Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homemade Sunday: Chicken and Dumplings

I know, talk about cutting a goal to the last minute.  I wanted to try a new recipe every month, and this month we made the executive decision to try making chicken and dumplings.  So, here we are, end of January, cooking up a storm.

I do feel good trying this recipe because it was so hands on.  I mean literally, hands on.  I had to mix my dough together with my bare hands.  And John was ripping apart the carcass of a chicken in a similar fashion.  Nothing says home cooking like tearing apart ingredients with your mitts.

And honestly, it was a pretty easy recipe to follow.  Maybe too easy.  There were like 6 ingredients total.  I think maybe we needed more guidance than that.  The broth itself definitely needed spices that were not listed.  And a non experienced baker, such as myself, needs more to go off than instinct.

But overall, I'd rate it a successful dish.  Perfect for the cold months since it was so meaty and thick.  ha. Meaty and thick.  But it wasn't without flaws.  I mean, look at the picture above, there should be more chicken.  And those dumplings need to be a lot smaller.  2"x2"? No way.  But they were definitely tasty.  So, we'll give it another go some time but make some definite changes.  Which is why I won't be sharing the recipe here.  It was definitely not the best choice.  Great dish, not great recipe.

We'll get better in February. :)

Just you wait.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blog Redesign

I figure that since I've made the switch from Wordpress to Blogger, I owe you at least some sort of explanation.

See, at the beginning of the year I made some goals for myself, like any good human being would.  And since one of those goals was to post more often on my blog, I figured it was a good idea to spruce the place up a bit and make it somewhere that I'd like to visit. (PS - I know I've let you down with not posting twice a week already.  I'll get better - promise).

So, I set to work at making a list of things I'd need to do in order to really up the ante with this place.  Things like, designing a new header, making buttons for my sidebar, learning basic CSS, were all abundant on this list.  I found an inspiration photo for a color scheme that I really loved and got to work sketching out ideas.

I thought about the things I loved in other designs and eventually decided on something I could create in Microsoft Word.  That's right.  I created my graphics in Word.  I have no access to Photoshop and heck, this turned out sort of awesome.  I fine tuned my work and sent out rough drafts to friends.  Let me stop for a minute and say how important it is to have true friends yuo can bounce ideas off of and have them give real feedback.  It seriously makes this process so much better.

Anyway, so I finally finished my header and sent myself a screenshot of it to work as my image file for CSS.  I moved on to the sidebar buttons, which were a lot easier once I knew what look I was going for.  BTW, I LOVE those buttons.  They're so cute.  Key to that? Downloading fun fonts from

So, I figured out the final layout for my blog and realized there was a major issue. doesn't allow for customer CSS! At least not without paying a monthly premium.  So I had to decide whether or not I wanted to change platforms over to Blogger, who does allow custom CSS, or adapt to the predetermined layouts.  Obviously, I switched.  And I couldn't be happier.  I love the way that this looks now.  It's beautiful, and I feel like it really expresses my personality....somehow.

Maybe I'm nuts.  Okay, I'm nuts.  Either way, don't you love the new look?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Over the Weekend: Get On Your Feet

I hope that everyone's been having a fantastic weekend.  I figured it'd be safe to post this today, despite the fact that I technically have one more day to my weekend.  Suck it full work weeks!  MLK Jr. to the rescue!

Anyway, I've had a pretty low key weekend of relaxing after the international jetsetting that I did last week.  That's right, I'm an important businesswoman who gets flown to Canada for a day then flown back the next day.  I'm kind of a big deal.

But that 2 days of traveling was super tiring.  Coupled with the whole getting sick in another country and then having to work while sick the following two days, and I was pooped.  So I welcomed this weekend with open arms. 

I got to see good friends, visit the megastore that is Ikea, and lay around all Sunday watching TV.  Tomorrow I plan on baking my AMAZING chocolate chip cookies, trying to sew a pillow case, and possibly going to the store.  We'll see how much of that actually gets accomplished though.

Here's an Instragram recap of the weekend's activities.

From left to right:
1.) View of our apartment building on a beautiful Saturday.
2.) Adorable new nails I did myself.
3.) Fabric haul from Ikea.
4.) Relaxing Sunday with Doctor Who and a blanket.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mindy Kaling: Potential BFF

Remember like, 4 days ago, when I made a list of goals for 2012 thinking, "Man, these will be a stretch"?  Well,  Based on the fact that this is already blog post number 2 of this week and it's about how I've already read a whole book, I'd say I'm doing awesome.

I just finished reading Mindy Kaling's book "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me".  And my goodness, that girl is hilarious.  Seriously, if you have a sense of humor and maybe a week's amount of reading time, read this book.  It's awesome and light hearted and I laughed out loud several times while reading it.

But enough gushing about the book itself.  Let's get down to business and hash out the facts.  Mindy Kaling? Seriously, we would make great friends.  Sure, she's older than me and way more accomplished, but based on sense of humor and the fact that she likes to share anecdotes from her childhood, we are a pretty good fit.

