Friday, April 4, 2008

argh, matey

I wonder if Jack Sparrow was behind this. Johnny Depp does live in St. Tropez, you know.

things i miss about high school: #3

The #3 thing I miss most about high school is...

Roll call in history. Me, my BFF, twin sister, and her BFF, were all in relatively immediate alphabetical order (there were a few people between "L" and "P" on the attendance sheet), giving us lots of opportunities to be creative for roll call. Usually, we would choose four-word phrases, each stating a word when our name was called, creating an entire sentence when taken together. The fact that our names weren't directly following each other made this process even more hilarious since roll call went something like this: "Here." "WE" "Here." "Here." "LOVE" "EATING" "Here." "CHEESE.". Even though our teacher PRETENDED to be annoyed when we would do this (he was doing a lot of swim/water polo coaching that year and was always stressed), I know it totally made his day. Well, it at least made him crack a smile.

All four of us had the teacher two separate times during high school, but our best roll call ever was senior year. He had a few strange promotional posters for a history textbook, with large facial images of prominent historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, with provocative questions underneath each face (Benjamin Franklin..."Player"?). Basically, the poster was attempting to incite students to use their textbooks with their intriguing catch-phrases for each Important Dead White Guy. I'm not sure who came up with the idea--it was probably my BFF K--but we took the poster, cut out four of the faces, taped them onto popsicle sticks to create makeshift masks, and then when roll was called we popped the mask up over our face and said the corresponding catch-phrase. I don't remember what historical leader I had, but I like to think when my name was called I replied, "Player?".

Thursday, April 3, 2008

cutest cupcake contest

Martha Stewart is holding a cutest cupcake contest and it ends tomorrow so hurry up and upload your cute cupcake photos! I submitted a picture of my S'mores Cupcakes, but with over 1,300 entries so far I'm not holding my breath on winning, but it was still fun to enter. Some cupcakes are on the simpler side (like mine), others are SUPER creative and way adorable. I went through every single entry, and picked out my top 10. Ten entries are going to win a Martha Stewart cake stand and have their recipe featured on her website. I hope one of my top picks makes it! Here they are, in no particular order, click the picture for a larger version:

Q: What do you call a sheep with no legs?
A: A cloud.

Popcorn cupcake...the popcorn is actually mini-marshmallows split in half and toasted

Sushi cupcake made using fruit rolls and candy.


Spaghetti and meat balls! Made using red sprinkles, butter cream frosting, and malt balls.


I am making these this summer for sure! It's a vanilla cupcake cut in half with a chocolate cupcake slice in the middle. The condiments are made using colored frosting and the cheese is fondant. They're individually wrapped in foil like a hamburger joint burger, so creative!

Crabs with Swedish fish claws, red licorice legs, M&M eyes, sitting on a bed of brown sugar "sand".

Cherry pie cupcakes made with cherries and fondant.

Cats and dogs! I wonder which is more delicious (my bet is the dog cupcake).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

strike on sweets

Yesterday Perez posted a video blog which was somewhat inspiring. I turned it off about one-third of the way through because I can not STAND his voice (though I am very loyal to his site)...but I think I got the gist of the post: basically, he wants to get hot enough to go jogging shirtless by the end of summer.

I'm already pretty hot (ha ha), BUT I have decided to make changes in my life to be healthier and have decided to give up dessert. Yeah, I know Lent is over, but this is going to be my attempt at a more permanent life change, rather than a 40-day temporary adjustment of my habits. In January I made the decision to give up soda (I drank probably 1 can of diet soda per day on average), and have made it four whole months without so much as a sip. I'm pretty confident I will be able to achieve my no-sweets goal, and I'm sharing it with you as a way of motivating myself to stick with it. I have already decided that I will allow myself a celebratory dessert on the night of my graduation--hey, I deserve an indulgence after five years of studying--but that's it. I'm on the fence as to whether frozen yogurt counts as dessert. The rational side of me says it does, but the fro yo-addicted part of me is leaning toward no. Either way, don't worry, I'll still be posting cupcake recipes!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

things i miss about high school: #4

The #4 thing I miss most about high school is...

