Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A post with a lot of pictures

Excuse my lack of a creative title. I thought this one was honest, and well, I hoped it might pull you in since I know everyone loves pictures!

First up is a little trip back to last Tuesday, when I tried out a second recipe from my new cupcake book. I decided on the Sticky Buns cupcakes, mainly because Bill said I should. And who am I to say no to a mix of brown sugar, maple syrup and pecans? I tried to be better about taking pictures during the process, and I am happy to say I succeeded. Of course, last time I only took a picture of the finished project, so anything would have been an improvement. Here we go!

A shot of the recipe. I decided to make large cupcakes, rather than minis, for a number of reasons. Including the fact that I did not want, yet again, 96 mini cupcakes, and I was out of mini-liners.

Ingredients! Creme fraiche (this stuff rocks!), 3 eggs, ground almonds, brown sugar, flower, salt, and cinnamon.

Butter was an ingredient, too, but I always let it soften in the bowl, so I couldn't include it in the shot above.

My favorite thing about this recipe? Besides eating it, you mean? It only dirtied two measuring cups!

Since I made the standard size cupcakes, I wasn't really sure of the ratio in terms of how many pecans/how much syrup to put into each cup. So I guessed. Most tasted great, one or two were way too syrupy. Also, see those silicone liners? (The bottom two rows...) Those. are. awesome. I only have six, but I am in love!

The finished product. They were more like bread than cake (though I expected that - the batter was pretty thick!), but they were delicious, nonetheless.
Next up, some gratuitous shots of my pups!

Okay, so I'm in this one. Aren't my babies so cute, though? And yes, this is how Sensei sits. He does it on the steps inside the house, as well.
Being attacked by Preston.

Obviously, this is the calm, sweet one.

Muddy Preston, sleeping in the car.
Finally, a little update on our flowers. I don't have any pictures of this, though. Don't be upset! The poppies and wallflowers are doing great! There are so many blooms on them - one poppy plant has NINE flowers right now! And, I am happy to report that the daisies appear to be alive. The leaves are all green, and I think some new buds have appeared. So I'll have to keep my eye on that one...

I may not have pictures of those plants, but I did take some shots in the backyard. I am slowly learning the names of all these cool trees we have!

Can someone tell me what this is? It smells so good!

Wisteria. Bill says it smells like licorice. I am still undecided on that issue, but the sprig we have in our kitchen smells like heaven!

It's a little odd-looking from far away. Apparently it will grow like crazy, all over everything if we let it. And we might, it makes our whole backyard smell great when the wind blows.

Red bud tree. Excuse the weird bird house - we recently pulled that out from next to the fence, and have yet to decide what we are going to do with it. (AKA, it won't fit in our trash can.) Can you spot a doggy in the background?
In other news, my birthday is in three days, and I have already been shown some major love from family members! My parents got me a zoom lens for my DSLR and it is SO COOL. If you sit under the window in our living room, you can see all the way down through the house to the wall in our bedroom that is the end of the house. And, obviously, I've been taking pictures with both my lens to compare. And this 200mm is awesome. Seriously, I cannot convey my excitement. It's going to be perfect for this weekend! (And, a little shoutout to my bro, who gave me my new favorite purse! Yippee!) I did not mean for this last paragraph to come across as bragging. I am just so grateful to my family for being so good to me!

Finally, a little note about books. I (finally) finished The Codex Alera last week. All six books. I've been reading this series since Christmas break! (They're all  500 - 800 pages long.) It was really good. I don't know what genre it is exactly - maybe fantasy? But more than that. There's mystery, fantasy, romance, war, betrayal,  and so much more. Bill received the first book as a Christmas gift, read it, loved it, and bugged me to read it. I read it, loved it, and over the next three months, bought, read and loved the other five! (Please note, Bill has yet to read another one - silly Star Wars books getting in the way.) Anyways, I was really sad about the series ending. For three months, I lived and breathed Tavi and his world in Alera.

My sadness soon ended, though, when I realized that I had a new series to start - The Hunger Games! My sister-in-law Sonja has been telling me about these books, and how much I would enjoy them, and I downloaded the first one onto my Kobo recently, when I noticed it was only $5 on borders.com. I thought it would be nice to have a book ready when I finally finished First Lord's Fury - that particular book took almost a month to read. The books are really dense, and sometimes I could read for two hours without stopping, and sometimes just a couple chapters was enough for one day. Wow, nice tangent. Back to The Hunger Games. I read the first one in just 24 hours. I had the day off Friday, and I spent all afternoon on the back deck reading. Thank you, self, for having a productive morning, and thank you, sunshine, for being so warm on Friday! The book was great, and I am about a third of the way through the second one. I already read the Wikipedia entries about all the books, so I know what happens, but I do that with most books. I still can't wait to read them, though!

Oddly enough, when I logged on to check Michelle's blog today, she had read the entire series - this weekend! Could we be any more similar? Seriously. It's a little freaky sometimes.


  1. wisteria is THE DEVIL! you probably already have it growing underneath your yard. when my mom and i were cleaning up our yard i would find vines that were like twenty feet long of that crap buried uner the yard. they went all the way across the yard under the ground and somestimes the vines were like an inch thick. it was awful. and it grew up and wrapped itself around all our other plants and trees and was killing them. i'm telling you, get it out while you can! although it is pretty. we had one big tree of it and never knew about all the rest under the ground and in the other plants! BEWARE

  2. longest comment ever. that's how much i dislike wisteria. and how much i like you!

  3. I think I found the first series on my summer reading list! Also, I'm super excited about your birthday, too. You're going to love your present!