Monday, June 27, 2011

North to Alaska

Sea Lions and Whales and Bears! Oh My!
Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord

As you may have heard, The Boy and I went on an Alaskan Cruise not too long ago and I finally finished sorting through the 4500+ photos from the trip! Let me tell you, "AWESOME" doesn't even begin to explain it. It was an absolutely amazing adventure. I could yammer on about it for hours on end, but instead, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


Black Bear - 08
For those wonderful folks who were on the DYEA DAVE TOUR with us and had a change to see this beautiful guy, you can see all of the photos here. Please shoot me an email if you would like any high resolution versions. I would be more than happy to send them your way. =)

View all the photos from the trip in my Flickr Gallery: Alaskan Cruise 2011"

Emerald Lake in Yukon Canada Orca Pod - 04 Bear Creek Zipline - 03 Jon and Heidi at the Butchart Gardens Angry Birds and Angry Hyds Through the Heavens

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Easter Cupcakes

Because Easter just wouldn't be complete without something sweet!

Easter Cupcakes
This Easter I decided to make cupcakes inspired by one of my favorite springtime desserts: My Mom's Pineapple Coconut Cake!

As you can see, they were adorably delicious! Here is the recipe so you can make your own Eastery cupcakes!

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil (amount called for on the box)
1 tsp pineapple extract/flavoring (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Follow the box instructions and mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon into cups.

TIP: I like to put my cake batter into a gallon sized ziplock baggie. Snip one corner off and use it to fill the liners. I can get a more even (and less messy!) fill in the cups, and it is a bit quicker to fill them up.

Bake for 15-20 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan and place on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before decorating.

Pineapple Filling:
1 can crushed pineapple

Drain the liquid from the crushed pineapple. Set aside.

Take cooled cupcakes and using my favorite angled spatula or a butter knife, cut a small 3/4 in square hole in the top of the cupcake taking care only to cut about halfway down into the cupcake (not all the way to the bottom). Remove the inside of the cake from the cake hole. *snickers* You can toss or eat the inside, we won't be using it.

Take a small teaspoonful of crushed pineapple and put it into the hole in the center of the cupcake. You can squish it in there a bit using your spatula.

Here is where I varied a bit. Normally I would make these cupcakes using whipped cream (homemade or store bought, your preference) for the frosting. Which I recommend if you will be serving these cupcakes same-day. But since I needed these cupcakes to keep overnight to take to work, I needed something that would stand up a little better. So I made some slight changes to my favorite cream cheese frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 stick butter (softened)
1 8oz pkg cream cheese (softened)
~ 1 box (16oz) confectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla or coconut extract

Combine the sugar and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix for about 3 mins until light and fluffy.

Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk and beat until smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if the mixture is too thick, add more confectioners' sugar if it is too thin.

Using my favorite angled spatula, frost your cupcakes!

I kind of eyeball this frosting until I get the right texture. I also may add in more vanilla or coconut flavoring to taste. Baking is an art, not always a science. ;) I choose to make this frosting nice and thick.

1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
Green food coloring
1 teaspoon water
Candies/Mini eggs (jelly beans, Robin's Eggs, whoppers, your pick)
1 ziplock baggie or sealable container (I used a gladware bowl)

Place a few drops (lets say 5) of food coloring and 1 teaspoon of water into your baggie or container. Seal it up and shake it around to coat the bag. Dump in your coconut and shake it, shake, it shake it like a polaroid picture to coat the coconut and color it green! This is our easter grass.

TIP:You can add more or less food coloring depending on the color you want your grass. For pastels, start with less food coloring. For a bright green, use more. It is best to start with less, as you can always add more food coloring to darken it up.

Sprinkle coconut grass on top of your frosted cupcake.

Next take your various candies and place on top of the grass to look like little easter egg nests or baskets.

You can also leave the coconut white for a non-eastery variation or use my favorite garnish - mini umbrellas! PiƱa Coladas anyone? This is the fun part so get creative!
Easter CupcakesEaster Cupcakes

I hope you have as much fun making, and eating these cupcakes as I did. Oh my are they delicious! Enjoy! =D

Friday, February 18, 2011

A lovely night out

Tonight was the kind of night that makes me remember why I really love the city.

Waterfront view of the Old Town Artwalk

I went out in Old Town Scottsdale tonight. Not the bar-hopping scene filled with cougars and 30K millionaires that one generally associates with "going-out on the town" in Scottsdale. But the artsy, locally owned, fine crafted, handmade, community centered Old Town Scottsdale tucked just a few streets back behind all of the rowdy happy hour goers.

It was one of the nicest nights out that I've had in a while. It wasn't particularly fancy or special, just a laid back and relaxing kind of evening with beautiful weather and pleasant company.