If you know me, you know that I love nothing more than talking about stories about my life and how they came up in random conversation.  And by "came up in random conversation", I mean I brought them up because my brain works on a different level than a normal person.  I genuinely feel that you want to hear all about the time a hot air balloon landed in my back yard or the time my dad suggested we eat corn dogs and I pretty much disowned him.

Ah! I'm doing it again! I'm off topic.

Mindy Kaling. Right.  So, in her book, she makes several lists (ahem...I love listmaking.  One prime example of expert listmaking is the one about things men need to know.  My god.  I agree with every point on this list.  Men really should only have 2 pairs of shoes, dress shoes and chuck taylors.  And the comparison between Men and Boys is right on. 

I could continue, but I won't.  The point is, reading her book felt like talking to one of my best friends.  And it was really comforting because of that feeling.  Every story she told felt like something I could have easily experienced myself.  In short, Mindy has clearly earned the right of honorary bff.  Way to go.  Remind me to send you a care package.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My All Time Favorite Sugar Cookies

I'm sure that you're aware that I'm an avid baker.  I mean, my blog name is "Cupcakerator" for God's sake.  So, when I say that I've found the best sugar cookie recipe I've ever had, you know that it's good.

When I went home to Michigan for Christmas, my step mom, Jean, spent the entire duration of my stay in the kitchen.  This woman is amazing.  She has more cookbooks and recipes than anyone I've ever met.  And my goodness, the memory she has for each recipe is uncanny.  (Just don't distract her while she's working)  So, I should have known that her sugar cookies would be amazing.  I just had no idea just how life changing they'd be.

Normally, when I make sugar cookies,  I need them to be for cutout cookies, and let me tell you right now, I also have a perfect recipe for those.  Note - this recipe is NOT for cutout cookies.  It's pillowy and soft and rises when you bake it.

I begged Jean for the recipe and she sent it to me and today, I finally got around to baking them.  Now, I'll be honest, my oven dial has no numbers on it at all which leads to a lot of trial and error as far as temperature is concerned.  So, the first dozen cookies came out really dry/burnt.  But I adjusted the temperature accordingly and the 5 or so batches after that came out great.

I'm not quite at the level of awesome that this recipe has the potential to reach - I'll admit that.  But despite being a little dryer than I'd hoped, they are still super delicious.  Now, if only I'd planned ahead and not baked 6 dozen cookies on a week that I won't be in the country to enjoy them.

Trust me, the next time I bake these, they will be awesome.

Jean's Sugar Cookies
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 1 C Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 4 1/4  C Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Cream of Tartar
-In large bowl, cream sugars and butter
-Add oil, then eggs and vanilla
-In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar and add to wet mixture a little at a time
-Once mixed completely, roll into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet
-Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar and decorate with colored sugars
-Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees

PS - On an unrelated note, if you've ever read my blog before (thank you), you'll surely have noticed that I've redesigned my entire blog and moved from Wordpress over to Blogspot.  So, if you're crazy enough to have the blog bookmarked, you may want to update the link to this new one. Thanks for sticking with me!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Goals

I hope that you're fully aware that I'm a complete nutjob. 

Good.  As long as we've got that out of the way, we can proceed.  So, as you can tell by your general knowledge and not being in a coma, it's 2012.  Which, by all standards is a new year.  Completely distinct from last year, which was a lowly 2011.  As far as time goes, most people would consider an increase in digits to be a good thing.  So far, we're doing it right.  Good job, people!

So, with it being a new year, the logical answer to what to blog about is the much dreaded, much neglected after 2 weeks, list of resolutions.  Where I inevitably overpromise and under deliver.  Which, I've learned, is forwned upon. 

If I were in the mood for setting goals that I could easily attain.  Like "I resolve to not shave my head."  Or, "I resolve to eat more than I should."  I think that with goals like that I'd feel way more accomplished half way through the year when I undoubtedly look back at the list in reflection.  I'd be able to fondly remember that time I woke up late on a weekend and didn't change out of my pajamas until dinner because "hey! That was one of my resolutions!"

But no, I'm not programmed to think that way.  I'm programmed to make a neat and tidy list and do my darndest to adhere to it.  But I think this year (as I've thought many times in the past) I'll be able to accomplish most of these items!  So let's take a look at the new goals I have for myself shall we?

Clearly, not one of my better photos.  But I bought myself a handy dandy iPhone the other day and can't help but use it as much as possible.  Not to mention it's hard to take a photo of a notebook and make it look good.

Speaking of notebooks, I retained my yearly tradition of "Getting organized by buying a notebook that I inevitably don't use." But this one has pretty pages.  So maybe I'll use it.  I'm rambling.

As you can see from the list though, I'm going to try blogging more.  We're going to jump in soon and do at least 2 posts per week.  Let's do this 2012.

Get your life.
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