Dealing with life is a piece of cake.

Posts tagged ‘lemon’

Summertime on Cloud Nine

Let’s play a game.

It’s called “Where Is This Blog Post Being Written?”

Here are the rules:

Guess where this blog post is being written. Complicated.

Don’t cheat. (If you do, that just means you’re a creepy stalker. I don’t think you want to live with that.)

I think you’ll do fine.

So, here goes.

I have a (free) mimosa in my hand.

Tiny ear buds are humming Frank Sinatra’s voice into my head.

I’m in a pretty comfortable leather seat.

I’m looking at tiny blips of white surrounded by large areas of green and brown thousands of miles beneath me.

There’s also a layer of mashed potatoes underneath me.

Not too far behind me is a small child, who initially decided to scream its head off, but then (smartly) ceased.

Where am I?

In the air!

If you guessed anything but an airplane, I’d like to know your answer and then pick at your brain.

I’m well on my way to Seattle, Washington to visit one of my very best friends in the world. Yay!

I feel like I’m on Cloud Nine right now. The past week at work was not only tolerable, but I generally had a good time. What?! Cray. I know.

Last night I was lucky enough to enjoy a late-night after-work IHOP run with my darling boyfriend. I (shamelessly) scarfed down some blueberry pancakes. I was also told I have giant eyes. Whatever that means.

I woke up this morning, got dressed, put my face on, had a nice little conversation with a coworker, and headed to the airport. Did I mention I’m flying First Class?

Yeah, I’m flying First Class. I’ve never done it. The best part so far, aside from the complimentary mimosas the stewardess is throwing at me, is the line cutting! Mwahaha. I must have saved about an hour of waiting because of this “First Class” status.

When things like this excite me, does that mean I’m getting old? I mean, first I’m overly stoked about my new car having amazing gas mileage, and now I’m excited about short lines?

Stewardess! I need another mimosa. This is too much to handle. I’m not old…yet.

 

Speaking of getting old, my birthday is soon. Which, ehh, I’m not overly excited about. But it does make me think back to when I was a kid. Sleepovers, Back-to-School Nights, Poptarts for breakfast…ahh to be a child.

One thing I vividly remember as a child, is lemonade stands. My next-door neighbor and childhood BFF, Jessica, and I used to have one every year. I mean EVERY year. Tradition. It always seemed to be right after the gardeners overly trimmed the trees. I’m sure the majority of our sales came from our parents and other close neighbors, but it didn’t matter. It was fun. We were fun. We were cool kids.

Some smartypants friend of mine suggest Pink Lemonade Cupcakes to me a few weeks ago. GENIUS!

The cake has a slightly tart taste, and paired with the cream cheese frosting (infused with lemon-lime soda) and you’ve got yourself a lemonade stand in a cupcake wrapper. That can’t possibly be wrong, right?

Enjoy, my fellow childhood lemonade-standers. Reflect on the goofy memories. Smile.

In the meantime, I’ll be frolicking in Seattle, being fabulous as I take a huge bite of a much-anticipated Trophy Cupcake and laughing over God knows what with an amazing friend. “She’s good for your soul,” says my mom. I must agree.

MAKE THESE CUPCAKES!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour minus 6 tbsp
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1/2 cup sweetened instant pink lemonade

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and instant lemonade in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat butter until fluffy and pale.

4. Add sugar and beat until smooth.

5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

6. Add vanilla and strawberry cream cheese. Beat well.

7. Alternately add milk and flour mixture, beating well between each addition.

8. Bake for about 20 minutes and let cool before frosting.

Lemon-Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup lemon-lime soda
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1. Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.

2. Add vanilla and beat until well-combined.

3. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, until completely blended.

4. Add soda and lemon juice and beat until just combined.

5. Allow the frosting to set. It will initially be runny.

6. Frost them cupcakes! Then shamelessly shove it in your mouth.

For instructions on how to candy the lemons, see this recipe for Grapefruit Cupcakes and you’ll be all set. 🙂

Like what you see? Check out the Pink Cake Party Kit over at Event Blossom!

I think they complement these little beauties quite well. 😉

Bon appétit!

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Courtesy cupcakes and well-mannered meringue.

I often think about how I would act in front of the Queen of England.

The term “lady-like” does not come to mind when I think of myself — I hate sitting with my ankles crossed. It’s not natural! Or curtsying? Yikes…I don’t know about that one either — I don’t think I’m coordinated enough to lightly shake her fragile hand and do a half-pliet at the same time. Also, what the heck do you talk to her about? Do you talk to her at all? Am I supposed to dance for her? Make balloon animals? Perform my rendition of Broadway’s “Cats”? That’s a lot of pressure. She might prefer The Lion King…

In my fantasy world, the Queen and I would be sitting in two giant comfy chairs in her extravagant living room, where there is a faint background hum of subtle classical music. While she tells me story after story of her past romantic affairs that no one knows about, we sip tea and coffee out of tiny delicate gold-trimmed cups that sit beside some scones that I made for her. She loves them. She ate six. It turns out that she finds me so charming and charismatic that she wants me to move to England for the sole purpose of our weekly afternoon gossip sessions. I do this. Life is cool.

