Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Carrot Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Icing

Recipe and Photo Courtesy of The Doctor's Dishes, Desserts, and Decor

For as long as I can remember, I have hated carrots.  
I don't like them raw, boiled, shredded, smashed, or roasted.  
So the only way I can get some Beta-Carotene into my diet is to bake mix those pesky orange veggies in a slurry of sugar, eggs, and spices and coat them in a delicious layer of whipped, sweetened cream cheese.  Now that I can handle.

CARROT CUPCAKES (Adapted from Two Spoons)
Makes 20-22 cupcakes

3 large eggs
1c dark brown sugar
3/4c canola oil
2c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Approx 1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
3 1/2c grated carrots, packed
3/4c or so of chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 340F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Beats eggs & sugar until thick and foamy, about 2 mins. Beat in oil gradually, beating after all oil is added for another minute. Sift in dry ingredients and mix until mixture is uniform. Mix in ginger root. Fold in carrots and walnuts. Spoon into cupcake liners.

Bake in the center of your oven until cake springs back when touched in the center. This will take about 15-17 minutes for standard sized cupcakes.

SPICED CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (Adapted From Patisserie Natalie)
Frosts 24-30 cupcakes

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine cream cheese and butter in a mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar gradually, alternating with vanilla extract. Add spices. Frost cupcakes as desired.

Apparently, Jane feels similarly about carrots...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Living Room Design: Black, White, Grey, Mustard

After a year and a half of waiting, we are finally getting ready to redo our family room.  I am excited, but I am also slightly overwhelmed at the thought of committing to a color scheme and room design.  

Room and Board is my favorite furniture design company, and while we were in NYC, we stopped by their showroom to see some of the things we had flagged in their catalogue.  It was just what we need to help us firm up what pieces fit the vision we have for the room.  

From the pieces we selected, we decided that the colors we will go with will be a salt and pepper colored sectional paired with accents of grey and mustard.  The mustard should play well off of the maple finish of our cabinetry.  I think we've found a starting point to bring some life and interest into the room.

Here are the pieces and accents we're choosing...

Eeekkk!!!  I'm so excited to see how it turns out!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Big Lights Will Inspire You

This is what it looks like when you see Times Square for the very first time.

No matter your age, Jane's face captures the amazement you feel when you are standing at the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway.

It is a place where dreams are made and a place where dreams come true.

In this moment, I think Jane's dreams were made and mine came true...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tasty Tuesdays: Strawberries, Peaches, and Basil with Orange Vinaigrette

I saw this picture on Pinterest, and I couldn't help but go immediately to the recipe on Cooking Light.  Have you ever seen fruit that looks so delicous?!?!  I am a huge fan of pairing vinaigrettes with fruit.  One of my favorite ways to eat peaches or strawberries is to drizzle a little balsamic vinegar that has been sweetened with sugar right over them.  Have you tried that?  It's amazingly flavorful and super easy.  It's even better if you crack a little black pepper over the berries.

I thought this recipe was an interesting take on my summer staple of berries and balsamic.  I love the idea of using oranges and champagne vinegar.  Through is the addition of fresh basil, and I'm in heaven.

This is a pretty diet friendly dessert.  Some people don't think light sweets qualify as dessert so for them, I have a feeling it would be amazing served over fresh biscotti and mascarpone cheese too!

Strawberries, Peaches, and Basil with Orange Vinaigrette

Serves 4 (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)


  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
    • Dash of salt
    • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 
    • 1 pound fresh strawberries, halved 
    • large ripe peach or nectarine, cut into 16 wedges
    • 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves


    1. 1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 15 minutes). Add oil and salt to pan, stirring with a whisk. Let stand 2 minutes.
    2. 2. Combine berries and peach in a large bowl. Add juice mixture, stirring gently. Sprinkle with basil.

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    New York, New York!

    We leave for NYC in just three days, and I wish we could leave this very minute!  On this trip, Jane will be meeting her newest cousin, Milly.  She is so excited to share all of her girly advice with Milly.  She'll also get to meet up with her first cousin, Connor.  What a family reunion!

