Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Happy birthday to my Daddio! May this next year be the best one yet.

Your Favorite Middle Child

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Recipe Round-Up: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb is a funky, funky food. I didn't know this until I googled it but it can actually fall into three different categories: herb, vegetable and fruit. And if that identity crisis weren't enough for you, it also looks a lot like celery, is covered in poisonous leaves and grows anywhere there is a mild winter...which is most places in this world other than Antarctica and Buffalo.

With that being said, it is absolutely DYNAMITE when cooked with sugar and strawberries and yummy crumbly goodness baked on top.

I mean seriously. It is an explosion of deliciousness! It tastes just like summer. I love the taste of summer, don't you?

So, let's do this.

First up, grab some rhubarb. Since I live in an apartment, I do not have copious amounts of rhubarb growing in my yard. But thankfully it seems to be growing with wild abandon everywhere else and some nice people have packaged it up for sale.

Pour the frozen rhubarb into a baking dish and spread out evenly.

Next, grab some strawberries...

...slice them up...

...And throw them on top of the rhubarb. That's right, throw them.

That is so pretty.

Now you want to mix them with sugar and flour. This will create a sauce when the fruit is cooked so your crumble will be soft, juicy and perfectly sweet.

Just like me.

Now for the crumbly goodness...

Add flour, oats, sugar, salt and cold butter and mix together. The crumble should be, you know, crumbly.

And if you are really feeling wild, throw in some walnuts, pecans or almonds. I threw in some walnuts and it added a fabulous crunch.

Sprinkle the crumble over the top until it is totally covered.


Now pop that sucker into the oven until it is golden brown and bubbly. I will warn you: your house is going to smell amazing. AMAZING, I tell you!

OH man.

Add a little vanilla bean ice cream for kicks.

And inhale. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Congratulations my friends, you have just tasted summer! Bust this out over the holiday weekend and I guarantee your family will love you even more than they already do.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
2 10oz. bags rhubarb, cut and frozen
2 quarts fresh or frozen strawberries, cut
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups plus 4 tbsp flour
1 cup plus 4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Nuts, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour frozen rhubarb and strawberries into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle 4 tbsp of flour and 4 tbsp of sugar over fruit and toss together until coated. Set aside

For crumble topping, add oats and remaining flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add nuts if desired. Sprinkle crumb mixture over fruit until covered. Bake for 50 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream for maximum results.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sunday Drive

I love everything about this picture: the flower-designed moped, the leather jacket, the skirt, the helmet, the fact that this shot was taken immediately after church...

...and of course, the heels.

Fabulous in every way.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I remember the day Claire was born vividly. Sam and I were playing with play-doh in the waiting room while my parents were otherwise occupied. My grandparents were there, both sets, talking and smiling.

At the time, Sam and I didn't know if she was a boy or a girl and we had been arguing over this for the past few months. The outcome was crucial: if she was a boy, I would be doomed as not only the middle child but also as the only girl for the REST OF MY LIFE.

DOOMED, I tell you.

But if she was a girl, everything would be perfectly right with the world because I would have someone to dress up and boss around. Besides, it would be my first victory in sibling rivalry. Ever.

Needless to say, victory was mine.

That was 28 years ago today. And none of our lives have ever been the same.

Happy birthday to my beautiful, brilliant, funky, caring, kind and fabulous sister! You are still fun to dress up and I promise I am working on the bossing. Really, I am.

And I am still so glad I won.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blessed Summer

Today is the day, my friends! Today is the day that welcomes in the most glorious time of the year: SUMMER!

I love everything about summer...even the mosquitoes. And do you know why? It is because they hate me. It's true. They hate my guts. They think I stink. And because of that, they never bite me.

I know many of you may hate me right now. I'm sorry. Maybe you just need to stink more? I don't know.

So here is my list of favorite summer things...

1. Homemade ice cream in EXTREMELY LARGE quantities.

That's it. That's my list.

Okay, not really. I have more things I love about summer, including:

2. My fave holiday - the 4th of July!

3. The Gage Beach. This is not a beach at all, rather an extremely large, extremely cold artesian pool in the middle of the Great Plains. I am headed there next week so there will be more to come on this.

4. Warm evenings.

5. Vacation. This could be my favorite word in the history of words. Well, that and "frequent flyer miles." Okay, that's three words.

6. Cookouts. The smell of a grill is like nothing else. I think you could cook a shoe on a grill and it would smell just as good. But please, don't do that to your shoes.

7. Getting a tan. In theory, people actually tan when they lay in the sun. Even though this does not really apply to me, the act of laying in the sun is glorious.

