Friday, May 22, 2009

Aloha: Pina Colada Cupcakes

Well, in about 9 hours I will be on a direct flight to Maui for an 8 day vacation with my hubby. Hercules, Hercules (clapping hands). As you may remember, I was supposed to go to Mexico, but on the urging of friends and family, we relocated to Hawaii. While I do think the swine flu frenzy is a bit exaggerated, in the end I didn't want to take any chances that either of us would be sick on our vacation because a week long vacation all alone in paradise is not something we do all that often - like 3 1/2 years ago for our honeymoon. I have never been to Hawaii and am sooo excited. Thank you William and Locey for making this all possible by the use of your condo. So, in the spirit of Hawaii, I bring you these delicious pina colada cupcakes.

My work was having a bake-sale fundraiser for the San Francisco Food Bank and I of course had to go all out. So I made 2 kinds of cookies, mini TWD lemon tarts, and 6 dozen cupcakes in 3 varieties. I adapted a pina colada recipe I had used before to make it a little more coconutty and boozy. My tasters at work said these were super delicious and really moist. They said they could certainly taste the rum and thought it tasted just like a pina colada. They didn't last at the bake sale that long. If you are looking for a delicious cuptail, I would encourage you to try these.

Pina Colada Cupcakes
(Makes 24)

2 ½ cups cake flour or AP flour (what I used)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda1
½ sticks unsalted butterat room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained well

· Combine coconut milk and rum.
· Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
· Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 6 minutes.
· Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape as needed.
· Add vanilla, coconut extract and mix until incorporated. Add one-third of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
· Add a third of the coconut/rum mixture and mix until incorporated. Continue to alternate with flour and liquid two more times. Scrape sides of bowl.
· With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the crushed pineapple.
· Fill each one about 2/3 full. Bake until cake springs back when lightly pressed or skewer comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Rummy Buttercream Frosting
(double the recipe to pipe frosting like in photos)

½ cup butter, softened to room temp
2-2 ½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
coconut milk as needed
Beat butter, sugar, and rum together with a handheld mixer at low speed until moistened, then beat at high speed to cream. Stop after a minute to scrape bowl and add vanilla. Beat till thick, fluffy and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add small increments of confectioners’ sugar if too wet, dribble in a little coconut milk if too dry.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Cake Slice: Mile-High Devil's Food Cake

My second month of participating in the Cake Slice Bakers group. And let me just tell you, the Chai Cake and this month's Mile-High Devil's Food Cake were out of this world good. I would highly recommend the book we are baking out of - Sky High: Irrisistible Tripple-Layer Cakes. Go get it!!!

I LOVED this cake. I ate almost the whole slice below for breakfast this morning (oink oink). The cake is very rich chocolate and moist, and fudgy, and delicious. It is so good, it doesn't need frosting (IMO). I made it lactose free by substituting lactose free margarine for the buttter. This is going to be my go-to chocolate cake recipe from now on, can't wait to try it as cupcakes.

The frosting, well if you have seen the many other Cake Slice baker's cakes this month, you'll notice mine is a little flat in the frosting department. I wasn't aiming for the slim and trim look though (because come on, this is a decadent tripple-layer chocolate cake OK). Aparently, lactose free margarine does not work as a good substitution in Italian meringue buttercream. It was like soup, no matter how long I tried to whip the heck out of it (maybe that was part of the problem too??). Don't know, but I had to add powdered sugar and meringue powder, and stick it in the fridge to get it think enough to frost (barely).

I didn't love the brown sugar frosting either (tasted like butter flavor to me - so I added in vanilla bean paste, which helped). So, next time I think I will stick with regular american buttercream. And, someday I will get up the courage to try SMBC, because we all know Cassie of How to Eat a Cupcake swears by it, and if you read her blog, you know she has authority in that department. Click the link below for the recipe. Cassie, can you make SMBC lactose free?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TWD: Fresh Mango Bread

Look at me posting this TWD recipe on Tuesday, with almost an hour to go! Almost didn't happen even though I baked these Fresh Mango Bread loaves the day before mother's day because of my super sucky computer. Feel like a real life commercial of the Mac (which my husband uses many of and thinks only sane rational people use) vs. my struggling, not doing so well but relatively new desktop PC - wahhhhaaaa. So, we'll see what we do about that - a Mac convert in the making, just maybe.

