Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chocolate Malted Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Sprinkles

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One of my co-workers graduated from college over the weekend and for a full-time working grandma that is reason enough for a celebration.  I've had the craving for malted milkshakes lately and figured why not capture that vibe in a cupcake.  You know how malted milkshakes sound good until it's 90 degrees outside and you realize, "milk was a bad choice!" Thank you Ron Burgundy for that pearl of wisdom. 

Back to the cupcakes!  Pretty standard chocolate cupcakes with two magical ingredients: malted milk powder and cookies and cream sprinkles. 

Recipe from the genius Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook. 

Ingredients: Yields 28 standard cupcakes 
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups malted milk powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • vanilla frosting recipe
  • cookies and cream sprinkles (optional, but awesome)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa, both sugars, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk and malted powder until powder is dissolved (I used a large 2 cup measuring cup and just whisked in the cup. Saved a bowl!).
  2. Beat flour mixture, milk mixture, and oil until combined on medium-high speed with a mixer. Add eggs, one at a time. Add sour cream and vanilla, and beat until just combined.
  3. Divide batter into lined muffin tins.  Bake for 20 minutes. 
  4. Frost with frosting of choice (I used my go-to vanilla frosting recipe).  Eat some frosting straight out of the bowl, leave an extra heaping of frosting on your mixer because that's fair game as well. Sprinkle as desired (eat more sprinkles).
  5. ENJOY! 

How good are these cupcakes? So good that the hubs not only asked where I got those sprinkles (craft store find), but I also made a batch for him to take into work.   Really I'm just setting myself up for failure because that means his co-workers are just going to "expect" baked goods from now on and I already bake for one office! 

Not gonna lie, I ate three cupcakes! That's a lot for me because I usually don't have much off a sweet tooth.  I have no idea how much batter I ate. Yeah, I said it. 

There's something old school about these cupcakes. It's got to be the malted chocolate taste, but they remind me of a 50s diner and I love them.  

Any other cupcake recipes I should look into for this summer? Leave a recommendation in the comments section. Thanks! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

G.L.A.M. 2013

Top: Bobeau via Nordstrom // Leather Skirt: Vintage 

Shoes: Target (China) // Watch: Citizen's Eco (Japan) // Bracelet: iSanctuary 

It seems the left hand on the hip is the only "pose" I know! Can I claim that my right hand was exhausted from holding a camera and it was taking a break? 

For the second year my friend Meaghan, at District Sparkle, put on an amazing fashion event benefiting a local DC charity.  I've got to hand it to the woman who starts her own nonprofit organization while in her mid-twenties. Way to make the rest of us look bad! (clearly, I'm kidding) 

I was more than honored when Meaghan asked me to act as the official photographer for G.L.A.M.'s (Giving Labels A Meaning) big event to benefit Safe Shores DC, a local non-profit dedicated to helping victims of child abuse.  Maybe next year I'll actually dress like a photographer and not wear stilettos! 

Meaghan and her partner in crime Eden organized a fashion event in which local shops and fashionistas came together and all the proceeds went to Safe Shores DC.  For more information on G.L.A.M. and how you can donate to their cause please refer to their website

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weather Fail

Dress: Quincy (Made in USA!) // Jacket: Anne Klein // Wellies: Hunter // Necklace: Ann Taylor // Umbrella: Coach // Nail Polish: Essie "Mint Candy Apple" (Made in USA!) 

The hubs and I had an awesome date night planned for Tuesday night. It was going to involve a few brews, salt water, and the wind in our hair. I was even going to wear a colorful outfit!

But then another onslaught of rain came through town. My plans to de-black were put on hold. The only evidence of our planned date night was my mint nail polish (I know it says candy apple, but it reminds me of ice cream!). 

Oh, and somewhere along the day I picked up a screw in one of my car's tires. The hubs saved the day, which in hindsight is pretty romantic and date night appropriate :) 

Anyone else have a date night planned for last night and have mother nature foil your plans?  I can't complain too much, we got BBQ from our favorite little place and watched the O's beat the Tigers. Our date night plans have been put on hold until the weather cooperates on a Tuesday evening! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flag Day

Today is flag day. Support your country. Proudly wave the American flag. Thank a serviceman and be happy to live in a place that offers so many freedoms.  

American flag flying over Baltimore's Inner Harbor during Sailabration 2012

Pap Pap's casket flag. Full story here on why the hubs refused to put his grandfather's flag in an imported flag case and the start of my rational for buying American. 

A little girl gave me this flag right before the finish line of the Parks Marathon on September 11, 2011. All runners were encouraged to wave the American flag while running the last mile and across the finish line. 

If you're looking to purchase an American flag, check out USA Love List for a list of American flags made in America.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Beer and Bourbon Classic at Pimlico Race Course

There's just something about summer and festivals going hand and hand.  As the weather heats up it's always nice to get outside, have a few beverages, and see what's going on in the local community.  After having a ton of fun at last year's Brew and Bourbon Festival at Laurel Park, the hubs and I were looking forward to this year's festival at Pimlico. We were able to meet up with some friends and enjoy a few tasty brews. 

