Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

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Entries in Easter (11)

Monday
Apr142014

fEaster

Thanks for all of your suggestions on footwear after Friday's post. I'm sorry to report that I wore my new high top Converse for most of the weekend and today my feet are killing me...please send help!

I love holiday weeks.
The streets are quiet, the trains are empty and there's excitement in the air!

This weekend, we celebrated Easter a week early with my side of the family...or as I'm lovingly calling it, fEaster (as in fake Easter). The whole family (minus a few) gathered at my aunt's house for a long day of eating, beveraging, scavenger hunting and, well, more eating.

 

Saturday was absolute perfection in the weather department and it was so refreshing to just be outdoors after such a long and trying winter, especially at their house in western Jerz. So much open air and land, it sometimes makes me wonder why I love city living...



Though this wasn't Penelope's first Easter celebration, it was the first in which she kinda sorta figured out hunting for Easter eggs. And by that, I mean we laid a bunch in the grass for her to pick up and immediately devour their contents.


My aunt prepped such a sweet mini egg hunt for her, filling up patterned plastic eggs with special toddler-friendly treats. Among them were animal crackers, gerber nuggets filled with blueberry jam, and Penelope's favorite, yogurt melts.

Penelope soon realized that not all of the eggs were created equal and proceeded to open and pour out the animal cracker and nugget filled eggs. She'd drop them right in the grass and then hunt for more of the yogurt melt variety. Once she found any of those eggs, she proceeded to immediately devour the melts on the spot.



She also had to fend off fun with Jake, my aunt's French bulldog, and one of the sweetest dogs around. He wasn't raised around kids or babies, but he is so calm and gentle around Penelope and she loves feeding (or fake feeding) him and trying to do 'gentle' while petting him. #penelopelovesjake #getthiskidadog

In the end, this pretty much summed up Penelope's day:

We also celebrated my cousin Alyson's birthday...




And dined on lots of Eastery treats, like these cutie bunny and chick cupcakes that she made:



Along with a bunny Peeps cake that my mom made:



Since my life is sadly no longer condusive to baking (sniffle), I picked up this Ube Overload cake from a bakery in my neighborhood. So Eastery, right? And so yummy to boot.

 

It was a great day and we were all completely spent by the time we arrived home late Saturday evening. I'm still recovering today, and am also excited that we still have actual Easter to look forward to this coming weekend!

Have a great week, everyone!

Happy Passover to those who are celebrating this week!

 

How did you spend your weekend?

Tuesday
Apr102012

Springtime Cupcakes + Cookbook Challenge Link Up

I learned something really important over the four day weekend.

Four day weekends rule!

I feel like I accomplished so much this weekend...a desk detox, wardrobe detox and reorg, lots of family time, some friend time, some gym time...and I feelrefreshed today and ready for the week. Can every weekend be 4 days?!

 

So for Easter Sunday, I went with an old standard for dessert...cupcakes! My original plan was to make a cake, however, for any party, I always love bringing desserts that are easily distributed. No cutting involved, just grab a cupcake and go. Not to mention that I could make a whole bunch and bring some to Shaun's parents and some to my aunt's house. It's really a win all around.

 

I didn't get crazy with flavors here. I went with a classic chocolate cake and my newly perfected vanilla buttercream. I decided to try out a recipe from my Southern Living Cookbook (thanks Aunt Chet!)...and kill two birds with one stone since this also fulfills part of my Cookbook Challenge!

 

The cake was incredibly easy to make and came together in a snap. I really liked these cupcakes. For me, the could have been a little more chocolatey (perhaps a little espresso powder in them next time?), but overall, they were moist with a little crumbliness and they set up with a little chewy crust on top. I liked that part :) Lastly, I simply dyed some buttercream with Wilton Violet food coloring and topped them with springy non-pareils.

