fun things in them, but I don’t need that to satisfy my belly.

How do you like your pancakes? Do you have a favorite recipe you use?

Eat up!

February 10, 2010

All I need for Valentine’s Day is a Cupcake!

by Emily Grace

With Valentine’s Day at the end of the week, many of us are looking for sweet treats to give our beau.  If you CRAVE cupcakes like we do, you might find the perfect gift for your sweetie this year in these CRAVE-worthy cupcakeries.

Kumquat Cupcakery (kumquatcupcakery.com)

Devouring eight mini cupcakes seems to make us feel like we are consuming fewer calories than if we were to just eat one normal sized cupcake, but with calorie counting forgotten, there is nothing that would prevent us from eating as many of these cute and tasty mini cupcakes as we can possibly get our hands on.  Owner, Keavy Landreth, has made an impact on us with her cute little cupcakes with big bold flavors.  We just can’t get enough of them!

What makes them unique?  These bite-sized cupcakes feature a variety of unique flavors that result in a mind-blowing experience that leave your taste buds craving more.  Not sure about maple bacon or coffee caramel bourbon cupcakes?  Just pop one in your mouth and savor the sweetness because there will be no going back.

You can order Kumquat’s cupcakes online or find them every Saturday and Sunday at the Brooklyn Flea Market.  If you’re planning on picking up a few for Valentine’s Day, they have a PopUp Shop open February 11th-14th at 170 Franklin Street (between Kent and Java) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

sugar Sweet sunshine (sugarsweetsunshine.com)

With an idea in mind and a name that was taken from an etching on the cement that said “sugar Sweet sunshine, Love” in a big heart, this delectable cupcakery came to life.  It’s hard to decide what we CRAVE more about these cupcakes—the light, fluffy, moist cake or the sweet, creamy, delicious icing?  We’ve come to settle on the fact that it must just be the beautiful collision that happens when the two come together.  They have hit the spot with serving up perfected recipes of the classic cupcakes that we all love!

What makes them unique?  Set up more like your grandma’s cozy and out-of-date living room, sugar Sweet sunshine offers a comfortable and fun place where people not only pick up yummy tasting treats to go, but can hang out as if in their own space.  Decorated with old furniture from the owners’ apartments and thrift shop finds, this cupcakery creates a cozy atmosphere that many shops in NYC miss out on.

126 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002
212-995-1960

Sweet Revenge (sweetrevengenyc.com)

After being laid off from a job in the corporate world, Owner/Founder Marlo Scott got her sweet revenge by forgetting the life of working for “the man” and started a business that she could love and enjoy.  With the unique concept of bringing tasty desserts and alcohol together, Sweet Revenge is not your granny’s cupcake shop.

What makes them unique? Aside from unique flavors and the wacky concept of a cupcakery and bar all in one, Sweet Revenge offers a list of beer and wine pairings to go with the cupcakes.  You beau will be totally tantalized by the fact that he can have his cake and eat it too… and have a beer to go with it.

62 Carmine Street (Between Bedford and 7th Ave)
New York, NY 10014
212-242-2240

***This was a post that I made earlier today on CRAVE NYC Blog.  Check out all that we CRAVE around this great city!

Please enlighten me on your favorite NYC cupcake spots.  I’m always up for trying a new cupcake.

February 1, 2010

Hello February! Hello Hot Chocolate Festival!

by Emily Grace

Thank goodness it’s February. This might be a month known for the bitter cold here in NYC, but there is one thing good that comes out of it. No, it’s not Valentine’s Day. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that is a good time. It is City Bakery’s Hot Chocolate Festival! They concoct a different flavor of hot chocolate for each day of the month. I’m super picky and probably won’t try the majority of them, but just the fact that there is this endless escape of hot chocolate flavors, well, color me excited! Also, the homemade marshmallows to top it off will be a must. Watch out hot chocolate lovers of New York City, this will be epic!