So, this week's recipe was chosen by Kelly of Baking with Boys and you can get the recipe here. It is basically a spiced cake with chopped fresh mangos in it. It also called for raisins, but like many of you out there, that generated a yuck response to me. So, I substituted in chopped dried apricots. I doubled the recipe (sending my husband back to the store for one more mango because I misread the recipe, for his third time at the store that day - I am a very lucky woman), so that I could give one to my mother-in-law and one to my sister-in-law as mother's day presents. So, no inside the bread photos.

I had a little bit of an issue with the baking time. First, I set the timer, and forgot to turn it on (have done that way too often sadly). Second, we went to lunch in the park because it was gorgeous out and we are about to get our lovely foggy cold summer here in SF, so it was hard to leave the sun, meaning I started baking these breads a little over an hour before we were supposed to be across the city. I thought I could just be a tad late to dinner - since I would be gift in hand, but then realized I couldn't really pull it out of the oven and run - how would I package it up steaming hot? So I left the breads, slightly underdone, and then stuck them back in the oven when I got home that night.

My mother-in-law seemed to like the bread a lot. The other bread never made it to my sister-in-law, it got mis-delivered to another (well deserving Mom, who unfortunately left town the next morning so not sure what its final fate was - oh well). I LOVE mangos and many of my fellow TWD'ers liked the bread a lot, so I will do another double batch soon - one for me and one for my sister-in-law.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

SMS: Guinness Gingerbread

This week's SMS recipe of Guinness Gingerbread was chosen by Katie of Katiecakes - our lone English bakers who is such a trooper to be dealing with our crazy measurements and ingredients not available across the pond. You can check out her cupcakes and the recipe here.

I decided to make the gingerbread into cupcakes because my work loves cupcakes (just baked 6 dozen for a bake sale last week and they went quickly, more on that someday!). I wanted to jazz them up a bit, so I made Bailey's Irish Buttercream frosting from the recipe on Irene's awesome blog Confessions of a Tart. And, because I was feeling really ambitious, I filled the cupcakes with chocolate ganache. Since I made these early, a first in my baking club adventures, it was the reason I had leftovers of these on hand for my modified TWD tiramisu cake.

The verdict, people about died at work. Since I only made 12, I emailed my regular cupcake customers at work for a private tasting in my office, instead of just putting them in the kitchen. This way, I got to see and hear the reactions. There were lots of ohhhs and ahhhs. People LOVED these.

Since the gingerbread recipe is dairy free, I was able to eat the cones I replaced with ganache. I really liked it too. I ran out of molasses so I substituted maple syrup, and you could taste a hint of maple. Overall, it was pretty mild flavor wise - not a spicy gingerbread. But it apparently went smashingly well with the filling and frosting, so a great end result. I will definitely make these again. Check out the other SMS bakers here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

TWD: Tartest Lemon Tart

OK, so another (somewhat) late TWD post - just spreading it out for all ya! Really, I was going to be on time, I was. I deliberately saved it to the last minute so I could make them for a bake sale for the San Francisco Food Bank my firm had today. But, my broker called me about some houses and I just had to run over to the east bay to check them out, then yada yada. So, this tart was done and sampled at around 1:30AM (technically Wednesday, I know) and I was too tired to get this post up.

This weeks TWD recipe of Tartest Lemon Tart was chosen by Babette Feasts. You can get the recipe here. I decided I had to try this recipe lactose free so I could eat it and boy did it work, they are DELICIOUS. I substituted the butter in the crust and filling for lactose free margarine (that I stuck in the freezer for the crust) and soy creamer for the cream in the filling. I was skeptical, but it tastes delicious and you really can't tell at all (so says my hubby who unlike me can remember the taste of cream and butter). So if you know any lactose free friends or family who like lemon desserts, this can totally be made lactose free - whooopiee!

I ended up making two 4.5 inch tarts and six 3 inch tarts. I didn't seem to have the boiling over problem that many did, maybe my lactose free substitutions?, so they all turned out great. Thanks so much Babette Feasts and Dorie, I LOVED this super tart, deliciously lemon dessert.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lemon Sweets From Other Blogs

So, no SMS for me this week. This week's recipe was Lemon Icebox Cake, and was chosen by Jennifer of Keep Passing the Open Windows. Sorry Jennifer. I just didn't have any room in my freezer, we have a really packed and small one, and I didn't have an audience for it and since it had to be frozen, that made giving it away too tough. It looks really great, and I will have to try it someday. Check out the other SMS bakers and their wonderful creations here.

