Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Loads of Cupcakes

Every occasion deserves a good cupcake, right? I think so. Which is why I've been doing a lot of baking around here.

The most unique cupcake I've made has definitely been chocolate bacon with dark chocolate ganache.

chocolate bacon cupcakes

chocolate bacon cupcakes

I'll be honest, every time I took a bite into the perfectly moist and richly delicious cake, I'd be enjoying it and then suddenly "wait a second, what is that? oh yeah, the bacon". It didn't taste bad, but it just seemed odd. I'd like to try maple syrup and bacon cupcakes. It seems like a better fit.

I welcomed my friend's new baby with some honey cupcakes topped with swiss buttercream frosting. The batter was TO DIE FOR, and the cake ended up tasting more like a muffin. The frosting was a necessary and perfect complement.


Before saying farewell to a friend who was moving away, I presented her with requested peanut butter-filled chocolate cupcakes. Unfortunately I forgot to snap a picture post-bake! They overflowed the cups just enough, incredibly dense and not requiring any icing on top.


This past weekend, I baked up some homemade funfetti cupcakes for a friend who was celebrating his birthday.

B's 25!

Were they worth baking from scratch? Absolutely!

funfetti from scratch

I've made many a moist cupcake over the past several months, but this one literally "takes the cake". As the birthday boy and I agreed, we don't know how they could've been better.

funfetti from scratch

If you're interested in any of the recipes, just shoot me an email!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Best Buns

You can pretty much bet on every other post involving cupcakes here at LoveThisLife. I hate to be so predictable but . .

best buns vanilla vanilla

This is a vanilla vanilla that Katie brought home from Best Buns Bread Co. the other day. It's a big one. I'd already eaten and loved their perfectly light and sugary donut holes and super moist pumpkin bread, and it turns out they bake a good cupcake, too. What a sweet roommate to bring me one.

I've been doing some more cupcake baking myself, so stay tuned to see which flavors.

Are you on the edge of your seat?? ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ice Skating

With the weather beginning to warm, and the cherry blossoms already in bloom, it's hard to believe we were ice skating at the Sculpture Garden just a few short weeks ago.

The cupcake-eating is believable, though.

{Me and my Katies}





The perfect ending to night on the ice is obviously a new cupcake shop. We walked a few blocks to the Red Velvet Cupcakery and ordered a peanut butter cup. It was the perfect combination of sweet and salty with "homemade crystallized peanut and sea salt" on top.




You can watch this post with a little video, too. I am loving iMovie lately - can you tell?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Meridian Hill Park

After Sunday's cookout and backyard picnic, we ventured into D.C. to explore a neighborhood we hadn't yet seen.

We chose Meridian Hill Park, near the neighborhood Columbia Heights.

In addition to a number of statues, we saw the Italian-Renaissance style terraced fountain in the lower half of the park and gardens in a French Baroque style in the upper half. Sadly, with Spring having just begun, the fountains weren't operating yet.

Katie and I near the statue of poet Dante.


Some monkeys climbing on the statue.


Someone crocheted a St. Paddy's Day mask for this fellow.


Joan of Arc


The girls and I in front of the {non-operating} fountain. {In case you didn't know, I'm a cougar. Or a puma or something. Just kidding . . but seriously, why do you think they're laughing? :)}


The upper park was an unexpected cultural experience.


Little did we know "on Sunday afternoons during the warm weather months, people gather in the upper park to dance, participate in a drum circle, and provide food for the homeless. The activity has been held in the park since the 1950s, and attracts professional drummers from time to time". No wonder there was such a huge {and "interesting"} crowd!

These gentlemen enjoy blowing into their pipes and softly shaking some sort of rice shaker. If you ask me, you would have to be on drugs to enjoy this. It was so strange.


The tightrope walkers were fascinating to watch. This man finally caught the rope after several attempted jumps. I'm not sure how one can even walk a tight rope, let alone jump onto one!



I can see why so many flock here, though. It's so pretty.


We continued our walk down an adjoining street to see the Meridian House with its limestone facade and spooky-looking trees. {Does anyone know what these are?} The house was built in the early 1900s by a retired Ambassador and is now the Meridian International Center, a non-profit that promotes international understanding. {I know, you could care less!}




To sum it all up: a pretty new neighborhood, a very fun day.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Grilled Peaches

The roommates and I also decided to enjoy the weather last weekend with a little Sunday cookout.

Burgers were easy and delicious. Lyn always throws a bunch of seasonings and sauces into the meat before forming into patties. Mmmmm.


And I chose to contribute by making dessert. Grilled peaches - something I'd been wanting to try for quite awhile.


Just brush the cut side with vegetable oil . . and mix 2 tbsp of brown sugar with 2 tsp of cinnamon . .


Grill the peaches for about 4 minutes until they have grill marks, and brush the other side with vegetable oil


Then place the peaches on indirect heat, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top, and cover for 20 minutes.



Oh yes, definitely eat them a la mode.

And be happy.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When the Weather is Nice

The weather around these parts has been fabulous this past week (minus a rainy day and a cold day thrown in the middle). Last Friday, I took a personal day for the primary purpose of a beautiful run on the National Mall. I've lived here four years, and it never gets old.

This afternoon, I ran over four miles from work to the Capitol and back, and I wish I could've snapped pictures of that, as well. I may be upset with Congress at the moment, but the building will always be lovely. I wanted to park my tush on the grass and just stare at it for awhile.

Here are some shots I took last Friday:








Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Williamsburg Eats

On our lunch break from baking on Saturday, Katie's sister warmed up the tender pulled pork she had made the day before. With extra bbq sauce, a toasted bun, and a side of applesauce, it was the perfect lunch to eat on the back deck in the sunshine.


That night, the girls and I were taken to dinner by a family friend named Simon, a wonderful Christian "uncle" to the girls . . and now to me! He's adopted me as one of his "nieces" now. :)

Simon has a little book he carries around in which he writes down prayer requests for those he knows or happens to meet that day.

I think I made it into the book!


After dinner at Carrabba's, we hurried across the street to get some Sno To Go before it closed.


Unlike anything I'd ever tried, this treat included no only flavored ice, but also a soft serve stuffing.


We stopped by Colonial Williamsburg on Sunday . .


There it is in all it's cuteness.


After popping into Carousel to browse the baby clothes, we picked up some sandwiches at the Cheese Shop.



I ordered Virginia ham on french bread with sprouts, House dressing, and Havarti cheese.



Delicious weekend!