A Trip Home

So remember last week when I told you that I had a MILLION things to tell you?    I kind of lied.

It’s really only a few things to tell, but they are things that have been going on in my life and I like to share them with you, my friend.

Jacob coming to visit was the 1st thing.

Onto my 2nd thing:

About a week after my photo shoot with Jacob I traveled back to Kansas City to visit my family and friends.  I hadn’t been home since my wedding and figured it was about time to visit.  Of course, I picked the hottest week to be there!  I left the 105° in NY for the 106° in KC.  The good thing about KC is that you ride in cars and not in subways, so this makes for a much cooler commute.

So let’s see, what did I do while I was there?  I ate.  Visited with people.  Ate some more.  Ate again.  Then slept and woke up and ate some more.  The only reason I like vacationing is because I get to ditch my homemade meals and get down on some greasy, grimy, fatty food!  Ok, and I like to see everyone too!

The first day, my mom picked Jon and I up at the airport and we went to Houlihan’s.  They are everywhere but for some reason I only go to them when I’m home.  For being a chain restaurant, I was really amazed at their plating.

On the third day, we celebrated my little brother’s 21st birthday.  How strange to see him with a beer in his hand.  It seems like only yesterday he was talking about yumpf-yumpf (oatmeal) and calling me Oxney (Ashley.)  Not having time to make a cake myself, nor my mom having any proper baking supplies (we seriously need to upgrade your kitchen, mom) we picked up some cleverly cute cupcakes at Target.

I must say, I am super impressed with the way grocery stores and shopping centers are stepping it up.  No more star tips and air-brushing!  I even saw this cute cake:

Then I got to have some of my favorite pizza from Minsky’s.

It’s my own concoction: whole wheat crust with alfredo sauce, monterey jack cheese, and almonds.  Don’t judge.

The next day I met up with my friend, Jeanne from ThreeWishesStudio.  She lent me some jewelry to wear during my photo shoot with Jacob and I had to return them although I desperately wanted to “misplace” them because they were just SO adorable! Below are the two pictures that Jacob took.

Don’t tell her, but I may have worn the flower one out to dinner the next night.  It was just too cute!  I did get lots of compliments though.  You should totally check out her Etsy shop.  She does some amazing things and even made my wedding jewelry for me and my bridesmaids!

On our final day there, my in-laws had a small bar-be-cue with the family; Jon and I got to cut into our wedding cake.  It hasn’t quite been a year, but I don’t think the cake would make it back to Jersey and I knew we wouldn’t be back on our anniversary.  I hope that wasn’t bad luck?

Chocolate-strawberry marbled cake with vanilla buttercream.  I was weary of eating it but it was actually really moist!

It was a great trip and so wonderful to see my friends and family but it is great to be home!  Our trips are always so jammed pack that I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.  ~Seneca


No Crust PB&J Cupcakes

Since I had some trouble with my cupcakes for Cupcake Camp NYC, I felt that I needed to redeem myself by making more cupcakes last weekend.  So at the request of my hunny, I made some “No Crust PB&J Cupcakes.”

The cake is a white cake with vanilla for flavoring.  Once the cupcakes were cool, I inserted a knife about half way into the cupcakes and twisted to make a hole.  Then  I filled a piping bag with strawberry jelly and a medium sized tip and piped the jelly into the cupcakes.  You have to make sure the tip is pretty far down into the cupcake or the jelly will shoot back out of the top of the cupcake (learn from me!)  The cupcake will bulge when it’s got a decent amount of jelly in it, that’s when you stop.  For the frosting, it’s just peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, milk, and butter.

I didn’t want to do the traditional swirl of icing for the top, so I tried to think of the characteristics of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  That’s when I got the idea to make a zig-zag pattern; kinda like what you see on the Jiffy commercials.  They went over quite well and the only critique I got was that they needed more jelly.  These are a keeper!

Edible Roses

Only two more days of school left and we have learned so much!  The past couple of weeks has been filled with butter cream roses, chocolate plastic roses, and gum paste roses.  We have learned how to pipe, mold, and assemble other designs and flowers as well.

The butter cream roses were pretty fun to make but it can be a pain trying to get them to stand up.  If your support cone in the middle isn’t stable then the whole thing can topple over.

Chocolate plastic is essentially modeling chocolate.  We used it in class to make roses and ribbons for our cakes.  It’s easy to work with and make some really beautiful details.  I plan on using it on my final project in school which is to decorate a two tier cake.  Check out the details on the practice cake I made:

Chai Cupcakes

Today was our cupcake exchange in class.  As I mentioned before,  I made chai cupcakes.  I borrowed a cook book from my friend, Jessica, called 125 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson.  The recipe was really easy and I was bit a surprised when it told me to open a tea bag of chai and empty the contents into my dry ingredients.  I was worried that my cupcakes would be gritty but actually I didn’t notice it at all when I bit into them.  The recipe also suggested a frosting for the cupcakes but I decided to make a buttercream and flavor it myself.  We have been making so much buttercream in school lately that I thought I would  try it myself at home.  I flavored it with a tablespoon of vanilla and about 1/4 tsp of cloves just to give it a kick.  I figured the cloves would either make this recipe that much better or completely ruin it.  Well, it definitely made this recipe that much more awesome! After icing the cupcakes, I sprinkled them with cinnamon.

I took them to school today and got so many compliments!  Everyone was asking for the recipe and a few people even took them home. Check them out!

Chai Latte Cupcakes

I’m so in love with Chai tea and have been for several years now.  I believe it was 2003 when I was first introduced to it.  One of my friends took me to some little coffee shop in an alley in Kansas City (wish I could remember the name) and told me that I had to try their Iced Chai.  The spices reminded me of pumpkin pie in a way.  Since then I have tried chai’s all over the country, with New Orlean’s having the best!

Ok, so I’m rambling, but where I was going is: at school we are having a cupcake exchange for Valentine’s Day.  I decided that I am going to try my first attempt at chai latte cupcakes.  I’ve never made them before so I was looking up different recipes to try.  I thought I would just repost a few blogs and websites that I found who have yummy pictures and some recipes listed for the chai cupcakes.

Made by Melis:


I’ll make sure to post my pics and feedback when I make mine!

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