Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mini Cupcakes Review

About a year ago, I bought a Groupon for a local cupcake bakery. It was still pretty new and I hadn't tried them yet. The newspaper's food columnist had raved about them. I love cupcakes, but we always got cake from our wedding cake baker. He does do cupcakes, but just regular chocolate and vanilla ones with the occasional seasonal flavor. I took the Groupon as a sign that I needed to check this place out, so I bought one. 
Well fast forward to last week when I still hadn't used the Groupon and it was going to expire. Since we were having dinner at my mother-in-law's on Thursday, I ran over to the baker (It's not far from our house) and finally used the Groupon. It was good for a dozen of their mini-cupcakes for which they are known. Since they had 12 different flavors of mini-cupcakes, I got one of each.

My mother-in-law and I split a few that night. While they are mini, they are not bite sized. Each cupcake was more like 4 bites for me.

Let's take a closer look at those flavors...

On the left is Cookies and Cream. It was the special of the week.  It was good. There were cookie pieces in the cupcake as well as the cookie crumbles in the frosting. It probably could have used more cookies in the batter to make it less like a plain cake.

On the right is Carrot Cake. I didn't eat this one at all. I don't like carrot cake, but my mother-in-law does. She said it was good, but kind of dry.

Left, Chocolate Raspberry - There was raspberry under the frosting, but I couldn't taste it very much. Then in my last bite, there was raspberry in the cupcake and it was good, but I wish it had been there for the whole cupcake. The frosting on this on was amazing. Very rich chocolate, almost like a ganache.

Right, Red Velvet - Confession: I've never had red velvet before. And frankly, I don't really need to have it again. I really don't see the point. It's not fully chocolate, just a touch. The cream cheese frosting was great, but the cake for me was just meh.

Top, Chocolate Peanut Butter - This was good. Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. It was just the right amount of peanut butter for me. Sometimes these can get overly sweet, but I liked this one.

Bottom, Chocolate with Buttercream Frosting - Good chocolate cake, good frosting. Nothing special, but it was good. They have a great frosting to cake ratio.

Left, Snickerdoodle - This was one of my favorites! The cake was cinnamon sugar and then the buttercream icing had more cinnamon sugar on it. It was a great combination of flavors.

Here's a cross-section of the Snickerdoodle. You can see the awesome frosting to cake ratio here.

Right, Black Bottom - This was my mother-in-law's favorite out of the ones she tried. It's a brownie bottom with cream cheese and chocolate chips in the middle.

Left, Chocolate with Chocolate Icing - Again, the frosting was amazing. The sprinkles were unnecessary, as the frosting is so good on it's own. The cake was just typical chocolate cake.

Right, Marshmallow Cream Filled - This was OK. Not as good as those Hostess cupcakes, but probably has less chemicals!

Top, Strawberry - This is their best seller and I can see why! My other favorite! Strawberries not only in the frosting, but also in the cake. I would easily take a dozen of these! And they make regular cakes too!

Bottom, Yellow Cake with Buttercream Icing - This was good, but nothing special.

So, would I buy again from this bakery? Probably. I'd definitely get the Snickerdoodle and Strawberry cupcakes again. But for regular chocolate and yellow cupcakes, I'd probably stick with my usual baker.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pinterest Sunday

Time for my weekly Pinterest roundup! Every Sunday, I share with you a few of my top finds from the previous week.

I saw this on Pinterest the other night with the description that it was the perfect way to cut an orange. If you cut an orange this way, that white pulpy stuff ends up in only 2 of the pieces. I got some more Cara Cara oranges at the store, so I had to try it. And it worked! My husband was very impressed with my mad orange cutting skills.

Source: ikea.com via Jenn on Pinterest

We're planning a trip to Ikea soon (we were going to go this weekend, but changed our minds.) So I've been checking out the Ikea website and pinning some things I want to check out. This new Billy Bookcase looks like it would fit in great with our living room, but I think it would be a little too different from our other Ikea furniture in our living room. But I will look at it when we go to Ikea.

