Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cupcake Royale

I recently had a chance to visit one of the fancy shmancy cupcake shops that are in the process of taking over the world. Cupcake Royale has a number of locations; we visited the one in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. "We" being me, Laurie and her very sweet husband, Wayne. This would be Laurie from the Hawthorn Tea Room who is now a good friend. I guess she felt sorry for me after all my whiny blog posts about having no friends. So, see? You can make friends over the age of 40. Or I can. I don't know about you per se. You might have a gypsy curse which has forced you to become a recluse who never leaves your home to eat cupcakes. Or something.

The shop is super cute, lots of pink, brown and white with other very bright colors thrown in here and there. It's also very Seattley. Very trendy, lots of laid back cool people lounging about. And of course, there's coffee. Cupcake Royale also has some good marketing happening. Lots of cupcake related merchandise for sale and they also sell their products through Metropolitan Market, the upscale grocery store. My favorite item was the "Legalize Gay Cupcakes" shirt. It cracked me up.

We went to check out the selection and I had to spend some time wiping saliva from my chin. They don't like it when you drool on the display case. Sorry!

I've actually had their cupcakes before because, as I mentioned, they sell them at Met Market which has a location near my house. So I knew I'd be getting one with a white base. I absolutely LOVE the texture of their white cake. I'm usually a flavor person, but I'm all about the texture here. It's extremely dense and rich. It's almost like pound cake, but not that heavy. I wish I could describe it better. For me, it's the perfect cake consistency. I've tried other flavors, and they're all yummy, but the vanilla buttercake is my idea of cupcake heaven.

I chose the Lemon Drop, which has a lemon head candy on it. Even though these are super cute, this is too much frosting for me. This is how they frost all of their cakes, so I've learned to deal with it. But if they handed me the spatula for a minute, about half the frosting would come off. Not to say I didn't enjoy it, I just think the thickness of it is a little overwhelming. This plate, on the other hand, rocked my world. I adore it and am actually kind of glad they weren't selling this pattern, because I don't have any room for it in my house and I wanted to buy twelve of them.

They bake the cupcakes on site, which means they frost and decorate them here, too. They have an open area in the center of the store so you can watch. I was enamored with the sprinkle jars. Feel lucky you only have to look at two of the fifteen pictures I took of them. Not even joking.

After I ate my Lemon Drop, and Laurie and Wayne shared their vanilla and chocolate babycakes, one of the bakers came out and started frosting a tray of chocolate cakes. I freaked her out when my flash went off for this shot. Oops!

But she was so sweet and came over to the other side so I could take pictures. And she didn't call me "weirdo" or anything. In fact, you can see in the second picture she was talking with me about what she was doing and how long it took her to learn the signature swirl. This is the cream cheese frosting (which is phenomenal, by the way) and because it was a warm day it wasn't cooperating with her. But I still think they looked beautiful.

I know you may not live close to Cupcake Royale, but I'm sure there is an independently owned cupcake shop somewhere near you. Since they are taking over the world and all. So go support them and eat a few cupcakes. Unless you have that gypsy curse thing going on. In which case, never mind.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Proctor Farmers' Market

I am fortunate to live in an area that has not one, but three farmers' markets available on different days of the week. The unfortunate part is the lack of effort I usually make to visit them. Last week I got off the couch and made it down to the one on Proctor in the North End of Tacoma. I didn't think to take my camera, but here are a couple of things I brought home.

This bouquet was one of the smaller ones. Only $5.00. I love how they look in the pitcher.

This was my attempt at an artistic shot. I think the natural lighting made it turn out nicely. I got the whole bag of hazelnuts for only $5.00. They're super yummy too. Slightly sweet like I remember them as a child. And for some reason lots of twinsies. (2 pieces in one shell)

Freshly baked whole wheat bread. And only $5.00! Okay, not really. I don't actually remember what the loaf cost. I'm pretty sure it was less than $5. But it would be cool if everything I bought was the same price. Right? Or not.

I also picked up some blueberries which weren't very photogenic and grabbed some lunch at one of the restaurant stalls. Mmm, chicken curry and naan! Finally, I bought an official Proctor Farmers' Market bag in which to stash all of my goodies. Oooooo. See how I put the preposition in the right place there, instead of saying "to stash my goodies in"? And did you notice I put the apostrophe AFTER the s in Farmers? That's cause I is a college graduet! Impressed, ain't ya?

