April 24, 2010

A Mini Disneyland Vacay

Today the other half and I are spending the day at Disneyland. He flew across the country yesterday and I drove over to California to meet up with him.  Then we will be driving back to Arizona for another week of fun and relaxation.  Please stay tuned for a detailed post on our adventure at the Happiest Place on Earth.  We have a first timer on our hands folks and I'm not talking about this cowgirl.  So in my absense, leave me a note with your favorite Disneyland treat.  Mine is churros.  I plan on eating at least 3.  I'll let you know how I do.

And please do leave a comment.  I need some lovin' these days.


April 23, 2010

Cupcakes Fit For A Princess

cupcake pebble treats

The other day while I was laying out in the backyard, I was thumbing through a Real Simple magazine when I came across a cereal ad. Now, as most people who know me well can tell you, I am a big cereal fan. In fact, there have been multiple occasions when I have received cereal as a gift. I love getting cereal as a present. No, seriously. It doesn't matter what kind, I love me some cereal. So when I came across a certain ad for Cupcake Pebbles, I was quite intrigued. Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles rarely make it in my cereal bowl, but I couldn't help but wonder if the ad was true. Could this cereal really taste like cupcakes?

I realized that the ad also contained a recipe for cupcake pebble treats, essentially rice krispy treats with frosting, and I was convinced I needed to try these. But finding the actual cereal was a bit of a challenge. I tried two of our major grocery stores in town, Fry's and Safeway, but couldn't track them down. But then I had an epiphany...Wal-Mart. This is for sure a cereal for Wally World. And guess what? They had it.

I decided to give the recipe a try, and my overall opinion of these is as follows: While they look cute, you certainly don't need Cupcake Pebbles to make these. The cereal alone does taste like cake batter, but once you add the marshmallows, they just taste like an extra sweet rice krispy treat. And of course once I added the frosting, that's pretty much all I tasted. I could have gone all fancy with a homemade buttercream, but let's be real. Something like this called for canned frosting. I used rainbow chip. I'm a little bit obsessed with rainbow chip frosting. I could really use a support group. I don't think I'll be making these again, but I'm glad I tried them once. And hey, now I can say that I've tried Cupcake Pebbles for the first, and probably the last time.

Since they weren't a winner, and I copied the recipe exactly from the ad, I've decided not to post it here. If you're curious, feel free to click here to find it.

April 16, 2010

Pantry Granola

So this is the deal with granola. Me likey. Here's something I don't like about granola. The content. See, that commercially processed stuff comes a little heavy on the sugars and fats and calories. I mean, if you are one of those "I can eat anything because no matter how many calories I consume I stay a perfect size 2" well then about 98% of the world hates you right now. Me included. But there IS a way to make granola that's just as tasty but much healthier. And the best thing? Just use whatever is in the pantry. Hence the title! I chose to make it using almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried figs, pears, apricots, and raisins.

homemade granola
See the ingredients? Doesn't it look gooooood?

Pantry Granola

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup sliced or chopped nuts
1/4 cup seeds (salted or unsalted)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
1/2 cup pure maple sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit salt if seeds are salted)
1 cup dried fruit
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and seeds with the maple syrup, oil and salt if using. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake, tossing twice, until golden and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
  • Add the dried fruit and toss to combine. Let cool.

the open jar

See how easy that was. Be fancy like me and store your creation in a glass jar, or any airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Make some soon and enjoy a little granola for breakfast either with milk or on top of some yogurt with fruit.

April 14, 2010

The Deutsch Girl's Wishlist

I am slightly addicted to baking pans. Ok, not slightly addicted, really addicted. I'm not sure what it is about them, but it's like they call to me. I can remember my first one like it was yesterday. My best friend gave me a rosette cupcake pan from Williams-Sonoma for Christmas. I think this gift jumpstarted my love for speciality cake and cupcake pans, designs that don't even need frosting, just a quick sprinkle of powdered sugar to complete the look. I'm going to blame her. Because it's easy. And because I know she'll read this and laugh. And know that I'm probably right.

Because I frequently get gently reprimanded for buying things for the kitchen that I don't really need, I haven't fed my addiction lately. Oh that and the fact that I don't have a kitchen of my own at the moment in which to store these masterpieces. But when I do have a kitchen again, I'm buying my pie safe so I can store all my baking belongings in one place. Trust me, it will make everyone a lot happier. I know that not everyone knows what a pie safe is, so here goes...the encyclopedia bills it is a cupboard with perforated tin doors that kept mice and insects away from freshly baked goods.  I call it heaven.

