January 29, 2009

Cupcake, my love.

Isabella and I have spent many days cooped up inside, packing and avoiding the cold. One evening she found my Martha Stewart Living magazine and began pointing to the cupcakes, asking for some. And then demanding some. We both needed a break and some mommy/daughter time so I consented. I found a recipe that had ingredients we had on hand (not always easy to do with Martha Stewart) and made a quick batch of delicious, very moist chocolate cupcakes. Isabella also requested the pink frosting. These are, by far, THE BEST CUPCAKES I've ever had and they were super easy to make.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Martha Stewart Living, Feb 2009
Makes 18

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used the ol' milk with lemon juice trick)
3 tablespoons safflower oil (I used canola)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks, and let cool. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

Basic Buttercream Frosting
Makes about 4 cups

12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (After every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium-high.) Add vanilla, and beat until buttercream is smooth. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)

January 27, 2009

Try Again

We are in hyper-move-mode, going through stuff and purging. I'm selling a bunch of my science stuff on craigslist and Isabella is loving it...cool new toys just sitting out on the table.

It was really fun to watch her problem solve as she tried to stack this set of plastic graduated cylinders; all different sizes, open on one end. She kept saying "fy again" to herself and would then try a different combination.

January 26, 2009


I love, love, love that Isabella is really getting into books. She likes to read books to us too, which is mostly adorable babble with a few key words thrown in.

Happy New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! We celebrated Saturday night at church where the Chinese Branch (the Chinese speaking congregation in the area) put on a amazing dinner and wonderful show!

Isabella enjoyed the dancing lion until he jumped off the stage and made his way down the aisles. Then she freaked out!

Pipilotti Rist at the MOMA

We stopped into the MOMA to warm up and check out the Pipilotti Rist exhibit. The exhibit was fun, huge, surreal and relaxing. We were humming all the way home. It's there until Feb 2, go check it out!

Cold & Hot Chocolate

We spent half of Saturday out in the city, which was bitter cold when the wind blew. After lunch at The Hummus Place (fantastic food at fantastic prices!) on 7th Ave in the West Village we walked by Grom (an overpriced, over-hyped gelateria). Grom had an enticing poster in their window of some really good looking hot chocolate. We stood in the cold way too long debating whether or not we should get some. We have tried many, many delicous cups of hot chocolate and definitely have our favorites, but this stuff was amazing! Three of us (adults) split a small and we were all in chocolate coma heaven.

January 23, 2009

Cooking up a Storm

Fresh Spinach Pasta

Deep dark Chocolate Cookies
Bon Apetite
My title: Death By Chocolate Cookies...Seriously!
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces), divided
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.

Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue. Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).

Place 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.

I feel like my bread is getting better and better each time! So fun, so easy, so tasty!

cold, cold, cold

Our apartment tends to be a little too warm at times, so we know it is super cold outside when we feel cold inside. Last Saturday when the wind chill took the temperatures below 0 degrees we consciously agreed to stay inside. When I was cleaning I noticed a few of the metal window frames frozen on the inside. With a little inspection I realized the windows were never completely shut! No wonder we were feeling so chilled. Problem solved!

We found out last week our new little one is definitely a boy! A strong, healthy, little boy!

The Martha Stewart Show

My friend, Tamara, and I went to a taping of the The Martha Stewart Show this week. It was the first time I had been to a Martha Show and a really long time since I had been to a taping, so it was a fun, winter outing. The theme of the show was the Superbowl and they had three guests: Matt Lauer, Meredith Viera, and Emeril Lagasse. They had the biggest, brightest studio I've been in and the best giveaways.

~Watch for me on January 30th~

Sledding with Friends

A friend of ours invited us to go sledding with them Monday morning in Central Park, right after a nice snow fall. It was Isabella's first time sledding and playing in good snow. (We've played in the snow right outside the apartment building, but really, that snow is pretty gross.) She, okay, we all, had SO MUCH FUN! She almost fell asleep on the short bus ride home.


Central Park early morning on MLK day.

January 15, 2009

Pancakes for Dinner

Brian had to work late, late, late tonight. It's 10:30pm and he just called saying he's on his way home. Isabella requested pancakes for dinner. And, hey, why not?! A little applesauce and bananas makes it healthy, right? See below for my favorite pancake recipe.

Fluffy Pancakes
via allrecipes.com
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup shortening, melted


  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the egg, milk and shortening; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  2. Pour batter by 1/4 cupful onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes; cook until the second side is golden brown.

And, of course, the silly animal faces that come with a pancake dinner:



Winter Survival Techniques

So far this winter has been the most cold and bitter out of our four winters we've lived in New York City. I definitely like to hibernate during the winter and enjoy trying to find creative ways to keep busy and happy in our warm, cozy apartment. Here are some of our favorites:

Hide and seek. She's getting a little too good lately.

Arts and crafts. It's really fun now that she stays focused for a while.

Sitting on the windowsill watching the snow fall.

Having friends over. And giving them the Heimlich...I mean, hugs.

Making cookies.

Riding the "cooter" in the hallways.

We also read a lot of books, snuggled on the couch or in our cozy bed.

January 7, 2009

Olivia's Blessing

Angela and Jon's sweet baby, Olivia, was blessed in Connecticut while we were visiting. I got to play photographer and practice a ton with my Nikon. All the models were so patient and fun to photograph. I snapped 300+ photos of the event and had a hard time picking my favorites.
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