In order to give you more than just an - I didn't bake along this week post - I'll share with you some lemon treats I have made recently after seeing them on other blogs.

My dad sure loves his lemon desserts and I had some extra lemons on hand so I wanted to make him something that would ship well - i.e. not lemon bars (his favorite). So, when I came across Lemon Sugar Cookies from Nicole of Baking Bites I figured I would give these a try.

My ever faithful taster hubby love these and said they had a similar texture to snickerdoodles, crispy on the outside and nice and chewy on the inside. He love them. After passing the taste test, I packed up two gift bags and shipped one off to my father in Los Angeles and the other off to my father-in-law in Chicago (who sent me the picture above of the cookies & daffodils). They were very well recieved.

Lemon Sugar Cookies
(from Nicole of Baking Bites)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and lemon zest until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Gradually mix in the flour at low speed, making sure to incorporate all of the flour and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Place remaining 2-3 tbsp sugar in a small bowl. Shape 1-inch balls of dough, roll in the sugar and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until set but not browned (or only very lightly on the bottom). Edges should be slightly firm. Cool cookies on the pan for a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 4 dozen

On another recent occassion, I found myself with more extra lemons, and decided to make Mini Lemon Bunt Cakes after seeing them on Two Peas and Their Pod (a really great blog). The recipe for these cakes is the Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Yogurt Cake.

I gave these out to the many legal secretaries at my work that are super sweet and always willing to help me out during our staff appreciation week. They all seemed to love them.

Inna's Lemon Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 C. plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 C. sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 tsp. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/3 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 C. confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 C. lemon juice and remaining 1/3 C. sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake. Slice and serve!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

#1 Birthday Cupcakes

It has taken me a while to bring you the next birthday cupcakes series. First was the much loved Funfetti cupcakes, and next are the #1 birthday cupcakes. This was almost everyone's hands down favorite. I recieved so may compliments on these babies and was told by many to leave the law to start my own bakery. So, if you want to feel like a baking superstar, I would suggest you make these for your next event.

Of course, it is not hard to see why this were much loved. They are an incredible marriage between two foodie celebrities. They are Martha's brownie cupcakes and the well known and well loved Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing with chopped Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. I know I am not the only one to put these flavors together and in fact, so many of you have done combos of these flavors, it would be hard to mention them all. Proof that this combo is what Mother Nature really intended.

So, make these. You won't be disappointed. Well loved tried and true recipes that come together in perfect harmony.

I have made these once before (for Jen's birthday last year), and I must say in my opinion there is an important step in the brownie cupcake recipe. If you notice below, the ingredient list calls for 11 ounces of best quality chopped chocolate, but you melt the butter with only 11 ounces of chocolate and then add the remaining three ounces of chocolate to the batter just before scooping. When I made these the first time, I did not do it this way (I am terible when things call for divided amounts - I usually don't read all the way through first - oops, bad baker). And, they sunk a bit. When I did it right this time, they domed perfectly. Now, I am no expert, so this may not be related to the chocolate (since I am pretty sure that 3 ounces does end up melting), but might as well follow the recipe - right?

Without furter ado, I bring you the recipes:


Serving: Makes 12.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
11 ounces best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups Chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 12-count muffin tin with cupcake liners, and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and 8 ounces of chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Stir in the melted chocolate until combined. Stir in remaining 3 ounces of chocolate.

Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake until a firm crust forms on the cupcakes, about 20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool, about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and continue to cool on a wire rack. Ice cupcakes with a generous amount of peanut butter frosting. Top with chopped Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

TWD: Tiramisu Cake

This week's TWD recipe, a Tiramisu Layer Cake, was chosen by one of my favorite baking bloggers Megan of My Baking Adventures. You can get the recipe here, and while you are at it, check out her awesome brownie project here. My mom loves Tiramisu so this recipe makes me think of her and wish I could make this for her for Mother's day. It will have to wait until I go home in June, sorry Mom - but thinking of you and miss you.

I have to admit, that while I was going to do this recipe in its full, unadulterated unaltered glory, It just didn't happen. I had made a Bailey's Irish butter cream frosting that I got from Irene of Confessions of a Tart - another legal baker that is AMAZING. So even though I did buy the marscapone, and will use it I promise, I ended up just slathering on this delicious frosting that got rave reviews in its other purpose. Additionally, you may have noticed - after reading a gazillion posts about tiramisu cake - that my chocolate looks a little more thick and uniform than chocolate chunks would produce. Well, this is because I had made some delicious chocolate ganache earlier in the week as well, and wanted to use this up. So, I ended up being very resourceful for once and used what I had on hand and by doing so, was able to whip this baby together very last minute for an impromptu dinner party.

