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Monday, November 24, 2008

A Word of Advice

Let's say that you're the type of person who offers to make not one but two pies for Thanksgiving, despite the fact that you have never made a pie in your whole entire life. Ever. You might think it's a good idea to perform a "test run" of the pie crust, maybe on a Friday night when you've had a really long week and are almost deliriously tired. You might be all hopped up on confidence from having recently made a successful batch of cupcakes (you know, the Everest of the baking world) and you might be thinking you are now the invincible master of the kitchen. What, with your shiny new appliances and all, how could there be room for doubt? Well, totally hypothetical person, despite having every confidence in your baking prowess do not EVER stick ANY of your appendages into one of those handheld devil blenders. No matter how much butter is jammed up into that thing, you should never go fishing it out with your left index finger.

Just saying.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sip and Soak

It's a down right shame that I can't find this anywhere because it's possibly one of the greatest inventions since the telephone. They were selling them last year at The Container Store but this year they are nowhere to be found. I bought five of them as gifts last Christmas (saving one for myself, of course) and this year there are a whole new crop of friends who are in need! It's really just a piece of metal and two suction cups so I am sure I could somehow fashion one myself, but I am lazy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Office Decor

Another cute idea for making an office out of a tiny space - grouping clipboards together to make a bulletin board of sorts. I am thinking that I could get away with one shelf and a row of these in my office "space." You can read about how to execute the clipboard idea here.

I will try to take some before pics of the space soon so you can see how it transforms...and while I am at it I will share some pictures of the rest of our condo too. We bought it about three years ago and gutted almost the entire thing. I have a bunch of "before" pictures but haven't taken many since, long overdue!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hey there, Cupcake

I have a serious sweet tooth. No really, when I was 8 years old I wound up with stitches in my chin after excitedly running across a parking lot to ask for money to buy fudge. When I am in the mood for something sweet I mean business! So, it might be cause for concern that I've learned how to make these cupcakes. I am no baker by any stretch of the imagination and my first attempt turned out great (if I do say so myself). Now they're practically all I can think about. I've heard of gaining a few pounds as a newlywed but if I keep making these I am not going to fit into my clothes by Christmas. And while we're at it, how the hell do they get the frosting on those cupcakes to look so smooth? Mine looks like a monkey slapped it on.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Office in a Closet

We don't have a lot of space in our one bedroom condo, but I really want to carve out some room for a small office. Our closets are pretty much crammed to the brim (see: not a lot of space), but there is a little nook off the kitchen that could fit something like the picture above. There wouldn't be doors, but maybe a curtain like this could serve as a divider:
I love the idea of painting the inside of the closet a different color...and oh how I would love a green chair instead of that blue one!

Cranberry Muffins

Last weekend I bought some cranberries on a whim, without really knowing how I would use them. A quick google search later and I came up with this recipe from Martha, and just substituted the blueberries for the cranberries.
Makes 1 dozen

· 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
· 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
· 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 2 cups fresh cranberries (chopped)
· 1 1/4 cups sugar
· 2 large eggs
· 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
· 1/2 cup milk
· 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Working over the bowl, toss cranberries in a fine sieve with about 1 1/2 teaspoons flour mixture to lightly coat; set aside the flour mixture and the blueberries.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla.

3. With the mixer on low speed, add reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add milk, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. If desired, in a small bowl, mix together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle sugar mixture on top of muffin batter.

4. Bake, rotating pan halfway though, until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I didn't toss the cranberries with the flour, I just added them into the mix at the end. It would be admirable to point out that I have some secret culinary reason for that decision, but really it's just laziness. And instead of flouring the muffin tins I just used some paper cups - much less mess! The Man gave it his seal of approval, only requesting that next time I use "that coarse sugar on top, like the muffins at Dunkin Donuts." I suppose we can work that out...