Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cookie Platter

A platter full of Christmas cookies. Missing are some baked after Christmas, which include Snowballs and Almond Poppy Seed Cookies.

From clockwise from left: Gingerbread People, Coconut Thumbprints, Gramma Kookoo's Swedish Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Chip, Butterscotch Cookies and Kiefels in the center. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thanks for Baking

I made the pumpkin pie for dinner all by myself! from the homemade crust to the filling to the whipped cream to top it! I used a different recipe from years past, and I think using condensed milk instead of evaporated milk and sugar gave it a smoother texture.

The whole spread. From left to right, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, red velvet cupcakes, pumpkin roll, chocolate roll, mini-pumpkin pie (graham cracker crust) and pumpkin cheesecake.
This picture is terrible but all of the ones I took were. I think we need a tablecloth for the dessert table. At least for the picture.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Third Birthday Party

Once again, I provided a second dessert for my godson's birthday party. This year the theme was trains so I made cookies instead of cupcakes. His mom and I decorated the cookies to match the party invitations of crossing signs and trains.

Bakery bought cake. I like the smokestack made of marshmallows and an ice cream cone.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Red Flags

This is one of my favorite songs released this year. I've liked Sondre Lerche for a while, and I thought this would be the year I saw him live. Unfortunately, he got a gig on The Late Show with David Letterman and cancelled his Cleveland show at the last minute. I hope Cleveland is a stop on his next tour!

The Letterman appearance:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Buttermilk Waffles

I finally used the mystery waffle iron that I mentioned a while ago. I think these waffles were made with this recipe, but I have since tried this one (omitting the cinnamon and using half whole wheat/half all-purpose flour) . I'm still getting the hang of the waffle iron, especially filling it correctly.

Golden brown!

I'm not a fan of syrup so I topped them with butter and powdered sugar. Although, my favorite way to eat waffles is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wedding Cupcakes

This past fall, my friends had an open house wedding reception at their house. They wanted an informal and fun celebration and asked me to make cupcakes for the main dessert. Here's what we came up with:

Naked cupcakes in three varieties.


Chocolate with chocolate frosting.

Red velvet with cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with a little red sugar.

Pumpkin spice with white frosting. Topped with Mellowcreme pumpkins.

The most popular were the chocolate/chocolate. They actually ran out before the party ended. Overall, they were all well-received. Not bad for my first attempt at large-scale cupcaking.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


This might not be news to anyone else, but I just found out about Freegal. For those of you not in the know, Freegal is a music service website that lets you download up to three songs a week for $0. It's a small amount of free songs, but it's still something! Your local library has to subscribe to the service in order for you to use it and luckily, mine does.

I keep a running list of songs and artists on my iPod notepad, and Freegal has a good chunk of my list available. It's going to take me a few months to get through my picks, but I'm open to suggestions when my list runs out.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Angel Food Cake

One of my favorite things about baking well is when someone tells me that they don't like a particular dessert, but that the one I made is really good. I've had that experience a couple times with angel food cake. Angel food cake can be a hated dessert. I blame store-bought and box-made cakes that taste like cardboard. And the fact that it is touted as health food turns people off.

Homemade angel food has small holes throughout that create a light bouncy texture. It should yield to a knife without getting smooshed when you cut it. I have a very cool knife that I use to cut angel food, chiffon and other light sponge cakes. It helps the slices keep their shapes.

This cake was served with creme fraiche and fresh strawberries. It was the dessert for a picnic at an orchestra concert at Blossom that was moved indoors (inside a car) because of rain.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lake Erie Island

I visited some friends on Kelleys Island this summer and saw new things that I didn't see a few years ago like Inscription Rock and the Glacial Grooves.

Hey look! Glacial Grooves!

One of the scenic photo ops while walking around the Glacial Grooves.

Interesting rock formation in the lake.

View from the Jet Express.

Jet Express dock.

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station.

Boats. Probably boat drinks.

View of Cedar Point from Lake Erie.

Hotel and rides.

Coasters, etc.

This is an awesome restaurant in Huron, Ohio.


LEMmy's is named after the Lake Erie Monster. I like how there is a specific look to the monster. He's a friendly lake monster. Next time I'm in the area I am definitely stopping for a bite.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Applesauce Cake

I wanted to bake something without having to go to the grocery store so I used the recipe finder, which lets you search by ingredients, on to come up with Applesauce Cake. This cake was just about alright. Not too sweet, loaded with raisins and walnuts, but not so flavorful. I might not make this ever again, but it served a purpose.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Zucchini Nut Cupcakes

These were made for a co-worker's birthday. When I asked him what kind of cupcakes he wanted, he stated "something with cream cheese frosting." I came up with a couple of options (after vetoing his first choice of carrot cake cupcakes since I had just brought those in for another co-worker's last day of work), and he picked zucchini nut cupcakes.

I had taken a couple pictures of the cupcakes when I noticed this particular cupcake had a green strip of the shredded zucchini showing through the side. The cupcakes were light, but not airy, and had a definite cupcake texture (compared to the typical zucchini muffins). If you try the linked recipe check the cupcakes at about 20 minutes since the 45 minutes listed can't possibly be right. I believe this is the recipe I used. I forgot to save it when I made them. Maybe add a little nutmeg.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ohio Wine Trail

A few friends and I spent a weekend in Ohio wine country this past summer. We went on a tour of the wineries on the Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail, which is east of Cleveland. I wasn't fastidious about taking pictures of every place we stopped but took enough to give the flavor of the trip.