So, one day, I will make a real Tiramisu Cake for my mother with the marscapone frosting. But this cake, with the espresso/brandy soaked layers of cake, chocolate ganache filling and Bailey's buttercream frosting was very much loved as well.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco De Mayo! I should be celebrating Mexico two weeks from tomorrow in the beautiful Riveria Maya at the Valentin Imperial Resort - swine flu permitting, cross your fingers for me. Today, in rainy balmy San Francisco, a corona or two and tacos will have to do! I have made these Mexican Chocolate cupcakes several times now, and they have always been loved and devoured. They have just a hint of cinnamon and spice - oh so nice! I made these little flags to make them more festive. To do so, I just copied and pasted a picture of the Mexican flag over and over in a word document, printed them out, then glued a toothpick in between two of the little flag print outs. So easy peasy. Hope you all are having a great day!

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 C Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 C water
2 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 C well-shaken buttermilk
2 T vanilla
2 C all purpose flour
1 t baking soda1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
Pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Put cupcake papers in your muffin tins.

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then whisk in cocoa. Add water and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in separately sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper into a bowl. Then sift again into the cocoa mixture and whisk until just combined (it will be a little bit lumpy).
Fill cupcake papers to about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer or toothpick comes out clean. It’s a moist cake, so don’t worry if a few crumbs stick to your tester.

Cassie's Grandmother's Chocolate Frosting - my go-to chocolate frosting recipe - from the awesome How to Eat a Cupcake.

Makes about 3 cups (Enough to frost 12 cupcakes + 1 cup leftover)

1 stick (4 oz) butter or margarine (Cassie's Grandma always uses margarine)
3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat milk for about 30 seconds in microwave until hot. Stir in vanilla and instant coffee until dissolved. In a large bowl, cream together margarine, sugar, and cocoa powder. Add warm milk and mix on high speed until fluffy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

SMS: Strawberry Shortcakes

This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe of Strawberry Shortcakes was chosen by Wendy of the amazing blog Pink Stripes. You should check out her stunning FOUR variations and the recipe here (nicely done Wendy!).

I had been hearing great things about this recipe from the P&Q section all week from members that made it and loved it, so I was really looking forward to making these. This was another first for me, I have never made strawberry shortcakes before and can't remember the last time I had one. So I made these lactose free (almost) and substituted the cream with soy creamer and butter with lactose free margarine. I don't know if that really affected the texture, but my dough was super sticky and really hard to shape and work with, so I think they didn't rise as much as they should have because of all my handling.

They tasted FABULOUS however. The hint of lemon in the cakes paired so well with the strawberries (which got an extra tablespoon of brandy to soak in). The cake above was scarfed by yours truely within minutes after the photo was taken. Since I tried to make these completely lactose free, I went with cool whip instead of fresh whipped cream (my hubby didn't notice!) but that's why it looks a little watery above. Unfortunately this is some casinate in the cool whip and when I eat this in large quantities, it causes a significant tummy ache. What we do for our blogs - I wanted a pretty picture, so I slathered on the whipped topping. I should have then removed most of it before eating (you really only need a hint because the biscuit/cake and strawberries are soooo good), but no, little miss piggy over here went for it all. Oh well. I survived =)

Thanks Wendy, great recipe selection and AMAZING post. Check out the other SMS bakers here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tagged: A Little About Lorelei

I have never been a part of any blog tagging events, but recently was lucky enough to be tagged by two great bloggers. First, Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater tagged me with 10 Honest Things About Myself & Alicia of The Red Deer tagged me with The Number 8. Thanks Stephanie and Alicia. So, here you go – a little bit about myself in case you were interested (if you only come for the baked goodness, I totally understand). And, because I really liked how Stephanie added great relevant photos to her list, I am doing that too.

8 Things I’m Looking Forward To:
1. Mexico Vacation
2. The Swine Flu madness to end so I can go on Mexico vacation
3. Baking with Elyse of Elyse's Confectionary Creations tomorrow!
4. Bay to Breakers
5. Dressing up as a Mad Baker for Bay to Breakers
6. River rafting with OTT this summer
7. Working at the cookie booth at the Oregon Country Fair this summer
8. Buying a house with a great, if not dream, kitchen hopefully soon.