Sounds reasonable. I’m sure this happens. It’s…casual.

I’ve made a list. A list of behavioral faux pas I’ve observed over the past few weeks. Imagine if we all had the courtesy and politeness required when interacting with Her Majesty?

Okay, I agree, that’d be a bit much, and pretty boring, but really all I’m talking about is common courtesy, people. Basic manners. Simple things that seem like common sense, but for some reason, I’ve noticed that apparently, they’re not. Taking a general interest in someone’s life, when they are constantly interested in yours, is common courtesy. Smiling when you see someone instead of frowning or having a scowling look…common courtesy. Asking how someone’s day was…common courtesy!

THINGS YOU SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT DO WHEN YOU ARE A FUNCTIONAL MEMBER OF SOCIETY

1. Saying “hello” to the person behind the counter before starting to speak – GOOD

2. Not reciprocating a “How are you” question – BAD

3. Holding the door open for someone, even if its your dog (especially if its your dog) – GOOD

4. Holding the door open for someone, only to let go at the last possible second to make it completely awkward and unmanageable for the person about to walk through, resulting in pain. – BAD (was that too specific?)

5. Remembering names – GOOD

6. Forgetting names – BAD

7. Using “please” and “thank you” on a regular basis – VERY GOOD

8. Interrupting someone when they talk – VERY BAD

9. Asking how someone’s day was – GOOD

10. Chewing with your mouth closed – GOOD

11. Batting someone’s face when they’re sleeping – BAD (I think it might just be Kitten that does this, but if you do it…stop it. Weirdo.)

12. Complimenting someone – GOOD

13. Telling someone they look like Jane of the Jungle because they’re having an “off” hair day – BAD

14. Giving (welcomed) hugs – GOOD

15. Answering phone calls or texts in the middle of a deep face-to-face conversation – BAD

16. Referring to someone’s hobby as “stupid” to their face – VERY BAD

17. Asking about someone’s hobby because you really care – VERY GOOD

18. Baking lemon cupcakes – GOOD

19. Pairing the cupcakes with a blueberry compote – GREAT

20. Topping the cupcakes with an airy meringue – EXCELLENT!

There are a lot more where that came from. But these are truths. Necessary truths. Specifically the last three…and number seven. And eleven…

These cupcakes came together better than I imagined. I got home from work, took off my blazer, and got to baking. There was no recipe written down anywhere, and I never even tried to look up suggestions on how to make a perfect compote. I simply looked at the recipe for my mom’s favorite lemon cookies and made it into a super moist, fresh, lemon cake. The flavor is perfect. The texture? Lighter than freaking air.

Mama was happy. And we all know that when Mama is happy…say it with me…everyone is happy!

I topped it with a perfectly sweetened blueberry compote, and whipped up some meringue. And as you can see, I had a little bit of pyro fun with a small torch. 🙂

The Event Blossom theme this week is Something Blue. Adorable! These cupcakes with the blue wrappers are a perfect pair for a summer engagement party. Make sure to take a peek at what Kim did with this kit on her blog!

Perhaps the Queen might enjoy them too…I’ll consider making them for her for next week’s afternoon tea.

Now, please, try these cupcakes.

Come on…I said please!

Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Compote and Meringue

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup non-fat half and half
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon zest
juice of two fresh lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pan with papers.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and pale.

4. Add eggs, beat well on high.

5. Add vanilla, beat well.

6. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat for about 30 seconds.

7. Add half and half, lemon juice, and zest until evenly distributed. Do not over mix.

8. Fill cups 1/2 full and bake for 18 minutes.

Note: These rise a LOT. I was not expecting this. So you’ll notice that this says to fill the cups 1/2 full instead of 3/4 full. There’s a reason for that. Do as I say. (Please..)

Blueberry Compote

2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp water

1. Simmer all ingredients in a small saucepan for about 8 minutes. The blueberries should start to pop and the mixture will begin to thicken. Stir occasionally.

2. Remove from heat and let cool. If it is not thick enough, add 1 tbsp corn starch and place back on the heat for another couple of minutes. Let cool completely before using on cupcakes.

Meringue

6 egg whites
5 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla

1. Beat egg whites until frothy.

2. Add sugar until stiff peaks form.

3. Add vanilla, continue to beat on high.

4. To test if the meringue is ready, you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down for 30 seconds. Yes, 30 nerve-racking seconds.

Bon appétit!

Blueberry muffins with a side of youthful wisdom.

I might be young, but I’ve learned a lot about life during my twenty-something years on this planet.

It’s true

I’m pretty wise.

Sort of.

Kind of.

(I have a lot to learn)

But I am wise!

And I will admit, I do a lot of stupid things. Like spill a cinnamon, sugar, and lemon extract mixture all over the kitchen floor because I was too busy trying to watch The Office, text, and generally distract myself from real-life as much as possible. I think I tried too hard.  It worked, since I was then busy cleaning cinnamon off the floor.

Ohh Life, you throw so many curveballs.