Grape vines outside of our first stop, Tarsitano Winery and Cafe.

The place was cute inside and out. The cafe wasn't open since we got there kind of early, but we sampled some wine. Like a lot of Ohio wineries, the sweet ones were better than the dry.

Covered bridges dot the trail and are tourist attractions in their own right.

The next stop was the Old Firehouse Winery, which is in the resort town of Geneva-on-the-Lake. There was a wine festival going on in the park next to the winery so we had the benefit of being entertained while we drank. I got their Pink Crush Cooler, which is described as "a refreshing blend of wine, soda and cherry juice served in a souvenir pitcher with ice." It was a sweet delicious concoction that I would order again in a heartbeat. The ultimate girly drink.

Fun resort town tourist traps!

Authentic Hawaiian Shave Ice on the shores of Lake Erie!

Views from the deck of our next stop, The Lakehouse Inn and Winery.

Even on a cloudy day, the view was beautiful. The wine sampler here came with a souvenir glass.

We stopped for ice cream at Mr. C's, which was near our hotel. Then we ended the night at Laurello Vineyards & Winery, where some older patrons were in their cups. It was a decent place to hear live music and had fairly good wine.

The next day, we headed back to Geneva-on-the-Lake and wandered around a little. We stopped at Madsen Donuts where I personally purchased too many doughnuts.

We happened to drive through the quaint town of Ashtabula, which was holding their 3rd Annual Harbor Beach Glass Festival on the weekend we visited. The Harbor's Lift Bridge went up just for us!

I bought of bunch of jewelry at the festival, mostly necklaces made with the many colors of beach glass.

After lunch we hit a few more wineries. Here is the fountain on one of the outside patios of Ferrante Winery and Ristorante.

For a change of pace, we sampled beers at the Cellar Rats Brewery at Chalet Debonne Vineyards. The darker beers were my favorites.

Our last stop was Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant where we had dinner and more wine. We ate on the deck where we caught the end of a jazz band's set. I got the dry to semi-dry sampler because I wanted to get a glass of ice wine for dessert. It was really the perfect end of a great girls' weekend.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

2011 Fall Television Schedule

I waited a bit to write this post since shows are still premiering. Of course, shows have already been cancelled too. Anyway, here's what I'm watching this fall.

Plan your own lineup here.

8:00 PM
TiVo: How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Adventure Time (Cartoon)

8:30 PM
TiVo: 2 Broke Girls (CBS)

9:30 PM
TiVo: Mike & Molly (CBS)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Hawaii Five-O (CBS)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Ringer (CW)
Live/Online/On-Demand: New Girl (FOX)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Chopped (Food)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Covert Affairs (USA)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Modern Family (ABC)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Man v. Food Nation (Travel)

9:30 PM
TiVo: I Hate My Teenage Daughter (FOX)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Psych (USA)
Live/Online/On-Demand: South Park (Comedy)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Top Chef: Just Desserts (Bravo)

8:00 PM
TiVo: Community (NBC)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Person of Interest (CBS)
Live/Online/On-Demand: The Office (NBC)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Bones (FOX)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Burn Notice (USA)

6:30 PM
TiVo: Young Justice (Cartoon)

7:00 PM
TiVo: Batman: The Brave and The Bold (Cartoon)

8:00 PM
TiVo: Chuck (NBC)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Grimm (NBC)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Blue Bloods (CBS)
Live/Online/On-Demand: The Soup (E!)


8:00 PM
TiVo: Once Upon A Time (ABC)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Masterpiece Contemporary or Masterpiece Mystery! (PBS)
Live/Online/On-Demand: The Next Iron Chef (Food)

10:00 PM
Live/Online/On-Demand: Iron Chef America (Food)

CBS is definitely the winner. When did their shows get good?

I'll be adding 30 Rock, Cougar Town and maybe some more shows when they premiere (mid-season?).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Batman Cake

This was my littlest nephew's 3rd birthday cake, which was for his Batman-themed party. He dressed as Batman, his brother as Nightwing, and the rest of us as various villains from Batman's rogues gallery. My sister handled the decorating duties. The symbol was made by adding yellow frosting to the chocolate-frosted cake. The cake underneath is Special Birthday Cake, and the chocolate frosting is Mrs. Millman's. The yellow frosting is a simple buttercream (butter, powdered sugar, milk).

Co-dessert bat-shaped cookies. This picture looked better upside-down so that's how I'm posting it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

In the past few months I've made these cupcakes three different times. This picture is from the middle time I made them. The first time, I forgot to buy cupcake liners so I had to just bake them in the tins sprayed with Pam for Baking. The second time, I did it intentionally because I liked the results. And the third time, which was just this past Wednesday, was because I'm trying to make it my thing.

I did some experimenting this last time and used brown sugar instead of white sugar and Nestle's cocoa instead of Hershey's. The only other change was that I greased and floured the tins because I ran out of Pam. I bought Nestle's because it was cheaper than Hershey's, but according to the nutritional information on the box Nestle's has a higher fat content. Maybe it was a combination of heavier sugar or richer cocoa but this last batch was the most delicious I've ever made. I think I'll keep the changes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Here are some pictures from The Avengers movie shoot that took place on E. 9th Street in downtown Cleveland, although it was supposed to be 42nd Street in New York City. Check out the too cool for school non-actors (PAs?) hanging out on set.

They crashed a New Beetle! That broke my heart.

You can see the faux subway station sign in this one. If only the Rapid ran underground.