I don’t even know what some of these flavors mean, but I guess that’s just something I’ll have to figure out.

Monday, February 1: Lemon Hot Chocolate
Tuesday, February 2: Chile Pepper Hot Chocolate
Wednesday, February 3: Chinese Cinnamon Hot Chocolate
Thursday, February 4: Espresso Hot Chocolate
Friday, February 5: Ginger Hot Chocolate
Saturday, February 6: Banana Peel Hot Chocolate
Sunday, February 7: Caramel Hot Chocolate
Monday, February 8: Vanilla Bean Hot Chocolate
Tuesday, February 9: Earl Grey Tea Hot Chocolate
Wednesday, February 10: Introducing….Moulin Rouge Hot Chocolate! (read about it in the interview)
Thursday, February 11: Tropical Hot Chocolate
Friday, February 12: Bourbon Hot Chocolate
Saturday, February 13: Milk Chocolate Hot Chocolate
Sunday, February 14: Love Potion Hot Chocolate
Monday, February 15: Vietnamese Cinnamon Hot Chocolate
Tuesday, February 16: Hi Ho Pistachio Hot Chocolate
Wednesday, February 17: Milk Chocolate Hot Chocolate
Thursday, February 18: Darkest Dark Chocolate Hot Chocolate
Friday, February 19: Creamy Stout Hot Chocolate
Saturday, February 20: Happy Hot Chocolate
Sunday, February 21: Sunken Treasure Hot Chocolate
Monday, February 22: Ginger Hot Chocolate
Tuesday, February 23: Arabian Nights Hot Chocolate
Wednesday, February 24: Ode to the Polar Bear Hot Chocolate
Thursday, February 25: Beer + Brown Sugar Hot Chocolate
Friday, February 26: Shangri-La Hot Chocolate
Saturday, February 27: Banana Peel Hot Chocolate
Sunday, February 28: Festival Finale TBD

Thanks Time Out New York for providing us the details of the Hot Chocolate Festival. Read the Time Out New York interview with Maury Rubin, City Bakery’s owner and baker. It will give you a little more insight into the wonders of the Hot Chocolate Festival. Find me all February at City Bakery, 3 W. 18th St., between 5th and 6th Ave. The average hot chocolate costs about $5, so drink up!
January 18, 2010

The Cupcake Dance

by Emily Grace

If you haven’t heard… I LOVE cupcakes!  I love eating cupcakes.  I love baking cupcakes.  I love giving away cupcakes.  I love finding the most perfect cupcakes in all of New York City.

This little cupcake video did nothing but put a very large grin on my face.  I’ve been in quite a funk lately.  Maybe it’s because my oven still isn’t working so there has been a lack of baking in my life, but regardless, this made my night just a little bit brighter.  How I wish I had a cupcake to share in a sweet little dance!

Check out some of my favorite NYC cupcakeries.  CrumbsSugar Sweet SunshineThe Cupcake StopKumquat (check out the maple bacon… I know, but trust me. Plus Keavy, the owner, is absolutely fab!).  Two Little Red Hens (awesome red velvet, promise).

What’s your favorite type of cupcake or favorite cupcake place?  Please share, I’m always needing new cupcakes in my life!

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January 4, 2010

Keeping Your Life Organized in 2010

by Emily Grace

In a world of PDAs and Blackberries and iPhones, I’m a little old school.  I have a Blackberry that is like my second self, but I just can’t get into putting my entire life into it and using it as my datebook/planner/life reminder.  When I remember, I will add things into my calender, and the note section is great when I’m looking to record subway and walking directions somewhere or I need to write down a title of a song that I like, but other than that I’m helpless.  I prefer pre-2000s datebooks and notebooks to keep my life in order.  I’ve been known to have three datebooks going at one time–monthly view, weekly view, and daily view.  I have higher standards for my datebooks than I do for most things in my life.  Without them, I would not know whether to “scratch my watch or wind my butt” –thanks Dolly Parton for that memorable  line in the movie Steel Magnolias.

