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Archive for the ‘Muffins & Cupcakes’ Category

Leisure time truly is a luxury as of late.  After an eight-hour workday, I am squeezed for time more so than what I am used to–only four hours to eat dinner, do something, and get ready for bed.  For a person as indecisive as I am, I find that determination of what that “something” is to be troublesome.

Prioritization for tasks that have some degree of urgency?  That, I can do.  Prioritization of hobbies?  That, I get stumped.  I want to do it at all, which leads me to do crazy things like getting up an hour earlier to squeeze in time to look at the food blogs.  It’s definitely not the ideal situation since most of the time, I am half-awake trying to sift through blog after blog.

Then again, no amount of sleep deprivation can undermine the gorgeousness of these Bill Yosses’ muffins.  What’s not to like?  Pillowy and light with a serious splatter of blueberries!  Even at 6 AM, my sleepy brain transmitted: I like, I like!

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Is it wrong to buy a cookbook for one recipe?  I asked myself this question a dozen times, as I stood by the Costco book section thumbing through the pages.  Haha, if I didn’t ask this question enough to myself, my dad raised an eyebrow at my purchase, as I put it in the cart with the bulk sized purchases of Vaseline and toilet paper.

To be honest, I am not a fan of cupcakes.  They’re one of those things that I enjoy making only because of their diminutive size.  Yes, smallness apparently makes everything oh-so-charming and darling.  Then again, I have bought origami books for one diagram too.  I guess I tend to give books the benefit of the doubt since I love books…

However, it took me about a year to make anything from this book let alone the Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes that caught my eye!  I am not sure if that speaks well of the book, but I did bookmark the pages and all with the full intention of making things in it.  It’s just that I have a short attention span, and there’s lots of showstopping desserts and cakes running around in the food blog community these days.

Recently, I had the idea of buying fleur de sel caramels as part of a friend’s birthday present, which reminded me of these cupcakes again.  It was then that I realized I need to make these cupcakes now before my attention drifts elsewhere!

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The problem with trying new recipes is that they often call for irregular amounts of food.  That’s fine for pantry items and common ingredients, but what about recipes that call for 2 1/2 cups of not-so-common perishables?   What kind of items sell only 2 1/2 cup containers?!

Then, the whole stopping-by-the-ingredient situation at the supermarket gets hairier.  You know, the kind you’re already in when you have to ponder which brand to pick from. Do I buy more than what the recipe calls for?  No, that might ruin the ratio of ingredients.  Okay, then what do I do with the excess? Haha, as comfortable I am with doing mental math, it does get annoying.  Too many questions, no exact answers…

That was the situation last week.  My friend protested against buying excess ricotta since she didn’t know what to do with it.  She argued that she wasn’t be cooking or baking anytime soon, so buying an excess amount seemed like a waste.  I told her to go ahead and buy the extra ricotta because I can make lemon ricotta muffins for her.  Haha, she immediately perked up since lemon and ricotta is one of her favorite flavor pairings.

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After being jerked around so much during the accounting recruiting process, I am still dazed that this is all finally over.  I remember earlier this week speeding along I-280 N, rushing out of my business suit, and standing in the front corner of the classroom by the door.  Just standing there in wide-eyed confusion.  I was wearing pearl earrings and make-up and mismatched sweats.  Where am I? The faces look familiar…

My professor looked at me curiously and said, “You do know you can sit down, right?

“Oh yes!” O___O

As I sat down horribly embarrassed by my tardiness and confusion, it all came back to me–I am just a college student.  Not a prospective intern.  I already stepped out of the corporate world and checked back into the college campus.

It felt strange to be here in the classroom again, listening to lectures and studying for midterms.  I do not even remember the last time I tried studying for an exam, so psh, at all my friends who think I study all the time!  For the past month and a half, I have been prepping for interviews, waiting for interviews, going to interviews, hearing from interviews… Oddly enough, it repeats!  In greater intensity with banquet dinners and back-to-back interviews!

Through it all, I threw myself out there, knowing that I would get my toes stepped on.  Repeatedly.  You know, the kind of toe-stepping that feels like a person put their whole weight on their foot?  Yeah, that kind. Oh gosh, I can’t tell you how many times I have winced over “incorrect” interview answers and how many more times I wrote myself off. Let’s just say, I have used the phrase ” I am a goner” one too many times during 2010…

However, I did it–I got an offer four hours after my last interview.  I am sitting here stupefied.  This is two days after the fact, and yes, I am still speechless.  I could make this into a Miss USA pageant winner’s speech, but I am not going to go that way.  I will say this instead: I have never been braver and more clairvoyant and more determined amidst my fears of failure. I think it was that attitude that sealed my fate.

That confidence and attitude was not nurtured all on my own.  As I mentioned earlier, I was riddled with self-doubt, but throughout this entire experience of shaking hands and talking to people, I met all sorts of well-wishers and advice-givers ranging from friends and family to strangers.  I have never been more humble and grateful throughout this entire experience.

In fact, I had a hard time articulating anything but humility and gratitude for the past few days.  I am that floored, which brings me to the next point–how in the world is this related to chocolate souffle cupcakes?

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It is rare for San Francisco to get hot and sticky, but it does, especially during late summer.  When that happens, the locals begin to fidget, and I begin to fidget, as this restless energy spreads.  I remember this especially well since on one of those days, I was in the corner of a tiny ice cream shop called Bi-Rite Creamery with other uncomfortably sticky locals.

Normally, this is the worst place for me to be because I am slightly agoraphobic.  (Arms length personal space, please!)  However, while I was eating that ice cream, I felt alone in my space, savoring each bite of ice cream.  No, it did not faze me that I was next to the trash can and had to constantly shift, so people could shoot their ice cream cups into the trash.  It also did not faze me that behind me was a group of loud, giggly girls.  I was alone and happy.

Fast forward six months later, and I find myself feeling trapped once again.  Thanks to the fact I have no car to drive, I am starting this new year in quasi-house arrest.  Instead of dwelling on this semi-imprisonment, I focused on recreating happier times.

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