Thursday, April 17, 2014

Week 40 Cupcakes - Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

These were not the cupcakes I planned on making this week.  The cupcakes I planned on making were these tasty looking Boston Cream Pie cupcakes.  Instead I was flipping through my feedly  feed when the picture of these yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting came up and the Tornado insisted in the way only a sugar loving 4 year old can insist that these were the cupcakes that were going to get made.  It messed with my list making brain a bit but I didn't have the heart to turn him down.  This was a good thing on my part because these little cupcakes are fantastic!

(The Star Wars cupcake liner was also by request of a certain little boy)

1. Source: Your Cup of Cake - I don't know why I go anywhere else for cupcake recipes.  Hers are always amazing.

2. Ease of Recipe (1 being cake mix/canned icing - 5 tons of steps and very time consuming): 2. These are pretty simple and straight forward.

3. Changes Made:  Didn't have any buttermilk because when it comes down to it I can't stand the stuff.  Mixed a spoonful of sour cream with milk to get the amount needed.  I also used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder instead of regular.

4. Problems:  None other than I can't stop eating them. 

5.  Overall Impression:  Simply put - these are the cupcakes.  These are the cupcakes you make for birthday parties, potlucks or anywhere else you may need a cupcake.  The cake is light and fluffy but still holds together.  The chocolate frosting is silky and smooth.  It's rich and chocolatey and just the right amount of sweet.

6. Quantity:  14.  

7. Make Again?:  Oh yes!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

What I Wore Wednesday is a linkup hosted by the stylish Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy.  I participate to try and get myself inspired when it comes to clothing.  Lately this has been a failure because my love of Easter candy is beating my love of clothing but hopefully I've got that under control now!  

 I got this shirt because Cartwheel had a coupon for all 20% off Converse brand clothing at Target.  It's super soft and I think will be great as a transition piece.

Top: Converse via Target
Jeans: Target
Shoes: Target 
Apparently it was a Target kind of day

 Sweater - Golden Tote
Tank - Old Navy
Jeans - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes - DSW
Necklace - Lauren Conrad via Kohls

 Jacket - H&M (thrifted)
Tank - Target
T-shirt - H&M
Jeans - Levi's
Shoes - DSW

Sweater - Ann Taylor (thrifted)
Jeans - Target
Shoes - DSW
Necklace - Etsy (It says Don't Even Blink on it)

Monday, April 14, 2014

MyIreland Box Review - April

Back in March I gave myself a gift of a 3 month subscription to MyIreland box.  I figured that after 3 months I'd have gotten some interesting things and that would be that.  I didn't count on how much fun the boxes would be.  I'm thinking I'll be giving myself another 3 month subscription after I get my May box.

I loved March's box but if possible I think I like April's even more.

First up is the information card that tells you a little bit about the people who made the different items in the box and where they're from.

First up is this set of mini note cards from West Cork artist Annabel Langrish.  They're beautiful and unique and about 3 inches square.  I'm planning on framing them and am just trying to decide if I want to to frame them in 2 groupings vertical or horizontal but I'm sure they'll look beautiful either way.

  Next is this leather shamrock keychain from Holden Leatherworks in County Kerry. I'm already using it and it makes it easy to find my keys when they get lost in my purse.  Plus it makes me smile.

This coaster is from Fab Cow Design in County Dublin.  It's done in ancient Irish writing, Ogham.  It says sonas which means happiness.  I had needed a new coaster for my bedroom and this fits perfectly.

And finally, this beautiful glass paperweight with the etched in shamrock.  It's from The Irish Handmade Glass Company in Waterford and I literally squealed out loud when I pulled this out of the box.

So another fabulous box from MyIreland box.  I'm fascinated by Irish culture and my Irish heritage so this is easily my favorite subscription both for the connection to Ireland and the variety and beauty of what the boxes have contained.  If you weren't interested in Ireland I'm not sure you'd get quite as much enjoyment out of it but it's definitely a wonderful fun way to find interesting and unique items.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday 5

It's time for the Friday 5 linkup with Emmy Mom.  This is a fun way to end the week with 5 facts and 5 pictures.

