Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Around here

I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately, and it's been nice. I know that soon the weather is probably going to get nuts and I won't even want to turn on the oven, so I'm taking full advantage now.

meal prep weekend

 Over the holiday weekend I prepped a few things for the month (pizza dough that I could freeze for quick weeknight dinners, chicken stock in the crockpot so I could portion it out for the recipes I'm using this month and freeze it).

vanilla cupcakes

Last Saturday I spent most of the day baking cupcakes and arranging flowers for my grandfather's 100th birthday party. I was just supposed to do the flowers, but while I was browsing Pinterest for arrangement ideas I kept seeing sunflower cupcake tutorials and couldn't resist.

sunflower cupcakes

Sadly, I forgot to get a picture of the best ones since I took them to the party, so I only have the rejects left but I'm sharing them anyways. I'm so far from an expert cake decorator and sometimes I think I should take a class or something but I'm pretty sure I'm doomed to failure. I always have trouble piping buttercream because my hands are so hot that they basically melt the frosting instantly so for this project I had two bags of frosting set up so I could rotate them in and out of the refrigerator and it kind of worked. I used this tutorial for the decorating, because it doesn't require any special tips (although I cut the hole in the bag a little small which made for a less polished result). I went back to my old school favorite frosting and it didn't disappoint. It's the creamiest, fluffiest, lightest frosting - similar in taste to a whipped cream frosting. It does get really soft at room temp, so I knew it wasn't the best choice for decorating but I'll always take taste over aesthetics. I didn't have superfine sugar but I just blitzed some regular sugar in the food processor and it worked just fine.


D was busy with a client project so we didn't see each other all day but we reconvened to admire our work and share a beer in the evening. I know I'm biased right now because the weather has been so great, but I'm kind of wishing summer would last forever. I'll be singing a different tune in September, I'm sure.


  1. I remember that you moved not too long ago, and I LOVE your kitchen!

  2. Love your flower arranging skills, per usual. Do you go to the flower mart? I've never been, but I'd love to go one day to get flowers for an event. I don't mind the early time, but overall seems really intimidating.

    1. Yes, I always go to the flower mart if I'm doing several arrangements. Don't be intimidated! It's so much fun and there are always lots of other non-florists wandering around. I don't do the early rise time thing - that might be more intimidating since it would be mostly pros at that time! Since I work weekdays I usually just go on Saturday morning, sometimes as late as 11:00. I've been early on a Friday morning before and there is definitely way more selection than Saturday. A lot of vendors just don't bother opening up on Saturday, so if you were buying hundreds of dollars worth of flowers for a wedding or something, it's worth it to go early morning on a weekday. But for a smaller party, there are still plenty of options on Saturdays and the pressure seems lower.

      My rec is to go with a list (and make sure to have some alternate options just in case). If I have lots of time, or if I'm making arrangements just for fun, I don't bother with the list and just let myself pick stuff, but it takes so much longer that way and you won't be sure you have as much as you need. For a party, I usually browse for arrangement ideas, then try to break down how much of each flower is in each arrangement (i.e. for this party my small arrangements were 3 sunflowers each, plus 1 stem of solidago, plus 1 stem delphinium, plus 1 - 2 thistles, plus 1 stem mini daisies, plus some eucalyptus). Then you can add it up to figure out how much you need of everything. Err on the side of needing a bit extra, and I sometimes impulse buy flowers that weren't on my list but seem useful.

      Once you get there do a quick walk around to check out a few stalls and see if quality/pricing is varying much. I find that it's generally not that different from vendor to vendor but sometimes someone will have deals. Bring cash just in case, although lots of vendors take credit cards now.

      If possible, it's best to have a large bucket of water in the car, so that the flowers can travel home in it. But if your drive is short or you aren't getting fragile flowers, you'll be okay without it.

  3. Great light in your kitchen!

  4. Lovely post, even the "rejects" look great :)


Trying captchas this time - better or worse than having to log in to comment? Let me know! Sorry for all the hoops but the spam has been terrible lately!