Please note: I left my camera at home (something I'm actually trying to do more of this year!) and all of these photos are from my iPhone 5. 

I have no idea what any of that information means! 

Oh yeah, a tropical storm was slowly rolling out which meant the day started with lots of mud and a few sprinkles.  In true form, I had NO IDEA what to wear!  I'm not kidding, but I had my rain boots in the car as a backup option. 

And then the sun came out.  Good thing I had SPF 100 in my purse. (not kidding)

Overall a great time was had by all.  There was plenty of free parking, the festival was indoors (thus protected from the departing tropical storm), lots of space to roam, and once the weather turned sunny it was nice to sit out on the grandstands and watch a few races. Oh, and there were over 60 types of beers, bourbons, and wines to try.  Minor detail. :)

Full disclaimer here, but I know absolutely nothing about horse racing.  This is somewhat of a shock because I actually have friends and family members who race horses. I understand win, place, show, but any other betting terms after that are completely foreign to me.  

You can imagine my surprise when the hubs bet something with the word, "box" in it and won $48.80 on that pretty grey horse above.  Seriously, I got nothing.  All I know is he bet on two races for a total sum of $8 and he won on the one race. All I know is I came home with $20 worth of premium chocolate form Parfections.  

Definitely a good investment in my book!  Dark chocolate, bacon and sea salt!

What festivals do you plan on going to this summer?

Also, please remember to drink responsibly and always designate a driver or take mass transit.  Drinking and driving is never cool. Ever.

Monday, June 10, 2013

American Made Gift Ideas for the Men

Weber Grill // Trap Belt // Baseball Stadiums Tie // Men's French Terry Sweatshirt // Red Wing "Wabasha" Chukka Boot //  New Balance Running Shoe // Wood iPhone Case // The Old Bay Overnight Bag // Huntington Shirt // Nokona Baseball Mitt

Between Father's Day being right around the corner and my hubs passing his P.E. Exam I've had gift-giving for the guys on my head here of late. I should also add that my hubs's 30th birthday and our sixth wedding anniversary are coming up, which means I've been feverishly scribbling gift ideas on every spare inch of paper. If you're in need of a last minute Father's Day gift or you're planning ahead for the winter holidays (who are you?), don't worry I've got a few ideas for you.

The men in my life are pretty utilitarian when it comes to their belts. As in, remembering to wear a belt appears to be more optional than required from time to time. Thankfully this nifty Trap Belt by Chris Neal and available on Hudson Made is made near my hometown and is so cool men will actually want to wear it.  Make sure to sign up for Hudson Made's email list and you can save 20% on your first purchase.

If the men you know are shoe obsessed (like my hubs), then you can do no wrong with this Red Wing "Wabasha" boot.  If a cool boot isn't your cup of tea, then a New Balance running shoe will certainly appease the shoe lust.

There are two types of plaid in this world - good and bad.  Thankfully this Huntington shirt from Fly Apparel is the good kind. Complete with zippered cuffs and wooden buttons it's something that is going to last for years to come.

One of the major differences between men and women is the frequency in which they change their cell phone cases.  I know women who change their cell phone cases daily weekly or have specific cases for going out versus daily life.  I'm going out on a limb here, but men (in general) seem to be a bit more of "one and done" with cell phone cases.  This wood iPhone case from Carved LLC would work for every situation life can throw at a phone.  If you head over to check it out, also look around Made Collection to see a ton of other great items made in the USA.  Search for your state and see what's made local to you.

I don't know if there's a more summer appropriate activity than grilling over charcoal.  Good thing this Weber Grill is small enough for apartment dwellers, but packs enough punch for a family with hungry kids.  I bought the hubs a very similar Weber grill three years ago for his birthday and he won't even look at another grill.  Now smokers are a totally different beast :)

I'll be completely honest, the Old Bay Overnight Bag from Blue Claw Co. (Made in MARYLAND!!!) would be the type of gift I'd buy for my hubs and then steal every opportunity I could.  It's like the proverbial comfy sweatshirt.  Technically it would be his, but possession is nine-tenths of the law.

Speaking of sweatshirts, the Men's French Terry sweatshirt from Everlane is the crème de la crème of sweatshirts. It's a sweatshirt you'd actually wear outside of your house and be proud to run into people while wearing. It's a sweatshirt for fancy brunches or in situations where some dude in your life complains about having to dress up. You can say, "here, put on this sweatshirt."

Summer and baseball go together like lamb and tuna fish, which means if the baseball mitt that's been sitting in your basement is looking a little worse for wear  then you should pick up a Nokona. To sum up, my hubs has had his buckskin Nokona since high school and it still makes that distinct SNAP sound when we play catch in the backyard (surgery update - he's cleared for throwing activities!).  Yes, these mitts are a few pretty pennies, but these babies last and then last some more.  I think the true testament of these mitts is that after a fire burnt down the factory in 2006 the workers pieced together the custom leather dies for these gloves. You know a product is amazing when the people who make them go to that distance to ensure the product survives.  Gotta love those proud Texans!

