Monday, November 15, 2010

In anticipation of family, friends and Shark Attacks

Have I talked before about how much I love Disney movies? And how I'm essentially a 5-year-old in a 23-year-old's body? Well, maybe not quite. But there's something charming and reassuring about Disney movies, especially after a hard day, or week, or whatever. I've been really down lately, for various reasons. I didn't bake for almost a week last week, which has to be a record. Luckily, I've had friends visit from far out of town lately, so that helped a bit. But I got home from work last night, and just felt like Disney. I put in Wall-E, one I haven't seen in a while. I forgot how charming this movie is. Wall-E hums along to "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" from "Hello, Dolly!" The song "La Vie en Rose" plays while he's cleaning up Earth — a song that is prominent in one of my all-time favorite movies, "Sabrina," with Audrey Hepburn (who is just classic and wonderful in every way too, and my love for her is illustrated by her movie posters in my room). Even "Don't Worry, Be Happy," plays in Wall-E's home. It's a little hard to be frustrated when such wonderful songs play during a cartoon movie about the demise of the world. Seriously. Now, I just have to make it a few more days of work, and it's off to some wonderful time with my grandma. I honestly cannot wait.

Well, anyway, last weekend, two of my very best friends from college came into town on the weekend of the KU-Colorado football game. I worked with Erin and Jodi my freshman and sophomore years at our college newspaper, and they were honestly two of the most fun people on staff. They were both older and graduated and moved states away, but they came back for the weekend (Erin is on my left and Jodi is on my right). It was so wonderful to have them back, especially for a game where we scored 35 points in the fourth quarter! That's some of the most entertaining I've seen in person for a while.

A tradition of ours was going to The Sandbar, my favorite local bar. The Sandbar's signature drink is something called a Shark Attack, a sort of blue tropical concoction that comes with a shark filled with grenadine that you pour into the glass and it looks like blood. Well, it's been an idea I've had for a while, but I decided to make shark attack cupcakes. I made a lemon cupcake recipe I like, mixing in a bit of curacao. I also tried to reduce down some, but let it go for too long. Know what happens when you cook it for too long? It turns hard, sort of candy-ish. And it burns when you touch it. Ask me how I know... Anyway, when they were done, I poked holes in the cupcakes with skewers and brushed more curacao over the top. Then, for the icing, I had to get some grenadine in, so I made swiss meringue buttercream and mixed greadine in (last time I made grenadine frosting it was for cherry limeade cupcakes with my normal buttercream, and it was WAY too heavy). Put a shark from Bake it Pretty on top, and it's done! My friends loved them, and so did the people at the bar, who I took them to. Debbi, who writes the blog for the bar, wrote about the cupcakes, twice! Makes me happy :)

Later that week, I needed some quality Aunt Betty time. While there, we made pecan pie cupcakes, my Daring Bakers submission for this month and buckeyes. Now, I'd never heard of buckeyes before they showed up in my blog roll from Smitten Kitchen. Being a peanut butter-lover, I HAD to try them. Apparently these are popular in Ohio, you know, the buckeyes being Ohio State's mascot and all. And a friend at work from Michigan knew what they were too. They were super easy and super tasty, although a bit rich. Not bad when you have just one (or five) though.

Then a few days ago I ran across this recipe for chocolate cookies with M&Ms. Sometimes, I just prefer a simple recipe like this. For these, my friend Liz was in town from Dallas (we didn't take any pictures, boo). It was great to see her, because I hadn't since we graduated. She and Kelly and I saw Morning Glory (a must-see for any journalism geek like myself), went shopping, and later we went out. Good times. Anyway, these cookies were great, and very brownie-like. We had to stop at the store to get M&Ms, and I asked if it was too early to use Christmas M&Ms. Some dude laughed at me...and I bought them anyway. So I'm guilty of early use of Christmas candy, whatever.

So, like I said, only a few days until my grandma's party. Actually, tomorrow is her actual birthday. And then I will have a movie marathon with family. I can't wait. It's been far too long.

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