1. This week was Emma's birthday.  It's hard to believe she's 17.  Her driver's test ended up having to get rescheduled much to both our dismays due to weather but we've rescheduled so hopefully she'll be a licensed driver in not too much longer.

2. Found a condo at the beach for a week this summer and am so excited to be getting out of town for a bit. We stayed at this place last summer and really enjoyed it.  A large chunk of my family will be there at the same time so it'll be fun to catch up with everyone.

3.  The Tornado has become obsessed with Bob the Builder lately.  He's very phase-y which is one of the very few things he inherited from me.  We went through a Jake and the Never Land Pirates phase, a Little Einstein phase, Daniel Tiger, Thomas the Tank and now Bob.  Star Wars seems to be sticking around so a lot of his games end up being a hybrid of Bob and Star Wars.  It makes for some interesting ideas.

4.  I'm at the point where I think it'd be best just to go on and eat all the Easter candy in the house and be done with it.  I've been awful lately with wandering by and picking up a Reese's or Cadbury egg.  Normally I'm not a big snacker but they're just so good.

5.  Paul had to be at work at 4AM last weekend to open.  He then had to work basically a 10 hour shift and had a soccer game almost immediately after.  He did great but just about collapsed when he got home.

 We've been decorating for Easter which meant I had to put some of my regular stuff up.  These 3 normally aren't together (the 2 little ones are salt and pepper shakers).  I put them on the bottom shelf of a glass fronted cabinet right above the coffee maker so if you look up all 3 are staring at you.  The reaction from the kids is pretty entertaining.

 This was part of one of the photo a day instagram challenges.  The challenge was a picture of a picture and this was mine.  It's one of my favorite pictures of my grandparents from early in their relationship.  My grandmother's the one with dark shoes and my grandfather is behind her.

Much to J's horror and my delight I put the Tornado in layers the other day.  I thought the outfit was adorable.  They weren't so sure of it.

Emma opening presents

Another tulip picture because one can never have to many tulip pictures.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Week 39 Cupcake - Vanilla Bean with Nutella Frosting

I almost didn't make this recipe because originally it makes 28.  The Tornado and I are the only ones who like Nutella and the idea of the 2 of us trying to eat 28 cupcakes didn't seem like the way to go.  Luckily this recipe is easy to half so these got made today.  Forgive the quality of the photo.  I was tired and redoing it just wasn't going to happen.  Also the bunny at the very side of the picture isn't angry but actually sneezing.  In real life it's cute not as creepy as the picture makes it look.

1. Source: Krissy's Creations
2. Ease of Recipe (1 being cake mix/canned icing - 5 tons of steps and very time consuming): 2.  The directions for making the cake are a little different than the method I normally use but it's not anymore difficult and comes together really well.

3. Changes Made:  When I was already in the middle of making this I discovered the buttermilk in the refrigerator was actually more like butter.  To make up for it I used 2 tablespoons sour cream to 1/2 cup skim milk which gave it the right tang and texture.  I also halved the recipe but that's mostly simple math.

4. Problems:  I ended up needing about 5 minutes less cooking time than she called for.  My oven tends to run hot so that's not too big of a surprise.

5.  Overall Impression:  The cake is really lovely - light and fluffy with the tang and vanilla butteriness of a pound cake.  I have mixed feelings about the frosting though.  It's light and fluffy but the combination of confectioner's sugar as well as the Nutella makes a bit too sweet for me.

6. Quantity:  12 though I could've easily gotten 14 or 15.  The original recipe makes 28

7. Make Again?: The cake yes - the frosting probably not.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

Today is What I Wore Wednesday!  This is a linkup hosted by the very stylish Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy.  I'm participating to get myself a little inspired about getting dressed and see what fun stuff everyone else is wearing!  One thing about this week that I discovered as I was pulling the pictures off my phone.  I appear to be have worn the same shoes and dark colored jeans pretty much the whole week. Whoops!  So much for variety.

