My new favorite

I know people who don't like to bake because it's messy, it dirties too many dishes, and so on. This chocolate cupcake recipe only uses one bowl. One bowl! It's like one of those terrible boxes mixes, only less...terrible. Right?
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 organic eggs
3/4 cup very warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp safflower oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp instant coffee powder (I use Starbucks VIA Italian Roast)
I wish I had more to write about this recipe, but I don't. Just sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda & powder, and salt. Then add the eggs, water, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and coffee. Now you have cupcake batter! Fill your liners 1/2 way full, and bake for 19 minutes at 350. They're very soft, but take well to being filled. I've topped these with ganache frosting and swiss meringue butter cream so far, and both were delicious.
Happy cupcaking!

Chicken or Beef?

I haven't been on a plane in a while...
I love stir fry. I came home, looked in the fridge, pulled out some vegetables (thankfully Ricky had pulled out some chicken earlier in the day), and twenty minutes later there was food on the table. Easy Peasy.
Just a basic Thai curry with chicken, broccoli, carrots, coconut milk, red curry paste, and fish sauce over jasmine rice.
The next night I wanted to make beef. I rarely have a craving or urge to make beef, but this time I did. Filet Mignon (cooked perfectly, if I may say), boiled yellow potatoes tossed with salt, pepper, and butter, and some haricot vert. I sauteed some mixed mushrooms with a little cream, salt, and German-style seasoning mix to top the steaks. I once went to a Christmas market/festival in Maastricht, The Netherlands and ate these mushrooms on toast. They were the best things ever. These reminded me of those.
Go me.



Chocolate-Cherry Cheesecake Tart. My swirls look funny, but whatever, it was delicious.
Oh, and go to your grocery store and try to find "chocolate wafer cookies."
Go ahead. Go ahead and try not to spend 30 minutes pacing the cookie aisle.
Oh hiiiiiii! My name is passion fruit pastry cream and I was made to go inside of....
....these! Chocolate cupcakes (one bowl chocolate cupcakes) filled with said pastry cream and topped with a chocolate ganache frosting and sprinkles. They're for someone's birthday, and all birthday cupcakes get sprinkles. It's a law.
Look it up.
Bed time!



I went to a wedding today. It was for the son of a good friend of mine, and it was lovely.
I wasn't able to find a good picture of my dress online, the one on Dillard's was a .gif and wouldn't upload to blogger. Dumb.
My dress was a bright yellow Antonio Melani (just a brand at Dillard's) sleeveless number, it was a gift from Ricky. Loud, yes, but a good cut and an appropriate style for a wedding. It's hard for me to find dresses that fit well, especially after my surgery! I had to get the saleswoman to take the size 4 off of the mannequin! I hate it when women dress they're going clubbing or something. It's a wedding. If you wore a J.Lo wannabe dress to my wedding I'd kick your butt out. Also, there is a right and wrong way to get out of a car wearing a skirt. Just so we're all clear.
These are the shoes I wore! Also from Dillard's, they're Jessica Simpson (hate her music, love her shoes) and the color really worked with the yellow dress. They're about 4.5 inches high, but the covered platform makes them very comfortable for their height. And less than $100! My mani and pedi matched them, and I also had a heather grey shrug to wear when I got chilly. My very talented friend Brittany did my eye makeup. All in all it was a pretty dandy outfit if I do say so myself.


Okay, so Ricky took me to this Mexican place called Sabor. It's a hole in the wall, but the people are so so nice and the food is to die for! It's the only place I've found that has goat on the menu. My favorite are the beef tongue tacos. Don't you say yuck! They're so good. So. Flarking. Good. A tongue is a muscle, just like any other piece of meat. Don't think about it, just eat it.
Bethany and I went there last week, along with baby B. I had the... I don't know. 29? A chile relleno, tamale, and enchilada. B ate my rice.
Time for a siesta.

Odds and Ends

First of all, I have more of these! Four or five I think. I love them! Their cute little faces and bright yellow mouths. Too bad bluebirds are mean little shits and these sweeties are going to grow up into war machines like their papa. It's true, he's a beast. I've seen him fight another bird out of the sky. Honest.
I'm pretty sure I make chicken tikka masala more than a normal white person does. It's so easy and so delicious! I seem to be making it better and better each time, too, so that's promising.
Lastly, here's one of the reasons that I love my new job! This is Toby, he's a grumpy old lion cat and he's awesome. He sleeps behind my computer. Awwww.



I have a new job and I love it, but more on that later.
On Friday I'm making chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate-passion fruit ganache frosting.
I'm so excited that I can hardly contain myself.
That is all for now.



I have a habit of getting really down and thinking about all the things I loathe about living in the south. Humidity (bad hair!!), heat, evil giant bugs from outer space... but being able to wake up and go to the beach at 9 am is pretty awesome. I'll take the bugs I suppose.
What more does a girl need? iPod, Martha, coconut water, and a good book.
Oh! And an alarm so that she won't doze off and get a nasty burn like she always does. ;)
I picked this up at B&N the other day, it's a collection of short stories by Lorrie Moore called "Birds of America." It's pretty hilarious so far.