I just love these nails! I think this is giving me an excuse to buy a grey nail polish. Perhaps Essie Chinchilly?

If you're on Pinterest, leave a link in the comments and I'll check out your boards.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Just some random thoughts to share. Not enough to make a blog post on their own, so I thought I'd combine them for a random post.

  • Technology and Communication - Am I the only that feels like with all the technology we have, we have way too many ways to communicate with people? Look, I just want to ask a friend a question or set up some plans and I cannot figure out how to do it. Do I text them, tweet them, leave them a message on their Facebook wall, send them a Facebook message, leave a blog comment if they have a blog, email them, etc. It's just too much! And when I do go with one of those choices, it never seems to be the right one! And I realize that calling would be simpler and easy, but my friends and I are not really talk on the phone people. Maybe we should be and this would all be simpler!

  • Incompetence - Is it really too much to expect people to do their jobs correctly? I feel like lately that's been the case. I've had 2 different people at 2 different companies perform a service that was part of their normal job and they've both screwed it up and cost me money. It makes me so mad that I can't count on people to just do their job right and not have to worry about what this is going to cost me.

  • I've been reading about cruises a lot lately. Why? I have no idea. We don't have plans to go on one anytime soon. And of course, reading about them makes me want to go on one. Sigh. We need to win the lottery.
  • My new favorite hobby is to answer the phone when I don't recognize the number and then report the telemarketer for calling because we are on the National Do Not Call list. I hope they enjoy the fines they get. We also get a lot of mail for previous tenants which is odd because nobody else has lived in our house for the past 5 years or so. I now return it all to sender. Maybe they'll finally get the hint. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Honeymoon Day 3

The third day of our honeymoon started with another early morning. I must have been in such a hurry, I didn't have time for pictures. I had a good reason to be in a hurry, though. I wanted to get to our park for the day as close to opening as possible. Thanks to traffic, we didn't arrive until after the park had opened, but it hadn't been open long.


Our park for the day? Disney's Hollywood Studios! Despite trips to Disney World since my first trip as a child, I hadn't been to this park since my first trip. Frankly, it just didn't interest me much. But there was finally an attraction that made me want to visit.

As soon as we got into the park, we headed for that attraction, Toy Story's Midway Mania. Unfortunately, everybody else in the park was headed that way too. I knew we needed to get Fast Passes ASAP if we wanted a chance to ride it without standing in line for 2 hours.


This is what happens when you take your camera out for the first time in the Florida humidity. You get foggy pictures. See that line on the right? That's the line for Fast Passes. It moved fairly quickly and we did manage to get a couple Fast Passes before they were gone.

After getting our Fast Passes, we tried to figure out what to do next. There weren't many attractions we were interested in, but we needed to do something until it was time to use our Fast Passes and that was several hours away.


We ended up checking out One Man's Dream. It's a great exhibit full of artifacts and history from Walt Disney's life and the beginnings of the Disney company.

We eventually moved on to ride The Great Movie Ride before heading to the Streets of America section of the park.

We did the Muppet*Vision 3D show which was cute and pretty funny. I grew up on the Muppets, so I love them.


I even took a picture with one of my favorite Muppets, Miss Piggy.

We basically just wandered around the park looking for things to do to occupy our time until we could use our Fast Passes.


This is over by Indiana Jones Stunt show. Notice the sign that says Warning Do Not Pull Rope? I told M to pull the rope. He pulled the rope and we heard voices from the bottom of the hole. I love those special Disney touches!

We decided to go on the Studio Backlot Tour. I remembered this from my childhood trip and I was interested in seeing all the cool backlot stuff again. I ended up being disappointed. Most of the stuff I remembered was gone and the tour was a lot shorter. We only saw a few interesting things on the tour.


We got to drive through costume and materials building and see the costume cast members at work.


We also got to see Walt Disney's airplane.

After the tour, we were exited through an exhibit about the 50 Greatest villains. We decided that it was time for lunch.