Springtime Cupcakes

Yields 3 dozen cupcakes
for the cupcakes:
*Adapted from Southern Living's Basic Chocolate Cake
1/2 C shortening
2 C sugar
2 large eggs
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped & melted
2 1/4 C cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 C buttermilk
3/4 C water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

for the vanilla buttercream:
*Adapted from my Giants Superbowl cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
4 C confectioners sugar
3 - 4 Tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 - 4 toothpicks of Wilton violet food coloring gel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 3 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the shortening unil fluffy, gradually adding the sugar. Beat well and add the eggs one at a time, until completely combined. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Cool for a few seconds and add to the egg mixture, mixing well.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk but ending with the flour. Mix on low until all are completely combined. Mix in the water on low and then stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins. I used a medium cookie scoop for the perfect amount (Note: not a heaping scoop...just a plain old scoop will be plenty). Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

Once cooled, make the frosting.

Beat the butter until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, one cup at a time until combined and fluffy, adding milk as necessary to thin it out. Mixer should be on medium-high speed. Mix in vanilla. Add food coloring to your desired color and beat until gorgeously purple. Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

Eat many, immediately.

 

So that was my big baking item this weekend. Pretty, no? I was really happy with how these turned out, though, as usual, my frosting skills could really use a little sharpening :)

Questions of the Day:

What did you eat/make over the holiday weekend?

What's your favorite kind of cupcake? My favorite combination is always chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream!

Wednesday
Apr042012

Easter Recipes + Delirium Discussion

Happy hump day! The weekend is on the horizon and I've been brainstomring what to make for Easter Sunday. We will begin the day with church with Shaun's parents and then back to their house for some breakfast. I'm thinking a little baked oatmeal will be in order...

In the afternoon, we will head to my aunt's house and I'm thinking of bringing some cupcakes! I have these adorable cupcake liners that just need to be used. I also used them in last year's malted chocolate cupakes. So cute. I think that a nice chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream is the ticket...

I also have a number of other Easter recipes that I'm contemplating, but those two are leading the pack. If you're on the hunt of some other Easter recipes, here are some more ideas:

Chocolate cookie peepza pie. So cute and fun and can be whipped up in a snap.

Jelly bean brown sugar cookies. Ah I love these. They are so cute and fun. The jelly beans look like little jewels and keeps the cookie nice and chewy!

Chocolate peanut butter eggs. I mean...what more can I say? They are super easy and cute.

Chick cake pops. I haven't tried making these, but someone who is better at dessert decorating than I am should.

White chocolate pretzel Easter bark...in case you missed it yesterday, this bark is sweet, salty and festive.

So there you go. Some fun recipes for you!

What are your plans for Easter or Passover?

 

On another note...let's talk about Delirium!

Did you read it? (And if you didn't...read no further!)

 

I really, really loved this book. I was immediately sucked into this world where love is a disease and members of society have 'the procedure' when they turn 18 in order to prevent them from feeling love.

Of course, our heroin, Lena, who is completely for the procedure, ends up meeting Alex...and falls in love just weeks before her scheduled procedure.

Ah Alex.

Sigh.

I started thinking about this concept of not feeling love...and what a scary concept that is! Can you imagine that? What is life worth living without love for parents, siblings, children, husbands, wives...even pets?! No world I want to live in, that is for certain.

For me, the ending happened as expected, but I didn't mind. I thought it was exciting and a fun, easy read. I love getting sucked into books like this!

So here are some questions to get the discussion going. Also, please note that this is JUST for Delirium...if you've already read Pandemonium (the second book), please do NOT post any spoilers for Pandemonium...mmm k?

 

How do you think this idea of 'no love' came about in this world?

Did you identify with Lena before her 'deliria'? Her desire to follow the government and do what she is told, since it 'must be in her best interest'?

Why do you think that cameras were suddenly installed at the house?

And as for the ending...what do you think Alex's fate might be?

I hope that some of you read this book and join in the discussion! I'll post my thoughts in the comments!