Finally! A before and after photo.

Okay, so please forgive the bikini photos.

Here I am on March 20th, 1 day before my surgery, a 34G.

This is me today, before heading out to the beach, wearing the same bikini top as in the above picture. I'm currently a 34D. I don't know if you can see them very well, but my scars are visible. They don't look too bad. It feels so nice to not have the strap pulling on my neck. Today was a "this was such a good decision" day.
♥ my little boobs!

RIP testicles

Malo (nearly 6 years old, in the front) got the big snip the other day.
He's being a total jerk about it. Seriously.
He's doing fine, but I swear that he knows that he's supposed to be in pain and mopey, and the little sot is really milking this! He'll lay in the chair (much like this) and whine and fuss, not get up, lay around like he's dying... then the minute I open the treat jar he leaps off the chair and comes bounding into the kitchen.
I'm on to you dog. I'm on to you.

the best meal I've made in a while.

Thank you, Fresh Market, for having fabulous things like celery root and big fat pork chops.
The pork was just seared in a hot hot pan and then finished in the oven. I like to pull mine when it hits 135-138 degrees, as it continues to cook even after it's out, and pulling it right at 145 seems to always result in slightly over pork. And this girl doesn't like her pork over. Not even slightly. On the side I just did some sauteed broccolini and a green apple and celery root slaw. Have you ever had celery root? Run, do not walk, to your local not-lame grocery store and get a celery root, then eat it like a pear.
After you wash it because they're dirty.
This meal paired beautifully with Lazy Magnolia Souther Pecan. Though I'm beginning to think that this beer is great with most anything.
Ice cream.
When Harry Met Sally.
Yup. Pretty versatile.


This...is... DINNER!

My foot is asleep and it's driving me crazy. Uuugggghhhhhhh.

That being said, let's talk about chow baby!

Sometimes I like to roast a whole chicken. I'd like to get in the habit of doing one a week, as they are delicious and provide nice little chicky carcasses for the making of stock.
This one was done pretty simply, just salt, pepper, and stuffed with a meyer lemon. I served it with a garlic baguette and leeks cooked with bacon. Mmmm bacon.

Bhindi Masala! Okra, tomatoes, garam masala, and other tasty spices all cooked down in vegetable stock. People who don't like okra confuse me.

This is pork belly!
I felt like this when I said that:
I'll bet Spartans like pork belly.
I braised it in a mixture of soy, yuzu, ginger, garlic, sriracha, and red chile, served it on jasmine rice, and topped it with scallions. It was amazing. The fat on the pork belly keeps the meat so soft, though I wouldn't dream of eating all of the fat! I just cut mine off, enjoyed the yummy pork, and thanked the fat for keeping everything so happy.


So this is new...

Let me first say that this post is extremely uncomfortable for me, but blogging about this sort of stuff is rather cathartic, and really does help me figure out my feelings.
This is (according to my doctor, I have a second opinion appt. this afternoon) alopecia areata. It's a spot about the size of a half-dollar coin on the back left side of my head. They think it's caused by an auto-immune disorder and it is aggravated by stress. I found it last night, and I've had no shortage of anxiety over this.
Am I going bald? When did this start happening and why didn't I notice? Will it grow back and then fall out again? Is it going to fall out somewhere else next time?
And on and on and on...
The spot is covered in super fine, short, white hairs. The hair surrounding the spot is firmly rooted and seems perfectly fine. This is the only spot I have that is hairless, and it can't even be seen unless I flip up my hair and show it to you.
But I know its there, and it's driving me crazy.
I have a huge scar on my lower abdomen that stretches way past my bikini line, my breasts are now scarred (worth it, but still), and now my hair is gone in this spot and I don't know what's going on. I feel like all the areas on my body that made me feel womanly are under attack. It's really disheartening and terrifying. There's something so personal about losing your hair, even from one little spot. Yes, there are lots of women who are bald, be it from chemo, by choice, or for whatever reason. Unless you decide that you like the idea of being bald (Sinead), it's a scary thing. It makes me feel ugly and weird. Like a dog with mange. I know that people can't see it, but I have this newfound fear, and I found myself checking it often while I was out today, to make sure it wasn't showing.
Hopefully (probably) this is the treatable kind and it will grow back and I can forget about it.

Cupcakes, Vindaloo, and Cashew Chicken.

Vanilla bean cupcakes with chocolate buttercream that I made for a co-worker's birthday. Cuteness in a paper liner. =)
Lamb Vindaloo! Is there anything better than spicy lamb over rice?
Vindaloo is a tricky flavor to nail, I've found that apple cider vinegar is a good start. Then cumin, garam masala, fenugreek, lots of onions, garlic, and I add tomatoes. I want to make something Indian with okra next, we'll see how it goes.
One of my favorite things to make is cashew chicken. It's fast, delicious, healthy, and pretty to look at, to boot!