A lot of other people were also eating lunch, so every food place was busy, but we were hungry and didn't really have anything else to do, so we got in line at Toy Story Pizza Planet. When I was researching for our trip, the general consensus seemed to be that if you had to eat at Hollywood Studios, this was the best counter service restaurant. And we do love pizza, so it was an easy choice for us.


We both got an individual pepperoni pizza. They were very good!

We did some more wandering around while waiting for our Fast Pass time after lunch. It was nearly time now!




Finally, it was time!!


This was definitely the most crowded area of the park and there's only one attraction back there.


I love the theming with all the toys.


Finally! The Fast Passes were gone and the standby line was at 100 minutes, which is the highest the clock goes.


It's a 3D ride, so you get to wear these nifty glasses.

After all the hype and waiting was it worth it? YES! It was a great ride and I was really sad that I couldn't turn around and ride it again. I kind of wish we had just waited in the stand-by line afterward. It's not like we had anything else to do.


Our scores. I had fewer points, but better accuracy.

After the ride, we consulted the map and show guide, but decided we were done at this park. We would have liked to see the stunt shows, but they weren't scheduled for awhile and we were really tired of trying to find something to do. We decided to head back to the Lodge and hit up the pool.


When we got back to the Lodge, however, it was time for the daily rain shower. Usually, these don't last very long, so we were going to wait it out in the room and then go to the pool. But it never did let up before dinner time, so we didn't make it to the pool that day.


I sat on the balcony and watched the rain for awhile, then read in the room. Good thing I brought a bunch of books to read by the pool.

Eventually, we headed to dinner at Downtown Disney. This time we went to Wolfgang Puck Express. It's hybrid of counter service and table service. You order at a counter, get your drink, and find a table and then a waiter brings your meal to you. They are also supposed to get you drink refills, but it never seems to happen for me.

We got to chatting with the guy taking our order about weddings since he saw our Just Married buttons. He ended up giving us a discount on our meal. Sweet!


I got the Crispy Chicken Strips and Fries. I'm not sure why they insist on garnishing the plate with so much stuff there, it's not a salad, but way more than a garnish. These were pretty good and I liked the seasoning on the fries.


M got the Chicken Caesar Salad. Big surprise. I think in the end, this was his favorite version that he had.

After dinner, we went to Walmart for some more supplies.

Most importantly, this:

I LOVE this ice cream. It was always in my freezer when I lived in Florida. Sadly, it's only available in the south, so whenever I get far enough south, I have to have it.

We also decided to walk around the Lodge a bit and take some pictures. Turns out, not the greatest idea when it's dark.


Here's the lobby at night. And for some reason, I never took pictures during the day. I'm a genius.

Eventually, it was time for bed. We had another busy day in store for tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Going to the Movies

M and I don't go the movies very often. We try to be cheap and having Netflix pretty much satisfies our movie desires. I think last year I went to two movies, The King's Speech and Harry Potter. We tend to go for my birthday and then to see any series movies that we like.

However this year, we may be going a bit more. I keep seeing ads and previews for movies that I'd really like to see. Part of the problem with Netfilx is waiting for the move to come out on DVD and then frequently waiting longer because the studios have put a delay on Netfilx.

And sometimes I'm just not good with waiting. Sometimes, I just want to see it RIGHT NOW! Plus, that popcorn is so darn good!

Here are some of the movies I can't wait to see this year.

Mostly I just want to see this one because my favorite actor, Benedict Cumberbatch is in it. Although, I do enjoy a good spy story and the cast looks excellent. Unfortunately, because it's an independent British film, finding a theater to see it in has proved rather difficult. It was at a local theater that we like, but it is no longer there. I think it was only there for 2 weeks or less. It's now at another theater that we've never been to, but I'm unsure how long it will run there. This may end up being a movie we have to Netflix.

When I was a kid, Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie. I loved that Belle was brunette like me and she loved books like I did. I hold this movie responsible for my love of all things French. I don't normally like 3D movies, but I hear that this is pretty 3D and not the in your face 3D that I hate. Maybe I can convince my husband to take me if I can't find a girlfriend to go with?