The evening started off "sweetly" as I met up with some of the girls at Citizen Public House for the Cupcakes & Cocktails Event put on by the lovely ladies of Cupcake Lovein. Cupcakes & Cocktails!? Does it get any better than that? The event was great and I got to mingle and meet with some of people I have been working on websites with.

We were treated to tasty cupcake creations on the patio, all baked with liquors; cherry martini, raspberry lemondrop (with vodka) and Guinness chocolate stout cupcakes. Citizen Public House had also created 3 delicious cupcake inspired cocktails specially for the event: Butterscotch Creme, Carrot Cake, and Lemon Cream Pie. They were all amazing and I regret now, not getting photos!

After having our dessert first, we decided to walk to The Herb Box for dinner. I had forgotten that Thursdays in Old Town were the Artwalk so I was pleasantly surprised to walk out from the parking garage and into a street filled with booths and the sounds of live music.

We enjoyed the view of the waterfront outside on the patio and listened to local band Vinyl Station play beautifully. They had fabulous original songs and fantastic covers including "Little Lion Man" by Mumford and Sons and "Falling Slowly" by Swell Season. Such beautiful, melodic acoustic songs, I could have listened to them play all night.

For dinner we tried a sampling from their appetizers which included falafel balls, hummus plate, and brown sugar pulled pork sliders. The sliders were amazing and now I want to try making something similar myself! =9

After dinner we joined the other art lovers on the waterfront bridge to look at some beautiful artwork and jewelry. There was one painting that caught my eye that I absolutely loved. Unfortunately she did not have any large prints (I couldn't afford to buy the original!) but she did have a magnet. I asked if the binary in the background spelled anything and she said indeed it did. The message spelled "Retweet". It was perfect for this bird loving, geeky girl. You can see more from the Binary Birds collection here.

There is just something about the buzz in the air of people gathered together enjoying good food, local music and art. Getting out in the crowd, chatting with new people, and being a part of that buzz really filled me up tonight and made my spirit hum with excitement and creativity.

It is moments like these when I forget about the heat, the traffic, snotty people, bad air, worse drivers, and remember the reason I fell in love with this city in the first place. It is so alive.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Back to the Grind

or the First Working Day of the Year

It wasn't as painful coming back to work after 10 days of vacation as I expected it to be. I thought that my lazy schedule of being up past 2am and waking up after 9am everyday for over a week would make for a brutal Monday morning requiring no less than a gallon of coffee to make it through the day. But waking up at 7am and getting back into the routine was a much more natural thing than I expected...thank goodness.

But still...I wasn't exactly ready to go back to work. Not to say that's anything to do with my job. I absolutely LOVE my job (no, really. It is fabulous.) but I could have totally said "yes" to another week of vacation.

2010 was a busy year. A new job, new network connections, new friends, new freelance clients, and new lifestyle changes kept me busy and buzzing. It was great! It was also great to unplug for a few days with no where to be, kicking it in my jammies and enjoying the simple things in life, like cups of tea, trying out new recipes, playing video games (omg it had been over a year!) and the pure joy of sitting on the couch all day reading a new book.

I didn't get the curtains hemmed, my website updates finished, any blog posts written or really half the things on my "ToDo List" done but it was a fabulously relaxing vacation and I really got a chance to unwind. Which is a rare and valuable thing!

Now it is back to the grind, back to the routine, back to the busy and back to the fun. I have my handful of New Year's resolutions to attest for - one of which is to FINALLY complete the dozen unfinished posts sitting around in my drafts box =S. So here's hoping this year is healthier, happier, and more productive than ever before!

Cheers to 2011!

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Wish List 2010

Back by popular demand (and by request of my Mum)'s The Heidi's Wish List! Yays! So Let's get to it!

This year, most of my fancies reside in some well organized Amazon Wish Lists, nicely sorted as follows:
A few of my Favorite things
Baking & Cooking
Movies & Games
Books & Comics


Kitty Kitty
WANT #1: I found the Scott Pilgrim kitty artwork!!! If someone makes me a mug out of win the prize for being amazingly freaking awesome and I totally owe you a cupcake!

Colour Rain Artwork - 100cm X 140cm
I really love these prints. They are so neat, modern, and fresh. I think they would look great in my new office. ;)

Ninjabread Men Cookie Cutters

And...because these are just too damn cute to resist Ninjabread Men Cookie Cutters!

The Winchester Tavern Pint Glasses from Shawn of the Dead
Nothing like a cold pint to calm the nerves before a zombie bashing.


Home Depot
Micheal's Crafts
Joann's Crafts
Borders Bookstore
Barnes & Noble Bookstore