Bringing Tater Tot to class. I have no idea how I continually got away with this; I'm sure it was a combination of my personal relationships with all of my teachers and Tater's absolutely adorable demeanor. Right after we got him I brought Tater to the yearbook sale during orientation. He was a total hit, obviously. At that point he was still super teeny (1 pound) and I remember him napping almost the whole time. Aww, dogs ARE just like their owners. I tried to get them to let me take my ID card picture with him, but they were total Tater Haters and I was DEEEEnied. And no, I did not take my dog to the prom. I just posed with him before the prom. I took my best friend's little brother to the prom. Duh.

Pomeranians are the most adorable puppies you will ever see. If you can believe it, Tater Tot was even CUTER than these two puppies which I will call "Exhibit A and B":

s'mores cupcakes

The best of the camping favorite with none of the sticky, gooey mess! And, they look totally cute and taste delicious. I love dolled up versions of childhood favorites (gourmet hot dogs, Gruyère mac n cheese, etc), and isn't that what cupcakes are all about, anyway? I'm particularly fond of this recipe because it is the first ever recipe that I have "created" on my own! It's not the first or last S'mores cupcake recipe in the baking world, but I have to say it is one of the tastiest!

S'mores cupcakes

For the Vanilla Buttercake Cupcakes:
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-rising flour
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

For the topping:
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons milk
1 bar chocolate (to decorate)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (to decorate)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one 12-hole standard muffin pan with paper baking cups.

2. Beat butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs, flour, and milk in a large bowl with an electric mixer until ingredients are fully combined and batter is a pale color.

3. Add graham cracker crumbs and milk chocolate chips and stir until combined.

4. Divide mixture among baking cups; smooth surface.

5. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.

6. Make marshmallow topping: Remove and discard lid and foil seal from jar of marshmallow fluff. To soften fluff for easy removal from jar, microwave on high 15 to 20 seconds. In large bowl, beat marshmallow fluff, butter, and powdered sugar until blended. Beat in enough milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until frosting is spreadable.

7. Spread topping over the tops of cupcakes. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs liberally over the topping.

8. Divide chocolate bar into individual rectangles and place on top of each cupcake.

You could also make equally adorable and delicious mini-S'mores cupcakes:

Monday, March 31, 2008

things i miss about high school: #5

The #5 thing I miss most about high school is...

Avoiding call slips from my guidance counselor. I was one of the students who chose to join several sports teams in lieu of fulfilling two years of P.E., and when I hadn't finished my final semester of the sports requirement my guidance counselor was all over me about it. I had it all worked out with the swim coach, though, and my guidance counselor just didn't get it, so I happily avoided every call slip he sent to my classes, even French (and we know how much I looked for excuses to miss French).

Sunday, March 30, 2008

local celebrity

Okay, not really, but I WAS featured in this article in the Sunday paper. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

The article is actually pretty good. I'm glad she added the brief description of my two presentation papers. My family keeps asking me, "What exactly are you going to be talking about?" and I never really know how to sum up two separate 20 page papers in a sentence...but now I do! Okay, but seriously, how nerdy am I with my little Scorsese books and my The Departed DVD? I love it. I should have worn my glasses! Now THAT would have been a good picture.

My favorite part of the interview? That she asked me if Tater Tot was named after Napoleon Dynamite and his love of Tater Tots. Now that's some hard news.

things i miss about high school: #6

The #6 thing I miss most about high school is...

Making crazy nicknames for people. K and I were the masters of giving people nicknames in high school. Now that I think about it, I guess our nicknames were never really crazy OR creative, we stuck to the most obvious characteristics of a person and then referred to them as such. For example, Big Head Guy had a (physically) large head, Guy in the White Shirt was wearing a white shirt when we first saw him, Man Boobs (self-explanatory), and Baby Sexy was the sexy little brother of a friend of ours.

I think out of all the nicknames we gave people (who, by the way, were never AWARE they had such a nickname), my favorite would have to be Guy in the White Shirt. I mean, how funny is that for a nickname? Imagine saying that multiple times a day for three years (we had a slight crush on him). In terms of being practical it definitely failed since it was much longer than his REAL name, but it was awesome nonetheless. By a strange coincidence, after he graduated I actually hung out with him a few times, and boy was it hard to suppress the urge to call him Guy in the White Shirt because that was literally the only way I knew him during high school. That would have been an awkward conversation: "Oh, sorry, that's just what me and my best friend used to call you...because we're completely nonsensical."