Cupcakes!

A friend recently traveled to San Francisco Miette and brought me back a treat. I thought it was cookies, but when I looked in the bag, I was pleasantly surprised to see a cake pan! Miette cakes are baked in 6″ pans and I haven’t been able to find one in town. So I baked the tomboy cake, which is on the cover of the Miette cookbook.

IMG_3337The recipe makes two cakes and enough raspberry buttercream icing for both. I only had one cake pan, so I made a batch of cupcakes and froze them along with the leftover buttercream.

We’re having our first stormy weather of the season – leftover of a Japanese typhoon! I thought some cupcakes were in order to cozy up by the fire. I thawed them out, whipped up the frosting and piped it on the cupcakes.

IMG_3582The moist chocolate and raspberry pairs so well together.

Three!

My sweet little Ginger turned three! IMG_2538

We had a quiet celebration with the four of us at home. (We had big plans, but alas, Ruby was very sick and on breathing treatments every four hours. So sad! Plans are postponed.)

Ginger’s only requests were for treats. She named everything she could think of in the weeks leading up to her big day. In the end, I decided for her and made a chocolate cake with chocolate filling and cream cheese frosting.

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She was thrilled.

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Gigi is a silly little girl, always making funny faces and jokes. She is super smart and already starting to read! She is the absolute sweetest kid. She’s the first one to cheer someone up, crawl into your lap for a snuggle, and give sloppy kisses. I couldn’t love her more.

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Link Love: Craft Supplies

I can’t seem to get enough knitting lately. This week Ruby went to her twin friends’ birthday party and wanted to sew them some stuffed animals, so she and I sewed a bit, and I loved how quickly that came together. I thought I’d share some sites I like for craft supplies and hope you will too!

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Layer Cake Shop has everything for a cute kids party: pretty cupcake liners, fun ice cream spoons, and a favorite in our house: paper straws.

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I’m always inspired flipping through a Paper Source catalog. They have gorgeous papers, stationery, and DIY ideas.

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I love that Magpie Patterns has sourced beautiful patterns for knitting, sewing, and embroidery in one place. They sell Brooklyn Tweed, Oliver + S and more.

Fabricworm has tons of beautiful fabrics. Searching their site and visiting Bolt always make me want to learn to sew better.

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Brooklyn General and Purl Soho have fabric, yarn, patterns, and all the tools you’ll need to craft. It’s a relief to be able to get everything in one package!

Any favorite sources to add to my list? I’m off to finish making a batch of soap…

Slow January

This month is always such a strange one for me. After all the busyness of the holidays and making, I just want to curl up with some hot tea and knit. I get a little cabin fever with the dark, cold, wet days too.

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But I also feel the pull to organize, resolve, and energize my life. These opposite energies are challenging to balance.

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We have sunshine today and I find myself following it around like a cat. I stand in a sunny window and soak it in. My oldest (well, not her age, just how long we’ve been friends) friend and I were inspired by Sarah and are sharing bits and pieces of our lives together via texts. I am treasuring this connection with my cross-country friend and the reminders to take notice and appreciate more in my own life.

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I love walking through this little path in the woods near our house. It’s in a neighborhood, but it is hilly and full of birds. I can get there quickly and lose myself in the mossiness of it all.

IMG_1794There is the constant lure of these needles and the calming simple stitches on them. About a week ago I started this sleeve for John’s sweater and am now about half-way done. This is good progress for me who only finds little bits of time to sneak in some knitting. There are talks with a friend to knit together and I cannot wait to make some real progress.

So far, I think we’re making January pretty cozy.

nine

Oh, life is a bit of a roller coaster right now. My good friend said that I’m acting like I’m pregnant (which I’m not). One minute I’m able to be grateful for all that is well in the world and turn our fates over to the universe and trust it will all work out right. The next moment the power company is at our house to fix something that came up on inspection for free and he tells me he won’t and I’m fighting back tears.

Let me catch you up. Our house is under contract already! The buyer is a wonderfully sweet woman who appreciates our home. Now we’re negotiating inspection stuff and waiting for the appraisal. We are house shopping and getting excited and nervous and depressed and anxious and thrilled and hopeful all at the same time.

But last week, we took a little break from all of the drama. John and I celebrated our ninth anniversary! We agreed to keep things low key (we already celebrated with an incredible dinner out while my parents were visiting). But he surprised me with a bottle of wine from a vineyard we visited on our honeymoon and I surprised him with a decadent chocolate cake.

Don’t worry, Ginger, we’ll share.

Over the wine, we remembered our honeymoon and our other travels together. Our first, was kind of a make-it-or-break-it trip and I think deep down we both knew it. About 6 weeks after we started dating, we packed up his VW bus and drove across the country. We camped for over almost 6 weeks on the beautiful California coast and the insanely hot desert of the southwest. We laughed, shared our past, I learned how to drive the finicky stick shift of a car older than me while stuck in traffic of a big city on a bridge (that may have been the last time I drove that car, actually), dreamed of our futures, John discovered that he should always have some food on hand for me to avoid lots of grouchiness, visited the Grand Canyon, “fine-tuned” the mechanics of the bus, and just plain learned how to be together.

broken down – I think in Mississippi

The past nine years (eleven if you count the two before we were married) haven’t all been my best, but I couldn’t have made it through the tough times without John by my side. We are still ridiculously in love with each other even though we’ve each changed so much. Strength comes from love. That’s how I always know I can get through the hard times. I am in love and I am loved.

…and I baked

John’s birthday was last week and he chose an apple tourte for his dessert. He found the recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours (a book I highly recommend) and it was crazy good. I like making tarts, but making tarts on a weekday alone in the house with two small children is…um, how shall I put this, a challenge?

The crust is not a typical pie crust, its an almond sugar cookie crust. Mmhmm, you read that right. A pie made with a cookie crust. And the filling was like applesauce. The comforting, warming, homemade, delicious-smelling applesauce. And then, while it was still a touch warm, we piled Julie’s vanilla ice cream on top. (BTW, if you’ve never tried it, Julie’s Strawberry & Cream sorbet is incredible.)

It was really good for breakfast too.

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Today I made Rosemary Flatbread from Whole Grains Baking (another book I love – all the recipes are full of whole grains but still taste wonderful). Seeing the dough crisp up and bubble was so satisfying. This is the best photo I had on our cold, dark day. It doesn’t do it justice.

The girls loved dipping theirs in hummus this afternoon and I think I’m about to go eat some more with a glass of wine. Excuse me, won’t you?

cooking links

It is a cold, gray, rainy day here. It was snowing a bit this morning but that quickly turned into the dreaded slushy rain. I’m trying to warm myself up with some yummy, warming baking ideas. (I get to bake an apple tart for John’s birthday!)

Posie Gets Cozy | Alicia's Oatmeal Bread

Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

101 Cookbooks | Chili Lime Tequila Popcorn

The Kitchn | Shredded Apple Muesli

What are your favorite rainy day recipes?

P.S. I’ve updated my links in the sidebar.

Click on the pictures to view the recipes. All photos taken by the bloggers or contributors.