So besides my hefty arsenal of sprinkles, baking chips, cake stands, glass pans and loaf pans of various sizes, this new piece of furniture will be housing my specialty baking pans.  I feel like I've seen a few lately that have really made me want to bring out that little piece of plastic and hit the order button.  BUT...until the above-mentioned piece of furniture arrives in my house, I'll have to stick to a strict look but don't touch policy.  I think everyone involved will appreciate it.  Except me.  I don't appreciate it one bit.  So for now I'll just have to keep making these wish lists.  Here are four at the top of my list:

Buttercup Cakelet Pan - Williams Sonoma - $36.00
 Cakewich Sandwich Cake Pan - Wee Can Shop - $24.99
Cupcake Pan - Wilton - $12.99

Edge Brownie Pan - Amazon - $36.00

April 12, 2010

Coming To You Live

For you newbie readers...here's the deal.  My life is complicated.  It wasn't always, but it took a crazy swerve-so-you-don't-hit-that-deer kind of turn in October 2008 when my boyfriend joined the United States Marine Corp as a Reserve Officer.  Let's just say the military causes your life to feel very out of your control.  Now it's not a bad thing, and I try to not complain too much, but it just means you have a bigger roller coaster to ride.

The latest swerve had to do with our house.  I hate to bore you with the long drawn out version, so I'll make it really simple.  If you want to ask questions later, feel free, but this is the bare bones of what you need to know...

We rented out the house we he owns and while he searches for a job back east near his base,
I am living with my parents.

There.  I've admitted it.  Although I kind of wish they had a basement.  They I could introduce myself as "Hi, My name is Deutsch Girl and I live in my parent's basement."  It's not nearly as fun as what I should say.  "Hi, my name is Deutsch Girl and I live in the spare room at my parent's house with french doors to the backyard, a walk-in closet and a beautiful one-of-a-kind bed frame." 

See?  I really don't have it all that bad.  And to show you that in fact, I have it pretty darn good, here's a glimpse of my 11ft x 12ft space and beyond.

Here she is.  The house my parents bought when they moved back to Arizona in the spring of 2002.  Originally built in 1958, it's been completely remodeled.  Most recently?  The kitchen.  She's gorgeous.

my temporary house

Speaking of.  Beautiful cabinetry, built-in oven (that barely holds a cookie sheet), deep sink and bright paint.

amazing kitchen

The view from the door.  Isn't it cute?  Maybe a little cramped looking due to adding some furniture, but I still love it.

my bedroom

The bedframe came from a store in Las Vegas.  My mom bought it on a whim my senior year of high school.  In fact, it was my first bed that was bigger than a twin. The painted window came with it.  I use the words "came with it" loosely.  I think that was just her excuse.

I picked out this desk back in 2002.  It came from a European furniture dealer and it's 100% european antique.  Better than that Ikea stuff any day. Oh, and yes, that is in fact a bottle of champagne on my desk. You never know when you might need a bottle of champagne, so I keep one there for good measure.

european desk

Those doors I mentioned earlier.  Perfect.  They even have screens so you can open them without letting the flies, or in our case turtles, into the room.

french doors

Speaking of those pesky turtles.

August 26th

My mom bought these vases at some point, and I am pretty sure she added the flowers herself.  And if she didn't, I'm still giving her credit for it.  She's definitely capable, so mom, if you are reading this, don't tell anyone if you didn't really make these.  Your secret is safe with you.


The bathroom.  This could have been the ugliest room in the whole house when my parents moved it.  Sorry parents, but in my mind peach and old lady blue flowered wallpaper, blue cabinets and antique colored fixtures constitute ugly in my book.  They were gracious enough to fix it up, and now I love it.

the pottery barn bathroom

There's a photo on the wall with the door.  That's my mom on the left and one of her sisters on the right.  They were in a home builder's campaign back when they were kids.  They are having a tea party in the closet, because the builder's closets were that big...or at least that was they were trying to say.

an old photo

So that pretty much sums up my space.  Now you can see where all my magificant brainstorming, or more like random thought vomit, comes from.  Ta Ta for now!

April 09, 2010

I'm Famous!

Ok, so I'm not Famous, per se, but I am officially published on another blog! This blog happens to be pretty much amazing. Have you ever checked out Cakespy?  If not, I highly suggest you do, and soon.  The writer, Jessie Oleson, is an illustrator from NYC who moved to Seattle.  Not only does she do the most adorable cupcake illustrations, but her recipes are amazing, and she always has the cutest reviews.

Her reviews lead to me to the whole reason I made it on her blog.  I recently wrote a review about bakeries here in the Phoenix area and sent it for submission.  And the best part was she agreed to publish it!  So click here to see the article in all it's glory.  Please, pretty please with a cherry on top, take a moment to read this, and maybe write a comment if you are so inclined.  I would greatly appreciate it!  Stay tuned here for a behind the scenes glimpse of the writing of this article. 