    We have an apartment share in the East Village, so we're planning to explore our new neighborhood.  There are a ton of restaurants nearby and a park just a block away.  It'll be so nice to have a place to get comfy and spread out while we visit our family and friends.

    For his first Fathers' Day, Mark has asked for a "regal" brunch.  So, we will be having brunch at The Mark.  It's a fabulous Upper East Side Jean Georges restaurant that makes the very best crab cake I have ever tasted.  I just know it will be perfectly regal enough for him!

    I'll be dreaming of the bright lights of the big city tonight!

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Revealed: Jane's Six Month Photos with Twirl Photography

    Two Saturdays ago, Mark, Jane, and I spent the morning with the amazingly talented Jennifer Zdon of Twirl Photography.  You may remember from THIS POST, that Jennifer came to our house to photograph Jane when she was just five days old.  It was amazing to reflect on how much Jane had changed in the six short months that passed between that first session and the most recent one.  

    In the moment, I always feel confident that I will remember Jane just as she is.  I'll remember how she feels in my arms, how she smells when she gets out of the bath, how she smiles, and how she looks at me.  But, I am already finding that it's hard to remember her being as small as she was in her early photos.  That's what makes our photo sessions mean so much to me.  Jennifer has a way of capturing just who Jane is in every frame.  I can look at the images she created and remember just what it was like to be with Jane and Mark in that moment.  I am so grateful that she shares her gift with us so that we can remember our Sweet Baby Jane at each of these important stages of her life.

    Images of Jane

     Images of Jane's Nursery

    Images of Our Family

     We have to select one image for our 16x20 print, and I have to say that I am at a complete loss as to which one to select.  I love them all so much, that I simply can't choose!


    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Tasty Tuesdays: Bottom's Up - Flavored Water

    Photo and Recipe Courtesy of "She Knows..."

    I am just getting home from my fourth pilates class in two weeks, and I am pooped.  Each time I come home from class, I feel renewed and refreshed.  I am heading to weight watchers for a new start on their plan.  I am both looking forward to and dreading my first weigh in since mid-March.  I know the results won't be what I want to hear, but they will be what I need to hear.  

    Weight watchers made some changes to their program, and the one that I like the most is that fruit no longer contains points.  At one point a banana had the same number of points as a hundred calories pack of baked cheetos.  Which one would you choose?  If you were me, you'd choose the cheetos.  Now, it's not even a choice, you'd pick the zero point banana.  I love that they incentivize the healthiest choices.

    I know that one thing I need to improve is the amount of water I drink.  For some reason, I just am not one of those all day water drinkers.  To encourage myself to do better at this, I have found some recipes for flavored waters that I think sound amazing and fresh.  I hope you do to!

    As I would describe Jane's recent sleeping style, "BOTTOM'S UP!"

                           Rosemary-orange workout water recipe
    Serves 4

    8 sprigs fresh rosemary
    4 slices fresh orange
    Directions: Place two rosemary sprigs in each glass. Place one orange slice in each glass. Using a spoon, gently bruise the rosemary and orange by pressing.Fill glasses with ice; top with water and stir. Serve cold.

    Ginger-lemon-thyme workout water recipe
    Serves 4
    4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
    4 lemon wedges
    8 sprigs fresh thyme
    Directions:Place one teaspoon ginger, one lemon wedge and two sprigs of thyme in each glass. Using a spoon, gently bruise the ingredients by pressing.Fill glasses with ice; top with water and stir. Serve cold.

    Cucumber-fennel workout water recipe
    Serves 4
    Ingredients: 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and juiced
    4 fennel fronds
    Directions: Divide cucumber juice among four glasses; add fennel to each glass. Using a spoon, gently bruise the ingredients by pressing.Fill glasses with ice; top with water and stir. Serve cold.

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

    Jubilant Jubilee

    Today, we joined in the celebration of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee with tea at The Windsor Court Hotel in her honor.  

    The Queen looks pretty fabulous if you ask me.

    Sweet Baby Jane wore her hat for the occasion to go with Mommy's fascinator.  

    I just love sharing these fun moments with our family!!


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