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
1. Settled on what we are baking for my baking play date with Elyse tomorrow (stay tuned)
2. Started working on a new case
3. Started working on an appellate brief
4. Won a game of apples to apples
5. Did a wine tasting event with some good friends
6. Hosted an impromptu dinner party
7. Made Turkish lentil soup, chicken & shrimp kebabs with Turkish spices; eggplant dip and garlic, cheese artichoke bread for impromptu dinner party
8. Turned surviving half of dropped cake and left over chocolate ganache and frosting into a mock tiramisu cake for dinner party.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Not be such a negative worry wort
2. HTML coding
3. Photoshop
4. Graphic design
5. Bake everyday
6. Make wedding cakes
7. Appreciate my loved ones and good fortune more frequently
8. Run (stupid back)

8 Top Movies (I don’t watch T.V)
1. The Bourne Series
2. Die Hard Series
3. Ocean’s 11
4. Shrek Movies
5. Bridget Jones’ Diary
6. Pride and Prejudice
7. My Best Friend’s Wedding
8. Sweet Home Alabama

And now I tag the following 8 great blogs (feel free to just know I heart your blog and not pass it on, not sure how everyone feels about these tagging things as I am fairly new to the blog world):
3. Gabe's Girl of GabesBabyMomma
4. Michelle of Flourchild
5. Pamela of Cookies with Boys
7. Clara of I Heart Cuppycakes
8. Sugar B of Eat My Cupcake

10 Honest Things About Myself
The Rules are as Follows:
1. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs for brilliance in content/design.
2. Show the winners and let them know.
3. List at least 10 honest things about yourself.

1. I am hopelessly madly in love with my awesome husband Mathias. We’ve been together for 9 years now and it has been the greatest journey of my life. I feel so incredibly lucky to have such a supportive husband who loves me and all my personality quirks and does ALL my dishes!

2. I still like stuffed animals, I do. I have a lot of Eeyore’s lying around the house and other creatures too. Thankfully, my hubby doesn’t think this is too weird.

3. I used to do a lot of figure skating when I was young. I was obsessed and wanted nothing more than to live at the ice rink and couldn’t stop watching the Cutting Edge. I still don’t like to go skating with rental skates – sorta sacrilegious. (Can't believe I am sharing the photo below - horrifying).

4. I’m a homebody. I do like to get out and socialize and party, but I really love a nice quiet night in doing some baking or crafting with some wine, music and my hubby working nearby.

5. I love any excuse to dress up and wear costumes. Halloween is my favorite holiday, I love Bay to Breakers, and love themed costume parties.

6. I am travel partners with my AMAZING father (who has 4 daughters & 1 wife, my hubby calls him a saint). It started back after my first year of law school when I went to study abroad for a few weeks in Costa Rica. My dad really wanted to come and so he joined me after the program and we toured the country for 12 days. Since then we have done Italy, France, England, Spain, Greece and Turkey. We are not sure where we are going to next and might have to start letting other family members come along!

7. I have an original – pre Angelina & Brad – melting pot family. My amazing parents adopted me and my three sisters and we have 3 different ethnicities between the four of us.

8. I don’t really watch TV apart from the occasional food network show or the Daily Show. So I am constantly out of the loop when pop culture comes up in conversation. I just always have so many things I would rather do, and don’t have nearly enough time for, like baking, blogging, photo projects, reading, research, internet shopping, house hunting, etc. Sometimes, when I do have free time, I get so overwhelmed at the choices that I get paralyzed.

9. I love sushi and massages. When I talk about my dream house and dream life, it always includes a live-in sushi chef and a hot masseuse/pool boy. I could really go for a massage a day, would never get tired of it. Thankfully, I have a hot husband who gives me many massages – that’s pretty dreamy as it is.

10. I LOVE to throw parties, it is probably my third favorite hobby behind baking (of course) and photo projects. And I LOVE Mardi Gras beads, so they are usually a part of my parties. I just recently threw a dress up scavenger hunt party (with beads) for my friends Jenn and Stephanie in SF and it was so much fun. Anyone want me to throw them a party?

And, now to tag 7 amazing blogs (ditto on the I heart your blog, hope the tagging isn't a burden):
1. Alicia of The Red Deer (sending the love back!)
3. Donna of My Tasty Treasures
5. Dawn of Vanilla Sugar
7. Katie of Katiecakes