Look if you were thinking of getting your dad a tie for father's day then at least get him a tie that shows off the greatest baseball parks in America.  And one that is made in New York City (GO YANKEES!).  Make sure to check out other USA made gifts on Uncommon Goods.

There you have it. A few American made gift ideas for the men in your life. If someone wants to buy me that Blue Crab Co. bag I'll gladly share it with the hubs!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Nags Head Sunrise







Thankfully the weather forecast called for a few clouds one morning while the hubs and I were camped out in the OBX.  If you didn't know, a few clouds are a vital recipe for an amazing sunrise.  Another recipe is the determination to set your alarm clock to go off well prior to the sunrise.

Here's my problem. I'm in love with every single one of the photos above.  I can't commit to printing every single one because I have a minor confession to make:

I've never printed a single picture that I've taken with either of my two SLRs. 

I know. It's insane. I've had cards made and I've received birth announcements in the mail with photos I've taken, but I'ver never once printed a photo for myself.  It's a bad habit and it's one I'm trying to break. 

With that being said - which one would you print?  What size would you get it? 

I'm actually leaning towards a metal print rather than a traditional canvas because of the colors.  I'm really torn between photos #2 and #6, but every time I think to add one to a print lab cart one of the others starts to give me a guilt trip.

This is why I don't have any of my photos hanging up in my house! It's NUTS. 

Do you display the photos you've taken?  Where do you display them?  

I'm slowly adding the rest of our vacation photos to my Flickr Photostream

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

National Running Day

Hi, my name is Heidi and I'm a slacker runner.  

I took my normal winter break from running and then was even slower to get back into it this spring.  Sure, I was busy doing Insanity with the hubs and that left little energy for running outside.  I know loads of people love Insanity's Sean T., but I'm afraid to say I'm not one of them.  I don't find any enjoyment from working out inside.  I loathe the gym. I detest anything that reminds me of the gym.  I work inside for 8+ hours a day and I use running as just another reason to get outside and enjoy God's green earth from time to time. 

However, I have the most important reason in the world to dive back into the running world.  Well, two reasons actually because I'm sure my own health and well-being is an important reason to take into consideration. 

My reason for connecting with running is my nephew.  He's been bitten by the running bug over the past year.  He joined his middle school track team and just a few weeks after his 13th birthday he went sub-20 for the first time in a 5k. 

So this past weekend my brother and I went up to NY to hang out with the family and I got to run a 5k with the kid. 

He had exceptionally high expectations for himself on race day and he was in a slightly sour mood (hey, he is 13 after all) when he didn't meet those expectations.  He finished in just over 20 minutes, but the way he made it sound it was as if he ran his slowest 5k time of all time when actually he ran his second fastest 5k time of all time.  You know, in all those short 13 years he's been running around :) 

As anyone who raced over the weekend in the Northeast can attest to, it was freaking HOT and HUMID this weekend.  Race conditions were not favorable, but one thing I love about my nephew is no excuses.  I'm going to have to repeat that mantra time and time again this summer.  I might have said earlier this year that I wouldn't be running a marathon this year, but a crazy thing happened and I'm signed up for one and actually contemplating a second this fall.  

Pre-Race.  Why am I sweating already? Oh that's right it was HOT out!

One of the absolute coolest things about this race is that the pre-race pep talk and post-race awards ceremony is conducted by running legend Frank Shorter.  If you don't know who Frank is then I highly suggest you read up on him.  I'll give you a hint - he won the 1972 Marathon Olympic Gold Medal.  He's kind of a big deal in the running world.  He also used to attend the very same school where this beautiful track is located.  

I might buy the ridiculously expensive race photos because the kid came in second in his age group and I came in third in mine.  We both were able to get our pictures taken with a running legend and that it definitely worth the price of a photo. 

Probably the last race photo where I'm taller than the kid! 

I see more 5ks in my future because I'm already scoping out more races that I can do with the kid.  Spending 9+ hours in a car for a weekend is well worth it in my mind. I just hope the kid doesn't need new running shoes every time we get together because that is going to be an expensive bonding experience!

It's serendipitous that today is National Running Day and my commitment to running is solidly back on track.  I was able to get out for a few miles this morning before sunrise and I'll finalize my summer training program this weekend.

I'm running for me, but I'm also running for the kid. It makes me deliriously happy to have a healthy hobby in common with a family member and I'm going to cherish all of our racing memories.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Roses are Red

I think it's safe to say I got every penny out of a $4 bouquet from Trader Joe's.  One evening last week I noticed the evening light in my backyard was extra yummy and did what any other person would do in that situation - take my very expensive crystal vase outside and play with my camera settings while sitting in wet grass (we're trying to grow a lawn). 

Dear bokeh: I love you.  

I just can't tell if I like the extra sun rays in the top photo or the more traditional lighting in the last photo.  I'm usually a "clean" person and the first photo reminds me too much of things that are abused in photoshop. Even though all I did in photoshop was save as a jpeg. 

Thoughts? Extra sunshine or extra clean? What about black and white?  B&W photos are my weakness because I love looking at them, but I've yet to be able to edit anything I take in a solid B&W. 

That'll give me a legitimate excuse to pick up another bouquet next week and play even more.