Monday, July 30, 2012

Let the Games begin!

In honor of the Olympics this week the baking challenge is to create a dessert influenced by another country.  There are so many ways to do this! My mind is spinning with ideas.

The French have given us so many delicious desserts--creme brulee, pots de creme, tarts, truffles, macarons, meringues, pies, eclairs...and the list just continues.  How to pick just one?  Here are few that inspire me.

Chocolate Meringue
From BHG

Champagne Truffles

From Amy's Cooking Adventures

 French Toast Cupcakes*
*is French toast really "French" though?

From Bakingdom

 Triple Chocolate Mousse

From Chasing Delicious
When I think of Mexico I think of tacos, nachos, tortillas, guacamole and yummy salsa. I don't think of dessert.  It took me a few minutes to really come up with something that fit Mexico. 

Churro Cupcake 

From The Sweet Chick
Margarita Cupcake

From Fabulous K


Cookie Dough Egg Roll
I came across this recipe a while ago on Pinterest and it immediately came to mind for this challenge. I'm a little concerned that it won't travel well but it could be fun to make at home for my hubby.  Doesn't it look sinful?

From Pennies on a Platter

When I was in grad school I got to backpack through Europe. We spent quite a bit of time in Italy and I swear that I ate my weight in gelato. It is so delicious. I have yet to find a place in America that even comes close to the gelato in Italy.  Since that definitely does not travel well I thought of some other classic Italian desserts. I struggled with this as I'm not a fan of tiramisu, biscotti, or amaretto. But I did love limoncello while I was there. Why not a cupcake inspired by the classic Italian liquor?

Limoncello Cupcakes
From Normal Activities
United States
And I have to consider USA when it comes to this challenge.  What screams America? Are you as American as Apple Pie?  And the peaches smell sooooo good at the farmer's market these days that we may have to pay tribute to the Georgia peach.

Apple Pie Cupcakes

From Made in Melissa's Kitchen

Peaches and Cream Cupcake

From Burlap N Bling

What desserts inspire you from other countries? Are you do anything fun for the Olympics this year?


P.S.  I ended up making the Twinkie Cupcake for last weeks challenge.  While I didn't win the challenge (a fluffer nutter whoopie pie did) I absolutely loved the result of my cupcake. It truly tasted like a twinkie! I will be making them again (and again and again).

Lollipop, Lollipop Oh Lolli, Lolli, Lolli, Lollipop

Push Play...

Goosey was thrilled to get a pink lollipop at her haircut.  She carried it around for hours, NOT eating it, just holding it, happy as a clam.  As you can see, the lollipop didn't interfere with the day's activities.

Hugs to our followers,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Childhood favorites

Whew...the past few weeks have been crazy! Work, illness,'s time for a break!  What better way to unwind than to have a baking challenge?  It works for me!  Several of my friends at work enjoy baking as much as I do. We thought it would be fun to set up a challenge every few weeks to encourage everyone to try new things and think creatively.  For the girl who tends to stick with the tried and true this is a great idea. 

This weeks challenge?  Childhood favorites.  It can be anything and in any format.  I know one person is doing PB&J, another is doing cookie dough, and the third is taking on Fluffer nutter.  I'm still deciding on what I should do...

What's your favorite food from your childhood?  I obviously tend to think of candy! Here are some of my inspirations. 

Crybaby Kool-Aid Cupcakes
I mean, who doesn't think of Ecto Cooler Hi-C and Kool-Aid if you were a child of the 80's?  To top it off with a crybaby is just like a cherry on top!

From Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
Pixie Stick Cupcakes
Pure sugar.....mmm...I remember those giant versions that would give you a sugar high for days!

From Something Swanky

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes
I tried to find a Reese's Pieces one since it makes me think of ET and Drew Barrymore but a Reese Peanut Butter Cup cupcake is a pretty close alternative.

From Hoosier Homemade
Skittles Cupcake
Can you taste the rainbow?