April 07, 2010

Easter Recap

chocolate rabbit

We used to go all out for Easter. I'm talking all-you-can-eat buffet brunch with crab legs, all the cheese you could eat and those lovely blueberry blintzes. I LOVE Easter buffets. You might not be able to tell by looking at me, but I can really eat when I want to. On more than one occasion I have been told by a waiter that there is no way I can finish what I order, and have returned a clean plate. What can I say...I like to eat!

easter table setting

hot cross buns

The past few years my family has switched things up and done Easter at home. As the price of Easter brunches got more and more expensive, and the quality went down and down, we decided to make it easier and just do everything at home. That by no means lowers the amount of quality of the meeal we have. This was Sunday's menu. And mind you, we had 8 people attending:
  • Honey Baked Ham
  • Cabbage Rolls
  • Fruit (kiwi, strawberries, cantalope, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, etc.)
  • Fingerling Potatoes with Artichoke Hearts
  • Hot Cross Buns
  • Asparagus and Morel Mushroom Quiche
  • Carrot Cake
  • Shrimp
  • Smoked Salmon deviled eggs
The meal was divine to say the least.  I didn't take many photos due to the fact that I couldn't stop eating.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter as well.  And let me know if you made Friday's carrot cake recipe...I'd love to hear how everyone's turned out!


smoked salmon deviled eggs

April 02, 2010

Celebrate Easter With Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake

my kind of easter basket

In my world, Easter means Whopper's Robin Eggs and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Eggs, both of which are only available this time of year.  I've been known to stock up so I can enjoy both of these scrumptous treats into the summer season.  In fact, I think I still have some Robin Eggs from last year.  I wonder if there's a name for my craziness.  One of my other favorite Easter related treats is carrot cake.  I guess it's because bunnies eat carrots, and Easter's unoffical mascot is a bunny, so it sort of works.  And who can resist a moist cake filled with goodies and topped with cream cheese frosting.  I usually can't resist anything with cream cheese frosting.

Carrot cake isn't without controversy.  Nope, it's not that innocent.  There's those who think that carrot cake should be eaten pure, free from pathogens such as raisins or nuts.  Then there's the group that only wants nuts, or preach raisins only.  I say to heck with all of them.  It's Easter and all carrot cake rules are meant to be broken.  I came across this recipe a few weeks ago, and had a burning desire to try it my way.  My way consists of the following:

*toasted pecans
*toasted sweetened coconut
*candied ginger bites
*rum soaked raisins

Please feel free to add or subtract anything you like from my list.  My responsible side will note that rum soaked raisins should be saved for a twenty-one and over crowd.  There, that's my legalese for these recipe, so don't say I didn't warn ya.  Now go out, get creative, and create the carrot cake masterpiece of your dreams.  And have a Happy Easter everyone.  Enjoy the time with family, loved ones, and your new best friend, the carrot cake.

carrot cake cupcakes

"Kitcken Sink" Carrot Cake
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspace
3 1/2 cups (1lb) grated carrots (fine or course depending on preference)
1 cup chopped nuts, toasted
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
1/2 candied ginger bites
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup Myers Dark Rum (adult cake eaters only)

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk, or enough to make frosting spreadable

  • Pour 1 cup Myers Dark Rum into a small bowl.  Add raisins and allow to soak for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Lightly grease (I recommend Pam Baking Spray with flour) a 9" x 13" pan if making a cake, or line your muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • Toast nuts and coconut either in a skillet, or in the oven.  Do not leave these items alone while toasting, they will go from toasted to burnt in a few seconds.  Let each one cool.  Grate carrots and put aside.
  • Beat the eggs, sugars and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until smooth, about two minutes at medium speed.
  • Mix the melted butter with the oil.  With the beater running, add the oil mixture in a stream, beating until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, leaveners (baking soda and powder), salt, and spices.  Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to make a smooth batter.
  • Stir in your add-ins, in this case the carrots, nuts, coconut, ginger and drained raisins.
  • Spoon the batter into the cake pan or cupcake liners. 
  • Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes until the cake is golden brown.  For cupcakes, 20 to 25 minutes.  Or in either case - until a cake tester (toothpick in my case) comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely.  Take out butter and cream cheese for the frosting from the refrigerator. 
  • After the cake or cupcakes has cooled, make the frosting.
  • Combine the butter, creamcheese, vanilla and salt in a medium sized bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar gradually, beating well.  Add the milk a little at a time, until the frosting is a spreadable consistancy.  If you get it a little too runny, add a bit more powdered sugar.
  • Spread frosting.  Garnish with toasted coconut, sprinkles, or whatever you like!

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