Anyway, I need to be better about supporting our local sellers, especially before the markets close for the season. Hopefully I'll have lots more $5.00 goodies to share soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

All the Way Home

A friend shared this a few days ago on Facebook, and I just had to pass it on.

I don't watch TV very often, so this might be old. But it is new to me.

I may or may not have been a lot like this as a child. Or I might still be like this today. I'm not saying either way. But I want those pinwheels! Weeeeeee!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cooking Light Mondays: Skillet Fillets with Cilantro Butter

So, Shrink My Butt Cooking Light Mondays haven't been going too well. Namely because I haven't bothered to cook any food for a million years or so. However, I did manage to throw something together way back in June and actually take pictures of it. Miraculous, I know. This recipe was super easy and very tasty. Definitely a do-again. Here's what transpired as far as I can remember.

Any recipe that has a big hunk of butter in it has to be a winner, right? To the softened butter I added some fresh cilantro, lemon rind, paprika and salt. I think it goes without saying that you have to be a cilantro fan to enjoy this. But I guess I just said it anyway.

Smoosh everything all up together. I suppose I should have wiped down the sides of the cup for this picture. Honestly, I'm just happy I found my camera.

You can use any "mild white fish" for this dish. I believe this is cod. Let's just say it is, okay? It gets sprinkled with a mixture of salt, cumin and ground red pepper. Don't worry, it wasn't too spicy. I am the poster child for the Spicy Food Destroys Tastebuds foundation and I thought it was fine. So it is SFDT approved. I may have put in less of the red pepper than called for, but I can't remember. You'll have to cut me some slack--this was two and a half months ago.

Anyway, the fillets and the nonstick pan both get a good dose of cooking spray and then fry for about 3 minutes on each side. (Fry the fish, not the pan.) I seem to recall leaving the thicker piece in longer because it didn't seem done. I'm always a little iffy about using cooking spray because I feel like I'm eating chemicals. But I've managed to down my fair share of Pop Tarts in my life, and those are probably worse, so I just get over it.

That was pretty much it. I stuck some Cilantro Butter on top and served it with a baked sweet potato and sauteed spinach. (Baked meaning microwaved for 5 minutes.) This was the money shot. Ooo. Ahhh. Ohhhhh.

Then I realized the fish really had very little flavor on its own. So I squeezed the lemon over it and spread out the butter so it would melt into the fish. MUCH better. Not as pretty, but pretty tasty!

So if you need a quick meal and want to get more fish into your diet, we have a winner! Hop on over to Cooking Light if you'd like to make this recipe. And let me know how it turns out. I'll pass the findings on to the SFDT. The tastebud you save may be your own!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pathetic Confession #6

This billboard was posted near the freeway on my way to work for quite some time:

image from

Does anyone else find this to be slightly dirty? Or is it just me? Anyone? No?

Okay then. Never mind...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Party Time!

That's right, people! Time to get out the confetti and cake! It's a party! Whoo-hoo! "Celebrate good times, come on!" Let the good times roll! "Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999!" Party hearty!

What? You want to know what we're celebrating? Oh. Um...okay. We are celebrating the following:
  1. I am posting an actual real live blog. Not a fake one. Yippee!
  2. I have more stuff I want to post. And not just once every 6 months. Yowza!
  3. There will henceforth be NO MORE WHINING allowed. Yay!
  4. I am actually in a good mood and have been for quite some time. Exclamation starting with a Y!
Exciting, isn't it?

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern during my posts this last year. I was not in a good place, and I'm sorry it leaked into Internetland. And, no, I don't know what made it better. Mostly I got sick of being depressed. So I worked on fixing it. That's the only good thing about situational depression. Sometimes a couple of kicks in the ass from caring people can make a big difference. So thanks, friendly neighborhood ass-kickers. (You know who you are!)

Just to be clear, this doesn't mean I'm going to post every day. My life is just too hectic for that. But I'm actually looking forward to posting instead of dreading it.

On a side note, I am freaking out a little bit. Blogger has a new tool that lets you see how many people have viewed your blog and even which posts are most read. Apparently, I am getting over 500 views a month. WHAT? That's got to be wrong. Even with the random views, how in the heck is that possible? And now I feel so bad for all those people who had to look at my depressing posts. SORRY!!!!! Anyway, not sure I'm buying it. All 500 of you should comment to prove you actually stopped by. Hee hee!

Time to go eat some of my party cake. Mmmm, cake. See you all soon!