From The Girl Who Ate Everything
 Sour Patch Kid Cupcakes
One second it's sour, the next it's sweet. My brother and I still LOVE sour patch kids. I'm very intrigued about making a cupcake sour.
From Cookies and Cups
Twinkie Cupcakes
My favorite snack to have in my lunch as a kid. A twinkie! I think a homemade version sounds delicious and a whole lot better than the packaged kind with a shelf life of 30+ years!
From Domestic Rebel
Twix Cupcake
A Twix bar is still one of my favorite candy bars. How can you go wrong with chocolate, caramel and a short bread cookie?

From Bailey's Irish Duck

Which one do you think I should try to make? Are there any that I hadn't thought of that should make the list? Let me know!

Happy baking!

Call Me, Maybe

If you've listened to the radio for a minute this summer, I'm sure you've heard this song playing on no fewer than three local radio stations at any given moment.

It has special meaning in my family.  Goosey and Maverick, along with their cousins, call my sister-in-law "Maybe."  Why?  It's a long story, but I've always found it very cute.  Imagine how perfect it was when Maybe found this shirt on the boardwalk.

Here's Maybe posing with her nieces and nephews.

Hugs to our followers,

Monday, July 23, 2012

birthday celebration

Below are a few pictures from Mindy's fabulous tiffany-blue themed birthday party.

Pinterest idea

Mrs. K's beautiful flowers

pom-pom ball

petit fours
bubbly to start the night
the birthday girl

smores bar

Alcoholic content

delicious cake

3/4 of girlfriends
Hugs to our followers,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sharpie Tie-Dye

Remember this post, t is for t-shirt?

Last week, on vacation, my sister-in-law, continued the tradition by organizing another kid-friendly t-shirt decorating activity.  Here's the how-to details on sharpie tie-dying.  Check out our designs.
placing the cups under the shirt

Claire is excited to start tie-dying!

Ryan with his decorated shirt
Goosey and Claire coloring away

I'm proud of the shirt I decorated for Maverick

Goosey, helping Aunt Katie put on rubbing alcohol

watch the magic

pretty tie-dye

finished shirts

Goosey, modeling her finished shirt

A big thank-you to Katie for supplying this super fun activity!

Hugs to our followers,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Black Out

I was lucky enough to share part of the recent power outage with Kate.  Shortly after the lights went out, my husband and I were scrambling around for flashlights, and I see Kate staring in my pantry, laughing.  Nothing looks out of the ordinary, does it?

I walk over to her and she says, "Why in the world is this in here?"

We laughed and laughed over Goosey's Cinderella Pez dispenser.  And then Kate had some fun with a flashlight.

(In full disclosure, Kate and I were enjoying this moment after two hearty adult drinks.  If you happen to miss the humor in this post, check back after you've had a drink or two.)

Hugs to our followers,

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Think I'll Take A Moment, Celebrate My Age...

It's my birthday!!!! Yes folks, today I turn 30 years young (at 10:23pm EST- think of me fondly). This is the part where I'm supposed to say something like, "Ewww gross, I'm getting SO old!" and then price out botox and face transplants, but so far there's been little to none of that. My mom has always set a great example for me by embracing her age year after year, so I'm really not too freaked out about it. It certainly helps that I'm one of the very last of my friends to be joining the dirty thirty club :)
Dirty Thirty Club
I had quite the celebration thrown for me Saturday night, and I have Kate & LC to thank for that. They pulled together a kick-ass party for me with the help of my family. I was really touched & amazed at the number of people who took the time to come by and celebrate with me, it was overwhelming. So a big thank you to my best friends and family for putting that all together. Each and every one of you will be remembered in my will, don't fight over my sweatpants collection.
Sisters/Party Planners

Just as Kate, LC & KC did around their birthdays, I've been thinking a lot about my 20s and what I learned. Being the close friends that we are, many of my life lessons were shared right along with these girls so they've pretty much been covered at this point. But here is what I would like to add...

