Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cupcake envy

Mississippi Mud Cupcakes--chocolate cake, oreos, and chocolate chips.  Recipe from "Cupcakes!" and baked by me.

This blog and this cupcake shop (advertised on The Stranger's website) have me seriously jonesing for an excellent cupcake.  When I still lived in Chicago, I could count on Swirlz Cupcakes whenever I was in the mood and had the time to venture up to Lincon Park, but I have been sorely disappointed since the move to Tejas.

No doubt there are good cupcakeries in Texas, but the couple places I've tried here in Houston have really fallen flat for me.  One place had decent cake, but the frosting was too dense, too sweet, and there was too much of it; a 1:1 ratio of cake to frosting is more than I can handle, especially when it's super sweet.  Another place actually keeps their cupcakes in a refrigerated case--a big no-no as refrigeration dries out what might otherwise be a moist and tasty cake (and their frosting was also far too sweet and dense, also thanks to the frigeration).  

There's at least one more exclusively-cupcakes bakery in town, but according to their website they will ship their cupcakes nationally.  Baked goods like cakes, with toppings like frostings, that are made with fresh, honest ingredients, really don't ship well, so I'm kind scared to even try them.  And the one other bakery that at least purportedly has tasty cupcakes  has been closed since August with no word of what's coming next. 

(And if it seems like I am unfairly dogging on Houston for its lack of delicious cupcakes, I'll have you know that I initially wanted cupcakes for my St. Louis wedding, but have since been scared away by descriptions and photos of the confections from both of St. Louis' exclusively-cupcakes bakeries, and have decided to go with a tiered cake from Cravings--they only use real, fresh ingredients.)

In fact, the only cupcakes I've enjoyed while in Houston have been the chocolate sour cream cupcakes I made myself from my copy of Cupcakes!  But I am usually too lazy to make frosting, especially when I'm only making the cupcakes for myself.   I really need to have an occasion to justify baking a batch of cupcakes AND decorating them (answer: I should have more parties).

So: anyone from the Houston area have cupcake recommendations?  Anyone want to come over so that I have someone to bake cupcakes for?

On a more positive note, Whole Foods is currently selling 18lb bags of Texas grapefruits for $8.  Guess what I lugged home, and what I'm having for dessert.  As soon as I buy more eggs, I'm going to try this recipe for grapefruit yogurt pound cake, from Smitten Kitchen (part of my apparent quest to try every recipe from that blog).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Life as it stands/runs/jumps/etc

After the holidays, I felt pretty much like I had my life sorted out.  Andrew and I had gotten engaged and I was moving in with for good; I had a great job lined up that I was excited to begin; I had finished my college classes; we even got a kitty.  "All my ducks in a row" was a phrase that repeatedly popped to mind when I thought about where my life was, and it felt good.

Reality check--

Getting engaged means wedding planning begins.
Moving into the apartment means there is now the apartment to maintain.
Having a great job means responsibilities and challenges and getting up early and being tired when I come home.
Finishing my classes means I should devote myself to writing my thesis.
Having a kitten means taking care of and entertaining her.

I'm not unhappy about any of these things; honestly, I didn't have things to worry over and plan, I'd be really bored.  But, my life has become very busy, and I haven't thought about blogging or writing much (besides my thesis) in awhile.  Perhaps as I continue to settle in I'll find that I have time I was spending/wasting elsewhere, and perhaps not.

This isn't meant as an excuse for not writing so much as it is an assessment of where I am right now.  And I like where I am, which is the most important part.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A productive day thus far

So far today, I have:

Taken Amelie to the vet (happy and healthy!)
Turned in the pet agreement and fee to the landlord
Gotten car insurance
Had the car officially inspected
Started outlining a section of my thesis (Hello, Poe)
Put beans in to soak to make hummus tomorrow
Vacuumed the computer room (with some help from the Roomba)
Changed my bank account mailing address

And it's only 1pm now.  I'm supposed to go to the recycling center, too...I think I'll take care of that now, then come back and get to work on the paper.  Sweet!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A new member of the family:


She's currently unnamed as we ponder the perfect moniker for this gorgeous girl.  In the meantime, she is hiding in every small space she can fit in to in our computer room.  However, we have discovered that she has a weak spot for head scritchings.  In intend to exploit this weakness fully.  Mwah ha ha ha...

Her arrival was somewhat unplanned.  We've been planning to get a kitty, but weren't going to go look at them until next weekend.  And then Andrew just decided that today was good enough, so we ran around gathering supplies before heading over to the HOPE adoptions.  Hope fosters all of their kitties--it means they can't take as many refugees as other organizations, but the ones they take get to live in real homes before getting adopted.

Anyway, it was love at first sight for me, end of story.  Or rather, beginning of a wonderful story!  Expect to see more of her on this blog, once she decides it's safe to come out of the corner.