Allow me to share some of my wisdom with you:

– First and foremost, make sure you have some good friends. Or a good friend. It’s about quality, not quantity. You’ll see who is a true friend during the toughest times of your life.

– Don’t ever apologize for something you truly love. For example, I will never apologize for loving N’Sync and Spice Girls. Yes, I said “loving” as in that love lives on in my heart. Oh, you think you’re funny and start to play “Bye, Bye, Bye” as a joke? This girl is ready for her solo…bring it on.

– Remember to brush your teeth.  I always remember.  But I highly dislike it when people don’t.  It’s just gross if you don’t. Really.

– Learn the difference between the words “there” “their” and “they’re.” It’s important in life. People won’t necessarily think you’re smart, but they definitely won’t think you’re illiterate. Important.

– Life gives you a zillion lemons. And when I say “a zillion”…I really mean a bazillion, times 8,000. It’ll knock you right off your feet, and leave you lost, sad, and confused.

Okay, that was a little heavy…but there is good news!

When life gives you lemons…

…you make blueberry muffins! That’s my philosophy, anyway.

These are good muffins. And when I say “good”…I really mean good. Serve ’em warm, with the lemon-cinnamon butter. It will make you happy.

If you’re already happy, well, congratulations!  Have a muffin. 🙂

They’re a-maz-ing right out of the oven.  I’m not exaggerating.  Unfortunately I was the only one around to enjoy them.  Well, Kitten was there..but she had her own dinner plans.

Yes, I’m wearing Christmas pajamas in August.

Yes, I am an adult and I own Christmas pajamas.

I just told you not to apologize for things you love!  And I love my Christmas pajamas.

🙂

Blueberry Muffins
adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup room temp water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan.

2. Cream butter, sugars, and salt together until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Add the baking powder, mix until incorporated.

5. Combine water and condensed milk in a small bowl.

6. Add milk mixture alternately with flour, beating well after each addition.

7. Fold in blueberries, making sure to evenly distribute them throughout the batter.

8. Fill muffin papers full. The batter is pretty thick, so it won’t rise too much.

9. Bake muffins for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cinnamon-Sugar Lemon Butter

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature.
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp flour

1. Combine all ingredients. Store in refrigerator.

Bon appétit!

Moms rock. So do these cookies.

I have so many things to tell you.

If you were here, I’d hand you a cookie, pour you a glass of wine and explain why I’ve been missing.

You’d give me a hug, hand me a cookie, and pour me a glass of wine. We’d talk for hours. We’d eat more cookies. We’d laugh, we’d cry, we would have a moment. And we’d eat more cookies. …and drink more wine.

Oh, how I wish I could invite all of you over and have this happen. It’s just not possible. I don’t have enough sugar for that many cookies.

But you are here, in a “there” sort of way. And I love that. So, thank you.

You know who is here in a “here” sort of way? My mom. She’s always here in a “here” sort of way. She would be even if she was on a different continent. She’s always there for me. Err…here for me. You know what I mean.

So what does one do when you’re slightly broke, and trying to save for a trip to Hawaii that’s happening in a month? Bake the cookies she’s been asking you to make since you started your blog, duh!

She loves these lemon cookies. And I love her. It works out.

I propose a toast. To moms – they somehow manage to unconditionally love their children despite the stupid crap they do, while having husbands and dealing with girl friend drama, and working 9-5 M-F, cooking incredible dinners, and somehow still remembering that an adorable set of salt and pepper shakers will make their daughter’s day better. (Oh, is that just me?) Moms rock. Cheers! *clink*

Love you, Mama!

Lemon Butter Cookies
adapted from The Cookie Bible

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt

Additional sugar for top of cookies

1. Beat butter and sugar until creamy and light in color.

2. Beat in egg until fluffy.

3. Beat in flour, lemon juice, lemon peel, baking powder, and salt until just incorporated.

4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. (I left mine overnight)

5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

6. Roll out firmed dough to 1/4″ thickness on a well-floured surface. Do not forget to flour your surface, rolling-pin, and hands!!! The dough softens up fairly quickly.

7. Using a 3″ round cookie cutter (or the lip side of a drinking up) cut the dough, and transfer the cutouts to a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle cookies with additional sugar. (I used raw sugar, but that’s just my preference. Feel free to use granulated sugar.)

8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom edges of the cookies are golden brown. The top of the cookie will be pale.

9. Cool for about a minute on the baking sheets and then transfer the cookies to wire racks.

10. Eat! ………………unless………………

……………you want to add a glaze! These cookies are amazing with or without the glaze, but I prefer with because it adds a lil sum’n sum’n to them. 😉

Easiest Lemon Glaze (Ever)

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water

1. Whisk ingredients together until completely blended.

2. Taste it. If it’s too lemony for you, add more sugar. If it’s not lemony enough, add more lemon juice.

3. Drizzle on cookies.

4. Eat.

What? A broken one? What does one do in this situation?!

Dunk it in my coffee and eat it, of course! (darn, right?)

Happy Mom’s Day 🙂 xoxo