As it is time for most of us to catalog (or toss if you must) your old datebook and buy a replacement for the year to come, I have provided my favorites for you.  Some of them are not practical for me in the least because they are way too fun, and I wouldn’t actually get anything done, but I figured that they were still worthy of sharing.  Maybe it’s just what YOU need!

dotmine group

The planner on the left  is the planner that I currently have.  I got super duper lucky with this one because I got it for FREE!  It was part of a gift bag at the Savor the Success holiday shopping event in December.  It retails for $9.99 at on www.amazon.com and can also be found at Borders Bookstore.  It is a life_time dot mine planner by the dotmine group.  Why I love it: it lasts for 17 months (September 2009-January 2011), has a monthy layout, weekly layout, weekly schedule, master schedule, personal roadmap (to help you achieve goals), a life page and a work page.  On weekly layout there are also notes columns, one for work and one for life to make lists!  This cuts back on additional notebooks that I will need to make such “to-do” lists.

Ecosystem Life

I like this little pink one on the right because Ecosystem Life let’s you have the freedom to customize it to what you need.  I love the one pictured above that has the weekly calendar on the left and a note page on the right.  You can also choose a monthly view or weekly view without note pages.  They come in three different sizes and a varity of colors and range in price from $9.95 to $17.95.  If you couldn’t tell from the company name, these planners are also eco-friendly, made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper.  They also make journals and essay books.

8 Days a Week Planner by Bob's Your Uncle

This cute stripped planner would not work for me because it doesn’t provide enough space for everything I think I have to do each day, but I love that it is 8 days a week.  The eighth day is “Someday.”  Love that!  Despite being insanely organized, I still procrastinate and a someday option would be nice.  You can buy it for $18 at www.fredflare.com.

Aquatic Adventure Weekly Planner by Little Otsu

Non-Planner Datebook by Little Otsu

These two planners above I just find absolutely adorable, but realize they would be a complete and utter distraction for me.  Though I’m not much of a fan of aquatic creatures when I’m in the ocean, I love this Aquatic Adventure Weekly Planner.  For $15 at Bang Bang You’re Thread, you can get this awesome planner that comes complete with giant squid stickers.  Whoever said grownup planners can’t be fun and have stickers?  The Non-Planner Datebook by Little Otsu is filled with lots of unconventional pages that are designed to inspire creativity and carry your great ideas.  Hours of fun and accomplishing nothing for only $12.95.

What in your mind makes the perfect datebook?  Happy planning now that you have the perfect book to keep yourself organized.

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January 3, 2010

Ruffle My Cake

by Emily Grace

I have become utterly frustrated with baking cakes.  A few months ago I came home severely frustrated and decided that cooking up a delicious cake was just the recipe for curing this frustration.  I whipped up a yummy batter and poured it into two greased 9-inch round pans, went to slide the pans in the oven to realize that both pans would not fit in my itty-bitty-New York City oven.  I proceeded to just sit on the floor of the kitchen and cry a little.  Talk about adding to a frustrated day!

After wiping my tears away, I finally got both layers of the cake baked only to realize that I don’t own a cake plate to put my creation on.  I decided to improvise and placed the cake on one of our dinner plates and stuck it in the microwave to keep it fresh.  Thought the microwave kept the cake incredibly fresh, it was disappointing to not have it sitting out on a stunning plate.  This got me searching for a cake plate of my dreams.  Who knew that there were so many absolutely gorgeous cake plates out there?  I want them all!

This one definitely struck my fancy though.  It made things a little more cheery for my utmost frustration.  Pink AND Ruffled!  Thank you cake plate God!

Pink Ruffled Cake Plate

From Expressions

So cute!  Unfortunately it is currently out of stock, which is a definite bummer, but bet your bottom that I’ll be keeping my eye on the restocking of this precious platter.

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