Tag Archives: cupcakes

Frankenstorm

29 Oct

Good morning, everybody! I’m writing to you from home, because work was canceled today, due to Hurricane Sandy. My office follows the federal government for closures, so we closed after the government made an announcement that their offices would not be operating. Hurricane Day!!!

It’s like snow days in high school. Despite the closure, the weather in Washington is still fairly mild – it’s not very windy right now and the rain is pretty light. I hope all of you in the northeast and mid-Atlantic are being cautious and have prepared yourselves for the storm. Stay safe, everybody!

We’ve got the Weather Channel on and are tracking where the storm is headed. It looks like we could get quite a bit of rain, but the winds won’t be nearly as high as those in New York or Connecticut.

Let’s backtrack to the weekend. My office threw me a surprise party for my birthday! I didn’t see it coming at all, but was so pleased. One of my co-workers even made adorable mini-cupcakes.

I’m so thankful for the wonderful people I work with for making me feel so special.

Saturday was a nice, long walk all over the city with Stefano. Our first stop was to Eastern market to check out the fall foods.

The market is chock full of homemade cheeses, sausages, baked goods, along with fresh produce of every sort imaginable. For lunch, we stopped by the bakery to get lox bagels on fresh bread. A strawberry smoothie made an appearance, too.

On our way to the market, we stopped by a cute bookstore that was tucked away in a small courtyard, complete with fountain.

We popped in, but I didn’t see anything that caught my eye. Kindle or no Kindle, the real things are still #1 in my book (Ha!).

After grabbing lunch at the market, we moseyed over to the Capitol building, which was surrounded by tree in the middle of changing colors – so beautiful!

Stef and I spent a long time playing in the leaves, throwing them around and making big piles. We’re really mature.

That evening, we went to a friend’s Halloween party. Neither of us were really planning on doing Halloween this year, so we scrambled to come up with costumes. He ended up as an Italian soccer player and I dressed up as Liz Lemon from 30 Rock. I even had a bag of cheese puffs. Our friends took some pictures, so I will post those when I have them

Speaking of friend, I told you guys last week that I had some visitors in town. Their last day was Sunday, so we went out to brunch at Busboys and Poets near U Street. I have been there several times and each time, I love everything I eat! That morning, I ordered their Oaxaca omelet with home fries.

The omelet was so flavorful and creamy, thanks to the black beans and guacamole inside. The potatoes were just wonderful! I could have eaten a plateful of those.

After brunch, Stef and I had just enough time to do a Costco run while the girls were packing and returned home just in time to see them off. Luckily for them, they were on one of the very last flights out of the airport before it was shut down for Hurricane Sandy. They let me know that they got home safe and sound, though the flight itself was a scary one – they must have hit part of the storm while they were flying!

Today looks like we’re going to stick out the storm, though the power is still on and it just feels like a gloomy Sunday. Stefano is hard at work grading papers and I will probably dive back into a book I’m reading called ‘Sex and World Peace’, which is about how microcosmic events of gender inequality affects national security on a macro level. Yes, it sounds textbook-y and yes, I’m a total nerd. If any of you have read ‘Half the Sky’ by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, check this book out!

Food For Thought: Are any of you in the line of the hurricane? What have you done to prepare?

Being from Seattle, I really don’t have any experience with major natural disasters, so I wasn’t sure how to prepare myself. We’ve got candles, flashlights, and bottled water so hopefully that will be all we need!

Potlucks and Ceiling Panels

14 Jul

Happy weekend, all!

I had a great rest of the day yesterday. My personal training session went well, I really liked the trainer and I learned some interesting things, including my body fat percentage and my strength and flexibility levels. It turns out that I have a 21.7% body fat percentage, which puts me in the ‘very good’ category by my gym’s standards. I would have to get down to 19% if I wanted to be in the ‘excellent’ category, which requires losing only about 4 pounds of fat – totally doable. The training session itself was good, though it wasn’t any routine I wouldn’t have been able to come up with myself. One advantage to a personal training is having someone there to hold you accountable for having good form and finishing all of the reps in the set. There were times when I was doing push-ups that I definitely would have stopped, had I been alone. I have another session scheduled next week, we’ll see what he has in store for me!

En route to the gym, I made sure to stop by Starbucks to take advantage of their free, tall Refreshers promotion. I chose the Very Berry Hibiscus flavor, which was really tasty. I usually order a Passion Fruit Iced Tea when I go in, but this might be the new drink of choice!

On my way back from the gym I stopped by the grocery store to pick up ingredients to make cupcakes. One of the housemates in the house I am subletting for the month is leaving to move across the country and was having a goodbye potluck. I was feeling summer-y and inspired to do strawberry lemonade cupcakes. It was a bit improvised and I didn’t have much time between the gym and when the potluck started, so I cheated and bought a box of strawberry cake mix – oh, the shame. I also cut corners in the frosting department and instead of doing lemon juice and zest from fresh lemons, I just used a lemonade Kool-Aid packet. Normally, I prefer to bake cakes and cupcakes from scratch, but time was against me. Next time, they will be as homemade as they can be, I promise!

Here they are pre-frosted.

Mid-way through the frosting process. It ended up being rather difficult because of the heat. Because it was so warm inside the house, the butter was not doing a good job staying together and the frosting kept trying to drip down the sides of the cupcake. I ended up topping each cupcake with a very thin layer of frosting, then adding layer by layer as the frosting soaked in and set. I guess that’s why people don’t do a lot of baking in the summer.

E voila! The final product (note the frosting puddles on some of the cupcakes). Definitely not my finest baking creation, but they did taste good!

The potluck ended up being great, with a wonderful turnout of friends and lots of yummy food including enchiladas, cold noodles in peanut sauce, grilled ribs, pesto potato and green bean salad, and a variety of delicious desserts!

Luckily, there were plenty of us and we devoured most of it.

After a great night, we all said goodnight and went on our merry ways. I had planned to wake up this morning to go to a fitness class but my plans were interrupted when I was awoken at 4:30 AM with news that the toilet on the third floor had been running for hours and the water had leaked through all of the floors. When I stumbled downstairs, it was a sight to behold. Water was running out of the ceiling of the second floor onto the main floor and we rushed to stick a bucket underneath to catch it. We did a lot of damage control and most of the water was contained, so we went back to bed. About an hour later, I was startled awake by a huge crash downstairs and when I went to assess the damage, I realized that one of the ceiling panels and completely fallen to the ground. Yikes.

Needless to say, my morning consisted of cleaning up instead of muscling up. Looks like that body fat percentage is going to have to wait. I grabbed a quick yogurt for breakfast, but I am looking forward to yummy leftover enchiladas for lunch! Then Stefano and I are going to explore the city some more and hopefully make it down to the National Mall this evening. What does everybody else have planned for the weekend?

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