8. Fruit. I love fruit.

9. Summer birthdays. We have three in my family in the month of June. Tomorrow is Claire's. She is going to be 15. Oh wait. Actually, she will be 28. Sorry about that.

10. That feeling that everything, if even for a moment, is right with the world. I never have that feeling in the dead of winter.

Happy Summer, peeps.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Garden Party Birthday Breakfast

(Does that title seem weird to you?

Maybe it should be titled "Birthday Garden Party Breakfast."

Or "Garden Party Breakfast Birthday"

Or "A Party in A Garden Where We Ate Breakfast for A Birthday."

I'll let you pick.)

For my mama's birthday, my seester and I decided to surprise my mom with breakfast! It was fabulous and the weather was gorgeous. I think June 16 is the most perfect day ever. EVER.

SIDE NOTE: That totally reminds of Miss Congeniality when the contestant was asked to describe her "perfect date." Love it. Mine would totally be June 16.

Since breakfast is my most favorite meal and because yesterday was my official "cheat day" for the week, my sister busted out my new favorite recipe: Orange and Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Scones.

And yes, they were just as delicious as they sound. Seriously, the best scones on the FACE OF THE PLANET. I am drooling just thinking about them.Recipe coming henceforth...whatever that means.

With them we served Greek yogurt, fruit with cinnamon and bacon. I heart bacon. I heart it very much.

We also brought over carrot cake (to eat later that day)...

And presents...

And her yard provided the garden...

It was a perfect morning! We even wore our garden party dresses! Really, we did. We all wore dresses. And we had a photo shoot which could have been the highlight of my entire day. I'll post some of those pics soon.

And to top it all off, we had a special guest at the party...

He is cute...

And funny...

And knows how to wear a helmet.

Can you guess who?


Thor never likes to miss out on a good garden party.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't Be Alarmed

Don't be alarmed, it is still me. The blog just needed a face lift, ya know?

I love face lifts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recipe Round-Up: Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

You might want to sit down for this one.

Seriously, these cupcakes may cause you do something drastic, like sing in public or crimp your hair. And I'll be honest, I want nothing more than to stick my ENTIRE HEAD into peanut butter cream cheese frosting right now.

Take that, muscle confusion of death!

Photo courtesy

And for the record, I did not take that picture above. I was covered in peanut butter and chocolate and that does not mix well with my camera. But I promise my cupcakes looked just like this, minus the barn-like table and maybe an added finger swipe to the frosting.

On that note, am seriously considering starting my own dessert catering business. So if you want to hire me, just let me know. I need a week's notice, a large paycheck and I may or may not eat half of your order before it arrives.

No biggie.

This chocolate cake recipe is DY-NO-MITE. You throw everything into a bowl and mix. You can't mess it up. Just try, I dare you.

Easy Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Country Living
Makes 24-28 cupcakes

2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup(s) whole milk
2/3 cup(s) granulated sugar
2/3 cup(s) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup(s) butter
3 large eggs
2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

Make the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cupcake pans with non-stick cooking spray or use cupcake liners. Set aside. In a large bowl, using a mixer set at low speed, combine the flour and remaining 10 ingredients. Increase mixer speed to medium and continue to beat for 3 more minutes.

That's it! So simple! Just fill your cupcake tins and bake until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 15-20 minutes.  This is also excellent for cakes as well.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick butter, softened
1 8 oz. box of cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 lbs powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
4-6 tablespoons of milk or whipping cream
Reece's Peanut Butter Cups for garnish.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and peanut butter on medium speed until fluffy. Turn your mixer down to low speed and slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.

2. Add vanilla and 4 tablespoons of heavy cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy

3. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and finish with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. You will probably have frosting left over but you can freeze it for your next batch or just stand over the sink and eat it with a spoon.

Inhale and enjoy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Should Be a Publicist

Hey you!

Yeah, I'm talking to you.

How's it going? Are you loving your Monday?

Okay, sorry about that question.  Here's another one for you:

What are you doing Friday night? Yes, this Friday night.

Want to hang out and listen to some really great music? I mean REALLY GREAT MUSIC. They are actually my favorite band. Dave Matthews is a close second.

Yes? Awesome! I love how we get each other.

So here are the details, mark them in your calendar.

Who: Treehouse Sanctum
When: Friday, June 17, 2011
Where: The D'Note
Time: 7-9 pm.