I love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. I've been reading them for several years and right now I'm reading the 18th book. I wasn't sure that a movie version would live up to the book, but the trailer looks fun

I love Reese Witherspoon and this movie looks cute. Plus, Chris Pine!

I know, I know, but I watched the trailer and it looks cute. Plus Julia Roberts was pretty good in it. Plus, this looks better than the Kristen Stewart Snow White movie.

I like the Men in Black movies.

There is no question that we are going to see this movie. I've been a Batman fan since I was a kid and Christian Bale's Batman is just amazing.

We enjoyed the first movie, so I'm sure my husband will want to see Expendables 2.

Again, no question that we will be seeing this one. We are die hard James Bond fans. I love Daniel Craig as James Bond.

Definitely seeing this one! Two of my favorite actors plus a cast of other great actors? I saw all of The Lord of the Rings movies in the theater and even though I've never read any Tolkien, I enjoyed them. All of the behind the scene stuff I've seen has been amazing.

There are other movies coming out this year that look interesting, but not enough to pay to watch them. We'll add them to the Netflix queue and watch them when they're available.

What movies are you looking forward to this year?


Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

I certainly hope you all had more exciting weekend than I did. Mine was so boring, I had to consult my Twitter updates just to remember what I did.

M is using up the last of his vacation for the year this week and the weather wasn't great, so we mostly just had a quiet weekend at home.

Friday I made pizza dough and we had homemade pizza for dinner. It's always so good and I think I could eat it every week easily. M's nephew A was in town, so he spent the night at our house. The boys worked on computer stuff Friday night and most of the day Saturday.

We went to Mass on Saturday night because our usual Sunday Mass was the Contemporary Music Mass. I hate that Mass. I don't mind Contemporary Christian music when it's done well, but at our church it is not done well. I also cannot stand the way they sing the Lord's Prayer and they way they make one Amen into a 10 minute jazz number. It pretty much makes my vision go red. So for everyone's sake, we don't attend that Mass.

After Mass, we had dinner at my mother-in-law's house and M's niece R was there, so I got to see my favorite niece. She just got her driver's license, so I got to admire that and congratulate her.

Sunday we spent the day mostly at home. We did run to the local grocery store because it was the last day of the sale and I wanted to get the chicken breasts that were on sale.

I spent the afternoon finding coupons, making the grocery list for the week, and trying unsuccessfully to come up with a meal plan for the week. Sunday evening we got all caught up on Downton Abbey. Do you watch it? It's a great show.

It stormed last night, which I loved and now the weather is warm, so the snow is melting. Sadly, it will probably be back soon.

Today is another boring at home day. I'm tackling the laundry and some cleaning. And did you hear? Vera Bradley Outlet Sale tickets go on sale February 1! I'm already scheduled to work that day, so depending on when tickets go on sale, I may have to have somebody else get them for our group. We're up to 5 women this year. I'm excited about our girly day of Vera Bradley shopping!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pinterest Sunday

Time for my weekly Pinterest roundup! Every Sunday, I share with you a few of my top finds from the previous week.

The Nifty Foodie is one of my favorite food blogs. She always has yummy recipes that are easy to do in your own home. I hate when I find something that looks tasty and then it's complicated to make. I was drooling when I saw this new recipe Amy posted for Pain Perdu with Louisiana Strawberry Sauce. There's a loaf of bread in the kitchen just begging to be made into this for breakfast.

Thanks to Christmas presents and some reward programs, I've got some new (free) magazine subscriptions to enjoy this year. I really like this idea of using a shutter to store and display them. It keeps them off the table where they get buried and visible so I actually remember to read them and recycle them.

Speaking of free things, don't forget to Like the Argyle Love Facebook page. I frequently share deals and freebies there that I don't post about here!

Source: etsy.com via Jenn on Pinterest

I'm still on a vintage dress kick and I couldn't resist this one. Isn't it gorgeous?