Choose Your Own Adventure
Enjoying a lot of beer
First, how great were those books growing up??? My older sisters used to read them to me, but somehow no matter which choice I took I always died in a burning building. Suspect. Anyway... I wasted WAY too much time in my early twenties. I didn't always take the golden opportunities that were presented to me, afraid that they would lead me away from this pre-conceived life path I had in mind. Well, SPOILER ALERT, my life path was not what I thought it was going to be because nobody's ever is. The happiest I've been in life is when I chose my own adventure and went against what was "supposed" to be happening. Quitting a stable, well-paying corporate job to go back to nursing school in a struggling economy was like running into that burning building in all those books- everyone thought I was crazy and my hair always looks singed now. But that decision turned out even better then I could have imagined!!! Sure there are days where I still wish I had a regular 9-5 schedule and I certainly would like to not be carrying a book-bag around half the time, but in the end I know I'm going to end up in the career I was meant to be doing all along. And that puts a smile on my face.

Make Memories That Your Kids Will Want to Hear About
Perfect photo
Your 20s are the time in life that you can be a little (or a lot) selfish, particularly if you don't have kids yet. Now I'm not saying that I wouldn't love to have 14 adorable little Ms running around but since that isn't going to be happening anytime soon, I've been keeping busy experiencing things that will make my future children think I was a lot cooler these days than I actually am. So here's my advice: Go on a road trip with a broken GPS; Watch the sunrise and the sunset from the same spot one day; Take public transportation in a city where you don't speak the language; Drink margaritas for lunch; Go to a movie by yourself... and then sneak into another one for free; Buy a stranger a beer in a bar (NOT a cute one- they are boring); Teach yourself a new hobby- then you can blog about it!; Visit a city where you know no one and leave with a new best friend; Take someone to their first "event"- baseball game, symphony, rodeo, whatever; Gamble all the money you have in your wallet (just dont visit an ATM first); Learn to tango. I plan on continuing with these little adventures right on through to my 40s.

Keep Friendships With People Who'd Get On A Plane
3/4 Girlfiends

The most important relationships you'll have in life are with the people who'd "get on a plane" for you. When my dad passed away suddenly in August of 2006, KC changed a flight she had booked to Pittsburgh for that weekend and flew home to Harrisburg to be with me instead. I've thought about that a lot of the past 6 years and it really changed the effort I put forth in my valued friendships. I've realized how vitale it is to have a support system like that, to know that there are people you can call anytime of day and they'd pick up; to have friends who'd drive through the night to see you if you needed them during a bad break up; Friends who cry with you in the Arby's drive thru lane when it's silly and awkward but you're having a rough day; Friends who remember your dad's birthday and parent's anniversary every year by sending you a card; Friends who text you during finals week telling you they're proud of you; Friends who curse the day your ex was born (sex in the city style). I'm really lucky to have a core group of people like that in my life and even if we live thousands of miles apart I know they're just a plane ride away.

Learn To Take A Compliment

Ok, so this one I am still very much working on. I've never been good at taking compliments, in fact they sort of gross me out. But what I've thought about over and over recently is how often I catch myself putting me down. And it's not just me- all my closest friends do this too! We say stuff about our bodies or faces or whatever that we'd NEVER let one of our girlfriends say about themselves. And when I do this, I'm really insulting my parents. I mean, they worked super hard to set me up with a good gene pool and now I go around shooshing people who want to give them props for that??? Bad call Mindo. It's time I be an adult and accept me for me and embrace people who want to tell me all about it. So compliment away blog fans, I'll try not to cringe.

Love The One Your With
Family Style
The biggest blessing of my 20s is that the last thing I ever said to my dad was "I love you". I dropped him off at the airport for his trip to California on August 25th, 2006. On August 28th he passed away during his trip. When we got the news that my dad was gone, the first thing my mom asked me was did I hug him goodbye at the airport. Usually I'm not a morning person and (as usual) I was wearing sweatpants when I took him to HIA that day, but I'll never forget that I decided to hop out of the car at the last minute and hug my dad goodbye. I told him I loved him and he said the same... and reminded me to fill up the gas tank in his car on the way home. Since then, I never end a phone call with my mom without telling her I love her. I try to always tell my siblings too, but as anyone with a close family knows we talk A LOT and that can seem like overkill. More recently I started telling my friends that I love them. Even if they already know, you should always say it. Things change quickly in life, don't let the last thing you say to someone be just "goodbye".

So there you have it kids. The last words of wisdom from 20-something Mindy. She was a pretty smart gal, but I think 30-something Mindy is really going to out do her.