Here is a quote from one of the band members, "The new musical act that is taking the world by storm (more of a sun shower really), Treehouse Sanctum, will be performing live at the D'Note in Arvada, CO (in Olde Town) next Friday June 17th from 7pm - 9pm.  We'll be playing with good friend and misunderstood songwriting savant, Jon Boland and his band of burly biker-like dudes. This will be a pretty rad show as long as I don't screw up on stage and embarrass myself and band mate. So come on down and tell friends, family, enemies and random people you might know who like live music in the summertime..."

Oh yeah. My brother is 1/2 of Treehouse Sanctum. And his friend Danya is the amazing other half. Seriously, you should come and listen to them. They are fabulous!!

And the other guy, Jon Boland? Well I grew up with him in Oklahoma and he has been my "other brother" since I was 7. He has seen me with braces and a perm. Not good.

So I hope I see you there! I guarantee we will have an awesome time. And bring a friend or two.

Check out their Facebook page for more info and to hear their original music.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Muscle Confusion is from the Devil

I am doing a new work-out program and it is horrible in every way. Currently, I cannot move my arms. Let's hope I don't have to sneeze.

Words like "muscle confusion" and "squat thrusts" and "sprint failure" are being thrown around like they don't mean anything.

Well they do mean something. They mean "a slow death of torturous pain."

Think I am being dramatic? Think again, sister.

I am considering putting in a movable chair that slides up the stairs in my apartment. I would have done it already but I do want to get married someday and nothing says "fabulous single girl" like a slow ride up my staircase.

In the meantime, however, I do promise to record my progress. It is a six week program and I am sure I will have loads to share with you. Already I have seen more guys that could be on Jersey Shore than I thought possible. Who knew there was such a large population of them in south Denver?

And I realized that I have muscles in my armpits. And they hurt.

Thankfully, all of this working out will totally justify me eating an entire pizza on my cheat day. Torture does have its perks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Recipe Round-Up: Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

There is nothing that makes me pucker up more than lemons.

Well, maybe my daydreams about Johnny Depp but that is besides the point.

So when Lizz asked me to make her lemon cupcakes for her birthday party, I agreed. Happily. Because lemons are a happy fruit, don't you think?

I found this recipe on one of my favorite new food blogs, MyBakingAddiction. It is a gem of a website! So I took her recipe and made it my own (what reality TV show says that??).

These beauties are light, fluffy, lemony and perfect. Seriously, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you make them.

Or, if you ask real sweetly, I will make them for you.  But I'm serious, you must ask sweetly. As in "Sarah, my darling friend/cousin/sister/wanna be girlfriend, you are the light of my life. I will love you forever if you make me lemon cupcakes. I will even do your laundry."

Or something like that.

Here is the recipe. Since I was on a schedule, plus I was covered in lemon juice, I did not take step-by-step pictures. I know, I'm a punk. But they are easy to make, I promise!!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 1/4 cups  flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins by using liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Place the batter into the cupcake tins.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Cool on wire rack. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of one lemon
Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. Finally mix in vanilla and lemon juice. Refrigerate until needed.

I used a pastry bag without a tip to pipe on the frosting and then sprinkled with yellow non pereils. But you can frost them any way you like!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Old Blue Bike

For the past year I have really wanted a bike. Not a mountain bike or road bike, but an old-fashioned, little old lady bike.

It's how I roll, people.

So when I mentioned this desire to my coworker Nadine, she had an immediate solution: a fifty-year old bike that she bought from Dr. Peabody's daughter Sarah at a garage sale in 1972 in Lansing, Michigan.

Well, obviously.

Nadine has had this bike for nearly 40 years and for the last 10 it has been sitting in her shed. So one day last week I strolled into work and there it was, just sitting in my office. And it is fabulous in every way:

She is blue.

And old.

And she has a headlight. And a tail light.

And 3 speeds.

She is a Londoner and rides like a charm.

So at lunch I took her out to the parking lot for a spin. My first attempt had me kissing asphalt. Seriously, I fell right over, skirt and all. Don't you love that mental picture? But after another try, I was able to cruise around without additional bruising or embarrassment. I love her and I think I will call her Gloria.

So, if you ever want to look cool and circle the block with me on my little old lady bike, just give me a ring. Gloria and I are ready to roll.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

3 Things

1. I love this kid.

I took him to the pool after work yesterday and counted the number of times he jumped in. It was 9. And it was awesome.

2. I cut my hair.

I told my hair stylist to just cut it off. So she did, 6 inches worth. It takes approximately half the shampoo it used to and half the time to blow dry it. The hairstyle angels are singing.

3. I discovered Instagram on my iPhone. Can you tell? My life is changed forever.