 I adore this cardigan.  I just got it so I haven't had much time to do anything with it but it's like wearing a blanket - so comfy.
Cardigan: Arizona (thrifted)
Tank: Ann Taylor Loft (thrifted)
Jeans: Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes: Target
I wore a bronze colored pendant on a long chain but apparently I hadn't put it on when I took this pic.

 Cardigan: Golden Tote
Tank: Target
Necklace: Target
Jeans: H&M
Heels: Cole Haan 

 This top is actually more green than brown but it doesn't photograph particularly well.
Top: Ann Taylor (thrifted)
Cami: Target
Necklace you can't see because my hand is in the way: Lauren Conrad
Jeans: Levi's
Shoes: Target

 Sweater: Golden Tote (trying to get a few more wears out of it before it gets warm)
Jeans: Target
Shoes: Target

It's no secret that I get a lot of my clothes from thrift stores and every once in awhile I'll find something that looks like a great find until I wear it and then I think "Oh this is why they donated it." That's the case with this sweater.  It's J. Crew, has really cute gold buttons on the shoulder, and looks new.  It's sized medium but fits like a small so I figured that's why it had gotten donated.  Until I wore it.  It has the itchiest collar of anything I've ever worn.  It drove me insane.
Itchy Sweater: J. Crew (thrifted)
Necklace: Lauren Cornad
Tank: Old Navy
Jeans: Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes: Target

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

MunchPak Review - March

Emma's MunchPak arrived at the end of March. MunchPak is a highly customizable subscription box that basically sends a box of snacks from all over the world to your house as often as you'd like.  Emma has the medium box sent to her once a month which costs $13.95.

This was her third box and definitely contained the biggest variety.  This month the box came packed with Japanese newspaper which is different.

It contained -

Warheads Sour Twists - these are from the U.S.  Standard sour straws which are delicious.

Cadbury Shortcake Stack - from the U.K. Pretty much anything by Cadbury is amazing.  This is essentially a shortbread cookie coated with chocolate.

Starburst Jelly Beans

Arcoiris Marshmallow Cookies - these are from Mexico though you can buy them in some grocery stories that have a Mexican food section.  There basically a graham cracker type cookie topped with a big marshmallow

Minees Sandwich cookies in Strawberry cream - the package says this is a product from India

Banana Passa - looks like fruit leather and says it's dried banana.  It's from Brazil

de la Rosa Marzipan Peanut Candy - this is from Mexico

Jovy Tamaros Sabor Tamarindo Con Chile - This is from Mexico and is said to be Tamarind with Chile flavor.

Dan D Pak Cashews in Sweet Sesame - this is from Vietnam and looks pretty interesting.  It's cashew nuts coated with a sweet syrup and rolled in sesame seeds.

Snack 'n' Bites Rice Cracker Chips in Sea Salt - from Thailand.  I've had rice chips and have never been wowed by them before but I'm going to have to sneak one when she opens the bag.

Pulparindo - the package says this is a hot and salted tamarind pulp candy with real fruit. This is from Mexico and from the same company that the peanut marzipan can from.

Pelagomas Mango candy - another one from Mexico.  This looks like those sugared orange slices but this is supposed to be Mango flavored

Lance Hot & Spicy Peanuts - from the U.S.

Calbee Shrimp Chips - the picture on the bag looked like french fries.  Emma said they tasted exactly like shrimp but she wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.  She likes shrimp and she likes chips but the 2 together are apparently kind of confusing.  These are from Japan.

Walker Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookies - From the U.K. The chocolate chip and shortbread together.  Of course they're amazing.

And finally the Pocky sticks that are in every box she's gotten so far.  This appears to be chocolate.  She's gotten the strawberry (which were good), the green tea (which were not good) and now what is most likely chocolate.  They're fun little cookie straws dipped into a flavored coating and are from Japan.

None of these came in full sized packages.  Most of the candy was individually wrapped pieces and the rest was in snack size bags.  However, it's always fun to try new things and very little of this is easily available. This is the 3rd MunchPak and we're still loving the day the box shows up in the mail!